Sunday, September 25, 2016

Week #59

Bula Vinaka Friends and Family! Another week full of miracles......Our district is just working so hard and every day more and more people come closer to Jesus Christ through this awesome restored gospel! It's always a struggle to choose what to share about our week because literally so MUCH HAPPENS! To summarize this entire week with you all, I think the best way would be just through sharing some stories. I'll start by sharing an experience that happened last night. So after church, we went out teaching and tried to see as many of our investigators as we could. All of them were home but all were busy at the moment and wouldn't be available until today.  The sisters had told us earlier that afternoon that some members gave them extra dinner and they were willing to give us the leftovers for dinner last night. So we listened to the promptings of our stomachs and headed over to their area to pick up some dinner for last night. While walking over there Elder Payne and I got the prompting from the spirit this time (not our stomachs) to go and try to visit one of the less active members named Sister Tagimocia.  As we approached her house this older man came out the door and said, "PLEASE COME IN!"  So in we went and after some conversation we found out that it was Sister Tagimocia's father that we were visiting with.  After some getting to know each other he paused for a moment and said, "I need to tell you something!"  He said, "God works in mysterious ways. I know you know my daughter is affiliated with....your faith...and I have kept myself from sitting with you people for years. But this morning I went to church. It was my duty in our congregation to introduce a new preacher who was visiting from the other side of Fiji.  Earlier this morning I had picked up what I thought was my bible and I was going to share some verses with the congregation.  As I got up in front of my church and opened what I thought was my bible I saw that it was the Book of Mormon!"  ...He went on to tell us that later he tried reading some of the words but that he didn’t understand it and that he was praying for someone to come and guide him through it and to help him understand it.  We explained to him how that was our purpose and he was so grateful!  I'd call this the definition of a person who is prepared to receive the gospel!  He told us to come and visit him every day and so we will hahaha! Heavenly Father leads us to those who are ready and many are being prepared around us everyday-Alma 13:24.  So another witness of the power of the Book of Mormon was with our investigator Jovesa.  For weeks we have been trying to help him receive an answer that the Book of Mormon is true. He has read 20 chapters and we were just waiting.....So Tuesday morning we went over to visit him.  We felt good about reading 3 Nephi 11 with him.  I can just say it WORKED MIRACLES.  After he read we knelt down with him and he offered a sincere prayer to know.  We sat in silence after the prayer for about 5 minutes or so and then he asked us what the date was..... We replied that it was the 21st.  He said,  “the 21st of September is the day I found out that this is all true!”  It was a way powerful moment and we were so excited that he had finally received an answer!  We walked to our next appointment singing  "Do you remember? The twenty first night of September...Ba de ya! Say do you remember!  Ba de ya!”...HAHA  I thought we were pretty clever!  Earlier that day we received a referral from one of our members, brother Qionitoga, and he introduced us to his friend Domoniko.  He told us he was interested in hearing the lessons so we went and shared with him all this week with Brother Qionitoga! Domoniko is like this 60 year old retired methodist preacher and he explained to us that he was interested in family history.  He had 2 grandchildren pass away recently and the idea that he could be baptized in their behalf touched his heart. His softened heart and desire to know if this church was true allowed him to apply Moroni's Promise (Moroni 10:3-5).  He received his answer and came to church with us this Sunday and wants to be baptized on the 15th of next month! We've been visiting with Josaia, Bano, Ana, and Josaia Sr. the majority of this week. Josaia and Bano know the book of mormon is true and have been coming to church with us and loved church yesterday!  Their parents Ana and Josaia Sr. understand that they need to be baptized but we're trying to help them read the book of mormon and the mom asked us if we could come over and read the Book of Mormon with them everyday to help them know.  Tonight we are going to take John (the sisters recent convert) to share his testimony of the Book of Mormon with them.  We are way pumped for that and have been praying like crazy to be able to touch their hearts.  Sister Heritage had to miss her baptismal interview and is re-scheduled for this week. The sisters in Makoi had 4 baptisms this Saturday.  I got to interview all 4 of the 9 year old kids and it was one of the most humbling experiences of my life.  Children just know the Savior and are so sincere.  It made my entire week.  The work here is led by the Lord and I'm just happy I get to follow Him.  Last Tuesday we had a District meeting based off of Taylor Swift hahaha so that was fun. We learned how to "shake it off" and we were "feelin 22" this week!  (22 lessons!) So standards of excellence in our mission is 20 lessons a week.  So our district decided to go above and beyond. All of us worked way hard this week and our district got more united and close. Everyone got above 22 and we felt the Lord working through all of us! I'm praying for all of our investigators and we're coming to love them so much. The gospel changes lives and I feel so privileged to be a witness to the Saviors living work! I love you all and can't wait to share about next week! 

Love, Elder Jonutz

Elder Payne took a picture of me after Thursday night.....One of the most tiring days ever hahaha

The sisters baptism. So cool to see so many kids dressed in white!
Sums up nightly planning

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Week #58

Bula Vin'a Family! goes another attempt at trying to explain a week full of miracles! We've been working like crazy horses here and absolutely loving every trial and every blessing. I wish you all could just witness what miracles we see every day here in Naulu! So I don't know if I've introduced you to Ana and her family yet! They are some of our new investigators. Ana is the mom and Josefa is the father. They have 2 sons who have been taking lessons and they are slowly coming to know the truth and their light just gets brighter and brighter. Josefa just returned from Syria and he is in the Army. Thursday night we walked into their house to follow up on how their Book of Mormon reading was going. I don't remember much of what was said in that lesson but I do know that they all committed to being baptized on the 8th of October! BULLLA! Before we were about to leave, one of their older sons, Josaia, walked in who had also been taking lessons. We told him how we had talked to his family about being baptized on the 8th and asked him if he would commit as well. After a long pause and a look of confusion on his face he said, "Could I move the date?" I told him yes.  At first I was worried he meant move the date till later but he responded by saying with so much confidence, "I want to be baptized on the first of October!" Elder Payne and I looked at each other and didn't even know what to say! I couldn't help but laugh and be like...."UMM Yeah, I think we can make that work!"  We walked out of that lesson giving thanks to Heavenly Father for leading us to this wonderful family and for helping us know what to say to them! Okay, so funny story...the other day we were walking back to our flat and one of our members walked up to us to say hello. In fiji, to shake hands sometimes they just stick out one finger and you are supposed to stick your finger out too and kind of like swipe fingers and it's the equivalent of a hand shake. So our member walked up to Elder Payne and stuck her finger out at him and he had no idea what to do! He thought she was like trying to poke his belly or something so he kept trying to dodge it and he gave her like the dirtiest look and we both just died laughing and I had to explain to him that it is like a handshake! HAHAHA! I love the culture here so much!! It makes life so much fun! This week I got to conduct some baptismal interviews and it was an experience I will never forget! Literally anyone can change.....even if you were the most wicked person on the face of the planet the gospel can touch your heart and change you.  No matter how far away you feel you are from Christ it is never too far away for His atonement to heal you. Just to sit down with such humble people who have had divine witnesses that this is the true church of Jesus Christ hit me so hard. I think about those who are lost and don't even know they are lost. When sitting down with Josaia again yesterday after having him attend church with us, we asked him if he had prayed to know if the Book of Mormon is true.  His reply was, "I pray after every verse I read, and I feel so good and I know it’s true."  He told us he has even decided to just stop swearing.  We didn't even teach him that.......THE BOOK OF MORMON IS JUST THAT POWERFUL!  It inspires people to be good and do good!  Honestly, if everyone would just humble themselves and read the book and ask God to know if it is true...there is no doubt in my mind that everyone on this earth would all KNOW that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that a prophet leads and directs this church today! We've also been working in Wainibuku where we've met Enoke. This 15 year old boy has decided to start taking lessons. Saturday we sat down with him and he said he read the book of mormon and he knew it was true and he said he wants to be baptized on the 8th of October as well! Even a 15 year old boy can read the book and know it is true. I just testify that this book is so true and that all who read it with a willing heart will know! I love you all! Oh and mom Sister Johnson, Aunt Natalie's friend, came to our ward on Sunday and surprised me with my package!!  It made my week!  I love you all and the work of the Lord is still hastening! There’s so much more I could say but not enough time!  Talk to you all soon!

Love, Elder Jonutz

A picture with Satan:)

This is John, the sister's investigator!, I had the opportunity to baptize him. One of the coolest guys I've ever met!

Don't know what face I'm making haha! 

We call it "in and out" point....It makes us want in and out!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Week #57

Bula Vinaka everybody! One of the craziest weeks of my life and no breaks in between hahaha! Hard work is the best! So this week we had interviews with President and Sister Layton and Zone Conference! This week was spiritually on fire and how to explain it all to you I do not know! So we're finally starting to get to know some members here and we had a way fun family home evening with the Gounder family! They are a part fijian/indian family and are so amazing! They had us organize a game for all of them to play and Elder Payne and I blew them away with our “Psychic Missionary Powers”. HAHA I'll explain that one day ;) At the beginning of this week we were assigned to go and visit this less active lady who lives in some of the sisters area. We were told that the sisters were not permitted to go there because it's a little more sketchy than most areas in Fiji. So in other words....."We were volunteered as tribute".  At the beginning of our usual day on Tuesday things did not go as planned. For any future missionaries out there the best thing you can learn to do is to just trust in the Lord and go with the flow. ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE CALLED TO SERVE IN FIJI!  So we were just walking to one of our investigators house when this mini bus pulled over next to us and said, “get in the van!” Normally...not exactly the 4 words you want to hear but he insisted we get in and that he knew where our flat was and that he was going to drive us there. We saw it as a free ride hahaha. 5 minutes later he passed our flat and ended up driving all the way to the sisters flat and so we were like all great....let’s just get off!  So we got off and remembered our assignment to go and visit the less active member from their area. So we found the road and started our search for Sister Tagimocia! For those of you who don't know Fijian (haha that’s all of yous!) Tagimocia is that famous flower from Taveuni! We didn't think it would be that big of a deal but as we started asking people if they knew a “Sister Tagimocia” they all replied. "No...No tagimocia here. That flower only exists in Taveuni”.  Long story short, we didn't end up finding her but we did get another random ride out in the middle of nowhere and we ended up at this member’s home. They said they hadn't been visited by missionaries in 2 years so they were way excited to have missionaries over again. The Lord leads us to those he needs us to and sometimes it’s just so unplanned and out of the ordinary.  As a missionary I've just learned to enjoy whatever happens in a day because I know it's led by Heavenly Father! Thursday we had Zone Conference and it was incredible. "No grit no Pearl" was the theme and it was all on how trials can make us the people God plans for us to become. It was exactly what I needed. That night after Zone Conference we went to go do a baptismal interview for one of our investigators! Sela Toloa! He was baptized on Saturday and it was an amazing experience for Elder Payne! His first baptism...Let’s GO! So because of my past areas I had no idea that this new ward likes to create baptismal programs. In all of my past areas they haven't had any printers so I just always made hand written ones.  Elder Payne and I spent awhile making some pretty awesome programs and the Sisters were way impressed and so was the Bishop so yeah....We won hahaha! Jovesa is doing awesome! Two days ago he committed to a baptismal date. We talked a lot about trials before faith with him and he now knows what he has to do do be baptized! Our Sisters in the district are just working way hard! We're going to have a combined baptism with them this Saturday.  The work is keeping us busy here in Fiji and trials are awesome!

Love Elder Jonutz

Sela's Baptism

This is a strange dog

The primary wrote us letters on Sunday :)

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Week #56

Bula Vinaka Noqu Itokani kei Matavuvale!  What a week! I can say with more surety than I ever have that Heavenly Father is involved in missionary work 24/7 with each individual missionary all over the world. I don't even know where to begin. Elder Payne and I have both just felt so awesome about this past week. Elder Payne is literally the perfect companion and the Lord knew we would be a good team for the Naulu area. We are witnesses to miracles this week.... Honestly no words can describe the work of the Lord. I testify that if we just trust in the Lord then there doesn't need to be any doubt that He will show us exactly what we need to do. I think it was Tuesday night where I just felt all of my anxiety go away and I just felt comforted. I realized that I don't have to know exactly every thing that I need to do because the Lord already has all of that planned out! My job is just to be obedient to Him in exactness and be willing to work as hard as I can. I can't describe it in words but Elder Payne and I were literally led where to go and what to say every single day this week. Neither of us really knew much of anything about the area but He led us to people who were ready.... He's guiding me as a trainer and leading us to those who are ready. We made a goal as a district this month to receive 6 saints. I'm not aware of every way we are going to achieve this goal but I know that Heavenly Father is. As missionaries we are His disciples. The work is definitely not easy but it is the most rewarding. So just to begin explaining about this week...let's see...we found one of my friends from Taveuni!!!! Her name is Ela. My trainer and I were teaching her back in my very first area and now she is baptized and her husband is not yet a member and he stopped us on the street and said we could come over and teach him. I am way excited to be teaching him! On Tuesday night we were just walking around knocking on doors and talking with everyone we could. We felt prompted to go to this house where we met Jovesa! He's this 20 year old man who is way cool! He immediately welcomed us into his house and we began to share with him why we were there. At the end of the lesson he was thanking us profusely and it was so humbling to see someone so grateful for our message. Later last week we went to visit him and shared with him about the Book of Mormon and he was so interested in the middle of the lesson when we asked him if he would read the book he said, OF COURSE! GO AND GET ME THAT BOOK OF MORMON PLEASE! Earlier we had sat down with his nephew, Alifreti, and we had asked him to pray about if he should read the Book of Mormon. We had to run back to the flat to grab Jovesa a Book of Mormon because we had run out of them that day. When we returned to his house to give him the Book of Mormon he looked way excited and as we were walking away his nephew walked up behind us and grabbed my shoulder and said, "Hey, I prayed like you guys said and I would like to read that book too!" HOORAH FOR ISRAEL! It was awesome to see Elder Payne so excited about missionary work. We are way pumped. Last night we visited Jovesa and we invited him to be baptized when he knows the Book of Mormon is true and he said yes! HOORAH FOR ISRAEL AGAIN ;)! On top of that we've been meeting with a young boy (in this village called Wainibuku) named Sela! He had taken most of the lessons before with the past elders it had just been awhile since they had last seen him so we reviewed the lessons and he said he wanted to be baptized this Saturday. We were hesitant to ask his mom in fear that she might say no but she said yes! I don't understand every way the Lord works but I can testify that all my companion and I have been doing is striving to be exact in our obedience and working till our feet bleed. I love this work. I'm finding  our brothers and sisters who I didn't even know were ready to accept the gospel. This next week is Zone conference and we're way excited for that. I love you all. The work of the Lord is hastening in every land.

Much love, Elder Jonati

A selfie with the village kids from the widow village (Wainibuku)
It's green here too;)

This is how expensive cereal is here hahaha