Sunday, August 31, 2014

September 1, 2014

Life here in Kawhia, is AWESOME! It's so awesome I could die! (read in voice of little girl from Despicable Me)

This place reminds me of Alton, but flip flopped; Alton was mostly members, and Kawhia is mostly non-members. The branch here consists of about 15 people, including us. There's a surprising amount of work to do though. Their goal for baptisms this year is three. They've already had two, and there are two more that are preparing to be baptized.

My companion is another Samoan! Elder Sagato (pronounced Sangato). Feels good to be with a Samoan again. Though, unfortunately there are no Samoan families in the branch, so I can't utilize him for massive islander feeds all of the time. All good though, he's the man. Really good guy, and super bold in the work. It makes things a little more exciting when your companion isn't afraid to say it straight. For some odd reason people are never offended by him so go hard eh.

So far I've been able to see pretty much the whole town, though I don't have the streets down pat yet, but it shouldn't take too long. Work here is quite a bit different that everywhere else I reckon. Since everybody knows everybody, and the last thing that we want to do is offend one person and have the whole town hate us, we mostly work through our branch mission leader. He's the man too. Guy knows everyone in town and their story, and isn't afraid to share the gospel. With that in mind, he comes around with us and takes us to all sorts of houses and we have short visits. For the most part he does the talking, but we get introduced and usually an invite to come back. How awesome is that? Finally I'm somewhere where a member does the finding; so refreshing.

Apparently I'm partly here because of one of my past companions. Remember Elder Moore? I was with him two transfers ago, at which point he became one of the new Assistants to the President. While we were together I was talking about how I'd love to get moved into the middle of nowhere in a little branch with just me and my companion- just be somewhere where we can do the work and not have to worry about anybody else. Apparently President brought my name up when they were doing transfer planning and Elder Moore took the opportunity to let him know my dream. Turns out that one of the Elders who had been here just finished, so there was a vacancy. Easy as pie, and now here I am. Pretty sure Elder Moore is now my most favorite person. It feels good to not have to worry about a zone anymore. We don't know anything but what happens within our beautiful little bubble, which is fine by me.

Other than that, I've got a few pictures to send here shortly, so that you can all enjoy the Oasis in which I reside.
Arohanui! Elder O'Neal

A view from a lookout over the bay. Not sure if you can see Kawhia but it's on the right side of the bay pretty near the end.

According to local Maori legend, passed down through the local Kaumatua (Elders), Christ came and prayed below this tree upon his visit to the isles of the sea. 

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