Monday, August 7, 2017

Hey Everybody! 

The past week has been good. Really, the main highlight was the Mission Leaders Conference we had on Tuesday and Wednesday. Since so many new leaders were called, President make it a really big thing. We started out by doing a tour of the island of Tonga and seeing all the sites. We went to see the Ha'amonga (2 big stones with a bigger one on top), a random place where the first Mormon missionaries in Tonga settled, and then some huge rock in the middle of nowhere that apparently Maui (the Tongan God) threw at some giant chicken.

After that we had the best part of MLC, the temple session. I think it has been about 7-8 months since I last got to go the Temple and it was incredible. I testify the Temple is a true house of God and we can learn so much and feel closer to Him in the Temple. I got some answers for some of the personal problems that I have been facing. It was also cool 'cause I got to do it all in Tongan and I understood it all, which was a lot different from the last time.

We then proceeded to do some activities at the Church High School and we ate really, really well. We slept in the church complex, woke up, exercised, ate breakfast then started our 7-hour meeting. We talked about our purpose and what things we can change in the Tonga mission. I learned quite a lot and it helped my testimony about exact obedience. I know that all blessings come from obedience and that if we missionaries can be obedient we can see miracles.

Besides that a HEFY group came and left. I got to see and talk to my good friend Greg from my HEFY experience and meet Sister See and her son from our new Pleas​​ant Grove ward. It's really cool to see the connections that can be made out here in Tonga.

Work has been going OK. We're struggling to work effectively but I think that my companion and I can tear up this area. Hopefully we can get out to our island this week.

Ofa lahi atu, 
Elder Wilson

Here are some pictures from the last few weeks:

Big rock that came in on a Tsunami, called the Maui rock.

Atata

Burning the shirt at the year mark.


Monday, July 31, 2017

Hey everybody,

Life has been good on this side of the world. This will probably be a very quick email today. The new area has been good and I'm looking forward to progressing the work in Puke and Hofoa. Hopefully we can also get out to [the island] Atata this next week.

In Sunday School the topic was Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail. D&C 121 is such a good chapter. We all have our challenges and trials, and some are longer and harder than others, but we all have somebody who descended below all of those challenges and trials for us. And, none of us are like Job who had his own friends reject him. I am grateful for an amazing family and friends and all of their support. 

Do good things, don't do bad things.

Love you!
Elder Wilson

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