Yokwe eok!!! and ALOHA!!!!!!!!! :)
Kommol tata as always for your weekly updates and for all the fun that you have and the good that you do back in Arizona (and other respective locations). It also makes for a lot of fun to read your letters and a lot of inspiration to do good over here in Hawaii!!! :) To answer your question Dad, no, it is not yet the year 2016 over here... in fact one of NASA's leading scientist, Dr. Brown, just discovered that the "supposed location" of the international date line was actually off by a couple of degrees and their new calculation of this rather slanted new 'date line' cuts straight through Hawaii.... so depending on what part of Oahu you are on it is either a day ahead or a day behind.... to make it even more confusing, however, when they went to "re-set" the new date line coordinates on the computer, one of the new interns at NASA who named Marty bumped into computer and messed up everything, so now, according to NASA's official report, if you are on the west side of Oahu it is the year 1955 and you have to take the H1 east bound at approximately 88 miles per hour in order to get "back to the future"..... :)
ANYWAY! With that very long and drawn out pathetic attempt at a joke out of the way, I suppose I should probably actually give you a real update on life and everything out here in Hawaii! :) Haha! Well, I suppose that things are about as good as can be expected. To be completely honest and straight forward about things, it is tough here! I mean, it is really hard to adjust. I feel like at times we have no control over what is happening in the area or the work and we're just being bounced around like a volley ball at a ward activity, getting bumped, set, and even occasionally spiked, by the many different personalities and people here in the branch and in the area in general.
Now then I want to be clear that this is in no way the fault of the members and I am not in any way trying to complain or whine about my assignment here! I love the people and am more grateful to be here than I could ever express in an e-mail... in the end it's not that anyone in particular is doing anything particularly wrong! In fact I firmly believe that everyone is doing everything the best they know how. I guess the challenge is more so, that everyone seems to do things a little bit different than each other... and while there are many ways to "build the kingdom" eventually there has to be some coordination between workers because, as we've come to find out, a building doesn't stand up too well when some are making walls out of wood, and other cement, and others dry wall, and yet others seem to be trying to dig the structure out of a sheer granite cliff face with nothing but a small chisel and rubber mallet for tools. (I tend to feel like the latter most of the time here.) I guess to illustrate just what I mean I'll tell you a little bit about our "baptism" that took place this last weekend.
So I think I already talked a bit about the child we started teaching whose grandpa wanted us to baptize him two days after we started teaching him. Well the baptism didn't happen that weekend. Instead we talked more with the family and with him and our Branch President and 're-set' a baptism date for this last Saturday! So taking full advantage of this exciting opportunity to teach and baptize someone Elder Livaie and I went over almost every day that next week to try and get him ready for his baptism that Saturday! He progressed VERY well! His memory and enthusiasm about the gospel was just incredible as well as his sincerity and humility and faith! It is no wonder that Christ said we must "become as little children" to enter into the kingdom of Heaven! But things were about to take another abrupt turn in a different direction when, out of the blue, the same Grandpa who wanted us to teach an baptize T in less than a week, asked us to go teach and prepare his other Grandson L to be baptized on the same date as T!!! Thankfully this one was a child of record baptism and not a convert so he is technically not under our jurisdiction and we didn't have to teach him all of the lessons, but we did still have to help him start basically from scratch to gaining a testimony of the restoration and the Gospel of Jesus Christ and everything is only two visits!!
So we did our best and come Saturday everything was set and everyone was ready for the baptism.... or so we though... But alas, to our great dismay we rolled up at about noon and you'll never guess how many people showed up?! Two! Two other missionaries!! :P haha! Our District Leader and his companion (fun note that I don't think I told you about before but the district leader here is Elder Baker, my past companion from Mililani! so that has been fun to serve around him again!). Anyway, technically the baptism wasn't scheduled to start until 1:00 but we had asked them all to come an hour early so that Elder Baker and our branch President could do the interviews for the two boys.
Anyway, long story short eventually everyone kind of rolled in (although not without many more bumps in the road) we started the actual service a little before 2:30... afterwards we could all take a deep breath and relax a bit with some unglazed donuts and this chicken/rice soupy stuff (it has a name but I can hardly pronounce it and can't remember how to spell it). BUT to make things even more fun.... that next day when we were supposed to confirm them both... they didn't show up!! Well, they did, but it was about half way through the testimony meeting so they weren't going to stop the meeting to confirm them! While at first we were all a little disappointed that they didn't get confirmed we were soon at ease with the not getting confirmed and then immediately RE-disappointed when we found out that there had been miscommunication between family members and that BOTH children were not baptized under their correct "full-name" soo... we have to baptize them AGAIN next week!! Hopefully this time things will go a little smoother but at least we didn't confirm them and then have to re-baptize AND re-confirm them both next week!! So yeah.... while there were a lot of other little stories that kind of follow the same confusing and stressful pattern. That was probably the main one for this week!
Well, I've been on for long enough and we've probably gotta get going here pretty soon. But real quick so that I don't leave on a note that makes you all think that things are just terrible here... here are a few MAJOR highlights of this last week!! WE HAD A BAPTISM!!!! And what's even better.... WE GET TO EXPERIENCE IT AGAIN THIS WEEK!!! (if you think about it, it is rather rare that you get to have the same experience like that twice in two weeks! ;) haha!) Also WE GOT TO CELEBRATE A NEW YEAR!!!! And man do these people in Hawaii know how to celebrate New Years!!! .......ILLEGALLY! Haha! Well kind of. So they outlawed fireworks over here in Hawaii (except Hilo apparently) a couple of years ago BUT since the law is still pretty new and half of the people that are supposed to be enforcing it are also the ones enjoying it... it doesn't really get enforced hardly at all. So while we still are not allowed to participate in any actual lighting of fireworks, we were able to enjoy the truly incredible display of pyrotechnics that occurred that night! It was extra cool because we had an awesome view over almost all of Waipahu from the 12 floor of the apartment building where we live. So yeah, that was awesome!! Well, I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your week and great start to the New Year!!! kommol tata!!
Aloha nui loa!!!