We began our week listening to heavenly music as Michelle and her daughter sat by our institute carport preparing for a recital. We loved it. Michelle brought her 12 year old daughter here to learn English.
One night in institute class students were asked to list lessons learned from Joseph Smith’s first vision. One surprised me: “English is the language of the restoration.” I am grateful I haven’t had to leave my home to learn it.
Sione taught us that Tongan sulus are longer so it’s easier for men to be modest (Elder Whitehead was so jealous).
He also told us that while he originally came to Suva to apply for a visa, he extended his stay because he felt he needed a spiritual lift. It was rewarding to have him tell us he found that in institute classes. We have appreciated his comments in class.
We don’t have a TV, but election news was broadcast in every building I went into Wednesday. We didn’t know the outcome until we got home that night, but everyone was interested in it. Someone even referred to it in our Fijian Sunday School class today.
While everyone was in a frenzy counting ballots at home, Elder Whitehead was teaching Brandon how to perform a baptism here in the temple. That was a tender scene. It was even more special when it turned out that our wonderful Jeannette was the first person to stand as proxy as he performed baptisms.
Just before we sang “God Be With You” to Brandon on Thursday, he bore sincere testimony saying that once you know the gospel is true, how can you not share it?!
We bought more yarn so Racheal could crochet a hat for Elder Whitehead. Now with his hat and my scarf, we are ready for the Wyoming winter! Almost.
Saturday we joined over a hundred people of all faiths in a march to promote awareness of the problem of Diabetes in Fiji. Many sang as we walked through downtown, and we sang some primary songs along with other LDS members. I walked with a muslim young man who wore a long white robe, and who was very nice. At the end of the walk and before the Minister of Health spoke, prayers were offered by Islamic, Hindu, and Seventh Day Adventist leaders. Our Elder (Dr.) Clark also spoke, and told of going from hut to hut helping amputees in Taveuni. One was a 32 year old mother of ten. Although insulin is available, few have access to refrigeration, and the effects are devastating. All were encouraged to eat right and live a healthy lifestyle.
This was an important month in the history of Fiji for another reason:
I’ll never forget watching Sumeet and Racheal search online for information about the ship that brought their great grandparents to Fiji. This nation has a wonderful, but complicated past.
This morning we attended church at the Berry Road chapel with these cute sisters from Kiritibati: Our Sunday School lesson was on 4th Nephi, and how the people then were not separated as tribes or groups, but lived in peace. We hope that for Fiji, and for the world:)