Email July 20, 2015

Bula Maleka!

So that was a fun and busy week. We had an exchange in two areas this last week. So that was fun and busy. Exhausting too! I’m not use to working in walking areas anymore! Way too much driving. The pedals don’t really strengthen your legs much. We did manage to have baptisms! My last two! Venaisi and Delana. They are two children of Filipo, another investigator waiting for a court case to get baptized. But one of his sons was baptized in December last year, my first Sunday in this area. Yesterday, his two other kids got baptized, Venaisi and Delana. They were really excited and the service went great. Overall, Sunday was an intense day. It was my last to attend the Waila ward. We had the baptism and several investigators from the three units made it down. There were a several recent converts and others that didn’t make it which was a bit surprising and disappointing, but there were some that did make it that made the day extra great. The best being Brother George Taito. He is a long term member where after the death of one of his sons, he has struggled a lot and has been less active for years. We are working to help him fulfil a promise made to Pres. Davis (the current temple president and first mission president in Fiji) that he will go through the temple with his wife before his time ends as temple President. So we have been working with him a lot, and this Sunday was the first Sunday in a very long time that he came. I pray he keeps it up. That was the greatest surprise and joy.

At church as well, since it was my last, they had me speak and I threw in a musical number in the sacrament meeting. It a good meeting. After the closing prayer, they whole congregation stood, and they had me come up to the stand as they sang “God Be With You Til We Meet Again.” That was pretty tough, but touching.

That was the highlights of the week! Pretty much from now on, we have dinner appointments every night until I leave. I’ll keep this email a little shorter so I can email more photos, but time is flying! A lot to do and little time!

Oh, and this week we have a surprise visit coming from Elder Halek of the seventy and area presidency. So that should be cool!

Loloma levu!

Au lomani kemuni! Moce mada 🙂

~Elder Hancock
FSM

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Email July 13, 2014

BulaVinaka!

Yay! That is awesome! I know exactly who that mission president is! He was Elder Wakolo of the 70, but was released last conference and called to be the mission president in Arkansas. His home ward was the ward I am serving in, Waila. They had a farewell activity just before they left that we attended. He is a really cool man. He is also the first ever Fijian mission president! In the MTC, president Layton said he was like a celebrity because everyone knew he was the first. So if you happen to see him again, tell him he has a great mission president! Also known for obedience. On one occasion he shook an apostles hand who mentioned that when shaking some people’s hands, he should wear bandaids to cover up the tattoos on his fingers. So instead, he had the skin surgically removed (because there is now tattoo removal available in Fiji), and now has scars on his fingers because of it.
Lake Powell sounds way great! I have never been either, but I got pretty close. Just to Escalante. I bet they will love it! I’m also happy to hear about the financial aid. That will be a great help.
Raisema is doing really good. He is still making it to church as often as his aged body will allow. He doesn’t seem to confident in his ability to quit quickly. We’ll be working with him to try and help him be ready for next month. We were pleasantly surprised to see Waisake at church. We had met with him the day before, and he threw out another excuse like the last few weeks. But then he heard from the member that I only had one more Sunday to attend at that unit and asked which day it was so he knew to attend that day. I chewed him out a little and said “It doesn’t matter! You should just come to church anyway!” It may have been a little harsh, but turns out he showed up! We didn’t even attend there! We just went after church had finished from another unit.
Venaisi and Delana are doing well. They should be interviewed on Saturday and then baptized the following day if all goes well!
That is all I have time for! Short time avalible to email today! I love you!

Au lomani kemuni! Moce mada 🙂

~Elder Hancock
FSM

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Email 6 July 2014

BulaNakwa!

Yay for the 4th of July! For companion study me and my comp sang The Star-Spangled Banner, America the Beautiful, and My Country Tis of Thee. It was pretty cool. That was about all of our 4th of July celebrations.
Overall sounds like it was a really fun and exciting week back home! Yes there is an airport here that we make frequent trips to. We help a lot in picking up and moving around missionaries coming through that airport, including one we will pick up in about 2 hours!
This week was really busy for us. We held our zone training meeting on Tuesday, then had a mini zone conference on Thursday for us to meet president and sister Layton, as well get interviewed by them. So those took a lot of planning. But they were really fun! I got to do introductions for the districts in the zone and all the missionaries.
However, we still managed to teach 22 lessons this week which even for a regular week is a really good week! Raisema is progressing very well! The only issue we have found for him is smoking. We gave him a blessing and promised him that if he would devote himself to quitting that day, he would still be able to be baptized by the end of this month. So keep him in your prayers! Also, we had a good lesson and commitment that we gave to another set for baptism, Venaisi. Commandment wise she is doing well and following them all, but previously she had some issues that lead to a child out of wedlock. We taught the law of chastity to her and committed her to read the Chastity sections in both True to the Faith and the Strength of Youth pamphlet. Sister Klingler always emphasized teaching those directly from those books so that they could have the words directly from the prophet in their mind when situations come up that could lead to breaking the law of chastity. When we came back, she said she had read them and expressed a realization of the sin that she had committed before. We were really happy with the expression of godly sorrow and then further invited her to read the repentance sections in the same books. The Atonement is great and the words of the prophets themselves are very powerful, just as Alma said!
President Layton is the bomb! We are really excited for him and direction he will bring to the mission! You can’t really argue with someone who was just set apart by the laying on of hands by Jeffery R. Holland!
Loloma levu mai na veiyanuyanu i Viti!

Au lomani kemuni! Moce mada 🙂

~Elder Hancock
FSM

Email 29 June 2014

Bula Maleka!

Well “Nausori” is the correct spelling. It is the largest town north east of the small Suva peninsula. It is right on the Rewa river. Our flat is on the corner of Princess Rd. and CorrbettAve. almost directly opposite of the town on the other side of the river. It is a double story concrete home in which we stay on the bottom floor. If you see it on google maps, it shows up where Waimanu river breaks away from Rewa River, two just past the Navuso rd.
This last week has been really good! We managed to teach a lot! Raisema is probably our best and most nuts investigator! His age just seems to have hindered him quite a bit mentally. His memory barely even exists, but he has some of the greatest faith I have ever seen! This last week he saw a “vision”. This vision seems to have resembled Nephi’s:
The Book of Raisema 1:1
And an angel appeared to him who carried with him an exceedingly large and beautiful pen. And it came to pass that the angel said unto him, “look” and Raisema looked and beheld a numerous people, as far as the eye could see. Fijian, American, New Zealander, Australian, and so forth. All of which were holding copies of the Book of Mormon and while looking up and swaying back and forth as they sang together with one accord “aleluia, aleluia, aleluia” (Hallelujah). And it came to pass that the angel said again unto him “look.” And he looked, and he beheld a paper. And it came to pass that the angel told him he needed to sign the paper. And it came to pass that he did as the angel commanded him.
That was it. I don’t really get what any of it means, but he is even more excited about the church and it seemed to increase his faith! He then started telling us about how he has already died twice…. Again, he has great faith. It will just take some good time to get him to understand doctrine enough. He even wanted us to teach him how to pray to Joseph Smith for awhile.
The other major event of this last week was that President and Sister Klingler returned home, and we now have President Layton as the new mission president. I haven’t met him yet, but I did meet sister Layton. They seem really nice! We will be having a mini zone conference this week for him to be able to meet all the missionaries and interview with them.
The temple prep class has started slowly. There is only one of the three who looks like they will be making it to the temple. We have 3 recent converts who are close to their year mark, but sadly, two of them are not active and we are struggling to get them to come back to church, even though both have expressed interest in the temple. I just don’t think they fully understand the importance yet! The saddest part is that the temple here in Fiji will be closing in October until December 2015 when it will then be re-dedicated. So if they don’t get moving here soon, they won’t be able to make it to the temple for over a year. The only other option will be to pay to fly to Tonga.
That is the fun and excitement of this last week! Loloma levu!

Au lomani kemuni! Moce mada 🙂

~Elder Hancock
FSM

Mission Leadership Council for June 2014

Email 22 June 2014

Bula Nakwa!

Yep, that is right! And I think Nick Goodman will be getting back before or just about the same time as me. That is crazy to think that Justin is back now!

It is true. Here it is a very respectful place regarding other churches. For the most part among Fijians, just being christian is enough :P. I always tell them it’s a good start! But every now and again, you do run into some not so friendly faces. I can only think of two incidences were I was yelled at for being from the LDS church. A couple other times for different reasons. But there have been contentions among families of recent converts because of the church! People are generally respectful of the church until you pull someone away from theirs into yours. There are several who do seem to dislike and target the LDS church more than others, but rarely are they brave enough to be open about it with us. The most common thing is recent converts or investigators getting told behind our backs that this is the church of the devil and that devil worship happens in the temples, etc. That is my obesrvations of Fiji for the last 2 years of mission service!

The museum was good! It is only about a 30 minute drive from our area to Suva, so not bad. We tend to have to go to Suva at least once a week. As for the Savurua unit, we still don’t know how things went there. They have no phone, so we won’t find out until Wednesdaywhen we go there next. The baptisms went great though! Buna and Esava’s father came as well which was nice. He is our next target there and I think seeing their baptism will push him to go. We are about to start teaching the Temple Prep class to their mother. Other than that, there wasn’t much we could do this last week. It was a transfer week so a lot of our time got stolen by driving and transporting missionaries. We also had our zone training meeting which took more time too. We have a lot of good investigators, just they haven’t really shown a lot of effort this last week. We are working to push them forward!

That is intense about the new intake! We have been waiting to hear more about them. That will be the intake to get here when I leave! Intense. That is it for this week! Loloma levu mai na veiyanuyanu i Viti!

Au lomani kemuni! Moce mada 🙂

~Elder Hancock
FSM

(Daniel is holding the Liahona we sent him for Christmas in the one photo)
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Email 15 June 2014

NiBulaNakwa!

Sorry, we had a crazy P-day and I am left with a very short time to email. So I won’t be able to share much! We ran to Suva to check out the museum and get our truck serviced.
The unit had another successful week! Attendance of 14! This next week they will be on their own though. We are helping them prepare an agenda for the meeting, then we will be in the Waila ward for a baptism! Buna and Esava.
Happy Father’s Day to Dad!!! Ni moce toka!

Au lomani kemuni! Moce mada 🙂

~Elder Hancock
FSM

Mission Leadership Council - May 2014 Nauzori Zone Conference - June 2014

Email 8 June 2014

BulaNakwa!

I’m really curious to see what the house looks like when I get back! Still sounds like it is changing every day! 😛 Also in the birthday photo for Alana! For some reason, maybe just the birthday, she looks like she is two or three years older! She just shot up!
This was a great week! We had a great zone conference for my birthday! It was really weird! I gave my departing testimony for it. That was a really strange experience. President Klingler departs on the 28th this month, and President Layton will arrive only that morning just before President Klingler leaves. I’ll work with him for about a month and then that is it! That mixed with the fact that I got my travel itinerary for going home. On the 31st of July at 9:35pm is when I’m suppose to arrive at the Salt lake Airport. Exactly 5 minutes before I left Fiji! about a 5 hour layover in LA. But anywho, that is just depressing stuff for me!
Work here is still booming! We picked up about 7 new investigators, all younger men staying close to Pateresio’s home. All say that they want to be baptized and several came to church yesterday! Which was also a great day because they attended church for the first sacrament to be held in the Savurua unit. So there are three small units (all tied to Waila ward). We helped conduct and train and the first service went very well! Although we forgot to get a picture with them all, so we’ll have to do that next week. Pateresio is the new unit leader and he was only baptized in December, right when I arrived in this area. So he has a lot to learn but he is a really good strong member who is working really hard.
We also have a couple more baptism dates set! Two are for this month, on the22nd of June. They are two kids of a returning member mother. They are really excited and working really hard to come to church. I’m feeling very confident in them!
That is the greatest excitement of the week! We are just thrilled about the growth and the starting of the new unit here in Naitasiri!
Loloma levu! Na luvemu lomani, ~Elda Taniela Joni Aqoka

Au lomani kemuni! Moce mada 🙂

~Elder Hancock
FSM

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Email 1 Jun 2014

Bula Nakwa!

Haha, yeah it probably would be tricky to make the Fijian translator! But that would be said “Marautaka nanomusiga nisucu!” or with some pronunciation help “Maraou taka nanomusinga kneesuthu.” Not really an easy or good sounding translation 😛

Haha, no worry on the package or the treats! It made it and I am excited for it! I still haven’t opened everything in it. Been way too busy! It was a crazy week. I figure I’m just going to enjoy the last of Fijian food I’ll have and then do P90X when I get back!
Interestingly enough, There use to be a KFC in Fiji! But within the year before I came to Fiji, it closed down and was replaced with SFC! They continued to use the trays, napkins, and other KFC merchandise left behind for their store too. Then just a couple months ago, SFC got bought out and is now Chicken Express, the most prominent and expensive fried chicken fast food restaurant. There is quite a bit of really good fried chicken in Fiji however that isn’t too pricey.
We are happy to report a very successful baptismal service for Sakiusa Bole! The service went very well. This was the first baptism I have performed where after standing back up from the water, our investigator just turned to me and gave me a hug. It surprised me because it didn’t seem to fit his personality, but he was happy. In addition to the service, with carriers that brought our units down, we had seven investigators attend church, as well as nearly ten other non-member potential investigators. With the success and the number who attended, it has moved the bishopric to establish a third unit in Naitasiri! In Savurua we have a member who is now at 7 months in the church, and has received the Melchizedek priesthood who will be selected to lead the unit. This will make it possible for them to have the sacrament weekly, as well as make church attendance much closer and easier for a couple of other members. It will also make attendance for 10 other investigators, including Waisake and all others from Waisere village, very easy. We are very excited and our ward leadership is going to help in providing training for the unit leader, Brother Pateresio Rokonaiveno.
With all of the excitement of Sunday, we were thrilled to see another recent convert back at church for the first time in months! Almost since his baptism he went less active. It was believed to have been some embarrassment to a little bit of a back slide he had, and even still he has been to afraid to meet or talk with us the last couple months. This is Tevita, whom Elder Lauti, another missionary, taught in Suva and was then allowed to come baptize him here in Waila. We had Elder Lauti write a letter to him and delivered it Saturday night, and Sunday morning he was there and his mother was overjoyed to see him come back too. Sunday couldn’t have been any better. Lots of attendance, lots of progress in the church! I am way excited to be part of establishing another unit in the islands of Fiji!
Thurday morning this last week Elder Tenny was able to get his licence! Which was just in time too. Me and Elder Owens were headed to a mission leadership council meeting and we were able to report that same morning the result! So now he is finally up in his area and Elder Owens and I are officially working together again.
Tomorrow we have our zone conference! And it will be my last zone conference, which means I’ll also be sharing my departing testimony. Other than that, we haven’t been able to teach near as much as we have wanted to the last couple of weeks! So we have a lot to do this week! I’m looking to finish out with a bang and there are lots of baptisms coming! Loloma levu!

Au lomani kemuni! Moce mada 🙂

~Elder Hancock

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Email 25 May 2014

Bula!

This week was pretty crazy! We had some big transfers. Elder Hyde went up to be the assistant to the president, and my new companion is my son! I’m am companions with Elder Owens again, whom I was companions a year ago. Pretty crazy and unexpected, but now we get to serve together again as the zone leaders. Most likely, he’ll be the one to “kill me off.” I helped kill my dad, and now my son kills me! haha. Well I am suppose to be his companion, but it hasn’t really happened yet. Two elders got called to replace drivers in two driving areas, and neither of them can drive! One is brand new so his licence from America counts for 6 months, but we had to teach him to drive manual in one day, then send him up to his area! The other has been in the feild for awhile and needs to get a Fiji licence. He also is pretty much re-learning how to drive completely and also to drive a manual, so I am his companion for now teaching him to drive until we can get him to pass a test to get a Fiji licence. Elder Owens had to go to his area to be a driver there. So that is that excitement!
We managed a little bit more teaching time this week, but not much. We have Sakiusa Bole ready for baptism this coming Sunday! He is someone that suprises me a lot. The entire fist month we were teaching him, I just felt he didn’t like us (because we weren’t able to give him a ride the second time we met him). But as we shared with him, he slowly softened more and more. Out of nowhere, our member present tells us he wants to get baptized! So here we are awhile later and Sakiusa has changed a lot! But it is way awesome and he is really excited.
We also managed to get two kids committed to baptism! Their mother, Sis Beitaki, is a returning member who wants to get to the temple. This is from the family whose oldest daughter passed away from dengue fever and was pregnant. They are doing well. Esava and Buna are two kids who aren’t baptized yet and we are getting them really excited! Esava is the one who told us “I want to go serve a mission, then I want to come back and be the bishop!” We are really excited for them.
Also, Waisake from the Waisere village told us that he wants to be baptized! I’m sure more from that village will follow! Due to church attendance, it will be a little bit before they can get baptized, but hopefully some will before I go!
That about sums up the week! I decided that I have one request for when I get back, and it is get the P90X workout program. I’m gonna have to work to shave off a bit of belly flub and might as well get buff in the process!
I also decided it would be easiest to get some new garments here before I leave, so I ordered 10 pairs on lds.org. That way I got 10 tops and 10 bottoms for under $15! Much cheaper in Fiji!
Loloma levu! Lots of work to do and too little time to do it all!

Au lomani kemuni! Moce mada 🙂

~Elder Hancock
FSM

Email 18 May 2014

Bula Manakwa!
There really wasn’t much to report on. This last week we ran into a lot of road blocks and disturbances that hindered our ability to work in Naitasiri. First off was taking people and things to the hospital. We had quite a bit of illness in the zone this last week. This prevented us from going to our area Tuesday.Wednesday we got to go, but we got some other transportation assignments and other things in the way on Thursday. Plus, we had to take our truck into Asco to get it fixed (there were some fuel system problems), and they kept it the rest of the day and most of the next day. We had to take a bus back to Nausori from Suva which was actually kind of fun. It has been awhile since I have ridden the bus! But it stopped us again. Finally, Saturday we attempted to go, but with 3 days of non stop rain, much of the area was flooded and our access was limited.
Wednesday was great however! We made it back to the Waisere village and Waisake has finished the Book of Mormon! Plus, a couple of other women joined us this time and all were thrilled by the message of the restoration! One asked us about baptism and we explained being baptized the way Christ was and by proper authority. They were asking us about how they can come to attend church! Plus, Waisake himself was teaching them things we had already taught them! They are all really excited about it! It is pretty great.
We also had the baptism of Navi! We were all especially touched with the testimony he shared at the service. Now I just hope that his son and son’s wife will soon follow!
So I just finished reading the war chapters in Alma, and I had a pretty interesting connection that I made to missionary work. I love how Moroni writes to Pahoran and mentions how if there had been constant support from the government and no iniquity among the people including rebellions, there would not have been so much struggle or loss. It even results in him having to take his attention away from the major job of fighting back the Lamanites to use his strength to solve problems among their own people. In the mission it is much the same. We have our war to fight, our work to do in teaching, finding, baptizing, and it is sad that sometimes missionaries and leaders have to turn their attention away from that great work to fight and stop rebellions among themselves. Our strength comes from constant obedience and unity as a mission. It is tough when being a leader, sometimes you are forced to lose time and energy in your own area’s mission work, and to help strengthen others in theirs, for the purpose of correcting disobedience, problems, and other iniquity among other missionaries. Not to imply that our mission is having a downfall or anything. Things are going great. But I have had experiences where I have seen good time lost. We need to clean the inner vessel first before we can help outside!
I love being a missionary. I love having the chance to serve the Lord as a leader in this mission. And am grateful for the missionaries who are dedicated to this great cause and are obedient to it.

 

Au lomani kemuni! Moce mada 🙂

~Elder Aqoka (this is the simplest way I have found to spell Hancock in Fijian)
FSM

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