It's been another busy week here in paradise. We keep setting more people with baptismal dates and really see the work progressing! We have also been seeing so many blessings in our area.
Likewe went to this place called the Pupu's to contact former investigators we found in our area book. But because I'm new to the area, I accidentally turned down the wrong road and neither me or my companion noticed. We were walking up and down the street and saying things like "whoever wrote the addresses on these teaching records must be blind, cause none of these numbers exist!" Not realizing that we were on the wrong street the whole time.
As we were walking, determined to find these people, we heard "elders! Come bless our house!" So we walked over to these kids who claimed there was a ghost in their house and wanted us to bless it. So we said a prayer with them and gave them pictures of Jesus. We told them "as long as you've got this, the ghosts can't hurt you". Then we asked them if they knew any Marshallese people that lived around there. They replied yes and showed us the room that the Marshallese family lived in. We went to the house and they were having a party! The Marshallese really respect the missionaries, even if they don't respect the church. So they invited us in and gave us some food. We started talking to some people, and found people willing to have us come back and teach them! And we also found someone who knew some of the people we were looking for in the first place!
I feel like although we were on the wrong street, it was for a reason, because there was people that we needed to see there. I really feel like that a lot as a missionary, where the Lord puts us in situations that we are supposed to be in to help somebody come to know of the truthfulness of the gospel.
Working with the Marshallese people here has really given me a different perspective on life too. To the Marshallese, family is everything. They're willing to sacrifice everything they own, if it means helping their family. Just this past week, we were talking to a member (who happens to be the person that translated the BoM, D&C, and Pearl of Great Price into Marshallese) and he was telling us about some of the members in the branch. In the Marshallese they have a class system. There's the kings, the Iroijs (lords) and the rijerbal (working class). In the Marshall Islands if a king or iroij asks for something like food or money, you have to give it to him. Also when you walk by you have to bend over so you're physically lower to the ground than they are.
Anyway, so while talking to this guy, we found out a member in our branch is a king on one of the islands. So we went over to talk to him about it. He told us that if he went back home, he could live in luxury and have enormous wealth, but he's willing to sacrifice it all because of his family, to give his kids a better education and a chance to get a decent job.
As far as worldly wealth goes, the Marshallese have none. But they're rich in the areas where it really counts like family bonds and faith in Christ. I feel so blessed to get to work with them.
I hope you all have a great week and recognize the things our Heavenly Father has blessed you with that really matter.
Iakwe, Elder Merrill