Malo e lelei!
I hit my year mark last week! It still feels like I'll be here forever; I still consider Tonga my home and I still tell people 'next year' when they ask when I'll be finished. It doesn't feel like this will ever end, which is a happy feeling. I love this work and this people.
We're continuing to see miracles here in Folaha! We've had a baptism come up out of nowhere! Her name is Malia and she's awesome. She's come to church a lot, has read from the Book of Mormon, and she really wants to go to the temple. Both her parents have passed away. Her father was a nonmember, and her mother was a member (strong as she could be under the circumstances). Her father had received the missionary lessons and was to be baptized on a Thursday. He died the Saturday before the service. She received the lessons over a year ago, but she still remembers a lot. We'll reteach everything and baptize her on Saturday!
With the old mission president, we focused a lot on chapter 8 and planning, and beginning with the end in mind. I've found this to be especially true in cases like these. The fact that we're working to make her family eternal is an awesome thing, in the true sense of the meaning. It's a great source of energy and motivation, not only as we work with her but with our other investigators as well. This is a blessing that is simply not available to them unless they fully accept the gospel. It makes me want to talk to everyone.
I am companions with Elder Lasalosi from Ha'atu'a 'Eua. He's the man! This is the coolest opportunity I've had to learn the language; I don't ever speak English anymore; I write in my study journal in Tongan, and I read the scriptures in Tongan. It's only been a week and I already feel more confident. He finishes in February, he's a remarkable teacher and one of the funniest people I know. I love him to death and he might be my favorite comp. or at least tied for first.
Although you all email me every week, send me pictures, tell me you miss me, and tell me you love me, and although there have been very hard times every since I've been out here, I have never wanted to return home. The Tongan people have a way of making me feel at home and I love them to death. I'm not almost done, and I don't feel almost done, but I already know that this will be a hard place to leave. I'll be happy as long as I'm here.
Although I'd love to go to school, find a wife and go fly airplanes, I'm in no hurry. Or maybe I am in a hurry; I'm already half done and it only feels like I've been here a month. People always tell me (especially now) that it'll be over before I know it. I hope it's not.
I love this work and this gospel and it makes me so happy to be a part of this work.
Kou fiefia he faingamalie kuo tuku mai kiate au keu lea atu kiate kimoutolu. 'Ofa pe na'e hanga 'e he'eku ki'i tohi ni 'o fakamaama'i mo fakafiefia'i 'a kimoutolu, he ko eku taumu'a ia. Kou feinga ma'u pe keu mo'ui taau ki he ngaue ni, 'aki ha'aku tauhi faivelenga ki he ngaahi fuakava mo e ngaahi tukupaa kuo u fakahoko pea mo 'etau 'Eiki. Hange ko Nifai, 'oku ou fiefia 'i hoku Sisu. 'Oku ou laukau'aki e siasi ni, mo 'etau 'Otua, pea u 'ilo fakapapau ko e ngaue 'eni 'a'ana. Kou fakamo'oni atu kiate kitautolu 'e lava ke fakama'a kitautolu 'o tupunga 'i He'ene 'alo'ofa, pea 'i he'etau mo'ui'aki e ongoongolelei ni, te Ne hanga 'o fakama'a kitautolu 'o fakapale'i 'aki 'a kitautolu e mo'ui ta'engata. Kou falala malohi kiate ia, ko e fakamo'oni eni kou loto ke vahevahe atu pea kou fai eni 'i he huafa 'o Sisu Kalaisi, 'emeni.
'Ofa lahi atu! Tau toki sio he ta'u fo'ou!!!