Monday, February 24, 2014

I KNOW why I'm here

I can't even begin to tell you all how much your emails mean to me! I can really feel everyones love! And I could really feel it all this week also! Just know that I love each of you and you are all SO AMAZING!!! I pray for you all constantly and love each of you!!(:

On another note, this week was a REALLY good week! It was one of the needed weeks. It totally reminded me why I was here, why i LOVE being a missionary. And let me just tell you , I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY. I was talking to some of the missionaries going home and they were talking about their homecoming talks, and I was thinking that I can't believe I am going to reach my 8 month mark his week. I have less than a year already! I am almost half way! Totolo saraga! I can't even tell you how fast it has been. And this week was just a reminder of how fast weeks are and how hard we have to work. So let me start with my... heavenly fathers hand in missionary work... story. The Singh family! Mom, this family is that family that I am here to share the gospel with in Nadi. I have loved them from the beginning. We have been through a lot with them. But after this week, I have really been able to see how much Heavenly Father prepared them for me and Sister Koto. They have been having that problem with Tea drinking. and they have to quit for a week before their baptism. Well we have their baptism planned for about 3 weeks ago now. Tea has been a constant problem. After so much fasting for their family and praying and even some tears to Heavenly Father about what to do, we had one of those lessons that you just can't deny was the spirit. We went with 2 members, who are return missionaries and they have both befriended the kids, monika and Ravi.. (Who by the way is like my little brother that I have never had..) anyways, the lesson was just a normal lesson, but the spirit this time was different. It was so powerful and just had a different feel. It was really good, and we were all able to feel it! But, unfortunately, they still wanted their tea they couldn't do without it. But the moms baptism is this week and she has already given it up. She was able to share with the kids her testimony and after that I knew the kids would be sold. But.... having their Agency... they said they can't fo without tea. You can just imagine our disappointment! But, we were still positive, you have too being a missionary! haha! Anyways, fast forward to yesterday! We had a missionary fireside! It was so good! We watched the restoration and played a little game and had a few speakers. It was a lot of fun and we talked Ravi into staying for it. So he did! And after I was talking to him and a member. He just asked us "Wjen can I get baptized?" We kinda thought about how we should respond and he said the thing that every missionary loves to hear... "I am ready" and of course me jumping up and down inside just had a huge smile on my face and he said "I realized I want to go on a mission, and i can't do that without getting baptized right? So I want to be baptized." I turned to him and said "You'll be baptized on Saturday with your mom and sister and you'll be able to go on a mission!" and then just said ok and that was the end of it! I just wanted to hug him because I was so excited for him! haha So weel after week after week of trying so hard to get them to be baptized, they are finally getting baptized this week. And they are MORE than ready for this gospel in their lives.

Something else I have learned this week is really how much agency sucks as a missionary! Haha. Mom, your email this week was like everything I have been dealing with and all those questions have been things that I have pondered. I read Lehis dream about the tree of life and that is where the whole agency idea came in my mind. And I have decided that Agency is one of those beautiful heartbreaks. It is such an amazing thing but it is also the worst thing. I have come to the point with some of our investigators, less actives and just people we talk too on the street, where I just wish I could give them my testimony. I love these people here so much I feel like Lehi calling out from after partaking of the fruit and the ones he loved in the darkness and still wandering! But something I have learned is that, their choosing to be in the darkness. All that I can do is do what I am doing. And all you can do is keep doing all you guys can to help these people who are choosing to wander. One of our investigators is a religion called Bohai. I am not really sure what it is but she believe in everything and something I learned from teaching her. Was that there are a lot of different churches that have truth in it! I remember going to church with Deanna one time and feeling the spirit. But, as we were teaching about the apostasy I made an analogy about the church.. so here... imagine the gospel of Jesus Christ as a glass cup. and when Jesus, the apostles and the proophets died, no one is there to hold the cup up, all these different people tried to pick it up. All these people would have a little bit of truth to it. But Since it was Jesus' church he was able to restore the "lost" peices. And he was the ONLY one who could. Thats why the Church of Jesus Christ is the only church that has all the pieces. The only church that has all the truths. When I explained that to her, she believe it. And I believe that too! So what I have come to personally believe, is that these other churches aren't wrong. They have truth in it, and Heavenly Father lets them be here so people can be prepared for the fulness of this gospel. And thats why he has missionaries and members. They are able to share that with others, so we can give them the missing pieces to their broken cup. Which them made me think of the atonement and the savior saying.. if it be possible let this cup pass from me... but how can we let him take our cup from us if it has holes in it. Everything just makes sense. Oh, I have no idea if any of that made sense to you, but it did to me this week. And it all goes back to your agency. The choices YOU make. Heavenly Father has a perfect timing for everything. Through our agency we learn. Through our agency we grow. IT is the hardest thing as a missionary to see people not use their agency correctly, but it is such a blessing he has given us... ok i''m done ranting.. haha

Anyways, this week had a lot in it, We had a lot of let downs, but also a lot of good things happen! It was a week that reminded me why I am here and why Heavenly Father needs me to be here! I am not ready to leave Nadi... and I hope I never do! I love this place, and these people! In like 2 weeks I will have been here for 6 months!!! I am praying I don't get transferred! haha

Well I love you all! I LOVE reading your emails! You are all AMAZING! Remember that the missionaries can't do this work without you! SO.. mom i want to challenge you and the family to go and befriend one less active family. Be their friend and I can promise you it will show you how much Heavenly Father loves them just as much as he loves you! Love you SO SO SO SO SO much! Keep being AWESOME!

Au lomani kemundo!
-Sister Courtney Rich

Sunday, February 16, 2014

2/16 Pictures

okay I will start with this funny picture. We hosted this girl from Tonga and she decided that I am going to marry a Tongan because I look so natural in the traditional wear! It was fun dressing up and looking like a Tongan!(; 

One of our investigators. we went and watched airplanes take off and land and taught a lesson!(: haha

                                         Elders from my intake! Missed them so much! 

So this is Sister Matteson and Sister Payne. Everyone says us 3 all look the same and everyone gets us confused all the time. Especially when our hir is up and people are looking from behind! hahaha

Sisters from my intake! We have all changed so much! haha

Happy Valentines Day to My Lovely Family!!

My valentines day wasn't as pink and happy as yours, but it was still good! It is better as a missionary to forget the little holidays, especially here because they don't celebrate the here anyways!(: haha but it was good! 
Our goal this week was to focus on less actives, so we did! In our area we only have like 5 or 6 less actives. So it is hard to have ward involvement in our area. But we were able to go and see all of them, plus 2 more we were able to find! So we went and saw them and they all were excited to see us! YAY! They all invited us to come back to see them so that is good. And a lot of them are part member families! YAY! Hopefully somewhere down the line we can start teaching them! But for now we are just focused of getting them to church!
A lot of our investigators were out of town this week! So we didn't get to see a lot of them but it was still okay! The Singhs, a family that is supposed to get baptized next week really started to improve this week! We have been working with them on the Word of Wisdom. They love their Tea! But we have been able to slowly get them off it! But their doing it! SO YAY! haha their baptism is scheduled for this Saturday and I AM SO EXCIITED for them! 
Also, best part of the week was we got to go to SUVA!!! Suva nene! haha and guess why?! because NEIL A ANDERSON came and spoke to the missionaries! Yes, I got to shake his hand and hug his wife! and he spoke to us! to all 140 missionaries! It was so good! He talked about how important the Book of Mormon is and the POWER that comes from it! It was so good and SO spiritual! I loved it! And on top of that, ALL THE MISSIONARIES WERE THERE! It was so weird and so awesome to see everyone. Its so weird to see everyone though! Especially since there is a lot of people I haven't met or even seen since I got here! We all just sat there and talked for hours! haha(: LOVED IT! But all good things have to come to an end and we had to come back to Nadi! haha! Then the next day we had Stake conference. It was also the best! We had Elder Calliste, of the 70 there. He and his wife talked to us again about the Book of Mormon. And also about being examples to your kids and friends. Something he hsaid that i loved was "how can you expect others to believe the message of this gospel when you aren't living it." It is so true! Especially here. The spirit was so strong all weekend. It was such a good weekend! Really helped me recognize a lot and I am excited for this week! haha another week of being a missionary, another week of doors slammed in my face, another week of tear, laughter and learning. But good thing I love being a missionary!(: haha This week I was able to reread a talk i printed off at the beginning of my mission and has been sitting in my journal and it is by Elder Holland and I don't know if i have said it before but this is it.. it says "I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and he is our Great Eternal Head. How can we believe it would be easy for us, when it was never, ever easy for him?" 
No matter how hard it gets, the Atonement is real and our older brother knows exactly how I feel. This isn't going to be easy and it never will be. All that matters is what you take from it and what you learn from it. Another hard week ahead, but I am ready. 
Sister Rich!

Oh yea so you can tell Russ this!
I was watching those "I'm a mormon" videos, and this girl that I was watching was from New York and in the middle of the video I see RUSSELL AND JEN!!! I screamed and had to show everyone! haha he looked so happy! It was cool to see that! you will have to go watch it!(:

Sunday, February 2, 2014

February 2, 2014

We found this cool gate that made me think of all the photographers i
know!! haha you guys would've died taking pictres by this gate!!!

i fell in love with this baby!!! Her name is rachael!!!

It's all Worth it!!

Oi lei has this week been exhausting but SO GOOD! It was full of a lot
of goods and bads. Which is what we experience every week... but this
week it was literally like we would be at the most spiritual high,
where it felt like we we're able to change this persons lives and we
were so in tune with the spirit during the lessons and Heavenly Father
was literally just pushing us to go and talk to this person!! And then
we would go into the lowest depression where it felt like no one would
listen to us, no matter how many doors were slammed in our faces or
how many people cussed at me in Fijian.. (Yes that actually happen again
this week..) or how aimless we were with nothing to do, no one to
visit, and no one on the street to talk too.. We literally felt every
emotion you can think of this week. But no matter how dark it got, it
seemed to have that light at the end of the tunnel thing people talk
about. So let me tell you guys all about it! haha(:

Well it started off good! We went and visited a less active who has
really been struggling and asked us if we would come and study D&C
with her.. So of course we said yes! I have never  really studied D&C so it
was really good to ready it in depth.. It gave me the hope for a new
week(: Haha Then we walked to our next appointment which is like 45
min away and we decided we would OYM in this area, because we never
have before, so we oym along the way, and literally i just felt like
we needed to go and talk to this guy.. So we did! He invited us back
tomorrow and I am looking forward to it. He didn't seem super
interested but I just felt like I needed to talk to him and so I did
and we will see what happens tomorrow! THEN we went to the Singh
families house. The whole family is taking lessons and they are
planning on getting baptized THIS SATURDAY!!!!! YAYYYY!!!! I am so
excited for them! So we were on a spiritual high!(:

Then it just kept getting better from there! We went and saw our
investigator we found from service last week and she wanted to read
the book of mormon.. Man I felt like she was really just prepared for
us and for this gospel! We are so excited to follow up on her reading
of the Book of Mormon and see her this week! So our spiritual high was
just at the HIGHEST! Then we had to find something to do, so we said a
little prayer and we got the impression to go and OYM again in another
area. So we went over there and for about 3 1.2 hours we walked up and
down these streets, OYMing everyone we saw. We OYM about 15 people and
only got 4 return appointments. It started raining and I felt like no
one would listen to us.. woohoo spiritual depression.. haha then we
had a lesson where we went to Sister Ihakas house and we are teaching
that cute little babies mom, you saw on facebook, and also her house
lady! Sheis a fijian. And the lesson was that God is Your loving
Heavenly Father. And at the moment it was just so strong to me that
God really does love everyone of his children. EACH AND EVERY ONE OF
THEM! Me, YOU, THE PEOPLE HERE IN FIJI. Each of us. And the spirit was
so strong again! We were able to feel the spirit again. And we were
able to keep going.
The next day, we had an appointment with an investigator, we were
supposed to meet her at her house and she just told us the Lot number
she stays at... Which in Fiji I guess is enough. But we literally
walked on every street in Waqadra looking for that house. We said,  well I
can't even tell you how many prayers. We asked so many people and we
never found it. It pouring rain so we got soaking wet.. then the
elders called us and wanted to check on us because of the rain.. and
then we get this text saying "FLOOD WARNING! Nadi river flooded and
broken its bank. Flood water expected in town and surrounding areas.
Evacuate and move to higher grounds immediately. " Can you just
imagine me freaking out like a little white girl.. and thats exactly
what I was doing! haha the elders came and picked us up and luckily
our flat isn't a flood zone, so we went to our flat and it was raing
SO HARD! I was scared just a little bit.. haha But then so many prayer
from all the members and especially from Ana whose house can get
flooded easily. The flood went down and it didn't flood or effect any
of our houses. SO YAY!!!(:
Oh and I got to go to another funeral! Haha I think that is my 4th one
since I have been here!! It was Bobo, our recent coverts dad. It was
really sad! We were able to go there and support her and then she
wanted to leave so we took her on a walk and just talked to her. We
ended up at the beach! (no idea how that happened (;) haha we sat down
and had a lesson with her and it was probably one of the strongest
lessons with the spirit. She was crying and I was crying and mila was
crying! It was just the perfect ending to a not so good day!
THEN at another appointment we had probably one of the worst lessons
ever. The spirit just wasn't there. It was so hard. Because without
the spirit it is so hard to teach! You really can't teach without the
spirit. We were teaching about the Plan of salvation and they were
just asking questions that weren't relevant to what we were teaching.
They weren't listening to us and they didn't agree with the fall being
a good thing. SO I just closed with my testimony and asked them to
read the pamphlet and next time, we will start over. So we did exactly
that. When we went over yesterday, the spirit was definitely there. We
were able to answer all their questions. Heavenly Father really knew
how much I needed that lesson after the week I had and he gave it to
me! It was the best lesson with the spirit just bein so strong. They
finally understood their purpose and they agreed that that fall was a
good thing. Without it we wouldn' t be here right now. It was so good
and I am so happy that that is how the week eneded.

We had a lot of ups and downs this week and even though we still
aren't out of the tunnel, and I may never get out of the tunnel, I
know that the light at the end of it is worth it. Something I remember
everyone saying is that they loved their missions. No one told me it
was going to be this hard. No one told me I would face what I have
faced since I have been here. But the things I have learned and the
things I have been able to obtain have been so much more worth it. "It
wouldn't be worth it if it wasn't hard" right? So this week i know
will be a difficult one, i have no doubt about that, BUT it is worth
it. Every second, every door that gets slammed in my face, every bad
word that gets said to me, and everytime I feel like I can't do this
anymore is worth it. Because the love I have for this gospel and the
love I have for my Heavenly Father and Savior is worth it. IT IS ALL

I love you guys so much! I can't even begin to tell you guys how much
I have missed you guys this week! But, like my leter has said, being a
missionary is worth it. Keep being you and keep living this gospel!(:
Be an example to your friend and everyone! Because the impression you
can leave on someone will be everlasting! I love you guys! I really
have the best family EVER!!!(: YOU GUYS ARE AMAZING!(:

Loloma mai viti!
Sister Courtney Rich
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