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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November 2017

Our Wednesday, November 15, 2017 / His Thursday, November 16, 2017


Mom,

Even though the temple is being renovated for two years, it will be sad cause when I get back I still can't go to it haha. It will be about 3 and a half years when the temple opens since I have last gone to it. So it will be cool though to do a tour with people in the temple. Do you know if they are going to work on the outside of the temple as well? Is it cool having Kyle live closer now? Maybe they will make you and dad babysit their kids once in a while haha. The work here in Vava'u is good. We had a 70 come visit us this week and talk with all the missionaries. There are currently 4 members of the 70 in Tonga because two new stakes are being formed the Sunday of next week. One stake in Vava’u is being formed and one in Tongatapu is being formed. But one of the 70 was here to talk to the missionaries. His name was Elder Carden. He gave a wonderful lesson and talk and it helped me to better recognize the Spirit in my life. He also talked about the importance of the Book of Mormon and haw it was translated. It was pretty amazing stuff. It's cool cause it sounds like you are doing a little missionary work by sharing about the temple to others. You should invite them to listen to the missionaries. The missionaries will be happy. We have a musical fireside set up for this week. We are going to sing Silent Night in Tongan and in English. It will be good. I’ll tell you more about it next week. How is work? Can you believe it is almost Christmas?!?! This will be my last Christmas in Tonga so I got to make it count. The last Christmas was no fun because it was on a Sunday so literally all of Tonga slept. but this year will be better because Christmas falls on a Monday. I hope all is well.

Love you lots, 
Elder Bethke

P.S. Interesting thing. We went to a stake YSA satellite broadcast and David A. Bednar gave the broadcast. It was on marriage which I thought was funny. It talked about how important it is to be a strong line in the chains of family, and how one person makes a huge link in the chain of generations. So I just want to thank you both for being a strong link and teaching me the right way. Hopefully I’m able to do as good of a job as you all haha. But the reason I sent this is because David A. Bednar gave the marriage talk and it made me think of dad in some of his FHE talks haha.


Dad,

Food is going well. Today for breakfast I ate bread and water. For an afternoon snack I ate chicken and rice. And I hope to eat some horse for dinner tonight so I think it is all good. I wish I could send more pics home for y’all to see but I think I’d be able to do a better job about that next transfer. How is the new ward? Is it good? Right now I’m finishing up training Elder Lao. I finish his 12 weeks this transfer. And I'm not the district leader anymore...thank goodness. You know, leadership roles are not my roles. I think me being with Tongans has made me joke around a lot more so now it's a little harder for me to be a leader haha. We are teaching this one lady that is always fun to teach. Her name is Kalo and she always has interesting questions or doesn’t believe in something we tell her. But she is very open and is also willing to listen so it is fun to share with her the gospel. It is also cool because when she asks a lot of the questions, the Holy Ghost helps us answer those questions. At times though I think she is like Zeezrom from the Book of Mormon, just trying to ask questions to trip us up. but nonetheless it is fun. By the way happy birthday. How young does this make you now? 

Hope all is well. 
'ofaatu, 
Elder Bethke


Miss,

I can’t send pics cause the computer is being stupid...but maybe in in two weeks I’ll be able to send pics cause at the end of next week is transfers. So I could be in a new area. But you might have to endure until then...sorry. This week was good. It was pretty special in a matter of fact because we had a 70 come and talk to the missionaries this week. It was Elder Carden. He gave a wonder lesson that I think has changed my life. He has helped me to more clearly identify the Holy Ghost in my life. And to understand its many promptings. Which I’m very happy for because this is one thing that my patriarchal blessing told me that I have to do to accomplish things in the future. I mean for the most part he said don't worry about feeling the Holy Ghost too much, as long as you are doing the right thing it will influence your life. But he said how each person feels the Holy Ghost differently and what not. And I feel that from the meeting I was able to better determine the way the Holy Ghost talks to me. But he shared this one quote from Joseph Smith that was pretty cool: ‘If you follow your first though or impression, 9 out of 10 times it will be the right decision.’ It was along the lines of that. I hope you learn something from that. Man, I literally have no clue who our family is on mom's side of the family haha. So you might have to refresh me on those people.

Love you lots,
Elder Bethke




Our Tuesday, November 7, 2011 / His Wednesday, November 8, 2017


Hello Mom, 

As far as the earthquake went, it wasn't that big where I was. It was big enough to feel it but it lasted for 2 seconds and wasn’t a big deal. Even if the earthquake caused a tsunami, I think I’d be safe because I’m on a mountain in my area. So it's good. This past week...it was good. We've had some trouble teaching people of the Wesleyan church lately because the missionary that preaches in their church told the village to not let us in there house and to not listen to us. We only figured this out after we went to a Wesleyan house and they said we can’t teach them and what not or even come in their house. Then they said that if we get permission from the missionary we can go teach them. So we went to the missionary’s house and he chased us away haha. So that was fun. We are teaching this girl right now and she wants to be baptized and what not but her dad is the village officer and he is a strong Wesleyan. So...we are working on it. As for the Book of Mormon, right now we are reading it in 90 days as a mission. The Book of Mormon is pretty special. There really is no other book like it. We are having a member of the 70 come next week and talk to the missionaries and one thing he told us to study was about the Book of Mormon. So I'm excited for that. Plus he is coming to talk to us on p-day next week and so I might not email you all on Wednesday but maybe on Tuesday or Thursday. I’ll know more about it next week. All is good. I hope you all are doing well. Love you lots.

'ofaatu,  
Elder Bethke


Hello Dad,

I’m doing good. The earthquake was not really a thing. It was not a big deal at all. I felt it but it only lasted for 2 seconds and I wasn’t even sure if it was an earthquake or just me going crazy. But that being said..,the earthquake has had a great impact on my life and I do not think I’ll be the same from it.

Things are moving forward...slowly but surely. One of my jobs is to build up the church in my area. I can say it is more built now than when i came here. I’m good. It's almost thanksgiving. I’m trying to find a feast here to replace the officers club. I’ll let you more about my success when it is actually thanksgiving. Love you lots.

'ofaatu, 
Elder Bethke


Missy, don't be mad. But I left my camera at my house so I can’t send pics. I do have pics tho! You just can’t see them yet. Sorry. Let’s see. I’m going to try and think of something interesting or funny to tell you since I have time left. Did you know, ever since I've left Vaotu’u to come work up here in Vava'u, I have yet to injure my feet? True fact. Another fact, before this transfer ends I’m going to be a master at making otai which is a fruit drink made with coconut and coconut milk. I’ll make it for you all when I get home. It's like a smoothie but healthier and better. Another true fact, I do not know what else to tell you except I love you.

'offatu,
Elder Bethke

P.S. Missy, when I get back you’re going to have to teach me how to do some things again like ironing shirts, folding clothes properly, cooking things and stuff cause everything over here is different haha. Are you up for the challenge?



Our Tuesday, October 31, 2017 / His Wednesday, November 1, 2017


Hello mom, 

How is everything? I had a good day today. We played touch rugby and volleyball today. It rained a lot so it was fun playing touch in the rain. The work is alright. We teach people every day even if it is just a simple principle or a full lesson. So we are inviting people to come unto Christ, but they just don't want to accept it. It was funny, my companion asked this one person, what a missionary was. They responded saying that a missionary is someone who represents Jesus and goes around and shares Jesus' gospel. My companion then asked her if she wanted to hear the message that we have to share cause we know it’ll help her life. She said no haha. But I guess that's just life haha. But the work is alright. Halloween passed, nothing happened. But it's cool.

I hope all is well.

Love you,
Elder Bethke


Dad,

In Tonga, we have missionaries working in just about every village. So we often see other missionaries. I really enjoy it because you get really close to the missionaries in your district here. Me and my companion set up an open house in our ward and we have all the missionaries in our district go to it and help out with the program. We are going to be teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to a bunch of people. It should be fun. As for my pushups... I’ve given up. I’ll start up again when I have 6 months left. Everything is good in Tonga. This past week it has been raining a lot so it’s hard to do work during that time, and it also means doing extra laundry because everything gets muddy. But everything is good.

'ofaatu,
Elder Bethke


Miss,

I’m really sorry I can’t send pics. I have a really good one but I’ll send it next week. Watch next week. I’m going to send you a good email. I love you lots, thank you so much for all you do.

'ofaatu,
Elder Bethke


Monday, October 2, 2017

October 2017

Our Tuesday, October 24, 2017 / His Wednesday, October 25, 2017


Hey Mom,

This is Elder Bethke reporting from the island of Vava'u. It is clear skys for 30 minutes then pours down rain for 10 minutes. Then it is instantly clear again but a lot more humid. That is how the weather is here at this time. Hot and muggy. But I’m not complaining. I’m taking it with gratitude as you just reminded me about.

Everything is fine here in longomapu. We created a program last week with our bishop called an open house. It's where we invite all the missionaries in our district and we will split up into rooms in our church and we will teach a lesson. Like in one room they will teach about faith, one room about repentance. Then after the spiritual part we do everyone’s favorite thing in Tonga, eat ice cream and play volleyball. It's a solid program and I'm looking forward to it. It should be a good opportunity for all members, less actives, and invites to learn about the gospel and have a fun time. We got really like 2 more investigators that are actually serious about listening which is good.

I'd say one thing about the work in Tonga that is hard is that everyone really likes to keep the old traditions here. Like if someone gets married to another family and they are a different religion, they'll change to that religion. Or that the kids won't change religions unless there parents are dead because they do not want to disrespect them. It's funny because it shows in the Book of Mormon about people that keep to their own traditions and don't follow the Lord. It talks about the struggles and sufferings that they have because they don't follow the Lord. But…anyways. All is good. I'll try and work hard so we can all receive blessings from the Lord.

Love you lots!!!
Elder Bethke


Dad,

I play volleyball almost every Wednesday. It’s fun. I just hope that I get good enough at it to impress all the ladies with my spike. I’ve actually played basketball twice last transfer. There is one member that has a nice ball who served in Texas. He just got off his mission. So we'll play ball with him on p-days. I’m not as good as I used to be. I’m not sure why. Maybe because it’s been a long time since I’ve played or maybe because the lack/excessive food I get here in Tonga. I’m going to say that it's the sun that is throwing me off haha. The fasting is going good haha. We are able to get a little more food throughout the day which is good. Now it's like we eat twice a day. So it's back to the norm. It's because we are getting to know a lot of the nonmembers in our village and everyone in Tonga is kind and is willing to help the missionaries.

From my mission, one thing that I'm really learning is how to work with ward leaders and how to run everything. Especially here in Tonga because the missionaries have to do a lot of things. I'd say I’m really good at setting up activities and programs because of my mission. If we ever need to set up a musical fireside...that is my specialty. I don’t know why I felt that that was important to share with you but I did. I guess my reason is that I see that our stake at home is doing a lot of new things in trying to get less actives active again and to invite others to come unto Christ. So I don’t know where I’m going with this. But...yeah I’m learning a lot from my mission.

Love you lots.
Elder Bethke


Hi Miss,

How are you? Oh I already got the white shirts a while ago. Just letting y’all know. I do have one request if you do send a package to me. Can you put a hat in it? Like a snapback or something so I can wear on p-days. That would be wonderful thanks. Missy, Vava'u has really nice water and has really cool sailboats. I've already decided that before I finish on my last week I’m going to rent a sailboat for a day. Yup, right before I finish. I’ll take pics. Sorry I can't send pics this week because I left my camera at home. I don't know what else to say but I’m just going to say that I love you and am happy for all the hard work and persistence you use in dealing with your life. I know you have a lot of struggles that you have to deal with but even with those struggles you are still a happy and loving person. Thanks so much for all that you do for me.

Love,
Elder Bethke




Our Tuesday, October 17, 2017 / His Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Mom,
Sorry I did not email Monday, that is because p-days no longer fall on Monday. It is a Wednesday thing now. Therefore, I’m emailing you this day. Everything is great in Vava'u. It is really beautiful and pretty hot. I just finished a transfer out here in Vava'u. And I’m staying in the same place this transfer as well. Time really does fly by, transfers go by very fast. Plus next transfer is Christmas so that should be very fun. I hope all is well with the family and that everyone is happy. That is the one thing that always ends up in my prayers. Vava;u is great and all, but it really is the worst for emailing home. I’m not really sure what else to say so I’ll just share a small testimony. I know that our Heavenly Father loves us all. Each and every one of us. Even if we make mistakes in our lives, Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ will always be there by our side to help pick us back up. They are never changing and will always love us. They love us and for that reason they give us all these big and little commandments. These commandments are ways for us to experience a greater joy in each of our lives. However, we aren’t perfect and we do not have a perfect understanding of everything. There will be times when we mess up and break a commandment. But like I said before Jesus and The Father will be by our side. They gave us the wonderful gift of repentance where we are able to overcome our struggles and our problems. Our Savior died for us that we may have the opportunity to repent. Repentance is joy, not a sorrowful moment. We should look for every opportunity to repent that we are able to come closer to Christ. Heavenly Father Loves us. As does His Son. They will never give up on us. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
'ofaatu,  
Elder Bethke


Hey Dad,
It’s not that p-days are generally busy it is just hard to email out here in Vava'u the net is slow and we are really only supposed to email at the churches because those are the only places that have email. Except a problem is that our area doesn’t have any email. But some big news, p-days are now on Wednesdays. So that's a little different. I’ve been in my area for a whole transfer. And I’m staying again for this transfer. The big thing in Vava'u right now is that we are trying to set up a new stake. That would make three stakes in Vava'u. Which is pretty cool. Everything is great. My companion is good. I love you lots.
'ofaatu


Miss,
P-days are now on Wednesday. Sorry Missy for the short emails but it is really hard to email out here in Vava'u. Everything is great in Vava'u. I just finished my first transfer in Vava'u last week. I’m staying in the same area with the same companion this transfer. Last week was kind of a slow week. Probably because it was the end of transfers but still, not much really happened. I’m doing good though. I get sunburned a lot. I got my package! Thank you so much for all that you do. I love you so much. Let me know if you need anything.


"This pic is with my district on top of a tower. We climbed a tower on the top of one of the mountains in Vava'u. It was scary."

"This pic is us with a goat that we killed and ate. Delicious!!"

"This pic is of our district holding on to a poll. It is to represent our district name, the Iron Rod....I know it's corny."

"This pic is with a cat. We found it in the jungle. I named it panther."




Our Sunday, October 8, 2017 / His Monday, October 9, 2017


Hi Mom,

How are you? This past week was a pretty great week. I’ve had many experiences that have built my testimony. Now, I don't want you to worry the least bit about what I tell you because I’m honestly fine and am happy. But one thing that me and my companion decided to do was to only have scheduled eating meals, which we call fafanga, at night time. It is usually held 2 times a day but me and my companion have looked around and decided that we do not want to burden these members because they each work so hard to support themselves and their families, we don't want them to worry about us missionaries too much. So, some days we only eat once at night. So it's kind of like doing a fast just about every day haha. But don't worry! The scriptures are true. There is this one scripture in the book of Matthew, and also in 3rd Nephi. It is the lord talking to his apostles and also his disciples in America. It basically says, take ye need no thought of what you will eat or what you wear. For he feeds the crows of the earth...are ye not more important than the crows of the earth? Even though the scripture I just said was not quoted right, the message is simple. Trust in the Lord and he will provide. There was one day I was pretty hungry and I asked Heavenly Father to give me the strength to be able to accomplish his will. The very next house we go to, they give us watermelon. After that, someone randomly drops by and gives us a whole bunch of food. Then after that, we go to our scheduled fafanga and they fed us very well to say the least. From this I learned that even if we do the simplest things like prayer, we show our Faith and our trust in the Lord and he will help us with our struggles. I really debated on whether or not to share this story with you because I didn’t want you to worry. But honestly there is nothing to worry about. I’m fantastic. I’m fed well enough to do the Lord's will each day. Don't worry. I’m great.

Anyways, I had the chance to listen to conference this past weekend. I learned a lot. I wish I brought my notes to share some of the things that I picked up, but I’ll use my memory because I’m not the most prepared. One thing that Conference really focused on was looking outwards and helping other people. Love people and serve them. For Love without Service is dead. There are many little things that we can do to help others that make a huge difference. Love the Lord thy God. Then others. That is what everyone must do, and must improve on. I also learned that we need to read the Book of Mormon every day. And if you already do it, study it harder for there is so much more we are able to learn from it. The Book of Mormon has the power to change lives and help us to become more Christlike. It is a necessity that we not just read it every day, but study it every day. Those were the two biggest things that I picked up. Other events that happened this week, we baptized someone. I sent Jimmy an email about that. Mom, I love you lots. I only had time to email you and Jimmy so say sorry to the rest of the family for me. I LOVE YOU ALL LOTS.

Elder Bethke


Jim,

As for my missionary life. Being on a different island was hard to adjust to at first but I’m starting to like now. I think it was just harder because I was in one area for 8 months. But anyways, work is alright. We were able to baptize someone this past week. But the story is pretty funny. His name is Kotoni but he was previously baptized before when he was 8. But when he was baptized, his dad took him to the ocean and did the baptism without the bishop’s permission. The only people to witness the baptism were the primary kids. But when the father told the bishop that the baptism was done, he told him that the baptism had to be redone and witnessed by the right people. Then the Father got mad, and Kotoni wasn’t baptized again. But we came along and did our jobs and the family softened their heart and Kotoni was baptized again. It only took the family 12 years to make that decision haha but it was pretty funny experience. Even though it was just a lost record baptism, it was a lot of work. Plus we had to help the investigator quit smoking.




Our Sunday, October 1, 2017 / His Monday, October 2, 2017


Mom....happy birthday. I was just giving you the opportunity to remember your birthday and so I didn’t wish you birthday last week. But since you remembered I’ll wish you a happy 31st birthday!!! 

I have not yet had the opportunity to hear conference because the islands are delayed a week. So I’ll get to here from our church leaders this upcoming Saturday and Sunday. But that promise is a very true thing that Elder Nelson said. One thing that me and my companion have been trying to accomplish in this town. To get people to read the Book of Mormon. Like with this one less active member named Mele, we often go to her house and read the Book of Mormon with her. We tell her that reading this book as a family will bring them closer together and help them receive happiness from knowing Heavenly Father’s plan for each and every one of us. 

It is very unfortunate to hear that Sister Wetzel passed away. I know it will be a tough trial for the family but I know that the Savior knows what they are going through for he has suffered every pain and suffering on this earth through the everlasting Atonement. Alma 7: 11-13. If they look towards the Lord and ask for his help, they will be able to overcome their hardships and trials. Heavenly Father and our Savior loves them and will always be with them. Send my regards to the family, and that I love them very much.

Work here is doing better. I feel that more people are attending church now than when we first came. I hope that we will be able to continue to help this town come unto Christ. I love you all very much. I love you mom.

'ofaatu, 
Elder Bethke


Dad,

Wow, I can’t believe Elder Hales passed away. Out here in Tonga no one tells you anything so that is quite a surprise. I get to hear conference next week. But I don't know if you remember Maile Neiufi from my last area. You actually met with her when we did our skype call. She is the stake president’s wife in my last area. She is the one that translates most of the female voices into Tongan from English. Just a fun fact for you to know. How’s baseball season going? Are the Nats in the playoffs? Not much to report from last week. I will share one experience from last week. I might’ve told you about the baptism in last week’s email but I forgot to share something. So basically Ilaisa (the person we baptized) showed up 2 hours late after we cancelled the baptism. But before that happened my companion said a prayer that Ilaisa would show up and be baptized. And he said he got an answer that Ilaisa would come that day. And that he needs to be baptized that day. And eventually he did come and was baptized. But just from Ilaisa again at church this past weekend I can already see a difference in his life. I truly see that the gospel of Jesus Christ changes people and brings happiness to people’s lives. That’s my little experience for this week. I hope all is well.

I love you lots.
Elder Bethke


Miss,

Zone Conference was good. It was really just a good reminder to do a lot of things which is good. But like Elder Hallstrom said last year when Elder Renlund visited Tonga, "If you are not willing to change, you are denying the Atonement of Jesus Christ." He also said that you should be going to every meeting willing to change. Even though I didn’t learn a whole bunch of new things, I went willing to change and I was reminded of somethings that I should be doing haha. So... my advice for everyone is go to meetings willing to change. Any meeting whether it be Sacrament meeting, Sunday school and any church meeting. Go into it willing to change for the better.

My scripture for this week is Doctrine & Covenants 64:33 "Koia namo fiu ihe failelei, he oku mo ai ae tuunga o ha gaue lahi. pea oku tupu mei he gaahi me'a oku iiki ae ngaahi fuu mea lalahi.” Basically, through the small and simple things, great things are brought to pass. And I really like this scripture because it reminds me of mom telling me to do my homework. She would always tell me to start with something easy and once I did that I was able to move on and focus on the bigger things. But this scripture can really be applied for everything which I really like. It can be applied to work, school, missionary work, or even just doing things around the house. It is also a good reminder to do even the small things in our work or school because those will help us to progress in whatever we are doing. I hope all is well. I love you lots.

'ofaatu

Elder Bethke

Vava'u Zone Conference

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

September 2017

Our Sunday, September 24, 2017 / His Monday, September 25, 2017


Hey Mom,

All is well in Vava'u. And...we had a baptism this past Saturday!! That might be the only one I get out here in Vava'u but I’m really happy that I’m able to bring this soul unto Christ. His name was Ilaisa and he is 15 years old. He was taught before by the missionaries but his family said no to baptism. But even though his family said no, he decided to attend evening seminary (emphasis on the evening seminary). And he started to feel that his life was changing for the better from that class. Then me and Elder Lao moved to Longmapu and we were able to teach him again. But this time Ilaisa was the one that talked to his parents and told them all the wonderful experiences he’s had with seminary class. His family said yes, and he was baptized this past Saturday. So yay! That was about our only investigator at this time so for this next week we have lots of searching to do. We also have zone conference this week. So that should be interesting. All is going well in Vava'u. I love you all very much.

'ofaatu
Elder Bethke,


Thanks dad for all the advice...it is all very true. I don't know if I told you this about our mission but I promise you it's the best. It is the best because of the missionaries and the mission president. We have a loving mission president who is willing to help every missionary become the best person they can be. And the missionaries...it's hard to explain. But you can definitely tell the culture effects the missionaries. Everyone is a very loving missionary and even though we might be a little laid back like the culture, when it is time to get things done, things get done. I honestly do not think I could’ve been called anywhere else. This is the mission for me and the mission that I’m able to learn the most from. And for sure, there have been people that have been prepared to hear my testimony. Basically what I’m trying to add up too is that Heavenly Father knows his children best. And for whatever he plans for us, we should be excited and happy for because we know that Heavenly Father knows best and is only doing things so that we become our best selves. I hope all is well. Work is good? Good!

'ofaatu,
Elder Bethke


Miss,

Here is mine.

I actually forget the verse so I can't tell you word for word but it is in the book of Second Nephi. It goes along the lines of ‘Is it possible for a mother to forget her suckling child? I say onto you yea, it is possible. But I will not forget you for I have engraved your name upon my palms and my feet.’ Something like that. But it helped me because there are many problems and struggles that we deal with in our everyday lives. But Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ have not forgotten us in our trials. They are there ready to take our burdens and lighten our load. We just have to be humble enough to ask for help and pass the load to them.

That's what I liked from this past week. I haven’t got my package yet. But yeah. When did you send it? Christmas is just around the corner................so that'll be fun. Hope all is well. I love you lots.

Elder Bethke

"Last Monday we visited this bridge. And it was really beautiful. I actually slipped on this puddle on the concrete. so my tupenu and shirt are a little wet on one side...I promise I didn't swim! haha."




Our Sunday, September 17, 2017 / His Monday, September 18, 2017


Soooo, am I going to have to go to a different ward now back home? We don't even get to keep the name. But oh well. Everyone will just love me wherever I go. It's a curse.

My companion’s name is Elder Lao which means law in Tongan. We were teaching this investigator and he is preparing for baptism. But last week he got sick and went to the hospital. We hope he is doing better but once he gets out of the hospital we will continue the lessons. 

Vava'u is very different from Tongatapu. The people are different, the land is different, and everything is different. I’m still adjusting to some of the things like the heat but for the most part everything is going well. I'm still getting to know the people in my area but this area is not much bigger than my last area. But the work is a little harder here than it was in my last place and there are not a bunch of members here. 20 people showed up to church yesterday even though like everyone in the town is baptized only 20 people showed up. It's because a lot of people get mad at small things and then go back to a different church. There is a lot of less active work to do here so wish us luck with that.

I just finished reading the Book of Mormon this week. Our mission president has just committed all the missionaries to read the Book of Mormon in 90 days and he wants us to highlight every time it mentions Jesus Christ. I'm not sure why he gave us this assignment but I believe that this will help us better recognize the Lord's work in our lives. It is an interesting challenge but I am excited to try it.

I don't eat ice cream anymore in this area, so that's sad. I’m about to go to town today and buy a bunch for our pday today.

I hope all is well with the new ward changes. Who is the bishop in Olney 1st ward? Good luck with everything.

Love you all lots.

'ofaatu,

Elder Bethke

"A pic of my church from my house. I live really close to it and it is on a nice little hill."


"Me standing in the mop bucket doing my laundry...back to doing it the hard way."


"Me reading the Bible."






Our Sunday, September 10, 2017 / His Monday, September 11, 2017


Hey Mom,

I’m am safe in Vava'u and I will tell you that Vava'u is very pretty. It has many mountains and that is completely different from Tongatapu. Tongatapu is flat. I have a whole bunch of hills in my area and I can see other islands from my area. It's pretty cool. My area has the highest mountain in Vava'u and from it you can see whales.

The internet is really bad so I can’t spend super long on the internet. But my area is pretty cool. There are not a ton of members but basically all of my area is baptized so my job will be doing a lot of reactivation. We ended up teaching someone last Sunday and they said yes to our baptismal invitation. So we are very excited to start off like that in a new area. The people up here in Vava'u are different than the people are in Tongatapu. So I'm still trying to get used to everything up here. Vava'u is a lot hotter as well so now I'll actually be getting a nice tan.

I flew a plane from Tongatapu to Vava'u, it was about a 50 minute plane ride. I ended up riding the plane with a member of the Area 70. He went up to a stake conference in Vava'u. So I got to talk to him a bit. But I’m excited to work in this new area even though I do miss my old area some. My companion is also cool. He is from Tonga so it should be very fun working with him. I only just got to Vava'u last Saturday, I'm sure I will have more to report next week. Hope all is well. Love you all lots.

'ofaatu,
Elder Bethke








Our Sunday, September 3, 2017 / His Monday, September 4, 2017


Hey Mom, 

I’m transferring!!! I’m going to a new island...to Vava'u. I’m going to work in an area called Longomapu. I heard it is a really beautiful area but my camera is still broken!!! But don't worry I’m trying really hard to get a new camera. I can bring about 30 pounds, so I’ll be leaving some stuff at the mission office. I’m only going to bring my scriptures and a couple shirts and garments. After working in Vaotu’u for a long time, there are a lot of things I’m going to miss about it. I’m really going to miss the people and the awesome feedings that they give us. It is honestly a little hard to move but I have good hope for this next area. I’m also training again. Which means a lot of work. Overall I’m doing alright. I don't have a ton of time to email today because of transfers but just letting you know that I love you lots. Sorry I can’t send pics.

'ofaatu, 
Elder Bethke


Dad,

I get to go to a new island. I’m training. I’m whitewashing. Oiaue...... fele e ngaue ke fai. I’m excited to go to a new place but I’m going to really miss the people in Vaotu’u. You all should come to Tonga at the end of my mission so we can go exploring and go swimming. I can show you all my second house in Vaotu’u. Sorry for the short email but I’m getting transferred today. Love you lots.

'ofaatu,
Elder Bethke



Monday, August 7, 2017

August 2017

Our Sunday, August 27, 2017 / His Monday, August 28, 2017

Hey Mom, 

How are you? I’m doing better than usual and I can actually thank dad for this one. He gave some good advice that is helping to make even more of my mission experience. I’ve started to set a whole bunch of goals. I feel that these goals have given me more purpose and it is also fun to just check a goal off. One of my main goals for the mission is to be able to do 100 consecutive pushups without stopping. I figured if I do that then I’ll have the chest of Dwayne the Rock Johnson. So why not haha. I have also figured out one purpose that I have to really become good at on my mission. That purpose is to become really good at listening and acting by the Holy Ghost. I’ve had a prompting from my patriarchal blessing that it's pretty important and I got to get pretty good at it. So I’m trying to refine my listening skills and refine my acting skills.

This past week was pretty good for work. For one thing, we had a baptism!!! We baptized a little girl named Nesi and she’s really funny. When we asked her mom if it was ok to baptize her, her mom was a little on the edge, but my companion came on the clutch and just spoke by the Holy Ghost and the mom let her daughter get baptized. I was pretty impressed with my companion after that and that also emphasized to me the importance of living by the Spirit. So overall I had a good week.

It was nice to hear that cool experience about me helping you through that hard time. It made me feel good about myself haha. But it was cool to hear it. I’m also glad to hear that I’m gaining some respect among Brother Bearman. It only took me 19 years but I did it haha.

I love you lots.

'ofaatu, 
Elder Bethke


Dad,

Your advice from last week helped about setting goals. I’ve started to set a lot of goals. One of them is drinking a full litre water bottle every day. That's what the mission doctor keeps telling us but you know, it's like you have to go out of your way to get water so I’ve been trying to listen to the mission doctors commitments for the mission. One goal is to be able to do 100 consecutive pushups without stopping. Another one is to make my bed every day. Impressive haha. Thanks for all advice you give. It helps sometimes. I honestly didn’t do anything for my one year mark. The day after my one year mark I planted a tava tree. I don’t know what tava is in English but it's a good fruit tree. I planted one and it’s already dying so I’m a little sad for that. The work is going well. We baptized a little girl last week. It was fun teaching her even though sometimes she wouldn’t pay attention or understand something. The hard part with her was getting her parents’ permission but we eventually got it and the mother got to see her baptism. So that was cool. We only work with the people in this village or anyone that just happens to walk through it. But the people that come to church in our ward are only from this village. But yeah, all is well. Love ya lots.

Work out so you can be buff like me.

'ofaatu,
Elder Bethke


Hey Miss,

No pics haha. My camera is broken. For some reason the lens is jammed on mine and it won’t open up. Don't worry I’m in the process of getting a new one. I might get a new one next week.

This week has been a good week. I feel that everything is getting a little better. I’ve started setting goals and now I have more purpose in my life. It's pretty cool. One of my goals is to be a cleaner person. So to fulfill that I’m going to do all the cleaning, Fold and hang up my clothes, make my bed. I don’t know if you know this but I wasn’t the best about that before the mission haha. But I’m going to be a pro when I get back. I hope all is well,

'ofaatu,

Elder Bethke



Our Sunday, August 20, 2017 / His Monday, August 21, 2017


Hey Mom,

Now is not the time to slow down!! You’re telling this to someone who is in Tonga and is spending 8 months in a town smaller than our neighborhood!!! You’re are right though, it is important to keep working hard and gaining the trust of the Lord in all that I do. One of the most important things in the mission is doing all of the small things. It is from small things that big things come to pass. I've been feeling that I’ve been becoming a little bit more lazy in this area and I know that I need to try harder haha so I’m going to try and do my best. I think setting goals is very important in not becoming lazy. And I just have to become creative in my goals. I think that is the key. I could set better goals or more fun ones. We are teaching a couple of investigators right now, we have one set up to be baptized this week. But from what I’ve learned it is that whenever the Lord works hard to try and save someone, Satan works just as hard to try and stop their salvation. But the Lord will always come through if you have faith in him. We had our zone conference last week and it was good. I learned a lot.

Today for p-day we are going to do a service project at one of the noble’s houses. It’s starting to get hotter out here. Hope all is well. I hit my year mark this week!

Love you lots,
Elder Bethke

Hihifo Zone Conference


Our Sunday, August 13, 2017 / His Monday, August 14, 2017


Hi mom,

All is well here in Tonga. This week was a pretty quiet week for the most part. I'm trying to think of the major events that happened this week but honestly nothing was really really cool. We did have a musical fireside in our ward this past Sunday and it was nice because for once, us missionaries didn’t have to do anything. We didn’t have to make the program or sing in it. So it was nice to just enjoy the program for once. The topic was about missionary work, and they had a bunch of converts talk about their conversion story. And afterward there was cake and ice cream so it was a good Sunday. 

It is pretty crazy not having a single kid at the house anymore. I don't know if I told you but one morning me and my companion borrowed some members’ bicycles and went biking around our zone. It was really nice to bike instead of walk. Plus biking was really peaceful and beautiful. However afterward my butt was sore. But it was a sacrifice worth taking. So I think that will be a great idea going biking at work. 

And you are learning how to use the TV?? Wow, the world is completely different than a year ago. Dad emailed me and told me how everyone my age in church is now basically out of the house. It's pretty crazy ay. WOW Daniel and his family are sealed a day before he enters the MTC! That is something special. Everyone looks older except for Daniel haha. He is probably my best friend. I can't believe that Daniel and his family got sealed in the temple right before he went out on his mission. That's way cool. I'm really happy for him and his family. In the picture, Kenneth and Selenne look way bigger. Do you have Daniel's email? Can u send it to me?

We might have a baptism this week. We are teaching this little girl and she's really cool. She’s like 9 but she’s pretty funny. We taught this one kid who is going to be baptized we are just waiting for his dad to come home so he can see the baptism.

Thanks mom hope all is well.

'ofaatu
Elder Bethke

"This is a pic that I took in the office while emailing home because I realized that I didn't take any pics this last week. Hope you enjoy it!!!!"


Our Sunday, August 6, 2017 / His Monday, August 7, 2017


Hey Mom, 

How is everything? Now that Missy and Jimmy are gone I’d think that you’d actually be busier around the house. Well you will always have Danny and Dalia visit every once and a while. Man I can't believe that everyone is leaving...I’m not going to know anyone when I get back except Josh Bearman. Which will be interesting. I enjoyed hearing about your thoughts about fasting. I actually had a pretty cool experience with fasting back when I worked in Ha’ataieho. Me and my companion fasted and it came to the end of our fast and we were starving. We ended our fast and had plans to get food but for some reason the stores were closed and we couldn’t get food from anyone, which was very unusual for the area that I was in. But we just kept walking around. But while we were walking along one of the streets, one car zoomed by us but once they saw us they slammed on the brakes to talk to us. As we were walking towards the car, all they did was stick a sack of apples out the window. We said thanks and we then we parted and went our own ways. Those were some of the best apples I’ve had too. It made me think of the time when the Savior talks to the people and he is saying how that our Heavenly Father always makes sure that the crows and wild birds are fed. Then he goes on to state that aren’t we much more important than the wild animals. So it was just a little testimony that Heavenly Father watches over his children in their hardships. 

Something really cool and also really sad happened last Saturday. One. We had a baptism!! We baptized an investigator of our ward mission leader's wife. It was actually pretty hard to teach her some things like repentance. We really had to put it in the most simplest terms possible for it to be understood. So we were able to baptize her last Saturday. Then later that evening, me and my companion decided to celebrate by playing some good old American two hand touch football with our neighbors. But as we are playing, the twins get home from town and they are telling how a 12 year-old kid died. The kid was fishing with his family at the beach. They are more on like a coral reef than on an actual beach. But what happened is like there is some water up on the reef. And there is also blow holes on the reef. So what happened is the kid got sucked into a blowhole and no one knows what happened since. It has been two days and no one has found the body yet. It is really sad. The kid that died was a member and his family was a little less active. It was all sad and it all happened so fast. It's weird because I used to see him all the time. It's crazy that something like that happened, but knowing the plan of salvation makes me not see death as such a horrible thing because I know that there is a plan and more for us after death. Death is just another step in the plan. But yeah these were the main things that happened this week. I hope all is well. I love you all

‘ofaatu,
Elder Bethke



Hey Dad,

It sounds like you are pretty busy ay. Well we had a baptism this past week as well!! That makes two weeks in a row, pretty cool ay. But it was funny, I actually did the baptism wrong, the first time haha. I accidentally baptized them while raising my left hand up...whoops. Oh well it happens. I’m super excited for Daniel and wish him the best of luck. I can seriously see how excited Minen and the rest of Daniel’s family are for Daniel and him going on a mission. I’m excited for Daniel too, he was definitely one of my best friends growing up. So I’m proud of him. Now that we baptized this last investigator, we have to search for more people to work with. That should be fun. We do have other investigators but is hard to do work this week because someone in our village died so everyone will be focused on that for a week. How is the ward doing? Are there any new families or members back at home? Has anyone moved since I’ve been gone?

Today our plans are to finish up p-day and then also go to give some gifts to the family that lost their son. We are going to go with the family of our ward mission leader. The new ward mission definitely helps a lot. Another thing that really is building up the missionary work this month is the fact that ward conference is this month. Ward conference is way different here than it is in America. Here, they have a whole bunch of programs and stuff building up to the ward conference. Like for these next two weeks there is almost a ward program every day. It’s pretty cool. Plus our goal is to have every family baptize someone before the end of conference. So it is pretty serious out here right now. Hope all is well.

'ofaatu,
Elder Bethke



"This is the pic at our baptism last week. We baptized the girl next to the missionary that is next to me."