Tongan Flag

Tongan Flag

Monday, March 6, 2017

March 2017

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

Hello Mom,

This week went by pretty fast. We taught the family of 10 again last week. One of the family members returns tomorrow from New Zealand so we will continue our teaching with them Wednesday. I have a very good feeling about this family and it is way fun teaching them. All of the kids have told us they want to be baptized and so does the mom. We are just manly working with the father at this point. But it is all way fun.

Oh another thing that happened this week was I was sweeping trash in the front yard and then I was burning the trash (you know, the usual trash pickup in Tonga) and I was trying to break a stick to control the fire right, and when I broke the stick my foot continued in motion and I cut off a little part of my toe on a glass bottle. Don't worry! The doctor said it would grow back. It was very weird. And there was lots of blood. But it is in the process of healing. So it is all good.

Things with Elder Tavo are pretty good. I'm starting to better understand the Tongan lifestyle with him. One thing I learned is that Tongans are very good cleaners/workers when they do it. They do it so fast and effective it is crazy. Also having a Tongan companion it is making my Tongan even better than where it was before because I have to speak it all the time. It is a lot of fun being comps with him. I'm excited to work with Elder Tavo this transfer. He is from Matahau which is the same stake that we are in. We actually don't quite know who district leader is but I'm just letting him do it because I don't want that responsibility.

Oh one other thing I learned this week was how to pull the feathers off of the chicken and to cook chicken. I went to a member’s house and they asked us to prepare the chicken by taking all of its feathers out and by boiling it. It was really gross but it was a new experience and I had fun doing it. Other than that...not anything new happened, maybe that is it for last week.

I'm still doing good. Not home sick. Kei vale toe lahi

'ofa atu
 Elder Bethke

"Me holding a half unfeathered dead chicken."

"The finished result of my chicken."

"Elder Tavo sitting down in the shade."

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

Hello Mom,

Today is the start of my 5th transfer out in Tonga! And I am spending this transfer in my same area of Vaotu'u. However I have a new companion. His name is Elder Tavo and he is actually from Tonga. He is my first Tongan comp that is from Tonga. It is my first real Tongan comp. So I am excited to work with him. Elder Talisa, my last companion got transferred to the capital and so basically he is now working in a place like America, except nowhere near as big as a city.

Last week we taught a family of 10 but only 8 of the family was able to show up for the teaching. However, the teaching went really well and we have taught them twice last week. We also plan to teach them more in the future. The mom in that family already has a really cool experience with the church before she met us. One day her daughter got hit by a car and was seriously injured. She didn't have time to make it to the hospital. But the missionaries were walking by and saw it happen so they ran over and gave them a blessing. After the blessing it was like she didn’t even get hit by the car and she was completely healed. So she already believes in most of the things we teach her because of that experience. I have great faith and hope for this family that they will be standing by the waters of baptism. Like I said before, we have more teachings for them planned and it will be fun to teach them.

The thing about people coming here on boat to go to the temple, some islands take even longer than a day to get to the main island. Like Niua and Niua Toputapu and others.

But here I am again, another transfer in the bush. I will be in the bush forever on the main island.

'ofa lahi atu
Elder Bethke

"Unfortunately this was the only picture I took this week but I think this picture is hilarious. This is the biggest knock off brand of polo and they only changed it in the slightest bit. But I'd say this brand is right up there if not better than polo, because this brand is from Tonga."

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

This upcoming week is the last week of my 4th transfer in Tonga. And I got to say, I am missing Mexican food. Tongan food is great and all, it would be nice to have a burrito every once in a while. This week was not very eventful to be honest. One thing that Elder Talisa and I are trying to accomplish is that we are trying to set up a musical fireside this upcoming Sunday. We are searching for singers and converts to the church to give testimonies at the fireside. We plan on bringing our investigators to it and we hope that everyone has a good time at it too. Our district also plans to sing at it so I will need some extra prayers for that to work out well.

Tonight we are going to a family home evening and they invited a family to listen to us. It is a family of 10, so I'm a little nervous going in but I know that everything will work out according to God's plan for each of us. But if we can just bring the Spirit there, everything will be ok.

For St. Paddy's day in Tonga, it is very interesting. Everyone goes on with their regular lives and acts as it doesn’t exist. Unfortunately it was the same with Halloween. So when it comes to the 17th, it will just be another day in Tonga.

One thing that I learned this week is that missionaries in this mission actually go home about a month early. So I entered into the MTC Aug 24. My finish date is Aug 7, 2018. But the mission President sends people home two weeks before that because that is how transfers work out. I'm not focusing on the finish of my mission but it is something new I learned this week.

This last transfer has been going by pretty fast. One thing I’ve learned this transfer is to be a lot more patient and to also have fun while doing work. Patience is one of the attributes of Christ that it has us study in the Preach My Gospel manual. I learned that even though it is very important to be patient with someone or something, you still have to take action and not just sit and wait it out. Part of being patient is taking action. So that was just something I've picked up this transfer. Hope to learn more in the upcoming transfers.

I'm still in the bush. And I will probably be in the bush next transfer.

'ofa atu,
Elder Bethke

Missy, I really want food, and not food that someone gets from their farm. I want that processed and greasy stuff. I want lays chips.

'ofa atu,

Elder Bethke

"These are all pictures of a cliff reef beach thing behind our house."

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

Hey Mom,

Can you believe I am 1/4 of the way done with my mission? Time flies by. But I don’t want to think about it because there is still a ton of time left haha.

All is going great in Tonga. I haven’t had anymore service projects and there probably won't be any more for a while unfortunately. The funeral is over. The King’s mom flew from New Zealand and then she was buried the next day. However every church paid respect to the queen by bringing food and also going to pray, but yeah it’s over. However playing and being loud is banned right now because there are supposed to be 10 days of silence for the Queen. Which is good, it used to be 100 days but that is just too long to be quiet.

I'd say we had a very productive work week this week, for one reason is because we got a Baptism!! We baptized this girl named Veronica. She is really smart and is actually a part of the royal family in Tonga. Not directly but like 2nd cousins of whatever. So that was way fun. Then after the baptism we ate ice cream which makes any day a good day.

Other than that not much has been going on. This is what happens when you live in the bush. Everything is isolated in the bush. There is hardly any ice cream in the bush. One good thing though is that I stay right next to the Stake President’s house. So we hang out with that family a lot. Plus they like to make cake and cookies which is very rare in Tonga. Especially the cookies. We also have the lucky privilege to do our laundry in a washing machine there and not in a bucket. So that is pretty good.

'ofa atu,
Elder Betke

"Me trying to be cool and pretending to not notice that someone is taking a picture of me."

"A huge spider."

"This is my Zone Leader's grandpa's grave. His grandpa has a cool story. He was the one that started the Mormon church in Fahefa. So that's pretty cool."

"One of the walks from Kala'au to Fahefa."

"My slippers."

"This is all the missionaries in Stake Matahau. We had a meeting and the Stake Pres gave us all a ride home in the back of his truck. Don't worry, this is one of the common ways of travel in Tonga, even for missionaries. We don't take the bus, we don't drive cars, we hitchhike and walk!"

Max: "My companion accidentally killed someone's pig so we had to take a picture. Usually it is a big crime of killing someone's pig but since it was an accident and the owners were members, no cops were called and the family ate well that night."
Missy: "How do you accidentally kill someone's pig?"
Max: "We were playing with it and then he poked it on the head with a stick and it spazzed out and died. Weird, ay?"

"These are some of the pictures at the famous blowholes in Tonga."

"One of the missionaries calling forth the water to spray my companion."

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