Week 33

Malo ‘etau lava.

At the beginning of the year President Tui’one gave us all a commitment to read the Book of Mormon everyday, following a schedule that would lead us to finish reading it in 90 days. I started reading in Tongan but got distracted by other scriptures and stopped around 1 Nifai 15. On Monday last week I decided I need to renew and complete that commitment. I have to read a lot more each day than the 90-day plan called for but I’m glad because it has really helped me to teach from the scriptures in our lessons, and of course to learn the language. It’s kind of embarrassing that I still haven’t read the Book of Mormon in Tongan but I am genuinely committed this time. I don’t really have a choice actually because President’s son borrowed my English quad while he went on an exchange with the APs, and conveniently forgot to return it. I was a little devastated to find out they were gone because of how long I’ve had them and all the markings and notes I’ve made in them, but thankfully it is the mission president’s son so I trust they’ll make it back to me someday.

We baptized our investigator Brooklynn on Saturday along with three of the APs’ investigators, including the Kiribati lady I got to help teach. I performed all four baptisms because nobody else had white clothes, which seems to be a common occurrence, since I have my own personal pair of white pants while there are a limited number of white tupenus running around. It’s okay though, I still really enjoy baptizing. The Kiribati lady kept thanking me over and over again, which was a nice reminder not to forget the personal significance of baptism to the investigator, even when as a missionary it seems so routine.

Alright, here are my notes from the mission conference two weeks ago:

Elder Renlund:

  • There were three important messages he wanted us to know:
    1. Thank you from the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve, and our Savior Jesus Christ.
    2. You are called by prophecy to serve in the location we were assigned to. You have a right and obligation to know this; when you receive that revelation, write it down.
    3. President and Sister Tui’one are also called of God by prophecy and they love you.
  • When Elder Renlund was first called to be an Apostle, Elder Cook was assigned to be his mentor in adjusting to all the new responsibilities. One time Elder Renlund felt overwhelmed and in a private meeting with Elder Cook, he expressed that he felt like an imposter in the quorum meetings because of the comparatively little experience he had. The next week he received one of the strongest rebukes from the Lord he had ever experienced. The main thought that came to his head was: “You have no right given the spiritual assurance of your calling to express inadequacy to anyone except your wife and the Lord.” This story left an interesting impression on me, wondering how it can be applied to my life now as a missionary or supposing it will have greater meaning in the future.
  • Elder Renlund drew a chart with Attitude on one axis and Effort on the other. He described how there are different states that a missionary can be in of either negative or positive attitude, and negative or positive effort. The section of positive attitude and positive effort is where miracles are witnessed, because the missionary works with joy and faith. Elder Renlund admitted that his natural tendency is the negative attitude but positive work. I think my own tendency is the same, and I have seen how nothing results from the work you do without the proper attitude.
  • Elder Renlund left us with an apostolic blessing, the most significant part to me being that “…as you continue faithful you will know as clearly as I know that this is the work of God.”

The other speakers were also amazing but I’m running out of time! Ofa lahi 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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