Monday, April 28, 2014

Choose to be happy!

This last week was tough.  Missionary work had gotten stale and I felt like I didn't have that much support from above. I was seeing things through a very negative lens. I started to feel sluggish and rebellious and even more trunky. Then something happened (a catastrophe!) that seemed to support my negative views and I was having a hard time coping. So I sought a priesthood blessing. (Just because I was sick of being a missionary does not mean that I was sick of being a member of this miraculous church and enjoying the benefits that come from associating with priesthood holders.) Thank goodness for elders. They are the bomb. I appreciate them so much. Who else would be willing to drop everything and come give me a blessing? Well, any decent priesthood holder probably would, but our elders here in Fiji are particularly wonderful. Anyway, that priesthood blessing was the catalyst for some life-changing thoughts. I started to think of the aforementioned catastrophe in a new light. And from there, I started seeing my missionary service in a new light. And then my life in a new light. And it just kept going. One such revolutionary thought was: I can choose to be happy. Another was a subsequent choice, to count even the small blessings as miracles. And another choice: to see each person as a child of God. Even rude people. Even people who have hurt me. And to stop saying unkind things about them. Because that's hypocrisy. 
Since then every single day has been cloudy and gloomy and rain rain go away. But every single day has been beautiful. And suddenly the small blessings turned into big miracles. Let me share some with you!

1. Una! Una is the cousin of a less-active family. We went to go visit this family, and met her. She is their stay-in nanny. She was making roti (indian version of tortillas), and offered us some. We had a few laughs and then Sister Uate asked her if she wanted to take the lessons. She said she had been waiting to take the lessons for two years now. The next day we taught her the entire first lesson, and invited her to be baptized. She accepted with a huge grin on her face. 
2. The ward! Nasinu 2nd has proved to be so awesome. I feel as if I have been here a long time. I know most everyone by name and they know me, because I chose to do everything I could to show them that I love them. Last week we had a ward FHE and 61 people showed up! That's a new record around here! We had previously volunteered to be in charge of the game at the end, so I decided that we would teach everyone the chair game that Sister Ewing and her counselors made famous at our Youth Conferences back in Thousand Oaks. (Oh the good old days!) How do you play? Everyone grabs a chair and sits in a circle. One person stands up, leaving an empty chair. The person sitting next to the empty chair then scoots over, and then the next person, and then the next one. The empty chair moves around the circle. And the person who had previously stood up tries to sit in that empty chair. If they happen to catch it, then the person who was too slow to scoot over and fill the chair becomes the new "it". Oh man! It was such fun. It's a game that all ages can play, both old and young. It was especially hilarious to see the bishop become the one in the middle. Everyone enjoyed! And everyone suddenly knew who the new sister was. It was a great introduction into the ward! 
3. Stake Conference Choir! My companion and I decided to participate in the Stake Conference Choir. We went to one of the practices, and the choir director started talking about how they needed someone to sing a solo for one of the verses in one of the pieces we would be performing. I kept my mouth shut, but my companion and a couple of members volunteered me. I got the job. And I ended up singing a solo in the Suva Stake Conference that occurred this weekend! Crazy haha :)
4. Ensigns, Liahonas, and Friends, Oh My! Our flat here in Nasinu has an incredible collection of church magazines! At least fifty of them, and they range from the 1980's to some of the most recent ones. Reading them has become a bit of an obsession, but I promise I have control over it! As I have read them, with my newfound perspective, I have seen that the church is true for a completely different set of reasons. Reasons that you could only understand by having read 50 church magazines from the past thirty years in a startlingly small amount of time. It's funny, I like the old ones a lot more than I like the new ones. When I get home, I am ordering a subscription and am going to collect them for the rest of my life. They make me happy. They also inspire me to be a better person. One who is more kind, more patient, more humble. 
5. OFA. This one is the most incredible miracle of all. Remember the family that I had been teaching, way back in the beginning of my mission? Ofa and Ali and their two little girls? Remember how Ofa ran away because of some serious relationship issues? Well guess what. I found her. She is here, and we are going to be teaching her again. We had taught her all of the lessons, and she was so ready to be baptized. But then she ran away, and I thought for good. Made me sad because it seemed as if all of that hard work seemed to have gone to waste. But no! We ran into each other and she gave me a big hug and we chatted for a bit. I asked her if she still wanted to take the lessons. Yes? Yes! I was bouncing around after that. Floating. What an incredible miracle.
But the real miracle is that if none of these things had happened, I still would have been fine. I would have been a-ok. Because happiness is a choice. What a liberating discovery!
To those who are reading, I am sorry for anything that I have said in the past that has been irritating, offensive, juvenile, or hypocritical. I'm still learning and growing! Thank you for your kindness and patience in your association with me :)
Home-dwellers!!
NYAL: WHERE ARE YOU GOING ON YOUR MISSION???
Aunt Deann: Thank you so much for the package! It was a hit, everyone enjoyed it (everyone being both missionaries, members, and investigators alike). I really love you and enjoyed reading about the family :)
Aunt Gina: I don't know if you read my blog, but I hope you know that you are in my prayers as well as the prayers of the people here in Fiji. I tell many of them about you, because there are so many Indians that live here. They love to hear that I have an Indian aunt!
Grandma Wright: Thank you for my birthday package as well! It came at a time that I really needed it. Love you lady! And Grandpa Wright! I received the letter from you about the waves and the troughs. It was inspiring, and definitely eye-opening. I will keep that one to read again and again. Vinaka vakalevu :)
Grandma T: I received your letter and skirt! Thank you so much. One thing that I want you to do is take care of yourself!!!!!!!! Please Grandma. I just love you so much. Grandpa, I hope you know that the email that you sent me weeks and months ago regarding the times we must spend in the wilderness was also exactly what I needed to hear when I needed to hear it. I will keep it forever. 
Mama: the first package that I received was the one with the birthday decorations. It came the day before my birthday, which was perfect. Sister Eneri took your instructions very seriously haha. 
Sophie: Those bracelets are a hit around here! I gave one to Sister Uate, and she wears it ever day too! Please send me more! 
Aunt Kirsty: I hope you know that I appreciate you and the family as well! Thank you for never forgetting about me :) I will definitely be coming back to Utah after my mission, and will continue to spend time with you folks. Tell Owen that I love him and that I am proud that he is choosing to get baptized!! 
Everyone else that I failed to mention: I love you :) forgive my suckiness at writing.
Sigh. My heart is full. I am so grateful to be here in Fiji. What an incredible place. What an incredible people. You all should be jealous! Haha ;)
Loloma bibi,
Sista Donu

Monday, April 21, 2014

Stay tuned

Sister Wright didn't have much to say this week - she ran out of time.  She wanted me to say she loves you all and she'll write a long one next week.  Instead, she sent a few pictures:
                                                                 With Sister Eneri


With her new companion, Sister Uate.

Monday, April 14, 2014

WOW what a week!

This week. I turned 20. That sounds really old, but
really I have only lived through two decades. That ain't nothing.
That's a drop in the ocean of eternity. Still, I never thought that I
would spend the last year of my teenagehood in the service of my God.
I am so grateful that I did. I am so grateful to have spent my
birthday in Lautoka. They took really good care of me.
Here's how it went: I found out that I was getting transferred back to
Suva. I bore my testimony in church that Sunday telling everyone how
much I love them and how much I am going to miss them and how much I
need them to take care of Sister Eneri. I also told them it was going
to be my birthday that week. And what do you know? Plenty of the ward
members decided to do something about it. I ENDED UP HAVING LIKE SIX
BIRTHDAY PARTIES AND EIGHT BIRTHDAY CAKES. I have heard that
missionary birthdays are the worst. I beg to differ. My missionary
birthday was fabulous. I felt so loved. If asked which cake was the
best, I would have to say Sister Reddy's. Her baking skills have come
a long way. Man I will miss the Reddys. But the last district meeting
that I had in Lautoka was a lovely one. The training was on the Book
of Mormon and I just about cried. So much respect for Elder Pence. We
figured out our differences and he did a good job of throwing a
farewell/birthday party for me. Ah I am so missing that district right
now. That zone. The west. I did receive the package with the birthday
party supplies (as well as the other two, but not until later)(THANK
YOU MAMA AND FAMILY). Sister Eneri managed to throw me a nice little
party the morning of my birthday. She was determined to make
everything perfect. I love her so much. I miss her. She is the best.
My actual birthday-day was spent traveling from Lautoka to Suva in
order to attend the Specialized Sisters Training Meeting. It was a
good one and I was able to reevaluate my service as a missionary. I
have a lot of things I need to work on. So much room for improvement.
Then the transfer occurred. Parting with Sister Eneri was wrenching. I
miss that girl. I will forever cherish the time that I spent with her.
But I love Sister Uate. She is awesome and we get along so well. I am
grateful for the chance to be her companion. It is a blessing to have
her, because we have a lot of work to do. This is not an easy area. I
felt pretty overwhelmed and anxious when I first sat down with Sister
Uate and got the lowdown. But I have some good ideas, and I am looking
forward to implementing them. We are going to do a little healing work
in this area. Patch it up for the next missionaries to serve here.
It's the least we can do.
I really miss the west. BUT I am grateful that I get to come to Suva
and redeem myself. The beginning of my mission I was reserved and
quiet. Now I'm a bit more of the fireball I used to be. I've grown
comfortable in my own skin. I have more confidence. Watch out Nasinu.
There's a new Sister Wright in town.
I love all of you people. I miss you but oh well. I'll see you soon enough.
GOD BLESS YOU ALL
LOLOMA BIBI
KARISITO SAI KOYA NA VUNA
~SISTA DONU

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Oilei na bula...ALSO HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAMA

Right now I'm just crying and stuff. 
Why?
A few reasons.
1. I am not home for my mama's birthday. I don't even care about my birthday. I don't even really care about myself. (I'm twenty now? What? I've been lying to people about my age for so long that it doesn't even matter...) I just wish I could be there for my mama. Because she is my best friend. I hope you all know how wonderful she is. How much of a good example and influence she has been in my life. I miss her so much, but I can feel that we will see each other soon. The mission goes by so fast. 
2. I got in another stupid argument with our DL. Let me tell you, it has been awhile since I have had such a hard time communicating with someone. I try to joke around, he tries to joke around, and the whole thing turns into a big misunderstanding and he won't talk to me except to fulfill his duties as a leader and all I want to do is go and humble myself before him and beg his pardon for my imperfections, but of course I am tongue-tied and don't know how to express that. I'm so sick of myself. I want to go hide my head in the sand. What was the misunderstanding about this time? I don't even know. Something stupid and trivial. But the thing is, Elder Pence is a really good man and I respect him so much and I don't want to be on bad terms with him. I just don't even know. But don't worry, I'll find the guts to talk to him. Oilei na bula. 
3. Tima is really sick. Today we skipped out on studies (judge me all you want, RM's. I care not) so that we could go to her house (her tiny tiny tin house) and care for her. Rub her feet with coconut oil, make her drau ni moli (lemon leaf tea), fill her hot water bottle every time it started to cool, read the scriptures to her, sing to her, listen to her talk about Sister Vasu and how much she misses her. I cried. This poor tiny little lady. She is miserable. It took a lot to leave her and come email. But how could I skip emailing this week? At least she was sleeping. We'll go check on her later today.
4. Guess what, I got transferred. Well, I will be transferred on Wednesday. On my birthday. Happy birthday to me. Missionary life, man. I tell ya. Where to? Nasinu. Back to Suva I go. I will be in the same zone that I was born in, the same zone as Sister Kumar, Sister Crowell (from my intake), Sister TRAMMELL, and ELDER HARETUKU. However, my poor daughter Sister Eneri that I am leaving behind. She cried when she found out. We have become so very close. I will miss her so very very much. She has been such a comfort and blessing to me. She just barely finished her training, and now she'll have to lead the area for awhile while her dad (Sister Mataoa from Tahiti) gets used to Lautoka. I know she can do it. She has been prepared. She is ready. This week we did a lot of finding in order to fill up the teaching pool here in Lautoka. Found a couple really good ones. So I feel as if I am leaving the area slightly ok? My new companion is Sister Uate from Tonga. I swear, every companion I get is a different race. First, Tahitian, then Fijian, then Samoan, then Indian, then Kiribati, now Tongan. Anyway, I'll be follow-up training her. I'll be her dad. She was in the MTC with Sister E, and I hear she is really cool. A 19 year old, the first companion of mine to be younger than me. So I'm excited for that. Man, it will be weird being back in Suva. I'll be able to see people (members, investigators, recent converts) from the beginning. Nasinu isn't IN Suva but it is NEXT to Suva. Like you know how LA is really made up of a bunch of cities that spilled over onto each other? Yeah, like that.
(I'M ALSO CRYING FOR JOY BECAUSE YOUR EMAILS REALLY TOUCHED ME.)

I am so grateful for the time that I have spent in Lautoka. It has changed my life. Honestly.
First, it was so hard and I hated it (living arrangements, they get to you...) I was so unhappy that I came THIS close to calling president and asking to be emergency transferred/go home. I lost a lot of weight because I had trouble eating. It was awful. I asked for a blessing. Elder Heath, who had just arrived to be our new ZL, gave me that blessing. I had asked for a blessing of healing because I was passing my depression and weight loss off as a stomach sickness, though really I just needed the comfort (I KNOW I'M A DISHONEST LOSER BUT WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE?). But I guess the Spirit told Elder Heath otherwise, because that blessing was more about using the Atonement in my life to heal spiritual hurts than being healed physically. I can honestly say that it was a turning point in my life. I will forever be grateful to Elder Heath for that blessing. It helped me to overcome some great challenges, including some that had been under the surface for years. The Atonement is an amazing thing, and the greatest blessing that we have been given. I am so grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ, for all the pain and the suffering that he went through in order to relieve me from my own pain and suffering. I am grateful for the difficulties that I faced when I first came to Lautoka that helped me to turn to him and come to know him so much better. He is my Savior and Redeemer. And I am so grateful to have been called to invite others to come unto him.
After that blessing, I was able to cope through that particular companionship until Sister Eneri arrived. And that was when a whole new wave of life lessons entered the picture. A whole new kind of refining. I was not suffering, but I was pushed farther than I ever had been before. Training a new missionary is not easy. You no joke get to be their mom. You worry about them, get frustrated with them, find joy in their accomplishments, curse their rebelliousness, and yet still love them with a mother's love. Ok maybe I just got lucky with Sister Eneri, but I am not lying, I love her like she is my own. And one day I will go to Kiribati and meet her awesome family who I feel like I already know. She is going to rock Lautoka, and wherever else she ends up serving. And when we come back to visit Fiji at Christmastime this year, I promised we'd find her and take her out to lunch at the ritziest place we can find.
I also want to mention a hard and fast friendship that I have made with the lovely SISTER MAUGA. She is a susu madrai Samoan from New Zealand who is seriously my kindred spirit. A bosom buddy. She is one of the Lautoka 2nd sisters. Me and Sister Bechu hosted her when she first came to Fiji, and she was awesome then, but now that we have been in the same district for awhile, we have grown ridiculously close. We talk about deep doctrine and whatnot, and she's a bad as missionary (not cussing here, it's a New Zealand phrase). I wish her all the best. She promises to take care of Sister E for me and that ONE DAY we will be companions. But we always joke that President will never put us together because we would screw up the statistics because of just HOW SUCCESSFUL we would be. 
Also. Another thing that Lautoka has done for me. I have asked a few Fijians about my language skills, and they tell me I can speak it. It may not be pretty, but it is understandable. Heck yeah. Never would have happened in Suva, the sisters over there mostly only speak English (WITH SOME EXCEPTIONS NAMED SISTER TRAMMELL WHO IS THE BOMB, AND SOON ME BECAUSE I AM DETERMINED TO CONTINUE POLISHING MY FIJIAN GOSH DANG IT).
Isa Lautoka. Au na mistaki koya. 
Wednesday is just another day. Don't worry about me. I love you people. SO so so much. And mama, don't worry. A snailmail will soon be reaching you.
Vakabauta,
Sister Wright