Monday, November 30, 2015

Let the Little Ones Come Unto Me

"...and becometh a Saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father" (Mosiah 3:19).

I've felt the reality and importance of this scripture in such a tangible way this week. It's been a turning point for me. A mission has made me vulnerable in ways I couldn't quite anticipate and in some aspects I've resisted it. There have been times it has been hard to completely let go of things I feel comfortable with and totally rely on God--trusting in His great power and goodness. 
I had certain expectations for my mission, certain challenges I anticipated, and goals I'd set of what I want to happen. But I'm realizing that some of those things have been overshadowing all that God wants my mission to be. He knows me better than I know myself. It's difficult when good desires are different from God's will and timing...But that's the beauty of submitting to God and watching him make more of me than I can make of myself. The experiences I am having and will have are so perfectly crafted for me to learn and grow if I trust God and do my best. Submitting my will and everything to God has made all the difference...I thought I had "submitted my will to God" when I came on my mission. I was ready to give it all to the Lord. But I've realized this week it's an everyday, every hour, every minute thing and it's only when I trust Him, let go of pride, and lean on my Savior that His grace can work in me.
D. Todd Christofferson (2002) said, "Surely we will not be one with God and Christ until we make submitting to their will our greatest desire."

I am also grateful for such sweet examples of the attributes listed in the scripture above. The children here are straight tender mercies from the Lord. I've been able to talk to them a lot more this week and my language is improving! There is one family of Wesleyan children that follow us everywhere we go and so I try to talk to them. There dad thinks it's hilarious that they follow us everywhere but their mom doesn't like the church so we can't really teach them.
The member kids are also adorable! They always play at the church and sometimes when appointments fall through or when literally almost everyone has left to go to Uta ("the bush") we go there and role play with them. And they are so sweet to come and be investigators! Children have such a special spirit. They crack me up!! 

We have 3 investigators that will be getting baptized this Saturday if all goes as planned. One of our investigators (16 year old boy named Sione) is trying to overcome his smoking addiction so we're praying for him to stay strong so he can be ready!

This week has been good. We've also had great fafangas. One more wealthy family bought this HUGE crab (like $100) for us to eat. TOO nice. But it was delicious. 

Hope you're all doing well!! You're in my prayers.
Sister Reid

Challenge for this week: Listen to conference talks while getting ready in the morning! It's a good way to multi-task, start your day off right, and to remind you of what was taught in the past conference! 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

There are some weeks that are just super rough...and this week was one of those weeks. We've knocked on like every door..twice..the members are super nice but not the most helpful when it comes to giving us referrals (but we're setting up a program to help with that) and there was a funeral this week and in Tonga it lasts for like a whole week and no one is allowed to play sports or play loud music and everyone goes over and helps the family of the person who died. Also, on Thursday night when I came home there was a HUGE spider (the size of the palm of my hand) at the foot of my bed. It took me like ten minutes to get up the courage to smash it..and I missed and it went behind my bed..and I couldn't find I prayed like the whole night...and I am, thankfully, still alive haha and also the mites are no longer in my hand! Hallelujah
But it's weeks like these that you just need to turn and see all that you've been blessed with. So that's what I've done (plus, it's Thanksgiving...) 

I am SO grateful for:
MISSIONARY WORK it's such a humbling experience to be here on a mission. Everyday I realize the great blessing it is to have the gospel.
MY FAMILY their support means the world to me and I love them so much
CHICKEN it's always the best meat at Fafanga
SUNDAYS IN TONGA nothing is open (it's against the law), no one can play sports, and pretty much everyone goes to church!
TONGAN HYMNS the Tongans don't sing with a piano and they sing with their whole souls. They also make up their own tune so it sorta sounds like the songs I sang growing up but I am learning to sing them in the Tongan don't judge if I come home and sing the hymns with the wrong tune!
THE BEAUTIFUL ISLAND I AM ON There are palm trees and beaches, rain forests and hills, cliffs and ocean, pine trees, and the most beautiful sunrises (the first sunrise in the world is seen here!)..seeing the sights on Pday is amazing!
MY COMPANION She's so sweet and way fun and super sassy. She takes a lot when it comes to me learning the language. She learned Tongan from just listening and so although she can't answer my grammar questions, she's good at knowing if what I am saying sounds right haha
THE "SHUMMWAY BOOK" It's a language learning book that has all kinds of scenarios with sentence structures and it is so helpful! 
THE SPIRIT Ultimately, I can't do anything as a missionary without it. It guides me, teaches me, comforts me, and testifies of truth to our investigators.
THE ATONEMENT OF JESUS CHRIST I think about the situation I am in right now and from the surface it isn't totally my ideal. There isn't always water and electricity. Lots of bugs. I sometimes feel like a child in my braids, no make-up, and not always being able to communicate for myself. There are struggles, at times, with my companion--not always seeing completely eye to eye. No one really wants to listen, etc. And then I wonder why I don't get discouraged, why I don't just quit, and why I am actually EXCITED to get up everyday and walk in the sun for hours while most of the appointments we have fall through. It's because of the LOVE I have for my Savior and the strength I receive from His atonement. It helps me want to improve. It's when I do the work for Him, rather than for myself, that I feel the real reward. It's hard, but the atonement strengthens and carries me. Let's be honest, nothing in this world is a stronger motivator than charity. I know that as we love God we will feel love for those around us and we will find pure motivation to do all that is required of us--and in that we find pure joy.
AAAND yesterday the Returned Missionaries brought some people to church and we taught them...and there are two people getting baptized next week :) MIRACLES HAPPEN <3 the blessings come after the struggle. 

Love you all!!! Ofa Lahi Atu!
Sister Reid

Monday, November 16, 2015

Grateful To Be Here

We found out that we have less time to email my emails are going to be shorter. 

This past week a Sister in our district finished so we've been in a trio with her companion (Sister Latu). It's been cool because she doesn't really speak English so it's been fun doing language study with her. But  it's been a little difficult being in a trio...she was kinda sick and loves taking it was a struggle.

Also, I had my first dream that had some Tongan in it! It wasn't very much but a step in the right direction...haha

Aaaaand I got some mites in my hands and feet (SO GROSS)...they're like little bumps under my skin that get itchy at night, there aren't that many (thank goodness) but we went to the hospital and got some cream...and the mission doctor said it should be gone by next nothing to worry too much about :) The hospital was pretty sketch though, like definitely not sanitary, so I am grateful I only had to go there for cream!

I am going to try and send some pictures (it takes forever to upload) so sorry this is so short! But I love this work, it is wonderful. God lives. Christ is our Savior. And the Holy Ghost can be our constant companion. 

Ofa Lahi Atu!
xoxo Sister Reid

Monday, November 9, 2015

Rain for dayyys

I learned how to do an inside-out braid this week and it's actually way easier than doing a normal braid...why have I never done this before?? haha

Also, I forgot to tell you...but I ate DOG (kuli) a couple weeks ago! I didn't have very much but it wasn't too bad.

It rained a lot this week...which makes it a real struggle especially with the dirt roads. On Friday evening, we were walking and all the sudden it started pouring rain so we went under a big tree and waited for it to calm down but it just rained harder. So we got a plastic bag from the house next door, put our bags and ta'ovala s in it, and walked out into the rain. We were soaked in like two seconds. Everyone was outside playing and they told us to stay out there with them so we just watched them play..nothing we could really do. But now we're friends with all the Weslyian (Methodist) kids!

Most of the people in our area have been baptized at some point in their lives but have fallen away and now attend another church. I've been thinking a lot about why that's happened to so many. During a lesson this past week we asked a less active we were teaching to read the Book of Mormon. She used to be a really strong member of the church. But as tears filled her eyes she said couldn't because her preacher said she couldn't and that she was just happy with the church she was in now.
The next morning I was reading chapter 5 in Preach My Gospel and it says, "The Book of Mormon, combined with the Spirit, is your most powerful resource in conversion." I'm beginning to recognize more completely why the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion--it's through reading the Book of Mormon that we can know for ourselves it is true. Did a young boy write this or is it an ancient record that has been brought forth and translated for our day? And if it is true then the gospel is true...and what are we going to do about it?
We must read the Book of Mormon EVERY SINGLE DAY so we can gain a deeper testimony of this Gospel, our Savior, living day prophets, the Priesthood, etc. We cannot afford going a single day without reading from its pages...things are going to get hard, they already are, and we need to have a testimony that is firmly planted...when questions arise, we need a testimony of the Book of Mormon that is continually being fed so that we can tolerate the uncertainty we feel while staying true to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must be willing to experiment upon the word (Alma 32:27-28) and we must desire to know and be willing to act.

Hope you're all doing well. Ofa Lahi Atu!
<3 Sister Reid (Ridi (reedee), Liti (Leetee), Red, and everything else I've been last name has never been a struggle before)

Amanakilelei = Hope (Amanaki-to expect/expectations) (lelei-good) =to expect good or good expectations

Monday, November 2, 2015

Vilo Hoa

Malo e lelei!! 

On Wednesday and Thursday we went on splits with the Sister Training Leaders and it was such a wonderful experience! I learned so much. The heavens were opened and miracles happened. I went with Sister Pakalani (she's actually from our area! and she knows English pretty well...thankfully!) and she has become one of my heroes! We went to her neighbors house and asked the man there (Timote) if he was available to hear a message...and he said he was. We decided to teach him the first lesson and when we started talking about Joseph Smith, he told us he didn't believe Joseph Smith was a prophet. Sister Pakalani asked him if he'd asked God. He said that he hadn't. She went on to talk about priesthood authority and the Book of Mormon. At the end, when we committed him to pray and read Moroni's promise, tears filled his eyes, and he said, "I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and I want you to come back on Saturday to make sure I prayed and read..." It turns out that he actually was baptized when he was little but never really knew the doctrine (this is the case with A LOT of the people in our area). He told us he hoped his baptismal record was lost because he wanted to get baptized again but by a palangi (white guy) haha. But the record was there. 

Several experiences like that happened during the next day. I learned so much from her. She truly teaches by the Spirit. She loves the people and that makes all the difference. When she taught, even though I didn't know everything she was saying, I felt so emotional and the Spirit was so strong. 

A little bit about our area: It's pretty small...we can walk across it in like 5 minutes and it would take less than an hour to walk up and down every street. There are a lot of pigs and dogs that wander around and everyone has 2-3 feet high fences around their houses that we climb over every day (it's a struggle...haha) When we go to someone's house we usually just call their name and they come and whenever we go into someone's house we take off our shoes. We usually sit on the ground on mats when we teach. When we go over for meals, they don't eat with us. They either leave and we find them when we're done to thank them, or they sit there and talk to us while they watch us eat. There are four areas in Eua and ours is the smallest but we're over two wards and everyone else is over there are a lot of members in our area! 

This month, the mission read "On Being Genuine" by Dieter F. Uchtdorf and it is such a wonderful talk. I really liked one part in particular, "I pray that we will resist the temptation to draw attention to ourselves and, instead, strive for a far greater honor: to become humble, genuine, disciples of Jesus Christ......Such artificial discipleship not only keeps us from seeing ourselves as who we really are, but it also prevents us from truly changing through the miracles of the Savior's Atonement. The Church is not an automobile showroom--a place to put ourselves on display so that others can admire our spirituality, capacity, or prosperity. It is more like a service center, where vehicles in need of repair come for maintenance and rehabilitation. And are we not, all of us, in need of repair, maintenance, and rehabilitation? We come to church not to HIDE our problems but to HEAL them."
I love this so much. We can't just go through the motions...we need to open our heart and change to be more like Christ. It's not an easy road but it was never intended to be. We need to consider our purpose in everything we do and make sure we are being "genuine". As a missionary, I recognize that this work is not about me but rather about the Lord and His work and I am simply an instrument. 

Love you all so much!! Ofa Lahi Atu!
Sister Reid