Bula Vanaka From Beautiful Fiji,
We can't believe we have been out eight months now and realize nearly half of our mission is already over. To say we are different people today than when we left is an understatement. I have never learned to rely on the Lord more, love my companion deeper, and learn to love another culture as much as we have come to love the Fijian people.
As a little boy in the sixth grade I used to look forward to a radio program called, "Those far away places with strange sounding names". The weekly broadcast was piped into the classrooms at Canyon Rim Elementary and made me want to explore strange places far away. Little did I know the Lord would send me twice to the South Pacific. First at the ripe old age of nineteen I was blessed to be called to serve the Maori people of New Zealand, and now to the wonderful islands of Fiji. At times I still hear the theme song, "Those far away places with strange sounding names, those far away places I'll be, those far away places are calling my name calling calling to me."
My Great grandfather was called as a young man to the Isles of Hawaii and later when he returned home was asked to migrate a colony of Hawaiians to Utah and create a small town outside of Grantsville. He also had a deep love for the people of the South Pacific and dedicated his life to them.
I feel these special people are given the gift of simple faith. To them spiritual closeness is a way of life. Often when they offer prayers I feel guilty that faith comes so matter of fact to them. When they pray I often want to peek to see if the Lord is standing right next to them. They feel spiritual promptings and guidance in their lives as easy as I feel warmth from the sun on my face. The warmth they feel is from the Son of God. When they discuss teachings from our church manuals I can not believe their insight and comments they make. I ask myself weekly who was sent to teach who!
A good friend Reed Hurst sent us a letter some time ago relating some of the experiences he had while serving a mission here in Fiji some thirty eight years ago. One story he shared was advice he was given by a man who years before Reed had served here in Fiji. Reed was advised to put two stones into a bag. Have one stone white and one stone black. As time passes look into the bag often and when you no longer see white and black than you have served well and it is time to come home.
I really did not understand the full im-pack of his story until two weeks ago when I was invited to participate in giving a blessing and conformation of the Holy Ghost to a special little eight year we nick named "Sparkle". Sister Seare and I have become very attached to the Taito family who is Tehana's family. Seven months ago we had our first encounter with the Taito family when they invited us to a family home evening. The spirit in their home was sweet and strong. As soon as Tehana was introduced as the youngest member of her family we were impressed by her countenance and nick named her "Sparkle". Durring the lesson she pulled out invitations she had made with loving hands and excitedly asked if we would attend her baptism in seven months. The invitations were well worn letting us know she had been planning this special event in her life for some time. How many seven year olds have that kind of insight to prepare for such an important event as baptism in their lives!
As the time came to confirm her she asked three people to be part of the confirmation. Our Bishop who is Indian and as black as night, Her Father who is as olive brown as Fijians get , and me a White man as light as they come. I will never forget the overwhelming feeling of love I had as I looked at our three contrasting colored hands resting themselves on this special spirits head.
I than realized I no longer saw contrasting colors but only one. Three men preforming a saving ordnance on a small child.
With joy also comes challenges. Right now We are sitting in our small flat waiting the arrival of a category four Hurricane named Tomas. It will hit our area with full gale force and we are gearing up for a wild night ahead of us. It is forecast to be one third stronger than our last Cyclone which did great flooding and damage in December. Our candles are ready, our water has been put in every container we own, and our phones are charged. We will probably loose power and water service when the storm hits for who knows how long this time. I would not change this mission experience for any price.
So Sister Seare BATTEN DOWN THE HATCHES!!!!!
All our love,