Week 27/28/29 – Halaleva/Pahu

What’s up? Everything’s still the same here in the Kingdom of Tonga, which is good!

I had my first debate with an investigator. It was kind of hard to avoid because he started interrogating us almost immediately when we met him. His questions were obviously meant to trip us up and not out of his own curiosity. We were stumped on how to answer most of them, or at least could provide an answer but didn’t know where to find scriptural support. One puzzling idea he had was that if we really had the gift of the Holy Ghost, then we should be able to speak in tongues to him, because whenever the Holy Ghost fell upon someone in the New Testament they spoke in tongues. Anyway, at the end of our “lesson” the investigator challenged me to read the book of Acts. I’m glad he did because I ended up finding all the answers to his questions, though that wasn’t his intention. Had I just gone verse-seeking I would not have found them, it required reading multiple chapters in succession to receive a full answer which could not be contained in a single verse.

After reading Acts, I continued with the epistles of Paul. One impression I got while reading them is that the Bible actually does testify to the fact that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ’s restored church, in the same manner as it was during His ministry. As I picture Paul visiting and writing to the various congregations in Europe and Asia, giving correction where it is needed and making sure the church remains unified in belief and practice, all I can think of is our modern Apostles and Seventies visiting every little branch and mission in the most remote places of the world, simply continuing the exact same work undertaken by Paul.

This past week I have learned to love teaching kids. I used to dislike it because it requires a different teaching style and use of the language to ask questions and explain principles in a simple way that kids can understand. We have four investigators in the age range of 9-12 so I’ve gotten a lot more practice. At first we were teaching them separately but then we brought them all together for our lessons. This really helped the kids open up with their answers, and it made teaching way more fun. All four are getting baptized this Wednesday.

The language is still difficult. A couple weeks ago I sort of gave up on actively trying to study the language and settled with the idea that it will come eventually. The past few days I’ve been talking more so I think I’m out of that slump. I’m going to start afresh on my language study this week. It seems like every problem I run into comes from not knowing the language. They say missionary work shouldn’t be easy, but if I just had the language down the work wouldn’t even feel like work. Ah, it’s frustrating!

We switched MQs with the Sisters about three weeks ago (something about safety concerns because the member family that lived on the same property moved away so the Sisters were by themselves). Man, they really do give all the best stuff do the sister missionaries, haha.  We have a water heater for the shower, nicer mattresses, a huge closet, and even a microwave. The Sisters were a little angry about getting evicted from their luxury hotel but the order came straight from President Tui’one after he found out there was nobody else living on the property. They really care about the sister missionaries, haha. There’s also a scale here so I finally weighed myself, at a horrifying 210 lbs! It’s a little depressing but also comforting to realize it doesn’t bother me as much as I expected. Thankfully I was able to purchase some new tupenus to accommodate my growing body. If I keep up this trend of 30 lbs per six months I’ll come home at 300 lbs, haha!

It feels good writing in my blog for the first time in three weeks. There is something about getting your thoughts down on paper that makes difficult trials seem absurdly easy, like you’re reading someone else’s problems for which the solution is so obvious. Challenges are always funnier when they’re not happening to you, and writing a blog or journal helps you see the tragic humor in your own life from a third person perspective.

Long post to make up for the past 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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