Elder Michael in Niuatoputapu

Elder Michael in Niuatoputapu
The Other Side of Heaven

Monday, December 17, 2012


December  16,
okay just a quick note to add on to my letter
My comp gave me some really good advice: "Maikolo, enjoy it" and so we
shall as the greatest journey of them all come to close. i cant BELIEVE
the curtain is closing on my mission here in the Other side of Heaven,
and it has been everything and more that any missionary could have
wanted, i don’t feel worthy about all the blessings that i have
experienced here in
Tonga, !

Dad,  thanks so much for the great letter, i don’t think a letter has
had better timing for me than this letter.  here i am sometimes
feeling anxiety ridden about all these things on my mind, (my
investigators, my zone, Finishing, Christmas, going home and seeing
everyone, going home and than saying bye to everyone, jumping right
back into school etc.) than i read your letter about how a fire
destroyed half of the osterbauer building, two nearly 100 year old
cars, and you are not hoha'a about a thing.  you have had peace
throughout the entire thing.  now im not saying that i am pulling my
hair out over here in Tonga, its just when i really think about all
the things that are going to happen in the next 11 days my head starts
to hurt, so i am trying to stay busy by reading my book of Mormon( I
am in Ether as well) and working hard.  Last week we had the baptism
of Sela, a 30 + year old women and of Valeti a 9 yearold. i baptized
valeti which was special, so no trunking it over here.   We also have
 another baptism set up for this Saturday, Josephine, she was taught
by the missionaries before me but I committed her to be baptized
yesterday at church and she accepted.    This is my last week to do
missionary work, next week i m sure I will get some work in but really
it is going to be a week to say bye to all the people i have come to
know and love over these past two years, I am not going to email next
week so here is my last email that you will receive from me in Tonga,
i might check it when i go to the office next week but don’t know if I
will have4 time to email.   John H. Groberg( I think you've heard of
him, his other name is Kolipoki) is coming next week to Tonga and all
the missionaries will be meeting with him on Christmas eve, so that is
a great Christmas Present, and as far as Christmas goes, i wont be
skyping is that okay, i will just do it the way we have always done
it, me calling on Christmas here, is that okay, i know that the 26th
here is going to be pretty busy so I don’t know if i will have time to
call.  I will have to give you that top ten  list when i get home is
that okay

Mom that is such great news that Ethan is waiting to receive his
mission call that is sooooooo awesome tell him congrats! and  Eloy!!

Russ Hill and Ellen i can’t wait to see you all either!!  we are going
to have so much fun together!!

Okay well for the last time from Tonga I love you all so much!

PS Oh as  a cool little side note there is category 5 cyclone that
just left Samoa and is heading towards Fiji, it hit Niua Fo'ou the
other Niua Island, it is not expected to hit Tonga but it is a
possibility, but i think we will be fine!

PSS tell heather Virgo thanks so much for emailing me!!
 Dear Jacob,
It has been an exciting week.

It started at about 1:00 on Monday morning when I received a call from work.  It was Larry Wilson, our Service Manager calling to tell me that we had a fire at the office and that I needed to come down.  So I threw on some clothes and went to the office.  I was thinking maybe somebody left a heater on in the office or something small.  My first clue that I was wrong was that the street was blocked off a block north of the office, there was a fire truck parked in the street in front of our building and smoke was billowing into the sky.  I moved the barricade, drove through and parked in front of the building.  I went in to see Larry and said "What do we have?"  He said, "You have no parts department - it is completely burned."  So we walked out into the yard and sure enough our warehouse had burned down completely with all of the inventory, tools and records inside.  "Well, I said, taking inventory this year is going to be a cinch."  What happened is that our neighbor to the north had a fire.  The fire battalion chief told me that by the time they arrived on scene, the flames were 80 feet high.  They swept into our building and there was nothing they could do to stop the fire from spreading to our warehouse.  The model A's were also burned.  Every single firefighter said, "sorry about the building, but we are REALLY sorry we couldn't save your cars."

So with that start, the week has been a constant parade of firemen, city inspectors, the mayor, insurance people, contractors, engineers and ambulance chasers coming through my office.  We have phones, internet and electricity, but we are making arrangements to relocate in order to house parts for our customers and for our service department.  We are also making arrangements to rebuild - better than it was!

Mom and I spoke this afternoon in Third Ward and one of the comments I made was that I feel as though the Lord has blessed me greatly because through all of the commotion, I have felt complete calm, optimism, confidence, good cheer and gratitude.  I have never experienced a single second of self-pity, regret, anger, disappointment, fear animosity or anxiety.  It has been easy and natural for me to joke with others and communicate my positive emotion to our employees.  No one was hurt, we have had a good year, we have great employees, we are essentially out of debt, we have good insurance, we have saved up a little money.  Everything that burned is "just stuff" and we can always get more stuff.  For several weeks I have been praying that Heavenly Father would grant me the gift of a grateful heart - to enable me to recognize and be thankful for all the many things He has done and is doing for all of us.  The serenity I feel through all of this is, at least, a partial answer.  One of the important lessons in all of this is that gratitude is a powerful potion in helping us deal with the challenges that come as a natural part of living.

I will show you the photos when you get home, because by then we will be cleaning up.

OK - on to Christmas.  Sorry that you won't have packages from us, we are keeping them here for you.  By the way, what are the calling arrangements for Christmas?
Have a GREAT week.  Work hard and make the most of the last few days of your mission.
Love, Dad

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Breakfast with Missionaries

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Final Transfer in Tonga

Jacob Michael
Dec 2

WHAT!!!!!!!!! Downey won the CIF FOOTBALL championship!!!!???? wow i
am in shock right now, that is so amazing, i am so jealous of ellen
she has been there for CIF titles in Volleyball and in Football wow
she is lucky, )speaking of luck tell her good luck with all those
college applications.

Kae kehe,  here i am in downtown Nuku'alofa emailing you from a
Internet Carfe, my new Companion is Elder Felila, from Austraila and
is the biggest missionary in the mission(162 KGs), and has a heart
that is as big as he is. this is only his 2nd transfer as a ZL here in
Town so we are still learning where everything is and stilltyring to
get to know the members.  Right now we are teaching a 60+ year old
lady who is really investigating the church, we taught her last week
about the plan of salvation and she really enjoyed the lesson.  we
committed her to be baptized on the 13th of December but she wasnt
able to come to church on sunday because she was sick.  we are also
teaching a young couple, Sela and Tui, they have been taught afew
times before i got here, we taught sela the wife last thursday the
plan of salvation and it was really good, we also committed her to be
baptized on the 13th and she gave a weak yes, but we are teaching her
again tonight and will check how she is doing. her husband came to
church this past sunday. and there is a nother older woman who is
obease and uses a wheelchair to move around that we are teaching, she
knows the book of Mormon is true but is alitte apprehensive to be
baptized weare going to try to help her to understand the importance
of being baptized. and than yesterday at church a little nine yearold
came to church with her older sister and we taught her part of the
first lesson.       Lots of work to do.  It is a lot different to be
working in town that it is to work out in the country side, it is so
loud from all the cars and everyone is busy because people have real
jobs here in town. so it is alot more like working in a nother
mission, we probably will go tracking this week to find some more
peolpe to teach. we have a Zone leader meeting tomorrow with PResident
and the APs, my last one, it feels so weird to be almost done, .  i am
really happy to be finishing outside of the office, a huge amount of
responsibilities have been taken off  of my shoulders.  The wards that
i am working in are setting up a White Christmas program so the
members are really helping us out.   at first i will be honest i was
sad to be leaving my old area because of the great investigators that
we were teaching, but i realy thought about that Remember Lotts wife
talk and to look forward with faith, that has given me a really great
amount of hope.
dad thanks so much for the words of Wisdom, hope you all had a
wonderful thanksgiving.

Ofa lahi atu!!
Elder Maikolo

Conversation with Elder Maikolo

From Martha   November 16
So I was trying to think of what to get you for Christmas...I can't decide so...you will have to get it on Dec 28 when you get home!!!!
How long have you known that you were going home Dec 28!!!!! You are so funny...we are excited Al though we know it isn't that fun for you.
What a surprise and we are sure you are f going to work hard until the very last minute.
All is well here. Russell turns 25 on Monday...1/4 century...65 years younger than grpa Ralph and grpa herb.
W loved your letter and your experience with the man who spoke for 30 minutes..I hope he goes to church and back t to the temple. The gospel brings us joy even though it isn't always easy.
I love love love you
So do you want to go back to byu Jan 7? We have to let them know asap plus find you a place to live with your companions...get a job at the mtc, you have to go online and have you MP sign you in....please  let us know...asap
Yeah so I have known for a few weeks that it was a possibility that I could be going home on the 28th, but today it got confirmed when the tickets were purchased. I didn’t think you would all know about it , but then the Mission secretary Sister Jensen, told me that the Itinerary  was emailed to you and I thought I would check my email real quick just to see if you got the notification. I honestly was planning on telling you on Christmas as a big Christmas surprise to you all, but now you all know. Who all have you told?
I even thought of maybe telling dad and working out someway for no one else to know and he would come pick me up and then take me home and surprise you all, but the mission Grandma, Sister Jensen told me that if I were her son she would hate me for doing that so I decided not to do that haha
You know mom I honestly Don’t know what to do know about BYU, to be honest back a few months when I was really worrying about it, we went to the temple and i prayed about it asking what I should do, and I felt like I wasn’t suppose to go to BYU that early that i was suppose to go home and spend time with you and all the Family, and go on that trip to Hawaii. If I was going to School close to home I think it would be easier for me to go to school quicker, I really want to have some quality family time with you all. But then all of a sudden this whole thing happens and now I have the possibility of going home early spending time with you all and being able to go to BYU, to think that in two months I could be at BYU really does get me excited. But really I think I am going to have to pray about it to know what to do. Maybe heavenly father made this work so that I could have family time and go to BYU, but I think it would be really awesome to go to Hawaii with all you too. hmmmm well tell me what you think mom, and I write again on Saturday

Hi Jacob,
We know there are many decisions to make. Here are a few dates to choose from
Jan.7 first day of winter semester
February 28th first day of block
April 30th first day of spring term
June 24th first day of summer term
February 12 to February 18 Hawaii
What are your friends doing? And why did the mission end up having you come home the 28th? Are the new missionaries coming in that early?
Are any of your companions going back to BYU? Who do you want to live with?
We need to let BYU know when you're coming so when you know please let us know. We know these are big decisions and you would rather not think about it but like Gordon Weisenberg always says “if you fail to plan you plan to fail”.
We are taking Hawaii off the table. We want to plan a family trip where everyone can go. You’ll be here the same time is Hillary and Russell in December so let's do something together then.
You decide when you want to go back to school and let us know so you can make those plans.
we love you
speak good be faithful be obedient
love mama
Wow, honestly mom really the only thing that was keeping me from going immediately back to school was the trip to Hawaii but if that is off the table then I know that the Lord wants me to go to BYU for Winter Semester. I have a friend who just finished his mission in October who is going to go for winter; I will email him real quick to see if i can live with him. Wow this is changing everything! Are you online right now, maybe we can figure this all out right now?
Jacob, are you online I'm here. You do what's best for you if you want to go to BYU will call on Monday and get you in. have your mission president sign you a recommendation for the MTC. Are there any of the guys going home going to BYU. Why did they have you come home in December?
Everything is changing. Let us know what you want to do I love you
Sorry the Hawaii trip is off. Dad is going to send his sales manager and it was getting complicated because all of us wanted to go but we couldn't take Russell Ellen and Hillary and you and all this go.
Some good news Amaris got her mission call to Ecuador. She goes in April. Ashley Bennett got a mission call to Chile and she goes in March.
Today was brother McEldowney funeral.
I hope you're doing okay we love you
Um the reason that it changed to December was that the lady from Salt Lake who does all the flights was having a difficult time getting seats for such a large group of returning missionaries for the 7th of January, so I knew that Elder Fisher was already going back on the 28th of December and I prayed if that was a good date for us to come home and i got the strongest feeling that it was. The lady couldn’t get flights on the 7th because of all the after Christmas/new years traveling. But then this Monday the lady emailed again saying that she would just try to work it out for the 7th, but then all of a sudden on Thursday I get a call from the Mission secretary telling me that I have a ticket for a flight on the 28th of December. Mom can I put you cell number as my residential phone number
That is totally fine that the plan didn’t work out, I think it was the lord wanted. I am right now going to see if I can do the MTC teacher application online and the try to figure out my school schedule

Oh I don’t think I can call you right now ha-ha as much as I want to; no there are 11 of us coming home on the 28. Do you think that is too soon to start school mom?

I'm kidding I know you can't call me. But I do feel the urgency for you to get registered. I know this changes a lot of the plans. Maybe it's supposed to be the plan. You go back to school on January seventh and you meet your wife and get married in April ha ha ha ha.
At least we know you are going to go to school right.
How is your mission president taking you leaving... How is Elder Williams? How is this week for work,,, I love you
I think it's great you'll have 10 days home. And then you'll jump right into a new schedule. You’ll be with kids your own age. And you can get close to your bishop. it won't be easy but it's doable. Sister Sterling’s grandson went 3 days later. I think it worked out for him. You are going to be cold and tired. Pray about it and do what you know the Lord want you to do we love you no matter what you do

Yeah it will be a little scary to be in a new environment so fast, one completely different from where I am right now, that will be really scary. It will be way fun to be home for New Years and Ellen's Birthday, i am already planning on just spending New Years Eve with you all.
I am going to be really weird when I get home, like worse than Russell i cant speak English all that good any more I’ll have to relearn it ha-ha

 I spoke to sister sterling and her grandson was home for 3 nights. You’re going to have a blast with Hilary and her cute roommates. I think it's good for you to be up there. Do you have any friends from Tonga going? I'm sure you're going to have no problem making friends and adjusting if you can live on an island for 5 months and shampoo with toothpaste you can do anything
I'm just saying you're pretty adaptable.
Come Monday will call BYU and get it all settled. Things are changing up there too because so many kids are going on missions.
I hope Ellen can get in so you're all there together.
I love you
Tell your mission president and his wife we love them too. Dad wrote him a letter last week. I hope you got his email.
It was hard for Hillary, but she will be up there with you
you'll be okay. Just remember how much you're loved and heavenly father is watching you.
You’ll find Polynesian kids to hang out with
maybe you can get on the MTC.
Tell us about this week
How is Elder Williams.. Don’t get Trunky, work to the end.
I know you have to take care of these details, so do what you can today and then get back to work.
love love love you
I laughed out loud when you mentioned Niua and showering with Tooth paste.  I have definitely learned a lot on my mission that will help me when I’m living as a poor college student at BYU, I just have to learn how to cook, we don’t have to worry about making out own food here so that is one thing I want you to teach me for the 10 days I am home. Hillary and I will have a blast together; it is so weird that Russ will not be there when I get back, he is in Texas (what is the name of the School he goes to again?)
It will be difficult change but heck, I have had my fair share of those out here, plus nearly half of the kids I go home with are all from Utah, so I will already have a ton of friends up there. What are the things that are changing up at BYU due to all the people leaving on missions, I know that tuition went up but other than that what’s been going on?       Is Hillary flying down for Christmas or is she driving? Does she have a car?

This past week was fun we didn’t have a whole lot of office work so we spend as much time as we could visiting members and teaching people, we have one investigator who I taught before with Elder Fisher, but he never really progressed, but now he lives with members and we have been teaching him every day last week, he is progressing really well and is scheduled to be baptized on the 24th of This month.
Elder Williams is a great guy, I love him; he is a lot like Elder Fisher in that he is really a humble, spiritual guy with a great desire to do the Lord's work, he is in my opinion one of the best in the Mission, he wants to go and get out of the office and do actual missionary work. His humility is what sticks out most about him.
 Next week should be similar to this past week in a lot of normal missionary work.      Definitely no time around here to be trunky haha we call it 'Lepa' which literally means coasting in Tongan.

 Right Mom I just tried to Register for a class but it says that my eligibility is invalid, I think that is because I am still differed, it says I have to call the Registration Office(801) 422-2631, I think it might be because I deferred until Fall semester 2013

Friday, November 9, 2012

Hope of the Gospel

Yeah that is sad about the election but it is what it is. Romney did his very best and maybe he will try again in another 4 years,  all the members over here have been talking about it, even nonmembers too, they all wanted Romney to win because he is a man of Religion, they all wanted someone who trusts in God to be the President of America, but God has another plan in store       this week was not nearly as busy as the past 3 weeks, no transfers, no going to different islands, and no zone conferences. so my new comp(Elder Williams from Centerville Utah  and i decided that we were going to park the car at the house and go visit people on foot. we had some pretty neat experiences  we visited one inactive family who hasn't been to church in a long time, we show up at the house and  a big buff guy wearing a black tank top and tattoos allover his arms answers the door with a smile and lets us in, we didn't say a word for the next 30 mins as this man, Tauhola, shared with us that it has been 2 years since the missionaries have last visited him and his family and that he has been feeling guilty because he hasn't been going to church in a very long time, then all of a sudden he starts crying as he shares with us that his wife and him have been sealed to the temple but they haven't been back to the temple in over a year and that they really want to come back to church.  he shared all this to us with out us saying a single word. he knew that us visiting him was a sign from God telling him it is time to come back to Church.       he also said that he has some one for us to teach, we were rejoiced that we decided to g visit him, than later that same day we go and visit a family that was baptized last year. no body was there but the oldest daughter who hasn't been going to church in a while she is about 32 years old, we sat down and talked with her for a while and asked where the rest of her family was and she said that they had all gone to the temple and we asked why she didn't go, and then she opens up and starts crying as she explained to us that she has started drinking again, and how she feels that her family hates her and doesn't talk to her any more, and that she has been considering suicide, we immediately teach her about repentance and the atonement of Jesus Christ, and how she can be forgiven of her sins we read with her Alma 7:11 and committed her to go to church this Sunday and discuss her problems with the Bishop, she said she would do that.  It was as if she had lost hope and Satan had told her the only way out is to take her life, but that is the point of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to bring Hope to a Miserable hopeless world. i am grateful i was able to be a tool in the hand of the Lord in helping His daughter find again the hope of the Gospel.
That is pretty much everything that has been going on this week, president got back from NZ last night and next week we have zone council with all the zone leaders   i am glad i am where i am! wouldn't want to be any where else!
Thank you for all your prayers for me and all the other missionaries out there in the world!!
Thanks mom and dad for sending me out here on a mission to Discover Who i Really am and who i can become.  Alma 29:9
Ofa lahi atu
Elder Michael
PS mom and dad kinda random but what are your christmas plans for this year??