Sunday, January 31, 2016

Still here

Yes, there was a problem with the airport, and Elder Christofferson was not able to come, so the entire trip to Port Vila was cancelled.  Other than that, there hasn't been any real change from before, in how everything is going.  But I am an entirely different person than when I left, so I don't know if anyone will recognize me when I get home.  I've already done with more than an eighth of my mission!

In my new area, I'm walking.  But that's ok.  I often switch between big dirt roads and small jungle paths less than a foot wide, crossing small creeks, and trying not to fall in the stagnant water.  It's fun, though.  There are many investigators, and all are very interested in the Gospel.  I just hope I don't do anything wrong.  The work is piling up and I'm starting to feel some pressure, but strangely I'm not worried.

There is a lot of things I still have to get used to, and I need to find a better way to wash my clothes, and find a place to hang them.  If worse comes to worse, I can just take my dirty clothes to Port Vila when zone conference comes around.  But I'm not worried about that, either.


Elda Van (no one here can pronounce the rest of my last name)

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Back Again!

Well, this week has been pretty normal.  We finally moved into the missionary house, I still need photos of it, but other than that, there's just been work.  We now have 5 investigators with baptism dates, but I may need to postpone some a week, depending on scheduling, and I don't look forward to telling them.

We got to Port Vila for the meeting with Elder Christofferson on Wednesday, and we come back on Monday, so I don't know if I will have the opportunity to email next week.

I don't really know what else to say.

I love you!
Elda Van Wagenen

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Ula? Ul-no!‏

Hey, sorry for not emailing last week.  I kind of feel bad for that because I just promised that I should be emailing every week.  This time, I have a pretty strong excuse: my first cyclone came last Sunday, the day before my pday, and knocked over the internet tower.  It's fixed now, and I should be able to keep my promise now (excluding any more problems like a cyclone).  But.. other than the tower, the cyclone didn't do anything.  There was a lot of wind and rain, but that was about it.  It was really boring, actually. 

Work has been great.  My 'new' area had missionaries before Cyclone Pam, who got pulled out when the storm came.  But the investigators kept coming to church, and new investigators started going as well.  The members really do all the work for us.  All we have to do is let ourselves get dragged around from one lesson to the next, teaching investigators that also are almost dragged to the meeting, at least, the times they're not beating the members there!  We already have some baptismal dates set, I just need to figure out how to plan a service.

The mission house isn't ready yet, and we've been staying in a hut at a small resort owned by a member, although technically it's a bungalow, not a hut.  We didn't have to build it, and it's survived Cyclone Pam, so this last one wasn't a problem.

Elda Sevao can speak English, but his Bislama is coming much slower.  I honestly have already learned the language here very well.  I'll probably still be learning it for my entire mission, but it's fairly easy now.

The mat is a mat, used for sitting on...  It's great to see that it arrived!  It's annoying that it takes a month for me to send packages, but it should only take you two weeks to send packages to me.

The food has settled into Milo and breakfast crackers for breakfast, then canned tuna mixed into white rice topped with Vanuatu's equivalent of raman noodles for lunch and dinner.  I budget well enough to buy other things, but that is all Tanna has besides snack foods...  sometimes we get cumala, but that's even less appealing.  I haven't eaten anything really strange since the dog.

Elda Van

Monday, January 11, 2016

Snail Mail letter Jan 11 2016

My family,
I didn't get a chance to email today, again...  I'm sorry about that, especially since I just told you that there shouldn't be any problems emailing.  This time, I can blame a cyclone for knocking over the internet tower.  The storm began on Saturday, maybe 1, or 2 am, and lasted until this morning (Monday). But, the cyclone itself technically didn't arrive until Sunday.  The storm lasted about 60 hours, and it was a category 3 cyclone.  It's very possible that was the only cyclone I'll experience on my mission, but then it's also possible to have another tomorrow.  I'm sending you a picture I drew during the cyclone.  It's not very good, but I thought if S is sending me drawings, I should send something back.

Elda Van Wagenen

P.S. I'll send a letter every week I don't email, and I only have 2 more envelopes after this one, and my goal is to not need buy more from failing to email!

Sunday, January 3, 2016


Tanna now has computers with internet, so I should be able to email a lot more often!  I'm really sorry I haven't emailed in a while, but now the problem should be fixed, but please don't worry if I still miss a week every once in a while during the time that I'm on this island.

We got 30 new missionaries added to the mission, but 15 left.  We are expecting more at the end of January.

I have a lot of interesting news.  First that Elder Christofferson of the Twelve is coming to my mission at the end the month (January).  One of our missions goals is to have 1000 baptisms in the year 2016, with 200 in Tanna.  I personally have not baptized any investigator yet, because the one week that we did, I was in Port Vila, and didn't get to baptize any of the 8 people that were baptized that day.

I think the biggest news is this:  last week, my companion and I got a phone call.  One missionary arrived between transfers, and the mission president wanted me to train him, and open a new area in Tanna.  Since Saturday, 2 days ago, I am now serving in Whitegrass, Tanna, training Elder Sevao from Samoa (not American Samoa).  This was a really big change, considering I've only been in the mission field for 9 weeks now.  We have had an incredible amount of help from the members in Whitegrass, and we already have 13 referrals of former investigators.  The area had missionaries before Cyclone Pam, but since then it has not had any missionaries.

I will be on Tanna for some time, I think.  With the better chance to email each week, I don't have any problem with that.

I love you all!

Elda Isaac Van Wagenen