Na Cina.

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On Monday, I was very grateful for Sera.  She’s just recently started attending church after a five year hiatus.  She’s taking the lessons with the missionaries as a refresher course.  She’s already an amazing person.  She’s got a great sense of humor and she wants to do lots of missionary work.  She considers herself our personal bodyguard and gives us all kinds of good advice.  Right now, we’re working with her to bring back some of the less active members in our area.  Her desire to help them enjoy the gospel is inspiring.

Tuesday, we spent most of our day training in Suva.  Lots of missionaries there and I don’t know them all yet.  My trainer and I went to an appointment after and set a baptismal date.  There was a little girl there that spent the 40 minute lesson playing with my hair.  She flipped it this way and that and ran her fingers through it.  It made it very hard to teach with a straight face.  Thankfully, my companion was able to focus while I kept the little one entertained.

Right now, I’m serving in the Nausori Ward.  It is a great place to be.  We’ve got dinner every night, and we work closely with the members.  We’ve got two baptismal dates set, one for July and the other for August.  I’ve gotten to know these investigators pretty well.  We spend lots of time walking around (I’ve got all the mosquito bites I ever wanted in my entire life this past week.)  I could spend several pages talking about the many differences between Arizona and Fiji, so I’ll take a moment and tell you what’s the same instead.  I’m teaching the same gospel.  It is still true.  I’m reading out of the same books, and we even watch some of the same 80’s style videos complete with the jazzy music.  On Sundays, there’s the same spirit of love and unity during Sacrament.  Here in Fiji, we’ve still got friendly, helpful church members that care for the missionaries.  (I’ve even been “adopted” by one family.  They told me to go there if I ever need a dinner appointment.)

So, some things stayed the same, but it’s not the dry, sunny American suburb that I’m used to.  As for the differences, I can tell you that there’s a rooster that starts crowing outside my window at 3 o’clock in the morning.  If you have any recipes for rooster, please contact me.

Funny thing, we went to the dentist on Thursday because my companion had to get a tooth pulled.  Once I walked in and smelled that dentist office smell and looked at the waiting room paintings, I felt truly homesick for the first time since I got to Fiji.  It was almost like I was back at Grandpa’s office.  Something about the sound of drills shook me out of the nostalgia.

After the dentist, we took the bus back to Nausori.  I looked out the windows and wondered if Fijians could ever get bored with the lush, jungle scenery.  The land opened up into a valley of dense ferns and trees covered with red flowers.  The distance was misty with golden sunshine breaking through.  When we got back to the flat, my companion found a parting gift from her last companion in the microwave.  Whatever it was, it had decomposed into something entirely different.  The microwave was filled with maggots.  My companion decided that the best thing to do was microwave them, and the resulting stench drove us into the next room.

I had a good experience on Friday.  Last week, when I arrived in Suva, I went and looked for people to teach.  We found one young woman who seemed interested.  This week, we did companion exchanges and I went back to the area in Suva where the young woman lived.  We taught her again, but she had completely changed.  She was happier, bright.  She did her Book of Mormon reading and learned a lot.  I was there when she was invited to be baptized.  She accepted with a great big smile on her face.


Sister Hawkins


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