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.
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.