Blog Description

A collection of letters from our favorite missionary. This blog is compiled by his sister and is made up of pictures and images sent to the fam.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Note from the Blogger:

Hey y'all! It appears that I have been neglecting this blog recently, which is a real shame since Elder Wall's emails have been most excellent. Sorry for the sudden onslaught of reading material, but I just had to post them all. Jake has been an awesome missionary and we are ever so excited to welcome him home this evening! I don't think we've had a ton of readers on this site, but for those who have frequented it it- thanks. I know that Jake appreciates the many people who have supported him throughout his mission.

November 29, 2010 - What a note to end on!

This will be short, sweet, and simple, just like the amount of time I have left on my mission.

I am in Suva as of this morning, but it has been a crazy week. We were on hurricane warnings and there has been some crazy storms. I have had plenty of times where I was worried about making it home on Thursday, but things are looking good and I am so excited.

This week we spent a lot of time in Labasa and then had some very interesting experiences where I literally stared death in the face, but I came off conqueror. So thank you all so much for your prayers and your love.

I love you all and I am so so excited to see you all on Thursday. I've got a great story to end my mission with so prepare yourselves. See you Thursday.

Elder Wall

November 21, 2010 - Crunch Time

Well I cannot believe how fast this week shot by. I swear it was over in like one day! This week is the last week I have proselyting, so hopefully I can get something good accomplished.

This week was good, but it feels like we were running errands and dealing with problems the whole week and got nothing done. We were in Taveuni til Thursday, which was good. It was really good to see everyone again. I miss them all. They are all doing well, so I was happy.

We came back to Savusavu and had to deal with a bunch of junk cause we moved flats. We got to burn an old crappy couch though and that was a blast!

The area here in Savusavu is really struggling. They are having some issues with drama in the branch- too many people being offended for things that are not meant to be offensive, too much pride, and not enough forgiveness. It is really sad to see. But we had some good talks with some people and hopefully we can help figure out some problems and get the Branch back on track.

This week we are doing some training with the district leader in Labasa and will spend some time there. Then we also have a funeral in a small branch deep in the jungle that we are going to go help out with. So this week we should be pretty busy, however it is not looking good for us getting a lot of missionary work done. I guess that is just how it goes sometimes.

Next Monday I go into Suva to have concluding interviews and close up all my missionary things. I get to have dinner with President, attend a temple session, and then I am done. I fly home on Thursday. I cannot believe how fast time has gone.

Well sorry this email is short but I really don't have too much to talk about. See you all soon. Much Love and Prayers are constantly flowing your way.

Elder Wall

November 14, 2010 - Mobster to Mormon?

Well this week was really good. I spent the week with Elder Cooper in Kadavu and it was really great. Everyone was so excited to see me again and it was like I never left. We just went right back to how things were when I left. It was so nice to see the people I love so much again!

I was a little disappointed in the progress in the Branch; not much has happened with the Branch since I left. They haven't had a single activity since I left. So I talked with the Elders there and hopefully they will get things working with the branch. I think they haven't focused too much on the branch work so it has suffered a little bit. Elder Cooper is great though and I had four days to drill my ideas into him so hopefully he can take a few of them and get things progressing again. But it was so nice to be back it felt like I was back home again. I love Kadavu so much!

Ratu Lasarusa and Bulou Rogo, the chief I baptized right before I left, is so strong. He is awesome. They are doing so so well and I am so happy for them. It was really great to be back again. I love all the families there so much!

Then on Saturday, I went from Kadavu to Viti Levu, then straight to Savusavu and then today we just took the boat to Taveuni. So I did a lot of traveling this weekend. It is really good to be back in Taveuni as well. I am excited to go and see some of the old people I loved here too. Elder Allen and Elder Tupou are my companions here. It has been good so far. We came to Taveuni to do a training for a new district leader. It will be good.

This week was good and it was so great to go to Kadavu. It was good to go back and see that I truly did serve with all my heart, might, mind and strength on that little island and all the people love and remember me for it. I had some very sweet reunions with the branch members and some investigators as well. It was so awesome.

One quick cool story:
This man named Save is a straight-up hustler. He is like the mobster of Kadavu. We used to always sit down and talk to him. I always just did it because I thought he was a cool guy. Anyway the elders have been teaching him and he testified to me that the Book of Mormon is true. It was incredible to hear that from a man I never ever would have guessed would say that! I hope he continues progressing and changing. I think that if he gets baptized, President Monson is going to have to do the interview. But that is the power of the gospel and the conversion power of the Book of Mormon.

This week we also have two greenies we were taking to their areas. It was fun to see their wide eyed enthusiasm and to know what they have ahead of them. Boy do they have a lot to learn, but it will be so great for them. Well I think that is about it for this week. I love you all. See you soon.

Elder Wall

November 7, 2010 - 3 weeks and counting...

Well first thing's first; I will tell you what my last three weeks are going to look like....

This Wednesday I will be going to Kadavu until Saturday to be companions with Elder Farley's companion while he is in a training. It will be so great to see everyone again. Then I just found out last night, after that I have been transferred to Savusavu to be a Zone Leader. It will be a whopping two weeks there then back to Suva to go home. I am a little surprised by the transfer but I am just gonna go and see if I can do anything in two weeks.

I found out that when I go to Savusavu I will be going back over to Taveuni on exchanges with the new district leader there to train him. Ha ha. So pretty much I am going back and revisiting every area I have served in. It has been great. So that is what is in store for Elder Wall the next three weeks. I am excited and time is going to fly by and I will be home before I know it.

This past week has been awesome! Leaving Tuvalu was hard but awesome at the same time. Monday night, President Niko threw a BBQ for my going away feast and invited the Teikauea's so it was really nice to have that as my last night in Tuvalu. When we flew out, ALL the members showed up to the airport and gave me gifts and said good bye. It was really cool. They gave me this crown thing made of shells and stuff and I had about twenty necklaces and things put around my neck, so I looked like King of Tuvalu; it was funny. I guess it is a thing here to make pillow cases to give to people, so I got like fifteen pillow cases with hand like crochet on them. I will never have to buy a pillow case again in my life. I love the people of Tuvalu and wish I could have spent some more time there; it was hard to leave.

We also came really close to missing the plane. Fiji had daylight savings time but they don't do that in Tuvalu. So the flight times changed and no one told us. Luckily the first counselor works at the airport and came to our house to get our stuff and check it in. If not, I would be extending my mission til after the new year cause the flights are 100% booked till after January. I am very grateful Bro Maumau saved us for that one. Ha ha.

Then we came to Suva and are staying with the Tamavua elders, which has been awesome. I have seen so many of the old members and recent converts I love. I am so so so happy to see how good all of my recent converts are doing! Luke who I baptized right before I left for Kadavu, got the Melchizedek priesthood yesterday and is going to be serving a mission next year! I am so happy for him. I cannot explain how happy I am when I meet all of these recent converts from when I served here and see them still strong in the church.

Another one from Wailoku that I was super excited about got baptized after I left as well. She was a golden investigator and I had a very strong confirmation during a lesson with her that she would be baptized, but then after that she had family problems and we had to stop seeing her. Then yesterday she came running to me in Stake Conference and said hi. She was baptized a few months ago and is strong in the church. I was so happy!

I have countless other stories of families that I built relationships with and reuniting with them was so awesome. It was cool to see so many people I baptized stay strong in the church. I am so happy. It has been an incredible week seeing them all again and seeing the great progression they have all made. It was such a good experience.

We also got a training from James A. Hamula from the first Quorum of the Seventy. As always with the general authorities, it was awesome! He compared missionary work to the things we learn in the temple in ways I had never even thought of. The man is a gospel doctrite for sure and just blew my mind with so many awesome insights and lessons. It was incredible.

I also had to bear my final testimony, which was crazy. I have seen so many elders bear theirs but I never thought my day would come. It was very spiritual but hard to do. I can't believe my time is almost up. Where have the last two years gone? Right now I feel like I am game for two more (although some days just making it to the next seems like an impossible task).

The Fiji Suva North Stake was also reorganized this weekend so we got to hear a lot from both Elder Hamula and Elder Wakolo from the seventy. They are both amazing and it was so good to hear from them. It was a great week and I loved seeing everyone again. I am excited to go see everyone in Kadavu as well. I am so grateful for the opportunity to see the fruits of my labors after they have had more time to develop. It really makes me feel good about the work I have done and things I have helped people to overcome and the difference it has made in their lives. Truly incredible!

Well I love you all. I think that about sums up my week. I am excited to see how this next week goes and then find out what is in store for me in Savusavu. See you all in a few weeks. Much love and prayers are going your way.

Elder Wall

Friday, November 5, 2010

October 31, 2010 - An AWESOME week and an enlightening reflection

As incredible as it seems-Jake will be returning on Dec. 2nd!!!! His Welcome Home will be Dec. 12th, so please plan to join us at 10:45 at our church on Cherry Lane.

This week was awesome! We didn't get too many lessons but we had nine baptisms, so I cannot complain about that. The baptism was so so much fun! We rented out a party house on the far end of the island where it is very beautiful, so it was really cool. We had the baptisms and then a big BBQ and played volley ball. We were also supposed to watch conference but just my luck, technical difficulties-- no conference. One for four of conferences missed on my mission. I think I jinxed myself by going riding instead of watching conference in October before I left cause "I was going to have 2 years of church I gotta take a break now while I still can". Now I want to see conference so bad but I can't. Dang it, I suck. But the baptism was incredible; they were all so happy and ready! They all bore testimony after and it was incredible. Not many dry eyes but I was able to choke back my tears, which was a good thing cause I was conducting and had to give closing remarks. I was so happy to see the change that all of them made. They each had challenges and trials they had to overcome to get to the waters of baptism and I was so proud of them and happy for them for accomplishing their goals.

Autoa got a scholarship to go to Taiwan and go to school, so this week she has been really torn up cause she is excited for the opportunity to get an education but has never left home and doesn't want to leave. Her parents are also still not supportive of her decision to get baptize, so she had a really hard week. She said that she was not happy when she went into the water but that when she came up out of the water, all her cares were swept away and she was left with such a strong peace and happiness. I am so happy for her. They are all so awesome!

Tofikai is already looking forward to serving a mission. He told me that he is going to pray to go to Utah so he can come see me. His friends and family have started calling him Pastor because before he never talked about religion but now all he wants to talk about is the gospel. He is such a great guy. I love him. I went on splits with him for home teaching yesterday and he said he was so proud to be my companion and glad that he could help. Such a great guy with HUGE potential for a future church leader here in Tuvalu!

During the sharing of the testimonies, I was pondering and thought about how this is most likely my last baptism of my mission. I then thought back to my first one and compared the difference. My first baptism, I was so focused on myself. I was excited cause I thought getting baptisms meant I was a successful missionary and that when they were baptized I would be so happy. I was so excited to get to write home and say that I got my first baptism. Honestly though when it was all over, I was really disappointed because I didn't have this intense happy experience. I didn't feel this happy feeling because I wanted it for me, not for them. However this time, I was so happy for the converts; so happy for their progress and the wonderful change that I had seen and been a part of as they changed their lives; so happy for the future they have in the church; so happy for the wonderful things they will learn and experience through the church. As a result, during their testimonies, I was overcome with joy. I was so happy for each and every one of them. I just loved them all so much and was so proud of them. It was a wonderful experience and a wonderful contrast from my first baptism. My first baptism was awesome and something I will never forget. But it could have been better if I would have thought less about myself and more about them. So that is my message this week. Think more about others.

I am so sad to be leaving Tuvalu. On my mission, my family circle has grown to include people in Fiji and now includes people in Tuvalu. I love them so much. I am so proud of the great progress they have made as individuals and as a branch in my two short months here. I know the church is going to continue to boom here because these people just have so much heart and spirit about them. I am truly blessed to have been able to take part in the Lord's work here. I don't know what I have ever done to deserve it but I will just say thank you and be forever grateful to my father in heaven. As you may guess, I am on cloud nine right now. What a great way to leave Tuvalu!

I love you all very much. See you in a month and have a great week. The church is true and being a missionary is freaking awesome.

Elder Wall

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

October 25, 2010 - An Amazing Week

This week was awesome. I will start with the bad news first though. So we tried to have an Elder come and do the baptismal interviews but the plane was booked clear till November 23. So I got authorization from President Ostler for me to do them and it went great. All nine passed. But bad news is on November 2nd, we go to Suva for the mission tour with Elder Hamula from the area presidency and then there are no seats back until the 23rd. So I would only be in Tuvalu a few more days then have to fly back to Suva to go home. So Elder Key will come back to Tuvalu with his new companion and I will stay in Suva and do something (not sure what) until I go home. I am really bummed about having to leave Tuvalu when it is on fire and when things have just begun really firing on all cylinders. But I guess that is what is gonna happen. Oh well nothing I can do. I will really miss the people and really miss the work here. As for this week, things were awesome.

We had 91 people at church yesterday. I don't know how but more and more and more people just keep coming out to church and it is awesome. Our family home evening was awesome and turned out so fun. Everyone had a great time and I think they all learned some things as well. It was a blast and was definitely a huge success.

The interviews went great this week as well. At the end of every interview I like to ask people to bear me their testimonies and tell how they know the church is true and why they decided to be baptized. I got some great answers. One girl said that when she did all the things we asked her to, she repented and felt a peace in her heart and knew she had been forgiven of her sins. She said she then knew the next step was- baptism. What a great young woman!

One girl's mother said that if she is baptized she won't love her anymore, so that has been really hard on her. She is 19 and in Polynesian culture until your 21, you are under your parents' rule. So it is a hard decision for her but since she is 19, she can be baptized without parental consent by the church's rules. She is deciding this week, but I am pretty sure she is going to be baptized. Her testimony and knowledge of the doctrine are great.

Another guy said that he went to the Church of Tuvalu for a long long time and never learned anything but he learns and understands the gospel in this church. It was a great opportunity to get to teach these people from beginning to end and get to interview them for baptism. They have all changed so much and have really enlightened their lives with the gospel.

We had an awesome couple of lessons with the Teikauea family this week and I challenged them to baptism. They accepted, unfortunately they still need some more time to prepare so I will not be able to be here for their baptism. I am really disappointed with that. I love that family so much. Bro Teikauea (a 350 lb.+ Tuvaluan man) cried like a baby when we talked about families and being together forever. He really has changed from a big hard hearted man to a big softy who wants so bad to stop smoking and change his life but is just dragged down by the process. I know he will overcome and make a great member of the church someday. His wife and kids are incredible. It has been amazing to see how much the Lord has prepared this place and the people; things just keep falling into place. We just keep finding more and more golden investigators and we're not even trying. Right now we're just trying to juggle all the awesome investigators we have got. The Lord just keeps throwing more and more in our path.

Things with the branch are really taking off as well. The leaders are great and do what they are supposed to they just need a little bit of encouragement. This week me and my home teaching companion Bro Maumau went home teaching and had an awesome experience. We went and visited a man who lives far on the other side of the island. He is an old member of the church who was really strong in the church in Kiribati. He was a high council man and a 1st councilor to the bishop, but came to Tuvalu and got discouraged over time with the small, weak branch and fell away. Yesterday we told him about the nine baptisms this week and the 91 attendance on Sunday and he cried and said he is so happy the church is getting strong in his own country now. I challenged him to come back and help us build up the church here and he said, "I will be there. I am coming for sure." So it was an awesome testimony of the importance of home teaching. He was so touched and happy that we would come home teach him, just thrilled that there was actually home teaching happening in Tuvalu.

Well it was a great week and this week will be great as well. Saturday we are having the baptisms and then a picnic and games after as well as watching general conference, which finally got to us. So it is going to be a great last week for me here in Tuvalu. I love you all and pray for you constantly. Have a great week.

Elder Wall