Week 44 – Lapaha

This blog post is basically my letter to president, with some minor changes. I might continue doing this because it saves time and lets you guys know how the work is going:

This week was alright. Having zone conference on Monday kind of threw us off a bit because we accidentally planned a bunch of stuff for Tuesday. Then on Wednesday we went on a great comp exchange with a couple RMs to go teach an investigator, but that feel through so we split up and visited less-actives instead. It was the first time since I worked in Talihau that I had done an exchange like that, and I loved it.

We also revisited a new investigator from last week named Uinipola, a 65-year-old Catholic man. At the beginning of the lesson, I asked him what he remembered from what we shared last week. He responded, “Repentance.” Both Elder Hirinuki and I were pleasantly surprised because a large portion of our message had been on repentance and the power of the Atonement. Just to give you some background, he and his buddy were drinking beer the first time we came, so maybe our message really hit hard. I am thankful for that second lesson because I felt led by the Spirit to say a couple things I had never said before in a lesson. First I touched on how wonderful it is that the Lord didn’t choose an educated, wealthy, or influential man, but a humble fourteen-year-old boy to begin the restoration of His Church. Second, at the end of the lesson Elder Hirinuki asked if he had any questions and he responded “no”, then I asked, “Is there anything we shared that you don’t believe in?” His response was “No, I understand everything.” It was comforting to hear. Now we just have to extend the baptismal invitation and find out what, if anything, is holding him back.

On Thursday Elder Moala, one of the zone leaders, came to our area so we fit in a couple hours in our schedule so he could visit his dad’s family in Hoi. It turned out pretty useful actually because we visited two non-member homes we have never been to, and two less-active homes. Literally every other appointment that day fell through and that was kind of the pattern set for the next two days as well.

On Friday we visited three houses that we planned to contact in our weekly planning. We got one new investigator from the first house, and hopefully we’ll get to teach her family too, and set an appointment to visit the second house another day. The third house wasn’t interested but we found out the lady there used to attend a ward in New Zealand and all her kids were baptized, just not her. We will try and find someone to get acquainted with her. There are lots of houses like these that I often feel like we should visit so this week we will try to contact them all.

Saturday was another less-productive day but we asked the bishop to go with us to a recent convert’s house, and he actually accepted. We visited him, our investigator Falekaono, and a couple less-actives to invite them to church. I was really happy with how that turned out because Falekaono really opened up like we had never seen before. He is still struggling with the Word of Wisdom but I have faith in him. I don’t know if he’ll be baptized this transfer, next, or a year from now but I’m sure it will happen.

We have a couple investigators that are fairly certain to get baptized. Leini is basically already a strong member, she’s just waiting for her member parents to return from New Zealand in June so they can be there when she gets baptized. I’ve thought about suggesting that she consider not waiting, since baptism and confirmation are so important to her spiritual growth, but I don’t know if that would be appropriate because I feel like my personal drive to get baptisms might be at play. Another investigator named Siaosi is married to a member here and they just moved from Popua to live at the wife’s family’s house in Talasiu. We started teaching him but the wife’s dad asked us if we could hold off for a bit while they teach him little by little how to pray, study the scriptures, go to church, things like that. Siaosi’s dad is a British man and nonreligious so he never went to church growing up. I am confident he well get baptized, maybe next month. He was super nice and sincerely interested the first time we taught him. I think his learning the gospel by living with a member family will be a very beneficial foundation which we will later add upon with the missionary lessons.

As I think about how we can make sure this next week is more productive than the last, all I can think of is that we just need to be more fakapotopoto (wise, clever) with our daily planning. We usually have a backup plan for at least every hour but those are liable to fall through and cause more time wasted walking around then maybe we should just knock doors around the area where our dropped appointment was scheduled. We also need to use the phone more to try and ask investigators when they’re available rather than walking all the way there just to find our they’re gone. Our effort is good, we just need to be smarter.

Of course, Happy Mother’s Day, although I think it’s officially over in America. Hope everyone had a good one. ‘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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