Monday, September 30, 2013

Swimming In The Jungle

Another amazing week has zoomed by!!! Life out here is amazing!! It was so great to hear about life back home.  GO UTES! It sounds like Mase is growing up way too fast!! It is crazy that he will probably not even know me when i get back!! How is your knee?! Are you behaving and not doing anything too crazy on it?! I am glad you are still going to the rec center! But I bet it is super boring without me right?! ;) 

Sorry my email was so short and I wasn't online for too long last time, but I have a good excuse.  We missionaries have 1 truck per district on the island.  Last week the elders were coming to pick us sisters up and it was raining really hard.  There are no paved roads here so when it rains the roads are pretty crazy.  We waited and waited and they never came.  We rang and they told us that our truck was fastened to the road with 3 feet of red mud.  A sister we were with really wanted to email, so we jumped a truck to town and then had to hurry and send an email and then go to help the elders.  Let me tell you, snow is nothing compared to this red mud.  It was bad news bears.  The elders pushed and pushed and pulled, but it would not budge.  We had to leave it and walkabout and wait until the mud dried the next day.  Needless to say the small email was no blame of me.

Wow I hope I can answer all of your questions!  To answer a few about our living conditions. No you crazy, we do not have running water.  No one has running water, that is a white man thing.. haha.  We have a water line closeup to us that we fetch water from every morning. In the morning I wake up at 6:00 and go fetch water. I fill up two buckets for swimming (showering) and 1 teapot for breakfast and a big kettle for warm water.  My companion likes boiled water to swim with, but I think it takes too long, so I just swim with normal water.  The rule here is: If you can see through the water it is clean enough to drink.  Ours is usually pretty clear, so we just drink from it.  But the office came to inspect and gave us a pump to pump our water.  The trick with the water is that there is a limited supply for the village.  That  means when it is gone it is gone.  The other week we ran out of water so we had to fetch it from a well..that was an experience. 

Our toilet is a hole in the ground. haha.  But! there is a little shelter over it and a toilet seat now! BLESSING! When I got here people could see through the shelter so the nice elders came and built us a new shelter! I was so grateful because making eye contact with people while on the toilet can lead to awkward situations. Mother I cannot believe that you would think we have a truck, we walkabout only. 

I am used to the volcano! In fact, I WENT TO THE VOLCANO ON P DAY! I have such sweet pictures but these computers wont let me send! That is right..Sister brown went to the top of a rumbling volcano!!! I saw the LAVA! No lie, true talk only! The volcano is no biggie now, but the volcanic ash rain.. ughh when it rains volcanic ash it spoils everything! If we leave our clothes out on the line and it rains ash it stains our clothes and all of the sisters told me it burns their hair, but I think it doesn't do that to white man hair because I still have hair mostly.

I mostly wear flip flops everywhere because I try to fit in, but the other day something went into my foot and so now I wear my crocs to climb in.  I forgot all your questions, but basically I AM GREAT!! I LOVE IT HERE!!! I am so grateful to be in Tanna, and Whitesands is amazing!! I love the people, and I love the island life!  

The work is moving along so great!! We have already found full up priesthood leaders for our unit! We have found double digit new investigators that are so ready and willing to learn more about the gospel.  My companion and I are studying the "Church Admin" book every day to try to figure out how to set up the unit effectively.  I never thought I would be learning how to set up a church out here, but it's awesome! We are just working on establishing a center of strength in the area! We could not be more excited!!! The people are SO ready and willing to help! We have 8 people on date to be baptized, and plenty more progressing!! I am so grateful for these people. 
Funny story: So this week I got really, really sick.  At first I just felt crappy and so I got my flashlight and walked to the bathroom, I came back and still felt crappy so I went and got a dish and set it by my bed just in case.  All of the sudden I felt sweaty and I knew I was going to throw know how much I love to throw up.. NOT! An hour later I started throwing up like crazy.  My companion was still asleep and I woke her up with my awful noises of throwing up..haha. She sits up and says, "Sister Brown, are you throwing up?" I was still throwing up and I was thinking.. (No Sister, I just felt like making these awful noises in the middle of the night...) I finish throwing up and she is still sitting in her bed and she asks AGAIN," Sister Brown, did you just throw up?" hahaha... are you serious? I looked at her, showed her the dish and said, "Yeah, I think I might have..." give her the benefit of the doubt, I think she was still half asleep...hahahaha.

I am so grateful for all of the support and love!!!! Stay strong, read the Book of Mormon, and find people that are ready to hear the good news of the gospel!!! Missionary work brings a joy that nothing else will ever bring into your life!! I love you all so much!! I hope you have an amazing couple of weeks!! :)
I love you!!!
Sister Broan
P.S. About the Christmas package, wait to send it because I don't know if we are getting packages right now.  The ship only comes once and awhile to the island, so it may be at the mission office in Vila.  I will check when we fly out for zone conference. 
P.S.S. how are mike and E doing?!
P.S.S.S. Sorry for any mistakes, Bislama is spoiling my English.

The first pictures is me with one of my favorite tongan sisters sister Lutui and two elders serving here on top of the volcano.  That is not snow in the pictures, but vocanic ash! The other one is me standing above one of the areas we hike up and down to. 

Where I Live

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cake Over The Fire

Taragniuea Famle blo mi,
Island life is sooo amazing.  I am adapting very well, and learning so much every single day.  Last week we had two baptisms and they were amazing!! Mama Tangani and Yane one small boy.  Honestly I have never seen someone change so much in my life (Mama Tangani).  Change is probably my favorite thing I have learned on my mission.  I have learned that change is good.  Through Jesus Christ, everyone has the opportunity to change their lives.  After her baptism we went back to teach her and her entire countenance had changed. There was a light about her.  Usually when we teach her she is very quiet and we can never tell if she is really understanding what we are teaching.  This time was different.  She participated and answered each question with a heartfelt loving answer.  She bore her sweet testimony several different times and the spirit in the hut was literally tangible.  It is amazing to see how real the light of Christ is.  The light of Christ is given to every one of Papa God's Pikinnis, but when we use our agency righteously, a little bit more of that spirit and light is given to us.  Papa God really has been blessing me too much out here.

This week we have been really working hard with our members in the farther villages.  That means we have been walking and hiking/climbing a lot a lot a lot.  Thursday and Friday we climbed up and down all day and then Saturday morning we made our 2 1/2 hour mountain trek to villages in that area.  I was soo sore when I woke up on Saturday from hiking earlier in the week that I really did not know if I was going to be able to do it.  But I knew the people needed me.  We started walking slowly putting one foot in front of the other. We walked for about 45 minutes, and the entire time I was praying to Heavenly Father that I could make it.  Well, apparently He knew I couldn't!  Shortly after this truck pulled up and we jumped in the back and road until they dumped us off! WHAT A MIRACLE!! Heavenly Father answers prayers! Anyway, so like I said we are working really hard with our members in the farther villages.  The reason for that is because they have to walk that 2 1/2 hour hike with all their kids every Sunday so a lot of them can't make it to church.  We had our leaders talk to President about it, and he said that if my companion and I can find Priesthood holders in the area WE CAN SET UP A UNIT! You have no idea how excited I am about this! This is potentially setting up another branch we are talking about! That means that these people would not have to walk so far to come to jos! Did I mention that I am so excited?! But that means that we will have to make the travel several different times this week..but i will gladly run all the way there if it means I can find adults to set a unit up in the area! ahhh!!! This work is soo amazing!!

But guess what!? I think the people are getting used to me!! Well or so i thought until yesterday... We were sitting in the dirt just outside of a primary school waiting for one of our investigators to come out when two mamas came up to me and said, "Sister, school is over, but do you think you could go sit somewhere else? My class is too scared to come out because you are sitting by the gate.."  I about died.  I was trying soo hard not to laugh.  I quickly got up and turned around and sure enough a bunch of little pikinninis were timidly standing up by the school staring.  hahaha oh man...I think I am going to need some more candy to win the hearts of these kids!

OH MY!!! This week I learned how to bake a cake on a fire! So here nothing is sweet at all. Cake is mostly flour with a little bit of cocoa and sugar.  I was dying for something sweet so I started trying to bake a cake.  My companion did most of the ingredients and then when she went outside to fetch some more water I dumped a whole lot of brown sugar and loads and loads of cocoa into the bowl and stirred it so she wouldn't notice.  After we put it in the pot over the fire and she said, "hmm this cake looks a lot more brown (hers were tan)" I quickly said, "Oh no, it looks normal, I think it is just the shadow from the flashlight"  After we tasted it and it TASTED LIKE CAKE! It was amazing!!!

I love it here!!!! it really is amazing!!
Love YOU!!!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

It's A Jungle Out Here

Ow'ow Famle blong mi!

Sorry, sorry, sorry! Things have been absolutely nuts!! Mom, please refrain from emailing the mission office, we got a call from the mission office and I thought someone had died!!! I am alive and well, it is a 2 hour drive from where I am serving to electricity and internet, so I will only be emailing about every 2 to 3 weeks! This email is going to be all over the place because I have so much to say, but I do not have like any time, the internet here is not that great!!

So first thing is first...I am alive...haha.  I am serving in White Sands on the Island of Tanna. I flew from Port Vila to Tanna last Saturday and it was a 30 minute flight on a small plane.  The night before I left I was made aware that I could only bring 20 lbs of stuff with me to Tanna.  Well that was an adventure.  I went through all  three of my bags and decided which things I needed and didn't need, and I boarded the plane with my single bag!  Don't worry mom, all of my other stuff is being stored at the mission office so I can change my stuff out when we fly in for Zone Conferences etc.  So when we were in Vila everyone was freaking out that the only white sister was going to be serving in Tanna.  Yes i stick out! There are 10 sisters serving in the Vanuatu Port Vila mission and I am the only North American Sister.  All the Sisters were scared of me.  I think they thought I was going to be some prissy white girl, but I have definitely proved them wrong.  The area I am serving in right now is one of the most "bush" areas in the mission...hence the no electricity.

So a little bit about my area, I am serving right on the base of a volcano. AHHH!! When I heard that I about wet my pants.  When I first got here I kept asking the people what the plan was if it were to erupt..they laughed and said, "Then we sleep for a long long time.."---------VERY REASSURING...not. The volcano makes loud noises and shakes our house too...The second night I was here I woke up in the middle of the night to the house shaking and making really really loud noises, so I woke my companion up and said, "Sister Natto, the volcano is erupting!" She didn't even budge...I paced the room for a few minutes and then got back in my bed to try to sleep. I have never prayed harder to Heavenly Father to keep the volcano from erupting and burning me to death with hot lava.  I have sorta gotten used to it since then, but Tanna is definietly making a WOMAN out of me!

Oh yeah, my companion is Sister Natto. She is from PNG and this is her first time training.  She said she was terrified and cried when she found out she was training me...yeah I am a monster here..
Things I have learned while here: How to camp!! I will be camping for a year and a half. I mean really camping. The bathroom is a nicely covered hole in the ground. I learned how to shower with a bucket!! No being a picky eater here, I eat what we find and I like it. Heavenly Father must have killed some of my taste buds or something, because I can eat different things! I LOVE IT HERE THOUGH!!! I honestly am having the time of my life.

The language is crazy, but I am working really  hard to master it.  I bore my testimony in Bislama the first Sunday I was here and the kids were laughing so hard---probably because they felt the spirit so strong--- I have already grown to love the people here, they are sooo nice! I honestly would not rather be anywhere in the world right now!!

We are teaching like crazy!!! We have 9 people on date to be baptized at the end of the month, and many more coming!! Everyone here is open and willing to hear the gospel, and they LOVE their families.  They are seriously the most wonderful people on earth.  I can teach simple lessons in Bislama and the kids love making fun of my speech.  The faith of these people blows me away.  They are willing to walk over 2 hours up and down mountains to get to church every Sunday (with a baby on their backs).  They love their religion and have such a deep respect for their Savior Jesus Christ.  I am so privileged to be able to be serving amongst such amazing saints. They are the most humble people I have ever come in contact with in my life.  They are willing to give up anything they have to the missionaries and to their fellow members.  I have been learning soo much from them and my testimony is growing in ways that I didn't even think possible!

Funny story:  So we hiked up to this village and my companion and I were standing there with a member talking to a few recent converts when all of the sudden I looked down because I felt a really sharp pain. I look down and a little boy is BITING MY LEG!! Literally trying to bite into my skin.  It hurt so bad and I jumped so high! haha.  I didn't even know what to do, I could not stop laughing.  His mom grabbed him and said, "Sorry, he thinks you look like tastey white meat!" The member we came with had to hold his arm during the entire lesson because he kept lunging at me. Needless to say, I prayed with one eye open! haha.  Other than that a lot of the kids were scared of me at first.  They think that devils are white so they just stare at me with huge eyes... haha oops.

That's all I can think of for now, but I love all of you soo much!!!! Thank you so much for your support and love, it has helped me soo much!! The work presses on! I love being a missionary, I am sooo blessed!!!!!! :)  HAVE AN AMAZING WEEK!!! :)
Sista Broan

P.S. All my candy I brought with me made me many many missionary friends! They  loved experiencing American candy.  I gave my companion a war head sour candy and she spit it soo far, but she ate all of my licorice! :) They have NO CANDY HERE!!!