Sunday, June 26, 2016

Week #46

Bula Vinaka! Witch doctors, boils and miracles oh my! hahaha! This week has been pretty crazy out here in Levuka.  A LOT has happened! I don't know how I'm going to explain it all with my limited time but I hope you all enjoy this email! So...last Tuesday morning we woke up and Elder Bond had this pretty gnarly boil in his armpit....Pretty gross! In fijian, a boil in the armpit is called a beka! It can be pretty painful as I assume you all can imagine. Tuesday night Elder Bond asked for a blessing and the next day when we were walking around Baba village one of our investigators, Sister Ana, asked what was wrong with Elder Bond. We told her he had a beka and it hurts pretty bad. She was super nice and told us that her aunt knows this ancient fijian massage that would make it go away. Elder Bond accepted hahaha! So he shows her aunt the boil and all their faces when they saw it looked super scared! They told us that this wasn't any normal type of boil. They said it's a curse and that it needed to be taken care of by the village medicine lady. She told us it would take awhile to make the medication because she'd have to hike up to the mountains to grab some plants. Later that night we returned to her house to grab the medicine. Elder Bond put it on his boil and by the time we got back to the flat it had busted open with blood everywhere. It was pretty gross but cool hahaha! Fijians amaze me with their medicine! He's all good now! So this week our branch had branch conference and it was pretty awesome! Over 80 people showed up and 6 of our investigators were able to make it! It was a powerful branch conference and to see our tiny chapel filled made our mission dream! One of our less active members, Brother Fong, came to church! We were so happy to see him. All the members were way happy to see him because it had been so long! Same, the methodist preacher, and his entire family came as well. We've been meeting with them quite frequently. Same is one of the most devoted investigators I have ever had. I could literally just fill pages and pages of what this guy is sacrificing to do to bring his family to this church. Last night after church we sat down with them. Same and his wife told us that when they walked down to the chapel that morning and he put on his white shirt and tie, all of the villagers eyes were staring them down! He compared it to arrows and spears being thrown at them as they made the commitment to come to church. He said he didn't even care about what the other villagers thought. He said he knows this church is true and he and his family are the priority. He said, "This church is the only true church and that means this is how I'm going to return to God with my family. If this is what it takes, come what may!" He made the next step last night and they are all committed to be baptized this next week on July the 3rd! When we asked them if they wanted to be baptized Same literally threw his hands up in the air and shouted “YES!”  I think it was my favorite response to a baptismal invitation I have ever witnessed. They are all so excited to be baptized. This morning they wanted us to come over and teach more so we went over at 8:00 this morning and taught about the commandments! Tonight we are meeting with them again for family home evening at one of our member’s houses! This family is a living miracle and God is blessing them immensely! This week I've really learned the importance of trials and faith! I want the same spirit like Same! Come what may! Trials can only strengthen our faith and help us become the sons and daughters of God we were predestined to become! Our members out here have become so strong! They are like my family. Fijians just have this way of accepting people no matter what. They love and they laugh and they love! I love the fijian people with my whole heart. I loved them before I came on my mission and I love them even more so now! They are more faithful than any other nationality of people I have ever met. It's taken time to get used to the food and to the culture. But by now it’s become a part of me and I have learned so much from them and continue to do so every day. Elder Bond and I are witnessing so many blessings out here on Levuka! Lost sheep are returning to the fold and new ones are gathering in. There's no doubt in my mind these are the last days. We hear it and witness it every day! The gospel needs to be shared with all. The Lord does the work here in Levuka....Elder Bond and I  are just his emissaries. I know I make mistakes but we can repent. Jesus Christ is the reason I'm so happy. Even when all fails around me and some people choose not to listen or criticize me. It literally does not matter. I'm doing what the Lord wants me to and when I mess up I can be forgiven if I turn to him and repent. I don't think there's anything more beautiful than that. I love you all and say these things in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen!

Love, Elder Peanuti

Monday, June 20, 2016

Week #45

Kaise he' (Hindi) Matavuvale! It's been quite the week. Every week I feel like I learn more and more and I just think what could possibly be my next step and well... after an amazing Zone Conference....I found it! Our Zone Conference was all about the atonement! Probably one of the most powerful Zone Conferences ever! Our Mission President has such an amazing understanding of the atonement and every missionary walked out of the mission home inspired to dig a little deeper and try even harder. My Interview with President was exactly what I needed. Before our interviews he told us if we want to know what we can work on as missionaries he will be honest and tell us. I've been wanting to improve in any way possible so I decided to ask him. After a talk with my President it was clear that I need to be more Bold and Confident. These are things I am not afraid to admit are my weaknesses. This past week I have been studying my heart out. I want to become confident and bold! I was reading a talk by Tad R. Callister on how to become a more consecrated missionary. One of the things that I liked from his talk was that as a missionary we have to put all of our fears on the altar of sacrifice. While studying in Doctrine and Covenants I realized it is in fact a commandment from the Lord to open our mouths and declare his word! "And thou must open thy mouth at ALL times, declaring my gospel with the sound of rejoicing."-D&C 28:16 Every night since my interview with president I have been praying for confidence and when I walk out of the flat I fake it till I make it. As a result I have experienced immediate blessings! I still have more confidence to gain and more to learn but I can testify that within just a few week period of talking to all and just being confident, I have already gained more confidence and have witnessed miracles! In Mosiah 2:20-24 we learn that God is so great. It is impossible to compare ourselves to him. We are like the dust of the earth compared to his greatness and glory. It goes on to say that even if we served him with every ounce of our soul, we would be unprofitable servants. Yet....all he asks of us is to keep his commandments! in verse 24 its says..."And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth IMMEDIATELY bless you;..." The day after my interview I decided to be bold in all things. To just show people how happy this gospel makes me and make them feel that excitement and joy. When I really sit down and think about it, how could someone not rejoice in how amazing this gospel is? Families can literally live together forever. Death has no victory and we can all be resurrected. We all can receive Eternal life and it's not just a blind test! Our Heavenly Father gave his son Jesus Christ to be that perfect example, that if we follow, we will return to live with him again in the Celestial Kingdom of God! When we make mistakes it is not the end...our savior has already suffered for it. When we repent we can jump back on the straight and narrow path and continue on! I love this gospel. I'm so excited I get to improve myself and not do it alone! He is with me and teaching me every second of the day! My week here in Levuka started on Thursday night! We returned back to our area late Wednesday night and have been working ever since. I've seen miracles. Yesterday at church 5 of our investigators came. I mentioned last week about a little boy whose father is a strong Methodist preacher. Despite that, he comes to church all on his own....except for this last Sunday;) ...His dad came! He sat through the entire church....and at the end of the priesthood lesson he asked our branch president to let him say a few words. He said he's been watching his son come to this church for weeks and finally decided he had to see what was so amazing about it to his son! He told his story of being a strong John Wesley Methodist preacher. He said while holding the Book of Mormon that he can't believe he's been missing this! He said he's seen a change in his 10 year old son and after coming to church just once he knows it's true! After Church Elder Bond and I went to go sit down with him and his family. We shared about the restoration and at the end of the lesson he said He knows it is all true. He said this church is true and that he is going to write a letter to his church and resign from being a methodist preacher......You can imagine my jaw just dropping in this lesson like.....He said he's been searching forever for the correct way of baptism and the priesthood and he's found it here in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. His name is Same. His wife is Serena and they have 2 sons and a daughter and they all want to be baptized. When I invited them over for family home evening tonight they thought I was calling for them to come over to be baptized! I had to explain to them that they need to take some lessons first. This is a miracle and a testimony to me of how true this church really is! You can just feel it. Simply because it feels good! I know this church is true and am Loving Levuka. I'm so grateful for a dad who pushed me out on my mission and showed me how to work hard. I love my dad on earth and in Heaven. This is a real work and I love you all!

Love, Elder Jonutz

Some pirates came and raided Levuka this week

It started getting rainy this past week
Some car accident on the way to Zone Conference

Life in Levuka town

Long Carrier ride to Arovudi Village

Goodbye Black pearl (It left this morning)
This crazy cruise ship came!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Week #44

Bula Vina'a everyone! Man last week was crazy and this week is going to be even crazier! I'm back on the main island once again! We just had an amazing stake conference. They changed the whole stake presidency and they had two members of the quorum of the seventy there who gave some of the coolest talks ever! The original stake president who was released was an amazing stake president and served for 15 years! His name is President Tagidugu and he was one of the reasons a lot of new areas recently started opening up to missionaries! We only got to work in our area from Monday to Thursday and then Friday Morning we woke up at 2:30 in the morning hahaha! It was so early! Our little branch in Levuka rented out an entire bus for all who were going to stake conference! Elder Bond and I got on the bus with them and it was way fun! Elder Bond gave the bus driver church music to play on the bus. It was pretty funny blasting Mormon Tabernacle choir and hanging out with all our members. We had three investigators who chose to come as well and it was way awesome. Sakaraia's wife decided she wants to start taking lessons and they brought their whole family to stake conference! We also had two other investigators from Baba, Serema and Meli, who came to conference as well. Meli is this 11 year old boy who made the decision to come to church all on his own. His entire family is methodist but everyday he comes to the LDS church! We just recently sat down with him and his Grandma who are both extremely interested in the church. Our other investigators, Anditabua and Kenchi, are doing awesome as well. Andi is a methodist but Akuila and Koula are their young couple friends.  Andi is really interested in the church and this last week we taught her the plan of salvation and she's committed to reading the Book of Mormon. She told us when she knows it's true she will be baptized! We are way excited for her and all of our other investigators who just keep getting closer and closer to finding the truth for themselves. This Tuesday Elder Bond and I have Zone Conference! I am so looking forward to it. Zone Conference is what gets me going! The topic is supposed to be on the atonement and President Layton always has these crazy amazing insights! On Wednesday we will be returning to Levuka and are going to give it our all. The work started slowing down a bit last week but I know the Lord has stuff for us to do and accomplish. I told you guys all awhile ago we tried to open a village called Draiba. Well this week Elder Bond and I are praying really hard because we are going to try and ask again.....along with 3 other villages we are going to try to open. I know the chief will soften his heart and I'm praying that he will because Draiba has so much potential!  We still haven't been able to go out to Moturiki for awhile....I am really starting to get pretty bummed about that. We have so many investigators out there that we haven't been able to see in weeks... Our member that allows us to sleep there has been gone so we haven't had any chance to go out there for awhile. But on a positive note, we have been finding all sorts of new people in town right by our flat which is what we were praying for!  It's a bummer we haven't been out to moturiki in awhile but I know it's because the Lord has had different plans for us! On Friday we helped our district leader and did some work in his area! We went on splits and those are always interesting hahaha! I'm really just holding out for Zone Conference. All of my prayers get answered in Zone Conference and I learn so much. Every time we have a Zone Conference I find like a million new ways I can improve! Last night our whole zone spent the night at the zone leader’s flat...It was insane but it’s been crazy how many friends I've made here on the mission. I'm not sure what else to share about this past week other than I love the gospel!  I've been facing a lot of challenges but the atonement fixes them all. I've been seeking for patience and more confidence. I think at least for me those are two of the hardest christlike attributes. But lucky for all who have weaknesses Heavenly Father promises us if we humble ourselves before him he will make weak things strong unto us. I will continue to serve the Lord with all my heart out here. Your prayers and emails mean the world to me. Shout out to the Depaola's for their awesome package. Thank you so much! I forgot my camera in Levuka I'll have lots of pictures to send next week!

Much Love, Elder Jonati

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Week #43

Bula noqu Matavuvale!.....Not sure where to quite begin this week! I'm sure you all want to know what happened for transfers so I'll save that for the end of this email :) HAHAHA Just kidding! So! NOTHING HAPPENED! Elder Bond and I are still out here in Levuka forever hahaha! I'm actually way happy. I love this place and there still is so much we need to do here! The Lord still needs me out here and it's going to be an adventure finding out why!? The rest of my week was interesting to say the least! Got kissed by a drunk guy...twice....That was a first....! One of our less actives through a giant crab at us so we took it home later that night and cooked it for dinner.  All I could think about was Sebastian from the Little Mermaid. I'm sorry for all of you who were expecting a Little Mermaid 3 because Elder Bond and I ate Sebastian last Thursday night! We had a pretty crazy service day last Thursday with Akuila. He told us we'd be doing something with sand and when we showed up he gave us 12 burlap bags and we went down to the beach to fill them up with sand. After that he told us that we needed to carry them back up to his house. Akuila lives right at the bottom of the peak we climbed last week so it was a nice workout for the day haha! We returned to Levuka from Nausori last Tuesday so we missed two days of proselyting this week but the Lord helped us account for the rest. Currently we are trying to give people more baptismal dates and opening up some koros (villages). This Friday we are heading out from Levuka back to the main island AGAIN for Stake Conference on Sunday! After Stake Conference we have Zone Conference in Suva that Tuesday.  As much as I am looking forward to Stake and Zone Conference I am a little worried about being out of our area for about a week!  I'm praying that the Lord will take care of Levuka while we're gone. On a more spiritual note, I've had to learn a lot this week!  It's not about my will and it never has been. This work and our entire lives is about the will of the Lord. Monday night while we were in Nausori we were sleeping on the floor when I felt something crawling on my chest and arm. Turns out I had a centipede on me. Their bites have poison, not deadly enough to kill but enough to hurt really bad so I was lucky I didn't get bitten! Tuesday night I got sick for some unknown reason. Bad migraines, a fever, and a sore throat. It was no fun but I decided to push through! It wasn't getting any better after a day so I asked Elder Bond for a blessing. The priesthood is the power of God and I am really thankful for my companion! We worked our hardest this week and I've been doing a lot of study on Joseph Smith and the atonement. The other day I was reading in Joseph Smith History. I've read it before but now reading it as a missionary made it so much more powerful! Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and he truly saw what he said he saw.. JSH-25 "For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation." I feel the same way as Joseph Smith...I know these things are true. I don't have to see an angel to prove it. If science can prove it....well then great...But that’s not the way I know it is true. I know it is true by the way I feel when I sit across from someone and read the account of Joseph Smith. It's the spirit I get and the peace I feel as I read the Book of Mormon. I cannot deny it. The power that comes from the testimony of Joseph Smith cannot be denied. It testifies that God lives and his son Jesus Christ is our Savior. This gospel is what gets me through life. Something I've learned is that one cannot simply pray to know it’s true and then expect an answer. Repeatedly throughout my mission so far I've prayed and asked. At times it comes as a quick, peaceful, reassuring feeling. Other times it's taken me weeks to receive an answer. What God requires of us is to desire to know with all our hearts. We can't just partially want it. We have to want it with all of our whole beings. I asked with my whole self and I testify that this church is true. I love you all and am excited to tell you all about this next week’s adventures. 

Love, Elder Jonati or Penati (some little girl called me that yesterday...It’s like peanut but penati hahaha)

Some of my favorite kids in Levuka

This is Olivia. She smeared chalk all over my face after church....

It was Elder Bond's birthday this last Sunday so they made him a big Lovo


Shout out to Seruuuuu