Monday, May 26, 2014

Update May 26, 2014

Week 14!
Malo lelei! (Tongan) I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day!
This week has been a wonderful week and we have been super busy!
Tuesday was a pretty average day. The same old same old, Wednesday was a full day of work and the assistants were on Exchanges on Wednesday with Kauai Zone leaders after Zone Conference on Tuesday so I had to drive to the airport to pick up Elder Jensen with Elder Uaisele. It was nice to get to talk one on one with Elder Uaisele.
                Thursday was also another full day! We week planned then spent the afternoon out on our bikes. It is really starting to warm up here! We hit the 90s on Thursday! And my skin is slowly getting darker!  Ha-ha well at least my arms and neck!
                Friday was a super super busy day! Elder Uaisele and Jensen were on the big island for Zone conference so they let us take the Silverado for the day! It was truly a blessing especially since we got into the mid-90s! It’s the first time I’ve had AC in months! We also had to cover a few appointments for the assistants so we were running around everywhere!

Saturday was pretty laid back. We were really worn out from the past few days and it rained all day. We spent most of the morning at the chapel there was a ward baptism and also a mission farewell both for the Tongan ward so there was a FEAST!!!!! I’m talking an entire pig on each table as well as Jumbo shrimp, Lobster tails, and also Oysters! I was stuffed! We then went out with a recent convert for a lesson and they took us to eat at Teddy’s Bigger burgers so we were even more stuffed then we had dinner 2 hours after that! It was a day of eating!
Sunday was a pretty good day. After church we borrowed the Tongan elders’ car while they were in church since it was still raining so we could visit a few families then we had dinner and visited with the Mameas.
Today was the highlight of the week though! Since today was Memorial Day we went up to the Punch Bowl Cemetery, the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. The ceremony was amazing and the Mayor of Honolulu, Kirk Caldwell, spoke as well as Admiral Harry B. Harris, Jr. Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. It was really cool to meet the Commander of the entire Pacific Fleet of the United States Navy! It was also really cool because they placed leis on every one of the 55,000 graves for the fallen at Punchbowl.
Today really made an impact on me and how big of a role Hawaii has played in the freedom we enjoy every day! I am truly proud to be an American and to be able to see these places that have played such a role in our nation’s history is an honor.
 I hope everyone has a wonderful week and everything is going well! I am growing and learning each and every day here in Hawaii. I have learned so much and have so much more to learn. I have been truly blessed in the past few months and to see all the blessings that are coming to me and my family. I will send more pics of Punchbowl next week! Love and miss you all! Until we meet again. ALOOOHA!

Ofa tu!
Elder Shoaf

Pictures May 19, 2014

Karate kicking the sun!
Sincronized swimming....kinda....
Elder Kim

Update May 19, 2014

Week 13!

Aloooha! I hope everyone has had a wonderful week on the mainland. It’s starting to really heat up out here in the middle of the ocean ha-ha but the winds have picked back up so that takes the edge off!

This week has been a full week of adjusting and gearing up to keep moving. Tuesday we had our district meeting, went to lunch, then went to the library to updated and revise some things to help us be more effective.

Wednesday we spent the morning at the chapel copying and creating new area maps since the ones we have been using are out dated and in bad shape we then spent the afternoon teaching a few lessons and trying to visit a few families.

Thursday was week plan and a few more families visited.

Friday was a full day. We started out the morning by helping a family in our ward care to their very overgrown yard. We cut down overgrown grass, trimmed the mango tree and shrubs and tended to some other things. The member that organized the service then took us out to lunch. After lunch we did our studies then our whole district went to the Hawaii Kai area to “flood” the area where we all spread out over the area seeing if we can help anyone in the area and then refer them to the missionaries in Hawaii Kai. We then had dinner then had our weekly basketball night and this week the air-conditioning didn’t work! It was hot in the gym but we still had a great time!

Saturday we spent almost the entire day out working the area attempting to find people that we could help come closer to Jesus Christ.

Sunday we went to church then were grounded the rest of the day due to a downpour!!!! It poured for almost 6 hours!  But we were able to get some R&R and prepare for this week.
Today has already been a full day! We woke up at 4:45am and went as a district to Makapuu Point Lighthouse which is most eastern tip of O’ahu for the sunrise. It was so pretty! We then did some service at a farm for an investigator then returned home to shower and now to email! Now I need a nap!
Sunrise at Makapuu Lighthouse
Kaneohe Bay
The cliff edge
Overall a good week. I am really starting to figure out some things about myself and about how to handle trials in my life.  I think that comes to mind this week is persistence. We are not expected to be perfect or get everything right the first time but we are expected to endure, to push through hard times by looking for the good and just focusing on putting your head down and working. I have seen the benefits of rather than sitting around in anguish but turning outward and seeing how I can help someone else. Seeing where I can make a difference, even just a little one. And by helping others then your burdens are lightened.

In Mosiah 24 verse 14 it says; “

And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.”

I have come to learn this week that burdens are for our benefit just as a truck needs weight in the bed to have traction in the snow, we need burdens in our lives to progress. Without burdens we could not learn or grow. But even so Heavenly Father promises us that as we push forward that he will lighten our burdens. I know this to be true. I see it in my life every day. I hope that as we all go about each day we can have that mind set and see trials as opportunities to grow and to learn.
I hope that everyone has a wonderful week and you see the joy in your life. I love and miss you all!

Ofa tu!
Elder Shoaf

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Koko Head Pictures

Da Group:
Sister Peterson, Elder Kim, Sister Pantelakis, me, Elder Miller, Elder Thangilamba
The Three Amigos
Air Jordan Anyone?
From the Top
Yeah. I just hiked that beast!

Front the bottom.... here we go!

Update May 14, 2014

Week 12!

Aloooha! Everyone! I hope everyone is having a wonderful week! I heard that spring is starting to show its face on the mainland and hope everyone is enjoying it! This week has been all kinds of crazy and quite an emotional roller coaster with some of the steepest emotional drops I’ve face.
This week started out with some fun as on Monday we met as a zone at a beautiful beach park in 
Kahala to sign signing journals for elders and sisters leaving to other parts of the islands to serve. We also were about to catch up with all the elders and sister we usually don’t see on a weekly basis. Overall it was a super good day except trashed my ankle pretty bad in the morning playing basketball so I was hobbled most of the day.

Tuesday we ran around like we were on fire! Taking care of last minute shopping and errands before Elder miller flew to Kauai Wednesday morning.   We also had to go around so he could say goodbye to those members and investigators he had come close to. We then concluded Tuesday by having Tony cut our hair. Just because Tuesday ended didn’t mean our day did. We ended up staying up most of the night finalizing elder miller’s packing and he had a few signing journals he had to finish.

Wednesday started about 5:30am when we were picked up to head to the airport to drop off elder miller and the other missionaries flying to other islands. I then was assigned to drive a car full of missionaries who didn’t have licenses back to the mission office then go back to the airport to pick up missionaries arriving on O’ahu from Maui, and Kona side of big island. I then spent most of the morning helping with transfers and then got my new companion. Needless to say I was running on empty I had 1.5 hours of sleep and hadn't eaten in over 20 hours. When Elder Wilson and I returned to our pad for the first time about 4:30pm he started to settle in and everything caught up to me and I fell apart due to stress, fatigue, lack of sleep, and being just flat out overwhelmed. I am just out three months and I had just lost my trainer who I leaned on and now I was incharge of the area. And I just was overcome. I didn’t know what to do. I just wanted everything to be over. I wanted to be done. I really struggled for a few hours and was unable to move or even really speak. I didn’t know what to do. Eventually I turned to the Lord and prayed and asked him for help. Eventually I was able to eat and gather myself but struggled the rest of the evening.

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were a lot of the same things. I was just flat out overwhelmed and didn’t know where to turn. Elder Wilson has been out 18 months and has a lot of experience but knows nothing about the area. He did the best he could to help me and we started from the bottom by organizing and updating everything and setting a plan to follow the next couple weeks. We also were about to have lunch with Elder Kim and Shalvis and talk it out and that helped some.

Sunday was a pretty decent day because I was able to Skype home and talk with my family for a few hours. I really needed that and they were able to council and encourage me. But it also made my want to return home somewhat more over powering seeing my baby sister struggling with things and I could do nothing.

Monday was better.  We hiked Diamond Head in morning and i was out off the trail on the Waikiki side of the rim and i climbed up on top of one of the old pill boxes and just stood there and the wind started blowing probably close to 40mph it was so nice and a beautiful view! Elder Uaisele and i then went off the path on the ocean side and sat on a pill box and just looked out over the ocean and thought for a while. The rest of the group didn't follow because it said it was off limits but Uaisele and i were over the railing and gone without even stopping to consider hahaha. So it was nice no tourists, no companions, no sisters nagging at us, no care in the world and i just tuned it out for a couple minutes and was able to be at peace for the first time in months. Even just for a few seconds.

We then headed back down and the overwhelmed feeling came back but not as bad. I was ok with what was happening and I know I just need to turn it the Lord. What I took away from this whole week was actually a few verses in the Book of Mormon I read this morning in 3 Nephi where Christ is administering to the People on the American continent after the resurrection. It says in Chapter 13:31-34,

“Therefore take no thought, saying, what shall we eat? Or, what shall we drink? Or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient is the day unto the evil thereof.”

That really hit home to me. If we will take no thought to the things of the world but rely on Christ and turn to him and “seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” that all will work out and if we “take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself” that he will bless us. And he promises us that if we do so he will do the rest. We are not perfect he doesn’t expect us to be. He expects us to do all we can and to focus on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and he will the rest. I know that this is what I need to do I need to fully invest myself in what I am doing each and every day while focusing  on Jesus Christ and he will take care of the rest. Just as I was at peace for a few moments looking out over the ocean I can find that same peace but infinite in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That few seconds of peace on that pill box 800ft about the ocean was a message from Heavenly father that he is still there and Jesus Christ will always be at our side to carry us the rest of the way. I Hope everyone has a stellar week and can find that few seconds to escape the trials of the world and remember we are loved.  In closing I have a short poem that means a lot to me.
One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only.
This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord,
“You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand.
 Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”
The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”
I hope all is well and I love and miss you all! Have a wonderful week!
Elder Shoaf

Da Group:
Sister Peterson, Elder Kim, Sister Pantelakis, me, Elder Miller, Elder Thangilamba
The Three Amigos
Air Jordan Anyone?
From the Top
Yeah. I just hiked that beast!

Front the bottom.... here we go!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Update May 6, 2014

Aloha everyone!

I hope everything is going well on the Mainland! it is starting to heat up! the constant breeze that I'm use to is starting to dye off and the heat is rolling in! overall it has been a mixed week. elder miller and i have both been down a few days with a super bad cold/sore throat that has been going around.  but we were able to get quite a bit done. we have had a super busy week but not really missionary work per say. 

On Tuesday we had a zone meeting then spend the afternoon doing paperwork and such at the library as well as Ward Correlation and Ward council meetings. we also learned that the mission was also authorized to text and we are projected to get iPads in August! which will be super helpful. texting helps a lot in contacting a lot of our members and investigators. cause i mean who calls anymore anyway!? 

Wednesday we went to Pearl Harbor and for service this time we swept all the upper decks. starting with the highest deck (deck 6 where the look out and such are) all the way down to the main deck. it was pretty cool because most of these decks are off limits to the public but we were allowed to go anywhere we wanted! i also was about to get inside one of the Forward gun turrets!!!! I'm talking 20 in in diameter guns!!!!! it was so cool! i would have taken pics but my camera was dead from Koko head:( i will get them next time! Wednesday evening we also had Cottage meeting which is help at president Warner's home and its an opportunity for missionaries to bring investigators to listen to the testimonies of several new members. it was an awesome event.

Thursday was a rough day. the Cold hit elder miller and i pretty hard and i was light headed all day and Elder miller lost his voice so we only went out to those appointments previously scheduled. overall we just did our best to get better. a lot of sleep and Day and Nighy quill!!! haha.

Friday elder miller was on the backend of the cold but i wasn't.... haha but we were able to get some work done and were able to have our Basketball night for all our members and investigators. it went really well! we also were able to pry out all the Transfer news for the whole mission from Elder Uaisele. i guess having the Assistants to the President in your area has its benefits! everyone else find out on wednesday! haha. which that we learned Elder Miller is going to Kaua'i in the Kapa'a 1st and 2nd wards. and my new companion will be Elder Wilson. I've heard good things about him! apparently he's a jokester so we will get along well! i hope!

Saturday we had the opportunity to to go to a baptism for a kid the Tongan elders have been teaching. It was so cool! we also were able to attend Stake conference in the evening.

Yesterday was awesome we had Stake Conference in the morning then we had dinner with the Suafoa's and Hardingers. we were there most the evening since it was elder miller's last sunday dinner there. 

Overall a wonderful week besides being sick! as always its beautiful and wonderful here. i hope all is well back home and everyone has a wonderful Mother's Day! i can't wait to Skype home on Sunday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i can't wait!!!!!! 

Anyway, love you all and miss you each and everyday. please write! i love hearing from everyone!

​Last Night. from Left to right:
Mo (Tara's Boyfriend), Tara Hardinger, Elder Miller, Tony Suafoa (Son-in-Law and Elders Quorum President), Me, then Malachi (Tony's son)

Not Pictured: Britt Suafoa (Hardinger daughter, Tony's Wife), Elias (Tony's Baby), and Brother and Sister Hardinger.