So this last week Elder B'ataua got transferred and now Elder Seffker is my new companion! A little about him: he comes from a family of fifteen and he came to the mission the intake group after me, so I'm now the Senior companion. This last part of the week has been a little stressful as I have been faced with leading on the discussions, but my language has improved a lot as I have relied upon the Lord for help. That was the major event that happened this week along with church attendance increasing each week which is so good! Yesterday I had octopus again and it was so good because it was tarinaki (sun dried) and then cooked so it was soft - very good. My hope is this week, as I found out that I need to collect information for the potential Branch Presidents to be called here. So I will try and finish that as quickly as I can. That is one of the objectives this week.
Sorry this email is short but not a lot happened but I would like to end this email with a spiritual thought that has helped for these past two weeks as I have felt low. (Update: We heard in a separate email, that Elder Haycock is finally feeling better and is able to keep food and water down. He also reports that all of his cuts, sores and swollen lymph nodes are healed. We couldn't be happier! Thanks for your faith and prayers!)
My thought comes from "The War Goes On" by Elder Larry R. Lawrence. I would like to share my personal study.
There are limits to Satan's power
1 He cannot tempt little children
2. He does not know our thoughts unless we tell him. Do not murmur or speak evil of yourself or others.
This last statement is what I have been working on. As struggles have happened, I have caught myself murmuring a little bit. Then I realized if I did this, Satan brings it up again and again. I want to testify that as we pray and study we can receive help with our trials. I want to testify that there is a power working against us when we are doing what is right. His name is Satan, but he does not have power over us because we have a body and he does not. Through our Savior, we can receive help to our problems. I testify that God the Eternal Father and His Son Jesus Christ live and they love us and share that love with us. I would like all of you who read this to read Alma 7:24 The promise there is so true. I testify that we can receive eternal life but we must stand strong and endure to the end. I say these things in the name of our Savior, even Jesus Christ, Amen.
This week we went and visited the other islands here on Butaritari. So I attached some pictures. While we visited these islands I was able to check off two items off my bucket list (1) see dolphins in real life and actually see them jump so cool! and (2) be caught in a rainstorm while on a boat. This week are planning on having a family baptized but we will see if the father has stopped smoking if not we will probably push it to next week.
This week has been full of trials but as I have turned to the Lord Jesus Christ for help He has been so merciful unto me and has helped me to overcome these hard times. These trials have included: where my lymph nodes are huge stones - form kind of like when you have your wisdom teeth pulled and swells there, my stomach not wanting to keep anything in and just pooping it all out, and then struggling with how
my companion does things (he loves to do things only one way and struggles a little bit seeing the big picture, which means a lot of biking). But, as I have prayed fervently and humbly, I have received help from my Savior Jesus Christ.
My thought this week comes from this scripture that has helped me 2 Timothy 4:7 "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept my faith." I have really liked this scripture this week as I read it during my personal study and has been the biggest help especially the part "I have kept the faith". I have been constantly asking myself am I keeping the faith? Am I keeping the commandments? Do I pray morning and night and throughout the day? Do I study my scriptures? Have I repented of my sins? Do I use the Savior's atonement to help me find relief? These questions have helped me to have this patience and to have my spiritual bank full that I may be able to help others come unto Christ. This phrase has helped me when I have felt low this week. My question to you is are you keeping the faith?? I want to testify that our Savior Jesus Christ has atoned, died on the cross, and IS RISEN. I'm so thankful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ as it has been a light in the dark. I know that He lives. I know that Heavenly Father loves us and knows us by name. I'm thankful for this Easter Season as it is a time to remember that our Savior lives and loves us and has given us this free gift to all that we can choose to accept and use. I testify of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
PS please send my congratulations (to Joe on his mission call to Guatemala)
2 Timothy 4:7
Am Titirake (your questions)
I hear the Jenks are heading home soon. I'll be sad to see them go. They've been so good to the missionaries! Do you know who is replacing them? I'm a little sad that they are going and that I won't be able to see them off as I will be here. I have no clue but I imagine it has to be someone pretty close in the way that they handle things.
I got a picture yesterday from the gal who cleaned your teeth. Your eyes are closed and your smile is hilarious, bit you look so happy and healthy, I don't care if it's a great picture or not! I just really appreciated it!
I do have a good question for you though....is religious persecution really prevalent on Butaritari? And if yes, how do you combat or overcome it?? Are you settling in and becoming familiar with the island and it's people? There is definitely some persecution but not as prevalent as in other areas, the way members handle this is be facing it head on and having friends that are constantly checking on each other. This last week at church we had it combined in Kuma the farthest village north. If we had everyone come we would have over 70 but this week we still had 53 in attendance. I was so happy to see everyone face and there is a lot of active Melchizedek priesthood holders so the goal this year is to establish a branch. It has become a lot easier since I have had it explained.
Tell us more about your companion. What is he like? My companion loves to do things in one way and that way was established before I got here and it has been hard to adjust to doing it his way and not adapting to what our investigators need.
Did you get some band-aids yet? I'm sorry I blew the whistle a bit, but just felt a strong prompting that you would need them long before the mail would get to you. Please take good care of yourself! Two things I've noticed in the recent pictures....1. Is your watch band broken, or is the Velcro bad? 2. How is your acne? Your face looks like it's painful and very oily. What are you using to clean it? Yes I got some bandaids, thank you for your concern. My watch is dying sometimes I will wake up and have to reset the time in my next package if you could send one that is digital but still small that will be nice. My acne very little to none the best thing that has worked has been soap and water and I have been trying to wash twice a day.
How was your week in Butaritari? This week was just spectacular as the work is moving forward as we almost broke fifty at church this week and had a baptism this week! I'll share more later.
What have you learned? There is a different culture here in the Islands of Maiang and this last week Elder B'ataua has been helping me get adjusted. For example in the southern islands, it is okay to hit the dogs and cats (to keep them from biting) but here in the north e tabuaki (forbidden).
Tell us about the church membership there on the island. It is about the same as Nonouti, but a lot more active Melchizedek Priesthood holders. The members here are so accepting and ready to help get the work forward. They constantly are giving us referrals and helping us out by visiting people who don't come to church.
How are lessons going? Lessons are great and you can tell that Elder B'ataua teaches by the Spirit and as we are there, it is very easy to follow the Holy Ghost, especially in what needs to be said to help those investigators.
What new things have you experienced or tried? We had limes last Friday and we tried to get some mangoes but they are not in season yet. Lots of breadfruit lately as we just finished the peak of it's season and we are moving into the banana season.
Are the people and customs similar to Nonouti? Two different sides as I mentioned above so here there are different words that are used. The best way to describe the change is the South stayed in their old language and the North changed their language to sound more like the English language. And since it rains here a lot the people look more white.
Tell us about where you are living now - ex. house or hut or what? food? So we live on the southern part of the island in Onomwaru (oh-no-mah-roo) I'll attach a picture of the house. The house is better than the one in Nonouti as it is actually a house. The food - Cargo comes every week so stuff really doesn't run out. since Tarawa is only a 45 min flight it is really close. And there is not a lot of islands in the north. The meals usually consist of breadfruit, rice, ika (fish), some type of soup, noodle, and the drink usually the karewe or the moi moto.
Who takes care of your laundry or needs? Laundry - Tearitao we give it to her on Monday and usually get it back about Wednesday. Needs - B'auro ao (and) Rosary they live across from us and run a store and he is the Unit Leader so he has been a huge help!
Is privacy better or worse on this island? Much better as we don't live on an open buoia, but it is very hot because the circulation of air is poor.
How is your stomach adjusting? My stomach is still adjusting as these last couple of days I just got over having diarrhea and the week before a really bad headache that finally stopped this past week.
How are your cuts and sores? It is easier here to keep them clean as there is very little dust because it rains a lot, however, there are a lot of flies and mosquitoes. Can you send out some more band aids and I'll ask Tarawa too, but the nurse is currently in the Marshals.
Did you get them looked at by the nurse? What did she say? No I did not as she was not there but, I did get my teeth looked out by a team of American Dentists and I have no cavities yet!
Were you able to swap out or replenish things from your luggage in Tarawa when you flew in? Not everything I wanted as I flew in on Monday and left on Wednesday, but I was able to grab the essentials. Is
it possible for you to send more ties out I would like more that I can give away and also wear that are different?
Where is your companion from? My companion is from Nauru but he has lived there and in Kiribati, so he is very good at speaking Kiribati and his native language which is a little different than if your just speaking Kiribati.
What is he like? Short like Schoeney, but a very hard worker in that he will do something until it is done. And he follows the plan to a tee.
How is the dialect change for you? It has been a bit difficult. For example, "Who" in the South is "Antai" in the North, it's "Nantra". Just small words like that.
How are you adjusting to the changes in the island, people, food, etc.? The rain has been a nice change. It has rained every day so far at least some time during the day. People are still the same - still very nice. The one thing that is weird though is not seeing the coconut tree as often as the breadfruit tree. That is the tree that there is a lot of here.
What are your plans as a companionship for the island missionary work? At the end of this month we plan to have a family baptized (husband, wife, and child). They are so ready, but their only problem right now is he smokes one time a day, but this last visit he told us that he would give it up because he desires to be baptized.
And....what happened with the transfer originally? Was there a problem? Okay, so I was supposed to leave on the 23rd of March but the person replacing me didn't come off the plane meaning that I can't leave the island and leave Elder Fonseca alone. So we emailed the Jenks on Monday and that was all the time we had as we had to go find the Kiribati Agent as the flight was early that week and check in was in a couple hours so sorry for not emailing that week. So that was the problem and while I was in Tarawa there wasn't any time to email - so sorry for the worry but I didn't know where I was going until I was picked up by the district leaders when I came off the plane in Tarawa.
Hannah, I love you and want you to know that I think of you. Keep helping mom and dad.
Sarah, I love you lots and haven't heard from you yet how is school going? How are your friends? How is choir?
Josh, I'm excited to hear it, just send it to me it is easier that way then trying to download it from the drive as sometimes the browser doesn't support it. My companion is awesome.
Nate, It's rolling along. That is also moving forward. That has been difficult. I love you lots sorry for the short answers but time is short. Talk to you more next week.
Liz, My favorite part of this week has been the rain as it has cooled down the hot weather. Lots of breadfruit lately is what I have eaten. I love you lots.
Dad, sorry I wasn't able to email that week but we only had enough time to talk to the Jenks and that was about it. I finally read Jacob 5 in Kiribati - very good and I'll share what I learned later. I love you lots.
Mom, some things that I would like are some bandaids, flavor packets, and a nice deck of cards that won't deteirate because of the humidity.
My message for this week comes from Jacob 5:75. I want to testify that these are the last days as in the story. The fruit was overcome by the bad. We are in that time, but as we returning back to the mother tree the good fruit was restored. I want to testify as we keep the commandments of the our Heavenly Father we can receive the eternal life and the joy that comes with it. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Kam ni bane Mauri au utu,
I naani Kukurei ibukin te tai aio I kona n internet. To leave your worries behind, I am alright and well here in....Butaritari. (Pronounced Pu-tah-ree-tah-ree) Sorry for the long pause but I couldn't just tell you right away. It's been a big change coming from the south islands to the north islands because the dialect is different. Well I finally arrived here last Wednesday (29th) but the reason I didn't leave Nonouti on last Thursday (23rd) was because Elder Hansen didn't come off the plane. So I waited for the next flight which he came off on, so I am now with Elder B'ataua, a Kiribati native companion. That's basically what happened these two weeks that I haven't told you.
I hope you are helping out mom and being nice to her. I love you.
Sounds like you have been having a fun week. Keep helping out your parents and be nice to your siblings.
I haven't heard from you in a while How are you doing? I love you and want you to keep moving forward.
The transfer went well this week as I am now here in Butaritari. I love my new companion as he will help me the most as he is Kiribati. I just came over a week long headache, (let's say I'm very grateful for the power of the Priesthood. I'm glad that you helped out mom and dad by cleaning out the car. I love you and will talk to you more next week.
I'm glad that Javelin season has started up again I want you to do the best, and beat your record and not worry about the other throwers. I love you and want to hear more from you next week.
Thanks so much for this advice I have seen the results already as I tried it this week with my headache that I have had this past week. Well I love you lots and can't wait to talk to you more next week when I have more time.
Well I don't know what I want to talk about this week as I not much has happened. I know you want pictures of here I have not taken them yet as my camera has just barely charged. Work is moving forward here should have a baptism this week. Love you lots!!!!!
Where in the world is Butaritari?
Butaritari is an atoll in the Pacific Ocean island nation of Kiribati. The atoll is roughly four-sided. The south and southeast portion of the atoll comprises a nearly continuous islet. The atoll reef is continuous but almost without islets along the north side. Bikati and Bikatieta islets occupy a corner of the reef at the extreme northwest tip of the atoll. Small islets are found on reef sections between channels on the west side. The lagoon of Butaritari is deep and can accommodate large ships, though the entrance passages are relatively narrow. It is the most fertile of the Gilbert Islands, with relatively good soils (for an atoll) and high rainfall. Butaritari atoll has a land area of 13.49 km2 (5.21 sq mi) and a population of 4,346 as of 2010. During World War II, Butaritari was known by US forces as Makin Atoll, and was the site of the Battle of Makin. Locally, Makin is the name of a separate atoll three kilometers to the northeast of Butaritari.
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.