Monday, March 17, 2014

Week 8 on Gaua February 17-February 23, 2014

Dio famile blo mi we mi lavem tumos

This week was pretty good on p-day.  I washed my clothes by hand for three hours!  I had a lot of laundry to do.  Tuesday we were only able to teach one lesson to some kids.  But it's alright.  On Wed. we taught five lessons so that was good.  We were able to teach many investigators with a baptism date.  Thursday morning we helped Tyron and his family work on their house for service.  But we weren't able to teach anyone.  Friday we taught a couple of lessons and taught the investigators the baptism interview questions.  Then our unit leader Paul told us to come to a birthday party for his grand daughter.  We sang happy birthday, but here they have a second verse to the birthday song.  Then people gave gifts, cups, baskets, chickens, money and anything they could give.  It was cool to see a birthday party here.  They hook up some big speakers and play music which was fun and everyone ate food.  We ate rice, lap-lap, and beef.  It was a great meal and they had cake too!  The cake was good except that the frosting was made out of almost pure margarine.  Yuck!  But I was satisfied.

Saturday we only cracked out one lesson, but we were able to teach all the lessons that are important before baptisms.  Sunday we went to church, then the two Elders from the airport came to interview our investigators for baptism.  Three investigators here are ready to be baptized.  One our investigators didn't come to church that day or the interview, so we just had to change his baptism date.  But we know we will surely baptize three people on March 1st.  We will be baptizing our perspective missionary Tyron's mom and sister.  Tyron will probably do those baptisms, and me and my companion will baptize a 13 year-old named Jared.  I'm very excited!  We were able to teach a few lessons and invite another one of our investigators be baptized.  We plan on probably baptizing 2 or 3 people on March 8th.

The work here is very good and I am very happy to be serving here.  Know that I love it here.  I wish you could all see it here and meet all these neat people.  Plan on getting an email around March 21st and 22nd when I go to district conference.  Love you all and hope all is great with you.

Love, Elda Baenon

P.S. I got the letters you wrote me and Kenzie's letter.  By the way, yes, I met Caleb Brough while I was transferred.  I think the pictures he sent was with me and him at the airport when I flew out.  I remembered when we first met.  He said that one of his mom's friends knew me and Broughs mom told him to look for me.  I was able to talk to Elder Brough a little before I was transferred.  He is from Gilbert, Az and went to high school with my cousin Wyatt Smith.  Elder Brough knows Uncle Travis because Travis substituted his seminary class a few times.  It's cool that we have these connections! 

Week 7 on Gaua February 10-February 16, 2014

Yufala stap me kem wavem?  Mi stap raetem ol somting ia nomo.  Evri somting lo ples ia a stret.

Monday we stayed at our house.  Tyron came to our house and we played the ultimate poop head with me.  Then that night our neighbor wanted to make one more meal before Elda Velly leaves.  He went diving and brought back 40-50 fish.  Me and Elda Velly cooked them on the frying pan while our neighbor roasted some on the fire and boiled them.  Then we ate rice with the fish.  I ate about 5 or 6 fish.  I don't know why but Velly only ate one.  The fish was good.  I don't think I've ever eaten that many fish before! 

Tuesday morning our neighbor Philip drove us to Eapot and Elder Velly and Elder Passey flew out.  Elder Velly is going home and Passey is being transferred to White Sands, Tanna.  I've been to his are before while I served in Saet Siwi, which is cool.  After they flew out, Me Elder Echols and his new companion Elder Rasika went to a rich families house, Elder Echols told me the Mama knows how to make pizza and she has everything to make it.  We asked her if she would make us some pizza and we will pay her.  She said she would have the pizzas done by the next night.

 On Wednesday we went to the brach presidents house and soon found out that a perspective missionaries Father, (Tyron) died of cancer.  We couldn't teach because everybody was gone.  They went to see the family that afternoon.  The brach president asked us if we would dedicate the family's grave.  He asked me to give a small talk and Elder Echols to dedicate the grave.  We went to the funeral and I think 200-300 people were there.  They had already made a coffin and everybody gathered around the body to see him for the last time.  Everybody cried long and you could really feel the emotions of the people.  It's a lot different in America.  It's quiet and we look at the body with silence.  But here it's different.  It's interesting to see what they do.  Then they put the body in the coffin and then they take it to the grave that they dug.  The branch president started the program and Elder Echols dedicated the grave, and I gave a talk and taught about the spirit world.  I was nervous because there were many people from different faiths and I didn't want to offend anyone.  But everything went well.  The spirit was strong there and we all sang hymns while they filled up the grave with dirt.  It was a good experience.

Then we waited for the Mama's to bring us the pizza's..  There was  group of kids that saw me and asked me to show them magic tricks which we hated.  Apparently just about everyone in Gaua has heard about me and my card tricks.  Then the Mama brought our pizzas.  She came on the ATV I haven't seen one those for a while.  We paid $35 for 2 large and 1 small pizza!  We took it back to our house and me and Echols chowed down!  It didn't taste like the pizza in America, but it was so good.  The lady didn't use any tomato sauce, so we told her to use KETCHUP instead!!!  Surprisingly the ketchup is different as well.  It was worth the $35.  We also saved some pizza for the branch president.  Pizza is now his favorite food.  We call pizza lap-lap blo US here (bishlama) that's the only way we can explain it to the people here.  Lap-lap is something that the people make here all the time.  They are many different kinds like lap-lap yam, lap-lap manyoke, lap-lap taro, lap-lap banana.  The people grate the banana or whatever they are using for the lap-lap on a cheese grater.  Then they wrap it up in banana leaves and put it on the fire or hot rocks so it can cook.

Thursday morning we went to the brach presidents house to do some service.  We helped them move big rocks by their house.  Then we went to the airport, because Elder Leva was coming in.

Friday we taught a few lessons and found a new investigator.  We were out and about for a long time.  Elder Leva is a hard working missionary.  I liked my last companion but he didn't want to work as hard and he was sick a lot.  We didn't work as hard.

Saturday we taught many lessons as well and got two new investigators.  We hope to find more so we can increase the members in our unit.  We plan on baptizing three kids on March 1st.  I hope all will work out for that. 

Just know that life is good here.  I don't want to leave Gaua.  They are many great people and I have made many friends.  I have my new companion Elda Leva, he is a very funny guy and a great friend.  Know that I am happy and that live is great!  I love you all and hope to hear from you soon!

Love, Elda Baenon
Week 6 in Gaua February 3-February 9, 2014

Dia famle mo fren blo mi,

Yufala i olsem warem?  Mi harem se mi stret.  Wik ia i bin wan gudfala wik, speseli lo Mondei.

I think most of you are wondering if the island here is beautiful?  I think it's different here from Tanna because this island is mostly flat and you can't look very long distances, but when looking at the island in a plane before landing, it looks gorgeous!  When close to landing you see the volcano with a big lake around it and a beautiful waterfall.  The island is very beautiful, but my area is hot and full of trees so you can't see a lot of scenery.  But on Monday this week me, Velly, Passey and Echols decided to go see the waterfall.

One of our neighbors named Philip has a truck, one of the two trucks on the island, and he drove us down the road and up towards a trail that goes to the waterfall.  We were higher up when the truck dropped us off.  Our perspective missionary Tyron and his brothers came with us and showed us the way.  We walked a long way and walked along the river and walked through man bush.  It was a rough hike there, but the waterfall was amazing!  It's about 350-400 feet high!  Tyron and his brothers swam while we were there, and we were jealous because missionaries aren't supposed to swim in the water.  We were soaking wet because of all the mist from the waterfall.  Then we decided to try to hike to the east side of the lake.  We hiked up a steep hill and continued to hike up hill and Elder Passey started to get VERY tired.  We then all rested and Passey said that if he walks any further he won't be able to make it home.  Elder Echols was really bummed because he really wanted to see the lake.  So I told him I would stay with Elder Passey and we walked back to our house.  It was all downhill on the way back.  So it was easy!  We made it back safely and everyone came back okay.

Echols and Velly said the lake was cool, but not as cool as the waterfall and the volcano.  I can't remember if I told you about the volcano?  It's not hot like the volcano in Tanna.  This one just smokes but I've heard that every couple years it comes close to erupting.  I was a little bummed out that I didn't see the lake, but I will probably see it sometime.

I have a feeling I will be in Gaua for a while.  It was an awesome p-day!  So I'm thinking you all are wondering the living conditions here in Gaua.  We have a kitchen to make all of our food.  It's not really a kitchen, it's just where our stove is and all of our pots and pans and dishes.  We don't running water, but we do have a faucet outside that's hooked up to a pvc pipe.  That is hooked up to our water tank.  So we do our dishes under the faucet outside.  There is a little hut about three feet away with a REAL toilet.  But the water doesn't work so you pour water into the toilet.  We have a hand pump and filter for drinking water.  The living conditions are about the same as Tanna, but it's just a lot hotter!  I haven't washed my clothes here.  The owner here has a big metal dish, you put clothes, water and powder in the big dish.  Then you grab a plank of wood and a scrub brush, and wash your clothes.  And then you have to dry your clothes.  The living conditions might seem really hard, but it's really not that bad.  I'm really happy and I'm learning to love Gaua.

It's kind of fun to live on a small island in the South Pacific.  But the island is bigger than it seems.  And don't worry, I sleep on a mattress with a bed frame.  We also have mosquito nets over our beds.  But the mosquitos here aren't that bad.  The island has just about all the important things you need.  Like soap, laundry powder, toilet paper, super glue, toothpaste, shampoo, playing cards, and food.  It has a lot more things than this list so don't worry!

Our neighbor Philip has a laptop computer, he doesn't have internet though.  I was able to borrow his computer and show Elder Velly the video of me opening my mission call.  Dang that was a good day!  Oh and I bet you guys are wondering if you write in my journal?  Everybody has pushed me to write in my journal.  Well just so you know, I have written in it every night since I have been in Vanuatu!  I have an account of every day.  My first journal is almost full but I have another one too.

On Tuesday Elder Velly was too sore to teach, so we didn't teach and I was bummed out!  I was a little sore, but that wouldn't hold me back.  Wednesday morning we had district meeting at Eapot, after the meeting the branch president asked us to stay and they made a meal for us.  Because it is the last week for Elder Velly.  We stayed there throughout the afternoon and didn't have any more people left to teach because at 4pm our unit would be holding a small program before Velly leaves.  We went and they gave us leis that they made.  They smelled so good!  Then they gave Velly baskets and stuff as gifts.  Then they made a big meal.  We ate rice, lap-lap, corn and soup.  It was a good night and the food was great!

Thursday morning our neighbor Bruce, he's the owner of the house we stay in brought us a big fish to cook.  It's pretty cool that the people here dive into the ocean every morning and every night and use small harpoons to spear fish.  They use snorkels to breathe and they have goggles to wear.  At night they use flashlights while diving.  The fish here is really good.  I like to eat fish a lot now.  Whenever the people kill fish, they always give some to us.  They are very nice.  On Saturday night, we waited for the zone leaders to call and let us know who will be my new companion.  They called and told me that Elder Leva from Tonga will be my new companion.  I was psyched! Elder Leva was companions with Elder Jones in Tanna.  And he was in my district.  Elda Leva is the one that answered the phone when you tried to call on Christmas.  And dad was speaking bishlama to him, and he couldn't understand bishlama yet.  I got to know him very well while I was in Tanna.  And I am very excited for him to come.  And Elder Leva will be the district here.

Elder Passey will be transferred to Tanna and Elder Ransica will take Passeys place. It's cool because Elder Ransica is from Siet Siwi and I already met his family while I served there.  We are going to have lots of fun here, I know it!  Work is starting to improve here and I really like it here. It's kind of like my area in Tanna.  I don't want to leave here.  Know that I am happy and everything is going well!

Mom, don't stress about me!  I am having a blast!  It's like everybody says, your mission is the best two years of your life.  Sunday was great we were able to teach five lessons, and our perspective missionary Tyran taught with us.  It was a good end to the week.  I love you all and hope all is well.  Everything is great here and I love it.  Bae no continue lo wok had lot ples in from se ma save se papa god inidim mi lo sev lo plus ia.  Mi lavem yufala bignon!

Love, Elda Baenon

P.S. I bet if you go on google earth you can find pictures of the waterfall, I wish I could send pic's 

Week 5 in Gaua January 27th-February 2nd 2014

This week was a fun week!  On Monday we went to Eapot and stayed with Elder Passey  and Echols for the night because we would fly to Santo for Zone Conference on Tuesday morning.  We went to "family house night" family home evening, and taught a family about service, and then we had a little testimony meeting.  Then me, Elder Echols, and Elder Passey started talking about stuff.  Elder Echols is from Georgia and I told him how Grandma Linda and some of our family are from the South.  I asked him questions about food and stuff there.  He asked me if we eat black eyed peas ever New Year, and I told him yes and told him how we eat Hoppin' John every year.  Then he pulled out a packet of grits that he got in a Christmas package and asked me if I've had them before?  I said," Every time we go to Grandma Linda's we have grits".  It was cool to relate to each other.

On Tuesday we flew to Luganville, Santo and dropped all of our luggage off at a missionary house that we stayed at.   The first thing we did was go to a small restaurant and eat french fries.  It hit the spot!  Then we went and emailed on the internet, and it was slow so I couldn't send pictures.  Sorry my email was short, there wasn't much to talk about at that moment, and I had already sent off my letters.  Oh I forgot to tell you a perspective missionary in our unit came with us to have a final interview with the Mission President to go on a mission.  He didn't follow us.  He stayed with all the other perspectives. 

On Wed. morning I exchanged with a missionary names Elder McCain from Gilbert, Az.  Me, McCain, Passey and Echols all went to a restaurant for breakfast.  Elder McCain got french toast, Elder Echols got fried chicken and me and Passey got toast and jam.  The restaurant was very expensive, that's why we just got toast!  But the toast with butter and jam was SO good!  I don't think I've had toast since the MTC!!!  Then we went to another internet place and once again I couldn't send pictures!  I know you've been dying to see what's going on here.  After trying to email, we got more french fries!  Then all the Elders and Sisters gathered at our district and we cleaned the grounds and the chapel.  Some senior couples made cake and brownies for all that helped.  I was so happy to have cake and ice cream!!!

Then the senior couples brought packages.  A package from Joe and Grammy came!  It felt just like a birthday party!  Cake, ice cream, packages, candy.  Thanks Joe and Grammy for the packages and candy!

Thursday was Zone Conference and it was really good!  We have great Zone Leaders here and our Mission President is amazing!  He has many great thoughts and I love him a lot.  After Conference we all went to the Santo Hotel and we all ate a big meal.  I ate fried rice, chicken, chili, meatballs, cucumbers, and corn.  I was a very happy missionary!  I needed something different and good to eat.  The island food here is good, but plain.  So it was good to have food similar to the US and it all had good flavor and spice.

Friday we went shopping for food to bring back to Gaua because it is cheaper to buy in Santo.  We flew to Gaua and on the plane two people from Australia started asking us about the church.  Me, Elder Passey and Echols started teaching them a little bit.  They didn't fully accept our beliefs but they were great guys and they enjoyed our conversation.  It made me think about the church movie "labor of love" where one missionary is flying home and the guy sitting next to him asks about missionary work and their church.  It was a cool experience.  Once we got go Gaua we realized it wasn't as hot as last time we were there.  The weather has been a lot better here.

On Saturday we were able to teach Tyran's family (Tyron is the perspective missionary in our unit)  Me and Elda Velly commited one of Tyron's brothers and sisters to be baptized.  Then on Sunday I taught sunday school and we taught three lessons!  One of them we were able commit one lady to be baptized.  So we should have three more baptisms in the next month!

We were able to receive many referrals so work here should improve and we should be able to teach more.  Tomorrow we plan on going to a waterfall for a district activity and possibly to the lake that is by the volcano.

Know that I am very happy to be here.  Thanks for the emails that you sent.  Oh and how was the cruise mom and dad?  I bet it was a blast!  I love you all so much and thanks for the love you show.  Take care.

Love, Elda Baenon