Week 13 – Talihau/’Utungake

My body finally caught up with me this week. It started on the Wednesday before last, I felt really tired on our way home and fell asleep immediately when we arrived. The next day started okay but around noon that same exhaustion returned. As the days passed I felt tired more often and started eating less. It peaked on Tuesday night when I had to be on the toilet constantly and threw up twice. The next few days we stayed at home so I could recover. I developed an irritating cough during that time and pretty much completely lost my appetite for Tongan food. That was one of the more frustrating things because when I came in I adjusted super quickly to the food and ate a lot of everything. The past few days it’s felt like I’ve had to relearn to like Tongan food.

Right now I still have the cough and sometimes feel tired but I think I should be fully recovered in the next couple days. I feel blessed to have rarely struggled with my health in the past because this is definitely the longest sickness I’ve endured. And it feels even longer as a missionary because you’re stuck unable to do anything except study the whole time. After a while I could sense that my spiritual desire to work had dimmed. I started worrying that once my body returned to normal, that desire might not return quite as automatically. Just yesterday though we were blessed with two new investigators out of nowhere, and combined with our gradual return to getting out and talking to people, my spiritual desire is back and stronger than before.

Today we had a zone P-day and hiked Mt. Talau. The night before we slept at the zone leaders’ MQ which was fun. We woke up at 4:30 so we could reach the peak by sunrise. The hike was pretty hard still being sick but on the way down I felt a lot better, almost as if the exercise had helped my cough. The view was amazing being able to see almost all of Vava’u. I don’t have pictures but hopefully I can get some from the other missionaries for next week.

I love serving here. It is the greatest blessing of my life to have been called here. The Tongan people have taught me a lot. They are incredibly unselfish and have the closest families I’ve ever seen. Everyone is friendly with everyone. When they show their love it is purposeful and sincere. I didn’t expect to be changed much by the culture but I can already tell at the end of two years I will return a different person. There are too many good qualities in Tongan life to not come back a little kinder and wiser.

Ofa lahi atu kiate kimoutolu.

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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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