Sunday, July 16, 2017

Week #101

  Bula Tale Y'all! The work here is on FIRE! Finally all the work we've been putting in seems to be unfolding into visual success. This transfer I have just learned heaps about hard work and how to work hard even when we can't see any results. 

The best lesson I have ever learned in my life has come clear towards the end of this last transfer. Elder Ogden and I have been working our tails off and haven't seen much success. I took some time to think about what I could learn from all of it and then I discovered that special lesson. Sometimes in this life we are going to work hard and for awhile we will not see any immediate results but if we endure well and keep going the blessings will come.

I can testify that this week the blessings did come! The whole week Elder Ogden and I spent finding. I could feel Heavenly Father guiding us everywhere this week.

TENDER MERCY: We got in the car Thursday morning and prayed that while we were driving we might find someone who could use our help. We parked on the side of the road and as soon as we opened the car door this old Indian man was standing outside our car. He told us about his brother who had just experienced his 2nd stroke and he asked if we could go and give his brother a blessing. If we had not been guided by God then how else did we end up on that part of the road at that specific time for that man to ask for help. We got to his brothers house and gave him the blessing also realizing that he was a member of the church as well as his wife but they had just gone less active over the years. 

Heavenly Father has people we can help every day we just have to ask him to direct us to those opportunities! 

Lo finally came to church again and she also brought two of her friends so let's GO! One of our members also brought all of her friends and so that was bomb as well. Lo wants to be baptized this Sunday which happens to be my final Sunday in Fiji! I am way excited for her. 

On top of that this next week we get to go out to Beqa again to do 3 baptismal interviews! That's right! The very first 3 people to ever be baptized on Beqa is going down this week! President Higgins will be coming with us this time and joining us on the adventure. I am super looking forward to that.

Serving a mission has made me so happy...I don't think anyone can fully describe the joy that comes from being His disciple 24/7.  I don't want it to end so I am going to go so hard this last week and wear myself out. I love being a missionary and sharing His gospel! 

Love you all! Elder Jonutz

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Week #100

Bula Vinaka Everybody!  I feel like this past week I have gained so much's only been a week but I feel as if I've crammed thousands of life-long lessons into my brain that will never be forgotten!  "And now my bretheren, I wish from the inmost part of my heart, yea, with great anxiety even unto pain, that ye would hearken unto my words, and cast off your sins, and not procrastinate the day of your repentance." - Alma 13:27.

Day in and day out, my companion and I have been searching and finding people to help them repent and come closer to Jesus Christ.  We sit with almost 30 people every day and share with them how they can do exactly that! Some of them choose to listen and some of them don't. It's amazing to me how every time I sit down with the people I immediately feel the Savior's love for them. I know we all, before this life, were with our Heavenly Father.  We all knew of His plan for us and we're all brothers and sisters. Having this knowledge makes the random everyday people we meet no longer strangers, but our family! 

I sit with random people every day, all day long.  Almost every single one of them does not speak english and yet I still feel close to them.  I have an overwhelming anxiety to share with them Heavenly Father's plan!  For me, being a missionary is being a good "older" brother.  I love my brothers and all my sisters.  Jesus Christ has provided a way for all of us to get back as a family because He is the best older brother.  Bottom line, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true! 

Elder Ogden and I witnessed a miracle this week from fasting and prayer. Lo's dad hasn't wanted Lo to be baptized at all.....For the past 2 weeks we'd set up appointments to talk with her dad but he stood us up every time.  Finally, this last Saturday we waited outside for an hour until he came out and sat with us. Sitting there all together was the mom, the dad, Lo, us and this random lady.  We started with a prayer and I explained to her father how much Lo had progressed and she told him that she knew the church was true. After all this was explained to him he said, "She has already been baptized in the Methodist church and the answer is no!" I thought the fight was over and then the random lady began to talk....."Hear me out" she said, "I am also in the Methodist church but in our church we don't even baptize people the way Jesus one visits us week after week like these elders do and your daughter has received a personal answer from God that this church is right. In the Mormon church the girls believe in keeping their chastity and she could have an opportunity to serve a mission. Are you really going to hold her back form all that?" Lo's dad sat in silence...... Elder Ogden and I were just sitting there trying not to have our mouths opened in shock wondering who sent this angel from heaven into our lesson! After some silence we saw the power of God change his heart and he agreed to allow Lo to be baptized! LET'S GO! MIRACLES MADA! 

On top of all that we had zone conference with our new mission president who is the coolest man ever! He surfs...and he goes out teaching with us. I already love the guy! Elder Ogden and I also went out to Beqa again and saw a traditional Beqa dance at a resort. If you can't tell by this email, this mission is the best mission in the world! 

 Love, Elder Jonutz

Back on the island of Beqa

Some Fijian Lady from California came and made us fried chicken on the 4th of July! 

When your companion falls asleep on you during zone conference 
We try hard

District kala vata (matching) goals
When I'm trying to get to Beqa but every one is taking their sweet little time

Getting on the Boat


We had to take the boat through some fun waves! 

This dude defines Fijian

When we finally made it

We helped our family cook some dinner

Met this kid on the street. His shirt said "Mr. Happy"

Resort life

More resort

Baby Mr. Crabs

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Week #99

 Bula! It's so sad to see another week go by! This week was work work work! I honestly cannot even think straight. We started with checking up on an investigator we found last week named Solo. His second lesson went awesome and he told us he read the introduction to the Book of Mormon and he felt like it was true, he just hasn't prayed yet. So we talked with him about the importance of prayer and I'm pretty sure he is committed to receive an answer. He's only 20 years old and his friend, Pita, sat in with us last time and they both accepted a baptismal date for July 22nd.  After seeing him we decided to follow up on a house we OYM'd and when we showed up 4 completely different people were in the house. Confusing but a blessing in and of itself haha! 

 The work is improving here in Tacirua! We're just trying to get our investigators to make it to church right now. Viliame left to go to his koro this last week so we didn't get to see him all that much. He's supposed to have read 2 Nephi 31 by tomorrow so I'll guess we'll see! Just gotta have faith mada! A lesson we learned from the spirit this week was pretty powerful! Our investigator Lo has been doing awesome. She knows the church is true and has a testimony of the Book of Mormon but lately she hasn't been able to come to church and so on Wednesday we decided to try and figure out what was going on.

Elder Ogden and I did not know exactly what we were going to say or how we were going to figure out what the problem was, so we said a prayer for guidance. Lo is a very quiet person and doesn't talk much so at the beginning our lesson was pretty rough. As the lesson went on I felt the Spirit kick in and the questions we asked her were divinely directed and we were able to figure out the problem. She told us how her dad does not want her to be part of another church. The mom came outside and sat with us and explained more and we had a plan to talk with the whole family last night but that fell through! Tonight we are going to try again. I know Heavenly Father has the power to change hearts but I am also aware that her dad has his agency. We are still praying and have faith. 

This past week we worked as hard as we could. We found 27 new investigators and this week we're going to invite them all to be baptized. I love this work. It's hard and sometimes discouraging but I've seen the joy that it brings to others and even me. I love the members here! I'm just cherishing ever last second I have to testify about Jesus Christ here in Fiji. He lives and I can feel His love in every lesson that I have. 

 Moce mada, Elder Jonutz

Qito(P-day) with the bros 
Our departing gift to President and Sister Layton
That huge round thing on the tree is a LIME!!!


our dinner list...Nice and full

the back of our dinner list haha

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Week #98

 Bula Vinaka Y'all! This week was busy and so many awesome things went down! Sunday night the assistants called us and asked us for some help on a presentation for the new mission president and his wife! They asked us to go around the Suva North Stake and interview qase(old) members of the stake and obtain facts and stories about  "The Suva North Stake".  While out on this assignment I think I legit found my passion and what I want to do for a profession. Vinaka AP's! This assignment was an adventure. Getting to go and interview people and hear their stories...and take some pictures just got me excited. We'll see what happens after the mission but I think I would enjoy being a journalist. 

On top of that assignment we had our last official meeting with President and Sister Layton. I've grown pretty close to them and the things they have taught me will stay with me for the rest of my life. In our last meeting they had me bear my departing testimony and I was not expecting that! Time is flying by faster than I would like it to!

This week Elder Ogden and I went out and just gave it everything we had. I'm going to give these last few weeks my best. At the beginning of the week we had a lot of extra responsibilities and assignments that took us out of our area so when we finally had time in our area we were ready to go hard. Thursday we got in the van and prayed for Heavenly Father to help us find people who were prepared. We started driving and at the end of the day everyone we had found accepted a baptismal challenge.... He definitely led us to those who were ready! The next day everyone said no... haha  People have their agency to receive this message but it sometimes kills me when they say no!  

While working this week we got a prompting to go and visit a member who we both didn't really know that well. We showed up to her house and some kids led us to a room. As we got into the room we noticed she was laying on a bed. We went and sat beside her. She told us she had just gone through a very serious operation. Earlier that week her appendix had burst inside of her and the doctors told her she would not make it.  She said thankfully she made it but she has been laying in bed waiting for some members to come and visit her. We were able to give her a blessing and sit and talk with her for awhile. It feels good to be His disciples and on His errand. 

Much Love, Elder Jonutz

Can you spot me and Elder Ogden?
the Brown boys

A selfie when our van got stuck

our van stuck

contemplating how to get our van "unstuck"

Feet got muddy in the process

Brown family to the rescue

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Week #97

Dear Everyone! It has been a week of change and a week of miracles! This week was transfers week and I am so exhausted! Elder Forbush was transferred to Nausori and my new companion is Elder Ogden. Already love the dude! He is way sick and a way hard worker. It's crazy to think he will be my last companion....I'm glad to have someone who is willing to work hard because we're going as hard as we can until the end! This week we drove all over Fiji it feels like. Picking people up and dropping them off. Earlier this week we had a cool experience being able to wait with President Layton and Sister Layton to pick up the new set of missionaries. We got to host them in our flat and take them out for their first night! They were all so nervous. They all had these little spinny things called fidget spinners. Apparently they are way big back home.....What is this world coming to?! After transfers we had some baptismal interviews we did for the zone and we are way pumped because our zone hit our goal. 

We as the Suva North Zone pulled in 13 converts. This last Sunday Lolo was confirmed and she was way happy. We had a miracle experience this last Friday night that I will never forget! We went to Navua to help them out with a baptismal interview after that the Brown family invited us over again for dinner. Right outside their house we got our huge white van stuck in the mud. Everytime we stepped on the gas it dug deeper and got more and more stuck....The mud was thick and slippery and our huge van had no possible way to get out. It was dark and raining and we were in the middle of nowhere. The Brown family came out and helped us to place rocks under the tires to create more traction but that did not work.. We all pushed on the back of the car as Elder Ogden pushed on the gas and it still did not budge one bit. We then got a prompting to gather the Brown family together and we said a family prayer to Heavenly Father to give us the strength to move the car. As I watched the Brown family and all their kids gathering rocks and pushing I knew the power of their faith would work. We kept trying for over 30 minutes. Finally we were able to push it backwards and then out of nowhere as we were pushing the car somehow miraculously it made it out. Brother Brown gathered the family and us together and we said a prayer of thanks. I know prayer is real and we should pray before we do anything. He is there and He loves us. 

Much Love, Elder Jonutz

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Week #96

Ni sa bula vinaka!  I'm not going to lie this last week was pretty incredible. I mentioned last week how we might receive a chance to open up the outer island of Beqa.......We did!  It was a crazy experience and one that I will never forget. Tuesday morning we called our mission president and told him about how we were planning on getting out there. He told us if we went we'd have to take the "big" boat because the seas can be pretty rough on the way out to the island. He also informed us that we would have to spend the night at Brother Ratuvukivuki's house who is the only member on Beqa. We left early Thursday morning to take the hour drive to Navua Bay where we would catch the boat. On our way driving there the Navua elders called us and told us the boat was leaving at 8:00 sharp. It was 7:45 and we still had an hours drive. Somehow we made it on time. In fact, we couldn't even see any boat at the port. I was beginning to worry that the boat might not ever come. 

A few minutes later we heard a voice yelling, "Eldas!" We turned around and saw Brother Ratuvukivuki. He came up to us and greeted us. He told us he had just got off Beqa and was heading a different direction and that he would come out to Beqa later. In the meantime he helped us find the boat. The boat he showed us was not a "big" boat. I asked him if there was a "big" boat coming and he said, "Eldas, there is no big boat!" We decided to call our mission president and tell him about the situation. The assistants answered the phone and told us that if we wore life jackets we could take the small boat. We were very surprised but grateful that we still were going to be able to make it to Beqa! The next thing I knew we were hopping into this smaller fiber boat (see pictures). The captain loaded up our stuff and we headed out.  It was pouring rain and we all still had on only our white dress shirts and sulus. The further we got out to sea the more intense the waves and tide became. 

Trying to be brave we all held on for our lives as the waves got bigger and the rain poured harder. Sometimes the boat would hit a wave and the bottom of our fiber would smack down. So much water was flying everywhere it became pretty hard to see anything.

Half way out, our captain stopped the boat and assessed the situation and then we picked a route and followed it. I could just feel myself nervously smiling the whole time wondering if it was all really happening! While we were on the boat we passed a boat that was chumming the water for sharks. The route we were taking was notorious for Tiger sharks. Once we passed the feeding zone the island came into sight. The sight was pretty breathtaking.... We were surrounded by gray clouds and rain but the sun was just shining down on Beqa and it was beautiful. The waves eventually calmed down and we came underneath the sun and it was burning hot. Stepping on to the sand of the island was pretty awesome. Elder Forbush, Cobabe, Naperuru and I were the first missionaries to ever set foot on Beqa. It was a pretty humbling experience. The sand was so white and the water was so blue!

A villager came and led us to the Ratuvukivuki's house where we waited all day. When the evening time came over 15 people came to take lessons. A lot of them wanted to be baptized right then and there...but we told them we had to teach them all the lessons first. Just sitting with so many people who were so new to the gospel was refreshing. We taught them some hymns from the hymn book that they could sing when we were gone. Not many words can describe this whole experience. I just feel extremely lucky and blessed. 

On top of all that our investigator, Lolo, was baptized this last Saturday and she was just so excited. Next week she will be confirmed and we are way pumped for her. I love adventure and being an instrument in the Lord's hands. There is nothing greater. This week is transfers. It will be my last transfer in Fiji. Time has flown and I don't feel ready to leave this island. There is no other place like it. 

Much Love, Elder Jonutz

Gettin' ready for the voyage

The "big" boats

Our boat

The island coming into sight

getting closer

Beautiful Beqa

Getting off and taking first steps

When we got to the village they made us pancakes!

                                         This is nana. She's a funny girl we met in the village!

Had to dry our clothes because we got drenched on the boat ride
Sums up Beqa

My Beqa face haha

The village

A cool shell I found
The boat in the morning
Saying goodbye

Random Yacht 

We decorated our flat. Just for fun