We got a gaggle of letters from Elder Haycock today.
Letter dated MARCH 5, 2018
Missionary update....I am so thankful for a spare! I'll explain. Run down of the letter: Baptism, Spare, Spiritual Experience and a Spiritual Thought for the blog.
Baptism: I am so thankful for Heavenly Father's tender mercies. He gave us this daughter of God that was ready to be baptized. Her name is Tiau. She is a mother of a six year old daughter, is great friends with Reina, is divorced and done with the whole "man thing". She has been investigating the church for a couple of years but things have not worked out until now. I guess Heavenly Father has his own timing that we need to trust.
Spare: I LOVE my companion Elder Brinkworth - even if he loses my glasses in the ocean. Let me say that I am thankful I had a spare pair of glasses that I brought here with me. The only problem is I am missing a nose pad so I wear them with no nose pads to fit better. In my next package, can you send me something for him - like candy or along those lines. He is a good companion.
Spiritual Experience: Well, this one happened during my personal study. You know how sometimes you can be studying something, but you are learning something completely different than what you are reading? So I was reading from the book, "Our Search for Happiness" - I really enjoyed reading it, but I got a different lesson from it. My thoughts were drawn to "how well do I know Jesus Christ? Am I living His gospel? " Really it was a time I had to personally reflect on what I need to do better - a time of personal reflection. That means goal #3 and #4 are accomplished - I forgot to insert this - I finished the Old Testament again this past Wednesday, and I really liked the book of Daniel. He was so loved by Heavenly Father, and I finished Our Search for Happiness - a book I suggest everyone read.
Spiritual Thought: It comes from Alma 7: 14 - 15
14 Now I say unto you that ye must repent, and be born again; for the Spirit saith if ye are not born again ye cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye may be washed from your sins, that ye may have faith on the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, who is mighty to save and to cleanse from all unrighteousness.
I really like this scripture because it is a daily reminder of what we need to do to be clean. I would like to change the last wording a bit to "and witness it unto him this day by going to church and partaking of the sacrament."
I know that my Redeemer lives. Through His blood I can receive cleansing from my sins. I testify that this Church has been restored through Joseph Smith, a prophet of God. I testify that God still leads and guides His church through a prophet today, President Russell M. Nelson. I know the Book of Mormon is the Word of God, and that power comes from it when we read from it. I testify that we can receive personal revelation through prayer. I know God lives and loves us and wants what is best for us. We can receive help through prayer. I testify of these things, in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.
Letter dated MARCH 12, 2018
Time to spice it up! I'm doing things a little backward - I am explaining my week with scriptural insights - so bear with me.
Monday, 5 March: Matthew 7:13-14
Tuesday, March 6: Matthew 18:1-4
Wednesday, 7th of March: Matthew 20:1-6
Thursday, 8 March: Mark 10:25-27
Friday, 9 March: Luke 2:10-14
Saturday, 10 March: Luke 6:35-38
Sunday, 11 March: Luke 12:5
Midnight call: So last night, after going to bed at 10, I was having a dream, when I was woken up by Noa. His wife needed a blessing. I got dressed in a white shirt and dress pants and went to see what was needed. She was complaining of pain in her thorax (I am assuming he forgot the word for chest haha!) I was able to give her a blessing. It is so interesting when the Spirit speaks through you. I had no clue what I was going to say before I started, but when I heard what I was saying, it surprised me because it was in perfect Kiribati.
This pretty much sums up my week. The plan is to go to Aranuka this Wednesday. Hopefully that works out. The work is moving along slowly, but surely. Other than the above experience, all that happened is just like any other week in working as a missionary.
I tangiria n kaoti nakoimi bwa I tangiringkami. Ao, I ataia bwa te aro aci, Ana Ekaretia Iesu Kristo ibukiia aika Itiaki ni Boong aika kaitina bon aban uean te Atua Ti kona ni karelsea te kamaiuaki iai iroun Iesu Kristo ara tia kamaina. Morariki E maiu Ao tikona n Neoa te Atua n arana. N na kaungaiia nanomi bwa kam na teimatoa n te tataro ma te wareware n Ana Boki Moomon. Bwai aikai a angi ni kakawaki. Ng Kana ti aki karaoia ti kaoti nakon te Atua ti aki tangiria ana Kakabwaia. Titebo ti ririba te Atua. I rangini Karabwarabwa ibukin ana Mwakuri ni Kamain Iesu. Ibukina bwa e atia ni mate ibukina ao tenibong imwiina e uti man te mate. I ataia bwa te Atua e tangiringkami. Ao Ngaia bon Tamara are i karawa. Ngaira natina. Ti riai ni ongeaba nakon ana tua ni kabane. Kam na kekeiaki ma n Teimatoa n ua te toki. I tangiringkami ao I mitiningkami. Ao I atongi bwaai aikai n aran ara Tia Kabomwi, Iesu Kristo, Amen.
PS - Translation will be found in the next letter...
Letter not dated, but definitely follows the above letter, so we are guessing somewhere 17th or 18th of March.
This week has been full of events. We were finally able to fly to Aranuka. Heavenly Father is mindful of his children. He has prepared some people for us to teach. The one thing I am really happy about is this one person named Ieumwa. He has finally grown up and is now acting like a man and caring for his family. He actually came to church this week - marking his fourth week of activity. I am so happy!
I had one really good personal study and have included a quote. I can testify that Jesus Christ cares for me. I have felt his love for me. Lately I have had many chances to use the priesthood to bless the sick. It is really an awesome feeling when the Holy Ghost whispers through you and you know exactly what to say in perfect Kiribati. The feeling of happiness is so amazing.
My spiritual thought comes from Ephesians 6:11-18. I testify of the importance of having the armor of God on at all times. I know that through our faith in Christ, we can do all things.
Translation of my testimony from last week: "I want to tell all of you that I love you. And I know this Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the kingdom of God. We can receive the saving grace through Jesus Christ our Savior. Moreover, He lives and we can praise God in His name. I ask you that you will stay firm in praying and reading the Book of Mormon. These things are extremely important. If we don't do them, we show that we don't love His blessings - same as if we hate God. I am so thankful for His Atonement, Jesus Christ. Because I know that He has already died for us and three days later he lives. I know that God loves you and He is our Heavenly Father. We are His children. We must keep His commandments. We need to hang in there and endure to the end. I love and miss you. I testify of these things in the name of Jesus Christ our Redeemer, Amen.
Kam na bane ni Mauri,
Can you believe that today marks 4 months left? It seems like yesterday I was just being dropped off at the MTC. Anywhoooo - update for Mother's day skype will be for me the 6th of May at 1:00pm. So for you it will be the 5th of May at 6:00pm.
I got it last Saturday! Thanks so much! It came just at the right time! I believe everything made it. The mac and cheese was SO GOOD I had one yesterday. The cheese was so nice.
What is new in your world?
New things 1. Chicken is the main diet here - so weird.
2. being in a house that has electricity.
3. Being assigned to a ward.
How different is it to be serving in a more populated area?
Well let me say that there are so many people here and our area is so small, but you can easily run into a thousand people in one day. The surprising thing is how many people have not heard of the Gospel that are right here in Betio. The other hard thing is that you also have to fight the problem with people working Monday through Saturday so the hours of 5 to 7 are extremely busy to schedule appointments to teach and frustrating sometimes when lessons don't go through.
How is working with Elder Seffker again?
It has been fun cause we can share more of the lesson and really honestly be able to do splits.
What are your responsibilities now?
Right now I am the companion of the District Leader. I am actually the Junior companion for a little bit. Really just trying to be an example for the District.
How many other missionaries are you with?
There are 6 of us in the Betio House and in our District 12 of us - 6 Elders and 6 Sisters.
What is your living situation like now?
Fine, but I can say it is weird having a fridge, a fan, a stove, a sink, running water - it is still crazy. Yeah but it has been super nice though to see other faces and work with other people.
Any more experiences you can share?
I don't want to give the experience I shared in my letter. So looking back to last week, we have this couple named Eana and Tebwebweia - super awesome couple - his only problem was smoking, so we extended a commitment for him to stop by the 14th of April. I am so proud of him! I was able to check back up on the 15th and he told us that he hadn't smoked and his wife testified of it. I testify that there is power from prayer and I testify of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Betio 2nd East
Mauri!!! From Tarawa
Yep! I have been Transferred and now I am assigned to work in the BETIO 2 EAST with Elder Seffker as my companion. I am super stoked! Just a quick update before I answer your email.
1. How's your health? Any more tummy troubles?
My Health is good. My stomach has been great as I have been able to eat a more balanced diet in Aranuka.
2. Have you and Elder Brinkworth been able to find replacements for your bicycles?
Yes the Mission has provided for them and we have been able to resume work as normal
3. How is the work progressing in Kuria? In Aranuka?
Kuria, the church is definitely younger and members rely heavily on elders but the work is there and Less Actives are coming back which is good. Aranuka has a stronghold of members that have been to the Temple. Really an awesome branch with missionary work in their sights. I see more fruits reaped from the labors of past elders.
4. Any mission experiences you would like to share?
I want to testify that God, Our Heavenly Father knows his Children and knows what they need to receive the everlasting joy of the eternal gospel of Jesus Christ. I can write countless experiences of when I have been led. But three major ones stick out in my time when I was in Aranuka/Kuria. We arrived there and we were accepted by Taniera and Anna a couple that has been investigating the church for over a year and have come to church for 6 months. They were prepared to be baptized on the 3 February. A similar thing happened in Kuria when Tiau had been investigating the church for over 3 years but the timing has never worked through with the Baptism but we were blessed to have the baptism on the 3 March. We came back to Aranuka to find this girl, Marebu, that has a strong desire to be baptized and was supported by her parents she entered the waters of baptism with two others from member families that is Angelica and Teeira.
I testify that the gospel is true and that Jospeh Smith is a prophet of God. That we are in the final days that we constantly need to be preparing for that terrible and glorious day when our Savior will come and redeem the righteous. I testify of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, My Savior and Redeemer, Amen.
Betio 2 East
Betio is located on the Atoll of Tarawa - the main island of Kiribati. It is on the southwesternmost tip of the atoll.
My shoes are on the way to hit the dust. (My reply to him was, "So if your shoes are bad, what are you using now and why didn't you ask for some more? Do you need some to come home with?" He replied, "I'm still using those shoes and I have spares no worries. I just wanted to see your reaction.") Stinker.
Finally there's internet! So excited that I can talk to you all! An update: I am doing great and I am really enjoying the work here. The members are great and are really helpful in pushing forward the work. Heavenly Father really knows his children and what they need especially when it comes to hearing of the gospel. We arrived in Aranuka on the 13th of March, and were blessed with someone that wanted to have lessons whose parents were supporting her decision - even though they were of another religion. We plan on having three baptisms this week! Super excited as the the Lord's work is moving forward and cannot be stopped. We were also blessed to be visited by the East Zone Leaders and helped us out with our work and really helped to encourage us to keep trying our best. Hopefully they will send some pictures, as I know that is important to you. Well sorry this is short....
I want to end with my testimony that I know that this church has been restored through the prophet Joseph Smith, that he was a prophet of God, and that my redeemer lives and loves me and wants what is best for me. I know that God is at the head of everything and has power over everything. He knows and understands his children. I encourage you if you are not reading the Book of Mormon, to start reading it now. It will help us to be protected against the adversary. I know that Russell M. Nelson is God's prophet that lives now. That he leads and guides our church in these days. I know He lives! He is my Savior and through our faith through Him we can be saved and receive eternal joy. I testify of these things in His name, Jesus Christ, Amen.
Later in the week, Elder Jackson - one of the East Zone Leaders - emailed his mom and she graciously shared some of it with us.
From Elder Jackson:
Mauri family and friends!!
This past week was adventurous!! We went on a super cool exchange to an island called Aranuka! We went on an adventure through the forest, cut sticks for building a house as a service, flew back on a private plane, and brought people unto Christ! Missions are the best.
So my companion and I have been so excited this past week to go on our exchange to an outter island called Aranuka. We went and visited Elder Brinkworth and his companion Elder Haycock. It was lots of fun to see Elder Brinkworth again because he was living in the same house as me before he went out to Aranuka. It was so fun working with him! He said it was just nice to hear another voice speaking english besides his companion's. He's been deprived, but he'll be okay.
While we were out in Aranuka we went and cut sticks with an investigator to help build his house. We went to the forst and cut leaves off of coconut fronds as material for the elevated platform for his house. While we were cutting sticks the man called us to come over to a hole in a rock. He told us to look inside and there was a coconut crab the size of a football in there! He took awhile teaching us how to smoke it out. It didn't come out but we had fun!
The day that we were trying to leave back to Tarawa from Aranuka we were waiting in the airport for awhile. Elder Haycock took me to go skip rocks for awhile on the beach. Then he said there is a cool mud pond he wanted me to see. We went deep into the forest along a bike path and we came to this mud pit that natives say is bewitched. I didn't really believe it but I saw a green fish in the pond so that was cool. Maybe thats about as bewitched as his pond gets ha. It was a cooler sight to see the 30 foot tall mangrove trees around the mud pit though. THAT was amazing! They looked like aspen trees.
When we finally got back to the airport a private plane flew in to take a sick person off the island to the airport. Problem was that the engines werent starting back up properly! The plane was there so long that the regularly scheduled plane came in. The airport agent swapped our places with the sick lady so she could get to the hospital sooner. That meant we got to fly in on the private plane. That was neat!
Lesson of the week: I was tracting with Elder Brinkworth and we came up to a 50 year old man's house who was holding a bucket of water. I told him that looked heavy and we carried it for him over to his pigs. He started talking to us for awhile. I could tell he was shy so I just started telling allll sorts of stories to keep the conversation going haha. Then his older brother came up and started talking as well. The brother worked on a ship when he was young and had been to Jerusalem and saw the house of Joseph! Wow! what cake! we used that and started telling them about the Book of Mormon story. They were interested and accepted a book of mormon and a reading in 1 Nephi 8. That was such a good tract! The conversation definitely related well to the gospel.
I think that is about all for this week. Thanks for tuning in! Don't forget to make someone smile today! The Book of Mormon is True! (Yes, with a capital T.) I love you all so much, I'm keeping you in my prayers!
Have a new adventure this week!
Letter dated 26 February 2018
I am writing on this paper because I am out of the writing pad. Who knew right?? Anywhooo, you probably want an update of the life of Elder Ekaki in Kuria. Let me break down my letter. There will be a week summary, a culture update, an experience - both physical and spiritual - and of course a spiritual thought followed by my testimony.
Week Summary: To be honest it has been hard to proselyte without a bicycle. But, Heavenly Father knows our problem and has given us an investigator, Tiau, who we can walk to to teach. Really it is a tender mercy. The plan for this coming week with her is for her to be baptized this Saturday. This week we also had the chance to visit some members really the plan for this week is to visit all of them before we leave for Aranuka. That sums up the week.
Culture Update: I've decided every culture is different. To help us all be on the same page so everyone can understand the difficulty of having culture above government, I will start with the basics in everywhere in Kiribati.
First, is how the power is split up in the Kiribati Culture. I feel a pyramid will help explain this idea:
So the major problem is finding true investigators that genuinely want to investigate the Church. Sometimes I like being on the top, but sometimes, it is really frustrating because all they want to do is appease us. Second, if grandparents are alive...good luck. So if grandpa and grandma are Catholic, because of the culture, everyone is Catholic. "No switching religions is allowed." Only by those that are trying to find an excuse to not lesson with us is really frustrating, but does not help to eliminate bad investigators. Third, when people are talking. It is rude to walk through them (past them). So to avoid being hated you need to bow your head and say "mata uninga" (excuse me - literal translation = eyes pillow). Now let us move on to individual cultures of Kiribati. There are three major groups: Itera Maiaki (South), Nuuka (Middle) ao Meang (North):
South - Everyone stays in their house and property is a big thing that you don't cross. You don't visit people. Houses must be clean and well kept. You must have sleeping mats. There is a very strict adherence to the culture of old.
Middle - They are known for Taetae buaka (talking in vulgar, swearing, and all around bad language). Also doing really inappropriate actions and body gestures. Culture has changed a lot. It used to be that when the water bowl was started, everyone stopped eating.
North - A different language, because it was not established like the other islands. A complete opposite of the southern culture. Where you are supposed to meet everyone and everyone shares. More open.
Here's the breakdown:
Story Time: I feel like it has been a long time since you have heard stories from my mission. So this week I will share two - a physical trial/experience and an uplifting spiritual experience.
Physical - It is like any other day. Wake up at 6:30 AM, pray, exercise, shower, breakfast, studies, lunch, and go proselyte. Well after I was done showering, the dog by the house took one of my shoes and hit it. I couldn't find it. End of lunch I still couldn't find it and we really needed to go and work. So we did. We walked to the main village which is Bouatoa from Oneeke. It is an hour and a half walk on a hot, dusty, rocky, unpaved road. I walked barefoot because...you know...no bicycles and no shoes because I lost one. All I can say is my feet got a nice workout and were sore the the next few days. I did find my shoe before I went to bed. Turns out Tangita put it on my buia.
Spiritual - Yesterday was Sunday and I am again in a place where there is no branch - only a unit. Basically I am the Branch President and I am designated to lead and guide the Church here on this island. So while I was conducting and announcing who was speaking, the Holy Ghost whispered to me that Noa and Tangita need to share their testimonies. Another weird thing was when I was speaking. Words kept coming out in perfect Kiribati. I would open my mouth and the words would flow. Really a blessing. Noa asked me why I called on him to speak. I told him it was the Holy Ghost. Then he thanked me for following that prompting.
Geography of Kuria
My spiritual thought for this week comes from the Book of Lamentations. Yep. That small book in between Jeremiah and Ezekiel that is a total of 5 chapters. It is Lamentations 3:22-32; 40 - 41. It says:
22 ¶ It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
I found this passage of scripture when I was studying the Old Testament and really liked the feeling that I got from it that I want to focus on. It is that God does have a plan for each of us. The problem we are sometimes faced with is accepting and following His plan. Sometimes we want to force our way on God, when in reality, we should be looking at aligning our will with God's. The other thing we are sometimes frustrated with is that it is not instantaneous or we think sometimes that it would be easier if it was a specific way. It reminds me of a scripture in 1 Nephi 9:6:
6 But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words. And thus it is. Amen.
It is pretty self explanatory that God knows everything and does have a plan for all of us. I want to end by bearing my testimony that I know this gospel is true. I love its simplicity. I testify that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that the Church was restored through him. I testify that Russell M. Nelson is a prophet of God and lives and guides the Church. I testify that there is power in prayer. When we pray, we really do talk to Heavenly Father. I know that my Redeemer lives, that he has paid the price of my sins and that I can be made clean again through him as I partake of the Sacrament each week and use the Atonement. I testify that the Book of Mormon is true and is the Word of God. I testify that God knows everything and is infinite in His power. I know he really does have a pan for us and it is our job to follow His plan. I testify of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
1. Church Pants
2. White Shirts
3. Mac and Cheese
4. Drink Mixes
5. Gummy Bears
I'm so happy that I can send this small message. To you all. I want to say I love you all. I can't wait to hear from you next week. I hope you got the message about my needs. Pics are too big but this is a quick message.
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
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!
Christmas was great! Just really getting needs today for those in Kainaba. And by the way to this point I have not been able to get my Christmas package from you still. We'll see if it is here today. The work is great and rewarding. This last week I was blessed to witness the baptism of Bwataua, Tietao, Ioane. Really cool baptism and the Spirit was there! We got a referral of a golden investigator. Really cool guy and he has the desire to be baptized by the 13th of January! My companion has the language down and I believe he is confident in speaking and he should be good when I leave at next transfer.
Quick Spiritual Thought for the week: Jacob 6:11 "O then, my beloved brethren, repent ye, and enter in at the strait gate, and continue in the way which is narrow, until ye shall obtain eternal life." We need to always repent to stay on the path that leads back to our Heavenly Father.
Sorry this is a short letter but this all the time I have today and I won't be on next week as I am spending Pday in Kainaba. Enjoy these pics! I cut hair also - if you can't tell - with a pair of sewing scissors.
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.