Monday, December 21, 2015

I'm Dreamin of a White Christmas

The weather here is very bipolar (kinda like Utah haha) but I think I've sweat more these past couple days than I have in my entire life. Just kidding, but it's been HOT! I think I've gained a couple pounds since I've gotten here but pretty sure I'm almost back to where I started thanks to my beautiful uniform :) 

This past weekend has been very spiritually uplifting. We got to watch a recording of President Peason's --president of the pacific area -- meeting with the missionaries in Tongatapu (the main island) and it was amazing. He talked about how we're blessed with agency which means there needs to be opposition so we can make choices. There's a difference between AGENTS and OBJECTS. And object has no choices, it has to react. However, we are agents. When someone's annoying we can choose whether to be annoyed or to acknowledge that they're being annoying but continue to love. We choose the fruits of the Spirit (love, peace, joy) or things that are not of the Spirit (anger, fear, frustration). When we partake of the sacrament worthily, in that moment we again covenant with our Father that we will keep ALL our covenants (20 year old covenants become new again every week) and He again promises His Spirit (which gives us power). In that moment we are completely clean and acceptable to our Heavenly Father. Then as we go throughout our day we are given choices and we choose to keep that Spirit with us or choose something else--because we are agents!

Yesterday, I was thinking about this a little deeper during sacrament and I felt the Spirit so strong and felt pretty emotional. President Tukuafu (not exactly sure of his calling...maybe was in the 70? I'm not sure but something higher than a Stake President) and the Stake Presidency all came to our meeting and right before President Tukuafu got up to speak he turned to the Brother conducting and the Brother got up and said that I (Sister Reid) would share my testimony first. I was a little surprised for like half a second and then I was filled with so much peace and I got up there and expressed my feelings and testimony in some pretty rough Tongan--mostly rough cause I was crying. But although it was a struggle, I meant every word I said and felt the Spirit so strong.
President Tukuafu got up and thanked me for my testimony and said that before the meeting, when he shook my hand and talked to me for just a minute, he forgot everything he was going to say in the meeting and felt impressed to have me share.

Well I'm not sure why that was the case but I definitely feel that it was a tender mercy from the Lord letting me know that he is aware of me and my desires. I love this work! 

I hope everyone has a very MERRY CHRISTMAS as you remember our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Sister Reid

Monday, December 14, 2015

Surprise Fakataha with Palesiteni and Sister Tupou

Sorry, I wasn't able to email yesterday--Pres and Sister Tupou (mission pres) came out for a fakataha (meeting) and they switched Pday to today. It was great! I'll tell you about it at the end of the email.

First, Sione got baptized! He made so much progress this past week (and didn't smoke at all). Also, they had a youth conference activity this past week that he was able to go to. And when Tongans put on activities they go all out. They had a mini MTC and all the youth got "mission calls" to the places where all the RMs in the ward served and had classes with them (cultural/spiritual). On the last day they had a tree of life activity. I wish I could've seen it 'cause it sounded sweet! They waited until it was getting dark and lit up a tree. They put blind folds on all the youth and had them hold on the rope that led to the tree. They played loud music, threw mud at them, and put a slip/slide under them with soapy water--once they made it to the tree they received fruit from the Stake Presidency. Sounds sweet right?

I love the Christmas season. It's definitely different being here where the sun is shining and not many Christmas decorations...but I hear a Christmas song here and there and it feels a little like Christmas. They have dances to celebrate Christmas season...but for the most part it doesn't seem that least here in Eua.

So...about President coming. It was a wonderful meeting and I learned so much! He talked a lot about the higher level of teaching and teaching as Christ taught -- using questions. We're not here to teach others as objects but that's what we do when we just preach. We are here to guide them as they are agents unto themselves. As we create a safe environment where they feel comfortable and we value their thoughts and ask inspired questions from heaven, the Holy Ghost can come in and teach them. When you leave, they remember more of what they say than what you said. 
He also shared his prayerfully sought out vision of (starting in January) baptizing 100 people in each stake before June, to celebrate 100 years of this mission! Yeah that's a HUGE goal and we're going to need a lot of heavenly help. But all the Stake Presidents have agreed and we're fasting and praying because that means 7 new converts each month in Ha'atu'a! 
After the meeting we were able to have interviews with him and that was really good because I haven't seen him or Sister Tupou since the first day I got here. At the end of the interview he said, "your Tongan is so good!" Although the meeting was mostly in English (Sister Tupou doesn't know Tongan and pretty much everyone understands English) we had done a role play of Lesson #1 in Tongan...which we've role played so many times...which was in Tongan. So that made me feel good but that's probably the best Tongan I've got haha and it's all because of the Lords help. I've definitely gained a greater capacity to study and learn and I still have a looooong way to go but I'm grateful for this opportunity I have to learn Tongan! It's really such a fun language and I'm blessed to have the opportunity to study it and share the message of the Restored gospel to the Tongan people.

I hope you're all enjoying the Christmas season and remembering our Savior, Jesus Christ!

Sister Reid

Monday, December 7, 2015

So Blessed.

The Lord has REALLY been blessing us! We had two baptisms (Kulisi & Sepesi) and it was such a sweet experience! They bore their testimonies and it was the cutest. We have a potential baptism with Sione...he relapsed with his smoking but he got rid of all of his Tongan tobacco so we're helping and praying for him. 

I got 4 new dresses this week! A lady from our ward went to Tonga so I gave her money for fabric and she sewed them for me :) Thanks goodness because I was down to 2 (we're not allowed to wear black anymore and my other one got lost). So that was so great! 

The weather is so perfect here right now. It's pretty breezy and warm. So blessed to be in Eua! We've been eating a lot of pineapples and drinking Otai...Tongan punch with fruit shredded in yummy! I love the simple life on this island. I hear it's a lot different from Tongatapu (the main island) and I really do love it here!

I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve my Father in Heaven and be a representative His son, Jesus Christ. I am so humbled. So inadequate. But I know that I have been called of God and he qualifies those he calls. There's a song called "Grace" by Laura Story that summarizes my feelings. How grateful I am for God's grace (Ether 12:27)!

Ofa Atu
Sister Reid