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

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