E Katakata Na Siga.

Bula!

We spent one day wandering, but I can testify that the Lord leads His missionaries to where they need to be.  We went walking through Tomuka, a bushy, jungly mix of village homes.  We nearly got attacked by three dogs, but we were rescued by an Indian lady with an umbrella.  We were stopped afterwards on the road by a less-active who stopped going in the 90’s because of a motorcar accident and the resulting physical limitations.  She was baptized in the 80’s, and wants us to review the lessons with her.  We did have to explain that we couldn’t baptize her a second time though.  She gave us a coke that had been stuck in the freezer and tasted like a slushy.  After treking around the burning hot hills of Tomuka, it was very warmly received by two water-desperate missionaries.

We walk a lot here and I love walking.  Sometimes, especially on weekends, neighborhoods are empty because everyone goes to town.  We were walking around commenting on the fact that Tomuka looked like a ghost town that day when one lone man shouted, “Bula” to us from across the road.  Thursday was a great, busy day.  The best kind of day.  We found a great potential investigator at the home of our less-active.  They’ve both got 17-25 year old grandkids.  They were just sitting together on a concrete floor smacking juice when we stopped by for a visit.  They both loved the lesson, and the member invited us to come back the next week for some chicken curry, roti, and amazing chutney.  We invited her to come to church, but thought she might not.  Then, we found out afterwards that she had been waiting for us to come pick her up on Sunday, she was expecting a car, though.  She was a little disappointed when she found out that missionaries walk everywhere too.

We left her house to visit two young men, seemingly uninterested in the gospel.  We had given them our number as requested, but with a Book of Mormon.  We told them they could only call if they had questions and had read it.  We stopped by to follow up, and the first words out of his mouth were, “I want to know about the golden tablets”.  My companion had no idea what he meant by tablets, but I was too shocked to explain.  He had been reading the book, and he’d even been writing down questions.  During our lesson he said, “I can tell that you two know Jesus because of your happy smiles.”  He’s got real intent, we didn’t expect it.  He wants to change, he even wants to be a missionary like us.  He’s a funny guy and I’m grateful we were led to him and his family the second time.

For our ward activity, we made Christmas cards for the missionaries serving from the Lautoka ward.  I enjoyed it a lot because I knew how grateful they would be to receive them.  I also got to write a card for a Fijian elder serving in the Philippines that I met in MTC, so that was extra special.  The work is going great here.  It’s a little slow as far as the numbers go.  Things are just starting to pick up.  I love the people, I love the ward.  The close proximity of a town with delicious pizza and good shops is an added bonus.

The Lord has a plan for each of us, and I’ve seen that as I moved from Nausori to Lautoka.  There were reasons I was there, reasons I’m here.  It all makes sense, but only looking back.  I’m just working on being grateful for each moment I have in Fiji since I’m already a third of the way done.  Had my first real Fijian meal in Lautoka (haven’t had any since Nausori) and it was so good.  A sulu tablecloth setting with bowls of otam ika, lumi, chow mein, and all the other Fijian things I love, followed up by a bowl of strawberry ice cream.

I’ll describe zone conference for you.  We went all the way to Nadi with the other sisters in the zone. We performed the musical number, so I played the piano.  The piano was really nice, and my companion has a beautiful voice.  We went to the chapel in the morning, and we got really quiet when the mission president walked in.  Before that, it was just the average FSM gathering with lots of happy greetings and “oiiii-leass” and “io’s” and “mahnkeh!”  The mission president’s wife is a saint, and she taught the first training on first impressions and having a teachable heart.  The highlight of the zone conference was watching a video about the temple open house.  All the missionaries are beyond excited to head over to Suva together and lead temple tours and attend the cultural celebration.  The Cultural Celebration is going to be one of the first multi-faith events held as part of a temple dedication. The Hindus and the 7th Days and many other traditional Fijian religions are going to participate.  The missionaries and returned missionaries in Fiji are going to participate as well.  It is going to be an amazing experience.  {an excerpt from her letter to her father}

Love and miss you all, especially during the holidays,
Sister Hawkins

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