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.



Monday, June 5, 2017

Papi

Hi everybody! 

This week was a pretty crazy week including a lot of fasting, getting sick again, and seeing a lot of miracles. At the start of the week we had three investigators with potential to get baptized on Saturday, but all of them were so TA'EPAU (unsure). One didn't show up to her baptismal interview on Friday and we learned that she was in town with her family and it was unclear when she was coming back. We fasted and prayed that she would be able to come back to do the interview and then be baptized. As we were walking to her house the next morning she pulled up in her family's car. We had the interview, and she was baptized. She then proceeded to give the absolute BOMB testimony at the baptism and later at church. I know that she is going to be a strong member.

What we needed to know about E and her son was their true feelings about the church. They've been taught on and off by 7-8 missionaries. We went over to her house on Thursday and she said she wanted to be baptized. I was a little skeptical and wanted to know if she understood everything that she's been taught. We asked her the baptism questions and I was blown away by her answers. I felt really good that she could be baptized with her son. She also gave a really great testimony at the baptism which went really well. My comp Elder Loto'aniu did all the baptisms. I'll make sure to send pictures next week. 

One thing I learned a lot about this week, and on my mission, is fasting. When we fast we need to have a purpose. If we fast without one it's fiekaia no ia (no eating without a purpose). But if we make a real sacrifice to God he will bless us. 

Random things:
- I have officially gone to war with the mosquitoes in our house
- Now we back at square 1, nobody to teach
- Ate fried oreos. 

Ofa Atu,
 
Elder Wilson

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Hey family and friends,

This week has been a very good week. Our investigator Palu has been progressing super well. Our Bishop and his wife went to her house and talked to her parents and looked likes the baptism is going to go through this Saturday. To be honest it is kind of a miracle to have the opportunity to teach Palu. The work has been so slow in this area and having the opportunity to even teach is rare, and to find somebody to baptize is even rarer.  She is super awesome and has already been taught by missionaries before, and I can see that she already has a super strong testimony of the church. 
  
Our other two investigators, Epenisa and her son are doing iffy jiffy. We are just trying to make sure she actually has a true heart to join the church. We have a baptismal date with her on Saturday as well. We'll hope for a miracle and will work hard and see what happens.

Elder Loto'aniu and I gave talks in Fatumu yesterday and it actually went pretty well. He spoke about the Book of Mormon and I spoke about missionary work and how we need to work together with the missionaries. Maybe its because there was only 30-35 people in church, but I feel like I've been getting a lot better at giving talks in church. 

We had a ward activity night on Friday. We invited every family in the ward (5) to come to it with an activity and to invite a nonmember family to come. We started at 7... nobody was there. Fast forward 40 minutes of us feeling bad and then everybody showed up. haha. It went alright, a couple of non- member and a lot of less actives showed up. 

Besides that work has been going well, Hoping everything goes well for the baptism this Saturday. 

Ofa Atu ,
Elder Wilson

Monday, May 22, 2017

Malo e leiei,

It was super good to talk to everyone last week and the house is looking insanely nice.
  
This week was honestly a pretty long week that tested my patience. I think I had to kick youth out of our house 4 times after repeatedly telling them not to come in. Then I also got the fever and chills on Thursday and still haven't completely recovered from it. But last week is gone and this week is going to be a good one. 

The work has been going OK. We had the opportunity to teach our investigator, Palu, 3 times the past week. It's been a long time since I've actually got to teach an investigator who has a baptismal date and it's really fun. We are still waiting to know the true intent of her Dad to see if she can be baptized or not. Our other investigators have kind of gone hola (fled). We have gone to their house a bunch of times and nobody's there and we see them drive by and keep going. So we'll see about them. 

Last week randomly some less active youth came to church and told Bishop he wanted to come back to church. We have been with him a lot trying to help him stop smoking. I finally was able to make a map with all the houses, names and the church they belong to just to help out the future missionaries who are going to work in Fatumu.

One recent cool thing was a satellite conference yesterday with everybody on the islands of Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tahiti, and Marshall Islands. It was a great conference and Elder Renlund, Elder Pearson, Stephen Owens, and Sister McConkie all spoke. A lot was spoken on faith and how the family is the first defense against Satan. 

I testify that God knows us all personally and that he can help us and that he overcame everything big and small, so that we can conquer all of our problems big and small. I love you all. READ THE BOOK OF MORMON.

--
Elder Wilson

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Hey Everyone,

This week has been fun and interesting. To start off, I'm training and my companion is Elder Loto'aniu from Tonga and he's amazing. He comes from town and lived right next to a missionary house so he is super excited and wants to work hard. We are going to have a lot of fun in this area.

Speaking Tongan full time really hasn't been a hard adjustment, but I'm going to try and take advantage of the fact that I have a Tongan companion to learn a lot. He also really wants to learn English. 

This week was really fun because I got to go stay with the zone leaders until my comp came from the MTC in New Zealand on Thursday. So I got to chill with my comp in the office, Elder Gardner, for a couple days.

In terms of the work it's started to pick up a little bit. We have 3 investigators right now which is a miracle in and of itself. Hopefully we can see them progressing in the next couple of weeks and find new people to teach. 

I've been thinking a lot about how much the Church of Jesus Christ and His Gospel has blessed me. Even though times can get hard, God is always there, the Plan of Salvation is always there, and Jesus is reaching out to us. 

Love you all! Sorry I didn't get a chance to respond to all your emails. I'm SUPER excited for Mothers day next week. READ THE SCRIPTURES.

Elder Wilson

P.S.  Huge shout out to Peter Wilson and his letter, guy's a legend.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Hello Family and Friends,

It has been another good week in Fatumu. This week was transfers and we got the news that Elder Manu is going to Vava'u (a different island group) and I'm staying and training. Because of that I don't yet know who my new comp is but will find out on Wednesday.  It's kind of crazy to think that I'm going to be staying here for another 6-12 weeks in these tiny towns with little really to do. But I know that if I continue to work hard then my comp. and I will be able to see blessings.

This week was a pretty cool in terms of some things that we did. Last P-day we went to a cave in our district which was really interesting.  Then we got to go to the one resort in our area, and on this side of Tonga. It's famous for being one of the best places to eat in Tonga. Elder Manu and I went on Friday and ate some Feke (octupus) and some super good pig.  Out last day together we also had the chance to Tunu puaka( roast pig over a fire) which is so amazingly good.

Another experience from last week is that I was in Fuamotu, a little more advanced area in my district, and THE JAZZ/CLIPPER game came on the screen while we were talking to the dad of the home. The picture below shows how much self-mastery I have gained on my mission. 


I love you all, and I invite you all to take the Prophet's challenge at conference and read the Book of Mormon. Kinda crazy to think that I'm training. It's gonna be fun. 

OFA ATU
--
Elder Wilson

Monday, April 24, 2017

Hey everybody,

I'm still working hard in Fatumu. Last week was our Stake Conference and on Thursday we had a family history fireside. Only about 30 people showed up, but the whole fireside was a riot, mostly because this super funny Ward Mission Leader in another ward, who is from America, got up and sang two Elvis Songs. I almost died laughing.  

On Saturday and Sunday Elder Cardon from the Area Presidency, who actually happens to be my Grandpa's cousin, came to Tonga.  I got to shake his hand and tell him we were family. haha  It was super funny. He hit me two times on the shoulder and said,"Hey Cousin" and I, still shocked from a Seventy hitting me, said,"ummm hey cuz". Pretty crazy that we made the connection 10,000 miles away from America.

Elder Cardon gave some pretty good talks. He talked about repentance and how the Priesthood is a blessing and we need to be worthy to bless others around us. He also talked about education, and how my great-great-grandma (his Grandma) said she tried to learn something new every day of her life. He said that even though in Tonga there aren't a whole bunch of opportunities to access higher learning, all of us still need to learn. It was a great stake conference with a bunch of food. President Tui'one and his wife and family came as well as the Temple President and his wife.



As far as the work goes, we found 9 new investigators last week! But one of our main investigators went back to another island which was a bummer. Hopefully we can get some of the new investigators progressing this week.

Not much else has happened this week. We have a musical fireside this Sunday and President Tui'one is coming to it and we also have transfers this next week. Time has flown this past transfer. I studied a lot this week about the Holy Ghost. I know that having the Holy Ghost's presence all the time is such a huge blessing and that we need to live worthy of it.

Love you all. Keep doing good things,
Elder Wilson

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Conference

I feel like I say this every week, but for reals, it was another good one. I'll give my random things before I blow up about Conference :
1. All dog lovers will cringe, but I ate dog twice this past week. It kind of tastes like roast beef, picture attached.
2. I got to go to the Scenic Hotel and ate a burger for the first time in 8 months. 
3. Elder Manu and I had 3 really good potential new investigators this week! Then 2 fell through because their parents won't let them be baptized. But we are going to check out another one today, so we shall see.
4. Built a chicken coup.
5. I think my Tongan is actually improving. What has been hard for me was speaking as Tongans speak and not like an English speaker speaking Tongan. But I think that a lot of people are understanding me a lot better. 

As Gavin Baxter and I used to quote,"Shasta is the best thing this side of the Mississippi."  As I was pondering this great saying a thought came into my head - Conference is the best thing on both sides of the Mississippi River. We went to our Stake Center, 3 towns over, to watch it and were lucky because we could watch it English.

Something that I did this General Conference that I haven't done before was go to it with 5 questions, some of which were pretty specific. It was crazy and a testimony builder that all 5 of my questions were answered, and answered well too. My favorite talks were probably Elder Bragg about the Light of Christ and Elder Ballard on Visions, Goals, and Plans. Also I loved President Uchtdorf and President Eyring in the priesthood session. 

10 Ma'ongo'onga(great) things from Conference:

10. Family History work is central to the plan of salvation - Pres Eyring
9.  A repenting sinner draws closer to god than the self-rightous - Elder Renlund
8. The light of Christ is as real as the actual sunlight - Elder Bragg
7. All Christlike attributes are intermingled. As we develop one we influence another-
Elder Hales
6. Elder Ballard - It's our duty to listen, also to have goals and vision to increase desire.
5. Pres Uchtdorf - Be Thankful but don't inhale it. You cannot get into Heaven by campaigning for it, In leadership, don't direct, let God direct us.
4. Elder Choi- One small thing I do on my mission and in life can make huge differences throughout generations.
3. Pres Uchtdorf- Don't use fear as a motivator. Look forward with faith, not fear. Perfect love casteth out fear.
2. Elder Bednar - Called to serve, labor in a country. Worthiness is the KEY to receiving  blessings.
1. PRES EYRING - God's work isn't to be super effective but to build people up.

My favorite line of conference was the above one by President Eyring.  I realize that trying to work extra hard and smart to find new investigators isn't the most important thing. I'm also here to build people up. Other than that we have Stake Conference and I think Elder Cardon is coming who is my grandpa's cousin. Hopefully I'll be able to talk to him.

The Church is true, The men who lead this church are inspired from God, We can learn so much from listening to there words. I invite all of us to listen to words of the Prophet and gain our own testimony and read the Book of Mormon.

Ofa lahi Atu
--
Elder Wilson

Monday, April 3, 2017

Hey Family and Friends,

It's been another great one here in Tonga. This past week was our Stake's "International Youth Night," where each of the wards was assigned a country/place, and they had to explain the country and do a dance. Lavengatonga's assignment was Texas and Fatumu's was India.  It was insanely funny and I took some serious pride in the fact that Fatumu and Lavengatonga, (the two smallest towns in the Stake, and where I work) definitely delivered. I really wish Tonga had good internet so I could upload the video.

We also had a mission conference on Wednesday that was really good. President talked on the topic I have been trying to study, which is diligence. He spoke about some specific things that we can do to be more diligent in our areas. On a side note, Elder Manu and I had to wake up at 5 to go to another town to catch a bus to our conference. Kinda stunk but the sun rise was way tight. 


Random things:

1. We ate some Tongan Piranhas.
2. Played 2-on-2 basketball this week.
3. Still waiting for General Conference next Sunday.
4. My Branch President just starting talking to me in gibberish for like 5 minutes yesterday. It was so funny.
5. We are eating dog today, they tried to make me kill it, YEAH RIGHT.
6. We might have an investigator for reals, hopefully.
7. Church is still true.
8. Went on this exchange with a new white guy who came in last transfer, Elder Cox. He's way tight   and his Tongan is pretty good for a new guy. 
9. TWO of our inactive families turned up to church in Lavengatonga. We also had 12 men that had the priesthood come to church, definitely a record in my time here. 
10. I don't think I was sick this week. Life is GOOD.

Ofa lahi atu kiate kimoutolu, I encourage you all to read and listen and reread and relisten to the confrence talks, One of the best times of the year is listening to the these great men. Just do it.

Elder Vilisoni





Monday, March 20, 2017

Sudup na sudup

Hey Family and friends!
Another transfer has come and gone and both Elder Manu and I will be staying in Fatumu! I'm really glad that we are still staying here. It's such a nice area and we're friends with everybody. I am kind of worried about the work though. We haven't had the opportunity to actually teach an investigator in almost a month. One thing about Tonga, in the areas that are really small a lot of people have already been baptized or are super strong in their church. One of the things we are going to do is make three maps for each of our areas and get know everybody at each house.

This week was our branch conference in Lavengatonga, so we had a lot of stuff to do over there. Funny side note - we had refreshments for one of the activities and I made Snickedoodles again, crazy hit. I was walking to the Branch President's house the next day and his wife looked at me and called me kokisi! (weird made up name for cookies). We now have two activities scheduled to teach the relief society and the youth how to make the cookies. I love the people in the branch so much. There is a lot of funny/crazy people. (Example: the branch president came in when we were teaching Sunday School and talked to me for 20 minuets about me marrying a Tongan)

Random facts:
- Our district changed a lot. We got 2 Elders WHO BALL. I'm so pumped. Our new district leader is pretty good too, I got to play with him when I was in the office.
- Speaking of ball, Elder Manu and I have gotten really good at playing basketball every morning.
- Crazy sunsets this week, got some good pics.
- A quote that I thought a lot about this week, paraphrased, is that behavior is changed faster as we study the Gospel of Jesus Christ and study his doctrine. Read the scriptures every day. 
Ofa lahi atu - Church is true,
          Elder Wilson

Monday, March 13, 2017

Hey Family and friends!

This has been another good week in Fatumu, but to be brutally honest nothing has really happened, so I'm going to give my famous random things.

 


1. A guy in our ward got this insanely nice Cannon camera off a drunk guy for 50 pa'anga (25 bucks), and we helped him take some nice picks. 

2. We ate pig twice this week - it's so good.

3. After the royal funeral nobody in Tonga could do anything loud for the next ten days, so that meant no basketball, for ten days. Finally the ban ended and Elder Manu and I got to ball again.

4. We have continually gone to the house of one of our less active families and read the scriptures with them and it's been a very good experience.

5. We got to go to a very nice hotel and eat really well, but I got sick from the food. HAHA.

6.  Elder Manu and I spoke in Sacrament yesterday. I talked about the Atonement and repentance and Elder Manu talked about the Spirit. It went pretty well for both of us. Hopefully people were looking at me because my talk was good and not cause that white person was speaking weird Tongan. We also taught Sunday school for the youth.

7.  Elder Manu has been obsessed with my glasses this week for fashion purposes. He has asked me to ask anybody who would like to, to donate a pair of glasses to an Elder in the Tongan Nuku'alofa Mission currently serving in the super small town of Fatumu.

8. Totally gonna win the bracket challenge

9. We have a Branch Conference in Lavengatonga this next Sunday and that day is Transfer 
day too. Hopefully we can stay another transfer in Fatumu.

10. I feel like everybody in this area is way tight and I'm really loving the people in this place. In my talk I used a lot from Elder Cornish's talk from last conference, which was a super, super good talk. I invite you all to read it. 

I testify of our Savior and his atonement. We can become as he is, and have all that he has, if we have faith on his name, sincerely repent and continue to keep our convents. 

OFA ATU,
Elder Wilson


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Snickerdoodle

Mom this email is for you - I ATE 3 BANANAS. Absolutely insane. We went to our fafanga and they forgot they were supposed to feed us, so they came out with a huge bowl of bananas. [Mom: gotta love missions!] The other thing I ate this week was peanut butter. If there is one thing I can't eat it's peanut butter. When the person feeding us went back into the house for a sec, Elder Manu came in clutch and I gave him almost all of the peanut butter on my bread. 

This week Elder Manu and I have been working our hardest to reactivate a family in our branch town, Lavengatonga. The name of the family is Kilisimasi or Christmas. Their household is pretty crazy. There are the main parents, that are in their 60's, and 10 kids that are all married and have kids. So it's a pretty big family. We had a Family Home Evening with them on Monday this past week which went SUPER well. The grandparents both had a really big change of heart and said that they wanted to return to church. Every day since that day we have gone to their house to read the Book of Mormon with them. We are really hoping to get them to Church.


The other big thing this week was Snickerdoodles. I made them  for mutual this week and, Man, they were way good. Shout out to the Wilson cook book. The funny thing is that all the ladies in the ward have been asking me to teach them how make them. I'm gonna reactivate this area through Snickerdoodles!

Random things:

- We might be eating dog today. The family said I have to kill it. I said "yeah, right, I'll fast."
- My branch president said that we were going to eat cat. We shall see.

- We went to one of our towns with 3 boys from the area. We knocked every door in about an hour, and that is with us talking to everybody for like 20 minutes.

Choose the right. I love you all and I testify of the Savior and his atonement.

Ofa lahi atu,
Elder Wilson

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Service

Hello Family and Friends! 

This week has gone by pretty fast and I still really like this area and the people here. It was a pretty eventful week in service because:

This past week the King's Mom, or the old queen, passed away which is a really big deal in Tonga. She is currently in New Zealand but will be flown back tomorrow.  To show support all the missionaries went to the Palace to do a service project. The thing was when we all went into the Palace it was literally sparkling clean. Like CLEAN clean. So we repainted the fence and picked up grass. Side note:  there are no lawn mowers with bags in Tonga.  That means you have to rake everything, but side note 2: rakes in Tonga are almost non-existent so that means we pick up all the grass by hand or use our slippers. 

We also had a service project this morning where we (all the missionaries) went to Kolo (town), and picked up all the trash everywhere. The senior couples just dropped us off and we walked for a couple of miles picking up trash. I learned that when the Queen's body is flown back everything needs to be super tidy and nice which was the purpose of the service project. 

Other than that work has been insanely slow in Fatumu this week. One of our old investigators went hola (fled) so we are back to square one.  Elder Manu and I started a Family Plan in the ward which involves the ward giving us a service project or an investigator every week which we hope to carry out this week. 

Random things:

1. Ate some sausage. Didn't leave the house the next day.
2. Made some French Toast for my favorite family in the ward. Apparently I take after Dad cause it was pretty bomb. The funny thing is when we were teaching in the grade school - something we do every Friday - the 11-year-old girl in that family said that French Toast was her favorite food.
3. Elder Manu and I woke up at 4 to walk to Lavengatonga (the other town in our area) to play tennis. It was a terrible idea to get up at 4 but the stars were insanely beautiful on our walk to Lavengatonga. Tennis didn't really work out that well but we will try again.

Ofa lahi atu kiate kimoutolu

--
Elder Wilson

Monday, February 20, 2017

Malo e leiei family and friends,

This past week has probably been the fastest week of my mission.  It was super busy and Elder Manu and I did A LOT of stuff. This week we had:  1) A Mission Conference with Elder Renlund from the Quorum of the 12 and Elder Hallstrom from the Presidency of the 70, and 2) Ward Conference in Fatumu which included two baptisms.

1. The mission conference: We got picked up at 1:00 on Saturday to go to one of the biggest LDS churches in Tonga right next to the Temple. Our meeting started at 3 and went for two hours. Apparently Elder Renlund and Hallstrom came straight from America to Tonga, then they went to Fiji, and Australia. It was a great meeting and I really liked what Elder Renlund said when he shared a story about being an apostle. After about six months he was in the office of Elder Cook (his Apostle trainer - totally didn't know that was a thing) and he said he felt terrible, like he was an impostor. He said he was spiritually reprimanded, from God, for saying that. But what I liked is that we all feel inadequate for what our specific calling is, and it doesn't matter if it's an Apostle, missionary, or whatever. 

2. Ward conference in Fatumu: Ward Conference was really good. On Friday we had a musical fireside and we asked the missionaries in our district to come sing with us. We sang Brightly Beams in Tongan and English and it was amazing. I had to give a "Welcome to the Fireside" thing which also went well.

On  Saturday we baptized a girl named Rachel and a young man by the name of Una. It went well and I got to conduct the baptismal service. 



On Sunday we had Ward Conference and HOLY HANNAH there was a lot of people there. There were about 100 people there, so over half the town and I realized why afterward. After every Ward Conference there's a huge feast. Our Bishop killed his pig in preparation. I had some weird sea shell things and some octopus.

As of right now Elder Manu and I have one investigator who is a little iffy jiffy but we will be working with her and trying to find some new investigators this week.

Random things:
-There is a kid here named HARRY POTTER, which is so funny - just this random 5-year- old kid, the youngest in a family of 12 or something. 
- We were going somewhere in a car and this Grandma, probably like 65, is singing RB in English in the back seat. It was great.

I love you all. Thank you for all you do. Walk in faith, keep the commandments.
Ofa atu,

Elder Wilson



Monday, February 13, 2017

Back in the Hood



MALO TAU MA'U, Family and friends,

It has been a good week. I'm really, really liking this area, definitely my favorite one so far. 

This week we had church in Lavengatonga, the branch that we cover. Church starts at 10:00 and at 10:00 there were 13 people there! including 8 kids! Ummmmm....  More people came as the meeting went on but at it's peak I think there was about 25 people there. I feel bad for the Branch President and the Ward Mission Leader. They both gave talks and both gave lessons in the 2nd and 3rd hour. Elder Manu and I got to share our testimony's and bless the sacrament. We are really hoping to improve that branch. We currently have an investigator from named Noa that we were hoping to baptize this week, but she didn't show up to church. We have one other investigator named Rachel, a 10-year-old girl that moved to our Bishop's house, that is going to be baptized this Saturday.

In other news, Elder Renlund is coming this week along with Elder Lynn G. Robbins and Bishop Causse, which I'm way pumped for. They are going to talk to us on Saturday. After seeing everybody's email about the new schedule change it finally came to Tonga. It's not anything really big, we just switch planning to the morning and P-day starts at 8.

I think there was a hurricane this week. I heard that one was coming from Fiji. We had some pretty wicked rain and wind this week but it wasn't too  bad. 

Forgive me if I couldn't respond to everybody's emails, I'm way short on time. I love you all and I'm thankful for Jesus Christ and his Atonement and Gospel. 

Keep the commandments.
OFA ATU,

Elder Wilson


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Gnarly




Yo Family and Friends,

It's been a good past week, and a SUPER weird last transfer. Haha, guess what? Surprise, Surprise, I'm back in Fatumu with Elder Manu! I'm actually way pumped to come back here. I really missed my ward here even though I was only here for two weeks.

Last week I was able to go on an exchange with the zones [Zone Leaders ?], which was really nice 'cause I got to go to Kolovai and be in a car. We went all over the zone so that I also have now been to everyplace is Tongatapu (main island) except for two small towns. I will continue my quest.

I had a good birthday. Thanks Mom, the package came on time. Unfortunately ants got into the cereal. Fortunately I believe that they are a good source of protein. So as Tongans say "sai ke tau ilo" (good to know).

In other news:
1. It's either been crazy hot, or raining like crazy.
2. We had a neighbor in NukuNuku, a deportis from America, who made me a cake for the B-day.
3. We sang at another fireside.  I always have to Hiva loi (sing lie) because my voice is absolutely terrible.
4. The W on this keyboard always brings a pop up on the computer, super annoying.
5. There is an Elder in our mission named Elder Kau, from Tonga. He was named Mr. Tonga which is a competition for who's the biggest guy in Tonga. We call him Captain America.
6.  Usually people make resoulutions on New Years, but I usually just do it on my B-Day
-Lose weight
-Eat as healthy as I can (get rid of chocolate)
-Learn Tongan
-Stay in an area longer than a month.
-Take more pics. This place is way beautiful.

Ofa Atu! Keep the commandments!
Elder Wilson

Sunday, January 29, 2017

NukuNuku

Letter from last week when the internet died on me:

Hey everybody, 

Life has been really crazy the past couple weeks, but it looks like it might start to settle down here in NukuNuku.  I was transferred here because an elder went home, and another elder who came back to the mission after injuring his foot went to Fatumu. 

I was transfered to NukuNuku on Tuesday night of last week. Then on Wednesday we set up 6 teaching and 3 baptism dates, haha wow. There are two wards in NukuNuku and they are really interested in helping the missionaries and the work. We have a ward mission leader in one of our wards that has been working like crazy to get us investigators. For the first time in my mission I hit the standard of excellence. We got 15 teachings and 20 new investigators in only 4 Days! 

We also baptized a 9-year-old, Lasisi. She had been taught for a long time but she couldn't get baptized because she was too shy to answer the questions in the interview, but we had another baptism interview and she passed! She was baptized on Saturday and it was rewarding to see how happy she was at the baptism and at Church the next day. 

In other news, I balled up with Elder Satuala today and probably have never sweat so much in my life. It is absolutely so HOT right now.  I am also way out of shape, barely got the W today, but Satuala gave me a run for my money. He's really good and quick, and I'm gonna try to ball a lot in these next 2 weeks.

Sorry the internet is really bad over here so I don't know how reliable my emails will be these next couple weeks.

Nothing else in terms of other news, trying to become Christlike and learn Tongan.
Ofa atu


1/29/17

This week was another normal week here is Nukunuku. In my last letter I said we had a ton of work last week and none of it panned out for this week. We had a lot of investigators go missing or parents who don't want their kids to be baptized  We went from 15 lessons to 2 lessons this week but that's the thing with Tonga. Weird fact:  as I have looked back on my mission I have only baptized people younger than 20 years old. All my investigators from this past week were also under 20 as well.

This week I went on a split with Elder Pau'u from Tonga.  Pau'u in Tongan means naughty or mischievous and he kind of lives up to his name, haha, but he is super funny and talked to me in English the entire time. It was a very interesting split.

My comp is a pretty amazing singer so the zones recruited us to sing at a musical fireside in their Stake. The prince of Tonga was supposed to come and give his testimony but he didn't show up. But we had the 1st and 2nd ongo tokoni in the Mission Presidency show up.  We sang Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing with the 7 missionaries in the Stake and it was way, way good.



Interesting facts:
- A little Tongan girl came up to the pew I was sitting on and stared at me for the entire hour.
- Started PMG over from the very beginning and decided I was gonna tear that thing apart.
- Dang, still don't know Tongan at all.
- I need to lose weight.

Love you all, have a good week,

OFA Atu
Elder Wilson

 
   



Tuesday, January 17, 2017



Well, this has been a super, super weird past 3 weeks! The first week we whitewashed [opened] a new area; the second week I got way sick; the third week I was transferred back to the office, went to the doctor, got some steroids to help me with my stomach, got better, ...... and now I'm getting transferred again! I'm getting transferred to the kolo (town) of Nukunuku, on the complete opposite side of the island. My new companion is Elder Satuala from Orem, Utah.  He's great (and he's a baller) and I'm pumped to be comps with him even though it might only be for 3 weeks. I'm also really sad to leave Fatumu, I made some good friends and was pretty tight with the Bishop and Branch President. I really hope I can go back and work there some day. 

Some side notes:

1) I have been with Elder Afu from Tonga for the past week who got is appendix taken out. Being with him has been way sweet, he's super funny.

2) Elder Afu has been in bed most of the time so I had A LOT of time to read scriptures.  I've read all of Mosiah, Alma, and Helaman in the past 3 days.  I never realized how much of those chapters are about pure repentance. I think it's very important in our lives to stay humble and never harden our hearts and always be willing to repent. 

3) With this weird transfer I have been in 4 out of the 5 zones on the main island of Tonga, and 4 out of 7 zones in all of Tonga. I'm gonna try to get to all the zones before I'm done with my mission.

--
Elder Wilson

Monday, January 9, 2017

[We're a little confused, because we got another email today that seems to be about last week; he must have written it before the p-day email but sent it later????]

Hey everybody, 

This week was a very interesting week. On Tuesday our entire district went down to Fua'amotu, where the airport is in Tonga, and did a Blitz of the entire village. It went really well and while there I ran into some of the Kaufusi family.  Elder Manu's family is from Fua'amotu so he got to meet a lot of his family down there as well. The cool thing was that we got an appointment set up to teach two investigators in English that next night. Since one of the missionaries in Fua'amotu doesn't know English I went there to teach the lesson with him.
 
We taught two Fijians, one named Tua and the other Nasi. Tua was 19 years old and Nasi was in his late 60's and both were working in Uta(bush). They both didn't know English well and Tua didn't know Tongan so it was an interesting lesson. The actual lesson went really, really fast, like maybe 20 minuets, but Tua said yes to being baptized and Nasi gave an eyebrow raise, so I'm hoping for good things. The cool thing was that after the lesson I felt kind of bad that it was super short so Tua and I started talking about the Book of Mormon for a while. I'm really excited to see his progress.

Other than that I got Puke (Sick) the entire rest of the week - fever, chills and a whole bunch of other things. Just as I started feeling better the AP's called me to come to the office to chill with another sick elder who is in the office right now, so I'm back chilling in the office again trying to get back to my area, which will hopefully be soon.

Sorry I didn't get any pictures I'll try to send some next week.
2 Nephi Chapter 4 hit me hard this week, read it.
Ofa Atu

--
Elder Wilson

Sorry for the short email, but P-day is a lot better here and we were super busy.

Elder Manu and I are doing really well. It's a pretty tight area and I really like it a lot. It's a lot of walking to get to to the different parts though. The work is really hard in the area but the people are great. I'm way tight with the bishop. There was a white guy in my area that had a really, really hard time learning and speaking Tongan, so everybody thinks that my Tongan is amazing, haha.

For P-day we balled, I played 21 with Elder Manu and gave him a game, he was at 19 and I was at 11, came back and gave him a Dame jab step from 3 feet behind the line to win it. We also went to this sweet cave in our area. I'll try and send pictures next week but I left my camera in the office and they just sent it to me, so no pictures now.

Love,
Elder Wilson

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Hey!

It's been a pretty eventful past couple of weeks. Christmas was good. Really, the only thing I did on Christmas was go to church and call the fam, but that's all I needed. I also got the news that I was getting transferred! I've  moved to the kolo(town) of Fatumu and am companions with my brother from the MTC,  Elder Manu. So far it's been way sweet here. We actually cover 3 kolos: Haveluliku, Fatumu, and Lavengatonga. It's a great area with a cave that I went to when I here for HEFY, and a couple of really good beaches. 

Some of the really cool things about this area is that 1) All the basketball courts have rims
2) Everybody here plays tennis which I'm pumped about. I haven't seen the skill level yet but I feel like it will be really entertaining to play some tennis with the Tongans.

In terms of the work, we have a ward in Fatumu and a branch in Lavengatonga. There are a TON of less active people. Most of them have already been baptized but have just fallen away. One of our goals is to help the Lavengatonga branch become a ward even though it's been a branch for 36 years. I'm excited to start working here. My ward is sweet and I have my favorite senior couple, the Hafokas, in my area, so I got ball and tennis and a cave and two beaches and everybody loves me because I'm white and can speak Tongan. I really hope that I can stay here for a while.

Random things: 
-  Apparently everybody died last week. Funerals are huge in Tonga and there was 3 in this area.
- New Years was cool, everybody was doing fireworks. There is a Wesleyan church near us and they sang until midnight which was really cool.

Love you and have have a good week! I will try to send pictures next week.

--
Elder Wilson