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Monday, February 6, 2017

February 2017

Our Sunday, February 26, 2017 / His Monday, February 27, 2017

Dear mom,

I'll start off my email of what I have accomplished today. I woke up at 5 to go to a service project that the mission had. We swept the main road of the palace and cleared all the leaves and trash off the sidewalks. We did this because the King’s mom died and the King is trying to make everything look nice for the funeral. So in this past week we actually had 2 service projects, the one today and another last week. The one last week was painting the palace fence. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take pics because the palace is considered a very sacred place. But I'm sure there is a picture on google somewhere.

Those were honestly the highlights of my week. I had a great week but I don't think I did anything else as cool as that really.

I ate pizza this week. It was good. We started teaching this one investigator last week. Her name is Velonika (Veronica) and she is a really cool investigator. We are blessed to have her. We have taught her twice and are planning to baptize her I think next week. Her brothers and sisters are members and the reason she is listening to us is because she has seen the blessings the gospel has had in their families. She is progressing really nicely. And she totally believes in the Godhead. So that's good. But this area is a little bit harder for work than it was in the last area, but that is ok. It is all good. At this point we are just increasing the faith, as we should all do.

I'll end with quote that my Mission Pres said to all the missionaries that I think is important.

"Kau faifekau, kataki. pea toe kataki" --- Pres. Tuione

"Missionaries, endure, and then endure again." Good advice for all of us. Bear with patience all of our sufferings and we will be given success. Alma 26:27

'ofa lahi atu,
Elder Bethke


I forgot the cord to send pictures this week (oops). I might be able to send pictures later but I might not get around to it today. Sorry.

It is funny that you keep getting pictures of me even though I didn’t send any last week haha. President and sister Tuione showed up really unexpectedly to our district meeting. We were all kind of scared when they first showed up but it turned about to be a good meeting. Sister Tuione enjoyed her gift. I think she told me that she was going to write to you. Maybe an email or whatever. I hope I get that Valentine’s package soon then. I could use those candy hearts. I have a feeling it will either come today or tomorrow.

I hit my 6 month mark this past week. But who is counting right? On that day we had a ward program and it was very fun. There were games played and food eaten and I shot a basketball around. So it was a lot of fun.

'ofa atu,
Elder Bethke

Photos from the Mission's facebook page; 



Our Monday, February 20, 2017 / His Tuesday, February 21, 2017

We heard via facebook from Max's Mission President's wife -- Sis. Tuione. She sent a photo of Max and a photo of the little Christmas gift we sent to Sis. Tuione.

She says: "Elder Bethke is doing so great. I am proud of his progress. We love him."

Also, here are some photos from his District meeting this past week that were put up on his mission's facebook page.

"Vaotu'u District Meeting. Missionaries shared Great insights and impressions on the talks given by the Apostle Elder Renlund and other General Authorities in our Zone Conference in the weekend. What an amazing experience for all of us. Awesome training by your district Elder Talisa. Ofa lahi atuVaotu'u District Meeting. Missionaries shared Great insights and impressions on the talks given by the Apostle Elder Renlund and other General Authorities in our Zone Conference in the weekend. What an amazing experience for all of us. Awesome training by your district Elder Talisa. Ofa lahi atu."

Our Sunday, February 19, 2017 / His Monday, February 20, 2017

Hey mom,

Glad to hear everyone at home is doing great. This past week was lots of fun it consisted of many different things.

I’ll start off by saying this huge accomplishment that Elder Talisa and I did this past week. It was on a Tuesday, after district meeting. So we were in Vaotu'u and we decided that we had to go to Fahefa. Now Fahefa isn't close. It is about 1.5 miles of some back road. We also usually walk it every day. But this time we decided to do it as fast as we could. And I am proud to say that we did it in 15.3 minutes. Now I will just say that after the mission I think I have a solid chance to make the Olympics for speed walking. Not to mention I did it in slippers. So if anyone is a speed walking scout for the Olympics, tell them to look me up.

Another cool thing that we did this week was we had a zone service project. We went to someone's back yard and brought hoes and machetes and we wacked some weeds the good old fashioned way. But I give Tongans credit because that was really tiring and boy was I sore after the service. But after the service we feasted on pizza. Then after the feast we had a zone fast preparing for the coming of the apostle, Elder Dale G. Renlund.

I will say that the apostle was a huge blessing for Tonga. They had firesides and stake conferences just so that the apostles and the 70 could provide counsel for all of them. The missionaries were also blessed because Elder Renlund came and talked with all the missionaries in a special conference. It was a very special experience and it was really cool shaking his hand. I think the scripture Alma 31:36 sums up that experience pretty well.

Elder Dale G. Renlund spoke about many things to us and to all of Tonga. But 2 things really sunk in to me as he spoke to us and all the other islanders. One thing was living the gospel of Jesus Christ in our everyday lives. Live with faith and practice repentance on a daily basis. He said one quote that was really cool. "If you are not willing to change, then you are denying the atonement"--- Elder Dale G. Renlund. Part of living the gospel of Jesus Christ is changing constantly to become better, to become more like Jesus. If we are not willing to change, then we are denying all the blessings that are possible for us to receive. The other thing that he talked a lot about was commitment/attitude. He told us this one experience of his brother on his mission. His brother served in Sweden. He also told us about how his brother served most of his mission. He served 22 months of his mission working hard but wasn't happy. Now Sweden is not an easy mission to get baptisms. But Elder Renlund's brother changed his attitude and continued to work hard and he was able to do some miracles. Just in his last 2 months, he had 15 baptisms. That year the mission only had 50 baptisms and Elder Renlund’s brother had 15 of them because he changed his attitude. This can be applied in everything we do. We can think of things of work, which is no fun, or we can have a good attitude and be happy. When we work hard and have a good attitude, it makes miracles easy to reach.

One of the things that I thought was interesting was he kind of told us his reaction to when he was called as an apostle. The thing he told us was that he didn't feel worthy to be an apostle. And his mentor was Elder Cook. And Elder Cook asked him in his office on the first day of Elder Renlund’s apostolic work, how are you?  Elder Renlund answered not good. "I don't think I’m cut out for this". And Elder Cook just said the usual "you’ll get it soon" type of response. But the apostle then told us missionaries. That we have the right to ask Heavenly Father for the reason of our obligation. He challenged us all to ask why we are serving in our areas, why is the mission president our president, why is our companion our companion. When we do these things, we will be able to learn the reason. From that reason, it will help us to work harder, be more effective, and it will give us joy. I shared this with you because you can do this with all the jobs you are given in church. And even with other things too.

My companion has challenged me to do 100 pushups every day. I haven't quite tried it but I’m down to start soon. It was really cool hearing the Apostle.

I am glad to hear everything is going well in America.

'ofa lahi atu,
Elder Bethke


Please send me those cool Cambodian ties!!! It is really cool how you were able to get those pictures of me and my companion. His family came to visit him while they visited Tonga and they gave us lots of goodies. I got the package last Monday and I gave the present to Sister Tuione. So that all worked out well. I had a super cool week last week with the apostle coming. He made me want to work even harder and be happier as a missionary. The stake president in Ha'ateiho is really cool and really likes me because I taught one of his investigators and then we got really close. But it is good that he thinks I’m a good missionary. That tie would be cool!!!

'ofa atu,

Elder Bethke

Our Sunday, February 12, 2017 / His Monday, February 13, 2017

Hello mom,

Everything is going great in Vaotu'u. In this area I actually cover three different villages. I cover Vaotu'u, Fahefa, and Kala'au. And let me start off by saying they are not very close together. From Vaotu'u to Fahefa it is about a 35 minute walk. And then another 10 minutes to Kala'au. To make it even more fun, I am comped up with the district leader so we get to walk thirty to 40 minutes to other places in the district for meetings and baptismal interviews. So I do maybe just a little bit of walking in this area. But it is good. I am excited for the work in this area.

My companion, Elder Talisa played league rugby in Australia. Which is a pretty big thing in Australia and in the rugby world. So I have started to work out with him to say the least. We run every morning and then we go to a member's house and lift (when I say we lift, I mean he). And then we return and prepare for the day.

I am excited for a couple things this week. One, we have a service project this week. We are going to do yard work somewhere. Also, Elder Renlund is coming this week to talk to all of the missionaries. And Elder Halec of the 70 is coming to talk so my stake on Sunday.

The members are pretty cool in my area. We live right next to the stake president’s house, so we go over there whenever we are hungry. The stake president’s wife is the head of all seminary and institutes in Tonga, and she also teaches institute at some university in Tonga. So my area is pretty cool. We are teaching three people right now, and two of them are really strong Catholics, So it is kind of hard. But I am still excited to help them understand our church and feel the spirit.

I am having a lot of fun in this new area.

'ofa atu,
Elder Bethke

"A beach in Vaotu'u."

"This week has been rainy  to say the least."

Our Sunday, February 5, 2017 / His Monday, February 6, 2017

Hello family,

Today is transfer day and..... I'm transferring to a new village! It’s still on the same island of Tongatapu but now I am a little more west. The place that I am going to serve is Vautu'u. I heard it is a lot of walking because I cover some other villages with Vautu'u. As of right now, I am waiting in the church writing you all waiting to be transferred to my new village. My new companion's name is Elder Talisa. He was in my very first district and I am excited to be companions with him. He is from New Zealand but he plays rugby professionally in Australia. This means he might make me work out with him which will be something.

Oh this month something cool is going to happen. Elder Renlund of the 12 apostles is coming to Tonga for three weeks and he wants to speak with the missionaries! Also Elder Halec of the 70, and also Elder Tukuafu of the 70 and the person who is in charge of all the bishops. So either Tonga and us missionaries are very bad and are going to be called to repentance, or we are doing something good and they have come to congratulate us. I think the apostle and others come either next week or the week after.

However I will tell you the things that occurred last week. We baptized the Australians!!!!!! It was a very wonderful and spiritual experience. After the baptism, Tania told me that all of what she did felt right and that she is excited to continue to progress more in church. The church is true!! And she knows it. Other than that, nothing really happened. I had a lot of fun teaching this investigator. She taught me a lot about faith. When we first began teaching her, she didn’t believe in the things we taught her. But we taught her about faith and that if she continues to read the Book of Mormon, pray and go to church she will gain that knowledge. It is because of her faith that she received the knowledge of our church. We show our faith in the Lord by doing. If we do all that we can do, God will lay the rest out in front of us. Without faith, we are nothing and can never progress.

 "Keep trying. Keep believing. Be happy. Don't get discouraged. Things will work out"
- Gordon B. Hinckley
-----Elder Bethke

I now take that quote and make it my own because it is true

Elder Bethke

"These are the pictures from my baptism. My last baptism in Ha'ateiho."

So I made it to Vautu'u. My new companion Elder Talisa. He is way cool. So now we are just in Vautu'u waiting out the rest of pday. So we will think of something to do.

'ofa atu,
Elder Bethke