Elder Swan is serving in the Tonga Nuku'alofa Mission from July 2013 to July 2015

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Funeral's in Tonga/Tubs of Ice Cream 3/23/2014

Elder Caudill, Elder Riddle, Elder Ika, Elder Swan
Family! How is it??

I'm just in Tonga, our Branch pres told us to be quick so I am gonna summarize this week!

It was a normal week in this small town! Except there was a funeral! Funerals in Tonga are different than in the states! They Shut down the entire town! No playing music no playing volleyball , marbles or anything! And it's for a full week! They also wear all Black! No other colors.. So we got invited to the putu and went but we had to wear our missionary dress! So us being the only white people there and also wearing white shirts was really scary! A lot of dirty looks were thrown our way.. But we took a mat and gave it to the family and then went to see the body... We were in the line and I saw that every single person in front of us kissed the body.. It being too late to bail because there are people behind us and we were next, Nelisa the member we were with turns to us and says "'Uma" Which means kiss! So I kissed her then Caudill did too! It was an event that we wont forget.. Then afterwards they gave us a raw bag of meat! hahaha but I honestly believe people go to those to just eat.. They fed us 3 times... Haha!!! It was also Caudills B-day on Saturday so we got 2 big tubs of Ice cream.... Between me, Caudill, and Ika we only ate half of one together then me and Ika decided not to waste it so we promised to eat until it was gone... Bad idea.. I ended up eating a full tub... Ika is a bigger boy so He took it well.... I went and threw it all up as soon as I finished!!! Nasty!! Haha

The good news! We just got a referral on Friday and he lives in Ha'akio so we taught him and he is super interested! His name is Samiu! He is 21 and wants to learn all about it. He has talked with missionaries once before but had a problem with his family! So now we are hoping he will continue to search for truth as we teach him! I think he is one that is ready to receive this Gospel!

Other than that, that's about it!!  Ohh... I just took laxatives..... Uhh ohh!!!

What is better than what I'm doing? 3/16/2014

Mom, Dad, Family of all sorts and sizes,

This week was pretty good! I was thinking it was gonna be a slow week but it turned out pretty well! Tuesday through Wednesday was kinda slow! We just visit with people and try to get them to help us but sometimes they are just too lazy! It's like, do they not know how important it is to help these people find eternal truth and happiness! Mosiah 28:3 " Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that one soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble" Why can't everyone be like this? D&C 88:81 "... and it becometh every man who has been warned to warn his neighbor" There is a lot of work to do! And It's not gonna get done with only missionaries! We need the help of those who have been "Warned" and if you are a member of this Gospel then yes, you have been warned and yes, it has been commanded of you to help share it and bring others to eternal happiness!  I like how in Mosiah it says they "Could not bear" They have been given such a strong love for all people and they would not stop until they helped all they could! I know it's hard because they aren't full time missionaries but even still, there is nothing more important than the Gospel in this life!  Some people let silly things get in the way of what is truly important, but we need to all remember how short this life is compared to Eternity! Shouldn't we want all our Brothers and Sisters with us? I know I do! And that is one thing that will be changing when I return home! I will put this gospel before all else!

Well that's my spiritual preaching today!

On Thursday we had a baptism! His name is Taniela! He is a ho'eiki! Which is a high Chief of this village! He's 37 and I love the guy! I don't know him very well but since I've been here he has quit smoking and has been baptized and received the holy ghost! He is on his way to be sealed to his family in a year! Also yesterday, Sunday night, we had a Musical Fireside! It was amazing!! You know Tongans and their Music, well in a spiritual setting WOW!!! Like nothing else. Here's how it went...
Song, Testimony, Song, Testimony, Song, Testimony etc.. all the missionaries in that stake were there and we all brought investigators or inactives and It was amazing!

Well that's about all that has happened in tiny old Houma! But Hey what is better than what I'm doing? I get tons of good study and get to share it!
I love you all and miss you all!
Ofa lahi atu!
Elder Swan

So some pictures wont send because they are too big! But I do have a funny not so fun story! I got this huge Punga (Idk the English word for that) under my arm pit! It was the size of a golf ball and it was almost like a boil. it got so big and painful I couldn't put my arm to my side. So I went to the Hospital and got some meds. The next day after a sleepless night, I woke up and there was a head on it so I could finally pop it! And oh boy did I do so! I had Elder Katolo film it and it is Hilarious!!!! We were dying! The pain was horrendous but it was so worth it! I put my fingers beside it, pushed super hard and PAAAAAA Tons of gunk squirted out and shot 4 feet to the wall and hit the mirror! There was enough to fill like 3 shot glasses! It was nasty!!! But it hurt!! But that's my nasty funny story of the week!

Dripping down the walls and all down my side... NASTY!!! I believe it is from the water in Vava'u. It's NOT CLEAN!!!
Sorry to disturb your Sabbath :)
Elder Swan

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Climbing Trees and Catching Crabs~ 3/09/2014

Climbing a coconut tree~

What it is Fam bam!

What's up! This week was again kinda slow! Our village is really small and there aren't very many people that like us besides the members and the kids! We found out this last week that the Preacher from the other church tells his members not to let us in or listen to us. In a way that's kind of selfish or a lot selfish on his part! He is taking away their eternal life and happiness. We had an experience that showed us how serious it really is. All the kids hang out with us and like being around us, so one day we were talking to them and they heard a car and they knew the sound of the car and they all ran and hid?? When they came back I asked why they ran and hid? They said that it was their preacher and he would get mad at them if he saw them with us! Also one of the members told us a few weeks before we came one of the kids parents beat them right in front of the Elders because he was talking to them!! So it's pretty messed up and sad! We are just trying to be good examples to the kids so in the future they will remember the missionaries and hopefully take the lessons!

Our only investigators name is Taniela (Daniel) and he really really wants to get baptized! He actually wants to get baptized this week on Thursday! But He still smokes! He hasn't smoked for a week, but I'm not sure how long they have to stop in order to be baptized so I'm calling the Zone tonight to ask! He really wants to learn about the gospel! He has five Kids and his wife is a member! She is a return missionary! So next year he wants to go get sealed with his family! It is so amazing hearing that! Because that's why we are here. To bring people unto Christ and through Him eternal life and happiness!

The Language is coming along quickly! I've learned so much this past week and a half than I have in awhile! It's cool seeing the progression! Also I took a Book of Mormon study guide from Haleki and I've been studying in it for this whole transfer and there are so many things that just blow my mind every time I read it! The book of Mormon is the best book I have ever read and I love it! It literally blows my mind! It just EXPLODES!!!! The church is soooo true!

So this past week I got to climb a coconut tree! It was really kinda hard! Mostly because I've lost tons of muscle! But it was fun! There is also a place in our area that we can get to the ocean! It's about ankle to knee deep for about a mile until it his another Island! So we helped some people catch crabs and other sea foods for dinner! It was really fun! EXCEPT, There are eels!!! We would be walking and see EEL's and just run and scream! Haha. We didn't have knives or hele pelus (bush knife) so we couldn't kill them!! But the other kids did so they would just come over and kill them! Haha It was super scary! I'll send a picture of one! 
I love my companion we have tons in common! Sports, girls haha everything! I am feeling like I know a lot of the language. I can understand most things, but have a hard time speaking everything I want to say. Our fafangas here are the best I've had since being in Tonga! Since we aren't close to Kolo (town) they have to cook and make us the good real Tongan food! It's awesome! We had crab and oysters this week. 

Well that's about it for this week! I love and miss you all! But holy cow!! It's already March 10th! WOW!!

Ofa lahi atu ka kimoutolu!
Elder Swan
Catching crabs and other seafood


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Houma, Ha'akio and Mangia 3/02/2014

So I didn't receive my new companion until Friday and then we came straight to our area! Houma! There are 3 really SMALL villages here. Houma is where we live then Ha'akio and Mangia. There are 2 small branches and a whopping 8 or 9 families total combined in each branch... It's TINY! I came from the main town to the smallest place haha! We went out and have already visited our members and have begun the work. There has not been a baptism here for 13 years... But guess what? Nobody has as much Faith as I do :) So we will do our best to get some! Sorry this is so short we are in a rush!

My new companion Elder Caudill is from Huntington Beach and is 19 but turns 20 this month! He is a cool kid. It is really hard follow up training because I need to do most of the talking and try and communicate with everyone. It is really hard~ but the kids love us so it's fun. Next week will be a better e-mail!
Love you all!
Elder Swan

Please pray for me... This is really hard and I'm trying so hard to learn the language and I know I am progressing but it's still hard so pray for me, I know you already do but I need the help! Thanks :)
Oh and guess what? Already 7 months!!! CRAZY!

Elder Caudill
The kids love us!!!!