Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Family home evening with the Solomon family

Port Vila Week 6

Monday April 26, 2015

Halo Famle Blong Mi,

I hope you all enjoyed reading our crazy experience with the Cyclone. Everything seems to be going fine here even after 1 month since it hit.  School is continuing, people are all working again, and many blessings are being poured upon the people.

So since you last heard from me, me and Elder Smiler went with our Branch President, President Tiasanmal and his family to a place called Bellvue where a part-member less active family lived.  The mama and papa and some of the kids are members but some of there other kids aren't and their grand kids and they all want to be taught.  They just barely came back to church last week and they invited us to come over. So we did and did a family house naet with the Solomon Family and we had prospective missionaries with us bare their testimony as well as President Tiasanmal's familly.  It turns out that the family is originally from Whitesands, Tanna.  We hope to teach all of them and
baptize the rest of their family in the future.  After our testimony meeting we ate dinner with them and chocolate cake I made, it turned out pretty good!

Tuesday we were very busy, in the morning we taught a little 9 year old boy at "Namba Tri" named Avock, his parents are members but Avock just never got baptized. We taught him how heavenly father loves us and about prayer.  then we went to Namba Tu and taught an investigator named Edmas about the restoration.  She's an middle-aged mama who's been coming to church after the cyclone and she was really interested in what we had to share.  Afterwards we visited with an investigator named Vanessa and we shared a scripture with her in 2 Nephi 4: 34 where nephi is praising the lord.

We then visited 4 new investigators named Avock & Rose, and Anna and Janet.  All have been coming to church since the cyclone as well and the sisters taught them and gave them as a referral to us.  We taught them all about the book of mormon and they were very grateful for the message.  We gave each of them a book of mormon and none of them rejected it or had questions about it.

We then drove up to Beverly Hills and taught Sele, he's young but super smart, knows everything is true.  We taught him about the book of mormon as well and he's been coming to church every week as well. Then that afternoon we taught our investigator Bella about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and we hope to baptize her next month if possible.

Wednesday morning we had a great MLC (Mission Leadership Council) with our Zone and Mission President in preparing for the future with all the new investigators.  It might be possible that if us missionaries get too busy or overwhelmed with appointments that every once in awhile we can split with Branch Missionaries or returned missionaries. It's kind of weird because 22 missionaries left after the cyclone but tons and tons of people started coming to church.  I think over 800 total non-members came to church on April 5th on the island of Efate! yeah just non-members, not counting less actives, members, etc.  We have a lot of work to do and I know the lord knows that we can handle it.

After our MLC we taught Melissa about Missionary Work.  She will be baptized on Saturday!  She's very smart and she's very excited.  We then visited mama Shantel and read with her in Mormon chapter 9.  That afternoon we met with our Branch Mission Leader Fred and the Branch Council that night to make plans to contact all the referrals we received.

Thursday was Zone Conference!!! It was focused on the topic in the Preach My Gospel "How do I prepare my investigators for Baptism",  the perfect training for what is to come!  It was a great Zone Conference and we had good pizza for Lunch!  Then we had our interviews with mission president and then took part with him while he set apart a missionary.  His name is Messiah Isaiah Lapenmal, he's from Malekula, great kid, totally ready to serve.  He will be serving in the Australia Adelaide mission. He stayed with us the night so we could bring him to the airport the next morning.

Friday morning we studied and took Elder Lapenmal shopping for a last few things he needed to get before he would fly.  We brought him to the airport and he flew to New Zealand to go to the MTC there. Then we went to Namba Tri and saw Avock again and we taught him about the restoration. He's so cool, he's not afraid and he answers the questions we ask and loves us coming to see him.  We then saw Sele and taught him about the Plan of Salvation about the premortal live and why we are here on earth.  That afternoon we went home to do our weekly planning.

Saturday we went to the Branch for Melissa's baptism.  the missionaries in Blacksands also had a baptism so we did our program together.  Here in Port Vila, only the Church house at Namba Tu has a
baptismal font outside, so anyone who gets baptized will have the service there, it's the District Center as well.  We had Melissa's baptism and Elder Smiler baptized her and then we visited our
investigator Gabby again.  We had many other appointments which cancelled that afternoon but it was alright.

Yesterday was great!  We went to Church and President Tiasanmal asked me to give a small talk about Missionary Work and Introduce Myself to the Branch.  I did and I have to admit, I was pretty nervous, I'm not used to speaking in a microphone to a bunch of people, I've given many talks and taught a lot during the mission but in small branches and units, nothing this big since my mission farwell I think.  My talk went well though, Elder Smiler said I didn't look nervous at all.

After church we had lunch with the Busai family who invited us over and we ate rice and fish with them.  Then we taught Bella about Chastity and comitted her to be baptized on May 23rd!  Then we met 3 potential investigators that came to church and we contacted them and set appointments to teach them.

Afterwards we taught mama Edmas about the Book of Mormon and she knew it was all true.  She said a great closing prayer saying "I believe Joseph Smith is a true prophet and that the book of mormon is true, it's amazing how fast the Holy Ghost will witness of the truth when they are ready.  We then drove to Beverly hills to and Mama Annie and Papa Bradley's house.  Bradley and
his wife stay with Annie and her Husband in one house and they're all family, They have a few teenage boys and a few young kids and their family comes from Gaua, Vanualava, and Merelava, some of the Norther Islands.  We talked with them awhile and then we shared a scripture in 1 Nephi 15: 24-25 with them and then Annie asked us to give her a blessing because she was sick and so did their grandma named Lessy.

Then we all knelt down in family prayer and the mama said a prayer thanking the lord for our coming in which we came.  They really needed us at the time and the spirit led us there and we were very grateful to help them.  We left and went to teach Sele about the rest of the plan of Salvation and we set a baptism date for him on May 23rd as well.  He's so awesome!!!

Well that's about all that happened last week.  We're keeping busy and it sounds like you're all busy as well, and it's good and I'm so grateful to be here.  Mi lavem yufala bigwan!!!


Elda Beynon

Getting ready to eat after zone conference

Pizza!!! For zone conference!

Melissa's Baptism

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Mormon helping hands unloading food from trucks

Cyclone Part 7

Sunday March 22nd, 2015 We went to church this morning at the district center and two branches that go to church in Nambatu.  We went to church with the 2nd branch and it was awesome!  It was a lot like back home, they even had an organ to play the hymns!  Everything was done by the members.  I've been in the bush too long!  The AP's had to drop a missionary off at the airport so they told us to go to sacrament meeting with the other branch as well.  After church the AP's came back and we went on splits and we all visited members and shared scriptures with them.  Then we met back at the house at 6pm.

Monday March 23rd, 2015 This morning we flew to Tanna with the district president and John Bennion who looks over the church buildings and shipments here.  We all flew there and everything was so dry!  Nothing green at all.  It looked a lot worse than when we left Tanna.  The phone network was still out.  A transport brought us into town and we went to the market and luckily found three of the branch presidents and the district president there.  Also the unit leader was there with his truck so he took us all to the whitegrass chapel and we all met together. 

Each president discussed the needs of the people.  Everyone in Tanna is struggling.  Water, food, and clothing was all needed.  The church will probably help them out by sending seeds, gardening tools, tarps, and tents to help keep them going.  We met with all of them and then went to greenhill wo we could see the branch president there.  The churches structure sat on two meter long posts in the ground and when the cyclone hit, the wind blew the church over and the posts tipped over and the church lay flat on the ground about ten feet over from where it used to be.  It hit the missionary house but just did minor damage.  They will probably just re-build the church there.

 It got late and we got dropped off at the whitegrass resort, but on our way we stopped by whitegrass church first and and everyone was cooking food for the afternoon.  Sadly enough we found out that they only had enough food for one meal a day.  Just boiled bananas or manyoke and it's starting to go bad.  Their food will probably only last a couple more weeds before it's all gone.  We had some extra food that we gave them to eat.  We then got to the whitegrass resort. This is where Pres Brewer stays and surprisingly they were still running and had a few rooms available.  We stayed in bush huts that were very nice inside like a hotel.  I haven't slept in a nicer room than that since before my mission. 

We ate crackers, and tin meat for dinner because the resort was low on food.  We flew back to Tanna Tuesday morning where we learned how the mission would be down sized.  Afterwards me and Elder Pearce split up and now I'm staying with good ol' Elder Leva, Elder Mastin, Elder Manu, and Elder D.

Well this is about all that happened with our experience with the cyclone.  Crazy huh?  Everyone is all right and I know the Lord has protected us.  He has a special plan for Vanuatu, especially Efate and Tanna.  Great blessings will be seen and received, and in the future as well.  I hope this paints a good picture of my experience.  Mi luvam tumas!

The church organizing food for the people

Love, Elda Beynon
View of Tanna from the plane
Cyclone Part 6

March 19th, 2015, Thursday, District President Nalawes picked us up this morning and brought us to the airport.  A chartered plane was supposed to come but we called the AP's on someone's satellite phone and they said it was delayed.  An "Air Vanuatu" plane had just landed but not very many people boarded so we called President Brewer to ask it we could just follow the plane if they had extra seats available.  Luckily they did and we flew to Port Vila.  We arrived and the AP's dropped us off at the mission home  President and Sister Brewer were very happy to see us. 

President had me call President Pearson of the Quorum of the Seventy and I told him a little of our experience during the cyclone.  He said lots of prayers were said, he said more prayers for you than you've every probably received in your life.  Apparently the Twelve Apostles were even praying for us!  He also said that he had talked to Dad (Marc) to ask him how he and mom were doing.  He said they seemed to be alright.  He said after my experience with all this "to keep up the faith, don't let anything get in the way of it". 

We all ate mashed potatoes and gravy for dinner that Sister Brewer made.  They were amazing!  President told us what things were like in Port Vila.  He said that the mission home flooded as well during the cyclone and that the powere went out.  But then came back on a few days later.  The mission home got minor damage from a tree that fell on the roof during the storm.  And the internet was down on the island except on his phone and the family history center.  He said "the Lord had his hand stretched out in his work, and Vanuatu will see many blessings".

It was such a big cyclone but so few deaths.  Eight deaths were confirmed in Tanna.  In Port Vila, not a single member of the church was killed by the cyclone.  As a result, they will most likely have to downsize the mission.  The AP's dropped everyone off with the other Elders and Sisters and we got to see the destruction in Vila as well.  Each missionary house had about 4-6 Elders or Sisters in each of the houses.  Six of the houses were damaged.  Big buildings were in bad shape.  Yachts and said boats were sunk and blown into the shore.  It still seemed like Tanna got hit the worst though.  The AP's had us stay with them.  I made some burritos for us for dinner.

Friday March 20th, 2015, This morning we went to the mission office with the AP's and we all had  a meeting with President Brewer.  He discussed things that need to be done, and information that needs to be learned.  He gave me and Elder Pearce and assignments and he wants us to go back to Tanna with Pres Basil and Joen Bennion on Monday to find out the needs of the people and branches.  If the bank is up and running and the status of what is going on.  We then put our photos and videos of the cyclone on a disk to keep for the missions history and one for the quorum of the seventy.  We did so and followed the AP's around for the rest of the day. 

Saturday March 21st, 2015, This morning we went to Nambia which is the AP's area and where the district center is at.  We went to the district center to do some service.  From 10-4 we unloaded tons of food from trucks and store rooms and offices full of rice, flour, sugar, noodles, salt, onions, biscuits, etc.  The church offered a ton of help for these people.  We helped other distribute it evenly, load some of it on other trucks to give to members and non-members.  Then we followed the AP's and they let the Elders and Sisters from Tanna call and talk to their families for 5 minutes to let them know that everything was alright and that they were all okay. 

Our zone safe and sound at the mission home in Port Vila

Planes from other countries coming to help
Cyclone Part 5

We found two trucks and we divided into two groups.  I went East with one group to Saet Siwi and Whitesands.  We went East to the areas and there was total devastation.  The island looks so different now.  Henry, our driver dropped off the sisters in Whitesands first and dropped us off so we could walk to Saet Siwi.  We started walking up at 7pm.  It was dark and the roads were terrible.  Fallen trees and debris everywhere!  We would crawl underneath fallen trees and climb over everything.  We got up in about 45 minutes.  We didn't think the church would be standing after seeing all the destruction, but to our surprise it was totally fine.  And the lights were on inside. 

President Napikous family was there and they were alright.  Every house was blown down except the church house and the missionaries house.  Many people took shelter in the church when the cyclone came.  The Elders packed up their things and said goodbye and we left at 8:30pm to go back down.  We got down most of the way but at one part of the road there was so much debris to share we couldn't find the road.  We could use the volcano as a gauge of where we were, but we couldn't find the road that would bring us straight to the truck. 

We prayed for direction and eventually found the road to the truck around 10pm.  We took a lot longer than ecpected.  We picked up the sisters show ere waiting a long time for us and Henry drove us all the way back.  It was a chilly ride, it got pretty cold, it felt good though.  We got back after 11pm.  The other group had alrready gotten back before we came, they said that the Whitegrass church was also fine.  Same with the house.  The house near the volcano was damaged.  And the Greenhill church which was help up by posts was blown over and it hit the missionaries house, but both structures were just fine.  We all then went to sleep.  We were very tired especially after running up to Saet Siwi and getting lost on the way back.

Wednesday March 18th, 2015, This morning we had our last devotional and we said goodbye to everyone.  All the people were sad to see us go, but they were all grateful for all the help that we gave them.  William the principal was very grateful for all we had done and the spirit we brought in the school, he said that in the future, if we want to use the school for anything, that we could use it.  We then packed up our things and we went to the airport. 

Army planes from Australia, New Zealand and New Calendonia all landed down and brought food and water for the people.  Then at 1:30 the AP's finally arrived.  They said there was a change in plan, the sisters would fly back to Vila with them but the Elders would have to wait until tomorrow.  The small eight seated plane was loaded with rice, flour, meat and food for the district.  We helped them unload it, then the sisters and AP's flew back to Port Vila.  The AP's told us to arrange transports and take the food to Whitegrass and to stay there for the night.  We got there and stored the food and we checked out the damage to the church. 

It was very minor.  A couple of broken doors, and gutters, but the building help up nicely.  We talked to President Mankura and he said it was a miracle.  Every house in the village was destroyed but the church held up and provided shelter for over 300 people.  We held a family home evening with everyone who stayed there, before we rested for the night. 

Western Tanna

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Branch Presidents outside the district building

Cyclone Part 4

Monday March 16th, 2015

This morning we had a devotional and less people were there.  Many people were staying in shelters they made near their houses.  After the devotional me and Elder Jensen and four other boys went down to the house where we filled up all our water bottles and water jugs for the school.  Then we carried they all the way up to the isangel school.  Then we helped everyone clean up around the school.  Some of the people got lazy and wanted to rest.  But some didn't work much because they were waiting for chainsaws and supplies to be sent. 

We all then decided to help mama Rabi clean her place, then in the afternoon, me and three of the missionaries tried to made a siphon so water could come out of the well into a water tank.  The hose had a few little holes so it didn't work.  Then we used buckets of water and soap and we washed some of our clothes.  We then played soccer and volleyball outside with the people before we went to the devotional.  We found out that the road to whitegrass to middlebush and back to lenakal had been cleared and it was cleared all the way to whitesands.

The power was still out and the network is still down.  We are in dire need and need to talk to the mission president.  We need his direction and he is probably worried sick.  After the devotional they brought us some rice to eat, but it really wasn't much at all.  Food was really running low.  We will probably have to start conserving food.  The sisters didn't want to eat the rice.  The elders didn't want to eat it either.  Only a few of us did.  Most of us went hungry that night.

Tuesday March 17th, 2015 This morning we wok up and did the usual devotional and then three of us went down to the house to fill up water bottles.  But unfortunately the water was off.  We were completely out of water.  We walked back up to the school and saw a mama working in her yard.  We called the zone together and we all did service for her and cleaned up her yard and around her house.

Elder Tauke and Elder Pearce gathered money together and went into town to buy some food for everyone in case we had to stay for a long time.  They came back with lots of tin meat and crackers to last for a while.  Then me and Elder Jensend hooked up our water filter to a tank of water to fill up our bottles but there wasn't enough pressure for the water to move through the filter and the water was dirty.  Luckily we found a different tank that had clean water. 

Then we heard that some the the police were using satellite phones that were brought by planes from armies from other countries.  They were really nice and let me call President Brewer.  He answered and was very worried, he asked us where we were and if the missionaries were all alright and I told him we were safe and no one was harmed during the storm.  Then the network cut out.  He only had a little time to give us some direction.  He also said that the AP's were coming tomorrow.

We all went back and helped William clean the tile floor in a house in isangel.  We used brooms to scrub the floors with soap and water and we cleaned that house as other helped mama Rabi and John dig holes to put posts into the ground.  After the service we decided to call President Brewer to find out what his plans were.  He didn't answer so we tried the AP's number and luckily they answered.  They said that tomorrow the church would be chartering a small plane to come and pick up the sisters. 

They will fly the sisters back to Port Vila and then come back to pick up the Elders.  We will need to be at the airport at 11am tomorrow.  They also said we could charter transports to go to all the areas to grab all the missionaries, their luggage, and things.  We also saw there was a good chance to see each area and how it is.  We talked with John and he helped arrange transports that could take us to each area. 
Going to the house to fill up water bottles

The wind during the cyclone

Cyclone Part 3

People huddled in the dorms and the wind slowly died down and it all stopped around 3 or 4 pm.  Then a member policeman names John drove us down to our house to gather our stuff in case it gets stolen.  I stood in the back and surveyed the are and everything was broken and fallen down.  Houses, trees, power lines and there was no communication from the island  Our house was still standing but half the roof blew off and a few walls weren't great, but my things were all right.  I stuffed all my things in my duffel bags before the cyclone hit.  We went back to Isangel and a chief police names Joseph stopped us and said "Elders prepare a devotional at 7pm".

So we prepared one and someone gave the school rice and boiled it and we distributed it and it with some tuna that we had.  There were lots of people at the devotional.  Probably 150-200 people.  We all met in the schools dining room and three of us gave talks and then we sang a hymn to them.  Afterwards Joseph and counselors of the province let us know what was going on.  He said "as of now, all power is down, cell towers are down, and there is now way of communicating out of Tanna to Port Vila".  No one knows how we are doing.  

Joseph said that tomorrow at 6am we will have a devotional again and develop a plan to start cleaning up.  Everything was destroyed!  But nobody in the area was killed.  There wasn't much drama and everybody seemed to be fine.  Everyone was so grateful that their lives had been spared. 

Sunday March 15th we woke up early and did a small devotional again and Joseph divided everybody into separate groups to clean up around the school.  We decided that it was lawful to do good on the sabbath so we joined each of the groups to help out.  We picked up branches, garbage, leaves and puled them up so they could be burned.  We did that for a few hours and we went to the house to use a water filter that's hooked up to our sink to fill up water bottles to drink but unfortunately the water was off.  So we gathered up all the fallen coconuts but our house and we opened up 50 or 60 and filled our water bottles with coconut water so we could have some kind of water.  Then we carried everything back up to the school.

After everyone cleaned up the school they started going back to their properties to get their things.  We decided it would be a good idea to have sacrament meeting.  The missionaries and three members gathered in a small room and I conducted a small meeting.  Then we rested a while and mama Rabi brought us some food for dinner to eat.  At 7pm we had our devotional again.  We shared scriptures about faith and how we need to be faithful and have hope even after the disaster struck.  Then Joseph And counselors of the province reviewed the work done for the day.  Our groups that worked around the school reported the work that we had done.  And they developed their plans. 

We heard that the road from Lenakal that leads to the airport got cleared so if planes come, they can help.  I do recall seeing some planes from other countries flying over the island to survey the damage.  But still there was no communication from Tanna to Port Vila.  They thought of plans to obtain water in the wells at the school but it was not safe to drink, we could only use if to bathe with.  Outside the dorms is a big room with toilets and places to bathe, so everyday we would use water from the well and buckets of water to bathe.  We gave Sister Torea a blessing because she was scared and stressed out.  I think she was very worried about the circumstances we were in. 

The road in Tanna going toward the airport

The dorms that we stayed in during the cyclone

Cyclone Part 2

Well we packed up our things and valuables in our duffel bags and packed up our backpacks with clothes and hygiene items then we stored away all the important things in our house.  Then the District President brought the sisters and we put our things and some food in his truck and he brought us up to the school. The wind had picked up by that time.  We all gathered in the dining room and siad a prayer.  Then we called President Brewer and let him know that we were safe.  He said every missionary in Efate (Port Vila) gathered together at the Mission Home.  He told us to text him throughout the night to let him know how we were doing.  He said that the hurricane would most likely be strongest between 7 and 9pm. 

We separated into our dorms.  Me and Elder Jensen played magic and then we sang hymns in the dorms.  We locked all the windows and doors.  There were lots of bunk beds that we could sleep on.  In between 7 and 9pm, the winds never got that bad.  It got late and we slept in the dorm.  It was very hot in there and I couldn't sleep on the bed because I was sweating so much.  So I decided to sleep on the cement floor.  Surprisingly I was able to fall asleep, but only for about 3 hours.  We woke up at 6am to very strong and powerful winds.  We had a shovel and a bucket of water wedged under the door.  The wind got so strong that even with the shovel wedged under the door, the wind was blowing the top corner of the door open.  The strong gusts of wind would blow the door open.  Then heavy rain accompanied with the strong wind and then water started coming underneath the doors and flooding the dorms.  The wind continued to get stronger and a few wooden windows were blowing open.  A papa and his kids were staying in the dorms as well and that papa had some nails and we got a stone and nailed the door shut.  Then we nailed the windows shut.  The wind wouldn't let up and it felt very dangerous in our dorm.  We became very worried about the sisters in the other dorm.

We opened one of the windows to see the wind blow and it was very powerful.  Roofs were blowing off of houses, water tanks were getting blown around, trees and branches were snapping like twigs.  We gathered together and came to the conclusion that it would be best to all go to the sisters dorm because it was most lilely a little more blocked by the wind and it is better that we all stick together.  So we said a prayers and we ran to the sisters dorm.  Me and Elder Jensen were the last to fun out and once we started running south towards their dorm the wind was pushing us.  Elder Jensen got pushed a good 20 feet while just standing.  I got pushed and the wind lifted me up off the ground and threw me forward a few feet.  I recovered quickly and we got in the dorm safely.  To our surprise everyone was alright.  The sisters were fine and nobody got hit by any debris while running to sisters dorm.   I've never felt so much powerful wind before.  We stayed inside once we got to their dorm. 

We ate crackers, and tin beef and pork for lunch.  Then a few other people came to take shelter.  We were surprised because we had warned many people about the storm, but very few people believed that the storm would hit Tanna.  William came to check on us and he said that many people would come to sleep at the dorms because their housed were destroyed.  So all of us helped him clean up the dorms and rearrange all the beds for people to sleep in.  He let us have a full room to ourselves to stay at the dorm. 

Cleaning up the flooded dorms

Damage in Lanekal on Tanna from the Cyclone

Smith's Journal Entries from Cyclone Pam

Cyclone Part 1

So I'm writing to you because we may not have any more internet access for a while, and a lot happened this week.  So I thought I could write you and let you know all the details.  So as I told you in the email, a cyclone was developing in Northern Vanuatu, but we hadn't seen any signs of danger.

On Tuesday,  we went to the airport and dropped off the perspective missionaries to go to the airport so they could prepare their visa applications and other things for their missions.  Then we studied at home but Elder Pearce wasn't feeling well so we waited a few hours before we went out to teach.  When we went out we taught our new investigator Pascal about the plan of salvation and he was amazed!  Everyone is amazed at the plan of salvation we know so much through the fulness of the gospel.

Afterwards we taught a group of policeman from Port Vila and we taught a brief message of the restoration and got their numbers and sent them as referrals to the missionaries in Port Vila.  Then that afternoon we had a little family home evening activity with Mama Ilia and her family.  We taught them about the apostasy and how Jesus Christ built up his church which fell down.  And then we went home for the night. 

Wednesday we went to whitegrass and had district meeting there and afterwards we met with the sister training leaders to plan out all assignments for zone conference.  Afterwards we started walking back to Lenakal until a truck passed by and brought us back.  Then we went to a restaurant to organize a cater service for zone conference.  Then we checked up on appointments that cancelled and then we just went contacting for the rest of the night.

Thursday morning we received a phone call from President Brewer warning us about the cyclone.  Cyclone Pam he said has the potential of striking the island on Friday or Saturday.  He said to get the elders out of Saet Siwi and greenhill because they are the furthest areas away and we need them to come in in case anything happens.  He didn't worry about the sister missionaries because they are close to town.

 He said that the cyclone was building strength and that we needed to find a concrete building or a safe place for the missionaries to gather in case the cyclone hits.  Elder Jensen and Elder Godfrey arrived and we went of splits.  Elder Pearce and Elder Jensen went out and taught a new investigator named John.  Then we went home and Elder Oli and Elder Tauke from greenhill came and then we called the Mission President about any updates.  He said that the cyclone was building strength but it looked like it would change course and head east towards Fiji.  He told us to call him again the next morning so we could plan what we should do.  Then all of us Elders stayed the night here in Lenakal.

Friday morning we called President Brewer and he said that the cylone was moving slowly and he still needed time to see what it would do.  So we did our weekly planning and then called him back.  He said that the cyclone would most likely hit us and he told us to get the sisters out of their area.  And to get to a cement building.  We then found out that the cyclone was no longer a cyclone, but a category 5 hurricane!!!  So we talked to a friend of ours named William he's the Principal of a school up the hill from our house in Isangel.  He said that here were dormitories that we could take shelter in.  We asked him if others would come but nobody was worried, they didn't think the storm would hit us.  He let us stay in the boys dorms on the north side of the building, and the sisters could stay in the girls dorms on the south side. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Family Friends from Saet Siwi

Port Vila Week 5 April 20, 2015

Halo Famle Blong Mi,

To start off, Dad, I told Sister Brewer about the new Costa Vida you opened in Brigham City and she said that it's very close to their house.  She said when she finishes she will eat there breakfast,
lunch, and dinner!  Haha, I love President and Sister Brewer, they are like a mama and papa to me here!

Well last week was .....mmm how do I put it?,...Wonderful! We had tons of time in our areas.  So basically the area we serve in and where we live is at "Namba Tu".  We also look over "Namba Tri" and another area that missionaries used to serve in called Beverly Hills.

So last week we had a family haos naet at Namba Tri with a mama named Joset and her family.  We taught them a small message about prayer and played little games afterwards. We played Chicken Pox, remember that game I told you about while I was in Tanna? Man is it a fun game to
play with these people.

Tusesday we picked up Elder Echols and Elder Aka and took them to Beverly Hills with us so Elder Echols could help us know more about the area because he's served there before.  We visited members and we received a handful of referrals and many people are ready to hear the gospel. That afternoon we shared a scripture with a recent convert name Shantel in Namba Tu and then we visited a member mama named  Edna and shared a scripture with her.  Afterwards we went to a store and I
bought a few new white shirts. President asked me to buy new ones because all my other ones have yellowed over time because I've been in the bush so long.

Wednesday morning we went to the airport so Elder Echols and Elder Aka could go to ambae to their new area.  Afterwards we had Zone Training with our Zone and It was focused on "How do I find People to Teach". We discussed all the different ways we find and how we can help investigators progress.

After the Training we went to "Sea View Takeaway" and met with one of Elder Smiler's cousins who came to Port Vila on a Cruise.  We ate chicken and fries with them and then they had to go and we went and visited Mama Edna again and then the Branch Presidency wanted us to come to a meeting with them.  they said that since the Cyclone hit, over 270 non-members have been coming to our Branch every Sunday(Branch 2).  And we made plans with them of how we can get their names and contact them and teach the people that are ready to hear the gospel.  The field is very white right now and I'm excited for the future, there will be a lot of harvesting for us to do!

Thursday morning we had Katum (my good friend from Saet Siwi) follow us for the day and teach with us as a member present.  We taught Melissa about Prophets and how we have a living prophet today, and apostles, and she was amazed by that.  (She's also getting baptized this Saturday!)
Katum needed to get something from some members of his family in Vila and we met them and they were all from Saet Siwi.  Only 1 I knew, but the others have been staying in Port Vila, I spoke to them in their language and they were very surprised of how well I knew it. I was very happy to meet more people from Saet Siwi, the people there are so charitable and so loving. 

We went to look for an investigator named Klan at Namba Tri but he wasn't there but lots of kids were so I had to do some magic tricks for them.  Afterwards we then visited former investigators in Beverly Hills and then we taught a new investigator boy name Sele.  He's 14 and very smart, and we taught him the Restoration.  He's also been coming to church the last few weeks.

Friday morning we studied and did our weekly planning (we finally have had time to do it now)  and we went to visit mama Edna in Namba Tu but she gave us a referral that we visited named Eremas and we taught her. She wanted to know about our beliefs about tithing and Baptism.  She is really interested for us to teach her again.  We also read in 3 Nephi 11 with mama Shantel when Jesus visited his sipsip (sheep) in America, great chapter, and then we visited the Tui Family, a member
family.  We shared a scripture in 3 nephi 18:18-20 that talks about prayer and we ate dinner with them.  The people are so welcoming here. No matter where you serve in Vanuatu, the people are so loving and welcoming!

Saturday we went to our Branch President's house, President Tiasanmal's house where the prospective missionaries from Tanna are staying, and we had an investigator girl namee Bella come and we taught her abourt the restoration and the Prospectives bore testimony. We then went to Beverly Hills and visited a former investigator named Gabby.  She's just waiting to get married before she gets baptized and we met her and then went to teach another investigator in Namba Tu named Vinnie.  We taught her about the Restoration as well.  We then went back to Beverly Hills and visited a former investigator named Karmelo, we talked with his family and just basically built up trust
with them before we want to teach them.

Then at the end of the afternoon we went to visit a member family from Tanna.  The mama's name was Makden, she's from Lenakel but lives in Port Vila and most of her kids were born here.  We talked with their family and they told us some stories before we shared Alma 37:36-37 to them.  They were very grateful to hear that scripture.  They made laplap and cake for us for dinner! The cake was really good too!

Yesterday we went to church with our branch.  Our Branch starts at 8am and goes until about 11am.  After sacrament meeting we went to "Investigator Class". So basically, our branch has a class
specifically for investigators interested in the church.  A member teaches it and we were there as well.   We learned about the importance about honesty and many of the investigators liked the
lesson.  Also all the auxiliary leaders got together and wrote down names of non-members who came to their classes.  At the end of church the had a nice big list of names and contact numbers of investigators that came to church.  We will have a lot more people to teach now!!!

Wednesday we plan on meeting with our branch mission leader to make plans to teach and make appointments.  We taught Melissa about Baptism and she's very excited to be baptized.  Then I went to go meet the District President's family but then we had a change of plans and had other things we had to do, if you know what I mean.

Today we had our usual office meeting and President Brewer wants me and Elder Smiler to go to Tanna with the Port Vila Zone Leaders at the beginning of May!!!  We will be organizing our house at Isangel to prepare it  for future missionaries.  President Brewer hopes to have two missionaries serve there maybe next transfer.  We will also be attending the dedication of the Whitegrass Chapel, it should have happened back in March, but it got cancelled because of the Cyclone.

There's a lot of work to be done and I'm so grateful to be serving the lord here.  I'm excited for the blessings that will be poured out to the people.  This is going to be a busy last 5 months with lots of
blessings in store.  The Church is TRUE!  I love you all and know that all is well in Vanuatu!


Elda Beynon

Doing some magic tricks for the kids

Port Vila

My new families in Port Vila

Monday, April 13, 2015

Me and the Missionaries departing

Port Vila Week 4 Monday April 13, 2015

Halo Famle Blong Mi,

Yufala i olsem wanem? Mi mi gud nomo. Last was Busy Busy Busy!!!  Especially with all the departing missionaries. So when you last heard from me we ended up going back to the airport to check in a sister who was going back to Tahiti.  I ran a little fever and when we got done it was 9:30pm and we went home and I went straight to sleep.

Tuesday morning we woke up, I felt better, but just had a sore throat. We did our studies and met with President Brewer and he confirmed his plans for Tanna.  Then we went to the "Air Vanuatu" building to get some flight tickets for missionaries transferring.  That's another job as AP, to get tickets for missionaries transferring throughout the mission. We ran around most of the day gathering luggage, grabbing keys to houses, missionary phones, and such, and then at 6pm we checked in 9 elders and sisters. Some going to their new reassigned missions and some finishing and going home. 

We checked in the Elders very quickly, one of them was Elder Brough, from Gilbert AZ if you remember him.  He will serve a couple more transfers in Hawaii before returning home. We
checked in the rest of the sisters and because of excess luggage it was a hassle to get through the check-in at the airport, but everything worked out.  That's all that happened that day.

Wednesday morning we ran around again and hoped to meet with President Brewer but plans changed and at 1pm we checked in Elder Petty to go back to Australia.  He was the AP before with Elder Smiler, I'm taking his place.  He flew at 3pm and then Elder Jones and Elder Ormond brought 5 Elder's and Sisters from Tonga to check in.  We checked them in and at 5pm they flew. Two new missionaries named Elder Oten (from Kilipus) and Sister Lape (from P.NG.) arrived to the mission.  It was a big burden lifted off our shoulders, all the international flights were done,  the 22 missionaries all flew safely.

That afternoon we did some shopping that night (we didn't have any time to shop on Monday.) And then we stayed home and cleaned the house.

Thursday morning we picked up Sister Lape and the sisters she was staying with and we drove to the mission home for Breakfast with President Brewer, Sister Brewer, and the 2 new missionaries.  We had good French Toast Sister Brewer made, oh and we also had grapes!! I can't remember the last time I had those.  Afterwards we went to the mission office with Sister Lape and Elder Oten and me and Elder Smiler ran them through an orientation of the mission. (that's another thing we do with new missionaries, give them the orientation.) We just go through a Presentation Slideshow of the mission to help them know what to do and what's expected. Afterwards it was our job to bring them to lunch so we went to "Seaview Takeaway" and all had a good burger and fries.  I'm excited for Elder Oten, he will be going to Kaska Gaua and Elder Child will be his trainer.

After lunch we had the chance to go to our church house at Namba Tu and we taught an investigator named Melissa about Tithing. Elder Petty and Elder Smiler already invited her to be baptized and we hope to baptize her in a couple of weeks.  We went back to the Office and President Brewer told us to come meet with him.  He said there was a change of Plans for going to Tanna.  He said that he will still be going but we wouldn't because it was important that Elder and Sister Smith (In charge of doing Audits) to go.  He wanted us to go as well but there was no more room on the flight so Elder and Sister Smith had to go with our tickets.  I wanted to go really bad, but it was alright. If the lord wanted me to go there he would make the means for me to go, but he had something else in mind.  I called everyone I could in Tanna to arrange a meeting for President so he could meet with all the Branch Presidents and District Presidency so they could come together and he could give them direction to help them after "Cyclone Pam".

Friday morning we woke up early and checked in Elder Oten and Sister Lape at the airport at 5:30am so they could fly to their new areas. Afterwards we drove our bus to North Efate where we picked up 4 Elders and Doctors who visited the North Islands and treated people.  It was a special assignment of President Brewer.  4 Elders along with 3 or 4 doctors went to 3 islands just north efate for 10 days to meet with chiefs and treat people.  They helped many people and it was a really great way to gain trust with many people.  There's a bright future for missionary work up there.  Oh and I forgot to mention the drive there. It took about an hour and it was a beautiful drive! On a paved road too!  You would've all loved it. I will try to send pictures.  We all drove all the way back to Port Vila and We went home for lunch and Then at 3pm we checked in Elder Mason Sutton in the airport to fly
back home.  Elder Jones took his place in the mission office.  Elder Sutton is from Northern Utah.  He flew at 5pm and we went home for the night.

Saturday morning we went to the Church house at Namba Tu to see general conference!  They set up projectors inside the chapel, outside under big shades they put up and many people came and they put in DVD's of General Conference from last week.  They had them translated by the people in Bislama and in the Primary Room they had a TV where they showed it in English.  I've seen General Conference in Bislama before but I like it better in English because you feel more of the emotion.  So from 9am to 11am we watched the Saturday mornion session, then had an hour break for lunch, then from 12pm to 2pm we had the afternoon session.  Then form 3pm to 5pm, they had the Priesthood

I really loved President Monson's talk about the missionary handbook, and his story. I love our profet, he's so funny!  It was cool to hear Henry B. Erying talk about Vanuatu as well. Afterwards we talked with members and went home for the night. Apparently this is how they do general conference on this side of the world.  I talked to Elder Smiler about it and they do it the same way. A week after the actual conference they meet at their stake centers to watch conference.  I told him how we have it on a TV channel and we watch it on TV.  But also General Conference happens in the middle of the night here, so they kind of have to do it this way.  It's pretty cool though, it brings everybody together.

Sunday morning we had to check in an Elder to transfer to the Solomon Islands and afterwards we went to church where they broadcasted the Sunday Session.  We had lunch afterwards and then they played the afternoon session.  Wasn't it funny when Deider F. Uchtdorf spoke in his language while conducting?  I also loved Elder Pearson's talk about "Stanap Strong Kasem En" (Endure to the End).  It was weird hearing him speak because I talked to him on the phone that one time. I also loved Elder Holland's talk.  It's all true, the resurrection is one of the best things to happen that world has ever known.  I didn't realize that last week was easter, so uh  HAPPY EASTER!  After the conference we talked with members and a few gave us some referrals.

This week we will be getting lots of work done in our area.  Last week was just crazy with all the transfers.  We are excited to see what is to come.  A change we've seen after the cyclone is that lots of
missionaries went home, but there are tons of investigators now who want to know about the church. Now many people know who us Missionaries are and our purpose.  Many blessings are in store for
these islands.

So far I love my new calling even as busy as it gets and I'm excited to work with the missionaries and people here.  Know all is well and that I love you all so much!


Elder Beynon

The drive to North Efate

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Me and my friends in Erakor

Week 3 on Port Vila Monday April 6, 2015

Dia Famle Blo mi we mi lavem tumas,

Things are great here! We've just been doing more and more service and Tuesday our District just walked around the "Erakor" area and we helped members and people in need. It's a lot of fun helping these families. Sorry but there's not too much to talk about but service. We also did a Zone Service in the area of "Namburu and helped many other families there clean up.  Things have been calming down though.  I've been recieving calls from members in Tanna and they are all eating and they are being blessed.

Saturday Elder Leva and some of the other Elders wanted to make one last big meal before they go and we hear news about transfers.  So we cooked manyoke, beef, chicken and cabbage wrapped in tin foil in the ground. We built a fire and baked everything in the ground for a few hours.  It's a style of cooking here they call "Bunya".  Man did we eat a ton!  I was so dang full!

Then the AP's called to tell us about transfers, there is a big downsize in the mission and Port Vila will go down to 1 zone instead of 2. I was really wondering where I would go and many Elders said I
would be a Zone Leader in Efate.  That was my original thought.  But it turns out that I've been called as an Assistant to Mission President! (AP).  I couldn't believe it!  I am way excited, there is a ton of work to do.  My new companion is Elder Smiler, from New Zealand.  We will serve in the "Nambatu Area. "

Sunday tons of people came to church.  The Districts here made a goal to invite a friend, investigator, non-member, less-active etc. to come to church and the attendance was bigger than any other attendance in the missions history!!! It was a few thousand in all of Efate! We are seeing many
miracles after the Cyclone hit and it just gets better and better. The Church is True!!!

There's a lot of work to do, this morning we woke up at 4;30am and checked an Elder in the Airport to fly back to New Zealand.  And then we had a meeting with president brewer with the office elders. One of the new office Elders is Good ol' Elder Jones, another one of my companions in the MTC!  We did our meeting, one of the big responsiblities of the AP's is to look over all the missionaries.  After the meeting mission president said that I my assignment is to learn everything I can before the New Mission president "President Granger" comes in July.  Elder Smiler will be leaving in June so I will be helping the New Mission President a lot in the Future.  I have a lot to learn!

We then took 5 other missionaries who were flying to fiji, USA, and Canada.  And we just found time to email and we are going to grab a bite to eat and then take more missionaries to the airport tonight

Oh and on Friday we plan on going to Tanna with President Brewer to let him meet with priesthood leaders there and help him get an idea of what we can do in the future.

That's cool that President Eyring mentioned Vanuatu in his talk. Since it starts at different times here they download the Conference on discs in English and Bislama and they plan a time to show the
sessions and priesthood sessions on Projector Screens.  This Saturday branches are planning on having the priesthood meet together to watch priesthood session.

Well I'm excited for what's to come, there's a ton to do!  Tomorrow and Wednesday we will be sending the remaining missionaries back home. I will have a chance to grow more. I love you all so much and you are in my prayers.

Love, Elda Beynon

Our zone service last Friday

Me and my new comp Elder Smiler

Me and Elder Mastin eating good food