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.
Yes, everything made it to me. The Large shirts were huge on me and Kiribati people usually fit the size Medium. Pants are great! Thanks so much for the ties! Kiribati people are loving them! Probably the mac and cheese and the American candy have been my favorite treats so far. Things Kiribati people need for church is white shirts and ties.
Yep. I guess the cat is out of the bag. Yes I am training Elder Roberts! He is my considered my "son" since I am his first companion. It is huge adjustment for me, but it has been good as I have had time to reflect on myself and what I need to do. Oh yeah I remember those days when I first got here and struggled with the food and water. He is hanging in there and he taught his first lesson Saturday on Word of Wisdom. He did great! The work is still moving forward and I still teach 8-10 lessons a day for the last 12 weeks so far.
The lying problem is still here and we are going to resolve it this week. We have a full work week this week. The retention of new members is pretty good. Life works in opposites. If the work is good and in a really good place, then the opposite has to be big too. We are working with that this week. Programs are getting there. So far we have a primary teacher, gospel principles teacher, youth teacher, relief society, and elder's quorum.
I just want to end with my testimony:
I know that this church is true. That Jesus is the Christ. Through his Atonement all mankind is made free from death. I know how much God loves us and wants us to become like him we can only do this if we follow his commandments and standards. I am so thankful for a prophet who leads and guides the church. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet called of God. That through Joseph Smith Jesus Christ's church was restored and will be here forever. Also through the power of Heavenly Father Joseph Smith was able to translate Ana Boki Moomon: Kakoauan Taekan Iesu Kristo to English so that Everyone can receive the message of the restored gospel. I know He lives and loves me too Jesus Christ. Through his blood I can be washed clean each and every day. To be baptized again every Sabbath as I can renew my covenant with my Heavenly Father. I testify that the Book of Mormon is true. I am thankful for the joy this gospel brings that through our faith, we can repent, renew our covenants and be baptized, receive the companionship of a member of the Godhead even the Holy Ghost, and the ability to have a goal to go to the temple to be sealed as a family forever. I know the Plan of Salvation is God's plans of Happiness for us and it is our way to have agency. I testify of these things in the Name of Jesus Christ, my Savior, my Redeemer, even my Eldest Brother, Amen
I will send pictures when I get to Moroni
I am doing great this week! Just a little frustrated and disappointed about being lied to by members, but it all will work out. I can't wait to see the package! I will have to ask the Lander's about it. Sorry about the letter delay. Sometimes I can't send it, but I have three to send right now and I sent one last week. (I mentioned that his hair was super blond and very shaggy, but that we liked it.) I can't wait for a haircut! We have Zone Conference this Wednesday. Then we will see if we have infield training this Thursday and we have a bootaki this Friday. And possibly a baptism this Saturday. That is the plan this week. I will probably also be talking to President for an interview. Depending on when school starts, I may be changing my date of going home - as he needs to know six months in advance to make everything work out.
Email from this week:
Ngkami, kam uara? I am doing great this week! Just another busy week with the baptism of Taniera. I finally sent another letter - sorry they are so hit and missed. I also finally received your letter that you dated on the 28th of July. So what is new: in two weeks there will be two more elders coming out to Kainaba on about the 20th of this month. The battle is real, but what is even cooler is the converting power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am not a 100% sure how long I will be with Elder Curren as he is going home on December 18th. Well health wise I feel great besides being exhausted from the long hot days, but that is nothing to complain about. Yes, other people have noticed that I have lost weight and I don’t feel sick - I feel wonderful. Because if you remember two weeks before I left for the MTC we were moving and food was probably not the most nutritious so I actually think I am fine. My pants so you know how there were 36 inch waist when we bought them it is now easily a 32-34. As I have lost some inches around the waist. I’m excited for my package and can’t wait to see what is inside of it!
My thought this week comes from my personal study, as I have been studying from the Book of Mormon. I love reading Nephi’s writings as he does two things, he one: testifies of Jesus Christ and two: gives all of his glory to God. Which makes me pose the question “How am I giving my glory to my Heavenly Father? And do I stand as witness of my Savior Jesus Christ and his Infinite Atonement?”
This is my thought this week and I know that my Savior lives and loves me too. That through Him I can be cleaned. I testify that He loves each one of us and wants what is best for us. I testify of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Letter dated August 28, 2017
Sorry about last week's letter - just no a whole lot happened. I can say that Elder Osborne left safely from Tarawa, Kiribati. That was kind of fun to send off all those missionaries and to be gathered with all of the other missionaries. I helped Elder Baker by being his companion so he can do his Zone leader responsibilities. We also picked up Elder Deacon from the airport that evening but ran into some troubles with dropping off Elder Hilliard as the Temwaiku Elders didn't get back until late Tuesday. We went to the mission office to pick up needs for the members here in Kainaba and got back here on the waa and had a nice Tuesday.
Wednesday was fun as we visited Namwaroro and Katikora. I dropped off my laundry to be washed and then came back here because we had to clean up the trash from previous Elders. We had dinner that night with Itaia. We went to what is called te re (lessons for the Kiribati dancing). This was in preparation for District Conference and it has been fun for getting close to the members here.
Thursday was nice as we mastered our dance more for next week with Kamaera he'd Taekan te Aro, had English class, had dinner with Tanieara and had the te re again. Friday was an interesting turn of events as we had a normal morning and we went and taught Namwaroro and Katikora and had a good weekly planning session. Started going to the southern part of the Island when my companion, Elder Deacon told me he needed to go the bathroom. So we buy some toilet paper and let him use the bathroom at the primary school. Things weren't good there and he needed to be seen by a doctor. We texted the Belens. After this experience, we had to come back to Tarawa to get him checked out because he was so sick. We started learning a march for our District Conference. Here are the lyrics:
Ana Teka te Atua
Bon te kabang ae Vaitera wiina
E urua ninia rabwatan te ro.
E bon tokanikai.
Saturday we went to Tarawa to switch out my companion so Elder Deacon could be checked out at the hospital. Now I am working with Elder Bollin for a week until we see what happens with Elder Deacon. Sunday was nice as we had 75 at church and another 11 in Nabeina.
My thought for this week comes from Matthew 7:1-5. Are we judging righteously? I know that as we show our love for others we will be blessed by our Heavenly Father to have the gift of Charity. I know this to be true. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Matthew 7: 1-51 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
Letter dated September 4, 2017
This week has been different as I have helped the members of Kainaba get ready for the District Conference this past weekend - 1st through 3rd of September. However the preparations for this conference have put a lot of stress on me as I had to prepare the members.
Monday, Preparation Day, we got up and we practice the dance for the conference for over 8 hours. We asked Katiria to help fix our hands, legs and head movement. Kiribati dancing is almost - if not as hard as the Samba. To give you a perspective - all the little head movements, hand positions have to be perfectly in sync. While we were practicing, I got a call from President Tamana (2nd Counselor in the District Presidency). He told me I needed to interview all of the Aaronic Priesthood brethren to see who was ready and worthy to accept the Melchizedek Priesthood. I interviewed 11 Aaronic Priesthood brethren and found them ready to accept the Melchizedek Priesthood. This is what consumed the rest of my Tuesday and I finished Wednesday. Wednesday was our last whole day before we came in for the District Conference. I taught a few lessons, but really just visisted everyone to make sure they were ready.
Thursday we came in on the waa which was a lot of fun as we were able to be close to our members in Kainaba. Friday was the big day for dancing as we were able to perform for the Mission President and his wife, a member of the Quorum of the Seventy - Elder Johansen (super neat guy - Tongan, very good at explaining principles), and some senior couples. It was a blast! I will have to try and send a video. I will at least send some pics.
Saturday was super awesome especially the Priesthood Leadership Training. I was so good to get some counsel from the Seventy in how to be a better Branch President, and programs that need to be started in Kainaba. Sunday was nice to be able to help Elder Peterson here in Eita and to try and get people back to church. Before I close my letter, I will close in a spiritual thought. I take some advice from Elder Johansen. he spoke about the Sabbath Day. He emphasized what we should and should not do. He said, "The sabbath day is a significant day, cooking should be to a minimum, in fact we should be fasting every Sunday." This never occurred to me that Sunday should be kept like this. Thought that was interesting. I know that as we keep God's commandments, we will be blessed. I know this to be true. And I say these things in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.
We heard from Elder Haycock on Sunday evening too. It was brief. He was headed to play games with his District for his preparation day. He said he is happy and loving what he is doing and very much looking forward to his package. He also sent a couple of pictures. They are a bit goofy - as in we don't think he was paying attention when they were taken, but we don't care because we love seeing him!
Email from 9/17/2017
There is a letter on the way about more details of the week, but overall my week has been awesome and full of experiences! Everyone is progressing to baptism. Namwaroro and Katikora came to church a half mile walk across a lagoon and Namwaroro carried her on his back. Elder Curren and I were amazed! And now he is rocking my white shirt and one of my ties you sent me! My health is great. Probably the most humbling moment this week would have to be finding out my progressing investigator is moving to Christmas Island and the fact is, I have grown to love that family and I am really going to miss them. I think I have the balance thing figured it out and it should be a lot easier when there are two more Elders here to help.
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.