Sunday, November 27, 2016

Week #68

Bula Vinaka Everyone! Man it has been quite the adventure this past week....where should I start? So, my right foot got infected this past week. Not quite sure what it was but I haven't been able to walk properly and the nurse gave me some antibiotics and this sock to wear and so I've only been able to wear one shoe and all the Fijian villagers give me the weirdest looks because I only have one shoe. It's pretty funny haha! It's nothing serious it just hurts to walk and it's pretty gross. Nothing to worry about! In fact I have been grateful for the new trial. I've been blessed my whole mission with no major sicknesses and so I can easily deal with this minor one! Actually, it has brought about some tender mercies hahaha! For example, on Thursday we had to drive up to the mission office so the nurse could take a look at my foot. They ended up taking us out to dinner that night at this way nice restaurant and it just so happened to be Thanksgiving that day. I had some way good lasagna.....long story short I WAS BLESSED haha! So last week we went out on exchanges with some Elders and it was a blast. While sitting in one lesson both me and the Elder I was with felt prompted to invite this man to be baptized. It was something that can't be described. We both just got the same feeling in the middle of the lesson and when we started to say something, before we could even start...the guy said, "I have a question, how can I be baptized?" We were so happy we didn't know what to do. It's amazing how the spirit touches people and I will never be able to forget it. Tuesday night Elder Carlson and I made a plan for our area to have family home evenings and switch between the Koro's (villages) every week. We're hoping that the members will invite their friends so that we can start finding new investigators. Lately I've been feeling like the Lord blesses us missionaries more than we deserve. The love of Christ cannot be matched with anything else. We don't get much time in our area but when we do he leads us to the people we need to see. This past week we arrived at a member's house only to find his daughter sitting outside. We started talking to her and then felt prompted to share a message on baptisms for the dead. We committed her to be baptized if she came to know what we shared was true. SHE SAID YES! We just saw her yesterday and now her brother wants to be baptized as well! Sometimes I just wish my whole life could be spent being a missionary. The spirit that comes with this calling is a constant comforter and a teacher. I've learned more out here in the jungle from the spirit than any University has to offer. Heavenly Father has taught me much and I look forward to learning more and more. So another crazy thing happened this week. Our flat ran out of water so.......we had to bathe in the river! That was a first for me and not trying to brag but it was pretty dang awesome. ONLY IN FIJI hahaha! This week we have mission tour and Elder Cardon of the seventy is coming to visit us and so I am way excited! Elder Carlson and I have also started a TeiTei (Farm) at our flat. We're growing 3 pineapples. Yeah. It's pretty legit! hahaha. This month is going to be pretty busy and I am stoked for it! We have Mission Tour, Zone Conference, MLC, and the Mission Christmas program. I will never cease to love being a missionary despite the trials I face. Especially when I'm living in the jungle and crossing rivers to get to villages and speaking a dying language. I love my mission and wouldn't trade it for anything. I hope you all have a great week and I look forward to talking to you all next week!

Love, Elder Jonutz

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Week #67

Bula Vinaqua Matavuvale (Family!) It's been a pretty crazy week. I got transferred to a new area and had to say goodbye to Elder Payne and all of our investigators. It was hard but, hey, the Lord's plan is the Lord's plan and I just want to follow Him so it's all good! I am way proud of Elder Payne! Tuesday we got transfer calls and we found out that he is training a brand new missionary so BULLLAA for him! He's going to kill it and so I'm way pumped for him. I have been transferred to the complete opposite of where I was in my last area. Out of the city and into the bush........I'm talking bush bush haahaha! My new area is called Naitasiri and it takes about an hour drive into the middle of Viti Levu and we have this huge flat where four of us stay together! It is way fun! Elder Carlson is my new companion and he is the man! He's from Palau but lives in St. George Utah! He's hilarious and I am way excited to work with him. We have this cool white truck and basically proselyting is a blast because we just have to go on these way crazy dirt roads through all these jungly mountains that are WAY pretty! No one in my area speaks english! I've only been able to spend two whole days in my area so far because Elder Carlson and I have been doing transfers. The work is pretty hard but the Lord is going to show us what to do. As of right now we aren't aloud to knock on any doors. In our area that is considered "Tabu" (forbidden). So all we can do is visit members and invite them to invite their friends over and that's how we get investigators. It's a whole new way of thinking for me because in my past area we knocked on every door possible. It's the chief's rule for all the villages we cover. Right now we cover about 5 villages. Yesterday we had a baptismal interview and I about peed my pants it was so cool. We drove through like these way tall mountains and then ended up at this river. The problem was the village is on the other side of the river.......So this little village kid came over on a boat and we all hopped on and went to the village. So that was pretty cool and I feel pretty dang lucky! The fijian here is in a pretty weird dialect and they speak way fast and so it's been fun to try to catch up. I'm way stoked to learn more fijian. It is way fun being with 3 other elders all in the same flat stranded out in the fijian jungle. Our flat is like on this huge hill over-looking just green mountains. I'm way excited to see what the Lord's plan is for the area and I can't wait to talk to you all next week! 

Love, Elder Jonutz

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Week #66

BULAAA VINKAAA! How are you all!? Probably one of the coolest weeks of my life was just experienced this past week. So many miracles that I just feel so privileged to have been able to witness. Monday night was monumental for Brother and Sister Pilei. We walked into their house as usual but this time Brother Pilei didn’t say a word. He looked at us and then stood up from his wheelchair.... He could only stand for about a minute but with his faith he will walk in no time! I believe miracles happen today the same way they did when Christ caused the blind to see and the dead to be raised. God does not change, nor will He ever! They both came to church yesterday and loved the gospel principles class! Brother Pilei has actually opened up a lot to us hahaaha! He's started to throw a lot more jokes out in lessons and it's become a little too much hahaha! For example..this week Elder Payne led the entire week!  Which by the way he did amazing! But for one of our lessons with Brother Pilei Elder Payne was going over baptismal interview questions and he asked the question, "Have you ever committed a serious crime?" Brother Pilei said "Yes, murder!"  Elder Payne's face just turned bright white and then Brother Pilei's face remained straight until he said..."I'm joking!"  We didn't think it was that funny hahaha!  We fulfilled my dream this week by taking one of our recent converts to the temple! I'll never forget it. We decided to take Domoniko to do baptisms for the dead. Our Mission President said we could and our Bishop decided to come with us. COOLEST EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE. The spirit was so strong! I also got to do the baptisms for the dead in Fijian. Dream fulfilled!  As we walked out of the temple, I asked Domoniko how he liked it. He said it was the most important thing he had ever done.  I don't think there is anything sweeter than to go with recent converts to the temple.  On top of going to the temple the spiritual direction we received this week was incredible. While walking down this one street, we had no idea where to go, but we were led.  We were trying to knock on some doors to use the new bible approach our mission president just recently instituted (which is genius) but we kept walking house by house not receiving any promptings. We walked for about 30 minutes down this same road and still.....nothing. We felt like we should stop by this one house and this kid came out and invited us in. We walked in and noticed it was a big family.  About 13 of them!  We started to share with them and they told us they were members. They hadn't been to church in a really long time and so we just invited them and they all came to church yesterday. Sometimes people just need an invite to rekindle what they've been missing.  We also found 2 more of Domoniko's kids who started taking lessons this week and they all want to be baptized.  All 5 of his kids are planning to be baptized together on Dec 3rd!  The Vuniwai family is still doing great!  We've become almost family with them!  Josefa, Va, Esta, and Lena have all decided to be baptized on the 26th.  All of our investigators are just so amazing!  9 of them showed up to church yesterday including 14 less active families that we were so excited to see come.  I'm just loving this work!  I'm pretty bummed my companionship with Elder Payne is coming to an end.....He's become one of my greatest friends.  He's such an amazing missionary and did amazing leading this past week.  His ability to listen and follow the spirit is what makes him a way strong instrument in the hands of the Lord and I've been lucky to learn a ton from him.  Tomorrow is transfers...... it's the scariest time of the year! Haha Just kidding.  For sure one of us is getting transferred so that stinks but the Lord is going to put us wherever we need to be and Elder Payne and I are going to hit it up after the mission so no biggie haha!  This week I've been reading "Our Heritage" and the Doctrine and Covenants and I have gained so much more respect for Joseph Smith.... D&C 135. He sealed his testimony with his blood as did so many of the early saints. This church is built on purity.  It's leader is Jesus Christ himself and I get so pumped to share that with everyone everyday. I love you all and I'll talk to next week!

Love, Elda Jonutz


Domoniko with Bishop and John (the sisters recent convert)
Helping Josaia and Bano build a house! 

With John

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Week #65

Bula Vina' Everyone! Something I've realized as I have been serving my mission is that no matter what happens every week I only ever remember the good! This week was seriously filled with miracles. I find myself saying that week by week and it's not just some catch phrase I use.......WE LITERALLY SEE MIRACLES! SO let me start from Monday. Monday night was a pretty funny one. We went to go see our Indian couple (Brother and Sister Pilei) and as we were walking to their house their whole neighborhood was flooded! The night before had been non-stop rain showers and so everything flooded. We decided to press on and walk through the flood to get to their house. While walking through flooded dirt and grass amidst jumping frogs I heard some bubbling behind me and a yell from my companion Elder Payne! I turned around to find him half way sunk deep into mud up to his waist! He had fallen into a hole. I helped pull him out and it was hilarious hahaha! We proceeded on to the Pilei's house and had a way awesome lesson. They are both progressing so well. I give all the credit to Heavenly Father because both of them hardly speak english and so somehow we've been able to communicate with them enough that they now both know the Book of Mormon is true and they are still doing great following the word of wisdom. In fact, last night we met with them and Brother Pilei is still seeing miracles from the Word of Wisdom! He told us how his wife left to a wedding and so he had no one to help him to stand up out of bed and go to the bathroom. He told us though that while she was gone he was able to stand up out of his wheelchair.... and walk to the bathroom. Brother Pilei has been in a wheelchair for over 3 years. It was a miracle.  Another word of wisdom miracle occurred with another one of our investigators this week. Aseri (Domoniko's son) has been struggling with smoking tobacco. When we met with him 2 weeks ago we felt prompted to tell him that if he would read from the Book of Mormon his desire to smoke would go away. He told us just the other day that finally he tried what we said to do. He told us that he decided to pick up the Book of Mormon before going to work and the rest of the day he had no desire to smoke.....He said when others offered it to him he felt disgusted towards it. It just made me so happy because I know the Book of Mormon is true! I feel the same way when I read it. I have "no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually." He has started to carry his book of mormon with him everywhere. Something also that I have noticed this week is that my hunger or whatever pain I am facing throughout the week goes away as Elder Payne and I sit in a lesson and share the gospel. I know it's because the Savior is with us and He fills our spirits.  Another Miracle! - 4 more of Domoniko's children decided to take lessons this past week. They said they all want to be baptized. In fact yesterday we had a lesson for the first time with one of his daughters. When we shared about how the original foundation of Christ's church had apostles, prophets and Jesus Christ Himself was the chief corner stone. When we asked her don't you think if Christ's church was on the earth today it would have those three things? It made so much sense to her and we shared about Joseph Smith restoring all those things. She was so happy she committed to be baptized. Josaia and Bano's sisters, Esta and Lena, became way more interested this week. They started taking lessons with their older Sister Va and her fiancee Josefa. They all are committed to be baptized on the 26th. Saturday night we shared with them the restoration and we watched the video. The spirit filled the room. Josaia had invited his neighbor and his neighbor was present as we shared about the restoration. At the end of the lesson he said he felt the spirit and that he wants to take the lessons with his family. He said when he saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appear to Joseph Smith he wanted to change. The spirit changes hearts! Upon returning home for the night that day this Indian man walked up to us. He stopped us on the road and before we could even start the conversation he said, "I have a question, who is Joseph Smith?" A little shocked Elder Payne and I told him all we knew about Joseph Smith. He then asked us, "Where am I going to go after this life?" I was so shocked by this man's questions. He asked for our phone number and said he wants us to come over for dinner next week and he wants to hear all we have to say. Elder Payne and I walked home dumbfounded. The Lord places those in our path who are ready to receive the gospel! I LOVE THIS WORK. IF I COULD I'd serve forever. I know this church is true because I witness it everyday. If you don't believe it....Read the Book of Mormon and pray. I love you all and am so grateful to be in the service of God. Talk to you all next week!

Love, Elder Jonutz

Elder Payne in his sunken hole hahaha

These fijian kids put this big beetle on my face

The Poasa family

I found grandpa Jonutz's look a like