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.
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.