Week 46 – Lapaha

This week definitely saw some tender mercies. When we visited our investigator Leini she had just gotten off the phone with her dad and told us she wants to get baptized on June 17th. Her parents are already members but went less-active, however while in New Zealand the missionaries there have been working with them. We already knew Leini was going to get baptized but I was starting to have some doubts. Her parents get back on the 16th so she wants to get baptized the next day. Hopefully I’ll get to stay here to witness that happy reunion.

Another miracle was that we visited one of our members, Lupe, and she said there’s someone who told her she wants to get baptized. Lupe set it up for her to sleep over that night so they could talk and the next morning we went to go meet her. Mele is 78 and was actually already baptized in Vava’u when she was in her twenties but fell away a while after. Since it’s so long ago we’ll have to check if she has a baptismal record. I am just so happy that we can help someone return to church. She said her house feels like a prison because her children and grandchildren hate the Church and don’t give her the freedom to choose where she worships. She attended church on Sunday with Lupe and received a very warm welcome.

While we were getting to know Mele, Lupe told us a miracle of her own that she experienced. For a very long time she was allergic to manioke, lamb, and fish. Whenever she ate any of these she immediately got sick. This made it difficult for her to be accommodated, even at home. At the beginning of last year she asked the Lord to heal her of this allergy and promised to read the Book of Mormon twice that year. One night in September she finished reading the Book of Mormon the second time that year. The next morning at breakfast she ate a few kumala but was still hungry. Only manioke was left, so she told her daughter to pass her some. Her daughter was shocked because she knew it would make her sick. Lupe insisted and her daughter started to cry because she felt like she would be killing her mom. Lupe ate the manioke and was completely fine. Later that day they went to a restaurant in town and Lupe told her daughter to order some kale sipi (lamb curry) for her. Again, Lupe was unaffected by the food, and the same thing occurred for the fish. I was amazed by the faith that Lupe exemplified in this story. I learned that the Lord can make strong all kinds of weaknesses.

Monday through Wednesday was stormy almost the whole time so we mostly stayed inside the MQ. Here’s a kind of funny story. On Tuesday while we were staying inside we got a text asking if we were going to go teach our investigator Siaosi because he had been waiting for an hour for us to come. We were just baffled because we didn’t know the person who texted us, we never set up a time to go teach him, and outside it looked like a hurricane. Everyone knows we don’t have a car so it would be a 20-minute walk to get there. We thought about what to do, and even suspected it might be a prank, but finally decided to ask the neighbors to take us there. When we got to the house it seemed like nobody was there but we heard someone doing tutu (hitting the bark of a certain tree with a mallet against a log to flatten it and make tapa cloth) so we checked out the back and it was just the mom of the household where Siaosi is staying. We asked her about him and she said he went to town. Now we were really confused and figured it really was a prank, so we got a ride back home. Eventually we found out that the person who texted us is Siaosi’s girlfriend, and he actually was waiting for us but we went to the wrong Siaosi. We have two investigators named Siaosi. The only thing still strange is that she told us we were late to an appointment we never set, and expected us to go out during a huge storm! The good part of the story is that Siaosi’s girlfriend is an RM and a strong member in another ward so it’s not just us trying to convert him.

It seems to be a pattern in my mission and probably in life that when we endure trials the Lord blesses us. Some trials may seemingly go unrewarded until after this life but very often I have seen immediate blessings after passing successfully through the climax of a difficult week or month. Often the challenge is still present but we are gifted with the understanding or perspective to remain content and move forward.

Have a great week. Ofa atu.



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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