Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Week 4 in Gaua January 20-January 26, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was probably the shortest week here in Gaua.  On Tuesday no one was home to teach.  Wednesday we were able to teach just one lesson.  On Thursday Elda Velly had the flu so we stayed home all day.  I decided to write a few letters to you guys and I studied too.  Friday we were able to teach one lesson as well so that was good.  But on Saturday Elda Velly was very tired and still felt like he had the flu so we stayed home again.  So I wrote more letters.  It was a good day today (Sunday).  We taught two more lessons.

It wasn't very exciting this week, but the next week is zone conference and I know that I will have fun there and most importantly get to email you guys!

Well,  just know that you are loved!  Sorry this letter is short but that's our week.

I love you all.  Take care!

Love, Elda Baenon
Week 3 in Gaua January 13-January 19, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

We started the week with a good laugh.  Monday morning we checked our rat traps and one rat was stuck to the glue trap.  The trap is a plate with very strong glue and you put bait in the middle.  Elda Velly took the rat off and started speaking in English to it.  He said "thou shalt not steal".  "The law of Moses says so, and if you steal you shall die!"  After that he said "I'm going to teach you a lesson".  Then he put hand sanitizer on the rat (the rat couldn't move because of the glue) and lit a match and lit the rat on fire (this is where Shauna cringes a bit).  It just squeaked a little bit and then it died.  It was a mean way to kill a rat, but it was pretty funny!

I learned a card game called "I lock", just about everyone in Vanuatu knows it, it's a fun game and I will have to teach you guys how to play it when I get home.  I decided to show some of the people how to play "the ultimate poop head".  They love it!  We've played it quite a few times!

The next paragraph is in Bishlama, and Shauna can't translate it, so we'll skip to the next paragraph.

But on Thursday we were able to make one service.  There's a man in our unit ready to prepare to go on a mission.  He will be coming to zone conference with us to interview with the mission president.  The guy's name is Tyrone.  He's trying to earn money for his mission by making "kobra".  Kobra is roasted coconuts ready to be sent and processed and used in lotions, oils and many other things.  The people here gather old coconuts that have fallen from the trees and they take out the flesh inside and fill up big bags with the empty coconuts.  Then they put all the coconuts in a big tray and light a fire underneath and it toasts and the coconuts.  Then they put them in the bags and carry them to a place by the beach so when a ship comes, they will put them on the ship and take all the kobra.

So me and Elda Velly helped fill up the bags of roasted kobra and helped carry them to the beach.  They were very heavy bags!  The first one I carried was about 60 pounds!  At first it was hard to stay balanced because the bags are so big.  You put them on your shoulders behind your neck.  So we carried them, I think it was about a mile and a half to the beach.  Then we went back up and grabbed more bags.  This time my bag was about 90 pounds.  Me and another buy switched off because the bag was SO heavy and you have to walk really far.  It's amazing though because the people here are small but are able to carry all that weight!  Don't underestimate the Ni-Vans (Vanuatu Natives).  It was a very good workout though.  We were really sore the next day. 

Many people here make kobra.  It's a good way for them to earn money.  The pay isn't the best though.  People pay about 20 or 30 cents for every kilogram of kobra.  So with all the bags we carried, 10 bags I think, Tyrone earned about 80 dollars.  And we are the first missionaries to carry kobra here, and I'm probably the first white man to carry kobra.  I hope to do it again.

All has been well, but we will probably have to teach many members about the word of wisdom.  Know that I am happy and I still haven't been sick.  Life has been good and I'm glad to be serving Papa God (bishlama for Heavenly Father).

Mi Lavem Yufala Tumos!

Lavem, Elda Baenon

Week 2 in Gaua January 8-January 12, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

This week the zone leaders came and did training and they asked me to give a talk at zone conference.  I think I will talk about diligence.  I need to talk about one Christ-like attitude.  The zone leaders went back to Santo and then me and Elda Velly walked back to our home.  While we walked back it was very hot!  We sweated a lot!!!

But this place is cool.  We didn't teach many lessons because many people were working in their gardens, some were in the bush.  But it's alright.  My teaching has continued to improve and I've learned a lot from Elda Velly.

I like this place because the people are very nice and everyone gives us lots of food.  And the people here have a guitar and a keyboard.  I played them a lot and I was very happy to play instruments again.  Our house is close to the ocean.  It's only a hundred feet away from our house, but it's a rocky beach.   There's a sand beach close by and it's very cool!

Life here is good, but the water we drink is not good.  Whenever Elda Velly drinks it, his stomach is upset and his eyes burn.  I just get heartburn.  We think that the smoke from the volcano mixes with the rain and spoils the water.  But now the wind is blowing the smoke away and I hope that we will get good water.

I've been thinking about our family vacation when we went back to California.  It was a very good vacation and now it's been 6 months since we went!  Time has gone by fast.  Family vacation is one of my favorite things we do.  I don't know if you know, but my family is one of the most important things to me.  I love you so much!  Thank you so much for everything you have done for me before I came out on my mission.  And thank you very much for everything you are doing now for me.  My mission has been a great experience for me!

On Friday, Elda Velly didn't feel so well so we stayed at the house, and I made my talk for zone conference.  But don't worry about me, my heartburn has gone away and now we boil the water and it tastes better.

On Sunday we taught Sunday School.  We taught our unit about the Book of Mormon and it's history, and how it blesses our lives.  Then I gave a talk about agency at sacrament meeting.  After church, we taught four lessons!  It's the most lessons I've taught in one day since I've been here in Gaua.  This week has been a good week and I'm happy to be here and everything is good.

I love you all very much and I hope everything is alright with you.

With love, Elda Beynon

Monday, February 3, 2014

February 2, 2014

Dear friends and family,

I'm glad you got my letter.  I will be sending more out to you today to explain all of what happened each week.  Don't worry, the rats haven't been nibbling on my toes. Gaua is nice, it's been very hot the last few weeks but that's all right.  The work here is good but like Tanna.  We only get about  1 or 2 lessons taught a day.  We haven't went to the volcano yet. We think that we will go to a waterfall instead.  It's close to the volcano and we hope to go next monday.  Gaua has been fun but sometimes you get bored.  We just stay at the house every P-day and get what we need done.  But that's okay, I just need to continue to work hard. 
We eat a lot of fish here and the people have spears and dive all the time and kill fish.  Oh and did I tell you I've eaten Octopus?  It's pretty good but very chewy, the meat inside is good but the outside is weird. But now I've tried it. Me and Elda Velly have one investigator ready to be baptized at the beginning of February. We hope to have 2 more ready and baptize 3. 

In Gaua everyone knows bislama so I don't have to speak other languages often.  There is a language here and I've learned the basics.  The language is still good and Elder Velly is great at teaching and I have learned many ways to help my teaching. There is one very nice family here that I have come close to.  They love my magic tricks and we have a lot of fun.  I taught one of our neighbors how to play "the ultimate poop-head" and they love it! They think it's a very fun game.

I haven't given any blessings while I've been here sadly enough. Everything is just so slow.  But life is still good. I love Elda Velly and he is a very smart, humble guy.  Just so you know my package lasted me a whole week and a half. I shared it too.  But I still have gum which is nice and I will probably receive a package while I'm here.

Not only do we have rats in our house, crabs come in too.  We woke up to one in the house and Elda Velly cooked it.  The people here give us lots of island food to cook which is nice. they give us "Kumala" which is in the potato family and is a little sweet.  I like to make french fries with it. And there's ketchup here too!
So there's a rich neighbor here who has a laptop!  He doesn't have internet though.  I might be able to email you guys though.  Here in Santo you can buy a flash drive from a cell phone company that you can put in your computer and have wireless access. I just need to find out how much it is and how much it coststo put credit on it. ( you pay for what you use) Sorry but no pictures this time because this computer is retarded.  I have some I want to send but honestly I haven't taken many in Gaua because not much happens.

Sorry this email is short there's just not much to talk about. I hope I will be able to email again while I'm here in Santo.  Plan on continuing to write me until I tell you otherwise.Know that I am still happy even though this place is slow teaching wise and know that I love you . I love you all very much. take care

Elda Baenon

Smith is serving on an island that doesn't have postal service, and he doesn't have email.  If you want to send him a letter, send it to the P.O. Box address on the blog, and he will eventually get it.  The zone leaders come to his island and deliver his mail.  Thanks so much for your love and support!