Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Working on the church house roof in Inapkasu

Week 4 on Tanna October 27, 2014

Dia famle mo ol frien blo mi,
Since you last heard me, we went to a family house night at an investigator's house named Thomas.  He's very interested in the church but his wife is not.  So we went to their house and watched the movie of the Restoration.  The full family and many kids came to watch and at the end we bore testimony of the truth of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.  The spirit was really there and we had a great time.  After the movie, we did a little activity.  We bought a pack of cookies and played the game where you put a cookie on your forehead and you use facial expressions to move it into your mouth.  It was hilarious! the people love it!  It was a fun family house night and we hope to teach this whole family someday.

Tuesday Morning we woke up early and met some sister missionaries at the airport.  One sister was transferring and one was coming.  One of our duties as Zone Leaders is to go to the airport to check in missionaries whenever they leave.  Then we met a perspective sister missionary from Saet Siwi at the hospital so she could get all her checkups done.  A boy named Sam (one of my good friends from Saet Siwi) came to help.  He's waiting on his mission call right now.  Saet Siwi sends out so many missionaries,  since I left Tanna last year one new missionary has left on their mission, four are waiting on mission calls, and my best friend Katum is waiting to finish his papers and wait for his call.  There are so many missionaries coming out of these branches, it's amazing!
So we did that and we drove south to Karimasanga.  (the place where we got stuck a few weeks ago.)  We drove up to a less active member's house and taught this guy named Simeon about enduring to the end.  And then we checked to see if Papa Henry was home but he was gone.  We plan on inviting his family to be baptized this week!  And in the future we hope to get a Unit set up there.  So I guess we are looking over basically four areas now! 

So to help you get an idea of where these places are, our first area is Lenakel, the main town on the island and it's where we live,  Then if we drive about a half hour south (on bumpy and windy dirt roads) on the main road on the south west shore,  there's a road that goes east up a mountain to Inapkasu, our other area. If we drive another five or ten minutes south on the main road, there's a road that goes east up to Karimasanga, and if we drive from Lenakel down the main road, it takes about an hour to get to our last and southern most area Greenpoint.

After we checked if Papa Henry was home, he was gone so we decided to drive back to Lenakel and go to the airport  at 4pm because another Sister missionary was arriving.  Afterwards we went to our Lenakel Unit Leader's house to have a small meeting with him and then we wanted to go to some appointments but all were cancelled.  So we went home after the meeting.

Wednesday we went to District Meeting and came back to Lenakel and went by the market.  One guy asked us some questions about the church and we sat down to answer his questions,  then since many people were around, two pastors from other churches came and started bombarding us with questions. One of them asked many questions but the other just wanted to sit and listen.  The first question the first pastor asked was" who is Jesus's brother?"  And my companion said "John". and this guy was surprised that we knew that.  Then they said "Revelations 22:18 says that there can't be anything added up to the bible",  and they were against the Book of Mormon.  So we shared Deutoronomy 4:2 and John 10:16 to help him know that Revelations is only referring to the Book of Revelations and there are other records on this earth.  They were pretty surprised when we answered their questions.  They asked a few more but we got the indication that they would just keep on asking questions to stump us so Elder Child ended with bearing a strong testimony so we wouldn't get into an arguement.

When we got done, many people were quiet and we gave three people a Book of Mormon and a pamphlet and committed them to find out for themselves if the Book of Mormon is true. Many people witnessed what we did and I think we put many thoughts in their minds,  we respect these people and hope that they will be interested in the future to hear more about the church.  So that was a cool experience that we had.  What else can I say?  The Church is True!  We have all the answers and the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We stayed in Lenakel and decided to drive to a chief's house named Joe.  He's an investigator and the missionaries haven't seen him in a while because he's been gone in Port Vila so we decided to go teach him and his family.  We taught him about the Book of Mormon and how it came about, and we testified of the truth of it and he was very happy for us to come. Then we went to a school to wait for an investigator to finish school so we could teach him but we soon found out that he wasn't there, so we went to the District Clerk's house here and he has a Niece named Linda that we taught last week.  We went there and taught Linda and a non-member mama about the Plan of Salvation and they were very interested.  They have never heard the plan of salvation like that before.  It was a really good and clear lesson, I just love the Plan Heavenly father has for us! Afterwards we taught our investigator Tiffany about Tithing and it was her daughters 2nd birthday so they put sparklers in a banana cake that they made and we sang happy birthday and ate some cake and cookies.  It was our last appointment for the night.

Thursday we studied in the morning and then went to Whitegrass to have an important meeting with the Branch President there and by about 1pm we drove to Inapkasu, it was a nice sunny day and we were able to get up without any problem.  Inapkasu probably has one of the most dangerous roads (when it's wet) and there's a big steep hill that's impossible to drive up when it's raining. Well we got up fine and drove straight to the Unit up there and taught a little girl whose a recent convert named Sionde.  A mama from Saet Siwi translated for us.  Some of you might already know but Tanna has more than 100 different languages and many areas it's different.  Greenpoint and Saet Siwi are the same so I know that really well, In Inapkasu, the language is different (but they understand Saet Siwi language), and in Lenakel there are many different languages as well, but in Lenakel, mostly everyone knows Bislama. 

Well after we taught Sionde, we found out that all of our other investigaors were gone so we decided to help our Unit Leader Sam work on the Church house that they're building.  It's a bush church house and we helped him make the wild cane roof.  We helped him and played games like duck duck goose and hide and go seek with the kids and just had a great time.  Then a rainstorm came and me and Elder Child left quickly because we knew that the roads would be dangerous.  And that leads to a miracle that happened that I want to tell you.

So it's raining pretty hard and the roads are really slick and we know that we need to get down the big steep hill as quickly as possible.  So we finally arrived at this hill and to give you an idea of what this hill is like is that the road is in the middle and both sides it's very steep and the sides lead down to ravines.  And towards the left of the hill the road branches left.  So we start to descend down this hill (we know we have to be careful) and we put the truck in 1st gear and we slide a little and pump the brake so we don't lose control.  But the truck is heavy and the truck starts sliding faster and out of control down this road.  My companion then stomped on the brakes and he pulled the E-Brake and the E-Brake went out so we are flying down this hill just sliding.  And where the road branches left is a big fallen tree and me and my companion crash into this tree, but the impact was so small, it only broke the  passenger headlight.  The truck was a little stuck so we put it in reverse and I pushed the truck and we got unstuck and then we talked about all that happened to each other.

My companion said as we came down the hill, sliding down the hill, he had two options, one veer left and miss the tree, or two, hit the tree.  He said a voice in his mind told him to hit the tree!  Then we came to the conclusion that if we would have veered left and missed this tree, we probably would have slid off the side of the hill, and rolled down into the ravine.  Then it was apparent to us that the Spirit had told Elder Child to hit the tree to save us, and yet the impact was surprisingly small for the speed that we were going, and there wasn't a scratch on either of us.  It was indeed a miracle!

We went home that night and bathed to wash off the mud that was all over us and we reported the accident to the leader who looks over the vehicles, and he was so glad that we were okay.  I am so thankful for the Lord providing the safety he had blessed us with that night, and know that everything is okay.

Friday we drove to Port Resolution under the Mission President's direction so we could give a report at what's available there and if it would be suitable for missionaries.  On our way there we stopped by a village called  Nikity that's not too far from the Volcano and we checked a house that missionaries might stay in the future.  Then we drove to Ikuaramanu (down the mountain from saet siwi) and there were football games happening there and we stayed and watched awhile and I talked to many of my friends from Saet Siwi.  We came down to Ikuaramanu all the time when I was there last year, it was part of our area.

Then we drove to Port Resolution to Papa David's house.  He's now the Unit leader there and him and his family are the ones that we would stay with whenever we taught and stayed there.  David wasn't there but many of his kids and other Pikinini were there and they showed us the way to David's garden where he was.  We walked along the beautiful beach there and the kids showed the way and we just had a great time with them.  I love it when the kids follow us around, we have so much fun!

We found David and he showed us around the area so we could find out about any infa structure and stores for the missionaries in the future. I was so happy to be there again, and David and his family  was happy too.  We stayed there the rest of the afternoon taking pictures and we ate dinner with them that night and shared a scripture with their family before driving an hour and a half back to Lenakel.  So in the future there will most likely be missionaries staying and teaching there, right now the Saet Siwi Elders are still going there every once in a while.

Saturday morning we drove to Whitegrass to get our front brakes changed on the truck and it's a good thing we did,  those breaks were seriously rubbing metal against metal, that's probably why we couldn't slow down the hill a few days ago.  We got the breaks changed and held a meeting with some members in Whitegrass.  They took forever to come so we had the meeting and didn't get done until the afternoon.  So we went home that afternoon and did our weekly planning that night.

Yesterday we picked up President Brewer and his wife to go to Whitesands (an area by the volcano) so they could go to church there.  It was a beautiful day and we got there and the branch there is so awesome!  Two hundred members came and the church was so full!  It couldn't hold everybody inside.  After Church they prepared good food for lunch and we ate and then we took the Mission President to a school so he could see the needs of some communities here.  Afterwards we we drove all the way to Whitegrass where there were some meetings and after all the meetings were done, it was already late in the afternoon.  While driving President brewer and his wife to the Whitegrass Resort there was a beautiful sunset that we saw while driving back.  I love Tanna, it's such a beautiful place!  Well, we dropped them off and then went home for the night. 

Well, know that all is well and last week many things happened and the Lord is really hastening his work here.   We had a miracle and are so grateful to be safe and to be serving the lord in Vanuatu.  I love you all and hope all is well.


Elder Beynon

Damage to our truck after smashing into the tree

Playing with the kids on the beach at Port Resolution

A view from snake hill overlooking the southeast part of the island

Me with my Saet Siwi friends after District Conference

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