This week felt like one of the longest weeks of my whole mission, but it was an amazing week by the time it finished. It feels so good to be back out doing missionary work again.
We spent this time to relocate the people we were visiting with and teaching. Some have left to go be with family in the West or the North, but most stayed here. It was like the Cyclone took the area with it and brought it back again mostly unharmed. We’ve been doing a lot of finding still and seen the blessings of hard work. We’d been looking for one young man we met at the Temple Open House. It’s been weeks, and we knew he was keen to learn and wanted a copy of the scriptures, so we’ve been searching for him ever since. We knew he stayed with members, but we weren’t sure who. Then, we went to the cultural celebration and saw him sitting with the Rotuman dance group with a great big smile on his face. A week later, we stopped at his family’s house without even knowing it. Finally, we were in the grocery store and saw him standing in line at exactly the right moment for us to run over, snag his adresss, and drop off the scriptures he’d been looking for. There are no coincidences in missionary work, and Sister Mitchell and I were so grateful to have found him.
We’re also still teaching three teenage boys who have so much potential in life and as members of the church, and we finally figured out the best way to teach them is to have them teach us. Two of them are recent converts and know so much already but just needed that little push to get them studying the scriptures and coming to activities. We practice the lessons together with them. This week their father came out of the back room for the first time to thank us for everything we do, and to explain that he had his sons get baptized so they can change and become better than he was. He wants them to become the best missionaries and the best fathers they can be. He also wants them to teach him, but in their native language. He’s got big hopes and dreams for these boys, and I know they can achieve them. We’re just not going to give up on them, and I know the Lord hasn’t given up on them and never will.
We’re always learning the importance of having a game plan and setting goals. I think I’ve made more progress as a missionary here than I ever have before because we set goals that will make us push and then we write them down. I’ve got more direction than I had before, and we’ve strategically staked out the days and the area to help us work the best we can.
I love the ward here. There’s so many strong families. I can see how much they’ve given to the church and to others, and I know its blessed them and shaped their lives. We’re just going to help it continue to grow.
Also, we got to watch the temple dedication for the second time (since the first broadcast was interrupted by the cyclone). It was much easier to watch the second time. It was absolutely wonderful. I loved the messages that were shared about the temple, especially when one of the speakers described it as a “fortress of faith” and a place where we can find peace and safety. The best part of the whole thing was when the temple matron spoke. We’re still teaching her sister, so when I heard her voice I could close my eyes and it sounded just like my friend, teacher/teachee, who is taking steps to her own conversion. My companion was doing the same thing.
I love the people we’re teaching so much. I love the Fijian people so, so, so much. It’s been a trying time. They’re so positive and loving, and they’ve taken all these difficult circumstances with a smile. I’ve learned a lot from them about how to act during the storms we face in life. Not just a storm at your doorstep, but perhaps even a storm carrying your whole house and chucking it islands away. I’ve been worrying more for them this week than they’ve been worried because they have that strong faith. They know everything is going to work out, and I’m going to continue loving and serving them the best I can to help it work out.