This letter has been edited to include a few short explanations and stories that we enjoyed during our Skype on Christmas Eve, which was absolutely a delight. I am happy to report that his irreverent sense of humor and contagious laugh are ever present and thriving!
Man this week did NOT go by fast. At all. It was all good though because I had my boys down from RakiRaki keeping us company. (Elder Ogden, his dear friend from the MTC and his barber!)
Answers to Mom's endless questions:
I'm all good on shirts. Some new ties would be sick, and also a new pair of glasses, or maybe contacts (*gasp* yes he said it). A watch would be cool too. I haven't had a watch since the MTC.
No Nativities in the mail yet, but I'm still looking.
We are going to the funeral today for Papa.
(Papa is the grandfather of a family that the Elders have been working with. He was "ancient" and Elder Dawson personally changed his diapers and carried him to the shower. Papa loved the missionaries and they loved him. A few weeks ago the family called the Elders for emotional support due to a death in the family. The Elders assumed that Papa had passed away. When the Elders arrived at the family home to offer support and love they found Papa alive and well. The family's dog had died. In their laments, the family asked God why it had to be the dog to go and not Papa. The missionaries were a little taken back by this but recognized that each grieve in their own way. The Elders helped the family bury the dog in the yard and prayed for them. On Christmas morning, the family called again to let the Elders know that Papa had also passed away and wondered if they could stop by to help with the shovels.)
I'll let you know if we actually bury him or not. His son was way mad at all the Elders for not dropping everything (on Christmas) and going to console him and his wife right away. He acted the same way with his dog though, so...
The main industry in Ba is sugar cane. There is a huge sugar mill. Most of the Fijians either work in the sugar mill or have sold land to the sugar mill and live off of the proceeds. The Indians own and run all of the other businesses in town.
For Christmas dinner Elder Ogden and I went home and made some sick fried chicken and mashed potatoes and listened to High School Musical music. It was way turnt.
The area of Fiji that Elder Dawson is serving is called The Burning West. The area has gone without rain for the last 9 months. For the last week or two they have gotten a lot of rain. He and his companion walk all over the town in the rain. He said it's not that bad and the more mud he walks through, the prettier his wife will be. Sacrifice=Blessings.
So, yesterday (Sunday), I got to participate in the baptismal service of an entire family that we've been teaching since I've been in Fiji. It was so great. They were all smiling and happy. Sister Buna bore her testimony after her baptism and it was so special. I'll never forget it. (One of the daughters of this family needed to marry her live-in boyfriend or break up with him in order for her to be baptized. They chose to be married and Elder Dawson met them at the court house and was one of their witnesses!)
Not much else happened. I got to Skype home which was the bomb diggity. Seeing everyone was awesome. But other than that it was a way normal week.
Man, sorry, this week's letter kinda stinks. Noqu ca. Well, I love you guys lots! Like a lot, a lot. I'll write a lot more next week!
Peace Be Still
Keep it Real