Monday, December 14, 2015

Week 17: Storms of Life Reveal True Character - A Testimony Builder

Hi Everyone!

Ok, I'm only going to write about Saturday and Sunday this week...these two days strengthened my testimony so much!

So saturday I woke up and we had planned a split for the morning, so I went and taught a lesson with Elder Drugeon in Papenoo and while we were there it started raining lightly. After the lesson we headed back towards the house and to the church (they are right next to each other).  Elder T. and I had a lesson with Tuhei "the little blueberry" and I was leading the lesson and at the last minute I decided (felt prompted) to teach on charity instead of Patriarchal Blessings, which we had previously planned. My companion was a little surprised, but it was a good lesson! 

Right after that at the church basketball court outside, the ward was having our Christmas party! We were all there eating and suddenly it started raining really, really, really hard!  Everyone was ok because we were under a pavilion. But it was crazy rain, seriously! So it was about 12 o'clock noon and I'm sitting there and my buddy Jerry says to me that the river is really high and the water block at the top of the sector broke! Then I see Arama sprinting and he is muddy and soaking wet.  He runs and talks to his mom for like 5 seconds and then he books it back towards the canyon. 

Check out these video links of the destructive flooding:

This was a road turned to a river

To explain a little, my sector is truly a canyon and there is a river that runs right beside the road and I see what is about to hit us! I said to my companion, 'let's go change and help"!  We changed in a minute and ran to help. As soon as we got to the road I couldn't believe my eyes! The road had turned into a high speed river! There were trees and cars just completely smashed by the rushing water of the river.  Literally, cars were smashed!  There were houses to the side of the road just full of mud and stuff and water was everywhere. 

Locals scrambling during flooding

I immediately thought of all of the members and other people still up there in the canyon so we went through the backyards and had to climb on houses to make our way up there.  We had to swim through the Protestant church and as we got through I see Arama holding a little kid who he saved!  Then we saved 2 little babies! Then we swam to the Perron home to tell the mother that her kids, Tuhei and Bryan, were safe and ok back at the church.  So we got high enough up the road that we could walk but it was still up to our thighs.The road was still a crazy high speed river, but we went and checked on Teahi and he was carrying his kids to a higher elevated home and we helped him get the kids to safety. Then we went to the Orbeck home to check on them and the home was covered with mud but not as bad as some of the others (but still bad). 

Elder T and I in the Flood Zone

We got to the point where we could run so I was going to check on Noel but the bridge to get to her house, and the other members and investigators in the area, broke in the flood so they were all trapped. Then we saw Teiho and he was a wreck because his girlfriend was at his house on the other side of the river and begged us to help.  I figured that if we climb and scale the mountain right next to the river we could make it to the other side.(Sorry, it's hard to explain the layout of the island) So I went first and it was tough because it was super steep and if we fell, we fall right into the river.  So wow,  we finally made it but apparently I got bitten by a billion of "no nos" (little biting mosquito type bugs) and I was in crazy pain.  We got to the house (which was totally fine because it was high enough) and Teiho and Sharon used the last of the water they had stored to help me clean the bites. That was a big testimony builder for me...they used all that they had left just to help me.  We waited just a while until the river calmed down so we could cross it. I actually ended up going to the hospital that night and they gave me some medicine and stuff.

Covered in No-No bug bites

The next day (Sunday) the Papenoo and Faaripo wards (Papenoo got hit too, but Faaripo is worse) had a testimony meeting and it was unbelievable! There were so many amazing testimonies. Testimonies of people who lost a lot or even everything they had! Then that whole day we worked because I wanted to help my sector with the clean up. Finally,that night Elder Drugeon, Elder Dalton and I went around the two sectors giving food to everyone with Brother Tissou. He drove us in his nice pickup because the road in Faaripo is broken and cracked and ruined so we needed to have a pickup to get around. We crossed the river and brought food to Noel and Eria and all of the investigators who are pretty much trapped and we got back at like 10:30 at night. 

In moments like this you see the true character of people. In Elders Drugeon and Dalton I saw true servants of Christ. Those two did everything they could for our sectors and I have so much respect for them. I saw Arama (a kid who is inactive but wants so much to be better) risk his life two times to save two little kids.  I saw Teiho and Sharon try to help ease my pain with the last of the water that they had (because the water and electricity weren't working because of the floods) and I saw members who lost everything (down to the whole foundation of their homes) and they are the ones asking if WE are ok! They were the ones bearing their testimonies that God lives and loves us! All the people I just named are the ones who did all they could for others...... why??? Why did they do this? It's charity brothers and sisters..ironic that I had the opportunity to teach charity twice earlier that day with my companion and Elder Drugeon and then I got to see true charity in action. When times get serious and tough.... who are you gonna be? Are you gonna have that "pure love of Christ" (charity) or are you gonna be worrying about something insignificant or all of your possessions?

I was so touched by these last two days that I crashed on my bed (because I was so exhausted) and just cried because of the true character of these people!!! I have never seen anything like this.

I love you all and I hope you have a great week. I miss you and pray for you.

When times get serious....who are you gonna be?

Elder Boyd

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