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.
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.