So, I guess I’ll start off speaking briefly of the MTC. The MTC was a unique experience and one that I am satisfied doing only once. The days felt like weeks and the weeks like months. The whole experience now just seems like a couple days, but it also seems like I haven’t been home years. The MTC consisted of waking up at 6 studying for 2 hours, breakfast, class for like 5 hours lunch, class for a couple hours, maybe gym time, dinner, some class time, then too bed. I highly enjoyed the constant company of my companion Elder Mohetau. Elder Mohetau (moe-hey-tahwu) is Part Tongan and lives right by the Hawaii Temple. He was born in the Church but was inactive until he turned 17 then thought the past 3 years he’s been slowly preparing himself for his mission. He is a great funny guy and, for the most part, level headed. I’ll hopefully be able to get some videos up of him later.
The last day of the MTC I hopped in a van, then a train, then a car. Quite the adventure. I then met my Mission President, President Swain, and had a quick interview with him, and then went and met the other 180 missionaries in the mission. Then I met my companion Elder Fakatou. He actually just lives down the street from Elder Mohetau in Hawaii. Elder Fakatou’s story is similar to Elder Mohetau’s except he only started going to church two years before his mission at 19. When Elder Fakatou got on his mission he was on the rebellious side. He didn’t really care about the rules all that much, he followed just enough to stay out of trouble. But after one of his really good companions left he got a companion who was incapable of doing anything on his own and is renown as one of the worst companions. He caused Elder Fakatou to realize the importance of obedience, because when he did what he was suppose to do, it all worked out for him, without the help of his companion at the time. He has been a fantastic trainer so far. He gives me chances to learn and it’s my choice whether I take them or not.
The field is a lot of fun. Our apartment appeared pretty ghetto to me at first but I insisted we clean it. So we did a full deep clean today, and it now looks half ghetto.
One thing that I love about this mission is the iPads. All I carry in my backpack is my iPad and a BoM to hand out. It’s fantastic. All throughout church and seminary I had teachers telling me that I couldn’t use my phone for scriptures because I would have to use paper scriptures on my mission. Well here I am haha. The iPads are a huge aid. We do all of our planning and studying and note taking on them. One con of them is I see everyone’s emails as I get them, and I’m allowed to read them, but I can’t reply until Monday, so it’s somewhat of a temptation.
As far as the people go, I have mixed feelings. I’m in a less than affluent area, so there are a lot of people who approach us with obvious intent of only getting welfare from the church. That can be kind of annoying, but at the same time it gives us an opportunity to teach them and see if they are willing to accept it. Then there are people here who so humble.
With so many members here we get honked and waved at on a usual basis. We also get handed money whenever we go to stores and food places. We’ve received about $100 since I’ve gotten here. It’s kind of ridiculous, but they don’t let you say no.
My first day here we had 5 teaching appointments, which was a little unsettling to me at first, but it wasn’t a huge deal, plus some people canceled. My first lesson was with two Haitian women who were concerned with Baptisms for the dead, but they went to a Temple open house and got to understand it a bit better. She now wants to work toward a temple recommend and a patriarchal blessing. I also got like 6 meals on my first day. There are a lot of Islanders here and they take offense if you don’t eat everything they give you, I’ve gained 5 lbs since I’ve been out here. Haha.
We have about 25 people we teach a week, with some wanting two visits a week. We have also recently contacted about 5 people who also want to take lessons. So I’m getting to meet a lot of people and I’m doing a lot of teaching
We’ve had some cool experiences where because of some random series of events we happened to bump into someone who is really interested in hearing about the church, or wants to start coming back.
I think I would like to end these blog posts with a spiritual thought and an invitation, like a good missionary would.
My favorite scripture is D&C 136:28-33
28 If thou art merry, praise the Lord with singing, with music, with dancing, and with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving.
29 If thou art sorrowful, call on the Lord thy God with supplication, that your souls may be joyful.
30 Fear not thine enemies, for they are in mine hands and I will do my pleasure with them.
31 My people must be tried in all things, that they may be prepared to receive the glory that I have for them, even the glory of Zion; and he that will not bear chastisement is not worthy of my kingdom.
32 Let him that is ignorant learn wisdom by humbling himself and calling upon the Lord his God, that his eyes may be opened that he may see, and his ears opened that he may hear;
33 For my Spirit is sent forth into the world to enlighten the humble and contrite, and to the condemnation of the ungodly.
I love this scripture because not only does is contrast what your actions should depending on how happy you are with life, but it also points out that this life is for improvement. Stop being prideful and take correction. We also have something we need to improve in our life and we are all capable of doing so.
Invitation: Write down something that you need to improve on, whether it be spiritual or otherwise, and focus on that improvement for at least a week and watch how easy it is to make changes when you hold yourself accountable.