Sunday, October 27, 2013

Wananavu!!!!

  bula mama!!!

THIS WEEK WAS WANANAVU!!!! look it up ;) hahaha!! ill go day by day to show you how wananavu it was :)
moniti:
so on p-day this week we did the usual. we cleaned our flat, emailed, and then we headed to the chapel to play volleyball. well while playing volleyball me and my companion were making a cake because it was meli's (our investigator that just got baptized) birthday. so we thought it would be very special if we made him a birthday cake and then sing to him after we were finished playing volleyball. so we went and bought a white cake mix, some chocolate frosting, and then we went to the market and bought some coconuts to scrape for the top. it's really amazing how much coconuts i buy haha. it's like whenever in doubt, just use a coconut lol. anyway, so we went to the chapel and baked it because our flat doesn't have a oven so we cooked it there. it was an awesome looking cake and it tasted even better!! everyone was asking how i made it and i told them it's a secret family recipe haha! but i told them just buy the mix at the store. but meli's face lit up when we lit the candles and brought it out while they were coming in after volleyball. it was as if he has never had a birthday cake and he's 30 years old! so he was so grateful and loved it so much :)
tusiti:

the sister trainers came to labasa on tuesday afternoon. the sister trainers position was just created since there has been an increase of sisters serving their missions. so what they do is just make sure that all the sister missionaries are doing okay and doing what they're suppose to be doing. so every 6 weeks or so they come on splits with each sister. so this week it was our turn. i got to go with sis. fanene from america samoa, and sis. ongesel went with sis. tugaga from new zealand. i was really nervous to go with sis. fanene because my companion was telling me that she is very straight forward and just talks to everyone and shares the gospel. she finishes her mission in this coming january, so she is very experienced. im still getting used to mission life and im still getting comfortable walking up to random people and sharing with them about the gospel. 
Sister Trainers

so i went with sis. fanene for the day and we had 3 lessons. the first lesson was with sis. vesi and we talked more about the book of mormon because she hasn't been reading it, therefore she doesn't believe that joseph smith was a prophet. so we talked about the bom and then sis. vesi shared with us that she doesn't get that warm feeling inside when she prays to know if what we're saying is true. we then asked her how she prays and she said that in her church (bahai) they read from a prayer book. sis. fanene then told her straight up that she's not getting an answer because she's praying wrong. i was like whoa! that was very straight up! haha but you know what it was true, and so for the first time sis. vesi agreed to try and pray the way we taught her to, to Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ. so im excited to see her again and see if she tried praying the right way. we then had a lesson with 2 recent converts, 2 little boys who's family has gone inactive. so we taught them about obedience and coming to church. we then met lucy and meli and she loved them and wished she could stay for their baptism. we reminded them of the 3 promises we make when we are baptized. after we did the lesson i asked them if they had any questions about their baptism or anything and all meli said was, "I'm ready!" i was so happy to hear that and i knew they were both ready. but throughout the whole day we talked to almost every single person we saw on the street or in homes. she showed me how first and then she made me try. i was freaking out! but then i realized that it wasn't hard at all. people want to hear the gospel and Heavenly Father has provided those people for me. so she taught me so much and she encouraged me to start reading my bom from the beginning again and so that's what i've done this week.
vukelulu:

what was so special about wednesday was me and my companion went and knocked on doors for the first time. we don't usually knock on doors because we're both pretty hesitant when it comes to talking to strangers. but we went to this one apartment complex kind of thing and we knocked on a door. the lady let us in and we just shared with her what we do, who we were, and talked to her a little bit about what we believe in our church. what was amazing was that i dont know how but almost everything i said was in fijian! i was like whoa where'd this come from? my companion started talking first and she spoke in english but when it was my turn and i suddenly started speaking fijian, her whole attitude changed. she suddenly became interested and she asked if i knew fijian and i just told her im still learning. she said that she really appreciated that im learning the language and she so much open to us after that. this really built my testimony of speaking the language!! ive noticed that when i try to speak fijian they really open up to you and want to help you with your fijian! so im motivated!

Sister Sagar (investigator)

lotulevu:

thursday was a normal day lol. the only thing is i almost got hit by a car. im still getting used to the cars driving on the left side of the road compared to the right side. so when i cross the street, which is a lot i always have to remember which way to look. well, i looked the wrong and i was like okay sis. ons it's clear, i step onto the road and i just hear a loud horn, there was a taxi coming flying down the road. so i jumped back on the curb and everyone was like laughing and was like sista where you from? so shame!! hahaha so now i look both ways like 3 times before i cross the road. 
varaubuka:

friday night we had our first branch activity. we as missionaries planned a movie night for the branch members. me and my companion spent pretty much the whole day making popcorn. i have never popped so much popcorn in my life and you know it was the first time that i never wanted to eat another piece of popcorn ever again either lol. amazing aye!? but we watched "prince of egypt" and they loved it! we actually had a really good turn out and some brought friends which is really good. so our activity was a success! the popcorn and juice was a treat to them because they don't really buy stuff like that because they don't have enough money. so i was so happy to see their faces when we told them there was popcorn and drinks. they were so grateful.
varauwai:

BAPTISM DAY!! i couldn't sleep the night before because i was so excited for the baptism. i was so happy and excited to see meli and lucy make that first step into the kingdom of our heavenly father. well, the baptism was at 1pm and everything went smoothly and according to plan. even our branch president came to our baptism, a miracle! the baptism was such a humbling experience and the spirit was overpowering. while, we were helping lucy change i asked her how she felt and she said that she felt so clean and she felt good. i was so happy! after we went back in the chapel and meli, lucy, me and sis. ons sang "if the savior stood beside me." we had sang this song in a lesson to them and they loved it so much they wanted us to sing it with them at their baptism. it was special! then they shared their testimonies. their testimonies sounded as if they had been members for years already. they have such powerful testimonies of this gospel already and they can only improve and grow. when lucy bore her testimony she started to cry before she said anything. the spirit was so overwhelming and she couldn't express how happy she was to be baptized. they both looked directly into our eyes and thanked us for finding them and teaching them about this true gospel. it was at that moment that i knew the reason im on my mission. to see how much the gospel can effect someone's life. to see the joy and happiness the gospel can bring to their lives. i wouldn't want to be anywhere else. it was a perfect day!

Meli and Luci before baptism

After Baptism
Everyone at the baptism

sigatabu:

okay well to start off sunday we were late for church. not because we were just running late but because no one told us they have day light savings here! the elders called and were like sisters you're late for church, i was like no we're not it's 830. well come to find out it was actually 930 because it's day light savings now. so we got to church and everyone was laughing at us lol. now we're sister day light savings, great! haha. but me and sis. ons had to teach the primary their primary songs for their primary presentation. i dont know how in the world we got put in charge but i dont mind because i love primary. anything i can do to help. as a missionary we dont only help investigators but also the members :) then, in sacrament, meli and lucy received the gift of the holy ghost and i just had a feeling of peace and a surety that they will be okay. as a missionary you constantly have this fear if your investigators are ready for baptism and confirmation or not. but at that moment that they both received the holy ghost, i knew they would be okay and they will be strong in this gospel. the next step is the temple. last night, we went to visit them just to see how they feel about baptism and the confirmation. after that, we told them that the next step as a family was the temple. i gave them the challenge to make it to the temple before i finish my mission, which gives them about 15 months. they graciously accepted the challenge and i can't wait to see them go through the temple and be sealed forever. 
did you guess what wananavu is yet?? AWESOME!! haha. this week was a good week and it's because i had the right attitude and i had the spirit with me throughout the whole week. without the spirit, nothing can happen. 
i loved hearing about you and laa's day together. one on one time is very special and that's one of the things i miss! but au lomani kemudou sara ga!!
loloma levu,
sista chong 



Monday, October 21, 2013

Rough Week for Sista Chong and the Cows!

bula mama!!
first of all...i love all the pictures you sent me of sarah!! she looks so happy and her face is just glowing in all her pictures. i wish i was there to watch but im sure there'll be many more to come. i didnt get to watch the videos yet because i dont have ear phones and we dont want all of labasa hearing the video lol. 
but the work here is going. we had a pretty rough week last week. we need new investigators but haven't had any luck in finding anyone. all the people we talk to on the street usually dont call us after that and just fall through. we also have had a lot of fall through appointments with our investigators. it's so hard because you can't force someone to sit down and listen to what you have to say. so im starting to get really frustrated and ive never prayed so hard in my life. each time i get on my knees, whether it be alone or with my companion, i pour my heart out asking Heavenly Father to help us find some new investigators and to help me recognize who He has prepared for me. we are trying to get the members involved with helping us find some new investigators because that's the best way to get investigators, is through members. yesterday in church, we went to each class...relief society, priesthood, young women, and young men and gave them some pamphlets and encouraged them all to give it someone this week. so hopefully we'll get some new investigators from that. but for me, the first person im focusing on strengthening is the branch president. im trying to get him more involved with missionary work! he doesn't even know our names and the names of our investigators. so im going to become his best friend :) 
this past saturday the elders had a baptism. so we brought meli and lucy to come and see what a baptism is like. we went and picked them up about 10 minutes before the service started and they were excited to come and watch what a baptism was like. im sure that they felt the spirit and really enjoyed it. in fact, they asked us if they could do their baptism interviews right after the baptism instead of that night. so we did it and they both did amazing! so im for sure having my first baptism on october 26!!! but when i first started my mission i just had a mind set of "hurry up and get baptized so i can be the first in my intake with a baptism!" but now that's it's actually happening i dont feel that way anymore. now i am so happy that meli and lucy are getting baptized together as a family and that in exactly a year they'll be able to go to the temple and be sealed for time and all eternity. also lucy is having a baby in march so it will be even more special to them to be sealed as a family with their baby. im giving them until the end of my mission, which is 15 months, to get into the temple.
me and my companion started doing something new this week. we have agreed that music creates such a powerful spirit in our lessons. so this week we started to, at the end of every lesson we sing a hymn or primary song that relates to what we taught. and i can feel the difference in our lessons. just yesterday we went to go see one of our investigators whos husband is a less-active. at the end of our lesson i asked him what his favorite primary song was when he was a little kid. he said "army of helaman." so we sang that song together with him and he still remembered the tune and i could just feel the spirit working on him and softening his heart. his mom, who is an active member, came to see who was singing and when she saw her son singing primary songs with us, she had the biggest smile on her face. he even asked if we could sing one more. so we must have sang about 3 or 4 songs last night at the end of the lesson. and after that we bore our testimonies and he even bore his own. it was the first time that his wife has ever heard him bare his testimony. it was simple but powerful. so i have such a strong testimony about music. music brings the spirit! that's my advice this week. if you ever are sitting in a visiting teaching lesson or anything and you feel that the spirit is not there, song a hymn! besides the spirit and your testimony, music is a next most powerful tool.
okay now story time......so at this time of year in fiji there is an indian holiday called diwali and it looks like christmas. they put up lights and decorations all around town and the indian families make their indian sweets and give them to neighbors, so it really does feel like christmas. well, along with all these festivities, something that the muslim religion does is they kill their cows. yes, it sounds weird but seriously, at this time of year they all kill their cows that they've been raising or whatever. i dont know the exact details but all i know is that since all the muslims are killing their cows, everyone is selling it in the market. and in fiji it's a treat to have beef for dinner because usually we just have chicken or fish. whenever we go over for dinner, the families make the best dishes and always more than 1 dish because if there's only 1 it's really embarrassing and shame.so this week we had dinner about every night, which is very rare and we were so excited....until i found out that this was the week that most muslims were killing their cows. so guess what i had for dinner almost every night.....COW!!! every time i came home from the dinner appointment my stomach was just sick. i went from not eating beef for about 4 years, to eating it every single night for a whole week. OH MY GOSH I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO DIE!!! so im hoping that this week there's no cows left to kill. im praying for it lol!!
but it sounds like everything is still going well at home. how's tutu and puna?? what's their emails?? vinaka!! oh also i got a package from aunty lori with a plan of salvation diagram thing in fijian, she's so sweet!! im going to email her but she sent it first class and it only took about 2 weeks. 
loloma levu,
sista chong

Sulu Jaba! I'm officially a Fijian!!

Labasa Branch Relief Society
Sister Singh, me, Sister Nawaqavolau (my Fijian mom)

Peaceful Fijian Keiki. LOL!!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Conference and Spiders


oh my gosh there is so much going on at home!!! new house, volleyball, burnt hands, dancing, soccer, hula, DAD GOING SCHOOL!! makes me miss you guys even more. but dont worry, i never regret coming on my mission, i love it!!! 
we got to watch conference this weekend. it was sad though because only 15 of us came to watch the saturday sessions and then on sunday morning a lot of people from the branch and then on sunday afternoon the same 15 from saturday stayed. on sunday we had no power, like every other sunday, so we had to find a generator. so we hooked it up and it worked but then something happened and it shut off. they went and got it fixed but then it shut off again 5 minutes later because the cord blew up. so they had to go buy another cord. so while the rest of us were waiting we sang hymns for about 30 minutes. it was just really frustrating and hard work just to watch conference. i never had to go through so much just to watch conference. but now im deeply grateful of how fortunate we are at home to be able to just turn on our tv and watch it and also that every sunday we have power in the chapel. counting a lot of my blessings here.
well, the work is moving fast here. there has been so many changes since i got to the area. im not sure if its because im making the changes or what but its a good change lol. we had zone meeting training on thursday and the zone leaders were talking to us about members present at our lessons. we have actually been doing really good in getting members present in our lessons but the mission overall has had decreasing numbers in members present. so as a zone we made a goal of 5 members present a week. that's what we're mainly focusing on now. we're trying to look at our investigators and think of who in our branch would be able to connect with them. this last week we met our goal and we have been taking different people to our lessons, instead of the same 2 or 3. my testimony has been strengthened so much from having the members in our lessons. their testimonies and experiences they share have strengthened me so much. 
we had a lesson with Lucy, who is getting baptized on oct. 26 with her husband Meli, about the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. we took with us the young women president, Sis. Rakuita. she is just so sweet and she has been through so much. her love for the gospel is immeasurable and her testimony is immovable. while we were teaching Lucy, i couldn't feel the spirit as strong as i usual do and i was getting nervous because i had no idea what to say. so while sis. rakuita was sharing a personal experience i said a prayer in my heart. a short but powerful prayer asking for the spirit to be with me as i taught lucy. the next time i opened my mouth in the lesson, it was filled with exactly what needed to be said. at the end of the lesson we asked Lucy if she had anything to share and she started to bare her testimony. she said it in fijian so i got the main things but i didnt understand everything but i could feel the spirit so strong and she started to cry but i knew it was tears of joy and then i began to cry. so after the lesson we asked sis. rakuita what she was saying. sis. rakuita told us that she is so grateful for us sisters and teaching her the truth. she never knew how much our Heavenly Father loved her until we started teaching her about the gospel. she never knew why our Savior, Jesus Christ, came and died on the cross, until we taught her about the atonement. she never use to wake up in the morning and pray to thank heavenly father for everything she has until she learned about the power of prayer. i began to cry knowing how much this gospel ive known my whole life could change someones life so much. before my mission i always use to take the gospel for granted and i never took the time to share it with anyone because i never thought anyone wanted to know about it. but now i know that there are so many people in this world who are searching for something and that something is the gospel of Jesus Christ. 
this conference they talked a lot about member missionary work. LISTEN TO THIS COUNSEL!! DO MISSIONARY WORK!! as a missionary now i can tell you that it is so hard to do the work without the members of the branch/ward. so my challenge to you all is to help the missionaries. give them referrals, go with them to lessons, feed them, do anything you can to help them. the best way to find new investigators for a missionary is through the members. so i challenge you and want you to be a missionary!! when the member missionaries and the full time missionaries work together the work will go faster and many more people will have the opportunity to receive the gospel.
okay so this week there were a few fun things that happened :) first one i went into the shower and was about to turn on the water when i saw a huge spider the size of my hand right next to the faucet!! i screamed so loud and wrapped my sulu vakatoga (lavalava) around me and ran out so fast. my companion was just laughing at me and i was like stop laughing and get it out haha. so she got it out of the shower and i almost didnt shower that night, i was fine with just putting on my pajamas and going to bed. it was terrifying!! second, we went to our family home evening/dinner appointment on monday night. it was dark and we were walking on the road to their house but there was construction! so while we were walking this huge truck decides he wants to come and drive straight towards us. so we had to like run to the side, in the bushes, to wait for the truck to pass and you know what happens...i didn't see there was a little ditch/hill thing and i slip and fall flat on my back!! this old man was next to us and was just cracking up, laughing so hard. i was so embarrassed!! we got to the house and the kids were like "sista chong why is your skirt and shirt all dirty? did scooby (their dog) jump on you?" i didnt even want to answer i just told them no he didn't and walked to see the parents lol. so shame!! third, there's this road we walk down to this settlement. along the road there's the cows and goats just hanging out, eating grass, and don't usually bother you. well, we were walking on this road and we're walking past one of the cows and then there was a little calf. well me being so smart was like aw what a cute little cow. went a little closer to look at it and the mama cow started to run towards us!! oh my gosh i was scared for my life!! we ran and good thing the cow was tied up so it stopped but it stared at us until we were out of sight. so im scared to go back lol. okay my last story happened on friday night. so some background first. me and ikaia are in the same zone, meaning if we had a zone conference we would see each other. so ive been waiting to see him and our zone conference is going to happen next month so im so excited to see him. well on friday night we were just about to go to bed when our district leader called us to tell us that there were transfers. so he's reading off all the names to us and where they're going, i wasn't really listening until suddenly i hear, "Elda Nawahine." Ikaia was being transferred to Suva!! i almost started to cry because ive been waiting to see ikaia and now when there's only a couple weeks before i can see him, he get transferred to a different zone, a different island!! isa!! 
well that was my week. au lomani kemudou sara ga!! au misitaki kemudou!!! 
loloma levu,
sista chong



Branch Activity - Fiji Day



Branch Activity - FIji Day

Massive Popo (Papaya)


Meli and Luci - Baptism on Oct. 26
Dumb spider!!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Bula Sia!!


bula sia!!
so we haven't had the chance to watch conference yet. we're going to watch it this week at our chapel in labasa because it's one of the main ones. hopefully the power is on though because so far almost every week there's no power. so we're praying that there will be power. i never had to worry about there being power in the chapel. being here has really made me count my blessings and be truly grateful of everything that i have, everything that we have back at home. 
I can assure you that the members here take care of me :) usually it's the same people, same families, but i am gaining the trust of other members. one member at a time. it's really hard because my companion and her companion before me didn't really make an effort to make a connection with the members. they didn't really try and gain their trust. everytime i say we're suppose to do something she says, "oh we never did that." Isa! so we're doing things a lot different then what she's used to but it doesn't matter because it's what we're suppose to be doing. sometimes i feel bad because it's like im the trainer because i keep telling her what to do lol. oh well, i didn't come on my mission to vacation, i could've done that at home. i'm here to work and work hard! if i don't come home exhausted every night, i didn't work hard enough. but the members i starting to get comfortable because we went to dinner at my fijian mom's house and her son, asaeli was walking us home and he knows i dont like frogs so when we were walking he grabbed my heel and was like "watch the frog sista chong!" ughhzz i almost kicked him in the face lol. so i think they're getting comfortable with me.
but it sounds like everything is going well at home. i always picture everything that's going on and the kids faces. this sunday was the first time i got home sick. it was fast and testimony meeting and so many little kids and youth went up to bare their testimonies and when they went back to sit with their families they would get high fives and hugs from the moms. and it just made me miss you guys and miss sitting with my family in church. we never really realize and are aware that missionaries dont get to sit with their families while the rest of us do. so i want to ask you to invite the elders to sit with our family. it just feels good to sit with a family and not just with your companion. atleast offer, it depends on the missionary. 
well this week we had 16 lessons, 3 baptism date commitments, 1 new investigator, and infinite love! my love for my investigators and for the people of fiji grows every week. now when i go into lessons i dont look at them as another number added to my baptisms but i genuinely care for them and want them to return back to our heavenly father. its amazing how fast your mind set changes the more you teach others about the gospel. our 3 baptism dates are set for october 26. hopefully everything will work out and they'll be able to overcome all the temptations and trials Satan will give them to try and keep them from getting baptized. i already see Satan working hard on one of them. but i always make sure he knows that we are here to help him and support him with whatever he needs. 2 of the investigators that are getting baptized are actually a husband and wife. the husband has been taking lesson for about 4-5 months now and we just started teaching the wife when i got here, and they're both preparing for baptism on oct. 26. it's such an amazing feeling to hear someone say yes to baptism. it makes you feel like you've done you're job and have helped them enter into the kingdom of God. and now it's up to them to continue and endure to the end. this couple will be my first baptism and i told them that in a year they'll be able to enter the temple to be sealed for time and all eternity. i told them to set a goal to be sealed before i leave. so they have 16 months. they can do it!! what a blessing it would be to see my first baptism go through the temple.
something me and my companion are focusing on doing this week is contacting our former investigators. former investigators are those that previous companionships have taught but they didn't get baptized or they decided to stop taking lessons. so in our area book we have about 10-15 and they haven't been contacted for a year. so we're hoping that they are ready to hear the gospel now. so far everyone we've been able to get in contact with has agreed to meet with us this week. so im excited to see if these people are ready now!
today we're going to a beach!! and it's the first ill go to a beach since ive been in fiji. it's called korovatu and we're going because it's the senior couple's last week here. really sad...sister leishman went to suva because her back was really bothering her and after the doctor said that she would need a surgery. so they are going back home this week and they just got here with me a month ago!! they're awesome and have helped us so much with our missionary work. so we're sad to see them leave but we don't want sis. leishman's back to get worst. 
okay so my story of the week. actually since i got here. so i hooked my oils on my backpack just in case i ever need them, i have them. well, one of the kids was sick so i gave him a on-guard bead and then the next time i saw his parents they said that he was a lot better. and then on monday we were playing volleyball and one of the boys sprained his ankle so i put a little bit of the deep blue and then when i saw him yesterday he was like "look i can walk!" haha so funny, so now they all think im like a doctor with these special oils lol. so i would appreciate it if you could send me more. ill tell you which ones i need more of later. but yeah not everyone asks me to cure them and some call me a doctor hahahha isa! no can!!
also i am use to people calling me fat now. here, fat isn't offensive i guess lol. go figure!! so i needed to get over it and just when they say fat, it's like just a normal thing to say. so now im just like okay whatever, yup im fat, but im still pretty so.....lol it still hits a nerve but not as much as before.

okay so there are some things i would love for you to send :)
-leis (for my baptisms) like shell leis from hilo hatties lol
-oils: breathe, lemon, lavendar (im healing fiji over here)
-snacks: li hing powder, kakimochi
-i would some old navy v-necks because that's all i wear
vinaka vaka levu! its funny to see kaytie's pictures because we dress so differently!! i literally just throw on a skirt and a v-neck. and she's like so fashionable with boots and coats and scarves, and she's freezing lol and im so hot over here!!
but i love you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!! give the kids huge hugs and kisses for me!!!! 
loloma levu,
sista chong