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

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Week #95

Bula Vinaka Family and friends! It's always fun to get to tell everyone about my experiences I've had throughout the week. Every week is a testimony to me that this church is true. Lately I've been praying and asking for Heavenly Father to help us find just one repentant soul; an individual who really has a desire to change and find the truth! A few weeks ago we found this guy named Viliame and his wife, Makareta. They accepted us into their home just like every other Fijian family and at the time I didn't really think anything of it... Yesterday, Viliame just showed up at church....In one of the Sunday school classes our teacher asked if Viliame wanted to share anything and when Viliame began to speak the spirit was very strong! 

Viliame told everyone in the class how for years he has wanted to join the church but he didn't know how. He said he'd watch the elders pass by his house and he'd pray that they would come to him. He said he prayed more fervently a week before we actually showed up at his door and when he saw us standing there, outside his house, he was surprised and extremely thankful. He told them he is grateful for God answering his prayer and having us find him. As I just sat there and listened to Village I realized that Heavenly Father had already helped me find a repentant soul! I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure this guy gains a strong testimony that he is in the right place! I know the Savior knows His lost sheep. Time and time again we'll enter homes and people will be so nice but just not interested. Sometimes it gets discouraging when people tell you no. When they don't want us to come back it can become depressing.... And then one of those hundred people you visited ends up being the one you were supposed to find, and it is so dang worth it!

This Gospel is flawless... I'm extremely pumped for Viliame and all of our other investigators who are preparing to be baptized. This past week was a struggle but that experience made it all worth it. 

This week Elder Forbush and I had exchanges in Navua which is pretty much like one of the sickest areas ever! It's all flat farmland and it's right on the sandy beach. We all met up at the end of the day with the Brown family and they fed us fish in lolo (coconut milk) with breadfruit. OH MAN IT WAS GOOD. To top it off, after the dinner they piled up heaps of old palm fronds and bamboo sticks and we had the biggest bonfire on the beach I have ever seen. It was honestly so sick! They invited us to come over this week as well! 

This next week we might be going out to open up an island! The island is called Beqa and it's home to the "Firewalkers".  There are fijians there who know how to heal things with fire and can walk over fires and receive no harm. It's been in discussion for quite awhile when we'll be able to go but it could happen this Thursday. Which would be pretty dang cool.

Anyways being a missionary is great and I couldn't be happier.

Love you all,
                   Elder jonutz


Walking to our dinner appointment selfie

flared my nostrils for you mom

comp shot

Beach covered in Flowers

New favorite snack!

Fun object lesson

One of our investigators house's

Kasava forest 

This is what our flat looks like. Pretty nice;)

Exchanges in Navua. Found this kid. Have no idea what he is doing.....

That out there in the distance is BEQA
The Brown family starting to stack up the fire!

The fire was huge! 

Kids playin with fire

The Bonfire 

more art