Na Sere.

Ni Sa Bula Vinaka!

A week filled with sunshine and lessons here in Waila.

On Monday, we started a wonderful friendship with Aunty.  She’s an Indian mother staying in Corbett, and she feeds us all the time.  It started with us trying to teach her and ended with her feeding us pumpkin curry, cocoa, bhindi (okra) curry, and some really nice roti.  She promised me, “If you stay here, you’ll get fat.”  The food is so nice.  I think she’s right.  No plans to move anytime soon from our flat on Dilkusha, but if we do, you’ll know where to find me.

We had our district meeting on Tuesday and heard wonderful insights on Fiji and Kiribati. One of our Kiribati elders gave the insight on Kiribati.  He said, “In Kiribati, if I’m not fishing for fish or selling fish, I’m eating fish.”  Sounds like a wonderful place, and I now know why all of my best dinner appointments eating fish have been with Kiribati.  It’s always very fresh, and they really know how to fry it.

We were visiting with one of the people we teach on Wednesday, and she’s a wonderful example of love and patience.  She cares for all the children in her area.  She bathes them sometimes, feeds them, and she teaches them after school.  It’s so fun to watch how much love they all have for her.  They run up to her house with big smiles on their faces.  She doesn’t get paid, she doesn’t get anything out of it.  She just loves all the little children, and I love watching her.  It reminds me of our Savior and his love for the little ones.

We finished off Wednesday with a delicious family dinner of eggs, rice, tomato sauce, cocoa and bread.  I love family dinners, and would like to let all those that feed missionaries know how much we appreciate it.  It’s not about the food for me, although I do enjoy eating, I love sitting down with a family and getting to hear about all the fun things they do together.  There’s a special feeling at family dinners of unity, friendship, and safety that is hard to get anywhere else.  On Thursday,  we got to do service!  We put on out p-day clothes, grabbed our shovels and started carving steps out of our neighbors’ hill.  We spent about three hours digging, lifting, shoveling, throwing mud into the bushes.  The end result was worth it, and there are now stairs for getting up and down the hill.

We got to take one of the prospective missionaries out teaching with us, and we took her to her neighbor’s house.  They hadn’t met yet, but we’d been teaching them for nine weeks or so.  It was fun to see fellowship and friendship in action as we laughed and joked together and shared about the scriptures.

One of the highlights of our week was during our lessons with Sunny.  All the houses in her area are always open and the neighbors are always visiting with each other.  We teach her on her porch.  All the other children noticed that we teach her, and they’re all coming to sit in on the lessons too.  They love reading and sharing about Jesus, and about being kind to each other.  One of their favorite things to do is sing.   Sunny and a few other girls in the neighborhood already come to church with us, so they knew “I Am A Child of God”.  They taught it to the other girls, and now any time we have a lesson, we all sing, “I Am A Child of God” together.  It’s such a sweet simple song, but it’s so powerful when they sing it together, like any sad or dark thing happening within a mile radius vanishes.

We (Me, Sister Siale and the little girls) were all going to go to church together on Sunday, but their family had commitments to keep and they weren’t able to make it. When their grandmother saw how sad they were because they couldn’t come, she got a little teary herself.

There’s all kinds of miracles happening here with the people we teach, especially the new people that we’re finding.  Somehow, the Lord always brings people to us who are looking for help and direction in their life, and are willing to turn to the scriptures, prayer, and service to find it.  they’ve got ready and willing hearts, and I love watching as good changes come in their lives.  Challenges always come too.  They lose members of their family, something floods, they only have biscuits to eat for a week, but tc7dcccfe-c28e-468f-983e-6ed1ba89dbb7hey always face their challenges with a smile and they keep going.  That’s when the Lord blesses them, and that’s when the best changes happen.  As Elder Hamilton of the Seventy said in our Stake Conference, “when things go wrong, that’s when you know if you trust God or not.”  These people we teach, trust God, and it shows in the way they love each other and have peace in their hearts no matter what.

I love you all tons and tons.

Sister Hawkins

{I have been fussing at Sister Hawkins to eat more.  Her letters to her mother now describe all the food she is eating.  The picture right above is the inside of some sea animal.  She said it was good.  She did send a picture of one of the mice they caught.  She said they caught three this week.  The picture of her with the “knife/machete”, she said that that is a gardening tool they use in Fiji)

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