Monday, February 29, 2016

February 29: New Companion

   Pretty short week. The biggest thing that happened is Soromon flew out Wednesday and then my new companion, Kim, flew in Tuesday. Kim was in the MTC so we're pretty close. The young men that were baptized last week got ordained to aaronic priesthood. It was cute one of the young men was sitting up ready to pass and I had to explain that he hasn't received the priesthood yet and to wait one more week. 
   The Schaffers flew out this morning and the new senior couple the Ricks flew in on Saturday. Sister Ricks was baptized in the Lake San Marcos ward so it was pretty cool. Such a small world with so many connections. 
  Work has been good. Rusen has been going well. Basically this guy is reading the bible everyday and not really doing anything. He's really interested and has been studying the Book of Mormon. Sonny another kid has been real great, he's been coming to seminary all this week and will probably be ready for baptism in a week or two. 
  Alma 38:10-12 10 And now, as ye have begun to teach the word even so I would that ye should continue to teach; and I would that ye would be diligent and temperate in all things. 11 See that ye are not lifted up unto pride; yea, see that ye do not boast in your own wisdom, nor of your much strength. 12 Use boldness, but not overbearance; and also see that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love; see that ye refrain from idleness. 
Some good missionary advice good to remember for myself. What I need to be and how I need to act but good for everyone pretty much. 
Love you all. 
Elder Weenig

S. Weenig

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

February 22, 2016: Lots of Baptisms

This week we were able to have 3 young men baptized in our area and 7 throughout all of Ebeye. Really great to see how much the gospel changes and blesses people's life's. Also Elder Soromon will be leaving and I'm sad about that but I will be working with Elder Kim which started his mission the same time as me.
  One of the kids Junior who got baptized was about to quit going to school and hadn't got at all the beginning of the week. So I told him Wednesday that if he didn't go to school he's not going to seminary and should wait to get baptized. Corrected the kid right away and he went back to school the very next day. There's quite a few kids that just don't go to school. Sometimes they'll tell us thinking that they're so cool. I've realized how essential education is those kids that don't go to school waste their lives and at young ages of 14 and 15 are drinking, smoking, and pregnant. I saw a 9 year old quit smoking, I wanted to go smack him but another kid beat me to it. Broke my heart to see how lost some of these people are. 
  The other kids that got baptized Renny and Joel are brothers. The older one has been coming to seminary for the past 3 weeks. As we studied with them we found out that their mom was a member. Hopefully we'll start teaching their mom and dad but they're dad drives a taxi so is working everyday. Had Gigi one of the girls in our ward baptized as well. We studied with her when we first got to Ebeye because she told us she was 9 then her mother told us she was only 7. This week her mother corrected herself and realized she was 8 and got interviewed with the branch president and baptized. Way cute to see her bear her testimony after her baptism. Back when we were studying with her she was always shy about praying and bearing her testimony so it's cool to see how great she was. One of the sister's investigators told me a really neat story when I interviewed him for baptism. He told me how he had a dream with 3 angels standing at his door and then he woke up. A few days later his daughter came with the sister missionaries and began lessons with him. 
  P-Day Tuesday Elder Waniel and I went to go do a little service by helping one of the members get her things on the boat returning to outer island. It was the MP Kwajalein, the nostalgia hit me so hard, the same one I was on for 12 days coming back from Ebon. It may have been one of the strangest experiences; this boat once so massive now clearly put into proportion as a tiny boat less then a couple hundred feet. I'm not sure how I'll be able to conduct myself whence returning to America. My mom emailed saying how she bought an 18 foot couch for the house and I think that it's longer than the length of my house. 
  Started with some great investigators this week. The one that's a youth is already going to seminary. Also began teaching this Marshallese guy who can't even speak the language because he grew up in Hawaii. So different teaching people in English I have to think about what I say instead of just letting it pour out as it is with Marshallese. Elder Soromon as well as the senior missionaries, the Schaffers are leaving soon. Sunday we had a farewell for them at the church and I think Sister Lafaele was playing 'God be with until we meet again' for over half an hour. It's been fun working with Elder Soromon really great hard working kid. Down to earth but I know I'll probably see him in a few months back in Majuro. 
   Alma 34:28 And now behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you, do not suppose that this is all; for after ye have done all these things, if ye turn away the needy, and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart of your substance, if ye have, to those who stand in need--I say unto you, if ye do not any of these things, behold, your prayer is vain, and availeth you nothing, and ye are as hypocrites who do deny the faith. 29 Therefore, if ye do not remember to be charitable, ye are as dross, which the refiners do cast out, (it being of no worth) and is trodden under foot of men. I have been hearing news now and then about how the church policy is effecting people, even causing suicide among a several young people. Just remember that charity, the pure love of Christ is the most important aspect of being a Christian being a child of God. That in reality if you're not a loving person no matter how pious you may be it doesn't matter. Salvation comes to those and will be determined of our relationship with others how much we strive to be like our savior Jesus Christ. It can be difficult at times but we must see everyone as our Heavenly Father sees them; not as they are but what they can become. 

Love you all, 6 more months and staying strong 

S. Weenig

Friday, February 19, 2016

February 15, 2016: Island of Ebeye

Solid week. Soromon and I have been focusing on starting and finding with new investigators. Had a fireside with a bunch of people yesterday. It was also Memorial Day here in Ebeye so fun things. 
Wednesday not much happened because of Memorial Day. None of the kids were in school and they had a bunch of events down at the beach park: basketball and volleyball tournaments and even a 5 mile race down the length of the island. Mostly Wednesday was getting prepared for our fireside on Sunday. We put together these paper chains for the families to take off one chain at a time and read a scripture verse. Also went out to eat at one of the only restaurants in Ebeye and it was not disappointing. All 6 of us missionaries went and split the bill that was over $50. I guess we'll just have to stick to rice and chicken. Nothing happened on Wednesday so it was a bit boring.
The fireside Sunday focused a lot about family prayer. Our theme was 3 Nephi 18:21 21 Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed. Very simple and short verse but very powerful. The reason we did it is to have our families here be better about doing family prayer every night. Another reason we did was we also asked them over the course of 3 weeks as their doing family prayers and reading the scriptures we gave them is to think of people who are down to study with missionaries as well as less actives we should work with. I was able to speak and talk about personal experience with family prayer and unity. Shared about the sign over our door 'Return with Honor' as well as my experience with priesthood blessings and how the spirit was in our home. Focused on how parents need to be teaching their children gospel principles and about Jesus Christ. We put together over 30+ paper chains but will have to put together 20 more because of all the people that came. Really praying that this will help our families out a lot as well as missionary work. 
Quite a few new investigators we started with. Marlynn and Perkin the owners of our house started a week ago and want to study daily. Also started with these two teenage boys at one of the new member's houses. Most of our contacts are through family and other people living at their houses. Renny and Joel, the teenage brothers we study with, are ready for baptism Saturday and we are studying with their little sisters and will start soon with their parents.  One thing here is that quite a few times adults are not wanting to study for a few reasons: work, having a position in another church, or not interested but they want their children to study. Diosi's father in law is a Deacon in Protestant but he wants us to study with the people in his house- a young couple as well as his teenage son. One of the kids Aaron got baptized Saturday. He's 11 years old but maybe a little over 3 feet. Anyways his parents were really happy he got baptized and came to his baptism Saturday but don't really want to study with us. So the majority of investigators are youth and young couples. 
Work is going great. Almost every week we find another kid to take to seminary. Usually a less active one that should be going so lots of good solid work happening. We'll have 3 of our investigators; all young men be baptized Saturday.

Love you all, 
Elder Weenig

P.S. I just finished my 4th journal on my mission. Still writing everyday.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

February 1, 2016: Seminary and Letting my Companion Sleep

Another solid week here in Ebeye. Have been working on finding new investigators with members. Ebeye is having a bad drought. Also I finally crashed after working too hard. 
   Wednesday morning we went and got all the youth and investigators up to go to seminary. Walked to the church and then I tell Soromon that I can't go sit in seminary because I'm out to pass out. We get back to the house and I was planning on sleeping for an hour or two, I ended up sleeping for 5-6 hours. I try to wake up numerous times but my whole body just completely ached. I guess it's good because I was finally able to get some sleep and rest. I need to watch myself because I never give myself enough sleep. Soromon and I decided that majority of p-days are dedicated to napping. 
   Wednesday night we through a surprise party for Sister Schaffer. So one of the Sisters, Lafaele, told me to be sicker than. I was laying down in the foyer of the church building and then Sister Lafaele is going off how I through up in the chapel and sister Schaffer needs to clean it up. That almost made Sister Schaffer just go home, but we finally got her in the chapel. Had all the seminary and institute and a bunch of church members waiting. Had a few games and cake so it was really fun. I am really grateful for the Schaffers, they're going home soon. Every p-day we go to their apartment for homemade pizza and Disney movies so will definitely miss them. 
   Diosi and Lupe have been really great at helping us find new investigators. They were planning on going to America but when I asked them a few days ago about it they answered they decided that they're going to stay another year and help the elders with investigators. Started with Lupe's 15 year old brother. Also got referrals to his older sister, as well as her little sister. Got a quite a bit more names and people to contact so hopefully we'll start teaching a lot of new people this week. 
   Ebeye is having a drought so almost everyone is out of water. All the other missionaries on island live at one apartment complex and they started rationing water there. It's really nice though because we have our own pontoon at our apartment and so we haven't had and probably won't have any problems with water. 

Love you guys, take care. 

S. Weenig

Monday, February 1, 2016

January 25, 2017: Lots of pictures!

This week has been amazing. Both Lupe and Diosi were baptized this Saturday as well as 3 others on island. Did a few rescues, started up again with old investigators and made sure we got enough sleep. 
  So before the plan was for Lupe to be baptized and for Diosi to baptize her. Diosi was baptized a while back and went to the LDS high school, Moroni, in Kiribati. Well we tried to look up his records and were never able to find them so our Branch President suggested he just get baptized again. So it was really cool to see them both able to be baptized. Lupe was given the gift of the Holy Ghost by her brother the 2nd Counselor in the Branch. Tons of members showed up to the baptisms  and so very very fun. 2 members from our area as well as one the primary in the 3rd branch a teenage girl in 1st branch and then a pregnant lady that flew in from Lae and got baptized. 
  Had rescues on both Friday and Sunday. So rescues are going around and visiting less actives and sharing a spiritual message with them inviting them back to church. Friday the sisters, Soromon and I go with one the member families and went and visited those that are less active in the area. We were able to see one the families we visited come to church on Sunday. Then Sunday during the 3rd hour of church all the youth went around and doing rescue with a bunch of young men and women. Following up the Youth Leaders put together a fireside for later that night and a family home evening the next night. Way cool to see their refocus on the Youth, they have recently started doing mutual after a long time of not having it.
   Started back up with some of our investigators that had been off island. Renny was one of the teenage kids we study with that just decided to go spend Christmas with his brother in one of the outer islands with not telling one not even his mom. We studied with both him and his brother Joel. Before his brother was way down to study but just wanted to wait until his older sibling got back so we started with both of them and take the older one to seminary in the morning. Another man we study with, Jorbi, came back from being in Majuro for Christmas. He has been back for a week or two but we were hesitant about starting up with him again just because the last time around he was uninterested and mainly study because his girlfriend that's a member wanted him to. I'm very grateful we started back up again with him after the first lesson he just tells us thanks for not giving up on him. Also now he seems much more interested in the gospel and things we share with him. Basically the majority of members have studied with multiple elders before being baptized. So I believe that everyone on island will study at one point so really we need to find and discern the people are ready to accept the restored gospel and act upon their faith. 
   I often feel that Soromon and I never have enough time. I'm making sure we sleep more because I think I may have been working Soromon too hard. It's good lots of good being down. One of the primary kids we study with is turning 9 Saturday so we'll have him and two other of his friends get baptized then. 
   So one of the verses I was reading this week really struck me was in 1st Nephi 11:17 "I know God loveth his children; nevertheless I do not know the meaning of all things." That this is from Nephi a prophet who knew he did not understand every aspect of the gospel but he understand the most basic and fundamental principle that we are children of God. God's love for us is incomprehensible; the fact he would send Jesus Christ to the world to provide the path for us to return to him one day. With people we are able to teach and share with I stress the fact that we quite a few things but most importantly we believe in Jesus Christ and families. That just as Joseph Smith started "The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it” 
  Love you all. Take care and remember God loves you and you are his children. 

S. Weenig