Elder Colby Ross Smith

Elder Colby Ross Smith

Transferred to Betio

Mauri Mauri!

I’m sitting next to my new companion, Elder Christensen, who arrived in Kiribati just 6 weeks ago. Last week I was transferred to Betio, another city in Tarawa. We’re in the Betio 1st Ward; there are three Wards here. So, yeah, that means my service with Elder Pulufana is over! I’ll miss that guy. Good man. It was fun finishing my last 5 weeks with him.

I found out about this transfer 5 weeks ago. President Weir told me I’ll be on a ‘’special assignment’’ and then further explained the details of this assignment. As Elder Jones put it in our emails this week, I’m basically James Bond right now…! Hahaha, nah, not close to that, but this assignment is a special one, though all are special in their own way.

Just as the East Stake (where I was until transferred last week) has set new goals to achieve before the next conference in January, the West Stake has set new goals too. And my, oh my, the West is further behind! It’s good that our next stake conference isn’t until March. The goal is that three Betio wards can be split to 5 and Bwairiki will be made into it’s own new Stake. So… we’re gonna get going. I won’t go into details but I made a list yesterday of all the things we need to discuss with our Bishop, little by little so we don’t overwhelm him. This Ward needs work- in leadership, callings, activity, unity... Truthfully, only about 8% of the members on record here in Betio 1st Ward actually come to Church- very low retention, though many of those have probably moved.

We have a lot of organizing and restructuring to do. I’m really excited. We just got a new Mission Ward Leader (the last one was inactive) and we’re going to call all the returned missionaries (there are many) as Ward Missionaries and ask them to help our Ward Mission Leader since he is brand new and has never held a calling or served a mission. They will help to fill our new investigator/recent convert class. I said I won’t go into our plan details, though, so I’ll stop there. But there’s a lot to do.

Luckily, I’m finally in an area where there are investigators when I arrived. There are several that can really become something- they just haven’t had the proper direction before.  But my job now is to push the work forward, clean up the records, etc., since I’m the new District Leader. Way exciting! It feels good to be back to a more regular schedule, to a more normal mission life.

Being a Zone Leader was great- it was a learning experience in many ways. It taught me other forms of patience, how to lead and correct, how to really plan and expect the unexpected, how to be more chill and not so high strung with the work schedule, since there’s less time for lessons. We did have a lot of success amidst all of our other duties. I’ll miss serving all the missionaries in the east and on outies. I actually really liked collecting statistics, shipping necessities, and doing all the random things that come up to make sure everything is running smoothly and working out according to plan.
I’ll especially miss the Ward members and our converts and soon to be converts. I love them so much. It was so sad saying goodbye the last couple weeks, even though I’m actually on the same island this time! It will be nice to see them every now and then. I did get to leave my new area last Saturday, the day after I left Eita. Why? To attend the Collin + Temantiro and Kanta + Tureere baptism!! Traveling was an ordeal, though. It took 2 hours of standing and sweating profusely, all over the person sitting in front of me, on a very crowded ‘’bus,’’ which is really just a regular van (Kiribati’s main source of transportation on Tarawa). But it was way worth it! I
love those guys!

Anyways, I love Kiribati! I love Eita 1st! And I now love Betio 1st! And hopefully one day I’ll get to go to one more “outie”… but for now Betio is the place to be and I’m excited to be a part of what the Lord is going to do next here.
I love you all! That’s all from me this week!

Elder Smith





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