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.
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.