Wednesday, February 26, 2014

New Area

so obviously I am obsessed with my area! Lol and I love that we can see the volcano all the time hahaha. ALSO there is a place in our area that literally looks like it belongs in Africa haha the second picture is a tiny part of it. 

ALSO I am straight black now haha as you can see by the pictures. We spend so much time just walking to all of our appointments and yeah .... I'm getting nice and crispy now lol!
Also I didn't mention this but we ended up having a REALLY successful week! Lol we explored new streets and places in our areas and we contacted some seriously golden people! We had so many adventures and we met and talked to SO MANY PEOPLE! I had SO MUCH FUN!!! The work is working! Sorry I forgot to include this with the things that I'm learning lol. The blessings and things we learn in life are precious and are meant to be treasured. They are the very treasures that we lay up in Heaven and they are the things and deeds that will carry us to the celestial kingdom! 

Love you!
Sister Fonua
Sa inyong lahat! Kumusta po lahat kayo?!

Wow I have had such an AWESOME week! Talaga! Where do I even begin? Okay well I guess I'll start at the beginning haha. So our teaching pool is pretty small and the amount of lessons that we can pull every day is also fairly small because our area is so huge. Also it is a bit of a challenge encouraging our investigators to attend sacrament meeting. Some of them are super progressing they read the Book of Mormon and have actually received answers to their prayers! Before I go on I just want to testify of how beautiful it is to actually see the spirit working within the people that we teach. Seeing this and knowing that they are children of God never fails to build my testimony. Truly the more we teach and the more immersed I become the more powerful my testimony becomes and the more powerful my knowledge of the Savior becomes. It is so incredibly beautiful and I am blessed and humbled more and more every day. Okay so back to our investigators. So the ones that are super progressing are the ones that live farthest from the chapel and for all of them it is too expensive to pay for and way to far to walk. My companion and I have really been turning to the Lord with these things because aside from teaching and encouraging and being as loving and kind as we possibly can that is the only other thing that we can do. But honestly this week it has built my testimony in such a HUGE way I am at a loss for words. 

In the beginning of our week we were really optimistic and positive about how we wanted the week to end and how we wanted our weekly actual to look. As the week progressed tho we slowly but surely got more and more discouraged. When we talked about it yesterday we realized that a lot of it was internal. For me personally I just didn't feel good enough. I didn't feel like I was fulfilling my responsibilities the way I should and it just really got me down every day. Especially when we would get home at night. Each day was totally different but the outcome of every day usually just ended in disappointment. As I pondered on this throughout the week, especially during personal study I started to realize a number of things. The first and foremost being Satan's influence in our lives. Every day we went out we came home feeling absolutely hammered because we just worked and worked and worked lol. Pero we were only able to teach a few people at best and after working your little heart out 2-3 lessons a day was super difficult to deal with. So of course instead of having faith I turned inward and started blaming myself or just anything. I wanted a reason for the things I thought were failing and if I couldn't find one I started creating those things, by blaming myself and just being really hard on myself and everything that I did. The more I did this the less confidence I had in the work and especially myself. I started comparing myself to other missionaries, and I started comparing their success with ours. At the time I didn't realize what I was doing was wrong because I was so willing to blame something ... anything rather than try to see the wisdom in the end result of every day. This effected our lessons and just everything. Now please don't freak out and think that I was totally like off the rails. Because I wasn't. Through these problems tho I realized quite a bit. The first was that all of those negative and just hard thoughts I had about myself and about our work were totally and completely wrong. I know this because we were diligent and faithful when we went out and even tho we didn't get the desired result that's OKAY. If there is one thing that I have learned here on my mission is the concept and reality of perfection. No where in my call letter or in the scriptures does it state that we are required to be perfect. The wording is always BECOME. This process as all of you know doesn't happen over night, it takes a life time. A life time of ups and downs, of highs and lows and of good times and bad. Pero through these times it is so important for us to remember the promise that is in every book in the scriptures is that in our times of trial and hard ship when we are laboring with all of our might Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are there laboring with us, every single step of the way. I know that during these times Satan's influence is so strong, and those negative thoughts no matter how real they feel or seem they are wrong. Those times are hard, theres no doubt about that but if we change our perspective and if we constantly remind ourselves to trust Him and trust in His love I know and promise that you will feel peace in your in your mind and your heart. And those trials and those seemingly hard times will become stepping stones that will only ever lead you back to His presence. 

Every day I learn something new and through these trials I seriously understand more and more just how much I have to learn as a missionary and as a daughter of God. In Alma 37:35-37 "O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God. Yeah and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all they doings be unto the Lord, and withersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever. Counsel with the Lord in all they doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let they heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day." These versus have strengthened me and they have helped me to become more faithful and more trusting. It has helped me to understand how to truly have an eternal perspective with the things in my life and especially with things that I can't control. The amount of learning and growth that I experience on a daily basis blows me away all the time because I know that they are blessings and I am filled with gratitude and humility for my Heavenly Father, Savior Jesus Christ.

I love you all so much! And I hope you all are happy and healthy! 

I love you!
Sister Fonua :)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

WOW!!!! Guess who my companion is!

SISTER SORENSON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(and another email later)

SISTER SORENSON!!!! Lol its true! We were in the same district in the MTC! And we were room mates there also! It's so crazy! My new area is Ligao and it's about an hour from Legazpi! Its actually a city which is so different from my first area which was mostly a town and then just province and ocean haha because we were almost at the tip of our area. Anyways my new area is different and well everything about it is different lol but I love it! I love it so much! Our area is HUGE! Seriously we went to our farthest area twice this week and it took over 21/2 hours to walk back. Lol GRABE talaga! But its okay! We have investigators that are super interested in the Gospel really the only obstacle is the distance between us and them and trying to find a way to teach everyone we need to teach. Also my district is all foreigners! Lol 3 americans and 3 tongans! Lol its so funny we get the biggest stares when ever we are out in public together. Its crack up!

Lol other than that I literally have no more time! Sorry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will write more next week I promise!!!!

Love you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kita kits susunod sa linggo!

Mahal na mahal kita!

Love always!
Sister Fonua

Thursday, February 13, 2014

WOW!!!!!!! I have a surprise for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I AM GETTING TRANSFERRED! :( We got the transfer announcement this past Saturday ... Honestly I am sad to leave this area but I now everything will be okay! The love that I have developed for all the people that I have been blessed to serve is so priceless and so incredibly rewarding! I can't even begin to describe to you the impression that my branch has made on my heart and my life. Especially our investigators!!!!! Ahhh every single person that I have had the sacred know here has helped me to become a better person and an even better missionary! Leaving this area kind of feels like I'm leaving home again! I love the members here! And I love all of our investigators! At the same time tho I feel so much peace in my heart I am just really grateful that I was put in this specific area at the time that I was, and that I was blessed with the opportunity to be a small part of these wonderful peoples lives .... honestly the joy that I feel is beyond any worldly explanation and it truly is something I feel to the very core of my being. I am so grateful for the experiences and trials that I have been given here! Honestly! They have made me better than I was before and because of this I can only look to the future with joy and hope because I KNOW that whatever the Lord has in store for me is to simply help me become more like Him. 

In addition to this my joy was added to after we added up our weekly actual last night. We had the highest amount of investigators and new and returning members attend sacrament meeting this week! 34 all together! 27 new and returning members! And 7 investigators! And we almost hit the standard of excellence for all of the key indicators! It was seriously SUCH a blessing and it felt SO GOOD! SERIOUSLY! I remember when I first started training my companion told me that for her entire mission she had always hoped to find and teach at least one family ... and now that I am being transferred there are about 3-4 families of investigators that we teach regularly and they ALL have set baptismal dates, and they are all progressing! Honestly I finally understand what every return missionary has said when they say that the numbers really DON'T matter. Because they don't. We have high numbers and we have real progress within our branch and especially with the people we teach but it isn't because my companion wanted to have high statistics or wanted to be recognized for working hard or whatever. When I started in this area we had a really small teaching pool of investigators a scary amount of less active members pero ngayon as I am leaving this area I have been able to see less active members reactivated and I have been able to see the light of Christ in their eyes become brighter and brighter. If I was given nothing else but this I would have been happy. I am sorry if I sound repetitive when I write these emails but seriously! SERIOUSLY! I am so grateful! I am also sorry about the tiny bit of information that I share with you every week. I usually forget most of the time to share a lot of the success that we have in our area but it is really only because I recognize that none of it has anything to do with me. It's all the Lord and the only reason that I have been able to see any of it is because I can acknowledge that this really is HIS work and it honestly just doesn't feel right to say it most of the time because I don't want to sound like I'm bragging.

Oh yeah that reminds me we had 3 baptisms this past Saturday! They were all from part member families, lol 3 boys 9, 9, 11 :))  It was SUCH a good baptism! We were combined with Sister Reategui and her comp (we are n the same branch so our area for that branch is split) and Bulan branch! All in all from both branches we had 8 baptisms! It as so awesome to see! The number of people that showed their support for those 8 souls was amazing! We also had 1 day missions in our branch on Saturday morning with the young men! I was kind of scared at first because we went on splits and my companion was a member of the relief society, and because I knew I had to be an example to the Young Men that were assigned to work with me ..... I am still pretty weak in the language and I was feeling insecure about my ability to lead my little group. To my surprise it went WAY better than I thought! I made the young men lead every lesson hahahaha! And they were seriously so good! Dalin and Mark-Ross (the two young men I worked with) were so confident and strong when they were teaching. And through obedience to the Spirit they knew exactly what every single person needed I was so amazed! Since the teaching wasn't a problem for them for the last hour of our time together I took them tracting! Lol oh gosh it was SO HOT! Sweat was just DRIPPING down my face hahaha it was straight NASTY! BUT I kept a big smile on my face and encourage the two young men that I was working with that they could give the 2 pamphlets I had given them each. Lol Dalin was almost in tears when he gave his only pamphlet out but it was good! It challeged them and gave them a real taste of what missionary work is really like. They were so grateful for it after and even tho it was difficult for them it just strengthened their desire to serve that much more!!!!! They will be great missionaries when they serve and I am grateful I was able to learn from them!

Before I go I just want to share a scripture, sa Helaman 5:30 sabi dito "And it came to pass hen they heard this voice, and beheld that it was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper and it did pierce even to the very soul" This scripture perfectly describes inside how I feel about this work. I just want to take the time to bear my testimony on how powerful it is when the members work with the missionaries! We really push and pray every week to have a member present at every appointment we have with investigators not because we want to meet our goals for the week but because it literally is the grain of sand that tips the scale for investigators! We have 60+ yr old lola's working with us happily and willingly! Also nanay Corres any chance she gets come and works with us because she love missionary work! She told us that it is her dream to do what we do and she is so willing to give her time to help us help others. 

I love this work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And I LOVE my mission!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wouldn't trade these experiences and this time in my life for anything but the Lord. And a greater and more in depth understand of His love and His grace. Like I said before I will NEVER deny the truth that has so miraculously changed my life and NEVER again for the rest of my life will I be ashamed to share WHAT I KNOW TO BE TRUE. We really are in a "tabernacle of clay" and every day we are being refined to become better and better and to become MORE happy in this life and the next. My testimony is FIRM in the things that I know to be true and I cannot and will not deny my God. 

Sorry this email is so short! We are in a hurry this evening! We have a branch FHE for the missionaries leaving and I have to finish packing -_- ayaw ko iyan! TALAGA! Sobrang annoying! Pero iyos lang iyan! Mahal na mahal ko kayo! Sa inyong lahat! Kung palagi ka sa puso ko! Ingat pag-may time hah! Hahahaha at pakiremember kung palagi mo sa mga dasal ko! 

I love you my family and friends!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OH ALSO! THANK YOU Seli Taufua and the Faith in God kids!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Your package and cards and testimonies made me cry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVED IT! Also thank you to my home ward in Sunnyvale! I finally got all the cards! IT made me feel like I was at home!!!!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don't forget that you can receive blessing when you pray.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Hello po!!!

Hello po family and friends! Aye badaw! Pagod na pagod ako talaga! Pero iyoslang iyan kase WE WON THE ZONE ACTIVITY AGAIN! Lol I don’t know if you all realize what a big deal this is pero ….. it is! Lol it was awesome! We went to a resort in Matnog that has a bunch of really pretty hot springs, and like legit vines with HUGE trees. They were ancient and it created a really cool atmosphere. We played games and took a lot of pretty pictures and then President Guanzon took us our for lunch! It was great the food was SOO GOOD. I had so much fun this morning! I can’t even tell you! I laughed so hard and just enjoyed myself. It was awesome!

Aside from that we have had a very successful week! I will start with a family of investigators that we have been teaching since my second week here. I have mentioned them before, the Corres family? Okay well in the past 3 weeks or so they have progressed SO MUCH! Seriously I have been blessed with the chance to be able to see the spirit literally working through them and it has literally been SO BEAUTIFUL to witness. We taught them on Wednesday and during our lesson I asked Tatay Lando "why it is important for us to exercise trust in God?" His answer to me literally brought tears to my eyes. He told me that before we started teaching their family, he felt pretty sad most of the time. And it was difficult for him to feel hope. He lived life but he didn't feel like it meant anything. And then he said that when we started visiting them and teaching them, he noticed a change in his life. He started to feel real joy and happiness in his heart, and he saw what a difference it made to his family. He also said that he KNOWS without a doubt that he will be even more happy after he gets baptized. Seriously after hearing those words I felt so much joy and peace in my heart. I wish I could describe to you in words what those things felt like and how they mean to me pero I cannot! The change that I have seen within their family is a miracle. It truly is. I am astonished and amazed at how they changed once they truly FELT the truth. In my first transfer Tatay liked us well enough pero whenever we would go around he would leave and basically just avoid us all together. Lol but now even tho he can't read, he stays up until midnight with his wife listening to her read him the Book of Mormon. And even tho he is ashamed that he doesn't have any shoes to work, he prepares his clothes and anything that he will need on Sunday the day before. His wife Nanay Inggai bore her testimony this past fast Sunday and honestly it was one of the most beautiful experiences I have had on my mission so far. She was so incredibly nervous but I kept pushing and seriously when she actually got up there I had tears in my eyes. Her testimony was so simple and beautiful and I know that this is the reason it was so POWERFUL. I felt God's love for His children when she was speaking and it really touched my heart! I wish I had time to tell you all the things that I see and experience on a daily basis! Pero I hope that you can feel the weight and truth of what I am trying to convey through these emails. 

Brothers and sisters I want to testify to you that the Lord truly IS hastening his work. And that it is a blessing and a privelege to be apart of it! Mission's and the experiences that we gain here are PRICELESS and their worth truly cannot be measured. I have seen the testimonies of those we teach grow in a way that is remarkable to me. I have also seen my own testimony grow and progress in a way I never thought it would. I have seen how truly great and matchless God's love is for His children and I have seen how rewarding it is when we submit ourselves to His will. My heart is FULL and my happiness in this Gospel continues to grow more and more every day. I promise you that THIS Gospel is real and when you allow Heavenly Father to guide and direct you, He will give you things that you never knew you needed and He will give you things you never knew you deserved. In Mosiah 6:15 it says, "Therefore, I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable always abounding in good works that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his, that you may be brought to heave, that ye may have everlasting salvation and eternal life, through the wisdom, and power, and justice and mercy of him who created all things, in heave and in earth, who is God above all men." I love this verse! And I love the promises that are in it. Never forget that God literally IS our father and like every loving and caring parent He desires to bless us with EVERYTHING that we stand in need of. He is wise and he is preparing us to become better. When we pray to him let us remember how important it is to be humble and meek and to always be willing to submit ourselves to His will. I know that when our expectation exceeds our belief we are holding ourselves back from blessings and knowledge that is rightfully ours. I have SO MUCH to learn as a missionary and also as a child of God pero I know with out a doubt that if I continue to try every day to do what is right and if I sacrifice more of myself to become the person I KNOW he needs me to be one day I will be able to say that it was all worth it. And I know that that "one day" will come sooner than we think. 

I love this work and this Gospel and I can't even begin to express to you the joy and love I have for these people. I KNOW that what I am doing is right and the power that comes with knowing that you are exactly where you need to be and that exact time is not something that I would give up. 

I love you all so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Talk to you again next week! Stay safe and have faith in the things that you know to be true!

Love you ALWAYS!
Sister Fonua