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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

February 2018

Our Tuesday, February 13, 2018 / His Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Hey ma,

I’m doing good, the hurricane didn’t really hit up here in Vava'u. It hit everywhere else but our island. I was expecting coconut trees to be flying everywhere, but it didn’t happen. It was just sunny and windy where I was. The main island of Tonga got hit pretty hard by it though. I believe that some parts were flooded and that trees were down everywhere. So it is pretty sad for the people in Tonga right now. A lot of the missionaries yesterday in Tonga were helping clean the streets and stuff. But I’m all good so don’t worry or anything. Pray for Tonga.

ofaatu,
Elder Bethke


Ay dad,

I’m sorry to hear that Carlos is sick. At least he was able to receive a priesthood blessing. Hopefully he gets well soon. Send my love to them. Anyways...I cannot promise that I won’t do anything crazy for I just am that type of guy. Yesterday we jumped off a water tower just for fun. But everything is good out here. We are safe from the hurricane. I hope all is well over there.

Love you lots,
Elder Bethke


Miss,

This hurricane didn’t hit my island with rain. It was just windy. But the main island got smashed by the storm. Some of it was flooded and there are tons of trees down in the road. The missionaries went to the Mormon churches and slept there because those are the most safe places in Tonga. But, my companion and I were bored because we had to stay in our chapel a really long time, and we had nothing to do. Oh well, sometimes you just got to be obedient. How’s life though?


I got a package from Sister Wills, it was really unexpected and I never said thanks to her so can you say thanks to her for me please! Today we are probably just going to play volleyball for p-day. The usual p-day stuff.



Our Tuesday, February 6, 2018 / His Monday, February 7, 2018


Hey Mom, 

I liked the spiritual thought that you shared with your primary kids. There is one really important thing that I picked up from it. From what I am able to pick out it is the importance of being prepared spiritually at all times. In missionary work it is necessary to be prepared for anything because so many random things pop up in our work. So it is really important to be ready for those occasions. I’ve always found that one, we must be spiritually worthy of the companionship of the Spirit. Because if one has the Spirit, it will make it easier for that person in those random occasions. Another thing is reading the scriptures every day. Reading every day invites the Spirit into your life and makes a huge difference in your life. I know that when one reads every day, the day just goes by smoother and I always am happier when I read every day. I'm happy to report that things with Sovea are going better. We talk to him a lot and he even came to church this last Sunday. We talked with him about baptism and he wants to be baptized this week and not wait for his grandma to come back next year. So…now all we have to do is talk to the parents to get approval from them...wish us luck haha. All is good in Tonga. Love you lots.

Elder Bethke


Hey Dad,

I hear that the Eagles won the superbowl...that just makes our division look a lot better. But the work out here is going well. We got one of our investigators to church this past week. We just got to talk to his parents and get the ok on baptism. We just got to pray and hope everything works out with the parents. I’m doing good. You are right about remembering about doing the important things. Sometimes I’ll get side tracked but I just have to remember to keep Nephi's advice and endure to the end haha. Sorry for the short email but I am pressed for time. Love you lots and I hope your knees are doing well.

'ofaatu
Elder Bethke


Miss,

Jimmy took all my clothes...that's expected. I did the same thing when he left for his mission. This just means that I get to go shopping when I get home haha. Things are going pretty good with Sovea. It gets to the point where he comes and visits us at random times. But he was able to make it to church last week and that was good. I was able to teach baptism to him so that he understands the importance of baptism and why he should not delay it to some time that might not even happen this year. Because he is waiting for his grandma to get back from America and then he will be baptized. That could be next year. So I talked it over with him and he wants to be baptized this week. We still have to talk to the parents to make sure that it is ok. That will be the hard part. We actually plan on going there tonight after p-day so wish us luck. The scripture that I give to you is the one that I read the other day and is the one that I need the most right now—the famous 2 Ne 31:20...endure to the end. I need this to remember to not be lazy and to try and finish strong...anyways!! Missy I love you lots.

Elder Bethke






Wednesday, January 3, 2018

January 2018

Our Tuesday, January 30, 2018 / His Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Hey Mom,

How are you? How is leisure world? 

Vava'u is good. It is very beautiful, as always. Sorry I’m not able to send home many pictures in this area. It is hard because I can’t send them home on this computer. Plus...I also lost my camera. So I have been using my companion’s haha. The work is going up up some. I don’t know if I have told you already but we finally have a ward mission leader in our area! In these past 6 months we just now finally get a ward mission leader haha. So we set up with our ward mission leader a program every week for every month. So I think that the work should be getting better in Longomapu. I hope all is well. Let me know how things are going on back at home.

'ofaatu, 
Elder Bethke


Hello Father,

I think that being positive is a very important factor in missionary work. It makes the difference of being happy and kind of just going through the motions. We are currently working with this one kid named Sovea. He is about 11 years-old and he just went into middle school out here. We are working hard with the parents so that they will soften their hearts and let Sovea be baptized. I shared with them the importance of baptism. They said that they would let Sovea be baptized towards the later of the year when his grandma gets back from America. But I then shared about the blessings and the happiness one would receive from their baptism. And I asked him why he would want to delay the baptism and hold out those blessings from his kid. In the end, he said he would talk it over with his wife and consider the many things I shared with him. One good result that came from it is that the father said he would let Sovea come to church this week. So that is great. Honestly missionary work is just taking every little small step and win. Those steps eventually lead to something great. I’m doing well out here in Vava'u and I’m having a good time with my companion, Elder Pahulu. I love you lots.

Elder Bethke 


Sup Sis, 

How has everything been going? Vava'u is good. This past week was pretty good. I think that the time is going by faster and faster because this past transfer is already more than half way done but it only seems like it has been a week. I think that me just being in this area for a long time, I’m finally discovering the real Max Bethke. I still don't really know who that is but I feel that I just am beginning to know who I am and stuff. One thing I still got to figure out is what I’m going to do about school haha. After these two years I think I appreciate school a lot more now. Like I actually want to go to class and learn new things now. I still have no idea what I want to study or anything but I’m excited for the fact to be learning new things. I’m really thinking about going into psychology or even thinking of becoming a doctor. I don’t know how I’m going to become a doctor when I can’t really deal with blood and stuff but I feel like that is actually one reason I was sent to Tonga, because I see lots of blood and guts when we kill pigs and eat them. So I think that has prepared me some for my future life. I feel that Tonga is preparing me for my life after the mission. Anyways, I hope all is well.




Our Wednesday, January 24, 2018 / His Thursday, January 25, 2018


Mom,

I can't believe I’m 20 years old... I would’ve emailed yesterday but we had zone conference so we were busy. But it was nice because I got a package from Sister Wills. So it was as if I got a wonderful present for my birthday. It has been hot in Vava'u lately. I'd say it is only super hot out here when the sun is out. If the sun isn’t out then it is nice weather. But the sun is way strong up here. Vava’u is still very beautiful though. It would be the best during July and June though because that is when it is cooler out here. The work is good. I’m just looking for the small and simple ways to help people out here. Just trying to bring happiness in small ways. Trying to become helpful and not a burden to those I meet. I think that is really one of the most important jobs in missionary work. Really just loving people. Putting your life out of the way to fulfill others people's wants and needs. I have also been learning a lot about each and every person. I’m trying to see the positive and good things in all people and trying to take those things and add them to my life. It is like each person has their own traits and Christlike attributes. We should take those traits from other people and try and apply the things they do in each of our lives. I love the people of Tonga. They are so loving and caring to everyone they meet. Even if they do not want to listen to the message of the Lord, they are always willing to feed the missionaries. This just shows the care and love the Tongan people have for everyone. Mom I love you lots and hope everything is well. I am glad to hear that everyone else in the family is doing well.

'ofaatu, 
Elder Bethke


Hey dad!!!! How are you? I’m 20 and I cannot believe it. This means I’m kind of an adult. This means that I have some say now in our family discussions haha. Tonga is good. I’m using the small moments to just teach little things or testify of small things to people so that hopefully they feel the love of Christ in their lives. Here is my testimony to you. Dad, I know God is pleased with you and happy with the family you have raised. You have been a good example and have done a good job! In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Bethke


Hey big sis,

What have you been up to? Is work good? Tonga is nice. I honestly had a boring birthday unlike last year. Last year I was hit by a car and had pizza so it is kind of hard to top that. This year I had zone conference. Boring haha. But it was a pretty good zone conference. It talked a lot about teaching and stuff and remember our purpose in missionary work. For when we remember our purpose we are more likely to be obedient and to work hard. But I guess this is a good message for all of us. It is good for us to remember the purpose for why we have come to this earth. We have come to this earth to experience joy and to learn. God has showed us how we can accomplish both of these goals. He sent his son Jesus Christ to set an example for us. Jesus has showed us the way to receive happiness and to learn to become our best selves. If we follow Him and keep his Commandments, we will be happy. We will become our best selves. We will become closer to our families. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way for us to reach the pinnacle of each thing that i talked about.

Missy I love you.

'ofaatu


Our Tuesday, January 16, 2018 / His Wednesday, January 17, 2018


Mom,

It has been crazy to see the Church progress so much in just these short amount of years I’ve been alive. Even though there are changes in the presidency of the Church, the Church itself will never change. And it will only grow bigger and bigger. It feels good to be a part of that great work and marvelous work. I know that I could not have done any of this work without the Lord's hand in all of it. Longomapu is still the same. We go around trying to find someone to share this wonderful gospel to. Even though we have talked with just about everyone we are not going to give up. I hope all is well over there in MD. How is work? Do Danny and Dalia visit a lot?  I just want to let you know that everything is great out here. I love you lots.

Elder Bethke


Hey Dad,

I’m grateful for the gospel because it helps me know that I can be so much more than what I am today. I am able to progress and become like our Heavenly Father. I’m grateful for the gospel because of how close together it has brought our family. We can live together forever. I’m grateful for this gospel because of all the wonderful people that I have met because of it. I’m grateful for this Church because it has taught me how to be successful in this life. I’m grateful for this Church because it has taught me everything that I know and have become today (the Church and several outside influences haha). I’m doing well about keeping my goals. I’m going to try and keep it up as well. I love ya dad.

Elder Bethke


Sup sis,

I have a couple requests for my package if it's not too much of a hassle. Flamin hot cheetos, fruity pebbles, mac and cheese, and chocolate chips.

I’m doing well out here. I’m happy. The work is hard and I’m running out of ideas of what to do. But everything is still good. We are going to keep trying and hope to see some miracles. My companion is from Rancho Cali by the way. So I think he is out of Ev's mission. Right now I’m sitting next to this kid named Lasike. He's working in the next village over. We're pretty close and we've been in the same district for about 10 months in total. He's pretty talented and you will probably see him on TV in the next 5 years. I’m also sitting next to Lavaka who is on TV right now. He is a big rugby star in Australia. They are making me write about them. Miss, i love you.


Love, Elder Bethke



Elder Bethke & Elder Pahulu










Our Tuesday, January 9, 2018 / His Wednesday, January 10, 2018


Mom,

Oh wow I can’t believe that I’m going to be 20. It seems like I’m about to turn 18 in my books. Wow. That means I’m like almost kind of an adult. Wow. Transfers were this past week and it turns out that I’m staying in Longomapu haha. For 6 more weeks, oh well, I hoped to leave but I guess it is cool to stay. I did get a different companion though who is actually American. My companion’s name is Pahulu and he is from Rancho California. He came in the same time that I trained my last companion, so he is still pretty new. This means I got to do most of the work now. Should be exciting. I'm actually not too sure what to do now for work in this area now. I have to come up with a lot of new ideas and stuff. So I’ll try to work with our Bishop and see what he wants us to do. I would go to the Ward Mission Leader but we haven’t had one in the entire time I’ve been here. I’m not complaining but it just makes me more grateful for things. Tonga is going to make me a grateful person just because it does not have nearly as much of the things that America has. I love you lots and hope you are doing well. 

Elder Bethke


Hey Dad,

How are you? It sounds like you are sick one week from the next now. I’ll remember to keep that in mind for my prayers. As for prayer and reading the Book of Mormon, I’m doing a good job on it. The hard part is just staying consistent for the entire year even after the mission. I can't believe that President Monson died. In Tonga, the church cancelled all its programs for a week to show respect for President Monson's passing away. So that means no volley ball. Transfers took place this past week, I’m still in the same place haha, however I got a new companion. His name is Elder Pahulu and he is from Rancho California. He's Tongan but is learning the language just like all the people from America on the mission. He has only been out for a couple months so the new challenge now for me is having to do just about everything. Which should be fun I hope.  It is really hot right now in Vava'u. It's in the heart of summer here and it is humid. I hope all is well. I love you lots.

Elder Bethke


Miss,

Um no I’m not transferring unfortunately. But it's ok because my birthday is this month so I don’t have to make new friends to set up a party. I might hear about the plane ticket when I have three or four months left. So there is still some time before I find out. Missy I’m going to send pics next week. I’m not 100% sure what to do in this area anymore. Maybe you have some ideas for me? But I got a new companion that is from Rancho California. His name is Elder Pahulu. He is the man and I’m excited to work with him. I love you lots.

Elder Bethke




Our Tuesday, January 2, 2018 / His Wednesday, January 3, 2018


Mom,

It is hard to believe that any place can be that cold because of how hot it is down here in Tonga. As for sickness I’m doing good, I only get sick of how humid it can be sometimes but that just makes me grateful for air-conditioning. I’m trying to start off this year strong and I have made some goals that are going to help me stay on track. They are actually very basic goals and you may think that these goals are the most simplest things but I can assure you that they are the most important. I'll just say two of them. One is praying every morning and night for the whole year. Even as a missionary there are days when one does forget...I’m no saint I’m sorry haha. The second, is to read the Book of Mormon every day. President Monson and Russell M. Nelson gave wonderful talks on this subject and told us how important it is that we read the Book of Mormon every day. So those are my two most important goals. Even though they are small things, they make the biggest impact on the day. I think that these two goals can help every person come closer to Christ so I invite all to do it. Mom I love you lots and I hope everyone gets well soon.

Elder Bethke


Hey Dad,

Things are looking a bit better right now. I think it is mainly because we actually have a pretty serious investigator right now and it is fun to teach her. She is really cool and she wants to get baptized and serve a mission but the thing is that her relatives are really unsupportive of the church. We have actually already taught her family and they just refuse to believe in the Book of Mormon so it will be hard to help the girl fully come unto Christ through baptism, but I’m not giving up hope. Things are looking up here which is good. Transfers take place at the end of this week so I might transfer. I got the unofficial date for when I finish...it's August 3. Time has already flown by and so I think this last part should be even faster. But I’m going to try and keep your advice in mind so that I keep working hard out here. I love you lots.

Elder Bethke


Miss,

Tonga does celebrate the new year except that it is not as big as it is in America. But our church put on a program for new year’s eve that there would be a volleyball night starting at midnight. I heard it was a good success and that it helped the village to not be so filled with drunk people. So it was a good program. Miss, it was nice to talk to you all.. You all sound like you all are doing really well. Here is my inspirational quote for today:

"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take"
-Wayne Gretsky
----- Michael Scott

I just quoted an office episode if you didn’t catch it... I Sent Pics!!!!

Love you lots,

Elder Bethke 


These are some pics just from our p-day today. Hope you enjoy! My companion is the one in the red shirt.





Wednesday, December 6, 2017

December 2017

Our Tuesday, December 26, 2017 / His Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Miss,


These are some pics from other peoples’ cameras. My camera is at home. The only reason I’m able to send pics today is because we are using a different computer but we actually don’t have a lot of time so we are planning on emailing later. But these are some pics of our districts. and one of these pics is from the Christmas party where I had to do apple bobbing and try and eat an apple. I won of course.









Our Tuesday, December 19, 2017 / His Wednesday, December 20, 2017


Hey Mom, 

This week was good. This week there are two family reunions running so there are lots of people from out of Tonga visiting our village. It is interesting to see new people walk around the village. Today we had our Christmas party and had some pretty fun activities. It started off with a spiritual part and we had all the 4 stake presidents in Vava’u come and talk to us. Then after that we had a big feast and there was a lot of food and it was really good. We actually will skype but if the skype connection doesn’t go too well then I’ll just call. I’m planning to call at 12 on Christmas here in Tonga so it’ll be about 6 in the evening for you all on Christmas Eve. It'll be nice to see you all again. But after this skype call I will only have one more left. We have our ward Christmas activity this Friday and that should be really fun since there are like never ward activities here. Something interesting that happened last week was that the zone leaders called us last Saturday and told us to go back to our house in the middle of the day to pick up a new missionary. So right now we are a trio but it is only for one week because we are in a trio with someone that is not actually a missionary. We just figured out that one of the stakes in Vava’u is running a program where the youth in their stake go and be missionaries for a week. So the person we are with will go back next Tuesday. But I hope all is well over there. And I hope that you all are recovering well from your sickness. Love you lots.

Elder Bethke


Hi Miss,

Even though you didn’t email me this is my plan for skype, I’m going to call you all on Christmas at noon in Tongan time. So it’ll be 6 o’clock on Christmas Eve for you all. Can you send me my skype info so I know my password and stuff?

Thanks,

Elder Bethke




Our Tuesday, December 12, 2017 / His Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Hello Mother! 

I can't even think of what snow would feel like right now. Just thinking about it gives me the chills. I can barely stand the weather if it is in the low 70s with a breeze. It is pretty hot up here in Vava'u and the house I stay at is just about the same as the other houses I stayed at. So it gets pretty warm inside when the sun has been sitting on it all day and there is no fan. I’ve started to sleep on the tile floor just because it gets too hot to sleep in the bed. The floor is cooler. I just about sleep on the floor every night. It’s actually quite comfortable. Are Danny and Dalia going to Dalia’s parents’ house for Christmas? We have our missionary Christmas party next Wednesday. It should be pretty fun. Our district is singing “Angels we have heard on high.” We are singing a verse in Tongan, and in English, and also in the Kiribati language. It sounds awful but it's the message that truly counts haha. Um I’m not one hundred percent sure the time I’m going to call. I’m probably going to call home on the telephone just because the skype wasn’t the best last time. I'd say that Vava'u is the most Hawaiian Tongan island [as in it gets a lot of rain]. So it pretty much rains every day. It might pour down rain for 10 minutes then be sunny for the rest of the day. It might rain for the entire day. But the weather is pretty unpredictable out here. All is good here. Just trying to share the gospel. The usual. I love you lots.

'ofaatu


Hey Dad,

I’m doing good. I think Elder Bennet came to Tonga...I’m pretty sure he came at some point and spoke, but I might be mistaken. My language is good. I’d say it is a lot easier to understand than it is to speak. I’d say the thing that is keeping me back from being a native is being able to pronounce everything exactly right. Basically, I speak Tongan but in a white accent. So sometimes you got to just repeat what you say. But it's good. I’d say the hardest part for me right now is being really diligent. I’m starting to get lazy and I’m not 100% sure why I’m not as a diligent. I think it's hard for me to stay motivated right now. But since I live in a village, I eventually run out of houses to door-knock on. So you really have to rely on members to help with the missionary work. I’d say right now I’m struggling with being diligent. I’m still happy though. So I’m keeping your first rule. I’m just not as happy I should be because I’m not as diligent as I used to be. I’m sure you know something similar because you served a mission. It's hard but I’m still good. if you have any advice about that, it would be nice. I just want our family to receive blessings from this missionary work so if you have advice to help me to keep my diligence, that'd be nice. I hope all is well. And I also hope that this email doesn’t make you think I’m homesick or anything. I’m good. Good luck with all of your work!

'ofaatu
Elder Bethke


Missy, happy early birthday! If my math is correct you are now 28. That is pretty impressive. But I think it will be even crazier that I turn 20 next month. Yes, your little bubby. I’m pretty sure I will be calling home for Christmas. just because with the skype there was a lot of lag. Once Christmas hits here in Longomapu I think the town will explode. There will be a feast just about every day the week of Christmas. I’m really excited for it. There are also a lot of travelers here in my village right now. Some people from Australia, New Zealand, and America are here visiting their family. A few don’t actually even speak Tongan. So that is pretty funny. I’m trying to think of something funny that happened this week that might make you laugh. Ok I got one. This actually happened last night. Last night we had a church activity and the members were playing volleyball. And me and my companion were chilling outside the fence talking to some people. But as we were talking we were surprised to see that one of the kids got his knee stuck in the fence. We spent a solid 30 minutes trying to get it out with no luck. So me and my companion went home to get shampoo to make his knee slippery. But when we got back his knee was free from the fence. The moral of the story is two things. One, don't stick knees into fences. And two, don't go home to get shampoo to help someone or else you will look silly showing up to a church activity with shampoo in your hand. I hope that you have learned something from this.

Love ya,
Elder Bethke





Our Tuesday, December 5, 2017 / His Wednesday, December 6, 2017


Hey Mom,

I first want to say sorry for not emailing last week. Sorry. But now it is the Christmas season and as you all know how everything seems to be busy during that time in America, I can assure you that it gets busier here as well. so sorry I wasn’t able to email. So I have two weeks to report of what has happened. Here in Longomapu there are lots of programs that go on during Christmas time. And only about two programs are from the church but the rest are either the other churches or just certain families. One program that will happen right after Christmas is called Longmapu day (which is actually a whole week long). It is where some shows put on like Tongan dances and there are feasts. One thing that me and my companion realized what we got to do is that we got to focus a lot more on working with the members and the less actives in the church. In my area, almost all the people are baptized, it is only the teenagers and the younger people that have not been baptized. That said, there are not very many strong members in the church here and there are actually not many active members at all. So me and my comp talked with our bishop and he wants us to work with those people so that the people who haven’t been baptized can see the light and the blessings of the gospel from them. One of the things that the 70 came to talk about when setting up the new stake was that members need to do a better job at being Christlike. For when members become more like they Christ, they are able to do missionary work just by being themselves and sharing their beautiful light to the world. Which is exactly what Jesus asked us to do in Mathew chapter 5. I myself can also learn to be more Christlike. I have lots of faults and shortcomings but this is why the Savior came to the earth. So we can all experience the joy of repentance. I love you lots and hope all is well. 

Elder Bethke


Hey Dad, 

How are you? I’m doing well. Last week was transfers but I’m not leaving Longomapu. I will be here through the first week of January. One thing that I’m very grateful for is to serve in this mission. God really does know his children each and individually. And he knows us well enough and loves us perfectly to put certain things in our life or to even put us in a certain place. I know for sure that I was needed by the Tongan mission and that I needed the Tongan mission. This was the place that God thought would be best for everyone. At times I wonder what I’m learning or what am I supposed to be like from challenges and just experiences. And I’ve come to learn that God knows best and we just have to have faith in him. He does everything to help us become better people and to put us in places where we can help others. I have been called to Tonga by a prophet of God. He qualifies the unqualified. That being said I’m glad to be in Tonga. There are only 19 more days till we celebrate Christmas. I can’t wait. Hopefully I get to skype but it might just be a phone call. I love you lots.

Elder Bethke


Miss,

I did not move last week...I just didn’t get to email. Sorry. However transfers did take place. I will be in Longomapu for a third transfer. This is only my third area. I wonder if I will make it to 6 areas by the end of my mission. Christmas is so close and it will be here before no time! I’m really excited for Longomapu day. Which is actually a whole week, but it is when the people go crazy. I did get to see the Tongan people go crazy though when the rugby league world cup was going on. It was pretty cool because Tonga made it all the way to the semi-finals. So after every game and before every game that Tonga played, the villages would drive around Tonga honking their horns and blasting music and making banners and stuff. We call it floats. I got to see the true country spirit here in Tonga. Tonga almost made it to the finals but there was a game changing controversial call in the Tonga vs England game. So now Tonga doesn’t like England haha. One thing that I’m going to do when I get back is to get a William Hopoate’s Mate Ma’a Tonga jersey the world cup style. It’ll be tight. I hope all is well Miss. I love you lots.

Elder Bethke



Neiafu Central Stake Confrence






Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November 2017

Our Tuesday, November 21, 2017 / His Wednesday, November 22, 2017


Mom,

I love you. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I’m thankful that Heavenly Father gave me righteous and loving parents and a family that I was able to grow up in. I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve in the Lord’s kingdom even though I’m just a small servant of His. I’m grateful for my Mission President Tuione and his wife for all the love and care that they use when dealing with us missionaries. And I thank Heavenly Father more for him placing me in under their care. I love you very much. As much as I am in your prayers, you all are in mine as well. Happy Thanksgiving! Tell grandma that I love her when you all go to Ohio.


Dad,

How are you? How s work? How is it that you are able to lift that much weight? My mission is crazy. It has made me pretty skinny and it has also made me bigger than the usual. So it is impressive to see that you can still lift that much. I might have to start doing push-ups again...maybe. We have something pretty cool happening in Vava'u this week. We have a new stake being formed this Sunday. And our stake will be getting a new stake president. So I will have another opportunity to listen to a 70 and President Tuione this weekend. It should be pretty cool. And it is also Thanksgiving tomorrow which will be interesting. This will be my second and last Thanksgiving in Tonga...not that Tonga does anything about it. But still. Thanksgiving in Tonga means that it is almost Christmas. So that is what I’m excited for. Even though they do not celebrate Thanksgiving here, I still have a thankful heart for all the blessings I have. I also realize from my mission all the little and big blessings of living in America. There are a ton that we take for granted. But I hope y’all are doing well. 

'ofaatu


Hey Miss,

Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful for you and that you are in my life and are my big sister. My scripture study is in Helaman. And it's Nephi talking about how the people of Nephi and just people in general often forget God in their lives. And I'd admit it too that there are times even in my life when I forget that God has done things for me. But it is important to remember God and to constantly pour out thanks for all the help he gives us in our lives. Pray often.

'ofaatu







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