We’ll start my description of this week with a confession session. I got a scoop of Blitz ice cream (they told me it was rocky road) and ate it with a little too much enthusiasm. It fell off the cone, rolled across the concrete. It was so hot and I was so thirsty, I scooped it up and ate it. It tasted just as good, and I’m not sick. My companion couldn’t stop laughing, but I just hope that no one was watching the sister missionary eat off the concrete.
Tuesday we had the pleasure of visiting with a less-active sister in the ward. She has a beautiful yard where she grows all kinds of palm trees, hibiscus, and vegetables. We taught a lesson with her in the yard while the cool ocean breeze tossed my wispy blond hairs around. She’s a returned missionary, she served in Fiji as well. She loves to share stories about what the mission was like then and now, and we love to listen.
We had dinner with a talatala (Fijian preacher) and his family. We’ve been singing hymns with them for a while, so they invited us over to share a message (about coming unto Christ) and a dinner with them. We expected it to be a little tense, but it ended up being a great lesson and we got to share thoughts about how important it is for us to be like Jesus when we share the gospel. The talatala and his family are loving and down-to-earth. They cooked sausage, cabbage and chow mien cassava fresh off the farm, and we washed it all down with my personal favorite Fijian beverage, Milo. And to make things even better, they invited us again for Thursday. My companion and I were thrilled, we just looked at each other and grinned. Missionary work is about joy, after all.
My companion and I both agreed that this has been our miracle week. Little things happened from start to finish that confirmed my testimony that this is the Lord’s work. From finding investigators that have already been reading the Book of Mormon and the Bible regularly to being led to exactly where we wanted to be without having any idea how to get there (not once, twice), we’ve seen a lot of the blessings of diligent, prayerful work.
We taught the first lesson with one of our investigators, and she pretty much taught the lesson for us. In her words, “so Moses had the truth and Jesus had that same truth and Heavenly Father used Joseph Smith to bring it all back.” She’s golden. She’s got a burning desire to know the truth, to read the scriptures, to become better. She loves and serves all the time, and she takes care of her little family with lots of love and patience. She also apologizes profusely because she’s got an adorable, wild granddaughter who always interrupts, but lessons with the two of them and the grandmother’s willing, prepared heart are always a treat.
We taught a lesson with two young men in their twenties that want to be missionaries. They stopped us on the road and asked us to help them become missionaries, so we’re now teaching them.
I’ll be honest, we spent a lot of time wandering here in Lautoka. Thankfully, the hand of the Lord is always there in the lives of his missionaries. We found three people while looking to teach (we’d just finished crossing a river. I used a branch as a makeshift pole vault and jumped, a moment my companion said she wished she’d caught on camera). We sat down with them, drank a few tangy, bubbly, delicious green coconuts (one of the things I’ll certainly miss the most in Arizona) and got invited back for dinner.
We wandered some more, bumped into a few members, made more appointments, and went back to our recent finds for dinner. We were thrilled to find a well-loved copy of the Book of Mormon in their home. They said they’d received it twenty years ago and he’s been reading it ever since. We had some talks, some laughs. We’re going back. I’d seen them a few times before and knew we’d be teaching them. My companion chalks it up to the amount of attention I pay to small details, but I think we were led to them.
I’d like to take this next paragraph to share a few of my thoughts. Heavenly Father loves each of us. He loves his missionaries. We hardly know anything, but we are the catalysts that facilitate all kinds of “coincidences”. With obedience, our sacrifices mean everything, without it they do nothing. We live our whole 18 months (or two years) to bless and be blessed. We have our fair share of troubles and boils, but we do it all for our fellow brothers and sisters. It’s a grand adventure of the best kind. A spiritual, trans-formative journey through the scriptures and a foreign land. The best 18 months bought at the high price of sacrificing family time and other pursuits, missionary work is a gift that prepares young adults for the rest of their lives.