Talofa!! Well I am going to Tuvalu. It is supposed to be a big secret, but EVERYONE knows. Ha ha transfers still haven't been officially called in. It is a super skinny island way far away from here (Around 600 miles if my sources are correct). It was open a few years ago and the missionaries did some stupid stuff and it has been closed ever since. So I will probably get to deal with a little bit of clean up from previous elders. They are not under the Fijian government. I have heard they have their own government. They use Australian currency. There is one small branch. I have no clue other than that. I really don't know what to expect with going there. They speak Tuvaluan, which is supposedly Samoan with some Tongan smashed into it. Which is apparently how the people are too. They don't have a Tuvaluan Bible or Book of Mormon, so they use the Samoan versions.
My companion is Elder Key who is from Western Samoa. He says that Tuvaluan is so close to Samoan that he can understand it. So that will help us out a lot. It is nothing like English though and I definitely don't understand it. So that is going to be a fun new challenge for me; learn a language in under 90 days. I am really excited and really nervous as well. Should be good.
I have no clue what living conditions are like and I don't know if I will have electricity or internet for email or anything, so next week email will be a surprise. I have heard that there are no cars at all and that everyone on the island cruises around on Mo-peds and the missionaries get mo-peds as well. I am so excited for that! I hope it is true cause I haven't touched a motorcycle in 21 months and it's killing me. I think I will just pray that it brakes down so I can do a top end rebuild and maybe pep it up a bit. Ha ha jk. Either way I will have to set a new record for highest stack of Book of Mormons ever jumped on a mo-ped.I have also heard that it is the hottest place in the Pacific so I will hopefully sweat off twenty pounds and come home looking freaking good and tan.
I don't know how I am going to get there or when I am leaving, but hopefully it will be pretty quick. So that is the news on the new area. Hopefully I can email next week and tell you how it is.
This week in Taveuni though things went really well. We had 2 awesome baptisms yesterday. Doli and Diki were both really excited and really ready for baptism. Diki's mother caused a little bit of drama before the baptism; she was quite opposed to it. But things went on as planned and ended up really great. We had a very strong spirit in the baptismal program and both new members bore amazing testimonies showing that they were truly converted. They both have had very tough lives and it has been so great to see the light that the gospel has brought to them. After 21 months on my mission, I finally learned to plan baptisms around the tide and we even had plenty of water to baptize them in. It was great and definitely the highlight of this week.
I really had a good moment watching these two members and realized the great importance of the work here that we are doing. I am so grateful I got to see them through all the way to baptism before I go. I have helped Doli through from the very beginning so that was cool to see her go from start to finish. Diki has been taking lessons forever. Three times in the past three years, she has gone all the way to the baptismal date then ran away. So that was another one that was really good to get to see when she finally make the last commitment to step into the waters of baptism. She even did it with quite a bit of opposition from family and friends. It was a very good experience.
I also gave a farewell talk in sacrament and it went really well. I tried to bask in every moment of my last little bit of being proficient in the language and being able to communicate freely. I am not to excited to be the handicapped new missionary who says things wrong and everyone gets to laugh at. Oh well, I think I have learned how to learn a language now and hopefully that will cut back greatly the number of stupid things I say while learning.
Well that is about it for my week this week. It was a great way to close my stay in Taveuni and I am happy with it. I am excited and nervous to start a new and last chapter of my mission in Tuvalu. Until next week, just pray with me that I have electricity, I have been nine months without it and I would be really grateful if I got to enjoy it for the last three. Love you all, I pray for you daily. Thanks so much for your prayers as well, I feel them.