Baamle Yokwe eok!! :)
Man, sounds like you've been having some fun stuff going on! I wish I could have been there to hear Brian speak but I've been e-mailing him a bit and I am sure that he will be an absolutely stellar missionary! :) I'm also excited to hear that you've all been so busy with different church activities/callings! I was listening to a general conference talk last night while getting ready for bed about... well.... missionary work! haha! Anyway, President Uchtdorf starts out by telling a story of a man who had a dream and in the dream the man asked two members of our church what we were all about and they when on the explain all of the stuff that members do from callings, to devotionals, to temple and family history work, to youth conferences, to church attendance, to social events and everything else and in the end they had made a HUGE list about all of the crazy time commitments that membership involves, to which the man responds, "Why would anyone want to do all of that?" and the couple, smiling, simply responds "we thought you would never ask!" :) haha! It's a fun talk! It's called "Come, Join with Us" by Dieter F. Uchtdorf if you wanted to check it out! :)
ANYWAY! So speaking of business in doing the Lord’s work! HOLY COW HAVE WE BEEN BUSY!!! We have had a ton of miracles this past week with increasing our teaching pool and so now we have pretty well established work in literally every zone on the island expect for La'ie (which I'm kind of sad about because I LOVE that side of the island and especially being able to see the temple!) But the rate things have been going, I wouldn't be surprised if we start teaching people up there too! haha! The only problem is that whole side of the island is just a ton of Polynesians so there's not really a place for Marshallese missionaries :P haha! But we have found quite a place with this new less-active/part-member family we're teaching out in Kane'ohe which I was SUPER excited about because I just LOVE being able to drive through that side of the island! I sure miss the ward over there but I know the sisters who are serving there now and I'm sure that it is in great hands! :)
So anyway, in other news we are still working very closely with one of our part-member families and the non-member boyfriend soon to be husband! :) He is progressing very well and is definitely ready to get baptized any day now, but we are just waiting on the marriage license, so while we are a little disappointed that he won't be making his original baptism date (which was supposed to be this Saturday) he will definitely be getting baptized very soon so I will be sure to keep you all up to date on that! :) Other than that we had a pretty exciting week at church as we had a couple of our new investigators come to church and it's extra cool because in the Marshallese communities everyone is either directly related or "hanai" related (as the Hawaiians would say) and so the second they walk in the building people just go up and start talking to them and it's just super cool to see! I love how friendly and warm and welcoming the Marshallese are to everyone they meet! There could not be a more docile and patient people in the world! They are just fantastic! :)
I have learned a ton while being out here in this branch about what it means to be Christlike in my patience and humility and just finding the fun and happiness in everything! Just as the scriptures say "surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God." :) Anyway, I am sure that they are not the only happy and blessed people on this earth, obviously those promises apply to ANYONE who follows the Gospel of Jesus Christ with exactness, but one thing is for sure, that happiness, at least for the Marshallese and I would hope for the rest of us, has ABSOLUTELY NO CORRELATION WITH MONEY OR FANCY CARS OR CLOTHING OR GADGETS OR REALLY ANYTHING OF THAT SORT! Happiness for them is centered first and foremost on celebrating what they do have, such as something as simple as the gift of life, and celebrating it with family and friends! Truly that is what brings true happiness! At least that is what I have come to find out here! :)
It's kind of funny, we were doing this hike this morning (it's the same one I sent you pictures of a while back where there was supposed to be a waterfall but it's all dried up because I guess this isn't the rainy season or something) and while we were hiking back we got talking to this group of college and high school kids relatively close to our same age and they asked us what we do as missionaries and we started talking about the schedule we keep and the rules and everything we have to do and they just kind of looked at us ABSOLUTELY BAFFLED by the fact that ANYONE would, of their own free will and choice, sign up to do such a thing! They couldn't comprehend the fact that we would volunteer to come to Hawaii for TWO YEARS and not go to the beach or watch movies or do any of that stuff! While we continued to try and explain what we do and why we do it finally one of them just looked straight at me and said "and do you actually ENJOY doing this?" and I was SO happy to be able to look her in the eye and with the up-most confidence I could muster say "yes, I LOVE doing this!!" :) Haha!
It just felt so great to be able to share with her and everyone else there that simple truth that I had learned from the Marshallese, as well as from the many other people I have worked with on my mission and even many of you back home, that when we forget about ourselves and lose ourselves in the service of others, we can truly find new life and new happiness that exceeds ANYTHING else!! I love this work, I love this branch, just as I love all of you back home! I miss you and hope that you are still well and that you will continue to find ways to help those around you as well! I wish you the best of luck with whatever endeavors you may be involved in hope that God will bless you as you are prayerful in doing them. I know He will! :) Have a great week!! Kommol tata! Bar yokwe eok! :)