Elder Colby Ross Smith

Elder Colby Ross Smith

"Miracles are Everywhere..."

Mauri moa ngkami!

First off, I can’t believe another Monday is here-time is flying by faster and faster now, and especially as I helped with the new intake of missionaries this past week. It was a lot of fun going through the introductory ropes as they entered into the Kiribati experience for the first time. Memories flooded my mind from the first time I tried certain foods and drinks, learned new words and culture, teaching methods etc. Especially during orientation, since it was there the 9 of us (same as the number in this crew almost one year ago exactly) found out where we would be serving and who with. 

 There was such a strong spirit with them all as they bore their testimonies. At the end we sang “Called to Serve.” Man am I jealous of those Elders; they have 2 years left!! And my time is speedily ticking away. I almost can’t believe it was me in their shoes just the other day.

This is a very special time to be a Kiribati missionary. Everything is changing. Everything! The Lord’s work is hastening here in an unprecedented nature. Almost all islands are open and missionaries are being added. It was a game changer when we all came in, but now our President is moving things forward again with more Kiribati missionaries in his final year. (In case you didn’t know, President Weir is the President of the Marshall Islands Mission, which includes missionaries that are exclusively dedicated to Kiribati) There’s much to be seen in Kiribati’s future. I love being a witness of the kingdom rolling forth so boldly. 

Due to some cancelled flights, last second transfers and other stuff, things are running a little behind this week. But most of the new elders are out in their “birth places” now.

Meanwhile, in Eita, things are going really well, work wise. Our big plan was for a large, group baptism date on September 26th. But, due to a lot of drama and some challenges, many will not be ready for their interview this Saturday. It will have to be pushed back a few weeks. One amongst those preparing for baptism is Lakobwa. He was so solid. While teaching him, we got his wife back to church activity. We also teach his wife’s brother and sister, who have been difficult to meet with lately. 

Anyways, he was right on track and really ready till just yesterday, when he didn’t come to church. We were on splits when his niece came up and told me that we has drunk in the middle of the day by the side of the road with some friends. So, we’ll have to see about that. It’s not the first time something like this has happened right before interview/baptism time. Really, it’s more like the 30th … Satan works extra hard when they get close. After all, ‘’Satan don’t kick no dead dogs.’’ It’s cool though. Prayer and fasting, mixed in with some hard work, cure all. He’ll come back.

Arenti and her crew are doing great! We usually teach them in a large group. She and her member husband (well… they’re newly together and getting married soon), with Waioko and her husband and kids, and Matoonga (we’re still working on adding her husband to the group). 

Arenti has been blessed with the ability of faith in her life. She had an experience 20 years ago when she came back from Arorae. She stopped going to church (different religion) after promising the Lord she would never miss. Soon after, she got this terrible recurring sickness where she can’t walk and her legs are in such intense pain that she can’t sleep. The night before she first got it, she was told in a dream that she would have a sickness as a reminder to always keep the Sabbath holy and that she was never to use worldly things to cure her (such as old Kiribati methods (“devil work,” she says)) or she would never heal. 

Before telling us this story she asked for a blessing. She had been reading the Book of Mormon, paying particular attention to the healing power of the priesthood and knew we would have that priesthood authority to give her a blessing. So, I gave her a blessing. And, of course, the spirit told me exactly what to say, though we had not yet heard her story. I gave some comforting words that I knew where the Lord’s, applicable to her particular situation.  I told her that the time was not yet come to be healed, though each Sunday she would receive the strength necessary to come to church and eventually be baptized. The next Sunday she did come, painfully walking the whole way and she bore her testimony (along with several other of our investigators) about the power of the priesthood and importance of the Sabbath. She’s awesome! Due to marriage issues, she will have to wait a few more weeks to be baptized. But, it looks like there will still be over 10 baptisms this next Saturday!

We’ve recently met some amazing people with faith, like Arenti. (I love this area! I love that each area I serve in becomes my favorite as I go along.) One family we’re working on, all started around the time we first arrived here in Eita. A sister member came up to us and told us that she recently had a dream in which she was visited by a local boy who had died earlier this year. This boy told her, in the dream, to let the missionaries know that he wanted us to visit his family and teach them the plan of salvation. (the boy told this sister, in the dream, that he had just been taught the plan of salvation in the spirit world.) It turned out that the boy’s mom was once Mormon, but had since married a devout catholic and stopped coming to our Church. 

Once we heard this story, I felt we should ask this sister to go with us and relate the dream directly to this boy’s mom. She agreed. The mother, Bauraoi, cried as she heard about the dream. She knew that she needed to come back to church and has felt it for a long time. She fears, however, that her husband will be angry, so we all fasted for his heart to be softened in order to allow us to teach in his home. So, right now, we’re in the middle of that story and we will see what happens next!

Fasting and praying, I’m telling ya, it’s the key! Miracles are everywhere- expect them at all times and in all situations. For those who seek and follow Christ, there are always good things to come. I’ve seen this for myself week after week after week after week. Every day, even. At all times, no matter the magnitude or depth of the darkness, light prevails, blessings will come, and miracles will be witnessed. I have peace of mind and heart knowing these things. I know they will continue because I am a solemn witness that this work is no work of man, but of God. I see his hand daily. 

I testify of the truthfulness and divinity of this marvelous latter day work. You members are as fully a part of it as I am. The adversary ploys and plots but never can inhibit the rolling forth of God’s work. As it says in one of my favorite scriptures, D&C 123: 17,  ‘’Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.’’
Till next time,

Elder Smith

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