This week has gone by fast and not a lot has happened. We biked to Kuma again this week and have cut down the travel time. We fixed the cat problem by moving one of the cupboard and sticking a board in front the problem this week is fixing the door as we have not taken very good care of it and needs to be fixed. The package has not come yet because my guess is there is some confusion as the Jenks went home.
My message this week is focused on three words: Nakomai nakon Kristo (Come Unto Christ)
I would like to start with Matthew 11:28-30 which is about how we need to learn of Christ and as we learn of Christ we can get his help. In Moroni 10:32 it tells us to come unto Christ and be perfected in him. And in Omni 1:26 it explains how we come unto him by fasting and prayer and by enduring to the end. I know that my Redeemer lives and has already come to this earth not destroy the people in their sins but to save them and give them eternal Life (see John 3:16-17). I love my elder brother, Jesus Christ. I know that this Church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and it was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. And now it is lead by a living prophet whose name is President Thomas S. Monson. I testify that the Book of Mormon is the word of God as I have finished it this week in the language of Kiribati. Regardless of the language, it is true. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Kam na bane ni Mauri n te Moanibong aei,
My week this week has been full of ups and downs, but as I have relied on the Lord, He has helped me overcome these difficult times. I would like to describe my week in seven parts.
1. Skype - I'm so thankful that I could see you all and hear your voices. Sorry you couldn't see me.
2. New Investigators - this week we found 4 new investigators! Not a 100% sure if they are genuine yet. We will see if they will keep the commitments or not.
3. Cats - During this week a hole appeared in our house. As I was sleeping one night I woke up because I heard something hit the rocks and then heard it scurry off. I had to use the restroom at this point and got down and used the restroom and came back to see a cat in the house. I scared it away and thought nothing more of it until I saw it again next to my bunga. I was really upset and couldn't sleep the rest of that night. (Many of you are probably reading this and thinking - "Dude it's just a cat." But Elda Ekaki has not had very good experiences with cats at night. When he was around 8 years old, he took the garbage out just after dark and while putting the garbage into the can, a tiny kitten pounced on his back and hung on for dear life as kittens usually do. This scared him so much and he is still skiddish towards cats to this day. Personally, I'd be more worried about fleas.....)
4. Chow - I woke this morning and looked in our cupboard because last night I heard the rats eating something. Sure enough the Chow noodles were eaten a little bit. Upset because that means it wasn’t locked properly.
5. Goal for this week - Today we are going to clean the house because Elders before us don’t know how to keep a clean house. So that is goal for today.
6. Ice Cream - I attached a picture. There is in fact ice cream here on Butaritari! On Saturday we celebrated Hannah's 4th birthday with ice cream. Happy Birthday Hannah!
7. Bike to Kuma - We went to Kuma again but this time in the rain and crossed a causeway with seven bumps on it henceforth I called this week SEVEN.
My message for this week I got from my personal study last night. From President Gordon B. Hinckley "With faith, accept the challenge; plead with the Lord for help; then go to work." I've noticed as I have done this I have received that help that I desired - usually it was peace, joy, or just strength. However I didn’t notice this until after this week was over. My motto for this week comes from President Gordon B. Hinckley again from 2 Timothy 1:7-8 "God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord." I testify that as we exercise our faith that we will receive strength. I'm so thankful for the Lord. and his love for me. I testify of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
For those reading this who may not understand all the ins and outs of serving an LDS Mission, two of the most important days in a missionary family's life (let's face it - Mom's life) are Christmas and Mother's Day. Those are the days we set in our calendars for a countdown until we get to hear our son or daughter's voice and hopefully see their sweet face. We hang on to those moments and cherish that one hour of time we are allotted to spend gazing at and listening to our beloved. So to say that our Skyping opportunity left a little to be desired, is a bit of an understatement. We were traveling back from a tournament on Mother's Day, so I knew it would be tricky to be in the right place at the right time, but we managed to hear from Elda Haycock in the afternoon via email that his companion would be speaking with his family first, and then he'd be in contact for ours. He sent pictures and a brief explanation of his week - which I greatly appreciated.
Here are the things that we did this week. We helped Taketi with his schooling because he was failing. And we started building a house. That is about all. Well love you guys lots.
Nathan, my handy navigator and hands free device operator, responded,
"Cool are we still skyping? Give us a time frame if we are so that we can get off the freeway and talk."
"Yes, it will be in about half an hour."
As luck would have it, we were just outside of Ashton, Idaho where we typically take a break to stretch our legs because we are halfway home. It would be perfect timing! We all piled into our Yukon and waited patiently for his call. At ten minutes past the allotted time, we got another message from him saying, "Will you guys be up at 10:00 tonight or should I try tomorrow because it is cutting in and out here?"
"It would be better tonight because of school and work. Planning on tonight at 10. I love you! We are going to hit the road again to get all the way home. Be safe."
Ten o'clock came and went. My phone dinged again. "Sorry for the let down... but there will be no power tonight... so...can we Skype tomorrow at 10:00 pm? I'm sorry for the disappointment but the generator is out of gas and will not have any more until tomorrow and that is the best for here to have the internet work the best. I love you guys lots and can't wait to talk to you tomorrow!
I swear I heard the words to Annie's lament....."Tomorrow, tomorrow, you're only a day away...." and felt them keenly too. The day passed as usual and we all gathered for the 10:00 call. It came through, but was not what we were expecting. Please understand, I am not begrudging or complaining about our experiences - we are so happy we got to hear his voice - it has been so long, but to be anticipating seeing his face only to find out the camera on their island is inoperable, was heartbreaking. The best news was that he was able to see us, so that brought him great joy! We quickly passed the phone around so he could see everyone. Just after seeing his brother and sister, the call dropped. I prayed we could reconnect. After 20 precious minutes of trying, we decided to just skype written messages back and forth - like texting. He was only able to answer a few, I will share them below. The gem though was an audio recording that had Allan and I laughing. His accent is so thick now and he struggled so hard to speak English. I am happy to report he now sounds like a native!
Does that work if you send me questions and I will record so give me a moment?
Works for me! What do you like best about your mission experience so far? How are you doing with the added responsibility of being the senior companion?
(He never did answer these questions - the call dropped again. It took another 10 minutes to reconnect.)
Good luck understanding him - his accent has really developed. We had to listen to it many times before we could understand what he was saying entirely because of his inflection.
Dad wants to know if you're speaking a broken English mixed with Kiribati or just straight Kiribati... How prevalent is English used in speaking?
not used that much I am mixing and it is hard to speak straight English to you all
That's what we figured. Dad wants to know if you speak to your companion in Kiribati all the time or does English slip in too?
It is definitely a mix but we try our best to speak in Kiribati. I have some questions for you. 1. What is your favorite color? 2. What is your favorite hobby? 3. What are your plans for the summer? 4. How is reading in Ana Boki Moomon? 5. Are you praying in the morning and at night. and as a family? Good night Sarah, Hannah, Nate, and Liz I love you all!!!!!!
1....are you serious? I feel like you should know this if you think about it....perhaps blue??
Who is this? A name would be good. If this is you mom, you told me a long time ago it was lime green.
2. Hobby? I dont have just one. I guess you could say my hobby is creating things. I like to create by being a mom, by cooking, by sewing, crafting, singing, reading....the list goes on...
This is your mom, because everyone has passed out. Except dad...
What color of blue? Navy?
Lime green is your dads by the way. I love Prussian blue, but navy is just as good. Summer plans...I want the kids to come up with a fun bucket list like spend the day in our jammies, hike, eat a shaved ice, go on a picnic at Hyalite Dam etc. We will probably do some tournaments so Nate, Liz and Dad can ref. We read the Book of Mormon every morning as a family and pray together morning and night. Personal scripture study - I am patiently plodding along at. I seem to be listening to conference talks more often than not because I can listen while I'm doing something. Can you send us some pictures of you?
Dads being a dork, he wants to know what your favorite color is. I'm guessing it's still blue
It changed I like the gray and whites better. I'm trying to send at least my testimony by audio clip.
Dad says those aren't colors😂How much more time do you have? Josh is snoring. He loves you too.
The battery is almost dead I have about 10 Mins if it doesn't send I'm going to write it.
Are you on a phone or computer? Dad says I love you and am proud of you.....and keep practicing English Haha! I love you! Did you open your letter for your first mothers day alone? I don't even remember what I wrote, but I'm sure I expressed my love and thanks for you doing such a great job serving the Lord. Keep doing good work. Love your companion. Embrace the adversity. Lift up the hands that hang down and enjoy the time you have left on your mission !
I love you all if it sends it sends but here it is. My testimony: Imwaain I waaki Kam na bane ni mauri n te katairiki aei. I tangiringkami ao I nangi kukurei ibukin te tai aio I kona n tibwaua au kaoti koaua. I ataia bwa e maiu Iesu Kristo. I ataia bwa e tangira te Atua. I tangiringkami, I atangi bwaai ikai n aran Iesu Kristo Amen. Love you guys a lot and thanks for this time that I can communicate with you guys.
Thank you! Love you! Can't wait to hear from you next week!
This week I'm going to share the conversion process of Tibiriano's Family:
I first met this family six weeks ago when I first got here to Butaritari and all we did was the ikikina (introductions, explaining yourself). I learned that they are a family of four. Their names are Tibiriano, Kiniata, Kaoke, and Metika. They have been investigating the church for three years and have not yet been baptized because of an issue with Word of Wisdom specifically smoking. Let me explain the smoking here. In America, smoking is with cigarettes which are addictive, but not as addictive or corrosive as the smoking is here. They use dried pandanus leaves and 100% tobacco very strong and corrosive and very hard to stop. Some people have just tried the American cigarettes and found it easier to stop after. Back to the story... At this time Tibiriano and Kiniata looked like they had no desire to change as they would just sit around at home. But that is not what I saw; they needed a motivation, a reason to change, to do something good, and to get them going again. So Elder B'ataua and I created a plan that they can be baptized at the end of April as that is about how long it takes to stop this addiction and to start a new habit. Next lesson we were blunt and open with them. We gave them the goal and said that the only problem right now is your smoking. This week you are only going to smoke one per day, (because they were smoking two to three times a day). Then the next week none. I saw a light turn on in their eyes and they were very excited to try. We scheduled our appointment two days after to see how they have been keeping their commitment. We found out they had tried going without smoking but only smoked one in between that day gap. We encouraged them and set up our appointment for that following week. Well it turns out that Elder B'ataua got transferred and here comes Elder Seffker. Well we met with them and in their house they got a stove for making bread. And during that weekend, they tried to stop smoking but they only smoked one time that weekend. At the close of that lesson, I felt prompted to offer them a blessing to help them overcome this addiction. They accepted and at the close of the lesson, I offered it in Kiribati so that they might be able to understand. Before I started, I asked my Heavenly Father to guide me in this blessing that I may be able to speak what they needed to hear. I don't remember much of what I said as I gave this blessing, but I know through the power of the Holy Ghost; He will fill your mouth with words that need to be said at that time. After that, I felt prompted that we should meet with them every day of the next week to help them prepare for the upcoming baptism at the end of the month. Some time went by and later that week we visited them and Tibiriano has gone out fishing and was on his way home as the tide was coming back in for high tide. While we were waiting for him, Kiniata told us that when her husband goes fishing he always brings with him the stuff for smoking, so when she offered it this time he said this "I don't want to be smoking like I did in the past. E tiku! (It Stays!)" After that one decision both of them have tried a lot harder to stop the smoking. Tibiriano has not smoked since that day and every time he tells us that he goes fishing he gets fish for his family to eat and then some to sell. (What a blessing from the Lord!) The the thing that both of them started to overcome the addiction of smoking was to make themselves busy by making bread.
The thing that really impressed me is that they would keep the Sabbath Day Holy and not make bread but would move the work to Monday and Saturday, The blessing they received from this is that everyone loves their bread and they have a hard time keeping it stocked in two places. The bread by the way, is very comparable to yours mom. I'm going to have to get the recipe so you can taste it. The gluten structure is phenomenal with a great texture. One time we visited them and Kiniata slipped - as we are not all perfect - because she saw the stuff for smoking and as she put it to her lips, she stopped and she threw it away. I challenged them to throw away the stuff for smoking. We visited them the next day and they did that. Right now there are no things for smoking in the house. At this time in their conversion, I noticed a change of desire and heart. Their prayers became daily along with their scripture study and there began to be a light that would radiate from their face and their desire to follow Christ became more evident. They usually come to church but this attendance this week was with President Tune who came to conduct some business and he gave a talk on faith and really explained the phrase of what it means to "live in faith". We visited them after his visit and asked them "Iai te bwai e teke nanom? (Was there something that touched his/her/their heart(s)?" They said when President Tune was explaining what it means to live in faith, their hearts began to have a burning feeling like their chest was going to explode and then they felt goosebumps on their arms and the thing they told me is that they knew that this was true. I testified to them that feeling they felt was the Holy Ghost testifying the truth. Since there is not a branch set up here and there are no district or zone leaders the baptism interview falls on the Senior Companion. So I had the privilege to interview them. They were baptized this last Saturday 6 May 2017.
The feeling there at that baptism was so strong. After the baptism we had dinner with them and helped them prepare the food we would eat, so hopefully we could become good cooks and be able to share what we learned with you all.
Tibiriano and Kaoke were confirmed yesterday but Kiniata was unable to come as she was sick at home with Metika ( Metika by the way is now mentally challenged and is unable to think for himself as he had a bad sickness when he was little and hasn't been the same since). We are hoping to confirm Kiniata this next Sunday.
Kuma: The reason for this title of this email is because we biked 52 Km yesterday to do all of our sacrament meetings as President told us that Butaritari did not have permission to use the motorcycles, so we biked. If you convert this to miles we biked 32.5 miles. That is what happened this week.
My spiritual thought for this week comes from my personal study. I want to share two scriptures from Alma's counsel to his sons they are Alma 38:2 and Alma 37:44. From these two verses we learn that as we exercise our faith and keep his commandments, we will be blessed and as we listen to words of Christ we can know which way to go. The path back to our Heavenly Father is long, but He loves us and does not want us to get lost and so he gives two gifts: the first is The Gift of the Holy Ghost. Through the power of the Holy Ghost, we can know what we need to do from day to day. The second gift is the Prophet Thomas S. Monson who has the keys and authority to receive revelation to guide this church. I Testify that Heavenly Father loves us and knows each of us. He is very excited for us to come back to him. I testify of these things in the name of our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ, Amen.
This week I've learned more about myself and where my weaknesses are as well as my strengths. This week has been stressful as President Iotua came to fill out forms for the branch here in Butaritari as well as interviewing all of the Melchezidek Priesthood holders and filling out a form for each of them. He should be coming back after the Area Presidency signs the form saying that Butaritari can be a Branch. The goal for this week is to have a family baptized. Members here are so nice and loving and President Iotua shared a great insight of what they should be doing as members. He referenced them as birds on the ocean and that the missionaries are the fisherman and the investigators are the fish. That the members should be finding a family each month for us to teach.
(From my letter to Elder Haycock) I heard a funny little story about riding a motorcycle with your companion last week... Elder Seffker's quote, "I think we've got it figured out and stuff now, at first I was super sketched out because we didn't seem to have the balance figured out. But we've got it now and we were blessed to be safe. Any way, prayer is definitely real." I am telling you I snorted out loud when I read that! I am assuming you were driving and I am also guessing this was probably your first time being in charge of driving it. Boy would I have loved to be a fly on the wall watching that! Any other new adventures you'd like to share with us?? So a little bit about the motorcycle experience: yes, I was the one driving the motorcycle. Through prayer I had the help from my Heavenly Father. Elder Seffker is great and very good at accomplishing the task that he has at hand.
My thought this week comes from Alma 32 (verses 21 - 46) in this chapter of scripture, it talks about faith and how we need to grow it and as we grow it, we can do all things. This describes my week as it has been full of stress but as I have turned to the Lord, He has filled my mouth and has helped us to know what to teach. I know that these things are true in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Alma 32: 42 And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst.
I hope is all is going well and that you are helping your mom out. I love you lots!
Haven't heard from you this week. Hope all is well. Love You!
I love you! I want you to keep trying your best. To keep moving forward even though we have trials we can learn from them. I love you lots!
Motorcycle driving is just like riding a bike as you get the hang of it it becomes easier. There is a lot more responsibility put on as now I have to lead the discussions and help answer questions. Just finished the work for the branch so it can be formed. I will share a story next week.
I hope school is going well. I want you to know that I love you and that Heavenly Father loves you too. Keep doing. your best, that is all He asks of us. I love you lots!
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.