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

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