Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas in Fiji

bula mama!! 

isa lei i was so happy to talk to you guys this week! i loved seeing how big all the kids are getting and just seeing my whole family was all i needed for Christmas. while we were skyping i couldn't help but think that it's weird that me and trent are not home for christmas this year. who controlled all those crazy kids? haha!I still can't believe that Sarah got a dog haha! isa! name the other one maqe, fo real doe! but it was so good to talk to you all finally, but now it's back to work! 

I GOT MY PACKAGE! it was huge! lol everyone was like there's a 24 lbs box coming on the boat for sister chong. please get it to her lol. we all thought they had put some other supplies for us but nope it was all presents. haha. thank you so much!  i love everything in the package! the maui chips was the first thing i saw and i screamed and my companion thought i was crazy screaming about a bag of chips lol. she dont know das why hahaha! i finally had my christmas and i thought of you guys the whole time. i loved everything! you always know what to get me. funny thing...when i opened the picture frame thing i was like she just send me a picture frame!? no pictures of the family to even look at? and i was so sad because i thought the only pictures i had to look at was my mission pictures on my camera. boring! but then my companion was like"moms are smart, turn it on because i think there might be pictures in it already." qori! there were pictures! i love it! i loved all the memes from conference too!! i fell asleep looking at them and then woke up and looked at them again. best christmas present :) vinaka sara valevu!

send my love to Joseph and Cheyenne and tell them i said "Finally!" just joking! tell them i said "Congratulations!" and ill give them both a huge hug in about a year. lol. the wedding sounded beautiful. i also got some pictures from aunty stella, she's the bomb! she always keeps me updated with what's going on at home. but im glad that everything worked out and everyone was able to celebrate together. 

well, this week we focused a lot on less actives. on christmas eve and christmas day most of our investigators were busy with families and stuff so we didn't get to teach but it's okay because we got to visit less actives. on christmas eve we went christmas caroling us and the elders. there were suppose to be members with us but none of them came so it ended up being us and the elders. boring! nah it was so much fun! we printed up the talk by Pres. Monson at the Christmas Devotional. also "The Living Christ" and we made some cookies. they all enjoyed it so much and really appreciated that we took the time to come and see how they were doing and wish them a merry christmas. it was an awesome night! but while we were driving through town to get to some less active's homes one of the elders, Elder Tafunai, rolled down his window and as we were driving through town he stuck his head out and was yelling "Merry Christmas" to everyone. let me remind you town is packed because everyone is doing last minute shopping and everyone stares at us already because we're foreigners. and then you have one of the foreigners sticking their head out the window of the truck yelling "Merry Christmas" to everyone. isa! crazy elders lol.

on Thursday we went and did our service for Rupha. we brought him and his family some clean water to drink, cleaned their house, tried to get river water up to their house for them to use, and then we planted some tavioka (cassava) in their yard. it was hard work but i was so happy to do it for them. we got permission to do it with the elders also, so having the 4 of us there made it that much funner. we were laughing, singing, and they could just see how happy we were to be there to help them. it was the best service project we did so far in my whole mission.

on Saturday we went back and visited Rupha and his mom. we read the Book of Mormon and made it exciting so he could remember the story better. we read the story when Nephi goes and gets the plates. i tried to make interesting so i was like trying to act it out and stuff and it was just fun. he loved it! we then sang "I am a child of God" with him because that's his favorite. and before we left we asked him if he wanted to come to sacrament. he started to cry when we asked and told us that he has been getting ready every Sunday waiting and hoping someone would come get him for sacrament or bring it to him. after hearing that sis. pyne and i did everything we could to make sure he got sacrament. and he did! yesterday after how many years, he was able to partake of the sacrament and he was so happy. he had such a big smile on his face the whole time and you could feel the spirit he had. 

on Sunday we went to find some less active families that we never had the chance to visit yet. we found some but there was one couple that we actually got to sit down with. the Ratulevus. we sang hymns with them, shared a spiritual thought, and prayed together. at the end of the lesson i was overwhelmed with the spirit and my heart couldn't contain the love i had for these people. i started to cry (like always) but this was different. i had never felt this way before. i expressed i felt with them and they both cried with and i knew they knew how much i loved them at that moment. i just knew that i was going to do anything i could to get them back to church! they already asked us to come back next week which we definitely will and they offered to feed us dinner. woohoo! but im so excited to get to know them more, i know that in the Lord's time they'll come back to church when they're ready. 

well that was my week. i had a quite christmas but it was nice. i was able to really think about my Savior and all He has done for me. au lomani kemudou sara ga! marautaka yabakivou!

loloma levu,
sista chong

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas and Service

bula mama!!
what a blessing it is that you received so many service opportunities but not only that but how great the blessings will be because you chose to take those opportunities. this christmas of course it has been different. i didnt even realize it was christmas this week until i was sitting in church and they talks about the christmas story. isa!! it was then that it hit me that christmas is this week!! there are no lights on the houses and only a few people have enough money to afford a christmas tree, even a tiny one. so it doesn't feel christmasy at all, but me and my companion have been doing the chain so that's what keeps our christmas spirits up. we're a little behind because sometimes when we come home we're just so tired!! so last night we were on the one that you sing next to candle light and luckily our power was out so that's the only choice we had. the funny thing is after we sang we heard our neighbor's tv and were like "why do they have power and not us!" well i turned the switch on and qori there was power. hahaha!! isa i dont know how long we had power but we were sitting there in the candle light singing christmas songs. lol.
but for real those service experiences you had are moments that need to be cherished. because if we think about it, we dont always have like 5 service opportunities in one week, yeah? so make sure you write them in your journal so you can always remember the feeling you had when you served others. then you'll start to actually look for ways to serve so that you can always have that feeling. 

this christmas we're going to go and do service for one of our less actives that we met for the first time this week. his name is Rupha and he lives in Bulileka which is an area where we just opened a unit and are focusing on to build the unit. anyway, me and my companion hiked into where he lives which is far sara ga, in the mud. after tracting through the mud and asking everyone where he lived we finally got to his house. only he was home and so we couldn't go inside. we found out that he was paralyzed from his waist down and that was the reason he couldn't come to church. it was too far to go in a wheelchair and it kind of seemed like people just forgot about him. we asked him if there was anything we could do to help and all he needed was for us to get him water. we went to the back of the house and realized that they dont have water in their pipes and we had to pour water from a jug which is dirty inside. my heart broke. this man was paralyzed, had no clean water, and the only person he had with him was his 80 year old mother. i started to cry just pouring the water into his water bottle because you could see it was dirty, but that's all they had. we then sat down with him, shared a scripture, and sang some christmas songs with him. he still has a strong testimony and he wanted to sing "i am a child of God" with us. so we did and then i gave us the prayer before we left.

after that we walked back and stopped at a member's house. we talked to her about it and she offered that if we wanted to we could get some bottles or jugs and fill them up at her house and take it down to Rupha's house so they have some clean water. i was so grateful for her kind heart and so some time this christmas week that's what we'll be doing. me and sis. pyne will also clean their house. so im excited for that and this will be my gift to not only this family but also to my Savior. "When ye are the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." SERVE, SERVE, SERVE!!!
this week we had the sister trainers come and visit us again and as always it's an amazing experience. i learn so much from them and i look forward to their visits every 6 weeks. the second night they were here my boil popped! lol. it was so funny!!'s 1030 at night and you hear 4 girls screaming. 1 because it hurts so bad and then the other 3 because everytime they pinch it blood and puss comes shooting out. it was so funny!! sis. fanene actually popped it for me and was squeezing it because i couldn't do it myself. and everytime she squeezed all 3 of them would scream, even if only a little blood came out haha! sister pyne was running back and forth in the flat grabbing toilet paper, gauze, plastic, tape, everything. it was like i was under surgery! i was just laughing the whole time watching them run back and forth while sis. fanene's face was so focused on the boil haha! it was funny sara ga :) the sad thing i got another boil on my back because i touched my back after touching my leg. but that one popped yesterday and sis. pyne had to drain it because i couldn't reach. she said the first one shot up and almost shot her in the face and she screamed like a little girl. we were cracking up laughing the whole time which made me forget about the pain. but it was so funny!! after we were done my shirt had splatters of blood all over it because it was shooting everywhere. it was gross! pua ting sis. pyne.
i haven't received the package yet because we have to wait for someone to go to the mission office since we're off island. so ill probably get it after christmas. our zone leaders will go on the 27th so hopefully it's there. was the family going to take it to the mission office? i just hope i get it and nothing happened. au lomani kemudou sara ga!! marau Siganisucu vei kemudou!! mele kalikimaka!! think about what you are going to give to the Savior this christmas. dont forget to read 3 nephi 1, the first christmas eve.
loloma levu,
sista chong
p.s. wherever you're having christmas dinner make sure you see if the missionaries are being fed :) vinaka!!

Pizza in Fiji

Meli and Luci

Me and Sis Pyne

More Pizza

Manu in the Mud?

Me and SIs. Tugaga

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Blessings from Exact Obedience

bula mama!!

im glad to know that you're all okay and you're all crazy tired!! pua tings!! we're similar in that area. the weird thing about a mission is that i've never been so tired in my life! (yes more tired than i normally am) but at the same time ive never been so amazingly happy!! im always happy and always love going out and doing the work!! it's weird, but i like it.

this week was my first week with my new companion sis. pyne. she's awesome! she's taught me so much already and it's only been a few days. i've already seen the increase of blessings from exact obedience. since shes got here, i have an easier time waking up at 630 every morning. its a miracle!!! the funny thing though is every morning i roll from the bed straight to the ground on my knees. its become such a habit to pray all the time. now i cant go to sleep without praying and i cant properly start my morning without praying, individually and with my companion. it's a must!! and i want to challenge the whole family to get to that point where prayer is so important that you can't sleep or start your day without it. if you think you're going to fall asleep while praying in the morning, say your prayer out loud. or walk around a little and then come back and pray. just pray!!

this week me and my companion went up to bulileka with the elders and knocked on some doors. hopefully we found some investigators. the first house we went to, there was a man hanging clothes on the line and he pretty much told us to go away and dont come back. rude!! that was the first time i ever had someone not listen to me at all because people here in Fiji are so nice that they just let everyone in. so that was the start to our tracting up there. but the rest of the day was good, we met many families and couples that we will visit again next week. so we'll see what happens.
we have a new investigator named Radha Wati. we met her last week and OYMd her and this week we came back to visit her. she's amazing and she was so happy to know that our Heavenly Father loves her. she couldn't express how happy she was and she just wants to keep on learning more and more. the only thing that makes it hard is she doesn't understand english. she only speaks Hindi. so guess learning Hindi!! im trying to atleast learn a testimony and prayer so she can understand something i say. we take a member with us to translate but its hard because it takes twice as long to teach a lesson. if she could understand english i think she would already have a baptismal date. so im trying to learn fijian and hindi at the same time. hindi is way harder!! i just dont get it!!  and since im learning two languages my english doesnt make sense anymore, i speak nonsense. ugh. just pray for me please :/ and my companion who has to deal with me lol.

well, this week i got my first boil!! it's gross and i feel dirty and it hurts so much!! it even hurts to walk!! in our little mission health book it says to heat pack it and then you'll be able to drain it. so ive been heat packing it and it hasnt gone away yet. then i asked an indian sister in the branch and she said to take the chili leaf and put some coconut oil on it and fry it on the pan little bit and then rub it so the juice comes out, then put it on the boil and wrap it. so i did that and at first we burnt the leaves because we had no idea what we were doing. but eventually we got and wrapped my leg and it in the morning we found out it didnt work! so we went to church and one of the fijian sisters fed us lunch and told me to put this oil with a leaf in it on top of my boil and it'll go away. so i tried it last night and today so we'll see. all this fiji voodoo lol. but on friday night i was reading the health book and it has "how to drain a boil." as i was reading it i was getting so scared!! i started to cry reading that book because it was saying i had to poke a needle or scalpel in it and dig deep to drain all the pus out. im so scared!!! we'll see what happens.

this week i challenge all of you to read 3 nephi chapter 1 on Christmas Eve. this was the night before Christ was born so technically it's the first Christmas Eve. i love it because it's when Nephi and the people were being threatened to be killed because he had been prophesying about a Messiah and He hadn't come yet. so that night Nephi prayed and prayed asking for help to get his people out of bondage. and the Lord answered Nephi and told him not to worry because He was coming. it just shows how much He loves us. because if you think about it, Jesus Christ must've been like preparing everything and talking to Heavenly Father that night before He would be born, but He still had the time to comfort Nephi and his people. i love it!!

the kids sound busy and naughty hahaha! especially kino!! where did he learn the word moody?? crazy kid!! i miss you all!! au lomani kemudou sara ga!! i love your christmas party idea it's wananavu!! kalougata tiko!!

loloma levu,
sista chong

Elder Ledoux, standing next to me, went home this week

Hawai'i Girls!

Saying Good Bye to Sis Ons at the Airport

Christmas Pa'ina

Beautiful Bulileka

Getting Artistic in Bulileka

Monday, December 9, 2013

A New Companion!

bula re na noqu matavuvale,

vacava tiko kemudou? au misitaki kemuni kece sara ga. sa dredre kei set sara ga na cakacaka ike. na macawa sa oti, au kei na noqu itokani taubale valevu ka sikovi na eso tamata. keirau kunea tiko ena ivakatataro vou. au ciqoma e dua itokani vou na yacana, sis. pyne mai salt lake city, utah. koya sa wananavu!! au vola na email oqo ena vosavavalagi.

well this week we had a amazing week! it was the best week we've had so far! but at the same time it was the saddest week because there was transfers and my companion got transferred. in the mission your trainer is your mom so my mission mom got transferred :( it was such a sad day yesterday, her last sunday here in labasa. so many members were crying and you could just see how much they love her. we went to see most of our investigators and all them promised her they would get baptized so we'll see how that goes. but hopefully they keep their promises. so my new companion is sis. pyne from salt lake city, utah and she has been out for about 8 months now. she's pretty awesome so we'll see what happens.

this week we just knocked on doors. we've been looking for new investigators recently but we've just been scared to go knock on doors and talk to strangers but this week i told my companion, "let's forget ourselves and our fears, and just do it!" and she agreed so we went and we knocked on doors and you know wasn't even bad! i have no problem knocking on doors now and talking to strangers on the street. i think of like this...when we're home we can't just go knocking on people's doors to share a message because people will think you're just weird. but when you're a missionary and you have a badge, people know what you're there for and they know what you do. so it's not weird. so im going to take advantage of wearing this tag!! lol. it was awesome. there was one experience where we went and knocked on this one door because the member that was with us said that she had a prompting to go to that door. so we went and there was a fijian lady there. she told us that right before she got there someone knocked on her door but no one came in and then a couple seconds after we came and knocked on her door. it was like the spirit had prepared her for us. it was really cool because she was so open to what we have to teach and we'll see how it goes.

we also had mission tour this week where we had elder pearson of the seventy come and speak to us. it was intense! he gave us so much information and i pretty much felt like i was getting a big fat slap in the face. there's so many things that i need to change in my work and he told me how to change it. one thing that he told us that stuck with me is that the way we see ourselves will determine what we do. he said when people say that they're shy and can't talk to strangers it's not because Heavenly Father made them that way, but it's because they think of themselves as shy and that keeps them from doing what they want. he said the way we see ourselves will determine the work we do. if you tell yourself you are not afraid to talk to anyone and you can share the gospel with anyone, then you can! just do it!! it was an amazing training!! i loved it and now i know what i need to do in order to have no regrets.

after the mission tour one of the elders that there was a lady in the prison that wanted a bible. (the chapel is across the street from the police station.) so me and sis. ons went over and met a lady in the prison. she told us that she wanted a bible to read but all we had with us was a book of mormon. so she sat on the ground inside the bars and we sat right outside and taught her a lesson about the book of mormon and told her a little bit about the church. she understand everything and said she's interested in learning more, so we'll where that goes but it was just a really cool experience. it shows that Heavenly Father loves EACH of His children no matter what they do, He wants us ALL to return back to Him. so when you see someone that doesn't look like they would be interested in the gospel, still try to share it with them because the gospel changes lives! they could be a "golden" investigator.

au lomani kemuni sara ga!! kalougata tiko!!

loloma levu,
sista chong

Aloha 'Oe to Sister Ons.  Until We Meet Again.

Finally got me a PUA!!!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Training is over! I'm Fo' Real!

"Gaze towards the temple, not just the baptismal font."

bula mama!

TRAINING IS OVER! i am now a normal, fo' real kine missionary! woohoo! im up with the big girls now haha. now im just praying that i dont have to train the next intake because im so not ready, but i have a feeling i will. we'll see. tthey dont come until january so i have a month break lol. but our training was 12 weeks long, so ive been in fiji for about 12 weeks now. time flies so fast! can you believe it's december already!? oh my gosh! next month i will finish 6 months already! isa lei!

before i tell you about my week i will try to answer all your questions so i dont forget. so on pdays we still wake up at 630 and study for 3 hours and then we go to email. after that we do our grocery shopping and then 4-530 we go to the chapel and play volleyball! some members come and play, a lot of youth and then about 6 of us missionaries. so i usually see the same 4 elders all the time because we're in the same area. and then our pdays end at 6pm and it's time to get back to work. so for the rest of the night we either go teach lessons or attend a FHE or something like that. the's so hot!!!!!! like for real, im dying!!! it has been ridiculously hot this past week, like me and my companion sleep with our own fans. i get like a shade darker everyday. but it's weird because it'll be so hot and then all of a sudden there's thunder and lightning but no rain. so it's just miserable! haha. but it's getting really hot here. it actually rained today for the first time. thank goodness! christmas here isn't as exciting as home. but it's only the 2nd of the month so maybe it'll get more exciting as we get closer. the service is coming slowly. this week was zone conference so we didnt do a lot of proselyting. but this week ill look for me opportunities.

but this week we had my first zone conference. and it was amazing! it was different then what i pictured for some reason, but in a good way. it was very personal because there's only like 31 of us missionaries there so we were really involved. our zone leaders talked about how our 3 hours of studying before we go out is really important and helpful throughout the rest of our day. our APs talked about how we need to role play in our companionship study. practice teaching the lessons we would be teaching that day or practice what we would say if we met someone on the street or were knocking on doors. me and my companion dont role play in our studies but now we will start! sis. klingler (mission pres wife) talked about using the book of mormon. she explained to us how important it is to use the book of mormon in every single visit. never miss an opportunity to talk about the book of mormon. she also gave us gave us all a reminder on the sacredness of the temple garment. she bore a powerful testimony on what a privilege it is to wear the garment and that we should treat with the most respect. lastly, we had our mission president, pres. klingler, talk to us. he talked to us about putting our "gaze on the temple, not just the baptismal font." he said when we teach investigators we shouldn't only focus on getting them baptized but focus on the getting to the temple a year later because that's where the eternal blessings come from. he printed the baptism and temple recommend questions and showed us that the questions were very similar! baptism prepares them for the temple more then we think. overall, the conference was amazing! it was fun to meet all the missionaries in my zone.

yesterday was sis. ons birthday! so i tried to make it special for her because i knew that she would be thinking about home a lot so i tried to distract her. i woke up at 230am to put up a birthday sign that i made her, so that when she woke up she would see it. i then made her a birthday crown and birthday card and she loved it! we then went to church and i secretly planned a little birthday party for her after choir practice with all the relief society. the sisters brought so much food and it was all for sis. ons. she was so happy! while we sang happy birthday to her she almost cried because she was just so happy and touched. i made her a chocolate pudding pie and some peanut butter cookies. when we got home i stuck a candle in the pie and sang happy birthday to her in hawaiian and she made a wish and blew out her candle. she loved her birthday and i was just grateful that i could help her have an awesome birthday away from home.

there's one thing that ive noticed that's changing about myself. my level of tolerance. lol. ive been working on 2 christlike attributes from preach my gospel. charity and patience. when i came on my mission i noticed that one of my weaknesses was patience. i would mad so fast at the littlest things. so since i got here in fiji ive been working on it as much as i can. and you know what, im getting better. i dont get as mad as before. so i truly see the hand of the Lord in my life. i read the christlike attribute chapter in preach my gospel, ch. 6, so many times because if you dont have christlike attributes then you cant do the work.

okay story on saturday night me and my companion came home to our flat and i saw a big B52 cockroach in our kitchen. ive gotten very brave and now i can just grab a slipper and kill it. so i easily killed that one. but suddenly there were 3 more crawling on the ground and i just got so scared i screamed and my companion came running. she saw all the cockroaches and she went and grabbed slippers to slap them with and i went and got another one. so picture these two sister missionaries, still in our skirts, with a slipper in each hand ready as if we were going to war. so as my companion chased them towards me i would kill them. except one time i missed and it started crawling up my leg and i started to jump up down and tried to whack it off my leg. she couldn't stop laughing and the last one got away. i got the one off my leg and murdered it, til it could be killed no more lol. i then took our bug spray and sprayed all inside our cupboards which is where they were coming out from and sprayed a lot and closed the doors. later that night another 3 cockroaches came out half dead, so we gave um one hit and they were dead. i fell asleep with a slipper in each hand that night, ready to kill any other cockroaches that dare came near me.

but that's the night life of a fiji sister missionary :) i have to deal with frogs, geckos, cockroaches, and im sure there's many more to come. im getting braver and stronger everyday haha. but au lomani kemudou kece sara ga!!

loloma levu,
sista chong
Sister On's Birthday Pa'ina - Fijian Style

Happy Birthday Sister Ongesel

Water Filter after One Month

My Zone Sistahs plus one

Me and IKAIA!!!!  And one lope in the back.

Monday, November 25, 2013

It's time to...DO WORK YO!!

bula mama!

okay okay first things first......I SAW IKAIA!!! but it was so funny because we awkwardly shook hands and ill tell you i was soooo tempted to hug him, but i didn't! dont worry :) but we had our meeting and then after at lunch we were just talking about BYU days and all that stuff and it was just so good to catch up. he's getting so skinny!! but we were talking like the whole lunch and at one point while we were talking and suddenly everything just got really quiet. we look up and everyone else was staring at us, so we stopped talking and one of the elders was like, oh no please continue your story we want to hear too! they were listening to our conversation for about 5 minutes and we didn't notice, how embarrassing! lol. but we'll take a picture this week at zone conference, dont worry. 

Thank you for that scripture. I've been having a little rough time loving our investigators that don't keep commitments, so i needed to be reminded that i need to love them no matter what. if i dont love them, then they're not gonna care at all about what i say and what i ask them to do. ive noticed the difference in my lessons. when i truly and genuinely love them, i can hear the spirit clearly and im able to say what needs to be said. while if i go into the lesson just irritated because they didnt come to church on sunday, the spirit is not there at all. i literally feel like a sells girl, trying to share the gospel. no one likes to listen to someone who talks about how their church is better, that's not what we do. we just share about the restoration of this true gospel and help them understand and learn about the fulness of the gospel, instead of just a little piece of the big puzzle.

well...this week was better then last week. each week gets better and better. ive been really praying and asking why i dont seem as motivated and excited about the work anymore. i found myself just going through the motions. it's just like volleyball. if you just go through the motions, no one will get anything out of what you're doing. so ive been just taking some time to ponder and think about what i need to do to get back that excitement and drive. i've been on my mission for about 4 months now and i am just getting so use to the missionary life. recently ive been thinking, all we do is eat, sleep, and find new people to teach the gospel. but that's not what this work is! it's so much more than that! missionary work is helping to strengthen the Lord's church and to find His lost children so that we may ALL return to our Father in Heaven. in my journal i recommitted myself to the work. i really thought about why im here, what am i doing, how am i going to improve? im here because i love this gospel with all my heart and it would be selfish of me to not share it with all of God's children, so that we can all return back to Him. what am i doing...i am building the Heavenly Father's kingdom here on earth. how lucky am i to have the trust of my Father in Heaven to teach His children here in Fiji. it's a responsibility that i shouldn't take lightly because i only have 18 months to do it. and im going to improve by "forgetting myself and going to work." immerse myself in this beautiful work. that includes loving ALL those i meet and because i love them so much, learning their language, so that they can hear the fullness of the true gospel in their own tongue. so it's time to...DO WORK YO!!

this week we've really been focusing on strengthening the members. we've been visiting a lot of less actives. many of them that have been less active for a really long time. we actually found two less active families that no one knew where they lived. come to find out...we walk pass their homes like all the time AND they live right next to each other. go figure! so me and sis. ons and 2 sisters from the branch came with us and we visited those 2 families. one of the father's of the home was even a branch president and his wife and mother are actually not members yet, so we're hoping to get some investigators from that visit. the second family, there is 2 sisters that are baptized out of the like 15 people that live in that one house. but they only got baptized about 2 years ago so they still have so much to learn. so we'll be visiting them a lot. none of them came to church yesterday but it doesn't mean that we are giving up. we will visit them every week until they come to church again. along those lines....i want to invite you all to go and visit the less actives! especially the ones that have just fallen away. usually those who recently fell away still a strong testimony, just maybe something happened that you could help with. but also visit the older less actives. something we do here is every saturday night we meet and go on splits with the auxiliary leaders and go and visit different less active members. it's been really successful and most of the families we visit come to church the next day. so that's something you can ask uncle kahele about. it's really helped us to strengthen our branch.

on friday lucy taught me how to make polusami which is like the samoan palusami. the roro (lu'au leaf) with corn beef wrapped in it, cooked in lolo (coconut milk). and guess what...i squeezed the coconut milk. so we're never buying coconut milk again when i come home. we just get some coconuts, scrape it, and i squeeze it and make the coconut milk for you. fresh :)

this week i have also been trying to speak as much fijian as i can. last night in our lesson we taught the plan of salvation and i tried my best to speak fijian. so i pretty much ended up teaching most of the lesson because my companion is not as confident in fijian. but i tried my best, even though at some points i needed to speak english because i couldn't think of how to say it in fijian. but at the end of the lesson we sang "i am a child of God' with our 2 recent converts Meli and Lucy, and our investigator Arieta. she loved the song! then we prayed and after we prayed i told Arieta that i was so sorry for my fijian because im still learning and trying. her face was like so surprised. she told me that she thought that i was already fluent in fijian. i was like whoa! thank you! but i told her i am far from being fluent and i still have so much to learn! but i appreciated that compliment because it just helped me to know that im making progress in my language, one step at a time.

funny thursday night there was a huge thunderstorm! me and sis. ons were sleeping until suddenly..."BOOM!!" a huge thunder shook our house. and the way they build their flats here is like on log stick things. which i never trusted in the first place. so when this huge thunder hit, first of all, im scared of thunderstorms, and second of all, all i was thinking was our flat is just going to fall off those sticks and we're going to like die! i was freaking out! and then as im lying in bed with my blanket over my head covering my ears, i feel something crawling up my arm. A BIG COCKROACH!!! oh my gosh!! i started to cry because i flicked it off my arm and then it started to crawl up my leg and i just jumped out of bed and jumped up and down screaming and shaking my hair out and i had no idea where it went. my companion was just laughing at me! after standing up for about 10 minutes i lied down again and covered my body fully with the blanket and finally fell asleep. it was the worse night of my life!!

well au lomani kemudou sara ga! kalougata tiko!!

loloma levu,
sista chong

Lovin' my Fijian Food!!

Monday, November 18, 2013

First Bible Bash and a Sacrament for 9

bula sia mama!

Anyway, this week was another slow week and we had a lot of fall through appointments. the work is moving slowly. everytime we think things are getting better, it just gets harder. we're still working on finding more investigators but we haven't been very lucky. the hard thing in fiji is everytime you go and knock on someone's door, they invite you in to sit down, have some juice, and talk a little bit. then you start to share about what you do and start talking about the gospel and then they tell you they go to another church, but all of God's word is good. so you pretty much get your hopes built up and then crushed. i sometimes wish that they would just shut the door in my face from the beginning so i dont sit there for like 20 minutes talking to just have them not be interested. another thing that's hard is that fijians are so nice that they dont like to say "no." so when we ask them if we can come back and meet with them they act all happy and excited but when it comes to that day, they start to lie and hide, which just wastes our time and we get so frustrated. i want them to just tell me that they're not interested and not be nice lol. but me and my companion are praying all the time to help us find some new investigators. hopefully we'll get some new investigators this week.

this week i had my first bible bash. me and my companion went into the pharmacy store to buy some face wash (which is $20!!) and while we were looking one of the workers comes up to us and at first asks if we need help. we tell her no we were just looking. then she asked us if we worked anywhere because of our name tags and we told her who we were and what we do. in my mind i was like "yes! this might be our new investigator." well, as soon as i thought that she suddenly said, "do you know what it says in Matthew 6?" where in the world did that come from! before i realized it she started throwing bible verses at us asking us if we knew what that verse said. she told us that we pray to God not Jesus and we told her yes we believe that too. and then she threw another bible verse at us, even though we agreed with what she said. i was so confused to what she was trying to prove! then she said there is one greater then Jesus, and we said Heavenly Father. but they are the same through their works and she said do you know Heavenly Father's name. we were confused by her question and told us, "God's name is Jehovah." she was a Jehovah's witness. I told her that Jehovah is Jesus Christ and that God is Heavenly Father. she just kept throwing bible verses at us with jehovah in it until finally i was like you know what, thank you but we need to go. we're not here to fight about religions. then we walked out. we then went to meet the elders for lunch and we told them and one of the elders was like "let's all 10 of us go back to the store and teach her the gospel." haha but dont worry we didn't. we just forgot about it. but that was my first experience and i hated it. i hated the feeling of not being able to say what i wanted to say because she kept cutting us off but i know that that's not what we do. we dont go around trying to prove someone else's religion wrong. we're just here to share our message and it's their choice to except it. but the Jehovah's witnesses here are really irritating. they go around telling people not to listen to us mormon missionaries because we dont believe in the bible, only the book of mormon. so they just give me more motivation and determination to teach everyone the truth!

This week we had a lesson with our one new investigator, Maca. she goes to seventh day church and she lives by Meli and Lucy and they asked us to come teach her. our lesson was really good and she understand and seemed to believe in the things we were teaching. we taught her about the Restoration of the gospel and we asked her if she had any questions at the end. she sat their quietly and asked, "how do you know which church is the true one? how do you know that your church is true, what about mine?" me and my companion sat there quietly looking at each other like who was going to answer her question. i finally just felt prompted to bare my testimony. i told Maca, "there's no scripture or anything i can show you that will convince you right now that our church is the only true church. but i can bare you my testimony that i know with all my heart that this church is true and that it's the only true church on this earth. i know with no doubt in my body that joseph smith was a prophet called of God and that he restored this gospel, the gospel of Jesus Christ. this isn't joseph smith's church, it is Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ's church that they restored through joseph smith. i testify that joseph smith translated the book of mormon by the power of God. and that by reading it, it's the only way you can know that joseph smith was a true prophet. only if you read and pray about it." i could feel the spirit so strong at that moment. it didn't feel like i was speaking but rather my lips were moving and the spirit was giving me the exact words to say. after, i bore my testimony she didn't say anything. she couldn't argue with me because it was what i believed, but i knew that it impacted her and i could see the spirit working in her. i now can truly testify that there is no way at all you can do missionary work without the Holy Ghost! the Holy Ghost converts, not us.

Lastly, yesterday we went with the elders up to Boca loop which is about a 15 minute drive from town, where we took up sacrament. the elders are starting a unit up there and they invited us up there because technically it's our area it's just that we don't have a transport so it's too far for us walk. but we hold the sacrament meeting at a member's home, outside on her porch. her and her son are members and then only 2 other people came. so we only had 4 people at sacrament, besides us. this experience was so humbling to see the dedication and love these people have for the gospel. me and my companion got to speak to them yesterday and the spirit was so powerful, even with just the 9 of us there. it is an experience i will never forget and we will continue to go up with the elders on sundays and hopefully the unit will grow more and more.
well all is well here. i still love being a missionary and would not change it for the world. me and my companion always talk about the weird things we're going to do when we get home. well, just the fijian things that we'll do at home, which will be weird to you guys lol. it'll be fun!! but au lomani kemudou sara ga!!

loloma levu,
sista chong

Gotta LUV the NIU!

Some RS Sisters in Labasa Branch

Friday, November 15, 2013

Finally Teaching in Fijian

bula mama!
me and my companion were cracking up at all the wedding pictures. but honestly i didnt expect anything different then what i saw lol. the three boys look so cute! my companion was cracking up at their mustaches and bow ties, cutest!  i wish i could've been there. no one printed a poster of me and carried me around!? how rude! hahaha!
here in fiji it was hot like crazy! i swear im getting like 10 shades darker everyday lol nah just joking, i wish. but its been really hot recently and the sun here in labasa is like penetrating my skin. we walk around with umbrellas not just when it's raining, but also when the sun is so hot, cannot handle. we always feel like the jehovah's witness people, but we gotta do what we gotta do.
well something exciting happened this week, actually just yesterday. I TAUGHT MY FIRST LESSON IN FIJIAN! pretty much the whole lesson was in fijian! and let me tell you, i struggled hard, but at the same time i knew enough to get my message across. i felt bad for my investigator because i probably made no sense at all at some points, but she was so nice and tried really hard to understand me lol. we also had a member present with us so wherever i got stuck she would help me or continue what i was trying to say. we taught the plan of salvation. it was so difficult because not only was almost every concept in the plan of salvation new to our investigator, Arieta, but she had to try and understand it with my broken fijian. i was just so grateful that we had our member there because she really helped Arieta to understand what we were trying to say. when we got to the judgement part in the plan of salvation, she told us, "i know im a sinner, so what happens to me? can even i repent of all the bad things i did? or is it too late?" we shared with her the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants that says that when we repent with the fulness of heart, the Lord remembers them not. she started to cry when she heard this because it was a new sense of hope. i told her that she was already on the road of repentance and she was already drawing closer to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. we told her that our Father in Heaven was already happy and rejoicing that she is choosing to change her life and come closer to Him. i reminded her how much our Heavenly Father loves her and wants her to return back and live with Him. i then committed her to baptism and she accepted. she said that she can't wait to be baptized and be reborn. the spirit was so strong in that lesson, even though it was in fijian and i didn't know how to say everything, i knew the spirit was testifying to her of the truth. now i am have a lot more confidence to teach in fijian and i think me and my companion are going to try and teach in fijian more often.
another good thing happened this week...MY COMPANION ISN'T GETTING TRANSFERRED! well atleast not this week. we found out that something happened with the new intakes travel plans. they were suppose to arrive today but something happened so they won't be coming to fiji for another week or so and that's when there will be a big transfer so we'll see if my mom (companion) stays. but when the intake comes i wont be the new missionary anymore! yaaayyy! so now i won't feel like the little, unexperienced missionary anymore. lol
this sunday we had our primary presentation. and it was a success! me and my companion pretty much wrote the program and taught the kids the songs. so we played a big part in getting all the stuff together and we ran the rehearsal the saturday before the presentation. let me just say now, i never want to be a primary president! hahaha! and now that i just said that, im gonna called there. isa! but me and my companion fasted that morning just praying that the program would be successful and everything would be okay. when we went to church we practiced and from the practice i was so unsure and uneasy about the program. but once sacrament meeting started i just knew it would be okay. i was the one that sat on the side of the pulpit in case the kids forgot their lines and they did an awesome job! even all the little ones did their talks and weren't scared. they're singing was so beautiful and touching to many in the congregation. i think it was one of the first primary presentations that they had in the branch and everyone said it was beautiful. when they sang "i am a child of God" at the end, the 2nd counselor in our branch presidency was sobbing. the song touched him so much! after sacrament was done, so many people came up to us and said they really enjoyed the program and to keep up the good work. i thanked my Heavenly Father for helping us get through this and thanked Him for the spirit that was present during the presentation.
there's one sister in our branch who me and my companion have been spending a lot of time with this week. one because she's the primary president so we were helping her a lot, second because she is going through a hard time. so we've been just going over and visiting, taking her out to our lessons, doing service for her, and just trying to give her that extra support. we have grown so close to her and she's amazing! she's so strong in the gospel even though she's been through so much. i can't imagine all the things that she's been through in her life, she deserves so much better, but she continues to have such strong faith and trust in the Lord. she builds my testimony every time we meet with her. she also has a son on his mission in the Philippines and she's borrowing a friends laptop during Christmas week so she can skype him and she offered for us to borrow it too! so i think we might get to skype on Christmas and not just talk on the phone. yaaayyy!! im so excited! but just thought i'd let you know, only one more month :)
well, the work is still amazing! very difficult but the blessings that come from it are indescribable! au lomani kemudou sara ga!
loloma levu,
sista chong

oh my gosh i forgot something to include in the blog letter. I DRANK FRESH COW MILK!  like straight from the utter kine!! and i was looking at the cow the whole time i was drinking it. it was actually okay and tasted pretty good when you put sugar in it. the only thing was that there was like chunks in it and that's when i almost threw up but i didn't. and i drank it all! and i was like yes i did it! then the lady refilled my glass. i almost cried. i prayed and asked heavenly father to give me the strength to drink this second glass and He did. i held my cup the rest of the lesson so she wouldn't refill it. hahahaha!

Young Men from the branch

Chong in the House!!!

excerpt from Keapo's letter from her first week in Fiji about the frogs:

so every night when we come home to our flat there are all these frogs on the grass. they're maybe like the size of golf balls or so but they're gross and there's choke!! i like scream and run through the grass. they like jump and touch my legs and my companion just laughs at me and tells me, "just kick um!" yeah no im not kicking no frogs!! im just gonna run and hope they dont touch me. sometimes i step on them and it makes the grossest sound. so my companion said we're going to try and come home before its dark so i dont have to deal with frogs, eeewwwwww!!!! i swear im going to die!!! but i guess ill get use to it and start kicking frogs like nothing. we'll see. gross!!!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Boat to Suva

bula mama!!
dont worry i didn't forget about you guys but i think you're on a plane but we're emailing on tuesday this week because we had a zone pday yesterday and didn't have time because it was a holiday so everything was closed. but i'll email you my big letter, later on when we drive back to labasa. we're in savusavu right now, about 2 hours away from my area. but i love you guys and i email you more later today. i got some stories! i love the kids costumes!!!!! we dont have halloween here, i miss the candy :( lol love you!!

***Later in the day we received this letter***

bula mama!!

okay so now we're back in labasa town and back to the work. well, after we email lol. but i had a pretty adventurous week. but before i get to that. what happened to your hand!!! you beating people?? lol nah but fo real what happened! why doesn't the doctor give you a brace or something?? i loved the kids halloween costumes this year, so cute! im sure kino loved disneyland so much! did all the kids go on the tower of terror? the picture is small so i cant really see it clearly. if they did, wow! im so proud of them :)
well, last week wednesday we had a sister training in suva. so on tuesday morning me and my companion still didn't know when we were going because the APs (president's assistant) didn't email or call any of our zone leaders or district leader. so we're sitting in our flat on tuesday and doing our normal studies until we get a call from the APs and they say, "sisters did you know that your plane leaves in 3 minutes?" come to find out, they forgot to tell anyone! they just booked our flight but forgot to any of us so we had no idea our flight was that morning. so we ended up having to catch the bus down to savusavu which is about 2-2.5 hours and then we had to catch the BOAT to suva. we are the first sister missionaries to catch a boat in the whole mission. like for so long. the outer islands have to catch a boat but it's only like half an hour. our boat ride was 15 hours long! when we got to the boat we had no idea what to expect. it was a huge boat, more like a ship. downstairs there was like cars and trucks to ship and stuff and then we had to go upstairs. upstairs where we were going to be sitting was surprisingly really nice! it kind of looked like an airplane and everyone pretty much took a row for themselves and lied down to sleep. but me and my companion shared a row, so one of us slept on the chairs while the other slept on the ground. we were okay and really excited to ride the boat until we woke up in the morning and we did not feel good at all! my head was throbbing and i felt like i needed to throw up because we were in this hot room all night. then we went outside to get some fresh air and watch the waves and we felt a little better. the ocean spray felt good and ocean breeze smelt good and i missed it so much!  we left savusavu at 8pm on tuesday night and then we didn't get to suva until 11am wednesday morning and we ended up missing half the training. it went from a fun, simple trip to suva to a crazy, long trip. it was an experience ill never forget!

The Boat Ride
the training itself was actually really awesome. they pretty much talked to us about member present which is so important and the thing we are the weakest at as a mission right now. and then LANGUAGE! we need to learn the fijian language!!! and it was perfect for me because i love the language and i want to learn it but i just want it to come to me already you know? i hate not being able to speak it. i read uncle shons letter like everyday for that extra boost and motivation so im determined! even our zone training last night was about language. isa! i need to do it! there's a scripture they shared with us from D&C that says that every nation should receive the fulness of the gospel in their own tongue. they told us that even though fijians speak english, they would understand so much more if we spoke fijian and they deserved to be taught in fijian, their first language. so im trying hard but now im going to try my hardest ever to learn the language.  fiji has just enhanced my FOBness lol. i love it!!!! i wear my suluvakatoga (lavalava) to sleep every night because it's so hot haha!!! 
Elder Rainston and Sister Bechu

North District

i want to thank each and every one of you for your prayers. this week we were able to find 2 new investigators and i know your prayers played a big part in that. im humbled and overwhelmed with the spirit everytime i think that not only me and my companion pray for our work but our families do too and you guys are so far away. i can feel your love through your prayers and i am seeing the blessings of having a family that is constantly supporting me and encouraging me to do the Lord's work. i dont know if i would be able to do this without you guys. so i just wanted to say VINAKA SARA VALEVU!
one of our new investigators is Arieta. she is from a small group of islands between the main fiji islands and tonga, called Lau. she is leaving next to Meli and Lucy and she is a referral from both them and another member in the branch. her family is catholic but she has never really practiced their religion so she doesn't anything about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. our first lesson with her was about the Godhead. she expressed her want to change and become closer to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. she says she knows that she's done so many things that she's not proud of and now she's willing to change her life and fix it. i love her for that and i know she can do it, especially with this gospel in her life. When we taught her about the Godhead she understood that they are 3 different people but she asked us about Mary, Jesus' mom, because she said that their church they pray to her. we answered her question by showing her the scripture John 16:23, which is Jesus telling us himself to not ask Him anything but instead ask the Father in His name and we will receive whatever we ask for. she couldn't believe what she had just read. she was like, "why did they tell me to pray to Mary when it says right here in the Bible to pray to Heavenly Father? i've been praying to the wrong person my whole life. no wonder i felt like God never answered or loved me." it was the first time that i've seen a scripture effect a person so much. she could not believe this verse, she read it over and over and couldn't believe how clear it was. so we taught her the 4 steps of prayer and committed her to pray about what we taught her using the 4 steps and she said she would.

we then had a second lesson with her and we taught her about the Restoration. when we taught her that lesson, we had another lady come and sit in the lesson, Maca. she was another referral but she wanted to kind of see what we teach, what we do, and then she would decide if she wants to take lessons. when we taught the Restoration the spirit was so strong. at the end of the lesson she expressed that it all made sense. we committed her to read the introduction of the Book of Mormon and then pray about it. next time we'll show her the Restoration video so she can picture it and see the First Vision. it should be good for her. but we're hoping that she'll be able to change her ways and come more unto Christ. we're meeting with her again tomorrow and i can't wait! we're meeting with Maca tonight for her first lesson on her own. we'll see how it goes.

this past sunday it was that holiday diwali. and on diwali all indian families pop firecrackers, it's crazy! well, not crazy like home on new years eve but there's still kind of a lot. and they also all make food and sweets. their indian sweets are pretty bomb. and they just give it away to everyone who wants, its awesome! so it was kind of like halloween for me haha.

so the work is moving a little more everyday. the sad thing is this next week there'll be transfers and i really think my companion will be getting transferred because she has been in this area for about 6 months. everyone says that im gonna train as soon as my training is done because that's what usually happens in our area. they said the normal time period in our area is about 6-7 months. so i think ill be here for a while but i love this area so it's okay :) i just dont want my companion to leave me, but it's time for her to get transferred because she's been here really long. but it'll hard, but ill be happy for her. she's amazing!
that was pretty much my week. it was pretty adventurous and productive. it was so much fun! but au lomani kemudou sara ga!!
loloma levu,
sista chong

Scenic Point in Savusavu

Elder Schofield - Micah Swain's TWIN!!!!