Monday, February 24, 2014

Preparing for Baptisms

bula mama,

well this week was a wananavu week! well for the most part. we had 3 of our investigators have their baptism interviews this past saturday and they did well, so they will be baptized on 1 march, this saturday. all 3 of them our kids...8, 10, and 12. it's amazing how much they can understand about the Gospel and the Restoration at such a young age. it really shows how the Lord has prepared them at this time. 

while preparing Nikhil and Navneet for their baptism interview i thought back to how we first started teaching them. when we first went to OYM their house we only met their father. we found out that their dad use to be an investigator to the elders like 7 years ago. so we got so excited and we started to teach him. at our 3rd visit or so with him i asked if his sons were home and if they would want to come and listen to the lesson. at the first lesson i knew that we didn't come to this house for their father, we came for them. i didn't know why i had this thought but i just knew that the boys would be baptized before their father, the Lord had prepared the boys for us at this time. as we continued to visit them and teach them we found out why the dad wasn't prepared. there was something that needs to be dealt with before he can be baptized but the boys were ready. this week while we were practicing their baptism questions during our lesson i was just thinking that i would have never met these boys unless we asked them to come out that one day. we probably would've taught their dad a little while and then dropped after a while because he lost interest. but since we asked them to come out that one day, although their dad still lost interest, the boys didn't! so on saturday when they get baptized my heart will be full of joy because the minute that come out of the water they receive the key into the kingdom of our Heavenly Father, all they have to do is endure to the end and enter the temple so they can stay in the kingdom. im also hoping that their baptism will make their dad think about his own baptism and make him realize that if he wants to be with his sons forever, he needs to follow their footsteps and be baptized.

we found a new family this week. there are 3 daughters, the mom, and the grandma. their dad passed away about 5 years ago. when we went back for our first actual lesson with them we taught them about the Godhead, prayer, and families. you could feel the Spirit so intensely. i poured my heart out to them about how it is possible for them to see their dad again and to live with him forever. i could see the oldest daughter's face start to change. the first part of the lesson she listened but you could tell that she wasn't really interested. but as a bore my testimony to her about families are forever i could see her demeanor start to change. i could feel the Spirit working in me and also in her and right when i was about to "break" her, her cousin walked in yelling and "POOF!!" the Spirit was gone. Satan really does everything he can to keep people from receiving the Gospel of Jesus Christ. i was so mad at the cousin for doing that but i knew that she didn't know we were there, but after that the lesson wasn't the same. the Spirit wasn't as strong and so we just closed our lesson and prayed. we walked out of the house and i was so angry at what just happened! as a missionary i forget that when we open our mouth to one person Satan is right there trying to stop them from listening to us. He's the worse!! but when we say our investigators progressing by reading the book of mormon, praying, coming to church, inside im jumping for joy because they are overcoming the temptations of Satan.

last story. sis. alaga and i went up to boca on thursday and it was raining crazy!! there were rivers going over the roads!! (dirt roads) so when we crossed we had to pull our skirts up because the water was up to our knees. anyway when the elders came to pick us up they told us that we had to all walk down to the truck because the water was too deep for them to drive it up. so we walked through the river and it was like up to our knees, sometimes mid-thigh. well at one point walking through the river my camera was in my pocket and it fell out. i didnt notice til we were driving down the hill and so the elders took us back up to go look for it. it was 730pm and it was dark already and the elders just dropped us there because they had an appointment and they were going to come back for us. so we told them after we look we would just start walking down and they can just pick us up when they see us. so we looked for like 30 minutes in the dark with our flashlights and we couldn't find it. so we started walking down at about 8pm. we walked and walked and walked and walked all the way to line point. it's like from our house to wailua golf course. we walked up and down hills along the main road at 8-9 o'clock at night, just us 2 sisters. it was the longest i have ever walked in my life!!! finally the elders came and picked us up and took us home and as soon as we sat down we couldn't get up again. the next morning...burrahh!!! we couldn't move our legs, like fo real!! lol. but it was definitely a memorable night that im sure ill never forget :)

au lomani kemudou sara valevu!!

loloma levu,

sista chong

Monday, February 17, 2014

Reunion and Elder Anderson!!!

bula mama!!

well where to start lol. let's start with who i saw...EVERYONE!! i saw my mom (sis. ons), 

my dad (sis. pyne), my whole intake, 

and elder ishibashi! haha. it was funny because i was walking through the hall and all i heard was "sis. chong! ive been looking for you!" i turned around and looked at the elder's tag and lo and behold, elder ishibashi! it was funny!! we talked for a little while and took a picture which ill send you. 

but it was so good to see everyone, especially everyone from my intake. i cant believe i hadnt seen them for almost 6 months!! hahaaha. all the elders were like, "sis chong so long!" i was just like "yup thats what happens when your in labasa." hahahaha! but it was fun :) one of the elders from my intake played the piano for prelude music and i didnt realize how much i missed him playing the piano for all of us. it was so nice. but man it was good fun. it was really fast but i was grateful i got to see all the elders and sisters, that never happens! 

there is also an elder wilson here who walked up to me and said that a sis swain served in his aunty's ward in utah and she told him to find me and take a picture so she could show her. what a small world! haha.

anyway, elder anderson was amazing! each one of us got to shake his hand and he called each one of us by name when we met him. when he spoke to us he put on a mic headset and came down right in front of us to talk to us. he was so close! lol. but he talked to us about missionary work in relations to the atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. it was more of a discussion, then a talk. he asked us questions and talked with us and gave us so much insight. i learned that we can't learn about the atonement through only studying it in the scriptures. but we also need to use it! we need to repent everyday and think about how we can help our investigators use the atonement and let them know of the sacrifice our Savior made for us. that's how much He loves us!! everything he said was just awesome and really opened up my eyes. ive heard about the topic before but he opened my eyes by helping me look at things from a different perspective or view.
after we had the conference with him we got to go to a cultural night that the suva stakes held for elder anderson. we went with the sisters we were staying with, which was sis pyne, but it was so fun! they did meke (fijian dance), there was a hula, which made me cry a little lol, and then they had rotuma, kiribas, and indian dances. it was my first time watching all these kind dances. everyone enjoyed it. all the missionaries were sitting at the way back watching and recording on the cameras. sadly my camera died right before :( but it was so much fun!
okay now for the work. we have 3 baptisms coming up on the 1st of march. our 3 kid investigators. they're all so excited to be baptized and they'll have their interviews this weekend to make sure they're ready for baptism. but i think they're ready and they can't wait to be baptized. my only wish is that they continue to stay strong even when they grow up to be adults and raise their families in the Gospel. that's something i noticed here. many of the indian members are baptized at a young age and by the time they're adults they go back to their old religions and fall away from the church. so i pray that these 3 will be strong and endure to the very end.
last thing...this last week it rained really hard one night. and so what we did was we went outside and played in the rain and decided to have a rain bath. so we brought out our shampoo and soap and everything and literally bathed in the rain! it was so much fun and ill definitely do it when i come home and teach the kids how to bathe in the rain, fijian style :) haha.

and an answer to laa's question. yes i am learning fijian. it's taking time, im not super good at it yet, but im working hard. pray for me :) au lomani kemudou sara valevu!

loloma levu, 
sista chong

Gotta include the Fijian critters!  Gross!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Preparing for March Madness

bula mama!!

well first things first....IM GOING TO SUVA THIS WEEK!!! im getting transferred!!! JUST JOKING IM NOT!! im still going to be in labasa, going on my sixth month here in labasa but i really am going to suva this week :) all of the missionaries are heading to suva on friday because on saturday elder neil l. anderson is going to be speaking to us. im so excited! it's so special to have an apostle come to Fiji and speak to us. also im just excited to go to suva and get out of labasa for a little while. it's been 4 months since i left this island hahaha. and you know in our family we don't stay on one island longer than a month, so it's driving my crazy haha! 

Just me being.....ME!!
anyway, this week was better than last week. actually it was pretty good. we worked hard this week, preparing for our march madness next month which is our goal of 100 baptisms as a mission just in the month of march. my and sis. alaga are suppose to get 5 baptisms and so far we have 3 scheduled ones and im confident we'll get our last 2 soon. we already have an idea of who it'll be. both of them we actually just found/met this week! one of them is a woman named Dorika. this last week we just knocked one her door and were surprised at how open she was to our message and she asked us to come back. so we went back and shared a little more about the restoration and asked her if she wanted to take lessons and she said yes! this is one of the first times that ive knocked on someones door and they were so willing and open to learning about the gospel. so we're excited to start teaching her! the other girl we met this week was a referral from one of our young women. we actually met her in church! which was amazing that she came to church before we even met her and started teaching her, which shows some good signs. but we will be seeing her on wednesday and see how much she knows already and how interested she is in the gospel. but she seems awesome already :)

Joana and Sis Alaga
this week we went through some of the old teaching records in our area book and found this one boy that was referred by a member. so we went and visited that family and ended up he was sitting right there and so we met him right off the back. it was pretty funny. but we went back to visit him and see how much he remembered from when the elders taught him. he told us all the lessons he took and we found out that he had all the lessons already and just needed to be baptized. so we asked him all the baptism questions and he could answer all of them. in my head i was like "perfect! all he needs is baptism. what is he waiting for?" so we invited him to baptized and then we found out why he's not baptized yet. when we asked him all he did was look at his grandmother. at that moment i knew. he wanted to be baptized but his grandma said no before and won't let him because he's baptized in their church. so i explained to him about the priesthood power and why he needed to be baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. he understood and you could see that he wanted to be baptized but his grandma wouldn't let him. the grandma than asked us a question, "in your church how many times do you believe you need to be baptized?" our member who came with us is a 19 year old girl and she looked at me and i let her answer it. first of all because i couldn't explain everything i wanted to in fijian, and i wanted her to try. so she did. she explained to the grandma the importance of the priesthood. the grandma started to cry and you could feel the spirit fill the room. when we left the home we committed him to pray about baptism and what we talked about. when we went outside the member that came with us was just like "whoa! ive never felt that before!" i asked her what she meant and she explained how she felt as she was testifying to the grandma of the importance of the priesthood. she said it was like something was speaking through her. she didn't really know the words that were coming out. i told her, "that is the Holy Ghost and that is how you should feel everytime you testify of the truthfulness of this Gospel." that one lesson changed that young woman. before in lessons she would just sit there and zone out. but ever since that experience she is engaged in our lessons and even wants to teach part of the lesson. what i realized that day is that a mission isn't only about teaching investigators and baptizing but also helping members have these spiritual experiences with us that they may be reminded about how beautiful this Gospel truly is and remember why they were baptized in the first place.
well, that's pretty much all i have for this week. au lomani kemudou sara ga!! kalougata tiko!!
loloma levu,
sista chong

Learning how to make some good curry with Sis Devi

Ate a chili - straight!

Indian people like hot food so I'm learning how to eat HOT

Do you see Meli?

Fish boiled in coconut milk with eggplant and bele. mmm mmm mmm ono!! I'll make it when i get home :)

A member made a iri (fan) for me with my name on it and gave it to me this week. It's the first gift I've gotten and I was so grateful.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart.

bula mama!

wow! my heart is full right now. every email i received today has brought tears to my eyes. they were all words of encouragement for me and a push to keep pressing forward. it's like everyone knew i was having a rougher week than usual. i just want to say how eternally grateful i am to have a family that supports me so much as i serve the Lord. everytime i hear stories of missionaries who dont have the support of their family, i dont know how they do it. im pretty sure i wouldn't be able to do this without the love and support from my family and friends at home. sitting in this internet shop i can feel the love of everyone at home and especially the love of my Heavenly Father through all of the emails. i know that Heavenly Father answers prayers through others, and today all these emails and people were the answers to my prayers from this last week. no words can express my gratitude and joy right now.

this week was pretty rough. training has definitely been the hardest part of my mission so far. compared to training everything else was "baby stuff." no joke! as you know as missionaries we pray a lot haha. and i really thought it was not possible to pray more then i already do everyday. but let me tell you it's possible!! this week i was on my knees more then i was on my feet. this is the first time in my life that i have turned to the Lord in EVERYTHING! i guess i never took the scriptures seriously when it says "trust in the Lord with all thine heart." from this week i now know what it means to trust in the Lord with ALL my heart. i cannot train without the Lord helping me. i cannot teach this sister everything she needs to know about missionary work unless i have the Lord's help. my full trust is in Him, i need Him at all times. im definitely learning patience, that's for sure! :)

well, this week we pretty much almost had a hurricane. seriously! although ive never really seen a hurricane before in my life, im pretty sure it was close...from what ive seen in movies. it was crazy rain and wind for 2 days. on wednesday it was raining and windy but me and my companion still went out to proselyte. we caught a taxi into town and were dropped off at the shop across the street of our chapel. we prepared ourselves to walk in the rain with our umbrellas. we opened them up and started crossing the street when this huge gust of wind came and we almost flew away with our umbrellas and our skirts blew straight up! how embarrassing! in the middle of the street!! well we made it to the other side laughing when we didnt realize that there were a bunch of indian men watching us the whole time and started laughing as the drove past. gross! haha but on thursday the rain was really bad and the wind was ridiculous. i have never seen anything like it. we ended up staying inside because it wouldn't have been very good if we went teaching that day. we definitely would've got sick or flew away or something. and then to make it even better....the power went out!! isa!! so we sat in front of our window, eating wi (kind of like mango), waiting for the niu to drop from the tree so we could go run and grab them for food storage. haha! it was fun :) then we lit a candle and were lucky to go to bed early that night!!

we had a lesson with our two investigators, Nikhil and Navneet. the 2 young boys. we were talking about baptism and they asked us, "sisters! you said we were getting baptized in march, but can we have a day!" in my head i was like, perfect that's what we planned on doing today. so we gave them 1 march. they got so excited! the older one said, "im excited to baptized! i want it to be march already!" we then went on and i asked them some of the baptism interview questions which they should know from the lessons we already had. one of the questions i asked was if Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. they both said yes. and i asked the younger one, Navneet, how he know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. his answer amazed me. he said, "the day you asked us to pray to know if it's true i did. i prayed before i went to bed and asked God, that if Joseph Smith was a true prophet He would make it rain tomorrow. AND IT RAINED!" i was so amazed at the courage and how much trust He had in Heavenly Father in answering his prayer. it made my testimony grow that Heavenly Father truly does hear everyone's prayers. no matter how old or young, he hears them and answers them. 

funny story.... actually 2. the first one we were having our meeting with our branch mission leader and we were talking about our fireside we're planning this month. we were talking about what refreshments we were going to have. one of the elders mentioned ice cream sandwiches. we all agreed because it was something different that we haven't had before at an activity so we all agreed to have ice cream sandwiches. we went on with our meeting and at the end our branch mission leader reviewed all the details. we got to the refreshment part and said, "okay so we're having ice cream sandwiches. so we're going to need ice cream and how much bread should we get?" we all started buss laughing!!! we later explained to him that an ice cream sandwich was 2 cookies with ice cream in the middle. he started laughing at himself and we all started laughing again. hahaha! it was so funny! the second story is about my companion. we were at a members home and they asked us in fijian where we ate dinner the night before. i let my companion answer and she said, "keirau kana na kai india matavuvale." which means "we ate an indian family." the family started laughing so hard! the husband (a former branch president) was on the ground rolling! it was so funny. she was trying to say that we ate at an indian family's home but instead she said we ate an indian family. 

but enough about me. it sounded like sarah's baptism was amazing! i was thinking about her all day. i was telling everyone, "my sister is getting baptized today!" i am so proud of her and happy. she probably loved getting dunked 3 times rather than just once haha. im so proud of dad as well. 2 months ago i witnessed a father get baptized and then couple weeks later i saw him baptize his wife and son. the spirit was overwhelming as im sure it was the same at sarah's baptism. to see a father being worthy to baptize his children is such a blessing. 

im also glad to hear of aunty kelly's interest in taking lessons from the missionaries. make it happen! she's ready now. tell the missionaries this week! don't wait, don't let her interest be forgotten and slip away. missionaries love referrals!!! have uncle jay sit in the lessons as well. it'll remind him of everything he learned in church and help him find his testimony again. im proud of nalu for praying in front of everyone. he's starting to realize that he needs to gospel :) now is their time!

au lomani kemudou sara valevu!!

loloma levu,
sista chong

Proselyting in Boca

The Hills are Alive, With the Sound of Music

the ratulevu matavuvale. they always feed us on fast sundays and always too much haha. they take good care of us sisters :)