Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Finding people, Vakatawase, and Training

bula mama,

isa i can't believe that sarah will be baptized already!! she is so big now!! she's becoming a beautiful daughter of our Heavenly Father and I'm sure He is smiling down on her since she made the decision to be baptized. tomorrow will be such a special day for her and when she comes up from that water she will feel our Heavenly Father's arms around her and she will feel His pure and eternal love that He has for her. i wish i could be there on this special day. make sure she knows how much i love her and im so proud of her and her decision in being baptized. i only wish that my investigators had the same amount of faith that she does haha.

well this week was pretty rough. still getting use to my new companion and still not use to being the senior companion and training. there's so many things that i still need to learn and im already expected to show a new sister the missionary life. isa! many times this week i didnt know what to do and i just couldn't do what i needed to by myself. i needed the help of my Father in Heaven. there were just some points this week where i had no idea where to go, who to say, what i needed to teach her, and every single time i just automatically dropped to my knees and asked my Heavenly Father to give me the strength and guidance i needed to do the work. and each time i felt a sense of peace overcome me letting me know that everything will be okay. it will all work out. there is no way i can train this new sister without the help and the strength from my Father in Heaven. this week i put all my trust in Him and have fully relied on Him to help me with everything. and i know He was there with me every step of the way.

the work is moving forward. right now our district is focusing on finding people to teach for our baptism goal in march of 100. so this month we've been focusing on finding, next month we'll be focusing on teaching those we find, and then in march baptizing. so we can reach that goal. we haven't been very lucky recently, finding new people to teach. that's pretty much all we will be doing this week. knocking on doors. talking to people on the street. trying to find those that the Lord has prepared for us to teach.

We need to remember that no one is perfect. the Gospel of Jesus Christ is perfect. the doctrine is perfect. the book of mormon is perfect. everything in the Gospel is perfect because it is Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ's church and they wouldn't accept anything less than perfection. the only thing is They trust us humans, who are imperfect, to oversee the church here on earth. we're all human. no one is perfect. no church has people that have no faults, but we're lucky to be a part of the only true church on earth that when we do make those mistakes and have faults, we have the perfect Gospel that will help us to learn and grow and teach us the truth to become more like our Savior Jesus Christ and our Father in Heaven. something important i learned in my mission is don't make the decision for the person. give them the opportunity to decide. bring them to church! we don't invite people to church to show off what we do or who goes there. we invite people to church to feel the power of the Holy Ghost testifying to them of the truthfulness of this Gospel. as missionaries we invite people to church everyday! and it's because i know this Gospel is true with all my heart and i want to share it with everyone despite if our branch/ward is perfect or not. the Gospel is perfect!

on wednesday we went to eat dinner at a member's house. the salabogi's. okay well before i start my story ill give you some background information. here in fiji on new years what they do is they splash water on you. i dont know why, i dont know the point, all i know is that they splash water on each other. and it lasts the whole month of january! in fijian it's called vakatawase. okay so with that... we had dinner and everything and we were just sitting, talking story, learning Fijian, because we were waiting for the elders to pick us up. well the elders drive up and sis. salabogi who is about 50's grabs a bottle of water and puts it behind her back. bro. salabogi goes outside and tries to invite them in but they so no because it's getting late. so then sis. salabogi walks out (with the bottle behind her back) and goes to shake their hands. they roll down the window of the truck and boom! she shoots them with the water in the face haha! they got out of the car and we come outside and all we see is this old fijian lady chasing the elders around the truck with a water bottle, trying to shoot it at them. it was hilarious! me and my companion were cracking up and suddenly bro. salabogi shoots us with water, right in my face! mouth open everything because i was laughing! oh my gosh! finally, all the water was gone, all the missionaries and sis. salabogi were wet, and everyone was laughing. it was such a fun night that i will never forget haha!

well that was my week. finding people, vakatawase, and training. here in fiji im still scared of mo'os and frogs, still showering in cold water, still eating with my hands, and still in labasa :) i love my mission! au lomani kemudou sara valevu!! kalougata tiko!!

loloma levu,
sista chong

Monday, January 20, 2014

I'm a Mom!

bula mama!!

okay so this week was pretty crazy. getting a new companion, becoming the senior companion :/, training!! oh my gosh!! my new companions name is sis. alaga and she is from western samoa. it has been going  well, it's way hard training because i sometimes forget that she hasn't served in another area before so she has no idea what to do. so i always have to remind myself that it's my job to make sure she does what she's suppose to do. the awkward thing about this whole training thing is that she's older than me lol. so i feel like she should be the one training me because i just feel so young. but ive realized that although she's older than me, she's still young in the mission field and there's a reason why Heavenly Father has sent her to me. but training is going well, im a mother now!! haha. 

since ive been training im starting to feel obligated to speak more fijian. now i think it's my responsibility to teach her fijian and i dont even know it well enough myself. 
so im studying the language a lot more and trying my best to speak to as much fijian i can with her so she can learn. every night we read a chapter from the book of mormon in fijian and we try our best to speak as much fijian as we can. whats good about training is that they come straight from the MTC where they constantly were told to speak fijian so she's still in that habit of trying to speak fijian as much as she can, she it reminds me to speak fijian. it's just what i needed. but along with fijian im learning a lot more hindi because we have a lot of indian investigators. i dont know nearly as much hindi as fijian but im learning slowly. sometimes i get confused and speak fijian and hindi in the same sentence but ill get it one day :)

in the fiji suva mission in the month of march we were challenged by elder pearson of the seventies to get 100 baptisms in our whole mission just in the month of march. crazy!!! which means me and my companion need to get 5-6, just us alone. so from the start i told my trainee the goal and told her that we have a lot of work to do, so we're working hard and we won't slow down. we started mission book of mormon reading to help us in looking for and baptizing investigators for march. we're doing lots of things as a mission to help us reach our goal. im pretty sure with this challenge and training now im constantly on my knees just asking for guidance from my Father in Heaven how to do everything. i trust Him and i know that He will help me in everything as long as i live worthy of His help. 

story time.......okay so on saturday we went up to Boca loop. we went and visited that one less active, Rup, the one that can't walk. anyway, right before we left he asked us if we could bring them some water because their tank was empty and they were trying to figure out how to get water from the river to their house. so we told the elders and so we went and picked up the bottles they had and we were going to take it to a members home to fill them. well right when we start picking up the bottles it starts to pour rain!! we got in the truck and were driving the bottles to the members house to fill them up.on the way there we drove past Rup's mom who is like 80 years old and she was carrying a huge sack over her head and it was a far walk. it's like walking from our house down to river mouth on the highway. without even thinking twice i told the elders to stop the car and me and my companion were going to walk nani (the mom) home. so we left our shoes in the car, jumped out, and went to help carry the sack home for her and walk with her. we walked her all the way back and then started walking back to  meet up with the elders to take the filled waters down to their house. we met them halfway, they parked the car because it was too muddy to go all the way down and we carried the bottles down to their home. the family was so grateful for the water and everything, the smiles on their faces said it all. at that moment i was just so happy! i can't explain how much joy i felt just by doing that little service. when we first started i thought, "oh my gosh it's raining, it's so far!" but at the end my heart was full and i just wanted to keep walking in the rain and mud helping people! by the time we got back to the car we were all soaked, laughing, just feeling amazing! i testify that service is the best way to come to know our Savior, Jesus Christ. all He did was serve while He was on the earth so that's what we should strive to do, SERVE GA!! (JUST SERVE!!) 

vinaka for sharing your notes from the training. the one point i wanted to share a little bit about was the one that said the worse someone could do is reject you. when i first came on my mission i was so scared to talk to people, to knock on doors because i was scared they would reject me. well, the longer ive been here i realized that it doesn't matter if someone rejects you! you still mentioned something about the gospel to them that will stick with them and one day they'll remember what you said and when they're ready they'll call the missionaries. now when i go knocking on doors and i can just feel that they're not interested or they chase me away, me and my companion just laugh afterward because we know we did our part, they're just not ready yet. all you can do is open your mouth. it's their choice to open their heart. NO SCARED, CHARGE LARGE!!!

well, au lomani kemudou sara valevu!!! vinaka ena nomudou masu ena veisiga!! kalougata tiko!! bhot daniwaad!! 

loloma levu,
sista chong

Eating sugar cane after service

Going to Savusavu

Sunday, January 12, 2014

I'm Training!!!

bula mama,

well we had transfers on saturday and guess what...I'M TRAINING!!!! sis. pyne is leaving and going back to Suva to be a sister training leader and im staying here in Labasa and training a new sister straight from the MTC. and let me tell you im freaking out!! i feel so unprepared and unready to train. i haven't even been out here a full 6 months yet and i already have to train a sister on what missionary life is like. i dont even know everything about missionary life!! but i know that the Heavenly Father knows me better than i know myself and trusts me to train one of His daughters. it'll take a lot of prayer and fasting to know what the Lord wants me to do and what i need to teach this sister. pray for her as well lol. she should be coming in on wednesday so we'll see how it goes. i have no idea what her name is, where she's from, nothing. so we'll just have to wait til wednesday.

this week was pretty awesome! we had a lot of member present lessons which was amazing! i love when members come with us to our lessons because it adds an extra testimony and a lot of the time they can relate to our investigators a lot more then we can. here in the mission we have 7 steps to success and the 6th one is "harness the power of the members." so this week we really focused on this one because we really need to do our best to get the members in our branch involved with the work. something important that i learned is to talk to the members about our investigators. here in labasa, usually someone in the branch will know who that investigator is because labasa is a small town. so we can take that member to our lessons because they already have a relationship, which means the investigator trusts them more.

on saturday our branch missionary leader came with us up to boca loop, bulileka. he taught us how to catch the bus up there because it's too far to walk and now we dont have to wait for the elders. we went to visit 3 families and it was awesome! it was the first time that i spent a full proselyting day with him. he actually asked if we could go up to boca because he wanted to meet our investigators. there was one family we went to see that we could possibly start teaching the whole family. they're indian so we didn't think it would be a good match to take bro. reo (our branch mission leader) because he's from rabi and doesn't really know how to speak hindi. but something told us that we should take him anyway and he was excited to meet this family we had told him about. we went and taught them more about prayer and asked bro. reo to share his experience with prayer as an investigator. his testimony was so powerful. the father of the family was so interested in what he had to say, which was a first because usually he just sits there. it was at that moment that i knew there was a reason we brought bro. reo there. even though he doesn't speak hinidi for some reason he had a special connection with the father, which made all the difference.

okay i have a few funny stories this week...

#1- i was at meli and lucy's flat for dinner one night and we were getting ready to leave. i stood up and was grabbing my bag when something tickled me neck and i got really scared and thought it was a mo'o and i kind of jumped and boom! i fell through the floor!! i broke one of their floor boards and i felt so bad!! but we were all like rolling on the ground laughing and i didn't want to stand up again so i just crawled out the door lol. it was so embarrassing but i was just grateful it was meli and lucy haha.

#2- getting into our taxi to go home on friday night there were to guys yelling at us, "lewa!!" which just means girl but anyway we just got into our taxi and these two guys get into our taxi with us and are full on drunk! they were so loud and hilarious! one guy told us that he was a member of the church and was talking to us about playing rugby for LDS while the other was totally trying to get to know our names and where we're from and everything. it was sooooo funny!! before they got out we invited them to church and the one that said he was a member was like "ofcourse! i always come to church!" he also invited us over for lunch after church it was hilarious!

#3- sitting on the ground after church waiting for our meeting i saw a bee coming closer and closer to me and you know what flies up my skirt!!! i jump up jumping up and down trying to shake it out of my skirt and it stings me on my knee. all the members that were there and the elders were laughing at me. i finally got the bee out of my skirt and squashed it. it was sooooo sore!!!!

well that's my week. got stung by a bee, broke the floor, made friends with some drunk guys, and found out im training. it was wananavu!! au lomani kemudou sara!! kalougata tiko!!

loloma levu,
sista chong

district meeting with the APs

 Navneet and Nikhil (investigators)

me and sheenal (recent convert) in the bush 

nasova girls

anjela our investigator (little girl)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Do your Home and Visiting Teaching!!!!

bula mama,

happy new year!! hau'oli makahiki hou!! marautaka yabakivou!! 

new years must've been weird not being able to pop any fire crackers. atleast i know i wasnt the only one not popping this year lol. they dont really pop firecrackers here. well not as much as home atleast, it was the quietest new years ive ever had in my life! it was sad! i missed the smell of the firecracker smoke, the hawaiian food, and just all the new years festivities. i think for dinner me and my companion had tuna and noodles, like we have every day we dont have dinner appointments lol. but it's crazy how fast the time flew by!! i cant believe ill be making 6 months this month. i feel like i just got to fiji! there's so much that still needs to be done and i only have one year to do it. 

this week was a good week. we went and taught as usual. we got to see lots of our investigators and also some other members and less actives. we visited quite a lot of less actives. this week i realized how important it is for us as members to do our home and visiting teaching! if you don't do it, no one else visits these less active members. yes ofcourse there's missionaries but there's only two of them in the whole branch/ward. and there's probably over a hundred less actives. that's impossible for them to visit every single one of them. we've been taking our CMI's list, which is the list with all the members in the branch, to different active members homes to see if they know where they live and to just found out a little more about them. we've found atleast 5 new families already just from doing that and it seemed like they hadn't been visited in forever! some even forgot what missionaries were. they had no idea who we were when we walked up to their home. it was the weirdest thing! and in almost every less active family we ask if they have home/visiting teacher and they always say that no one from the church ever visits them. how sad!! they feel like no one from the church remembers them or cares about them to go and just see how they're doing or if they need help. so it's a new year....DO YOUR HOME/VISITING TEACHING EVERY MONTH!!! and it doesn't hurt to do it more than once a month either. we visit the same families every week and that's what will let them know that we care and are there for them. okay enough counsel lol. 

 okay coolest thing happened this week. remember you were telling me about that senior couple that served in fiji? the ones that come to visit our ward every year. i think she was pres. hinckley's wife's sister? were they the Hendricksons? if they are then oh my gosh do i have story for you!! we OYMd this lady in one of our areas, Bulileka. anyway she is one of our new investigators and she is awesome! her daughter is already a member and this lady always tells us about how the Hendrickson couple use to always come over and they were the ones who taught the daughter and the daughter was able to give a lei to Pres. Hinckley when he came because that was sis. Hendrickson's brother in law. it then clicked. i wasn't 100% sure but is that the couple you were telling me about? because she hasn't emailed me yet but i think this lady might have been one of the families they would've wanted me to visit. it was the coolest thing! our investigator was showing pictures earlier of the Hendricksons and Pres. Hinckley and stuff before the lesson and i thought it as so cool and whatever. then in the middle of the lesson, it clicked!! and i started to freak out and just go nutz while my companion was talking. they all looked at me and were like what in the world is wrong with her and i was like, "I KNOW THE HENDRICKSONS! WELL KIND OF, I THINK I DO!!" and i couldn't believe it. but if that's not the couple then i feel really dumb and ill have to go back to our investigator and tell her i lied. lol. but im pretty sure it's them. that'd be awesome if it was!!

anyway, this week it rained kind of a lot. and in Bulileka it's like all dirt roads. so when it rains it turns into mud roads with rivers and all kind bodies of water. anyway, the day we decide to go there with the elders it pours hard all day! and we had already made our plan so we just sucked it up and went. we drove through a river on the road just to get to where we needed to go and then the elders dropped us off and i stepped out and my whole foot sunk in the mud. so me and my companion decided that it was going to impossible to walk around in our sandals so we took them off, left them in the elder's truck, and tracted all day barefoot in the mud. dont worry mom i didn't wear my manuheali'i again. but it was so fun! i loved it!! the funny thing is when we were walking around it was still pouring and you see people everywhere literally having rain baths. like they go and get their bar soaps and wash themselves and rinse off in the rain. and it's not only the kids, the parents do it too! it's awesome!! so we're having rain baths when i get home :)

on saturday there was a baptism for 7 people from nakauwakauwa which is elder nawahine's area right now. so yes i got to see him again. anyway, this was the best spiritual experience ive ever had at a baptism. first of all, watching elder nawahine baptizing people was so special. not everyone gets to see one of their best friends baptize in their mission. im so grateful that i got to share that experience with him. it was so good to see how far he has come and how grown up he is. his testimony and faith has grown so much!! it was such a special experience to see ikaia baptize and bring them closer to our Heavenly Father. i was crying oh my gosh lol. out of the 7 people there was the wife and the son of a man who had been baptized a month ago. to see this man baptized his wife and son was the most humbling experience. he baptized his son first and he couldn't even hold his right hand up because the spirit was so overpowering and he was crying. my eyes filled with tears as i watched this faithful father baptize his family after only being baptized a month ago. this is why im on my mission. to watch families come unto Christ together! what a blessing it was to witness this special day. 

awkward maybe funny story. so in church sacrament is the last hour and so before we start we ofcourse go and shake everyone's hands and say hello and whatever. okay well awkward. yesterday we were saying hello to everybody and for some reason we were saying hello to this one guy who wasn't in our branch and i totally forgot i was a missionary and i hugged him hi. AWKWARD!! i realized what i did after the fact and so i started just talking to him so that it wouldn't be awkward and come to find out he lives in laie and just came back home for something. so we talked about home for a little while and i think the awkward level died down a little bit but i felt so uncomfortable and i was freaking out that i would get in trouble or something. during sacrament i told my companion and she just told me dont worry about it but i was freaking out!! i couldn't focus the the sacrament meeting. good thing he was a visitor, he was older, and he understood hawaiian style. isa i was so embarrassed!! but that was my awkward moment of the week. hated it lol.
but i hope you are all doing amazing!! dont your home/visiting teaching! help and love the missionaries serving in your ward!! au lomani kemudou sara valevu!!! kalougata tiko!!

okay mom i need to go. but i love you so much!!! one more year!!!!

one more thing that happened. i cooked eel and i ate it. scary!!!