Monday, July 24, 2017

Malo tau lava,

This week has been an up and down week and another transfer. We had three baptisms planned for this past week but unfortunately two of the investigator's parents didn't give them permission to get baptized which was a really big bummer. Neumai and Lui had such strong testimonies of the church and were very educated. Our other investigator Lavili was able to get baptized on Saturday. She is crazy smart, knows English almost perfectly and has an amazing voice. It was really fun to teach her and get to know her.

After 6 weeks in Longolongo I am getting transferred to... the next town over in the same Stake and same District. President called me yesterday and asked if I would serve as a zone leader in Hofoa and Puke. My new companion is Elder Teutau from Tonga. He's been out over a year and we already know each other really well cause we were in the same District. As a zone leader I get to cover the "Motu" (island) of Atata - the one I talked about last week. I think we are going to try to get out there once every week. 

I really am going to miss Longolongo and Halaovave. It was kind of a bummer that I was only there 6 weeks. I got pretty close to some people and the work was starting to get really good. But I'm in the same Stake so I'll get to see everybody again.

I love you all. The little things make the big differences, so read the scriptures.

--
Elder Wilson

Monday, July 17, 2017

One year down!

Hey Everybody,

This week was pretty memorable and I got to do some pretty sweet things - including burning a shirt on the island of Atata. Thursday was my year mark of entering the MTC. My district surprised me early that morning with a cake, then we had a water balloon fight. Then my comp and the Zones went to ATATA, which is a small island right off the coast of Tonga. There are 3 things on the island - a resort for tourists, a super small village, and uta (bush). Unfortunately I believe my SD card reader is broken so I can't sent pictures but I would look it up because it's way beautiful. We were supposed to take a tourist boat out there but they were going to charge us 70 bucks each, so we proceeded to suto (hitch hike) and find another boat going to the island. The boat ride was super sick. It was about a 40 minute ride on a boat that was very small. We filled it up with the 10 people that went over.


The Church goal of Atata is to start a branch there. There are 10-20 members on the island and church is held in the home of one of the members. We knocked all 25 houses in Atata in about 30 minutes.  Literally nobody answered us. When we got off the boat I think a minster in another church saw us and told everybody not to talk to us. But all the kids followed us around and we gave out about 30 pamphlets out to all the kids. Planting seeds. We walked all around the island in about an hour, made a fire and then slept at a member's house. Going to Motu (islands) is so fun. It always makes me feel so privileged to be in the coolest mission in the world. 

On Sunday we had a fireside for all the youth in the stake, but everybody was invited. President Tui'one came as well as the temple president. The H.E.F.Y group was also there. The last speaker of the night was the Stake President. I actually got to know this president when I first came to Tonga on the H.E.F.Y. trip two years ago and apparently he remembered me. So as soon as he gets up he says,"will the missionary who attended the HEFY trip please come up to the stand," in front of the entire stake. He then made me bear my testimony in Tongan. It was super funny. I made a joke about eating dog and everybody died laughing. It's really cool to see the connections I made from the HEFY trip.

We currently have 3 investigators who have baptism dates for this Saturday. Two are unsure because of their parents but we are going to pray and fast for them this week. We have gotten a couple of new potentials and have been working with some less actives, so work is going fine here.

Love you all.
Do good things!

Ofa atu,
Elder Wilson


Monday, July 10, 2017

Hey everybody! 

It's been another good week in Longolongo.  The last two weeks have been Rugby weeks and teams from Samoa and Fiji came to town. We live in the area right outside of the small stadium Tonga has for events like this. Tonga beat Samoa 30-26 and then lost to Fiji 14-10.  It kind of stunk because everybody was either at the game or drunk watching the game, so Saturday was kind of useless.

We have two more investigators from the ward and have found a couple of Mamalohi (less active) family's in the area to visit. Something I have learned to ask less actives is," ko fe ha taimi te ke foki hi he siasi'ni" (when will you return to our church)? The answers I have gotten are:
- When my husband goes to another Island
- When my husband's dad dies
- If I can go to America.
That's Tonga!

Elder Woods and I get along really well. But a side note is that my English is terrible. I sound so fob, and my comp just laughs. We had zone conference this past week which went really well.  I've learned that I need to use the area book more in trying to find new investigators.

I saw the H.E.F.Y group that just came to Tonga and talked to them for a little while. The trip leader for my H.E.F.Y. Tonga trip was Maddie and she came back again, and it was really cool to see her and the rest of the group. It's crazy to think that I was in Tonga two years ago.

Right before I started my mission Peter Wilson [cousin] gave me a letter. This letter is actually considered pretty legendary in my mission because it had some good advice. One time Peter was is a subway station surrounded by Japanese and felt overcome with a love for the people. Last Monday Elder Woods and I went to a fakafamili (family night thingish) with some less active members. As we sat in the one bedroom house, with the one light in the house hooked up to an old car battery I felt so much love for this family and the people of Tonga. It's insane that I'm hitting my year  mark this Thursday, time flies! I'm excited for another year in this country, especially now cause I kinda know Tongan.

Oku ou fakamo'oni oku mo'oni ae siasi pea e lava a kitautolu ke a'usia 'ae ngaahi tapuaki i he taimi te tau mo'ui aki ae ongoongolelei O Sisu Kalaisi. 
Ma'ulotu, lau ae ngahhi folofola, ofa ki he kakai kotoa pe.

Ofa Atu, 
Elder Wilson

Monday, July 3, 2017

Hey everybody,

This has been a fast week and great in terms of the work.  We had two baptisms, Nisi and Leatu'u and both went super well. I had the opportunity to baptize Nisi while Elder Woods baptized Leatu'u. Both were very solid investigators and we are now trying to work with them to get to the temple. 
I'll try to send you a picture of the baptisms next week.
 
I have been trying a lot to TALK TO EVERYBODY. I think I did a good job of talking when knocking on houses before - I would always tell my comps when knocking on doors that their eternal salvation is more important than their food - so I tried really hard to talk to people on the street this past week which is probably a skill I have been lacking. It turned out to be a good experience and we have a couple of potential investigators because of it.

Yesterday we had a lesson with a Wesleyan family of  about 30 persons living in one house. The lesson went well despite the fact that about 4 babies were crying at the same time.  One thing that sometimes frustrates me being a missionary in Tonga (and being in a companionship with two white guys) is that people are super, super respectful and have no desire to offend us at all.  But they also don't ask questions a lot of the time because they are worried about offending us. So basically every time I invite someone to be baptized they look around at the rest of the the family and say, "wha, what?"  I explain that it's their freedom and their choice, that they need a testimony of the Book of Mormon and of the church for themselves. Tongan Culture is the best in the world but sometimes it's hard to express how important our message is against it. 

School's out for the Tongan kids for two weeks so we are going to do a lot of Vilo Hoa's(exchanges) with the youth.

We ate dog on Friday and are going to eat it again today. 

Ofa Atu,
Elder Wilson

Monday, June 26, 2017

Return of the Quack

Hey everybody,

This has been another good week in Tonga. Right now we have two investigators that we are looking to baptize this week. One is a 14-year-old girl whose family is Wesleyan, except for her aunt, but she has a strong desire to be baptized. We started teaching her right when I came into the area. She is amazing and probably one of my favorite investigators. She gave my favorite answer of my entire mission when we were teaching her. I asked her why she wanted to be baptized and she said because she knew that the way she could live with God and belong in his Kingdom was through receiving baptism and joining the church of Jesus Christ.

Our second investigator is in the other ward. He has been taught by missionary's for a long time but has yet to be baptized. He is very quiet but has a good group of friends who help him come to church and mutual. After their baptisms we will be looking for people to teach. As work sometimes goes in Tonga, members tell us they have people for us teach and that they will give us a time to teach them. So we are waiting on them and trying to find new investigators to teach.


We are in the same district as the sister AP's and they asked me to do a baptism which was fun. Other than that I have been getting a lot closer to the ward. School gets out next week and we are planning to try and do exchanges with all the youth.

Random things:
- I had mashed potatoes for the first time in about 11 months. That got me a little homesick. I also had the opportunity to eat bacon and honey bunches of oats.
- I had a 7 month run of cold showers and now I'm living in an old sisters MQ so they have HOT WATER. It's crazy.

--
Elder Wilson

Monday, June 19, 2017

Longolongo

Hey everybody,

This week has been a good one. It's sure a lot different here than Fatumu. To be honest I've had a little culture shocked in this area, haha. A ton of things have happened in this last week so I think I'll go with the bullets.

- Companion.  Elder Woods from Tennessee. Oh yeah! He's been out 8 months and has been in this area one transfer before me. Super tight guy.  At the end of this transfer I'll know everything about Tennessee football, haha. 

- Kolipoki.  (Elder Groberg from the Other side of Heaven, was in the quorum of seventy, one of the, if not the biggest, legends in Tonga) came to Tonga this last week. We got to have a conference with him and all the missionaries in Tonga. He and his wife are now really old, but he was amazing.  He started out in English then mid-sentence switched to Tongan and did his whole talk in Tongan. His Tongan was still crazy good for being 83 years of age. He told some cool story's about following the spirit and the priesthood. My favorite line was when he said that we should have no fear of anything. We have the power of God with us. The only thing we should be afraid of is being fakapikopiko (lazy) or not living  right. It was a really good conference and the spirit was strong.

- My area, Longolongo. My old area was probably a little bigger in size, but this place is like a town. There are people here. Comparisons between my old and new area: In my old area there were a total of three 2-story houses. Here the 2-story houses are almost every other house.  In Fatumu I would walk out of my house looked down the street and see nobody there. In Longolongo people are out walking and driving and actually going places. Fatumu had 2 shops, Longolongo has 6-7 walk-in shops, an ice cream shop and COSTLO 

Costlo is the Tongan version of Costco and all the products are the same but it's really small.  I walked in and saw ice cream sandwiches and root beer, my jaw dropped, walked down the tiny isle saw the bacon, started to tear up, turned around and saw the captain Crunch, started to bawl. I definitely dropped 30 pa'anga for a 3 pack of Captain Crunch.  I have been eating Captain Crunch everyday this week, maaaaan it's so good, (sorry Mom). 

-We cover 2 wards which are really big. At Church my last week in  Lavengatonga there was about 20 people. Here there are about 150 or so in each ward. 

- One thing about last transfer was that I spoke Tongan all day everyday. With a Tongan comp in a small area where most people work in Uta (the bush),  I didn't speak a lot of English. Here EVERYBODY speaks English. It's insane. There are a lot of people who have English as their first language. All the meetings and stuff are in Tongan but if anybody says anything in English it's alright. It's been hard because my comp and I are the two whitest guys in the mission. A red head from Tennessee and a Blond (now almost white) kid from Oregon means everybody speaks to us in English which is way annoying.  

- Two downsides of the area:
1. An insane amount of dogs. We walk down the streets in our area and are always having to fend off dogs.
2. Everybody goes to work during the day. My question is what do you do during the day when everybody is gone to work? In my old area people just worked in the bush and worked whenever they wanted. People here actually have 9-5 jobs, but the nights are way good and we get a lot done after 6.

- We have two investigators with baptismal dates on the 28th. They are both youth and both have really good fellowshipers. Nisi is super smart. We kind of have to draw out answers of Leatu'u but he's great too.

- I'm only 176! I've been losing weight.

Life has been great. I testify the church is true and that the gospel of Jesus Christ is how we find peace in our lives. 

Ofa Atu,
Elder Wilson


Monday, June 12, 2017

Hey family,

Sorry, I don't have a lot of time. After 6 months of of being in the small but amazing town of Fatumu I am finally leaving. Man I love that place too much. But I'm going to LONGOLONGO. My new companion is Elder Woods from Tennessee, my first Palangi companion, and  he is already so awesome. 

Longolongo is right next to town and there are a lot of people here. I'm finally going to see people walking on the street. I already love it here. My mission quarters is a part of the Church and I'm right next to the basketball court so life is good. But, I got sick this week and my comp got bit by a Molokau so we were very unproductive.  I'm ready to get to work in this new area. My comp told me we have 2-3 new investigators already and baptisms set up. 

I'm gonna miss Fatumu and the people. It's been my favorite area and I almost cried saying goodbye to my Bishop and his brother. That's the first place I'll go to when I come back to Tonga some day. 

Love you all. Life is great from this side of Heaven. 
Ofa Atu,
Elder Wilson

P.S. Pictures below are of the baptisms last week in Fatumu.