Sunday, March 20, 2016

March 20th, 2016

My Birthday Week
This week was really good. Finally back in my area doing some work. The situation in our flat still isn't ideal. We don't have running water and the water we do drink is just from standing rain water that is pretty nasty. We manage though.
Monday- Had an awesome P day and I went 1v1 with the Aussie and I beat him. We went and had tea and crackers at Sister Maiwiriwiri's house. It was a good time.
Tuesday- We stayed in Somosomo because we had no way to get back to our area. We went on splits with the Elders here and they showed me around a little. They are pretty lucky because they can actually go to the store if they need something haha.
Wednesday- We went back to our area. The whole district went down and we did some service in Navakawau. People there were so grateful that we're there to help. They have lost everything and I feel so blessed to help them out..
Thursday- Elder Howard and I went proselyting. We went and saw a woman who is a pioneer for the church here in Vuna. She is missing both legs and she has such a strong testimony. We got her a wheelchair so hopefully she can get to church now. On the way back Elder Howard broke his bike.... Today was our first day using them...
Friday- I had one of the best lessons of all time today. We went and saw a less active member lady. Her house is destroyed from the cyclone. We shared a message about the restoration of the gospel. She then explained how her and her husband had be arguing about Joseph Smith's experience. I felt the spirit so strong as I testified to her that he was the chosen prophet to restore the gospel in these latter days. After that she also bore a moving testimony of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is true.
Saturday- Sat in the flat all day because Elder Howard was ill. The water that we drink isn't the best... Especially after the cyclone. Although he was sick, there were some guys who came a played guitar and sang near our flat. It was a good pick me up.
Sunday- My birthday. It was a wonderful day. Probably the best birthday of all time. I woke up and it didn't really feel like my birthday but that was okay. As we went to church, the chapel was filled. It was so full that I had to sit on the ground. This was the best gift of all. Later that day as we went to the Somosomo area, Elder Amisone had got cakes made and bought ingredients for Sister Lokotui to make me a traditional Tongan drink called Otai. It was delicious.

All in all, it was a good week. Things here are hard, but I know that I am growing and becoming the person our father in heaven needs me to become. I know the gospel is true and I hope I can be a strong enough person to help the Fijians who are in need.

Au sa vakavinavinakataka na noqu Kalou. Au taleitaka vakalevu sara na noqu kalotu. Au lomani na noqu matuvuvale. Rerevaka na Kalou ka doka na tui

My birthday cake, check out my name tag.
Getting ready to send Elder Dunn to a new area:(
Elder Dunn and me.

My birthday treat, I will try and get the recipe, delicious.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

March 8th, 2016

Cyclone Winston
biggest storm to ever hit the southern hemisphere

Hello everyone, it is nice to be back. These past few weeks have been quite and experience for me. The missionaries from all the islands in the Fiji mission traveled to Suva for the cultural celebration and re dedication for the temple. On Feb. 18, I traveled from Taveuni island to the island of Vanua Levu. After that we bused to the dock at the southern part of the island and took another boat to Viti Levu and stayed with missionaries throughout Suva. 

On Feb. 20, we woke all woke up and were about to head to the Samabula chapel to hear from President Eyring, Elder Cook, and some members from the 70. Right as we were about to leave, a mass text was sent out to all missionaries warning us to stay indoors and get to a secure location because there was a class 5 cyclone warning. I had heard nothing of this storm before this so I was quite shocked. After about an hour and a half, President Eyring and our mission president decided that we would be okay to all come in to Samabula. After that we were able to hear from these men. This was the highlight of the trip to Suva. What an experience. I know for certain that these men are called of God and that they only speak truth. After this we all went down to Vodafone Arena to watch the cultural celebration. It was supposed to be in ANZ stadium but because of the weather, we had to do it indoors. It was a great cultural event and they performed traditional dances "meke". They had to end it short because of the weather but it was still a good event. When we went outside, there was more wind and rain than I had ever before seen. It was insane. Fiji shut down for the rest of the day. We all went back to flats and chapels and hunkered down for the rest of the storm. The next day we saw the damages that cyclone Winston had provided. It wasn't very bad in Suva, but I heard that my area in the southern part of the Taveuni island got the worst of the storm. 

We were stuck in Suva for the next while because all of the docks and boats had received some damage. We waited with the kids from Taveuni until we could get back to the island. They heard what had happened to Taveuni and were all really scared because they didn't know how their family/lives would be when they returned. We were eventually able to return to Taveuni and when we got there, it was something I will never forget.

We got to Taveuni and we got all of the kids back to their villages and to their families. They were so excited to see their families and they cried for a long time. This made me realize how important my family is. There houses were all destroyed. The whole island looked different. We immediately began working with LDS charities and LDS helping hands and provided food, water, and clothes for all those in my area. Although these people didn't have much to begin with, and now all they had is ruined, they are still happy. How can these people be happy in a situation like this? I am amazed at their faith and their strength in such trying times.

These past few weeks I have only been doing service. Helping to rebuild houses, provide water, food, and other necessities of life. Elder Dunn and I got back to our flat and surprisingly it was still standing. All of my stuff inside was on the ground and was ruined. Apparently the tide was in our house because our flat is right on the beach. People say that this was the worst cyclone ever recorded in the southern hemisphere. The stories from people that were there are unbelievable. They saw 70 foot tsunamis and were hunkered down in there houses, but they had faith and were helped from God. 

It is a miracle that all the missionaries were in Suva and were safe at the time of the cyclone. I am so very grateful to be here and I know that I have a work to do. I know that as long as I am am faithful, God will not let me fall. Times could not be harder, but I could not be happier, because I am serving. I hope all is well at home. I love you all and hope for the best. Trust in God and hope for a better world.

E dina na ituvatuva ni Kalou. Au lomani kemuni kece. Au vakavinavinakataka na noqu matuvuvale kei na loloma kina. Kua ni rere, vakabauta ga. 

Loloma levu,
          Elder Jones

No signs of a storm here.
This is almost every house in my area.
The Australian government helps us out with much needed supplies.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

March 2nd, 2016

March 2nd and still no word from Ri

Here is what I can gather from the senior couples blog. I will try and interpret the best I can. It looks like they repaired the dock so that the jetty can get the much needed supplies to the island which was one of the worst hit. He has spent day in and day out, sun up to sun down doing service which has been anything from delivering supplies, repairing water sources, delivering water which is in much need. They have been in a water drought for over a year. This did not help. Through all of this one thing is evident, the people of Fiji are still smiling. They didn't wast anytime cleaning up or helping each other. They share what little they have with everyone and still mange to be happy. They are so very grateful for the church and how quickly they have come to their aide. I am so very thankful for my son and his efforts to help on every level.  I love him and the day I finally get to talk to him will be one that will go down in the books. 

Look at my son, and Elder Dunn I am so proud.
They have worked so hard to help the loving people of Fiji.
Bags being put together to be delivered.
104 people living in this house right now. There weren't very many houses left standing.
The clean-up crew

The damage is unbelievable.
Day in and day out trying to get food, water to the people.