Week 9 – Talihau/’Utungake

This week we saw a lot more success with working with the members. We went on a vilahoa (companion exchange) with two soon-to-be missionaries. First we roleplayed the lesson we’d be teaching for an hour, then went doorknocking at the homes of people we thought were nonmembers or less-active. Knocking doors in Tonga is just going up to someone’s home and yelling out their name or a greeting. If they don’t feel like talking to you then they just act like they didn’t hear you, even though it’s obvious you know they can. Usually people are friendly though and invite you inside. We taught three mamalohis this way, using the TTIP method (teach, testify, invite, promised blessings) which we learned from Elder Letoa, the Area Seventy that spoke at stake conference two weeks ago. First you teach a lesson, testify of its truthfulness, invite them to act, then promise the blessings that will come from following through on that invitation. Since there were four of us we each took one step, and as a result our lessons turned out really well

Another thing we started doing is asking members to set up lessons for us after their fafanga. One night we taught four teenage boys, and we didn’t even find out until later that two were mamalohi and two were nonmembers. Just from the efforts of the members in Talihau we got four new investigators this week. I’m excited to keep getting closer with the members because while we are the master teachers, they really are the master finders.

The whole week Elder Hopoate and I must’ve had some kind of stomach bug because we didn’t feel too great. Hopoate has a pretty bad fever but I’m mostly fine now other than some fakalele (literally translates to “runny”; figure it out). While we nofo api’d (stayed at home) I finished the Book of Mormon and started the Old Testament. Going to read all four standard works straight through in English, then start studying from the Tongan scriptures.

Something I learned while reading in Genesis, in the account of God commanding Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac:

And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.

Immediately I thought of Christ carrying the wooden cross to Golgotha. There’s a footnote in my scriptures which takes you to John 19:17.

16 Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.

17 And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha.

Then the story continues in Genesis:

And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for burnt offering?

And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

The first time I read verse 8 I interpreted it as Abraham saying that God himself will provide a lamb. Then I reread the verse and understood Abraham as saying that God will provide himself as a lamb. Then in verses 9-10:

And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.

10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.

Based on the verse it doesn’t seem like Abraham had to struggle binding Isaac to the altar. Isaac accepted his father’s command and offered himself willingly. The parallels to Christ and His Atonement are exceptionally clear. As I’m reading the Old Testament I’ve found it testifies of Christ just as much as the New Testament and Book of Mormon.

At zone conference President Tui’one promised us that if we get eight baptisms in a month we get to fly to Tongatapu and go to the temple. Elder Hopoate hasn’t been in forever and really misses the temple, so we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us! Hopefully I’ll have some baptisms to report in the next few weeks. Ofa atu!

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Author: Elder Patrick Watts

I am serving a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Tonga Nuku'alofa Mission.

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