Sorry, I wasn't able to email yesterday--Pres and Sister Tupou (mission pres) came out for a fakataha (meeting) and they switched Pday to today. It was great! I'll tell you about it at the end of the email.
First, Sione got baptized! He made so much progress this past week (and didn't smoke at all). Also, they had a youth conference activity this past week that he was able to go to. And when Tongans put on activities they go all out. They had a mini MTC and all the youth got "mission calls" to the places where all the RMs in the ward served and had classes with them (cultural/spiritual). On the last day they had a tree of life activity. I wish I could've seen it 'cause it sounded sweet! They waited until it was getting dark and lit up a tree. They put blind folds on all the youth and had them hold on the rope that led to the tree. They played loud music, threw mud at them, and put a slip/slide under them with soapy water--once they made it to the tree they received fruit from the Stake Presidency. Sounds sweet right?
I love the Christmas season. It's definitely different being here where the sun is shining and not many Christmas decorations...but I hear a Christmas song here and there and it feels a little like Christmas. They have dances to celebrate Christmas season...but for the most part it doesn't seem that different..at least here in Eua.
So...about President coming. It was a wonderful meeting and I learned so much! He talked a lot about the higher level of teaching and teaching as Christ taught -- using questions. We're not here to teach others as objects but that's what we do when we just preach. We are here to guide them as they are agents unto themselves. As we create a safe environment where they feel comfortable and we value their thoughts and ask inspired questions from heaven, the Holy Ghost can come in and teach them. When you leave, they remember more of what they say than what you said.
He also shared his prayerfully sought out vision of (starting in January) baptizing 100 people in each stake before June, to celebrate 100 years of this mission! Yeah that's a HUGE goal and we're going to need a lot of heavenly help. But all the Stake Presidents have agreed and we're fasting and praying because that means 7 new converts each month in Ha'atu'a!
After the meeting we were able to have interviews with him and that was really good because I haven't seen him or Sister Tupou since the first day I got here. At the end of the interview he said, "your Tongan is so good!" Although the meeting was mostly in English (Sister Tupou doesn't know Tongan and pretty much everyone understands English) we had done a role play of Lesson #1 in Tongan...which we've role played so many times...which was in Tongan. So that made me feel good but that's probably the best Tongan I've got haha and it's all because of the Lords help. I've definitely gained a greater capacity to study and learn and I still have a looooong way to go but I'm grateful for this opportunity I have to learn Tongan! It's really such a fun language and I'm blessed to have the opportunity to study it and share the message of the Restored gospel to the Tongan people.
I hope you're all enjoying the Christmas season and remembering our Savior, Jesus Christ!
OFA LAHI ATU!