Sunday, August 21, 2016

President and Sister Fehoko

Elder Pili's mission parents, President and Sister Fehoko, greeted them, fed them, and orientated them all on the first day.  Elder Pili was able to call home to let us know they arrived safely.  The excitement in his voice ensured us he was ready to get to work.  The weather was beautiful, the drivers were crazy, and he was happy to be there.  Thank you Fehokos for taking care of him for the next 2 years! 

First breakfast in Lae, PNG
1st day in PNG - beautiful weather

New incoming missionaries

Dinner made in the umu (ground oven)

Elder Pili and his trainer, Elder Torea

Papua New Guinea, Ready or Not, here he comes!!!

The missionaries were in for a long trip.  Left the MTC at 2pm on August 1st, left SLC at 6:50pm, left Los Angeles at 11:15pm (+ 2 hour delay) and had a 15 hour flight to Brisbane, then a 5 hour layover in Brisbane, then a 6 hour layover in Port Moresby = arriving 6 1/2 hours late to Lae. 

Dad and Elder Pili

Surprise! Jojo, Baby Jojo, Lauryn, and Dad surprised
Elder Pili on the Front Runner

Mom and Elder Pili
The Pili Tribe - one last time for 2 years

Twinners!  Lauryn and Elder Pili

PNG missionaries with the mamas

Elder Pili with Pili girls (and Tiena)

Elder Pili and his parents

PNG missionaries ready to leave Utah

Missionaries in Port Moresby airport

A flight filled with missionaries - SLC to Los Angeles

Missionaries with Sis. Tuigamala

MTC Last Email (7/29/2016)

Hi family,
     Basically two more days here in the MTC and i'm so excited!!!  It's been an amazing experience here and i'm very grateful for what i've learned here. Everything here is going well. The Branch President and the MTC President came to my room one night, and i assumed they were there to give me an assignment or something until they pulled out their wallets and said "How much for that tie?" haha we chatted for a while and told jokes all night then I just gave them whatever ties they wanted lol the next day they came back with all these nice ties for me lol so i have some pretty nice ties now @ tolu and dad! On wednesday I was able to be a host for the new Missionaries and that was such a fun experience, not only because I wasn't the "new guy", but also because I got to leave the MTC for a whole 15 minutes haha I hosted a kid from Tahiti, a kid from Fiji and a girl from australia. That was SUPER cool! The two boys couldn't speak english, but the girl spoke french and fijian so she had to translate for me because my french and fijian is kind of rusty lol so since then, we've been eating lunch with them and hanging out with them as much as we could, and then one day, the girl from australia comes up to me and tells me that the boy from Fiji wants me and Elder Ulu'ave to know that he's been praying for a friend because his only friend back home had passed away, and that when he met us, he knew that his prayers had been answered.
     One morning, we had a knock on our door at 3am...we opened it and it was Elder Latu. He expressed to Elder Ulu'ave and I that he leaves to the airport for Atlanta, Georgia in a few hours and that he was so nervous. We knew something was wrong and so instead of kicking him out (lol) we got up to talk to him and he soon asked for a blessing. Giving a blessing is something that i've always been scared to do, but the spirit was so strong as we gave it and neither of us were nervous do be doing it. When we were done, he told us that he feels a lot better and then we just stayed up till he had to leave. Like i said before, the spirit here at the MTC is amazing! The spirit has you do things and promise things...and when you say it, you KNOW that those actions and those promises aren't coming from you. When they say the Lord speaks through you, it's SO TRUE and i can't wait to be able to feel the spirit in PNG next week!!! There's actually a girl here from PNG and when we told her where we're serving she said "ohhhhh. Make sure you pray a lot." hahaha for some reason, everyone keeps telling us that lol 
     I miss all of you and I hope everyones doing well. I pray for you guys every time i pray, which is about 39 times a day lol I take everyone through the temple with me when i go and i know that the lord will be there for each and everyone of you. A cool quote that Elder Holland said is "There is absolutely NOTHING a group of people can't do, if one of those people is the Lord." I can testify that that's true and that whenever we keep the lord with us in whatever we do, that anything is possible. I love this gospel and I LOVE the spirit that it brings. I love you and i truly am so grateful for the letters, the packages and the prayers that you send my way. TALK TO YOU WHEN I'M IN PNG!!!!

Elder Pili
Elder Pili, Elder Latu (cousin), and Elder Uluave (companion)

Elder Pili's district at the Provo Temple

Sis Tenney and Elder Pili sending his mom a shout out! 

PNG missionaries by the PNG picture at the MTC

Elder Pili, "investigator" Cousin Theo, and Elder Uluave

The companions!  Uluave and Pili

Proud PNG missionaries with the PNG flag

Sis Seiuli, Elder Pili, and Sis Dodd - Purcell cousins

Elder Pili with former neighbor, Bro Packer

Elder Pili and Sis Tarawhiti

Purcell Cousins - Pili, Seiuli, and Wilson

Monday, August 15, 2016

See you in 2 years!!

Missionary farewell with Elder Pili and his mama! 

The last sibling picture for 2 years.  Elder Pili being set apart. 
MTC drop off 7/13/2016

Elder Pili and his favorite "little" people.

Elder Pili and Tiena Afu

Elder Pili's boys!! 

2nd Letter - MTC (7/23/2016)

Hi Family!

 My first week and a half in the MTC has been nothing short of AMAZING!! I've made so many new friends and I have learned more about the church than I have in 19 years of my life lol it's so true when people say that the lifestyle here feels like you're in a different world!! I love being around so many people from all around the world with so many different stories who all put THEIR needs and wants aside to accomplish one common goal together. The spirit here is so strong...so strong that it makes teaching investigators fun! In fact, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with an AWESOME guy. His name is Elder Bednar...I'm sure you all know about him (with the exception of lauryn lol) and one thing he told me that my companion and I have really been trying to apply in our long days here, is to pray about "corner opportunities." When he told me that, I had no idea what he was talking about. I assumed that it was like an old person thing until one day, my companion and I were walking out of the MTC and ran into a lady on the corner. After talking to her for a bit and getting to know her, we soon found out that she wasn't a member but that every day she walks past the Provo Temple and imagines what the inside of the "White Building" looks like. We talked to her for a little bit but she was in a rush so unfortunately we weren't able to teach her. The next day, we went to the same corner and she was there again. Luckily for us, she wasn't in a rush and we had to opportunity to sit down and have lunch with her and talk to her a little bit about the church. She's so interested in this gospel and even accepted our invitation to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. Elder Ul'uave and I look forward to our second meeting with her tomorrow afternoon. That was definitely the highlight of my week and a half being here!! Constantly teaching investigators here, whether they're "role play" investigators or real investigators has taught me a lot and has made me so EXCITED to get out to PNG. I've fallen in love with all the investigators that i'm teaching and I just can't wait for the people of PNG to have the opportunity to be as happy as I am with this gospel. As for my talk, it went very well. I was still SUPER nervous, but it wasn't too bad. I still can't stand talking in front of people yet lol but i feel like i'm getting more comfortable the more I do it...also because I have no choice when the MTC president enjoys giving me so many opportunities to talk lol

Anyways, I miss you all. I'm so grateful for all the pictures and packages and letters that I get from EVERYONE!! Because of you guys, I've quickly earned the rep of THE MOST SPOILED MISSIONARY lol EVERYDAY I have something so people don't ever ask me "Did you get anything?" Instead they ask "What'd you get this time, Elder Pili?" lol My room has become the hangout spot because it has the most food!! So thank you for that. I'd love to see more pictures of everyone at home. Ou sent me a few and I have them above my bed. lol

I'd like to share my testimony that this church is the only true church on this earth. With great joy I can humbly testify that heavenly father loves us, knows our desires and has a plan for each and everyone of us. Heavenly father loves us so much that he sent his son down to go through the atonement for us ALONE, so that we didn't have to. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet called of god and that he did what he said he did and that he did see what he said he saw. I absolutely love the Book of Mormon and I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that it IS the MOST correct book and as we continue to read it and pray about it's truthfulness, we WILL be drawn closer to Heavenly father. I'm so grateful to have been blessed with the best family! 

I LOVE AND MISS EVERYONE! thank you for everything!!

Elder Pili 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

GOING BACK to 2 weeks ago

It's only been a little over two weeks.  Elder Pili's party was July 8th, we had good food, great music, and even greater company.  So many people who he loves and has made a difference in his life. 
Dallin and Aunty Tiara Matina

These 3 will likely be companions.  Dallin and Darnel reported July 13th
and Gabe Mellor will report in November.  All Papua New Guinea Lae missionaries.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Day Two - First Letter

My second day here has been great. I've gotten so close to the 3 boys here that are going to PNG. My companion is Elder Ul'uave. It's been super busy here, but the atmosphere at the MTC is awesome! I haven't gotten any boxes yet but that's because I haven't checked my mail box lol I wasn't expecting anything this soon.

But as for the MTC, the MTC isn't too bad. The food makes my stomach hurt so I've been using the bathroom a ton lol I have been asked to speak in sacrament meeting this Sunday on obedience lol so I guess it's not too bad. In my residence, it's me, Elder Apelu, Elder Ul'uave, Elder Wilson (from our Purcell reunion), Elder Hirkley Latu and Elder Taulepapa. It's been a lot of fun getting to know so many new missionaries. My branch president actually pulled me aside and told me I need to be an example to the Polynesians. Also, they extended our time here...I'll be at the MTC for 3 weeks. I head out to PNG on August 1st and the first stop is in LA and from there we go to NZ. I love it here in the MTC but I want to head out already.

I'm excited to give the talk..I have to switch it up a little bit because it has to be from PMG but it shouldn't be too hard. I'm happy that you're fighting mom...you have a lot to fight for! You and the rest of our family have been in my 50 million prayers everyday lol and as well as the temple this morning. This session I did this morning wasn't as weird...so that was good. But yes it will be a long road but just remember to depend on Heavenly Father in everything that you do and pray often. I KNEW you could do it! Ou sent me pics of everyone and it made me happy to see that everyone is still uglier than me. lol How's dad doing tho? And how's :auryn?

I love and miss you mom! Congrats again. You're in my prayers as well as everyone else.  Love and miss everyone.  Elder Pili

Papua New Guinea

A Little About Papua New Guinea (PNG)

credit: Erin Apelu

New Ireland Beach in PNG

Papua New Guinea (referred to as PNG), officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is considered an Oceanian country that occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and it's offshore islands in Melanesia, a region of the southwestern Pacific Ocean just north of Australia.

It's capital, located along it's southeastern coast, is Port Moresby (the most dangerous city in Papua New Guinea). The Western half of New Guinea forms the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua. Dallin will be serving his mission in Lae (lay) and is the second largest city in PNG and located a small plane ride away on the other side of the mountain range.
PNG gets it's name from the frizzy/wooly haired Papuan people. After the Spanish and Portuguese explores in the 1500's, they began referring to it at New Guinea because the people's appearance was very similar to the people of Guinea Africa. With a population of over 7 million people, it is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world, with 852 official languages (12 of them have no known living speakers). Tok Pisin (talk-piss-in) (a local Pidgin) is spoken mostly around the island, even though English is the official country language. The news and much of the government business is done in Tok Pisin.
A typical Settlement in PNG

Most of the people live in customary communities (aka settlements or the slums) which are as diverse as the languages. A Customary Community is land that is owned by the Indigenous community and is run by their customs.

PNG Bird of Paradise

None of the land is public land. PNG is one of the most rural countries in the world with only 18% of their population living in urban areas. Because the island is so dense, PNG is one of the least explored countries in the world.
It is believed that many species of plants and animals have never been discovered to this day. They are also exclusively home to then actual Bird of Paradise (not the plant).

The eastern highlands of PNG are famous for the Asaro Mudmen. Legend has it they were defeated by and enemy tribe and forced to flee into the Asaro River. Waiting until dusk before attempting to escape, their enemy saw them rise from the muddy banks covered in mud and thought they were spirits (the people of PNG are very fearful of spirits due to the practice of voodoo and witchcraft, etc..) and ran in fear, allowing the Asaro to escape. The terrified tribesmen ran back to their village and held a special ceremony to ward off the spirits. Henceforth, the men don't cover their faces with mud because the people of PNG believe the mud from the Asaro river is poisonous, and they began making masks from the waterfall and pebbles that were heated.

PNG is the 54th largest country in the world. It's very diverse and rugged, with a spine of mountains, known as the New Guinea Highlands, that runs the length of the islands and is covered in mostly tropical rainforest.
Because of the dense terrain, it is difficult for them to develop good transportation structures. The only way to get between the capital, Port Moresby, and the next largest city, Lae, is by small plane.

Papua New Guinea is a Commonwealth realm; as such Queen Elizabeth II acts as its Sovereign and Head of State. The actual executive power lies with the Prime Minister, who is the head of the 31 member Cabinet.

PNG is far behind in regards to human rights.

According to Wikipedia: Papua New Guinea is often labelled as potentially the worst place in the world for gender violence. A 2013 study in The Lancet found that 41% of men on Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea, reported having raped a non-partner while 14.1% reported having committed gang rape. According to UNICEF, nearly half of reported rape victims are under 15 years of age and 13% are under 7 years of age, while a report by ChildFund Australia citing former Parliamentarian Dame Carol Kidu claimed 50% of those seeking medical help after rape are under 16, 25% are under 12 and 10% are under 8.

Some members of a "Raskol" Gang
Obviously there is a lot of work to do there.

PNG has a lengthy history of political and economical unrest. It is considered to have one of the world's highest crime rates. With serious fraud allegations against the Prime Minister, the police force has split. Raskols, the local term used to describe street criminals armed with guns and bush knives are well known for hold-ups (even the LDS Missionaries). 

Police Officer in PNG
Today, many analysts say Papua New Guinea is in danger of political and economic collapse. The country's political system is unstable, the crime rate has soared and continues to soar, corruption is rampant, and essential services including health care and education continue to decline. Seventy percent of the country lives in poverty, according to The World Bank.
On top of all the poverty and political unrest in PNG, they are now a dumping ground for Muslim refugees seeking asylum in Australia.