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Monday, April 3, 2017

April 2017

Our Sunday, April 23, 2017 / His Monday, April 24, 2017

Hey mom,

I am glad to hear that you used advice from me that I never said. But a lot of it are things I would’ve said. Although there is one more thing I would’ve added in, make sure to wear slippers when doing garbage. Otherwise you could cut off a little bit of your toe. But other than that, I think you covered it.

As for this week, this is the start of week 6. The final week in the transfer...and I heard some rumors that I could be transferring to the island of Haapai. Which apparently has the nicest beaches in Tonga but also one of the most dead areas for work. So that sounds fun and all, but I like where I’m at right now. I can eat whenever I want, I know all the members, everything is just better. But I will be fine with whatever happens.

As of this past week, not much work has been going on. We only taught one person last week. But the good news is we are planning to baptize another member of the family this next Saturday. Sooooo pray lots so that will happen. 

Today, is p-day and we went and visited a lot of the sights with the zone leaders and the STLs we went and visited the west edge of Tonga, Maui's rock (which apparently he threw a huge rock from Eua to Tonga tapu to show off his strength), the blowholes, and we went to a resort and ate pizza at it. It was quite fun.

Oh, we also had an opportunity to go to the temple. And it was really nice to go back and experience the temple. There really is no other place that one can feel the spirit so strong. It was cool.

'ofa atu,
Elder Bethke

Dad,

Happy week after Easter.

As of right now I’m the junior companion which is the best. If I'm lucky, I will stay this for the rest of my mission. But honestly like you said it doesn’t matter. In the end everyone is still a regular missionary. I'd be totally fine if I was junior comp my entire mission. But I am for sure glad I am not an AP. That one is just no fun.

Something I learned about the turtle is that Tongans believe the turtle is a sign of long life and good luck. That is a reason why just about everyone has some design of a turtle in town.

One thing that I've really learned about the mission is how much church songs make a difference in your life and I see why that is the only thing missionaries are to listen to. That just adds to the bag of my testimony. One thing that helped me to realize that was actually when you’d take us to seminary all the time. You’d play a conference talk or church songs but it was good because it sets a good mood for the day. So thanks for that.

But thanks for everything.

'ofa atu,
Elder Bethke














Our Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017 / His Monday, April 17, 2017

Happy Easter,

I actually just thought of this question but why is the holiday called Easter? Because in Tongan it is Aho Pekia which just means the day Jesus died. So what does Easter mean?
Anyways, I had a fantastic Easter. But I'll start off earlier on in the week. As you know we have been teaching a family of 10 people and it has had its ups and its downs with them. Nonetheless it has been a lot of fun teaching them. Anyways I bring them up because a portion of them was baptized last week. But there was a lot that happened before we were able to baptize them. Let us go back to Thursday. On Thursday the mother of the family told us that she was already baptized... after a month of teaching her so we call the office and see if it is true and they say they don't have her record. So we told her that and then we proceeded to go on with baptizing her. So the baptismal day comes and we get a call early in the morning from the missionaries that live in their area and they tell us that she is already baptized. So we call again and the offices tells us they do have her record. So it turns out that she was baptized a long time ago. Which is great, she is now active in the church. So three of the kids were ready and wanted to be baptized so we baptized those three last Saturday. It was great, we rejoiced, and there was ice cream to be eaten.
So Sunday comes around and we get a call early in the morning that there is one more of the kids to be baptized. He was sleeping and his mom didn't know he was at the house. So we wake up quickly and are running around to get ready and prepare the baptism before Sacrament meeting starts so we can confirm upon them the Gift of the Holy Ghost. So we are running around, finish the baptism part 2 and we don't make it in time for Sacrament meeting. But, since the Stake President is the one helping us with the investigator he called the Ward and tell them to switch all the meetings around so that Sacrament meeting was later. So we do make it in time to Sacrament meeting. We give 4 of them the Holy Ghost, and give one kid a blessing just because he is still too young to be baptized. And it was wonderful.
Oh, the person we baptized on Sunday, it was also his birthday so we went back and celebrated his birthday after church and it was fun. So we had a very busy Saturday and Sunday. It was way cool. Half of that family is truly converted to the gospel. The Mom has had way cool experiences that has built her testimony even before we have met them and I am just grateful for the opportunity to teach them. I will send the pictures to Missy and tell everybody who is who so we all know. On my mission so far I would say that I am very blessed to have these wonderful opportunities to teach these such cool people. I learn new things from the experiences and the trials that they go through but then we see the blessings the gospel brings to their lives. It’s way cool.

For example, the mother (Koloa) is a member of the church but the Father (Fatui) isn’t. I was talking with the mom at the birthday party and she was telling me how the area they live is almost all the Tongan Methodist church. And the reason Fatui didn’t join the church is because he is too embarrassed. He is scared what the other people will think and say if he joins. But Koloa she told me that it doesn’t matter what they say because she knows without a doubt that the church is true. She told me she doesn’t look around at what other people are saying, she only looks straight ahead. It is funny because there was a talk about just looking up in General Conference. Just look up (or straight as Koloa put it).

I remember the talk from this last conference about always looking up. And I thought about it in a different perspective. If I look backwards at everything I’ve done, I'd be happy with what I’ve done, but then it might also make me satisfied with what I’ve done and not want to work as hard in the future. If I look forward, I see a ton of time left on my mission and I don't want to look that way. If I look side to side and see what other people have done, that will make me think more or less about people based on what they have done, or even compare myself to others. Which is no good. So there is really only one place to look. That is up towards our Savior and Heavenly Father. They will provide a way to help others and myself be happy.

Look up.

This is the beginning of week 5 in transfer 5. Can’t wait to see what happens next!

'ofa atu,
Elder Bethke

"This is the part of the family we baptized (only the girls), everyone is a member in this picture except the father."

"This is me about to baptize Peai."

"This is Eseta of the family. She is now preparing to serve a mission which is crazy exciting. The family is going to go to church in my area for an entire year, then go to the Temple, then Eseta will put in her papers and go on a mission. Crazy right, just baptized and already wants to go on a mission."

"Me, Elder Tavo, and Peai after the baptism."

"Me and Elder Tavo looking dashing."

"Yup."

"This is just a nice picture that I thought I'd share with everyone."

"Everyone in this picture is a member!!! It took a lot of work but it was also a lot of fun. This is after church on Sunday."

"This girl is named Pua. Also one that was baptized. She is very sweet and nice but also a little mischievous, but fun nonetheless."

"This is my companion blowing air into pig lungs like it is a balloon. I did it too and let me just say, pig lungs is not as bad as you think."





Our Sunday, April 9, 2017 / His Monday, April 10, 2017

Let us see............................... This week was kind of disappointing. The family that we were teaching, the one that seemed perfect, is now going through some problems. The father in the family thinks it is impossible for him to quit smoking and therefore has stopped taking the lessons and has given up hope. And because he won't go we haven’t been able to teach the others in the family. So this week was not very productive. We however have started teaching a different family as well. It is a mother and a father and their two babies. But it was really funny when we first taught them. We asked them what were there thoughts about the Godhead and the man said to me "The Wesleyan church doesn’t believe in the Godhead but I heard on the radio of a Wesleyan woman testifying there was 3 gods. Sooo I don't really know for sure." I thought that that was pretty funny. But it shows how he was prepared in that sense to hear our message.

This past week we had the wonderful opportunity to listen to conference. It was very good and I think a lot of the talks were a good reminder for us to do the basics every day because even though they be small things, they have a huge impact.

As far as Easter goes, my plans are basically the same as they are every other day. On Easter everyone stays home and sleeps and goes to church. So that is that.

'ofa atu
Elder Bethke

Hey Miss,

In Tonga it is really humid today, and it is just another p-day here. I have not received any packages yet but who knows I still might get it later today. I actually will send a package home once I receive one of the packages you sent me. I'm going to send home a bag from Papua New Guinea and a couple of bone carved necklaces from Tonga.

Sorry, no pictures today.

'ofa atu
Elder Bethke




Our Sunday, April 2, 2017 / His Monday, April 3, 2017

Hello mom,

My toe is doing fantastic it is 100% healed and you do not need to worry about it. It is the cleanest toe there is ever seen.

Last week was very good. We only have 1 set of investigators but that one set is a family of 10.  So it is very exciting teaching them. We invited them to church last week and guess what... they came. Pretty amazing eee. We are aiming to baptize them the week after this week. If everything goes according to plan, another family will strengthen the church with their testimony. It is very cool, everyone in the family wants to be baptized the only problem is all the boys in the family smoke. So that is the trial that must be overcome. But I have faith that they can accomplish it. Especially with the help from the rest of their family.

Thanks for all the support you give me. Remember though that you all do not need to worry because I will be protected as long as I do what I am supposed to do. That was one of the promises Elder Renlund gave to all the missionaries in misiona Tonga. So don't worry about it, relax, drink a cocoanut, it's all good.

‘ofa atu,
Elder Bethke

I'm jealous that you have seen the movie Moana. That is the Disney movie about my mission (actually all of the pacific). But I really want to watch it.


Oh I got the package with the Cambodian ties. I gave one of them to my companion.
"Here are some pictures of the family that we are teaching. Also the stake president's family. Yes there are identical twins in the stake pres's family. They are both very mischievous but I love them both."