Elder Colby Ross Smith

Elder Colby Ross Smith

People Can Change


All is well down in the Pacific. Zone’s doing well in the outies and in Tarawa. EITA is the best area in Kiribati and the world! I’m still working with Elder Pulufana- working like mad! Consistent with recent planning, our Bishop gave us 10+ names to work with- to help them prepare for the January Stake Conference. We’re almost through the list. It’ll be a really cool sight when that day comes and about 80 or so men are sustained to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. It’s been a lot of fun finding and teaching them. We didn’t get as many new investigators out of it as we hoped; we’re still trying to find a lot more.

Good news though: Collin and Temantiro (a couple) and Kanta and Turere (a couple) are set for baptism next Saturday, the 28th. The marriage papers just finished processing and are good to go; our plan is do a small bootaki at a member’s house this Thursday and have dinner together after. Kanta and Collin are brothers from Nikunau. Some of their family is still there, including their parents, and Elder Morley is working with them concurrently. It’s been a journey for these four: I remember the first time we stumbled into their house- there were eight of them at the time. I was on splits with a new missionary and I was the only one speaking, trying to be funny and get them to like us and to have some interest in our lessons. It was about 6pm and they had no light in their small house, so it was difficult to keep all their attention with all their young children crying and moving all around. We taught a short lesson about God and prayer, mixing in an introduction of who we are and why we’re here. (I know how Kiribati people are; most are kind and listen to our message, but that doesn’t mean they’re ready to apply what they learn into their lives. I have personally met with well over 100 investigators who listen kindly, but are unwilling to test our words through reading and prayer.) Anyways, I asked each of the 4 initial couples if they truly had enough interest to learn and apply what we taught ach week. Collin and Kanta and their wives replied in the positive, while the others were so nice and honest and said, “no thanks, we’re too busy.” Since then, we’ve had a lot of great lessons and member support. There’s been some blocks in the road with temptation… won’t go into that haha. But they’ve really changed through it all and are just about ready for interviews. We fasted last week, so that they would have the strength to keep the Word of Wisdom. A lot of their friends are trying to make them fall. But our fast went well. I love that family!

Last week we also added Ruti’s mom. I remember when we first got to that house- Ruti and her girls didn’t like us, but the grandma, Kantarawa, hated us. We tried to talk with her as lessons progressed with her grandkids, but she refused in her own hysterical way. If you remember, all those are now baptized and doing well. And, during our post-baptism visits alongside our new investigator Aribo (who is doing great as well), Kantarawa inched closer and
closer to our lessons; listening in little parts here or there… And now, as of last week, we officially started teaching her! She’s still proud of her catholic ways, but she’s accepted the lessons as they come and you can see great changes in her and in her happiness. And she knows it, too. I love love love showing people that ANYONE can change. Ruti always told us to leave her alone, that she was an old, crazy lady and would never change. Well, she is an old and crazy lady- very sarcastic, very strange, sometimes outspoken and ill-mannered, but she has changed. I love this gospel. It produces and enables change- for anyone- for any habit or disposition.
I love the Savior. I love the atonement (: Ah, it’s just the best. It’s so real. It’s not some effect of the mind, something manmade to feel better or happier. It’s a power. It’s an enablement, wrought by the Son of God, himself. No one can tell me otherwise. Try to! I dare you hahahaha, nah, but really, I know for myself, for I’ve seen it in others and in myself. It’s a power most often called “grace.” We all have access at all times, and a fullness of blessings can be had by making sacred covenants, whereby He may endow us with more power and blessings.

Man… there’s so many more stories- crazy ones each week. But that’ll do for now. Anyways, love ya’ll back home. We’re all doing great here holding down the fort. The kingdom is rolling forth. Keep it real this week!

Elder Smith

No comments:

Post a Comment