Tuesday, May 31, 2016

'E 'Otua ko e Tapuha (How Great Thou Art)

This week we watched the addiction recovery videos (there are 12 short videos for each of the steps) with one of the less actives we're working with, who just recently overcame his smoking addiction. Those videos are AMAZING. So so inspiring. I invite you all to watch them. We all have weaknesses, things we need to overcome, and through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can overcome our shortcomings. Encourage you all to watch them :)

We had our Musical Fireside this past Wednesday. Sister Betteridge and I sang "How Great Thou Art" in Tongan/English, four of the young men sang a song, a member family sang, and then some of the primary kids sang "I love to see the Temple" in English/Tongan. It was so beautiful! All the songs were alternated with short talks by recent converts...one of which was Kepueli (our recent convert that got baptized in March). Earlier that day, Sister Betteridge and I went and invited his mom to the fireside and although she had mata kovi we were so happy when she showed up! It was REALLY hard for her when Kepueli and Malia got baptized because her whole family is Catholic..so we were happy she came. Kepueli shared his conversion story and about how hard it was when he got baptized cause a lot of his family hated him, a lot of kids at school were rude, and even his parents. Tears ran down his cheeks as he shared his testimony. I was a little nervous about what his mom was thinking...but the whole program was really spiritual. A few days later we were walking on the street and his mom stopped us and thanked us for the beautiful program and for how spiritual Kepueli's talk was. We're hoping she'll be open to listening to us soon :) 

So I'm pretty sure I'm staying...most of the transfers were done last night. But there is a possibility that something could change the next couple days...

I hit my 9 months this week! The mission has gone by sooooo fast! But I'm feeling at home here in Tonga. I love this place. It would be nice to have a bit of a variety in food...but it's wonderful.

Have a great week!
Ofa Lahi Atu!
Sister Reid

Monday, May 23, 2016

It's Not About You

I've been thinking a lot recently about being selfless and how one can truly lose oneself in service to others. I've been trying to become more SELFLESS. As a missionary, there are so many unique opportunities to be selfless and the fulfillment that come from serving others is indescribable. Many nights, as Sister Betteridge and I have walked home we've gone on forever talking about the people we're working with and how excited we are for them. Since our last Mission Leadership Conference we've been writing visions out for each of our investigators...seeing them as God sees them. It's so wonderful thinking about and caring so much for someone else. I have so much love for these people! 
But I've been catching myself, at times, mostly in the moments I feel most inadequate, worrying about my weaknesses. Sometimes I wonder if my understanding of the scriptures is good enough, if my explaining of certain principles in Tongan are clear enough, and if my dedication and love are strong enough. Although it's good to evaluate such things, I've learned that it's so important to remember: IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU. It's not about me. One of the 2016 youth songs sings about this...and it's really helped me keep a better perspective. 
Our Faith must not be in ourselves but rather in the Savior. We must trust that if we do our best--give it all we have, we are enough! And this comes when we TURN OUTWARDS. As a missionary, if I think for a moment in fear, "Will I be able to explain this concept well enough?" My focus is not of the person I'm teaching and my faith is not in my Savior. The key is to do our best, work hard, and then have faith! This Life is about SERVING, LOVING, and LIFTING others. In our Baptismal Covenant, that we renew each week, we promise to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort. how do we make those around us feel?  Are we too worried about ourselves or do we turn outward and serve fellow men? How are we doing serving our Heavenly Father?

There are two girls, both about 20 years old, that we had started working with a while ago and although they were willing and excited about getting baptized, their parents were super against it. They ended up going to Tonga and getting baptized there...and now they've returned and so we're teaching them the follow-up lessons. They are absolutely WONDERFUL. Tioni, one of the girls (I think I talked about her in an earlier email..) she has changed so much and is such a light! When we were asking her about her baptized, she began to cry. And we all began to cry to. She described the feelings she felt and how she feels like a new person. She said she used to easily get angry at her sisters, but since her baptism she's prayed to be a light to them. 

Transfers are happening next week and everyone keeps telling me I'm moving...sooo I guess we'll see what happens. I love this area and my companion and it'll break my heart leaving 'Eua but I am more than willing to go where the Lord wants me to.

Ofa Lahi Atu!
Sister Reid

Monday, May 16, 2016

Mata Kovi ("Bad Eye")

Almost everyone here has gotten sick this past week with "Mata Kovi"--their eye turns red, starts to hurt, and then swells up. Literally every house we went to they'd open the door, kind of laugh cover their eyes and apologize cause they have mata kovi. Unfortunately, our investigator, Pulotu, got mata kovi too. She was super excited to come to church on Sunday and even had her little son tell us he's going to primary, but when we went to visit her on Saturday--she walked out with super swollen eyes..and we wanted to cry! So we're hoping she'll get better these next couple days and come next week! The kaingalotu (members) who were getting better from mata kovi but still had red eyes all showed up to church with sunglasses on. It was hilarious.

This week was a little rough cause we had a few investigators drop us because their parents don't agree to us teaching them...even though they're "adults" now...so we're going to continue working toward them and their parents.

We taught this man and his wife (Koaneti & Solati) this past week. He's a preacher for the Wesleyan church and is super knowledgeable about the Bible and knows quite a bit about the Book of Mormon. The first question he asked us was, "who is Jesus Christ to you? And why is he important to you?" I think he was checking our credibility before he would listen to what we had to say. He told us he believes the Book of Mormon is scripture because it testifies of Christ and
ended up agreeing that that means Joseph Smith is a true prophet...so we tried to help him see that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has to be the one true church of the Earth. And no matter how many ways we tried to explain, and even though it made total sense to his wife, he kept saying that all churches were true and all we need to do is believe in Christ and follow the Bible. We tried like everything. Then after a little bit he told us he just can't leave his church because he's a preacher and he's going to become a missionary this year. We then shared with him how it's important to have faith to follow God's will...The whole time we thought his NEED was to help him understand that there is only one true church but what he really needs is the FAITH enough to follow the knowledge God gives him. God gives us knew knowledge and enlightens our minds when we have enough Faith to act upon the knowledge he gives us.

So yesterday, the Bishop changed in our ward. I really liked the last Bishop, we got pretty close with his family so it's going to be sad not working with him anymore, but the new one is the stake president's brother-in-law, he's also the relief society president's husband, and he's super nice so it'll be good!

Hope you all have a wonderful week! It was so awesome to hear your voices last week. Love you all so much!
Sister Reid

Monday, May 2, 2016

Sugar Drought

Malo e lelei! Mou fefe hake? Ko e ha e me'a oku mou fai (ha me'a oku fai)? Te mou kai lelei ahoni? Alu koe ki fe? Basic questions you ask like 20 times a day...How are you? What are you doing? Are you going to eat well today? Where are you going?

This past week our Bishop's mom passed away. She lived at Bishop's house but hardly ever came out cause she has been really sick and was blind. Funerals (Putu(s)) are a really big deal here in Tonga and all the kaingalotu (members) will be spending time at the Bishops house this week. They hang out at the house, wear all black (to show respect), sing a lot, and eat food. Yesterday, everyone wore black to church and because Sunday is Bishop's day to feed us, we wore black too. All the members were so proud of us that even though we're from muli (overseas) we wore black to show respect. Yesterday, a lot of the family shared their testimonies of faith and love. The Tongan people are such good examples to me. 

Last night, our fafanga (meal) was supposed to be Bishop's sister...so we got to go to the "Failotu" at Bishop's house (a part of the funeral they do each morning and night leading up to the funeral...which will be on Thursday). A lot of the members were there. It was a short little program with a spiritual thought and then we sang hymns. It was absolutely incredible. It is the best feeling to just be able to sing with your whole soul. Everyone just sings with everything they got. Then afterwards there were a couple people who gave little speeches. And throughout it one of the men says "Malo" (thank you) after every couple sentences. There are 3 different types of languages in Tongan...one for the common people, the nobles, and then the king. It's beautiful when they use words from the "higher/more respectful" languages and the Tongan prayers are the most spiritual things ever. It's cool because I've got to learn a lot of the Kings language to use in my prayers and when we teach about God and Jesus Christ. 

Tina, Uele, Ofa, Mateaki, Palomesi, and the rest of the kids--We've been working with this family since I got here with Sister Langi and they are so wonderful. Tina is a less active and wants to come back to church but can't because of her husband (in Tonga you "have to" go where your husband goes to church). Uele, is the husband and is a member of the Wesylian church. He's hardly at home cause he often goes to Uta ("the bush") to get food. Mateaki (age 12) and Palomesi (age 10) we've been teaching every Monday night at one of the members family home evenings! Uele asked us to also help his kids with English because they've been struggling on their tests (they're in English) and it's been awesome. Last week, we had Stake Conference and they all came! And I heard Uele really enjoyed the talks but he has a couple questions about the Godhead and stuff...so one of the members are going to invite them over for a family home evening for us to teach him. But for the next couple weeks there are a ton of programs at the Wesylian church...so we need to wait till that's over. But I'm super pumped.

This next week we will be going to Tonga for Mission Leadership Conference! Aaaand Sister Tupou asked us to teach in it...so we're a bit nervous, but it will be good :) I'm super excited to go to the temple. Like always. 

Also, just a funny thing: All of Tonga is out of sugar right now haha Something because of the cyclone that happened in Fiji and the boat hasn't come yet. All the members apologize that they can't add sugar to the flavored drinks they give us. But I'm so thankful cause they're already sweet enough from the flavored packet they put in it haha. The sad part though, is that Neti (one of the ladies in Ha'atu'a) can't make chocolate cake for us. Hopefully the sugar boat gets here soon!

Sorry, that was kind of a splatter of all my thoughts...hope it makes sense haha! Hope you all have a wonderful week! Never forget that God knows everything that is happening in your life and he's ready to help you and will help you endure every trial and difficulty that is set in your path, all we need to do is have faith and ask.

Ofa Lahi Atu!
Sister Reid