Okay, I'm almost done. The last thing I wanted to do was share, not about an experience, but my thoughts because of it. The first idea I want to connect with the sharing is something that President Wilson said. He said only the truly righteous don't come to church. I looked at him funny and asked why. He said, because sinners go to church to get a remission of their sins and repent. Obviously if you aren't going it means you don't need a remission of your sins, so you must be especially righteous. I want to warn everyone to never be too righteous to come to church. It isn't worth it. Sometimes problems occur and people get offended. They leave the church because of a person. Nothing someone else said or did, or is saying and doing, is worth leaving the church. If you are thinking "If only they weren't there I would go to church." That is wrong. The Christ like thing to do is forgive them and attend church. By not coming the only person you are hurting is yourself and no one else. Especially not the person you are mad at. At the last day it will be much worse for you then the person that did wrong or said wrong because they are still coming to church. When the day of judgement comes it will be them that enter into the rest of the Lord, a repentant sinner, and you that shall be told get thee hence o thou worker of iniquity. Because the House of the Lord is the house of sinners and publicans and Samaritans and those that are not accepted and the downhearted. Don't allow the sin of pride to pull you away from his hallowed house.
Part of our attempt to build up the area involved a missionary meeting with our branch presidency. We decided the best thing to do to move the work forward is to involve the members (no duh). Because of this we are working with a paper called the Member-Missionary Promise. This spiritually prepares the members to receive revelation on who we can go see and share the gospel with. I'm excited about this new plan and if you've never heard of it or haven't done it yet, I'd suggest you ask the missionaries if they've heard of it and why they aren't doing it. It keeps the missionaries and the members closer as the strive to work together to build up the kingdom of God.
We had a lot of work this week trying our best to keep our promise to turn this area around. One thing we planned on was hiking up to the interior village we have in our stewardship called Bainikarasi. However, as we started to go, on a day that was much too hot, my shoe broke and we were unable to make the hike. I think the Lord knew that it was too hot and that there were other things we needed to do down here. We ended up just going to Qeleni and seeing a bunch of people there getting some great return appointments and service done. No matter what we do, the work of the Lord continues unhindered by our limitations. God always prepares a way.
We've been looking for every opportunity that we can to do service. We had service set up with one of our investigators to go up to his farm and help him out up there. But he decided to go diving instead that day. We ended up going up with another man, who is also the uncle of half our recent converts (one family) and helping him. True to Fijian nature he didn't really want us to help him too terribly much. Just told us to rest and do small things. We took the time to get to know our recent converts really well. It was really fun to hike up into the mountains of Taveuni though. We got to see the beautiful interior of Fiji. I'd say that is even more stunning than the beaches and the oceans, but hey, I'm an Oregonian.
That's just an overview of what's been happening out here, not I guess I ought to go into a bit more detail. We've just been going around trying to meet everyone. The actual village Qeleni had been mostly untouched until now, so we pulled up our sleeves (figuratively since we only wear short sleeves) and went to work talking to people. In the process we looked for service. A lot of people were making sasa-s which are traditional Fijian brooms made out of coconut tree leaves. You have to cut the stalk of the leaf down. Then pull the individual leaves off, and then shave the leaf part off with a knife leaving only the stick-like bendy piece that holds up the leaf. Then you bundle those together and tah dah! you have a broom. Since everyone was making those we quickly learned how and started to help. It was fun, becoming more cultured by the day.
Bula Vina'a!Well this week went by quick. Probably because I emailed last Wednesday thus cutting my email period short by one day. Still, time moves by fast either way. I can't believe that I've already had my first week with Elder Golson, but I also can't believe that I've only known him for a week...if that makes sense. I'm not sure what I've already said about Elder Golson, but I'll say a bit more since we were a bit rushed last week. He's awesome. The best part of being with him is that he is always fired up and ready to go. WE constantly encourage each other to do better and have fun while we are doing it. We've been having slow work in Qeleni the past few months, so it's been hard to work out of the rut, but Elder Golson showed up and said that we can just forget about what every says. Qeleni isn't a slow hard area, we just need to work harder. Feeling his energy I told him a wise saying from a wise man "It's not hard, it just requires effort." Taking this to heart we got out and worked talking to everyone we found and the work is starting to get a footing again. It's not quite up to the missionary ideal of a "good area" but give us a break, we've only been at it for a week.
Enough preaching, I just needed to share that final thought. I have gained a huge testimony of the importance of church attendance, and that is about the dumbest reason to not attend church. I love all of you and wish you could be experience the great joys that I get to experience out here. All my afflictions on the mission become but a small moment as they are quickly swallowed up the the joys of the next moment. Thank you for your support and prayer.