Monday, September 18, 2017

Marakei II


The new island is a lot different from Tarawa. Most of our efforts seem to be reactivation instead of teaching. We work a lot with the branch president to try and get people to go to church. Plus we have 20 miles to cover on half broken bikes.... So much biking!  We have a couple of families and a lot of older people we teach which is a cool change, just the progress is a little slow. We have about 62 people going to church, but probably could have 300 if all the people went to church. Another thing is about 3000 people live on the island and missionaries were first on the island 40 years ago... So tracting usually leads to less actives or people who have already been taught but are very Catholic. Some pretty great people here, very funny. One guy is just always laughing, he was really cool to talk to. Also we had 4 church services on Sunday.... I led one of them, pretty interesting, also I talked in 3 of them...

In won't be able to write too much again, but next week I will. The person whose laptop we use is on the main island right now but she gets back next week.
Have a good week,
-Elder Farner

Monday, September 11, 2017

Marakei

Mauri!

Here in Marakei, they have airplanes that go here every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and it's only a 20 min flight, thank goodness. It was so hot in that plane!

My new comp is good, likes to be obedient. He hasn't been out for a year yet. He is trying his best.

Right after I landed we rested a little and then we went all the way around the island once to give an offering to these shrines they have for these 4 ghosts - it's part of the culture of the island. It's also a 18 mile bike ride.

The church out here is pretty small. One branch, average of about 60 a week, with mostly young kids and that is with us doing three separate sacrament meetings. I also have to do an audit with the branch president...

Right now I am emailing on a phone so I can't write a ton, it'll be the same next week too; but the week after will be good.

Alma 34:32: "For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors."

Have a great week!
Elder Farner 

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Mimitong

Mauri Ngkami!

I am going to go to an outer island (ibuki). The name of the island is Marakei and it is located north of Tarawa. Should be a cool experience. But I haven't left Bikenibeu yet, so let me update you on that. We have 3 people with baptismal dates, and 2 more investigators who should accept a date this week. This area has good potential, just sometimes the work progresses slowly. So it is in our lives- we all have potential and the work of changing and growing sometimes is slow, confusing, maybe even discouraging IF we try to work it out by ourselves. God has given us so many things to help us with times of difficulty; to name a few: prayer, covenants, parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, scriptures, Church services, service opportunites, modern amenities and most of all, His Son. To know that there is someone who literally know everything that you are going through at all times (see Alma 7: 11-12) should bring great comfort to us all. Even more amazing, Christ willingly "chose to descend from His throne divine" to save people like us, because He loves us perfectly.

So remember to pray, and instead of waiting for the blessings, look for them, because they are already there.

A funny experience: we were teaching our lesson, and our investigator turned to sneeze, and then he sneezed again, and then 5 more times. While he was sneezing I was counting them on my fingers and I almost busted out laughing. The funniest part is that this has happened before with a completely different investigator- when the sneeze, they don't mess around.

And a good word for you all from Kiribati: mimitong, which means "glory".

Have a great week you all! There is a plan for each of us!
-Elder Farner


Monday, August 28, 2017

uanao

Mauri,

The word in Kiribati this week is 'uanao" which means 'multitude". As in, there is a multitude of people that we talked with yesterday. Because we tracted/contacted referrals for about 5 hours! It was good. In district meeting each Wednesday we tell everyone our stats for the week. The week before this last Wednesday we had 0 new investigators, so Tui put a 1 in front of it and said we would have 10 new investigators by Sunday (we report our numbers Sunday night and then share them on Wednesday). So we had 5 days to find 10 people, and by Sunday we only had 4... So we were trying to get 10... Unfortunately Sunday is a family/church day for everyone so we didn't hit our goal. But I think if we hadn't had such a high goal, we would have just returned earlier to our flat and done something else because we have been kind of sick the past couple of days.
So the message here is the purpose of goal-setting. Although is is good to reach your goals, it is better just to have goals in the first place. If we don't have goals, our days are "tossed to and fro" by the winds of the trials and setbacks of the day. For example, broken bikes, missing investigators, people not being in their home for us to talk to them, etc.
That's not to say we should set absurdly high goals and say, 'hey I at least I had a goal!'  A better way to look at it is this- instead of just asking the Lord for help in life, we can ask him for help with a specific point in our lives. The Lord tells us:
Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me. But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.”D&C 9: 7-8
When we set goals, ask for confirmation and then go forth with faith we are more likely to access the powers of heaven than when we figuratively 'float' with our plans for our life. Additionally when we have specific goals, it is easier to avoid idleness as we always have something meaningful we are working toward. This is something I need to apply more fully in my missionary service and something I invite all those who are reading to do as well.
Now that I have stepped off my soap box, this past week the investigator that told me he believed the Book of Mormon was true agreed to be baptized, and he is really looking forward to it. So that is cool.
I won two games of the Kiribati Sorry board game back to back- finally starting to get good.
Not much else, have a great week you all!
tekeraoi!
Elder Farner

Monday, August 21, 2017

Mauri ngkami

Mauri ngkami!

The weeks are already starting to go by quick, I hit a month in Kiribati on Thursday! The theme of this past week I will label as "perspective". There are a lot things that happen in our lives that if we look at them with a different perspective, they take on new meaning. For example, playing the game "Sorry!" in Kiribati is way different than playing it in America (the game is really popular here, and there are some people who can count the cards, it is crazy. this old-timer would show me the cards he would use to knock me out with right before he played them and then just laugh). another example: the brand Abercrombie and Fitch has a knockoff called "Abckokoiee and Fifoe" here- no joke.
But in a more spiritual sense, sometimes people do things, that, from our perspective, don't make too much sense. Sometimes we maybe think 100% we are right (if you knew me well before I left, you probably recognized that I thought that a lot) and that because we are sure we are correct, it gives us the right to pass judgment/override the agency of someone else. But that is not the way the Lord works- after all, if I, an imperfect person, believe that I am 100% right about a certain thing- think about how certain Heavenly Father and Christ are that they are 100% correct when they tell us to live the Gospel. The Lord doesn;t force us however, because he respects our agency lets us make our own decisions. So, for us, when someone does something we don't understand, try first to see it from their perspective, and then afterward choose to help them with the consequences, rather than judge them for it. There is something I need to work on

Have a great week,
Elder Farner

Monday, August 14, 2017

Kekeaki II

Hey everyone!
This past week had its ups and downs for sure. But it all works out in the end. We had an investigator come and watch a baptism and we had 2 investigators, 1 recent convert, and 1 less-active member show up to church.
I got to go on a split with a member and I didn't absolutely fail, so it was all good. In fact, in one of the lessons, the investigator straight up said he believed the Book of Mormon is true. I wasn't sure I understood him correctly, but the member explained it to my comp later and it was confirmed. The truth is, when my comp and I had finished teaching the lesson on the Book Of Mormon (which was
the lesson before) we both felt it didn't go very well. Luckily this isn't the work of men, but of God, so our weaknesses and shortcomings don't really matter in the long run. Read the Book of Mormon!

Time is short right now, but the word of the week is one that I have heard/used quite a bit again this week- "kekeaki" which means "endure". Just remember that the Lord promises that He will consecrate our afflictions for our gain (2 Nephi  2:1-2)

Miss you all!

Have a good week!
Elder Farner

Sunday, August 6, 2017

kekeaki

So one of our investigators got baptized and another 4 have baptismal dates. The people here are really humble and already believe in Christ, it is just a matter of teaching the Restoration and Book of Mormon, from what I can tell so far. The work is good here, there are a couple of members who do great missionary work, so much so that my comp accidentally calls one of them Elder half the time. Another thing about the baptism, they hadn't assigned anyone to speak about baptism so they asked me like 5 minutes before it started to speak... so I did for maybe 2 minutes but the people are nice and said I did a good job, which is probably an overstatement.
I have been reading a lot in Gordon B Hinckley's Teachings of the Presidents book and it is very good. A lot of just pure simple doctrine explained in the pages. GBH talks about cultivating a spirit of happiness and optimism in one of the chapters and it really boils down to a choice. We can either choose to be hopeless, depressed, worried, anxious, etc. Or we can choose to be happy, hopeful, excited and confident. The power of agency is real- lets not "choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil" but rather "liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men" as it says in 2 Nephi 2:27.

For all those who have served missions, they know it is very easy to give in to those first set of attitudes and feelings (especially in the first couple of months) but the sun always breaks through the clouds, so why not choose to enjoy the rain while it lasts. I am not saying I have done a great job at this, but it is something that a Prophet of the Lord thought was important to share so it is important to try to get better at it.

Thank you all for your support, it is tough to serve but easier knowing there are people praying for you and thinking about you.

Have a good week,
-Elder Farner
(Word: kekeaki, meaning endure.... heard it a lot)