Letter dated July 31st, 2017
This week has been fun. This last P day was a blast not having internet and being able to spend time with members. We did some service for Katikora - it is called borau, which is picking up all of the pandanus leaves that are not broken and are pretty new so that they can last a long time as the roof. After that we went to play games at Titana's home which was a lot of fun.
On Friday the primary had a day called, "Culture Day" in which they did everything of the iKiribati. That meant no English food such as the rice, flour, and sugar, or even canned foods. It was a very fun day as Elder Osborne and I were judges of the events. I'll have to send pictures when I can.
Saturday was my first time going on splits as we just have too much work to do and we were able to visit a lot of people quickly. This past Sunday we had church here in Kainaba and church in Nabeina which is also part of our area, but haven't been able to visit since we are so busy here in Kainaba. Before I go, I would like to share a spiritual experience. I told you I went on splits last Saturday. I went and visited Namwaroro and Katikara and we were teaching them on repentance and for him to stop smoking. I don't know where these words came from (I do now...), but I was prompted to say, "When you have the urge to smoke, I want you to open the Book of Mormon with a prayer in mind and then open the book and read it until the desire to smoke is gone." I want to tell you that this is the power of the Spirit and it is a promised blessing to all of us as long as we live worthy of it at all times. I'm so thankful that I have been able to serve here in this mission for the Lord. I am also thankful to have the opportunity to serve here in Kainaba. I love you all a lot. Ao I atargi bwaai aikai n arau Iesu Kristo, Amen
Letter dated August 7th, 2017
I have had an adventurous week as Satan really doesn't want this branch to be formed. The biggest tool Satan has for Kiribati is their cultural norms and gossip. Last Friday, there was some gossip that was shared about how this family couldn't go to the temple because she supposedly saw them drinking nengkona (alcohol), but they weren't. So it caused some contention to the point that they didn't want to come to church because they are afraid they will be made fun of and cause the church to back downhill. Well we put a stop to that rumor and encouraged them to come to church (which thankfully they did). The other major problem we had this past week was we were supposed to have dinner with a family but one of the members went up to them and told them that "missionaries don't have dinner with nonmembers." When we heard this it crushed our hearts. This week we are having dinner with them tomorrow. That is the gist of this week. Trouble in paradise, but still...it's paradise.
My spiritual thought for this week comes from Moroni 7:15 - 19. In this section of scripture Mormon is talking about the Light of Christ that is given to every person. I know that through Christ, we can be clean and that we will be judged by Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, that we should judge righteously. I love you guys a lot and I know that my Redeemer lives. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Dated 24th July 2017
First, Happy Pioneer Day! My week has been full of adventures, getting to know the area, and MIRACLES.
So I want to start off with the miracle of the week: Elder Osborne's foot. You know from last latter that his foot got something in it from walking at low tide without any shoes on. We think it was coral. Anyway, to continue the story, this past Sunday, I fasted for his health and that everything will be ok and that we will be able to go to Kainaba. Later that night after I have already closed my fast and was about ready to have dinner with a member, my thoughts were drawn away and I started thinking of the future and what was coming up. When I thought of Elder Osborne and his foot, I had this overwhelming feeling of peace that everything will go well and that there will be no problems. So the next morning at 8:00 AM, he went to the hospital for his "surgery". It turned out that the appointment was just to look further at his foot and to determine what needed to be done and where it needed to be cut to get the things out of his foot. They decided he would have his surgery the next day at 9:00 AM. He told me afterward that he wanted a blessing, so the AP's gave him one. He went to the doctor the next day to get the surgery don and the doctor looked at his foot and tried to figure out where he was going to cut. He told Elder Osborne to get an ultrasound done to see. He had had this done the day before and when the nurse did this she said, "Yesterday there were signs of objects in your foot, but now there are none." Elder Osborne was amazed and thankful for this miracle.
While this was happening, I was with the West Zone Leaders, heading to Betio to drop someone off when the phone rang and Elder Osborne was on the phone asking where we were. He said we are headed to Kainaba, my foot is cleared and the waa leaves at 4:00. So after we dropped off Scheffield in Betio, we hurried back and grabbed my stuff and went to Eita to pick up Elder Osborne and then headed to Ambo to catch the waa to Kainaba. We got on the waa which was thankfully powered by an engine - which only takes about 40 - 60 minutes to get to Kainaba. (I'll have to send some pics when I get internet.)
I got to Kainaba around 5:00 and started right away visiting members and getting to know them. I have introduced myself many times. My first whole day was Wednesday where we ran to the south end of the island - which takes about 7 minutes to run at a slow pace and exercised with Aroito to help strengthen his back after that we went to Itaia's house and had breakfast soup with breadfruit. It is very good with donuts (fried bread). After we showered and studied, we went to a small island named Biikentoka. To get there you have to wade through waist deep water if it is high tide. We went to visit - honestly THE best investigators I have had. Their names are Namwaroro and Katikora. Katikora is probably the only person that I have seen that is so dedicated. She only has one leg and gets around by using a stick. We lessoned with them and learned that she has finished the Book of Mormon and that she comes to church in Kainaba which she has to cross that 20 yard stretch of lagoon to get to Kainaba. We are trying to get them ready for baptism on the 19th of August. I'm excited! After that, we visited a bunch of people and tried to find some of our investigators to get them ready for baptism as most of them had their date for this coming Saturday. Afterwards, we had dinner with a less active family to try to get them to come back to church. It was so much fun and there are a lot of potential investigators with that family. So we are trying to open more doors to be able to hopefully be able to teach, so we brought with us a volleyball net, volleyball, and a soccer ball to get started having a game night on Friday. We asked them to set up a volleyball court. On game night, we had volleyball, Sorry, and Canasta all going on at the same time. Honestly, is was just a fun time to get everyone out and together.
This last Saturday we were blessed to have a baptism that completed a family.
Now you are probably wondering what Kainaba is like, how are the people?? The best way to describe it is Zion. It has a potential of just getting better and only increasing! The people here are the nicest and most caring people of I have met so far. It is like a little piece of Heaven. This area was opened in January of 2017 and the work has boomed! So far in this area there have been 50+ baptisms. The people here are really excited about the missionary work and if we need anything, the members are there to help us. We eat about 5 - 6 meals a day and this does not include the big dinner that we have every night. I LOVE KAINABA.
My spiritual thought this week comes from Alma 5. I encourage you guys to read it and really answer those questions personally as an interview with yourself. It is true when it says that the Shepherd is still calling. Jesus Christ is that shepherd. He is calling to you to repent and to come unto Him "all ye that are heavy laden" (see Matthew 11:28-30) I know that Jesus Christ lives and is my Redeemer and Savior. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Mauri au utu,
I already wrote a letter for this week but I thought I would attach a short note to say that I love you guys and that there will be pictures attached.
*************we should get that letter in about a month.......haha!*********************
He was online still, which was a real treat so we traded messages back and forth. Here's what he had to say about Kainaba:
"We take a waa to Tarawa once a week for District meetings. It costs about 2 dollars and takes about 40 - 60 minutes to get there. We are allowed to come in on the first PDay of the month and since this is Elder Osborne's las pday, we came in. Technically Nabeina is also part of our area. We are in a district of 2 Sisters and 4 Elders. The people are awesome and they are so helpful and yet stressful as they want us to visit all of them every single day while we are trying to balance teaching new investigators. We stay on the northern end of the Island in a buiia. It is more like my time in Nonouti as far as conditions. It is one village of about 200 people and we have over 80 that are now LDS. You can walk from end to end of the island in 15 minutes. It is very small. I will be able to catch up on emails (the ones you send me) once a month when we have access to internet, and I will keep writing letters. I love you so much!"
I asked him if he needed anything:
"I've had to "loan" my pants and some shirts, and most of my ties to members who just have nothing Mom. I really hate to ask, but can you please send me a pair of gray pants and maybe 2 white shirts or some older ties? Snacks would be good too. "
When asked how his shoes were doing, he replied..."they are ok. Super hot and I've had to make modifications to them. If you think of it, and there's room, a nice pair of flip flops would be wonderful!"
When asked what kind of snacks he'd like most, he said, "peanut butter, trail mix, cheese nips, gummy bears, candy corn, potato flakes or mac and cheese sound sooooo good!"
Thank you for your prayers and blessing No bad things came but earlier that day we had a baptism. so yeah.
Here is a bunch of pics as time is almost up
Letter #1 dated 3 July 2017
I'm starting a new tradition just in case I get transferred to an area without internet communication. Well, first, for time frame of this letter, it is my last week here before we go to Makin. I'm excited to go, but at the same time very stressed as I don't know what will happen and I am worried about the people in two places. But I do have to say thank you mom for teaching me well how to handle hard situations and that the best way is to write the problem down into a to do list - even the small little stuff. I've made a list of stuff that has to be done before we go. Thank you for teaching me Mom and Dad to leave it better than you found it. I am making sure to leave it clean and in order so it is easier to go between places and not have to worry about the clutter. Since having this companion, I have learned a lot about myself. I have stretched and grown the most with this companion. It has been hard....but as I have relied on the Lord, he has helped me to see things as Heavenly Father sees them. I have learned how to be an effective administrator as baptismal forms have to be completely filled out and filled out correctly so they can be entered and saved on the computer. The area book has to be filled out each day and updated each week as investigators are progressing or not progressing - meaning they are keeping their commitments. The plan for this Monday is to get everything packed for our travels. That means packing up all the boxes and give them to Bauro to hold on to while we are gone and until we get back from Makin. Well...What are your big summer vacations or plans? If you guys do something, please take pictures because I'd like to see too!
Mom, this section is for you. How is life treating you? Any new hobbies or recipes? Oh, by the way, can you send me your scone and banana bread recipes? Please? I would like to make them here. I need some more white shirts and I hate to ask, but can you send me another pair of gray pants? I have given away a few pairs to people who don't have any. How is the garden looking? Is it thriving? How is the house? Do you feel at home? I want you to know how much I love you and can't wait to see you in 14 months.
Dad, this week I have studied from Chapter 4 of Preach My Gospel and the section entitled, "The Power of the Spirit in Conversion". Such a good section and the common thing I realized between both the investigator and the missionary/ the member is rooted into one word. That is "Desire". I also like when Alma is teaching the people of King Noah and this is shortly after Abinadi in Mosiah 18:7, the word "believed". These two words struck a chord - a puzzle piece finally clicked. I then evaluated my teaching and I asked myself this question, "Do I have that desire to teach? Do they believe the words I teach? Is it simple doctrine that I know and understand?" I thought of your teacher counsel meetings and thought this might be a good topic to discuss as all of us are continuing in our conversion process. Anyway, that is what my study has been this week. I love you.
Liz..............Only counsel I can give you is to keep choosing the right and to be an example as you are the oldest while I am gone and at times I imagine it feels like a lot of stress - believe me I know, and have been there, done that. I want to share a quote with you what was shared with me from the member of my mission presidency. "When there is no opposition, there is no growth." I like this phrase as it has been a key phrase when I have been faced with opposition. I love you sis. I want you to keep moving forward and trying to live high standards and by keeping God's commandments through daily prayer and scripture study as an individual and as a family. I am so excited for you! Can't wait to hear from you!
Nate........I feel prompted to talk with you about frustration and how to respond to them. These frustrations can be big or small, but the part that is most important is how we respond to these frustrations. I'll share an experience and then list some suggestions. The first, "on Sunday we bicycle up to Kuma to take the sacrament to other families that are members. We first go to Kewea, the village right before Kuma and stop at a very faithful family who always attend church. We stop here because the husband is confined to his buia. Afterwards, we go to Kuma wehre we have church with 2 to 3 families - also very strong members. Our final stop is in Tani Mainiku with a small family where the husband used to be active in the church. A couple of weeks ago, the mother said, "I can't accept the sacrament because of riaboro (satan). She told us she started smoking again. At first I was very frustrated cause I started evaluating myself wondering if there was something I wasn't doing. Then she said this, "re maiu aci e bon te kekeaki mwaka" (this life is the hanging in there / keep trying hard). I then stopped judging myself and took a step back and that was when I saw her as Heavenly Father does - a daughter of God. I then felt inspired to share this message with her. It is from 2 Nephi 32: 8-9. "And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in your hearts; and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing. For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray. But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of they soul." And I testified about the power of prayer and that through prayer we can ask for help, pray for comfort, pray for protection from temptation. The bible dictionary says "Prayer is work." Prayer is most definitely work as it takes conscious effort every day. She is now doing a lot better and follows church and tries to pray. So, suggestions to relieve frustrations: 1. take a step back and pray to Heavenly Father for help, 2. Do something different - try smiling back. 3. Continue to pray every day and ask for that help. I want you to know how much I love you.
Josh.........I love you a lot and want you to keep hanging in there. I know that as hard times approach, it seems like we can't see the end. Best advice I can give you is to take a step back and see how far you have come, next would be to never forget your Heavenly Father who wants to hear from you and is waiting for you to pick up you end of the line and talk to him. Finally, the best way to get help is to liken the scriptures (see Nephi 19:23) which means to read them, ponder about what we read, pray about it, and then apply what we have learned. I know Heavenly Father loves you and wants you to keep moving forward. he knows your struggles an your joys. I love you.
Sarah......How are you doing? Keep up the good work and don't ever falter from your beliefs. Opposition may come, but as you oppose, you will increase. I have seen this principle. Are you excited for your birthday?? I love you!
Letter #2 dated 10 July 2017
Starting new habits is hard. I want to keep this habit just in case there isn't any email communication for a while. This past week has been fun and full of surprises. As you found out, my time here in Butaritari is done. I kind of knew before hand that one of us was being transferred as the Friday before I was trying to get tickets to go to Makin and the flight agent said "Which one of you is going to Tarawa?" Well at the time, none of us knew who and we checked our emails to see if there was news or a message from Tarawa, but there wasn't one. After I found out about the transfer, I told the members there in Butaritari. They quickly formed a plan for a Bootaki which is called a Karaure - it means to separate. At this bootaki, I didn't want it to be big because I didn't want to have a hard time leaving them. It was a nice little bootaki nothing fancy, but it as a time for them to express their gratitude and feelings. I'm so thankful that I had that time to also express my love for them and for their wonderful examples to me. Whenever I was in need of help and asked, they would solve it and help me very quickly and promptly. The plane ride was a little hard remembering every one and knowing I most likely will not see them for a couple of years. I went through my pictures and saw the happiness and remembering the good moments. I'm going to miss Butaritari like I miss Nonouti, but I know that it is God's will to be done and as I align my will with His, I will be greatly blessed.
I have been studying a lot recently about prayer and how we should pray and what we should ask for. I know there is power in prayer. I have already seen it in my life and on my mission. I know that I can pray to my Heavenly Father any time and in any place and for anything, so long as it is in line with His will. I know my Savior, Jesus Christ lives. I know that he has completed His mission on earth, but more importantly Heavenly Father's will by coming to the earth, establishing His church, performing miracles, suffering in the garden and on the cross for the sins of the world, and completing His mission by being resurrected three days after and breaking all the chains of death. I know that it is through and only through Christ's name that we can stand at the judgement seat of God our Eternal Father, clothed in clean white robes and being able to receive eternal life. I will praise His great name forever! I know that this is His church and that it has been restored through Joseph Smith who was a prophet of God. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet today and leads and directs this church through revelation from God. I know the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. I testify that the Book of Mormon is true and is God's dealings with the people of the Americas long ago. I know that I have been called and set apart by someone having proper authority as a missionary to represent Jesus Christ. I know that there are gifts of the Spirit and through those gifts, I am able to speak and understand the language of Kiribati. I know that I can receive my own personal revelation as it says in the bible and Book of Mormon - "Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you." (Matthew 7:7-11, 3 Nephi 14:7-11). And just as as Joseph Smith did when he read this verse in the epistle of James 1:5, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not." I know that God gives us answers to our prayers. I love you guys a lot and keep you guys in my prayers. I say these things in the name of our Savior, and Elder Brother, even Jesus Christ, Amen.
I Tangiringkami (I love you all)
Letter #3 dated 17 July 2017
A lot has gone on this past week. I'll start form the beginning after I emailed you. On Tuesday morning, Elder Osborne complained about his foot being itchy and swollen and so we contacted the senior couple and the mission nurse, Sister Belen. When she heard him describe the symptoms, she said, "I need to look at your foot." She looked at it and thought it was perhaps an allergic reaction. She also gave him some Keflex to help with any infection. After that we went to Ambo to catch our boat to Kainaba after we had tried yesterday and it didn't come. We were told to wait for someone and so went to low tide, but we cannot go until high tide. At this point, Elder Osborne's foot pain had become intolerable. When I looked at it, you could tell there was something in his foot, so we called Elder and Sister Belen and told the. They told us "We are coming to pick you up." Well, they came and picked us up from Ambo and while we were driving, Sister Belen is trying to call President Larkin, but can't get ahold of him so she called Sister Larkin and said, "we are taking him to the hospital" - because all decisions are made by President and Sister Larkin. The first impression I had with the hospital was the sea green walls. It was a little intimidating. But when we stepped inside, I was impressed by the cleanliness of the place and the nice thing - when we told the nurse and she led us to a room where we were greeted by a member from Temwiku and were led in to the doctor fairly quick and she diagnosed that we needed to come back Monday and go to surgery to have the coral removed. Coral can act like glass and is very easy to break when caught in the foot. That Tuesday afternoon, we spent the rest of the day in the house as the doctor said not to walk on it. Honestly, I don't mind because I am able to take care of my companion and care for his needs. The mission nurse told us to the Keflex - 1 every 6 hours. Because Elder Osborne is not very good yet at waking very early, I make sure he gets his medicine on time.
The rest of the week , I have spent with Elder Rowsell helping him get adjusted to his area as he his becoming District Leader and will be training someone new. I'm really looking forward to finally getting to my area. It is killing me not being in my area. So far I have been two weeks in Tarawa and can't wait to go back to the buki life (outies). Well, I don't know if you already know but, Kainaba has no internet or post office, but we have District Meetings every week so I'll be able to send my letters then. Plus if worse comes to worse, we are just an hour boat ride away from Tarawa.
It was a great day to hear from Elda Ekaki! He sent this letter on June 19th and we received it nearly a month later which is pretty fast. This is the first letter we have received from him that is handwritten while he's been in Kiribati. We giggled at the stamp placement being all hodge-podgy, but it was such a great surprise to hear from him again. He gave us permission to post some of the things in the letter, so enjoy!
I love you so much! I miss you too! I send my hugs and kisses to you! xoxoxoxoxoxooxoxooxoxoxox. Make sure you keep helping mommy and daddy.
I have been blessed this week to be able to use the internet. Well, I haven't made it to Kainaba yet because we had a little hiccup with Elder Osborne's foot. He is having pieces of coral removed this morning and should be ready to go tomorrow or Wednesday. That's the major things that happened this week. I am excited to have this time to email you guys though because there is no email or postal service in Kainaba because there is no counselor there. Luckily we are an hour boat ride away, so I have continued to send letters I don't know if you have gotten any yet. Well, I am super excited to go out there to Kainaba. While I have been waiting for Elder Osborne's surgery, I have been working with Elder Rowsell which has been nice to see someone in my intake.
My spiritual thought this week comes from Doctrine and Covenants 6:36 it says: "Look unto me in every thought; Doubt not, fear not." This phrase has been of comfort as I have been contemplating this week and
as my 1 year mark is coming up, I am thinking about what I am going to do and what my plan is and the fears and doubts of the unknown. But as I have relied on my Savior who has already gone through everything, I have found my solace. I testify that there is power in the Savior's Atonement and that it is infinite. This I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Update: I finally found someone whose son has served here. There wasn't a lot of information about this area because he and his companion will be the 3rd set of missionaries to ever be there. Most likely we will not hear from him more than once a month because there is no internet where he will be. They walk approximately 3 hours to get to the nearest area that does have internet - crossing through areas connecting the islands in low tide when possible. It reminds me a bit of his time and circumstances in Nonouti and am excited to hear of his experiences in this new area. Please keep he and his companion, Elder Osborne in your prayers for not only their safety as they walk from island to island each week, but also that they will have success in sharing the gospel. If you'd like to read more about what types of adventures Elder Ekaki may get up to, click on the links below.
Boat Rides and Baptisms
Mosquito on the keyboard
When in Kiribati...
We really don't have much information regarding Kainaba. From what we can gather, it is roughly 45 feet above sea level, has a population of around 250 people, but from what we can tell, there aren't many missionaries on the northern side of Tarawa. Can't wait to hear more about what he and Elder Osborne get to do together in the month before Elder Osborne heads home. It will be fun to hear his adventures!
This week has been fun to review and reflect on what happened during my time in Butaritari. My feelings on being transferred at first was frustration - as I have not been able to, in my opinion, serve there long enough; but as I have thanked my Heavenly Father for my time that I have had there, it has helped me realize that He really is in control and everything will work out to His will. I have come to love the people of Butaritari, and I know that I can and will meet up with them again later. So... I am being transferred to a small island off of Tarawa called Kainaba and I will be working with Elder Osborne! I'm excited to work with him as he is a hard worker. I know our time is short together as he will be going home next month.
So while I have been staying in Tarawa this week, I have been primarily in Bikenibeu with Elders Darm, Tomlinson, and Tui. It has been so nice to see what happens when someone leaves to go home from their mission. While I was here, it was Elder Darm's last week and his final push for baptisms. He was blessed to finish with 8 baptisms of people who are ready and were prepared by the Lord. It has been nice this week to work with Elder Tomlison and see how he teaches and what methods he uses. I've learned a lot.
My spiritual thought is on the power of testimony: This week we had many baptisms and the power of a simple testimony is the strongest thing there is. I know that this church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and Jesus Christ's Gospel has been restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. I know that Thomas S. Monson is God's prophet and leads and guides the church today. I love my Savior and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
The following message came shortly after his first email. We have no idea where he is being transferred to. Stay tuned!
From the Assistants to the President:
You are getting transferred Wednesday the 5th, so get ready to fly! Please pack up your stuff sometime and be ready by Wednesday, your PTA number is 8120. Please email us back and let us know you got this email.
Ti na kaitibo ikai!"
Elder Samuel Haycock
I am called to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This blog is about my adventures in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ for the next two years in the Republic of Kiribati.
Rachel Haycock - I am the mother of 6 amazing children and the lucky wife of a dear, sweet man. I love to write, read, cook, teach and sew. I hope you feel the Spirit of the Lord as you read about Elder Haycock's adventures in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.