Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Started working in Ajeltake this Sunday. Meaning driving which is kind of weird after a year of not being behind a wheel. It's nice a big van but, Marshallese people have no idea how to drive because the whole island is basically just one thin road. Ajeltake is extremely thin in width ranging from 15 feet to a couple hundred.
My companion, Elder Harris is from a small town in New Zealand. He's new to the area as well and so basically white washing. Just from working Sunday we've set up with a few former investigators and will start with them again this upcoming week. In church I am still translating but for another senior couple from Canada, the Crooks. I only translated once but it's a little irritating because the sister expected me to translate every single word. Ajeltake ward is great and recently changed from being a branch to a ward.
This week has been a little tough, a lot of ups and downs. In general Laura was just not the best area. During the week I was feeling a bit down because numbers were low and didn't have anybody progressing. Luckily I was able to check my email in the middle of the week. The last month my family has been sending emails to my other account so I haven't been reading any of them and was complete unaware. Last Monday my parents found this out and was able to forward them. At a low point at the week I used my friends iPad and my emails were half downloaded because it was off wifi. What was nice is I able to read a message from my brother in law, Josh. It was something said in conference about a missionary it read "God knows he is a great missionary and so do I so that's all that matters." I was really grateful to read that email when I did. I know it was all in God's will I got to read my emails when I did at not some other time. I know God answers prayers and comforts us in our time in need. Also basically everything doesn't matter whether other people notice or not because like Mother Teresa said "It was never between you and them anyways just yourself and God."
Well this week we heard about transfer and starting soon and I'll be a Zone Leader in Ajeltake working with Elder Harris. It's weird to be leaving Laura after such a short time of only 5 weeks. I was definitely thinking I'd be in this area for another couple months. This week the Iroojlaplap (Landowner) of Majuro died, quite a few people have been busy preparing for his burial and the viewing.
The funeral may be on the longest just because everyone in the Marshall Islands and their dog has to come view the body and pay their respects, the Iroojs from all 26 outer islands had to fly in. People say the Irooj made up to $1.5 million a year. So a large percentage of United States funding is going directly into his pocket. He died the end of last week but he may not be actually buried until next month.
The lady that I was taking about last week who was asking us all those questions about the temple and frankly being a asked us to teach her. Sunday when we over taking to her son, Danny, she comes home and we just small talk to her and before I leave she asked me when we can study. I was bit surprised just because of her demeanor the last time we saw her. Well shows that you can't judge anybody too early.
Joel and I have been trying to find new investigators but, with not too much luck. Most of my mission th majority of people are happy to take lessons but in Laura a lot of people aren't too interested. The problem comes from previous elders who weren't the best and because of their example it has made some people not trust missionaries and gain a bad perception of the church. Marshallese people can be really observant and because it's such a small island people talk and gossip spreads very fast. It reminds of the story in the Book of Alma where Alma speaks to his son Corianton chastising him for not following the commandments, "Suffer not yourself to be led away by any vain or foolish thing; suffer not the devil to lead away your heart again after those wicked harlots. Behold, O my son, how great iniquity ye brought upon the Zoramites; for when they saw your conduct they would not believe in my words" (Alma 39:11). My mission can be a bit disobedient which really effects all the work in general. It can be easy to justify not following the rules especially when nobody else is but I know it's better to rise above. I admit that I need to better and am working on that. I believe no matter what we have to strive to be an example in whatever we do because if we are aware or not people notice. Wether as missionaries, members of this church, employees basically in all positions in live we must keep a good conduct.
Elder Spencer Weenig
Sunday, October 11, 2015
Being back in Majuro has been pretty overwhelming; being able to eat food other than rice and canned meat, A/C, cold water, cars... I am actually eating my first chicken burger in forever. I got back Wednesday morning after being on the MP Kwajalein for 12 days. I was able to visit the other outer islands of Namdrik, Kili, and Jaluit. I do miss Ebon but I am very happy to be back on the big island. I am sending my Ebon letters off today so in a little bit you'll get to hear about all those stories.
Currently I am working in Laura on the far west side of the island with Elder Joel of Pohnpei in Micronesia, great kid. We are living in one house with two other missionaries; Romney and Manmua, so it can be pretty fun. I really enjoy working in Laura, it's like an outer island but with all the big island amenities. The area is pretty spread out so we have bicycles out here and I am pretty stoked about that.
Work here is good we have a few investigators. Saturday two children Lawinni and Petrina were baptized. Both of them were children of members. Quite a few people we work with our members who's kids haven't been baptized yet. So we'll have lessons with the kids and try to get their whole families involved. In a lesson this week with a couple, Calder and Rolynn, Rolynn asked how old Joseph Smith was when he restored the church after hearing the story of the first vision when he was only 14 years old. Teaching her that it took Joseph Smith ten years of preparation before he was able to restore the church and how things happen gradually really resonated with her and helped her to realize that's how we gain answers. The experience reminded me of 2:28-43 in which Alma compares faith to a seed and how it happens very slowly. The Marshallese use "jidik kon jidik" meaning little by little things come to pass. With all things with faith, knowledge, learning a new language it all comes gradually and we just need to be patient and have faith in God that we'll be strengthened in all things.
I am excited to be able to email again and have constant contact. Thanks everyone for all the letters you sent I was able to get most of them out in Ebon. I want to give a special thanks to the Taotafas for the birthday package. Hope all is back home with everyone.
Elder S. Weenig
Sunday, October 4, 2015
This week has been good and keeps getting gradually better as we start teaching more people. We have three more investigators that we started with this week one couple and the another young guy in his 20's. Although quite a bit this week the majority of our investigators have been gone or busy. It's been nice and rainy this week so it's not as bad as sweating constantly.
Monday we had Family Home Evening at Wanko Jolet's house, she was one of the first converts in the area back in the 80's and knows the elders from back then. Joel and I were there as well as the other elders in the area, Romeny and Manumu'a, we taught them about the Book of Mormon after the whole family went around bearing testimony. Afterwards they asked if we had a game so I quickly thought to play of the game telephone and it was funny to see how much it was changing. I related to our believe in the Book of Mormon and just explained how because of numerous translations of the Bible it can be a bit confusing so we have the Book of Mormon because it helps to clarify the Bible and bit the faith we already have.
Saturday morning we were supposed to go do service at one of the less actives in the ward, Franklin and Ann, but when we got there they forgot we were coming and told us another time. We walked down the road, two houses down, to another woman we started talking to and find out she's a member and asked if she needed any help. We were able to weed are yard and clear up the whole area. The next day in testimony meeting she shared her testimony about how the elders came to her house randomly and cleaned her yard. She talked about how it can be hard with her husband gone but is grateful to know that she doesn't need to worry and looked out for in the church. It's just cool to see how such a little thing that can seem not as significant to you make such an impact in others life's.
This week wasn't all fun and at points can get a bit fed up with everything. The dogs in the Marshall Islands are horrible, which helps justify eating them, always barking and chasing us. Usually we just throw works at them and they run away. Another irritating thing is Marshallese are kind of punks and a lot of children here will swear in English or give you the finger because they think they're funny and sometimes you just want to slap them upside the head. I guess though that we need both good and bad days to even us out.
Lately I've been thinking about just the verse Mark 8:35 "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it." Just how I've just given up everything and come here. It can be hard but I wouldn't want to be doing anything else because I am giving my life to do God's word. However in return I am becoming a better person more Christlike stronger in my faith and countless other attributes and experiences I could not gain anywhere else.
Elder S. Weenig
Another week back in Majuro. I can now drink cold water without my teeth hurting! I have gotten sick a few times this week just because of being in air conditioning and getting used to eating American food. This week has been a bit hard Elder Joel and I both new to the area of Laura and are working on finding new investigators.
We have been working on doing finding a bit this week. It can be difficult at times just because the Church has been in the Marshall Islands for so long on such a small island the majority of people have been exposed to it. There's quite a few less actives and a lot of people have studied with the missionaries at one point. Tuesday while walking around we started talking to this older lady Asako, in her 70's, it was great we had a nice discussion with her and taught her the restoration and she responded really well and was really touched by the spirit that she cried when she gave the closing prayer. Friday when we went back to teach her again she couldn't remember anything from the last lesson and basically anything that had just happened asking us the same questions multiple times. She's a sweet old lady but I am pretty sure she suffers from bad memory loss. Another guy called Joel and I over one day and as talking to us for a while and when asked to study he responded to come back the next day. The next day we couldn't find him and when asking about him everyone said he was a drunk and was most likely drunk the day that I talked to him. I am working hard to stay motivated with the work but can be a bit hard with no people to teach.
Another thing I really enjoy about being back in Majuro is going to church. I don't know if you guys realized it but the Elders have to run the church in the outer islands so a lot of times I had to speak on Sundays as well as teach primary and bless he sacrament. I can't explain how nice it is to be back in church and not have to worry about anything just being able to sit and listen and feel the spirit. In the Laura ward we do have a senior couple that comes to church that I am translating for each week. It's nice I am at the point where I understand Marshallese people besides a few words here and there. Translating can be a bit difficult because the people just keep going and so you have to listen and translate at the same time but in enjoy it and helps me to pay better attention in church and improve on my Marshallese. Class on Sunday was really funny because the woman teaching asked at one point what we need in our homes and told none of the women to answer, the man went off listing things like windows, doors, cars, fridges... finally some guy answered the Priesthood. I thought it was just a really funny experience that I wanted to share with you guys.
Also just for a spiritual thought this week I want to share with you guys that we do have the Priesthood today as one of the many gifts of the restoration. That with it we can work and do miracles in the name of Jesus Christ. In the Marshall Islands the healthcare isn't the best so I have been able to give blessings to quite a bit of sick people. I know that with the Priesthood like the Holy Ghost can guide our families and homes to do God's work and to do his will. I am very grateful to know that the Priesthood I hold comes from a direct line in my family back to the Joseph Smith, John the Baptist, The Apostles Peter, James, and John and our savior Jesus Christ. This church is the restored church of Jesus Christ from his life and in the days of Adam. I wanted to share these things with you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
P.S. The Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price have been translated to Marshallese and are available online and in a few weeks we'll have printed copies.
Things have been okay not too great we're trying to find investigators but the previous elders in the area had girlfriends hang out at the house at night so the people don't trust the elders to much right now.