Do you think he had enough postage? Two letters in a week was such a blessing! We have devoured his words and relished in them. Read on:
Letter Dated 11 December 2017
This week was interesting as I am trying to run a group, lesson, and still train my companion. It has been a little rough on me when investigators and members decide they would rather break God's commandments than be happy and follow his commandments. Monday was a nice day that I could let out some of the stress and be prepared for this coming week. I did get a haircut also as it was bugging me how it touched my ears. Tuesday was a normal work day where I was able to get all of my studies and start handing out invitations. Wednesday was a big waste of time as we had a district meeting Tearinibai which this time we took a boat to. It took us two hours to get there and then we traveled back at noon time. It felt like forever. Thursday Kain te aro (LDS) decided that they wanted to bootaki and start learning their dance for the kakiritimati. Friday, weekly planning day, it was really good and worth the time. Saturday, we spent a lot of the time just visiting members and fixing word of wisdom problems. Really that is what the big catch is right now with everyone being so close to baptism. It is just the smoking. Sunday was better a little we got almost all of the kids to come. Not very many adults came to church. If everyone came it should be high 70's low 80's for attendance.
My spiritual thought for the week is this, "E uara am wareware ao kamatebwai ma ana boki Moomon?" (How is your reading and studying of the Book of Mormon?) I have found that as my investigators read from the Book of Mormon, they receive strength from Heavenly Father and they were able to keep their committments such as smoking, coming to church, etc. I testify that there is power in the scriptures. I know that in these times we need that extra protection from the adversary. We can receive that if we read and ponder daily from the Book of Mormon. I testify that the Book of Mormon is true and it is the word of God. I testify of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Letter dated 5 February 2018
This week was an emotional roller coaster....
Baptism, as I mentioned last week we had a baptism that actually happened when I scheduled it. It was of this couple Taniera and Anna. Here is their conversion story:
They have been investigating the church for a year now. Six of those months there were no missionaries on the island. Talk about Faith! They have been consistently coming to church and participating in activities. They took care of their marriage on their won. They were married on December (Ritembwa) of last year. The only thing that was holding him up was his smoking. I do have to admit that he cut it down from what it was. When I first met him, he told me his problem with smoking and instead of jumping and forcing my will, I tried something different. From past experience I have found that it works. I listened and asked questions like "When? Where? and Why?" The one question that is the most decisive is "How is your Book of Mormon study going? I want to say this is the key to conversion. I testify that there is power in the Book of Mormon. He told me his reading efforts weren't the best and that it could be better. Instead of focusing on the big problem, I found the small and simple problem. I encouraged him to read it with all of his heart. From that visit I noticed a huge difference in him. He even told me that it was a good read. That he is learning more that he did when he read it the first time. I had a thought, an impression, to set a date to stop his smoking. I followed it. I asked him when he thought he could stop smoking. He told me next month. That didn't feel right. I asked him to shorten the time. So he said the end of the month. It still didn't feel right. I then looked at my calendar. I felt impressed to give him the 24th of January as his stopping date. Once I said this the Spirit fell upon us and confirmed in our hearts that this was Heavenly Father's will. There was no doubting it was from the Holy Ghost. So, the Sunday before the 24th, he announced that he had a moninano (a vow) meaning that he decided to stop on the 24th of January. He asked for our help in prayer. To really pray for him and to be his support. Well the 24th rolled around and we asked him "How was the smoking?" He told me he stopped! I was amazed, but doubting, so I asked his wife who bore witness that it was true and now instead of smoking, he would do more proactive stuff like digging a well, reading from the Book of Mormon, or eating. After, I felt that I should give a baptism date of the 3rd of February. I want to testify that Heavenly Father has been preparing them for me to come and teach them. They testified to me that the Holy Ghost is real and it works through different people. I know that God's plan cannot be frustrated - the only condition is that is has to be on his time. He was baptized on Saturday the 3rd of February with his wife. After having a thorough interview and really seeing if they were ready. He thanked me Taniera for giving him that date to stop smoking. He testified that it couldn't be any other way. They were confirmed on the 4th of February.
Trio, well....Elder Joseph is going back to Tarawa to talk to the mission President. We are currently in a trio with Elder Brinkworth while we wait for Elder Joseph to go back to Tarawa.
Letter dated 12 February 2018
Wow, what a week! Finally productive....talk about Less Actives and Tender Mercies!!
Elder Joseph - we found out that on last Monday there was a special flight that had room for him, so he flew out Tuesday. We spent the day with him before he flew off. Then our bicycles were stolen so that dampened the work.
Tereke - Our first time going to Baurua (the southern tip), I had no clue where his house is, so we go for a while and then I look at this house. I thought, "Lets try that one." Of course it's his house. He accepted us into his house and we sat down. You could tell by the house that his life was a little out of order. He explained that it was just him, that he had a missionary out that would be coming home in March or April, a daughter in Nonouti, and a wife and 2 kids in Tarawa for school. He described to us his experience. He told us that he prayed with his full heart and really just wanted help. The next day, we showed up on his doorstep. He was so happy that we were there. After he shared his experience, it was like a mask was taken from my eyes and I saw him with 20 + other men and women dressed in Sunday clothes all coming to church and him being dressed in a white shirt and brown pants and really happy to be there. Just as quickly as it opened, it closed. I am so thankful for Heavenly Father's mercies.
Bonto - An unimwane is the name for "old man". A culture update. It is extremely rude to fart especially when you are having dinner and especially if you are in the presence of an unimwaane. Back to the story...We were having dinner at Bonto's house. Bonto is an unimwaane. Earlier that day I had octopus that was sun dried and my stomach was really hurting during dinner. I was trying so hard to hold it in, but the pain just kept increasing until I moved one of my legs because it was sore. Out pops the first fart (not silent - REALLY LOUD). I felt stuff moving so I asked for the restroom and while I was getting off the buia (house platform) another one fell out. Now I really needed to go! The panic was real. The struggle to take off my pants in time. I felt so bad for farting. I apologized, but he was laughing to hard he thought it was funny. I guess I lucked out.
Spiritual Thought - Comes from Isaiah 49:16 it says;
"Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me." I really like this scripture because there is a deeper meaning. First let's change it a little. Whose hands were pierced? Therefore we know the first part about Jesus Christ and that we are on his palms. The second part - walls can be changed. The atonement of Jesus Christ is key. There is no end to the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I want to testify that God knows his children and loves them. We can never be out of the reach of his helping hand. I testify that we are his children. I love you all. I am so thankful for Him, Jesus Christ. I testify of these things in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.
PS: Needs of your missionary
2. white shirts
3. mac and cheese and liquid cheese
4. gummy bears
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.