Sunday, September 28, 2014

Alive

Me and my new compie, Sister Mataoa, from Tahiti
Hi friends :) Well, this week was very slow. We spent most of it indoors, not proselyting. My sickness took me 24 hours to get over, but then of course my companion caught it too haha. Took her a bit longer to recover. She still is having trouble sleeping because too much coughing, which wakes me up too but nbd. 
We managed to meet Masau. He's awesome! Hopefully he'll be able to get baptized on the 25th of October, but we'll see. Our baptisms all seem to get postponed postponed postponed postponed. PATIENCE, SISTA DONU. Patience.
We had Ward Conference. Only a couple of the people we invited actually showed up. The chapel was slightly less empty than usual. So that was good. Our Stake President told us that there is a difference between shopping on Sunday, and buying on Sunday. Me and Sister Mataoa turned to each other and both said no, simultaneously. 
The temple closes in nine days. And will not open for two years while it is being renovated. SADNESS :(
Nevertheless...
How grateful I am for this gospel. Without it I would be nothing. 
I don't have much more to say. My mind is running on empty right now. Does that even make sense? 
But know that I love each of you very much.
SSTR WRGHT

Sunday, September 21, 2014

out of creative titles, vosota

Howdy howdy howdy. You know, oftentimes people ask my companions how to say hello in their native languages. Sister Mataoa, who is from Tahiti, says Iaorana (Tahitian) or Salut (French). Sister Uoka would say Talofa (Tuvaluan). Sister Uate would say Malo leilei (Tongan). Sister Eneri would say Maori (Kiribati). Sister Kumar would say Namaste (Hindi). Sister Aoina would also say Talofa, because it's the same in Tuvaluan and Samoan. And Sister Bechu, of course, would say Bula. Because that's Fiji. But me? I tell them that back home we say howdy.
This week was a week full of fall throughs and baptism-postponements and oh yeah the Fiji National Election results are in and Bainimarama is still in power (this was sort of big because there haven't been any elections since 2000 when there was that coup and so many people died and whatnot and Bainimarama had been a military dictator of sorts since then, but at least now he was made Prime Minister in a more honest way, by the voice of the people). Also, I got a 24 hour bug that about killed me. Seriously, my fever was about 104. I had trouble walking in a straight line. But because I am a better missionary now than I was two weeks ago, we went out proselyting anyway. That was dumb, because no one was home anyway. So many fall throughs, and I definitely got more sick than I would have if I had just stayed in. Last night I took so many drugs that I was sure that I was going to overdose and not wake up in the morning. I was also delirious because of the fever, so I really believed it. I was praying so hard haha please don't let me die. I have so many things left to do in my life! Luckily Heavenly Father answered that prayer in a positive way. I am alive and I am not any more brain-damaged than I was before I took all those meds haha. Also, I am feeling better. When it comes to the baptism postponements, I am ok with them. The people we were working with to be baptized this Saturday are simply not ready. They are wonderful, and they will be ready at some point. Just not yet.
Let me just tell you about one of them. His name is Errol Whippy. He is in his 50's. The elders had been teaching him before. In fact many sets of missionaries had taught him. He just had a hard time retaining what they had taught. He's a sweet, simple little man. He had a stroke at one point, so his right arm does not work. He's also a bit slow. But he comes to church EVERY Sunday. And as long as we give him little scriptures to read as his commitments, he will always read them. We teach him like he is a small kid, but he loves it. He loves this gospel. And he is so excited to get baptized. However, we were pushing him too hard for the 27th. And he just didn't understand the principles like he needed to in order to be prepared for baptism. So we were humbled a bit when we found out that he had been drinking tea this whole time, even though we had taught him the Word of Wisdom two weeks ago. He wasn't blatantly disobeying. He just didn't understand it properly. So we rescheduled his baptism for the 18th of October. This was a lesson for both of us. We cannot put our investigators on our own schedule. It has to be in the Lord's timing, not ours. The 18th of October will be a great day, because we have another investigator, a 9-year-old son of a less-active, who will also be getting baptized that day. And then we have more baptisms scheduled for the 25th of October as well. Man. We have been busy. But it feels good. Haha I have no time to be trunky, or sick. Too many people to see! It's a blessing.
Today we are going to start teaching another family, the Brown family, as well as a referral that came all the way from Salt Lake! Sister Taito, who I previously mentioned, has a daughter named Grace who is currently serving in Temple square. They do a lot of their teaching through the phone, it's way cool. Well Sister Taito (Grace) had been teaching this one gentleman from Fiji, and as luck would have it, he lives in Caubati (that's in Nasinu)! So she set a baptismal date with him for the 25th of October, and then she called us directly from Salt Lake to give us the referral.  What an awesome surprise! It will be interesting to meet him, someone who was taught entirely on the phone.
I'm feeling good, no worries. I will work hard until the end. Thank you for your support and encouragement. LOVE YOUS :)
Shoutout to my cousin Nick who will be serving in New Zealand starting in Jan! Looks like those who sprang forth from the Wright clan are meant to serve in the Pacific :) This makes me really happy and proud. Love you cuz! Email me!
Sister Wright

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Here we go: down with the trunky bug!

Alrighty, I am alive but barely. Let me just tell you all a story.
Once upon a time there was a stupid sister missionary named Sister Wright. But we'll rename her Sista Donu (note from the mama: "Donu" means "right" in Fijian, so this name is her Fijian name) to protect her identity. Now Sista Donu was a good missionary at heart, but because the end of her mission was looming fast, she had started to get complacent. And because of that, she also started to catch the trunky bug. In case you didn't already know, trunkiness and the Spirit do not mix. So spiritually, she was lacking strength. It was not a good thing. Not a good thing at all. And slowly, a negative attitude started to creep it's way into her soul. She was not the missionary she had always wanted to be. She rolled her eyes at people when they told her she needed to change. She saw the end as an escape. This was not good. This mindsetting was an big issue. And she knew it, but it was hard to get out of it. 
SO. She prayed. If she had learned nothing else in her entire mission, she had at least learned to cry to the Lord in prayer. And she did. She prayed for the motivation to change. She prayed to overcome the evil spirit that had become rooted in her breast. She knew that she couldn't do it alone. 
Sista Donu knew that the Lord would hear that prayer, because she knew it was more in alignment with His will than any other of her prayers had been lately. And He did. 
First, He whispered in her District Leader's ear to let Sista Donu give the training in District Meeting on Tuesday. How perfect that this training had to be about the Atonement and how it applies to missionary work. She started to prepare for it two weeks before the actual meeting. And wow. A study on the Atonement was just what she needed. Her testimony and love for the Savior had been amazing at many points of her mission, but lately it had been slightly pushed to the side. As she studied and prayed about what to do for this training, she found herself changing. She came to realize that Christ is the reason. He is the reason that we came to this Earth. If we had not chosen Him in the preexistence, we never would have been born. He is also the reason that the Plan of Salvation works. Without the Atonement, we would never be able to return back to our Heavenly Father. We are so incredible indebted to Him. But how does this apply to missionary work? Well, He needs to be the reason why we serve, too. He needs to be the reason why we wake up every morning. He needs to be the reason that we cry repentance unto this people. He needs to be the reason. Otherwise, our focus is off. And we will not truly be successful missionaries. Because success is measured not by the outward results (numbers) but the inward changes that are made within each of us. And inviting our own selves to come unto Christ is the best way to make those changes. Wow, how grateful Sista Donu was for this refresher. How grateful she was for the opportunity to realign her perspective, to refocus. 
So that was the first thing. Then, her companion Sister Uoka was transferred, and her new companion was Sister Mataoa. Sister Mataoa is well known in the mission to be a very good missionary. But her health had been difficult lately, and she needed to come to Suva to be close to the hospital. She also needed a companion to take good care of her. But in reality, the reason why she was transferred to Suva (to Nasinu) was to be companions with Sista Donu and to help her finish her mission on a high note. 
Since Sister Mataoa arrived, Sista Donu has seen a change in herself. She is closer to meeting her true potential as a missionary than ever before. She is more obedient, more diligent, and much better. She is also exhausted. But it isn't so bad, being totally bone tired in the service of God.
I want to encourage all of you out there to do your own study of the Atonement. Make our Savior Jesus Christ the center of your lives. Make Him your reason. You won't regret it.
I love you all. Thank you for helping me persevere. Hopefully I still have enough time to make you proud.
LOVE,
SISTA DONU

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Transfers

Sister Wright didn't have a lot of time today because of transfers.  So here's what I know:
Sister Uoka is leaving, and Sister Wright is getting another companion, Sister Mataoa, who has had some very rough experiences in the mission and needs a gentle and patient comp.  Sister Wright is on board!  They will be staying in the same area.  That's about it.  I hope to get more next week!

Monday, September 1, 2014

September has BEGUN


Can I just say that time has a funny habit of moving CRAZY FAST. Wow I can't believe it. 
Can I also say that I am so grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ? The greatest blessing ever given. Why I say that, our dear district leader Elder Motuliki (from my intake, my favorite elder in the MTC) asked me to do the training for our next district meeting, and it has to be about the Atonement and how it applies to our work as missionaries. And you know me, I love to give trainings, so I was like I ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE. Doing a training on the Atonement is not an easy thing! I tried to back in Lautoka and it was mediocre at best. But this time it will be better. This time it will be epic. So lately I've been reading up and studying up on the Atonement. What a blessing that has been, because as I did so, I realized just how dumb I have been lately. (i.e. The slump I mentioned to you last week.) I need to get my act together. So. That's what I decided. If I were to give this training and NOT change, then I would be a hypocrite. And I thought about it, and I thought about the Atonement. And I am just so grateful that our God is a God of second chances. What a blessing that is to me, because I have made so many mistakes. I have not been an angel! I am, even still, hopelessly flawed, and therefore nothing without my Savior Jesus Christ.
Yes, Kelera did end up getting baptized. How grateful we are that this happened. Because it was a difficult journey getting her to the waters of baptism. Her husband and son did not even attend, but at least it happened! And when she bore her testimony afterwards, she cried and thanked her two sisters :) I love her forever.
Here's some other fun stuff that I failed to mention in previous emails:
1. Book of Mormon Confirmation: A few weeks back we were focusing on the Book of Mormon during training. It was awesome because I love the Book of Mormon and I love helping other people love it too. Sister Uoka is currently reading it all the way through for the first time, and she is eating it up. This gives me such satisfaction. Anyway, we were discussing the promise found in Moroni 10: 3-5 (search, ponder, pray to know if the book is true). We talked about how it is good for us as missionaries to also pray and ask if the book is true. Well, it just so happens that that very week, I happened to finish the Book of Mormon (for like the fifth time on the mission). And I thought about what I had just talked to Sister Uoka about. But for some reason I didn't really want to. In my mind, I thought, "I already know. Why do I need to pray about it again?" I had already received a 'burning in my bosom' concerning the truthfulness of this divine book. But I needed to practice what I had preached, so I knelt down and asked the Lord. I felt nothing. I shrugged my shoulders and continued on with my study from the Doctrine and Covenants. And there I read this lovely little nugget: D&C 6: 22-23-- "Verily, verily, I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things. Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?" Whoa it was an awesome experience, because it totally answered my prayer perfectly. I may not have received an intense burning in the bosom like I had that one time, but I didn't need to. Guess what, no one needs to. You can receive answers to prayers in so many different ways. In the past, I thought that it was only through intense emotions, but the mission has taught me otherwise. Thoughts, dreams, and other people can all be indicators of God's hand in your life.
2. Ratu mai na koro i Nabukadra: A couple of other weeks back, (not really, it was the same weeks as my other story) we were over at Kelera's house, and there was a visitor there. We taught our lesson, and then opened the floor to questions/testimonies. When it was his turn to speak, he started asking questions that had nothing to do with what we had taught that day. He asked about baptisms for the dead, and temple work. He sounded as if he had already taken the lessons before. Who was this guy? But it was awesome, because he was saying that doing work for the dead was a concept that he was really interested in, because he felt really connected to his forefathers. We happily showed him all of the scriptures that mentioned baptisms for the dead and missionary work being done in the next life. He ate it up. He took notes. And then, we found something out that was amazing. The guy was a Ratu. What is a Ratu? A chief. It's the closest thing Fiji has to royalty. After further questioning him, we found out that he was the chief of this village in the west, Nabukadra. He told us that every generation of chiefs had introduced a new religion to this village. His great grandfather had allowed the Methodists to come and preach there. His grandfather had allowed the Seventh-day Adventist missionaries to come and preach there. His father had allowed the Assemblies of God church to come. Each had been converted by these churches, and the villagers would always follow the chief. This Ratu told us that he was not satisfied with any of these churches, and that he was looking for something better. The truth. He said that our church really interested him because he would be able to help his forefathers also find the truth that they clearly had been searching for. Heck yeah! Now, this interest was awesome enough all on it's own, but the fact that he was a Ratu meant that this village could very soon be opened for proselyting (you need permission from the chiefs to even step foot in a village). AH that would be so awesome. That would be some HUGE hastening of the work here in Fiji. It's been awhile since a village was opened! So we were pretty stoked. We gave him every pamphlet that we had on hand, as well as the My Family booklet, Family Proclamation, a Book of Mormon, and an LDS King James Bible with helpful markings inside. He was very grateful. He described to us some land that he had prepared for a chapel. On top of a hill, overlooking the sea. I can see it all now haha. 
His contact information was given to the Mission Office. I have no idea what has happened since then, but I'm glad that I could be a part of it. What an awesome experience.
What does a chief look like? Any other Fijian. He wore jean shorts and an "America needs some R&R" Mitt Romney t-shirt (which made me like him even more) (the shirt was from a second hand shop, shows how humble he is) (good man).
3. Man from Peru: We went to Valelevu (shopping complex in our area). We were going to the chemist (aka pharmacy). A white guy was following us and staring at us creepily. Ok weird. We went into the chemist, got what we needed, walked out. There he was, waiting for us. He said, "You two are the LDS missionaries?" Yes. He then asked for a Book of Mormon. Ok, we just happened to have one. He took it and opened to the picture of Samuel the Lamanite in the front. "The Book of Mormon took place in America, right? Central, and South." We nodded. He pointed at the picture and said, "I'm from Peru. I can tell you that there are no buildings like this anywhere in South America." Well, first of all, yes there are. The Incas built plenty buildings like that, though they are now all ruins. Duh. And second of all, it's just a picture. An artist's interpretation of what that particular scene looked like. Not a photograph lol. Dumb. But we didn't say any of that, we just looked at him with furrowed brows. This felt weird. He then said, "You know the promise? If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, and then you will receive that wisdom?" Yes. "Is that how you people believe that you can be saved?" No. Receiving wisdom is not enough, you have to act on that wisdom. "But what about what it says in Romans, that all you have to do is declare Christ as your personal savior, and then you are saved?" I said, "What about what it says in James, that faith without works is dead, being alone?" Then I stopped and realized that I was about to Bible bash with him, and that the Spirit had already left ages ago. So I started to bear my testimony. "Regardless of whether or not you accept these things, I know for myself that they are true. And I am so grateful for them, because they have changed my life and helped me to become the person that I am today. I have a strong desire to share this gospel with anyone and everyone, but that does not mean that I am going to force it on anyone. I respect your beliefs, and I would appreciate it if you would respect mine as well." I had started to get emotional. I almost started crying. We were in a food court, so there were a lot of people looking at us. Some Fijian boys looked like they were about to get up and do something to help us. The Peruvian then said, "Jotepasimis." Or something like that. I'm like, "What?" Sister Uoka understood him though. "Joseph Smith." He said, "I can prove to you that he was not a true prophet." At that point we had taken back our Book of Mormon (get your grubby hands off of it, you meanie) (not giving my pearls to this swine) and were walking away. But I turned to him and said, "I don't need you to do that, because I have already proved for myself that he is a true prophet of God. Have a nice day." And then we hot-footed it out of there. Man we were shaken up. 
This experience was significant for me. Because I had never once in my entire mission ever encountered an anti before. Never. The culture of Fiji does not allow for it. They are far too respectful and loving and kind. So after this man from Peru confronted us, I was filled with gratitude for the people of Fiji. I know that if I had started to cry, those Fijian boys would have gotten up and asked this man to leave. Because as missionaries, and especially as sisters, we are respected. Everyone knows who we are. Everyone likes us. Everyone is willing to listen to us, whether they choose to accept our message or not. What a blessing this has been. And I took it for granted until this particular incident. Haha all I could think was, "Go back to Peru. Get out of my Fiji. Stop corrupting my beautiful island home. Your kind are not welcome here." Which of course is un-Christlike of me. But still. I love my Fiji. 
Did I react in the right way? Did I do the right thing? A lot of missionaries have told stories about how some of their golden investigators have come from successful Bible-bashing sessions. And it's not that I do not have the knowledge necessary to counter his silly arguments. But I just wanted to get out of there fast. So I did. 
Don't get me wrong, I have encountered people who wanted to Bible-bash with me before. But I had not encountered an anti until this week. And I never want to again. Yuck.
Hmm what else...I love all of you. Yeah, I've said that before, and I'll probably say it again. Don't get used to it, appreciate it every time, because it represents all the loyalty and compassion and charity that my little heart possesses. You people are my people, even though I probably won't recognize you when I get home. You probably won't recognize me either. Because I'm fat and covered in spots haha. But no matter. At least my insides are gorgeous.
LOLOMAS,
Sister Wright