Thursday, May 29, 2014

Week 17 on Gaua April 21-April 30, 2014

Dio ol famle blo mi,

Not much has happened this week so this letter will be short.

Monday it was still really hot and I did my usual batch of laundry by hand.  We stayed down by the beach where there was a nice breeze. 

On Tuesday we went to the branch for district meeting.  I conducted and gave some training.  We discussed how to help investigators make and keep commitments that we give to them.  We also did some role plays to help us.  Then we ate bread that the branch president's daughter made.  We ate it with orange tea and we had some canned tuna and made it into sandwiches.  We then went home and Elda Leva to one of our members named Booker who boxed.  He has boxing gloves so they boxed for fun.  When they finished a ten year old kid named Kevin put on the gloves and I decided to box him.  Don't worry I went easy on him and we had lots of fun.  Then we ate more fish that Brushly speared for us.

Wednesday we taught two more investigators about the restoration.  Then we taught three more lessons that afternoon.  Then we went to the store and bought yeast and sugar.  Then we went home and gathered some flour and gave one of our investigators named Wilfred the ingredients to make bread.  His wife makes really good bread and uses coconut milk instead of water.  It's really good.

Thursday morning Wilfred came over and brought us the bread they made and we ate it with peanut butter and tea.  The bread was nice and sweet.  All of our investigators were cutting kobra so we weren't able to teach a lesson.  That afternoon we gave Wilfred more flour, sugar and yeast.  We really like the bread they make and I haven't eaten a lot of bread while being in Gaua. 

Friday morning we ate tuna fish sandwiches and twisties.  Then we taught a papa about tithing and taught a family about the restoration and they really knew that the message was true.  It's amazing how the holy ghost works and helps convert.  That night it rained really hard so we showered out in the rain and had some fun getting wet.

Saturday many people were cutting kobra and all of our investigators cancelled their appointments because they were busy.  That night we ate LOTS of fish!

Sunday we went to church and had sacrament meeting and then me and Elder Leva taught the youth.  We taught them about missionary work and had them do role plays and practice building trust the first time you teach investigators.  They loved it and we had a fun time.  Everyone was laughing because everyone was nervous, but it turned out really good.  After church we were only able to teach one lesson.  That's about all that happened this week.

Well know that I love you and things are still good here. I hope all is well.

Love, Elder Beynon
Week 16 on Gaua April 14-April 20, 2014

Dia ol famle mo frien blo mi,

Monday was a lot of fun.  The zone leaders were coming so we put our money together and bought a pig for $80.  We went to the Branch Presidents house and Elder Leva prepared everything to cook the pig.  Elder Leva decided that he will make "bunya" a style of cooking here in Vanuatu, Tonga and many other islands.  We killed the pig, hung it on a tree, scraped the skin and fur off the pig, then gutted it cleaned it and cut it into pieces.  While they did that, others dug a hole about 2 feet deep and just a little bit bigger than the pig.  They started a fire in the hole and put many stones on top of the fire.  The mama's cut manyoke into pieces, and by the time the stones in the hole were hot, we put manyoke and pig on top of the stones and covered it with banana leaves and then dirt.  While it cooked we went to the airport and the zone leaders came.  We let them prepare for a while then we went back the the branch president's house.  By the time the food was ready, it took 3 hours for it to cook in the ground.  The zone leaders brought bread again so we all ate pork sandwiches with manyoke.  It was awesome!  I just needed some bbq sauce.  Then we played volleyball with the members and all who ate with us.  Then I showed them the pictures that dad had sent.  They loved it and I taught them a little more about our country.  It was a fun p-day.  It would have been cool if you all were there.

Tuesday I made some pancakes for breakfast.  We had nothing to put on them but butter and peanut butter.  But it was still good.  We walked to Eapot for district meeting and zone training.  It was unbelievably hot!  We got there drenched with sweat.  After the meeting the branch presideng made soup for us to eat and then we went back to our areas to teach.  We taught four lessons that afternoon and we taught a new family who wanted to hear our message.  Then we went to the store to buy some "twisties" they are a snack a lot like cheetos.  There is cheese flavor and chicken flavor.  Then we ate fish that Brushly speared for us.

Wednesday we walked back to Eapot because the zone leaders would be flying back to Santo.  We got there and ate lots of peanuts that we bought from a mama.  The people here grow lots of peanuts and sell them.  It's cool.  After the zone leaders left we bought noodles and spicy tin tuna and gave it to the branch president to make soup for us.  We also ate bread that they made.  We then walked back to Kaska and all of our investigators were gone.  So we didn't teach any lessons.

Thursday we did our studies by the ocean because it was too hot.  It's weird because our house is about 100 feet from the ocean but up by the house it's always hot.  But down by the ocean there's always a nice breeze and it's cool.  We do our studies down there a lot.  We taught only two lessons that afternoon and I made some french fries and we cooked some fish.  So we had good fish and chips that night.

Friday was just like Thursday but we ate octopus instead of fish.  Brushly had killed one while diving and they milked coconuts and boiled it and we ate it with rice manyoke and bread fruit.  It was good.

Saturday morning our neighbor Phillip drove us to Eapot so elder Leva could interview and investigator to be baptized.  When we came back we taught three lessons and taught a family about the restoration.  After the lesson they fed us "simboro" it is ground up manyoke wrapped with island cabbage and boiled with coconut milk.  It's really good and I hadn't had it for a while.  We have many families to teach here now.  That's the primary focus of teaching families because if the whole family is converted they can live together for all eternity.  After teaching I hung out with some of the kids and they taught me how to roll my "r's" while talking and after a little practicing I was able to do it! Everyone here, even the kids can roll their r's.

Easter Sunday we went to church and our unit leader taught us about Jesus Christ's atonement and we shared some things as well.  During sacrament meeting I gave a talk on the word of widsom because many members struggle with drinking "kava".  Then Elder Leva gave a talk about repentance.  Then after church we went to Mama Judy's house and they fed us bread that they made with coconut milk.  It was nice and sweet, very good bread.  Then we taught a couple lessons and then we got home I made some spaghetti.  It came out very good and I made garlic bread too.  I cut up garlic into very small pieces and put butter on bread and put the garlic on the butter and heated it in a pan and "voila" garlic bread!

The people here don't really have any traditions like Easter egg hunts to celebrate Easter.  The only tradition I know is that the Anglican church uses Friday as a day of rest.  Because of the day that our Savior was on the cross.  But there's no other traditions that I know of.

I hope Easter was great for all of you.  Make sure to tell me about it.  Everything is great here and I'm having a lot of fun.  I love you all and hope all is well.

Love, Elder Beynon

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Week 3 on Uripiv May 28, 2014

Dear Family,
I hope this email gets to you.  Yes I am able to email every week. Last week I emailed and was able to read all your messages. Then I typed up my letter to send to you all and when I finished it my time was almost out.  I pressed send  but it didn't send and it automatically opened up another tab and I didn't have enough time to try and resend my message. The computers here are ridiculous.  They have terrible viruses.  That's probably why it couldn't send. 

So now I will try to explain all that happened in the last 2 weeks. 
Overall the work here is slow (I think the Vanuatu mission is a little slow everywhere).  Me and my companion are only to teach a couple lessons a week.  The members here are awesome.  The feed us all the time (we hardly eat at the house). And I have many friends already. 
So Thursday, week before last week we walked a 15 minute walk to the East side of the island. (All the houses are on the west side).  A member named Morris came with us and e went to the beach on the other side and not too far off we roasted fish and bananas over a fire which was fun. And then we cut down a couple small trees to use their trunks for volley ball posts for our branch.  We've played a lot of volley since we've been here.  Just about every afternoon we play if we've made all our appointments and don't have any one else to teach.  Just about every night we eat at member's houses.   The kids love seeing us too.  Unlike tanna the kids here run to you and come talk to you and they really love us.  I do magic card tricks here too.  I think everybody in Uripiv knows me.
The island here is small but I think there's about 5 or 6 different churches here (Presbyterian, SDA, Church of Christ, Our church).  But I think part of the majority are in our church.  The people are really respective about our religion though. We meet many non-members but they respect us and we respect them.  These people are just great people.  There's also a family from Michigan that lives here. They're here to translate the bible in the ancient language of the people here.  They seem to be nice. 
We haven't taught many lessons here but we've had a couple already that have been awesome.  The Book of Mormon is TRUE.  We are able to see the power of this book change lives.  It's amazing how much power comes from a small book.  We haven't set any baptism dates yet but we are looking forward to making a few.  Also the work is slow here because many people work and go to Lakatoro every day but Saturday and Sunday and seem to be the best days to teach everyone.

I love my companion, me and him get along well.  He even waits while I email you guys.  He's never used computers before so doesn't know much about computers and electronics. But that's alright.  training him has been fun.  It's not nearly as hard as I thought it was, I think we get along so well that everything goes smoothly. But we just haven't been able to teach much. But so far his teaching is great.  Here in the mission we come up with many sayings. For example: I'm my companions first trainer in the mission so I'm his papa and he's my pikinini.  Sometimes a missionary will ask: Huia papa blo yu?  And then we say the name of our first trainer.  Did you guys have sayings like that dad?

Lakatoro is pretty nice.  But Malekula is a big island but not nearly as updated as Santo or Port Vila.  I like it though, this morning I had a popsicle for the first time in 8 months!  They have ice cream here too so I'm able to eat ice cream every p-day.  I love the missionaries in our districts and zone. We all get along well and life is good.

I've realized being in Uripiv there's not as much to see as the other islands because my island is so small but I like it, I don't feel too Segregated.  And here in Uripiv the people have more money.  I think the people here have more money than any other area that I've served. In fact, last night we ate at a members house and they asked me about the U.S. and about my family.  They had a laptop so I was able to hook up my hard drive and show them some pictures and videos of us. 

I also have some good news some good news, one of the zone leaders was able to print off some pictures of me while in Gaua and I was able to send them. I hope they get to you. I think they should get to you in a week or 2 ( I sent them 2 weeks ago) I can't wait for you all to see them. You could also scan a few to put on the blog if you want.

So I hear you are all going on family vacation. It will probably be weird without me being there but just remember that I'm on my vacation.  And I've realized that when I read your letters and emails, I feel like I'm there with you and I'm not missing out on anything, and it's true, I'm supposed to be here and I'm as happy as can be.  I hope you have fun (make sure to tell me about it and send pics, I will make sure to send you all pics.

So my district leader Elder McCain (he's from Gilbert, AZ) just told me we will be going on exchanges.  I will go with his companion Elder Ross to their area called Lowni and serve with him a few days.  And Elder McCain and Elder Takaro will go to Uripiv. After I'm done in Lowni, I will go to Uripiv with Elder McCain I think.  I'm excited.

Mi ting se hemia nomo mo mi save se evri samting i stret lo hom mo mi glad tumas blo sev lo ples ia. Mi lavem yufala koko ful spid no gat brek. Mi hop se yu kasem wanem mi stap telem. Mi lavem yufala!
Elda Baenon

Monday, May 19, 2014

Week 2 on Uripiv May 19, 2014

Pictures we received from Smith, this is on the Island of Uripiv, the new island he has been transferred to.

He got transferred right before we got to call him on Mother's Day.  He said he was really sad to leave the island of Gaua.  He really had grown to love the people there.  He cried when he had to leave.

Smith will be a trainer to Elda Takaro.  He's a greenie, and he's from the island of Ambae .  They still primarily speak Bishlama.

They are now on the island of Uripiv.  It's long and skinny, only about a mile wide.  There are about 500 people living on this island.  He said this island is not as hot as Gaua was. And the bugs aren't nearly as bad either.  Smith and his companion are the only missionaries on this island.  Once a week they take a 20 minute boat ride to the bigger island, Malenkula, where they have their district meetings, do laundry, shopping and send emails.  They will do this every Monday on their p-days.  So we should start getting emails EVERY week!  Yay!!!

The house they live in is nicer than the one he lived in on Tanna.  He said he does have electricity, but still no running water.  They still use buckets to "shower".  He is healthy, and happy, and LOVES his mission!!!

I will post as soon as I get a new email from him.

Thanks for all your love and support!

Love, Shauna

Smith and his new companion, Elda Takaro, he is a greenie and Smith will be training him

Smith and Elda Takaro on the boat ride to Malenkula

Smith outside their little church house on the Island of Uripiv

Smith's new house, this is where he and his companion study

Bedroom May 2014

Island of Uripiv, this is the island Smith has been transferred to, it's only about a mile wide and there are about 500 people on the island
Week 1 on Uripiv

May 11, 2014

Dear Family,

It was so great to talk to you yesterday!  I'm glad everything is alright and everything is great here. This morning we had district meeting and zone training.  The Zone leaders brought me 5 letters from
you so I have most of your letters now.  They also gave me a package grammy sent. There was a bottle of on guard oil so you can scratch that off my list of needed oils mom.  The zone leaders also were able to print off some pictures of me in gaua so I will try to send those today. I emailed some pictures to mom today too so you have an idea of what it's like here.  I love you all and hope to hear from you next week.  Mi lavem yufala tumas mo mi hop se Mother's Day i bin gud.  Mo me hop se Kenzie mo Papa i enjoy trip blo yufala. Plan blo harem mi bakegen next wik. Mi lavem yu.


Elda Baenon

Island of Melankula, the "big island" this is where Smith and his companion take a 20 minute boat ride to this island and have their district meeting every p-day, do emails, shopping and laundry

Week 15 on Gaua April 7-April 13, 2014

Dia famle blo mi we mi lavem big wan,

Monday we decided to go to the lake here and then the waterfall.  The elders and two neighbors came with us to show us the way.  We left around 8am and our neighbor Phillip drove us up to the trail.  We walked up the mountain then down the other side to the lake.  This lake is huge.  They say it's the biggest lake in the whole South Pacific.  We were directly east of the volcano, it was on the other side of the lake.  It was really cool.  Then we walked down the mountain and down the side and went to the waterfall.  After the waterfall, we started to walk back and by this time we were a little tired.  We got home around 5pm and then we just rested because we were really tired by this time.  It was a great adventure though, and don't worry, I took lots of pictures. 

Tuesday we were a little sore and we still went out and taught.  We taught a couple lessons which was good. 

Wednesday we went to the airport because the branch presidents son was flying out to go on a mission.  He will fly to Utah and go to the Provo MTC and then go to Tahiti.  It brought back a lot of memories of when I left.

Thursday we taught three lessons and we were able to find two new investigators.

Friday we taught three lessons as well, but not much happened.

Saturday we weren't able to teach at all because most of the members went to the branch.  The church sent bags of rice and flour to all members and investigators.  We were able to baptize two investigators though!  But we felt bad, because not too many members came to the program.  But they were very thankful to be baptized!

Sunday we went to church and in sunday school we learned about repentance.  Then just as relief society and priesthood were about to start, we got a message from the mission president saying that there was a tsunami warning for Gaua.  A big earthquake hit the Solomon Islands and a tsunami hit them.  Everybody worried that it would come here.  We hurried and held sacrament meeting and then we went home and prepared our things.  Then we went up a hill to high ground and decided to teach some investigators that were up there.  Then we received the news that the tsunami warning was no longer in affect (thank goodness!).  Then we taught a few more lessons that afternoon.  The Lord kept us safe! 

Know all is well and I love you all!

Love, Elda Beynon

Week 14 on Gaua March 31-April 6, 2014

Monday I did some laundry and while I was washing I started to get very tired.  My body was starting to get very tired.  We went and taught a lesson and came back and at this time I was exhausted and didn't feel good.  I used a thermometer to see if I had a fever and my temperature was 100.2 degrees.  It was indeed a fever.  I took some peradol and rested all day.  That night I didn't eat.  Food did not sound good at all.  We called a sister missionary who used to be a doctor to get some info.  She told me to rest and see how I feel tomorrow.  We think that I got sick because I've been drinking no filtered water for the last week.  Our hand pump for our filter broke so we just drank water from the tank.  We should have boiled it. 

Tuesday I woke up and felt a lot better.  My fever was gone but my body was still a little sore and I still had diarrhea.  We decided to hold district meeting so we walked to Eapot to the branch and had district meeting.  Then we went on exchanges.  I stayed with Elder Ransika and Elda Leva and Matu went to Koska.  We were only able to teach one lesson but that night.  We ate kimala and fish at an investigators house.

Wedenesday morning we went to the branch presidents house to give his son a blessing.  He was diving in the ocean to spear some fish but his hand came down on a sea urchin.  Then we went and taught two lessons that afternoon and after we finished someone was watching "Tom and Jerry" on their phone so we joined them.  The people here love Tom and Jerry, many people have it on their phones. 

Thursday me and Elda Ransika went to an area called "Namasari" to do service for a mama.  She needed us to help her get some Natangora to carry to her house, so she could make some roofing.  Natangora is a tree similar to a palm tree but shorter and the leaves are wider than palm leaves.  The people make roofing for their houses with these leaves.  We walked to the mamas garden and she told us to cut down one Natangora tree.  Elder Ransika used a bush knife to cut it down.  It didn't take long because the wood is so wet and soft.  Then the tree fell and we cut off the leaves and stems and wrapped the leaves in big bundles.  The tree gave us three bundles that we carried back to mamas house.  Then they fed us rice with big salt water snails.  The snails aren't my favorite because the taste is different and it's hard to chew, but I can still eat it.  The people call them "shell" here.  After the service me and Elda Ransika went to the branch presidents house to wait for Elder Leva and Matu to come.  They came, and me and Elder Matu went to kaska and Elda Leva went with Elda Tansika.  We got home a little late and talked a while, then went to sleep.

Friday we taught a lesson then went to teach a recent convert and they were all playing cards.  We joined them for a while and played "7-lock".  Everyone in Vanuatu knows it.  I haven't heard of it before my mission.  It's a fun game.  Then we taught a recent convert about baptism and confirmation.  Then we taught two more lessons that afternoon.  Then for dinner I made spaghetti.  I've made it a few times before and this time I think it was the best.  I don't want to brag but it was pretty dang good.  But it doesn't beat Mom's spaghetti!  Nothing beats your spaghetti mom!!!  Then we watched a church movie called " turn around" which is about a teenager who made many bad choices and had a bad attitude and then decided to change and repent of all he had done.  It was a pretty good movie.  We watched it on our portable dvd player. 

Saturday we baptized a mama that has been waiting for a date to be set.  She was very happy during the baptism.  It's the sixth one we've had in Gaua!  After the baptism, Elder Matu interviewed two investigators to be baptized next week!  We taught one lesson then we walked to Eapot so Elda Leva could interview a couple of investigators of the other two elders.

Sunday we went to church and I realized that the church is now 184 years old!  You all probably watched conference and I wonder if they talked about church history a lot?  We don't have any access to watching conference here in Gaua, but in a few weeks the zone leaders will send us dvd's with all the sessions in bishlama. Well, while we were at church two investigators came for the first time!  We've invited them to be baptized but we are waiting for them to pray and think about it first.  It was testimony meeting so they probably got to see something that other churches don't do.  Me and Elder Leva bore our testimonies and many other kids did as well.  Our unit is kind of our ward, the youth have strong testimonies.  Then we taught three lessons that afternoon.  Then we ate turtle soup because it was Brushy's daughters birthday.  We had turtle, kamkava, soup and rice.  It was good food.

This week was probably just as good as last week.  The work is still great and we have great investigators.  Gaua is just awesome!  I want to let you all know that I'm not coming home until my mission here is finished.  Everything is great and I am very happy here.  I love you all so much!

Love, Elder Beynon

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Week 13 on Gaua March 24-March 30, 2014

Dia famle mo frien blo mi we mi lavem tumas,

Monday we went to Eapot because Elder Raskina's new companion Elder Math was coming.  The Santo District President and a Senior Missionary Elder Williams came to work on a water project for the branch here.  Then we went to the branch to help Elder Williams.  We helped him build a roof to cover a water tank.  The roof has sheet metal so when it rains, the water will run and collect into a gutter and into a tank.  The church sent all the materials on the ship and they did this project so some of the members and anyone in need can have water.  Helping building this brought back memories of building houses with Grandpa and my Uncles.  It was fun to be building something again.

Tuesday it was hot at the house so we walked down to the ocean where there was a nice breeze and we did our personal and companionship studies.  We were able to teach a couple of lessons, then Brushly gave us some kunala which is like a sweet potato, but not as sweet.  So I cut it up and heated some oil and made some french fries.

Wednesday we taught three lessons and committed one papa to be baptized but he said that he will wait and pray about it first.

Thursday we did some service for Brushly.  We helped him cut "kobra".  We walked to an area not too far and that mama's were gathering coconuts and halving them with axes.  Our job was to use a tool to cut out the flesh of the inside of the coconuts.  We cut out four piles of coconuts.  We did it for about four or five hours straight!  My hands were pretty sore.  The total of bags we filled up was thirteen bags.  Now I can say I have cut and carried kobra.  It's hard work.  Whenever we see someone working kobra we say "yufala wok had tumas." It's true though.  Here's how it works.  They gather all coconuts (old coconuts that are starting to grow into trees) and halve them and cut out the flesh, fill up heavy bags, carry the bags to a roasting bed, roast them, turn them and roast again.  And when roasting is finished, they fill up bags again and carry them to the ocean when a ship comes.  The pay is very low.  They weight the kobra and they get about 30 vt (30 cents) for one kilogram about 2.2 pounds.  The people all know they work too hard for small pay, but there is not any other good work for them to earn money.  But they mostly just need money when they pay school fees or want to fly somewhere.  They all have enough food from their gardens.

One thing that I realized about this country is that it's a place where the people don't have much money, but they are all happy and they all have food and water.  It's not life Africa where the kids and people are suffering from hunger and thirst and poverty.  Here people have some money and they never seem to run out of food.  Everyone is happy here.

Friday we studied down by the ocean again and we taught a mama that we had committed to be baptized a long time ago.  We set a baptism date for her on Saturday, April 5th.  Then we taught her daughter who is a recent convert.  We then taught three more lessons that afternoon.

Saturday Elder Math and Ransika came to interview the mama to be baptized and she was ready.  Then we taught a couple of lessons that afternoon.

Sunday we went to church and learned about repentance and what happens if we die in our sins.  "Don't procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end".  We then taught a girl and her cousin and committed them to be baptized next week as well.  We met with our unit leader and he was very happy with our progress and work.  He said that the work now has been better than ever!  Then we taught a couple more lessons.  That night Brushly roasted yams, taro and kumala.  He also cooked a fowl or what we call chicken.  It was good food and we ate with them.  Then that night we totaled our key indicators (all lessons taught, referrals, new investigators, baptisms, and confirmations) we realized that this week was awesome!  We taught many lessons and committed many investigators to be baptized.  I think this week was probably better than any other week work wise. 

I hope work and everything that's happening in Cedar City is good.  Know that everything is awesome here and the work is great.  I love you all and hope all is well.

Love, Elder Beynon
Week 12 of Gaua March 17-March 23, 2014

Dia famle blo mi we mi lavem tumas,

Monday we just stayed home because of Elda Leva's swollen foot.  I did my usual wash and washed my clothes.  We couldn't go to the store to buy our food for the week so we just gave some money to some friends and they did our shopping which was nice.  That night we gave Elder Leva a blessing for his foot. 

Tuesday an investigator came to our house and we taught him.  On Wednesday we stayed at the house and waited for an investigator to come but he never showed.

Thursday the swelling on Leva's foot began to go down.  He said that he could walk a little so we went out and taught.  He was able teach a couple of lessons which was good. 

Friday was just like Thursday.

Saturday was VERY hot!  It may have reached ninety degrees but the humidity wasn't that bad.  We were only able to teach one lesson that day.  That night we waited for the zone leaders to tell us our transfers.  This transfer went by extremely fast.  I can't believe I've been out for six months!  I was very worried that I would be transferred because I love Gaua.  They called us and we found out that we will all be staying here.  I was very happy. 

Sunday we were able to go to church and teach a couple of lessons.  And that night Brushly gave us a big fish that he speared.  We ate good that night.  Sorry not much happened this week.

You guys may be wondering how the mission is growing?  I feel bad because I haven't given you guys much information about it.  There are six islands in Vanuatu where there are missionaries: Tanna, Efate, Malekula, Ambae, Santo, Gaua.  When I first came to Vanuatu there were only two zones: Port Vila, Efate, and Luganville, Santo.  Tanna was part of the Port Vila zone and all the other islands were part of the Santo zone.  But now Vanuatu has four zones: Tanna and Malekula are the two new zones.  So now only Ambae and Gaua are part of the Santo zone.  There are four districts in Vanuatu now.  The biggest goal of the Mission President is to establish a Stake in Vanuatu.  We hope that sometime this year it will happen. 

I don't know much about New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands.  We are all one mission but each country worries about itself.  When you serve in Vanuatu you don't hear much about the Solomon Islands or New Calendonia.  I think for each country the Church has different goals, and that's why you don't hear much.  But I do know that the Solomon Islands has a zone, and New Calendonia has a zone.  New Calendonia also has a Stake.  That's all I know about the mission. 

Well how is Costa Vida?  Did Roberto ever come back to work there?  I've had a few dreams that I was working there.  Probably because I was thinking of the food.

I hope all is well at home.  And with everybody who reads this on the blog.  I love you all very much and know that everything is great and the first six months here have been awesome!

Love, Elder Beynon

P.S. Sorry you all never got emails, they didn't have district conference for some reason.  But zone conference will be held in May.
Week 11 on Gaua March 10-March 16, 2014

Dia famale blo mi we i taff tumas,

So in the last letter I talked about a hurricane or tropical storm that might hit.  I said that the wind wasn't very strong and there wasn't much rain but that was just the start of the storm. 

On Monday the wind was a little stronger but we didn't worry much about it.  We went to the ocean and went fishing.  We used fishing line that was wrapped around water bottles.  We put snails and small hermit crabs on a hook as bait.  I didn't catch any but Elda Leva and Ransika did.  They were very small fish but it was fun.  While we were fishing a couple of boys that live close told us that a hurricane is coming our way!  And many people are going to take shelter at the school because the school buildings are supposed to be stronger.  The wind slowly started to get stronger and we knew that the hurricane was really going to come.  We helped our neighbor Brushly put rocks on top of his sheet metal roof so it will stay down when the strong winds come.  Then Brushly brought us some sheet metal to cover some of our windows (our house doesn't have glass windows) so it was important that we covered them.  We covered all the windows where we slept and one window where our table for studying is.

Then that night the winds got stronger and we went to sleep.  Surprisingly I slept well but I woke up a few times because of the wind, but the house held up well.  Tuesday morning the wind was still strong but there wasn't any rain.  We bot bored so we went fishing.  The water wasn't very rough because a reef blocks all the big waves from coming in.  Then after noon, the storm passed.  We decided to go to the store and buy more fish hooks.  And we wanted to see how our unit was.  While we were walking you could see more damage from the hurricane than where our house was.  Banana trees were blown over and manyoke was blown over.  The ground was covered in leaves and everything that fell from the trees.  A few coconut trees had fallen down as well.  But all the houses were standing and our church house was alright.  The roof was damaged a little bit but that was it!

You are probably thinking "This is exactly like The Other Side of Heaven," but it isn't.  Not everything was destroyed here.  The only things that the hurricane affected were the fruit from the trees and manyoke.  Most of the manyoke was blown over so everybody had to harvest it.  Or it will die and most of fruits on the trees were blown off.  The hurricane affected the island a little bit but everybody still has food and there are many other crops that were alright.  But most of the damage was away from our house.  We think it's because, first the Lord, second there are many coconut trees that blocked some of the wind, and third, there is a hill to the west that blocked the wind too.  And the phone tower here was damaged so we didn't have reception.

On Wednesday we wanted to go help clean up the unit and neighbors around it but Elder Leva was sick and didn't feel well.  So me and Raskiva just helped our neighbor Brushly and another neighbor named Phillip.

Thursday Elder Leva felt better and we decided to go and help anybody that needed help.  Sadly enough nobody needed help most of the people had already cleaned everything and even school was continuing.  Then we went to our unit and picked up fruits to take to our house.  We got avacados, which are amazing here.  I think I will have to make some guacamole sometime.  We also picked up some grapefruits here.  They call grapefruits "pomplemus" here, it's a little different than American grapefruits, but they are still good.  Then the network came back so we were able to make calls again.  We called the zone leaders and AP's and they didn't really even ask about the hurricane.  I don't think they knew what happened here.  Everyone was unaware of us.  But it's alright because everything is fine here.  And no one died on the island, everyone was safe.  Yay!

Oh and did I tell you I ate flying fox (bat) the other night?  Our neighbor Phillip shot one with his 22 and then he gave the bat to us because he didn't want it.  Elder Raskiva roasted it and then boiled it with some manyoke.  I tried it but the taste of it was strong and I can't quite explain it.  I didn't like it that much.

Friday (Chance's Birthday) we waited for a ship to come that had a propane tank for our stove.  There is no place in Gaua to refill propane tanks, there are also no fuel pumps stations for the trucks here.  They get their gasoline from fifty gallon metal barrels that the ships send.  We have three propane tanks.  When one runs out we put it on a ship that goes to Santo and tell the zone leaders what ship the tank is on and the zone leaders take it to get filled and send it back to us on the ship.  Anyways, the ship came not too far from our house, but there is no port or anything for the ship to come close to shore.  And there is a reef so the ship can't come very close.  They have little motor boats that they use to take you to the ship and load all of the food and items.  Elder Leva told me to get the tank so the motor boat picked me up (and many other people) and took me to the ship.  Elder Leva and Elder Raskiva just stayed on shore.  I got to the boat and I talked to a man and told him that we have a "bottle gas," that's what they call it here.  Then they put it on the motor boat with many other boxes of food and supplies for stores and such.  Then they brought me back to shore.  Honestly I think that was the first time I've been on a ship in the ocean.

Then we went back to the house and there were many people around.  A neighbor was making a custom feast because someone in her family died last month.  They killed a Bulluk or what we call a cow and they killed a pig.  They gave us some meat.  I cut off some slabs of meat and made some steak. I rubbed it with oil, some curry powder and put some salt and pepper on it.  It was very good but it would have been better if I had grillmates.

Saturday we baptized another investigator!  I baptized him because Elder Leva couldn't because he had a bad sore on his ankle.  And his foot started to swell.  After the baptism we went back to our house and stayed there because Elder Leva couldn't walk anymore.  If he continues his foot would keep swelling so we didn't teach anyone that day.

Sunday we didn't go to church because Leva couldn't walk around.  He could walk short distances but just couldn't put pressure on his foot.  Then we ate bat again and this time it was pretty good.  So it was a week without teaching.  We didn't feel like missionaries, but we couldn't teach because of the hurricane and Elda Leva's sore foot.  But it's alright, those things happen. 

Know that all is well.  I had my fifth baptism in Gaua and we are all safe.  Life is still good and I hope life is good in Cedar City.  I love you all so much!

Love, Elder Smith Beynon

P.S. Happy 14th Birthday Chance!  I can't believe you are already a teacher!  I hope your birthday was awesome!!!  I love you bro!
Week 10 on Gaua March 3-March 9, 2014

Monday we decided to go to Eapot to hang out at the branch presidents house.  We played volleyball with the members and had some fun.  We played volleyball with the members and had some fun.  I don't know if I've talked about sports in Vanuatu yet but volleyball and soccer are the biggest sports here.  The people here are very good at both sports.   On this side of the world all sports are different.  They play rugby instead of football, cricket instead of baseball.  I haven't seen them play rugby or cricket yet but they're familiar with the names.  If you ask them about baseball, they won't know what you are talking about.  They are a little bit familiar with American football though.  Then we ate at the branch president's house for dinner.

Tuesday we went out and taught but was only able to teach one lesson.  We didn't have district meeting because a new companion for Elder Ransika hasn't come yet.  We actually found out that he won't get a new companion until the end of this transfer.  So he will still be hanging out with us for the next few weeks.  We've had some fun together already.

Wednesday we had an activity in our unit.  Many members came and we all played lots of volleyball we had rice and soup that the mama's made and had lots of fun.  Then the members hooked an extension cord to a gas powered generator (yes they have those here).  Then they hooked up some speakers and played music and they also hooked up a tv and all of the kids watched movies.   We all watched "Mr. Bean" (one of Smith's favorites) which was funny, haven't seen for a while.  Then we watched "Ella Enchanted".  I used to hate that movie but I was so happy to watch it again!  I haven't watched that much tv in a long time.  Oh and did I tell you that they used a bluray player?  I guess they have those here too! 

Thursday we were able to teach many lessons which was good and we really kept busy that day.  On Friday we went to the airport because the two perspective missionaries of the branch were flying out to go on missions.  It brought back many memories of when I left.  I can't believe I've been out five months!  Two years isn't enough time to serve the Lord it seems.  While there we went to the branch presidents house and ate octopus.  Octopus is pretty good, they boil it and make a curry sauce.  We eat the meat and the tentacles and everything.  You are probably all freaking out and saying "gross!"  But it's not that bad.  The first time I could only eat the meat inside the tentacles, but now I can eat the whole thing.

Saturday we only taught a couple lessons but we kept pretty busy which was good.

Sunday morning we woke up to wind and rain.  Apparently a hurricane or a tropical storm had hit the Solomon Islands, and it was coming for us.  It's wasn't that bad of a hurricane.  The wind wasn't too strong and it's not raining too bad. 

Oh and on Sunday one of our investigators was interviewed for baptism.  Just know that everything is alright.  I think that the storm is just a tropical storm and the house is holding up and not much rain is coming inside.

The work here is still good and I love it.  We should be having another baptism next Saturday which is good.  I love you all and hope everyone is well.

Love, Elder Smith Beynon

Week 9 on Gaua February 24-March 2, 2014

Dia famle blo mi we mi lavem wetem fular hat blo mi,

On Monday we paid $50 for a pig, killed it, and then the other Elders roasted it while me and Elder Echols went to buy rice.  We also went to their house to get some bbq sauce that Elder Echols bought in Santo during zone conference.  We went back and boiled the rice while the pig was roasting.  When it was finished, we cut open the pig and started eating.  The zone leaders had brought some bread when they came from Santo so we shredded the meat and put it on the bread with some bbq sauce.  We had a bbq pork sandwiches!  It was amazing!!!  I could go for some Arthur Bryants or Sonny Boy's bbq right about now! 

Then Elder Tula went home with Elder Echols and Ransika then Elder Sione came home with me and Leva.  That night Brushy gave us some big fish that they killed and another neighbor brought us a turtle.  I like turtle, it's good food.  It was a good p-day feast!

Tuesday Elder Sione came and taught with us and also interviewed one more investigator of ours to be baptized.  He taught us a lot and that night he talked to us and told us how we can improve.  Elder Sione's pretty cool.  His family is from Samoa but now they all live in New Zealand now.

Wednesday we went to the airport so the zone leaders could go back to Santo.  Elder Echols had to go with him as well because last week he cut his thumb with a bush knife.  It was a deep cut to the bone.  He went to the doctor here where he cleaned it (yes there's a doctor here).  But the doctor here doesn't have x-ray or anything to know if his thumb was all right.  So the zone leaders and Elder Echols left and his companion Elder Ransika is staying with us.

Thursday we went to Tyron's house and helped them put up siding for their house that they are building.  They cut up some bamboo into strips and weaved it into a wall.  It's hard to explain.  It's a lot different than the houses that I built with Marty, Shane and Grandpa.

Friday we taught many lessons and I was able to have fun with the kids.  The kids play marbles a lot here.  They taught me how to play so I bought some marbles and played with them.

Saturday was an awesome day.  We ended up having four investigators baptized instead of three.  Our perspective missionary Tyron baptized his mom and his sister.  I baptized Tyron's cousin and another investigator of ours.  Oh and we baptized in the ocean by the way.  Pretty cool!  I was SO happy.  I'm so happy to be here to help these families.  I've been so blessed to be here.  We hope to baptize two or three more investigators in the next few weeks.

Sunday we went to church and I confirmed one of our investigators.  It was testimony meeting and I bore my testimony and many other kids did.  The kids here aren't that afraid to get up and bear their testimony.  Whenever we teach kids and ask questions they always answer, unlike Tanna.  Kids in Tanna were always scared and shy.

Just know that the work here is awesome and I'm so grateful to be serving in Gaua.  I love you all so much.

Love, Elder Smith Beynon 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Hi Ya'll it's Shauna.  I'm still waiting on letters to do a new post for the blog.  Exciting things are happening!  Smith has been transferred to the little island of Uripiv.  The best news is, that he will be able to email every week!  If you want to send him an email, please do, he would love to hear from you!  His p-day is Mondays, so the best days to email him is Saturday or Sunday.

As soon as I have letters and pictures I will post something new.  All is well.  Smith is healthy and happy and loving his mission!  Thanks for all of your love and support!

Love, The Beynon Family