Sunday, August 14, 2016

"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith."

This will be my last email before returning home since next week I will spend the bulk of P-day saying goodbye to people here that I've served in Australia. I just can't believe that it's already almost over. It astounds me how fast a mission seems to fly by, but I remember a quote from Elder Bednar when he visited our mission, he said "the closer you are to eternity, the less you are in time." I've walked closer to God now then I ever have in my previous life and missionary work deals with the uttermost eternal principles - I believe that's why missions go by so fast. 

Reflecting on past experiences has made me realize how many times that the Lord gave me little tastes of what it must have been like to walk the streets of Jerusalem i.e teaching, healing and serving others. Even though I'll take off the name badge soon, I will always hold the lord close to my heart with a knowledge that my service to him won't end when I leave Australia. Impressions have come to my mind suggesting that my life will be filled with many experiences of Church service so I'm just going to enjoy my mission while it lasts. I love the Lord and Heavenly Father so much. I hope one day I can be just like them. Elder Kaanapu

2 Timothy 4:6-7 "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith."

P.S I realize that these emails aren't super long, so when I come home I want to tell all my stories from my mission so everyone can actually be filled in on what happened. But for now, I'm just going to keep working while I can. I love you all!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Ponderizing helps immensely

We had some good success this past week, We finally had this non-member girl come to church with her less-active father which has been our hope since I first got transferred into the area! It was good to see the Lord's spirit working in their lives to help them come to church. 

Recently I've been reflecting on that aspect of missionary work, how the Lord prepares his "sheep" to come to the fold its honestly really fascinating to see it unfold in someones life. On my mission I've experienced working with people for literally months and seeing very little progression, and then meeting someone at the door step, teaching them and baptizing them in the matter of weeks. I feel very inadequate when it comes to the Lord's spirit working in the hearts of the children of men. The Lord just always knows what he's doing compared to me who is just a normal 20 year old guy. It really makes me that much more thankful for him for letting me serve a mission. I will hold these experiences very close to me. I also want to say that the General Conference challenge to ponderize a scripture a week has helped me out IMMENSELY this past week, I've been ponderizing Mathew 16:24 and just having that scripture on hand has given me a lot of protection and stress-relief so I invite all of you to try it. I'll end my little epistle by saying how much I love serving a mission. It has changed my life. I hope all the youth that I know including my family will serve missions too! Have a great week everybody! Ofa atu! Elder Kaanapu

Sunday, July 31, 2016

If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."

The work in Hallam has been going okay with the investigators that are more independent with their commitment keeping. Unfortunately my companion has been sick on and off and had this incredible back and leg ache/pain cramp thing that apparently people from the islands tend to get when they come to a place that has really cold weather combined with unhealthy eating. My companion couldn't even walk very much on Saturday, we had to go to this Samoan member in our ward who basically massaged the pain out of him and he's feeling a lot better now. 

But last week we did see some good miracles which I'll share. We got in contact with a referral and he's a very nice Peruvian guy! I tell you in Australia you do get the chance to teach and baptize all nations of the world. This Peruvian guy was very accepting of the gospel and of being baptized if he knew that what we were teaching was true. We're excited to see him progress. Yesterday also brought a good experience. We gave some blessing to two investigators, a man and his wife and the spirit was very strong. The man commented that he felt the power of the blessing and that he thought it interesting that we had the Priesthood of Melchizedek. I just told him I was a normal guy and that this is a service from God. This past week I've reflected on that thought - how really the Lord just calls normal people to serve him and bear his authority to teach people the restored Gospel. I am profoundly grateful that I got this opportunity to do this for him. I've learned that while on a mission that by myself, I can't do much. The way the Savior's grace works is it is an enabling power that provides us all the strength we need and more if we humble ourselves and follow him. The Savior taught that in Mathew 16:24, very naturally we by ourselves tend to indulge in worldly things, but if anything, a mission gives any young man or women a chance to deny themselves all ungodliness and a way to take up their cross to follow the master. I'm grateful to call him my Master. I'm going to continue working hard to bring as many people as I can to the fold of God before I return home. I've still got 3 weeks so please pray for me! Elder Kaanapu

P.S Mathew 16:24 "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."

Sunday, July 24, 2016

4 Weeks

Well, things have been a bit slow this past week. My companion has not been feeling to well with the rainy weather in Australia (being so cold and unpredictable in the winter time). But we're seeing some good things happen too! The less-active part-member family that I've written about before has still been coming to church and everyone is progressing in that family. I'm so grateful to be serving in probably the best ward I've been in my whole mission!! I'll give you a hint why: the members are literally on call for us if we need anything, food, clothes, groceries and snacks. i.e. mostly food but hey they just love the missionaries so much here! 

The Lord has really done a lot for me the past transfer or so, I've been pondering the life lessons that I've come across on my mission and the most poignant to me are the lessons of love and patience that I'm given. The only missionaries I've trained have been older then me and are learning English as their 2nd or even 5th language, and learning to love these missionaries has been a focus of my whole mission. I'm not saying I'm perfect, but just that lessons of learning to love others who have different values is just something that I'm grateful for. If anyone can teach those kind of lessons to a 20 year old boy from Utah it's the Lord, through missionary work. I love his example when he was brought before numerous people just to be condemned and spit upon, he showed what patience and love look like in those circumstances. I also love his example of commitment and unyielding humility towards God for living the commandments, and never letting people think other wise. Jesus Christ would always let people know that he was on his Father's business, and was sent to do his Father's will. I hope I can copy that example for the rest of my life, and not just for the past 2 years. I love my Savior, and I love this church!! I absolutely love serving a mission!! Have a good week!

Elder Kaanapu

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Still Going Strong

Finishing up the first week of the transfer brought some really cool miracles!! We contacted this long time investigating family last Thursday and we were able to invite the mother of this family to actually start investigating the Church by reading the Book of Mormon and praying to know if its true, She accepted and came to church yesterday so that was very inspiring to me that we do have people here that are willing to act on our message. By far though the most inspiring moment was at the end of the same previous experience of teaching the mom of this long time investigating family, we invited the whole household for a kneeling prayer, and in walks this random Samoan guy that I've never seen there before. After the "Amen" I just hear my companion say "uso!" which means like brother in Samoan. Anyway it turns out that this random Samoan guy was actually a really good friend of my companion Elder Lemusu from his home in Samoa! They used to play rugby together, went to school together and were just the closest friends. To myself I though "man Elder Lemusu just has to baptize this guy, why else would he be here in Elder Lemusu's first area all the way from Samoa!?!?" I'm hoping that this guy will be baptized, we're working to teach  him this week. I'm just astounded at the Lords hand in this work, there are just miracles left and right, even in a harder place like Australia. I love this work, it has brought me closer to God and helped me see his perspective on things. Have a great rest of the week! Ofa Atu! Elder Kaanapu

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Last Transfer

The past week went well with our "focus family" The Matius are becoming active and the non-members in their family are coming to church and slowly gaining a testimony of the Book Of mormon which is exaclty where they need to be. 

I also got the news that my companion and I will be staying in the Hallam ward area my last transfer of my mission....honestly saying those words really make me feel grateful for the Lord and what he has done for me specifically for my mission. I've already promised myself and to the Lord in prayer that this last month will be a fantastic one!! 

We're are seeing miracles in the work! and I can't just let this time go by!!! The Savior taught the importance of diligence in John 9:4 where he said " I must work the works of him that sent me while it is day, the night cometh when no man can work". I felt like that at the moment...unfortunately full time missionary service does seem to end pretty fast, like a thief in the night as some people have described it. But I will work until I can't work anymore, I love the Lord too much to give up on him right now. This is the only true church after all. Anyways so there is no varying or unclear purpose as to what I should be doing. I love the work!!! and I hope you all have a fantastic week! Ofa Atu!

Love Elder Kaanapu

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Humility Always Brings Answers

I'll tell you about this last week the inspiring things that have been happening. We have been visiting this less-active part member family for most of the transfer, and in the process of teaching we've been able to help the mother and father see how much happiness they could have in the plan of salvation by being sealed in the temple. After that lesson the mother suprised us by looking at us and then said to her husband " I'm ready, are you?" Then most of the whole family ( including non-members) came to Sacrament meeting yesterday as a testiment that they are serious in having an eternal family. I was humbled during the whole experience as I reflected on how we were able to help them see this, it was by the power of the Holy Ghost. The Lord's hand IS over all his children, and that just made me so grateful for it. That led me to what has been occupying my mind this past week besides missionary work. Sometimes we dwell on weaknesses and strengths, opportunities and disappointments. This past week was a humbling week, I realize that missionaries can grow in their skills and it seems that they become the master of missionary work when their time of service comes to a close. I realized though that there are some problems in my perception of people and the work that seem to continue on no matter how experienced I seem to get. In short, these things still exist because I haven't surrendered all of my fears to the Lord. That is what he taught me. But I have learned that with more humble self inventories and cries to the Lord each night I will get more answers to problems rather then just examining half the situation and leaving the other half alone because it doesn't seem to do that much. I learned that until someone examines the full problem and surrenders their fears and weaknesses to the Lord the problem will continue on in some shape or form. Time doesn't seem to do away with certain human qualities like pride and impatience, as I have realized. But humbling oneself and acknowledging ALL your faults to the Lord does slowly do away with those dangerous qualities. I am forever grateful to the Lord for what he has taught me in the last week alone. I will most likely carry that on the rest of my life. Have a good week! Ofa Atu! Elder Kaanapu