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 one...so 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!