We had a great time welcoming Pres. and Sister Cziep to the mission this week. Bro Cziep will be a counselor to Pres. Layton in our mission presidency. They are from Idaho, but own a home on the island of Taveuni so they can come snorkel and scuba dive. Now instead of being snowbirds, they will stay for a whole eighteen months.
Taveuni was one of the places hardest hit by cyclone Winston, and they told us amazing stories about it. They said that one group of people took shelter in a very narrow space under a house. When they came out after the storm, the entire house was gone. Others broke through some cinderblock of a large water tank, packed in like sardines and stood in a foot of water until the storm passed. Seeing sheets of metal wrapped opposite directions around trees right near each other was evidence that the eye of the storm passed over them. What an experience! The Czieps told us of miracles, lives and property spared, and evidence that the tender and watchful eye of the Lord was also over them.
We are back to school! Elder Whitehead taught the first class of “Jesus Christ and the Everlasting Gospel”, I taught “Mission Preparation,” and then substitute taught “Teachings of the Living Prophets” for Bro Stanford. Our numbers are down, but it was a wonderful week. Many students went home to villages during the break, so we hope to see more this coming week.
During Bro. Stanford’s class, Raymond, Shanal and Misi presented a portion of Hugh B. Brown’s “Profile of a Prophet.” Undergirding and overarching all the rest, they did a super job!
It’s been raining almost every day, but how can we complain when we are surrounded by so much beauty?!
As Twilight zone leaders, we set up a temple session Saturday morning followed by lunch at the historic Governors restaurant. What a wonderful way to start the day. It was a special experience for us all. We also welcomed Elder and Sister Harper, who will serve as Self-Reliance missionaries in Nadi. We are getting to be quite a large group!
Today we went to the Kuku ward in Nausori with Pres. and Sister Olsen. We were asked to bear our testimonies before the Olsens spoke.
In the YSA Sunday School class, we met Alipate, a recent convert. Last February missionaries invited Alipate and his family to attend the Suva temple open house. Two flat tires made them so late to the open house that everyone had gone home –except Bro Maiwiriwiri, who gave them a personal tour. Alipate felt the Spirit there, and decided he wanted to feel that again. He was baptized four months ago, and just glows! After church today he helped fill the baptismal font with buckets of water so another person could feel that same Spirit, too. I am certain the Lord has something in store for him.
Relief Society was fun, even though it was almost all in Fijian. I followed along with the lesson by reading it in English, made a few comments, and was asked to offer the closing prayer — which I did in English. I’m thankful Heavenly Father knows my language. It was a great day.