Monday, September 30, 2013

Sister Missionary Choir from the MTC

Standing as the First Presidency enters the meeting

Sister Reategui - Missionary companion

Week 5 at the MTC is DONEZO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hello everybody! Whoo has it been a busy week! For real! We moved from East Campus to West Campus this week on Tuesday! It was such a long day and then every day this week I have had choir practice for the 
broadcast tonight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

We are leaving for Salt  I am so excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Kiribati sister in my district had a tooth ache and went to the dentist to get it checked on Wednesday and then ended up getting her wisdom tooth out! We all felt so bad for her because the medication that was prescribed to her was making her sick since she isn't used to it! She got 2 blessings and we all prayed for her. Miraculously she is okay! After just 2 days her swelling was gone and she was able to laugh and talk normally! The church is true! Also another exciting thing happened! WE GOT OUR FLIGHT PLANS! I have included a picture I took of them! And my whole district with our flight plans!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are going to the Philippines in 9 days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This week has been successful with our investigators! The language study has been paying off and most of our sentences actually make sense!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My companion and I are so proud!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We have been working hard memorizing and conjugating verbs and sentence structure. It has been hard! My brain hurts so much at the end of every day! I love it tho! I have to keep my email pretty short this week sorry! We have to go have lunch and then we have to get on the bus going to Salt Lake City! For the Relief Society broadcast!

This week was one of the busiest weeks to date but it was also one of the best! I have learned so much this week! Last night at the end of class our teacher turned the last hour into a massive TRC (training resource ... center I think?) It is a specific time where members come and volunteer themselves at the MTC and we (the missionaries) go and teach them ... whatever we feel they need. So we each went around the room twice asking her one question each. It was then our responsibility to find a scripture that we thought would help her the best based on what she had told us. Well I felt like I needed to take my time finding her scripture so I skipped my turn and waited for the right time. I went searching through the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants and these are the two scriptures that I found. D&C 98:1-3 It says "Verily I say unto you my friends, fear not, let your hearts be comforted; yea, rejoice evermore, and in everything give thanks; 2) Waiting patiently on the Lord, for your prayers have entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabbath, and are recorded with this seal and testament-- the Lord hath sworn and decreed that they shall be granted.  3) Therefore, he giveth his promise unto you, with an immutable covenant that they shall be fulfilled; and all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for you good, and to my name's glory, saith the Lord." And 2 Nephi 32:3 "Angels speak by the power of the Holy ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold the words of Christ will tell you all thing what ye should do." 

Ahh brothers and sisters these scriptures truly pierced my heart when I read them and shared them with my teachers. With those 4 versus I was able to calm my troubled teachers heart. She was honest with her burdens and afflictions and because of that the Lord was honest in His council. She told us that she was feeling over whelmed. She wasn't doing as well as she wanted to and she didn't feel like she was fulfilling her church calling the way the He would have her. To these things I told her that the Lord doesn't not ask us to be perfect, He only asks us to be WORTHY. I love this Gospel brothers and sisters! And I am so sorry that this email is so short!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't have a lot of time today because of the tight schedule but I promise I will make up for it with next weeks email! 

I love you! And I am always thinking of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love always!
Sister Fonua!

Monday, September 23, 2013

One More Thing...

Oops! I forgot to include that I'm singing in the General Relief Society Broadcast next week! Its me and 364 other sisters here in the MTC. My companion and the another sister in my district are singing also so its great! So tune in to watch me and lots of other sisters sing to the world!

We had our first rehearsal yesterday and the General Relief Society Presidency was there! It was awesome! There were also some foreign ministers visiting the MTC that day and we sang a song for them. Its awesome!  Okay sorry thats all I had to say haha! Lol I gotta go now! Love you all! 


Week Apat (Four)

HI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am in such an energized mood today! I dunno why but I am! Life is good people! LIFE. IS. GOOD :) I struggle so much writing these emails because I want to say so much but I never have enough time to do it! AHH! Lol but its okay. Worry not kind friends and family. I WILL LIVE LOL. I also have to say that I LOVE my district. We are all SO different in many many ways, except where it is important. And that is why I am so grateful!!!!!!!!!!! After our Tuesday devotional we met back at our classroom to discuss what was shared with us and important things that we took away from it. And amazingly we all pretty much took the same things away from it. We all want to go to the Philippines and truly love the people. Even tho my language is dodgy AT BEST I don't want that to stop me from sharing the Gospel and sharing the love that I have for them. I don't want to be the kid sitting in the corner looking up words because I am afraid that people will laugh at me. I don't want these things to stop me! I don't want to put myself in a tiny little box as a protection from things that DO NOT MATTER. NO! I want to go forth with faith. And humility. Acknowledging that I cannot do this alone! That I need him! I need him to lift me up when I am incapable of doing it myself. I want to go as far as I can so that when I cannot go any farther I will be able to let go with FAITH that all will be well and that He will take care of me. I know that life is difficult! I know that we have our good days and our BAD days, but I also KNOW that there is a specific purpose in all things. I know with out a doubt that my Father in Heaven cuts us down because he loves us. In Words Of Mormon 1:7 it says "And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to will." These words are so beautiful. And they are so TRUE! How can I deny their truth when I feel it so deep in my heart? I cannot! And I will not! 

My struggle with the language has gotten so much better. I have been studying and memorizing like crazy and I can see each day I improve just a little bit more. The Spirit is truly and wonderful thing! What I know after just 4 weeks? Its crazy! I can understand so much in Tagalog and I can speak so much more! Every lesson we teach we teach IN Tagalog. And each time my companion and I get better and better. Wednesday morning started out like most of my days here. I was tired but I felt great! And the thought of sitting in class for 4 hours wasn't appealing but it didn't bother me. Our morning class went great! I felt the spirit and I was so happy! After lunch we had an hour to prepare for the lesson that my companion and I were going to teach and as soon as I started preparing I got a really sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. And the Spirit just left me. I tried my best to make the feeling go away but it just wouldn't. I got a blessing and it helped a little bit, but I couldn't shake that feeling for the life of me! So while we were waiting I was praying with all my heart that I would be able to feel the spirit at least by the time we had to teach. And before I knew it we were knocking on our investigators door, and I STILL felt that feeling of doom in the pit of my stomach. We were teaching her about the importance of the Book of Mormon and how you can receive revelation from God through it. My companion sort of took over the lesson because I was still in that funk. After about the second scripture she shared our investigator asked us about the last sentence in it. I hadn't really contributed until this point so I jumped in and said I can help you! Now after this point I wish someone had popped into the room and said BIG MISTAKE. CLOSE YOUR MOUTH. But because this is REAL LIFE no such thing happened. No because this is real life I just tripped over myself and fell on my face. No big deal. So I opened my scriptures up and asked her to read the highlighted verse. As soon as she started reading I knew it was wrong, so I apologized and got another scripture, as soon as she started reading that one I knew AGAIN that it was WRONG! So I found the third and final scripture and asked her to read it. While she was reading it I felt nothing ladies and gentlemen. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. So when she finished reading it and looked at me curiously trying to figure out where I was going with it, I had NOTHING TO SAY. Not in English OR Tagalog! So I sat there in total and complete silence just staring at my scriptures. I occasionally would look up at her and then quickly back down, sometimes I would look at my companion and then again look down quickly again. I was BRIGHT RED. Like siren red it was terrible. Eventually my companion realized that I was blanking in the worst way possible and she took control of the situation and finished it off. This awkward silence lasted probably 3 maybe 4 minutes? It was awkward and embarrassing but it was also a priceless learning experience. Heavenly cuts us down because he loves us. And ever since that experience I haven't been afraid to speak my language. Why? Because literally for me it doesn't get any worse than that. Since then my language has improved significantly! Its a miracle! Information and concepts are sinking in and I am able to understand more and more! I am so grateful! Our lessons are awkward and choppy because we can't say what we want to say exactly how we want to say but that doesn't matter! Because in every lesson I FEEL THE SPIRIT! And I am reassured that my hard work and perseverance WILL pay off. Brothers and sisters I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR THIS! My faith has increased with every day that I apply what I learn. Never before in my life has this happened to me and I am so grateful that I have been blessed to do this!

Yesterday during class our teacher Brother Pierce gave us an example of how to teach people through versus in the scripture and to let the Prophets of old testify of what we are trying to convey to them. I was 1 of 2 who volunteered to be "investigators." When it was my turn he asked me how I was doing and I answered him honestly. I'm okay. He looked at me and said that he didn't believe me. So I told him in my broken Tagalog that I was okay a little bit lol. He asked me how my language study was going. I answered him honestly and I told him it was going better but I was still terrible. He asked me how confident I was speaking it and I told him that I didn't use it as much as I should because I was afraid of being wrong. And I didn't want people to laugh at me. He went around the room and asked each elder and sister to share a scripture that they think would be able to help. 8 people rose their hands and shared beautiful passages. But it was one that stood out for all of us. And it is found in Moses chapter 6:31-33. He had me read it out it says 31 " And when Enoch had heard these words, he bowed himself to the earth, before the Lord, and spake before the Lord, saying: Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant? 32 And the Lord said unto Enoch: Go forth and do as I have commanded thee, and no man shall pierce thee. Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give the utterance, for all flesh is in my hands, and I will do as seemeth me good. 33 Say unto this people: Choose ye this day, to serve the Lord God who made you." These words pierced my heart with such power that I didn't know what to say at first. Bro Pierce asked me what I felt when I read them and I answered him honestly again. I felt really guilty. Why? Because I was making myself more important than the needs of the people. And instead of going forth with faith I tried AGAIN to do it by myself. I felt so silly. And I felt guilty and ashamed. I was wrong! And I fully acknowledge that! After I said these things he read those words to me like this, 

"And when Sister Fonua had heard these words, she bowed herself to the earth, before the Lord and spake before the Lord, saying : Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and I am only a girl. And all the people of the Philippines hate me for I am slow of speech, wherefore am I thy servant? And the Lord said unto Sister Fonua: Go forth and do as I have commanded thee, and no man shall pierce thee. Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance, for all flesh is in my hands, and I will do as seemeth me good. Say unto this people: Choose ye this day, to serve the Lord God who made you." 

By the time he was finished I was in tears. This changed my heart brothers and sisters. It changed my heart, my mind, and my whole perspective. I know I am here for a purpose! And I want to be worthy to fulfill that purpose. I also want to be humble and willing to receive it. I didn't know it before but deep down in my heart I wasn't! Because I was afraid! Fear and faith cannot abide in the same space and in order to cast out that fear my Heavenly Father had to cut me down. I am so grateful for this Gospel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In 3 Nephi 18:16 It says "And as I have prayed among you even so shall ye pray in my church, among my people who do repent and are baptized in my name. Behold I am the LIGHT, I HAVE SET AN EXAMPLE FOR YOU." I want with all of my heart to follow that example and emulate Christ's love. I know that I cannot be effective without it! But its more than that! I know that I cannot be happy without this example in my life. And I know I will not feel joy with out serving others and expanding my capacity to love more and more every day. 

I love all of you so much! And mom! I really miss you! But its okay! Because I am where I am supposed to be. I love you!!!! With all of my heart! I hope you are all healthy and happy! I keep you in my personal prayers! I love you so much!!! Until next saturday! :)

Love you always!
Sister Fonua

Monday, September 16, 2013

MTC Week Three!!

Woo okay. Lol another busy week here at the mtc!!!!!!!!!!! Yet another week of spiritual growth, and lots and lots of ups and downs. Let me first start by saying that its starting to get cold here! Thank you Pou and Aaron for giving me a rain coat! Its keeping me warm AND DRY! Lol everyone is making fun of me but I don't care! Im prepared! Lol we walk every where rain or shine! Lol last week after the temple it was raining and kasama ko (companion my) and our room mates (who are like my literal sisters its awesome) were cracking up the entire walk home. Its amazing how with faith in the Lord any trial big OR small becomes endurable and even at times enjoyable. I have been blessed with so much. Kasama ko is amazing! Seriously I love her so much! We are similar in all the right way and we get along really really well. I am so grateful! You guys would love her. She is so funny and she's always cracking me up, especially during times when I am supposed to be quiet she'll mumble something and it'll just set me off.  Its a tender mercy tho. We have been fully integrated into the schedule so every day is pretty repetitive. We wake up, have break fast go to class, teach a lesson, learn about a new way to conjugate verbs (which usually ends up flying way over my head haha) create a lesson plan, and then personal study, lunch, tall or gym or class then dinner then teach another lesson and then learn another new fun and painful way to conjugate verbs. Lol this is why I have refrained from going through my day to day here because you guys will probably fall asleep as I have accidentally done several times here. Its so crazy, we'll be going and going and then literally the minute I am sitting in even the slightest comfortable position I am OUT like a light! Which all of you I'm sure are not surprised about. My default mood, well all of our default mood is TIRED. Lol just tired but it doesn't matter! Because we are always so happy all the time! And YES I have gotten angry and frustrated, and annoyed with myself and those around me but they are brief and insignificant and ALWAYS replaced with a feeling of peace and safety. Things get hard but we always feel loved and we always feel safe. We have grown to love each other and we are able to uplift each other when one of us gets weighed down. This I will never stop being grateful for!! My Father in Heaven and Savior love me!!!!!!!!! What more could I ask for? And what more do I need to do His work? Nothing because with those two things I already have everything I will ever need.

Okay I will start at the beginning of the week. Our devotionals are ... AMAZING. I'm sorry I wish I could describe this in a better way but I can't. They are simply AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They uplift me so much and help me every week!!! Every single time we are blessed with so much guidance and instruction for the MTC and more importantly for the field. On tuesday we get free time so people usually sleep during that time. This of course is exactly what kasama ko and I did and then we slept thru dinner and woke up just in time for the devo. Oops! Yes we felt guilty but it was a blessing because I was literally incapable of walking in a straight line all day that day and so the little hiccup was a blessing. Anyways when we got to the devo almost all of the seats were taken accept for this patch of empty seats in the corner which an usher told us to go to. We walk down the bleacher and I am heading to that area, and another usher stop me and directs me to the front middle section of seats which I didn't want because I thought he was directing me to the middle of one of the aisles and I didn't want to do that! Why? Because literally my butt would not fit through that! Anyways so I shook my head and told him that we were going to the corner in the back and he gave me this stern look and pointed to the front again. Well my kasama pushed me forward and I found my self walking to the front and before I knew it we were sitting in the first row right in front of the speaker and the mission presidents. Lol the devotional was of course brilliant, and the speaker made eye contact with me like 10 times it was great. In addition to this the mission president and his wife were literally STARING at my companion and I. It was super awkward. And I was praying with my heart and soul that he wouldn't call us up to bare our testimonies. Towards the end he leaned over to his wife and the were talking and looking at us, lol this story has a happy ending. My companion and I escaped testimony-baring free!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yay for us! Hahaha

The beginning of the week wasn't going so well for my kasama and I . We were really frustrated and discouraged with the language. The week before we were doing fine but at the beginning of this week nothing was sinking in. And it was getting harder and harder for me to understand the conjugation and their proper uses. By the end of every class period I literally felt like my brain was going to explode or I was going to pass out from exhaustion. In addition to that I was feeling really unworthy ... of just ... everything. I felt like everyone else was so much better than me and that I was just ... useless. Well during a coaching period our teacher Sister Osbourne gave us some GREAT council. She listened to what we had to say and then asked us a question. She said if we were standing outside and someone asked us to move a mountain would we? I looked at my companion and laughed, and answered her honestly. I wouldn't be able to. Not even close. She then said, if Christ was standing next to me and He told me to move a mountain would I? I answered honestly again. Yes of course. If my Savior was standing next to me I would be able to do anything. But alone I wouldn't stand a chance. This proves to be true about my time as a missionary. If I try to learn this language on my own without relying on the Savior and His atoning grace then I would NEVER LEARN IT. That opened my eyes and my heart. I was trying to accomplish learning this language by myself, so of course I hadn't learned anything! Of course I didn't get anywhere. In Ether 12:25-27 Moroni writes about the same struggles as me! He wants to say so much, and he has so much to say but he can't! He stumbles over his words, very much like the way I stumble through Tagalog. He is afraid that people will mock him and I am afraid that I will not be understood. That what is in my heart will not translate through my speech and that I will not be able to share this simple yet powerful and beautiful message that I have been entrusted to share! Well in verse 26 Heavenly Father says "Fools mock but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek that they shall take no advantage of your weakness; [and then in verse 27] And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." This scripture has always held a special place for me in my heart. But it has finally come alive for me. I see it so much more clearly now. And I know what I need to do now. Because in those verses humbling oneself doesn't always work the way we think it does. I am still figuring this out every day as I ponder about it and pray about it. All I know is that I am so grateful that I have been given this trial! My teacher Brother Pierce says that this language barrier puts us on even ground with the people that we are going to teach and I couldn't agree more. Honestly. Its amazing. How much we can accomplish through His grace. It IS sufficient for all men. Especially ME. And YOU. He wants us to grow closer to Him and the ONLY way we can do that is by enduring our trials, humbling ourselves and constantly keep our eye single to Him. I can't even begin to describe how important this has become for me. And how much more I see that He loves me!!! This language is really hard! And I struggle every day! But I have learned how to have faith in myself through having faith in Him. That even tho I feel totally unqualified for it, that doesn't matter!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Because I was called to this work by a prophet of God and my tiny useless human brain shouldn't try to comprehend the things of eternity. That is what my Savior is here for! He will take the burden off of my back so that I can continue to walk closer and closer to my Heavenly Father. His sacrifice is sufficient. And it always will be. For the rest of my life I know that He will always be there next to me, working WITH me to make my burdens lighter and to protect me from Satan and the things of this world. I am so happy that I get to email all of you every week! And I love hearing from you!!!! I miss you so dearly!!!! You are always in my prayers!!!!!!!!!

The church is true! And missionary work is HARD WORK! But I love every second of it and I wouldn't trade for the world! I have a scripture to share with you before I go finish my laundry and then go to the temple and then teach my for TRC lesson tonight! Wish me luck! It is found in Job 23:10 its short but it is one of my favorites. It says "But he knoweth the way that I take, when he that tried me I shall come forth as gold." I love that scripture! It is so true! He knows the way that I take not me! He knows me better than I could ever hope to! And he if I can put my burdens in his hand he will take it, and refine it and give it back to me in a condition I could never even HOPE to achieve on my own. I love this Gospel! This church brings me greater blessing that I ever hoped for and I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve! I love my Heavenly Father and my Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ and I will do ANYTHING that I am commanded to. I will continue to chip away at my perfections so that one day I may be perfect. 

I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And I will email you again next week!

Love always!
Sister Fonua :)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Middle of the Second Week!


Whew! Is all I can say. But WOW is a close second. Okay so just to briefly explain really quickly I only get 1 hour a week to email home and that hour is given to me during P Day. Also our P Day ends every Saturday at 6PM because we then have class after dinner and then a service project after class. Okay after I emailed everyone last week I went to the temple and that was such a beautiful experience! It was my second time EVER and I couldn't stop thinking about what a blessing that is. I was so grateful! It made my first super busy P Day calm and beautiful. So much has happened to me this second week I don't even know where to start! Its crazy! 

Okay I will begin with what I was struggling with. At the beginning of the week I was really missing my family. My Mom and John specifically. My heart was very heavy and I was feeling a lot of anxiety in quiet moments with myself that just weren't getting better. I was working hard at learning Tagalog and I was putting a lot of effort into what I was studying and also pondering the things that really touched my heart but in the back of my mind I was worrying. Worrying for my mom and worrying for the welfare of my brother. I know what everyone is going to say and what you all are thinking, and that is to let it go and put my trust in the Lord. I know this too. But there is a process to this blessing and I am going to share mine with you. Every night when I got down on my knees, to pray to my Heavenly Father in the privacy of my room, I was almost always in tears by the end. Because I my whole prayer would be for my family and those I loved. I was literally putting every ounce of faith, and every bit of love that I felt for my Savior and for my family in those prayers. I would pray for their safety, and for their well being, I would pray for them to know how much I love them and so that they would actually be able to FEEL it. Every Tuesday we have a devotional and before that devotional elders and sisters are invited to join the choir. Naturally my kasamas (companions) and I volunteered and took our jolly selves to the Marriott center early to sing our over stressed little hearts out. The devotional was beautiful and touched on many points that I am still pondering and still studying. When the devotional was finished our district met back at the classroom with the branch president to discuss what we had learned and make new goals. When our meeting was finished my branch president asked one more time if we anyone needed to talk, that whole week I had been feeling  like I should talk to the branch and ask for a blessing. So just as he was walking out the door, I called out to him. We found a quiet classroom and he asked me what was wrong. I started to tell him how my week had gone and then I told him about my worries. By this time I was crying and almost sobbing. My heart was breaking and I didn't know what to do! He counseled me and reassured me the way all good branch presidents do. And then before I could ask he asked me if I needed a priesthood blessing. I jumped at his question and passionately said "YES!" He smiled at me for a moment and then asked me if I was comfortable asking one of the elders in my district. I gave him a sort of "um you're kidding right?" sort of look and he just smiled at me again. Now some of you may be thinking what a cow I must be but let me explain first! Lol all the elders in my district are either 18 or 19 and none of them have ever given a blessing before! Now in all of my pride and glory, I was slightly offended! My thinking was some where along the lines of, "UM HELLO, I HAVE A SERIOUS ISSUE RIGHT HERE. I need some GUIDANCE. From an experienced priesthood holder so that I can feel better about this situation!" Now after what I am about to tell you I do regret those thoughts greatly. For many reasons, but also because I was "turning in" when I should have been "turning out." These terms are from Elder Bednar and the Talk that they come from is called "The Character of Christ" it is a truly magnificent talk and touches upon the pride of the natural man and the humility in the character of Christ. I urge all of you to take an hour out of your day to please! READ IT! Or listen to it! You won't regret it! I promise! Wow okay now back to the story. Now after those unrighteous thoughts passed through my head I took them back immediately and agreed to ask one of the babies in my district. My branch president and I thought of the same person and that was answer enough for me. The person we both thought of is the free spirit of our district. He just turned 19 and he's always singing and dancing. He distracts EVERY ONE but he also makes us laugh and has the kindest spirit out of all the elders. He actually reminds me a lot of John. Anyways we ended with a prayer and I was able to sleep just a little better that night. The next day in the morning I asked him. He looked at me for a second and then asked me if I was sure. I told him with a smile on my face that I was and that I had faith in him. He looked at me again with tears in his eyes and said okay, and then started walking back to class. When it was time for personal study him, and the 4 other elders in our district went to the book store to buy oil for the blessing. It was the most precious sight in the world. Because by that time they all knew some how. And they were all so nervous for Elder Haymond, they were being supportive and doing everything as a group. Lol it was hilarious and adorable all at the same time. In no time at all they were back. They had to consecrate the oil 3 times because they kept forgetting words, their hands were sweaty and shaking and their voices were quivering. I witnessed it all in utter amazement, and gratitude. They were making all of this effort for me. And sparing no thought for themselves. When they finally got it right I went to find a quiet room with kasama ko (my companion) and Elder Haymond and Elder Lethaby. The other 3 elders slowly crept behind us wide eyed and nervous for their fellow missionary, and friend after just a few days. They respectfully told me that they would stand outside the room for the blessing and I laughed and invited them in. I briefly told Elder Haymond my reason for the blessing. I told him I really just needed to hear some comfort directly from my Heavenly Father. And that I was worried for my family. I didn't go any further than that, I kept it brief and simple so I wouldn't over whelm this already overwhelmed missionary with anymore of my issues. I told this again that I had faith in him. And that he should trust himself and trust the Spirit. That whatever words come to his mind no matter how strange and foreign they may feel, to just say it. Well as Elder Lethaby sealed the blessing his hands and voice were shaking and I felt the spirit slowly building. When Elder Haymond put his shaking hands on my head and started the blessing, he brought tears to my eyes immediately. His voice was strong and powerful, and full of emotion. In the middle of his first sentence he was crying also. The words that came out of this 19 yr old missionaries mouth were not his own by any means. They were from my Heavenly Father. And I can testify of the truthfulness of that. He comforted me and reassured me in things that I told no one about not even my branch president. They were things that were kept only between ME and my LOVING Heavenly Father. I was in awe of the strength from the Spirit I felt. I was in awe of Elder Haymonds faith! And the trust that he put in Heavenly Father to be able to reassure me about things that I told no one, accept my father in Heaven. He truly became an instrument in the Lords hands that day and he taught me more than I can even express in words. He showed me the way, and he taught me how to truly begin to trust Heavenly Father. 

I have a scripture I would like to share with you all, it is in D&C 84:85. I truly do love this scripture. For so many reasons! The first being that I have seen the evidence of this scripture so powerfully in my life this week. Elder Haymond is not what most people would think of when they think of a missionary. But he has learned one simple yet vital part of what it means to "endure to the end." And that is to TRUST Heavenly Father! After that beautiful blessing that he gave me I promise you that every day since then, I have been able to put my trust in Him. To let more and more go and to just have faith that everything is going to be okay. Why? Because I am doing what is right. BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, because my Father in Heaven LOVES ME. I have FELT that love for me. And I have been blessed with His tender mercies. More and more I realize that I am nothing with out Him. And more and more I realize how much more I have to do. But this thought isn't daunting. And I am no longer weighed down, with how impossible enduring to the end feels. No I have hope! Hope for my self! And hope for the people that I have been sent to teach! The more trust I put in him the more CAPABLE I feel! And the more I understand my purpose, as a missionary and in life! I truly do not feel worthy of these blessings. But I am so grateful that I have them! And I am so grateful that I am where I am. The knowledge that you are EXACTLY where you are supposed to be and that you are doing EXACTLY what you are supposed to be doing brings a happiness I have never felt before! But that I have been searching for my whole life. I love this Gospel with everything that is in me. I stand as a witness of Christ. Not because I am a missionary and its what I am "supposed" to do. But because I have FELT love and happiness and pure unadulterated JOY! Not because I am going to be blessed, and definitely not because I expect anything, its simply because the more I understand how to give myself to him the more I grow. And the more I grow the CLOSER I come to Him. I am so grateful for this Gospel. I am so grateful to my mom! For teaching me these things, and instilling in me these simple yet eternal principles from a very young age. No matter what has happened to me because of her diligence and because of HER FAITH I am here serving the Lord with all of my heart, might, mind and strength. I can only hope to be as righteous and as valiant when I am a mother. And my gratitude towards my mother will never end. Simply because I know that for the rest of my life I will reap the blessings of her righteousness and her obedience. I hope to do this for my kids. To teach them the way my mother taught ME. And the way my SAVIOR teaches me every day that I resubmit myself to him. These blessings and experiences continue to change my life and I am so grateful for the opportunity I am given to write to my friends and family every week! I love you guys! With all of my heart and I pray for all of you every day! 
Love always!
Sister Fonua :)

P.S. Please if anyone has anytime please send me letters or maybe a package on dear elder? They lift my spirits so much! And they help me get thru every day. I carry them around with me every day in my scriptures to remind me of the love that my family has for me. I love you guys! And I miss you! But not that much ;) 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

MTC Companion

Sister Fonua with MTC Companion (above) Roomates (below) all Tagalog speaking

Monday, September 2, 2013

First P-Day from Sister Fonua

Oh my goodness!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's Saturday. I got here on Wednesday!!!!!!!!!!!!! Okay first of all THANK YOU FOR THE EMAIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) It made me really happy!!!!!!!!!!! And second I can't even believe this his happening right now. I am in a slight daze to be honest. Lol I woke up slightly disoriented Thursday morning (at 6:30AM KILL ME) and I really couldn't believe that I was still here. Lol its like THAT. But anyways let me tell you about my time here!!!!!!

Oh man oh man first of all I HAVE to say which EVER MTC you end up going to you will absolutely love it! I just know you will! When I got here on Wed my family dropped me off, we all took pictures on the curb and my aunties and cousins started crying LOL. I hugged every one and said good bye one last time for the next 18 months. A sister was there to greet me and help me me with all of my stuff. I went thru the main office and got my official missionary name tag! (I love it! Hahaha) And and my MTC ID which holds all my money and helps me get into every building here. Right so after that I met my host sister and she took me to my residence and up to my room. After that I had to go to my classroom (where I am learning Tagalog) and I met my companion. She is 19 yrs old and her name is Sister Reategui (it sounds like ray-a-ti-gee lol) and she is from Arizona. She attended BYU-I for one semester before coming on her mission. She is 19 and 6'1!!! Shes super nice and I love her. Shes this tiny little half American half Spanish thing and she is so sweet. We get along surprisingly well. Shes super laid back (like me) and shes not fussy about anything hardly. There are two other girls sharing a room with my companion and I. One is from Wyoming and she went to BYU for a year before coming on her mission. And the second is a sister from Kiribati (kiribes?) Man shes awesome. Shes 19 and was converted 3 years ago. She has a strong testimony and she is beautiful! Lol I am the oldest person in my district (so each zone have districts and each district is basically all of the people in your class room. and each zone is like ... all the people that are going to the same country .. kind of haha  I think there are 15 districts in my zone) anyways so yeah Im the oldest person -_- every one is either 18 or 19 hahaha. At first I thought it was gonna be kind of awkward the whole time, but I was determined not to let my old age get to me LOL. Anyways as of today its great and even tho every one else is younger we are all getting a long really well. We are all different but we have similar personality types so that really helps. Um so yeah in our classroom on the first day our teacher introduced to us the SYL missionary program. It means Speak Your Language. Whenever we are in the classroom we are only allowed to speak Tagalog and our teacher only speaks to us in Tagalog. Lol so far I know how to pray in Tagalog and bare my testimony and how to say good morning, thank you, how are you doing, Im fine thank you etc etc. Its kind of crazy being my 4th day here 3rd full day. I can understand basic conversation and I can communicate simply. Its such a miracle! My pronunciation and comprehension of the language literally grows with each day and I can understand and speak more and more. I am getting really comfortable with it. Its crazy!!!!!!!!!! Seriously. The church is true. So I pretty much walk around saying anything in Tagalog and whenever I speak English I have adapted a fobby Tagalog accent? Hahahaha. But you know thats just me being me. My companion and room mates repeat some of the things I say whether its Tagalog or fobby English and its surprisingly helping us!

Yesterday my companion and I taught our first lesson in Tagalog. And let me tell you. It was such an EPIC FAIL. Seriously. We had prepared all this stuff. We wrote down questions in Tagalog. We had prepared a couple scriptures. We had found a paragraph in the Tagalog Preach My Gospel that we were going to get her to read. We had written down some of our testimony and we were prepared to pray in Tagalog. All day we were told not to take our notes in and to just go by the spirit even if we felt uncomfortable. So before we said a prayer and decided we were going to close our notebooks and go by the Spirit. Well when we were teaching the lesson it took all of 5 seconds for us to drop that notion. Half the time we were laughing at ourselves and blushing really hard and the other time we were looking at each other in complete bewilderment trying to figure out how to answer her COMPLICATED questions. Well we got thru it but felt like total and utter failures after. It was intense and not the greatest feeling. The one thing we were grateful for tho was that she didn't walk out on us. The district that arrived at the MTC before us had their investigator walk out right in the middle of their lesson. Hahahaha! So yeah, tender mercies right? Anyways we are teaching her another lesson in Tagalog today (every lesson we teach has to be in Tagalog) and on Monday and Tuesday. So say a prayer for us please! That would be awesome :) It IS difficult but each and every one of us is so blessed every day. I literally can feel the love that my family has for me and I am so grateful for that! The Spirit is definitely THERE every time we are in class struggling to learn this foreign language. And you can tell. At the end of every day it sort of hits you. How much you've learned and what a true miracle it is. Also how much you can accomplish when you put your trust in Him. I have recognized my weaknesses and my short comings even more since being here and I have taken it to the Lord each and every time. I am so grateful for this Gospel! And every thing that it teaches us! I love the passage in D&C 34:2-5,11. Heavenly Father DOES love us and if we follow Him he WILL BE WITH US! It is promised in that scripture. Now more than ever before in my life I need his presence with me to guide and direct me in being more in tune with the Spirit and learning this language to the best of my ability. I truly love this Gospel. And I am so grateful to be here! You make it so much easier for the Spirit to dwell with you when you are being obedient. I have worked really hard to be on time, and get up and be in bed at the times that I am supposed to. I haven't aways succeeded but its only the 4th day and I have 6 weeks to get this right so I am not worried. The Lord has blessed my life. And I know he can bless yours when you let him. I have a strong and unwavering testimony of this.

Other than that every thing is sweet! The bookstore has like everything. And there is an alterations place for sisters. You can even get your hair cut for free. They have journals, watches, SNACKS (LOL), clothes, cards, notebooks, pens, pencils etc etc. So if you forget anything they have it all her for you. If you go to the Provo MTC that is lol. Anyways I am loving my experience here. It gets overwhelming with the language and all the things we have to do every day but there is no way you can hate it. You feel the spirit so strongly and you cant stay angry, frustrated, or upset for long.
I love it here! And I am so grateful for all of the trails I had leading up to the day that I came. It was all worth it! Alam ko po na totoo po ang ebanghelyo. (I know this Gospel is true.) Alam ko po na mahal Diyos kayo. (I know God loves you.) My testimony of these two simple truths continues to grow every day, as I strive to be obedient and increase my spirituality so I can better understand the language of the Spirit. I love you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And I can't wait to see some of you again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love always,
Sister Fonua