How is everything? Tonga is cool. Danny told me now that you bought a grill, all you do now is grill!!! We baptized someone last week! I talked a lot about it in mom’s email. But it was a lot of fun teaching her. Her name is Lile and she is 16 years old. The coolest thing about her was her desire to be baptized in the church. She really wanted to be baptized.
Man I started lifting weights. Our next door neighbor got a bench press. I've started to lift. Man I'm out of shape to say the least. I'm up to doing 30 kgs on each side. I can only lift it 4 times though haha. Out of shape. But by the end of the transfer, watch and see how big I get. Do you still go to the gym every day? Do you know things that I can do for my legs by just using a bar and no throwing weights? I can only think of dead lifts and hang cleans. But yeah I’ve started lifting again. So we will see if that changes anything.
I’m doing well out here in Tonga. I’ve started talking with this deportee from America. His name is Vo and he is a gangster from California. He now lives in Tonga but he is way cool. He is less active and I’m trying hard to get him to come back to church and all of that. But Vo is way cool and is super nice. You wouldn’t think so from a gangster in California but he is the best. But yup hope all is well.
This last week was an adventure. Remember that investigator that we had so much trouble with??? She got baptized last Saturday!!!! We were sitting at someone’s house just talking to some of the members and then I get a text from my bishop’s wife saying that Lile is getting baptized. I was so surprised that I called her right away. I called her and then she confirmed that Lile was being baptized, then she told me that she was not getting baptized in Vaotu’u. Then I shouted what!?!?! Apparently she was going to get baptized in a different ward and the sisters that worked in that ward were going to baptize her. Then I told bishop’s wife "what the heck". I was a little upset that someone took our investigator after we did all the work, but then I remember that us missionaries are all on the same team so it doesn’t really matter if she was baptized here or anywhere else. So in the end I was fine with it. I still got to go to her baptism and see her be baptized so that was cool. It was cool because she had such a great desire to be baptized. So I feel that I was blessed to be able to work with her. So that was the huge highlight for the week. I’m having fun!! Hope all is well. If you have any questions let me know.
Dear Brother and Sister Bethke,
It is with great blessing to inform you about the work that your son Elder Charles Maximilian Bethke is doing in our Mission. Sister Tui'one and I are very happy to work with him and he has bless the Mission, missionaries and the people of Tonga and we want to thank you for not only preparing him but also allowing him to come and serve the Lord with us here in the Nuku'alofa Tonga Mission.
Elder Charles Maximilian Bethke has been called as a District Leader/Trainer and we know how much he will do to help teach the doctrines and invite missionaries to follow Jesus Christ and we're confident that he will lead by example and love those whom the Lord entrusted him and his companion with.
We love Elder Charles Maximilian Bethke and know of his abilities and potentials to become what the Lord expected of him. He is AWESOME. Please continue to encourage him.
President and Sister Tui'one
|"This is me and Elder Lasike climbing up into the attic at the stake center. It wasn't actually as cool as we'd thought it'd be."|
|"This is a pic of some members cooking us a pig. It was delicious and the skin tastes like chips."|
|"This is at the baptism of Lile."|
|"This is our temple out here in Tonga. Me and Elder Hafoka went to the office after our baptism and so we took pics of the temple because it is right next to the temple."|
|"These are two studs at the temple just walking around and thinking that they are cool."|
Our Sunday, July 23, 2017 / His Monday, July 24, 2017
Wow a musical sacrament meeting. That actually sounds very cool. If I had to choose a song I would probably choose hymn number 227 “There Is Sunshine In My Soul Today.” I like that one just because it has a very positive message. That we should be happy and positive always. But it also has a line in the chorus I think it says something about seeing Jesus' smiling face, there is sunshine in my soul today. Just thinking about seeing our Redeemer’s face smiling at us should bring us the greatest joy in this life. I read Bruce R. McConkie's talk about the atoning sacrifice in Gethsemane and it gives a pretty good description of all the pain and suffering that the Savior experienced just so that we could all have the opportunity to repent. It is truly a great talk. I think that it was actually the last talk he gave before passing away. It helps us learn more about the Savior. So I recommend it to all. Unfortunately we were unable to baptize our investigator last week. It is really sad because Lile, she really wants to be baptized and I believe that she has a true testimony in our church. The only reason that she wasn’t baptized was because her mom doesn’t want her to be baptized. Which is hard. The thing is Lile's mom has already been to the temple but she has fallen away from the church. So it is a very unfortunate thing. But we are not giving up on her, I still believe in her. But other than that, this last week was good. I miss you and love you all very much. I hope all is well.
Hey there pops,
I’m doing well. I get to stay another lovely transfer in Vaotu’u. That will make it 5 transfers. The Book of Mormon really is a special book. Like Joseph said, there is no other book more perfect than that one. I often find that as soon as you open the Book of Mormon and read, that you immediately feel the Spirit. It just proves that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and is true scripture to help guide us in these latter days. Ever since President Monson gave his talk in General Conference about the Book of Mormon. I've made sure I read that book every day even if I’m studying something else. So just because you are reading the D&C doesn’t mean you stop reading the Book of Mormon every day. I've just started studying the life of David from the Bible and David was truly a righteous lad when he was young. He had such great confidence in the Lord that he knew the Lord would protect his people from the Philistine armies. And because he had such great confidence in the Lord, he was willing to take on Goliath. That is a great story that everyone can learn from. We each have our own Goliaths in our lives whether it be school, work, family or whatever but as long as you have confidence and faith in the Lord, you should have nothing to fear. That is my spiritual thought for you today. I hope it helps in some way. Remember to hire me when I get back haha.
Missy!!!! Yay for getting a job! I’m so proud of you! Does this mean you are moving to Utah? Does this mean you won’t be home when I get back? Elder Enos was happy to receive his can opener he thanks you very much. He thinks that you are the coolest person ever because he sees the postcards and stuff you sent. And he's right, you are the coolest sister in the world. There is nothing in particular I need in my box. I do ask though for the flaming hot cheetos. But you can choose everything else. Transfers just happened and you’ll never believe where I’m going... I’m staying again haha. That is 5 transfers in Vaotu’u. I’ll be in Vaotu’u for 8 months of my mission. Impressive aye. During this transfer I hit my year mark!!! August 24!!! I’m excited. Time has already flown so fast and people tell me that the second year even goes faster. Love you lots, good luck on your new job.
|"Us being goofy at the beach."|
|"I got someone to carve my hymn book and put Tongan designs and stuff on it to make it look cool."|
Our Sunday, July 16. 2017 / His Monday, July 17, 2017
Happy p-day mom! Let me recount some things that have happened this past week. Let's start with last Thursday. Last Thursday I saw some miracles. Last Thursday we did a zone fast. We fasted for our investigators and to help us achieve our goal of getting 15 baptisms in these last two weeks. We started our fast around noonish. And I started to see some miracles just that night. One, we met up with an old investigator and were able to teach her again. Two we were able to find three new investigators just that night. And it has been wonderful teaching those people. I’ve learned a lot and I can surely testify that fasting works and there is a special power when one does fast properly.
The work out here is starting to progress. We were able to get 5 new investigators last week. What we've started to do with the ward mission leader is set up a teaching every day with a family. We walk around with him and go to houses and commit them to a day that we will be able to teach someone. It's been pretty effective because we have new investigators. So I’m glad to say that the work is improving. Everything is great out here on the island.
There aren’t any mountains on this island but on Eua and Vavau there are big hills.
It is great to hear about the wedding and that some people remember me out there. I can't believe that they picked Danny and Sean to DJ... must’ve been something special. I’m glad to hear that Bern and Carlos are doing well, and that they are going to go honeymoon in OC. There's no place like it. And Spencer is deciding to get married. hmmmm so that makes Alfredo, Danny, Bernadette, and soon to be Spencer, all married while I'm in Tonga. Alrighty then.
I hope everyone is doing well out there in Maryland.
I got the package, it was wonderful. This week was pretty interesting, we had to sing in the stake fireside this past Sunday. Let me say the fireside was great, but maybe our song wasn’t that great haha. We sang "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" and it was alright. I very much enjoyed eating the candy in the package. Also the sweats were like wearing a cloud. Thanks very much!! Oh I sent a package home! It doesn’t have any shirts in it but it does have some other cool stuff. It has stuff from Tonga and from Fiji in it. It might take a while to get home though. I gave it to the zones today so they might’ve already given it to the office to send. This past week has been good for work. We found a couple new investigators this past week. I'm trying to have a baptism with my son (Max's trainee, Elder Hafoka) before transfers. We have re-met up with the one of the girls we have been teaching and set up a baptismal date for this week! So I’m hoping everything works out well for that one. Be happy.
Our Sunday, July 9, 2017 / His Monday, July 10, 2017
How is everything at home? This past week was better than last week. This past week we had the ward mission leader come and go door to door with us. Since he knows everyone really well and lives there it made it way easier to work with the other people. We set up a lot of new goals with the ward. We set up that we are going to have 2 baptisms every week which is a high setting goal. We also set that every family will invite someone to be taught before ward conference which is in August. So I believe that the work here might shoot up these couple of weeks. We went door knocking and from what I’ve been able to see I haven’t seen any success. But who knows aye.
When I go to church, I usually go to Sunday School with the old people but then I go to the young men’s priesthood class. But sometimes I switch it up. But if an investigator comes I usually teach them during Sunday School. So it just depends.
I haven’t got my package yet, but I figured out that my cord still works but my comp used all the battery on my camera sending pics home, so I might be able to send pics later, but I will for sure send pics next week.
I hope everything is going well. Wow I can't believe Jacob and Daniel got their mission calls. I’m really excited for them. That means when I get back that Evan, Daniel, and Jacob won't be there. That's almost my entire family from deacons on up. At least I’ll have David still around, if he hasn’t gone to his mission yet.
I’m working hard and am happy. Obedience can be hard but I see the blessings of when one is truly obedient to the Lord’s will. I’m doing my best. I love the Lord and I’m trying to become like him one step at a time. I learned yesterday in church to not have a casual relationship with the Lord. Just like with our friends, we should be excited to talk to them and see them and hear from them. We must not have just a casual relationship with Heavenly Father. That means that we must pray every moment and have the desire to meet with Him someday. We will only have that desire if we obey his commandments and follow his rules. Read the scriptures often, you will find what the Lord wants you to do on that specific day and hour. I love you lots!!
|"Here is my companion trying to be the saint in the pic."|
|"We took pics at the Catholic church in our area. It was pretty cool."|
|"Here is the man who makes the cake I eat everyday."|
|"Me and my companion just being silly on top of our member's fence."|
|"This kid is named Juni and he is from America. |
I never realized that the kids in Tonga and America are so different. but they're both great."
|"These are some bomb burgers that someone made foe us. It was super good and it tasted like freedom."|
Our Monday, July 3, 2017 / His Tuesday, July 4, 2017
Happy 4th of July!!!
Next transfer I hit my year mark...and they say that the first year is the slow year. If that is the case this next year will fly by. I’m doing well. I’m still trying to do my best. I know the people in this town very well. I’ve lived in this town for almost a half a year now so I should become a citizen here. I’ve asked the stake president to give me some land if I ever decide to live here. He said no. But that is ok. I’m sure that if I actually came back he would give me land. But everything is great.
It is still good to here because there always things to improve on. I always worry about the weather. If it rains that means my feet and slippers will get muddy and also my tupenu and that is something that I’m not a fan of.
Let me explain why I was unable to email you yesterday. Yesterday I was at a zone conference for 7 hours so President Tuione told us that our p-day is today for this week!! Yay. The zone conference was very good. I would say that I learned a lot from it and got several reminders to remember and be obedient. So that is what happened yesterday.
I had a pretty sad experience last week that made me pretty angry. Fortunately my anger doesn’t last more than an hour. So let me recount the story. We have been teaching this investigator named Liliana and it has been going really well. We have taught her 3 full lessons and we invited her to be baptized and she said yes. We also invited her to come to church and she came last week. The thing that made me angry, when we went to go talk the one of the members that was helping to fellowship, she told us that our investigator had a bad experience at church. She told us that when she went to young women’s class, some of the young women were making fun of her and the way she dressed. She also got yelled at by the teacher to sit down. She was pretty sad after she went to church. When the member told me that, I was pretty mad at the ward. It made me not want to work as hard because if I was going to work to help bring others to Christ and then others destroy the work that we do, then there is not much of a point to it. So at zone conference I talked to President about it and he told me that what I was going through was a tough situation. He told me not to get mad at the ward and to remember that everyone isn't perfect. As a missionary you really come to learn that everyone isn’t perfect including myself. Then President told me how important love is. And how much more important it is to love others that don't love you back. Basically President reignited my will to work hard and not be angry anymore, so I’m grateful for that. I still haven’t seen Liliana since then but I’m working on a plan to be able to meet with her again.
I still eat cake every day. It is really good. Oh, I started a new challenge. It is the challenge that Russel M. Nelson gave during last general conference. It is to read every single verse in the topical guide under the topic Jesus Christ, and all of the subtitles of Jesus Christ. Russel M. Nelson said that it changed his life and he became a different man. I've only just started the challenge and haven’t even finished the first title and I can see that the way I think is already starting to change. I'm becoming a better person by reading and pondering the life of Christ. I think that would be a great challenge for everyone to do. I’m doing well in Tonga. It is cool here but not cold. Thanks for all that you do for me.