Monday, July 28, 2014

Uripiv Week 12 July 27, 2014

Dear Friends and Family,

This week a lot happened but not work-wise.  Tuesday we did laundry and washed and looked for people to teach but many people were at the soccer field.  They were preparing for the opening of the July events.  At the field people were building what they call "Stalls" or booths where you can go inside and eat food that the mama's make.  They're kind of like little restaurants or little snack bars where they sell bread, peanuts, plates of rice, and soup, and candy.  Everyone was preparing for the opening of events that would start on Tuesday.  Wednesday was the same, everyone was at the field and we had no one to teach because EVERYONE was busy. And I honestly can't remember
anything else that happened that day.

Thursday was "Childrens Day." For you guys it was Pioneer Day but for the country of Vanuatu, every July 24th is Children's day and the opening for events for the next 6 days (until July 30th.) Everyone gathered to the field in the morning and the school children sang Vanuatu's National Anthem "Yumi Yumi Yumi ol man blong Vanuatu."  Then they started doing track races.  All the kids raced around the field and ran 100m, 400m, and 800m.  It's just like field day that we do every year at school.  Then they had a soccer tournament for the kids. They made 4 teams for the kids and they played each other until there was a Semi Final and Final game.  The teams who won got cake as a prize and cookies.  We stayed and took pictures, talked with people, and had a great time. There was no one to teach because everybody was at the field watching the games.  I danced around with the kids because they like to see me dance.  I kind of made up my own funny dance moves and everyone loves it!  I also do it to gain trust with the people.  You need to be funny to gain people's trust here.  The people in Vanuatu are people who like to laugh, and if you make them laugh, they will love you.

Friday morning we went to our first counselor's house to help him lay a cement foundation for our new house.  Before I came to Uripiv the missionaries stayed in a small house that was owned by the first counselor.  The missionaries complained that it was too small and it wasn't in great shape after the cyclone hit back in March.  So the missionaries went and stayed in a rental house here that's owned by one of the people here, and that's where me and my companion were staying. So we will be staying in this guest rental house until the First counselor finishes our new house. We mixed cement bags, "Sandbeach", and water to use as a mix and we used long boards to spread it out evenly.  We got about a third of it done. We went to the field again that afternoon and now the adults had a soccer tournament and they played for cash prizes that the community donated.  We wanted to play soccer but we couldn't because they were playing for prizes and it wouldn't be good for us to play for a reward.  Once again there was no one else to teach because everyone was at the field.
I guess one thing that's different about Vanuatu is that it's laid back and relaxed.  It's not like us where we worry about time and have to work work work.  Here is the place for rest and no one worries
about time.  They sometimes need to do some hard work but it's not all the time like us.  Sometimes we just have to go with the flow and come down to the level with the people here. 

Saturday morning we went to a baptism program for one of our investigators.  He's 16 years old and he has such a strong testimony.  Elder Takaro performed the baptism for him and we were so happy for him.  It was great, we could tell when the investigator came out of the water he was a changed man.  It was great!  Then we went to the field where not too much was happening.  We did a little laundry in case any of us needed to transfer because our District Leader would call us that night to let us know what's going on.  During the afternoon there weren't too many people at the field so we knew this would be a chance to teach.  We went to a Papa's house to teach him, his wife, and kids. We had taught them a little about the Restoration already but not about the Book of Mormon. We taught them about how Angel Moroni had hidden the brass plates in the hill of Cumorah how he appeared to Joseph Smith and told him to retreive the plates when the time was right.  Then we left a copy of the Book of Mormon for each of them and we committed them to read in Moroni chaper 10 verse 3-5 and asked them to read and pray about it as a family. They were so grateful to have us come and they said that they just knew what we taught is true!  That's how it is for the people who find the truth, they just know that it's true.  We were very grateful to have that lesson with that family. That night everyone was at the field again and they had a talent show where many girls dressed up in dresses and danced to songs by "String Bands" here.  If you are curious about the music, google " Leisara by the band Dokowia" and that is how the string bands sound.  There are many String Bands here in Vanuatu and many of the music sounds very similar.  The people love String Bands.  I have some music as well that I will bring home for us to listen to.  So the people danced and judges judged the dances.  There were a few groups of boys who wore dresses and danced which was funny.  I wanted to do it but I don't know if mission president would approve of that.  It was fun though.  Then after all the dances they said it was "happy hour".  They played music and all the kids and everyone danced and I joined them.  My companion took a video of me dancing with them that I will show to you when I get back. It was a fun night.  Then the District leader called and said that me and Elder Takaro will be staying here in Uripiv.  But they said that I will be the new district leader which will be cool.  So we will be staying in Uripiv for at least 6 more weeks!

Sunday we went to church and after church the Branch President had the idea of having the men practice some hymns to sing at a religious program that they would be holding in the afternoon at the field.  He asked me to lead them and we practiced "Let us all press on" and I divided the choir into 2 groups (1 to sing the top line of the chorus and the other the bottom line)  Apparently no one knew how to sing the bottom line but me.  So I started teaching them how to sing the 2 parts together.  I felt like a choir teacher and it brought back many memories of choir back in high school.  At first it was really hard for the 2nd group to sing the bottom line because it was a little to fast and it's a little too much for some of them to handle.  They got the hang of it after awhile.  It was fun.  We aslo practiced "Glorious things are sung of Zion".  Then after choir practice was over we went and taught the family we taught on Saturday and we taught them about the Plan of Salvation. They were very grateful to have us come again.  Then after the lesson was over we went to the field and some other choirs were singing when we showed up and then we went on.  I led them and we sang "Glorious things" first and then we decided to sing "come all ye sons of god" instead of "let us all press on" because it would be a little too hard.  I led them in the songs and it was a lot of fun!  Then that night they played a few more videos on the projector.  They played a music video by abba "Chicuitita" which was fun to see and then they played some other small videos as well.  Then we went home for the night.  So not much work happened this week because of the events but we had a lot of fun with the people and I got to see what they do during their independence.  Actually it's still going on now, they will have activities and events going on until Wednesday the 30th, the time that they will be closing the events.

Well know all is well here and the work should be good this week after they close the events and we are so grateful to be serving here in Uripiv.  I love you all so much and hope all is well.


Elder Beynon

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Going to Uripiv on a sailboat  

Uripiv Week 11, July 20, 2014
Dear Family,
This week I was able to go on an exchange with one of the zone leaders named Elder Jensen from Alberta Canada.  I met him while I was in Tanna. Tuesday morning we came to Lakatoro and waited about 5 hours for the Zone Leaders to come.  We talked with some members that were here and just waited and waited for the Zone Leaders to come. Finally they came and me and Jensen went to Uripiv and it was dark by the time we arrived. So we went to the store and bought some chicken wings and i made some french fries with kumala that i bought at the market.  Then we cooked the chicken on the frying pan. Then I taught Elder Jensen how to play Magic the Gathering. When we finished he said an awesome quote and said "pokemon's for nubes, magic's where it's at!" 

Wednesday we went out to teach and were able to teach the Ten Commandments to one of our investigators.  Then During the afternoon we played futbol (soccer) and had a great time. Then that night we went to someone's house who had recently had a baby die and they asked us elders to give a small talk. I shared D&C one hundred and thirty seven and talked about how kids who die under age eight will be saved in the Celestial Kingdom. Then we ate laplap for dinner with the family.
Thursday we were out and about but no one was on the island because a ship came and during the afternoon we played futbol again. When we finished Elder Jensen was able to interview one of our investigators to be baptised.  We will be baptising the investigator this week. That night we bought chicken wings and dipped them in egg and covered them with flour and deep fried them. It was dang good.  Then we played more magic before bed.

Friday morning we came back to Lakatoro and we exchanged again and me and Elder Takaro went to the market before we went back to Uripiv.  At the market we saw a man named brad who is from Michigan and him and his family live on Uripiv to translate the bible in the people's heart language here.  He said he was ready to go back to the island and he said that we could come on his sail boat if we wanted.  We followed him and boarded his sailboat/yacht and headed to Uripiv. It was awesome. Everyone was gone again so we weren't able to teach any lessons.

Saturday we taught a couple lessons which was good and played futbol again that afternoon.
Sunday was good, we went to church and we taught about the plan of salvation during Sunday school. Then after church we taught a few members and a few investigators which made our day!

Today we found out that we will only be coming to Lakatoro every two weeks :(  Just like while I was in Tanna.  Next week you will be able to hear from me because it's transfer week.  I think I will be staying but we will just see.  So if I stay you will start to here from me every 2 weeks again (Sorry). If I get transferred to Santo or Vila the rules might be different.

Well know that all is well.  The Work is still a little slow but we have many ideas to help the branch here in Uripiv. I am blessed to be here and I'm happy here. I love you all so much.
Elder Beynon

Playing basketball with the missionaries
The futbol (soccer field) where we play futbol with the kids
Eating fried chicken and fries with Elda Jensen
The market where Mama's sell lots of food: bananas, coconuts, taro, kumala, manyoke, green onions, peanuts, oranges, etc.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Week 10 on Uripiv July 13, 2014

Dear Family,

Honestly not much happened this week.

Wednesday we were able to teach a few lessons and do a fun little fireside. This wasn't just any ordinary fireside.  We held it outside a member's house and anyone who wanted to come could come.  We decided to talk about why we have so many churches in the world today. Then we
taught about Joseph Smith and showed a movie about the Restoration and taught them how Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon.  It turned out great and we gave out 5 book of mormons to non-members who were interested.  The members were very happy to learn more about Joseph

Thursday we did some small service for a mama and filled up bags with "Sandbeach" (sand) and we carried them to a house where they would use it for the floor.  No lessons were taught that day but we were able to talk to many members and investigators.  Friday was good and we were able to teach a couple investigators and we hope to baptize one of them this Saturday.  Saturday everyone and I mean EVERYONE was gone because people were preparing for a wedding on a small island next to ours called "Nanwood".  So everyone was there.  We asked the Zone Leaders if we could go but they wanted us to stay in our area.  But it's alright, there's a purpose for these things.  We weren't able to teach a lesson because there was no one here.

Sunday not many people came to church because they were holding the actual wedding that day and many members went straight to Nanwood.  And once again everyone went to Nanwood but we were able to teach a less active member which is good.  Then we just went home and I studied and listened to and Audio Recording called the "Day of Defense" if you've ever heard of that?  It's a recording of missionaries answering questions to pastors who are against our beliefs.  They answer all their questions in the Bible and it's really cool.

Many of you are probably wondering how the weather is here because it's winter and July is the Coldest month in Vanuatu.  It's quite indifferent.  There's a tiny change in temperature.  Last night was honestly the coldest night in my mission.  It probably got down to 55 or 60.  Earlier this week it was hot and at the end it cooled a little. I still miss the snow though.

Well just know all is well.  The work is going forward but slowly.  Let's just say Uripiv needs help and we are trying to help it. But all is well, we will continue to try our best here and rely on the Lord.
I love you all and hope all is well.

Elder Beynon

Monday, July 7, 2014

Week 9 on Uripiv July 6, 2014
Dear Friends and Family,
After I emailed you last week we went and played basketball with all the other Elders and Sisters here and just had a great time.  I haven't played basketball for a long time. We then went to a family home evening with one family and shared some thoughts and I shared some scriptures in 3 Nephi 27 about the atonement of Jesus Christ. It was a good Famle Haos Naet (family home evening).

Tuesday we did our usual laundry and went to a store to buy some fish and we cooked and ate with some friends.  This island is great.  It has just about everything you need now.  There's ice cream, chicken wings, fish, cold soda, it's pretty nice.  Well, after we ate fish we went and looked for a family we found in our area book.  It turns out this family had been taught somewhere back in 2008 but never got baptized.  We went and taught them the Restoration again to help them remember everything about it and they were very grateful for us to come and teach them and they said that we taught very clear and they were able to understand "evri samting" (everything).

Wednesday we were able to teach about the restoration to a new investigator and we talked to some investigators and played some soccer that afternoon. There are many people that like to play soccer here. They are great players.  They are playing a lot now because they want to practice to play in teams on July 30th (Vanuatu's Independence).

Thursday we made a meeting with our Branch President and right as we were about to go teach we received a call from some Sisters in Lakatoro.  They said there was an olfala (old) man who was in the hospital who needed us to give a blessing.  We waited for a boat take us to Lakatoro and we arrived there at about 3pm.  We walked about 2 miles before we could hitch a ride with a truck that was heading in the direction we wanted to go.  We arrived and I gave the blessing and the family there was so happy for us to come.  A few days later we asked about the olfala and they said that he's better already. By the time we arrived back to Uripiv, the sun had already gone down.

Friday morning as we went out to teach a family here from Michigan passed by me and said "happy 4th of July!" I have to admit that it did not dawn on me that it was the 4th of July!  We had someone take a picture with the Americans. Then we went and taught 2 lessons and during one of them we taught 2 new investigators!  They were both from different churches.  We taught them about the restoration and they asked many questions that we answered about our church because they were very curious.  They were both very respectful too.  Even though we were all from different faiths we were very kind and respectful of each others beliefs. When we finished, we checked the time and it turns out that we taught for a total of 2 hours!  It's the longest lesson I've taught on my mission, but it was a great lesson.

Saturday we taught 1 more new investigator which made us very happy and we also taught one of our investigators who's ready to be baptized. We hope to baptize this investigator next Saturday.

Sunday morning we went to church and I taught about how Elijah restored keys of the priesthood for sealings and temple work. I think the lesson went really well.  Everyone was out and about for some reason so we were only able to teach a couple that afternoon. Well I think you already know from this email that the work is really starting to improve and now we have many more investigators to work with.  I love this small little island and I know the Lord is helping and blessing us. 
Mi lavem yufala evriwan mo mi luk se evri samting bak hom i stret mo tingbaot blo readim buk blong momon mo jusum raet.
Elder Beynon