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

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