Sunday, July 27, 2014

Bad habits

Ilivasi Raiqisa made this. He was my third baptism. He's Young Men's president in Suva 1st now and is preparing for a mission. Heck yeah!

Some bad habits I've picked up since I came to Fiji 14 months ago: 
  1. Picking my nose in public. It isn't a weird thing around here...
  2. Eating with my fingers. Everything, including noodles and rice and soup... And also picking the bones clean. Chicken, fish, you name it. Honestly, I don't know how to eat fish without using my fingers...
  3. Sitting on the ground crosslegged ALWAYS. I have calluses on the outsides of my feet from sitting on too many concrete floors crosslegged for HOURS. And I don't mind it. I have a hard time sitting on chairs...
  4. Saying eh at the end of every sentence. AND I DIDN'T EVEN SERVE IN CANADA. 
  5. Responding to people with my eyebrows. It's the other language that I've learned while I've been here...
  6. Avoiding seriously, I have an irrational fear of white people now. A group of HEFY kids came to Nasinu for church and I had to hide.
  7. Calling people to a nice way! Haha. 
Help me out with these when I get back home, people...or at least be patient with me. I'm definitely going to be that awkward RM. Definitely.
In other news, we had another great week this week. Got a few referrals, praise the Lord. That's pretty big, because it shows that the ward is progressing too. They haven't always been super into missionary work, but lately we've been seeing a big change. We are not going hungry for investigators like we were before. So that's one blessing that I've been thanking the Lord for. (Your prayers have been working!) Hopefully they end up being as golden as our favorite lady Kelera. You know, she has also been giving us referrals. She really wants her family members to join the church too. And she wants her own family to get sealed in the temple. I wish I could come back to Fiji to be there for that.
Transfers happened. And I am leaving Nasinu. JOKES, I'm still here and I will most likely die here. And that's ok with me. But some of my favorites got transferred, namely Elder Tafuna'i (our district leader) (he's zone leader of the North now, companions with the well-renowned Elder Heninger) (holla) and Elder Walls (seriously one of my brothers) (mom and dad I gave him your email, he'll probably be emailing you for the rest of his mission), Sister Trammel and Sister Rich (my two palagi sisters), along with a bunch of others. I'll miss them! I'll miss Elder Ishibashi, the favorite Zone Leader (as opposed to the dingbat ZL Elder jokes) because HE IS GOING HOME TO HAWAII. So weird. Shoutout to all former FSMissionaries. If they ever read this blog...
Guess what else. My mom, Sister Bechu, is getting married in September. I'm way happy for her! Not only that, she is marrying an FSM alumni. And my dad, Sister Aoina, is already married! She married another FSM alumni, and is living in Fiji now as a civilian. This is within a year of them getting home, and in fact within six months. HOW do I feel about this? Haha. Happy for them. Way to get working on the second mission right away! My counsel for them: God's first commandment is still in full force; multiply and replenish!
How about you people, how have you been?
Sister Wright

Monday, July 21, 2014

Heh heh, don't freak out

Another week in paradise. Haha. Actually this week it was freezing cold. As in it was probably in the 50's. That is 10 degrees Celsius. HOLY CRUD, THIS CAN'T BE FIJI. I'm worried about going back to school and the snow. I will most likely die. AH. 
Um what else. We postponed Kelera's baptismal date for this reason: her husband is coming back from Syria on August 20th. And she wants him to be there. SO that is a noble reason, we believe in families, we encourage unity and trust, we are ok with this. Then there is the issue of their 17-year-old son, Seru. He is way more into texting and playing rugby than just about anything else, so it is hard to get him to sit down and listen to us. But we're hoping for the whole family to take the lessons and get baptized. Hopefully it'll all go down before I die (mom's note: when a missionary goes home, they call that "dying"). That would make me super happy. 
When it comes to the Ali family, sa toso vamalua. Moving slowly. We weren't actually able to sit down and meet with them this week. But Sister Ali came to church on Sunday. We had a rocking awesome Gospel Principles lesson about how Jesus Christ was foreordained to be our Savior, and I was mad that Brother Ali wasn't there. Gosh dang it. But you know what I realized? I love teaching. I love teaching Gospel Principles. I love teaching Relief Society. I love teaching the Youth class. I love teaching Primary. I love it. Here in Fiji the missionaries get to do it all from time to time, because of a missing teacher here and there. I really love it. I love teaching investigators. So I really decided now. I want to be a teacher. A high school history teacher. It just feels right. I actually had been praying about what I should do with my schooling, what I should major in, which direction I should go. And I think I received my answer by this realization, of how much I enjoy teaching. Of how much joy I get from it. So. There's that. But anyway, the Ali family. We are going to try and invite them to be baptized this Thursday. We will! We will. 
On another note, we found a very very less active. He got baptized in 1994, just a few months after I was born haha. He's pretty much been less active since then. But we were visiting with him and he shared with us the sad story of his health problems. He's slowly been going blind, though surgeries have slowed the process enough that he can make due with glasses (for now). Also, he has a really uncomfortable and painful skin condition. He says that he blamed God for a long time. But now he realizes that God is the one that has been keeping him alive and sane. He asked us to give him a blessing haha but obviously we couldn't. So the next time we brought Bishop. And I talked about Job, about how sometimes the Lord gives us these difficulties, or at least allows these difficulties to occur, to test us. It isn't because God hates us. It isn't because God has forgotten about us. It isn't even because we did something wrong. It's to see how we will react, how we'll take it. As one of my Book of Mormon teachers back at the Y once said, "A trial is an invitation to become more like God or more like the devil." Amen to that. Our lives are made up of a series of choices, but all of the important choices basically boil down to choosing between Jesus and Satan, Love and Hate, Freedom and Captivity, Light and Darkness. Be like Job. Choose to be patient. Choose to have complete control over your own self, over your own destiny. Decisions determine destiny. Amen to that. Then Bishop shared about the Holy Ghost, about how you can receive guidance through life's difficulties as well as comfort from him. Can I get another amen. Then he gave the guy a blessing. And it was incredible. In the blessing he felt prompted to tell this guy that if he were to get his life in order, receive the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods, and go through the temple, then his medical issues would ultimately be solved. That he would be guided to the right doctors, that the doctors would be able to find the right medications. The Spirit was strong, and confirmed that what he had said was true. What an awesome experience. I have so much respect and love for the priesthood on this earth. I really really do. Anyway, this less-active guy said that he was going to ask his boss to give him time off on Sundays so that he can go back to church. And we are going to re-teach him the lessons (hopefully his other family members will sit in and enjoy the experience and GET BAPTIZED haha). I'm excited about that because when he was taught the first time, it was the discussions, the memorized rote version of the gospel. Now we don't recite anything except a scripture here or there. Now we follow the direction of the Spirit. I'm happy that he gets to experience that. I personally love it. It's one of the reasons that I love teaching so much--the Spirit that is always there to testify of truth. As long as we are obedient and worthy of it haha. 
Oh and yeah. On Saturday I got bit by a dog. 
Not a serious bite. The dog didn't maul me. But I had to go to the hospital and now I'm on antibiotics. It's a good thing that I got all my injections before I came on the mission, because the tetanus shots here leave a cute little scar the size of a dime. But it's ok! 
Also, it was my fault. I was petting one of the puppies and the mama dog snuck up from behind me and attached herself to my ankle. Just sunk her teeth right in there. And she didn't even warn me, no bark or nothing. Haha missionary life. BUT ALL'S WELL. I am still proselyting and in fact I am using it as a conversation piece. How creative am I. 
Anyway this is actually really ironic because I am usually the one that defends my companions from dogs. There are a million just roaming the streets of Fiji, and Polynesians are generally terrified of them. So usually I ward them off with a stick or I pretend to pick up a rock and throw it at them, which usually sends them scooting. But this time the dog knew how savvy I was and snuck up from behind me. I'm honestly embarrassed. But at least my companion is still dog-bite-free. It means I am doing my job. 
And she is doing well. I've stopped worrying as much about how much she progresses, and what do you know she's been progressing. So. We're both happier. 
This email is too long. 
Sista Donu

Monday, July 14, 2014

A couple of miracles

Sister Wright with all her "daughters" (Sister Eneri, Sister Uoka, and Sister Uate) - the sisters that she has trained.

This is Elder Jack.  I'm not sure why they traded sandals.  

 Sister Uoka, Sister Wright, Sister Eneri
Sister Eneri, Sister Wright, Sister Uoka

Ok well there went another week holy cow they go by so fast! It was a good week. Let me tell you a story:
So we have been teaching Kelera, President Wakolo's niece for approximately two-ish weeks now. We taught her the first lesson and asked her to be baptized and to read and pray about the BOM. She said yes, she would be baptized, but that wasn't necessarily because she had received any definite answer from above. So we still wanted her to pray about it. And that night she was reading the BOM when she slipped off to sleep. As she slept she had a dream, or a "vision", as she called it. And in that vision she saw Sister Taito, the member who had been fellowshipping her, sitting on the foot of her bed. Sister Taito was holding the BOM, testifying of the truthfulness of it with tears streaming down her face. Not only that, but there seemed to be a light coming off of her, like she was glowing. And Kelera said that in that dream she experienced the best peace and happiness than she had ever felt before. She called Sister Taito and told her about it the next day. Sister Taito said to her that this was her answer. And Kelera knew it. Now she is 100% committed to being baptized on the 26th of this month, and not only that, but she is determined for her son and her husband to join her haha. She is so good. And you know what? She is not a bit attached to the missionaries. She doesn't need us to hold her hand when we go to church. She has no trouble socializing with everyone. I foresee her being given a calling within months of her baptism haha. She's so great! And Sister Taito, who is also her cousin, has been such a blessing to us. Oftentimes we just let her teach the lesson, and all we do is testify! Which was a little disconcerting at first, but now I realize that it is for the better, because this is one of the reasons that she is becoming a part of the ward so naturally. She feels comfortable with the members! Anyway, she has been a real blessing for us, and a testimony builder to me. Missionary work is slow until we find the ones that have been prepared. But the Lord will always lead us to them. Always. It may take time, but it will happen. Amen.
Another story: There was a couple that we were really close to in Lautoka. The wife was a recent convert that was originally Muslim. SO I was really praying for an opportunity to get in contact with them and ask her for advice, but unfortunately I had not written down their information before I left Lautoka. But then one day me and Sister Uoka sat down to rest on the side of the road, and suddenly BAM there they were, the fabulous Reddy's! It made no sense that they were there, tooting along in their little rental car, and we had never stopped to rest at this particular spot until that day at that time haha. God answers prayers! So we will be exchanging notes and I will probably  just give Brother Ali their email address so that he can ask them questions directly. Yay for that :D because there aren't very many Muslim converts, so there isn't anyone here in Suva that I know of that could help us out with this. But there was one in Lautoka. And God sent her to me when I needed her haha. So cool.

Training is so hard. That's all I'm going to say about that. I think it must be like raising teenagers, and now I am experiencing this haha. BUT I love her and I am grateful for the things I am learning. Like patience. SO MUCH PATIENCE haha.
Hope you all are doing well. HAPPY BIRTHDAY THIS WEEK ADAM WRIGHT. Wish I could be there. Love you tons and a million haha. Keep being awesome like you are. Can't wait to see you in approx. four months. AH SO SOON.
SHOUTOUT TO MY BRO NYAL. If he ever reads this freaking blog. Good luck with all of your adventures that are coming up. Bolivia won't know what hit them.
Love you people.
Sister Wright

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Two weeks worth of news!

OH I have so much to tell you people.

Let me start with the week that we missed.
1. The Ali family: I really prayed about what to say to them, how to
help them and such. And my answer came from a multitude of literary
sources, but mostly from God. I believe in personal revelation. So
here's what I came up with:
-In the Preach My Gospel there is a section that specifically
discusses investigators that do not have a Christian background. It
says that we need to be respectful of their beliefs. We need to find a
way to teach them without offending them. To me that was a bit of an
answer because it means that we can't straight up say that Muhammed is
not a prophet and the Quran is not scripture. Which was a relief. I
didn't want to have to say that outright. But what the PMG really
focuses on is helping these investigators have spiritual experiences.
Bear frequent testimony of the divinity of Jesus Christ. Read the Book
of Mormon with them. Bring them to church. If the Spirit gives them
his witness, then they will come to know on their own what the truth
is. That is the key. They need to come up with it on their own. They
need to come to their own conclusion that the things that we are
teaching are true, and that their old beliefs are incomplete. The
amazing thing is that the Spirit is just so good at helping people do
just that. After all, he does "teach you all things, and bring all
things to your remembrance". Soooo we are working on that!
-Alma 31:5- "And now, as the preaching of the word had a great
tendency to lead the people to do that which was just--yea, it had had
more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or
anything else, which had happened unto them--therefore Alma thought it
was expedient to try the virtue of the word of God." We can't force
them to change their beliefs and I honestly don't want to. I'm far too
nice to do that. So. We are going to do exactly what Alma did, which
is exactly what we have been doing. Teaching the word of God. Teaching
correct principles and doctrines. Testifying of Christ. And the Spirit
will do the rest.
-Alma 29:8- "For behold, the Lord doth grant unto all nations, of
their own nation and tongue, to teach his word, yea, in wisdom, all
that he seeth fit that they should have." Every nation at every point
has been given a portion of God's word. That does not mean that they
have the fullness of the gospel like we do now, but they have at least
had a portion. Muhammed was a man that accomplished much good. He
helped an entire nation unite under a monotheistic religion, when
before they had been extremely divided idol-worshippers and oh-so
polytheistic. So that was actually a step forward for them. Also, a
lot of his teachings were very good. Islamic people are just about as
family-oriented as we LDS are. I have witnessed this with my own two
eyes. (There are plenty Muslims in Fiji. Five times a day we can hear
the call to prayer emanating from the mosques.) These are things that
I respect and agree with as an LDS missionary. So. We can at least say
that Muhammed was a man that accomplished much good.
ANYway, guess what. They came to church this week. Also, they are
reading the Book of Mormon. It's a bit difficult for us to read with
them because Brother Ali is reading it in Hindi...BUT we are still
going to try. Sister Ali confided in us after church. She told us that
it has been YEARS since she has gone to a Christian church, and she
said that it felt SO good to be back. And she said that ours felt
better than any one she had ever gone to before. That made me happy :)
2. Noqu itokani: My companion is doing so well with her training. I
have decided to train her differently than my last one, because she is
still very new to the church (just a year and a half since she was
baptized). As in I'm doing a better job this time around haha. I'm
still referring to the 12-week training program that they provide for
us, but as usual, I'm making it my own based on her needs and the
needs of our investigators. She takes extensive notes! Which is a
little new, but I'm ok with it. And we do SO many roleplays, because
she didn't really do any in the 2 weeks that she spent at the New
Zealand MTC. At first she was hesitant, but now she has embraced my
methods. One thing that we have also been doing is a TON of
doorknocking. I love doorknocking in Fiji. No doors get slammed.
Everyone says to come inside, everyone agrees to listen to our
message. The key is figuring out which ones are sincere in their
interest. A bunch of them just love to see a palagi speaking Fijian,
but don't really care about what we have to say. They are always way
nice, but frustrating nonetheless. Oh well. Planting seeds.
3. New Mission President: President Layton came and wow he is like
seven feet tall! Which makes me think, how on earth could we be
related when I am barely 5 feet tall? But we are! He is related to the
New Harmony Princes, and so am I. So we are distant cousins I guess

AND this week:
1. NOQU YACA SA SUCU!!! Yes, that is right, a child was born in
Lautoka on the 4th of July, and they named the babe after me. Emily.
Because it sounds more Fijian than Megan. Emily Dau. (The Dau family
was an inactive family that me and Sister Eneri was helping towards
getting sealed in the temple. They are going this month, once the baby
is a bit older :) In Fijian culture, to have a child named after you
is a big honor. Names hold a lot of significance around here. If you
have a namesake, you had better set a good example to them. Also, you
should shower them with gifts and spoil them rotten. But the Dau
family told me I don't have to do that haha. In Fijian, you are called
their yaca (YATHA, meaning NAME) and they are called yours. So when
you see each other, you say, "Oh, hello yaca." and they respond,
"Yaca! Bula!" Around the mission it is a bit like a badge of honor to
have a yaca. You may ask someone, "How many yacas do you have?" Many
of the elders have two or three, sometimes even four. It's crazy. And
now I have one! And not only that, the child was born on the 4th of
July! How appropriate, seeing as how her namesake is American.
2. Kelera Wakolo Toga- The first Fijian member of the Seventy was our
very own Brother Taniela Wakolo, from Suva North Stake. Well,
recently, he was released from that calling and issued another. As of
now, he is the new mission president for the Arkansas Little Rock
Mission. In the Church in Fiji, he is a bit of a celebrity, because he
is the first one of his kind. He is also one of those men that I am so
grateful I had the opportunity to shake hands with. AND guess what, we
are officially teaching his niece, Kelera. Kelera was a referral. We
went to see her and we hit it off immediately. She always respected
her Uncle Taniela (Fijian version of the name Daniel), and never fully
understood what work he had been doing in the church. She also said
that she was the last one in their extended family that hadn't been
baptized yet. Why? Oh she had just been putting it off. But then she
told us that right now she has not been going to her Methodist church
because she was bored of it. They never taught her anything new. She
wanted a church that had more to offer. Ok! We asked her what else she
wanted out of a religion. Well, something more family centered. Check!
And more focused on education. Check! One that really focuses on youth
and helps them make better choices and have better futures. Checkeroo.
And thus another beautiful conversion story began. NOT only that, we
found the absolute perfect fellowshipper for her. Our Stake Relief
Society President, the venerable Sister Taito, just happens to be
related to her. And they are both army wives, waiting for their
husbands to come home from Syria at the end of August. Plus, Sister
Taito has a car and can drive her to each and every activity! So we
discussed it with Kelera, and she definitely wants her son, Seru, to
serve a mission. So she plans on them both getting baptized. Then,
once the husband gets home, we can teach him too. Wow! Now this
particular investigator is one of those ones that I have been praying
for. I guess it helps that her uncle was a member of the Area
Presidency and was probably praying for her too hahaha.
3. I am happy. I find so much joy in missionary work. It can be so
hard sometimes, and frustrating. But then your investigators tell you
that they are halfway through the Book of Mormon when you just barely
gave it to them last week. Then your trainee shares something perfect
in a lesson that they hadn't planned on sharing. Then a family of
less-actives comes to church for the first time in years. AH. So much
satisfaction! And when you still can't find that silver lining, that's
when you get on your knees and ask for perspective. And that's when
the Lord comforts you. And His love feels so beautiful.

Being a missionary is the best job in the world. Well, for now. I am
sure that when I become a mother I will change my mind. But I believe
that the two are similar. Very similar.

I love you people so very very much. Thank you for being so wonderful,
and for setting such a good example to me. Never give up. As the newly
set apart Elder Willie Irava said in his testimony on Sunday, "LDS
people are not quitters." We have no reason to quit, and every reason
to keep going!

God bless you all,
Sister Wright