Week 18/19/20 – Talihau/’Utungake

The number of weeks in my blog post titles have been off because I started in the MTC on a Wednesday and had P-Days on Friday, but then P-Day changed to Monday once I got to Tonga, so since I didn’t post last week I’ll just get back on track by saying this is Week 20.

I’ll talk about how the work is going first. In my previous posts I talked about how we worked with President Makai to baptize Tavina. He told us to go ahead and start teaching her older sister Heilala, but the mother Lekina wants us to wait until her husband Ioane returns this week. We still visit them often though. We extended a baptismal invitation to our investigator Liu, which she hasn’t immediately accepted but we asked her to pray about it and everything we’ve taught her. We’ll check up on her this week and see how that commitment is going. There is a lady named Ofa who has gone to church twice now but both weeks we were in the other ward. We’ll work with the branch mission leader in ‘Utungake to coordinate teaching her. There are also lots of youth and young adults in Talihau that we have taught. Two in particular have taken multiple lessons and are very interested in our message. Elder Kau and I have set a goal of six baptisms for the zone baptism on December 24th.

My companionship with Kau has been pretty good. We get along really well and my Tongan has exploded since we’ve started working together. The language is getting so comfortable now I often start conversations with people and understand almost everything. I can also ask someone to explain a word and usually understand their response, which really helps. My main problem now is being able to hear all the separate words someone says when they speak quickly and blend words together.

Kau grew up in Vava’u but moved to Tonga when he was fifteen. In high school he ran track, then he got into wrestling, and finally bodybuilding where he won the Mr. Tonga competition. Naturally Kau describes himself as a ‘sports boy’. He decided to serve a mission when he was 24 and now he’s almost a year in. One of the members here, Sefo, is Kau’s best friend from his youth, who he hasn’t seen in 8+ years. Kau was instantly comfortable being back in Vava’u and with his friend, which I think has helped me speak the language since he started making friends with everyone from the start. Kau actually speaks English pretty well but we speak in Tongan more than half the time.

Honestly the mission just keeps getting better and better. I wouldn’t rather be doing anything else right now. Happy Thanksgiving, hopefully you all followed the Tongan motto, “kai ke mate” which means “eat until you die”. Tau toki sio e uike kaha’u.

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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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