Elder Michael in Niuatoputapu

Elder Michael in Niuatoputapu
The Other Side of Heaven

Thursday, July 7, 2011

News of Nuia

Martha, Nuia is a great opportunity! Very few missionaries get to serve
there. Our son, Gabe, served on Niua from February to May this year. He
LOVED Niua. Yes, it is the most remote and primitive of the islands. Yes,
there are some unique challenges there. There are only 2 missionaries--your
son and his comp. We didn't receive e-mails for the first 2 months (no
e-mail on the island), but President had Gabe to call us once during that
time to let us know he was alive and doing well. Somehow they were able to
get e-mail up and running the last 6 weeks he was there. There is no
electricity to speak of, though there are generators that run at night to
charge cell phones, etc. No running water. They had several tsunami
warnings (from the New Zealand and Japan earthquakes) while he was there,
and the warning sirens worked well on the island =) One time the warning
sounded and he and his comp had to help members flee up into the hills.
They slept on the ground, and a 3 foot swell was all they saw--but it was
enough to destroy many of the sea plants they had helped members plant
earlier that week. But they were totally safe. The thing that worried me
the most was the lack of food, but he didn't complain. They only eat once a
day, and sometimes it's not much. He and his Tongan comp would help the
members cast their fishing nets in the ocean (approved by President), and
the members would give them fish to eat. Once a month a supply ship comes
through and drops food, but it's scarce--especially for the missionaries.
At first the missionary work was slow, but it really picked up. I think
it's not always where our sons serve, but the attitude/obedience level of
their companions that can present the greatest challenges. He had a
wonderful experience on Niua, and so will your son! Now Gabe's serving on
Ha'Apai--by far his favorite of the 5 island chains. He is one sad guy
right now as he prepares to leave. If you have any questions, please don't
hesitate to contact me!

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