Monday, January 30, 2017

Week #77

Ni sa bula vinaka everyone! Can't believe another week has already gone by! It's crazy how slow the days can be but these weeks just go by so fast. It's been an exciting week! We started off by going on some exchanges with our elders in Navatuyaba and had a blast. I was able to go on an exchange with Elder Miller! We are both from the same intake and my whole mission I haven't served around him so it was fun to catch up with him and see how he was doing. He is definitely the man and a master at fijian! We had a cool experience of going out proselyting and inviting some people to be baptized. For some of these people it was only the second time for elders to visit them. 3 of the 5 people we visited all accepted a baptismal date and that it is pretty amazing. You can just see how fast the work of the Lord is hastening out here and it's so fun to watch! After our exchanges we headed back out to our area to prepare Osea to be baptized. We showed up to the edge of the river in hopes of seeing a boat cross so that we could get to the village when this guy on this bamboo raft paddled over to us. He told us to hop we did! Never thought I would paddle board on a bamboo raft on my mission. That was sick! hahaha! So this week I also took my drivers test.....Ummm...long story short I will be taking it again this Wednesday hahaha. I need to freshen up on Fijian road laws I guess. Our family that's from Vanua Levu has been doing awesome. We took Brother Juta with us to visit them the other day and they are so close to being converted. The mom told us that they aren't members of any church but that when we come over she feels the Spirit. We told her the way she can receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and she was very excited. Right now we are just waiting on the fathers to come back. I forgot to mention that there is two families that live in that house and we are teaching both of them. Every single one of them has accepted the baptismal challenge. The only problem is every time we go over there we meet a new member of the family and all the other ones are gone hahaha! It's not a terrible problem to have at all - I just want to teach all of them at the same time haha! Our members are really excited about these families and are always asking about them. We're praying for them pretty hard!  On Sunday Osea was baptized!!! It's nice to see young kids believe in Christ and why it is important to be baptized. Before he was always a shy kid but after his baptism he went crazy and was just super happy. I love being a witness to baptisms! The work of the Lord is true and so are the words of Isaiah! Our mission is doing a Book of Mormon read and we have to pick our top five heroes. Right now I'm in Isaiah and man is it a puzzle. If you want to know why Nephi put his words in the Book of Mormon just read 2 Nephi 25:3. I must say that he will most likely be one of my top five! I love you all!

Love, Elder Jonutz

Village kids are my favorite! ME and Brother Juta

Exchange with Elder Miller

Little Osea

Little Osea's village

Fijian kids playing this tire game!

I thought the clouds looked pretty evil in this picture

Picked up some (kai) from the members and made some awesome dinner!!!!

The man on the bamboo raft

Me on the bamboo raft

walking down to the river for Oseas Baptism

In the water
This week I made firewood and.........wait for it......

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Week #76

Bula Vinaka Family and everyone! The rain and lightening has not ceased. Every morning we walked out of the house last week the sun was out but every time we came back to the flat it was pouring rain and thundering like crazy again. I have to admit though.....I love it when the weather is like this! The other night there were no clouds above our house and it was just clear stars but out in the distance there was a pretty crazy lightening storm and I happened to get a pretty awesome picture that I will send to you all!  But that's just a physical storm and today I would like to share about some spiritual lightening and thunder (the good kind!) Some pretty amazing things have been happening in our area. Last week I shared about the Wesele family who decided to come to church despite their traveling difficulties. WELL....they came again this week and their whole family seems to have changed! They are so much more happy and we can tell a difference in just a couple of weeks. Brother Wesele got up in church and gave a beast talk that was super powerful. Yesterday was just awesome.....SO MANY PEOPLE CAME TO CHURCH! As a missionary seeing an investigator coming to church is as good as opening up Christmas presents! This week we gave it our all despite the difficulties Satan tried to throw at us. Brother Vounijese's niece, Unaisi, finally started to take lessons. She's just 14 but really related to the Joseph Smith story and wants to be baptized! We have also been working with Osea who came to church as well. He's all set and good and is ready to be baptized this Sunday so we are way pumped for him. Earlier this week, Elder Willoughby and I were walking through Nabukaluka village and saw the weirdest thing! When we walk through the villages all the poeple are usually sitting on their porch and they say Bula to us and we just say Bula to everyone but this time was WAY different. As we were walking through the village we looked into the houses and there were white folks everywhere.....We were both tripping out hahaha. It's not every day that we see white people out in the villages....We eventually found out they were from the Australian aid there to help out with the school in the village. Anyway, Brother Juta had 3 kai valagis (white people) staying in his house and we decided to share something with them. We shared about where the Book of Mormon came from and they got way interested. We gave them each their own Book of Mormon and we got to show off our Fijian skills hahaha. They said they had always heard of the lds church but never knew what it was about. They were surprised to hear that we believed in Jesus Christ. If only everyone knew our real name is "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints"! Those guys probably never would have thought that 2 lds missionaries would have met them in the middle of a fijian village hahaha! So that was fun. I've been having to drive a lot more lately because this Wednesday I am going to take my driving test finally.....wish me luck HA! The other day we had to take the car in to Asco Motors to get a tune-up and so we got to go to Suva and get New York pizza....I just have to say that I didn't know that's what pizza is supposed to taste like!  The other day we were offered to have some Yavu ni toa (chicken feet).....we kindly said thank you and that we had already eaten. The more I serve in Fiji the more I love it. I am convinced that there is no where else on this earth with such humble people as here. We've been teaching a family for awhile and they all have said they want to be baptized....only issue is everytime we go over there, there are more members of the family. Slowly one by one they will all hear about the gospel and will be baptized. Anyways, being a missionary is awesome. Lesson learned from this week is that if you want the spirit we must always, constantly be repenting. I'm so grateful for Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on our behalf. Because of Him we can become clean!

 Love, Elder Jonutz

ONE OF THE COOLEST NIGHTS OF MY LIFE. (sorry you weren't there dad!)
What our flat looks like when we get packages....

When it randomly rains in the village and there's nothing you can do

This is the guy coming to get us on the boat. We crossed in the rain and got soaked.

The cows here are a pest.

Brother Juta's sons getting ready for a mere (fijian tribal dance)

Just one more for fun. Because it's an awesome picture and i'm proud

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Week #75

Bula Vina' Everyone! It has been quite the adventure this past week! The weather has been so unpredictable hahaha! From 8:00 - 2:00 in the afternoon it is crazy HOT and then from 3:00-10:00 at night it pours down rain and the thunder gets pretty dang loud here! It is pretty awesome I'm not going to lie. So much has happened this week! Remember that infection on my toe?....It came back! My toe got so big earlier this week that I had to wear a different size shoe on my foot! Slowly it has started to go down and hopefully it will be better again. It's all good...FUN TIMES! Proselyting this week has been random but awesome! While trying to visit one of our less actives we came across this man who walked right up to us. When he walked up to me and elder Willoughby he said, "Hey Elders! My name is Isei!" He then told us to follow him. Currently the village is closed to missionaries but we took this guys offer as a "VIP" pass into the village. We followed him to his house and we sat down. He sat in silence and then said, "Lorenzo Snow!"  Elder Willoughby and I were way confused. Then he said , "Lorenzo Snow is the president of your church right?" I almost died laughing. We told him that that was a long long...LONG time ago. He told us that his kids are members but he was never baptized. He said he wants to take lessons and learn more about the church. He's an interesting guy and we're excited to get to start teaching him and his wife. Lately we've been trying to visit the village Nauluvatu. There's a young boy there named, Osea, and he hasn't been baptized yet. His family is pretty poor and have no way of paying for transportation to get to church and so we were really praying to help him find a way.  After meeting with another one of our members,  he offered to pay for Osea's transport to church every Sunday!  He also does not have much money but I know the Lord is going to bless him for his efforts. I've been learning a lot about the gospel this week.... Specifically on what it means to others! For the longest time we have been working with this family to try to help them come back to church and they just have never showed up.  All Saturday morning I had planned this lesson and I was going to ask them why they weren't coming.  As we walked into the house before I could even speak the father began to speak. He said, "Elders, my family and I respect you. You come over to our house and we've been praying so much just to find a way to church. Never mind we have two small babies but we need to take the sacrament!" Then he said so confidently, "We are coming to church tomorrow! I don't know how we are going to get there but we are going! Just pray for us please." Just sitting there the spirit filled the entire room. I didn't know how he was going to get to church either but I knew he was going to be there. The next morning we waited at the bus stand for them. No bus ever came..... The members started telling us it had been years since they had come and that they probably weren't going to come. We stood and waited and then saw them walking up this dirt hill. They came and stayed all 3 hours and were the happiest family in the chapel. They are a family that understands 1 Nephi 3:7! After visiting them some of our appointments fell through and so we took a road we had never taken before. Long story short, we went down this muddy hill and when we tried to turn around the truck could not make it back up the hill. No matter how hard we tried. We said a prayer and it still didn't work. We had some other Elders come and pick us up. The next morning we went to go and try again. This time we gathered rocks for about an hour and laid them on the muddy road to give the truck traction. Finally it worked and we made it up the hill. The lesson we learned is that prayer is a 2 way equation. We must pray for help and then we must do all we can on our part for it to be answered. It's a cool story. I'll tell my kids someday hahaha! Other than that this week has been amazing. I'm loving the challenges and trying my best to grow my faith by embracing all the trials. I love you all and look forward to updating you next week!

Love, Elder Jonutz

It's a small world after all (the more exciting version)

Kids following us when we were leaving the village. Can you see the kid with video tape all around him? hahaha

This kid's name is Juju

Juju just chillin on our car. 

What it looks like when we drive in our area

Pretty sure the clouds in Heaven look similar to this haha

Taking the scenic route home

My worst enemy

This cow has the longest rack! HOLY COW haha....

One of our investigator's daughters. She is adorable 

We had to sleep on the floor cuz our bedframes had bed bugs...One of the elders a few nights ago was bitten by a centipede

This kid was just dragging a plate by this rope 

We got some dalo for Elder Willoughby's birthday

Rain falling from our roof

Getting stuck in the mud :(...

You can see the mud is pretty thick...

We finally made it!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Week #74

Bula Vinakwa! (Naitasiri Dialect)! This past week has just been awesome. I have seen so many miracles that it blows my mind......I have no idea where to begin. So I mentioned a few emails ago about the huge flood that had happened in our area. I also mentioned that during that time we decided to proselyte in the back of our house where the majority of people who live there are Hindu. Do you remember the girl we gave a blessing to? Well....we were out proselyting in our area this last week and her dad was driving a truck and made us pull over so he could talk to us. In his broken excited english he told us the blessing had worked and he wanted us to come visit him and his family. Just two days ago we went back to their house and they were so excited to have us be there. We asked the girl (Sarika) how she was doing after the blessings. She told us that she hadn't had any more encounters at night anymore and that she felt so much peace. We told her about the priesthood and where it comes from and how we have it. She was so excited she said she would pray about being baptized. They invited us to dinner the next day and so we went over and the dad was there. He was so happy to see us. After we shared the plan of salvation they had so many questions. He told us he's going to start coming to church and quit smoking and drinking......BULLLAAA! This family is prepared. I'm almost convinced this is why the flood happened. If the flood never had happened we never would have ever even thought of going behind our house to proselyte. God works in mysterious ways! After the lesson we taught Sarika how to say a prayer. In her prayer she asked to know if this was all true! The Spirit filled the room. They are hindi by religion but the spirit of Christ is starting to grow within their home. Miracle #2 - A few weeks ago we met this family from Vanua Levu. We taught them about baptisms for the dead and we just shared with them the restoration and they all sat in silence when we told them the story of the young prophet Joseph Smith. After the lesson they asked for 10 Book of Mormons hahaha. I belong to the best mission in the entire world...... The people here have faith unlike any other race of people I have ever seen. Elder Willoughby and I are excited for the work out here and in our area. Other than some awesome miracles we have also had some crazy experiences...... One morning we got stuck out in this village where we have to cross the river. The rain just started pouring down so hard and all these fijian kids grabbed buckets of water and just soaked that was cool! Also we've been having lots of centipedes in our house and bed bugs so the church sent out some people to spray our flat and it just made it worse so we all have been camping out sleeping on the main room floor. It's been sweet! Other than all that the week has been a blast! We found out who our new mission president and wife is so that's kind of sad and crazy! It will be sad to say goodbye to President and Sister Layton! They are like our parents! Being a missionary has pretty much changed my life. Every day is hard.......which means everyday I have to rely on the Savior. I know He is there. He lives as does our father in Heaven. I wouldn't have left my family for 2 years if I didn't know it was all true! The gospel has been restored and this life on earth is just a short moment. We must live the gospel and push forward. We can see our loved ones again after this life if we choose the right. The Gospel of Jesus Christ answers all lifes problems and questions. When I'm feeling lost I pray and he's always there. And that's not just something that is supposed to sound nice. It is 100% true. I know it! I love you all and look forward to next week!

Love, Elder Jonutz 

A scary bridge we cross every other day

During the flood these villagers thought a rope swing would be fun haha

Brother Singh and some crazy service cutting fence posts from trees in the jungle

we made cookies. Dang they were good!

Hiking for service

Brother Singh Swingin

When we were stuck in the rain. If you look in the distance you can see our car.

A random cool palm tree picture

The Singhs house. Pretty sweet view