Monday, June 2, 2014

Week 42 - With Aloha, From HI

It's crazy how fast time is moving. I swear I just emailed you guys yesterday. Everything's going pretty good here in Hawaii. The only problem is most of our investigators would rather go to different churches than to ours. Most of them love taking the lessons and we see them multiple times every week, but because they're kids they look at sunday as another play day, and go to the church that seems like it's the most fun, where all of their friends are and where there's breakfast and the teachers take them to the gas station to buy candy. We try to tell them that they should go to church to come closer to God, not for snacks, but it's hard to convince a group of young teenagers about that.
We started teaching a new lady named Teyrose. She's living with one of our members and came from the Marshall Islands to give birth to her kid sometime this month. She probably won't be baptized because she's super pregnant and Marshallese tradition is that once a woman gives birth, she stays inside and doesn't leave the house as part of some ritual cleansing/healing process. Then once that's done she'll go back to the Marshall Islands. But our hope for her is that we get her excited about the gospel so that once she returns to the Marshall Islands she'll seek out the missionaries and continue to learn, then hopefully be baptized. But for now she's progressing great and has been coming to church every week.
We also made progress with my companion's cousin Nora and her boyfriend Atlieson. Atlieson got a new job so now he'll be able to raise the money to pay for the marriage license, which was their main concern before. She's also supposed to give birth sometime this month so we're hoping to get them married and baptize him before she's stuck in the house for a month as well.
And as some of you may know my trainer, Elder Ukenio, is serving in the same branch as I am. There's four missionaries and he's in the other set. He's going home this transfer in about two weeks, so yesterday was his last fast sunday on his mission. He got up and shared the story about his dad. He's from a small island country called Kiribati (prounounced Key-ree-bus) and his dad is a fisherman. A few months before I came to Hawaii his dad was out fishing and their boat got lost at sea. I think the engine died or something like that. Either way it was his dad, and two other men on the boat at the mercy of the elements. I don't know too many of the long details, but long story short they drifted from just south of Hawaii to off the coast of Japan and lived off rain water and fishing for 3 1/2 months. One of the three men died during the journey. From what I heard, the other man that survived was starting to doubt that they'd ever get rescued. He was from some other religion and said they should worship some material thing and the Gods would have mercy on them and save them. His dad refused and the other man tried, but nothing happened. Then his dad said he would pray to His God, and just after that they were found by a Japanese fishing boat.
Elder Ukenio talked about how he was really worried about what was happening to his dad and if he was alright, especially since his mom had died just before he came out on his mission. Then he talked about a temple trip we went to and he prayed about his dad, and just felt an overwhelming sense of peace that everything would be alright, and that his dad was okay.
Just like my mission dad, I also know that God is always aware of our situation. That he will never leave us alone, or abandoned. Sometimes He allows us to experience trials and disappointments to help us grow, but He is always with there every step of the way, through the influence of His spirit, the Holy Ghost.
Love you all and jeramman wot wiik in!
<3 Elda Merrill

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