Sunday, August 25, 2013

First baptism, New mailing instructions

So, about that investigator I talked about last week: don't worry, we
are very careful. We always make sure to bring a member with us when
we teach him. But if the Spirit told us not to go see him, we
wouldn't. Thank you so much for your concern though <3

Something that I realized this week was just how different mission
life is than I expected it to be. Ok I realized that awhile ago, but
this was a new realization. Before the mission, I thought that we
would be going out and teaching people and they would either accept it
or reject it, and hopefully get baptized. But it is so much more than
that. Everyone we teach is a real human being, and they consequently
come with a lot of baggage, real life problems that we end up getting
involved in, one way or another. It's frustrating and heartbreaking to
see them struggle and hurt, but so satisfying when we see them make
those changes in their lives that bring them closer to their Savior,
Jesus Christ. This week is Akosita's baptism. And wow, it has been a
long time coming. Something that I have a very strong testimony of is
that whenever someone is about to make a really good life changing
decision, like going on a mission or being baptized, Satan starts
working on overload. We have seen that with Akosita. It has been hard.
Currently, some of her family members are trying to convince her that
we're a cult and that we worship Joseph Smith and Thomas S. Monson.
Ok, let me just say something about that. We are not a cult. We
worship the one true God, our loving Heavenly Father, and His Son
Jesus Christ. The name of our church is The Church of JESUS CHRIST of
Latter-Day Saints. And if anyone wants to call us a cult, alright
then. Prove it. Read our scriptures. Study our doctrines. Matthew 7:20
says that by their fruits ye shall know them. So study the fruits of
our church, and see for yourselves if whether or not we are a cult
that worships mortal men. It just really frustrates me when people
make judgements with no genuine information to back these judgements
up.
But anyway, Akosita is strong. She is still going to be baptized this
Wednesday and it is going to be so great. I am really proud of the
progress she has made, and of the fact that she still has such a
desire to join herself with the church despite the opinions of her
extended family.
Other than Akosita, we are still trying our best to teach Ali. And he
has such a desire to change and be baptized, but he doesn't fully
understand just how many changes he has to make. It has been really
hard with him, but the Christlike attribute we have been working on
this week is hope, and last week was faith. I know that the Lord can
change him. I know that he has the potential of being a very good man.
It will just take time and patience.
Holy cow, if I have learned anything since I got here, it is patience.
Patience with SO MANY difficult people. Patience while learning a
language. Patience with ridiculously slow internet connections. I
wouldn't say that I have the patience of Job, but man. I'm getting
there.
I was just thinking yesterday, about what life was like for me growing
up. I have been so blessed, and so sheltered. Here I can see the
realities of life so much clearer. People suffer. People are so
strong. And I realized that my childhood is truly over. I am a woman
now. And this is a little sad and a little scary to me. But here's
what I have to say about it: bring it on. Come what may. Try me. For I
can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

The package with the three CD's came last week like Wednesday. It took
them until today to finally give it to me. 
And when it comes to the emailing, I have less time than before. Only
one hour on Mondays. So, on the blog, tell people to write me snail
mail instead of emails.
  (see Address on sidebar) Also, I won't have time to do the live
chatting anymore. Just part of the sacrifice. I'm sorry. I really
really am.
About the songs, they made me and my companion cry. Sister Bechu
wanted me to tell you thank you for them. Man I miss you people.
I was reading something in Jesus the Christ yesterday, about how the
disciples were to leave everything behind. It even went so far as to
say "hate your families". Obviously the language didn't literally mean
hate, but rather leave them behind and follow Christ. It made me
think, even though the live emailing has been something that I have
loved, it's important that I am willing to sacrifice it. Also, when we
get to talk on Mother's Day and Christmas, it's only for 30-40
minutes. I think I'd rather talk than Skype, because Skype is so
unreliable. But we'll talk more about that when the time comes.
If it feels like I am not spending enough time writing you and
emailing you, I am so sorry. But that is part of it. I have less time
to email and write because I am trying to focus more.

Transfers are coming up. The new intake is coming soon. I won't be
training, because my own training will not be over. But I might have a
new companion. Sister Bechu is fairly certain that she will be
transferred week after next. I guess we'll see. I'll let you know.


I love you all!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A new investigator

Hi All!
This week was so fast! Feels like yesterday was P-day. I have a
calendar that I check the days off of and man I can't believe how fast
time flies.
I don't have as much time, so here's the story of the week:
We have been 'teaching' this investigator, whose name is Ali. He is an
interesting character. We started off teaching his wife, not him, and
actually avoided him, because he had a pretty bad reputation. He
mistreated his family and was involved in some pretty scary things.
But one day we went to see his wife and there he was, and he was
really interested in talking to us. His main interest was how the
church is so focused on the family. Despite the fact that he did not
treat his family very well, he recognized that changes needed to be
made, and he was willing to make them. He wanted to settle down and
have a good family life. He just didn't know where to begin. So we
started having family devotionals with them, and trying to help them
know how to treat one another. The wife was weary of the whole
situation, because she had lost all trust in him on account of the
many mistakes he had made in the past. But he listened to every thing
we said and drank it in. We couldn't teach him the actual lessons yet
because we needed to get permission to teach him from President
Klingler (he has a Muslim background), but he was already talking
about getting baptized and taking his wife to the temple (they weren't
technically married). He chose to stop drinking alcohol and smoking
pot all on his own, and was working on stopping smoking cigarettes.
Unfortunately, his wife took the kids and left last week. Since then
he has been so humbled. Every day he gets up very early and walks
around Suva, "looking for a car". He had been a taxi driver, but his
car had caught fire and he didn't have the money to repair it.
Basically, his life is in shambles. But every time we see him and
share a message with him he expresses how grateful he is that we found
him. He says that he can see that the Lord is with him. On Saturday I
convinced him to close our meeting by praying for us. He was afraid
to, but he did it, and it was an amazing experience. All of us
couldn't stop smiling afterwards. And then yesterday he came to church
and then to a fireside. The man is improving by leaps and bounds.
The whole experience reminds me of that story, about the missionary
who said that he looks at every person he meets and sees them dressed
in their baptismal whites. At first we judged Ali, and understandably
because of the way that he treated his wife. We are women and we
sympathize with her. But with the help of the gospel he has changed so
much, and I have grown to truly love him.
We start teaching him the actual lessons tomorrow. I can't wait.


I am doing well. I am learning more and more everyday. Dad will be
proud to hear that I have started keeping an extensive scripture
journal. I write down what I think about every other verse I read or
so. I feel dumb that I didn't start doing this when I started up
reading the BOM again, and only started now that I am in 3rd Nephi.
But still, I know it will be a very useful book in years to come. It
means I can't read as fast as I would like, just a couple of chapters
a day, but it will all be worth it. I cross reference stuff and it's
just great and I'm excited about it. Something I thought about, buying
a journal is an act of faith. Funny how I have bought so many journals
in my life or notebooks and never filled them. I am determined to fill
this one. It is a big hardback 400 page book.
When it comes to my companion, things will never be easy. But they
will be ok. I am learning so much. I know what kind of trainer I want
to be like based on all the things I wish were going on in my training
haha.

Gotta go!
Love you all.  Take care of each other!
Love love love,
Sister Wright

Sunday, August 11, 2013

First baptism date all set up for end of month!

Howdy y'all. 

When we were walking down the sidewalk in town the other
day one Fijian boy said howdy to me. Because all American say howdy,
right? Hahaha. What movie does that remind me of...Not Ocean's 11,
right? I don't know, one of those movies. JUST KIDDING, I think it was
a Psych episode. Ask Sam, he'll remember.

Ok, so this week was a good one. AND you want to know the best news?
We've got ourselves a baptismal date! For the end of this month! First
one for me, and I am beyond happy. Over the moon happy. Is that a
phrase? I don't know. The point is, this girl named Akosita is
fantastic and I love her. She was the one who had already taken the
lessons in her village before coming to Suva, and we just randomly
found her. We taught her the Plan of Salvation the other day, and it
was amazing. The Spirit was incredibly strong, and I just was
overwhelmed by how blessed we are to have a knowledge of this plan.To
have a knowledge that families can be eternal. To have a knowledge
that those who have died without the Gospel have the opportunity to
learn about it after this life. When you've been a member your whole
life, you take the Gospel for granted. But then you go out on a
mission, and you see how even the small things in the Gospel are able
to bring joy to people's lives, and that's when you realize. Man. We
are so blessed. I am so grateful that my family is on the right track
to being eternal.

Anyway, we have been keeping meticulous tabs on this girl. Because she
got away from the missionaries once before, and we don't want that
happening again. But I'm not that worried about her. She is so strong.
She has a great desire to be a member of the church. She always says
that she loves going to church on Sundays, and she even told me that
she wants to serve a mission. And she's not even a member yet! So
great.

In other news, we have a new District Leader. Elder King got
transferred to Rotuma, and Elder Laoti has come to take his place.
He's great. He encourages us to use more Fijian. Which is both an
annoying thing and a fantastic thing. Because to be honest, I haven't
been using too much Fijian. I've been of the opinion that it will come
when it comes. I study it, I bear my testimony, I pray in Fijian. But
I could be doing more. So even though I am uncomfortable speaking
Fijian during District Meetings, I'll put on a brave face and just do
it. It will help me, I know.

My companion and I are doing well. We have days that are quiet and we
have days where I try to catch a gecko, instead only catch his tail,
and then chase her around the flat with the wiggling severed limb. She
hates all animals hahaha. We have had some good times. Something that
we are well known for are our brownies. They are microwave brownies,
that take about seven minutes from start to finish. Here's the recipe:

Suva 1st Sister Missionary Microwave Brownies:
1. 4 eggs
2. 2 cups of sugar
3. 1 cup melted butter
4. 1 cup flour
5. 1 cup cocoa

Mix eggs, sugar, and butter together. Add in flour and cocoa. Mix
together well. Place in two microwavable containers. Microwave each
for 4-5 minutes until cooked.
Enjoy!
Courtesy of Sister Tiakia.

Not sure if it will work with American microwaves and American
ingredients. But whatever, it's been pretty great. And we make at
least six containers a week. Sister Bechu and I have joked about
opening a bakery on the side. Make a little pocket money.
I feel like I am getting fat. I probably am. Please still love me if I
come back massive.

My training is about halfway done. A new intake of
missionaries comes in on September 9th. One week before I finish my
training. When it comes to transfers around here, you
never know. Our ZL has been here in Suva for a year. One of our Sister
Training Leaders has been in her area for seven months. Sister Bechu
feels like she'll get transferred any day now, but I bet we'll both be
here at least until the new intake comes. It's all up to the
Lord. I am content where I am.

One other thing that has recently happened: there is a family that we
have grown very close to, the Sharmas. Sister Sharma is a Kiribati
woman who served her mission here in Fiji back in 09 or so. With
Brothers Crump, Matheson, and Engel (noqu qase ni vuli mai na MTC).
Back then she was called Sister Bakaua. Her husband, brother Sharma,
is an Indian man from here who is a convert. She didn't teach him, but
some sister missionaries that she served with did. Anyway, we always
go to their house when our dinner appointments fall through. Sister
Sharma has been ridiculously pregnant lately, and on Friday she gave
birth. So we have visited her in the (scary) hospital a couple of
times. Man, that tiny little one. They named her Abigail. It's got me
thinking about my own future. You never know, that could be me in
around five years or so. And I started thinking about those little
ones of mine, up there cheering me on. Gives me an added measure of
strength.

Um. The ward is fantastic. Just this past Sunday Sister Bechu and I
gave talks in Sacrament meeting. Let me just tell you something,
giving talks is a cinch now that I have been teaching 2-5 lessons a
day for the past month. Preparing talks, also a cinch, because of the
two or so hours a day I spend studying the scriptures. I actually
enjoyed giving my talk. It was on missionary work (lol), and I shared
Alma 31:5 and Helaman 6:37. Preaching the word, so much more powerful
than the sword. God prefers to destroy His enemies by making them His
friends, by preaching the word to them. I love it. That's something we
always say when we teach. We aren't here to force anyone. We simply
want to share. And the Spirit does it's work. And the people change
their own minds. It's beautiful.

I love the work. I love the people. I love Fiji. I miss home, but it
will all be worth it.

Love to everyone <3333
Sister Wright




Sunday, August 4, 2013

Typical week in the life of a missionary.


Hello my darlings. 

I got the Fedexed CD last week Monday after qito (play, pronounced gueeto. I played basketball with the rest of the zone. You think if I pray for height the Lord might actually listen, I mean now that I am a missionary?). So that means that Fedex is the way to go. PS, I am a fan of the CD (there's one that makes me cry every time without fail), but some of those songs are weird haha. Send me more! EFY stuff, soundtracks to movies like the RM and the Best Two Years, any song that talks about Jesus including Jesus Take the Wheel haha. 

This week was a typical week in the life of a missionary.  YesterdaySunday, was an interesting day. We got an investigator to go to church with us (the lovely Akosita) and afterwards we taught her about prayer. (Mostly I teach in English and Sister Bechu clarifies in Fijian) She said she loved going to church and expressed a desire to be baptized. HECK yeah. She is the one that we found that had already taken the lessons and had moved to Suva before she could get baptized. Praise the Lord for her, she makes us feel like we are real missionaries or something. But anyway, after that we went back to the flat and took a nap. Not even on purpose, we both fell asleep. It was well deserved. I realize that one of the reasons that we don't always get along is MAYBE because we are grumpy because we are tired. Makes total sense. So don't judge us for taking a nap. 

Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley said, "Do you want to be happy? Forget yourself and get lost in this great cause. Lend your efforts to helping people. Stand higher, lift those with feeble knees, hold up the arms of those that hang down. Live the gospel of Jesus Christ." And what I got from that was be busy, work work work. So that's what I did, but I wasn't happy. Because I wasn't helping everyone. So this is my goal. Time to make the most of my time here in Suva. Heck yes to the whole humility thing. I have been devouring the Book of Mormon lately (love that book, know it's true) and just about every other verse talks about humbling ourselves and turning to the Lord. The Lord has said that except we humble ourselves and become as little children, we can in nowise enter the Kingdom of God. And here I am inviting people to enter in. How can I do that, except I myself become humble? And so the Lord puts us through the refiners fire. It's just the drill. I should have known haha.

When it comes to the work, we are progressing. Not as quickly as I would like, but the work is different here. There are a couple of baptismal invitations that we will be extending very soon. I am so excited for these people. The other day, one of the recent converts that we visit told us that she was done with the church and that she wanted to say goodbye to us. On Sunday we went to her house and brought her to church. I did my best to talk her off the edge of the cliff. I told her that Satan works the hardest on the best people. It helped!  She came to church and she had an interview with the Bishop to begin work on her mission papers. She thanked us again and again for talking some sense into her, and for always being there for her.These are the times that fill me with joy. I love her. I will do my best to help her prepare for her mission. 

I love Fiji. I can say that now without any reservations. I know that this love will grow throughout my mission until it will be hard for me to leave. When that happens, I will know that I have served a good mission. 
Elder Holland said, "Except in the case of His only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with...As one gifted writer has suggested, when the infinite fulness is poured forth, it is not the oil's fault if there is some loss because finite vessels can't quite contain it all. Those finite vessels include you and me, so be patient and kind and forgiving." I love Elder Holland. Lately I have become painfully aware of my own imperfections. I pray that the Lord will at least make me into a more worthy vessel, as I serve my companion and I serve the people of Fiji. 

Let me tell you something about mosquito bites. The first week I got here I had so many that it was like I had the chicken pox or something. And although they have not gotten worse, I am still constantly being bitten. Especially on my feet, which is the WORST PLACE for mosquito bites.  I am trying out some mosquito repellent, I'll let you know how it works, haha.

To everyone back home that has been emailing me and sending me snail mail, I thank you. Your words fill me with joy. I am sorry if I do not reply to everyone.  I don't have much time! Just know that you are all in my prayers. Just know that I love you all very much.
To mama and daddy: your 21st anniversary is this week. Something that I always pray for is that your marriage will continue to be strong and rewarding. I am so grateful for you both. You are such incredible examples to me. I hope someday to have that kind of relationship with my own husband. 

Love love love you all!
Sister Wright