Monday, January 27, 2014

Another day, another dollar

MMk so one thing that I desperately need to clear up with the world at
large. Fiji is spelled FIJI not FIGI. PLEASE. This is a crucial
mistake. Every time I read the word FIGI I cringe and a piece of my
heart shrivels up. SO. If you want me to survive until November,
please spell Fiji in the correct fashion. With a J, not a G. In the
native tongue of this lovely group of islands, the country is called
Viti, so I will accept that spelling as well.
Oilei training. It takes a different kind of patience. The kind of
patience that only a parent can understand, I suppose. But I like that
kind of patience more than the patience that I have had to develop up
until now, which was more of a tolerance towards unkindness and
disrespect. Just kidding it wasn't that bad, but sometimes it felt
like it. My comp is great. A breath of fresh air. However, she is a
brand new missionary, and I have to teach her how to do everything.
Some missionaries come what we call "pre-trained". I was one of those
missionaries. It wasn't as hard for me to learn how to teach and how
adjust to missionary life. But other missionaries do not come
pre-trained, and this is my companion. Which is fine, you cannot
expect these greenies to be pre-trained. But, it does mean that my
work is cut out for me. And it also means that I will be having to
make up for what she does not know. It means I do most of the teaching
and whatnot. And guess what, I like that. I would love to do all of
the teaching. And even worse, she also likes that. She would love for
me to do all the teaching. So we both have to step out of our comfort
zones. I have to give her more responsibility. And she needs to be
brave and just teach. It's not easy, but it's not that bad either. The
12-week training program helps keep us on track. This week we are
working on "Teaching People, Not Lessons". That's a hard one for
newbies. So, we work on it. We do a lot of roleplays. She hates it (in
an ah man, not again kind of way), but I say tough. This is the only
way she'll learn. And we both learn. It's great.
Luckily, we have fun while we go. We joke around a ton and tease each
other plenty. She's always teasing me for being a palagi. I always
tease her about this elder that she went to high school with that
happens to be in our zone. It's great fun. And incredibly, the work is
expanding. We are working closely with our Ward Mission Leader,
Brother Reddy, and his wife, who is a recent convert of one month and
his right-hand-man. She is so involved, it's awesome. This Friday is
our Missionary Fireside. We are doing some role-plays/skits to get the
members motivated to do less-active work. We are having some people
speak at it, some former less actives as well as myself and probably
one of the elders. Then, we are organizing groups to go visiting after
church on Sunday. We're calling the visiting a "Ward Harvest". I'm
super excited about it. First time I've ever organized a fireside.
Good experience for the future.
Um what else. We have some new investigators. They are great. One girl
that we found is Kiribati, so that is really fun for Sister Eneri. And
not only that, but she also used to go with the Kiribati LDS crowd
back in Suva, and even dated a guy who is now on a mission in
Washington. When we went and knocked on her door (or rather yelled
Maori! (Kiribati word for hello) through the gate) she immediately let
us in because she was excited to "talk to her boyfriend's associates"
haha. Good news for him, not only will his girlfriend be waiting for
him when he gets home, but if all goes according to plan, she'll also
be temple-worthy! Blessings for him, whoever he is. Also a funny
story, this boyfriend was originally from Sister Eneri's branch back
in Kiribati. Small world! The Lord works in mysterious ways.
We have a few awesome new investigators like this. We are hoping to
have at least three baptisms in March. We have two scheduled, but only
one of them is for sure. There's a lady that we have been teaching
since November that could be ready by then too. Pray, everyone. Pray
for Sovaira and Mosa and Alice and Iliavi and Junior. These are the
ones that we want to get baptized in March. Mosa is for sure, but the
rest will need the prayers. Put their names in the temple too, if you
can. Vinaka.
Haha but then there are other new investigators that will probably not
progress towards baptism. Like Saki, a referral from the elders. The
other day he called me his girlfriend. This is something I hate. I
hate being a palagi sometimes. Some people only talk to us because
they want to talk to me. Particularly young Fijian men. Who just want
to talk to a palagi girl. Makes me want to be violent. I have more to
offer than just the color of my skin! I offer an invitation that could
lead to eternal life and exaltation! Grumble mumble groan cough ugh.
So frustrating. Also, when I want to avoid people, I can't, because my
skin glows in the dark. People can see me a mile away. I can't hide my
face. Sometimes I want to be brown.
Well, more brown than the brown that I currently am.
I know that this church is true. With my entire soul and being. I want
all of you who are reading this to know and understand that I was not
born with this knowledge. I didn't really gain it until I came on my
mission. It took time. It took study. Hours and hours. It took prayer.
Hours and hours. But I can look at all of you in the eyeballs and tell
you with all the feelings of a devoted Christian, this is His true
Church and His true Gospel and the only way to find true happiness is
through entering into the waters of baptism and becoming a part of it.
So I invite all of you who have not yet done so, to investigate the
option. I often refer our investigators to Matthew 7:15-17, & 20.
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but
inwardly they are ravening wolves." Definitely be weary, because there
are people out there who are trying to deceive you. "Ye shall know
them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns or figs of
thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a
corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit." I love this. How do you know
that a mango tree is a mango tree? It brings forth mangoes. How do you
know that a breadfruit tree is a breadfruit tree? It brings forth
breadfruit. Ok. You can see that with your eyes; it's super easy to
determine what kind of tree a tree is based on the fruit it produces.
But how do you know if the fruit is good? You have to taste it.
Alright, so then let's say that the tree is a church. You can see that
it is a Christian church because that's what kind of fruit that it
bears. Plenty churches call themselves Christian churches, though not
all of them bare good fruit. So what do you have to do to know that
the fruit is good? Take a bite! Partake of it, try it out. Read the
books that they offer. Listen to the doctrines, pray about them. Same
goes for this church. We have the Book of Mormon. How can you know if
it is a good or corrupt fruit if you never taste it? So read it! You
will see for yourself that it is a good fruit. "Wherefore, by their
fruits ye shall know them." Take a bite. Taste for yourself the fruit
that is sweet above all that you have ever tasted, and that is
desirable to make you happy. It has made me happy, and now I want you
to be happy as well. But it is up to you to try it out for yourself.
And if you do, I promise that you will taste of it's goodness and
instead of wanting to spit it out, you will want more.
:)
Guys. This week is my eight month mark. Then my nine month mark
doesn't even exist because this year is not a leap year, but it will
be here before we know it. And then, it's a downhill slide. Woop woop.
Sorry to be happy about that. It's a bittersweet kind of thing. Because
Fiji has become my home. I will definitely cry when I leave. In ten
months. WOW.
Love you!
Sista Wright

Sunday, January 19, 2014

First week as a trainer

Bula vinaka, noqu matavuvale kei itokani. Vakacava tiko? I miss you all so much and love you beyond all reason.
One thing that I want to fix from what I said in my last email. I am definitely not the best sister when it comes to the language. The reason I said I was better than most was because so many of them don't even try to learn it. But out of those who do try to learn it, I am still lacking. My Fijian is getting better but it is coming slowly. However, it is improving, and I have had Fijians tell me that I sound like a Fijian, which of course makes me feel happy. I love to speak it. I love to listen to it. Wow has my attitude changed regarding na vosa vakaviti since I started my mission. Haha it's pretty amazing. I believe in the gift of tongues. 
Anyway, Hello! I am training! It is not easy! You have to remember so many things at once! You have to know where to go and what to do at every hour of the day! And the numbers are all on you! Holy heck it is stressful, but we have fun with it. It's not as stressful as being companions with my previous companion was. I lost weight because of the stress. I just didn't want to eat. Since my little baby greenie daughter came, I feel like all I have been doing is eating. She doesn't really know how to cook, so I have just been cooking every day. Because I love to cook for people. Newfound love. And what have I cooked for her? Egg and tuna curry. Banana pancakes. Chocolate banana pancakes (those were lovely to look at HA). French toast. Fried rice. Look at me, I am getting all domestic. It's fantastic.
Ok so about my greenie. Her name is Sister Eneri. It is pronounced Enedy, as in it rhymes with the first name of my dear friend Sister Jenedy Eggleston (shoutout to that lovely lady. Sorry I haven't written you any letters. Just know that you have had a profound influence on my life and on my decision to go on a mission. God bless you.) The reason why it is pronounced thus is because she is from Kiribati (pronounced Kidibus). She is awesome and I love her. We both believe that as missionaries, we need to be obedient, but we also need to have fun. So. We laugh a lot. It's great :) 
Training itself, there is a program that we use. The 12 Week Training program. If it is done correctly, the greenie should be able to train their own greenie at the end of 12 weeks. We are given a schedule that we need to follow, a book with all these trainings in it, and a bunch of training DVDs. I'm a big fan of it. This past week I tried not to kill her. We went slower than Sister Kumar and I were going (the week before Sister Kumar left we managed to get 32 lessons, this week we only got 15. Cut in half, but that's ok), but it was still exhausting for my sweet Sister E. We climb a lot of hills. Also we cross through jungle and over log bridges and sometimes just hop on rocks to cross streams. Takes some getting used to. 
Her first day proselyting, I assigned her to learn the baptismal invitation in Fijian. She invited our golden investigator, Mosa, to be baptized in March. He said yes. It was a good experience for her. I was glad she could do it. Then when we were walking to another appointment, we both were hungry. We stopped for a second so that I could text the Zone Leaders about a referral, and randomly some Fijian lady that we had never talked to said, "Mai, Sistas! Na uca sa voleka mai!" (Come, Sisters, the rain is close!) So we went in and we chatted with her. She was a Seventh Day Adventist lady, super nice. I played the guitar a little bit for her little grandkids, and in exchange she gave us pumpkin curry and roti. Heck yes. We ate well. The Lord provides. 
Another thing. This Sunday we went and proselyted with our Ward Mission leader and his wife, who was just recently baptized. Up until now, we had not been working with him. My previous companion just straight up refused to work with him because of some drama that had gone down before I showed up in the area. Slowed down the work. Also, he did not trust us anymore. But together, me and Sister E were able to regain his trust. We are eating at their house tonight. YEAH. Planning a missionary fireside for this Friday and a Ward Harvest for this Sunday. YEAH. Teaching tons of new investigators. YEAH. Dropping investigators that are not progressing. YEAH. (Sad, but you have no idea how frustrating it can be when they refuse to keep commitments. Dropping is a bittersweet experience.) Basically, stuff is going well. 
I love being a missionary. I love being a trainer. I love the Lord. I love the scriptures. I just finished the Book of Mormon for the second time on the mission. Such an amazing experience. And now we are all starting a Book of Mormon read as a mission. A ten week Book of Mormon read, with our focus being the Savior. We are to highlight every time He is mentioned. I am so excited. We just started today and I am already seeing how my perspective of the book is changing. It is my favorite book. Of all time. I love it. Everyone read it. Amen. 
Hmm. What else can I say. I am brown now, my farmer tan is impressive. The elders have said so, after seeing the skin behind my watch. It is as white as the driven snow. Um. 
I miss you people. Guess what, I'm almost halfway done. One more month and it'll be a downhill slide. Which means it will go fast. Oy. It's gone fast enough as it is. So crazy. 
Happy birthday to everyone whose birthdays I have forgotten. 
Loloma levu,
Sister Wright

Sunday, January 12, 2014

I am training!

Welp guess what. I AM TRAINING.

HAHAHAHA so crazy how just last week I was chaffing (how do you spell
that) to train, and suddenly I am getting my greenie on Wednesday. LET
ME TELL YOU its about time. The other people in my intake are already
training, as well as a bunch from the intake after us. Made me feel
like the Lord or maybe President didn't trust me to train. Maybe I'm
not a good enough missionary. Dumb thoughts. But now I know better. I
have been pretty well prepared to train. Every one of my companions
have prepared me for this. From them, I know what kind of a senior
companion I want to be. A rocking awesome one, that's for sure. One
that is obedient but not overbearing. And definitely a compassionate
one. I have discovered a few things about myself. Compassion and
hospitality are huge to me. I love taking care of people. Even if they
are total jerks to me, I serve them til the end. That's just who I am.
Can't wait to have a home of my own so that I can invite anyone and
everyone to come home and partake of my compassion and hospitality. I
have decided that that home will have a fabulous grandfather clock.
Just saying.
But anyway, things are going to change in this area. I have some great
ideas. And we have a bunch of potential investigators lined up. The
work is about to explode, I can feel it. And I am so excited and
motivated.
We are going to learn this language. I'm so done with only one of us
knowing it. From day one me and my greenie are going to take advantage
of our language study hour. I can speak it better than a lot of
sisters out here, but I am still leagues behind the elders. And
sometimes they are condescending about it. Well, no longer. The day
will come when they will be asking ME how to say certain things. Ha.
Yeah.
Anyway, not much more to say besides that. I'm excited to get a new
companion...haha. Yeah. This one has taught me heaps about patience. I
have discovered that you can never be too patient.
THANK THE GREAT SKY MONKEYS, I AM TRAINING. (Don't worry, Mormons do
not worship the giant primates that dwell among the stars. They just
admire them greatly. Just kidding. It's just a megspression. Don't
take me seriously unless I am being serious.) (YOU KNOW YOU MISS ME.)

I LOVE Y'ALL.

Anyway, bye.
Sista Wright

Can you tell that I am happier? :))))))))))))

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Love from Fiji

 Megan sent us a package for Christmas.  Sulus for the guys, a muumuu for Sophie, and a sulu for me too.  And lots of jewelry.  She put a lot of love in that little package.  So we decided to put it all on and wear it to church!  And then we took these pictures and sent them to Meg...
 Chad and Adam thought it would be fun to send this pic to Meg…she was MORTIFIED when she saw the dress socks and shoes…but no, they wore sandals.
Here are some things she said about the package and pictures:

I HOPE YOU DIDN'T WEAR THOSE SOCKS AND SHOES HAHAHAHAHAHAHA 
wooooow you people look so good!
Sophie, the brown wooden-looking thing on the print on your dress is a tabua (tamboo-a). It is a whale's tooth, and it is what a man will give to the father of the girl he wants to marry. 
You trade a whale's tooth for her hand in marriage.
Please tell me you didn't wear those shoes to church
How about those ties?? The most hideous ones I could find…hahahahahahaha.  They cost 50 cents!
those necklaces are carved out of whale tooth. It's a Maori necklace of protection haha.

Bula vinaka, na ganequ kei na taciqu. Au lomani kemuni. I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Super sorry for not emailing last week. I told my District Leader to email y'all and let you know my circumstances: my comp has been really sick lately, and at the time had been dead in bed for three days. Impossible to go to town and email. Impossible to go anywhere. It was rough. My brain started to do weird stuff from all the alone time that I had. But at the same time, I also had some pretty spiritual experiences that helped me to grow even closer to my Father in Heaven. This just keeps happening, doesn't it? Hahaha. Gotta love the mission. But anyway, the reason that she was sick is still a mystery. Maybe a parasite, maybe a bacterial infection. Either way, her stomach was in constant distress. Running to the bathroom. Fun fun. But it happened right after Christmas. On Christmas we had a District Meeting that President Klingler attended. It was a memorable one. Sister Kumar and I planned a little after party with gifts and brownies and party hats. Yes we are awesome. Then for dinner that night we had lovo at a member's house. You know, where they dig a pit in the ground and put piping hot rocks and banana leaves and then dalo (taro), cassava, chicken, pork, etc, and then steam it for a couple hours. A common treat for various special occasions. Yum. But Sister Kumar caught something from it. And it hit her hard. I don't know what it is, I can eat anything and I don't even get the runs. Stomach of steel, over here. She's from Fiji and she still reacted very badly to the food. She hasn't eaten much since then. I have to watch her to make sure she doesn't starve to death. Small bites here and there. We had to go to some doctor, an Asian lady, who was about the most condescending and rude person I have met since I came to Fiji. She would use these big words and then ask Sister Kumar if she knew what they meant, and when she didn't she would roll her eyes and then use baby talk with her. I wanted to smack the woman, because I understood her perfectly and probably have a more advanced vocabulary than the people who taught her, but we are missionaries. Decorum at all times. 
But anyway, the Lord loves to test us. He loves to test my patience. In so many different ways. First with companionship difficulties, then sickness, then confidence issues, then discouragement, then a drought in the work, now what? I don't know but like the Penguins off of Madagascar, I just smile and wave boys, smile and wave. 
I love you people. You look fabulous in your Fiji-wear. Thank you for the phone call. It did wonders for my moral.
To all those out there that read these things that are currently going through hard times: Don't give up. Turn to your Savior. How do you do that? You pray. You search the scriptures. You listen to the voice of the prophet. You seek for the companionship of the Holy Ghost. You go out and serve others. You put aside the follies of your youth, you reject the things of this world, you forgive past grievances, and seek forgiveness for your own mistakes. You do not wallow. Never wallow. Get up and keep moving forward. And above all, doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith. Faith will be the life-preserver that gets you through these waters. Joseph Smith said, "Deep water is what I am wont to swim in." Someone else said, "God leads us to deep waters, not to drown us, but to cleanse us."

LAST OF ALL HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY GRANDMA T! Always remember to drink plenty water, my grandma <3 
I love you people. 
Loloma vakalevu,
Sister Wright