Elder Brown 20 February 2017

Malo e lelei!

We didn't get anyone new to teach in Folaha, but Longoteme is still doing very well. We walk back and forth a couple times a day (a bike would be nice) and that can get boring, so we invented a game called 'molokau hockey'. There are a ton of centipedes on the road, so when we see one we each run to find a stick and try to hit it at each other. We have yet to play it because yesterday was Sunday and that's not a Sunday game, but we'll definitely play it next week. I'll keep you updated on that.

We're teaching a man named Lisiate. His wife was baptized a year ago and we got to go through the temple with her. He was baptized in a Pentacostal church and, although he's been taught for over a year now (and despite the constant poking and pleading on the part of his wife) he has trouble accepting Joseph Smith, the word of wisdom, the book of Mormon, and anything that Joseph Smith touched. We read the Book of Mormon with him, pray with him, and talk about baptism like I've never done before.

Most of all, we have the longest question and answer sessions I've ever seen. Yesterday he and his wife invited us over to eat after church, and while the food was cooking Lisiate asked a million questions and brought up a million concerns. It was interesting and he gets it a lot more now. We started talking about why Moroni's on the top of the Temple in Liahona, he asked if we kill cows there (like Moses) and why not, etc. We covered everything from the restoration to the word of wisdom to the Godhead to temple work and it turned into a great lesson. My favorite ones are the ones which don't go according to script, and this was definitely one of those. We pray for him a million times a day and we love him to death.

Elder Renlund, President Hallstrom, President Haleck and their wives came to Tonga and we had a great meeting. We all feel very energized as a result. Elder Hallstrom's wife quoted Elder Jeffrey R Holland, and it has become a new favorite quote of mine:

"I would walk on hot lava, I would drink broken glass to find one more word, one more phrase, one more doctrine, any parable that anyone could give me of the life of Christ the living Son of the living God. The doctrine of Christ means everything to me as a result of [my feelings] for the author of the doctrine of Christ."

The new vision for missionary work, and our new goal for this year, it to 'preach repentance and baptize converts'. The first principles of the gospel have taken the forefront, and we have been assigned and challenged to develop a love for the Savior Himself, what He did, who He is, and I am already beginning to see it change the way I teach and think about the gospel.

I am listening to my new favorite talk, "come unto me," a talk given at BYU by Jeffrey R Holland. I swear it's one of the best talks I've heard. I felt like listening to him today, and I stumbled across this one. I found this quote especially meaningful:

"The Prophet Joseph Smith taught in the Lectures on Faith that it was necessary to have 'an acquaintance' (that's his phrase) with the divine attributes of the Father and the Son in order to have faith in them. Specifically he said that unless we believe Christ to be 'merciful and gracious, slow to anger, long-suffering and full of goodness,' that unless we can rely on these unchanging attributes, we would never have the faith necessary to claim the blessings of heaven. If we could not count on 'the excellency of . . . character' (that is also his phrase) maintained by the Savior and his willingness and ability to 'forgive iniquity, transgression, and sin,' we would be, he said, 'in constant doubt of salvation.' But because the Father and the Son are unchangeably 'full of goodness' then, in the words of the Prophet, such knowledge 'does away [with] doubt, and makes faith exceedingly strong'"

I've been teaching about faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost and enduring to the end for over a year now, I love the Savior and all he's done. I've come to see the Savior as the center of the all we teach, as he well should be; and this quote is illustrative of the sort of spiritual breakthrough I've made over the past week: The Savior should be the center of every lesson we teach, and when we forget that there's not much power there. I look at the gospel differently now; it makes me happy every time I think about it. I love the Lord!

I'm working on getting a camera!!

I love you all! Good week!

'Ofa atu,
Elder Brown

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