Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Busy Day!!!!!!

Hello family and friends!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How goes it???? Wow. Lol
just wow. Today has been great and too busy! And the internet
connection test my patience in all the right ways, lol it took a full
hour for myldsmail to load today and in addition to this lovely little
present, we were an hour late to email because we waited in line at
the grocery store for about 45 mins longer than we should have because
all of the people in front of us were literally buying boxes and BOXES
of food and other amenities. Lol but its okay! Because I at least got
like 30 mins to send you this email!

Wow. This week has been crazy! I've been on exchanges with sisters in
Sorsogon! Which was awesome! Because I met a Pakistani sister!
Literally from Pakistan! Its awesome! It was a very humbling
experience talking to her. When she came tot he Philippines she could
hardly speak English and she definitely couldn't speak Tagalog and
after about 7 months she still can't speak it but she works very hard!
And she is so kind a loving! Lol I got her comfortable with me because
I shared my sincere love for all things Bollywood! Lol so we were
humming/slyly singing some of her favorite Bollywood songs. Which were
of course my favorite songs also! Lol its was great. Also there is a
NZ sister serving in the same area living in the same apartment so I
had a good time talking with her and comparing and contrasting
biscuits from here vs biscuits from NZ. And our conclusion was ...
there is no competition hahahaha. We love the Philippines pero NZ wins
every time in that department I'm afraid.

While we went on exchanges I learned way more than I thought I would!
It was incredible! I wish I had time to share everything with you now!
But I can't. Instead I will share a few things from this week. We
taught some pretty great lessons but the lesson that I learned the
most from this week was a lesson for myself. Things between my
companion and I aren't the greatest so far. I know I annoy her a lot
and vice versa. So the greatest challenge I had this week wasn't the
language. It was controlling my temper and increasing my love. It was
very difficult. I'm not going to lie. But through the trials and
misunderstandings that I had with her many times this week I learned
so much about myself! In Mormon chapter 9:31 it talks about
imperfections. And how the stories and lessons learnt and taught int
he Book Of Mormon were not meant for us to judge harshly. They were
given to us from Heavenly Father so that we could learn from the
mistake of those wise and faithful men. That really made and
impression on me this week. And it stuck with me. Also a quote that I
read somewhere "The greatest possession, is SELF POSSESSION." The
truth of this statement has literally come alive for me this week! It
is important for all of us to find an inner balance where with nothing
and no one (eventually) will be able to tip it, except for Heavenly
Father. No matter how upset, frustrated or annoyed I got this week I
didn't allow it to effect how I treated those around me or how I chose
to act. I controlled my emotions and made sure that I didn't RE-ACT to
those around me. While most people RE-ACT to the emotions and
behaviors of others only a few people know how to simply ACT. They
don't allow their surroundings to dictate who they are, or how they
want to be. They know this for themselves and that knowledge alone is
enough for them. This is a strength brothers and sisters that I am
trying with all of my heart to emulate.

Thank you for your prayers for the investigators and less active
members that we teach. I have felt your faith and your kindness
throughout the week and let me tell you it has made a huge difference!
We had brand new investigators and less active members attend church
this Sunday and it was a truly marvelous site! The joy that comes from
doing the Lord's work is honestly a joy that I have never felt in my
life, but that I am so incredibly grateful that I have now! Thank you
for you faith! It humbles me and adds to my testimony any time that I
am required to bear it.

I love you all so much! I'm sorry that I can't share more! Today was
an ultimate fail time wise but next week will be better!

I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!

And can some one please thump John on the head for not emailing me
yet? Its been 2 months!

Okay really gotta go now! Love you!

Monday, October 14, 2013

First Week in the Philippines Donezo!!!!!!!!

Legazpi Airport
Kumusta ka family!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wow my first week is done! A couple things first! I miss you all SO MUCH! And I am so grateful for all the cards and letters I got before I came here!
Whew okay so my companion is a sister training leader. Lol she comes up to my chest, literally. LOL the people here are so small!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Everyone calls me malakas cause I'm bigger and taller than everyone else hahahahaha. And my butt really hurts right now because they only have tiny little stools here at the internet shop that we are emailing right now. But okay so the area that I am serving in is Bulan and it is 3 hours away from Legazpi. Lol the little town we live in is San Vicente and I think I've seen regular cars like 3 times? Whoo we're so busy all the time! It's awesome! Especially today on P-Day! My companion calls it Abala day "busy" day haha. Because seriously IT IS. I woke up this morning and started cleaning while my companion washed her clothes. AND THEN when she was finished I did my laundry. And by did I mean I WASHED my clothes BY HAND. Those clothes have never before been so clean. Lol I feel like such a champion and I was so proud when I was finished! It took me maybe an hour or an hour and a half to wash everything. For anybody that is reading this right now, do me a favor and just be grateful that you have a washing machine and all you have to do is transport your clothes from one machine to another. Lol in our apartment we have a toilet BUT it doesn't flush. So we have a big bucket that we keep full of water (for the toilet, and showers) in the bathroom and we pour water down the toilet. Seriously after all the lesson's I've taught this week this is luxury. I have been in huts, with homes that don't have a door, with dirt floors. We have gone out into the country across rice fields, we've taught lessons in little huts, outside. We taught a little old lady yesterday who cried through out the entire lesson outside of her home. Which was a one room shack. I have walked across mud on rice bags and pieces of wood to keep from sinking into the mud. We have a progressing investigator whose nicest room in her home is elevate and is the size of a small bedroom. Her children sleep on cardboard boxes and the crib that her baby sleeps in is made out of cut and carefully places pieces of clothing. Almost all of the people here do not have beds, and they sleep on the ground. Some people don't even have electricity. And for most their home is a humble shack. Yet despite all of this they are happy! Lol I laugh all the time at all of the problems I thought I had before! They can't compare to what any of these people are going through now! Straight up! I am so humbled and so grateful now more than ever for all of the things that my Father in Heaven has given me!
I want to share a quick experience with you that I had today. I don't have much time left but I am going to cram it all in. So this morning after all of our chores when I sat down to have companionship study with my kasama I was very discouraged. Every day after each lesson that we teach I feel SO guilty, and SO useless! Satan has been really getting me in that area of my life. I started to feel more and more like maybe I wasn't the right person to do this. And I wasn't strong enough. And just to clarify it isn't the area, living conditions, or the people that caused this negativity. I love all of that stuff!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It just ME. Well my negative attitude was effecting my overall attitude. And when it was time for companionship study I wasn't very enthusiastic, I was tired and upset and .... basically I had a bad attitude. My companion closed the study early and told me to take a nap. Well because I had pretty much given up in my mind I obeyed and went to sleep. As I was lying there feeling sorry for myself I heard my companion crying. THIS hit me hard! I felt even more guilty! But not because of what I said before! Because I knew I was wrong! And I knew that the feelings that I was allowing to grow inside of me were selfish and indulgent. I let her cry and pretended like I was sleeping. A while later I came out and we had lunch. When we were finished I confronted her and we had an intervention. For both of us. I broke down crying, well pretty much sobbing like a little baby telling her about what I had been struggling with. I know brothers and sisters that Satan was able to get me because I wasn't being faithful, or diligent. Fear and faith cannot abide in the same space, if I am being fearful I am not exercising my faith and if I am not exercising my faith then I am not fulfilling my purpose as a missionary. After this episode of self pity, repentance and release I have made a covenant with my Father in Heaven. I am going to work my hardest every single day, and I am going to be diligent with my language study so that I can steadily progress and increase and strengthen my faith in myself. Because I realize that if I lack the faith in myself that is needed to slowly progress every day then I am wasting  my time and more importantly the Lord's time. I do not want to do this. Not even for a second. I know it is only my second week but I am going to set the tone for my mission now. I know I should have done this from the start but evey one learns differently and in their own time. I feel God's love for me more than I have ever before and I am even more grateful for this Gospel!
I have to go now but before I do I have only one request! Instead of praying for me can you all please direct your prayers to the people that we are teaching? People all over the world pray for us missionaries but nobody prays for the people we teach accept for my companion and I. I know that because of your prayers they will be blessed! And I promise you that because of this seemingly small act of service, you will be greatly blessed also! 
I love you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
Love you always!
Sister Fonua!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Last Week in the MTC almost done!

Kumusta po kayo pamilia at mga kaibigan! Magandang araw ito! Sobrang mapagmahal po ako para sa inyo! Na isipan po ako palagi tungkol para sa inyo! Alam ko po na mapagmahal ng Diyos po kayo! Pinaka mahal ng Diyos po kayo! Alam ko po na puwede po kayo na matanggap ng aliw sa pamamagitan ng Espiritu Santo at Aklat ni Mormon! Alam ko po na puwede po kayo na matanggap ng mga sagot ng pamamagitan ng magdasal araw araw. Alam ko po na tunay ng Diyos! Alam ko po na totoo po ang ebanghelyo ng tunay para sa mundo araw araw!

Lol okay so I don't have any of my books with me to translate this so probs like 90% of that is incorrect but its okay! I said: "Hello family and friends! I love you all! I think about you all always! I know that God loves you! He loves you so much! I know you can receive comfort through the Holy Ghost and the Book of Mormon. I know you can receive answers through daily prayer. I know god is real! I know the true Gospel is on this earth today!"

Okay so first of all I just want to apologize for the last email that I send you all! It was short and super rushed! Pinaka pasensiya! (Sorry from the bottom of my heart!) I was in such a rush because we had to get our hair and make-up checked and then head over to salt lake to rehearse! The experience was beautiful! And one I will not easily forget! It so cool to sit where the tabernacle choir usually sits and then sit behind the prophet and his apostles during the broadcast! I also got to meet the relief society general presidency! They gave us some encouraging words before we sang and then they came and thanked us once the broadcast was finished! My favorite part was President Monson's talk. I could really feel the spirit and it made me even more grateful to be where I am today. 

Something interesting occurred throughout that entire day. In the days leading up to our departure to Salt Lake I will be honest with all of you. The thing that I was most excited about was leaving the MTC. Period. Lol I was also excited that we were finally doing it because all of the choir rehearsals were taking up a lot of valuable class time. So when we boarded the bus at the MTC to head over to Salt Lake for the day instead of enjoying the freedom like I thought I would the only thing I could think about was our 2 investigators and what we needed to teach them next and what I needed to change in my personal and language study to make our lessons more effective. Also what I could do to improve my self so that inviting the Spirit will come more easily and naturally. Throughout the entire day that is all I could think of. Even when I saw the First Presidency and Elder Holland and Elder Christofferson, I thought to myself how cool this experience is and then I went right back to thinking about my investigators and what more I could do to help them. Tagalog was constantly on my mind and what sort of vocab I needed to learn so that I could better say what it is I want to say. By the time we were finished with our last song, I wanted to jump on the bus and race back to the MTC and back to my purpose.  I personally couldn't enjoy the experience as much as I wanted to because the only thing that was on my mind was the welfare of my two investigators and what I needed to do to help them properly receive the restored gospel. We have two investigators, for those of you who don't know foreign speaking missionaries get 2 teachers and those 2 teachers play our investigators. Now from the moment that we started teaching our different investigators, I never thought of them as Brother Pearce and Sister Osbourn. I thought of them as the investigators they are, 16 yr old Jenella who believes that God is real and is looking for more in life and 50 yr old Fernando who is at a hard place in his life. His wife and kids have left him, he lives alone without a job, and his family. Now for most of the day all I could think about was Fernando and how I could help him. Fernando was the investigator that we worried about the most about. Our very first lesson with him was awkward and extremely discouraging. We had prepared this big lesson on the atonement and were really feeling it before the lesson started. And then while we were trying to get to know him, I accidently said "Why?" probably at like the worst time anyone could ever say that word. He had just finished telling us that his wife and kids don't live with him anymore, and that he doesn't have a job. I felt horrible! And super embarrassed because he gave a confused/insulted/dirty look. Lol I blushed bright red and just tried to keep not to put my foot in it again. My companion and I felt the spirit while we were teaching but Fernando didn't. When we tried to teach him about faith he was honest with us. He told us that he wanted to have faith, but that he couldn't believe in something that he couldn't see. It was impossible. When we tried to teach him about Christ's atoning sacrifice for all men especially him he seemed uninterested and confused. By the time we left the lesson we were so discouraged and we felt guilty. We had put a lot of effort into that lesson and it definitely wasn't received the way that we had hoped it would be. Actually it wasn't received at all and that I think is  what made it even worse. Our other investigator Jenella was pretty much a golden investigator. She was eager and willing to do whatever she needs to to become closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. It was about a week before we taught him again and we were so nervous. We spent that entire week preparing for him. He was constantly on our minds and we changed our lesson plan about 3 times before we felt that it was right. Our lesson with him was probably 15 mins tops but we felt the spirit so strong and he actually smiled! As we were walking out of that lesson we might as well have been walking on cloud 9 we felt so good. He seemed to be more receptive and he seemed happier at the end of our short lesson that he did at the beginning. On our third lesson it was 5 mins if that and I didn't even get to talk. It was good but it wasn't even close to being effective. And as my companion and I were preparing the lesson we felt that it was going to be good. What we had both prepared and considered during personal study went hand in hand once we shared with each other what we felt was right. This past week on Wednesday we taught him our last lesson. This week we were both sick and that day especially was the worst. We felt terrible and we almost decided to stay in bed but we felt too guilty so we got up, skipped breakfast and went straight to class. As we got there we had almost forgotten that we had to teach Fernando for the last time. As another companionship in our district went first we tried to prepare. As we were preparing we both felt that what we had prepared last week was what we should teach him the lesson that we weren't given enough time to teach. So when it was our turn to teach, tired and sick we just went for it. We said a quiet prayer together before we went in and just hoped with all of our hearts that the message of love that we were trying our hardest to share would be received well. My kasama started the lesson and shared her first scripture and as usual I prepared the scripture that I felt I needed to share and vice versa. We felt the spirit so strong. I wanted with all of my heart to help him understand that there IS a God. And he does love him! And that if he could exercise just a bit of trust in him that Heavenly Father will pour his blessing upon him. We wanted him to know that he doesn't have to be alone and that there IS a way for him to find peace. Once we felt that we had said what we needed I asked him to give the closing prayer and by the end of his prayer he was crying! We set up another appointment, encouraged him and told him that he can do it and then we left! As soon as the door closed we were squealing like little kids. We high-fived each other and practically floated back to class. In the middle of our exclaiming and cheering because that was the best lesson we've had to date! Our teacher took us aside into that same room and talked to us. He asked us why that lesson felt different. And there were tears in his eyes. When we took the time to think about it we realized that during that lesson I hardly thought about myself at all. I wasn't worried about what I didn't know and how I was going to fall short by the end of the lesson. My only focus was on him and helping him feel the spirit. Brothers and Sisters this lesson has changed my life. Up until this moment I honestly didn't feel like a missionary at all. It felt like I was trying to become this awesome ... idea, but I was falling short every time and so because of that I accepted that every one else was more capable than me. I was okay with this because I just wanted to serve with all of my heart so that my family could be blessed. These weren't negative feelings I chose to dwell on but it was a personal issue that I accepted to myself and never told anyone. After that lesson however I realized that as a missionary I have the power to change someone's life! This may seem like a duh DUH moment for most of you but I honestly didn't think that I was apart of this blessing. 

I know that God is real and I know that if I love the people selflessly and with all of my heart He will bless me with the Tagalog language, and He will bless me with the power to change at least one persons life. I accept this responsibility and I cannot wait to get there! "The field is white already to harvest." And I know that God has prepared specific people for me to find and teach. I cannot wait!!!!!!!!! I am so grateful for everything that everyone has done for me! It truly humbles me and makes me work harder to understand my purpose and learn the language. Thank you so much to my ward for sending that beautiful package! My companion and I are still benefiting from that kindness! I love all of you Young Women and I know that you will be blessed! Thank you Aaron and Pou and Reni, and Jershon, and Gena, and James and last but not least FRANKY for my beautiful birthday present!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Those letters are going in my scripture case and I am going to read them every day! 

Mom and Aunty Sandy thank you so much for the fruit basket! I felt AWESOME! Lol and that food was amazing! Thank you mom for all the cards! And thank you Aunty Sandy for all of your cards! They make me feel so loved and so special! I love all of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I will email when I get to the Philippines! Thank you for your prayers and your love! I can feel it every day and it is a blessing I do not feel worthy of! I love you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Love always!
Sister Fonua