Friends and Family, Aloha.
This week's been really crazy. We just got the news that both Elder Hill and I are going to be transferred out of our area. Here we call it whitewashing when both missionaries are taken out and two new ones are brought in. If you don't remember, my last area I was in was whitewashed when I came here to Big Island. My new area is back on Oahu, in Waipahu. I'll be serving in the all-Marshallese branch with a Marshallese companion, so hopefully my language skills will pick up.
I'd been praying for Heavenly Father to give me more opportunities to use Marshallese because I hardly get to use it in Honoka'a, but this isn't really the answer I was looking for. I've come to love the people here so much and don't wanna leave, and the members feel the same way about us. We had almost everyone in the ward come up to us after they sang Aloha Oe and thanks us and tell us how much they're going to miss us.
When I first came into this ward there was basically nothing. There hadn't been a baptism in who knows how long, we had no with dates, and almost no investigators. But my companion and I worked hard, got a baptism, built our teaching pool, and got the ward members to start coming out with us to teach! It still amazes me how close you can become with people you met only a few months ago.
The hardest person to say goodbye to was our recent convert Haunani. She hates seeing people she cares for leave and could barely stand the thought of one of us leaving (which we thought was going to happen) Then when she found out both of us were going, she said she cried all night. And although it's hard, the important thing is that her conversion is to the gospel, not to us. While she loves and respects us, she has a deeper love for God and recognizes that when she puts her trust in Him, He'll provide, and that everything will work out in the end.
One of the speakers in sacrament meeting yesterday talked about how important it is to hold fast to that conversion when you face opposition in your life. He talked about how he didn't receive his conversion until 19 years after his baptism. It wasn't until then that he developed that true love for, and relationship with Christ and His gospel.
And I feel like I can relate in a lot of ways. Especially growing up in the church, I feel like I often took the gospel for granted in my life. I can honestly say, I don't feel that I received a conversion until I came out on a mission. Nothing has strengthened my testimony more of the truthfulness of this gospel and the blessings it brings, than testifying of it every day and seeing the blessings first-hand. And even now, my conversion is still an ongoing process. We can never become too close to God, or too converted. And that's why it's important to always keep pushing forward and stay true to what we know.
I love you guys and I'll let you know next week how things are back on Oahu. Ofa lahi atu!