Elder Michael in Niuatoputapu

Elder Michael in Niuatoputapu
The Other Side of Heaven

Monday, December 17, 2012

FINAL EMAIL FROM ELDER MAIKOLO, IN TONGA


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
JACOB
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

MARTHA
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”.
Jacob
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
JACOB
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?
MARTHA
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
JACOB
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?

MARTHA
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

JACOB
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

MARTHA
 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
JACOB
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??

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Tongan Missionaries






Tongan Sunset with Love


New Companion, More Zone Conferences,Real Growth,Retention, KIDS in Charge,ELECTION

November 2, 2012
okay awesome i really want to see what she looks like, i remember
faces a lot better than names.

Well this week has been another busy one with very little sleep. i
did not have a new companion until Tuesday afternoon when Elder
Williams from Centerville Utah flew in from Ha'apai where he had been
a zone leader for just over 2 weeks to be my new companion.  He is a
really great guy, a perfect fit for the job, truly a humble kid who has
a real desire to serve the Lord.d everyday. As soon as he got here, we hit the
ground running with He is a lot like Elder Fisher and
makes me want to work Zone Conferences here on the Main Island,
Wednesday was the west zone, then Thursday was the east zone than the
Town Zone was on Friday. They were all really good and focused on the
doctrine and not on the rules or the white handbook, President's new
thing is that if every missionary understands his purpose and has a
testimony of the Doctrine of Christ, then they will want to be
obedient. I am a big believer in that as well .Another thing we
talked about was Real Growth something that the Brethren have been
stressing throughout the whole year especially here in the Pacific.
i taught about how we need to hold onto the fruits of the Work, which
is Retention, something that is really important and a bit of a
problem here in Tonga. Over 50%+ of the country is baptized
statistically speaking but only about  36% of that 50% is active. so
there is still a lot of work to do.     One moment that was rather
special to me during the zone conferences was when President was
giving the closing remarks at the East Zone,  In that zone there are 4
people who i came in with, plus me who was there at the meeting,
President mentioned that two months from now all 17 of us will be done
(14 of whom i was in the MTC with, we have all become best friends
during our missions and all of us have been trainers multiple times
and have been Zone leader and AP) and President said as he started to
cry that he doesn't know what kind of gift he could give us or if
there has ever been a group like us before. We have always been such a
close nit group with one goal in mind to serve with all our might mind
and strength.  President is not one to often tear up and so when he
did that we(everyone of my group) started tearing up, it also made me
realize just how blessed I have been during my mission, and just how
little time i have left, got to make every moment count!

Speaking of President, he is in New Zealand for a week so we (williams
and I) are in charge for a week, should be pretty fun haha

Thats pretty much everything that has been going on. One elder who i
was in the MTC, Elder Chandler, from Hurricane ut is going home on
Monday because he has been pretty sick for a number of months we will
really miss him, he has been one of the hardest working missionaries
in the mission. it is always hard to say good bye to people, but hey i
told him every time i drive on the I-15 ill be dropping by to say hi.

Hope all is well at home,I didn't get a letter from dad this week. Sorry
for the disjointed email, keep me up dated on the election!!
Ofalahi atu

South Bend, Zone Conference, Flights (alone) Kokipoki

Oct. 26, 2012
Malo e lelei!
Sounds like dad and the kau Pule tapu (priesthood holders) all had a really  fun weekend in South Bend IN, that is exciting also that Hillary is a Ordinance worker and Maegan is pregnant, dad is going to be a Grandpa wow that is way cool.    
Out here in Tongan we have had a very insanely crazy week. Last  Sunday President Tukuafu pulled Elder Fisher into his Office and explained that the two zone leaders out in Vava'u were coming back to the main Island, one because he was done with his mission, Elder Fainu, my old comp up there, and Elder Chandler
 ( who i was in the MTC with) was sick and needed to come back to the main Island, so President decided that one of us would leave the office to go be the zone leader out in Vava'u to keep the missionaries out there in line and he felt that Fisher was the right choice, so Fisher flew out to vava'u on Monday, Pres, his wife and I flew out on Tuesday for Zone conference that was held on Wednesday, then Pres and Sister flew to Ha'apai, i Flew back to Tongatapu, then flew to Ha'apai Thursday morning, We had Zone conference there yesterday, and i just barely flew back from Ha'apai a few hours ago this morning, i have been doing alll this flying by my self, I'm staying right now with the office elders, Pres is still praying to know who should be my new companion  and by Monday i should have one.    
 It was a ton of fun to go up to Vava'u and see the people i knew when i was there. I saw a few people i baptized and they are all still strong in the church, that has really been a great blessing being a missionary, to meet so many wonderful people that i hope to staying contact for the rest of my life. Zone conference was really good both in Ha'apai and in Vava'u.
It was really fun to stay in Ha'apai for a few days, it has the prettiest sunsets. while we were there a freak storm hit the island and there was a mini tornado that hit the part of town where we were. we were out side taking pictures in the mission boat when it all of a sudden the wind picked up and started going crazy we quickly ran to shelter, it only lasted maybe 2 min but did some damage. there were a few houses that were damaged and a bunch of  little trees got broken, and it tore down a few signs. i can say i survived a wicked storm, like kolipoki haha
Next week we have zone conference here on the main island which is going to be really busy.
Despite being busy, I have a baptism today, a little 9 year old that we have been teaching for a little while, the work of the lord goes forth!!
Okay
Can't believe that it is already Nov. next weekend!! 
OFa lahi atu
Elder Maikolo
PS Mom Elder  Prescott is standing right next to me here at the office and he says hi!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Love this Missionary


OCT 12, 2012
sorry I got this in the wrong chronological order but I especially love the last paragraph


Malo e lelei!!
This past week was similar to last week, lots and lots of Office work, little time out inthe vineyard, but the office work is just as important. Transfers are this Monday and we will see what happens. i really have no idea what is going to happen, everytransefer goes by faster, time is just picking up speed!! We did teach the Aho family this week and it went alot better, we committed them to be baptized and they gave a very weak yes, as in they will be baptized when the time is right, well we are goig to work our bums off to make sure the time is right next month.    
WOW WHAT ABOUT CONFERENCE!!!!   Okay so as you already know we wathc it the following week, but byutv is playde here in TOnga and some people watched at 5am last sunday mornuing to watch the Sat morning session to hear the ANNOUNCEMENT, we found out when durring fast& testimony meeting a lady announcent that she had watched conference that mornuign and told about the announcement. well deosnt that change Dad's job abit as Stake YM Pres, and what about the YW , that had to be a life changeing moment for Ellen, that is so cool if you go in 2014, there are going to be o so many more missionaries aout in the field it is going to be crazy!!  
we jsut barely got back from watching both saturday sessions and what a spiritual feast it was, we watched it in English at Liahona, and it is so much better to hear it in English, nothing on hearing it in Tongan, but the translation is not nearly the same. It is so much better hearint the powere and authority of Elder Oaks bold voice come from him instead of through a translator, i loved Elder Uctdorfs at the end of The morning and Andersons nearthe end of saturday evening still havent watched the Preisthood maybe tommorrow.
Oh can you give Uncle Rob my love to him!! tell him he is my prayers!
Okay sorry for the rushed letter got to go!!!
 
Know that i love you o so sosososmuch!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
The Church is True! and this is a Great and MArvolous Work
 
Ofa lahi atu
Elder Maikolo
PS So happy downey creamed Warren!!!!!!
 
MOm i wanted to thank you for always doing my laundry and making dinner for me,  This week my comp said as we were attempting to make some food, "I wish i could pack my mom around with me" i wish that same thing! thanks Dad for being the bread-winner and allowing mom to be a stay at home mom to raise us kids!! 

Transfer Week in Tonga


October 19, 2012

well this week was Transfers and Fish and I both stayed put, but we ran literally all over the island taking missionaries to their new areas and taking missionaries to the warf to go out on a boat to the outer islands, the mission spent  $1700 in boat tickets alone, and maybe another $1000 at least in plane tickets, transfers are crazy!! especially when you have 14 new missionaries come in from the MTC, 6 from the New Zeal-and MTC and 8 from the Provo MTC (one kid is Elder Fifita from the Inglewood Stake) and they come on different days and you have New Missionary Orientation with their Trainers,  it has been a pretty crazy week, lots of taking people places and picking people up. the transfer was barely finished on Thursday  we have had only one teaching this whole week and then next week is zone conference here in Tongatapu then the week after is Zone conference in the Outer Islands, then the week after that pres will be in NZ for a mission presidents seminar so yeah no time to be lepa, (Tongan for coasting) haha
The mission secretary bought the plane tickets for my going home group this past week, and they haven't come back from SLC yet but they were requested for the 7th of January so that is 99% concrete my release date. Only two transfers left!! the group that just went home this Monday was the group that  Hillary knew in the MTC, Today marks two years ago hill going into the MTC! it is crazy how time flies!
 
The only thing i really want for Christmas is pictures of you all and a booklet like thing that you did for me and hill with quotes from a bunch of friends and family that was really cool, thanks for making that for us. oh i got three letters this week, (snail mail) another one of your Christmas letters that you sent out in September.
 
So you are all by your self at home with grandpa and Grandma tell tthem hello for me, i still have Grandpa Ralph's BDay letter that i still need to put in the mail.
Hey what is Ethan Saylors home address, i know you sent it to me before but i forgot

Friday, September 28, 2012

Elder Maikolo and Elder I

Jacob met Elder I  before he left for Tonga....in Downey.  Now, Elder I is finished with his mission.  He went straight to the mission home (from the airport) to hand deliver cookies to Jacob (that Ellen made) .  Now, Jacob will go to his homecoming talk tomorrow in Tonga.
Now that is a Tender Mercy!

Baptisms, Temple, Niua and Elder I


Dear family,
This was really a very special week, it all started last sunday when Sky, the chinese man that we have been teaching for a while was finally baptized. It was really a special baptisim, the entire ward showed up for it and even President Tukuafu was there.  That night we had a "open House" a lot like a fireside, that's focus was on missionary work. Sky bore his testimony and shared the story of when he was in Niua and how he came to know that there is a God,  it was really a great testimony and set the tone for the entire fireside. President spoke as well as another man who went through 18 missionaries before he finally got baptized.  then the 1st counseler in the Stake Presidency spoke, he is from Niua, and talked abput the missionaries that taught and baptized him there. It has a very "niua' them to the fireside. That was just sunday, Monday we were very busy teaching and preparing people to be baptized. We taught again the 'Aho family, we taught about the Book of Mormon and committed them to read it and come to ward conference this sunday.  Tuesday was another busy daydoing Office work. Then Wednes day was really a remarkable day. It started off by having orientaion meetings with new missionaries who have just come from the MTC in NZ, they are suppose to go overseas but are waiting on Visas so they will work here in Tonga for a little bit until they get there visa.  After the orientation meettings Elder Fisher and I had the marvlous  oppourtunity to witness the sealing of a family in the Temple.  The mom, Silongo, grew up in the Church and has always been strong in the Church, she is the Relief Society President, her Husband, Elivisi, is a convert who was baptized last year, (his parent come from Niuatoputapu, another Niua connection) he is a high ranking  Officer in the Tongan Army. They have 3 children whose ages are 11,13&15. it was the first time for both of us to witness a sealing and it really was a cool thing to experience. President Tukuafu was there with too.  The spirit was so strong! Especially when the children walked in, wow that was amazingly powerful all white and everything. I wont ever forget how i felt in that room.  its cool to think i will be able to experience the same thing with my wife one day.  that was Wednesday, then on Thursday we had the baptism of Hulita Vai and Peni Hausia. I baptized Hulita, It was special as I hadn't performed a baptisim since June.  Then Yesterday i was on a Vilo Hoa (Comp Exchange) with Elder Tafea, who is from Beaverton Oregon, and only has 16 days left in the mission. His family comes from Niua and he served there after me, we are really close and had a lot of fun on the vilo hoa. oh and of course yesterday Elder I came by the office straight from the airpiort (the office is right next to his house) and drops off your package, i had just left the office so i missed him, but the office elders called me back and we drove back to the office and opened it and ate the cookies,. thanks so much for that, the plane ride wasnt good for them and they had crumbly but still tasty!! they really did remind me of home.  I loved all your letters, wow things really have been shaken up in the stake, things are changing, but the Church is still true!!  Then today i just got back from Elder I's house, i was so excited to see him, and i think he was excited to see me, we talked and laughed for like 20 mins. We found him at his mom's office working on reapplying to BYU-H, here is a picture, i thought that it was really funny that last time we saw each other we were both wearing suits, pants, and shoes, but today we were both wearing  tupenus (skirts) and sandels.  he says that he feels really weird to be home, he dreamed last night that he was still on his mission. we are going to have Pday tofay at the Liahona Gym and since he lives on Liahona campus he is going to try to gome over to play with us. i am going to try to go to his Homecoming talk tomorrow.
The great week is not over as fisi'inaua is being baptized today at 6 then tomorrow is areally busy day
 
I love you all so much thanks for all your love and prayers!
 

'Ofa lahi atu
Elder Maikolo

7 January 2013


Sept. 21, 2012
Dear Family and loved ones,
         This was another excellent week here in Tonga engaged in a mavelous work.  Elder Fisher and Mine office duties have been pretty light the past two weeks and that has allowed us for ample amount of time to go to the vineyard and do some normal missionary work.  Its really paid off, in the next 7 days from tomorrow, Sunday to next Saturday, we have 4 people being baptized.  Sky, the Chinese man that i mentioned a while back is getting baptized tomorrow and then next sunday he will be confirmed and his new-born baby will be blessed.  Then Fisi'inaua  the soldier who we have been teaching since July is finally getting baptized. I have never had an investigator bear his testimony with so much power, he has changed his life around completely and now wants his family to hear and accept the Gospel.  Then the two being baptized on Thursday are Hulita a 10 year old and Peni a 25year old man who was taught all the lessons and committed to baptisim earlier this year but then he left to a different island and it didnt work out. but now he back and wants to be baptized.  The only negative thing about these 4 being baptized is that we now have no other progressing investigators, so now we have to start finding more. There is a family that we just barely started teaching, they are pentacostal and one of their sons is a member and just entered into the Mission Field, he is serving here in Tonga. they are really nice and love talking to us, we have only taught them once but will go back next monday. Overall everything is going great here in the Other Side of Heaven. Im at peace with my deceision about going back, my unconfirmed realese date it the 7th of January. the one thing im kinda worried about to going home and just vegging out on the couch doing nothing, i want there to be something for me to do, maybe i can go to work with Dad or something, any ways it doesnt matter right now.   you all sound great, thanks so much for the pictures, that really was a great one of all of you at the back to school night, ellen looks great in an ASB sweater.

'Ofa lahi atu
Elder Maikolo
 
PS. I have a letter here that is to Grandpa Ralph for his 90th birthday, it will go out on monday and i wrote a lot of postcards to those people you gave me addresses for. Tell Mr. Navarez 'Malo e Lelei' for me.

Friday, September 21, 2012

o'ua lahi kae kou ma'u ha fiemalie


September 12

Dear Family

 Malo moe Lelei!   Things are going great here in Tonga! today we had the oppourtunity to go to the Temple.  Even though it was raining cats and dogs Elder Fisher and I went all over the west side of the Island in the big mission shuttle picking missionaries up to take to Liahona where the temple is.  At one of the Missionary homes the road was so flooded that the shuttle was more like a boat than a car it was pretty fun to dive in haha.    right now we are teaching a lady named Tala, she was baptized 3 years ago but has not been active in the Church and has alot of questions about small little things. for example she asked why the Gold Plates weren't kept around to testify to the world that the Book of Mormon is true, or why there are not the same names in the Book of Mormon and the Bible if they are both testimonies of Christ.   We listened to her questions and the thought came to both of us that we needed to teach her about Faith.  we shared with her Ether 12:6 which talks about that faith is a hope for things that are not seen but true, that scripture helped her understand why it was not important to have the gold plates around to prove that the Book of Mormon was true, we need to walk by faith rather than sight.  It is so much eaiser to teach lessons when investigators ask questions! some of the people we teach are scared or embarrassed to ask questions and it sometimes is hard to know their needs and therefore what to teach.  that is where the importance of asking questions to the investigator comes in, asking inspired divine questions to them to know what kind of situation they are in.  We are also teaching a lady from Arizona, Elizabeth, who is 43 years old married to a Tongan in one of the Villages we work in. she is penticostal and loves talking about God. The first time we taught her we taught a bit of every lesson because she asked many questions.  I have discovered that everytime we answer a question we end up teaching at least one principle of one of the Lessons.  the Gospel truely does have all the answers to all of life's many questions.  We gave her a Book of Mormon to read and committed her to read just the introduction, but next timewe met she had read everything from the Introduction to the 2nd chapter of 1st Nifai.  Currrently we are having a hard time finding a time to teach her because she wants us to teach her together with her husband.  hopefully we will be able to teach her this Sunday and set up a baptisimal date!!
 
 So last saturday Elder Fisher and i had the oppourtunity to go to Eua, it is a 6 min flight away from the main island. we went over for a training meeting for the 6 missionaries overthere. we flew over in the morning and few back the same afternoon, 8am to 5pm, it was our P-day (Fisher's and mine atleast) so after the meeting we went and eva (sight seeing) to the many cool natural wonders there. we went to the very southern tip where wild horses run around and watched us as we walked to the 'Cliffs of Insanity"!! Russell and aunt Melissa can tell you where that is from.  They honestly look the same asthe movie. it was those cliffs where you can throw things off but they come back! it is quite 'insane' hahahaha i threw my tie off and fisher threw both his slippers and they both can flying back we filmed it, pretty sweet. we also saw the huge land bridge. Wind and sea spray have eroded a huge massive opening in the cliff. it is really sturdy and can be driven over, ill attatch apicture of it so you can see it, it doesnt look big but it is, our house stacked on top of each other 3 times would still fit under it.
We had a great time overthere in Eua, Fish and I got sunburned pretty bad, but now atleast we have a tan, driving around in a car all day takes away ones tropical south pacific sun-tan. 
 
Yep well everything is going good, we have not nearly been as busy this week as last, yippee!!!  which gives us more time to park the car at home and walk around meeting people and feel like normal missionaries again.  I have had quite an amazing mission, I am having a quite an amazing mission. this is the funniest time of my life!!!  i LOVE SHARING THE GOSPEL!!

'Ofa lahi atu
Elder Maikolo

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Elder Michael and Elder Prescott in Eua


Eua

September 9, 2012

Wow dad  isnt it so wonderful to see the tender mercies of the Lord and how he has these miricles happen all around us all the time.  That is such a cool that the Lord allowed Hillary, the Portugues Missionary and former Portugal Mission President to meet randomly on a fast Sunday in Utah. The Lord does really know everything! theres no way that someone can say that is mearly just a coincidence. 
That is so weird to me that Brenden and Luke were both baptized, it feels like yesterday they were just 4 years old and now they are both 8!  wow that is a miracle that both Grandpa Herb and Grandma Ellen were there, that is a huge miracle in it self.  
We have had some miracles here in the Other Side of Heaven.  Yesterday we went to Eua the last Island group for me to visit, it is located just to the south east of Tongatapu and there are 6 missionaries on it including Elder Presscott.  We flew over (the flight is only 8 mins, yeah it is that close) to have a special monthly training meetting.  The Zone leaders went last month but Pres told us to go this month.  We were asssigned to teach to the Elders there what was discussed at the latest Zone Council which was held with all the Zone Leaders on Monday. This month the focus is Christ-Like Attributes and inproving our selves before we can help others come unto Christ. The meeting went really well, the missionaries participated and paid attention to the lesson.   The meeting ended about 12 and our flight back here wasnt until 5 so we had a little time to 'eva or go sight seeing. We had a member and his wife take all 8 of us to the other side of the island where there are these huge cliffs where the wind is so strong you can throw things off and they fly back, i threw my tie off and it didnt even get over the edge before it was blown back.  My Comp Elder Fisher threw both his slippers off and they both blew back it was really quite amazing to see. we also went to see a huge massive land bridge that is there, it is behind Elder Prescott and me in the picture.  it was a very  fun trip to Eua. the entire week was super busy, Monday we had Transfers, Tuesday we had Zone Council, Wednesday we had a "train the Trainers' meeting for the newly called trainers and went and picked up the New Missionaries from the Airport, Thursday we had New missionary orientation, Friday we had a zone meeting then Saturday we had the Trip to Eua, things have not really calmed down since Elder Watson left.

The above is the letter i wrote yesterday but didnt get the chance to send it, Mom & Dad thanks so much for writing me, i really neededto hear what you bot wrote, i loved that you both wrote me twice, about the same thing and it really was what i neeeded to hear.  I need to stop worrying, My comp calls me a worry-wart, i need to stop worrying and put all my energy to the Work and pray about what to do and really listen to the Spirit and follow what it tells me to do.  that is what i need to do. It will all work out in the end!
I love you both so much and am so grateful for parents like you both.
Ofa lahi atu
 Elder Maikolo
Ps tell Ellen i loved her letter and will respond later, also tell her to be careful driving the Karmen Ghia!

800 Miles

September 2, 2012

Well Mom sounds like you and everyone else is in for a load of fun this weekend hanging out with family and seeing Luke and Brenden baptized, can you please send me a picture, that is truly something special to see.  Tell all the familiy i love them and thank them for all their support and love.
  This past week was wild! and very spiritual & special at the same time.  i traveled around 800 miles so it was a bit tiring and took a very big breath when it was all over.  let me break it down day by day.  on monday Elder Watson and his sweet wife flew in from NZ.  We met them and then that evening we watched with them the FHE TV program that we filmed last Friday.  It felt really weird to see your own face on TV, and really emabarrassing to see yourself when you messup, it was a big messup but i used a slang word that probably could've been replaced by a more proper term.  any ways that was monday, then Tuesday we flew out to Vava'u, i really miss working there, so that was very fun for me to go back and see Elder Fainu, my last comp, and see allthe missionaries there that i new really well.  The conference went really well. there were two meetings one for all the leaders, DL&ZLs it was a small group only 8 missionaries, Elder Watson knows alot about leadership as he worked veryclosely with the past 7 Presidents ofthe Church and he shared some very helpful and important principles about leadership. he talked about planning. he asked all those missionaries who have less than 6 months left to raise their hands. It felt really weird to put my hand in the air, i think that was the first time it really hit me just how little time i have left.  He then said to us that we need to start planning for the future, what are we going to do when we get back? That got me really thinking, i need to know what i am going to do!!  Right now i think i am going to try to go part time for winter, maybe just go to the second block of the winter semester, they start on the 7th of March and then go for Spring and Summer, i really am going to try to get a job at the MTC. those are my plans right now, i really need to remember my Net ID so i can log in and start the process.  Mom i think i signed something before i left that will allow you or Dad to access my information here is my BYU ID# 07-916-7574 talk to hillary and see if that gets you any where. its sayshere on the card that it EXP on the 20 June 2012 so maybe that wont work. but give it a try.
Kae kehe
 So aftet the conference in Vava'u we flew back to Tongatapu, the very same day, we were in Vava'u maybe 6 hours.  Then we did the same thing on Wednesday for Ha'apai, my first time really going there, it is so pretty! not mountanious like Vava'u, but has the prettiest beaches in all of Tonga, white sandy beaches on everyside of the island.  we were there for maybe 7 hours, there are only 16 missionaries in all of Ha'apai many on tiny little islands where there is no Electrcity (like niua), they had to catch a boat to come to the main Island of Ha'apai to have the conference, they are sacrificeing a lot to servethe Lord. I saw my first son Elder Lakai, i was so happy to see him i almost dropped presidents projector haha.  That was anothe great conference,  Elder Watson talked alot about the doctrine of The Father, and how He is literaly the Father of our spirits and Loves us and Knows us.  Sister Watson talked about the 13 Articles of Faith and how they apply to missionary work.  I think i liked her lesson the best. Okay so then on Thurday we had the Conferenceon the Main islandTongatapu, we had about 66 Missionaries and 20 senior couples. that was probaly the busiest day going out and picking up everyone but we got through it
Okau well we have a teachign in 5 mins so we better go do that i will try to write more later
'Ofa atu
Elder Maikolo

Monday, August 20, 2012

Elder Michael with DJ Nau in Nukualofa.  Aunt Lori and Uncle Rich used to drive DJ to school in Downey.

Elder Michael with Elder Itaehau's Mother in Nukualofa.  Elder I is serving in Jacob's home ward.

Islands, Baptisms, Priesthood Power, Packages, People


Wow Mom you sound like you are all as busy as we are over here, going to Weddings and baptisims.  This is going to be my last Email for a while, this week and next week are going to be super super super insanely busy.  We have a General Authority visiting us next week, Elder Watson 2nd Counseler in the Area Authority, we are goiong to be going to all the ISlands, Ha'apai on Tuesday,  Vava'u on Wednesday, and then Everyone on the main Island and Eua (where Elder Prescott is) on Thursday.  Iam excited to go see Ha'apai, ive only everbeen tothe Airport there.  And in addition to that we are currently putting together a Television Program about Missionary work which will air on the the National Channel (there is only one haha) next monday, the 27, and My comp and I will both be a part of that.  Speaking on National Television, about Missionary work Pretty cool oppoutunity.
This past week was a good one, Esther was baptized this past Saturday, her husband did the ordiance, and we have another baptisim tomorrow, Ofa the 25 year old man who I told you about that got beat up on Saturday night two weeks ago.  He has really changed since when we first met him, totally quite smoking and wants to do what is right.  His just-reactivated brother is goign to perform that ordiance.   We are also currently teachign a Chinese man who is married to amember and has come to church & payed his tithing for nearly 9 months now.  He speaks pretty good Tongan and thats what we teach him in, he has a Chinese bible on his Iphone and that allows us to give him Bible scriptures to read so he can better under stand what we are trying to teach.  we also have given him a Book of Mormon and lesson pamphelts in Chinese as well.  Our Last lesson was really a cool one, he shared with us how he had come to know God.  He told us he was in Niuatoputapu (same one as me) when the big Tsuimani hit in 2009, and he almost died but he prayed for the first time for God to save him and that if he lived he would start going to church.  so he lives and starts going to a Chinese church here in Tonga, but soon notices that all the churches say that they are the right one and that God is really here, Kindalike the Joseph Smith story.  He runs a Market shop here in Tonga and always noticed that the Mormon people were honest and kind and never drunk or smoking and he started to like the Momon Church b/c they practiced what they preached, and then he marries a RM mormon girl and the Rest is history.  We are just waiting for his Wife to give birth and released from the Hospital then baptize him.  The power of a good Example really [played a key role in his conversiion, much like sister Stella, and many others.  we need to more than just preach the gospel, we have to LIve it!!
 
Another cool story that i want to share, while the bishop was giving the closing remarks at our baptism last Saturday , he talked about how the Priesthood power was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith.  The word for power in tongan is malohi which means also strengh, or strong.  after he said that word i looked down at my bicepe thinking about how i am trying to get stronger everyday bye doing pushups every morning, but then the thought came to me that The Priesthood power doesnot come by how big your mucels are, then i looked at my had and the green shield ring that says FKT (Fili ki he Totonu) Choose the Right, that is where the Priesthood power comes from, by keeping the commandments! 
 
Oh yeah i got the packages, they some how stuffed both packages into them,  i dont know how they did it but they did, wow that is so much candy!!  (they were really surprised when two packages arrivd at her house)  Thank you so much mom!!!!!!!          Speaking of moms, you all know Elder 'Ita'ehau the tongan missionary serving in the Downey 3rd ward right now and who was there right before i left, well i finally met his MOM!!!!!!!!!!! she is from Canada and a very nice lady, here is a picture of us.        Oh and a random guy from America, named DJ Nau, came into the office the other day todrop off stuff for one of his cousins and we got to talking and he lived in downey in 1999 (when ever Bishop Leavitt was Bishop) and he said AUnt Lori & Uncle Rich use to always take him to East Middle School in the Big Brown van, he rememberd Dad and Russ and John Jarmillo, Talk about a blast from the Past!! it is such a small world, he lives in Victorville now and says he still keeps in contact with The Vasquezes. that was quite the surprise!!
Ofkay this is way to long l love you all so much
Ofa lahi atu fau!!!!!

Elder Maikolo

Monday, July 30, 2012

BUSY BUSY BUSY

I'm so sorry to hear that Romy Cooper's father passed away-- that has got to be pretty hard.  There is an Elder here who's father passed away two weeks ago.  It was when i was in Vava'u and President called me to drive out there so he could tell him.  I have never been there when someone has found out there has been a death in the Family.  He is doing alright now and has chosen to continue his mission.  The miracle of Technology allowed him to use Skype to talk at his Father's funeral, all the way from far-out Vava'u.  That was one of the many stories i didn't get the chance to tell you about.

 Another one that i really wanted to tell you about was when Elder Person came. He is the 2nd Counseler in the Area Presidency, he came to Vava'u while i was a zone leader there and President Tukuafu called us and told us to be on stand by just in case Person wanted to have a surprise meeting with all of us missionaries up there. So we went and met him at the stake center where he was having a meeting with all the Stake presidencies in Vava'u. He was just about to walk into the meeting when he looked over and saw us walking towards him.  He turned and warmly greeted us--it was cool to shake hands with a General Authority, and he told us to keep working hard.  Turns out the meeting with the missionaries didnt work out. He instead had a meeting with all the ward auxilery leaders and pretty much anyone with a calling in the Church, for every unit in Vava'u.  The meeting was held at the Biggest Stake Center in Vava'u and pretty much all the adult members in Vava'u were there.  My comp Elder Fainu and I and a few other missionaries went as well to listen to the voice of a General Authority.  Even though his focus was not on Missionary work, his talk was very helpful for me and the rest of the missionaries that were there, and it was so super spiritual as it always is when a GA gives a fireside.  During the middle of it, Sister johnson's mother comes and talks to me, and tells me to tell Sister Johnson  to send some yarn from America so that Sister johnson's mother can finish the Tongan mat she is making and sell it, and use the money to pay off Elder Fotu(sis johnson's younger brother) mission expenses.  Then right after that, Elder Person talks about the improtance of sending your children on Missions, and how missionary work is the life blood of this Church and they are how the Lord Runs HIs Church, and that families have to sacrifice inorder to send there children on missions and here was  Sister johnson's sweet mother who is in her state of poverity, like most Tongan parents, doing everything she can to afford to pay for her son's mission, because she knows how great it will be a blessing in the life of her dear son elder Fotu.   It was a humbling thing for me to sit and listen abd think about this all. 
 
Well this is my first week in my new area and it has been busy, we had 10 new missionaries come in from the MTCs New zealand and Provo combined, and we had meetings and had to take them to their new areas.  It's pretty much like being a zone leader in Vava'u but on steriods. You just have way much to do! I still haven't met any bishops in my new area, but we do have a lot of investigators so we are going to be busy busy busy!!  
I love you all!  I sent a happy birthday letter to Hillary look for that soon!
 
'Ofa atu
Elder Maikolo