Sunday, September 7, 2014

Beru-Week 8

I learned on the internet that the Kiribati region is known
for its pristine coral reefs and giant clams. 
Rich discovered that the clams can grow to over 
4 feet and weigh up to 500 lb.
How about I start with a story?  Saturday morning I was thinking of what I wanted to for my 30 minutes exercise and then I remembered all of the stories I'd heard of different missionaries finding like cinderblocks and stuff and bench pressing that for their workout and then I remembered we have a huge clam shell sitting outside our house and I just knew I was gunna bench it and get a picture of it.  Turns out clam shells that are 4ish feetlong are really heavy but after quite a bit of struggle and Elder Matiare (Ma sa dee)'s help I got it into bench press position and knocked it out a whole 1 repetition for the picture and then gave up. I think I'll stick with push ups and such for awhile.

Second thing: looked in the mirror this week and realized I'm totally hitting mini afro stage if I poof out my hair! You can sure betcha I'll be bragging for ages about how the only time I ever grew an afro was on my mission haha. (There are no haircuts on the outer islands so the missionaries just grow their hair until they come in.)

3rd thing: There's this old lady here who thinks we're her kids and is very free with using her huge stick on us if, actually not if, always when she sees us. Luckily the kids in "her territory" are like body guards and will throw rocks at her now if she sees us and in return we'll give them gum.  Now that I think about it though the whole thing seems very similiar to paying a gang "protection" money.

How's it been living Straight Kiribati?  Well first I'd like to point out how ridiculous my situation is. It just hit me after a question Ashley Mork asked in her email. "How do we know if we are following the path the Lord has for us?"  If there is anyone who has been trying to follow the Lord's path, it has been me. I mean I am an 18 year old skinny imatang (not Kiribati) from America living on a tiny island in the middle of nowhere without a single other person who can speak any real English.  I'd say my choices having either been very right or ridiculously wrong; there is no other explanation for how I could have ended up here.  And based upon this last week with Matiare  I know I am on the right path in the right place.

Example: two investigators I was unsure about baptizing this last Saturday because of different circumstances. In a way I've kinda had to be senior comp this last week b/c Elder Matiare didn't know anything other than the language and that we eat the bocaboca about Beru. So the decision was up to me and I sure did pray. I realized I just needed to move forward and the Lord would make sure I made the right choices.  Needless to say one of the investigators smoked again two days before the baptism and I just knew he needed more help so we moved the date. Then the other investigator showed so much faith she waited after dark for an hour at a member's house for us because we were late so she wouldn't miss the lesson.

Lesson learned: "Press forward with faith and the Lord thy God will direct you in all things what you should do."

The zone leaders and Elder Wall from our senior couple came out yesterday for branch counsel, which we learned was happening Saturday night right after our baptisms. So we raced and got a car for everybody, saw a couple blatant miracles, and boom everything fell right into place for the next day!

Anyways thank you sooooo much for the packages.  Everything in them is priceless to me and unfortunately I wasn't as good at saving the candy as much and got a little sick from it at one point, but everything else I am going to make last for awhile haha and the apple sauce packets? Oh they take me back to the good old High Adventure days when we ate them everyday until we got so sick we couldn't eat them anymore. And yet the first day when I had a bowl of them with peanut butter in it was like pure heaven. Soo good and filling and the same with everything else. Love it.  Ohhh and also the letters? I got 4 of them and unfortunately, I also was pretty bad at saving those and already read them all!  Thank you very much, they were awesome. Quick couple comments: me and Klatt killed 11 rats in our house with a blow gun Mom so I think you should be able to take care of 1 pretty easily in America, although they're pretty stupid here ;)

Letter from all the kids was awesome haha loved it.

Island paradise? Let's just say that isn't exactly true because although I have the joy of paradise, trust me I worked hard for every bit of that joy.

Yeah but haha long letter for a long but awesome week. Made me wayy thankful for everything I have and have had, especially my family back home who speaks English! Love y'all! Kiribati is coming along great, in fact Matiare couldn't believe I'd only been here in Beru a little over a month!

Elder Pettingill (the younger)

PS a little fun tibit I know you'll appreciate. There are two more intakes coming this year to Kiribati and the second one will be getting here December 21 which means (after a convo with one of the zone leaders yesterday) that probs around that time I'll come back in to Tarawa and thus Christmas promises though we'll see haha ;)

Answers to questions:

How many packages did you get: 3

What do you want for the next packages? More oatmeal, and yeah Pb is always good and yes fruit cups and some trail mix/dried fruit would also be wildly appreciated! and yes there's a stove to cook on and we use kerosene to cook and you can buy it pretty cheaply from different people who sell it around the island. Really enjoyed the spaghetti, also yeah oatmeal for breakfast is great but just snacks for throughout studying and I'm fine with candy. My stomache is more sensitive to it now than ever so just a little is perfect! but like cookies or something like that would be awesome! and yes I would love a general conference issue! I love reading talks. Thank you so much.

How long have you had your new companion? He came on Tuesday!

Friends and family (especially the women) are worried that you are having a hard time. What should I tell them? I'm sorry I don't mean to make you all worried. I really try to edit my emails so I don't send anything too worrisome for you. Besides the whole I only speak Kiribati thing here is a lie. Every personal prayer I say is in English and those are the best conversations I could be having anyways! 

Just tell them that for every hard thing I see twice as many if not more blessings, if not in my life then farshore in others. I mean look at me, I can not only have a solid conversation months before most others can, the sitting doesn't bother me, I actually enjoy sleeping on the ground, huge spiders crawl over my hands when reaching for medicine and I only get slightly shaken, haven't gotten stung by a scorpion even though I slept with one, we've had rainwater to drink consistently, I love all of the people here and the only time things are hard here are when I decide to let them be hard. You're right, I've been prepared for this place wayy wayy before I came here.

Everything is easier (like in the talk you sent me) when you look at all of the blessings and not at all of the hard things, when you are excited for every day instead of dreading the trials you'll meet, when you know the Lord has promised me health enough to work every single day if I make smart decisions instead of looking at every little infection/scrape I get. Mom, I still haven't reached that point of just breaking down and crying because there has always been something to help me in the times I've felt like it.

Besides I'm getting a nice tan here too ;)

It's nice to hear that the Lord is watching out for you! Yes he is! Haha I love you mom. I'll talk to ya next week!

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