Sunday, October 30, 2016

Week #64

Bula Vina' all you great people! Our past week here in Naulu, Fiji has been another amazing one! The Lord never ceases to amaze me and I am so happy to report that many amazing things happened this past week. If I'm completely honest I cannot even recall all that occurred but I am going to try. Before I explain the week I would just like to share a scripture that makes life better! - Ether 12:4 "Wherefore whoso believeth in God might with a surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God." If it wasn't for my belief in God I would have no hope.....but I know He lives and I love Him. Those who believe in God are encouraged to live better lives and have more joy. I know that one day we will all return to our Heavenly Father.  If we prepare ourselves and accept His is not easy but it is worth the eternal joy that we can have. This week we saw many individuals show their faith in God and His Son, Jesus Christ, by going down into the waters of Baptism. Sister Tuliana was baptized on Saturday along with 2 younger boys that our Naulu sisters had been teaching. It was a way sweet experience. The whole village tried to come to her baptism and many of them were able to...including her brother and sister who are members. They were so excited and happy that she was baptized!  After she was baptized we heard from 3 more of her children that they also want to start taking lessons so that they too can be baptized. The ripple effect is real!  Our Indian couple, Brother and Sister Pilei came to church!  Since we've been teaching them they told us about all the blessings they've been receiving. This past week they had no money to pay for their mortgage and they were worried. We had taught them about the word of wisdom and they said they would obey. Friday they told us that that morning instead of drinking tea they had hot cocoa. Later that evening they received a $600 check in the mail from their son who lives in Australia. When we follow the commandments of God He WILL prosper us! Brother Pilei is confined to a wheelchair and his wife speaks no english but that did not stop them from coming to church which just so happened to be stake conference hahaha! They got third row in the chapel! That’s what I'm talking about hahaha! They loved it and are preparing to be baptized soon! So this weekend has been Diwali! For those of you who don't know what Diwali is, it is a Hindu holiday. Every night for 3 days they shoot off thousands of fireworks, decorate their houses with lights, and kids go from house to house to collect Indian sweets. SO really it's like the 4th of July, Christmas, and Halloween all wrapped up into one holiday and it is insane hahahaha! I have hardly slept the past few nights because of ongoing fireworks. Yesterday was stake conference and it was amazing! The whole branch from Levuka came! I got see all of them and Brother Betchu hugged me and would not let go of me and that was a little weird but I felt the love of Levuka hahaha!  I found out that a less active family I was working with there, the Swann family, got sealed in the temple last week! I WAS SO HAPPY TO HEAR THAT! Over 1,500 people came to our stake conference and our stake has 4,500 people. So there's some lost sheep we need to go find! Every sheep is of equal worth to Him. Sunday night our Makoi sisters had a baptism at 6:00 P.M.  Our mission president has made a new rule, where if we want to go to a baptism we have to bring a new investigator to attend. 5:30 last night we found ourselves in the pouring rain with no one to take to the baptism. We then got a prompting to go and ask this 14 year old boy named Luke who helped us dig a whole for service last week. We went to his house and he said he would love to come. We ended up finding two other people who wanted to go with us. It was super insane. The walk to the chapel is about a 30 minute walk. We were walking in the pouring rain amidst exploding fireworks shooting off sporadically all over the sky with 3 new investigators we'd met for the first time just minutes earlier. The lord works in mysterious ways. While watching the baptism, Luke told me it was the first baptism he had ever seen. He said he wants to take lessons! I love Naulu and the work of the Lord continues. This week was amazing besides some food that made our throats itch and Elder Payne’s infected legs but we press on because we're not here for ourselves we're here for the people. I love you all! This is the true Church!

Love, Elder Jonutz

Sister Tuliana's Baptism

Mutant Pineapple

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Week #63

Bula vinaka you guys! Fiji is still very rainy and super hot...they've predicted 7 cyclones to come in the next few months. We've been getting fed literally every single day and I think I need to beef up my work-outs in the morning or I am going to end up like “moto-moto” from madagascar.  Miracles just have not ceased and I cannot express it enough that the Savior is with us in our missionary work. It was a pretty exciting week because nothing went as planned. Elder Payne and I were planning on doing a lot of finding this week and we were stunned when we found out that Heavenly Father had already been doing the finding for us. I've told you all about Brother Domoniko and the amazing member who fellowshipped him, Brother Qionitoga (by the way his name in fijian means, shark of toga) Well anyways he has been doing even more missionary work and we are extremely blessed to have him in our area. The Lord is using him for the salvation of souls. Let me explain....On Wednesday we went to Domoniko's house to continue to prepare his wife, Tuliana, to be baptized this Saturday. Earlier that afternoon Brother Qionitoga called us and said, "Elders! I have two more friends who want to take the lessons to be baptized!" We gladly responded and met up with him and went first to see Sister Tuliana.  At her house we found her son, Aseri, waiting. Tuliana explained to us that Domoniko took up Aseri's job so that Aseri could stay home and take the lessons because he wants to be baptized! We were shocked! Keep in mind Domoniko is a 74 year old man! The sacrifices people make to hear the gospel and for their family to hear the gospel makes me so happy. So after we sat with them we left their house and were walking with Brother Qionitoga when he said, "This house asked if we could come over and give them a blessing."  It was this Hindu house that we pass almost everyday.  We walked in and saw that the Indian man who was sitting on the floor had no leg.  His wife was sitting by him and they said they both were feeling sick and wanted a blessing.  We explained to them that the blessing works according to their faith in Jesus Christ.  They told us they were both Christian and left their Hindi religion years ago.  We gave them the blessings and it was a powerful experience.  They told us that everyday when they see us walk by they've been wanting to ask us if we could come over and say a prayer for them.  We explained to them that we come over to do more than just share prayers but we share about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  They said they wanted to hear it and so we started sharing it with them this week.  Recently we just visited them and they were telling us about all the blessings they've been receiving this week since we came into their home.  They both want to be baptized...we just are figuring out a transportation system for them to get them to church.  So we are way excited about them!  After we walked out of their home Brother Qionitoga lead us to this next house!  We sat down with two more of his Hindi friends. The older man is stuck in a wheelchair and explained to us that he used to be a serious preacher but after having an accident his relationship with God has diminished and that he's "backslided".  His wife has been to our church before and also wanted to know more. They both explained to us that they want to be baptized and so we told them that before they are baptized we have to share some lessons with them and that we want them to have strong relationships with God before doing so. The only issue is the wife speaks only Hindi and the husband speaks a little english.  Miraculously we have been able to teach them.....They understand it and we read the Book of Mormon with them in Hindi so that’s been fun! They said at the rate we've been teaching them they will be baptized very soon. I am just so happy Heavenly Father has blessed us with all these willing souls. On top of that Josaia and Bano's sisters, Va, Esta, and Lena have all decided they want to be baptized as well. We asked them why they didn't come out the first time we went to their house. They told us that they were ashamed because they are the only ones in their family who aren't religious but that ever since we've come over they have felt a difference in their homes. They told us that they saw the change in their brothers after their baptism and that they want to come closer to Jesus Christ.  BULLLLAAAA!  Honestly I'm shouting Hurrraaah for Israel! Va's husband, Josefa, has also told us he would like to be baptized so we have been preparing them all this past week!  Their family tries to feed us every night and they try to give us rides everywhere. Their parents treat us like we are their kids and it is so funny haahaa! This week I've learned that when Heavenly father places people in our path who want the gospel we need to act and we need to devote our all to help them because we are all disciples. Brother Qionitoga is an example to all. When I think of him I am reminded of President Uchtdorf's talk "Use your Amuleks".  Brother Qionitoga is our Amulek and when missionary work and members work together the work of the Lord hastens.  I know that to be true! - In the name of Jisu Karisto Emeni! 


Elder Jonutz

Digging holes for service

Please no Smorking haahah. Taxi rides can be fun!

Our hood

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Week #62

Bula Vinaka everyone! I've just had an incredibly enriching week! I'll just start from Monday......So Monday night our zone leaders came out teaching with us and I got to be with Elder Vitiarai! So that was way fun to get to go and teach with him. Elder Payne is still the man and is doing awesome. He's a really humble guy and I learn a ton from him. The mission is so cool because you can just mold yourself into who God wants you to become, and you do that by being teachable and taking everything you can from all of your companions! P-day last week was a blast because we had a little tropical storm here and it was non-stop flash raining. So the whole zone went to the stake center and we played rugby in the rain. Needless to say, by the end of the day we were covered in the mud and had to get back to the flat quickly to change and then we went out proselyting. That's the Fiji, Suva mission life for ya'll hahaha! Sadly to say we haven't been able to see Enoke's mom this whole past week because we have been so busy in other areas! I'm taking it as Heavenly Father wants us to give her more time before we decide to go back and ask again! We had some sad news with our friend Jovesa.....I'm even hesitant to tell this story because it's just so sad. Wednesday night we went over to his house to go and prepare him for his baptism. The day before he had asked us if our church had a “daily bread scripture sheet” for the Book of Mormon and we said no but that we would make one for him. Elder Payne and I made this whole sheet filled with scriptures from the Book of Mormon that gave Jovesa some scriptures to read every day all the way up until his baptism.  As we walked into his house he was hesitant to let us in.... We sat down and he said, "I don't know how to tell you guys this................but last night I was visited by my Methodist church. They came over and the Elders from my church used some strong words and told me that if I did not stop visiting with you guys my family would face some problems." Situations like this are really hard.... Of course we didn't want to jeopardize his or his families safety so we are no longer able to visit Jovesa.... It was a hard lesson.  He told us he knows the answer he received from God about the Book of Mormon is true he just doesn't want to cause problems for his family.  We're still praying for him.  Faith can work miracles and I know our Heavenly Father is mindful of Jovesa and his situation! On a brighter note, Josaia Vuniwai, Isikeli Vuniwai, and Domoniko Katisawani were all baptized this past Saturday!!!! They are all so amazing and were so ready to be baptized.  Anxious to know how they felt, I pulled Josaia to the side and asked him how he felt. He said, "Before my baptism I felt like I had this huge heavy armor all over my body....but when I came up out of the water that heavy armor fell off and now I'm free."  I can just testify that this church has the authority to wash away sins because this is truly the gospel of Jesus Christ and His original church.  It has His original foundation.  Ephesians 2:20. It has the offices that Paul spoke of to the Ephesians that would not be done away with until the whole world comes into a unity of the faith.  Ephesians 4:11-13. This church is true. People can try to disprove all they want. Our religion is persecuted and torn apart I think more than any other but when it comes down to it.....if you really want to know if it's true.  Use your faith and pray and ask God the Eternal Father if it is true or not.  God cannot nor will he lie. The promise is...pray and ask and you will find. I promise that anyone who does this will receive an answer that it is true. This gospel just has so much joy in it because it is true! I had a funny experience with Elder Payne the other night. Long story short it involved a member dinner appointment and a "rokete" (an extremely hot pepper).  It got pretty hot for him that night hahaha! Our week was awesome because the gospel's true and because of that every week can be awesome. Eso na vosa ni vuku mai Elda Jonati:) 

Love Elder Jonutz

This sunset is Fijianly ;)

Mr. Crabs was our dinner

Jovesa's Book of Mormon daily bread 

This is Domoniko's granddaughter and she is hilarious

we took hi def pictures of our eyes  Legit

Josaia and Isikeli after their baptism

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Week #61

Bula everyone! I think "joy" describes our past week pretty well! Just my love for the Savior has increased so much. I feel proud to wear his name and follow his voice. The work of God will never cease to amaze me and I will never forget the witnesses I have received. This week we worked hard fortifying the faith of our investigators. I think now more than ever I have come to realize that we don't have to rely on our wisdom to help these people. Christ is the shepherd and I get to find and protect his sheep. He knows his sheep. He knows us....They know his voice and for 2 years I have the opportunity to help people remember his voice! Domoniko is one of our investigators who has come to remember his voice and he knows that this is his church. This week we took lots of time to visit with him and his wife Caroline and they are both preparing to follow their Savior into the waters of baptism! Domoniko had the opportunity to watch conference this week with his wife. They both loved it. In Fiji we watch it the week after, and we have what we call a conference marathon! Saturday we watched all 6 hours of conference straight hahaaha! It was the best thing ever. We literally were wide awake and took notes the entire time! It was complete opposite of what I used to experience at home when watching conference haaa! President Uchtdorf's talk was my favorite. The plan of Salvation really is so profound and awesome. His talk reminded me to not take it for granted! It has brightened the depressed minds of so many. Because of God's plan we know why we are here and where we are going and who we are. Domoniko now knows he can be baptized for his loved ones who have passed on!  He told us the other day he cannot wait to dive into the baptismal font this Saturday. We explained to him that diving is prohibited but we appreciated his enthusiasm haaaha! When we told him after his baptism that he would receive the priesthood and could baptize his wife he was so happy. He told us that his whole family after him is going to be baptized and that all of his kids and grandkids will be taking lessons starting this week as well. I AM SO HAPPY FOR THIS FAMILY! Also, Josaia, Bano, and Josefa are doing amazing. This Sunday all 3 of them came to conference and loved it. Josaia said he knows this church is true and he knows this is Christ's church. He said, "Even amidst all the loud kids in your congregation I could still feel the spirit when the apostles and Prophet spoke." Josaia and Bano have their baptismal service combined with Domoniko this Saturday and we are just so pumped. It amazes me sometimes just when I'm sitting down with these people and I realize how much Jesus Christ knows these people because the Holy Ghost always gives us the right things to say that help them feel the spirit! Joy just describes my feelings at this time! Enoke our 15 year old who wanted to be baptized this Saturday had some sad news. When we went to go ask his mom she said no. It was pretty sad....she said he's a naughty kid and isn't ready to be baptized. We are just going to pray for her and keep trying to do all we can. People have their agency but I know God can work miracles through the spirit. I'm just so excited for this week. Conference was the boost I think we all needed and I'm ready to go to work. I love you all!

Love Elder Jonutz

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Week #60

Bula Vinaka Fam and Friends! So many things did not go according to plan this week and it tested our patience and faith.  This was a week of trials, but nevertheless my Heavenly Father was with me through it all and good things are happening! Never in my life could I have ever imagined what a mission would be like before serving one.  And now that I'm on one every day blows me away. Tuesday was pretty crazy.  We had our district meeting and strengthened one another and it prepared us to go out and fight for souls. Our family that we are teaching...Ana, Josaia, Josefa, Bano, and Josaia are constantly growing closer to God. Wednesday night we went and sat down with them and asked them how they felt about what we had been sharing with them. They said they watched the Restoration video as a family and they all bore testimony of Joseph Smith. The son-in-law (Josefa) paused after we asked him how he felt and he said that ever since we have been coming he's desired to change.  He said he feels the spirit and he wants to be baptized. His testimony was strong and the whole family felt it so we committed them all to baptized and they said yes.  I just think to myself of the first day we found that family.  We were walking back to our flat for the night when we walked past this house..... I remember as we walked by the house I felt something inside me that we needed to turn around and go back to the house.  If I hadn't have listened to the spirit this amazing family would still have been kept from the truth.  But they no longer are in darkness. The whole manner of the family has changed. When we visit with them it's calm. Their sons have stopped smoking, drinking and swearing. Sister Ana says she comes home to find her son, Josaia, reading the book of mormon and that he's a completely changed person. I love what the Book of Mormon does to us. Just the power that is inside this book is more powerful than anything I've ever seen. Since I've been on my mission I've realized that the Book of Mormon is our key. It has become my peace. When I am confused or lost I just open up the Book of Mormon and no matter what chapter or verse I am in I am immediately filled with the Love of God. I feel enlightened and encouraged.  Without the constant daily reading of the Book of Mormon I would definitely feel lost.  We were able to take the majority of their family to church yesterday and we're still working with the rest.  Jovesa finally came to church and loved it!  Despite his differences the members treated him perfectly and he is getting closer and closer to his baptism. There’s so much that has happened this week that I can't explain it. Sister Heritage has been having struggles. She was kicked out of her village and now has no home.  Her baptism was this Saturday but because of all her challenges she wasn't able to be at her baptism. The Lord is going to help us help her and I have faith in that. Domoniko is just doing amazing. The spirit testified to him the Book of Mormon is true and his wife has also decided she wants to be baptized. If I have learned one thing this week it is that God's children are all different.  As missionaries and members we are asked to feed His sheep.  It's greater than any other work we can do!  No wonder Jesus asked Peter 3 times to feed his sheep.  Feeding his sheep is helping our brothers and sisters understand the gospel.  It is up to them to accept but if you listen to the spirit you can help them accept.  I want to help everyone I can return to the Kingdom of our Father.  Whatever it takes.  Even if we have to go hungry or lose sleep.  When we are in the service of God he takes care of His servants. I love My Father. I know this is His work. It's hard and it hurts sometimes but the Savior suffered more than anything we can experience and that’s why I am here. When I'm feeling sad or discouraged the best antidote is to serve His sheep. I love His sheep. I love you all and share this in the name of Jesus Christ. Emeni.

Love, Elder Jonutz

Since our district was doing so good we bought a cake

For service we got some polau(an awesome indian food)
Elder Payne's feet are pretty bad......

So I used some Fijian medicine

I mashed it all up (its's called QILI)

Then  I squeezed the medicine on his sores. (Practicing Anesthesiology)

All we had was flour and sugar so we made what we could hahaha