Week 55 – Tokomololo

You might be surprised reading the title because last week I said I was moving to Nualei. Last Monday the AP’s took me and Elder Hirinuki to the Tongan equivalent of the DMV so we could get our drivers licences. For me it was super easy, they checked my American license, took a picture and printed out the new license right there. Elder Nuki didn’t have a full license though so he’ll have to take an actual driving test. Beyond having a license you also have to get certified by the mission, so as a result President decided to send an already certified driver to take my place in Nualei and I moved to Tokomololo instead.

That same day I watched a bunch of driving safety videos at the office and drove to town once with one of the couple missionaries. I guess that was enough for them to trust me, though I was pretty nervous driving on the left side for the first time. Also having to take into account people and animals on the road was new for me. It’s been fairly quick getting used to driving though.

My new companion is Elder Vakautakakala from Auckland, New Zealand. He’s about nine months in his mission and a transfer into this area. The first week here has already been really fun. The wards are strong, especially the young men and those preparing to serve a mission, which is a new experience for me. There’s a lot of people here eager to help us in the work. On Sunday we had four new investigators just from members inviting them to church, and we taught them after sacrament meeting.

I’m excited for this week of work and MLC leadership training! I couldn’t be happier with this area and my new companion. Ofa atu!

Week 51-54 – Hoi

First off I want to apologize for not writing for an entire month! There really isn’t any good excuse; sometimes I’m just lazy and don’t feel like thinking of something to write about. I will try to return to writing every week, even if it’s just a short paragraph.

Training has certainly been a growing experience, maybe even more for me than for Elder ‘Eukaliti. Being a trainer puts your integrity to the test – how hard will you work when it’s completely up to you? Watching Elder ‘Eukaliti progress was a reminder of the many stages I went through in the first year of my mission. I would probably sum up a mission as progressively taking on more and more responsibility, and learning how to cope with that. Starting out it’s a bit shocking but after a year you’re so used to it, it’s just natural to accept more duties. One of the best lessons I’ve learned in Hoi is getting involved with the ward. On Mondays we join a family for family home evening, Wednesday we visit the less-actives with the ward mission leader and teach an English class that night, Thursday we go door-knocking with stake leadership in another area, Friday we teach at the primary school, Saturday we invite people to church with the bishop, and on Sunday we teach a gospel principles class and I play piano in sacrament meeting, plus any ward/stake activities and firesides during the week and all the lessons that we teach with the members to investigators. It didn’t start out that way though; over the past three transfers we’ve been working them in one by one. We started to see the results the last couple weeks as members have been helping us a lot more in the work, such as giving us referrals and helping us teach investigators. When Elder Hirinuki and I started in Lapaha and Hoi we kind of went at it on our own and the results were still okay because we worked hard but not like it is now. So I can testify that getting involved and working to strengthen the ward is the best way to be and feel successful as a missionary.

I love the saying “leave the area better than you found it”, and it’s now relevant because we got transfer news yesterday. President Tui’one called and let me know I’ll be moving to Nualei to be comps again with my man Nuki. I’m super excited to work with him again and from what he’s told me it’s a great area for the work. Elder Hirinuki was made zone leader last transfer and now I’ll be stepping up to that position to replace his companion who just finished his mission. It’s great because all four of us Elders from my original MTC class were just made zone leaders and we’ll get to see each other at MLC (leadership training) next month.

I testify that this is the true restored gospel of Jesus Christ which we are teaching. Our Saviour personally leads His Church through the prophet Thomas S. Monson and His Apostles. I testify that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and strengthens our testimony of Christ and the Atonement. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Ofa lahi atu kiate kimoutolu.