We are so proud of our modern-day Fijian pioneers. Many young adults who come to the institute are the first in their families to accept the gospel, and are paving the way for others to follow their example. They may not push handcarts, but they do a great job of forging their way through cultural challenges.
On Monday we welcomed Willie home after serving a faithful mission to the state of Washington. It was fun to finally meet him in person after seeing his picture on our wall for a year.
We had a sweet experience helping Steven prepare names for the temple, then performing the baptisms for his and for Rachel’s ancestors. Someone said that each time you hear the sound of the water in the baptismal font splashing, that is the sound of the gates opening for someone to return to their Heavenly Father. By Friday afternoon we were able to complete all the ordinances, including sealing the couples together for all eternity. We hope those in the Spirit world will now choose to accept the ordinances we vicariously performed for them. We are thankful for a Savior who performed the ultimate in vicarious work for us all!
Fiji National University had their “Open Day” this week to encourage enrollment. Guests were treated to traditional dances performed by FNU students from Kiritibati, Solomon Islands, and Tonga. What a great event! We loved seeing Tetika dance again. High school students from all over arrived on busses to tour the university, and it was fun to see their different colored uniforms..
Elder Whitehead taught Veta, Josefa, and Brandon how to consecrate oil for administering to the sick. It was a special experience, and instruction they used just hours later! Tomasi came in saying he felt so ill he couldn’t go to work, and asked for a blessing. Using the oil, Josefa and Brandon laid their hands on his head and gave him a blessing. It was wonderful to see all three exercise faith, and to see the priesthood work in their lives.
The mass exodus to BYU-Hawaii continues. The latest applicant was Arisi, from the island of Kadavu. He learned English and Tagalog while serving a mission in the Philippines. We have enjoyed having him at the institute so much I’m sad to see him go.
Saying goodbye to Mema’ofa brought me to tears! He will leave for BYU-Hawaii this Sunday, and oh, how we will miss him. We had no idea how emotionally difficult it would be to constantly be sending YSAs on their way to missions, school or work. Whoever comes to replace us better bring a bunch of Kleenex!
But then there are moments that make it all worthwhile – like the experience Friday of attending the temple with Veta as he received his endowment. Those moments are priceless. It made for another wananavu week here in Fiji!