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.