Sunday, December 29, 2013

Love one Another! / OH.. and Im a Trainer!!

BULA family! 

Sorry this letter this week has to be so short! We are going to lautoke for zone Pday, where we will be playing dodgeball... haha! But I am excited to see all the missionaries and have fun with them all day(: But that does mean our email time is cut short! So I will make this all quick!

This week has been so good! It was SO AMAZING to talk to all of you! I love each and everyone of you! Keep doing what you are doing and don't ever give up(: Haha! I can't even tell you how amazing my family is! We definitely get best family ever award! Sorry I was crying so much! I was just so excited to see you all i couldn't hold back my emotions!(: But it sounded like you guys had an AWESOME Christmas! I can't wait till next year, when instead of seeing say you on Mother Day, i'll be saying see you all in 3 WEEKS!!!! AHH!! So fast! It will go by so fast! It seems like just yeaterday I was leaving into the MTC! WEIRD!
OH and thank you so so so much for all the packages and letters! I seriously feel so loved with all the time and effort you guys put into it! It was so exciting to get packages and unwrap all the presents! All of the stuff in them i needed too! So VINAKA VALEVU!!!(: 

Besides Christmas, we did go out and proselyte and do normal missionary work! Haha.. But that is really all we did! We didn't do anything big, just had a lot of lessons! I had a cool experience with a less active guy and recognizing the love of Christ for everyone. This guy has a lot of problem in the church.. his wife is still a member, and their divorce is still on hold with the bishopric, and he is living with his new girlfriend... It is all kinda confusing so I won't try and explain it to you because I know that you guys wont be able to understand it at all if I try and explain it to you through email! Haha... especially the way I tell stories! But ANYWAYS.... So we went to see him and we just taught him about small and simple things. And my love for him was still so great. Even after him telling us about all that he has done and everything. I still loved him. It really made me think of how no matter what we do, our Heavenly Father will ALWAYS love us! NO MATTER WHAT! It made me think of all the people in my life who aren't living the gospel and Heavenly Father just kinda told me that he still loves them and so should I. It just amazes me the love capacity he has for all of us! I mean there are millions of people in this world and he love ALL of them! Not just a few, but all! No matter what! It makes me want to love everyone like that! No matter how they live their life! We have to love them and so as I start my New Year! One of my resolutions will be to love everyone to the fullest. Not to think negative about their actions, really focus on the fact that they are sons and daughters of our Heavenly father! And I am totally going to sound like a missionary right now.... but I want to challenge all of you to do the same! Make that a goal for this New Year! To be able to recognize the godd in people and love them like our Heavenly Father does!(: I can promise you it will make YOU happier!! 

Well that is all I have time for! I love you all so so so much! You are all so awesome! keep working hard and always remember Heavenly Father LOVES YOU!(: Have a fun and safe New Yers Eve!(: Talk to you all next year!(; 

Au lomani iko kemudo! 
loloma levu! 
Sister Rich

I AM TRAINING!!!! haha
We have missionaries coming in theis week who are waiting for their visas to go on their missions, but they'll be here for a while so they start their training and serve here until they get their visas to leave! And I GET TO TRAIN ONE!!! I am just a little bit nervous!! I am not even done with my follow up training and i am now a trainer!! Haha WEIRD!!!! But so exciting! I already have a daughter on a mission! Haha

Friday, December 27, 2013

Merry Christmas to US!!

From: Jacki

We had so much fun talking to Courtney on Christmas Day!   She was having Skype Problems so we were able to get on and invited the family in Utah to join in!!  What an amazing gift!  We talked and laughed and cried!!  We miss her so much, but so excited that she is doing what she is doing and loving it!! Can't wait for Mothers day!!

So happy to see her smiling face!!

First connection!!!  MOOOOOOOOM!!! Yes, I cried!!

HIIIIII Everyone!!!  So happy to see everyone!!

Lets go for a tour of the Flat!

The Laundry! HAHAHAH!!

Their Yard

Their View

We love you Courts!!  You are amazing and such a bright shining light!  We miss your ray of sunshine in our homes!! I know the people of Fiji are being blessed!!  

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Very Merry Christmas from Fiji!!

Well let me just start by saying that I can't believe it is almost Christmas! It doesn't feel like it because it is hotter than hot and the only Christmas decorations are the ones in the store for the tourists!  But, the one thing that makes it feel like Christmas is the fact that I get to talk to you in 3 days!!!! I CANNOT WAIT! I think I talk about it to almost everyone like every day! So I think it is safe to say, I am just as excited as you guys are to see all your BEAUTIFUL smiling faces on Christmas!!(: 

Well lets see.. this week has been another enduring one! We were able to OYM (open your mouth) to ALOT of people, and we were able to get a lot of return appointments for this week! So we were able to get 5 new investigators this week!!!(: YAY!! Best Christmas present!  So, I will start from the beginning of my week again! 

Monday: Nothing really happened! We just deep cleaned our apartment! Then we had family home evening at the Mataitogas house! I taught the lesson! It was actually a cool lesson and I was kinda proud of myself...(: haha but I got an orange and a bucket of water. I talked about the armor of God and said when you have the armor of God on you are like this orange, you can stay afloat in the water. But as soon as you take off the armor (the peel) You will sink. It was a pretty cool lesson! Then I gave all the kids a orange!(: They loved it! haha 

Tuesday: I GOT A PACKAGE!!! Haha not from you guys though.. I got it from Sister Lewis! It was so cute! She sent me pretzel M&M's, YUMMY! and she sent me burts bees!!! I was SO excited! I haven't gotten your packages yet... and i wont get it until next Monday! But its okay! Getting to talk to you guys on Christmas is the best present I could ask for! But, anyways! We had an appointment with an OYM, so we went back and she wants to take lessons... YAY! It was awesome! 

Wednesday: HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESS!!(: I hope you got my Happy Birthday from Ana! Haha(: I was thinking of you all day long! Can't believe you're 21! WEIRD, you're getting old. haha 
anyways, we went and visited a less active member we found last week while we were aimlessly walking around. haha! So we went back and visited her and she is so awesome! She is this old lady who is like in her 50's and she completely forgot about the gospel! So me and Sister Jonathan are reteaching her! We are teaching her as an investigator, who doesn't need to get baptized! Haha she is awesome! Then we were walking to another appointment and it started pouring! Not just like raining, but POURING! and we got to our investigators house and we were soaking wet! Then it was thundering and lightening! And let me just tell you, I have never experienced thunder that loud and lightening that close! I was SO SCARED! You have no idea!! I was so scared and so was sister Jonathan! So we just went home and stayed there the rest of the evening! good thing it was our last appointment and she wasn't even there! So we were good to go home! haha(: 

Thursday:We went to Ana's for service in the morning! We helped her do laundry!!(: Then made Lolo buns again!(: SO YUMMY!! Then we went to Nawaka and saw some less actives who said they were thinking of changing their church! It seriously breaks my heart when I hear people say that! Because even though i've never questioned this gospel or this church, up until I came on my mission, I honestly believe myself when I say "I know this church is true"! I've always known it was true, but now I really know! And when I hear that people are questioning it, it makes me so sad! We were able to talk them into not changing churches and coming to church on sunday! We were pretty excited, but then...... they didn't come to church...! I was so sad!!! And almost cried! haha! It just makes me sad to see people question what they KNOW is true! Especially since i know it is true! I just want everyone to know its true! 

Friday: We went to another return OYM apt. It was with someone the missionary actually have taught before! It was so good and another new investigator!(: YAY! Then we went to see a referral from the Elders! They have been teaching her and she is such a good investigator! She just wont come to church! So that has been our focus this week on her! CHURCH! She is a mother of 5 and her husband is an alcoholic! He comes home from work drunk all the time! So the Elders are working with the husband and were working on the wife! She is readt to get baptized, but she needs to come to church!!! So hopefully me and sister jonathan will be able to work on that!!(: it rained again today! And it was Liti, our recent converts birthday! So I made her brownies(: She LOVED them! Especially since they dont get to eat things like that that often so it was so fun to see all the kids faces light up when I gave them the brownies and they were SO EXCITED to eat them!!(: 

Saturday: We walked and walked and walked... haha We had appointments everywhere it felt like!  We got 3 new investigators today though!!!(: YAYYYY!!!! It was so fun, tiring, and exhausting, in every way you could think of! I came home and slept right away! haha but it was such a good day!(: 

Sunday: Church was AWESOME! We were able to watch the Christmas program! IT WAS SO GOOD! I was crying! We had investigators there and it was so awesome! She was crying and her husband who came with her said he loved church too! It was such a good day! Then we had a really good lesson with their kids who couldn't come to church today.. But we went to go and see them and it was such a good lesson on the Atonement! It is amazing how the spirit works, because we didn't really know what we were going to talk about.. we went in and just did a follow up on their reading and instead we went and taught about the Atonement and found out all the things that is stopping them from getting baptized! We were able to listen to the spirit and ask the right questions! It was awesome!(: Then we ended our week with ice cream for dinner(: I would say a pretty successful Sunday!(:

That is pretty much it for this week! I can't believe it is almost Christmas! It is amazing the spirit I can feel! The birth of that little tiny baby was the start of it all and it brings the spirit! Just like in the talk from the Christmas, what happens next? What are you going to do next?(: How are you going to use the Spirit of Christmas in your life? I hope you all have such an AMAZING Christmas! Don't forget the real reason of it and don't forget all that our Savior, Redeemer, and Brother, Jesus Christ, has done for us!(: Have Such a MERRY MERRY Christmas!!♥

and.. Merry Christmas from Fiji!(: 
xoxo Sister Rich

Monday, December 16, 2013

Getting used to a New Companion

This week has been a little crazy! Getting use to a new companion is totally different than I thought it would be! It is a good thing because I am learning a lot, but also a bad thing because I miss Sister Lavaka so much! But it is fun gettign to know a new person! It is like going to school and having different roommates! Haha but this one you have to spend every second of the day with.... (:

Anyways this week I wanted to try something since I always come to email and then I completely forget what happened the past week... so I brought my journal and am going to update you day by day! Maybe this will help my short term memory..(:

Monday: Sister Jonathan came and I just let her unpack and settle in. She is super quiet and hardly talks.. but good thing we went to Anas for dinner! Oh so cool story, there is this love song here in Fiji that is like the famous love song that everyone knows! Milas cousin wrote it! And he was staying with Ana when we went over there! So I basically met a famous Fijian and got to have FHE with him!(: haha

Tuesday: Nothing happened all of our appointments were fall thoughs.. kinda hard for Sister Jonathan who didn't talk again all day long! So I pulled Mila along with us and made her talk to me so I don't go crazy talking to myself! haha but funny story! So it has been raining so much here! Like rain hard for 2 hours and then HOTTER than hot! But tuesday it didn't rain at all it was sunny all day long and I got the best tan! haha but we were taking this short cut in the shade because it was hot.. and since its been raining it was muddy.. and yes I know you guys know where this is going.. I totally fell in the mud! Me and Mila were dying laughing and Sister Jonathan just kinda sat there and stared at us! but then I stood up and we finally got to our investigators house and there was one last puddle we had to walk through and yes, I fell again!! This time it was in front of our investigators.. haha they were all laughing at me! But good thing I was laughing too!!(: Oh and we also had exchanged with the Sister from Ba! Sister Fanene who went to BYU Hawaii and was actually roommates with Kylie Miles(: Small world! haha but we had fun we ate ice cream and stayed up all night talking!!!

Me and Sister Fanene had fun proselyting! We went and committed 2 of our investigators to baptism! It was so much fun and the spirit was amazing all day! We really listened to it and found new investigators for me and Sister Jonathan and got return appointments for this week(: So YAY! We also committed 2 of our investigators to baptism!!(: Yay!!!!

Thursday: WE WALKED EVERYWHERE ALL DAY LONG! Sister Jonathan decided to change the area...So she did.. all the people we use to visit, we aren't going to visit anymore.. we are starting over I guess! haha! All we did all day was OYM and knock on doors! It was definitely a draining day in every way possible! But I was able to go straight home, shower and sleep!(: Oh and a funny story! So we went to this ladys house to oym her and both me and Sister Jonathan thought she was blind! Hahaha but she wasn't she was like this old lady who could hardly move but she invited us in and she just kept staring at me! She reminded me of the lady on emperors new groove!  So she was a little old creepy looking lady who we though was blind but wasn't! It was kinda awkward! Oh and I got sister jonathan to laugh at me today!!! haha YAY!!

Friday: Another day of all day walking and OYMing! Oh yea.. OYM means open your mouth.. which means you just talk to anyone and share the gospel and try to get a return appointment!(: Haha but anyways.. we met some really good people! I had an awesome experience though! I said to Sister Jonathan lets go down this street! It was a street I had never seen before.. she actually didn't want to go.. but I said lets just see where it takes us! So we went and at one of the houses there was a girl sitting outside and I started talking to her! She invited us in and we had so much fun! They're an amazing family who actually invited us over again this week and it was such a cool feeling because as soon as we all started talking I just kinda had that connection with them! I really hope we get to see them this week! As we were leaving, they kept saying "do you guyS have to leave?!" haha it was such a cool experience being able to listen to the spirit and finding them!!(: Oh and the ward xmas party!! It was so fun! I wish we could've stayed longer to be with everyone! But missionary curfew... haha(: But it was so fun seeing everyone and being able to introduce sister jonathan to everyone in the ward!(: Its weird that is it almost christmas!!!!

Saturday: kinda a slow day! We walked everywhere and it rained all day.. but we were able to go to sobeto and see our investigator!(: We also went to one of the villages called Narewa and tried to find all our less actives in there.. haha no luck.. but I made Mila come with us again and we were able to find another new investigator! Woohoo!! Oh and sister Jonathan is starting to talk.. haha she decided to talk now!!(: she really misses her 1st area! Which i know how she feels! I will miss Nadi so much! but I don't think I will get transferred until maybe feb or march! So YAY!!!(:

Sunday: It was so weird not having Sister Lavaka at church with me! We usually have so much fun! but it was a weird day! Everyone kepts saying they miss her! But everyone keeps saying their glad they still have me!  I am glad everyone loves me just as much as they love Sister Lavaka!  Sister Jonathan got mad at the bishopric.. It was so awkward! We were in our weekly meeting and she just started telling them all the things that they are doing wrong.. and me and Elder Teke (the Elder who I came with to Nadi and we are going to leave together haha) were trying so hard not to laugh! Haha then Brother T.. our 1st counselor just let her keep talking! I think it was a way for her to get all her stress/anger our about transferring! But it might have been the most awkwardest moment on my mission! Hahaha

Well that was my week! We were successful with our OYM's and talking to people! I am loving the people so so so much! I can't even tell you how amazing they are and how much I love them!(:
You guys sound like you guys had a fun weekend with Russ and Jen! I am sad I missed them! But i'm glad you guys all got to be together!!! YAY MOM about your job! You are now a working lady! Haha go mom! Definitely a blessing!(: I can't wait to be able to come home and see how much you have done with it!!(:
I CANNOT wait to talk to yyou guys next week!(: I keep talking about it to Mila! I was thinking I will call you guys on my Christmas.. Christmas Eve for you and then I will skype you on your christmas!! We are allowed to do that(: So.. YAY!!!!(: I can't believe that it is already christmas! I have been on my mission for 4 1/2 months! That is the longest I have ever gone without seeing you guys!!  WEIRD!!
Well I love you guys so much!!! You guys are so absolutely amazing!!! I miss you guys but i can't even begin to tell you guys how much I am loving being a missionary right now! I just wish you guys could experience everything I am experiencing in real life instead of through emails!
Au lomani kemuni!!!(:
loloma levu!!!
-sister rich

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A New Perspective Pictures

A shortcut we take!!!(: isn't is Beautiful!!

Sister lavakas last night in Nadi!!! We will miss her so much!!! 

Masi is the guy who was less active and we brought back to church he reminds me of Jessica! Then Bobo next to Sister Lavaka! and the rest are members!(:

A new Perspective

Well this week has definitely been one for the books and one that I'll always remember! There was good things and bad things! I will start with the bad... Sister Lavaka got transferred..../: Of course we just bawled the whole day when we got the call! We just like hung up the phone and cried our eyes out! My new companion is coming today so we are waiting for her to come! But it was so sad to say good bye to Sister Lavaka! She is my trainer and we got so close! She was seriously like my best friend and I will probably never see her again! Unless I go to Tonga and marry her brother in law like she wants me too! haha(: But thats kind of impossible! Haha
 But anyways, it was sad to say good bye and have her leave! Last night we just sat and talked and when she got up to bare her testimony we both were just crying! It was so sad and I will miss her so much! She has definitely helped me so much and I felt like I wasn't done learning from her! Hopefully everything with my new companion works out! 

Good news: I had probably the best experience this week! It definitely changed everything about me being a missionary! We had mission Tour, where Elder Pearsons came. He is a member of the seventy! He gave us a training and just talked to us and hung out with the missionaries all day long! His training was all off of inspiration! He had no notes, nothing! He talked about having faith in the kind of missionary you are, forgiving yourself for all the things you have done wrong in the past, and so much more about just being a confident missionary! I don't know if you know this but a personal struggle i have been going through since i got here has been my confidence. I just don't think I am a good missionary! I feel like I am not teaching people in a way that helps them! I just have been doubting myself alot! And thats not who I am at all! But mom, you told me, "fake it till you make it" So thats what I have been doing! But this week, after Elder Pearsons training, I have been able to stop faking it and actually believing it!
Elder Pearsons chose 5 missionaries to interview after his training and I was one of them. He took me in the office and told me that he felt like he was talking to me all day! He kn ows I want to be the perfect missionary and he knows I have been doubting myself a lot! Without m even talking to him, he knew that! There is no one who knew any of this except for my Heavenly Father.. so the power of the priesthood is real! He talked to me and of course I was just crying and he just helped me feel so much better and he gave me so much good advice! He then asked me if i wanted a blessing and of course I did! he sat there and it was one of the most powerful blessings I have ever received! Literally every question that has been in my heart, in my prayers, Heavenly Father answered for me! Stuff Elder Pearsons couldn't have known! It was the most spiritual moment i have had here and it has helped me look at things with a totally new perspective! 
I am never going to be a perfect missionary! But Heavenly Father trusts me to share his gospel! He trusts me to teach the people here in Nadi and he put me here for a reason! I am always going to make mistakes, but i can't be perfect and i wont be perfect.. I have to be okay with that! And i am okay with that now! After that blessing I realized i need to stop doubting myself! Elder Pearsons told me to focus on how i can help other people improve and it will help me not focus on what I am missing because I am not missing anything!! 
I have really recognized on my mission how powerful the priesthood is and how amazing it is! I have really come to recognize how true this gospel and church is! I am SO GRATEFUL I am here serving a mission! I wouldn't have been able to meet the people I have, or been able to learn the things i have learned if I didn't choose to be on a mission! It took me 3 moths to figure this out, but being a missionary is the most amazing thing ever! I have always loved being able to share the gospel here in Fiji.. But now, i really really LOVE it! I wouldn't want to be anywhere else or doing anything else except being here in Fiji! 

Okay enough of my rant... other things, my memory card got a virus.../: So I am going to send it home! There is so many pictures on it! So please try and fix it without deleting the pictures! I don't know what to do here so i am just going to send it home! Also.. I don't have any shoes but my salt waters... my flats broke so i'll need to get some more shoes! haha! Lets see, our investigators this week have been so good! Bobo and Liti got confirmed yesterday and it was so good! Good way to have Sister Lavakas last Sunday! We also are teachign another family! The oldest son is a member but he is serving a mission! When then came to church for his farewell last month they wanted to take lessons! but we just started teaching them last week because school has been so busy! But the mom and dad decided to not take lessons.. but they brother and sister are! They are so good! They ask so many good questions and they really listen! It is so fun teaching them! We are aiming to have them baptized the end of this month! SO EXCITING!!!(: We are also teaching a little girl in Sobeto! She is so cute! She is 10 years old and she is so smart! Her older brother is a member and she wants to take lessons because of his influence and example! Which i think is the coolest thing ever! We have more but because it is holiday here everyone goes back to their villages and we have to pause on our lessons, which sucks... but hopefully in Jan. when they come back it will all be good! Lessons will pick up again! 
Well fambam! That is all I have time for! I love you all SO SO SO MUCH! DON'T EVER THINK THAT HEAVENLY FATHER DOESN'T HEAR YOUR PRAYERS! Because he does! I know he does! He loves each of you so much and he ALWAYS will! 
Have a good week this week! Can't wait to talk to you in 2 1/2 weeks!!(: WOOHOOO!!!!! 
loloma levu! 
-Sister Rich

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Happy 4 Months!!!

Another week already? I can't even tell you how fast this week went by! I feel like each week goes by faster and faster! It is going by too fast! and yesterday was my 4 month mark!!! WHAT THE HECK! How fast was that?! haha(: Me and One of the Elders who I came with had a 5 second celebration yesterday at stake conference(: haha

This week has been a really good week!  We were busy all week! So that was good! We had a fun Pday last week, we  mostly just sat there and talked! So that was different from our usual pdays where we play volleyball! But we had fun! Then on Tuesday, we had Zone Conference! We have zone conference every 3 months, so this is the 1st one since I've been to here! and it was so good! President and Sister Klingler came and talked to us and gave us a training type thing! It  lasted all day long! So that was kinda long, but it was still good!(: Then we had our Christmas party... haha it was fun! Good food.. but that was all we really did! It really made me miss you all and being in the states for Christmas! Because, here you wouldn't even know it was December! It keeps getting hotter and hotter, where it should be getting colder and colder! Haha, but thats okay!(: I'm getting a good facial tan out of it!!(: Haha The talent show was the fun part though!!! One of the Elders and his companion made a song out of a Justin Beiber song and everyone was laughing so hard! It was funny! So that made the Christmas party was awesome.. Our district is having their own christmas party this week with white elephant gifts and talent show and everything! Me and Sister Lavaka decided to make a missionary rap! haha(: 

MY 1ST BAPTISMS(: I had such a great experience on Thursday! We had 2 baptisms! Liti and Bobo! It was so so SO amazing! The spirit was so strong and both of their families came! Mom, dad, sisters and brothers!! It was so amazing to see how these two girls can influence their families so much! Bobo's mom was crying so you know she felt the spirit! And their glow after baptism was just so amazing! It is amazing to see people make these commitments with our Heavenly Father! They were so happy and so were Sister Lavaka and I ! Everyone told us after how strong the spirit was! So i'm glad it wasn't just the missionary spirit that I could feel, the whole room was just filled!(: IT WAS AMAZING! 

We did celebrate Thanksgiving(: We went to an American families house for dinner(:! No Turkey... haha but there was BBQ chicken and mashed potatoes and alot of dessert! haha Mom, I was craving monkey bread and my potatoes all week though! Haha(: As the holidays get closer it gets harder to be away from you guys but it is amazing the spirit of the holidays! I can really see a difference in the lessons we teach when we talk about the birth of Christ in lessons! It is amazing! 

We had stake conference this weekend because our stake president is moving back to America! So our new stake president is our bishop! Haha So that was exciting! We went over last night to have dinner and he will be an awesome stake president! Me and Sister Lavaka are a little nervous about who the new bishop will be.. but, we are praying for a good one who will help us as much as bishop did! 

Other than that nothing really exciting happened this week! Sister Lavaka is done with her mission in 4 weeks... it is weird, she said it doesn't feel like it is going to happpen! We have transfers this weekend! So hopefully she will just finish her mission in Nadi with me! But I am preparing myself to get a new companion soon! I will definitely cry when she leaves! But, make the most of the time we have right now!(: We always have random pitch perfect moments where we will be singing one song and then we forget the rest of the song, so we change to a different song! Haha! We both love Disney music, so we pretty much sing that 24/7(:

Anyways, it sounds like you guys had such a good week(: I am a little sad I couldn't be there Brad, Ryan and Brads party! It sounds so fun and like everyone is just so excited for everyone(: I am so glad we have a ward who supports everyone! And its AWESOME that dad was going to go with the missionaries! The testimonies of the members are so powerful during lessons! They can really make the difference!(: So go as much as you guys can! Sounds like the missionaries are doing their job! Good for them!(: 

I love you guys so so so much! Keep being an awesome family and keep working together!(: You guys are so awesome! I can't wait to talk to you guys in 3 weeks!(: It will be so so so much fun to finally see you guys and talk to you! AHHH i just can't wait! sorry this weeks letter wasn't as exciting! But i do have pictures(: Haha love you guys so so so much! Talk to you guys next week! Have an amazing week and don't forget who you are!(: 

xoxoxoxo Sister rich
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