Sunday, July 28, 2013

Cultural differences


Heyo, things are better :) 
Your prayers have definitely been felt. The amount of strengthening that the Lord has been giving me has been overwhelming. 
On Tuesday we had Train the Trainers meeting at the mission home. One of the things they talked to us about was having compassion for our companions. It's true, my companion is not the best trainer in the world. But sometimes strong missionaries are placed with less than strong ones, specifically to strengthen them both. The most important thing is to remember how much the Lord loves each of us. And poor Sister Bechu, she has been through ALOT. So after our training, I felt ashamed. I had been trying to be compassionate, but not hard enough. That training changed my perspective, and gave me the strength to start making an earnest effort to love my companion. I have been praying for this like no other, and the effect has been amazing.

President Klingler told me something that I already knew: that Sister Bechu had a lot of insecurities about being a trainer, and that the Lord had placed me in this companionship to strengthen her. Challenge accepted. This may mean that I have to train myself and her, but I have the strength to do so. 
So that's what I have been doing. Serving her. Talking her up. Making her feel good about herself and our companionship. Getting to know her. Talking to her about the difficulties that she has gone through. Making brownies with her. Teaching with her. Learning from her. I am learning much better people skills!
That's half of what the mission is about, methinks. 
I was also talking to our new mission nurse, Sister Limberg. She is fabulous. She said that it is difficult for Americans to adjust to the culture in places like Fiji because we are used to a very efficient way of life. Here they just aren't efficient. This is why I was so upset about disobedience for the first week and a half or so. Obedience, in her culture, is just different. Not as exact. Tough to work with. But the way I have been getting around the cultural differences in our definitions of obedience is to bring the various issues up one at a time, at different occasions, and in a more compassionate way. Or as a question that I am supposedly ignorant of. If I act like I don't know the rules and she is teaching me, then it is easier for her to change her own behavior. Very manipulative, but you gotta do what you gotta do. When I get a companion with a Western cultural background, the efficiency will be back in place. But until then, I will be patient with teaching less than I would usually want. 

About Fiji:
The people are so great. Everyone lets us into their homes. This doesn't necessarily mean that they are interested, but at least they are friendly. Sister Bechu, being Fijian, is related to just about everyone. Or she went to school with just about everyone. So basically every time we start talking to anyone, we have an immediate connection there. 
The Fijians are a much more modest people than what I am used to, meaning clothing (but actually in the other definition too). The women wear much more clothing. Sleeves and longer shorts and everything. Of course this isn't always the case, but on a whole they just are more modest in their clothing. 
The buses are super fun. They are music buses, and the music they play is generally music I know from back home that has been remixed to a Fijian beat, an island beat. It's pretty funny. They played Whiskey Lullaby the other day, and it was bouncing to an island beat. Weird. I love the buses. When they are crammed, I love seeing the young men give up their seats for the older women. They just do it. Makes me happy. 
So far I have eaten shark and octopus. Shark is not so bad, but octopus is still pretty weird for me. I want to eat bat and mongoose before the end of the mission. I'm getting more used to the food. I really hope I don't get fat. 
Something about being a missionary: the members judge us pretty harshly. There are some stories that I have heard where women have gotten so offended by a sister missionary that they stopped coming to church. So I need to watch what I say and do. Especially since I'm a palangi. 
When we go to a house, we always take our shoes off. This is important. We sit cross-legged on the ground to eat and to teach. Almost no one has tables and chairs. The ground is always covered by a woven mat, or an ibe (eembay). 
The air is moist. The weather is very temperate right now, with heavy rain every once in a while, with sprinkling in between. The Fijians hate it, they think it is freezing and they avoid  the rain  and "cold" because apparently it will make them sick. I laugh. They think I'm crazy. By the end of my mission I will be shivering right along with them. 
A couple of very cool stories:
We taught a deaf woman the other day. She is the friend of one of our recent converts, who can sign for us. The lesson was very simple. All of our words were carefully chosen. It was tedious, but at the same time one of the most spiritual experiences I have had since I got here. She was receptive and wants to learn more. I am excited to see where this goes. 
One day when we were out proselyting, we came across a girl holding a baby in a doorway. She asked if we could talk to her for a minute, and we went inside. There were a couple of little ones, and two young women in their early twenties. We started teaching them, and found out that one of them had already taken the lessons in her village and had been about to be baptized when she suddenly moved to Suva and had lost contact with the missionaries and the church. But we had found her. It is amazing how the Spirit guides. And how the Lord never forgets His children. 
These are just two examples of the many amazing experiences we have been having. Even though we are not teaching as many as I would like, we come home spiritually exhausted. It is a good feeling. And the lessons we do teach are all fantastic. I am grateful to be a missionary. 
I love you all so much. Your prayers have all been felt as I have begun to get used to the culture and love it. My homesickness has not been cured, but it is more in the background than it was before. I think the main reason I was so homesick was because I was going through tough times. That's generally how it works, huh? :) 
Scripture of the day: 
Alma 31:5. 
Love love love you. Give my love to all the family.  All of them!  
Love, Sister Wright
PS:
I kept trying to send a picture but it's not working. It was of a mouse. He had eaten some of the poison and was paralyzed on one side, so he could only go in circles. He was easy to catch. He wasn't a pet, but a prisoner of war. We named him Mate (mah-tay), which means death, because he was about to die any minute. Funny how this little incident brought us closer together, haha! 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

What to do when you are discouraged

This has been a really rough week.  I thought I had worked things out with my companion last week but things got bad again this week.  She really hates being a trainer and it shows!  She doesn't teach me anything.  And then she gets mad at me when I don't know things.  I started praying hard for comfort and strength, and then we found out that we were going to do splits with the training sisters the next day.  I went with Sister Lavatai, and found that she was the answer to my prayers.  I poured out my heart to her and she gave me guidance.  She brought me back up again.  She told me that I am a great missionary and that she wishes we could serve together.  It made me feel so much better.  I know she was prompted to tell me those words - it was like Heavenly Father whispered to her exactly what I needed to hear.  We went out the next day and worked harder than I have ever worked before.  We saw new converts, investigators, and new contacts.  We were exhausted but very very happy.  I love Sister Lavatai, she is a great training sister!
Things haven't gotten any better with Sister Bechu but I am praying.  All day, every day, even while we are working, I am praying.  When I feel discouraged and homesick, I remember why I am here. I remember the blessings that my family is and will receive because I made the choice to go on this mission. I remember the souls out there that I have yet to find. This helps me keep going. 
Prayer has become my greatest comfort. The Lord has become my closest companion. He is the one I am the most familiar with in this foreign place. It is an amazing thing, and I will be forever grateful for prayer.

 This is the view from the temple.
 Sand and shells and badge.
My hair is downright curly. This was after church yesterday. I did nothing to it. Is it true that stress makes your hair go curly? I believe it. But it makes my life a lot easier. I don't have to do anything to it. God blesses His servants, haha!
About the language: it is really hard to learn a language in a place where everyone speaks English. I was thinking the other day about how, before the mission, my attitude was this: if I came home from Fiji and I didn't know the language, I'd be a failure. But now I am here, and I know a lot of sister missionaries that do not know the language. They are not failures. Our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ. If we fulfill that, we are the opposite of failures. We are successful. It is true that learning the language is important, and I will continue to try. But if I never fully learn the language, I will not consider myself a failure. Thinking about that made me feel better. 
Right now I am working on translating the first chapter from the Book of Mormon into English. I am enjoying it, and it is helping me. But I still am uncomfortable teaching in Fijian. I will keep working on it.
I know that the Lord put me in this situation to help me grow. That is how He works. I am content with that, and proud that He trusts me with a challenge such as this. I hope that I will come out of it the way He means for me to, and that my companion will as well.

Oh, I found a dead rat outside our shower this morning. Sister Bechu squealed, but I was just glad that the poison finally worked. I swept it up into a dust bin and disposed of it. Not sure how many more are left, so I'll keep the poison out. Why am I the tough one? I thought I was supposed to be the wimpy palangi!  Haha, guess not!

I've got to go now.  I love you all so much.  Keep praying for me, I can feel those prayers!  God bless you all.
Sister Wright

Sunday, July 14, 2013

First week in Fiji


Bula vinaka! 

Here I am in Fiji! Man is it different here. And I have so much to talk about, I don't know how to get it all down. How bout I just start from the beginning.
Saturday, July 6: My intake split into two groups and flew out of the Salt Lake airport at two different times. We were the later ones. As we waited at the airport, we decided to go to Cafe Rio, because they have that there. It was so delicious, and thinking about it now makes my mouth water. They don't have Mexican food in Fiji. We flew from Salt Lake to LA, where we had a gazillion hour layover. I used pretty much that entire time to talk to the folks back home. It was so great; I love them so so so so much :) <3 Then we got on this massive Fiji Airways plane. It was super nice because Fiji Airways is brand new. We spoke to the stewardesses in Fijian, which was fun. All the other passengers were fascinated by us, so we talked to a bunch about what we were doing, and where we had learned to speak (a little bit) of Fijian. A lot of the other passengers were part of different volunteer organizations that were on their way to help build schools or clean water sources in Fiji. It was good to talk to them about the different kinds of service we were all doing. 
Monday, July 8: We arrived in Nadi. As we landed, the sun was barely peaking up over the horizon. It was beautiful, and I cried because holy cow I was in Fiji. So much happiness :) We were greeted by a group of Fijian men playing Fijian music. After we passed through customs (which was so much easier than anywhere else in the world) there were a bunch of Elders that were there to get us to our bus. They had cheese rolls and coconut cream rolls for us. Yum. One elder that I had become friends with before both our missions (through Facebook...I'm a pretty good stalker...) was Elder Spackman. Pretty sure that's his name, but not positive. He was speaking the language to us and acting all smiley and bright. I hope to be as good at the language as him when I've only been out a couple of months haha. Our elders were jealous of these more seasoned elders because they were wearing sulus. Man, our elders were so eager to get out of their pants and into some skirts hahaha. 
They got us on our bus and on our way. We sang a bunch of hymns and primary songs to pass the time. The ride from Nadi to Suva is four hours. About halfway, we got a flat tire. Took them about twenty minutes to get that one figured out, but then we were off. Man, Fiji is beautiful. The drive was long but not boring, because we were all looking out the windows and waving at every person we saw, and commenting on how weird it was that there were so many pine trees mixed in with the palm trees. EVERYTHING is green. Just drenched in green. And it didn't take long for us to drive along the coast. Stinks that we can't go to the beach, but at least we can look at it and appreciate the beautimousness of it all. 
When we got to Samabula (smaller town near Suva) and to the Mission Office, we were greeted by a bunch of new faces. The AP's are named Elder Palmer and Elder Ledoux. The elderly couples that are involved in our upkeep are the Whitings and the Hogges. Fantastic people. And of course there's President and Sister Klingler. Love them so much. President Klingler is an amazing mission president. But anyway, the first thing that the AP's did was feed us lunch: greasy Chinese food from a place called Georgie's or something like that. A delicacy to the elders, but it was so heavy. This was just the beginning of the food-eating marathon upon which I had just embarked. Since that time I feel as if I have been eating nonstop. And the food has always been greasy. Without fail. I have resigned myself to an inevitable future of chubbiness :( 
We went to town and changed our money and the elders bought sulus. Then President Klingler started interviewing all of us. Sort of a get-to-know you. We waited.

That night Sister Tuahivaatetonohiti and I went and stayed with the Sister Training leaders: Sister Fanene and Sister Lavatai. They are known as the Samabula sisters. They've been here a year, and they are fantastic. I really love them. That night they took us to the bishop's house for dinner. My first time eating real Fijian food. I don't even know what it was all called. There was rice and fish and curry and dalo and other things. I piled it onto my plate. And I ate and I ate and I ate and I ate half of it and felt so full. But Sister Fanene told me that it was rude not to finish everything on my plate. Man. So I ate and ate. And then one sister was going around filling up people's glasses, and mine was still three quarters of the way full. Sister Fanene said hurry and drink that, she wants to fill your cup up. So I drank it and the sister filled up my cup. I was going to die. And then Sister Fanene cracked up. Hahaha. 
Truth is, the food is hard to get used to. You have to pick the bones out because they will just chop stuff up and throw it in the pot. I will admit that it's not my favorite. Mostly I just pile a bunch of rice on my plate. I do love the homemade donuts that they make. Back at the flat I eat toast and crackers and hot cocoa. And that's it, and I'm ok with it. We need to shop soon and get some real food, but they took our fridge away to get fixed.
After we went to that dinner, we had FHE at an investigator family's home; the Johnsons. We had a short lesson about the Sabbath day, and then we played a bunch of games. I taught them how to play signs. It was so much fun, and I felt such love for these people. 
Tuesday was a day of waiting for our assignments. We had a delicious American dinner at the mission home. Sister Klingler is a fabulous cook, and I found myself stuffed once again. Ham and funeral potatoes and salad and homemade rolls mmmm. And then brownies and ice cream.
The next day we received our assignments. Sister T was called to Suva 3rd and I was called to Suva 1st, which put us in the same district. Suva 1st was the first ward in all of Fiji. It felt appropriate that this would be my first area. 
When I got to my flat, there were two sisters there. Sister Tiakia, and Sister Bechu. According to my paperwork, my companion was Sister Raloka. So I said, "E vei na noqu itokani?" (Where's my companion?) And they laughed. Sister Bechu, a native to Fiji, was my new companion. She had just changed her name to her family name. Apparently in Fiji you don't necessarily get your family name. Still confused about that. Sister Tiakia was her previous companion who was going home to New Zealand. They were very close.
I will admit that it was hard at first. These two were like real sisters. So so close. And even closer because Sister Tiakia was leaving. So I kind of sat off to the side while they had three days of goodbyes. When she finally did leave, Sister Bechu cried and cried. She told me she hadn't wanted to be a trainer. I felt kind of dumb. If I had a brand new companion straight from the MTC I'd try and make her feel super welcomed. But I kept this all inside as we worked.


And we worked, though not in the way that I expected. Sister Bechu is very involved with the members, especially the YSA's. We visited so many less-actives and recent converts. It felt like we weren't focusing enough on the investigators.But then I realized what she was doing was actually really smart. If we help the YSA's plan activities and then tell them to bring their friends, this could actually be a pretty effective way of finding. So that's one thing that we do. There are FHE's on Mondays. Volleyball nights. Game nights. Movie nights. We watched some Esther movie the other night. It wasn't an LDS one, and I'm not sure how I felt about it. I just sort of sat there. 
Some cool experiences: we went and saw a recent convert named Sera. She is disfigured and walks with a limp. But she is very sweet and loves the missionaries. She was especially excited to meet me, because I am a nineteen year old sister. She told me a story about how she went to a YSA campout, where a seventy was presiding. Apparently he came up to her, put his hand on her shoulder, and told her that she should go on a mission. So this is her plan, because "A man of God told me he would help me get it done." But she asked me if someone that was handicapped like her could really go on a mission. I told her about the elders that I saw at the MTC that were in wheelchairs, and the ones that were even missing legs. She got teary eyed and was so happy to hear it. The Spirit was very strong. 
We have also visited multiple less actives that would go to church if it weren't for the fact that they were missing a leg. This is a common thing here. People with diabetes tend to end up losing a leg. It's heartbreaking, but these people are still so good and have so much faith. Their testimonies are amazing. 
There is one recent convert named Silipa that is especially close to the missionaries. She often comes with is when we proselyte or to the activities or what have you. She has two little daughters that are absolutely adorable.

The older one is named Sovaia and the little one is named Emele. She had them with her ex-husband who was very abusive. She divorced him and then a couple years later the elders found her.  She is amazing. And she really is hilarious. Spending time with her and her daughters has been some of the most fun I have had here.
On Saturday there was an eight year old baptism. It was fun to see him in his little white sulu. 
Here is a picture of the outdoor font.

At church there was a group of American volunteers. Apparently they have spent two months here in Fiji helping with various things like education and finances with the Fijian citizens. Man it was good to see white people. I'm not even ashamed to admit it. It's hard to suddenly find yourself immersed in an alien culture with people that are so different from you. Church itself was so good. One of our investigators, Asaeli, came with us. He was very very shy, but afterwards we taught him a lesson and he bore his testimony of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. Next week I get to extend the baptismal invitation to him. 
During training with Sister Bechu on Sunday, she asked me if I had anything to say, and I broke down. I said how I had felt like she didn't want me, and that I was sorry that I'm no Sister Tiakia, and that I felt useless during different lessons because I understand and speak so little Fijian. She cried too, and talked about how her family had run her out of the house and she had lived at a church chapel for a bit, and how her parents had said she had no mother and father anymore. They didn't support her decision to come on a mission, but she did anyway. She has often felt discouraged and wanted to go home. She said that she didn't want to be a trainer because she felt inadequate. She said she didn't want to be that trainer that people talked about years later, saying how bossy and bad of a trainer she had been. So, I decided to be open with her. Talk about my feelings. Together, we had a good cry, and we grew a lot closer. I'll have to remember that having a cryfest is a good way to connect with your companion in the future haha. Things are much better now.  
What do the people think of me?  According to my companion, the Fijian people automatically assume that I am strict and unkind to my Polynesian companion because I am an American. Because of experiences they have had with previous white sisters. Not sure how much of that is true, but whatever. I'll just earn their trust. The little ones are either fascinated with me or scared of me. I love the little ones. 
Some other miscellaneous thoughts: 
The flat is pretty gross by American standards, but nice by Fijian standards. This morning I spent the day scrubbing away at mildew and mold and mouse droppings. Yes, there are mice. And a rats and geckos.  We're working on it. Things were slack when it came to cleanliness before, but that's going to change now that I'm around. After we are done emailing I'm going to buy cleaning supplies. We don't have very many back at the flat. 

It's amazing to me how I am not even bothered by this. I am not revolted by it like I would be back home. I tell you, it's weird. I'm not freaked out by the fact that there are a dozen little geckos living in our curtains in the kitchen, and mice and rats running around the flat at night. The bathrooms we use are more gross than a lot of gas-stations restrooms back home that I would never use, but I have no qualms using them here. 
Holy cow I have a lot more to say but my time is running short so here's some spiritual stuff: 
I know that the Lord is blessing me with enough strength to deal with a lot of extra stress. He is blessing me to be able to work harder than ever before. He is blessing me to have more patience than I ever realized I had the capacity to have. And I pray that he blesses me to become a part of Fiji, and that Fiji will become a part of me. Because it is going to take some getting used to, and I know that I will need the Lord's help to do so.
An assignment for everyone: send me CD's with all the church music you can find. Gospel music, The Prayer, whatever. I want it.
I love you all and I want more time to write but now I need to send pictures. 
God bless.
Sista Wright
Playing guitar at a member's after doing service. 

PS - If you want to mail packages to Sista Wright (church music CD's) use the address for packages to your right.  Otherwise, if you send something snail mail, plan for it to take at least a week, probably more.  Also, the packages will take anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months, so please don't send anything perishable.  Sista Wright says that the mail is really unpredictable.  Best way is either email or Dear Elder, using the mission home address.  Thank you!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

First email from Fiji


Hello my beautiful family :)
So I got a phone call from the APs today saying that President Klingler had received an email from you asking if I had made it. I'm so sorry I didn't email you before to let you know I had made it. I did ;)
I have so much to tell you but it will have to wait til next Monday, because that's when I'll have time. But I will tell you that I am serving in the Suva 1st ward, which is an English ward. My companion is Sister Bechu, who is a native Fijian. She will help me with the language. The people that we have been teaching speak a mixture of both English and Fijian, and I catch phrases here and there. They are very patient with me and love that I am trying to learn the language. The children love me because I am kai palangi.
I love Fiji. I am in the right place. I am doing the right thing. I have felt the Spirit more here than ever before in my life. Teaching is not scary. The scariest thing for me right now is talking to people out in the street. But I will. I have committed to doing it. 

I am very busy now so writing will be more limited. Except for my weekly email.
I love you all so much. Words cannot express. And I miss you, but I am not homesick. Thank you for your prayers.
Love, Sister Wright

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Layover Phone Call

Sista Wright had a 4 hour layover at LAX on her way to Fiji on Saturday, so she called us.  Which is totally within missionary rules, although they are usually only given a 15 minute calling card.  Well, we got to talk to her for 3 hours!  I was and am so happy!  That will be the last time we get to talk to her until Christmas, so it was particularly sweet to hear her voice.  She was so happy about going to Fiji!  We asked her to speak to us in Fijian...she definitely will benefit from total immersion in the culture...but I was able to hear how the words that she uses in her letters actually sound.  Bula is actually pronounced like there is an M before the B.  Like mmbula.  All B's are like that.  A lot of the other letters are pronounced differently than in English. But she told me that she will be asking her companions, investigators, and members to only speak to her in Fijian so that she can learn it faster.  Plus, there is the added benefit of making points with the people.  She has given herself 7 months to become fluent.  Go Sista Wright!
We talked a lot about being good member missionaries, and of course she wanted to talk about all the people we know that she saw in the MTC.  She was completely blown away by the sheer numbers of missionaries.  Flooding the earth! I can't help wondering where they will all be going!
Meg's Grandma Wright said that some missionary parents who also have a son serving in Fiji, posted on their FB page that their plane landed safely (how the heck did they get that message, I'd like to know), so I know she got there, but no email yet.  I can't wait to hear from her this week. So great to finally be in the field!  I am excited for her.  I'll post her next letter as soon as I get it!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Last week in the MTC: Get Me to Fiji!


Yadra vinaka, everyone! :))) THIS has been my LAST week at the MTC!!

First of all, remember our Mongolians? Hahaha they ended up not being ours. SUCH a funny situation. Their zone leaders hadn't been informed that they had arrived, so I guess we did them a favor by giving them the orientation. Otherwise they would have just been sitting in their classroom, twiddling their thumbs, not knowing what to do. We had to call our branch president to ask him who they belonged to, and he said no idea, but they are definitely not ours. It's sort of awkward seeing them around campus now. Hi, I was your sister training leader for two hours. Hahaha.

In a way, I am thankful that we had this mix-up, because it prepared us for THIS week of incoming missionaries. Holy cow, there are fifty new missionaries in our branch. That's a lot more than the eight Mongolians that we gave the orientation to last week. These missionaries are going to the Marshall Islands, Kiribati Islands (SP) (its a Micronesian country), Samoa, New Zealand, and Oklahoma City Marshallese speaking hahaha. Why there is a branch of Marshallese speakers in Oklahoma City, the world may never know. Seven of these missionaries are sisters. The branch president has already called a new sister training leader, who will be starting her duties on Sunday. (The Sunday that does not exist for those of us flying to Fiji, because we skip a day when we cross the international dateline. I guess I'll fast on the plane...) She's a total sweetheart; the calling suits her. 

So at the beginning of the week (for me that means Saturday, because Thursday, P-day, is my weekend), we did an activity where we shared a scripture that was special to us from the Book of Mormon, and then talked about why it was important to us, and what personal revelation we received while reading it. In Fijian. I had never tried to share an actual story from my life in Fijian before, and I was scared stiff. I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to do it. But then it was my turn, and I shared Alma 32, and I related the trials that our family had gone through to the story of the people who were not welcome in their synagogue. We had been humbled, just as they had been. I talked about how, for me, the seed in the faith metaphor was really about forgiveness, and how I have been using the metaphor in my life to forgive the people that hurt me and my family. My Fijian may have been broken, but I was able to tell the story in a way that was understandable. I felt the Spirit so strongly. I knew that what I was saying was true, and that by sharing my story, the seed of forgiveness within me was growing. And I felt like I actually knew something about this language. Since then, I have felt more confidence when speaking Fijian. I'm able to piece sentences together with words that I've never used before. I guess my brain is storing more than I thought it was haha. I think I'll be ok when I get to Fiji. I testify that the gift of tongues is real! We were thinking about it, and concluded that if we had been taking Fijian as a high school class, it would have taken us a year to get to where we are now. And it's only been six weeks. AH it makes me so happy :) God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good :)

Today is the last P-day before we leave on Saturday. Our P-days in Fiji will almost for sure be on Monday. (Which stinks because that means we arrive on our P-day. Slightly lame.) I am SO READY to get out of here. Cabin fever to the max. But at the same time, it's daunting. My mission is about to start for real. The people that I am going to teach are for real. Luckily, the Fijian people are supposed to be the nicest and most patient on the planet. Thank goodness. Unluckily, they also feed their missionaries like nobody's business. And I don't know how much running I'll be doing in the 100 degree climate and 100% humidity. AH. 

Today is also the Fourth of July, which has always been a special family holiday. I remember last year, Adam and I ran a 5k and he won a watermelon. That was the first day that we were really a part of the Dos Vientos Ward and Newbury Park Stake. It was the beginning of a new era for our family. It was happy. I love that memory. I love all the Fourth of July memories. Going to New Harmony and participating in the parade was always a blast. I miss you, family. All of you. I'm sad we aren't spending this holiday together. BUT know that I will be thinking about you all when watching the fireworks tonight. YES you read that correctly, we missionaries get to watch the Stadium of Fire fireworks! Granted, it's from afar, but still! I'm so excited. I love fireworks. 

And to everyone out there reading this, I love you. Please send me letters. They motivate me like no other. 
I'm BEYOND excited to go to Fiji. It is going to be amazing. I am going to become a whole different person. I can already feel the changes.
GAH anticipation.
I LOVE YOU ALL AU SA LEVU LOMANI SARA GA KEDA :)))))))))))
Keep the faith, keep in touch, keep on keeping on <3
Sista Wright <3

 One is with my branch president and his wife, President and Sister Taylor. The other is with one of the counselors, Brother Muir. Brother Muir went to Fiji on his first mission, and just returned from a second mission with his wife in Fiji about three months ago. It was fun having him. 

 This is Brother and Sister Gines. Brother Gines was the first counselor in the branch presidency. They were my favorites; they have a special place in my heart. Wonderful, wonderful people :)
 This is my friend Elder Larson
 This is my friend Elder Stenquist. Both are for Kelsey's benefit. 
 Zone picture haha
 I tried to hold the temple up but it was a fail. Hahaha!
  We got photobombed by Sister Crowell and Sister Trammell (roommates) haha. 
 Some digging into our family tree on Grandma Wright's side. Look, it's Charlemagne. Apparently it's hard to find someone of European descent that ISN'T related to Charlemagne, but I don't care, I say it's real.
This is traced back to before Christ!