I hope you get this before Christmas. I still don't know how quickly mail travels from here to home.
I'm doing really well. Life in a village is... interesting. Up until now, we had only stayed in Whitesands for a night or two at a time, which felt a little like camping, and I never learned what the lifestyle is really like. Having now lived in a village for over a week, I've learned a little of what it's like (We stay in the Yemakal village in the Whitesands area). People don't have really much of anything, but they have more freedom than even in the US. They can literallly do anything they like. They have no laws, other than what the chiefs tell them to do, but they don't need them. Their lives have settled into a routine of accomplishing whatever needs to be done, then waiting for the next need to appear, whether it's harvesting the gardens, fixing/ building a hut, cooking food when they get hungry, going to church (everyone goes to one church or another), and so on. The chiefs step in only when something big happens, like death, or anything that would cause a celebration. Then they direct the village through traditional customs, and life continues.
There are a number of investigators in the Whitesands area. Many people are very receptive to the Gospel. They easily accept taking a lesson from us, and often let us return for another. They also accept everything we teach, and usually keep commitments. I think the fact that the Gospel focuses on families really helps, because they have very strong family values in Vanuatu.
We just finished my first transfer, and half the Tanna district was transferred (3 missionaries). I still have Elder Tauraa as my companion. We leave for Vila in 2 days for Christmas. It sounds like I may only get 30 minutes of phone call time!?
Elder Isaac Van Wagenen