Our investigator that’s been taking the lessons for seven years agreed to get baptized this month. We’re helping him overcome some bad habits, but he’s very well-prepared spiritually. He’s a really nice, funny guy. On Thursday, we had to remind him that my companion and I aren’t going to stay in Fiji forever and there will be a point where he has to figure everything out on his own. Although we’ve helped him find the right path, he’ll need to finish it on his own. After hearing that he said, “Isa ( a word that roughly translates into ‘dramatic sigh’), when I go to heaven, I’ll need to take the two of you with me.”
We had another baptism on Saturday for a sweet little girl named Bulou. She’s very quiet. We’re teaching her the lessons again, and while teaching her the first lesson on Sunday, I discovered a new teaching technique. I understand the grammar and words used in Fijian, but when I speak Fijian it sounds kind of silly. She couldn’t stop giggling, so I pulled out a paper and drew the lesson out instead, writing all the captions in Fijian. The lesson went really well after that, and until I can get a decently un-American accent going, she’s going to be seeing a lot of drawings.
For the month of August, we officially have dinner every single night. My companion and I have been unofficially adopted by at least four families, and they make sure I am well taken care of. If either of us feels ill or tired, they immediately start listing Fijian remedies. Sister Hogland’s ankles have been really sore for the past week or so, and we’ve got bags of leaves that she’s supposed to use to take the pain away. At least four different kinds of leave, maybe five. Hopefully, at least one of them works.
Funny moment. We had a dinner appointment Saturday. The host placed a bowl of something that looked like curry fish in front of me, so I started heaping it on my plate. I ate it quickly, and I thought it tasted pretty good. While I was sitting there chowing down, the host called out from across the room with a great big smile on her face, “That’s chicken liver!!” With nothing else to do, I finished it off.
Realized something. Why the gospel is so important. This life isn’t it. Our existence doesn’t stop with death as we slowly slip into some dark oblivion. We live! We can live again and we live forever in a perfect body. I’d been thinking of life in the context of now. I was trying to figure out exactly why I’m spending 18 months away from family and friends, away from home. I realized that 18 months isn’t long compared to forever. I share Heavenly Father’s gospel because it provides understanding and perspective. Without it, things don’t really make sense. We live, we die, the world moves on. I’m here to teach people otherwise. I tell them how they can find peace, how they can prepare for the next life, how they can participate in promises that will bond their families forever. There’s more to life than the present.