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

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