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.

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