Malo 'etau toe ma'u!Please forgive the last couple of weeks!!!!!! I am so sorry, Long story short, we just didn't have access to a computer. We tried very very hard.Furthermore, I have to rush; President Tui'one has established a 45 minute time limit and I will be following it.I got transferred to Te'ekiu and Masilamea in the western part of the main island. I am training again. It is a small area and it's been a while since they had a baptism. We've found a couple people to teach, but things are still slow. We have yet to get the lay of the land and we don't know the members very well yet; we only go here a few days ago.From what I've seen of the area so far, this is a very very nice place to be. We have two wards and a branch to work with, and the priesthood leaders are very excited to get work done, so we have an unusually busy week coming up. We're really excited; the members are very cool.I was bummed to leave 'Eua; that may well go down in history as my favorite area of the mission. We had many preparing for baptism and the members were outstanding. Not to mention it's just so darn pretty and cool.My companion is elder Mahe from West Jordan, Utah. He has a full ride scholarship waiting for him to play football at BYU. He's a d lineman and a big boy indeed. He understands Tongan very well (he attended a Tongan ward in Utah) and is making very good progress with the speaking aspect. He is full of love and goodness and seems to be making the transition to mission life remarkably well; I was scared sick for like a month, but he's been all smiles ever since we met. I love him to death. He wants to work and be obedient, which is a definite blessing.35 new missionaries came in last week, so everyone and their dog is training. The mission president is trying to put missionaries 1 per ward, so many more should be expected over the next months as well.'oku ou fie fakahaa atu 'eku 'ofa. Kou kole fakamolemole atu ko e me'a 'I he fuoloa 'eku ta'etohi. Pea mou kataki hono si'isi'i o 'eku tohi he uike ni. Kou 'ofa lahi atu ka moutolu!Elder Brown
Location: nukualofa, tonga
Malo e lakoifie!
The King of Tonga came to 'Eua this week! we didn't meet him or shake his hand or anything, but we saw him up close and got a picture! Once a year, as I understand it, the king comes and visits 'Eua and all its villages. Everyone in our area was gone, so we went and checked it out. It was like a big fair where everyone had their fish, yams, produce, livestock etc. to sell and display it was a lot of fun and we saw some very cool performances.The 100th anniversary of the Tonga mission is this week, and President Tui'one is bringing all the missionaries from 'Eua and Ha'apai in on the boat, so we're leaving later today! we'll be there for a week(ish). We'll also be attending MLC and going through the temple, so we're really excited!We have an investigator, a 45ish year old man, who has agreed to be baptized! we're very excited and very confident about him. We only recently found out about the celebration and don't know how long we'll be on Tongatapu, so we have no definite baptismal date anymore, but I'm confident it will be in a week or two.I've been listening to a lot of talks by Elder Bruce R. McConkie. I've been pondering and fasting and praying to try to understand who God is, and trying to get my head wrapped around what it means to be omnipotent, omniscient, all powerful and perfect. I know he lives and would encourage all of you to think about the gospel, the commandments, the scriptures and the words of the prophets in a more real sense. The more I understand, the stupider sin seems and the lower my jaw drops. I don't understand it all, but I know that God lives.I love this gospel, and it is my privilege, responsibility and blessing to deal on a daily basis with the stuff that changes lives and saves souls. The more I learn about our Father, the more real this all seems.The clerk changed the password, so we got started pretty late; I'll write more next week. I'd like to express my love to you all and I'm very grateful for all the replies! I don't have the time to write you back individually, but I want you to know that I never read one without feeling loved. Thank you!This is true!'Ofa lahi atu,Elder Brown
Malo e lelei!Good week this week! Slower as far as the numbers go, but good nonetheless.President Tui'one and his wife came to 'Eua and we had zone conference, which was great. Normally Zone conference is like 4 hours long and involves like 5 lessons, role playing, etc. It's always good, but it can be pretty tiring. This zone conference, however, was different: it was less than an hour long, there are only 7 missionaries in the district, and president Tui'one didn't give any speaking assignments. He shared his goals and vision for the mission, counsel for us, and took questions. It was a very good meeting.He took us out afterwards for ice cream in 'Ohonua, which was a very nice touch. Afterwards, he came with us to go teach. It was a lesson we had spent quite a bit of time preparing for, and it went very well. We taught a less-active man named 'Aisea. We read Mosiah chapter 4 together and talked about the gospel, invited him back to church, and bore our testimonies. Partway through our lesson, 'Aisea started crying and said he'd come back to church. The Book of Mormon is true, and we had the opportunity to see its power in action. Very special! President helped us out a lot and it was a great and very special experience. I felt very strongly during that lesson that President Tui'one is the one the Lord wants as mission president. I love him to death!!During zone conference, President Tui'one challenged us to read the Book of Mormon in 30 days. He gave us a reading chart to follow and I've been reading away. On Christmas, Elder Bednar came to the MTC and did one of his famous Q&A sessions. One bit of guidance that he shared was to get a paperback cover of the Book of Mormon, read it from cover to cover, and highlight everything related to a certain topic. I decided I'd give it a shot; there is a big stack of like 20 paperback English copies of the Book of Mormon in our house, so I figured I had no excuse not to.I learn new things every time I read the Book of Mormon, especially this time; I've found that as I approach it with a specific topic in mind, seeking revelation as I go, I learn on a higher level and I take away more from the reading. I have been looking for examples of personal righteousness and personal wickedness, the decisions that lead to them, the effects of them, and how this applies to us and our investigators. I'm coming to find that the answer may be much simpler than I thought; Nephi had faith, Laman and Lemuel didn't. Nephi obeyed, and Laman and Lemuel didn't. As a result, Nephi received power and knowledge while Laman and Lemuel simply dwindled in unbelief, murmuring and rebelling as they went. In other words, Nephi had faith, obeyed even when it was very painful, and so through him was the power of godliness manifest. You may see where I'm going with this.It's very hard to express the reason for Nephi's spiritual greatness in just one point or principle; the same goes for Laman and Lemuel's spiritual lame-ness . But it seems that the many many reasons can be expressed simply in saying: Nephi lived the gospel, Laman and Lemuel didn't. I've read through 2 Nephi 4 so far; I'll read more after I've finished my emails. I love the Book of Mormon and I know it's true!If you haven't been going to church, please do it. The special covenants made in baptism and renewed by worthily partaking of the sacrament will protect you and make you happy. The Lord loves you and wants to heal you. Please hold on to the faith you have and come unto the Lord; he will make you strong. I can't tell you how many times he's lifted me up, despite my persistent dork-ness. I know he lives!Pea kapau 'oku 'i ai hamou taha 'oku ne 'ilo'i ha taha 'a ia 'oku fiefanongo ki he ongoongolelei kuo toe fakafoki mai, pea mou taa ange ki he ongo faifekau 'i he elia 'amoutolu! especially if they live in 'Eua!!!'Ofa lahi atu ka moutolu!!!Elder Brown