Sunday, October 6, 2013

The last two weeks

So I will start with the good things that have happened in the past
two weeks. Things that have made me happy:

1)  Tadu was baptized and confirmed! There was a week of nail biting
in between, but the ordinance has been completed and Tadu is solid. He
bore his testimony on Sunday, in front of the whole ward, expressing
what he believes in and how he wants to go on a mission one day. My
heart. I love that boy. And he has friends in the ward that are
fellowshipping him. This is what makes missionary work WORTH IT :D

2) My comp and I are doing so much better. This past week was the
first time she ever told me that she appreciates me. And suddenly,
these past thirteen weeks with her have become so much more worth it.
Since the beginning, I decided to serve her, because they say that
serving someone is the best way to learn to love them. And I found
that it was true. Despite the difficulties that we have gone through,
I can honestly say that I have grown to love her. Even though the
whole time I was serving her I did not receive any thanks, but
criticism. It was hard. I had to learn so much more humility and
patience. But I regret nothing. I know that the Lord put me with her
for a reason. I know that because I have changed so much in the past
three months. I am a different person. It's crazy. And now, we are
pretty good friends. We even have inside jokes.

3) We are finally finding new people to teach that are genuinely
interested in what we have to teach! It isn't hard to find people to
teach, because pretty much all the Fijian people are happy to listen
to what we have to say, but a lot of the time they consider our
meetings to just be Bible study and they don't keep their commitments.
Frustrating. One of the new ones is a 19 year-old Catholic girl named
Trish, and she has a guitar! We totally had a jam session after we
taught a lesson about the true nature of the Godhead. It made me
really happy. Another one is a brother of one of our recent converts,
so he already has someone to strengthen and fellowship him. Man, I am
excited about these people. I already love them, and we just barely
started teaching them.

4) Every day when I put on my tag I look at it and think Am I really a
missionary? Am I really living in Fiji? Is this real life? And then I
look at myself in the mirror and think YES! I am a missionary and I am
serving in one of the most beautiful places on the planet, among some
of the most amazing people God has ever created. And I am so happy
about it. Mama, do you realize that it has been exactly a year since I
chose to go on a mission? A year since that historic October General
Conference? Do you remember that day? Holy cow. I regret nothing. I
would still make that decision, over and over again.

This includes an explanation for why I did not email last week. Things
that have made me sad:

1) Last week was in and of itself a good week. Ofa and Ali were on
their way to getting married. Tadu got baptized. Happiness, right? But
then we went to go pick Ofa and Ali up for church on Sunday, and we
discovered that Ali had given Ofa a pretty bad beating, and had
chopped off half her hair. This was the first time he had abused her
since we had started teaching them. Ali justified his actions by
saying that she had gone out drinking the night before. "She broke the
Word of Wisdom, so she deserved a good hiding."
We left. What were we supposed to do. Ali came to church on his own,
with a stubborn look on his face. Convinced that he was right, and
determined to convince us so.
On Monday we went and got Ofa and took her to get her hair cut
properly instead of emailing. She was a tragic sight. The first place
we went to refused to help. I wanted to shake the dust from off of my
feet as we left. The second place asked if we were working with a
rehab program. I guess Ofa looked like a druggie, being so thin and so
haggard. But we "rescued" her hair. And that's why I didn't email last
On Tuesday I prayed long and hard about what we should teach to Ali. I
told Sister Bechu that I needed to do what I had been called to do,
which is call people unto repentance. She said it was in my hands. So,
I prayed, and a story came to mind. The story of the woman taken in
adultery. The scribes and Pharisees took this woman, who they had
found committing adultery, and threw her down at Christ's feet. They
asked him what should be done about her. The law stated that she
should be stoned to death. But Christ looked at her pitiful state, and
addressed their question with a bold statement: "Let he who is without
sin cast the first stone." Not one of these men were perfect, and they
all knew it. So, one by one, they left the woman with the only truly
perfect man that had ever lived. "Woman, where are those thine
accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?" She looked up and saw that the
only one there was Jesus Christ. "No man, Lord." Christ had never
sinned, and so he out of all of them had the right to condemn her. But
did he? No. "Neither do I condemn thee. Go, and sin no more." After I
read this story and explained it, I asked Ali who he was in this
analogy. He understood that he was the scribes and the Pharisees. I
then asked him if we, who are imperfect, had any right to condemn each
other, when Jesus Christ, who never sinned even once, had not
condemned a woman for committing adultery? And he understood what I
meant by the parable. Ofa may have broken the Word of Wisdom, but Ali
had done far worse in his past, and he had no right to beat her. I
then went on to talk about how as husbands and wives, we must respect
each other. I showed places in the scriptures where it talked about
husbands taking care of their wives. I talked to him about how Eve was
formed from one of Adam's rib, and that men have been commanded to
care for their wives like they would their own body. Jacob chapters 2
and 3 are some good chapters about men treating their women with love
and respect. I was thorough, and I felt pretty comfortable with what I
was teaching, because I had the Lord on my side.
Ali wasn't angry with me, thank goodness. And he did say that he
regretted his actions. But, unfortunately, he did not take what I said
to heart. He said that she had done something wrong, and that she
deserved what she got.
Needless to say, they will not be getting married. And that means that
they aren't getting baptized anytime soon, unless they separate. And
I'm not sure if Ofa is brave enough to leave him. She's been with Ali
for too long. It is a tragedy that we tried to remedy, and it looked
like it was going so well. It looked like it was going to be such an
amazing success story. It had started to be such a testimony to me of
the power of the Atonement in people's lives. But now I am watching as
this little family falls apart. They are still living together, but
they don't love each other. And Ali has not been treating her better.
Basically, I am heartbroken for them, and I am heartbroken for us. Two
months of hard work for these two, seemingly for nothing. Like Sister
Bechu always says, Satan is clever.
Never in my life did I ever think that I would have to deal with
something like this. Never in my life did I think that I would have to
teach a grown man not to beat his wife. And I wasn't even scared. I
could feel the protection of the Spirit.

Some lesser evils:

2) When we went to get Ofa's hair cut I looked down and saw that there
was a tear in my bag. Someone had tried to cut a hole in it so that
they could get to the treasures inside (Lol). I hadn't even noticed;
the pickpockets here are clever. So we went to go and get my bag
repaired. I had to take everything out and hand my empty bag to the
guy at the shoe/bag repair stand. (They have these stands all over
Suva. I bet they have a racket going with the pickpockets. Ugh.) In
the hullaballoo of it all, I lost my USB that contained all of my
pictures since the beginning of my mission, my camera/computer
connection chord, and my bottle of Ibuprofen. But I didn't cry about
it because Sister Bechu has taken a lot of the same pictures as me and
they'll all be on Facebook after our missions. However, this means
that I have no way of sending pictures home to you (not that I have
been able to anyway, with the stupid internet connection), and I no
longer have my favorite painkiller. They don't have Ibuprofen here in
Fiji. All I'm saying is it could have been worse. It could have been
my wallet. Or my scriptures. Losing my scriptures would have been the
real tragedy. So I count my many blessings.

3) We did not get to see the General Relief Society Broadcast. It was
cancelled. But of course, no one thought to tell us. So we cancelled a
bunch of appointments, picked up an investigator, and traveled by bus
all the way to the Stake Center to watch it. And no one was there. And
it was cancelled until further notice. Ticked me off, because I was
really looking forward to it. But that's ok, at least there's no way
they can cancel General Conference. Man I am so jealous that everyone
else is watching it right now...

Anyway, there's my life right now. Lot's of ups and downs, but the ups
make up for the downs. Haha. I love you all. Forgive me for my
weaknesses and shortcomings. I am so far from perfect. But I am

Thank you for the updates. Keep them coming.


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