Christmas was great! Just really getting needs today for those in Kainaba. And by the way to this point I have not been able to get my Christmas package from you still. We'll see if it is here today. The work is great and rewarding. This last week I was blessed to witness the baptism of Bwataua, Tietao, Ioane. Really cool baptism and the Spirit was there! We got a referral of a golden investigator. Really cool guy and he has the desire to be baptized by the 13th of January! My companion has the language down and I believe he is confident in speaking and he should be good when I leave at next transfer.
Quick Spiritual Thought for the week: Jacob 6:11 "O then, my beloved brethren, repent ye, and enter in at the strait gate, and continue in the way which is narrow, until ye shall obtain eternal life." We need to always repent to stay on the path that leads back to our Heavenly Father.
Sorry this is a short letter but this all the time I have today and I won't be on next week as I am spending Pday in Kainaba. Enjoy these pics! I cut hair also - if you can't tell - with a pair of sewing scissors.
Our Christmas call with Elder Haycock was one for the history books! It was the first time we had been able to see and hear him during the call. I am so very grateful that it happened this way. He shared many things with us during the call but was mostly surprised by how much his siblings had changed in height and faces and hair length as they've gotten older while he's been gone. He loves the people of Kiribati and says they are the friendliest people he has ever met. He has changed his favorite food from dried sandworms to deep fried fish (Thank Goodness!!) When he asked how cold it was here - which was -22 at the time - he said that it sounded good because it was 90 degrees there and too hot. We all laughed. The best part for me was hearing him laugh, seeing him smile and listening to him bear his testimony of the gospel in the language of Kiribati.
After our call and a few technical difficulties, he was also able to email us. We still had questions because the delay for us was roughly 20 seconds between us speaking and him hearing it. Here is the gist of our conversation:
Mauri I am back on for an hour!
Samuel A. • Sun, 3:55 PM
So you are with Elder Roberts for one more transfer? I think that's what you said...pretty good chance you'll be transferred right?
Sun, 3:57 PM
How was the skype? any other questions you want to ask me? I am with Elder Roberts until the middle of January that is when I will be transfered President Larkin has already let me know that I will be transfered.
Samuel A. • Sun, 3:58 PM
Hearing your testimony was awesome! I could only understand a few words - Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon - but I could feel the spirit very strong!
Cool. Do you think you'll go to another outie?
Sun, 3:59 PM
Thanks. I don't know with 10 more missionaries coming in they are going to have to open places.
Samuel A. • Sun, 3:59 PM
Wow! Can you imagine if you get to open one?
Do you know if you'll be training again?
Sun, 4:00 PM
I know I it will be cool to know. I will most likely be training again.
Samuel A. • Sun, 4:00 PM
Second pancake is usually better 😂
Sun, 4:01 PM
Josh's video hasn't loaded yet. That is so true.
Is there a way you can change the file format?
Samuel A. • Sun, 4:01 PM
It isn't a video, it is a music file. I will have to see. It can be played through Google music
Sun, 4:02 PM
I think google music is blocked😓
Samuel A. • Sun, 4:02 PM
Bummer. Let me see what I can do.
Do you really think you've lost 40 pounds? That is a lot of weight, but would explain the change in pants size
Sun, 4:03 PM
yes I believe I lost that much weight. I definitely have noticed that I am lighter.
Samuel A. • Sun, 4:04 PM
We got all of your letters from November and the first week of December all in one day. That was cool. Love your stories. Got any pics you can send from the last week or so?
I've noticed,your pants hang on you. And you look very thin
Sun, 4:05 PM
Samuel A. • Sun, 4:06 PM
I'm trying to convert the file now
I just sent it. It was easier to convert than I thought
Sun, 4:10 PM
really what format is it?
Samuel A. • Sun, 4:11 PM
So today you are going to have a pday with all the missionaries in Kiribati?
Just emailed it
Sun, 4:11 PM
We are going to have pday with all of the missionaries on Tarawa along with a christmas Lunch at 1:00
Samuel A. • Sun, 4:13 PM
Lucky you! I am sure the missionary couples will take great care of you. I really hope they picked up your package. I swear it arrived as delivered on the 22nd - so fingers crossed you get it today! I have faith!! How's Elder Tollefson (?) liking the mission so far? He's pretty new right? Can you tell me who is in the pics you sent?
Sun, 4:17 PM
the picture of the kiribati words are The end of Ana Boki Moomon I finished it before Christmas how is your reading? the group picture top row L to R E Tollefson, S Tamale, E Payne, E McCarthy, E Roberts, bottom row S Peterson, Me, E Ekaki. I will ask and see I can also see if it is the mission office. but the person doing packages is in Maiana so I will see. He is doing great.
Samuel A. • Sun, 4:20 PM
Awesome! Are you excited for this next transfer? Or still feel like you need more time in Kainaba?
Sun, 4:22 PM
I am excited and excited for this weekend because Bwataua is getting baptized this Saturday. I feel like it has been long enough
Samuel A. • Sun, 4:22 PM
Tell her congratulations! We are excited for her!
Sun, 4:27 PM
I will so. She is a lot like you.
Samuel A. • Sun, 4:27 PM
Had to step away from the phone and email for a minute cause the stove was smoking us out. Guess the potatoes were greasier than I thought. Whoops
Sun, 4:28 PM
ah that sounds so good
Samuel A. • Sun, 4:29 PM
I finished reading the Book of Mormon about a month ago and started over. I'm in Mosiah again. I have really enjoyed reading it.
Sun, 4:30 PM
yeah it is my second time in Kiribati now that I have finished it.
Samuel A. • Sun, 4:30 PM
I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to talk about food. I'm sure that is hard,for you especially on a holiday. Liz says sorry too about the cutie earlier - we didn't mean to,make you homesick.
Sun, 4:31 PM
no it's good because I know in 8 months I can enjoy those kind of things. I'm excited.
Samuel A. • Sun, 4:32 PM
I love how every time I read it, I find things I didn't see or remember reading before. I also love that we are reading as a family and discussing it every morning. Some days we only make it through 2 verses,because the discussion is so good
I love your attitude.
Sun, 4:32 PM
That is really good. I really liked yesterday when I read Moroni chapter 9 yesterday it stuck out to me.
Samuel A. • Sun, 4:33 PM
I will talk to USU about deferring. I will probably have to forward some info to you to get your info needed. I still have everything - A number etc. - but they may have to have something directly from you. I'll find out. Finish out, come home, adjust, get settled in - grandma and grandpa have offered to have you stay there until you're ready - get a job and go on a date! We are excited for you, but finish the important stuff first - you will be blessed for it!!
Sun, 4:36 PM
okay sounds good I will finish strong
Samuel A. • Sun, 4:37 PM
9 Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.
10 And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them.
This is my favorite. BELIEVE.
Sun, 4:37 PM
yeah from Mosiah right
Samuel A. • Sun, 4:37 PM
Sun, 4:38 PM
I really like verse 11
Samuel A. • Sun, 4:38 PM
Face it. The whole chapter rocks!!
Sun, 4:39 PM
that's true when you have king benjamin speaking
Samuel A. • Sun, 4:39 PM
I know right??
Were you able to open Josh's music file?
Sun, 4:40 PM
yes and I have it downloaded
Samuel A. • Sun, 4:42 PM
Josh wants to,know what you think
Not sure if you have to go soon, but Merry Christmas son! I love you and I am so very happy we got to see and hear you for the best talk ever!
Sun, 4:46 PM
i really liked it and wish you a merry christmas
Samuel A. • Sun, 4:49 PM
We received a month's worth of letters today! It was wonderful to hear some of the experiences in detail that Elder Haycock has been involved in. Enjoy!
Letter Dated November 6, 2017
How are you all doing? This week I am finally starting to reap the rewards of my labor. We have had our ups and downs too this week. Monday was good as I was able to get out some of my wiggles and get some other stuff done during Pday. Tuesday was a nice busy day where we were able to have 10 really good lessons with all of our progressing investigators. Our days in teaching lessons are really messed up so we did service, had district meeting and we were able to get three lessons in. But the most rewarding part of the week would have to be Saturday. It was my first marriage that I had been able to attend. Tiingau and Taorita were married along with Namaroro and Katikora. It was also rewarding because Tiingau and Taorita were finally baptized after 6+ months of investigating the church and always coming to church. They were also confirmed (given the gift of the Holy Ghost) and Tiingau received the Aaronic Priesthood.
My spiritual thought for the week comes from Alma 34:27. This is where Amulek tells us that we must always have a prayer in our heart at all times so that we may receive help and be able to move on. I know that there is power in prayer. I know that we are children of God. I know my Savior lives. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Alma 34:27 Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you.
Letter dated November 13, 2017
How are you all doing? This week has gone by too fast as we were out of our area Thursday and Friday of this week. Other than that, this week has been fun and full of surprises.
Monday is what is called combined pday which happens every first Monday of every month. What happens is that all the Tarawa Elders and Sisters get together and have Pday together. Well this one was different as we had Mission Tour coming up so we also had all the Elders and Sisters from Christmas Island and all the other outie islands in . To make this more fun, the East Zone Leaders planned out games and teams. So my team was the Pink Team. Our team members were Elder Butcher, Sister Boss, Elder Murri, Sister Silito, Sister Peterson, Elder Hansen, Elder Sablon and Me. All of us are super skinny except for Elder Butcher who ended up being our anchor for the katikirobu (tug of war). Surprisingly our team won against all other teams. We also came back on the boat to Kainaba.
Tuesday was a stepping stone in the upward direction, because I finally realized something that Heavenly Father was trying to teach me. And that is what the Holy Ghost sound like to me. I finally hear it more clearly, and I know now that it has been with me ever since I was baptized. But now, I am able to fine tune and be able to follow it without hesitation. I will explain:
I was in a lesson with Namroro ma Katikora and they have been taught all of the lessons and we were there to strengthen them. To be honest I had no clue what I was going to share with them. So after we open with prayer and asked how their prayers were and what they felt as they were reading, in my heart I was praying to my Heavenly Father asking for guidance in what I should share to help them be ready to receive the ordinance of baptism. I felt prompted - more like a chain of thoughts - and the way my mouth was filled with words that I should say. I remember opening up to Moroni 4:3 and reading the prayer of the sacrament. I remember explaining our covenant that we make when we are baptized, and the importance of keeping God's commandments, and what it really means to take upon us the Name of Christ. Then I felt nudged to ask about how he is doing with smoking and nongkona (kava/alcohol). He said he hasn't done it. I questioned in my mind with the Spirit and was trying to discern if he was telling me the truth. This overwhelming feeling of joy rushed over me - the same feeling you can get when you ask God for the truth of things - and I knew he was telling me the truth. I am so very thankful for the Holy Ghost and the job that he has - that he can help us to know Heavenly Father's will for us. After this I felt prompted to ask Katikora if she had any gospel questions or any questions in general. Usually she doesn't have questions, but his time she asked me, "How can I pay my tithing?" At first I was struck with amazement because investigators usually don't ask about paying tithing. Then the Holy Ghost whispered to me two words.
So that is what I did. And I am so thankful for it. The Spirit during that lesson was so strong and really taught me a lot about the Holy Ghost and how he speaks to me. I can say that I had been edified. The rest of Tuesday was like that. I was very happy that I could be a part of it.
Wednesday was an interesting day as we had most of our lessons fall through. Probably the most stressful part was teaching English to kids from the ages of 5 - 11. It was very difficult. Especially when the kids don't want to listen or follow directions so it makes it hard to teach. So if any of you reading this letter have suggestions - any at all - I am more than willing to try them.
Thursday we had Mission Tour. Basically it is when a General Authority from the Church leadership comes to visit the mission. This time we had Elder and Sister Ardern come and visit us. For us to get to south Tarawa from where we are at on Kainaba, you have to take what is called a waa (canoe). We we didn't want to miss the waa so we woke up early, got showered in our 5 gallon bucket, and dressed in our dirtier clothes in case we got drenched on the way over. The meeting started at 2:30 and went until 7:30. It was a really good, insightful conference. (And you are probably wondering because I had a seminary teacher named Brother Ardern...turns out this is his dad.) Well he asked us all to prepare a spiritual insight. Before the meeting started I had a prompting that I would be sharing my scripture, so I made sure my scripture was marked so I could find it easily when I was called upon. Before he called for the last one he asked for everyone to stand that had had his son for a seminary teacher. Elder Mitch Adair and I stood up since we were both from Cache Valley, Utah. He picked me to explain what his son is teaching, so I shared 2 Nephi 11:6 and it says:
"And my soul delighteth in proving that save Christ should come all men must perish."
The reason I chose this verse was because I love how it explains my purpose. That only through Christ can we be saved. So I love teaching and testifying of Christ. After I shared my testimony. So one of the four - Elder and Sister Ardern, President and Sister Larkin - would stand up and share some further insight that they received when reading the verse. This time President Larkin stood and remphasized the point I had just covered. I really loved Elder and Sister Arderns training. It really hit home for me. Let's say it inspired me to try some new things or things I have been wanting to try but haven't been able to because 1: I didn't know how to and 2: I was lacking resources until now. The thing I really liked was the famous quote of "Ask, Seek, Knock". I love how Sister Ardern explained it. She said it is the same as ask is if we pray, seek is as we study, and knock is as we are obedient. She was pretty specific in saying that we should be following all mission standards, rules, white handbook, laws and ordinances of the Gospel. Then Elder Ardern pointed out a very important principle: obedience does not even save us one bit. It is the saving ordinances of the Gospel. So as we are obedient to the ordinances (our covenants), then we are saved. That was what my heart was telling me. I am so thankful for the opportunity that I had to be here for mission tour. The other thing that happened was after mission tour, he asked for Elder Adair and I to meet him in the back of the chapel. So that is what we did and he took pictures of the four of us. As we waited for the bus, my intake took another picture together because we didn't know when the next time would be that we would all see each other again.
Friday was a relaxing kind of day, but we were able to get some of our needs from the Landers - a set of senior couple missionaries. Saturday as a pretty normal day - just a lot of time lessons didn't go through. Sunday was an interesting day as church attendance was pretty low as most everyone from Kainaba was in South Tarawa. Then some gave excuses for not coming to Church which were really kind of lame. So that is what we spent the rest of Sunday doing - trying to fix and figure out why people didn't come.
My spiritual thought comes from my personal study and it is a chapter from the Book of Mormon - Alma 47. Sometimes we think why is this chapter included in the Book of Mormon? It teaches a very important principle. If we are obedient and follow God's commandments, we will be safe from the temptations of the devil. I know this to be true. And I know that Heavenly Father lives and that He loves us. I testify that our Savior Jesus Christ lives and because he lives again, we can be saved. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Letter dated November 16, 2017
Happy Birthday Dad! I'm just writing a quick note to tell you that I love you and I am so thankful for the great example you have been to me. I want you to know that you did a great job being my father. Since I have been on my mission, I have noticed how thankful I am that I have a father that has taught me the important principles of hard work and charity. You have been an example of these all of my life. I want you to know that I love you and am thankful for your support. I say these things humbly, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Letter dated November 20, 2017
Ngkami kam uara? This week has been interesting and full of surprises. Monday was fun as I hung out at ana auti Bwataua and played cards, volleyball and learned a new dance. The song goes like this:
"I kaka bo ma ia tei kaia. Tina taerooia n te tewenakoa bwa ben te riki betia ae kamangeange.
Ai kakamaura te kakaieie inanon marawa iaon abaia (bass) (te bike matoora) e katikitiki ia aan angina ma kamaru angin aon te reveua."
It is a dance of the ancients meaning that most of the words are not known by the modern Kiribati. Later that night, after we had family home evening with them, my stomach started hurting and I got a really bad case of diarrhea - the same as if you were to turn on the tap. I had it the rest of Monday, all of Tuesday and Wednesday. I called the mission nurse and asked her what I should do. She said to take the amoxicillin and the flagyl. Since I have taken that medicine, I have noticed a difference and my stomach feels better.
My spiritual thought for this week comes from 2 Nephi 31:20. There is a phrase in Kiribati I really like. It goes like this: "Teimatoa Inanon Kristo". So Tei means to stand tall and strong and Matoa means hard and immovable. So if we are to follow this phrase above, we are to stand for Christ and follow his example and his teachings - strong and immovable. I know that was we stand firm, we will be blessed. I know that my Redeemer lives and has suffered for us. I know this to be true and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Letter dated November 27, 2017
How are you all? This week I am doing good, just adjusting to the change in having all of us being in Kainaba and Elder Curren and his companion in Nabeina. This week has been interesting. On Wednesday we went to Tearinibai for District meetings. We had a nice photo shoot. I will have to show you the pics when I get internet. The major thing that happened this week was the anniversary of the "Stone". The stone is significant because is signifies that drinking is not allowed in the kawa (village) and this is the 35th year that the stone has been there. We have been in the mwaneaba for breakfast and dinner since the 25th of November through the 30th of November. I will have to show you some of the videos when I get back.
My spiritual thought for the week is from Thomas S. Monson's book.
"Commit thy work unto the Lord and thy thoughts shall be established." - Proverbs 16:3
President David O McKay advised, "I implore you to think clean thoughts." He then made this significant declaration of truth: "Every action is preceded by a thought. If we want to control our actions, we must control our thinking."
Fill your minds with good thoughts and your actions will be proper. May each one of you be able to echo in truth the line from Tennyson spoken by Sir Galahad, "My strength is as the strength of ten, because my heart is pure."
I really loved this inspiration because it reminds me of God's commandment of chastity. That we must let virtue garnish our thoughts unceasingly. I know that as our thoughts are clean, so will our words and actions be also. I testify that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet that lives today. I know that he is called of God to be His prophet. I know that my Redeemer lives and loves me too. I know this to be true because of the Gift of the Holy Ghost. It is He that testifieth of truth. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Letter dated December 4, 2017
Wow what a week! It has been a long week because everyone in this village was busy with their celebration. I will explain. This village banned drinking of alcohol - hitting the 35 year mark this year. So to celebrate they had a week long party - the biggest of which was the 30th, where they celebrated from daytime to daytime. We left early so we could go to bed on time. It was good that we spent time with the village because now they are more receptive to being taught the gospel. This is a small note as it is a combined Pday. So I get to email later!
My spiritual thought for this week is to "open your mouth". This is important as all of us are missionaries in this world. The thing that is important is that we are open about talking about the Gospel because missionaries love it when you share the Gospel, then give them a referral because a referral usually means higher rate of success. I know this gospel is true. I know our Heavenly Father loves us and wants what is best for us. I know this to be true and I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
One last surprise was in this envelope with the above letter. It was a letter dated September 11, 2017 that had been returned to Elder Haycock somehow.
Letter dated September 11, 2017
Happy 9/11 day. This week was eventful and I am glad to come back to Kainaba and work with Elder Curren. To summarize my week, Monday was combined pday in Teoereke which was a lot of fun seeing everyone and being able to get needs done for those in Kainaba.
Tuesday I went on splits with Elder Peterson, who served in the Marshalls for 10 months, then came here to help. It was a lot of fun talking to the people of Eita. Wednesday was our Zone Conference with everyone on Tarawa and we had Mission President there which was awesome. Our theme for this conference was "small and simple things" - Aramwa 37 (Alma 37:6-7) I learned some great things that I am going to try and do that I have not tried already. I was also asked on this conference to share a spiritual experience. I accepted and shared my time that I found that house in Butaritari. I will again share this experience here.
"It was a Sunday evening after church services and we had lessons planned but low and behold all six of them fell through. So we were back at the house deciding what to do and where we should go. At this time I was a little down, but I remember the promise of Jesus Christ "Seek and ye shall find, ask and ye shall receive, knock and it will be opened unto you." (3 Nephi 14:7). At that time in my heart I prayed to my Heavenly Father to know where I needed to go to teach the Gospel and to do his work. He showed me this image in my mind.
The thing is, at the time, I completely forgot where this was so I again asked Heavenly Father if it was North or South. He told me North. Then I kept asking Heavenly Father in each kawa (village) until I heard, "Turn here!" I turned and followed the path until I came in contact with this old man I had been shown. I don't know the rest of the story because I was transferred the week after."
Thursday Elder Curren came and we were able to go back to Kainaba. Since I have been with Elder Curren, we have found 10 new investigators!
Spiritual thought for the week comes from Alma 37:6-7. And if we think about the message from this scripture, if we do the small and simple things, we will be able to do the great things. For example, praying, reading our scriptures and coming to church are the small and simple things. Through these things, we are able to put on the Armor of God. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Ngkami kam uara n te bong aei? Ngai i marurung ao I anga au kaitau bwa e bwara te bootaki n te kawa. Tera riki I ingainga nanou ibukin te tai aei are te tai ni kiritimati ibukin I kona n bootaki ma kain te aro. E rabwa ibukin ami reta ni wiiki aika a nako. Te kamea n te tamnei are e pass. I taku bwa ko atia n noora au reta iaon te mition tour. Ngaia I tangiringkami. E na kanako te naan tamnei imwiin aei.
Dude. I love you but I have no idea what this says....
It says " how are you all doing? I am healthy and I am really thankful that the party in the village is over. Also, I am excited because of this time of year that is Christmas time because I can celebrate with the religion. Thanks for your letters from the past week. The dog I approve it looks like a lot of fun. I thought that you have already read my letter about mission tour. I love you all. I will send pictures after this."
I love you all Elder Ekaki
just an update all of my pics just got wiped. That is the truth - all of them from beginning of my mission to now. So the pics I am sending you today are from my companion. I plugged it in and there was none so I don't know but at least I have some from the blog so I am not totally out of pictures. I can't wait to have the Christmas package! Is anyone else sending a package? It has been pretty normal month beside this last week with the party going on. The island just celebrated 35 years without drinking.
Yes I am still training Elder Roberts. It has been a learning experience as you have to sometimes deal with opposition. We are officially a group, not quite a branch yet and we have group leader who has the power to lead church but I am still in charge of administrative stuff. I have a message for you - but I will have to write it out first when we get to Moroni.
I am sorry you have been feeling opposition. Can you tell me without too much detail - what kind of opposition you are facing in training your comp? Desire is the best I can answer right now. There is a lack of desire to do the work. I am trying very hard to be patient and to help motivate all 3 of them. The Lord will bless us. I just need more patience and time.
“NAKOMAI NAKON KRISTO”
- Moronaai 10:32
Ti tangira ni butimwaeko ___________________ bwa ko na roko ma neboa te Atua. Ti butimwaeko n te Taabati aei are 10 n Ritembwa. E na bo te aoa 10 AM n te oo n reirei. N roko n taroamauri ti berita bwa ko na namakin ana tangira Tamara are I Karawa ibukim. Ibukina bwa ngkoe bon natina. Morarariki, ti kakoaua bwa ko kona ni namakin naba mwakan ana Mwakuri ni Kamaiu Iesu Kristo are akea tokina.
Ti kaitbo ikai!
In English "Come unto Christ " we would love to invite you (name of the person) that you will come and praise God. We invite this Sunday the 10th of December. It will begin at 10 AM at the school. When you come to church we promise that you will feel Heavenly Father's love for you. Because you are a child of God. More importantly, we testify that you will also feel the power of the Infinite Atonement of Jesus Christ. We will see you here!
I want to testify that I know this church is true and that as we do the small things Christ will make up for the difference. I am excited to be a part in this work. This invitation is something I am working on to get others to come unto Christ. I know he lives and that he help me with all things. This I testify in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.
Let me know where you'll be on Christmas, because I am kind of planning on skyping on Christmas Eve for you guys. Well I hope all is well in Montana. I will talk to you in two weeks!!!!
We finally got a gaggle of letters from Elder Haycock. They encompass the entire month of October...but it was wonderful to hear from him!
Letter dated October 2
Well, I don't know if you will get my last letter because I had every intention of sending it but I don't know where it went after I wrote it and sealed it. Well this last week had its highs and lows. Some things that happened this week: So the school here is having a competition against the other schools in the Tarawaieta. All of our member have been working since sunrise to 8 or 9 pm every day this week getting the school ready. I am so excited that the work will be done soon so we can get back to teaching the gospel more. On Thursday we went to Nabeina and we got invited to a birthday party on Saturday. (Kiribati people only really celebrate 2 birthdays - when they turn 1 and 21.) So this party gave us a way into the hearts of the people of Nabeina. The only problem we had this week is all our Melchezidek Priesthood holders were busy with fixing the school. This made us have problems finding people to go on splits with us. All the people we were supposed to meet with weren't home, so we spent a lot of our time rescheduling our appointments for later in the week. Saturday was an interesting day for Curren and I. It was also a frustrating day. We were told that this Bootaki (party) was supposed to start at 2, but it turned out that the cake stayed in Tarawa and the boats couldn't get out because it was low tide. So we were forced to wait on that until 4 and had a dinner appointment for the same time. Elder Curren and I divided and conquered both tasks.
Letter dated October 9
I decided I was going to combine this letter. Monday was a great combined day, it was nice to see almost everyone from my intake. Tuesday through Thursday was pretty much ordinary missionary days where we wake up at 6 am, excercise, shower, study, teach 8 - 10 lessons per day, have dinner, go to bed. Thursday night we had YSA from Eita 2nd Ward come and stay here for three days so we had a kainutu that night. Friday was a bigger day as they wanted to help with the missionary work. They helped us track 90% of the houses here in Kainaba. That night we had a game night with a fishing contest and a bunch of card games. Saturday we were priveledged to have the baptism of Taniera, a member who lost his records from Abemama. Really awesome baptism. Sunday was a nice taromauri and relaxing Sunday. Sorry that this note is short - just not a lot happened.
Letter dated October 16
Ngkami kam uara n te wirki aei? I am doing great and happy that help is coming this next week, I think I will know more on Wednesday. So for Monday, what a waste of a P-day. I helped Elder Curren with his test, fix his essays, grab stuff for Kainaba, and then we finally got to Moroni at 4:30 with just a half an hour to play games and to relieve some of my stress. But nope - it wasn't to be because he had to find a bar for his pullups so that time was wasted. Then we had a kainutu.
This week has been a little frustrating as we were super busy with two companionship's and just a little frustrated with how many times I've been lied to this week.
Thougts for this week comes from a list of scriptures that I have been studying. 2 Nephi 4:28, Jude 1:21, 2 Nephi 9:45, 2 Nephi 11:6 and 3 Nephi 12:48. The general theme that I have gotten is that as I rely on my Savior I can receive strength to do all things even when I'm frustrated with members, investigators, companions, branch presidents, etc. I know that he can give me strength. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Letter dated October 23
How are you all doing? Ngai, I rangi ni maraning n te bong aei. Well the breakdown of the week. I am sending four letters this week. Oops. Life has been crazy busy. Breakdown of Tuesday: normal work day with Elder Curren. On Wednesday we came in for Zone Conference. Super good. It was really nice to see almost everyone from my intake. Thursday was an adventure. We ended up missing the waa and so we had to bike from Kainaba to Temwaiku during low tide because we had to be at infield orientation. That was my first time training as I got a new "kid". His name is Elder Roberts. So I am still working on Kainaba with my "kid" and Elder Curren and his "kid" - Elder Payne - so now there are four of us. Friday we came back and had a bootaki to welcome the new elders. Super fun. Saturday was a full day along with Sunday. That pretty much sums up the week. I would like to close with my testimony that I know this church is true. That Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. That through Him, I am saved.
We didn't hear from Elder Haycock this week via email because of his Mission wide conference, but did receive a letter dated October 30, 2017.
Before I go over teh contents of the week, I just want to say thank you for that package. It has been a HUGE help - especially the white shirts. You know I started my mission with 15 white shirts. Well, the week before the package came, I was down to 1 white shirt. When it got dirty I would wash it at night and hang it up to dry. So yeah....thanks!
Contents of this week: Tuesday was a normal busy work day. Wednesday was a little tough as everyone does what is called "the Market". Basically it is like this: they prepare some food such as the breadfruit, fish that has been sun dried, sand worms that are cooked, or they prepare stuff for smoking. Then after they prepare it all, they get on a waa and take it to South Tarawa and sell it and that is how people get their money here. Thursday was very busy as we each taught 10 lessons for a total of 20 that day. Friday is known as the bwakabwai as that is when government jobs get their money or when retirement money is paid. So everyone works extra hard to make sure that they have stuff for this past weekend so that they can have money for the week. It is basically the same in how we get paid every other week for the work we do. So there was no one in their houses until after 6:30 when the waa came back. Saturday was the same as Friday plus there was a bootaki for the teachers from the KTC (local church that doesn't really like Mormons) and so everyone on the south end of the island was busy as it was their turn to feed them. Sunday was interesting. We had President Tongoi, the District President, come and he called a new group leader which should be good for Kainaba. Yep, that's what happened this week. Still struggling with being lied to, but, I know without opposition, there is no growth.
My spiritual thought this week comes from a scripture that was quoted by President Uchtdorf in this month's Home Teaching Message. It comes from 1 Corinthians 1:27 which says, "God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty." I really liked this scripture because that is how our Heavenly Father works. I can name countless experiences such as David and Goliath, Elijah, Adam and Eve - even Jesus Christ. But I want to focus on just one and that is the name of a 14 year old farm boy, Joseph Smith. He was born and raised in a family who believed in the Bible and taught him to read from it. He also lived in a time of great religious excitement. He was really confused why there were so many churches because they were all different to the point that he didn't attend any of them. But one thing he kept doing was reading from the Bible when he came across this verse in the Epistle of James Chapter 1 verse 5. It says, "If any of ye lack wisdom, let him ask of God who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not." Because of Joseph Smith, Jesus Christ's church is back on the earth restored in fullness - never to be taken again. I know my Savior lives. What joy this sentence brings. I know that through Him I can be saved. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
How has your week been? Any fun and exciting projects coming up? What are your plans for Christmas? How are your prayers? How is your Book of Mormon reading going? These last two questions we ask every investigator, recent convert and member. We might think that these little things are so simple and that sometimes we can put them off. However, that is not the case. Eternal salvation is on the line. Only through our small righteous actions can we be ready for the daily temptations of the Devil. Through prayer we can build our testimonies and our truths here a little, there a little. But if we don't exercise our faith, we lose those precious truths. This is my thought that has touched me this past week as that is the only way investigators can progress. I know that my Redeemer lives! I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
How's the new calling going? I heard that you are taking a class at school. How is that? I am sure you are doing great in your personal study of the scriptures. This past week I have been studying the Isaiah chapters in 2 Nephi. It is so cool to see his prophecies that he foretold of long ago apply to today. He really saw our day! This week has bee my first whole week in training and so far it has had its ups and downs, but I'm excited for this experience and I am thankful for the Lord's trust in allowing me to train this missionary. It has brought a new perspective and has forced me to open my mouth to explain and to put my trust in my Heavenly Father to help me with what I should say. It has also helped me to know how I can help others come unto Christ. I really liked this scripture in 2 Nephi 12:2 "And it shall come to pass in the last days, when the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above hills, and all nations shall flow unto it." - The mountain of the Lord's house refers to the temples of God and all nations shall flow unto it refers to the Conference Center in Salt Lake City. I love how this prophecy has already come true and will probably continue to grow. I am so thankful for scriptures that teach us about these latter days. I know that as we continue to study the Book of Mormon, we can know what Heavenly Father wants for us. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen
How are you? How is school treating you? What are your plans for after school? Are you still thinking about a mission?
I will share a small mission experience with you. So in the end of September, we baptized a lady named Eretia. She is 23 years old and hasn't married yet. So anyway, I was lessoning (teaching haha) with her and I asked her if she had received her truth about the Book of Mormon and she said she did. I then asked her how she got that truth. She said, " I was praying one night after a long day of work. And I asked my Heavenly Father for the truth of the Book of Mormon. " She continued, "As soon as I said those words, I felt this overwhelming feeling of joy rush over me. I knew in that instant it was true." Because of her sweet little testimony, my testimony was strengthened. I want to testify to you that if we have a question, we can "ask of God" and He will give the answer to us. I know this to be true. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
What's up bro? I want to share a mission experience with you - it's with this family - her name is Bwataua and her son's name is Kauma. So she was reading one night and had a picture out of Joseph Smith. When her son came in and said, "What's that?", hit the picture and then spit on it. As soon has he spit on it, a small solar panel that was placed very securely fell and hit him in the head. Because of this experience, she now has a testimony of the Book of Mormon and that Joseph Smith is a prophet. I want you to know how much your Heavenly Father loves you and I want you to know he wants what is best for you. I know that as you follow his counsel, you will be blessed.
What's new in Montana? I heard you went to your first Stake dance. How was that? Have you recorded yet? I am anxious to hear you play. I thought of some things I want to tell you that will make you a successful person:
1. Put God first. If you do this everything will run smooth.
2. Daily scripture study and prayer. By building our faith daily we are ready to face the fiery darts of the adversary.
3. Keep the Commandments - keep them all so that you may be blessed, so that you will prosper.
These are three things that I know will help us stay on the path, the straight and narrow path. I know my Savior lives and loves me too. I atongi bwaai aikai, Amen.
Ko uara? (How are you?) What have you been up to lately? I heard you got in as the class student council secretary! That's really cool! I wanted to share with you something. I know that God loves us with whatever decision we make. It may seem like He is upset with us, but in reality, He's dissappointed in the decision we made and is hoping and waiting for us to come back to Him. We can do this through repentance. This includes both the small and large things we do. Here is the process:
1. We need to know what we are doing is wrong and recognize it.
2. We need to feel remorse for what we did.
3. We need to ask for forgiveness from our Heavenly Father.
4. If we committed a sin against someone else, we need to ask for their forgiveness too.
5. We need to work hard to never do it again.
I know that was we repent, we can feel our Savior's love. I know He lives and loves us. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen
How are you? Are you helping mom and dad out by being a good girl? I want you to know how much Heavenly Father loves you and wants what is best for you. As you follow the counsel of your parents and listen to what they say, they will love and help you to choose the right. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
My comp is doing good! He is definitely opening up. The members are getting better but are still struggling with opposition and the word of wisdom.
Christmas package...I guess don't worry about the sandals - I'm using my Tevas with the backs cut out. So yeah... SD Cards: preferably the ones that are micro because they can be used with everything. Can you make sure there are drink packets in it because the water is not the best tasting. I want you to know how much I love you. I feel okay but I am a little stressed as I don't know what the future holds... As my time is coming close to leaving Kainaba. But I am excited for what the Lord has in store for me. This week we are having a mission tour so I don't know what to do because that backpack allows me to carry stuff I need to every lesson. So I don't know what they will do. Well that is news to me about the bags and shoes because that will cause more back pain, but if that is what they want, we will follow it. (Changes to the bags and shoes missionaries in this region can use were put on the mission website earlier this week with the understanding that the current missionaries would phase out in 4 to 6 months to the new standards which is a challenge for most of the missionaries serving here. That would be about 3 months shy of Elder Haycock returning home.) It'll probably be a while before you hear from me again. Don't panic if it's 3 or 4 weeks.
Letter dated September 18, 2017
Wow, what a week this has been as we have found 10 new investigators! Nothing really too exciting happened.
Monday we went into Tarawa to finish up some of Elder Curren's college applications and to put in Tiingau's birthday. So...turns out we took the wrong person's information with us. Turns out it was the wife of Taorita that we needed to put in. So that was wonderful. (sarcasm) Tuesday was a high investigator finding day. As well as Wednesday. Thursday was like an other day of work as you see your investigators start to progress. Friday was a little slow as no one was in their house because of the waa. We also helped to build a seawall behind the Primary. Saturday all of our investigators came back like at 5:00 to 6:30 PM, so we taught 7 lessons in 2 hours. That was fun. Sunday was great. Namwaroro gave his wife a piggy back just so that both of them could come to church. They are on their way to being ready for baptism. Elder Curren and I went on splits so that Nabeina (little villiage to the north) could get church this week too.
My spiritual though for this week comes from a book by Thomas S. Monson - "A Future As Bright As Your Faith":
Persevere and Endure: "The natural branches began to grow and thrive exceedingly and the wild branches began to be plucked off and to be cast away; and they did keep the root and top thereof equal, according to the strength thereof." - Jacob 5:75
We know that there are times when we will experience heartbreaking sorrow, when we will grieve, and wen we may be tested to our limits. However, such difficulties allow us to change for the better than we were, more understanding than we were, more empathetic than we were, with stronger testimonies than we had before.
This should be our purpose - to persevere and endure, yes, but also to become more spiritually refined as we make our way through sunshine and sorrow.
This though has been a huge help this last week as I have persevered through the ups and downs of things not working in the local government and other challenges. I have a testimony of my Savior, I know that through Him I can do all things. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Letter dated September 25th, 2017
Ngkami, kam uara? I am doing great this week! This last week has been fun and hard as we will have to fix some of the church structure this next week. Baptism this week was awesome! Eretia was able to get baptized this past Saturday. She was an awesome investigator, knew everything was true. She was so cool. While she was an investigator, she helped with the youth by having a barbecue for all the youth and she brought all the food. It has been a very fast week - we got a lot done, but there is not a lot to talk about.
My spiritual thought comes from 1 Nephi as I have been studying it deeper. I love Nephi's example even though he was young, he put his strength and trust in the Lord. Because of this he was blessed. I have noticed this also. Instead of complaining, if I ask the Lord for help, He gives it to me. I know that my Redeemer lives. I know that Heavenly Father loves you all. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
So about this week. Just like any other normal missionary week. Wake up, exercise, study time, teach repentance and baptize converts, dinner, retire to bed. Yep that pretty much describes my week. Training has been good as it has kept me on my A game - especially when he has any questions or is not understanding what is going on. Our investigators are progressing very slowly as now we are fighting the Kaitara, (opposition), like the word of wisdom. It has been frustrating. But it has been a good growth. We are now making up for the 20 members that have moved and then are not coming back for awhile. So I am hoping for this week that things will go well. When I go to Moroni, I will put more pictures on.
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.