Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sister Wright is still alive

Last time I didn't hear from Sister Wright, I sent her an email and said that if she didn't have time to write, she should just send me am "I'm alive" email.  This is what I got this week:

Subject line:  Sister Wright is still alive
Hey this is Elder Heninger From the Fiji Suva Mission! I'm Sister Wright's District Leader and she wanted me to tell you all that she alright and the reason that she hasn't e-mailed you all is because her companion, Sister Kumar, is super sick! Sister Wright is a great Sister, she is a super hard worker and it is a ton of fun to have her in the district!!! She is definitely one of those people who is willing not only to go the extra mile, but then take the extra 30. Hope you all have a great week!! May God Bless you all!! 


Love,
Elder Heninger

Lautoka District Christmas meeting with President Klingler.  Elder Heninger 2nd from right, Sister Kumar (Meg's poor sick companion - hope she feels better soon!) first on the left.  Thank you Elder Heninger for sending this pic!
Its good to know Sister Wright is still alive.  :o)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!

I really don't know how to say Merry Christmas in Fijian. They all just say Merry Christmas to us. And to each other. But Christmas is Siga ni Sucu, day of birth. Birthdays are called the same thing. Kind of confusing, but whatever.
Alright so here's the info you will need to know for the phone call:
Let's do it your Christmas Eve and my Christmas morning. Because for me, the 26th falls on a service day. So. I won't be able to do much in the morning. And I want to talk to you in the morning. 
So I've calculated it, and you are going to need to call at 1:45ish (pm, in the afternoon) your time so that it is 6:45ish (am, slightly after I wake up on Christmas morning) my time. Yes, you will be calling. That way you'll be paying for it, not us haha. Not sure how it works, but try. If I don't get a call from you before 7, then I will call you. But that's worse case scenario, k? Hopefully we'll be able to talk for a little over an hour. I AM SO EXCITED TO TALK TO YOU PEOPLE. Expect me to use some weird slang and say eh at the end of my questions. I've picked up some weird language habits. Haha. 

So I just want to say a little something about the true meaning of Christmas. I have been doing a ton of studies on the life of Jesus Christ, on His teachings and doctrine, on anything about Him that I can get my hands on. I've been trying to more fully understand the Atonement. Because I don't really know how to use it. And I feel like if I am helping other people to use it, I should know how to apply it to myself, right?
Something that I have noticed: the key to coming unto Christ is humility. That means giving ourselves to Him completely. He so wants to give us everything that He has. But first we have to let go of our selfishness and our pride. We cannot come unto Him if we think that we know better than Him. We cannot fully repent if we are constantly trying to control every aspect of our lives. I have had this problem. And as a missionary, it has been difficult. When an investigator comes with us to church, I am worrying the whole time. Do they understand what is going on, what is being taught, what is being said? Can they feel the Spirit? What can I do to help them have a better experience? It is like this when we teach, too. I feel as if I have to have the answers to every question, to every tiny concern. If not, then I have failed. This has been my mindsetting. It has made for a stressful mission. Because guess what? That's not how missionary work works. It's not up to me. These people have their agency. And it is up to them to allow the Spirit to fill their hearts or not. And this has killed me. But this week, I realized that sometimes you just have to let some things go. Allow the Savior to take control. This applies to our lives as well. Let Him be in charge, and things will go so much smoother. 
This has helped a lot when I teach in Fijian. I don't have someone to support me with Fijian. My companion is awesome with being able to back me up in English without even understanding what I just taught, but she can't help me with the language. This has been really stressful for me. Until this week. I decided that part of the Gift of Tongues is people being able to understand what I am trying to say. The Spirit speaks every language, doesn't he? And now teaching in Fijian is much less stressful. I am going to stop trying to be in control. Or at least, I am going to try. 
This is one prideful part of my life that I am going to be working on. My gift to the Savior will be accepting His gift in my life. 
I love my Jesus. Like Nephi said, "I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell." I am so grateful to be a missionary. If I had not gone on a mission, I don't think I would ever have been able to come to know Him like I have. Or it would have taken a lot longer, through much harder trials. It is amazing how the mission is set up to spread the gospel throughout the world, but also to refine and strengthen the youth, the future church leadership, as well. Every aspect of it is for our good. Our futures will be so much better, because of this choice that we made to go on a mission. 
I feel it appropriate to type this up and share it, because now it applies to my life so much more than two years ago, when I wrote it.

Far from home on Christmas Day
And not because I've lost my way
I travel here, on foreign shores
To spread a message, door to door
A message of the reason why
God's Holy Son was sent to die
A child, born in a lowly state
So humble, with such a tragic fate
He'd live a life so good and clean
That no common man could have forseen
That he'd invoke the wrath of kings
All weary of the truth he brings
And yet his death had been foretold
By every prophet, new and old
But men forgot, for when he came
All other babies born were slain
With hopes that he would be included
And his short reign on Earth, concluded
Forgotten was the joy he brought
Though all their lives they had been taught
Yet he survived, to grow and teach
In temples he began to preach
Rejected again, but some began
To listen and to understand
The truths he spake were soft and clear
They showed that man need not fear
"Come drink," he said, "And thirst no more."
And so they did, and their spirits soared
"Come with me and be fishers of men."
And so a discipleship began
He walked Judea with Apostles twelve
Missionaries, not unlike myself
He taught them through example sweet
He blessed them, and he washed their feet
And with them he did heal the sick
With Priesthood power, not conjured trick
He caused the lame to walk and blind to see
He called back the dead and fed the hungry
His mission was not to conquer and rule
But to serve his God, to be His tool
To save the children, though not from Rome
But from their inability to return home
To be reunited with their God and Kind
And this was why he had to bring
His disciples to Gethsemane
He said, "Sit ye here and watch with me."
But one by one, they fell asleep
And as he knelt, our Christ did weep
"Father, take from me this bitter cup
Or couldst thou somehow interrupt?
If this dark hour could only pass
If my great burden could be less vast
But I'll always be thy faithful son
So, Abba, let they will be done."
And so the Atonement did begin
He felt every pain and every sin
His pores did bleed, from head to toe
Such suffering we might never know
Because he took our place that night
So that our burdens may be light
He saved us from an awful fate
From our inborn "natural man" traits
He truly was our Savior then
But his suffering had not come to an end
For one of his disciples twelve
Betrayed Christ, for money for himself
The soldiers took our Lord away
And despite how many people prayed
That somehow he would be set free
He was sent to Calvary
He was esteemed as not, like common dross
Whipped, and told to carry his own cross
His physical strength was pushed to the brink
Until upon his knees he sand
The soldiers, angered by the pause
Chose another man to carry his cross
And so they led them to the hill
Where the Redeemer would be killed
Now, because he had bled from every pore
In that Garden, only hours before
He was filled with pain at the lightest touch
He felt every blow so very much
So when they nailed his hands and feet
His suffering was made complete
Yet as he hung above those men
He asked his Father to forgive them
"Forgive them, for they know not what they do."
He meant both Roman and Hebrew
And after he'd given his utmost
Our God and Savior gave up the ghost
His faithful Apostles, all filled with gloom
Took his body to Joseph's tomb
They laid him there, in linens white
And there he stayed, for two more nights
But on the morn of the third day
Mary went to where he'd been laid
She saw his body was no longer there
And her heart was filled with such despair
That when he came and asked her why
She had a reason to weep and cry
She did not recognize her Lord
And through her blinding tears implored
Where had he taken her lifeless God?
But then she saw him, and was filled with awe
"Go and tell my disciples what thou hast seen,
that they soon will know where I have been."
And though Thomas doubted, they all saw
That Christ had satisfied the law
He had overcome the jaws of death
That we may breathe again after our last breath
And so even now, men laud his name
So grateful that to this Earth he came
And yet, on Christmas, some do forget
Why God's own Son, Mary did beget
Why he was born in Bethlehem
Why wise men sought to bring gifts to him
And this is why I am abroad
At Christmastime, on foreign sod
To spread a message, the reason why
God's Hold Son was sent to die
He died for us that we might live
The greatest gift anyone could ever give

I want to bear my testimony with all of you. I know that our Redeemer liveth. I know that He loves each and every one of us. So so much. I feel His love as I teach these beautiful, amazing people here in Fiji. I feel His love as I get to know my companion better each day. He gives me a greater portion of His love, and makes my own capacity for charity that much bigger. And it makes me happy. I know that this gospel is true. I know that this church is true. I know it, I live it, I love it. I hope that all of you will remember the true meaning of Christmas this holiday season. And I hope that your New Year's resolution will be to let some things go, and give the Savior more control of your lives. That's my resolution, anyway. 
God bless you all. 
Loloma levu.
Sister Wright

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Lautoka


Lautoka! Lautoka is good. The people are so sweet and kind. The ward is small but good. It is hot hot hot here. It doesn't feel like the Christmas season, except for the common focus on the Savior. That particular feeling is the same. And, actually stronger, since I myself have become closer to Him. 
One thing that we did this week is buy a heap of pineapples. Six of them for three dollars. They are very cheap right now because they are in season. Everyone and their dog are selling pineapples. The pineapples here are different. They are smaller, about half the size of ones back home, but so much more sweet and flavorful! Whenever I eat them, I think of you poor people, and how unfortunate you are to never have tasted the real thing ;)
As we walk the streets of Lautoka, everyone says Bula or Moce (Moe-They) as the pass by you. Everyone smiles and waves. It reminds me a lot of New Harmony. I love it. The small kids always come up and dre, or shake hands Fijian style. The way they do that is like a limp handshake where they slide their hand across yours until your fingers touch each other, and then you have to stiffen your fingers really quickly so that when your hands come apart they make a snapping noise. There are a few ways to do it. I've gotten really good at it. Almost no Fijians do the firm handshake that we Americans are used to. It's either the dre or a very limp handhold haha. And all the ladies come and kiss you on the cheek. It's great! Haha. 
When it comes to teaching around here, everyone is happy to have us come. Sometimes it's a bit hard, because they aren't at all interested, but it takes a few visits to figure it out. A lot of them just consider our visits as just bible study. One of our investigators, Samanunu, has been to every church under the sun, and is very interested in gleaning as much information about different churches as possible. So she was taught all the lessons. But when invited to be baptized, she has no desire to do so. Darn it. After spending all that time teaching her, it was all just bible study to her. 
Right now the majority of our investigators seem to just be interested in bible study.
And by that I mean all four of them. We need more. We have been doing some finding, which is the missionary term for going out and talking to everyone with ears that can listen, but right now our efforts have not been that fruitful. So here we go again, can all y'all back home pray for us to find some sincere investigators? Lautoka hasn't had a baptism in months. It's time to fix that. Please help us out :)
Now, our companionship. Things are much better. I decided to not be a doormat anymore and just tell her how she made me feel. And I uncovered the truth. Her father died recently, while she was on the mission. And she was having a hard time coping. And suddenly I felt like a big fat jerk. But we were able to work some things out;  I learned a lot about humility, and hopefully now the work will pick up because we are more in unity. Man, it's like what they say. Always give people the benefit of the doubt. 
I love my Savior so much. He has been with me through all my ups and downs. I didn't always accept Him, but I feel that recently I have finally been able to grow close enough to Him to feel the comforting effects of the Atonement. I'm ashamed that I had to be brought low in order to turn to Him, but that's how these things work. We have to be humble in order to be His. And now I'm really working on it. Just in time for Christmas.
In response to your questions:
Christmas call: it will be your Christmas. Which is the 26th for me. I guess we are going to buy another sd card for the phone and call you. I'm not so sure. I wish they talked to us more about it. But I will let you know. Have your phone on hand at all times, k? 
Packages: Just keep sending them the way you have been. I received three this week. One with wrapped presents from you people, one with sharpies and Muddy Buddies (YUM), and one from Grandma and Grandpa W :))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))) This was one of the highlights of my week. Thank you people so much for not forgetting about me. I love you.
I love you all. You are the best. Ask me specific questions, it helps me when I write these stinking emails.
LOLOMA LEVU
Sista Wright

Monday, December 2, 2013

Awesome Zone Conference

My darling people! Hello hello hello! Oh my goodness how I miss all of you! How I wish I could have been around for Thanksgiving! Can someone please email me Grandpa's Thanksgiving speech? Man. That was a hard one. I just had to pretend that it wasn't Thanksgiving. And it wasn't too hard because we had curry for dinner. Probably the farthest thing from turkey (turkey is like a hundred bucks in these parts). Which actually helped. Mama, thank you for the Christmas tree in a box. I set it up when we got home on Thanksgiving. Keeping the tradition alive haha. 
So let me start by apologizing for my attitude last week. I was sad because I had left an area that I loved and a companion that had been like a sister to me. Suva had become my home, and had temporarily filled the empty place that had before been full of the ache of homesickness. So yeah, it was hard, and I wasn't doing a good job of seeing it with an eternal perspective. Since then, I have snapped myself out of it. Emailing with you people last week really helped. So did having Zone Conference. Yes, we had Zone Conference last Tuesday. I got to meet all the Zone. It was way great. They are all so cool. And Elder Haretuku is in my zone, which makes me really happy!! He was in my Suva district back in the beginning of my mission, and had been my only friend. We would sing country songs together. It was so funny in his New Zealand accent. I missed that kid when he got transferred, but now we have been reunited! If you have forgotten, he is the one with eyebrows that rival Jack Black's. Funniest kid you ever knew. So having him around was definitely a tender mercy haha. I was actually scared for Zone Conference because they asked me to do the language insight. That means you get up in front of the whole zone and tell them something about Fijian that they don't already know. Talk about intimidating, because the zone is full of elders that are of course fluent. So I just got up there and explained something that I sometimes do in language study, which is break down words. Fijian is a language full of compound words. So if you understand the roots of the words, you can figure out what the words mean. For example, tawamudu means eternal. It's a word that we as missionaries use frequently. Tawa means without, or -less. Mudu means end. So literally, tawamudu means without end, or endless. Then, you can take what you know from that and figure out what tawayaga means. Yaga means use. Tawayaga means useless. And vakatawayagataka means to render something useless. You know where I came up with that from? Remember when I was all obsessed with spelling bees? And how the spelling bee contestants would figure out the Latin roots of massively long words to figure out how to spell them? Yeah. It works in Fijian just as well as it works in English. Except there are no Latin roots....BUT anyway it went well and I bore my testimony of the gift of tongues which is STRONG by the way. My Fijian may be ridiculously broken, but it has improved tremendously since I got here. And I am not afraid to speak it anymore, which is also a huge improvement. But yeah, my language insight was fine, no one told me it stunk, so that's good. And then all the training that we received was fantastic. I always enjoy Zone Conference. Then, randomly, they decided to have our Zone Christmas party that night after dinner. Came out of nowhere. We were supposed to prepare a talent or something to share, and I had planned to play my nose flute, but had forgotten it back in the flat. So I read my missionary Christmas poem, The Greatest Gift. I wasn't sure how well it was received, because all the other acts were super funny and mine was the one serious one. But afterwards everyone wanted a copy. Now Sister Klingler wants me to send it to her so that she can put it in the Christmas newsletter for the whole mission. Everyone will read it. Haha way cool. That poem is going around. It may take a few years, but maybe someday we'll hear a General Authority quoting it or something. If that happens, I can happily retire. That night we stayed with the Nadi sisters (Zone Conference was in Nadi), Sister Lavaka and Sister Rich. I stayed up late talking to Sister Rich, who is the newest palangi sister in the mission. She just barely finished her training, I believe. We really hit it off. We have a lot in common. I always get along so well with the palangi sisters, but I will never be companions with them. It just has never happened in the history of the mission for two palangi sisters to be paired up. Oh well.
So yes, Zone Conference was a great pick me up. I get along very well with all those missionaries, and I made a great effort to get to know people. I am getting a lot better at being social. The same goes for people in the ward. I try hard to get to know them and get them to laugh. They like me. 
We also had Stake Conference this Sunday. President Maiwiriwiri, who is in our ward and whose wife is an American, got released. Their family is moving back to the states, after having been here for ten years. They will be missed. I will really miss Sister Maiwiriwiri. But guess who got called to be the new stake president? Sister Kaumaitotoya's husband! I got to meet her, mom, and she told me that you two had been keeping in contact. She got a picture of me and said she would send it to you. Not sure how nice I look, but whatever, I'm not trying to impress anyone. Elder Pearson of the Area Presidency spoke, and wow he sure can speak. I received a lot of personal revelation from listening to him. It was so great. 
I am so grateful to be a missionary. I am so so incredibly grateful to be a missionary in the South Pacific. I love these people so very much. They really are some of the best people in the world. So humble, so kind, so friendly, so funny, so faithful. There are a lot of things about their culture that I am going to miss. 
OH MY HECK MY 6 MONTH MARK! It passed uneventfully. What did I burn? Our dinner. Sister Kumar was teaching me how to make curry and of course I burnt the heck out of it because I wasn't paying attention. Sigh. 
Some investigators that we are teaching (me primarily in FIJIAN HA) Mosa, and Sovaira and Temo. Pray for them by name please. They are all on the fence, not so golden, but they have the potential to be! We just need better fellowshipping. That is truly how missionary work is successful. Through fellowshipping. Keep that in mind, people of the real world out there back home. Help your missionaries. Don't just pretend like you support them, actually support them. 
I have written too much and I have more to write but no time I guess.
I know that this gospel is true with my entire being. The Lord is my best friend. My one desire is for my family to be eternal. Have a family home evening where you get everyone together and have them commit to never falling away. Tell them to doubt their doubts before they doubt their faith. 
LOLOMA LEVU
Sista Wright

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Transfer

I got transferred. At the worst possible time. Because the temple trip was on Tuesday and Zone Conference was on Thursday and Ilivasi's baptism was on Saturday. I cared a lot more than I thought I would. I kept saying that I was ready to leave Suva, six months was way too long to be there, but now I realize that it had become my home. It really had. And the people there had become my family. I had worked hard there, and the fruits of my efforts were barely starting to show. And man, me and Sister Aoina had become like real sisters. We got along so well. We cared for each other and taught so well together and had learned so much from our time as companions. 
But I get the way the Lord works. When things are finally starting to go your way, that's when He turns everything upside down. That's when He pulls the rug out from under you.
So now I am in Lautoka. It is a beautiful place that greatly reminds me of California. There are seriously streets that would fit right into a neighborhood in Simi Valley. And it is HOT. They don't call it the burning West for nothing. It is summer now. And it's only going to get hotter haha. I got here just in time for cyclone season (aka hurricane season). It is indeed a seasonal thing, so we are well prepared around here. Don't worry, it won't end up like the Philippines. But yeah, Lautoka is definitely prettier than Suva, though I love Suva dearly.
The people here! They are so nice. I love them. I have so enjoyed getting to know them. Sister Aoina served here a while back and I can talk to them about her. They loved her and they love to hear about where she is now. I speak a lot more Fijian here, but not because I have been forced to. The ward is an English ward and all, but suddenly I just feel so much more confident. My companion is Indian and knows just about zero Fijian, so maybe that's why I feel more confident. I have been talking to people in Fijian and teaching a bit in Fijian and I realize that I have been learning the language all along. The only issue is, now I feel that I need to learn Hindi. Because my companion even talks to the Fijians in Hindi.  But I know that with the Lord's help, I can do it.

I have done a lot of praying and a lot of thinking and studying the scriptures. The other day I received some great comfort from the Lord in the form of Alma 38. In it, Alma is talking to his son Shiblon. I have always been struck by how short this chapter is compared to the chapters that were written for his other sons. Shiblon was a good boy. He had been a good missionary. Why is it that his father did not have much to say to him? Well, I was reading it the other day, and even though it was short, it was exactly what I needed to hear. Through it the Lord told me that He accepted my service. Through it He told me that he was aware of my trials, and "insomuch as ye shall put your trust in God even so much ye shall be delivered out of your trials and your troubles and your afflictions, and ye shall be lifted up at the last day. As ye have begun to teach the word even so I would that ye should continue to teach; and I would that ye would be diligent and temperate in all things." So I will keep moving forward. One thing we really do is work hard. I can do that. President Hinckley said, "Do you want to be happy? Forget yourself and get lost in this great cause." So I am getting lost in this great cause!

I miss you people. Since things are different now, I don't know how mail will work. I don't know how Skyping will work at Christmas time. Prepare yourselves for disappointment, haha!
I am afraid that I won't be able to mail your Christmas package/Sophie's birthday gift home. I am just going to hold on to it until things have changed around here and I feel more comfortable. 
Also I don't know about chatting anymore. But try anyway. 
I love you all beyond reason. 
Take care of each other!
Love Sista Wright

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Transferred to Lautoka


We haven't heard from Sister Wright yet today, but we did receive this wonderful letter from Sister Aoina.  I love that sister.  How thoughtful of her to write to us!


She says, 
Dear Mom and Dad,
Bula Vinaka from FIJI. I told Sister Wright I would email you guys because she might not be able to email today. We had transfers on Saturday and she has been reassigned to Lautoka so this morning she caught the bus to her new area which is around 5 hours away from Suva. Hopefully she will get to email you guys today if she hasnt already emailed you.
I am so sad that she is gone. Even though we spent only a few weeks together we became so close. She has such a big heart and cares for everyone that she comes in contact with. She has a beautiful strong testimony of this gospel and it has been my privilege to be able to be with her these past few weeks. Even though I am one of the older ones on the mission getting ready to return home, she taught me a lot through her example. Her strengths are the things that I need refining in and the Lord knew this so blessed me with her!  Thank you for raising such a loving daughter. She is a great missionary!
I hope that one day I can meet you all. =)
With Love,
Sister Aoina

Monday, November 11, 2013

Bird Poop



So. This week. Not too crazy. The highlight is always Ilivasi. He has such a beautiful soul. He texts us these long texts about how grateful he is for us and how much he loves the Gospel. He is starting to become involved with the YSA. Makes me happy to see him going to institute and sports nights and hanging out with the other young adults in the ward even when there isn't an activity. He's pretty shy, so it's a big deal for him to make friends like this. Props to our YSA, they are being so nice to him :) We were able to fast with Ilivasi this Wednesday. From 6 AM to 6 PM. I felt no hunger, it was incredible. Ilivasi called us from time to time to check on us, make sure we were still alive. He's a sweetheart. But after we finished, he still did not tell his dad. So we decided to fast one more time this Wednesday, and then he promised to tell his whole family when they have their version of Family Home Evening (Fijians have family devotionals practically every night, it's way cool). So keep him in your prayers as well. This means that it will be easier for him to stay active after he is baptized which is SOON. 

Most annoying thing: trying to get people to go to church without us going to their house and pulling them out of bed. Some of our investigators are on the fast track to becoming former investigators, because there's not much we can do if they don't come to church. In other words, our teaching pool is way small. Keep praying for us to find some good solid investigators. This week we started to find some. Both of them were referrals, which is new. One is a taxi driver who was surprised to hear from us. "Why me?" he asked. "Because you are special, and the Lord has a plan for you," we replied. "Well, I do believe in miracles." Little did he know that he was OUR miracle. The other one was a crazy find. We were going to a members house for dinner. She was talking to some lady on her front porch. We walked up and shook the lady's hand and introduced ourselves. The member introduced her and said that she wanted to take the lessons. Both a referral and a contacted referral pretty much at the same instant. Way awesome. We are teaching this lady tonight. 
But man, we need more. Keep praying for us.

Silly missionary miracle of the week:
On Thursday a bird flew into our flat and the wind knocked the door shut. It freaked out and was flapping around the place like a madman...bird... It was so scared that it started pooping everywhere. Nowhere too damaging, except right on top of our buns. (Around here we call rolls buns.) Somehow we got it out the front door, and then I had to clean up all the poop. (Sister Aoina was sleeping during all of this haha.) It was crazy funny, except for those buns. That was not funny. I was really looking forward to eating them.
I felt really down about it. On Sunday I was pretty sad about it, because usually we eat dinner at the flat, and I was looking forward to eating our fried rice with those buns. We went to visit this sweet lady who has a handicapped daughter, and as we turned to leave she said "WAIT! I have these homemade buns, why don't you two take them for your breakfast tomorrow?"
The moral of the story is:
If a bird ever poops on your buns and you are way sad about it, don't worry. THE LORD PROVIDES.
In regards to the transfers this week: There was supposed to be a new intake coming in. But it turns out that they were unable to get their visas, so they were reassigned to somewhere in the states (most likely the one Fijian ward in the entire country, which is in Central California) until their visas process. There was still a small transfer, but the only difference that effected us was a new Zone Leader, an Elder Alps (or something like that, his real name is hard to remember). None of the sisters were transferred. Let me tell you, when they didn't say my name I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief. I didn't pray not to get transferred, but I kept praying the whole thy will be done prayer, you know? I know that I have been in the same area for almost six months, so it is about time to get transferred. But I am not ready to part from my dear Sister Aoina. She is the most amazing companion I could have, and I don't want to lose her. It would feel unfair, since I haven't had her for very long :( BUT the new intake will get their visas eventually, and then I will probably end up training. It's a scary thought, but I know I can do it. Thanks to Sister Aoina. She has helped me with my self confidence oh so much.
Other than that, not much to tell for this week. Why the heck are both my brothers in casts right now. I feel as if I am next...

PS:  (Sister Wright's mama here)  She can answer more emails now that she has more time to spend on the computer.  So you can email again.  :) 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Happy...and PICTURES!!!


Selfie

Sister Trammell, Sister Aoina, Sister Bechu, Sister Wright

With Sister Aoina (pronounced Aweena)


Chaco tan (and bug bites, if you look closely)

Hey you people! :) 
This week was way good! We started off strong (lesson-wise), but then Sisters Training happened (like Zone Conference, but with all the sisters in the entire mission), and things got crazy. We hosted Sister Bechu and Sister Trammell. Let me tell you something, I did not even realize how much I missed Sister Trammell until she basically attacked me with a massive bear hug. That girl, she is something. I really love her. We had them from Tuesday night until Thursday morning, with Sisters Training taking up the majority of Wednesday
It was funny, spending time with Sister Bechu again. She has changed, you can definitely see it. I knew that Sister Trammell would have a good influence on her, but things haven't been easy for them. So I pep-talked them both separately. And it's funny, my pep-talk to Sister Trammell got switched around to her pep-talking me. That's just how awesome she is. I love that lady. 
Sisters Training was way good. I sang a musical number, Where Can I Turn for Peace, and Sister Klingler cried. It was awesome, and Sister Aoina is awesome for accompanying me. She doesn't usually like to play for stuff, because she feels as if people just expect her to and they take her for granted, but she was happy to play for me. I guess she loves me or something :) 
Quick sidenote: I hate how pianists do not get as much recognition as the ones they accompany. That has always really bothered me. I appreciate people who play the piano so much. 
Ok so anyway, it was so good to see my whole intake of sisters! Sister Tuahivaatetonohiti has been in my district this whole time, which has been a blessing, but having Sister Trammell and Sister Crowell around was so great! We all realized that we have each gone through so much, and that we are not the same people that we were back in the MTC. It's crazy what six months will do to you. 
Wednesday evening we went to the Collins for dinner. The Collins are a missionary couple in our ward. They just arrived about a month ago. Let me tell you something, I really love them. They are the funniest, off the wall people, and they sure know how to take care of missionaries. They are from Arizona, but they lived in Cedar City for awhile. Not sure if any of our family knows an elderly couple that are on a mission to Fiji now. But they knew Sister Trammell's grandparents back when they were going to BYU. So of course we had to go have dinner with them. I called them up at the last minute and told them she wanted to meet them, and they were so happy to provide dinner for us as well. That's how awesome they are. We can call them anytime, and they will drop everything to help us or cook for us. They are like our grandparents on the mission. They are who Sister Aoina and I are planning on having Thanksgiving with. We seriously love them so much. 
Wednesday night we all stayed up way too late talking. Sister Trammell brought out her Jerusalem pics and told us plenty of awesome stories about how she was able to walk where Christ walked. Oh my gosh, I am so dead-set on going to Jerusalem for study abroad. There is not a doubt in my mind that it will end up happening. Just giving you all the heads up. 
When they left it was hard. Sister Aoina and Sister Trammell were very close, and it was sad to see them say their goodbyes. They did some amazing work in Taveuni. I hope someday I can be like them. They are both such amazing role-models. 
So! Let me tell you about one of our investigators. I may have already talked about him, but I need to say more. His name is Ilivasi. He is 21. And I love him so much. He is the one that Sister Bechu and I randomly found one day when we were looking for a shortcut between Howell Road and Milverton (we did find one, but it is pretty much through jungle...). He asked us what ward we were in, and we were like hey are you a member?? He said no, but his sister was. And we were like do you want to follow your sister's example and become a member of the church too?? And he said sure. (?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!!!!!) Haha it was way cool. So we started to teach him and he knew so much already because his sister, who is a recent convert, had already taught him so much. He basically recited the First Vision to us. (I feel like I already talked about that, but the story merits a retelling.) 
So we have been teaching him, preparing him for baptism on the 23rd of November. And he is so golden. He loves everything we have to say, and he takes notes. When we share a scripture, he asks us what the reference is so that he can write it down. He fasts every Wednesday. He brings us apples every lesson. And he bought a phone because he felt guilty for standing us up one time (he hadn't had one before, so he couldn't let us know if he was going to be late or unable to make it to a lesson). He is the most sweet and humble person I have ever met. I really love him. His soul is so precious to me. 
The only hitch in the plan is that his dad is a talatala (preacher) in the Methodist church. And although the dad knows that Ilivasi has been going to the LDS church on Sundays, he does not know about the impending baptism. Ilivasi's older sister had only been allowed to be baptized because she no longer lived at home. So Ilivasi is scared to tell his dad. 
This Wednesday is the day he is planning to tell his father. We are all going to fast for him. It's against the rules for me to ask you people to fast with us, but I can ask you to mention Ilivasi specifically in your prayers. I have full faith that things will go just fine. But there is definitely strength in numbers. 
Besides him we are still teaching Ali, despite the rough patch he has gone through. We refuse to give up on him, because he still has such a desire to make this Gospel a part of his life. It will take time, but it is possible for him to eventually get baptized. I hope it will be when I'm still around, but we will see. He still has so many issues to get worked out. We are also teaching a nineteen year-old girl named Buna and her cousin, and eighteen year-old girl named Alumeci (c's are pronounced like th, remember). Alumeci was taught the lessons about a year ago, but then she moved and lost contact with the missionaries. Now she is back, and both she and Buna want to be baptized. So that's awesome. But we have to take it slow with them so that they understand just how serious baptism is. We will not let them get baptized if they are not truly converted. I have seen too many recent converts fall away because they are not truly into it. It is heartbreaking and discouraging. Beyond that, we have a few people that we slightly teach from time to time, but we don't see them enough for them to be progressing. Our teaching pool is pretty shallow. So can you guys pray for us to be able to find some new investigators? Thanks!
One more thing: this weekend was Diwali. It is a Hindu celebration. Basically all month people have been shooting off fireworks all over the place, and it has been so obnoxious and annoying. But last night I took time to stand out on our front porch and watch these fireworks (which are illegal to the public back home, but are really cheap here), and I realized that I love them. I love fireworks. They are so pretty. Also, Diwali is a time for all the Hindu people to put up Christmas lights. Except they are Diwali lights. And everyone makes these Indian sweets and passes them out to each other. So, by my reckoning, Diwali is a combination of the 4th of July, Christmas, and Halloween. It has been an interesting experience.

Anyway, I love you all so much. I miss you. But I am the happiest I have ever been on the mission. I feel so blessed to be a missionary. I love it. I love the people. I love teaching them. I love the Gospel. I love my companion (Sister Aoina is one of the best missionaries in Fiji, and she is hilarious and amazing as well, I am so lucky.) I am just so dang happy. I hope all of you can experience this kind of happiness. Immerse yourselves in the Gospel. Make Christ the focus of your lives. And then share it with the people around you. The best way that you can show your love for others is by sharing with them that which is most precious to you, and that should be the Gospel. Just saying.
Loloma levu <3
Sister Wright

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Study time

Ey bula! Vakacava tiko? :)
SO basically this week has been hard but good. Much was learned.
Remember how my companion, Sister Aoina, went to the hospital last
week? Well yes we got her out. It was a herculean task, because they
wanted to keep her there until she died (ironic since it's a hospital
and all). We got her out, but it may have been too soon. She is a hard
worker by definition, and refused to show any weakness at first. I
mean, we were playing basketball with the elders! And we were playing
hard! And then we walked home in the rain! The next day she was
miserable, and I told her guess what, it would be better to take time
to get better now than to be miserable now and still have to take time
to get better later. So this week we did not leave the flat much. I
did a lot of studying while she slept and slept and slept. She didn't
want to. It about killed her to stay in. She kept apologizing for
being a lousy companion, and I kept telling her she was an angel and
to get back in bed. I took good care of her. I realize that I truly
love to serve people and keep them happy. So even though I should have
been super bored, I was content with my scriptures and this
opportunity to serve my lovely companion.
Regardless, we both wondered why the Lord was allowing this to happen
when we had so much work to do, and such a desire to do it. We
wondered what it was that we were supposed to be learning. When we
finally had our companionship inventory at the end of the week, we
looked back and realized that we are so much closer now than we would
be otherwise. We had learned patience, and to trust in the Lord's will
and timing. We truly learned to love each other, and we love each
other's families, and we wish we could have grown up together so that
we could have already been good friends. Numbers-wise, it was a crappy
week. We maybe taught eight lessons. But it was not a wasted week.
The highlight of the week was Stake Conference. A member of the area
presidency, Elder Coward of the Seventy, was presiding. Whoa, he was a
powerful speaker. On Saturday, he straight up said that members should
not be drinking kava (I don't have the energy to explain what that is,
look it up on wikipedia). This has been a controversial issue, since
it is not specifically talked about in the Word of Wisdom (we just
teach people that it is a harmful and addictive substance). So it was
a bit of a shock to hear it, but a good shock. He talked about true
conversion, which is something that I have been studying lately. (Look
up Elder Bednar's talk about true conversion. SO GOOD.) On Sunday he
spoke a lot about members and missionaries working together. THANK
YOU. We haven't had that much support from the members. It was kind of
satisfying to hear him get after them. But then he called our Zone
Leaders up. He asked them how many lessons a week on average does our
zone get. 13 or so. (In Suva 1st we generally get from 16-20). He then
challenged us to get 40. Our jaws dropped. What?? The highest number
we have ever achieved was like 25. How are we supposed to get 40?? And
he said it in front of the entire stake! AH. But then he acknowledged
that it was a high number, and he said that we cannot achieve it
without the help of the members. You've got that right.
Sister Aoina and I just started laughing. We got 8 lessons this past
week. Holy cow, have we got our work cut out for us this week. And for
the weeks to come. Obviously we are not going to get 40 lessons right
away. It will be a process. But that is the goal. We will make Elder
Coward proud.
Elder Coward ain't no coward. (Lol.)
This upcoming Wednesday we have Sisters Training, where we basically
have a Zone Conference type meeting for all the sisters in the
mission. All of them will be coming in for it. It will be good to see
Sister Crowell and Sister Trammell. I've missed them. Sister Klingler
has asked me to do a musical number for it. I still have no idea what
to do. Sister Aoina and I have not had enough time in front of a piano
to work one out. But. I'm sure it will be great.
I am so happy. This Gospel is the best thing ever, and I am so
grateful to be a missionary during the time when prophecy is so
clearly being fulfilled. I am almost six months out and so far I have
helped two baptisms come to pass. That's partially because I am
serving in one of the hardest areas in Fiji, the capitol, Suva. Out in
the villages the work is progressing at a much faster rate. But I am
not complaining. I know that the Lord sent me to Suva for a reason.
The souls here are just as precious as the ones out in the villages,
they are just a little harder to come by. Haha!
I love our Savior. My relationship with Him has become so much more
personal. I am so grateful for the pains and the suffering that He
went through, and that I can not only apply it to my own life, but
help others to apply it to theirs as well. Watching our investigators
use the Atonement to change and to become better creatures has
seriously brought me true joy. And I have become truly converted.
Before the mission, I thought I was solid, but now I realize that my
testimony was primitive at best. I am so grateful to be a missionary.
I am so grateful to be a part of this, His most important work.
If you haven't read Jesus the Christ yet, get going. Best book on the
planet, besides the scriptures.
Kalougata tiko!! <3333333 Loloma levu!!!!
Mwah!
Sista Wright

Monday, October 21, 2013

New companion ---> hospital, no!


Hello my darling people.
This week has been the craziest, and yet the happiest I have had in a
long long time. I do indeed have a new companion, Sister Aoina. And
she is amazing and I love her so much.
So I told you about the craziness that happened on Monday. Well it was
crazy for her too. It was her birthday, of all days to get
transferred. She had to fly from Taveuni to Nadi and then take a 4
hour bumpy bus ride to Suva. Taveuni had been an amazing experience
for her, and she had had such a good relationship with her companion
there, Sister Trammell. So it was a bummer of a birthday for her. But
I made sure that she got a cake. We had dinner at Elder and Sister
Whitehead's house, and they made that one cake that I feel awkward
saying the name of  (because I'm a missionary)(you know the cake?).
But deelicious. Then we tried to find a way to email her family, since
she hadn't that day, and of course all the internet shops were closed.
I feel so bad, what a lame start to her time here in Suva.
And really, coming to Suva from Taveuni was a bummer in and of itself.
The work there was going so well. The area was amazing. But it seems
that the Lord saw the great work that she was doing with Sister
Trammell in Taveuni, and heard my prayers expressing my desire to be
obedient and diligent, and so he sent her to me. And we have our work
cut out for us.
I was honest with her. I laid it all out. I told her about my
experience with Sister Bechu, about how the Bishop's family did not
trust us, and that the ward did not support us. I told her about how
small our teaching pool is, and how we would spend almost every day in
the same place, Howell Road Howell Road Howell Road. I told her about
my desires to work, work hard, and work right. And she listened to
everything I said and was angry that I had to go through the things
that I did. The fact that she listened was a beautiful change in and
of itself, but having her sympathize with me made me love her all the
more. My previous companion never did.
Almost right away, we had exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders.
Sister Aoina went up to Samabula, and Sister Lavatai came to me. I
love that woman. Her counsel and support is what kept me sane during
the really hard times. And Suva 1st had been her first area, so she
has a lot of insight that is very useful to me. That week she
expressed to me how sad she was that the area had gone so far downhill
since she had left it. And I expressed to her my desire to fix what
had been broken. We went around and she showed me places that were
ripe for the picking because of the seeds that she had planted there a
year before. She also took us to see the Bishop's wife. If felt so
good to reconcile things with her. That was one load that had been
weighing down on me for far too long. That night, when Sister Aoina
returned, we had dinner with the Bishop's family. I had never had
dinner there before, and I have been here for almost four months. It
was so good, and we were able to discuss some good things with the
Bishop.
Then, as luck would have it, Sister Aoina got really sick. She tried
to keep working, but pretty soon I wouldn't let her. It got pretty
bad. We ended up in the hospital, and they said she was greatly
dehydrated and had some bacterial infection. I spent the night there
with her, waking up when her drip ran out and going to get the nurses
to bring a new bag. I felt so bad for her. What the heck, we have such
a desire to do the work and we have such great plans, why are we being
delayed? Another test of patience. That next day, she stayed in the
hospital and the other Sister Training Leader, Sister Sua, came with
me so that we could get some work done in Suva 1st.
Have I told you people about Ilivasi? He is the bomb. He comes from a
part member family--His mom is a less active, his grandma a member and
his sister Sesilia is a recent convert (love her). Sister Bechu and I
taught him two lessons and invited him to be baptized at the end of
the second one. He went to General Conference and received a strong
confirmation that this was the right thing to do, even though his dad
is a strong Methodist talatala (preacher). He is so smart and he gets
things pretty much right away. The only question he has really had is
how does he know that he is feeling the Spirit? Luckily we had a bunch
of the YSA with us in the lesson, and we went around in a circle and
each told him about a spiritual experience that we had had. It was an
amazing lesson.
Anyway, Sister Sua and I taught him about the Law of Chastity. I
actually love teaching that one. You know what? That law has been put
in place to protect families. I am so grateful for the Law of
Chastity. Afterwards, he expressed to us his desire to go on a
mission. Yay :) I love hearing that! He should be baptized in the
beginning of November.
Sister Aoina did not come out of the hospital until Sunday afternoon.
It was so good to have her back. Let me tell you some things about
her: She is Samoan, but from New Zealand. She is 23 years old. She is
tall and big and protective of her palangi companions. She has great
compassion and is fiercely loyal, just like me :) And she is an
amazing musician. She plays the piano and sings. I love her so much. I
am so so grateful for her. She truly is an answer to my prayers. I
told her all about our family, and she really wants to meet you
people. So we need to make a trip to New Zealand after you come pick
me up in Fiji, k? :)
She is still not completely recovered, but you can tell that she is
feeling happy just being out of the hospital. Man, once you are
admitted to the hospital, it's like a prison. You are stuck. And she
felt like she couldn't even leave the room, because she had no
companion. But President wouldn't let me stay with her...otherwise I
would have.
Basically, I am so very happy. No one can rain on my parade. Even
though it is definitely raining out there.

Yay for Sam speaking in church! Don't worry, it gets easier every
time. Now, I love speaking in church!
Tell everyone that I love them more than life itself. I would
seriously die for every one of you if I had to. But hopefully I won't
haha.

Love your Sister Wright

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Same area, new companion!


So this week we started really teaching Ilivasi, the brother of a
recent convert named Sesilia. He is amazing. He already knew most of
what we had to say. He told US the First Vision (or a paraphrased
version of it). The only question that he had was how can we know that
we are feeling the Holy Ghost? Luckily, we had three YSA's with us,
and we went around the room and shared experiences where we had felt
the Holy Ghost. Then we shared from Galatians 5:22-23, about the
fruits of the Spirit. After that, we invited him to be baptized, and
gave him the date. He said that he would pray about it, and let us
know. This weekend he went to Priesthood session of General
Conference, and the two sessions on Sunday. Afterwards, he told us
that he had gotten his answer. Sesilia is walking on air. She is so
happy.

While all of this was going on, we got a call from the Zone Leaders.
They told us that Sister Bechu was getting transferred to Somosomo,
Taveuni. (The place that I so desperately wanted to go when I first
got to Fiji.) And that was all the information that we received. They
didn't tell us when, they didn't tell us who was replacing her,
nothing. I was confused, and she was devastated. It is funny, because
for the longest time she would talk about wanting to be transferred,
wanting to get out of Suva, but now that she was actually leaving, she
realized just how much she loved this place. I have a strong belief
that transfers never happen when you want them to. They only happen
when everything has started to get good. This is because the Lord
sends you places to learn something, and it only starts to get good
when that lesson has been learned. We had started getting close. The
work had begun to pick up speed. And so things needed to be shaken up
a bit. This weekend was a time of tears for Sister Bechu and for all
the members and investigators that she had grown so close to. I will
admit, I doubt that anyone would be so upset to see me go. She is
precious to these people. Then, on Sunday at the chapel, we ran into
our District Leader and asked him what the plan was. He said he didn't
know, the Zone Leaders hadn't really told him anything. So that night
we assumed that she would be leaving in a few days, that she would
have time to prepare herself for the journey. No. The Zone Leaders
called at 11:30 Sunday night and told us that the AP's would be coming
to get her in three hours. 2:30 in the morning. So a packing frenzy
began. It didn't help that she could only bring 15 kg of weight in her
suitcase. And we had no scale. Pretty soon I fell asleep, and suddenly
I woke up to someone shouting, "Sisters!" The AP's were there! We
hadn't heard the phone ring! We hadn't heard our alarm! I looked at
Sister Bechu's things, and they weren't even all packed yet. She had
fallen asleep in the middle of packing. And now it was 3:00. The AP's
had been calling for half an hour. Finally they decided that they
needed to take action, so they broke into our flat. They opened the
window next to our door and turned the key that we had fortunately
left in the doorknob (from now on I'm locking that window and never
leaving that key in the doorknob again). And then they shouted. And we
woke up. And there was another packing frenzy. The flat was turned
upside down. And there were quite a few things that were left behind,
things that I am now responsible for giving to various people that I
can't even completely remember. We got in the van and Elder Palmer
drove like a madman, with his hazard lights on because apparently that
gave him an excuse to speed. Every time we went around a roundabout I
thought about The Man Who Knew Too Little. "Clench your buttocks!" We
traveled what should have taken an hour in about twenty minutes, and
the plane had not left yet. They weighed her bag, and it was exactly
15 kg. I believe in miracles. Sister Bechu shook my hand firmly and she
was off. And I got dropped off at the Suva 3rd sisters flat at 4:30 in
the morning. Sister Tuahivaatetonohiti and Sister Aso are the sisters
there. I will be spending the day with them until my new companion,
Sister Aoina (pronounced Aweena)(I know dad will like that name)
arrives later in the afternoon.

Now things are going to change. And I am a little scared, but also a
little excited. I have a feeling that the work will start to pick up.
I have a feeling that Sister Aoina and I will get along just fine,
because she is musical. And she has been companions with Sister
Trammell for the past three months, which must have changed her for
the better. Because Sister Trammell is the bomb.

My prediction: we will be companions until November, when the new
intake comes in.
Totally forgot to talk about conference. I loved it. The entire thing.
It is amazing how being on a mission makes you appreciate it so much
more. And now that I have been studying the scriptures so much more
thoroughly, I recognized every scripture reference. And of course, the
favorite was Elder Holland. As usual. He basically speaks directly to
our family every time, doesn't he? I also really enjoyed Elder
Nelson's, and Elder Bednar's was so straightforward when it comes to
tithing. Really they were all amazing, and so relevant to the issues
of today. I hope that everyone heard how much they emphasized
missionary work. I hope that everyone back home will take it
seriously. I hope that everyone here in Fiji will as well. Because we
need the help of the members. And we have all been called to the work.

I love you people!
Kalougata tiko,
Sister Wright