Tuesday, August 9, 2016

First Week in PNG!

Elder Apelu wrote about his first week adventures in Papua New Guinea, Lae mission. Below is the group email he sent. 

For all of you assuming at PNG is just like Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, etc... Elder Apelu wanted you to know that PNG is NOTHING like the Polynesian Islands (and yes, Elder Apelu has been to Samoa & American Samoa 3 times). 

 "SO Elder Apelu, what is PNG like?" Weeeellllllllll where does one start? 
            I think I'll start with things one should be grateful for if they are not living in Papua New Guinea.
     1.) Roads, there is like, one Road in Lae that is not all bumpy and weird and you almost die like 95% of the time. You're suppose to drive on the left lane(America is apparently the only country that drives on the right side) but nobody cares and they just drive on whatever side they feel like driving. Plus nobody obeys the speed limits so everytime I get in a car I pray. 
      2.) Wal-Mart this one might sound really weird, but the food markets are kinda weird here. I don't know how to describe it, it's like a wanna be Harmons, but then you get checked by security everytime they see you. None of them wanted to hear about my message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. :(
       3.) Facebook. Okay, don't ask me how I know this, but they have to pay for Facebook here in Lae. I laughed so hard! Be grateful you guys!

       So Mission experiences in Lae? Well, President Fehoko assigned me and my trainer, Elder Fiamati to be the Lae Zone Leaders; and before you ask if thats allowed, I already asked that and got scolded for not believing in myself. So I have been pretty busy, I actually don't spend a lot of time proselyting, but go on different assignments the President asks us to do. Like Friday, we went to Gorokoa, which is like driving from SLC to St. George, to scout out a new area called Kiniatu. Also were having a GA come for a special Mission Conference, so we have been busy assigning Elders to areas as they all come to Lae. Sunday I got to bear my testimony(in Tok Pisin) and people came up to me crying, saying they were blessed to have the, "Angel from Utah build the kingdom!" I was so moved by it! We also finally went teaching in my area, and it's seriously ALL BUSH! 
       So we walked in a village, and everyone was looking at us, and I was like, "Frick Bro, who am I gonna teach?" Then I felt impressed to pull out some pictures from home, some pictures of SNOW, and some Pictures of Jesus Christ. I yelled out, "Pikkinni Kam!" meaning Children Come, and they rushed me as I showed them pictures. I showed them SLC and told them "Place bilong mi, mi lo Utah!" I showed them Snow and asked them, "Wan em?" They all said rain and I laughed! I said "No gut rain! EM Snow!" They all started laughing as I showed them pictures of me playing football, me and lewa(bae) then finally Jesus Christ.
      I said "Who se?" they all replied, "God!" I said, "No gut, em Jesus Kraist, Pikkini Bilong Papa God." I then went on to teach them(by this time we had a pretty big crowd of teenagers and adults, and elders) about Jesus Christ. They were all so moved, and extacted that they all wanted to hear more! IT was so awesome! We get to go back and teach tomorrow! I can't wait!

     I also, would like to share my testimony to you all, in Tok Pisin. Gospel Bilong Jesus Kraist em tasol way long salvation. Mi save em plan of hamamas long kisim eternal families. Mi Save Joesph Smith em tru prophet, na em translate Book Mormon. Mi save Thomas S Monson em tru prophet, na em kal mi long PNG long servem olgeta pikkinni bilong Papa God. Mi lovem Papa God, na mi lovem yu mi olgeta. Mi piniish em letter, in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

Sunday, August 7, 2016


Around 2pm on Monday, August 1st, Elder Darnel Apelu, Elder Dallin Pili, Elder Hunter Wilson, and Elder Siotame Uluave left the Missionary Training Center in Provo Utah and climbed aboard the UTA Frontrunner headed for the Salt Lake City International Airport for a LONG trip to Papua New Guinea Lae. 

Me and Elder Apelu
 Once they arrived at the SLC airport and disembarked from the Frontrunner, many members of their different families were there to greet them and give them last minute instructions, pick up unneeded items to save space in their luggage and drop off anything else needed. Heading to what is considered the "most dangerous mission" or "one of the most dangerous missions" (and a couple of the mom's with some major health concerns) it is understandable that they came to say one final goodbye.
Elder Pili and his mom, Lani

After checking their bags all the way through to Brisbane Australia (because there was no baggage agreement with the other airlines that went all the way to Lae), the Elders boarded American Airlines flight to the Los Angeles (LAX) airport for a simple three hour layover. However, nothing is ever that simple. I was ecstatic to see a picture of our adorable Elders seated on the American Airlines flight posted on the private group of Missionary Mama's on Facebook page.   For whatever reason, the Quantas flight from LAX to Brisbane, Australia was delayed by nearly three hours. Luckily the Elders had a Tracfone that their parents sent them so they were able to call home and talk with their families while they waited. Finally at 2:30 am, the Elders settled in for a nearly fourteen hour flight. Their itinerary stated that they would have almost a four hour layover in Australia which would give them plenty of time to gather their bags and check into Virgin Australia for their connecting flight to Port Morseby, Papua New Guinea. With their flight now delayed by three hours, making their connecting flight seemed nearly impossible. Back in the US the Elders families were watching the flight and were aware of the situation and pleading with the LORD that the Elders would make it. 
FINALLY in Brisbane, the Elders had to wait for the Quantas to bring them their bags because they didn't have a Visa to enter Australia. After receiving their bags, they rushed to the Virgin Australia counter and the flight was already boarding for Port Morseby. By blessings from GOD, the young men were able to check in and board because the Virgin Australia flight to POM was delayed by forty minutes. 
Three and half hours later, the flight landed in Port Morseby, Papua New Guinea and were welcomed by some members of the church from Port Moresby. With a two and half-hour layover until they flew to Lae (their final destination) on Air Niugini, the boys had time to check in throw customs, etc... Again, nothing is ever that simple, and what was to be only a 2. 5 hour layover turned into so much more because their connecting flight was delayed by 4 hours. We were so grateful for the sweet members (and other missionaries) from Port Moresby that waited with them (and paid their baggage fees). What a blessing from Heaven they were to our Elders. 

The plane they were to take was a jet plane but was having mechanical issues so they were switched to a propeller plane. The original itinerary showed the Elders arriving at their final destination at 4:55pm (local time). Because of the dangers of PNG the Elders are supposed to be home and in their locked down compounds at 5pm. That was now not going to be even close to possible.

Elder Apelu & President Fehoko
Back at the Lae compound, the Elders had prepared a welcome Umu (underground oven) and a Welcome Party was waiting at the airport in Lae.

Elder Apelu praying over his breakfast

Once the Elders disembarked from the airplane, went through customs and gathered their baggage, they headed back to the secure compound. guns to their heads.   The next morning the mission let the Elders call home to their mothers to let them know they had arrived safely.

That Wednesday evening (morning for me) the Mission President's wife, Sister Fehoko, sent me a message and told me they were safe and that they would call the following morning (that would be Wednesday afternoon for me and Thursday morning for them).

Darnel and his Trainer 
Elder Apelu and his Trainer
When they awoke on Thursday, they had breakfast at a restaurant with the Mission President, his wife and some Elders and then called us.  Elder Apelu told me hot it was over there. He said they all (the new Elders) were most likely going to be assigned in the Lae area for the next 6 months because they are going to try and increase the membership there so they can finally form a Stake in the Lae area. Following our phone call they had missionary orientation where they were assigned their Trainer (new companion) and then off to their new areas.

The Umu the Elders prepared they ate the next day

The New Elders with Pres & Sister Fehoko and some Elders

President & Sister Fehoko with the New Elders and some other missionaries

Preparing for Orientation
Sister Fehoko kindly emailed me some pictures of Elder Apelu and his new companion (but I didn't get his name). I know he is from Samoa.

Now we wait to actually hear from him. I will update you soon!

Enjoy some extra pictures from the airport and their arrival in Lae!


Last minute instructions (a.k.a advice) to Elder Apelu for his long flight)

Erin Apelu  & Lani Pili with the 4 US Elders heading to Lae, PNG

Elder Uluave with his Aunt and Uncle at the SLC Airport

The PNG Elders at the SLC airport

Elder Pili with his mom, Lani

Elder Pili with his dad

Elder Apelu saying goodbye to his mama for 2 years

Elder Apelu waving goodbye to everyone at the SLC Airport

Elder Hunter Wilson walking to the TSA 

Elder Dallin Pili saying goodbye to his mom, Lani

Elder Pili walking to the TSA

Elder Hunter Wilson excited about the homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies
I made them to enjoy on their long flight

Some of the Pili family with Elder Pili 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

To The PNG

Elder Darnel Apelu and the other three Elders heading to PNG on Monday, August 1st got to write us one last email.
PNG Elders with the flag at the Provo Temple
Elder Uluave, Elder Wilson, Elder Apelu, Elder Pili

Elder Apelu at the Provo Temple with the Papua New Guinea flag

Elder Apelu and his G.O. F.O.R.T.H he learned from Coach Pala at Taylorsville

Elder Wilson and Elder Apelu
Companions & both heading to PNG

Elder Barlow (Taiwan) Elder Apelu (PNG) Elder Cox (Indiana)
Taylorsville High School Friends

 Hi everyone! Elder Apelu here, and I am so excited to say that in a few short hours, I leave the MTC, and began a looooooonnnnnnnggggggg day of flying to Papua New Guinea! Praying to Heavenly Father has allowed me to feel safe, confident, and ready to go out and Serve the people of Papua! Man, I seriously can't believe how much I have been able to grow here at the MTC, the experience is totally worth it! I have been able to love so many people here, in such short few weeks, and my District has turned into a family of brothers and sisters in the gospel, I love them so much, and can't even begin to express how grateful, and blessed I am to have had them here.
      There really isn't much more for me to say since I got to the MTC, one thing I did leave out was: I learned a language while I was here! Two of them! The first being, the Language of the Spirit, and that was something I have preyed every night for, but I am so blessed to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost! It allows me to teach better, because I am able to speak the words the LORD wants me to speak, I am so blessed to have it.
     The second language? Ibish! It's a secret language that some of the Elders have been taught by one other elder here, and we learned it so quick and we speak it so fast, and well that it drives our teachers, and the sisters, insane! Hahahahah, I love my District Elders, they are some of the best men ever! Same with the sisters, they've become my little sisters, and I have been so blessed to be their District Leader! 
    Well.... what do I write now? I guess you're gonna have to wait for next week(or next month.... maybe six) until you hear about my wonderful adventures in Papua New Guinea! Until then, Gut Bye! 

     Elder Apelu​

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Last Week at the MTC before heading to Papua New Guinea!

The real adventure starts tomorrow when Darnel and 3 other Elders from the mainland USA leave for the next 23.5 months for unbelievable and unimaginable experiences as they find GOD's children and bring them the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Their District

One of his BFF's and his future BYU roomate
Elder Apelu and Elder Taeoalii
(Elder T left this week for Kentucky)

Elder Apelu at the Provo Temple

Elder Apelu

The PNG Elders standing in front of a picture of Missionaries baptizing in PNG
Elder Uluave, Elder Pili, Elder Apelu, Elder Wilson

Their District

Elder Apelu napping

Friends for 7 years Elder Apelu and Elder Cox
(Elder Cox is going to Indianapolis Indiana Spanish)

Here is Elder Darnel Apelu's final update about the MTC. 

Week 3 

  Hey everyone! It's Elder Apelu here!

        First and foremost I am having an absolute BLAST here at the MTC! I have learned so much here, and I feel like I really am coming closer to my Heavenly Father! My testimony has grown, as I have seek to Obtain the word, and THEN declare it! We have had some amazing things happen since last friday and I want to start with the Nashville Tribute Band.

       It's pretty much the Duck Dynasty family, without the beards, singing songs about Joesph Smith, Jesus Christ, and Missionary Work. THEY WERE AWESOME! It was so hard not to clap for them, (because it was the sunday devotional and we can't clap and cheer and stuff) but man you guys should listen to them! They were awesome! 

     Last week I reported that we had committed two people to Baptism. Lisa and Nelson. Well I am glad to report that we had one more man commit to Baptism: Bubba! Bubba, and this is to quote him, "has been Gang Banging since 5 years old' cuhhh!" and man his story was crazy! He gave up the gang life, ran here to SLC, and began working. He had such a hard working attitude, and by "fate" he met Blake Murdock, and Brother Murdcok gave him a job. Bubba's wife is a member, and he wanted to meet with the missionaries, and Elder Wilson and I have been teaching him slowly. He is such an awesome guy, and you can hear more about his story on Mormon.com or google Bubba's Mormon Message! 

     Things are going great, as a district we have grown so close, and grown so strong. Our final class we taught our teacher, who was RPing as an investigator, and as we taught her about the Restoration, she cried, she was so proud of the missionaries we had become! 

   I can't wait to get out to Papua, I met a sister from Port Moresby and man she was soooo happy to see us going to Lae, saying that: "We have so much work for us to do there!" I was hyped!!!! 

      One funny thing: with no cellphone around, we really got into the habit of flipping water bottles, haters will say it's fake but.... hey!

     I love you guys so much! This Gospel is so true, and I want all of you to read Alma 34, 3rd Nephi Chapter 11, and 2nd Nephi chapter 31! They have helped me grown happier, and grown stronger with my relationship with Christ! 

     Until next time (or maybe two years)

          Elder Apelu

Elder Darnel Apelu Week 2 Update from the MTC

I seem to be running a week behind on Darnel's MTC emails. Here is the email from his 2nd P-day in the MTC. 

 Hi everyone! Elder Apelu reporting with some great success! 

         This week started off really amazing! Sunday night we watched the Character of Christ, a special devotional that is, "only shown at the MTC!" It's actually not and you can find it on your local Youtube channel, and it's really amazing! The greatest part about that video was the end, because guess who made an unannounced special visit? 

      David A. Bednar! It was amazing, he answered a lot of my questions about Missionary Work and what I have to do to be a better Missionary. Ths really brought me to my knees in prayer, and I find myself praying like twenty plus times a day. It's awesome and the spirit is super strong here at the MTC!

    Elder WIlson and I began teaching some investigators, we taught two: Lisa and Tristen. Lisa is a single mother who is Catholic but had some doctorine questions, and Tristen is a college student who wanted to understand more about the Latter Day Saints. 

     Teaching both has been very difficult, and very inspiring. We got Lisa to commit to be baptized! She loves us, mainly because we sing to her every lesson, a song that is about our lesson! We made her cry when we sang about the savior and his atonement. Tristen has had a lot of questions about the Book of Mormon, and we told him to apply it's teachings to his life, he accepted, acted on faith, and has seen his life change. He too has accepted our invitation to be baptized! 

    I can't wait to get to PNG and teach these people the happiness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! 

        I'll see you all next Friday! Much Love!

          Da Kine- Elder Apelu. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Elder Darnel Apelu MTC Update 1st Week

Elder Apelu arrived in to the Provo Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 at 12:30pm. Later that evening (around 8:30pm) I received a quick email from him telling me that he had arrived and that his P-day (preparation day) would be on Friday. He wasn't sure if they would actually give them the chance to write to us on that p-day since he had already wrote to me the day he arrived. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised when in fact he did email me that Friday morning. He was also excited to report that he was made District Leader in his district.

Below is the email he sent to me that he sent to me that day to send to anyone who was interested.

Here is a copy of the email I received his first official p-day

Monday, July 4, 2016

Packing for Papua New Guinea Lae LDS Mission for 2 years

Things that might come in handy to pack for an LDS mission to Papua New Guinea


Over the past few months I have accumulated a few notes from talking with people who have been on a mission to PNG or a parent of someone who has a missionary in PNG. Because the cost of things in PNG are high, especially with no Wal-Mart around the corner-- or on the island, and the inventory for much needed/desired items is low, it becomes extremely difficult to find some of these items.

Something important to note, I have been told from many people that it is better to just send $$ ( like loading on a personal debit/credit card) instead of mailing items to them. Not only do you run the risk of it taking forecer together (or not arriving at all), the chances that someone will go though the package and take items (especially coming from the US) is extremely high, but the package itself can cost between $100-$200 US dollars (and up--depending obn the size and contents just to get it out of customs. If you still insist on sending items, cover the boxes with stickers of Jesus Christ and they are more likely to not go through the box and remove items. And if you are sending something like a new pair of shoes, send each shoe in a separate box so they wont steal it ( also will cost the Elder more since he needs to pay for 2 boxes through customs now) I have been told if you have family in AU, or NZ and they send items, they tend to have an easier time getting through customs and usually are not opened.

Here are a few items I am sending with my Elder that I KNOW he will be glad he has.

IMPORTANT TO NOTE: I can’t stress enough the importance of labeling your Elders things (I labeled his socks, shirts, belts, shoes, pants, all his personal items, even down to his garments). I have been told that many of their items come up missing (or confused) with some of the other Elders.

Keep in mind that you can’t possibly send everything that your Elder will need with him for 2 years. I am sending the basics that he will need to get him going and keep for awhile. These items( if available in PNG will be expensive.
PERMETHRIN: Insect Repellent for your clothes and gear (bags, shoes, etc..) This stuff is great and last 6-8 weeks and through 6 washes befofe it needs to be reapplied to your clothing, etc… I got this at the Army Navy store (I couldn’t find it at Wal-Mart but I am sure you can order online from Amazon also). I am sending 2 of these with him, secured in double gallon size ziplock bags for travel. Once there he will put the sprayer inside the bottle.

NON-AEROSOL MOSQUITO REPELLANT: Make sure it is non-aerosol repellant or they won’t let it on the plane. I also bought him a few small ones to keep in his backpack. I am sending 2 of these in secure double ziplock bags.

MOSQUITO REPELLENT SLAP BRACELET: I got this from the ARMY NAVY Store. Easy Repellant that he can wear on him when he is out. The Elder does need to read the instructions on how to activate the slap bracelet.

STINGEZE MAX 2: For painful bites and stings. I got this at the ARMY NAVY STORE (there is one by our house in Taylorsville Utah). I am told that this stuff is excellent when applied to painful buts. I am sending a bunch of these with him.

CLOROX BLEACH PEN: The Lae mission they may be in the Highlands area and have to wash their clothing by hand. A small Clorox Bleach Pen can make a difference when their white shirt gets a yucky stain. (This is also why I am sending him with 11 shirts).

SOAP TO WASH HIS CLOTHES WITH IN THE BUSH: Your Elder may very possibly need to wash his clothes in the shower if he is sent to the highlands/bush area. In the city of Lae they actually have washers but he may not be in the actual city of Lae. Here is a clothing bar of soap I bought from Walmart.

AMERICAN MEDICINE: I went to COSTCO and stocked up on Tylenol (acetaminophen), Ibuprofen, Benadryl (allergy medicine excellent for bits or allergic reactions-- even sinus infections) and Mucinex DM (incase he gets a head cold- This kind of Mucinex is ok to take because you can get it over the counter without showing ID to the Pharmacist).

PERSONAL HYGIENE ITEMS: I went to COSTCO and stocked up on a few personal hygiene items.

MORE PERSONAL ITEMS: I got him a holder for his soap. Although many people are ok with sharing soap with others. I personally don’t like to share soap outside of my own family. I don’t want to wash my face with something that someone might have put their butt next to. I am also sending him with some chapstick. Even though it is humid in PNG, his lips might become sunburned and chapped.

MORE PERSONAL ITEMS: I stocked up on the deodorant, toothbrushes, and also sending some vaseline (double ziplock bag for that).

SMALL FIRST AID KIT TO KEEP IN HIS MISSIONARY BAG: I made this small first aid kit to keep in his missionary bag so he has it on him at all times when not home. It has Neosporin, bandaids, and alcohol wipes.

CLIPPERS FOR HIS HAIR: I was told by the past Mission Presidents wife (they were just released July 1, 2016) Sister Peteru, to bring a set of clippers to cut hair with. She stressed the importance of labeling it also (as with everything else) so that it doesn’t just walk off.

IMPORTANT TO NOTE: I am sending my Elder with a battery operated (also plugs in) Electric Razor for shaving. I ordered a PHILIPS NORELCO ELECTRIC SHAVER 2100, S1560/81
from Philips Norelco on Amazon (hasn’t got here yet) so that he doesn’t have to keep buying cheap disposable
Razors that just harbor germs for infections if he gets a cut.

QUICK STITCH KIT FOR SEWING: I got this at Mr. Mac’s (suit place in Utah)

A PORTABLE CD PLAYER AND EXTRA DOUBLE AA BATTERIES. I know they can listen to CHURCH MUSIC ONLY so we bought him a portable cd player (Target) to take (with his name labelled on it). I am also sending him with a bunch of double AA batteries because of few of his items require them and I KNOW they are expensive to get in PNG.

TRAVEL OUTLET CONVERTER FOR ELECTRICITY: We bought this outlet converter for electricity (I am assuming they are Australia/NZ plugs like Samoa is) at Mr. Mac’s. I am sure you can find it other places or on AMAZON.


With that being said, I bought this for my Elder from Field Supply online (also found in the Army Navy Store, and Amazon)

THE SAWYER STRAW. This straw filters 100,000 gallons of water. I encourage him to take it EVERYWHERE with him. It filters 99% of bacteria but you it DOESN’T FILTER VIRUS’s.

BANDAIDS FROM COSTCO: I stocked him up on various sizes of bandaids from Costco and put them in separate plastic bags for sizes and the in one gallon size plastic bag.

UMBRELLA AND LIGHT RAIN JACKET: We bought the umbrella (labelled) from Ross and the light rain jacket (labelled) from Walmart in the camping section.

MOLESKIN FOR BLISTERS: I got this moleskin at the ARMY NAVY store. Excellent for blisters and the Elders WILL BE DOING A LOT OF WALKING IN PNG.

MICROFIBER TRAVEL BLANKET: I bought this microfiber blanket for my Elder at Deseret Book. It is excellent for PNG and should keep him warm enough and travels well. (THEY CAN BUY A PILLOW WHEN THEY GET TO PNG) ALso, the MTC provides sheets, pillows, and blankets.

MICROFIBER TRAVEL TOWEL: I got this microfiber towel at DESERET BOOK. It is excellent for travel and dries extremely well without holding the moisture.

*************IMPORTANT INFORMATION**************

Our Elders may wish to look their best on their mission (as they should) but they need not have the BEST of everything. They are going to be amongst some VERY POOR investigators/members and other Elders from the PNG and the Pacific Islands. They will not only have all of their things coveted by these people, they will feel EXTREMELY uncomfortable when they are looking so “FLY” among everyone else. This maybe hard for them to understand as they are preparing for their mission (especially because they will be in the MTC for 2 weeks and possibly sent elsewhere in the States until their VISA comes through (a very good chance of that)) but they need to think in mind of how the people they will be surrounded with will feel if they are looking so good with name brand things, etc.. JUST A WORD OF ADVICE!!

WHITE SHIRTS: We bought about 7 of our ELDERS shirts from the LDS Distribution Center. We bought the Distribution Centers brand LONG SLEEVE because even though it is hot in PNG the long sleeve will protect him better from the mosquitos that are EVERYWHERE. THe Distribution Center brand is a lightweight brand. We also bought him 3 Costco brand short sleeve shirts that non-iron.

PANTS: Suits are NOT required in PNG missions so we bought him pants from COSTCO, the Kirkland Brand. They are non-iron pants and were about $16-$19 each.

MAKE SURE HE HAS A CHEAP WATCH (we got one from ROSS for $7)

PLENTY OF LDS GARMENTS. My husband informed me that my son may have to give some of his LDS garments to some of the Elders from PNG because they may not have enough. For this reason we are packing way more garments than necessary. (It is important to note that I recently had a dream where a voice kept telling me that I needed to bring extra garments for him on his mission for the other Elders. This makes sense with what my husband said).

OBVIOUSLY THIS IS ALL MY OPINION. Please feel free to leave a comment, or email me at erinapelu@ymail.com or find me on Facebook Erin Apelu if you have any other questions.