Sunday, February 23, 2014

Do your duty with a heart full of song...

Well hello! :) Guess what, I had a great week! I think some people have been praying for me, or something, I don't know...
Haha! :) 
First little miracle I would like to talk about: My hand started to heal right away! I put nothing on it, I just soaked it in ice water throughout my studies that day, and guess what it only hurt for about three hours! It was a gnarly burn, that's a big deal! I'm excited about it though, because this is the first wound I have received on the mission that will most assuredly scar. So when people ask me where I got that scar, I'll reply Fiji! That's where I got it. Haha. 
Second miracle: Sister Eneri and I are about as close as can be. Monday night we had a good long talk that got pretty deep. I had to be a bit bold with her. Let me tell you something about her: She has crippling social anxiety. Kind of like me, before the mission. Can't talk on the phone. Can't talk to people, period. Partially because she feels self conscious about her English. Or at least, that's how it was at the beginning. She has changed. She is doing great during lessons, and we are working in much more unity than before. However, she still cannot talk to the other missionaries. Total social anxiety in that department. Good thing she has me as her companion, because I had to work through that as well. So I can relate and sympathize and what not. Anyway, during this talk I basically said what mom and dad have always said to me, buck up. You're a big girl, you can do this. God is on your side. She needed some alone time after that, but instead of getting upset, she started to change! And we started to talk to each other like we were real sisters, and apparently I now know her better than anyone. It's a blessing. 
Third: We worked really hard this week. We did not get a billion lessons, just 16. But that's because I am honest about how I count lessons. Some missionaries count every meeting they possibly can as a lesson. Me, I go by the book. A lessons starts and ends with a prayer, is with an investigator, recent convert or less active, and is religious in content. So a few meetings that could have been lessons were not counted because they did not start with a prayer. That's called honesty. But I digress. We worked hard and we were happy and we walked a thousand miles and contacted a billion people. Let me just talk for a second about contacting. I can contact the heck out of someone. Fijian, English, doesn't matter. (Just the fact that I am a palagi speaking Fijian gets me into SO many homes.) But I have found that maybe I do too much contacting...it is possible to have too many people to see! We have trouble focusing on certain investigators because there are just too many! Wow Sister Wright, what's wrong with you, complaining about having too many investigators. Well that's just it, they aren't all investigators of the church as much as they are investigators of Sister Wright. Poses a problem. So right now we are in the process of weeding out the ones that won't progress. And strengthening the ones that are progressing. It's great fun :) I love missionary work. I love my companion. I love the Lord. 
Fourth: Some cool experiences we had this week! We were walking down the street waving at people and saying bula like usual, when one girl across the street gave us a huge grin and a massive wave, more enthusiastic than most. We grin back and keep going, but then I stop and ask Sister Eneri, "You feel that?" "What?" "We need to go back and talk to her." "Yep, let's go." So we go and she invites us in and we talk to the family. Up on the wall they have a picture of their Samoan cousin, who is currently a missionary in the Marshall Islands. Sweet! We have a short lesson, set a return appointment, then turn to leave. As we are walking back towards the road, Sera, the big grin girl, stops us. She is crying. She tells us that she had been praying for something to happen that would change her life. She said when she saw us, she knew we were the answer to her prayer, but she didn't have the courage to run out and stop us. The fact that we stopped and walked towards her only further confirmed her feeling about us. She said that as we talked about our message of peace and hope and repentance, she could feel different in some way. Happier. We explained that this was the Holy Ghost. As we walked away we were high fiving each other like nobody's business. Haha.
Another one! I woke up on Thursday feeling like man I'm not a good missionary. It's been a long time since there's been a baptism around here. What am I doing wrong. I was wracking my brains and praying my guts out as we walked the two or so miles to our service that day (we do service on Thursday mornings from 8-11). Then we got to the home of some investigators of ours. They had cleaned before we showed up, darn it, so there wasn't much for us to do. (A sign of respect and reverence. They don't want us to actually have to work.) We picked up leaves and sticks and stuff. Their two little kids were helping us, well one was actually making our job harder, the little punk. And then he just starts peeing on Sister Eneri! Hahahahahahahahaha I just bust up laughing! She, of course, was not happy about it, but managed to laugh as well. After we did some service we sat down on their kitchen floor and just talanoa'd (talked) with the mama for an hour about Christianity in general. We drank Tang and ate coconut cookies (Fine Fare, for those of you that have been to Fiji). And it just hit me, how lucky am I. How blessed am I, to be in Fiji, sitting drinking juice and eating coconut cookies with a Fijian in Fiji, sharing the gospel, living the life. And I was happy. As we went to leave, the grandma came to us with a pillow each. Payment! No we don't accept payment. We made these pillows especially for you! Aw man....I wanted to cry. Homemade pillows. I was so happy. As we were walking back to the flat, pillows in hand, a man called to us from across the street and said hey, come share the gospel to this kid! He was referring to an Indian boy beside him. So we went and contacted both of them. And we found out that the man was named Henry and that he was Seventh Day Adventist and about the friendliest guy around. And that he needed help in his yard. So we helped him. And he gave us the most massive avocados I have ever seen in my life. I was just so happy that day. It was a really good day. 
I am a fan of counting blessings. That is what I have been doing this week. And it was just about the best week of the mission. Not anything major happened, but I was happy, my companion was happy, and I think the Lord was as well.
:)
A couple nights ago we went to a member's home for dinner. It is a small home with a dirt floor covered with woven mats. A tin home. There was no light, so I held a flashlight while the mother prepared our food. The children were wearing clothes too big or too small or not much clothing because it was hot as hades, even at night time. Before we ate, I broke out the old hymn book and we all sang hymn after hymn after hymn together. It wasn't the prettiest choir I had ever heard, but it was the most beautiful. The mother is the stalwart one in the family, a convert. The father is extremely less active. Nonetheless, the mother is raising her four boys and one girl to all be missionaries. She works in the day and then also in the night, and is exhausted all the time, all because the father is currently out of work. She is an incredible woman. My soul was nourished as well as my body as I sat on the floor with that sweet family. One of the sons wants to be an aircraft engineer. The other wants to be a meteorologist. And they are smart. I know they can do it. I love Fiji. I am so grateful to be here, to be able to meet people like this. I am so blessed. So fortunate. 
We have a baptism coming up! Mosa. The son of the second counselor in the bishopric. We want to teach his grandpa. Can you pray for Mosa's grandpa? His name is Peni. He needs his heart to be softened. I believe in miracles!!
I love the Book of Mormon. It has changed my life this week.
THANK YOU to everyone that emailed me this week. So much motivation and love. I love you people. I don't have time to reply to all of them. Forgive me. Shoutout to Kelsey Bingham, who may or may not have already entered the MTC this week! I love that girl with my whole soul, and I know she'll be a good missionary. 
AGH and Adam Wright. Santa Claus is real. 
LOVE SISTA WRIGHT

Monday, February 17, 2014

Hump, or Slump?

Well today I was making pancakes and I burned the crap out of my hand
with hot oil. (And I didn't even cuss.) My hand is all wrapped up and
in constant pain. Second degree burn, blisters and all. Ha! So I did
some crying this morning, though not because of the burn. I am
currently having a really selfishly hard time.
Let me explain something about myself. I am naturally a lazy person. I
have been my whole life. I've always tried to accomplish the most work
while expending the least amount of effort. And it's worked. I may not
have gotten the grades I had the potential to get, but heck, I got
into the university I wanted. I may not have surpassed the
intermediate level of guitar playage, but as long as I was able to
accompany the songs I wrote, I was satisfied. This has been the theme
of my efforts since I was young, because I could get away with it.
Until I came on a mission. Around here you have to give your all. You
have to work hard. I took that to heart. The first half of my mission,
I worked hard. I lost myself in the work. Surprised myself with my
efforts. But then I became senior companion. Then I began to train
Sister Eneri. Guess what I discovered? We are both naturally lazy. And
so I have begun to slip back into my old habits. And it doesn't feel
good.
It is funny to me, how the Nephite Cycle is so deeply engrained in the
natural man. All of us go through it. Even missionaries. Since I have
come on my mission, I have been placed in difficult situations.
Difficult areas, difficult companions. It was difficult. But I learned
so much. I came to know my Savior so much better. My prayers were so
much more sincere. And I worked so hard. I may not have been happy
with my living circumstances, but at least I was satisfied with my own
personal spirituality and missionary efforts. So now, I am the senior
companion. Something I have been looking forward to for a long time,
because I swore to be the best senior companion a greenie could have.
To treat her better than I was treated. Also, I have a companion that
I get along with very well. Technically, I have nothing to complain
about. Nothing to complain about, except myself. My hard work has
slackened. My spirituality has decreased. My missionary fire has
almost gone out. My desire to go home is growing. Is this what being
trunky feels like? No! Not now! This is supposed to be the high point
of my mission, not the low point! I'm not even halfway through, not
for another week and a half! Gosh dang it. I'm sick of myself. I know
that I am not reaching my full potential. But I feel trapped in my own
bad habits.
This week should have been a highlight of my mission. Because guess
what, Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve came to Fiji.
And all the missionaries in the mission gathered in Suva, for the
first time since 2012, in order to hear him speak. A special mission
conference. I was excited for it. And I also prayed hard that I would
hear what the Lord needed me to hear, to help rekindle my missionary
fire. To help me be a better trainer, a better missionary. Well, we
went to Suva. I had my Doctor Who notebook out, ready to write down
the message that the Lord wanted me to hear. But the conference came
and went, and I did not feel reinvigorated. I did not feel what I had
hoped to feel.
Don't get me wrong, I felt the Spirit. I felt impressed by the
presence of an Apostle of the Lord, and grateful for the opportunity
to shake his hand. It was one for the books. But, I felt like my
prayer had not been answered. I felt like I had not received what I
had asked for.
Well then we had stake conference the next day, Sunday, yesterday.
Elder Tad R. Callister of the presidency of the Seventy spoke. I had
the same prayer in my heart. The same notebook open, same pen in hand.
And the same feeling of incompleted-ness at the conclusion of the
meeting.
What the heck?
So this morning, as I was soaking my hand in ice-water, I said a
simple prayer. And I came to a realization.
The Lord is not going to do this one for me. All my life I have taken
the lazy way out. Asking Him to do this for me, or even to give me the
strength to do this, is pointless. Because I have had the strength all
along, He gave it to me a long time ago. I just haven't been tapping
into it. GAH. Ok, then can I at least have some direction about where
to start? The prospect of breaking a life-long habit is a bit
daunting! Sister Wright, you already know the answer to that one as
well.
In Stake Conference, Sister Callister gave a brief talk before Elder
Callister spoke to us. And what did she speak on? The Book of Mormon.
The Book of Mormon changes lives, she said. She told a story about a
woman who had been less active for years, but now wanted to come back
to the church and go through the temple with her family. Only problem?
She smoked. She had a terrible smoking habit. And she had tried
kicking it for years and years, but simply couldn't. She told her
bishop about this struggle, and you know what he said to her? He asked
if she had ever read the Book of Mormon all the way through. She said
that she hadn't. Well then, go and do. And the Lord will provide a way
for you.
This woman was able to kick a life-long habit by reading her Book of Mormon.
So Sister Wright, how is your Book of Mormon reading going? I have
read it twice since I got here to Fiji. But that doesn't answer the
question; how is your daily Book of Mormon reading going? Lately, not
as good as it should be, I will admit. My studies in general have not
been as deep and edifying as they should be.
Well then, go and do. And the Lord will provide a way for you.
I have a testimony of this, even though I have not yet seen the
effects personally; I have seen it in others. The Book of Mormon
changes lives.
I'll let you know how it goes.

Also, I am pretty sure that I have my own personal Dobby trying to
stop me from going back to Hogwarts...No one is sending me letters! I
haven't even received a bunch that I apparently was supposed to
receive! Listen up, folks, that ain't cool!
However, the ones from home have been constant. That ^^^ message is
for the general public, the world at large. 
Indian music is the most annoying music of the universe. What I am
currently listening to. GAH.
I love y'all. Promise I'll start working harder...TODAY. Even though
it's P-day and my hand is on FIRE.
Sista Wright

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Week 5 million and 53 (not really)

 Specialized Training for Trainers and Trainees for the Lautoka Zone.

Howdy. I have a few things that I would like to talk about today. 
First, I may be a woman, but I am still a kid. I am serious when it comes to the gospel, but I enjoy having fun. I enjoy joking around. There is a difference between being lightminded and lighthearted. Joseph Smith was lighthearted. The Fijian people LOVE to joke around, and although it took some time for me to get used to their sense of humor, I have since immersed myself in the culture and joke around with them all the time. It's a great way to get into their hearts. If you're constantly serious, they have trouble trusting you. So. Just getting that out there.
Second, I want to talk about an issue. This week we found out that a former missionary from the Fiji Suva Mission committed suicide. He had gone home early. He was bipolar. From what I know, his choice to commit suicide was greatly affected by people talking about how he was sent home early, on Facebook and otherwise. Let me reemphasize how NO ONE has the right to judge a missionary that is sent home early. No one. No one can possibly know the whole story. The fact that this happened makes me exceedingly angry. Why? Because I have known people who have gone home from their missions early. And they do not deserve the flack that they receive. Also, because my brother is bipolar. The point is, our words can have more far reaching consequences than we could ever have imagined. To those that drove this elder to end his own life, I say repent. Or the judgment day will not be a pleasant one for you. (Oilei what a hypocritical statement. I'm just mad, sorry.)
I never knew this elder personally, though our times of service did overlap. But my heart goes out to him and his family. When I heard of the awful news, I thought of my own brother, and how deeply I love him. (Adam I hope you know that I love you.) And how fragile life really is. But I also thought of how blessed we are to have a knowledge of the Plan of Salvation! This life is not the end. Nor is death the end of families. The family is an eternal concept. How grateful I am for this knowledge. 
My Wright family, I love you all so much. I wish I could hold you all in my arms and protect you from the pains of this world. To prevent anything bad from ever happening to you. But I know that my decision to go on a mission is a far better protection than any other decision I could have made. I love you forever, I like you for always. As long as I'm living, my family you'll be (as in eternal life, which means forever... :))
I know this isn't a long one, but it took me awhile to think about what to say. 
Loloma levu,
Sista Wright

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Pictures!!

Personal fav. Walking through a kassava patch.

panoramic one. No views like this in Suva.

I know how to make babakau (pronounced bum-ba-cow), a Fijian yummy. Among other things.

The one waterfall in Lautoka. Pretty pathetic compared to other ones in Fiji, but still. Exciting for a palagi from the koro levu of Suva.

Kai colo saraga. I was so excited. 
First time I have seen root beer since America became a thing of the past. In my prayers that night, I remembered to thank God for sending me A&W root beer, courtesy of our FABULOUS ward mission leader who is a great friend, Brother Reddy. It took me three days to drink it. When I opened it, I just smelled it for awhile.

At a ward activity. I am always the minority, it is way fun.



This is Peni from Taveuni. He was baptized in October, one of Sister Aoina and Sister Trammell's converts. He hates Lautoka because Taveuni is the most awesome and beautiful place in Fiji; I don't blame him. He came to Lautoka for the holiday, ended up staying two months because he couldn't find a return boat ride. He hated it. So we took him with us a lot to give him something to do. He was very helpful. Love that kid. Now he is preparing for a mission.

HELLO Sorry this won't be as long as we all would like, I spent all this time sending pix. Thanks for the camera cord, by the way!!!  :))))  
This week was great. We were a bit stressed because we were trying to get a fireside organized. We planned to do a workshop sort of thing, involving the members. Only about 20 people showed up, though none of the people that were supposed to help us with the workshop. So we had to improvise at the last second. "Ok, Elder Heninger will be the keynote speaker. You got something prepared? Brother Dau will share his experience, Sister Wright will expound a scripture story, Sister Eneri will share her experience, and Brother Reddy will conduct. Go team! Fireside on three, one two three Fireside!" Haha that's actually exactly how it went down. That's ok! Sister Eneri spoke, which was huge for her. It is amazing to watch how her confidence improves every day. I love her and am so grateful for the opportunity to train her. But anyway, the fireside happened, thanks to the combined efforts of us, the elders, and our fantastic ward mission leader, Brother Reddy. He is so great, and we are so thankful for him. The results of the fireside may not have been what we wanted: which was a renewed missionary vigor on the part of the members. However, the bishop told us that it was the first of many. Things can only go up from here. 
Mosa, our one golden investigator, ran away. He packed up his clothes and left, because of some contention within the home. I knew that something was going to happen like that. From my experience, this always seems to be the pattern. Satan works hard on people right before they are about to be baptized. But we are not going to let Satan win. We have been doing some sleuthing work, and we are close to figuring out where Mosa is. If we do not get to finish teaching him, then we will refer him to other missionaries. But we are not going to let him just disappear. I know that the Lord wants him to be baptized, and He will guide our efforts. 
Erm. It rained like crazy. I almost didn't want to mention this, because of the drought in Cali, but there was flooding. Our roof leaks. It was a pretty intense storm. The wind almost knocked us over a couple of times. We were soaked to the bone. This was before the fireside. It was disheartening, because we knew that if it continued, no one would show up to the fireside. So I gave a mighty prayer that the sunshine would smile upon Lautoka on Friday, the day of the fireside. And the clouds were chased away. I BELIEVE IN PRAYER. 
Another small miracle. On Monday I lost my camera. I had it when we went to qito (play), but when I got back to the flat it was gone. Most likely stolen. That would mean all my pictures from the mission, sa yali. Gosh dang it. So I prayed. I told the ZL's it was gone. By Wednesday it was retrieved. YES. Just in time for my package that had a camera cord inside. 
SOPHIE HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Yesterday, which was your birthday in Fiji, a ton of primary kids got up to bear their testimonies. This is the pattern they follow for Fiji: "Good afternoon brothers and sisters" "Good afternoon (insert name here)" (the ward always responds, it's great) "I would like to bear my testimony, I know this church is true. I know that the men sitting behind me are men called of God. I know the Book of Mormon and the Holy Bible are the words of God. I love you all, I love my family. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." Always the same. It's great. There were like twenty of them, and I thought of Sophie. She wouldn't follow a pattern. She'd share a testimony from her heart. So I had to get up and bear my testimony. I told everyone that it was my baby sister's birthday, and that she would always bear her testimony. I told them I wanted to bear mine as a tribute to her. So, I did just that. Sophie, I hope you know that you are amazing. You are such a good example to everyone that knows you, including me. I am so proud of the young woman that you are. I hope you have enjoyed your birthday. Au lomani iko vakasara vakalevu. I hope you like your gifts :))
I love all of you. Please write me more emails. I get like four. Mwah. 
Sister Wright