Sunday, February 28, 2016

Week #29

Bula Matavuvale! This week like last week, has been a crazy one! When we returned to our flat last Tuesday we walked into a pretty messy place but nothing was ruined so that's good! Sigatoka didn't get hit nearly as bad as most other places! Although, we did have this huge tree that fell over our drive-way and we had to chop it up with seles! It was pretty sweet. What isn't sweet is a lot of people have lost their homes.....There is one island called Koro island. Out of 41 houses total on the island only one is still standing...Just keep the people of Fiji in your prayers. Because of the damages all around Fiji most of the people weren't available for us to teach this week...but like almost every week we saw miracles! On Thursday I felt like we should cut up the tree that covered our landlord's driveway! So we went to his house and asked him if he would like our help. He looked at the size of the tree and then at us and then he just laughed and said good luck hahaha. I thought it was rude but we love our landlord and wanted to show him we could do it! So we just went at it and we went hard! After about 4 hours of constant hacking at this tree with seles we were able to do the impossible and move this tree. It felt good to work hard and even though my hands are covered in blisters we were able to help someone in need. The day after that we tried to go see one of our less active families and when we got there they were digging a poop pit. Yes I said what you think I said....a poop pit. Fiji is a 3rd world country and most families don't have plumbing. I asked if we could help and they said no thank you. I was bummed...because then I could have told you guys I helped dig one. Yes, I know I’m weird hahaha. We had a really good lesson with them. They haven't been going to church for over 2 years. They got baptized and started coming but then one of the members offended them and they stopped coming. It's really sad when people get offended and leave and fail to realize that the members aren't perfect, but the church is. We felt prompted to read the sacrament prayer.  After reading it I asked if it sounded familiar to them. They said yes of course and we talked about the importance of taking the sacrament and how we can be blessed to have His spirit with us always. They really seemed affected by the lesson because when the dad said the prayer he began to cry. We are hoping they will start to come back to church. On Saturday we had a HUGE miracle happen. For awhile now we have been teaching this less active named “Bro Joe”. We went to see him and when we sat down with him he pointed outside and said, "See this guy walking over to my house! I took him to the open house of the temple and he really loved it!" The guy walked in and introduced himself as ILAMI. Brother Joe went and grabbed his book of mormon and started showing his friend pamphlets of Joseph Smith and Pictures of his own baptism! It was so awesome to see these two old guys looking over the Book of Mormon and to see Brother Joe being a way bomb missionary. We have been worried about Brother Joe for awhile for not coming to church but we found out his landlord has been holding him hostage (basically if he goes to church, his landlord will kick him out)’s illegal for us to get involved so we need to pray for his landlord to have a softened heart because he misses church. But for the time being we were way happy to see he is being an excellent missionary. After we shared a message with him and ILAMI, ILAMI wanted us to come to his house and say a prayer for his family because some of them were gone during the cyclone and he wanted us to pray that his family would be able to find each other and be back home! It was a powerful moment in their home as we prayed that his family would be kept safe and be able to return home. Elder Stevens and I have seen miracles before our very eyes this week. Lot's of people asking for blessings. In one experience, I was asked by this father to bless his 3 year old son who had a fever and hadn't stopped crying all day. Fijians are very serious about their heads and it's very sacred to them in fijian culture. So we have to say tilou (excuse me) in fijian before we lay our hands on their heads. The whole blessing the poor kid was screaming and it was almost impossible to keep our hands on his head but after the blessing he fell asleep in his dad's arms. I just sat there and watched the power of God work in this little boy. I'll never forget it. On Friday we went to go and see one of our investigators named Vilikesa! He is pretty awesome. Every time we come to teach him he gets excited to hear what we have to say and has so many questions. We had a powerful moment in the middle of the lesson where Vilikesa stopped me from speaking and said, "Elders have you noticed how many distractions have occurred since you guys have been here?" He said "You know what that says to me?" We asked him what and he said "It means Satan does not want me to hear this message which makes me know this is the truth.”  We testified to him that yes this is the truth and it was a very powerful lesson. I've noticed that satan really does give us more distraction as we get closer to the truth. Which in effect makes us want the truth even more. I know as we learn to beat Satan and push through the distractions he gives we will come closer to Jesus Christ. This transfer has taught me much. Next week is already transfers week...Yes Again. I hope to stay because I have so much to do here. I love you all and testify that Jesus Christ lives. I've seen his hand touch the lives of many. I feel the power of the priesthood and testify of it's power. Blessings are real. Miracles occur every day. Just look for them and I promise you will find them. Na Matabete ni Kalou sa kaukauwa sara ga. Au vinakata tovalea vakaukauwa ena noqu bula me'u muri o Jisu Karisto. Au kila keda vaka e dua na ivakabula o cei lomani keda kece va levu. Au sa marautaka na gauna ogo me'u qaravi noqu kaloutu! Au galili kemudou va levu. Au nuitaki kemudou kila au lomani kemudou! Masulaki na ira na tamata kai viti! I love you all so much. This church is the truth. Mom, tell Elder Davis he is the man and that I love him! I hope he is doing good. I hope to make you all proud out here in Fiji.

LOve, Elder JOnatI

Cutting the tree with our "seles"

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Week #28

Bula Everyone! Au sa bulabula tiko! I’m all goods! WOW this has been a crazy week hahaha! I almost didn't get to e-mail today but I found a small miracle called the mission office and they are letting me use a computer here so BULLLLAAA! I miss all you guys a lot. Man I have no clue where to even begin. I don't have a ton of time to email but I’m going to do my best! So about the CYCLONE! So Friday we took a 3 hour bus ride to Suva to arrive for the cultural celebration on Saturday! The AP's hooked me up because all the missionaries who gathered in Suva all went to different elder’s flats to stay. The AP's hooked me up to go stay with Elder Barnaby, my trainer! So Saturday morning we had a meet and greet with President Eyring and Elder Cook! WOw...It was the coolest experience. President Eyring and Elder Cook talked to the missionaries and after we had a lunch. I'll never forget how I felt to have an apostle of God look at me in my eyes and say EXACTLY what I needed to hear. He told me the holy ghost is my companion and that I should have more faith. He testified to all of us that the Savior is in our work and is involved more than we think He is....Elder Cook told us he knows Christ. He know's His face. He knows His voice. Both of their testimonies of the savior cannot be denied! They are truly apostles and prophets of the Lord. So.....after they shared their testimonies they warned us that there was going to be a class five cyclone...and that it was going to be the biggest Fiji has seen....President Eyring said..."This is going to be exciting hahaha!" He is so funny. So after their testimonies we all piled into buses to go to the stadium for the cultural celebration.  The cultural celebration was so awesome. Youth all over fIJI PERFORMING traditional meke's (tribal dance) for the apostles!!! Man it was so cool but then they ended it early because the Cyclone was getting way bad. I've never been really afraid of strong wind until now haha...We got off the bus and had to run to our flat as fast as our legs could take us. We were ordered to stay inside for 2 days! That night our power went out! Palm trees flew over our roof. We had only candle light until they all ran out! So to keep each other happy and satisfied we listened to church music! Btw mom I got my packages. Both the Valentine one and the Birthday one! I love them and they made my day! I also received a new name badge and I feel like a true missionary AGAIN BULLAA! Back to the storm! We sat there in our flat and the wind was so loud it was like a ripping sound! Pretty intense. Dad I wish you were there because it was pretty awesome! After the cyclone passed we went to the temple rededication which was amazing but the cyclone came back so we had to go back to our flat and stay there for the rest of the night! Water seeped in underneath the doors and the door was getting pushed hard by the wind! It was pretty crazy but none of us are hurt and we are all happy and safe! I am worried about the people of Taveuni though....Some of the members lost their houses and the majority of the cyclone hit Taveuni. I’m praying for them pretty hard right now... This week has been a rollercoaster! I wasn't going to get to email today and I was pretty bummed but then I found a way! We are still out of power and I won't be returning to Sigatoka right away.  I miss all of you and I love you all!

Love , Elder Jonati

Stuck in the flat

Running back to the flat in the cyclone
Tree and wind doh!

Sigatoka sunset

Recieved my goods!!
I tried this hat on and all the indian store workers came up to me and it was weird

Fiji Temple!!!!

Got a new name badge!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Week #27

Bula Family! Wow...I have a pretty awesome week to tell you all about! First, on Saturday I got attacked by one of our investigator’s dogs and had to call the mission nurse because it drew blood...but it's not even bad! Literally it is just a little cut! What happened was their dog was hiding underneath their car and as we walked out of the house it bolted out from underneath the car and bit my calf and then went for my ankle. I think I had some divine protection from above because I escaped with like a tiny little scratch.  And it's cool that I can say I was attacked by a dog now RIGHT!? hahaha Other than falling in a hole while trying to find a new investigator my week was pretty amazing. I do have some sad news though.....Julian...our investigator...we tried going to teach him on Thursday and found out he is in prison. My heart kind of sunk hearing this but then I realized it is absolutely necessary for him to be there. He had a court case he had to take care of and we aren't sure what exactly is happening to him and how long he will be in prison. But this would have been necessary for him to take care of before his baptism anyway for him to be worthy to get baptized. So please keep Julian in your prayers that this experience will strengthen him and not tear him down. I try to imagine him just reading the book of mormon wherever he is right now. He told us the Book of Mormon means everything to him. Elder Stevens and I have been working like crazy this week. I literally just about drop dead on my bed when we get home! This week we visited a lot of people! We have this one old guy named Levani. He can't walk and literally lays in his bed and feels pain and just cries...It hurts to watch not going to lie. He has a baptismal date but he can't even get out of bed and everyone says he's dying...So Elder Stevens and I prayed about what we could do for him and we decided we will just visit him every week and read the book of mormon to him because he can barely even lift his arms let alone hold something. As we sat beside his bed and read the book of mormon to him there was a real feeling of peace there. We read from 3 Nephi where Jesus comes to the Americas and is healing the people.  As we read, Levani would cry and the spirit was very strong there. If Levani can't get baptized in this life there is no doubt in my heart that he won't accept in the life to come. I love Levani he is the coolest man! We've been meeting with many less actives this week. I've learned a lot about how the spirit sounds. I've really had to relax myself this week and just let the spirit direct the lessons. The most important thing I’ve learned this week is to always be listening. On Saturday elder stevens and I had this constant feeling to go see this member family the Kolitapas! We had a lot of lessons to get to that day but the feeling just came that we absolutely NEEDED to go see them. Some background information on the Kolitapas. Strongest members I have ever met in my entire life. Their family has literally nothing. They have 4 little kids. The stake presidency asked the kolitapas to make sulus and shirts for the temple rededication. Brother Kolitapa buys all of the materials out of his pocket and hand paints every sulu. For awhile his wife had no job and neither did he. Slowly we have watched heavenly father bless their family. Their only desire is to earn enough money to get to the temple. Their faith is literally unshakable. Saturday we walked into their home and we found out all the sulus they sold they didn't even receive any money for and that Sister Kolitapa was going to have to work double shifts this week to cover the expenses. They asked me to share a message and I had no idea what to say. Elder Stevens and I shared a lesson that I don't even remember much of what was said but Sister Kolitapa said something that hit me so hard. She said, "You two are literally God's tools and his messengers! You not only said what I needed to hear but every word you said was exactly on point with what I needed.” Their whole family was silent and we sat there and I've never felt the spirit stronger. I know that Jesus Christ lives. That God isn't just aware of all his children he is with them through the Holy Ghost if we just obey his commandments. Sometimes what we want isn't what the Lord has planned. Everything that we go through is what God knows we need to go through. He does everything for one purpose. Our happiness. Now the Kolitapas have been going through some of the hardest things I’ve ever seen...Yet they always are so happy and have so much faith that it's just what God needs them to go through right now. I want my faith to be as strong as theirs! They are so amazing and I know without a doubt that the spirit directed us there for a reason. All of our investigators and less actives we invited to church this Sunday didn't show up. NOT ONE. But me and Elder Stevens know that we did everything the lord wanted us to do this week. We can't control peoples agency but we can pray for them constantly. Next week we are going to try as hard as we can again. This branch is going to be made into a ward I know it! God has it planned and we are going to do everything he tells us to do! I love this work. I learn literally so much about the spirit and as we sit across from people and testify to them how much their heavenly father loves them you can literally look at them and just feel a portion of that love that he has for them. Next week we leave on Friday to go to the Temple rededication!! I’m so stoked. We get to sing as all the missionaries in the Fijian ANZ Rugby stadium in front of Elder Eyring and the prime minister of Fiji. It's going to be so neat and I miss the temple so much so I’m just so excited! Although for my birthday I get the long bus ride back to Sigatoka on the 22nd hahaha. But at least it's a P-day so I'll be able to email all of you on my Birthday. I love you mom and dad and all my family and friends. This is the Lord’s work and I can testify of that! I have a lot of pictures to send so I got to go! can't wait to hear from you all next week!

Love, Elder Jonati
Me holding my dinner

My dinnner bon apetite!
The bottom of my dinner
A little out of my price range hahaha

Last p-day at the sand dunes...

The dunes

The view
Elder Stevens...

More dunes

On top of the dunes

Our beds

This is where I study

The living quarters

View from our investigator's house

Monday, February 8, 2016

Week #26

Bula Vinaka everyone! This week has been jammed pack full of crazy things. Just so you all know I really have felt all of your prayers. I've really been able to find peace here in Sigatoka and I have seen miracles occur this week. On Monday morning after emails last week we had to drop off the car at the shop. It had to get it's annual check up that the mission requires. So we had to take a bus back to Sigatoka and we were without a car till friday....IN THE BIGGEST AREA IN THE MISSION hahaha. So this week has been an adventure. Tuesday night we had a mission broadcast that I felt like was literally, specifically for me. Lately I've just had this constant worry that I’m not saying the right things in lessons and I’m not receiving immediate revelation of what to say in a lesson. Elder Bednar said that this a common misconception for many missionaries. What he said next hit me insanely hard! He said all missionaries who are set apart Elders and Sisters, who are obedient and prayerfully seek for the spirit, will be given what to say. He said if we listen to the people we are teaching and then open our mouths to speak, the words just come...He said every word that comes from a worthy missionary’s mouth in a lesson is what the spirit wants us to say. This little statement he made helped me see I have been way too paranoid about receiving spiritual revelation. So this week I just tried to listen in the lessons instead of worrying what needed to be said, and then I just spoke, and miracles happened. I told all of you about our investigator, Julian, here. Yeah, probably the most prepared guy to receive the gospel on the earth currently. Elder Stevens and I walked into his house Saturday night. As we walked in the room was silent. Julian sat there smiling. But in his face Elder Stevens and I both saw a difference. As we sat down the spirit was so thick in his house I could feel it. The first thing I said was, "Julian you look different, how do you feel?" He responded with what almost brought me to tears...."I can't even describe what I feel, but I read 15 chapters of the book of mormon since you guys have been gone and I feel so happy and everything is so clear." I can just testify that the Book of Mormon is plain true. I can't take it when those we teach won't take the chance to read it. Julian read it. He told us he knew it was absolutely true and I could see him sitting there not being able to sit still because he was so happy. We told him that what he was feeling was the holy ghost. He said he knew it. He told us he is so excited to be baptized. I’m so excited for this guy. Please keep him in your prayers. Elder Stevens and I are getting pretty close. I’ve never met someone so humble. Like any two people we have our differences. Elder Stevens likes Kung Fu and sounds and acts exactly like the giraffe from the movie, “Madagascar.” But we've truly come so close that in lessons we are always in the same mindset. While Sigatoka may be known as a struggling area...I have been feeling otherwise. I look at this place like a goldmine now. After having a pretty deep talk with Elder Stevens and helping each other resolve some concerns we had we again saw miracles. One night while walking along the road we ran into two amazing potential investigators. Some lady came up to us and said, hey I used to meet with the elders and something is telling me I need to meet with the elders again. We have a set appt for her this week. An hour later while walking along the same road returning home another lady came up to talk to us and said she was interested in what we had to say. In these short little contacts with these two RANDOM PEOPLE Elder Stevens and I are so excited to start teaching them. Saturday night we got back to the flat and decided to go see this lady who lives close to our flat. We walked up to the apartment and she sat there with two Australian men. They invited us to sit down. At this moment I did not know me and Elder Stevens were about to get ridiculed and mocked for our religion. Long story short - we listened to this Australian guy make a mockery of sacred things in our church and tried to prove every little thing in our church wrong. Every aspect of eternal families and temples he tried to shoot down. Then the lady sitting next to him said, boys you are deceived. Your doctrine is dangerous. She said to my face that I did not believe in Jesus Christ and she went on begging me to just come to know him and to wake up from these lies. The emotional take on my soul from their comments caused me to almost  explode. I just started talking. I bore my testimony to them and felt literally every part of my body filled with the spirit. In front of these men and this woman I literally bore everything I knew to be true. I'll admit it, I cried in front of them.  After I bore my testimony they sat still and he said you obviously have a strong agent in your voice and then they went on to try to bash us some more. I learned a lot from this experience. I’ve never felt so mocked in my life. I can only imagine what Jesus Christ felt.  All I know is this gospel is true. That Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. That he saw two Personages and they were actually Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ directs this church through his prophets and if we just pray to know if these things are true god will answer us. He will and I promise you he will. I can't even think about a god who wouldn't answer his children’s prayers. I know that god is our loving heavenly father. He has given us the opportunity to become like him. He gave us his son Jesus Christ to show us the way and to provide the way back to him. The path is clear and I know it is true with all my heart. I love this gospel. If these things were not true I wouldn't be able to last here in this foreign place. But it is true. Which is why I love being here trying all I can to let everyone I can know, that Jesus Christ is coming again. That his church is restored. And if they make the right choices and covenants they truly can live with heavenly father and their family for eternity. I want everyone to know this is true. Pray about it ask, desire, and pray again and I know god will answer your prayers. I miss you mom and dad. I miss you aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents. But I know why I am here. And I love my purpose. I’m going to do all I can to let the people here know of their Savior, Jesus Christ. This week has been one of my favorites. I love this work. I can't wait to share what miracles occur next week and I pray for all of you. I know these things all to be true.

Love, Elder Jonati