Monday, September 29, 2014

good night....sleep tight. donʻt let the bed bugs bite!!

Lami! The area next door to us! :)

bula mama!!

did you know that bed bugs are real?!?!?! we had exchanges this week and sis. matheson went to their flat while one of the other sisters came and stayed with me in our area. when went to exchange back the next day, sis. matheson got in the car and she was almost crying as she told me the story of all the bed bugs. she said that while she was sitting on the bed talking, she saw a bug and just flicked it off (because there's always bugs in the house in fiji) and then she started to get itchy but thought it was mosquitoes. so then they were getting ready for bed and the lights are off and she starts scratching even more. the sister passed out already and she was there alone, in the dark, getting eaten alive by bed bugs!! she then took her pillow to the bathroom and started pulling off all the bed bugs that were on there. when she went back in the bed room she decided she was gonna just sleep on the ground. but still she was itchy like crazy!! she went back to the bathroom, took the bed bugs off her sheet, pillow, clothes, everything!! she went back to the room and thought that if she sleeps in the corner, furthest away from the bed, she would be okay. nope!! so she gave up and just read an ensign and finally fell asleep at about 430am, and had to wake up at 630am. she probably got about 200 bug bites that night!!! i felt so bad for her. but she's such a strong girl, but we're definitely not going back to that flat. so remember.....BED BUGS ARE REAL!!

this week we also had mission leadership council. we had elder and sister taylor, who is the mental health doctor for the whole pacific, come and talk to us. i learned so much!! he talked to us about companionships. it was like almost the same exact thing that we said in our training last week in train the trainers. amazing!! he talked about doing things because we want to...not because we have to. if we think like that, then we'll do more things with a better attitude. so that's something that im going to work on...doing things because i want to, not because i have to.

but from that meeting we have gotten a lot more phone calls from district and zone leaders for our help with the sisters. it's definitely making us busier than we already were. but it's a good busy. definitely helping me get lost in the work. i have no time to think about anything else. we are focusing on going on exchanges with all 9 companionships we cover every transfer cycle (every 6 weeks). so we're definitely staying busy :)

we were teaching one of our investigators the plan of salvation this week and it finally clicked how amazing this plan is!! there are no missing pieces, there's no way to get out of anything. it is complete and it all makes sense!! as i was baring my testimony at the end of the lesson, i was sharing how important modern revelation is because without it we wouldn't have this full plan. i started to take out all the pieces that we wouldn't have if it weren't for modern revelation to the prophet Joseph Smith. as i slowly took one piece at a time, it finally came down to just earth life and death. that's all!! i asked our investigator if this the kind of plan she wants for her life. she was looked at me like i was crazy and said, "ofcourse not!! that's like nothing!!" i then bore my testimony of the importance of the Restoration of this Gospel of the revelation given to the prophet Joseph Smith. how lucky we are to know the entire plan, it's not a secret!!

well that's about all that happened this week that i can remember. we had water this week! and some rain so hopefully our pipes won't go dry again lol. or bring out the buckets hahaha. au lomani kemudou!! 

loloma levu,
sista chong

Sister P-Day Stuff

"Luve ni ika" or "offspring of fish".  Fish eggs - Straight from the fish and still in the tubes. 

Face masks with the Ba Sisters! Sister Laru and Sister Mauga. 

went on exchanges with the newest sister in the mission....sis. malito!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Another Busy Week

bula mama!!

i was so happy when you told me about nalei's baptism. i could feel the Spirit from here by just reading about it. the Lord really does prepare the way for those who have a willing heart. since ive been on my mission ive seen that many times the children are a lot more prepared to receive the Gospel then the adults. it's because they are so pure and are willing to the do what their Heavenly Father wants them to do. 

we had a 9 year old baptism as well. a recent convert couple that was baptized in june, their daughter was baptized this last saturday. she was so excited to be baptized!! it literally looked like she just wanted to jump right on in the font haha. it was a special day for her and her family. we've been through a lot with her. she has seizures, or something like that, and so she's a little slower mentally, so that's why she was baptized later then her parents. but as we taught her, it was such a testimony builder to me. it also reminded me how simple the Gospel is. when we taught her, it wasn't like we could tell her everything we knew about the Restoration, or the Plan of Salvation, but we had to do everything very simply so she could understand. that's how simple the Gospel is!! we've seen a tremendous difference in her behavior and everything. she's helping around the house, she listens more to her parents, and she doesn't have her seizures as often. blessings from the Gospel!!

we also did a training for the trainers. it was really good. we trained about companionships. i used the section in uncle shon's letter about companionships. compassion, communicate, compromise, companions. it's helped me so much throughout my mission and so i wanted to share with some other missionaries because i knew it would help them as well. they really enjoyed it and i hope it'll help them as they train.

this week we haven't had much water. there's a drought or something. the water reservoir is low and so they're starting to conserve water. some members told us that they're going to start doing this things where one area will have water one day and then the next day it'll be shut off and there'll be water trucks coming around. it'll probably go til december, or until we get enough rain to fill up the reservoir again. so we've been going to another sister's flat to shower in the morning but mostly we shower out of buckets and bottles. it's great!! hahahaha!!! life learning experiences!!!

on friday we went to visit the people that we planned on visiting and no one was home. we were walking down the driveway of the last house we could think of and were about to get in the car but something told me and my companion that maybe we should just walk around and knock on some doors. we went and knocked on one door, they were nice. then we kept walking and we saw a lady get out of a taxi with a baby and a suitcase. we offered to help her and walked with her to the house. it was way far in, down this path, and we were wondering how in the world she was going to get it down there by herself. when we got to the house, the family let us in and we were talking story and she said that when she got out of the taxi she was wondering how she was gonna carry all that stuff down with the baby. then we showed up!!! she was so grateful!! we were able to share a little message with them and we'll hopefully go back this week. 

im sorry it's not as long as last week but this week went by so fast i dont even know what in the world we did. hahaha!! but i love you all!!!! go serve others!! :)

loloma levu,
sista chong

Helping a Family Move

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Consecrated Missionary

My Missionary Mom, Sis Ongesel (in pink), heading home.
bula mama!!

well another beautiful day in fiji nei. except this morning the shower heater wasn't working again so i showered in ice cold water, but you know what....that's my normal life now :) but this week was crazy!! there's a new rule in the pacific that elders and sisters aren't allowed to ride in the same car together. sooooooo....what that means is that we have to do all the transfers and stuff for all the sisters. that's why we were crazy busy this week!! on monday we got a new intake, 1 new sister came in, so that wasn't the hard part. then tuesday night we started transferring sisters to their new areas, picking up the sisters leaving, and then dropped the new sister off at her first area. i felt like a soccer mom!!! then wednesday morning we took the sisters going home, dropped them for interviews, picked them to go shopping, dropped them for temple, and then did the rest of the transfers, and then picked up the sisters going home back to the flat. then on thursday we took them last minute shopping and sent them on their way back home. it was really sad to say "goodbye" to my trainer. ofcourse you know me, i cried, but so did sis. ongesel (my trainer). that was probably only the third time ive seen her cry the whole time we've been serving together. i was grateful that i was able to spend time with her before she went home. hopefully she'll come to byuh and ill see her soon.

while we took one of the sisters for her last minute shopping we were walking through the market and a lady, who we found out was a less active member, asked us to pray for her bananas. she told each of us to stand on each side of the table and we had sis. trammell (one of the sisters who went home) pray for that lady. in her prayer she said something like this, "heavenly father, thank you for this day. thank you for this sister here, who gave us some bananas. we love bananas! we hope that everyone else loves bananas, and will come and buy her bananas today......" it was the most interesting prayer ive ever heard, and we were smiling throughout the whole prayer but we have to remember.....Heavenly Father hears ALL prayers :)

this week we also attended a wedding of two return missionaries from the fiji suva mission. it was held at our chapel so we were able to go. the bride was sis. matheson's trainer!!!! and ive served with her as well, and it was crazy to see her getting married. the bride finished in march and the groom finished in may. they were sealed in the temple and will be living in our ward, so we'll get to see them every sunday :) we're excited!! it was so good to see the both of them so happy.

yesterday, we had one of the YSA girls come with us. she loves coming with us!! we were telling her about our schedule and what we would be doing and she was like, "oh my gosh so many appointments!! this is so exciting!!" it got me excited when she said that. it reminded me that missionary work is fun and exciting!! so we had an amazing day with her yesterday and she looks forward to coming with us every weekend.

in my studies this week i read through one of the talks that tina gange gave me before i left. it's called "a consecrated missionary". it talks about how we need to leave everything on the sacrifice altar. such as pride, negativity, laziness, sarcasm, fears, etc. it made me really think about what i was doing so far throughout my mission. there's a lot of things that i haven't fully left on the altar of sacrifice. but im grateful i read this talk, and now im really going to focus on becoming a consecrated missionary. 

ive also been studying a lot a lot about the atonement of Jesus Christ. i love the atonement!!!!!!! i have never felt the power of the atonement so much in my life until these last couple months in my mission. i read a talk called, "His grace is sufficient." it talked about how the grace of Jesus Christ doesn't just fill in the holes or make up for the things that we can't do, but it covers everything!! and as we go through our lives we aren't necessarily trying to pay him back, the price was already paid. rather, we are trying to follow His example, so we change our nature so we feel comfortable living in the presence of God. He talked about the judgment bar and how instead of us begging to live in the Celestial Kingdom, Christ will be begging us to stay, but we'll feel uncomfortable and unworthy to stay. mind blown!!!! it's so true though. we always say the Lord doesn't just love some of us and doesn't just want to save some of us, but He wants to save ALL of us and so we need to use this time to prepare to not only meet God, but feel comfortable in His presence.

well i think that's all for me this week. au lomani kemudou sara valevu!! 

loloma levu,
sista chong

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Progress in Suva

bula mama!

like you i am so grateful for the Gospel in my life and the knowledge that we have to know that we will be together forever. death is nothing but a minor bump in the road. but because of the atonement of our Savior we will overcome death just like He did and be made perfect, ready for the Celestial Kingdom. 

this week was a good week. in church yesterday our recent convert who just got baptized yesterday, received the Aaronic priesthood. he had such a big smile on his face and he's now on his way to preparing for a mission. we also had a baptism on saturday. she was so prepared! we found her by knocking on her door and she was ready to be baptized within 1 1/2 months. she has an amazing and powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon. she is now starting to share it with her sister and her other family members. when we went to her house for our lesson the day before her baptism, she told us about a dream that she had. she said she was reading the Book of Mormon that night and then fell asleep. in her dream she was walking like on her way to her baptism. while she was walking, everyone asked her why she was getting baptized in this church and how did she know it was true. she said she had the Book of Mormon in her hand and told them, "if you want to know why im getting baptized and how i know it's true, read this book." her sister then shook her and woke her up and told her that she was waving her Book of Mormon in the air as she was sleeping. hahaha! when she told us about her dream i was amazed and happy to know that now she had no shame in what she's doing. she said before people would ask her why she's taking lessons and stuff and she would just be quiet. now she tells everyone exactly why she's doing what she's doing and tells them to read the Book of Mormon if they want to know for themselves.
when she came to her baptism, she had the hugest smile on her face. she said she has been waiting for this moment for a long time and couldn't sleep the night before. she was ready.

after she was baptized she shared her testimony about the Book of Mormon to everyone that was there. she talked about the first time she read and the feeling that she gets when she reads the Book of Mormon. it strengthened my testimony and reminded me of the power that's in the Book of Mormon. so many times we take it for granted, but we have to remember that it's the Book of Mormon that helps everyone to know that this is the Church of Jesus Christ and that it was restored by the Prophet Joseph Smith. everything we know all comes down to the Book of Mormon. so i challenge you to read the Book of Mormon everyday!! don't just read it but do what it asks us to, read, ponder, and pray about it. always ask to know it's true so you get a confirmation everytime but the Holy Ghost that it's the word of God. 

we also had zone training meeting this last tuesday. the zone leaders asked sis. matheson and i to give a training. we focused it on helping our investigators to gain that desire to learn the Gospel. we talked a lot about the way we present the message. if we're not excited and happy about the message we carry, why would anyone else be? we need to show them the true happiness the comes from the Gospel. that's why we're here! we partaken of the fruit and now we desire for everyone else to do the same. at the end of the training i might have gotten a little bold but at after the meeting a lot of the missionaries came up to me and said thanks for being straight up because they just needed someone to tell um straight. so im glad i was "real." 

well, i think that's all for this week. the weeks go by so fast now, i dont even remember what happens lol. but au lomani kemudou sara valevu!! 

loloma levu,
sista chong

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Amazing work in Fiji

bula mama!!

okay im going to try and be more specific in my letters but i didn't tell you i was sick because im fine now!! :) no worries!! just a minor set back. but this week i was going strong every day, all recovered. there's so much to say for this week!! i feel there was plenty of stuff that happened.
first of all...we had a baptism this last saturday. our investigator that's from samoa. that morning at around 10am we went to go and fill up the font and he was there already!! his baptism wasn't til 12pm but he said that he couldn't just sit at the dorm and wait but just wanted to come to church already. D&C 20:37....he had the desire to be baptized. his baptism was probably one of the most spiritual experiences ive had on my mission. at the baptism we had elder johansson (area seventy), our district leader, our zone leaders, and the assistants to the president. it was nice to see their support. also our mission president's wife, sis. layton, was there which was very special. and there were a lot of YSA there because he's YSA age and so much support from the members. after he was baptized the YSA sang "Love at Home", which is his favorite hymn. so he came upon and sang with us, and he was belting it! he was just so happy!!! 
after the song he bore his testimony. the spirit just filled the room as he shared his testimony of the restored Gospel. he told everyone that the old him was buried and he was a new man now. he had been looking forward to his baptism day since the day we started teaching him. he has made so many changes in his life that showed his deep love and desire to follow the Savior. when you look at him you can see that his whole countenance has changed. he was glowing and just looked so pure and clean as he stood there testifying of the impact the Gospel made in his life. 
the next day, sunday, he was confirmed by elder johansson. the blessing was amazing!!!! the best part that i loved so much was at the end. elder johansson told him that he would use the gift of the Holy Ghost to preach the Gospel to the rest of the world!! missionary!! he is already looking at serving a mission, even more now. he's sooooo excited!! as he was leaving his baptism he told, "dont worry sisters ill go find someone in my class that needs the Gospel." that is true conversion. and that is why im here. this month as we studied the way the Savior taught i learned that He taught them the Gospel so well that they would be able to go and teach it to someone else, with just as much power. i pray that i taught our investigator as the Savior would've and now he'll be able to go and share with someone else.
we also had mission leadership council this week. we were privileged to have bro. and sis. vakalala come and share their testimonies with us. bro. vakalala actually grew up in california. throughout his life he didn't make the best choices and was eventually deported from america. when he came back to fiji he didn't know what to do with his life. he was still drinking, smoking, and all that stuff, and just had no idea what to do. he met his wife who was not yet a member and had the missionaries come over and teach her. she was later baptized and they had their first son. the baby died right in his arms and he said it was at that moment that he realized that he needed God back in his life. he went in the bush and prayed and cried asking Heavenly Father what he should do. his answer was to go and take the Gospel to his koro (home village). he said that at that moment, he knew the atonement of Jesus Christ was real. he told us to feel the power of the atonement in our lives. and as i've been trying to focus on that this week, i can definitely feel the love and mercy my Savior had for me. 

at that time they were living in labasa and didn't want to leave. so he continued to pray and they finally went to his koro, nakawakawa. when they first got there, there was a meeting with the whole koro and the told bro. vakalala that they didn't want this new church in the koro and that they were going to chase him out. bro. vakalala just told them that they can chase him out but all he wanted to do was bring them the light and truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. from there he started to build his house, teach the Gospel, and with permission, held sacrament in his home. more and more people started to come that soon they had to start building a chapel and get missionaries down there. he talked to pres. klingler and got missionaries down there and gave some of his own land to build the chapel, with his own hands. 
pres. layton went up about a month ago and had branch conference with them and there were about 80 people in attendance. amazing!!! the church just got there when i first came to the mission, so about a year ago and there are already 80 people going to church out there!!! definitely shows that the Gospel is true!! bro. vakalala has dedicated his life to the Lord. he doesn't do anything but share the Gospel to those in his koro. what a life!!! he is a hero here in fiji and among us missionaries. definitely an example of someone truly converted to the Gospel. 
it goes with the scripture pres. and sis. layton shared with us in the meeting found in alma 23:6. it talks about the sons of mosiah, when they taught the lamanites. they converted thousands of lamanites in those 14 years they served and this scripture tells us that not one of them fell away. imagine that....baptizing thousands of people and none of them become less active. that's what it means when we need to teach people the Gospel so they become truly converted. 

they talked a lot about converting ourselves. they said that the person who should be the most converted in our missions is us. so everyday im striving to be more and more converted to the Gospel everyday! and that's what i challenge you to do as well. ask i love my Savior more then i loved Him yesterday? is my testimony stronger then it was yesterday? you can't convert someone else further then your own conversion. 
au lomani kemudou sara valevu!! kalougata tiko ena nomudou bula!!
loloma levu,
sista chong