Week 11 – Talihau/’Utungake

First transfer completed! Today we planted siaine (bananas) around our MQ. We already had a lot clumped behind the house so we removed some and planted them around the house. To plant them you just move the existing tree into a hole and cut it down so it can regrow. The little shoots coming out the top grew there in just a few hours. Not sure how long siaine takes to grow but someone will get a ton of bananas somewhere down the road.

Elder Hopoate and I were exploring in ‘Utungake when we found a large house that was under construction and looked abandoned. We took a break in the shade there and after a while a man walked out on the porch and said he was the chief of police in Vava’u. That kind of scared us at first but then he invited us inside. He said it was a blessing to have us there and expressed his appreciation for our work. Even though he isn’t a Mormon he appreciates  our work with the youth especially and can see the difference the Church makes in their lives. He also talked a lot about his children and his parents. While we talked, mostly in English, it seemed so clear to me how to naturally introduce the message of the gospel into the conversation, but I didn’t because I was worried Elder Hopoate already had something in mind to share and that he could do it better than I could. Nothing else happened for the rest of the conversation so before we left I gave him a pamphlet which felt forced and less effective than if I had just spoken up earlier.

It’s hard trying to figure out if it’s always better to share the gospel on your first meeting with someone or to wait until they trust you enough to be more receptive to the message. Elder Hopoate and I talked about it after and concluded that anytime we feel prompted to speak we should just go ahead and say it. When we rely on the Spirit to know when to speak we can spend more time listening to the needs of the person than thinking how to shift the conversation to the gospel. I’m not perfect at it now but it’s something I experienced in the MTC when we roleplayed street contacting with our teachers. If you really listen to what someone is saying the words you should speak come more naturally.

Ofa atu, kuo u loto pe ke tuku kiate kimoutolu ae Otua ki he taimi ke tau toe fetaulaki.

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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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