Monday, March 31, 2014

This kind of stuff doesn't happen in real life!

Elder Pence, Sister Eneri, and Tima at her baptism.

Mosa bought this cake for us. $40. Not ok because that's a lot of money around here. Also, ridiculous, it was supposed to be his day, not ours! (We are wearing traditional Kiribati blouses called tibutas. Sister Eneri's mama made it for me!)


ALright brace yourselves this is gonna be a long one. 
SO it all started in January, the beginning of this year, on a Monday eerily similar to today. I was confined to the flat with my bedridden companion, Sister Kumar. Everyone else in the Zone went to Zone P-day and the Zone Training Meeting EXCEPT us. I was so cabin-feverish that I wanted to run away, but I wouldn't dare. Anyway, there were some things talked about in that ZTM meeting. Some zone goals were made. Later that week, Elders Smith and Heath (the ZL's at the time) came to our flat and had a ZTM on the porch with us. We sat and ate cookies and drank watery Tang and discussed the aforementioned goals: (I actually am having trouble remembering the specifics. Numbers, man...) 100 baptisms in the month of March (missionwide?). That means three baptisms per companionship. January would be a month of finding, February would be a month of teaching and baptismal committing, March would be a month of miracles. Elder Heath had this whole funnel graph thing going on to explain how all this was going to work. The guy will be a great businessman one day. BUT ANYWAY, we committed to it. Three baptisms in March? Sure, no problem. 
Here's the thing: there hadn't been a baptism in the area since September. The ward was having a hard time being our friends. We had been confined to the flat for WEEKS, so the work was very much behind. It was definitely going to take a miracle. 
Then WHAM Sister Kumar got transferred to Suva so that they could monitor her health, and Sister Eneri came to me wide eyed and fresh faced and GREEN as can be. We got to work. We regained the trust of the members (they ADORE us now). We talked to every stranger we could find, knocking on doors, street contacting, calling former investigators, all that jazz. We had more new investigators than we had time for. So then we buckled down and sifted the wheat from the tares, making sure we focused more on those that were progressing. But March came, and it still didn't look like we were going to get those three baptisms...
FLASH FORWARD to this week. We had three baptismal dates. But only one of them was for March. The other two were for April. We had given up on the idea of getting three baptisms in March; we were happy to even be getting one. Here was the plan: Mosa this weekend, Tima next weekend, and Junior the weekend after that. Three baptismal weekends in a row. We were both very pleased. Very happy with this plan. 
But of course, the curse of Lautoka decided to strike again. (The curse of Lautoka--every baptism for the past five months had fallen through for one reason or another.) FIRST we find out that Mosa probably was unworthy to be baptized. What we heard was about four different stories from four different family members, but each of them basically told us the same thing: he should not be baptized on Saturday. ??? We also found out that his father, who is the 2nd counselor in the bishopric and someone that I greatly respect, refused to be the one to perform the baptism because he felt that Mosa was not ready. Of course, he never told us this, we heard it from someone else. All of this stupid word of mouth stuff. And to top it all off, Mosa worked late every night after his baptismal interview. EVERY NIGHT. We did not get to see him ALL WEEK. And of course he has no phone...
So that one looked like it wasn't going to happen. 
Then we went and saw Junior. He has been taking the lessons since August. He knows it all, he believes it. We were just waiting on him to talk to his dad (he's 17). Lately we had been talking to his mom about it. She supported Junior's decision to be baptized 100%. She even said who cares what the dad says, I'll sign the dang form. But it mattered to Junior. He really respects his dad. And of course, what did the dad say? No. Why? Because it would be betraying his culture. (The family is Indian and Hindu.) Well, we can't do much about that one. 
Then there is Tima. Let me tell you about here. She has been a miracle. Such an incredible blessing. She is the na levu, or aunt, of a sister in our district, Sister Vasu. Sister Vasu had actually lived with her since she was 10 years old, and called her na (mom). One day, Sister Vasu gave us a referral, who happened to be Tima. We went and found her and started teaching her. It was love at first sight. She became our mom. She would always make us lemon leaf tea, always call us luvequ (my child), always listen intently to everything we told her. She was a golden investigator, knowing immediately that everything we shared is true. She came to church every Sunday, she kept all of her commitments, she was SO golden. So this week we start to fill out her baptismal record, but we had a question about it. Should we write down her husband as her current spouse or former spouse? Because they had been separated for ten years, though not legally divorced. So we texted the DL, dear old Elder Pence. And he calls us and suddenly we have a dilemma. Why? Because in this mission, wives need to get consent from their husbands before they can get baptized. And if Tima was not yet divorced, then she'd either have to get permission from this long lost husband (who had cheated on her hardcore and broken her heart those many years before) or get a divorce (which could take MONTHS to finalize). 
WHAT?? Really dumb, why had I never heard of this policy before. 
My first reaction was to be angry- how degrading to women can you get? What a dumb policy...
But I prayed about it and got over it (not before having a knock-down drag-out with our DL...) with this particular quote in mind: "Good timber does not grow with ease, the stronger the wind, the stronger the trees." (Thomas S. Monson) Tima had been SO easy to teach, if we wanted her to have a conversion as solid as good timber, then maybe she would have to go through a little refining. Alright I can accept that. 
But there went our plan. Those three baptisms in a row were suddenly *POOF* gone. 
I was discouraged, man. I was thinking like this: Heavenly Father, I've done my part, why can't you do yours? 
SO BLASPHEMOUS I know. But those were my thoughts. 
Thursday night we got back to the flat and I just cried. Sister Eneri had a much better perspective than me. She left me alone, she knew I needed the time. 
I just wanted my mama. Just wanted someone to talk to that could understand my brain like she can. I was cursing at the whole missionary life thing, where you are forced to do all your ranting to the Lord. Not that I don't appreciate prayer, it's just that at the time I was a little mad at Him. Let me tell you, that particular conversation with Him was a funny one. 
I woke up the next morning just ugh. Didn't talk to Sister Eneri. She gave me my space; she's a good kid. I prayed and prayed that the Lord would just throw me a bone. Help me be able to function enough to at least figure this thing out with Mosa. 
And He did. I gathered my thoughts. I called Sister Vasu. She gave me some FABULOUS information--Fijian law states that if you have been separated from your husband for three years, it's automatically a divorce. Waaa? We confirmed it with a lawyer in the ward, it's true. (Never heard of a law like that before.) 
That gave me the peace of mind necessary to come up with a game plan for Mosa. We were going to figure this dang thing out, so help me gosh. We went to his house, determined to wait for him until after curfew if necessary, because that was the only way we were going to be able to find out if there was going to be a baptism on Saturday. Luckily, he came back early! And we sat him down and he told us he was worthy and we felt the Spirit so we believed him. Then we told him he needed to reconcile with his dad, who he had apparently disrespected. We took Mosa to his dad's house, sat them all down, and witnessed a really tender moment. Mosa pleaded with his father for forgiveness. Brother Namatarua counseled Mosa up one side and down the other, telling him that he needed to be serious about this gospel, and that the Sisters won't always be around to hold his hand and take him to church (not that we do that). He said that he needed to pay more attention to the gospel than his friends. Emeni to that one. And then Brother Namatarua said that he forgave him, and that he would baptize him tomorrow. Tears fell from Mosa's eyes as he listened to his father. The Spirit was so strong. Ah it was a happy little meeting. AND THE BAPTISM WAS ON.
Then we went to Tima and told her hey guess what you CAN get baptized next week after all! Yay :)
SO we had Mosa's baptism on Saturday. It was hectic and the font took four hours to fill up. The water pressure was so low that we had to be going back and forth between a different spigget and the font with a 5 gallon bucket. I lost track of how many times we did that, but it felt like it made NO difference. Nevertheless, it did get filled, and we had a baptism. Sister Eneri's first one, and my fourth. It was lovely. Even though the whole Namatarua family was grumbling about it haha. Tima came and saw it, and then afterwards she was supposed to get interviewed for her baptism. 
Then another bomb got dropped. We heard from our DL that Sister Vasu, Tima's "daughter", had finally received her visa. She was called to serve in Vanuatu, but had been unable to because of the lack of a visa. Well, now she'd gotten it, and she's leaving on Tuesday. RIGHT before Tima's baptism.
Tima was devastated.
We didn't really know what to tell her. She had been praying that Sister Vasu could attend her baptism. Now she wasn't going to be able to. AH.
So Tima goes to have her interview. And when it is finished, Elder Pence comes out and says he needs to talk to me. Um why? What went wrong? No, nothing went wrong, he just had a question. What? How do you feel if Tima were to get baptized TOMORROW. WHAT?? THAT'S A FABULOUS IDEA, BUT TOMORROW??? 
Baptisms are not easy to plan. They take a couple days. WE HAD ABOUT THREE HOURS OF AWAKE TIME TO GET THIS TOGETHER. 
I hate the idea of throwing a baptism together. They are supposed to be so special.
Well, guess what. Tima's was special. 
We had it before church. Everyone was late, including Tima, so we had to cut back on the program a lot. Sister Vasu spoke, and everyone was in tears. I organized a little musical number with our whole district, and it was beautiful. Tima was baptized by Elder Pence. For the first time ever, I cried as I watched my investigator get baptized. Every baptism up until this one had been important, but the love that I have for Tima is stronger for some reason, so this one was special for me. She is so precious. She is our miracle. I love her so much. It was a beautiful morning. The only people that came were the missionaries, the Bishop, and our Ward Mission Leader and his wife. The program was cut down. It was seriously thrown together at the last minute. But it was the most beautiful and special and perfect baptism I have ever attended. And Sister Vasu got to come too. And Tima was so happy. And I will love her forever, my Fijian mother. 
I gave her my CTR ring. She cried when I did. She is so grateful for her "two daughters sent from the Lord". 
I BELIEVE IN MIRACLES. I may have been rude to my Heavenly Father, but He still heard my prayer. And not only that, he made it possible for us to get two baptisms in March. 
GOD IS GOOD. 
Now we need to find some more investigators...
PRAY FOR US :)) 
This is Sister Eneri's last week of training :O
I'M ON MY ELEVENTH MONTH, ALMOST A YEAR OUT NOW RIDICULOUS. 
Love you all, take care
SISTER WRIGHT

Sunday, March 23, 2014

In Loving Memory of Elda Ninja.





Because I live in a 30% Hindu nation.  We celebrated Holi (or however you spell it).

FIRST OF ALL SHOUTOUT TO MY LITTLE SPEED DEMON SISTER SOPHIE SOPHISTICATED WRIGHT, WHO HAS GOTTEN FIRST PLACE IN EVERY EVENT SHE HAS PARTICIPATED IN SINCE THE SEASON BEGAN TWO MEETS AGO. She is not only following in my footsteps, she is ABLOWING MY LEGACY OUT OF THE WATER if that makes sense. She is going places, ladies and gentlemen. I am so proud of her. ALSO MY BROTHER ADAM, AMWRI, whose choir got a billion first placements at their San Diego choir competition thing, way to go! 
ALSO SAM THE MAN WITH A PLAN IN A CAN, did an apparently fabulous job playing Jack Sparrow in the ward roadshow.
Wish I could have been there. To support all of these nuggets. 
Hot tamales, I have such ridiculously talented siblings. 
Then of course, there is me. Spreading the gospel like there's no tomorrow. NBD.
This week was a bittersweet one. FIRST we celebrated Holi or however it is spelled in what was most likely my favorite P-day ever. Elder Heath the ZL's idea. My hair is still a couple shades of blue and pink (what kind of missionary am I?). I looked like a punk rocker the day after. Then, we said goodbye to our beloved Elder Ninja (Elder Heninger) at what was probably my favorite district meeting ever. We had it in not the chapel but in the family history center, which has air conditioning! One of the few places in all of Fiji that has that particular blessing. I had baked a cake (BY STEAMING IT, a new technique that I have acquired) and Elder Kumar (Elda Ninja's comp) had made all kinds of Indian sweets and treaties. All for the love of our Dear Old Dad, Elder Heninger. Then we listened to him tell stories of the adventures he had had back at the Y. Then I had everyone write their names at the top of a sheet of paper, then pass them to the left. "Now write down one compliment and one point of advice," said I. Something we had done in my health class back in my freshman year of high school. Really set the tone for the rest of the meeting. Because what was Elder Ninja's training on? Charity and love. And he basically talked about how he had been able to develop charity over the course of his mission. And of course, we read 1 Corin 13. And it was simple, but profound and powerful. I was struck by how much these elders change on their missions. By how much I have changed. Christlike charity is not an easy thing to develop! But we all manage to develop it, at some point in our missions. And it changes us from just being goofy kids to being, well, adults. Ish. Elder Heninger is a very charitable man, and I have the utmost respect for him. At the end of his training, he expressed to us how much he loves us, and how much he's going to miss us. Man. We were all tearing up. AH I miss him. 
But Savusavu needs him. He'll be such a fabulous ZL. 
Now we have a new District Leader. His name is Elder Pence. I mentioned him once before, I believe, in connection to the Branch Presidency in Levuka, an outer island from whence Sister Bechu came. Found out he was never the Branch President out there. But that they still do that in at least Rotuma (having a missionary be the Branch President, I mean). Anywho, he is no Elder Ninja. At first I was weary of him, because of his sarcastic tendencies. Also because we had a good thing going, here in Lautoka 1st ward. A little family. Me and Elder Heninger were both training, so it was kind of like Mom and Dad and the two kids (Sister Eneri and Elder Kumar). So when he left, I told Sister Eneri, "Well, your dad has passed on to Savusavu, and I had to get remarried." So now she calls Elder Pence her step-dad. But anyway, since he has arrived, we have had to see him a lot, between ward activities and baptismal interviews and whatnot. And now I have come to respect the guy. One of our members who is a young guy and an RM always gives me a hard time and teases me, and it was really getting on my nerves. Elder Pence noticed. He asked me if I wanted him to talk to the guy. I said no, it's ok, I could take it. But then he said "No, he needs to treat you with more respect." Brownie points for him. He's a good elder, and he's here to work hard. I can appreciate that. 
Then he interviewed Mosa. His first ever baptismal interview as DL. I was worried, because we pretty much taught Mosa entirely in Fijian. My Fijian is super basic and Sister Eneri just testifies. If he learned anything, it was from the Spirit. But somehow, he passed! I called Elder Pence afterwards and said, "Look, if you don't think he's ready then don't pass him. This is eternity we are talking about here." And I told him about how I am super self conscious of my Fijian. And you know what? He told me that Mosa was definitely ready, and that I should be proud. I really appreciated that. SO yes, Elder Pence is in my good books. AND Mosa is getting baptized this Saturday at 6 pm. If any of you are in the neighborhood, you are welcome to attend. 
SISTER ENERI IS ON HER 11TH WEEK OF TRAINING. That means she gets to be the senior companion for the week. She leads all the planning and all the studies and all the lessons and she gets to be in charge of the phone and the keys and EVERYTHING. Stressful for me, but it could end up being really relaxing. We'll see. AH THEY GROW UP SO FAST. I hope I get to train again, I've really enjoyed it. And she has been such a blessing and light in my life. 
The center of my mission has been my favorite part. But now, EIGHT MORE MONTHS TO GO. I'm not trunky. 
 
I LOVE Y'ALL. 

LOLOMA LEVU, 
SISTA WRIGHT


MOSA IS ON THE FAR RIGHT. These are some of my favorites in the good ol' FJ.


Found this one going through a new crosscut. We love to find
crosscuts. (Shortcuts.) Because we walk probably twenty miles a day.



Monday, March 17, 2014

Ew.


Sister Trammell, Sister Tuahivaatetonohiti, and myself. Halfway through! :)

Isa Elder Heninger. I'm gonna miss him.
(the mama: Isa means something like a fond "Oh".  

Coolest people to ever live, most awesome district alive, my favorite
people ever, during Zone P_day a couple of weeks ago. Now we are
getting split up ... :(


Howdy howdy howdy.

LET me just tell you about this week. As I was writing that email last
week I was dying. Fever of a billion. Etc, I already told you about
how I felt last time. Then I went back to our flat and passed out. I
was pretty sure I had dengue or malaria or some other death
threatening illness, but luckily no. I was feeling pretty much better, but by that time I had discovered something else that was
wrong with me. A lovely rash ALL OVER MY BODY. What the heck was going
on??? It was like little blisters all over the place, especially on my
hands. Of course, being myself, I had to pop every one of them. So my
fingers hurt REALLY bad. We stayed in the flat, and I studied all the
stories about leprosy that I could find. I felt like Naaman (OR
HOWEVER YOU SPELL IT). The mission nurse told me to shower four times
a day. Sounded a lot like what Elisha told him to do. WASH SEVEN TIMES
IN THE RIVER JORDAN. Oh man I wish it was that easy. But anyway, I
went to a doctor, and he took one look at me and said
"Haha looks like you have scabies". SCABIES??? Sick nasty. But
actually, it makes sense. I have a confession to make...I've been a
bit disobedient. You know the White Handbook? It says "Don't hold
children." Mostly because there have been legal issues in regards to
missionaries and children (way dumb) in the States. Well...this isn't
the States, this is Fiji. Also, I'm a sister missionary. Those legal
issues had to do with elders. No problem, right? Yeah ok, then we had
Zone Training Meeting, I forced myself to go despite my
extreme discomfort, and what did our ZL's say? It doesn't matter if
this is Fiji. Do you want miracles? Then you need to be exactly
obedient, or else you will miss out on blessings. DON'T HOLD THE
LITTLE CHILDREN. I scoffed within myself. Then, there I
was at the doctor's office, and you know what he told me? "You can get
scabies from HOLDING LITTLE CHILDREN." So, there you have it. I was
smitten. The Lord smote me because of my disobedience. I was asking
for it. I have been holding little children from the beginning of my
mission. THEY ARE JUST SO CUTE, OK?? :(
And that was my week. Staying in the flat. Calling people and having
to tell them "SORRY WE CAN'T COME, I HAVE SCABIES." Our ZL's were
thoroughly disgusted. I felt like a zombie, the living, breathing,
walking dead.
Incredibly, we did not get bored.
How did we entertain ourselves?
STUDYING.
Experimenting on how many dishes we could make with eggs, Chow
noodles, soy sauce, and corned mutton. The answer is an infinite
amount.
Telling each other stories. I probably told Sister Eneri the plot of
five different movies. I acted them out too. It was great fun, but
afterwards I felt bad about it. Because it felt like I had actually
watched The Princess Bride, Penelope, Warm Bodies, The Eye, and also
dad's screenplay The Prisoner. But nowhere in the White Handbook does
it say that we can't act movies out...
I will admit that there were a couple of hours that I just cried on
Sister E's shoulder. "I want my daddy to give me a blessing." "I want
my mama to rub this cream on my back." (Ew?) And I thought of Job's
wife, telling him to curse God and die.
But, incredibly, through these series of unfortunate events, I managed
to grow closer to my Savior, Jesus Christ.
Another thing we did to pass the time was sing hymns. We went through
the hymnbook and sang EVERY SONG WE KNEW and figured out the tune for
the ones we didn't know. Holy cow so many songs. But it was a powerful
experience. I listened to each of them with a different perspective. A
missionary perspective. And the perspective of someone who better
understood the Atonement. Because I have had to use that greatest of
all blessings so very much on the mission. I'm so grateful for it.
I love my companion. She and I are like sisters. She was such a great
comfort to me as I was going through this difficult time. I am
grateful to have been given the opportunity and privilege of serving
with her, of training her. It's amazing to me, there is no way I ever
would have met her if I had not chosen to serve a mission. But now I
know that we were friends in the pre-existence and that I for sure
want to go and visit her in Kiribati one day.
Despite the fact that we didn't get much done this week, we still
managed to have some solid lessons. We invited one investigator to be
baptized and had another incredible lesson with the Johnson family.
Sister Johnson had a question about baptisms for the dead. I don't
have much experience teaching about that particular subject, but
somehow I was able to explain it in such a way that she wondered why
no other church practiced it. Her main issue with it was the concept
of giving people a chance to be baptized after this life, when this is
the life that we have been given to prepare to meet God. It was such a
great introduction question for the Plan of Salvation lesson. I asked
her, what about those people that have never had the chance to be
baptized in this life? Do you think that God would just allow them to
be condemned? No, He is a loving Heavenly Father. He is a God of
second chances. Otherwise, why would He have provided a way for us to
repent? It was such a good lesson. And the whole family said that they
had a desire to find the truth, and that when they found it they would
act on it. It was incredible, and the Spirit was so strong. Sister
Eneri did an awesome job talking to them about the Book of Mormon,
that it is the keystone of our religion, and that if they didn't try
to read it and pray about it, they would never know if this church is
true. They committed to read it. I am so proud of her, my little
daughter :)
God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.
Now my rash is no longer contagious and we are back in action. Thank
you for your prayers. You didn't even know what I was going through,
and yet your prayers helped me so much this week!
Transfers happened. ME AND SIS E ARE STILL TOGETHER THANK THE GREAT
SKY MONKEYS. Unfortunately, Elder Heninger my second favorite elder in
all of Fiji is transferred. He's a Zone Leader now, in Savusavu! He'll
be the best ZL ever, because he was for sure the best DL ever. We are
definitely going to hang out when we get back to school. Also, one of
our ZL's was made AP. Elder Olsen and Elder Ohlsen are now in power,
long live the Olsen twins. Haha. I'm sad our district is changing, but
it just means that time is moving forward and I'm a little bit closer
to the next big thing. Which is Mosa's baptism, on the 29th of this
month. And then Tima's baptism sometime next month. And then inviting
the Johnson family to be baptized sometime in May. Please pray for
them. They are so wonderful, but they need prayers.
AH.
I love you people.
LOLOMA LEVU,
SISTA WRIGHT

(the mama here: PS, in true missionary fashion of sending the grossest pictures possible, Sis. Wright did send me a picture of the scabies rash, which I have chosen not to post to protect the innocent.  Oh Meg…stop breaking rules!)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Isa My Family





I am so overwhelmed with gratitude right now. Reading about Neal
choosing to be baptized confirmed to me how much the Lord

blesses people back home, not entirely because of my sacrifice but at
least partially. When did we ever have so many missionary experiences
until I came to Fiji? I am so incredibly happy. For Charlene, for
Neal. And I have faith that there will be more to follow.
What a blessing it is to be a missionary. This week I had one of my
favorite experiences of my mission. Never have I ever been able to
teach a family. It has always been individuals and couples. But
recently, the Johnson family (a Fijian family, despite the European
name) was referred to us. They are relatives of another Johnson family
in Suva that were baptized last year. Everyone heard of that success
story. The Suva Johnsons are a family of eight or so, and it was a
struggle for the sisters to teach them, but they were eventually all
baptized. The first night that I spent in Fiji was a Monday, and
Sister Tuahivaatetonohiti and I went to a Family Home Evening with
some sisters in Suva. And guess what, it was at the pre-baptized
Johnson family's home. And it was a great experience. Well, when we
went to Suva a couple of weeks ago, I met with Maxine, Sister Johnson.
She was happy to see me, and she told me that she had family in
Lautoka. "You're the right missionary for them." So, we went to meet
them. Wow, they are about the nicest people you ever met. And this
week, we managed to catch them all at home and teach them the entire
first lesson. Wow. So powerful. The Spirit was so strong. Let me tell
you a bit about them. They have a daughter who joined the church long
ago, but grew up and left and they haven't heard much from her since.
They have their cousins in Suva that just recently joined the church.
When their Suva relatives joined the church, it was a shock to
everyone, because the whole family had been Methodist for years. They
felt a bit confused and maybe hurt about it. So when we came around,
they had a lot of questions. "Is it true that you can't eat anything
red in your religion?" Haha what? Where did that one come from? And
one connection that is particularly near and dear to my heart is the
son, Richard. He is 23 years old, and suffers from Bipolar disorder. I
love him with my whole soul. I love each one of them. There is Joe the
father and Sister Johnson the mother (forgot her first name, but
that's ok...) and Richard and Audrey (18) the children that are still
at home. When we taught them the first lesson, Sister Johnson said,
"When Maxine and Isaac joined your church, we couldn't help but feel a
bit betrayed and confused. They were rejecting the religion that we
had all grown up with. But now that we have heard about this
Restoration, we can understand why they did it." Yes! That's exactly
what I like to hear. And then they committed to pray to know if Joseph
Smith was a true prophet of God, and if there were living prophets
today. They committed to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it as
well. Oh man. This is like candy for me. But the most sweet, the most
precious candy in the universe. We are fasting and praying for them
like crazy. Next Suday we are going to their house for lunch. They are
going to serve us raw fish. I've wanted to try this Fijian dish for a
long time. I'm excited. And then the next week they promised to come
to church. Yay.
Another thing about this particular lesson that was important to me
was a realization that I came to. My teaching has changed so much
since I first started. I know the scriptures so well. They have a
question, I can quote scriptures that have the answer in them. I
haven't even tried to memorize any, I just know them because of how
often I have read them. It makes me happy. I really enjoy missionary
work. When I get home, I'll probably continue waving and smiling and
saying bula to everyone I walk past. I'll probably still walk up to
people and ask them if they've ever heard of the LDS church. And I'm
definitely going to go out proselyting with the missionaries. I'm
going to be such a freak! Haha. I just have this strange charity that
I have developed. Strange to me, because of how anti-social I was
before. I was abrasive. I avoided making eye-contact with anyone.
Well, that ain't the case anymore. I see everyone as a child of God
now. And I love them.
Well I at least love brown people. When I see palagis I want to run
away. The other day we were in a second-hand shop when all of a sudden
a group of tourists came in. I felt utterly uncomfortable. I had to
get out of there fast. Haha!
I just wish my Fijian could be better. I know the basics, but I do not
know enough. I can have simple conversations and I can teach the first
lesson in Fijian, but after that I struggle. It is humbling, because
if I could speak English to them I could knock their socks off. I know
how to teach in English. But my Fijian is just "God loves you." "If
you do this, then we promise that this will happen." "I would like to
bear my testimony." "Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and
be baptized by someone holding the proper priesthood authority?" But,
because my Fijian is so basic, I have come to understand more the
importance of the Spirit. And I have a strong testimony of the power
of bearing testimony. If you look someone straight in the eye and say,
"I know that these things are true because I prayed, and God answered
my prayer," people can feel it. They can feel the truth behind your
words. Even if it is in broken Fijian.
Right now I have a high fever. 39 degrees Celcius. Yeah, that's taken
some getting used to. Last night it was ridiculous. First I was
freezing to death (and that never happens in Fiji), and then I was on
fire. I drank ice water, I took ibuprofen, I took a cold shower, and I
didn't sleep a wink. It's lucky we have a tile floor. It gets nicely
cold at night, so Sister Eneri and I just sleep on the floor from time
to time because of how hot it gets out here in the west. Well, last
night I couldn't even feel that the tiles were cold, my body was so
hot. And I could feel the delirium. All of my thoughts were in Fijian.
I imagined that I was telling the Zone Leaders a story in Fijian. That
would never happen in real life, because I am terrified of speaking
Fijian to them, for fear of them judging how broken it is. And my eyes
hurt and my body aches and I feel utterly weak. Kill me now. But the
work must go on. We have some crucial lessons this week, and I simply
cannot miss them. So, we go.
I want Daddy to give me a blessing. I don't want the elders to. But
I'll take what I can get.
AH I'm so emotional right now. I'm over here crying as I email and
everyone is looking at me like what the heck is wrong with her. 
I love you people. It won't be long now. I can feel that I am on the
downward slope of my mission. And it's bittersweet. I'm going to miss
these beautiful, crazy people.
I love this Gospel. I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I love you.
E na yacai Jisu Karisito, emeni.
LOLOMA LEVU.
Sista Wright

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Halfway


This is Tima. We found her the other day and she is SO golden. The aunt of Sister Vasu, who is serving in the other Lautoka ward. SMALL world. Anyway, we call her na, which means mom in Fijian. Such a sweet lady. If all goes according to plan, she'll be getting baptized by the end of the month. 


 This us having lunch with Adi, a recent convert. She desperately wants me and the elder who taught and baptized her to get married. She always talks about it and convinced me to print a picture of me and him out for her. She has it up on her wall now. 

Hi. Guess what a dog chewed up my Chacos. My heart broke. But don't worry about replacing them. I got some knock-off WHAT DO YOU CALL THOSE SANDALS THAT MOM THINKS ARE REALLY UGLY that suit me just fine. 
I am now halfway through my mission. Suddenly I realize how short my time here really is. It's a bittersweet feeling. Not only that, but transfers are coming up, and I have a feeling that I might be transferred. I don't want to. I love Lautoka so much. In this place I have learned so much about myself and my Savior, Jesus Christ. I want to stay here for the rest of my mission. I want my district to stay the same, my zone to stay the same. No one get transferred for nine more months, please. I especially love my companion. Training her has had it's ups and downs, but somehow she seems to be morphing nicely into a regular missionary. Not because of me. She is learning through her own initiative. I love her. I'm sad that I probably won't see her after the mission. Good old Sister E. It's funny, she may be a few months older than me, but we really are like mother and daughter. She even says I act older than her. But man we have fun. Me forcing her into situations that make her uncomfortable but make me laugh. And then we both laugh and she is grateful that I did it. 
I am happy. I am satisfied with my life right now. I am grateful for my Heavenly Father for giving me the strength to do hard things and still find joy in the work. BUT I hope and pray that nothing happens on March 17th. 
Today is zone P-day, when all the missionaries in the west come to play together. The theme: Olympics. Our district is Finland, simply because it is a really random country and we are going to be acting really random the whole time. Elder Heninger, our district leader, has been having us practice "cheers and celebrations". Cheers to motivate us and celebrations for when we win (because we will win). They are ridiculous and spontaneous and a whole lot of fun. And really, that's just how Elder Heninger is. Best district leader ever. Anyway, I am super excited. Then tomorrow we have Zone Conference. LONG day, but good food, good counsel, and good company. How blessed I am to be a missionary. 
I'M ONLY SAD THAT ELDER HARETUKU GOT TRANSFERRED LAST MONTH AND I WON'T BE ABLE TO SEE HIM. My favorite elder with more fabulous eyebrows than Jack Black himself.
ANYWHO not much has been going on. But basically I love you people and I GOTTA GO BYE...