I've thought a lot about love this week. Pure Christ-like love and how powerful it can be. This past week we've been working with one of our investigators for them to read the Book of Mormon and recognize that it's true. They've listened to several missionaries before but it always ends up that they believe the doctrine in their church and they're not willing to move to another church. They have a lot of crazy questions but I knew that as they kept their commitments that they could grow in faith and find that the Book of Mormon is true. I could see a change. But on Saturday when we went to them I could tell that the son and his friend were very hard-hearted and wouldn't be open to what we were going to share with them. He had a really hard time believing that there could be other scripture. We asked him how he learned that the Bible was true. He answered that he had read it and fasted and prayed. We invited him to do the same with the Book of Mormon. He refused. The mom then intervened and apologized for the things her son said. Really, it wasn't even rude, he was just sharing what he felt...but there are a lot of people here in Tonga that feel it's disrespectful. I told them I was grateful for his honesty and although we know our message to be true and we want them to read the Book of Mormon, we respect their agency and we won't force anything on them. Then all the sudden my heart was overwhelmingly filled with love for this family. I felt like I had known them forever and I had the greatest desire for them to know of these truths. Tears ran down my cheeks. I really hate crying, especially in lessons, because it's hard for me to speak...especially in Tongan. But I told them that I love them so much and we will always be their for them no matter what they need. Then I looked at my companion to talk cause I couldn't. My heart was just overfilled with love. After everyone went around (one by one) and expressed what they were thinking and feeling, apologizing, etc....that's a normal thing here in Tonga...it got to the sister (Faka'osi) she thanked me. She said that I was the first missionary that has ever shed a tear and that she feels so warm and happy and full of love every time we come. She asked us to please come back and share 'cause she likes learning about our church. I noticed in that moment the importance of showing and sharing Christ's love with everyone. They invited us to kai umu yesterday (eat lu) and it was fun. I love that family so much and I believe one day they'll come around a join the church!
We celebrated the duali (light celebration) at the house of our investigators from Fiji that are Hindu. We just ate sweets and stuff. It was SO sweet. But it was fun! President and Sister Tuione showed up.
I went on splits with Sister Paletu'a (she's like one of the sister assistants to the president) this past week and it was so wonderful. Towards the end of the vilo hoa we were walking down the street and these two little girls (about 9 years old) came up to us and started talking to us. I assumed they were Mormon because of how friendly they were but turned out they were Siasi Pahai (idk what that is in English). We gave them a little picture of Jesus and asked them where they lived, they got really excited and asked us to walk with them to their house and talk to their family about Jesus. We walked up to their house and the family was sitting on the porch. We told them what happened, that we had met their daughters out on the road. I could tell that they were a little surprised but friendly because their daughters seemed to love us so much. I shared with them the importance of our message and a little part of the plan of salvation. They were very gracious but told us they were drinking beer and about to go to town so we should come back another time. As we left one of the boys living at the house told us that he was baptized but his parents separated so he came to live at this house but he really wants to come back and has been helping his friend to stop smoking. The little girls didn't want us to go and they started crying but we told them to pray and they told us they would. We went back the next day but they had just left. I just learned how in tune children are. I feel like if we have any access to the hearts of that family it will be because of the children there. No wonder why we should humble ourselves to be like a little child.
The work is going well, our investigators are progressing. President told us this past week that ours and the Elder's area will be switching at the transfer (cause we live in their area and they live in ours..the MQ in our area isn't safe for sisters)...so it's been hard knowing that I won't be in this area next transfer but everyday I still work just as hard and love the people even though I know it's gonna break my heart..but it's all the Lord's work! And I'm happy to do it.
Hope you all have a wonderful week full of miracles! Look for the tender mercies from the Lord.
Monday--we got our car! That has made everything a whole lot easier.
Tuesday--We had our district meeting, went around with a couple members and found some new investigators, and then that night we had a teaching with an Indian Family (from Fiji). The sisters before us started teaching them and they've started to read the Book of Mormon. It's interesting because they are Hindu and believe in a lot of gods. President and Sister Tuione are the fakafeohi (fellowship) to them and so it's been cool. We taught them the Plan of Salvation and they had watched a movie about Jesus Christ earlier that week and the mom couldn't stop talking about the things she'd seen in the movie. So it was perfect cause we tied in all the elements of the Plan of Salvation to Jesus Christ, which was good because he's central to the plan! They are beginning to believe but when we committed them to be baptized they just kept saying "oh you don't understand, Hindu can't be baptized"...so we're working to strengthen their faith and we're praying for a miracle to happen! We got to go to church with them on Sunday to the English speaking ward in Liahona--it was SO weird hearing church in English but it was a good experience. They're such a cute family!
Wednesday-- We taught a couple of our other investigators. A quick summary about them. Saane is living with members right now (her family is a Ha'apai) and she really believes but is having the hardest time agreeing to be baptized because her dad is a preacher in their church and he's having heart issues and is scared that if she gets baptized he's gonna be so mad that something will happen to him. But she comes to church every week and so we're praying and fasting for her! Our other investigator, Foaki, is in almost the same situation...but we just started teaching him last week..so we're praying for him too!
Thursday--We had MLC which was a wonderful experience. My companion stayed the night in my old area with Sister Medina and I picked up the other STL there to go to our meeting. I learned lots and it was fun seeing the missionaries from the outer islands again.
When we came back we learned that one of the old ladies in our ward had passed away. She was one of the first people we met when we moved here. Her name is Alisi (Alice). She had me get the globe and show her exactly where in the world I came from, then she had given us lots of names to visit and before we left she asked that the palangi (me) say a prayer for her. From what I hear she was a very faithful women in the church and went to the temple every single week even though she was having a hard time. The church needs people like Alisi--what a great example!
I love this work. I love my companion. I love my investigators. I love the members. I love Tonga. And most importantly, I love my Savior.
Well things are pretty good in my new area! We went to the training meeting on Wednesday and I got my new companion! Sister Palenapa is from 'Eua and I knew her from the missionary preparation class we helped with when I served in 'Eua! She's well prepared and has such a great desire to do the work! We got to our area Thursday but we haven't gotten our car yet..the area is huge compared to the other areas in the mission, and we live in the area next to ours (because the MQ in longolongo isn't very safe) so it's been a struggle trying to do the work. We don't have a map yet and there's no such thing as an address here so luckily we've had kind members show us around! We have a few investigators that are progressing towards baptism that we were able to meet with and I already love them!
I loved watching General Conference this past weekend! It was wonderful! We got to watch it in English, which I was grateful for to hear their voices. I LOVED it so much! I received so much personal revelation and direction. It truly testified to me of the blessing we have to have living prophets and apostles testify to us. Their words are priceless and I pray that we will all try to live according to the things they were able to share with us.
Hope you all have a wonderful week full of miracles! Looooove you!
Sooo the big news...I'm MOVING from Veitongo/Ha'ateiho to Longolongo which I've heard is one of the biggest, if not the biggest area in the mission. My daughter (Sister Aluesi) moved this past Thursday to Halaleva to be follow-up trained by my old companion Sister Malu! It was hard saying goodbye...I think I felt a tiny bit of what a parent feels when a child leaves home. My other companion (Sister Fullmer) is moving too. I will be training again! So that means I'll be white washing the area...a little nervous about that, but I'm excited. I'll get my new companion on Wednesday.
Sister Wunderlich (my other old companion) finished on Friday and had to wait a couple days for her parents to get here and she got to stay with us which was SO fun! I miss her and her beautiful voice.
Sitiveni was baptized on Saturday and it was SO wonderful! It actually started out as a struggle...our church water wasn't running, and neither was any other church's water around our area so we asked President if we could do it at the beach in our area and he said that'd it'd be fine. Seriously, the most BEAUTIFUL baptism. He carries his Book of Mormon everywhere with the pamphlets of the lessons inside. His testimony that he shared at the baptism was simple but powerful. I love this work.
We got the opportunity to watch General Women's Conference this past Saturday and I loved it! I especially loved President Uchtdorf's talk (fourth floor, last door). I'm more than excited to watch Conference this weekend!! I know it's going to be so uplifting and powerful. How grateful I am for a living prophet on the Earth today.
I've been thinking a lot about patience recently...it's made the hugest difference! How many times in our lives do we need to be patient with either God, others, or ourselves? And patience isn't just enduring something but it's using our agency to make the best out of our situation and choose happiness. I love chp. 6 in PMG and what it teaches about patience. I encourage you all to read it and listen again to the talk about Patience by President Uchtdorf. Patience and Faith are connected so tightly. As we increase our Faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, I believe we will become more patient people.
Hope you've been uplifted this weekend listening to General Conference! Love you all soo much.