Somedays, we know what to plan for but other days just develop as we go. Taveuni has brought new friends and varied opportunities to serve, but recently we had the opportunity of hosting a dear friend from Ba, Adi Tabualevu. As an infant, her eye was injured when a piece of dry vegetation from the ceiling of her bure (hut/home) fell and stuck in her eye. Her well-meaning aunt tried a home remedy and some combination of the two events caused her to go blind in that eye.
Adi's humility and goodness under difficult life circumstances was always an inspiration to us as we shared the gospel and helped her prepare to attend the temple for the first time.
|The pole had been submerged in flood mud and weighed several hundred pounds|
|If it weren't for this guy's ingenuity, we never could have balanced the|
pole on the truck - a feat that took a lot of engineering
|Secure but shaky, we crept along the road to the Tabualevu house a several miles away|
|Final resting place of the power pole near their home -- happy day!|
Once the pole was in place, our mutual electrician friend Rafele Vutaga (see previous blog) donated his expertise to do the wiring.
|Wired but waiting until $62 more can be earned for the final permit and fees|
before their dream will become a reality
|Electricity won't modernize the kitchen where cooking is done over the|
open fire. Thirteen year-old Sikeli stayed home one day when his mom
was not well and fixed a breakfast of casava and lemon leaf tea
Sunday was a special time to have her travel with us to the southern tip of the island where she jumped right in teaching and speaking in church. On Monday we headed to discover some of the beauties of the island, all new to us as well.
|Lots of rain had swelled the river over the road but we just headed through|
|On way to Bouma Falls|
|Apparently not wanting to be unidentified if I drowned, |
I unintentionally kept my name tag on
|Her first time to swim in the ocean, collect seashells and have a picnic -- she loved them all|
|On our way home we passed this medical facility that is about as big as this picture|
and the cutest thing we have seen here. Thanks to Rotary International for giving
this village a valuable resource.
|Headed for the ferry to return to her home, we stopped at the International Dateline.|
Friendship across time and culture
Our primary purpose as missionaries is to: "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." Our mission theme scripture further highlights our commission: "Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life" (Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 5:13). This is truly the heart of the matter -- the thing we do that is of most worth.
On our first visit to the southern district of Vuna, we met Ela at church. She had been invited by a friend in the village and we were immediately taken by her bright smile and sincere interest. She was drawn to Tom's conversion story as a young adult and requested that we begin teaching her. At our first lesson, her sister Ana joined us and thus began a wonderful relationship we'll always treasure. Their young brother, Apatia was already a member and he sat in on occasion for the lessons.
|Ela (21), Ana (16), and their brother, Apatia (12) -- a family of bright countenances|
|Learning to prepare roti can never start too young|
|Ana and Ela frequently take care of little Litiana and she loved her balloon ball|
kindly made and provided by friends in America
|We loved teaching these two sisters who were so intent on learning|
|Often extras joined us as we taught them. This day, the sounds from a movie|
we were playing drew them in.
Several months of meeting culminated with their desire to be baptized. It was simple, and wonderful to gather by the sea with friends to witness their baptisms. We might acknowledge their concern when they were sure they saw some large creature swimming nearby which they assumed to be a shark. The young boys threw shells out at it so all would be safe and also checked the sea floor for spiny things. All went well and we lost no one, and we added a beautiful daughter of God to His fold.