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.