Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Education, Testimonies, Revivals

Sorry that this one is for a month, but we do get busy here. We have been given some new assignments that will keep us busy and challenge our resourcefulness.

We are now facilitators for the Self-Reliant program here in the Savusavu area. We work with missionaries that will be going home in the next 6 weeks and work with them on the first 6 lessons in the manuals. The program allows for differences in abilities, education, etc. and it can give assistance in helping them prepare for education upon their return home. Check the Self-reliant program out on or on your apps for Gospel Library. It can be a help to you as your children prepare for life after the 12 years of school.  We have also started a class called self-reliance in one of the villages with the members, although this program is open to all. They want to find something they can do to earn more money. Prior to submitting missionary paperwork, potential missionaries must have $195 Fijian in the branch account. This is 3 months the costs of a mission.

We visited Dreikeniwai, a small village, for Sacrament meeting today. As usual we were asked to bear our testimonies. The members are so humble and accommodating to us when we come. It is also the village where the District President lives, but he was in Savusavu, our “home” branch, changing the branch presidency. Our relief society president grew up there and owns the house the members meet in. Her husband did a year ago and they put a tomb in their front yard.

Sister Roberts and Sister Rabuka (owner)

Ready for Sacrament meeting

Jackie bore testimony that we all have something special that we can do. It may not be the “big” things that are considered great to do, but we all have a work to do here; that our Father in Heaven has designed especially for us. Through these trials we learn and grow and become more obedient and submissive to the promptings of the spirit.

Told the story of the two pots, one pot was cracked, and water leaked out and fell upon the flowers on his side of the road. Jesus Christ knows our “cracks” and has promised that He will make our weaknesses strong. We only have to be obedient and be better today than we were yesterday and better tomorrow than we are today. As long as were a moving forward in a positive manner toward the ultimate goal of eternal life, we are successful.

Tonight I went with the Elders to talk to an investigator. He was with his wife and child looking for work here. He is from Labasa, a town north of us. He was baptized a while back to the Assembly of God church. I not sure what religion he was prior to his 1st baptism. I met him at church today and didn’t know he was not a member. But he is staying with a member. He is very smart and inquisitive about what went on in church today. Who knows what he and his family will do but the message was that we have a way for him and his family to be happy in this life and be together as a family after this life.

Sunday night we went to a village and attended a village “revival” that is hosted by the different churches in the area. The hosting preacher gave a grand sermon, all in Fijian so we didn’t understand a word. But he was loud and it reminded me of the Neil Diamond song, “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show”. Then there is a village picnic outside the building. We had to miss the picnic due to a need to take the sacrament to a blind sister that cannot get to church. The Elders take her this each week. She was so humble and had such a strong testimony. She seems so positive, even with all the difficulties she is going through. We met her a few weeks ago in Savusavu, when her niece brought her to town to shop. Her kindness and sweet, happy disposition was so uplifting.




Friday, September 9, 2016

Temple Worship, Dirt Roads, and Surprses!

10 September 2016

We had our first “graduating class” for our Temple Prep classes go to the Suva Temple a week ago and we were on the dock the morning they returned. They were all smiles and like little children at Christmas time. There were 3 couples and one single lady who received their own endowments. The couples were then sealed to their children. Our branch president was sealed to his father and mother. There were 17 people in all that went and made eternal covenants. Those young men and women that had a “limited use” recommend, were able to attend and do baptisms for the dead. I was so nice to see how their faces had changed from the experience.

A few days after they had returned, I had need to be in the village of one of the fathers, who is the group leader in that village. Now, usually we can ride the 20 minutes into town without one word, but this day was different. He told me he had had a dream, in which he saw many of his ancestors smiling and looking at him. He was so taken by the dream; he woke his wife to tell her about the dream. He asked me if I had any idea what it meant? Talk about feeling the heavy load of responsibility, I told him that I thought that his ancestors wanted him to do the family history and then take their names to the temple. I told him that not everyone had an experience like this after going to the temple.

Another sister we visit, who is less active, told us that after Cyclone Winston had leveled their home, they re-built. It is a very small home, with two rooms that has plywood as walls. They do have power and gas for their stove. But not much else. I noticed a picture of Christ on one of the walls and she told us after they re-built, that fire that burned two walls and melted one of their mosquito nets. But she said that the other net had that picture of Christ on it and the fire didn’t burn or melt the second mosquito net.

We have been given a new assignment. We are facilitating the missionaries that are going home in 6 weeks, with the Self-Reliance program. There are 12 lessons but we only do the first 6 and they are to complete the last 6 when they return home. We started our first group of 2 elders and 1 sister last Monday and will be organizing another group in a village of Tukavesi. The Branch President in this village wants to take the course also.

When couples are called on a self-reliant mission they get a week of training in SLC after their week in the MTC. Our training was a phone call, email and a USB drive with all the lessons, videos, etc. on it. We were told to “teach ourselves”. I must say that the lessons are very well organized and fortunately the instructions are to not deviate from the lesson material. It is timed so you really can’t go too far off course.
Today we went to a neighboring island to do some “official business” of the mission. We have been asked to do the flat inspections of all the elders and sisters and to check the temple recommend books in each of the branches, to make sure they have the only the books that are required. All I have to check is the beginning and ending numbers of the recommends in the booklet. Some of the branches have both English and Fijian recommends and some only have the English.

The island we went to is called Rabi, (pronounced Rambi). We had to take an hour drive on paved roads, then 1 ¼ hours on dirt roads, they a 45-minute boat ride to the island. The boat was a fiberglass 18’ motor boat. Then after an hour on the island we made the return trip. We do not stay on the island. It is very rustic and rats in the houses. Yes, rats! Even the Elders would not let us stay overnight.

Brother Matai and Wife

Savusavu Branch at Temple

Brothers at Temple

Sisters at Temple

Brother Sepo and Family
This is the Brother who had the Dream

Jackie and Lucia and Matai

As we visit families in the area and work with the children, in particular, we fine the people to be very religious. They are humble and are happy with what little they have. One young man, the branch clerk, said that Fijian people are not poor.