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​