Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas 2014

I hope everyone had a great Christmas. It was really hard this year to be away from my family but Christmas in the Marshall Islands was really great. Some Elders were talking about how it will never feel like Christmas here because there is no snow. I couldn't really relate because I think it matters more about what you make out of Christmas. I really did was able to feel the spirit of Christmas and the love from everyone in the Marshall Islands and at home.  
   Christmas Day my companion Elder Lesser and I woke up and opened up some presents and then headed to the Stake Center to watch the Beat. Beat is a bunch of dances and songs performed by all the wards Christmas Day. Beat starts around 9-10 in the morning and will go to 10-11 at night. The stake center was packed with all the ward members that had practiced since the beginning of November and were so excited to show off to the other wards. There was not a beat done by the missionaries this year but, watching was really fun. Hopefully next year I will be in the big island again and have a dance for the missionaries. 
   Christmas Day we also had all the missionaries on the island go eat lunch at the Mission President's and watch Saratov Approach. The whole time I was just so grateful that I have the opportunity to serve in possibly the safest place in the world. Guns are illegal here and alcohol is also prohibited in a lot of parts of the islands. This Christmas was great for me because it really allowed me to focus on the spiritual aspect of all of it. The birth of Jesus Christ, his ministry, and his death and suffering. I am really grateful that we have a holiday to focus on all of that and just be really grateful for all the things that Christ has done for us and that God had given us. 
   This week I have also found out that my Bishop was in Fiji the same time I was last summer. I never was able to meet him but he said how he met the other HEFY group in the Suva side. It was pretty cool the bishop of Delap is the best. Possibly because his wife works so he has full time to devout to being a bishop. Also I was almost hit by falling breadfruit this week so that good have been bad. Breadfruit is this pretty gross fruit that kind of tastes like bland potatoes but like a really squishy texture. 
   This week I was also feeling a little bit unmotivated and really homesick but I just kept pushing through the day. It can be really discouraging to go to a set appointment and have the investigator be gone. However a "set appointment" is not really a thing here it's more like just showing up to an investigator's house at one point in the day. Whenever I feel unmotivated and I start to think about the scripture 2nd Nephi 2:11 talking about iniquity in all things. But because of the bad times we can more greatly appreciate the good in our life. I read this week how Satan works incredibly hard to regress the work of the righteous. I know that I came on a mission to do good in the world and I know the devil is trying hard to put bad thoughts in my head to make me discouraged. I recite the "Nothing exists outside of God. Now go and kick the devil's ass" throughout the day and helps me with motivation. I know that the good in the world is stronger than the bad and we will have bad thoughts and just want to quit; jobs, responsibilities, friendships, missionary work, or life, however just remember to keep pushing and think about all the good you are doing and all the blessings you have rather than dwelling on the bad in yourself. Love You All. Now go and kick the devil's ass.

Monday, December 22, 2014

December 22, 2014: Getting Ready for Christmas

Yesterday I was supposed to give a talk in sacrament meeting but we ran out of time so I ended bearing my testimony.  I don’t know if I told you but I also bore my testimony a couple weeks back, the previous time I was getting a little tongue tied so it made me seem like I was really bad at Marshallese.  So this time when I bore my testimony everyone just told me after “Makre Kajin Majol” or “Pro at Marshallese.”  The people love that you can speak Marshallese and will try to help you with it as well.  Also at church we didn’t have many investigators due to a big rain storm the night before.  However we had one of our investigators Jasper, an 11 year old boy, who came all by himself which was a really cool experience for him and us.  It’s pretty cool how we are able to teach the youth here in the Marshall Islands.  Basically kids have all the freedom they want and can walk around anywhere anytime this usually starts after their first step.  Yeah the Marshallese youth are great especially in the ward I am working in, we have a lot of the priests who want to come and work with us.  Right now I am working with Elder Lesser who came at the same time I did.  It can be difficult sometimes because although I understand Marshallese I cannot always clearly speak exactly what I want to say.  However our investigators do help us out with the language, Tina the I wrote about last week will just finish my sentences for me.  She knows the church is true we are just working on her to continue going to church and getting her friends to come as well.  This week I finished the Book of Mormon.  It was my first time reading it cover to cover and I took time to read instead just skimming over it.  I am able to still feel the Christmas Holiday in the Marshall Islands.  It’s really great we have been getting fed all this week and we will all next week.  The members tell us how they know how hard it is to be away from family for Christmas and then give us an insane amount of food.  Most of it is rice but this one member sent us home with about 5 pounds of leftovers.  Love you all I hope you have a good Christmas.f

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

December 10, 2014: Testimony

I really am able to get through the day because of all of the family and friends out there supporting me. I am so grateful for the support system I have and love hearing that I am mentioned in prayers. Although the same exact weather everyday makes it not seem like the Christmas season, it really does feel like Christmas. I started off the first of this month reading about the coming of Christ to the Nephites and Lamanites. It just let’s me gain a better perspective on the season and what it really all is about. In a family home evening I shared Alma 34:32 “for behold, this is the time for men to prepare to meet
God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.” I really emphasized how blessed we are and how grateful we should be to God each day. I talked about how important it is to just focus on the things that matter in life mainly family and the gospel, everything else is just background noise. 
                One of lessons this week with a member and her less active husband we were just talking to them and sharing a spiritual message. The husband Baj said how he was watching the news the other day and they were talking about the group ISIS. He was just saying how grateful he is that they are in the Marshall Islands and how it is one of the safest places in the world and just how glad they are they don’t have to deal with any scary things like that. Even when I have bad days, I realized how much good we did that day. Even if all the lessons fall through or it’s raining all day knowing that we helped one person come closer to Christ is all that matters, that we made one difference in a person’s life. 
                Those who are thinking about serving a mission, do it. I love how much a mission has changed my life. It has not really changed my personality as much as helping me gain a testimony. I realize how true this church is. That this is the same church that Jesus Christ established during his life and it was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. This is not a new religion but one that was the true church established by Jesus Christ himself. I love how much knowledge of the church has grown and how being in a third world country just makes me appreciate things so much more in life. A mission is something that will help you so much in life. It gives you a chance to get away from all the temporal things in life and to just be able to improve other’s lives each and every day. I am so grateful to be here, a mission is the only thing I can be doing right now love you all. Elder Weenig.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

November 30, 2014: Shipwrecks and Rainstorms

November 30th:

This week was pretty uneventful. It was raining all week so there was not much work done. I know it sound’s weak but you don’t go out and proselyte in the rain. Rain is not like it is in other places; when it rains it comes down hard and will last quite a while. You will be completely drenched in less than a minute if you are stuck outside. In the Marshall Islands whenever it rains all the people just go right to sleep. Even if we do have the chance to go out there is not much point because no one is outside and all your investigators will be sleeping or do not want to study. There are a few culture things here that are pretty funny; they try in a lot of ways to imitate the States. “Black Weekend” happened here where the big grocery stores mark down there groceries and some people have started putting up lights for Christmas. They tried to have Thanksgiving but it’s more of just a funny attempt to imitate it. My favorite part of the culture here is “contacting” where you can basically take whatever you want from people. Most of the time it is just bracelets but the people will sometimes ask for my backpack or some bigger things. It is pretty funny I am pretty good at contacting now and I know how to avoid giving away my things. The Marshallese culture just puts a lot of emphasize on family and friends and stuff that really matters rather than material things. This week the shipwreck also got on the front page of the national newspaper. The week was quite uneventful and we were stuck inside most of the week due to the weather. Hope everyone is doing well. Love Elder Weenig.

November 24th:
This week was really great, Yesterday we helped out a shipwreck.  Better yet, yesterday we had 5 of our 8 investigators at Church.  My companion right now is Elder Hix he is pretty great. He is pretty smart so he can help me with some gospel questions and some of the parts in Isaiah. He is "makare" at the language, which is Marshallese for expert.  With him as a companion, and slowly replacing everyday words with the Marshallese ones, my language skills are coming along pretty well.  We had Family Home Evening with a Pohnpein family in the ward, and they had to remind me that I can't speak Marshallese around them because they can't understand it.  I have gotten to eat a lot of fish this week and I absolutely love it.  Some parts of my day are pretty hard, it can get hot and is hard to get through the day or it can be frustrating when I cannot understand some people.  We have picked up some really great investigators; when we asked a couple when they wanted to study the wife wanted to every night but her husband suggested maybe 2-3 nights of the week.  I can't believe we had 5 investigators at Church, it is the most even my companion who's a year out has had.  As for the shipwreck…... Bishop took the Delap Ward Elders out to his private island on P-day.  Way sweet we ate yu and bub; yu is harvested coconut and so the inside turns into this sweet spongy stuff and bub is a sweet fruit that you suck on.  When we went out to explore the island we found on the other side that this French guy crashed his boat and it was probably a half mile onto the dry coral bed.  We were trying to help him out but after an hour he decided that he would just give up on the boat.  Because the Bishop is the land owner the boat became his and we got to raid it for a bunch of sweet stuff.  We were kind of hesitant but the sailor told us just to take everything we wanted.  I was able to get some nice sunglasses, a hat, a knife from Czechslovakia and a lot of food and other random things.  It was a pretty cool experience and just a way sweet day.  I was able to see the real Marshall Islands and not the Americanized city that we work in.  Overall this week has been really amazing, my knowledge and testimony have grown significantly.  This Church is true and I am glad that I have the chance to share that with people everyday.  I know this Mission is perfect for me and I could not be serving anywhere else. Love Elder Weenig, Sweenig, Waini, Wanik.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

November 18, 2014: Alma 37:37

Thank You all so much for the emails! I get really excited about being able to read them and it gives you a lot of joy and that extra little boost for the week. This week was absolutely great! We were supposed to be going out fishing with the bishop today but they are doing canoe races in the lagoon so we couldn’t but hopefully next week. The bishop for the Delap ward is awesome, he and his wife fed us Saturday night. It was way good, rice, fried chicken and raw tuna. Tuna in Marshallese is called “bwebwe” which is also the same word for crazy. I have adapted to the Marshallese culture, I eat rice all the time with my hands and sit cross legged and I have started doing fades in my hair to fit in. The kids thing its way funny and also asks me who cut my hair. Sometimes this place can be like “Lord of the Flies” little kids running around, half of them completely naked. The little boys will come up and like “fight” you and all the little kids love running up to us and giving high fives. It’s way cool we are like rockstars to them here in the Marshall Islands. This one little toothless five year old always comes up to me “Elder Waini!” They are adorable I also enjoy when some kids yell “RiPella” or “White Person” so I just yell back “RiMajol.” The Delap ward has started a sign up list for feeding the missionaries so we will be getting fed every other night. All they can really feed you is a bunch of rice and some kind of meat so you get full pretty fast. It is a struggle to finish my food sometimes because of all the rice. The red meat still hurts my stomach but I am starting to adjust to it. I just am having a way good time, I can’t believe it coming up on three months I feel like I left a week ago. I am reading in Alma right now and it is really great because it talks a lot about missionary work. In Alma 37:37 it talks about daily prayer “Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up in at the last day. “ In Marshallese “Pepe ippan Irooj ilo aolep komman ko am, im Enaaj tol eok nan aenomman; aet, ne kwoj babu ilo bon kwon babu nan Irooj, bwe En maron onaaked eok ilo am kiki; im ne kwoj jerkak ilo jibon burom en obrak kon kammoolol ko nan Anij; im elanne kwoj komman men kein, naaj kotak eok ilo raan aliktata.” I just love being able to have time for my testimony to grow out here. I have also believe this church is true but I didn’t really know much about and that strong. I know that this is one of the greatest things I will do with my life so I try to make everyday count. 
P.S. The adults here started calling me “Elder Wanik” or “Elder Pure”

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

November 11, 2014: Dealing with racism

Wow this week was a bit intense. I found out that my companion absolutely hated me, the only reason he hated me was that I was white. I am in a new area with a new companion now. I will start from the beginning of the week. My companion wanted to do transfers and would not tell me why; I have done three transfers in a week so basically every other day I was working in a new area with a new companion. Finau would not communicate with me, he would just expect me to follow and do what he told me and would not even answer questions I asked him, it has been a really tough, stressful time filled with a lot of silence. He was not really training me and although he has been here for a year his language skills were not very great. We are in the middle of a lesson when he shows me this text how we will be doing a transfer that night at 6, and we had already done one yesterday. So after the lesson I was trying to ask him why we were doing so much transfers and how it is really annoying to switch areas every other day. He just says “we go home” and would not talk to me. I was trying to ask him what was up and he finally said “I don’t like white people.” The last thing that I thought I would be dealing with on my mission was racism. It is so weird to see how someone can just totally judge someone because of the color of their skin or where they are from. It was tough and he wouldn’t talk to me, I have been trying to ask him and talk to him for weeks and he would never tell me what’s wrong. Whenever I would ask him like I would just be like if you don’t like you me you can tell me, if you have a problem you can tell me and we can work it out. He would just respond with is I am fine. He then punched the mirror in our living room and locked himself in the room. I called the district leader and he came over and was trying to talk to him, which didn’t help too much because he is also white. He has serious anger issues and does not make sense. We did an emergency transfer right then and I had went back to get my things later that night. I now work in Delap, which is still in the same district. I am not entirely sure how long I will be working here though. I am with Elder Hix from Wyoming; he is way chill and easy to get along with. The days go by a lot faster with him and he actually communicates with me. My new area in Delap is a lot bigger; I believe it is the biggest part of the Majuro Island, so it may be a mile wide. The whole incident with my companion was at the beginning of the week and it is over now so it is all good. I am doing much better and my time here in the Marshall Islands is going much faster and much better. In our ward we have started “Beat” practice. It is basically a talent show that happens in the Stake Center on Christmas Day. We perform a song and a dance and the islanders really get into here. It will be pretty legit if we are practicing a whole two months before. The islanders are great the members are really strong. They have seminary every evening at 5 and then now they are doing beat practice. They spent a lot of time at church activities and doing things for the Church. I absolutely love Marshallese people they are so funny and just great people. Most of the guys have fades in their hair and the girls all wear islander dresses all the time. My language skills are coming along and I am beginning to be able to follow along in church and understand what the Marshallese people are saying. The rest of the week after the incident has been really good and will continue to get better. I miss my investigators in my old area, but I know they will do well. I hope everyone is doing well. My new companion showed me how to safe minutes on emailing so I will have more time to email. Please let me know how you are doing, I really enjoy getting emails and letters and it really makes my day.  Love Elder Weenig

Friday, November 7, 2014

November 4, 2014: Lakwe Baamle im ro Motta!

This week was really good and I feel like I am getting really good at the language. I hope by the end of my mission that I will be able to roll my R’s like the rest of the Marshallese people. Halloween here is similar to the states there is haunted houses and a lot of the kids dress up. Instead of going door to door though they go around to the Monwias, which are little convience stores everywhere. Thursday I had the opportunity to work with Elder Lesser, who came at the same time I did. Our district leaders put us together to see how well we can function in the language. Both of us a little nervous and only being in the Marshall Islands three weeks was pretty scary. It can be really hard to understand these people they slur their words and mumble a lot. Some people I know exactly what they are saying and others will ask me where I am from and have absolutely no idea what language they are speaking. However I did pretty good navigating around and having lessons. Elder Lesser did not do much of the talking so I had to communicate mostly it was a little frustrating, especially after he corrected me on the grammar afterwards. We were able to teach some really great lessons. It is nice how simple it is here, people are so loving and kind. We started meeting with some new investigators and every time we have a lesson she feeds us. They are not caught up in their phones like most people because they do not have any. But they love hanging around, talking and playing basketball. The Marshallese people absolutely love basketball and some of the guys are insanely good. There is little kids who can shoot three points on a regular basket. I really enjoy being on my mission. The lack of all the worldy things such as tv, phones, and social drama allow me to just really focus on what matters. I love being able to have time to study the scriptures. What I love even more is being able to share it with others, just seeing their faces light up and their attitude about the world change. We have some really strong investigators right now, they are coming to church every Sunday and we have to keep telling them we have to go through all the lessons before they get baptized. Whenever I get homesick or discouraged I think of the scripture in the Book of Mormon 2nd Nephi 2:11, which talks about having opposition in all things. I know that whenever I am going through hard times it will get better, it always does and because we have hard and sad times it makes our happy and thriving ones that much greater. I know God puts us through trials to grow and to expand he knows our potential and sometimes that requires much trial and tribulation to reach it. I love you all and love to hear how you are doing.

Monday, October 27, 2014

October 27, 2014: Baptisms and Companion Fights

Yakwe, Mour am ej emaaantata 
   This Saturday we were able to have four baptisms, which I was able to personally perform two of them. Jasan and Nile were two 14 year old boys that I baptized and Jelinda and Manny, two other teenagers were also baptized. I am so blessed that we were able to have so many baptisms this weekend and so many more investigators each and every day. I absolutely love the fact that I get to so deeply affect people's lives. That I am able to see people change, to find more joy in life by teaching them the gospel. I know that I have already performed more baptisms in my first three weeks than the majority of missionaries will see their whole time and I am truly grateful for this whole experience. I know God will continue to open up the hearts of the Marshallese people to allow us to preach the gospel to them. Friday my companion got really mad at me for chastising him for breaking some of the mission rules. He locked himself in the room and then apparently read my journal. When I went to go get him to go out teaching for the day he came out and was like "I know you hate me" I was like "what are you talking about?" he said "I read your journal and know you don't like me." I had written in my journal how it can be frustrating to communicate with him sometimes because of the broken English. I assume that he though I hated him because of that. It was a frustrating day but I was able to get through to him and at the end of the night he apologized and was sorry. It was not the best experience but if anything it has made us work harder and better. I really love being able to be out here. This week we had some interesting food. Sunday Night we had this meat, I did not want to ask what animal it came from maybe dog, it still had hair on it and I prayed really hard to be able to eat it. The diet is a lot different than I expected here there is a lot of rice, ramen, fried chicken, hot dogs, and other various meats. It is good but they feed you all the time. Between walking and eating a lot I am basically staying the same weight. This week has been really great. I love and miss you all. Also my nametags of Elder Waini and Elder Sweenig are being ordered.

Monday, October 20, 2014

October 20, 2014: Elder Waini

Elder Weenig's New Address
Marshall Islands Majuro Mission
P.O. Box 1107
Majuro, MH 96960
Marshall Islands

This week I was running in the morning and got bit by a dog, so that was not the highlight of my week. There are dogs everywhere here and the dogs and the children here just wander the streets most of the day. The people here cannot say my last name so they have started nicknaming Elder Waini, which is Marshallese for coconut. It can get hot here and so I am basically sweating all day. Sometimes the mission can be hard but for the most part it is great. We have a lot of investigators and quite a few come up and ask to start meeting with us. However every once in a while you will get some drunk guys who will ask to meet with you. Majority of the time if you show up to their house they will just say they don't want to and their friends laugh at them because they set up a lesson. Luckily in the Marshall Islands people do not reject you, the worst thing people do is say they will meet with you but then not be home. Everyone just makes sure the missionaries are taken care. We were doing a lesson in a member's home with an investigator and the Mom told us that whenever we need food just to come over and she will feed us, anytime we need. Sometimes it is difficult to communicate with my companion, because he has only been speaking English for 10 months. It can be pretty frustrating sometimes especially when he has no idea what I am trying to ask him. Last night Finau and I were teaching one of our investigators, Manny, a 15 year old kid, how to bear his testimony. We also had Jelinda, who is getting baptized next week, and Derick who is a recent convert for 4 months. It was great; we had everyone go around and bear their testimony. I shared these two scriptures: Mosiah 18:9 "Be willing to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, that ye may have Eternal life" 2nd Timothy 1:8 "Be not ashamed to of the testimony of our Lord, but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God"I talked about how it is important that you need to share your testimony in order for it to grow and expand. That you cannot be afraid of sharing your feelings and beliefs with others, even if it not the most popular belief. Just be willing to share your testimony whenever you have the opportunity to do so and do not be afraid of what others think. LoveElder Weenig
P.S. I found out that you can order name tags so I will probably get one that says "Elder Waini" and another that says "Elder Sweenig"

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Missionary Has Landed

I am doing great! The Island is great I absolutely love it here. All the things things they said would bother me don't: humidity, bugs, women breast feeding openly all do not phase me. It feels like I have already been here for months. to get here we first flew into Honolulu and then after a night we flew into the Marshall Islands. Arriving here was crazy we see the little strip of land and it is tiny; the airport is one runway and has no room for error. The airport is this little building you walk into and the baggage claim is these slides open to the outside. The whole island is just tiny most of them time walking down the road you can see the ocean on both sides. I still do not really understand how 20,000 people live on the Island. I have been here half a week and am still confused where they all live. The kids here our great, they love the stickers that I give them and are so cute. Everyone here says hello as you walk by and all very nice. It is about the width of a football field, maybe. It can be hot sometimes and pretty bright. The area I am currently serving in is Uliga, it is a very developed part of the island. My companion is Elder Finau from Samoa, although he is Samoan he is skinny and shorter. He is a convert to the church and is a great companion and teacher. The language is coming along; it is a lot different from inside the MTC. It is hard to understand what they are saying. When I first got it here I barely recognized them asking basic questions. We already have tons of investigators, the majority are teenagers or young couples. Next Saturday we have four baptismal interviews and one baptism. Serving in the Marshall Islands is much different than anything else. They call us the crocs mission, because the majority of the time our Elders are wearing crocs and rolling up their pants.  The amount of people interested in the church is very high; our mission president told us that the white is truly white and ready to harvest. In the lessons I can speak some Marshallese but right now my companion mainly gives the lesson and I share my testimony and a few other short thoughts. This place is truly blessed and full of so many people willing to accept the gospel. I am so glad to be here and so blessed that I am able to. The time we have to email is pretty limited so if you write please send letters!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Leaving soon!

So this week was not too bad, however the MTC is still by far not one of my favorite places in the world. The language is getting pretty easy now. Marshallese is a simple language and spelling does not matter so learning words can be confusing because they are spelled in completely different ways. I found out that I will be leaving the MTC this Tuesday and will be having a 17 hour layover in Hawaii. We are not sure what exactly will happen but we either get to proselyte there or go to some ward activity. I am getting anxious to leave this place and get out into the field so I can work with real people. Last Saturday my friend Elder Buhler and I went outside of the MTC to get some alterations done we walked down to the corner of University Parkway to BYU laundry. Both being BYU students it was quite strange to have BYU right across the street from us, "the outside world". On our way back we see this really attractive girl running on the other side of the road. So we had this of situation a hot girl in running clothes and Elder Buhler and I now socially awkward missionaries. I turn to him "look away, look straight ahead, don't look." He just replies "no look left! look in the opposite direction." The whole rest of the way back we keep checking to make sure the other had not looked. We must have looked pretty strange to the rest of the world, missionaries can be very weird. I played four square for the first time in the gym yesterday. Both Elders and Sisters getting really intense about it. They just take it way to far and it gets really intense I definitely prefer just playing frisbee in front of the temple. The Elder in my district saving his first kiss now claims to be from Alaska, despite the fact that he moved when he was three and has lived in Utah for the last ten years. Early this week, I do not know how it happened but I ended up "racing" a Micronesian Sister going to Fiji, Sister Niumea who is about 4'9." When I say "racing" she is running as fast as she possibly can, just imagine this little tiny islander running through the halls of the MTC. I am pretty sure she thinks I am serious, I pretend to being trying really hard but actually in a slow jog, I usually let her win. Sometimes I will "trip" at the last minute and she will win by barely. She also enjoys taking selfies quite a bit. All of the Micronesian and Islander Sisters I have met are pretty fun and hilarious. Sister Nena going to Kiribati decided to just cut her her hair and make her bangs. So I just go up to her and tell her "I like your bangs" she thinks it is pretty funny. The Islanders are just really fun, especially the ones from Micronesia they are pretty much oblivious to the outside world and just do whatever they want. Tuesday night we had Brother and Sister Schwitzer, from the Seventy, speak about their mission in Siberia. Although our missions are completely opposite Sister Schwitzer talked about how she was struggling with missing her family and friends and life back home. She decided that the only way she could get through her mission is just "let go, let God" she ended having a wonderful experience. I know my mission is hard and sometimes I really do miss home but I know that I can do this. That this is the only thing in my life right now that should be doing. Thanks for all the support you have given me in serving a mission. The next time you hear from me I will be in the Marshall Islands, never not on a beach for two years.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Week 5

I will be leaving for the Marshall Islands in a week and a half, and excited to be heading out to the mission field soon. Last night we had skype calls with people who spoke Marshallese. It was difficult between the bad connection and not really being able to understand the language. It was not too nerve wracking because she was a 19 year old BYU Hawaii student, Marshallese was also her second language and we felt a lot more confident. I gave her a promise that if she read her scriptures and prayed everyday she will see blessings. Sometimes I feel like an inadequate missionary because I forget my prayers or to put on my garments sometimes, but it is a work in progress that I am getting better at. At the end of our skype call she quickly told us about her Great Uncle in Marshall Islands who she took to church. She told us where worked and his name and that when we served in Majuro to go find him and start taking him to church. Overall really great experience. Another great thing is that we will have general conference right before we leave and we will get to watch it the very next weekend in Marshallese on the islands. The Utah County grandmother accent still puts me to sleep, but I am working on staying awake and am getting better at it. On Sunday we participated in the Ogden temple rededication.It was really amazing to see some of the Church Presidency in their white suits. The spirit in the room was really great and overwhelming. It will be sad not being able to go to or even see a temple while serving my two years. However that Suva Fiji temple will be mission temple, so it will be cool to know that I have done baptisms for the dead inside. The mock investigations that I have been doing our going well this week I can teach somewhat of a gospel lesson without notes and we committed our mock investigator to baptism and he said yes with no hesitation. My little cousin Faith Bingham wrote me a letter saying how her brother is already two and my other cousin just turned 10. It is sad to think that I will miss a lot of time in their life but I know that serving a mission is the best example I can give them. That a full time mission will not only greatly bless me but all of my family as well. I miss everyone, it has already been a month and I feel like no time has passed at all. So it will be no time until I will be back. I am so glad that I made the decision to come on a mission, and now that this is the best thing I could be doing in my life right now.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Week 4

After three weeks in the MTC all the days and times are blending together. The days feel like weeks, but the weeks feel like days. It feels like I have been gone for a week and also six months. I am enjoying the people in the MTC so much. We definitely have the best zone. We have a new zone leader who is very strict and self righteous, so he can be hard to get along with and he is also in my district. He is really bossy and tries to tell us how and when to do every little thing. I also have been playing frisbee in front of the temple everyday for gym time with my friends, Elder Buhler and Elder Young. The language is good, very different from anything else in the world. When speaking it you need to pronounce every letter in the word. Also it can be very confusing because in the Marshall Islands spelling does not matter so I have seen the same word spelled a lot of different ways. It is coming though, it is a weird thought to thing I only even heard this language three weeks to how well I know it now. We have one kid in my district who believes thats we will be speaking English in the Marshall Islands so he has not put a lot of effort into the language. We played scripture jeopardy in class and I swear the rest of my class knows all these weird details about the Scriptures, like the names of the sons of Isaiah and Noah. While my companion and I have no idea what is going on. My district is very interesting and a lot of times hard to deal with but I love them and they are great kids. The food has not gotten better, but my tolerance has I kind of enjoy eating rice everyday and it is preparing me for the Marshall Islands where I will probably eat it out there everyday too. Love and miss you.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Week 3

The MTC can we really hard at times we are sitting most of the day and we have to food that isn't very good. It is frustrating being told what to do and follow a strict schedule. I was talking to my teacher Brother McOmie and he said that he hated the MTC when he was here and explained it was so hard because you are changing every aspect of your life. You are being told when to eat, you don't have much choice when you do eat and you are required to wear certain clothes and sit most of the day. A lot of devotionals are really good, but they start off with one of the speaker's wifes who usually have that Utah county really soft condescending accent and it can be hard to stay awake. This Tuesday though there were rumors that Holland or Uchtdorf were coming so people started lining up an hour and a half before it started. It wasn't Holland or Uchtdorf, but Sitati, I think the only black man in the church presidency. It was really good Sitati and his wife talked about their lives growing up in Kenya. But the thing I like most instead of talking about themselves our sharing stories they talked about the things as missionaries to be grateful for and to remember. We must remember what a blessing and opportunity it is to be here. The MTC should be taken advantage of because time is limited. He also told us that  "the greatest gift we will ever receive is that of the gospel, and it is by far the greatest gift we can give away." On our Sunday night devotional the speaker asked for everyone with family members less or inactive in the church to stand up, around 95% of the audience stood up. It made me realize how truly blessed I am to have not only my immediate family but all my extended family to be church members who support the church and fully support the fact that I am voluntarily serving a two year mission. I believe we have all stayed such strong church members is because how close we are and we are able to support one another. I want you to know that I am not only serving a mission for myself but for all of my family, the blessings it will give you and the example it is to my younger cousins. I know the MTC is hard for me and it can be hard to get through the day, but I need to be taking full advantage of every second here. I have already learned so much about Marshallese and the Gospel here and I will be able to learn and grow so much more. Love, Elder Sweenig
I really wonder if they would let me get a name tag with "Elder Sweenig" instead of "Elder Weenig" I will keep you updated

Friday, September 5, 2014

First Week in the MTC

Lakwe! The MTC is great, besides the food. I eat rice and cereal for basically every meal. The language is coming a long great and we have already started mock investigations. I know several things already, and it is hard to believe I only started the language a week and a half ago. My companion is still so great and am so blessed we are companions. Although I have a few interesting kids in my zone, one who is saving his first kiss for his wife, it is really great and we joke around a lot and just have a lot of fun. I have started reading the Book of Mormon and am on a schedule to finish it in a month. The spirit is really fun and it is great to be around all these other kids my age working hard and preparing to serve a mission. Although I do miss home, and being with family and friends I love it here and cannot wait to be out in the actual mission field.