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Friday, September 2, 2016

September 2016

Friday, September 30, 2016


I'm trying to remember what I did this week.

We had a devotional last Sunday and it was the person in charge of all missions. I forget what that calling is called. I also don’t have my journal so I can’t tell you what it is about. But I remember one thing from it that is pretty cool. It's about how we can gain a relationship with each of the Godhead members.
 
We can strengthen our relationship with heavenly father by praying to him. He wants to hear what we have to say about our life on earth all the time. We can strengthen our relationship with Jesus by reading the Book of Mormon. When we read about him, we learn about his ministry and how we can become more like him. We also learn about the importance of the atonement and crucifixion a lot more which helps us increase our love for him a lot. We strengthen our relationship with the Holy Ghost by obeying the commandments and living righteously which allows us to listen and feel the presence of the Holy Ghost more strongly in our lives. I know these things are true and I hope you all can strengthen your relationships with them because they want to increase their relationship with you.

I leave on Monday!!! But I get there Wednesday. Unfortunately it’s a super long flight but I still can’t wait for it. Can't wait to go to Tonga!

ofa'atu

 
---

Our Tongan teacher sent us this email to make sure I'm prepared for Tonga. This email is from this mom who is in charge of helping all the missionaries in Tonga. I will probably send home some things I do not need this week so be prepared to receive a package or two. Just letting you know.

 
September 27, 2016
Dear Elders:

My name is Sis Georgina Tautuaa. My husband and I are the Tonga Nuku’alofa Mission office couple – helping missionaries with their needs as they serve.

From the past year serving, I would like to make some suggestion that would perhaps be of some benefit to you all:

1. Shavers – bring a lot of the type you generally use. The ones here are cheap but most missionaries have complained that they hurt when shaving. Bring after shave and shaving cream if you use them. You must shave EVERYDAY while on your 2 year mission!!

2. Shorts – bring at least 5-6 pairs. You will wear them everyday – under your tupenu. Make sure they are knee length.

3. Tupenu – black, dark brown, dark blue, grey, dark green – length must be between the knees and ankles (half way your calves. If you cannot come with them, give Bro Tautuaa your size so that I will make sure you have at least one upon arrival. You will need a ta’ovala which you can buy here for $US100.00-$US150.00 plus a kafa for about $US20.00-$US25.00.

4. Suit – DO NOT BRING a suit!! There is no place to store it and most elders outgrow their suits.

5. Dress pants or slacks – you won’t need them at all!!

6. Warm clothes – most missionaries find it hot here even during “winter”. I would suggest you bring at least one sweat pants and hoody cause it can get chilly if you are transferred to ‘Eua.

7. Wear sandals when traveling to Tonga so that you won’t have to bring a pair of shoes – you will never have to wear shoes – just sandals, or slippers

8. White shirts – 5-10 short sleeves is better but it won’t hurt to bring a couple of long sleeves. No washing machines available so having a few extras will help – especially during summer when it is hot and muggy. Bring as many ties – no color restrictions but be wise so that you look like a missionary and not someone going to a dance.

9. T-Shirts – 5-8 is what you will wear whenever you are not in your white shirt and tupenu - you will sleep in them also.

10. Deodorant – you will get sweaty from walking – during summer, depending on where you are serving you will sit and sweat – so best to be prepared. Tooth brush and tooth paste you can get here.

11. Stationary – bring them

12. Garments – very cheap here compared to purchasing them out there…about $US2.00 a pair

13. You are allowed 2 suitcases and a handcarry bag – I would suggest you just bring one suitcase because you will have to pay for excess luggage every time you travel to the outer islands – there is no place to store luggage. Just bring the necessities.

14. Please inform your parents NOT to send huge boxes during birthdays and Christmas – it will cost you HERE. The more it cost to send the package, the more duty YOU will pay here. Better to send you money to purchase candy here instead of wasting money on postage duty.

15. Driver’s License – if you have one please bring it with you PLUS your DMV record

IF you decided to come with candy, pls be prepared to share them! : )

Very excited to see you all in less than 2 weeks. Come with a good attitude and be ready to serve!!

---

"I've seen Will twice now at the MTC. Once on the second day he was here and the second time was only hours before he left for Arizona. Best of luck to him."

"Mount Timp with snow on it."

"These are pictures of MY district at the temple. They are so cool and a lot of fun."



"The one of the elder laying down: His name is Elder Lokotui. He is from Tonga and is serving in Hawaii. He has a football scholarship at BYU and is trying to become their starting safety."

 
 

"One of the funniest people I know... Eleta Vete, stuck in a chair."


Friday, September 23, 2016


Malo e lelei famili

I'm doing pretty great. Still learning the language and about myself. Yes, I got my flu shot. I know it's a miracle!

All of my district flies out to Tonga, Hawaii, and New Zealand on October 3. In the other Tongan district, some fly Oct 3 or 4 to Tonga, California, and even Alaska.

The spiritual message you sent me helps a lot. Thanks. I also know that I’ll be ok if I do what the Lord wants me to do.

There was not much that went on in the MTC this week. We are continuing to study more on the language and on the gospel. The language is pretty good at the MTC, however I might not understand anyone in Tonga for a while. Tonight we skype a member in Tonga and have to teach them a 30 minute lesson. The length of the meeting isn't long but we will finally be tested someone currently living in Tonga.

I'm ready to leave for Tonga. I should get my flight plans today so I will let you know more on that later. My mission president finally emailed us what we should prepare for before we go into the MTC. So that’s kind of cool even though it was a little late.
 
There is not much else that happened but I love you all and know that you all are blessed.

Ofa'atu
eleta bethke

 
 
Hey big sis,

Still liking Kung Fu? And when you make Jimmy come over, we will be a Kung Fu family.

Glad to hear the YSA branch is gaining membership while everyone is at college and stuff.

I'm also glad to hear that Danny and Dalia come over. Do they come over to the house a lot?

I haven’t gotten your letters yet, but they will probably come very soon then. So when I got my new teacher last week, he is fresh out of Tonga from his mission. He said that on some islands I’d only be able to take a 20 pound bag onto the island. We can also leave a bag in the MTC home and they can lock it up and I can come back whenever I need anything. So I was wondering if you could send me like another bag. Preferably medium size. Not big but not small. That would mean a lot thanks. And maybe more Chex mix in the bag!!

Thanks a lot, I love you.

 

Letter from his Mission President in Tonga:

 
22 September 2016
Elder Charles Bethke

Dear Elder Bethke,

Malo e Lelei! We are happy to learn of your call to serve in the Tonga Nuku'alofa Mission. Thank you for your willingness to serve our Father in Heaven, and we look forward to serving with you.

Your mailing address (for letters and packages sent through the postal service) while serving in Tonga will be:

Elder Charles Bethke
Tonga Nuku'alofa Mission
PO Box 58
Nuku'alofa, Tongatapu
Kingdom of Tonga
South Pacific

For letters and packages sent using other carriers other than the postal service (such as FedEx or DHL), the physical address is:

Elder Charles Bethke
Loto Road
Liahona, Tongatapu
Kingdom of Tonga
South Pacific

Please advise your family and friends to include both your first and last names on any mail they send to you, as we can have more than one missionary with the same last name serving at the same time. Also label any packages with "LDS Faifekau."

It is a privilege and a blessing to serve a mission for our Father in Heaven. We invite you to come to the mission with full dedication of heart to carry out the work of the Lord during the time you are here. Your spiritual preparation is the most important part of what you do between now and your arrival in the mission field. We strongly encourage you to start praying and fasting now for those you will be teaching in the mission field. Your spirit and testimony are the most important attributes you can bring to the Tonga Nuku'alofa Mission.

We recommend that you obtain and become very familiar with Preach My Gospel, and begin studying the lessons. This will help you acquire a better knowledge of the doctrines and principles of the Gospel. Your time at the Missionary Training Center will also be of great benefit to you in providing a foundation of specific skills you will use in the mission field.

Since you will be learning the Tongan language, we ask that you start praying now for the gift of tongues. The Holy Ghost will help you teach the Tongan people in their native tongue if you pray and rely on the spirit.

We will meet you at the airport. Be assured you will be well taken care of. We look forward to having you serve in Tonga. May the Lord bless you as you study, pray, and fast.

Sincerely,

Sione Fifita Tui'one, President
Tonga Nuku'alofa Mission




Friday, September 16, 2016


Malo e lelei family,

This week we got a new Tongan teacher because the last one quit. Don’t worry, she didn’t quit because we are terrible missionaries but because she made the BYU rugby team. My new teacher just got back from his mission in Tonga about 2 months ago. He is a palagni just like me so he is teaching us all the easy ways he learned Tongan. He's told us some of the cool things about his Mission in Tonga that will apply to us. For example, instead of carrying bags around we carry baskets. Our mission trainer will give us lavalavas and tupenus. The new Mission president allows volleyball so that’s pretty great. He said Dog tastes pretty good, and that I will eat a lot of it. I'm not sure how I’ll feel about it because it’ll taste good, but it’s also a dog at the same time. I’ll probably enjoy it.

I do feel like my Tongan is improving. I’m starting to get my sentence structure down too. I feel like I’m ready to go to Tonga. But that is mainly because I’m getting a little tired of the MTC. I have class for 9 hours a day so it’s a little long.

The last apostle that came and spoke to us was Quinten L. Cook. It's not the same talk as the world wide devotional. I didn’t watch that devotional. But we had Cook come to the MTC and talk to us, so that’s pretty cool too. I forgot what he talked about at the moment but I have a lot of it written down in my journal. He talked a lot about missionary work.

I leave for Tonga October 3 and I will arrive there the next day. It’s approximately an 18 hour flight to New Zeeland and then still another flight to Tonga. My new teacher missed his flight from New Zealand to Tonga so he got to stay in New Zealand for an extra 2 days. Not a bad idea... Although I’d be too scared to miss my flight anyways.

The MTC is super spiritual as always. The first step to coming closer to Christ is Faith, so have faith everyone and you will be happy. I promise.

I love all of you lots.

Ofa'atu,
eleta Bethke


Today we went to the Temple in Provo.











Friday, September 9, 2016

Malo e lelei family,

It seems everyone is pretty busy back home. I got one of the packages already but I’m still waiting on the other. It seems Danny's wedding is coming along and they are putting in a lot of work for it. I’m so proud of them, and jealous I don’t get to eat any of the cake.

Happy Birthday to Tumani of course. I hope he had a fun time.

Great to hear that Enow tried out for soccer, and even greater to hear that he made the team. He will have a lot of fun.

The MTC is flying by a lot quicker now. I’m getting into the habit of teaching a lesson, and then after that prepare the next lesson and then teach it again. Then that whole thing repeats. Last Tuesday we had a devotional and D. Todd Christofferson came and spoke. He spoke about faith and obedience and how they go hand in hand. We show our faith by obeying, then because of that our faith increases and so will our obedience. It’s an endless cycle. He also said that missionaries are on the same level as the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. We both share the same title of Elder and we basically do the same thing. He said "we do our best to try and not embarrass you, so don’t do the same to us." I thought that was pretty funny, but it’s also true at the same time.

One of my Teachers of Tongan is super cool. He and his father translated the triple combination into Tongan, and my teacher does a lot of the helping to translate the study material. That is way cool.

The MTC to describe it, the days go slow, but the weeks fly by. I’ve learned a ton of Tongan words, but my grammar is so bad. Once I get past that obstacle though, it should be a lot easier trying to communicate. Tomorrow I teach members of the church lessons. It will be interesting to see how well I’ll be able to understand someone speaking so fast to me. But I’m sure I’ll be fine.

I can’t wait to go to Tonga!

Lahi (lots) Ofa'atu,
eleta Bethke
 

Missy,

I got sick this week and there was nothing I could do about it. It was like I couldn’t skip class like I did when I was in high school. It was the worst. But I’m all better now. I got one of the packages and your letter. I’m working on sending letters back. You should send me like goldfish, and chex mix. Also what should I do about sending stuff Home before Tonga?

I’m going to get really good at the drums or ukulele or something so I can do a musical thing in sacrament meeting with you.

Anyways, Kung Fu!!!! That’s awesome. You got to teach me some moves and that’d make you a Kung Fu master. Do you think that it is helping your body? I’m so proud of you Missy. I love you lots.

You’re da best, Ofa'atu,
eleta Bethke


"Some of my district."

"A painting in my class." 

"Me taking a selfie of my friend taking a selfie."

"Me and Elder Blanco."

"MTC and the Y"


"My residence."

"Some more of my district hard at work."

"Some mountain in Utah that looks nice."

"I liked that tree so I took a picture of it."

Hosting the new missionaries.




Friday, September 2, 2016


Malo e lelei (hi)  Fa'e (mom),

Hello everybody! I didn’t realize this was the one I send to everybody so I’ve been writing a lot of the same things about the MTC to everybody. But I’ll do it for this too because I like consistency.

Next week I'll be hosting the new missionaries, so I might get to escort Will Andersen into the MTC if he's coming then. How cool would that be!

When I get back Missy can teach me all about how to do Karate. I’m really interested and happy for her in that. I’m so jealous that I don’t get to meet Dalia’s family but it's ok, I get to live on a tropical Island for 1.9 years. What are you making me on Knitting? Kidding, but not kidding.

Right now we currently have two districts at the MTC learning Tongan. Most of them will be going to Tonga however some are going to New Zealand, Hawaii, and Alaska. Elder Grant is also going to Tonga.

The MTC is pretty cool. The Spirit here is so strong it’s only second to the temple which I get to go to every P-day. Learning the language is pretty hard because a lot of the words sound the same or similar. However it is coming along. For a palagni (White guy) I’m getting the language down pretty quick however there is a lot I still need to learn. I’ve taught in Tongan 4 times already. Each time I improve drastically. I’m able to say a whole bunch of words about the lesson but not connect them together so I use lots of hand motions and pointing. It would probably be funny to watch actually. The Spirit helps a lot and is the best teacher though, without it I’d get nothing across and the investigator would understand nothing and I’d not learn Tongan as quickly. I’ve learned it’s best to speak in the language of angels than in Tongan anyways. That’s what makes lessons good and the investigators will get the most from it if you speak that way. Although Tongan helps.

At the MTC I play volleyball almost every day in preparation for Tonga. I’m hoping by the time I get back, I can qualify for the Olympics. Anyways I love you lots and I miss you. Anyways I know that with the help of God and the Holy Ghost, and the example Christ set in his life, I will be able to accomplish all that the Lord wants me to do in Tonga. That goes the same for all of you and in your lives.

Tongan words of the week... Fakahela (annoying) 'ofa (love) fiekai (hungry) fiemohe (sleepy)

Ofa'atu,
Elder Bethke

 

Malo e lelei ta'okete (HI big Sis)!!!

I can tell you this that I hate doing laundry. I’m sorry I’ve made you do mine for forever. Have you found any crazy cool karate places yet? I’ll try and get more pictures to you next time and better pictures. Sending packages out in Tonga might not be the greatest idea because they might open up my stuff and take some of it, but I’ll let you know more about that later. So if you want to send me stuff, the MTC would be the best time.

Ofa'atu,
Elder Bethke







 

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