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

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Congratulations for your blog!
    I also have a blog, about philately: http://www.albumdeestampillas.blogspot.com
    I intend to get a visit from every country, and I would really apreciate a visit from Tonga.
    Pablo from Argentina.