Bula Vina'a everyone! It’s been a pretty interesting week! Monday night we had another amazing family home evening and now Sakaraia's mom wants us to come over and give her the lessons! Sakaraia's uncle, Miti, had us come over on Tusiti (Tuesday) and he is so cool and ready to receive the gospel! Sister Ana (who was baptized last Sunday) came up to us on Wednesday night and told us 3 more people she had shared the gospel with that want to join the church and need us to come over and share the lessons! It's insane..... It is literally the best when recent converts are doing missionary work! Samisone's 2 grandchildren started taking the lessons this whole past week and are doing awesome! They are scheduled to be baptized August 14th! The Lord continues to amaze me out here! Wednesday we were planning on going to Moturiki and then I got pretty sick....I couldn't drink anything or eat anything without my body rejecting it right away and throwing it up. I had to stay in all Wednesday...so that was a bummer. Thursday morning I tried to tough it out because we had some awesome service projects planned that I didn't want to miss. Before I begin to explain this next part, I just need to add that it was the weirdest service day of my entire life....hahaha! So we were told from the Marama (an elderly woman) that she wanted us to come over and help her make Ibe's (traditional weaved fijian mats made from an ibe plant). I was way pumped to get over there and learn how to make one. When we arrived Marama walked up to us and was holding this big pair of rubber boots. In fijian she said, "Let's go!" I had no idea where she was wanting to go, but if there's one thing I've learned in fiji it's just best to go with it and not question anything and enjoy the adventure hahaha! So off we went and we ended up at this sewage drain in the middle of the village. Elder Ruwhiu and I watched her slip on her boots and jump in..... At this point I was starting to question some things but just went with it. Until she bent down and reached her hands into the muddy sewage to pull out these ibe plants covered in the stinkiest mud I have ever smelled. She told us that the mud is supposed to dye the ibe black! She had us carry the ibe around the village back to her house and all the villagers were laughing at us because it's supposed to be a woman's job. So that was fun. After that we went to the next village down to help another lady. We had met her on a truck ride earlier last week and asked her if we could do any service for her. Elder Ruiwhu was the one talking to her at the time and he signed us up for some service...... he had no idea what he had gotten us into! So we show up to her house and told her we were ready to serve and she was like, "Okay wow, you guys actually came! Just let me go grab my gloves!" I asked Elder Ruiwhu what she said we were coming to do and he said boroboro (Painting). She started walking so we followed her and as we followed her we noticed we were walking further and further into the jungle and I kept looking back at Elder Ruiwhu like, "WHERE IS SHE TAKING US PAINTING!?!?" Eventually, we saw these tomb stones and this old catholic graveyard. Now I was getting scared hahaha. When we entered the graveyard she asked us if we could say a prayer. So we did and then she told us to weed around the graves. It was actually pretty peaceful but my companion completely mis-translated her. She said Bulubulu (graveyard) not Boroboro (painting). It ended up going all nice and dandy. We're still alive and didn't do any grave digging, just some weeding :) When we got back to the flat I could barely move. We called the nurse and I was told I probably had an intestinal infection and that I should stay inside all day. That night was pretty hard. My body was losing water fast and wouldn't keep it in so I had to take some rehydration salts. It lasted till Saturday, but I'm all goods now! So no worries. It was a bit discouraging but the members were there to help me so I was all good! Sunday night we went out and worked and it was a really good day. Many of our investigators came to church. The work is exploding and I'm learning a ton. Recently I've been reading in Alma 50-63 and trying to find the importance of why Heavenly father added all the wars into the Book of Mormon and what we can learn from it. It's meaning to me is about being prepared. In every way possible. Choosing how you are going to react to temptation or trials before they even come. And when Satan comes, picking up the javelin like Teancum and just stabbing temptation through the heart! People like Captain Moroni, Teancum, and Helaman with his 2000 stripling warriors didn't let anything take them down. They were diligent and they trusted in God to carry them from day to day. They are the biggest examples to me. God called us to serve his children and to cry repentance. Because the Savior is coming again and He wants all of his children to at least have a chance to return back to live with Him again. I'm so grateful for Jesus Christ. He gave us the way back and paid what we couldn't. I love the Savior and want to grow my testimony in him. I love you all! That was pretty much my week! Can't wait to tell you all about next week!
Much love, Elder Jonati