The life and times of Elder Collin Winget as he serves a 2-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He is serving in the Fiji,Suva mission in New Caledonia, where he speaks French.
We just finished emailing Collin - probably for the last time until we see him at the airport on the 11th!! But this won't be the end of Elder Winget's blog yet - I'm sure Collin will have something to say when he gets here. Also, I will post pictures/video of us meeting him at the airport, I'm sure. Thanks everyone for reading this blog, and also thanks for supporting him with your letters and prayers. 2 years really do go by quickly! I never thought that would be true for me, but what a blessing to find that it's really true! And now, here's the latest, and possibly last, email from Elder Winget : ( drumroll please...)
Yeah, this most likely is the last time I'll email y'all on my mission-- I actually might get to say a quick hi in Fiji but I figure since I'll be seeing you in a couple days anyway it's not really completely necessary. But either way I'm happy to receive your emails today as every day. I was packing my stuff this morning and I'm freaking out about it.. It still seems unreal that I'll be home in just a few days. I haven't been counting down the days though-- it's too weird to me.
I don't know what I want for dinner... I've had enough spaghetti to last me a lifetime (the easiest thing to make on a mission budget..) but I wouldn't mind some lasagna or something. I don't know, surprise me. All of that sounds waaaay too good... I can't choose. But you know what I like and know that I'll appreciate any and all of it.
Thanks for the itinerary- It's cool to know when I'll be home... albeit weird. I'm going to see how many books I can read in 11 hours.. :P I'm going to dabble in The Articles of Faith and the Book of Mormon and see how far I can get.
I'm thinking that I'm going to give away most of my ties to members.. And I'm thinking about giving my camera to Elder Harry- an Elder from Vanuatu- he doesn't have a camera and I know he'll regret not having one. I feel a lot more charity for everyone these days-- I don't really feel a need to have own and aquire stuff as much as I used to. As long as I'm living and I can eat a good dinner all the rest doesn't matter as much. :)
Don't stress.. Just kick back under a coconut tree and eat a mango. Oh wait.. Too bad mango season is over. I love mangos.
There was a 8 year old kid who got baptized on Saturday and I gave the talk on the Don du Saint-Esprit. I think that was the best baptism talk I've ever given.. Most of the other ones I gave were last minute and not very good at all. The baptism went well though.
I did an exchange in Ducos and ate chez Atiu. It was good to see him again-- he's doing great.. He's planning on going to the temple at the end of this year. He's doing great in his calling and he's as strong as ever. He also told me he really wanted me to baptize him but he forgot to ask me until it was too late. Frere Turi sort of forced him into letting him baptize him. (that makes no sense) But I'm happy that he's baptized, whether or not I was the one that baptized him. It's nice to know someone wanted me to baptize them though. :P
The next baptism is happening on the 22nd- Amelie and Simone. I hope that works out.
We had a new Amie this week- her name is Marie (surprise surprise.. everyone's named Marie) she's really cool- we invited her to come to church after the first lesson and SHE CAME! Wow! I was really happy to see her. She liked the service and is planning on seeing us this Mardi and coming to church again Dimanche.
We taught Sevurine this sunday and taught her about the Plan of Salvation. She's really intelligent and pensive- she doesn't reject what we say immediately just because it's not what she believes (contrary to what most people do.. ) but she has thought a lot about it and I think she thinks it's true. She said she knows that it wasn't by chance that we came by her house on the only day that she was home.. She was really intreagued by prophets- she says it really makes sense that there would be a living prophet. We talked about the Plan of Salvation yesterday- and she was fascinated by it. It's really weird, but the vast majority of people I have talked to in New Caledonia have honestly never wondered where they come from why they're here and where they're going. I guess it's just the island lifestyle and way of thinking.. Casse pas la tête. (don't break your head.. don't worry about it) Most people are not intrested in thinking about anything later than this weekend. But anyway, she was really interested in the Plan of Salvation- and she said it completely makes sense and must be true. She's really cool- I'm sad that she's going to London in a couple weeks though.. Maybe the Lord can do a miracle for us and send a French missionary to wherever she is moving.
Anyway, I'm excited and sad to come home.. I see so so so much potential and so so so much room to grow in this branch-- I've been really frustrated and tired out over the past few weeks in Mont Dore. The first 2 weeks I didn't have any idea what was going on (the first time in like a year..) where anyone lived, what they needed, or how to make things progress.. The last missionaries didn't do jack in the area book so everything was a mystery to me. Know I know more or less what is going on-- and now I'm frustrated because I have my vision of how to get things moving-- and I know that I can't possibly make much of a difference in the time I have left. Of course I know that's not true- but it's hard to know that the only difference I might make I will never know about or see the fruits of. I'm doing my best, but it's frustrating and tiring. I know what I would do with the Amis and the branch if I was staying for a few months-- but I know that whoever comes after me can't possibly keep it up in the same way I would. But I guess it all turns out alright in the end. I will just trust that.
I also found out that Elder Wilcox is going to be my replacement- he's coming here to take over Robinson when I leave. Every single companionship is training- because the entire mission (no exaggeration) besides a very small few is leaving in 2010 and there are 5 new missionaries that just got here and more on the way. This mission is going to be hard for the next few months... too bad I won't be here to help. Oh well.
I guess that's all I have to say about my last week in Caledonie.. Monday is mother's day, right? I guess if you want or need to call me you can on saturday or sunday, but i figure it's not really worth it since I'll be home the next day... Sorry I'm late for mother's day but it'll be worth it with the present I got for you. :D
I don't have huge awesomeness to bring home to everyone, but I have a couple small things. Don't expect TOO much because I don't have a lot. But I hope you'll all appreciate what I bring.
Well you're not gonna believe it.. But I'm actually going to be serving with Elder Amundsen until the end of my mission!! Whahaa?? Weird eh? It's fun though- we're just chillin in Robinson- that's in Mont Dore. I miss the Tontouta branch- and it is kind of lame that I don't have enough time left to get to know the people in the Mont Dore branch.. So nobody will care when I leave. They'll be like oh that kid that has been in our branch for 3 weeks is leaving. Tant pis. But whatever, it's okay. It's kind of fun to be serving en ville again- it's weird to see all the missionaries and lots of people all the time. I am used to seeing.. nobody... all the time.
It's really really weird-- I will be IN FIJI 3 weeks from this very moment. It feels like my mission has just begun.. And it's pretty much over. Sigh.. It's sad, but happy, but sad at the same time. I have strange mixed feelings- it doesn't seem like I will ever actually leave.. I'm just a missionary, I have never been nor ever will be anything else. I vaguely remember being a normal person-- but not really. I am really excited to apply all the things I've learned on my mission in the real world though-- I feel like I get a new chance on life that I didn't get before.. A new life but this time my priorities are a little bit more in order- and I've grown up just a little bit. I think I'm different from the beginning of my mission- I hope that I won't make the same mistakes now that I would have made before. I have grown to know my Savior more fully- and I have such a great desire to serve Him. I think that's the most important thing I've learned on my mission- I've learned that my priorities should be on the Lord first- and that everything else will fall into place- and all bad things (that I don't really want or need anyway) will just fall out of my life.
I was sort of worried that in becoming what I am now I wouldn't like the stuff I liked before-- but I realized that it doesn't matter. I am better now than 2 years ago and I'm happy about it. I've made mistakes on my mission but I am pleased for the most part at what has come from it. 4 people have changed and made covenants and are working to serve the Lord and His kingdom that weren't doing it before- and many other people have made changes.. Whether small or large- and I am confident that there will be more people that will change and get baptized through my efforts. I'm happy I was able to serve a mission. I love New Caledonia and I'm sure I'll get a chance to come back some day.
As far as Robinson goes, we've got a baptism coming up the 8th of May normally, and another one the 22nd- sadly I won't be there for the second one (the reason I was saying I wanted to extend) but now that Elder Amundsen is here, he'll take care of it. And as long as the people here change-- I'm not too worried about being there for the "glory" of having a baptism... I just want people to change for the better.
We have a great amie whose name is Simone- she is a sick lady, but has an amazingly strong faith. She has cancer, and is really weak- she's losing lots of weight because she lives alone and doesn't eat much. She says she's 47 kilos- which I think is barely over 100 pounds. She is doing great though, she is the one who is preparing to be baptized the 22nd of may. We made dinner for her last night and went over to her house and ate it with her. She really has the faith of a small child- and she uses it. When she hurts, she prays. When she's sad- she prays. And the cool thing is, because her faith is strong, she has the power to overcome her .. how do you say.. epreuves. Bah, I forget. She's wonderful though- I know she's going to be a great member of the church and has already applied the gospel in her life. (I looked up epreuves - it means tests... it's cute that he is forgetting english! )
We had another ami who was preparing to be baptized- he's a Wallisian and he has a strong testimony. But he's starting to slip.. we're losing our rendezvous with him, and he's starting to push us off a little bit-- I'm really worried about it. But we're doing our best with him. I think he'll come back-- if not sooner, he'll definitely be back later. I definitely won't see him baptized, but I know that someone else will.
Our other amie who is preparing to be baptized is a girl named Amelie. I think she's 15- and she's the niece of the branch president here. I'm impressed with her desire to be baptized-- I know how 15 year olds minds work, especially out of the church, and most don't really give a care about anything. But she's goign to church every week, she's friends with all the YW and she's preparing to be baptized. I hope I get to see her baptized before I leave. Her date is for the 8th- so normally I will.
Well other than that, elder Maker is coming back to the sector soon- he will be my replacement. We will be in a 3some for my last 3 weeks, then he and Elder Amundsen will be together for 3 weeks- then.. who knows. But I hope we can get him ready to take care of the branch.. He's a new missionary, but we're hoping we can help him out.
well, that's all the news for this week Love, Elddr wingt
Well.. There is much news. Victor Boa got baptized!! It went really well... And I was ever so happy that it happened. Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong- but thankfully we were smarter than everyone else. The person who was supposed to fill up the font at 2:30 (the baptism starts at 4) didn't show up until 3:45.. Anyway, he was like Yeah i was worried no one was going to fill up the font. (???!?!?!?!?) BUt thankfully we are smart missionaries and we came at 2:00 and filled up the font, cleaned out all the leaves and dirt, got out the tables for refreshments and got everything set up, and prepared for talks. Sure enough, the people who were supposed to give prayers and talks didn't show up. Thankfully the Bearune's stepped up- they are amazing- and did prayers and music. Then our dear DMB made a mistake and said ELDER WINGET WILL GIVE THE TAALK and I'm like.. WHAT!? SO I gave a talk- 0 preparation- on both the baptism and the don du Saint-Esprit. WACK! But it went really well- the most important part was that he did get baptized! Pres. Bondeanneau showed up with his white clothes, Victor had his white clothes, and he got dunked! Everything went smoothly in that sense. Everything worked out though-- Victor didn't even realize that we went through so much hardship to make it work. But that's what is important- it's for him, not us. I was overwhelmed with joy. He was SO happy too! That's the best part-- he bore a sweet testimony and I was happy about it. Marceline also bore her testimony. There is no drain in the baptismal font- (whose idea was that..?) So we had to bucket out the water- and we're smart and brought shorts and tshirts, because I saw into the future that that would happen. I was happy to do it though. And don't worry, we have plenty of pictures.
The other news... Elder Green is going to a different island!! WHAT?! Well, long story (that I don't even know the details) short, because of a problem with a person who wants to hurt elder green, he can't stay in NC and he left for a different island this morning. SO- I got a call late on April Fools day and they told us this news.. I didn't believe it of course. And said that I would be transferred. Well, it turns out it's true, so I'm going to a new area, and I'm supposed to go there with a mini-missionary-- and we're not sure who it's going to be yet. So that's going to be fun- I have no companion. So I told the whole branch, and they were all sad, we all shed some tears and now I'm out of Tontouta/Boulouparis forever!!! 6 weeks ago I would have killed to be able to get transferred. AND NOW I don't want to go!!!!!! WHAT weird eh? Well I'm sure it will work out. Everything is exploding in that branch- and I'm so so happy to have been part of it all. I will miss that branch and everyone in it so much. I spent about 9 months of my mission in that branch!
So I'm on ville with Elder Turner and Elder Stilson (new guy) waiting to know if I'm going to have a companion.
Also I was able to confirm Victor a member of the church! I was so excited-- my first time! It went well, and he's now a baptized, confirmed.. priest! He also recieved the priesthood. Everything is great.
Well thanks for the package, the pictures, and the words of encouragement. I love you all so much.. I am so excited to see you soon. And so so so so so sad to leave NC! Bittersweet-- I'm scard for this day.. But It will be good. Thanks for everything.! I love you. I have about a billion pictures on this card that you haven't seen- I'll send it as sOON as I get the new one in the mail. Now that I'm on ville- I should get my mail every week.
Good morning! Hi this is Elder Winget. You might remember me from such emails as .. All those other ones and such films as.. eating an orange or something. Well sorry I didn't email last week, we didn't end up having time, because we ended up teaching 3 lessons on Monday. So I think that was pretty effective. We taught Kalinka, who is doing great, and Victor, the last lessons he needed before his baptismal interview, and then at night we went to the Mahit's house. So internet didn't fit in, but I think that ended up being better. Sorry. We sort of planned on internet during the week but because of exchanges and busy-ness we didn't end up having time until Saturday.. And then I was like well it would be pointless to go on Saturday and then monday.. So here I am on monday.
So yesterday it rained and rained ... But no hurricane, unfortunately. I haven't heard a thing about Fiji, but I heard that Wallis and Futuna got hit and it was pretty terrible. Apparently there were two cyclones (a hurricane in the southern hemisphere- it spins the opposite direction, like the toilet. Or.. So I'm told) in the South Pacific and they were pretty destructive. But not much happened here. It rained and stormed but not enough to do much besides wash our car- and for that I was pleased.
Well the biggest news is that.. drumroll.. Victor got his baptismal interview and is getting baptized on Saturday! Yay! I'm happy. During the interview that Elder Styles did, he said some rad things-- like that he doesn't want his dad to go to another kingdom than him- that he wants an eternal family and that he wants to serve a mission. He's 16, he'll be 17 in August. I'm so proud of him. He's doing great.
Church was full, as usual, to bursting. We had about 10 people or so sitting on chairs outside the chapel listening throught the windows. Also Soeur O came to church with her son, for the first time since 2005! It's not a baptism, but for some reason I feel better than if she was baptized. She stopped going to church because of some disputes with church members and leaders and hadn't been in a long time. We started teaching her, and doing service for her, and she finally came yesterday! I was so happy. She even went to seminary in the morning! She's great. Elder Mautz came to our church yesterday as well and he was very happy to the progress in the branch. Things are happening.. And it's so exciting.
We're hoping to get this Bislama sunday school class rolling ASAP.. Apparently they had one before, but a couple years ago they stopped the class, didn't let them sing in Bislama in Sacrament meeting, and they all went inactive because of that and other things. But there used to be 25+ in sacrament every week and it went down to 4. Anyway, there are prolly about 10 or so Bislama speaking members coming to church now and we're going to keep them coming. Hopefully.
As for K, we have been teaching her and she's doing great. She reads in the scriptures, comes to church, and she told us that since she started taking lessons she just hasn't had the will to drink! Before she said she would drink all the time, every weekend and more, and then since she started taking lessons, she just can't do it anymore! So she hasn't drank for like a month now I think. And then, a week after she tells us this, we teach her the Parole de Sagesse (word of wisdom) thinking she might have a little issue with it, and she said well I actually stopped smoking 2 days ago- It just felt like the right thing to do. So she starts doing things before we tell her. That's the amazing power of the Sprit of God. When we teach someone something, it has a small amount of power. But when the Sprit teaches someone, it has the power to completely change the person.. Inside and out. It's absolutely amazing how that works. I'm so happy for her and proud of her. She's a golden investigator, for sure. We have talked about baptism, and she's not ready but she wants to be baptized some day.
Elder Mautz told me that I'm going out with a bang for the end of my mission, and I guess it's true. Things are looking up in Tontouta- in a way that they haven't been in years. I'm excited to be a missionary and be a part of this amazing work. Of course I'm excited to come home and see y'all but I am going to be sad to leave this place. It's weird how it's almost over. I can hardly believe it. :(
Well that's all I think. I hope you have a great week and I'll see you soon. I love you much and I pray and think about you all the time. Peace out!
Here's an excerpt from LAST last week's email ... then I'll post an excerpt from last week's email. :D
Good afternoon family.. What's up?
Well it's Pday and we were planning on going to the beautiful beaches of THIO but then I was standing and my knee blew out and I couldn't walk.. Stupid knee- it's going downhill.. I didn't even DO anything this time. But then we went up to Boulouparis to do laundry and I started getting really sick.. So right now I'm sick.. So I'm going to make this short so we can go home and I can sleep. . I hope I'll be better soon.
Things are going great-- things have all started happening at once! I swear not one month ago we had absolutely nothinnnnnnnnnnng going on.. Nobody progressing and no new amis. But then right now we are working with some less actives- Sr. Ozoux promised us she would go to church before I leave.. Maybe next week. She has COMPLETELY changed in just like a month and a half.. She was miserable as miserable before.. always angry, yelling, and just downright.. miserable. But then we invited her to start reading her scriptures and praying.. And it's like night and day. She's happy, and she's doing great. We did an object lesson of the sirop and the javel.. Which is the food coloring and bleach. We talked about how repentence requires baptism.. But we can't be baptized a second time. But we can go to church every week, and take the sacrament.. And we'll be just as clean as the day of our baptism. It was really cool and spiritual and she loved it-- I actually think she'll go to church. Which is amazing.. Most less actives here are really less active.
Yesterday we stopped by the family Naïus- a family from Vanuatu. The parents were baptized back in 97 and have been inactive for a long time. We started talking and it turns out him and his wife basically don't understand the Restoration at all-- which is why they are inactive. Their daugher, who I think is about 15, is not baptized and was really interested. We explained the whole thing- and engaged them to read 3 nephi 11 as a family and pray together. I have a strong testimony about family scripture study and prayer.. It seems to work every single time people actually do it. It's amazing how the Gospel just works!! Anyway, I had a great feeling about them and they seemed really interested. It was hard because he doesn't speak very good French, but I understand a decent amount of Bislama and his wife was able to explain and it all worked out. I have a good feeling about them-- for the parents and the daughter.
We came to the realization that about half of the people we teach- mostly inactives- are from Vanuatu-- they don't come to church partially because of the language.. French is a struggle for them. They want a Bislama speaking branch.. But for the moment there are not enough active members to make that branch. But President Ostler suggested we start a Bislama sunday school class-- and I think it will work. We're going to give it a try. Hopefully we can get something moving.. and then enough people will become active one day that they could organize a branch. Then I think the mission work would move along really well with the Vanuatu folks.
Other than that, Kalinka is doing well. She wasn't at church.. again.. and we're not sure why but she had some great questions when we talked to her and I think she's really sincere. She's really rad and I think she could definitely get baptized someday.. Hopefully someday soon.
Victor Boa (marcelline's son) has a baptism date fixed for the 3rd of April. We're excited for it
I love you and I am excited to see you soon. What time do I get home, anyway? I haven't heard much about this travel plans.. Weird. Well have a great sunday and I'll see you later.
Now here's the most recent email. Just so you know, I sent a card to Marcelline, the nice lady who threw Collin a birthday party last year. She sent me a letter in reply, which I just got a couple of days ago. It's all in french, of course, so I had my good friend Nathalie translate it for me.
YAY I'm glad you got her letter.. She said she had sent it like a month ago and we were worried it wouldn't get there. But I'm glad it did. She's so funny.. When I first met her I thought she was mean but she really is really sweet-- she likes to joke a lot. She was telling me that she was going to write you and say that I'm "insuportable" which I think means the same thing in English that it does in French. Anyway, she said she was going to tell you how horrible I am and that she's not going to be able to deal with me for 2 more months.. :P But of course she's kidding.. of all the people in our branch we're the best of friends-- not a whole lot of people like me cuz I'm cool just cuz I'm a missionary and then they'll forget me when I go home. But Marcelline and her family actually like me and say that they'll miss me when I go home.. I'm glad someone likes me. We have lots of fun over there. She is hoping to go to the temple at the end of this year-- her biggest hope is to be able to be sealed to her family. We're working on getting the rest of them baptized.
That's good that you're getting snow still.. random. It's getting cold here. In the mornings it gets down in the 70s sometimes and I think I'm going to freeze to death. It's low 80s at night and it's nice.. Sometimes I put on a hoodie, it's so cold. I could swear that it snows at like 65 degrees-- thats about how cold I remember it being. :)
That's really weird that my departure date is so soon.. Gwah. I wonder what I'll do for a couple hours in LA.
Well anyway, not a whole lot happened this week. I'm happy that things are picking up in the sector though.. President asked me in my last interview with him to make a plan of what to do with this sector when I leave.. Close it, combine it with Paita, keep it open, etc. And I was ready to tell him to combine it with Paita and have them come up one day a week to do everything that we do in a whole week. But we've been praying really hard and working hard and praying united..ly as a district and things have picked up dramatically.. We set a goal as a district to find 20 new investigators this month between the 3 companionships. We have been praying and fasting for it and we've already seen results.. We have 3 people that next week should be new investigators- and more on the way. We're trying to work more in the one tribe that we are allowed access to- the one that Marcelline lives in. And since Marcelline is there, and really motivated, things are working out well so far. We're hoping to get more fruits from it and that sometime we could get into the other tribes as well.
As for the Bislama class, we don't know enough to teach it.. I can understand it but I can't speak it that well. I can kind of communicate with someone who only speaks bislama but it's a struggle. Me misnary blong Jos blong Jisas Kreas blong ol Lata-Dai Sent. Me wantem sharem gospil blong Jisas Kreas long yufalla. Ha ha. Something like that. There are some active members that could teach it though-- we'll work on it.
Kalinka came to church and she thought it was a little long I think. But we talked about repentance and baptism with the food coloring and bleach thing again, and she said she's had the desire to repent and has been making things good with her family ever since our first lesson! That's awesome, we didn't even tell her to. She's good. We asked her if she wants to get baptized and although she was a little hesitant she said that is a desire of hers. So hopefully we can get her baptized.
A few weeks ago we only had about 5 set lessons planned each week, and ended up with about 7-10 at the end of the week. This week we have 15 planned, and we could prolly squeeze in a few more. I think we could possibly hit 15-17 this week.. That will be a record for me, and the most lessons this sector has had in probably about 2 years. Of course a few will fall through, but I think many will work out. Things are going great here. There are actually too many people at church-- the building is designed for 70, and we have consistantly 115 or 120 the past few weeks. Awesome!!!!
I told you a little about the Naius family last week- we stopped by again this week and they weren't there, but we were able to talk to the daughter. I think she's about 15, and she is actually really interested. She said that they did read as a family.. And that she really liked it. We gave her a Bok Blong Momon and told her to read it with her family. She's cool.. I hope the parents are there next week.
Well other than that, not a whole lot has happened.. Next week will be great though. We're going to go eat lunch with Soane (from Paita) and that will be fun.. Blast from the past. He's a great guy. ( Remember that picture of Collin holding that huge slimy octopus in the Halloween video last year? That's what they had for dinner at Soane's house! ha ha ha)
Well, I love you a lot and I hope that everything is going well with y'all. I pray for you a lot and I will see you in about 2 months and.. what, 4 days? Something like that. Time flies... way too fast.
Here's the most recent email from Collin. It's what Rusty and I call a parent's payday. We are so proud of Elder Winget and the sacrifices he is making to serve the people of New Caledonia and teach them the gospel of Jesus Christ.
This week was good. Elder Troutman taught me a new way of doing porte-à-porte--- WHICH WORKS. I haven't had ANY new investigators since I got to Tontouta. Pretty pathetic. Kalinka is the only new one. But in one day we found two people who talked to us--- Amazing! The method is.. drumroll.. a survey! He has a series of about 13 questions about family, beliefs, etc. and we just come to the door and say "We're missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and we're conducting a survey to know how to better help the people of New Caledonia. Do you have a few minutes? IT WORKS. It's amazing, and we were able to teach 6 lessons in a day which we normally would have 1 or 2. I'm going to keep doing it and I think it could work a lot.
We also taught the Chief of the Ouinané Tribe- where Marcelline lives. Apparently the old missionaries had taught him a few times, and we decided to go say hi. So we went in there and he was really nice. He asked us what we do when we go to peoples' houses and teach them-- And we're like well.. We'll show you! So we taught him a short lesson before we headed up to Marcelline's house. It was cool-- he likes us and wants us to go hunting with him sometime. Hmm.. Well we can't touch the guns but we can go with them. It was a cool experience.
Zone conference and district conference was amazing.. Elder Hamula is an amazing teacher and he got us all motivated. He talked to the Youth and Young Adults about mission work and serving a mission, and part of his talk was that he said if you ask any missionary, or any returned missionary what was the most rewarding, most worth it, most spiritual and best 2 years of his/her life, they will say that it was their mission. I thought about it and I felt the Spirit really strongly. I felt that what he said was so completely true-- I feel that the last 21 months have been the most rewarding of my life. This mission is definitely the most important thing I've ever done. I'm so happy to be here. I have come to the realization slowly that I wouldn't trade anything for these two years. I've done cool things before but nothing as rewarding as a mission. Sure it's hard, but there is nothing, nothing, nothing else I would want to be doing. I wish that everyone could have the experience of going on a mission. I have met the most amazing people, and seeing the Saints of God give everything they have to serve Him has strengthened my testimony more than anything I've ever done. I know that this is the Lord's church, it's His. I've realized how much wickedness is NOT happiness. I am happier now than at any other time in my whole life. All I want to do when I go home is be good and do all that I can to serve Him. I have worried for a while about what I'll do when I get home but I realize that whatever I do, I will be cared for if I keep the commandments. It's simple.. I'm so happy to come to that knowledge. I see the people who don't know the truth and my heart aches for them. I see the people who don't want to know anything about it and my heart aches even more. Whenever I drive to church and I see all the people who are just doing... whatever.. boating, working, going to the store.. And I really feel sad for them! I want to grab them and shake them and say DONT YOU KNOW its SUNDAY!?? I love the Sabbath day and I love the Lord and I'm so happy to be on my mission. I'm very sad and also very excited for it to end-- Not cuz I want to leave New Caledonia-- at all. But because I am excited to apply the things I have learned on my mission to the new life I'll have-- I really feel like I'm getting a second chance on life. I'm also exstatic to see my family more than just about anything.
Elder Hamula also told us how we're in a "land of milk and honey"-- in Numbers 13, the people of Israel arrived at the promised land and they sent scouts in to find out the conditions.. And they came back and said yeah it's great, milk and honey and blah blah happy joy but there are also GIANTS and we feel like Grasshoppers in their eyes. He said that WE are like them. We see the challenges as GIANTS- unsurpassable. He showed us how we are SO close to having a Stake in NC and that we need to increase our Vision and Believe that it can happen. I feel like I can overcome anything at the moment. I don't think anything can stop me. I'm so happy. I was really hoping I'd get transferred from Tontouta/Boulouparis.. I've had it to about HERE with it. BUT after that Zone Conference I feel like I can do it- that things WILL look up and that everything will be awesome. He said that in Ch 14 not one person who didn't believe they could get the promised land got there. We need to believe and we will get there.
I'm currently in Noumea but I'm going back up in about an hour or so. But i'm fine with it.. I think things will be alright.
Sorry I don't have much more time but I love you all and I hope you have a great week.
So I finally decided to update Collin's blog. We had been all excited because we thought his return date was April 21, but it turns out it's actually May 11. I'm happy because he will start his journey home on Mother's Day! Just knowing he's on his way home will make it a great Mother's Day :)
Here's a funny but gross story he emailed us a couple of weeks ago. If you have a weak stomach, just skip the first paragraph.
Last week this bump started to appear on my arm and I thought it was like a zit or something-- I tried to pop it and all it did was hurt. Long story short it turned into a Boil and that was fun. I had never had a boil before. It was super painful-- painful enough that I couldn't sleep. But then the other day I finally got it to pop and a big old column of off color brownish yellowish redish .. stuff .. came out. It wasn't watery either- it was a nice jello-y consistency.. And it kept on coming out. About enough to power a city. It was gross but awesome. So it kept bleeding for a long long time- the hole that all the stuff came out of was a pretty good size.. A nice portal to my blood system. So I put a big piece of toilet paper and a band-aid over it and the blood soaked through so I changed the badnndnangide and toilet paper so I had this bandaid thing on my arm. So I was talking to this less-active member at the store, (we had stopped by to pick up some dinner) and we were talking and then out of no where she reaches over and RIPS off my bandaid! AH weird! And she's like woah, what was that? were you painting? And I'm like, um.. And I lift up my arm to show a giant nasty WOUND and she was like AH! I'm sorry! And then runs away. Me and my companion laughed until we died. Then we never saw her again.
I also deep fried my hand.. Rather, we tried to make deep fried fries and oil splashed all over my hand and burned me. I had some pretty good huge long blisters on my hand.. They hurt at first but they don't hurt for the moment. One of them has popped. That's cool.
Now the gross stuff is over. You can read on from here :)
The only other thing that happened this week was that we went to an activity with the members, in which they cooked an entire pig-- head and all. They cooked it in what we call a Bougna... actually I have no idea how to spell that. Boon-ya. It's cooked by putting super hot rocks at the bottom, putting banana tree trunk on top of it, putting the pig meat along with a bunch of vegetables and fruits around it, covering it in lots of banana leaves and blankets to keep in the heat-- and it cooks the meat by the steam and smoke inside. I love pig--- not pork, pig. Pork is different. It's so good, I've only had it a few times but I love it.
Here is a video telling all about bougna. It's a little long, but if you REALLY want to know about New Caledonian culture, this is a good one to watch.
Hmmm... I don't know why the font size is so huge! I have tried everything I know to change it. Oh well...
Good Afternoon! It's Elder Winget.. As usual. Sorry I didn't write last week, I didn't have time or kilometers to get down to Paita to do internet. Also our car was dead-- It stalled and then died (I can't remember if I told you guys that) And we had to push start it to get it going. It worked fine if we push started it but it wouldn't start on its own. But we went back down to Noumea and got it fixed-- it turned out it was just the battery. We got the battery replaced and it works like a charm.
Well the biggest news is that Elder Ulivaka went home today, so there are transfers. I will be staying in PK7 in Noumea for the next week with Elder Seiko and Elder Flanagan. Then I'll be going back up into exile to bore myself with another mini-missionary from Riviere Sallee. His name is Elder Blucker- the brother of the Elder that Sister Page saw in the MTC. He's 18 and he's really nice. I'm sad that he has to serve his mini-mission in Tontouta and Boulouparis because it makes mission work seem like a drag--- nothing ever happens and it seems like we're not working very hard even if we are. So it's kinda just like that. But I hope that he likes it anyway. Elder Ulivaka had a great time and he thanked me for being his companion. He said he was really worried he was going to be stuck with an over serious boring stick in the mud of a companion and he said that he was really happy that I am normal and that we were able to laugh. We did laugh a lot/all the time. We should have been more serious, which I feel bad about.. But at least he got a decent taste of mission work and he wants to go on a mission. I think I taught him a couple things and he feels the desire to strengthen his branch and his family and progress the travaille missionnaire. So I'm happy. His mom is also happy. So that's good. She was thankful that I treated him well. :)
On what you said about kids--- I agree. Sometimes it seems like adults are so "childish" while kids are "childlike".. huge difference. I see SO much of that here as well.. I wish the adults would just calm down and grow.. up? down? Me and Elder Ulivaka talked to some kids on the road in Boulouparis. They were really nice and I was happy. Most adults we talk to reject us before I can get one word out of my mouth, but these kids were genuinely interested and curious about what we did. They asked us who we were and we're like well we're missionaries and they asked us what that meant, and we more or less gave them a crash course on Christianity. It was really interesting, they didn't have preconceived ideas of who we are so they listened intently and genuinely. They asked us who God is, who Jesus is, and what prayer and repentence and all that is. We responded simply and they listened. One kid was less interested and didn't listen as much but one kid (his name was Antoine and he's 11 I think) was genuinely concerned for his soul... Reminds me of what Joseph Smith says about himself when he was 14. He asked us, well what do I do to be forgiven and clean? And I'm like well, repent. Pray. And he's like does God really listen when I pray? And I said yes. He said he'd pray and ask for forgiveness. He was more genuine than I've ever seen in any adult.. And I was really happy to talk to him. We gave him our phone number and asked him to ask his mom if we could talk to him more. He said he'd call... I hope he does.
Other than that we did service for Mamie Mo'o and Yvan (I think I told you about that on the phone). For new years we made steak (which was aaaawesome!) and mashed potatoes and gravy and green beans and french fries and it was oh so good. We watched church movies until midnight and then we went out and looked at the fireworks. It was cool- everyone had those ones that are illegal in the states (and probably here too) that shoot up in the air like the professional ones-- and they were everyone. Everyone drives through the streets with music really really really loud and screams BONNE ANNEE!!! It's cool and fun. We yelled bonne annee at a few people too. It was fun. Bourail elders weren't able to come down for New Years but we had fun anyway. The last part of Christmas was alright-- we went to a baptism and ate with the family Blucker. Good stuff.
You asked me about Soane and Vaea- they are blocked by some sort of paper. Soane was born in Vanuatu and the name on his birth certificate doesn't match the name on his passport.. or something weird. So they're waiting on papers. I don't know much else. But they might as well be active church members, although unbaptized they act like members of the Lord's true church more than lots of members do. They're great.
Other than that, not a huge amount of things have happened. I'm happy and life is good. I'm hoping to get transferred someday to somewhere where I can do real mission work but until then I guess I'll sit tight up in the north. I'm still sort of vexed because of the lack of information that gets passed up there-- I didn't know I was coming down to PK7 until Saturday when it was too late to go up to Boulouparis to get my stuff-- so I'm unprepared. Oh well that's life.
Well that's all I guess- I'm excited to see y'all in a few months. Thanks for all the emails- sorry if I missed a question or forgot to comment on something because there were many emails.. Tell me if I miss anything, okay? Thanks for all the emails and I love you all even if I don't have enough time to reply to everything. I hope your holidays were all great and if you need anything tell me. Thanks for everything- I love you all. Have a great sunday.