After a long dry spell, we finally heard from Elder Haycock in the form of a very worn envelope full of letters for each member of the family. What a happy day! His words are the following:
Letter dated 19 February 2018
Mauri Tinau (mom),
I imagine you have tons of questions. Seeing that I haven't heard from you, I'll try my best to put some questions to rest.
Elder Brinkworth is my companion now and we were in a trio for a brief time with Elder Joseph since the 31st of January. A little description of him - tall, skinny, we have a similar personality. It has been fun to have someone that sees eye to eye. Only major problem is we are both pretty indecisive...
Aranuka is a small island. Very hot - especially since I am right on the equator. There are four villages and it is really dusty and dirty. We have biked the whole island and have seen it tip to tip. It is really a beautiful island. I have taken lots of pictures because I know that you would like to see pictures. Internet should hopefully be up in the next two months, but I would encourage you to write me snail mail instead.
Kuria - I got here this last Wednesday. Just one small hiccup we ran into because of reopening this island for preaching the gospel...there are no bicycles at the moment. I saw my first frog my first night here. Very interesting. They aren't really afraid of humans. It is much more dense than all the islands I have been on and is a lot cooler which doesn't make sense. These two small islands are connected by a bridge.
My spiritual thought this week for you comes from Dieter F. Uchtdorf's talk entitled "Three Sisters". The part I would like to focus on is, Which one are we? Once we have decided, are we in line with Heavenly Father? How do we get there? It's simple, when we start with the small and simple daily tasks. But sometimes we get discouraged when we see the big picture. My encouragement is to focus on our small actions. Then we will surprise us at how well we did in staying faithful to God's commandments. I know that as we choose to be glad, we will be blessed to the point where we will have a desire to only do good and serve our Heavenly Father with all our heart, might and mind. I atongi bwai aikai, N aran Jesu Kristo. Amen. (I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen)
1. Church Pants
2. White Shirts
3. Mac and Cheese
4. Drink mixes
5. Pad of paper
Letter dated 19 February 2018
Mauri Tamau, (dad)
Wow, how are you? How's work? The calling as a high counselor? Any fun projects coming up? Yeah, this whole thing with opening up these two islands have been hard on me. Mainly just knowing where to start. Or where to pick up from past missionaries. Do you have any experience with white washing or reopening an area? One of the other problems is the amount of less actives on these two islands. I have counted a rough estimate of 50 families. It is so devastating. Do you have any suggestions in helping these less actives to come back ? This is what I have seen as I have been able to visit both islands and am able to finally pass judgment on what needs to be done.
One thing I want to testify of is God's love for his children. He also knows when they are ready. For example in Aranuka, Taniera ma Anna - a couple that got baptized the 3rd of February. Since I have been here, we have received a referral of a super cool lady who came to church and all should be baptized this week or the week after.
The other thing I'm thankful for is God's mercies to me. For example, allowing me to work here, showing me spiritual pictures, thoughts, impressions, His spiritual gifts to me like discernment, listening, faith, tongues, and so many more I can't name right now at this time.
I am so thankful for my Heavenly Father that leads and guides me every day. I know my Savior lives and loves me and has atoned for me. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Letter dated 19 February, 2018
(Lots of personal questions we won't post here, but it was followed by some great testimony)
...."I'll explain why I wanted to serve a mission. Ever since I was little I have always wanted to serve one. The best thing I can say to help you be ready to serve a mission is to one: develop a daily routine of prayer and scripture. Actually have a testimony and be converted to the Gospel, something I wish I had developed one more firmer before I left so I could build off it. Two: the Book of Mormon is your best friend. Learn it and Love it. Don't forget Preach My Gospel goes hand in hand with it. I love you and can't wait to hear from you."
(again, lots of personal questions and some advice may be left out below because of the nature of the advice...but nonetheless, it is great advice.)
....some advice for you, since it has been a long time since I have talked to you. 1. Please only go on group dates........4. Have fun and enjoy high school 5. God is first, family is second, and friends are third. 6. Book of Mormon study it everyday. 7. Daily prayer morning and evening 8. Keep God's commandments. 9. Prepare for a mission 10. Smile and make the best use of what you have. 11. Don't worry about other people's mistakes. We are all not perfect. 12. Develop Charity, Hope and Faith 13. USE THE ATONEMENT.
Some of these things I have taken for granted. My suggestion is to use them to your fullest ability. I can promise you will be blessed. I want you to know how much God loves you as a child of God. Au Bubuti (my plea) is that you will listen to our parents and really follow God's plan for you. I know my Savior lives and I know I can be free from guilt and pain. I testify of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
It has been a long time. First off, I want to thank you for sending me that song. What things are new in your woods? I don't know why I am writing this but I will follow what I am told. Sometimes I have bad days. Days that I am upset, days that I am sad, and even some times days when I want to give up and hide in a corner. I have found the following to work the best. It comes from "Meet the Robinsons" and it goes like this: "KEEP MOVING FORWARD". I would also like to add a quote here from Elder Neil F. Marriot, "IT WILL ALL WORK OUT". I know it can be tough, I can promise you it is true. Let me share an experience from my journal:
"I was assigned to re-open Aranuka and Kuria with Elder J who is from the Marshall Islands. He just came this week and is not good at the language yet. We are basically a white washing (both missionaries are new to the area with no information/contacts yet) and training combo. To be honest, I am terrified and nervous not knowing where to start or how to help him comprehend. I arrive in Aranuka and things go great. I get along with the Branch President, some members and now I am super excited to go and work. Well, turns our my companion has different ideas. To make the story short, I spent two weeks not being able to work, being frustrated by his laziness and loss of desire to work. But I pushed through it. Since I pushed through that hard and frustrating time, I have been blessed with 2 baptisms."
I know God knows each one of us. He knows what we need. The only thing He desires is that we talk to Him. I encourage you to KEEP MOVING FORWARD, because I know IT WILL ALL WORK OUT! Don't fret what other people think - just stay positive and do what counts. I love you! I testify of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
How are you? I am doing great! It has been fun under the sun...I want to hear from you - tell me a story!
Top Ten Foods:
1. Sandworms - especially dried
2. Octopus - in soup
3. Bonefish - Ikari ae Tinimaki (barbecued)
4. Tuna - fried
5. Mai - fried, in soup, boiled and with sugar
8. Tuai - dried Pandanus fruit
9. Manta Ray
I want to tell you I love you and I hope all is well. I am thinking of you and can't wait to hear from you!
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.