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.