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.