Letter #1 dated 3 July 2017
I'm starting a new tradition just in case I get transferred to an area without internet communication. Well, first, for time frame of this letter, it is my last week here before we go to Makin. I'm excited to go, but at the same time very stressed as I don't know what will happen and I am worried about the people in two places. But I do have to say thank you mom for teaching me well how to handle hard situations and that the best way is to write the problem down into a to do list - even the small little stuff. I've made a list of stuff that has to be done before we go. Thank you for teaching me Mom and Dad to leave it better than you found it. I am making sure to leave it clean and in order so it is easier to go between places and not have to worry about the clutter. Since having this companion, I have learned a lot about myself. I have stretched and grown the most with this companion. It has been hard....but as I have relied on the Lord, he has helped me to see things as Heavenly Father sees them. I have learned how to be an effective administrator as baptismal forms have to be completely filled out and filled out correctly so they can be entered and saved on the computer. The area book has to be filled out each day and updated each week as investigators are progressing or not progressing - meaning they are keeping their commitments. The plan for this Monday is to get everything packed for our travels. That means packing up all the boxes and give them to Bauro to hold on to while we are gone and until we get back from Makin. Well...What are your big summer vacations or plans? If you guys do something, please take pictures because I'd like to see too!
Mom, this section is for you. How is life treating you? Any new hobbies or recipes? Oh, by the way, can you send me your scone and banana bread recipes? Please? I would like to make them here. I need some more white shirts and I hate to ask, but can you send me another pair of gray pants? I have given away a few pairs to people who don't have any. How is the garden looking? Is it thriving? How is the house? Do you feel at home? I want you to know how much I love you and can't wait to see you in 14 months.
Dad, this week I have studied from Chapter 4 of Preach My Gospel and the section entitled, "The Power of the Spirit in Conversion". Such a good section and the common thing I realized between both the investigator and the missionary/ the member is rooted into one word. That is "Desire". I also like when Alma is teaching the people of King Noah and this is shortly after Abinadi in Mosiah 18:7, the word "believed". These two words struck a chord - a puzzle piece finally clicked. I then evaluated my teaching and I asked myself this question, "Do I have that desire to teach? Do they believe the words I teach? Is it simple doctrine that I know and understand?" I thought of your teacher counsel meetings and thought this might be a good topic to discuss as all of us are continuing in our conversion process. Anyway, that is what my study has been this week. I love you.
Liz..............Only counsel I can give you is to keep choosing the right and to be an example as you are the oldest while I am gone and at times I imagine it feels like a lot of stress - believe me I know, and have been there, done that. I want to share a quote with you what was shared with me from the member of my mission presidency. "When there is no opposition, there is no growth." I like this phrase as it has been a key phrase when I have been faced with opposition. I love you sis. I want you to keep moving forward and trying to live high standards and by keeping God's commandments through daily prayer and scripture study as an individual and as a family. I am so excited for you! Can't wait to hear from you!
Nate........I feel prompted to talk with you about frustration and how to respond to them. These frustrations can be big or small, but the part that is most important is how we respond to these frustrations. I'll share an experience and then list some suggestions. The first, "on Sunday we bicycle up to Kuma to take the sacrament to other families that are members. We first go to Kewea, the village right before Kuma and stop at a very faithful family who always attend church. We stop here because the husband is confined to his buia. Afterwards, we go to Kuma wehre we have church with 2 to 3 families - also very strong members. Our final stop is in Tani Mainiku with a small family where the husband used to be active in the church. A couple of weeks ago, the mother said, "I can't accept the sacrament because of riaboro (satan). She told us she started smoking again. At first I was very frustrated cause I started evaluating myself wondering if there was something I wasn't doing. Then she said this, "re maiu aci e bon te kekeaki mwaka" (this life is the hanging in there / keep trying hard). I then stopped judging myself and took a step back and that was when I saw her as Heavenly Father does - a daughter of God. I then felt inspired to share this message with her. It is from 2 Nephi 32: 8-9. "And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in your hearts; and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing. For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray. But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of they soul." And I testified about the power of prayer and that through prayer we can ask for help, pray for comfort, pray for protection from temptation. The bible dictionary says "Prayer is work." Prayer is most definitely work as it takes conscious effort every day. She is now doing a lot better and follows church and tries to pray. So, suggestions to relieve frustrations: 1. take a step back and pray to Heavenly Father for help, 2. Do something different - try smiling back. 3. Continue to pray every day and ask for that help. I want you to know how much I love you.
Josh.........I love you a lot and want you to keep hanging in there. I know that as hard times approach, it seems like we can't see the end. Best advice I can give you is to take a step back and see how far you have come, next would be to never forget your Heavenly Father who wants to hear from you and is waiting for you to pick up you end of the line and talk to him. Finally, the best way to get help is to liken the scriptures (see Nephi 19:23) which means to read them, ponder about what we read, pray about it, and then apply what we have learned. I know Heavenly Father loves you and wants you to keep moving forward. he knows your struggles an your joys. I love you.
Sarah......How are you doing? Keep up the good work and don't ever falter from your beliefs. Opposition may come, but as you oppose, you will increase. I have seen this principle. Are you excited for your birthday?? I love you!
Letter #2 dated 10 July 2017
Starting new habits is hard. I want to keep this habit just in case there isn't any email communication for a while. This past week has been fun and full of surprises. As you found out, my time here in Butaritari is done. I kind of knew before hand that one of us was being transferred as the Friday before I was trying to get tickets to go to Makin and the flight agent said "Which one of you is going to Tarawa?" Well at the time, none of us knew who and we checked our emails to see if there was news or a message from Tarawa, but there wasn't one. After I found out about the transfer, I told the members there in Butaritari. They quickly formed a plan for a Bootaki which is called a Karaure - it means to separate. At this bootaki, I didn't want it to be big because I didn't want to have a hard time leaving them. It was a nice little bootaki nothing fancy, but it as a time for them to express their gratitude and feelings. I'm so thankful that I had that time to also express my love for them and for their wonderful examples to me. Whenever I was in need of help and asked, they would solve it and help me very quickly and promptly. The plane ride was a little hard remembering every one and knowing I most likely will not see them for a couple of years. I went through my pictures and saw the happiness and remembering the good moments. I'm going to miss Butaritari like I miss Nonouti, but I know that it is God's will to be done and as I align my will with His, I will be greatly blessed.
I have been studying a lot recently about prayer and how we should pray and what we should ask for. I know there is power in prayer. I have already seen it in my life and on my mission. I know that I can pray to my Heavenly Father any time and in any place and for anything, so long as it is in line with His will. I know my Savior, Jesus Christ lives. I know that he has completed His mission on earth, but more importantly Heavenly Father's will by coming to the earth, establishing His church, performing miracles, suffering in the garden and on the cross for the sins of the world, and completing His mission by being resurrected three days after and breaking all the chains of death. I know that it is through and only through Christ's name that we can stand at the judgement seat of God our Eternal Father, clothed in clean white robes and being able to receive eternal life. I will praise His great name forever! I know that this is His church and that it has been restored through Joseph Smith who was a prophet of God. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet today and leads and directs this church through revelation from God. I know the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. I testify that the Book of Mormon is true and is God's dealings with the people of the Americas long ago. I know that I have been called and set apart by someone having proper authority as a missionary to represent Jesus Christ. I know that there are gifts of the Spirit and through those gifts, I am able to speak and understand the language of Kiribati. I know that I can receive my own personal revelation as it says in the bible and Book of Mormon - "Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you." (Matthew 7:7-11, 3 Nephi 14:7-11). And just as as Joseph Smith did when he read this verse in the epistle of James 1:5, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not." I know that God gives us answers to our prayers. I love you guys a lot and keep you guys in my prayers. I say these things in the name of our Savior, and Elder Brother, even Jesus Christ, Amen.
I Tangiringkami (I love you all)
Letter #3 dated 17 July 2017
A lot has gone on this past week. I'll start form the beginning after I emailed you. On Tuesday morning, Elder Osborne complained about his foot being itchy and swollen and so we contacted the senior couple and the mission nurse, Sister Belen. When she heard him describe the symptoms, she said, "I need to look at your foot." She looked at it and thought it was perhaps an allergic reaction. She also gave him some Keflex to help with any infection. After that we went to Ambo to catch our boat to Kainaba after we had tried yesterday and it didn't come. We were told to wait for someone and so went to low tide, but we cannot go until high tide. At this point, Elder Osborne's foot pain had become intolerable. When I looked at it, you could tell there was something in his foot, so we called Elder and Sister Belen and told the. They told us "We are coming to pick you up." Well, they came and picked us up from Ambo and while we were driving, Sister Belen is trying to call President Larkin, but can't get ahold of him so she called Sister Larkin and said, "we are taking him to the hospital" - because all decisions are made by President and Sister Larkin. The first impression I had with the hospital was the sea green walls. It was a little intimidating. But when we stepped inside, I was impressed by the cleanliness of the place and the nice thing - when we told the nurse and she led us to a room where we were greeted by a member from Temwiku and were led in to the doctor fairly quick and she diagnosed that we needed to come back Monday and go to surgery to have the coral removed. Coral can act like glass and is very easy to break when caught in the foot. That Tuesday afternoon, we spent the rest of the day in the house as the doctor said not to walk on it. Honestly, I don't mind because I am able to take care of my companion and care for his needs. The mission nurse told us to the Keflex - 1 every 6 hours. Because Elder Osborne is not very good yet at waking very early, I make sure he gets his medicine on time.
The rest of the week , I have spent with Elder Rowsell helping him get adjusted to his area as he his becoming District Leader and will be training someone new. I'm really looking forward to finally getting to my area. It is killing me not being in my area. So far I have been two weeks in Tarawa and can't wait to go back to the buki life (outies). Well, I don't know if you already know but, Kainaba has no internet or post office, but we have District Meetings every week so I'll be able to send my letters then. Plus if worse comes to worse, we are just an hour boat ride away from Tarawa.
It was a great day to hear from Elda Ekaki! He sent this letter on June 19th and we received it nearly a month later which is pretty fast. This is the first letter we have received from him that is handwritten while he's been in Kiribati. We giggled at the stamp placement being all hodge-podgy, but it was such a great surprise to hear from him again. He gave us permission to post some of the things in the letter, so enjoy!
I love you so much! I miss you too! I send my hugs and kisses to you! xoxoxoxoxoxooxoxooxoxoxox. Make sure you keep helping mommy and daddy.
I have been blessed this week to be able to use the internet. Well, I haven't made it to Kainaba yet because we had a little hiccup with Elder Osborne's foot. He is having pieces of coral removed this morning and should be ready to go tomorrow or Wednesday. That's the major things that happened this week. I am excited to have this time to email you guys though because there is no email or postal service in Kainaba because there is no counselor there. Luckily we are an hour boat ride away, so I have continued to send letters I don't know if you have gotten any yet. Well, I am super excited to go out there to Kainaba. While I have been waiting for Elder Osborne's surgery, I have been working with Elder Rowsell which has been nice to see someone in my intake.
My spiritual thought this week comes from Doctrine and Covenants 6:36 it says: "Look unto me in every thought; Doubt not, fear not." This phrase has been of comfort as I have been contemplating this week and
as my 1 year mark is coming up, I am thinking about what I am going to do and what my plan is and the fears and doubts of the unknown. But as I have relied on my Savior who has already gone through everything, I have found my solace. I testify that there is power in the Savior's Atonement and that it is infinite. This I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Update: I finally found someone whose son has served here. There wasn't a lot of information about this area because he and his companion will be the 3rd set of missionaries to ever be there. Most likely we will not hear from him more than once a month because there is no internet where he will be. They walk approximately 3 hours to get to the nearest area that does have internet - crossing through areas connecting the islands in low tide when possible. It reminds me a bit of his time and circumstances in Nonouti and am excited to hear of his experiences in this new area. Please keep he and his companion, Elder Osborne in your prayers for not only their safety as they walk from island to island each week, but also that they will have success in sharing the gospel. If you'd like to read more about what types of adventures Elder Ekaki may get up to, click on the links below.
Boat Rides and Baptisms
Mosquito on the keyboard
When in Kiribati...
We really don't have much information regarding Kainaba. From what we can gather, it is roughly 45 feet above sea level, has a population of around 250 people, but from what we can tell, there aren't many missionaries on the northern side of Tarawa. Can't wait to hear more about what he and Elder Osborne get to do together in the month before Elder Osborne heads home. It will be fun to hear his adventures!
This week has been fun to review and reflect on what happened during my time in Butaritari. My feelings on being transferred at first was frustration - as I have not been able to, in my opinion, serve there long enough; but as I have thanked my Heavenly Father for my time that I have had there, it has helped me realize that He really is in control and everything will work out to His will. I have come to love the people of Butaritari, and I know that I can and will meet up with them again later. So... I am being transferred to a small island off of Tarawa called Kainaba and I will be working with Elder Osborne! I'm excited to work with him as he is a hard worker. I know our time is short together as he will be going home next month.
So while I have been staying in Tarawa this week, I have been primarily in Bikenibeu with Elders Darm, Tomlinson, and Tui. It has been so nice to see what happens when someone leaves to go home from their mission. While I was here, it was Elder Darm's last week and his final push for baptisms. He was blessed to finish with 8 baptisms of people who are ready and were prepared by the Lord. It has been nice this week to work with Elder Tomlison and see how he teaches and what methods he uses. I've learned a lot.
My spiritual thought is on the power of testimony: This week we had many baptisms and the power of a simple testimony is the strongest thing there is. I know that this church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and Jesus Christ's Gospel has been restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. I know that Thomas S. Monson is God's prophet and leads and guides the church today. I love my Savior and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
The following message came shortly after his first email. We have no idea where he is being transferred to. Stay tuned!
From the Assistants to the President:
You are getting transferred Wednesday the 5th, so get ready to fly! Please pack up your stuff sometime and be ready by Wednesday, your PTA number is 8120. Please email us back and let us know you got this email.
Ti na kaitibo ikai!"
How are you guys doing? This week has been super fun and was filled with a baptism which requires a lot of effort. Happy 4th of July! and Sarah - Happy Early Birthday! So for my last week here in Butaritari we wrapped a few things gave some people the Aaronic Priesthood so that they could help us out while we are gone. I will explain the baptism that happened this week: I was blessed to interview and baptize Ekeuea, Tiita, and Ruitiera. We received a referral from Motimoa, a friend of Ekeuea who lives right across from each other. We didn’t actually contact them until the start of June. We sat down with them the first time and it kind of just felt natural to be there and they were very interested to hear the gospel. At first it seemed way too easy to teach them because they would keep the commitments, but after a little bit of time, I noticed their true conversion and the desire to change and follow Jesus Christ. When we extended a baptismal date they accepted and held true to it and changed behaviors such as drinking tea.
How are your converts? Our converts are doing great! We just gave Tibiriano the Aaronic priesthood yesterday and that family is staying active and we have dinner with them frequently.
How was your week? My week this week was short and full of stuff as we had to plan around a bootakin te mate (funeral service) and Mwakuri iaon te aba (government work that is required by the village). We prepared Ekeuea’s family for baptism. Also we enjoyed a nice Sunday service in Kuma as we took a car and gathered together as one.
What new adventures are you having? This Wednesday we will be starting a new adventure as we are going to Makin and seeing how the church is there.
I've been watching the weather and feeling bad for you. It looks like rain all this week and the "real feel temperatures" are in the 100's. Are you hanging in there? I haven’t noticed a difference it feels normal and the rain has been nice as we just had a huge rain shower with thunder and lightning last Saturday Night but cleared out for a nice car ride on Sunday.
Taking good care of yourself? I believe so. No sicknesses yet. Showering twice a day.
Something I've never asked you is how you get your monthly money allotment. How does that work? On outer islands it is sent as a Telamo which is money that you go and pick up from the Treasurer. If you are on Tarawa, your card is loaded and you can withdraw the money from it. Do you ever run out? It is always just about the right amount for the month. Do you use it to buy stuff other than renting cars for people for church? Yes like food for the mornings, moon tigers for the mosquitos, and snacks for the hunger. Just curious. Are months that have 5 weeks in them harder than other months for budgeting? They are about the same just the big expense is car and internet.
Hi Son! I was hoping to catch you before your left the internet today. I've been asked to speak next Sunday in church on our religious freedom and liberty. Will you share with me what this means to you especially now that you have lived in a foreign land and seen the differences there and here? I'm interested to know what you think and what it is like there?
I'm glad for religious freedom as I have seen it here society is mainly built on religious practices. But something that I have noticed the difference between here and there is if you change your religion in America you are not laughed at made fun of by others. However, if you change your religion here especially if you are older into the religion you are made fun, hated by the community which I know is not right but that is what happens here sometimes when people change their religion. I'm thankful for religious freedom or else we could not really work here because people can't change their religion. Religious freedom allows Missionary work to happen. Well that is my thought. It is important to me because it allows me to express my thanks to my Heavenly Father. It allows me to worship with no problems from state.
My spiritual thought comes from a hymn in Kiribati the title is I Kainanoiko Ngai (I Need Thee Every Hour)
I really like this song in Kiribati as it is simple, but teaches a very valuable principle. That through our Savior Jesus Christ we can stand in front of the Judgment of our Heavenly father clean. I have relied more on my Savior’s Strength to help get through the week. 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.