Sunday, December 27, 2015

Dear Family,

I hope everyone's Christmas back home was lovely. I'm sure it wasn't as hot and sweaty as ours, but that's okay. Christmas is still Christmas no matter where you are because Christ is the Savior of the WORLD and he was born to be the ruler of all nations. The excitement of Christmas and all of the festivities pretty much died on Christmas when we found everyone sleeping. Tongans take their "aho malolo" (or day of rest) seriously because everyone is knocked out... or at the beach.  So our Christmas day consisted of lots and lots of walking, trying to find little kids we can talk to, and lots of yummy food. One of our appointments didn't fall through and we were able to spend part of the evening with one of the less-active families we are working with which was great! 

Christmas Eve was a little more exciting because we made cookies at one of the member's houses and planned on being secret santas for a night. We didn't take into account that there are EYES and EARS EVERYWHERE in Tonga. So you pretty much can't get away with anything. Also, the dogs...which would have destroyed them so fast. So even though we ended up hand delivering everything, it still made an exciting Christmas Eve! 

Our baptism we were supposed to have this last week fell through because her mother came back from New Zealand and was pretty upset when she found out. So that was pretty sad, but maybe one day there will be a time for her! We had lots of new investigators this week and 4 that we set a baptismal date with.  Looking forward to working with them! Love you all bunches and wish you a wonderful new year <3

Sister Petalisi
Christmas jammies!

Snow in Tonga!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Dear Family,

This week was quite the eventful week and it started out with "KAI KULI" in honor of my last district leader finishing his mission this week. So they celebrated by killing our friend Crosby, who is every missionary in this district's best dog friend because he follows us everywhere, waits outside for us during district meetings and comes running to us when we work out at the church every morning. The member's who own him cooked him in an umu and we all ate him last monday for Pday. Even though it felt wrong and it was a little sad, it was my first time eating dog and it was DELICIOUS. 

This week was a little rough as far as lessons with investigaters go because the members that are fellowshipping them and go on exchanges with us were really busy and couldn't come teach with us. On Thursday, we were walking to a house to visit and on the way we met with 2 little boys in the street who were playing but stopped and ran up to us (...probably because all the kids know we sometimes have candy) But anyways, after we talked with them we walked with them to their house to meet their family. The mom, Ngalu, was home and let us in to talk with her. She had grown up in the church and was already baptized as a kid but married someone who goes to the church of Tonga and so their whole family is now Siasi Tonga (church of Tonga). After sharing with her the message of the restoration, we asked her an inspired question and she said that when she reads the Book of Mormon and receives a witness that it is true, she will come back to church. When people are taught the doctrine so plainly that there can't be any misunderstanding and asked an inspired question, they will know exactly what they need to do as long as they have an open heart. We will meet with her again this week and hope to meet with her whole family too.

Another family we started working with this week is much similar to Ngalu. We met them last week and finally were able to have a family night with the mom and the kids this week. She's already baptized and has 9 kids and is married to a man from India who is never home and we just met for the first time last night. With the differences of beliefs and backgrounds in their family, they don't go to church and religion hasn't played a huge role in their family. We taught them the doctrine of Christ, again, without the presence of the father because he is always out either working or drinking. She was so happy and said it was the first time anyone had had family night like that with her family and wants to do it every week. She and the kids were all really excited to come to the church activities this week--a huge feast in celebration of the birth of this stake, and a stake musical fireside we had last night, and church yesterday. I hope and pray that we will be able to teach her husband as well as Ngalu's husband so that they, together with their wives, can lead their families in righteousness. 

Love you all!
Sister Petalisi
Killed 2 mice and a monster-sized spider

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Dear Family,

Well week 2 of training has come to an end and I am still alive and well. Well for the most part. After a 4 hour lesson sitting criss-cross apple-sauce on the ground with one of our new investigators this week, I thought for sure that my knees would just snap right off, but luckily they are okay now. We started teaching a boy named Pakalani and from the very start he had SO many questions. He is very intelligent and knows his Bible very very well. As do all of the Tongans here, but his was shocking. He was very curious about the doctrine of out church and his questions just kept on coming. I thought that after an hour or so he would get tired of talking and then we could maybe end the lesson, but his questions were endless!! It was awesome and terrible at the same time. My poor companion had to sit through it knowing nothing that was going on. 

We also started teaching a less-active girl in the ward, Malia Ahia, who hasn't been to church and hasn't really been interested in returning. This week, we visited her and she had a huge desire to listen to our message. She was baptized a few years ago in another area. Her mom died a couple years ago and we were able to teach her Lesson2 which was a very meaningful lesson to her. I've found that one of the beauties of missionary work is that everytime a lesson gives meaning to someone's life, I find more in mine. No matter how many times I've taught the same lesson and the same doctrine, it is just as powerful each time. Malia is hoping to turn her life around so that she can go into the temple and do the work for her mom. She came to church yesterday and I'm so excited to keep working with her. 

Unfortunately, Thanksgiving is not celebrated here so we did not get a huge feast, but Elder Pearson came to the island for a funeral of one of the stake president's here. And President Tupou asked him to come speak to us last minute so we all got to hear from Elder Pearson! I learned many wonderful things, but something that stuck out to me the most was alignment. If you look to the scriptures, it says that Christ did nothing in his life but what the Father commanded of him. Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father were completely and perfectly aligned with each other. If we want to gain any spiritual gifts in our life or power, we must be aligned with Jesus Christ and the Father. This requires perfect obedience. 

Love you all and have a stellar week (:
Sis Petalisi

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Malo e lelei!

Last week we didn't get the chance to email because internet was down, but much has happened these past 2 weeks. Last Sunday, Sister Moala and I sang in Sacrament meeting. They must have secretly known it would be our last Sunday together because they asked us to sing right before the meeting started. And we didn't even laugh once. MIRACLES  HAPPEN. We got the transfer call Sister Moala moved to Tokomololo which is right next door to Pea. And we are both training palangi sister's. It's awesome because Sister Moala's grandma lives in Tokomololo and she asked president if we could go there to teach her. So we started going there a couple weeks ago and then he moved her to Tokomololo. But we just got the news that the stake boundaries are changing and part of Tokomololo is going to join PEA!! Which is really really exciting because that means more people to find and teach! And also more members. But it's also funny because her family will be moving into Pea ward and she just moved to Tokomololo.

My new companion is Sister Brown and she's from Idaho! I'm not sure if this comparison is accurate but right now I'm kind of feeling like a 16 year old mom who's not ready for the responsibility. It's okay, I'm sure it will be a good growing experience! 

I know it's only a short update but I love you all!! Have a great week

Ofa atu,
Sister Petalisi
(I think I meant to send this 2 weeks ago with the pictures and maybe it didn't send?)

Well here's a quick update of this past week-- It is starting to get HOT AND HUMID. Oh my I don't know if I'll make it this summer. But I'm sure God is looking over this island too and remembering that there is a little palangi who isn't quite used to the climate yet. 

One of our investigaters, Tevita, was baptized on Saturday! His story was very beautiful and inspiring. He moved back with his wife and little boy to stay with his wife's parents, who are less-active, a few weeks ago. We have been working with them since we found their house a few months ago and the wife is preparing to go through the temple! I am praying for the day that they will be able to be sealed. But when Tevita and his wife moved to Pea and we found out that he wasn't a member, we started teaching him. After we taught him, he had a strong desire to be baptized and change his life. But the only thing holding him back from being baptized was his addiction to smoking and drinking. When we committed him to keep the word of wisdom and he couldn't keep the committment, he said it is really hard for him and he was really sad that he couldn't do it but he knows there will be a day that he will be able to change his life. We told him that as much as we want to help him overcome this problem, really at the end of the day it's just him that chooses whether or not he is going to stop. And if he can't stop his drinking and smoking, he can't get baptized on the day we set. And that's all it took. His desire to be baptized and follow Jesus Christ overcame his addiction to smoking and even though it was really hard for him, he was SO happy after overcoming his weakness. It was amazing to see how clearly he understood the messages we were trying to share with him despite our lack of fluency in Tongan. At the end of the lessons, he would always share a beautiful testimony of the things we taught and it was SO awesome because I know it couldn't have been anything but the spirit teaching him the things we were trying to. At his baptism, he shared his experience with drugs and alcohol and keeping the word of wisdom and also his testimony of God and how he has a plan for him and his family. He has a vision for his family and he wants his little boy to have a life better than the one he had growing up. The gospel truly blesses families. 

We have been also teaching an old lady named Tupou for awhile now. She is staying with a member in the ward who is less-active and helps us with our lessons. Tupou's husband has already passed away and this week we taught her the Plan of Salvation. Man it was so powerful and real for her, by the end of the lesson she was just balling and could barely speak because she wants to live with her husband again. But she expressed the guilt she felt because she knows the church is true, but hasn't been accepting of baptism. The next day when we went back to follow up on her last lesson, the member she stays with told us that right after the lesson she packed her bags and walked out (apparently she is in Ha'ateiho and staying with someone there.) haha She's a crazy lady but we are hopefully going to find her. 

Well I love you all!! Hope you all are doing well. The church is true. Ofa atu <3
Sister Petalisi

Monday, November 9, 2015

                                                                       Photo Week

Tevita at his baptism!

Toa's baptism!

Our cute nurse who has kept us alive.  She leaves next week :(

Sister Emch, Sister Faux, Sister Moala, and Sister Petalisi before our MLC meeting.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Happy Belated Halloween!! Unfortunately Halloween isn't celebrated on this rock so there was no sneaking candy for us on Saturday or dressing up. I had a cute experience talking with a little girl outside of her house. We were talking about the Plan of Salvation and how excited she was to see her mom again in heaven and somehow the conversation led to angels and evil spirits and Halloween. I asked if they celebrated it and she said she's heard of it but people in Tonga don't celebrate it, but she wishes they did so she could go dress up and go around house to house delivering candy to people. I laughed and thought about explaining what actually happens for Halloween and then thought nah...I shouldn't corrupt that sweet vision of hers.

So this week was starting to look like a wonderful week as we were SUPER excited to fly to Ha'apai. And then on Tuesday, the day before we were supposed to leave I had food poisoning. So I got to spend the day running back and forth between my bed and outside to throw up. God was truly watching over us because we got some surprise visits from Tevita Saia (Sister Kennach's brother) and extended family of Sister Moala with LOTS of yummy food. After a day of recovery, I was back to normal health and our trip to Ha'apai was still on. But when we woke up at 4 in the morning to catch our flight, Sister Moala felt really sick, so we spent another 2 days in the MQ, unfortunately. I think it's bad enough to either be sick or have your companion be sick on the mission but the worst part is that we were stuck inside all day thinking about where we could have been. No worries though, life goes on and Sister Tupou is trying to make it still happen sometime this month. 

Toa--the "less-active" we have been working with and wanted to speak at the musical fireside--was rebaptized as a new member of the church on Saturday. After calling to the Stake President and them calling to headquarters, we learned that she had been ex-communicated and needed to be baptized again, which she was excited about. It was a neat experience to see her literally START FRESH. Ever since we got here she has said, you two are the sisters who are going to bring me back. She has come so far and teaches us that no matter who you are--rebellious teenager, or a returned missionary who falls away, or a nonmember--God is ALWAYS ready to accept you back if you turn to him. It was good to turn around and see her with her husband and 3 kids sitting in the chapel.

I love this work! Though it is hard, it is worth every tear, every struggle, and every awkward experience. Love you all!! Have a stellar week (: Ofa latu atu,

Sister Petalisi

Sunday, October 25, 2015


Well these last few weeks have been a little crazy. One thing we are trying to do is work with the priesthood leaders and ward members to work together as one. We had our musical fireside on Thursday and even though it was a mess trying to get everything together and running around putting together the agenda up until 5 minutes before it started, it did not crash and burn like we thought it would! Our theme was the gospel of Jesus Christ and we had 5 speakers on each principle of the gospel--Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Gift of Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the end. Unfortunately, Toa could not speak even though she was ready and really excited to speak. And 2 of our other speakers could not be there because we found out last minute that one was at a funeral and another was in Eua..another island. So we ran around to find speakers and then due to some other problems in the ward, 2 of our musical numbers couldn't be there so SIster Moala and I put 2 hymns together with a member who lives next door and thankfully,with the help of the YSA, it turned out alright! 
We've been working a lot with the YSA in the ward because we realized that even though there are only 3 active young single adults in our ward, there are TONS of less-actives and non-members in our area. So when Lika, a return-missionary in our ward, and Mafi, our ward missionary leader, got called as the parents for the YSA, we started coming up with activities that we could do every week to help fellowship our investigaters and bring the less-actives back to church. It's been AWESOME. Every week for the past we've had an activity and the less-actives and non-members LOVE it. Afterwards, they all go to the dances and Sister Moala and I feel like their mom sending them off to college or something everytime because of course we can't go but we're so excited for them. Some of them have even started coming back to church because of it. 
The work here has been a little hard this past week because an old lady that we taught died a couple weeks ago. One thing about the Tongan culture is their funerals. They just go on and on and on and on. It started a couple weeks ago and it is still going on right now. We are hoping that it will end this week or next week because lots of our investigaters are family to the lady who died and are involved with the funeral. 
A new and SUPER cool change in the mission happened a few weeks ago. But every month all of the sister training leaders and zone leaders get to go to the temple with our President and Sister Tupou and then we have MLC the next day where we talk about how we can help the mission and break our fast there. Last month was the first time we did this and it was an awesome experience. 
Also, we just got a call from Sister Tupou and we get to go to Ha'apai this week!!! Every month we go on exchanges with sisters in another area. But she wants us to go to Ha'apai this week which is another island so we'll be getting our tickets soon!! 

Well I love you lots!! God bless <3
Sister Petalisi

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


This week will be a short one because lack of time, but here's a quick report of the week! One of our investigater's that we've been working with has been preparing to be baptized this Saturday. We found him at his house when we were looking for his younger sister, who really wants to join the church, but is not allowed to because she is only 10 and her mom does not approve. But Toni, our investigater, is 18 and so we could start teaching him. He has been coming to church and has a strong desire to be baptized, but we learned that his mom will kick him out of the house if he is baptized. It is a tough situation and we are doing a lot of praying for him and his mom! Another investigater we are working with is Pua, who really wants to be baptized but has a smoking and drinking problem. Whenever we show up for our appointments, he is either gone, or drunk so we have to delay it. He keeps asking--When is my baptism?--and we tell him that he cannot be baptized until we see a change. I know the desire is there, but we will have to teach him more about the word of wisdom and the meaning of commandments. 

My comp and I did a lot of studying on faith and one thing that has helped us in our work is a goal we have set for ourselves. We talked about faith with our mission president in our last district meeting and they talked about faith being a principle of power and  MASSIVE ACTION. While we thought we already knew that, we weren't applying it well enough in the work. Each day we set goals for numbers of lessons, referrals, and new investigators. So this week, we decided that each day we wouldn't come home until the goals for that day have been reached. Sometimes it requires desperate measures and awkward experiences but it has been an awesome experience so far! I know that my faith has increased after massive action. 

We will get to watch conference next week at the stake center which I'm looking forward to! Sorry I don't have much time this week either to write, it's crazy today with teachings and transfers are today also! We find out any time today whether or not we're moving or staying. There are LOTS of new people from the states coming this week so that will be interesting. Probably lots of changes but I am praying praying praying that I don't move. But we'll see! 

Love you all! Hope you all took good notes at general conference (:

Sister Petalisi

Monday, September 21, 2015

Dear Family,

We had a neat experience with a less-active lady in the ward this week--Toa. She served a mission in Tonga awhile back, but hasn't been to church or opened her scriptures in over 13 years. Since we've been here we've tried to work with her and she always tells us--Man you two are the lucky sisters that will get me back to church because you work so hard and I just feel the spirit when you come. But usually when we've tried to share a spiritual thought or invite her to church she's sleeping, or sick, or busy, or her kids are sick, etc. When Sister Moala and I started planning and making the agenda for the musical fireside next month, we both thought of her as we were thinking of who should speak about faith.  When we invited her to speak, she was very opposed to it and kept asking questions, like--"Why are you having me speak on faith? Is it because I have no faith?" "Which one of you picked me to speak?" "Lemme see the other speakers you chose...hey, you picked all the weak members to speak huh" As we kept talking with her, she slowly started warming up to it and started asking about where to find specific stories in the scriptures about faith. It was cool to see the change in her in that small amount of time. But still, she made sure we knew she wasn't speaking for longer than 3 minutes cause we said 3-5 min. We went back to her house a few days later to give her the Bible she asked for and when we walked into her house it just felt different. There she was watching a movie about JOSEPH SMITH. She had rented it from the store and she said she started reading the Book of Mormon again. We asked how her talk was coming along and she asked how long it needs to be and when we said just 3-5 minutes is good she said--WHAT?? That's nothing, I need at least 10 minutes. How am I supposed to talk about faith in 3-5 minutes. It was awesome. We knew she had so much potential. It just took a little bit of reminding for her to remember the testimony that she does have. On top of all of that, on Sunday she came to church. As Sister Moala and I stood at the door shaking everyone's hands, we see her car pull up and her get out with her entire family! We were SO happy.

It is fun to see our small ward begin to actually look and sound like a ward. Many of the less-active families we have been working with are starting to come again every Sunday. 2 of our investigators--Toni and Pua--are preparing for baptism. Toni came to church for the first time yesterday and I think it gave him a lot to think about. But he is genuine in his search for the truth so I know the Lord will bless him with a greater testimony and strength as he makes this life-changing decision.
Oh and don't worry mom, Mani didn't find me a husband this week. When we went back to his house we found him in his usual place--sitting in his wheelchair outside and reading our pamphlets we give him. It's so cute. We came and he said he wasn't able to find me a husband yet and we laughed, saying it was okay and that he doesn't actually need to find me one. He then looked a little upset and asked--why?? are you already married? When I told him I wasn't he didn't believe me....and due to the weight I've gained he now thinks that I'm married and look pregnant. He's a little hard to work with haha but it's okay he's awesome.
Love you all!
Sister Petalisi

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Malo e lelei!  

Last week we had mission tour!! Elder Pearson and his wife came to talk to the mission and it was an awesome experience. The week before had been a little bit of a struggle for my companion and I so we did lots of preparing for it. We learned SO much. Elder Pearson is awesome. One of my favorite quotes from it was actually from Sister Tupou--our mission president's wife--"Stop fearing and stop worrying, God loves you." It was really good to hear that. I think sometimes we stress out too much, think we're not good enough or that we aren't doing enough. Just do your best and stop worrying. Because God loves you. Another thing that I learned was that success does not come from just succeeding once, but from continuing to improve and learn from your failures. We all have failures. But we can't let them drag us down. We have to strive to do better and if we continue to learn from them, we will be successful.
We've been teaching an old man named Mani for awhile. He is so cute and funny. Every time we see him he ALWAYS reminds us that we need to find a Tongan husband for me. We just laugh and say yes Mani we will don't worry! Then one day this week we went to teach him and after the lesson he said he was going to kolo (town) to find a husband for me and he would bring him to the next lesson. We both looked at each other and died because we realized just how serious he was. Too far Mani! Who knows, maybe it will be a teaching opportunity or potential investigator?
Last P-day we got a car! It's a blessing because it saves a lot of time, but also a curse for obvious reasons. We are a lot more busy running errands for other sisters but being busy is always a blessing! It is starting to warm up here, which is nice! But ohhh man I can't imagine what it's going to be like mid-summer. The work is hard, but it is so worth it! Too blessed and TOO LOVED to be stressed. Love you all, have a wonderful week!
Sister Petalisi

Monday, September 7, 2015

Hello!                                                                       Sept. 7th. 2015
This week was full of disappointments and challenges, but positivity and diligence is always key in missionary work. There are many investigators we have started or continued to teach these last couple weeks. One of the challenges we are facing right now is helping them with their concerns they have. Many of our investigators love talking with us, keep all of our reading commitments, love the Book of Mormon and our messages, but just don't think that it's as important as the Bible. Or they don't understand the need to be baptized again. Or they understand that there there is only "one Lord, one faith, and one baptism" because Tongans really love and know their Bible, but it's okay that there are many churches on the earth. Another challenge is the problem with parents who are very strong in a different church. There are 4 girls that are either really interested or want to be baptized, but we can't formally teach them because they aren't 18 yet. Despite the hardships, mission work is awesome and I know we are planting many seeds in Pea!
The gospel is true and it is beautiful! How amazing is it that God sent us here so that we can become like Him and receive all of His blessings. The coolest part is that He has shown us the way to do so, we just have to keep His commandments. He gave us our agency so we could grow and ultimately, choose eternal life. Heavenly Father truly loves each of us!! We must strive to have an open mind and heart so that he can continue to teach us. Doctrine and Covenants 136:32-33 - "Let him that is ignorant learn wisdom by humbling himself and calling upon the Lord his God, that his eyes may be opened that he may see, and his ears opened that he may hear; For my Spirit is sent forth into the world to enlighten the humble and contrite, and to the condemnation of the ungodly."
Ofa atu!!
Sister Petalisi
Malo e lelei!                                                                                                  August 31st.  2015
We had a few neat experiences with some of our investigaters this week. Sister Moala and I have seen much improvement in our teaching and the power that we have in teaching. We found 5 new investigaters this week and 3 of them agreed to be baptized which was exciting! One of them is Makaleta Mokoi who we have been trying to teach since the first week or so, but haven't been able to because she is super busy with her responsibilities in the Catholic church. Her whole family is very strong in the Catholic church, but her younger sister is serving a mission in Tonga and we've had a vision for her since we started talking to her. We were told that she has never been interested in the church, but felt impressed to continue to try to teach her. We finally caught her at a good time this week and after invited her to baptism she agreed. It was a very neat experience because I saw the power of the spirit work a miracle within her. She couldn't deny the truthfulness of the message even though she didn't want to leave the youth in her church. We shared 1 Nephi 9:6 and promised her that because God always prepares a way for his works to be accomplished, He can prepare a way for her to be baptized. By the end of the lesson we were all crying and laughing and it was a beautiful experience. We had a similar experience with another woman who we taught the first lesson to and then invited her to baptism. Other than the investigators we are working with, we are working towards many less-actives. We just found out that 2 of them in our ward are preparing to get married and we are so excited!! I am hoping that I can be here for their sealing next year!
Love you all and have a great week! Remember to continually strengthen your faith because everything else in life relies on faith. We can do ALL things as long as our will is aligned with our Heavenly Father's. Ofa atu!
Sister Petalisi

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Hello family!
The highlight of this last week was the MUSICAL FIRESIDE! Nobody in the ward had faith that it would be successful, so we were feeling very happy when we proved everyone wrong! haha It was a very nice program and more people came to it than there has ever been at church on Sunday. Very cool. Sister Moala and I don't have many issues to worry about, but one that we do have is singing together. One night during planning we decided to make it a goal to start singing to the people we teach. It started out as a great idea because we both love singing and harmonizing, but for some reason, we can't make it through 2 verses without bursting into laughter. It starts out great and invites the spirit so we feel confident enough to go on to the 2nd, and then always, ALWAYS we start laughing. Either I screw up a Tongan word or our voices crack or we miss  a note and we just lose it. Well, we decided anyways that we had to sing at the fireside because we needed more numbers--we just never learn. We knew we would laugh if it was just us so we had Seini Tauelangi, one of the members we're very close to, sing with us because she's on point and we THOUGHT she wouldn't laugh. Well, I don't know what happened, but all 3 of us couldn't finish the song. So we've learned to stop singing completely for other people because we just can't. Other than that tidbit, the fireside was amazing!! Everyone was socializing and eating together after and I am so excited to plan the next one!! (Without Sister Moala and I in the program).
This week we hope to finally accomplish our goal and meet everyone in Pea! That is exciting. We also just found out that they are getting 3 new cars for the sisters! Sister Moala should be getting one soon so that will be a big change for us and probably a few more pounds too..Transfers are this week which is exciting. There are 3 more palangis coming this week and one of them is being trained by a palangi, Sister Faux. That should be interesting and we are all very nervous about it, especially Sister Faux!
Love you lots!! Have a great week
Sister Petalisi
Dear Family,                                                                                                  August 16th.  

This week was exciting for a couple of reasons..One being that Fapiola was baptized yesterday! The service was beautiful and my experience with meeting and teaching her taught me a lot! It taught me that the Lord really does prepare people to receive the gospel and that I must do all I can to find those people. It also taught me that I must be patient and let everything happen in the Lord's timing. We were doing all we could to find people with no luck and when we asked God to help us find those ready to receive the message, He gave us Fapiola who was already waiting to be taught. He prepared her by giving her that desire to learn English. And he prepared her through her uncle, who her family has deep respect for. Her uncle, who is a member of the church, lives in New Zealand and came to visit for the weekend. It's a miracle that the weekend her uncle was planning on coming to visit from New Zealand is the weekend that she is ready to be baptized because her Mom didn't want her to be baptized otherwise. I hope and pray that all of her family will also be receptive to the gospel, but I also must be patient because everyone has their agency. Fapiola stood up to bear her testimony after she was baptized. Her emotional and simple testimony was SO powerful. I sometimes forget how blessed I am to have the gospel in my life. Seeing others receive it reminds me of how much it blesses me and how much it changes lives. It also makes me even more excited to share it with everyone. 

Another exciting event of this week was with one of our other investigators. Dominika has wanted to be baptized since we first started talking to her, but her parents are anti-Mormon so we haven't been able to teach her because she's 17. So we've just been visiting whenever we see her on the street and checking up on our commitment to talk to her parents. Other than that, we've kept our distance so she isn't hurt by her parents. We walked by the house and her mom smiled at us and acknowledged us. That was very strange and so we felt like we should go talk to her and ask about Dominika. Dominika came out and said her mom gave her permission to talk with us! She still needs to talk to her Father about it, but we are very happy with each baby step!

Well I love you all and I love this gospel! The message of the gospel is so amazing and beautiful and TRUE. 

Sister Petalisi

(Sorry I'd send a picture of the baptism but we can't where we are emailing)
Dear Family,                                                                                                        August  9th

OH MY GOODNESS!! I'm glad you are all okay and no one was harmed in the accident, what a miracle. And it sounds like the canoe trip was wonderful and beautiful! It's been very wet and rainy here this week! The streets were covered in puddles and there are many flooded areas on the sides of the road. We were so excited for today because we were going to go play in the rain with the little kids, but of course it all cleared up today. I was very grateful when it started raining for multiple reasons. It gets very hot walking around in the sun and the rain is refreshing. My personal motto for the mission that I picked up in the MTC is "Firm in principle, flexible in procedure." It can be applied to many aspects of the mission, such as adjusting lessons to meet people's needs, being patient with others without compromising your standards, etc. Since I have been in Pea, I have found a new application for it. I'll just say that standards of living here are slightly different and our water likes to shut off at very inconvenient times. Many times, it has decided to shut off while I'm showering or brushing my teeth which makes things slightly awkward. Thankfully, we've had a water-bottle around to somewhat finish the job. Other times, showering or brushing teeth just never happens. I'm pretty sure God made it rain here because he knew I needed it and man I was SO grateful!
We have mostly been working with less-actives here and trying to meet more people! It can be challenging to be selective with who we work with because almost EVERYONE is open to our message. They are all very religious and love to listen to the message we have about Christ, let us in their home, and feed us. The joke is, though, that there's always 1 house in every village that reacts negatively and yells at you if you try talking to them. Well, we finally found that 1 house!
Sister Moala and I decided to start teaching an english class to anyone who wants to learn on Thursdays. We told a few kids about it and gave them hand-outs to pass around and man the whole village showed up! It was awesome! I think I counted 20 or so. We talked about emotions and had a fun game prepared that we couldn't play because there were too many. So we instead created an obstacle course for them outside the church which they loved. This week we will teach them an English Hymn so that they can come sing it at the musical fireside we are putting together in our ward and they can invite their families as well. I am super excited for it!
Well I love you all! I am glad that everyone is safe and alive. You are always in my prayers <3 Ofa lahi atu kiate kimoutolu.
Sister Petalisi

My vahe (district) at zone conference!

Two cute boys that love to follow us around on the streets. We gave them our coconuts.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Dear Family,

This week was amazing and FILLED with miracles!! Where do I start? Well first off, we moved back into our cute little house that has been repainted and what not because the mission president's wife made us. Probably because we were having too much fun in Veitongo with those sisters. It's okay, I was getting really lazy being in a car all the time (because they are the only sisters with a car and would drive us to our area every day and then pick us up). Also, now we are back to our regular eating schedule. Since there were the 4 of us, both companionships had 2 fafangas (meals) every day which meant we had twice as much food and it made me pretty sick. After learning our lesson, Sister Moala and I would hide in the back of the car so that their fafanga didn't see us because if they did they would make us come inside and eat. This girl can only hold so much food oiaue! The one down side is that our days are shorter. Walking takes much longer, especially from our MQ which is in another village, Ha'ateiho, next to Pea, where we are serving. President Tupou said that companion-ships that have a Palangi sister have to be walking home as soon as it starts getting dark, which is about 6:30 here. Not fun when there are SO many people we want to meet and teach.
It started off pretty challenging in Pea because the ward is small and the members weren't jumping on the opportunity to get us referrals, which is hard because this is a "working through members mission." People joke around about going to a random house like in America and will say things like, since when was this a proselyting mission? We would pass house after house to go visit the little amount of members we have and I felt like we were getting no where. No referrals, 1 investigater, and no less-actives coming to church. (50% of the Tongans are members of the church, but only about 5% actually go to church--at least that's what Sister Tupou said). I felt strongly that we should start "knocking" and when I brought it up to Sister Moala, we made it a goal to eventually meet EVERYONE in Pea. Taking it slowly of course. So many teachings and experiences have come of it! One lady from Samoa with 3 small kids, for example, let us in who was very excited to see us. She said that all of her siblings and family in Samoa has been through the temple and she is the only one that hasn't been sealed because her husband's mom is very anti. This is a very common problem here. Return missionaries,even, come home and marry someone of a different faith and then become less-active because they have to follow their husbands. Or teenagers that don't get baptized because their parents are strong Catholic. So we are focusing on a couple other families with this same problem. But she was different because I could see that it was a huge burden for her. When she saw us walking to her door, she said she saw angels at her door. We are having family night with her family later this week and I'm excited!
One night, we were walking home because it was starting to get dark, but we decided to stop at one last house that we were passing. A 17 year old girl, who was in mid swing in the backyard at some yummy meal she was cooking up, stopped when she heard us and ran over to us. She spoke in very good english and said that her cousin was serving in Vaini and asked if we knew him. He had given her a Book of Mormon to read and she was devastated because she had lost it. She went on to testify of the book and how much it meant to her. So, of course, she was so happy when we happened to have one that we could give her. She knew nothing else of the mormon church and knew nothing of Joseph Smith, yet she had a powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon because she had read parts of it and prayed. We talked with her for a bit and then asked if she had any questions. It was the cutest thing in the world when she asked if there was any possible way for her to become a Mormon. haha OF COURSE. That's kinda why we're here. So we set a baptismal date, but the only problem is her parents don't want her having anything to do with the church. We invited her to bear her testimony to them and pray for guidance and strength. She is willing to do whatever it takes to do the right thing and I admire her so much for that.
So 2 of our goals this week was to get more referrals from the members and get more people to church! 2 hours before church yesterday, we walked around inviting everyone and making sure the people who said they would come were getting ready, in particular a few families we have been working closely with. When we walked into church 20 min early, the ENTIRE BACK ROW was filled!! 3 less-active families that haven't made it in a long time were sitting in the back row. And yes, that's only 3 families. But 3 families is a miracle for our small ward! The girl I talked about in my last e-mail who asked to learn english also made it with her mom, sister, and older brother who was baptized, but less-active. I watched the members faces as they saw the new families and could see the sparkle of hope and joy in their eyes. A Tongan man from America was also attending our ward and bore his testimony. He talked about how he was getting ready to come to church, when 2 sisters came to the door making sure that his family, who aren't all members, were coming to church. He talked about how happy he was when he saw us walking around and doing this. He went on, practically calling the members to repentance, saying that they need to help with the work because it isn't only our job. I know that God heard our prayers and sent us that man to help the members become excited about missionary work. The funny part of the story is that I only know this from my companion. When she listened to this man speak, she was so happy and was just feelin it. The spirit was so strong and she thought--Oh man I wonder if Sister Petalisi is feelin this too. And when she looked over at me, I was completely knocked out. Man, I was so tired I couldn't stay awake. (Thanks mom, I think I take after you). But I woke up and she and Fapiola and her sister were both leaning forward laughing at me. It got better though, and this part I was awake for! Two of the members got up and bore their testimony directly to Sane, Fapiola's mother, who is not too crazy about the whole baptism thing but only allowing it because her brother is like a father to them and is planning on baptizing them next week. Oh yeah, I don't think I mentioned that. But Fapiola is planning on getting baptized next week when her Uncle from New Zealand gets here. After the meeting, many members came up to her and welcomed her. I have never seen her so happy! She had a huge smile on her face and wanted to take a picture with us so she could send it to her brother in New Zealand. The members were so surprised by our efforts to find people this week. Andy the end of one day, we had 8 referrals! It was awesome (:
Well I love you all. I hope you have a stellar time on the canoe trip! But more importantly, don't forget to be a light to all those around you.
Sister Petalisi

Fapiola and her mother.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Dear Family,

This week we moved out of our MQ (Mission Quarters) because it is getting a complete makeover!! We are very excited about that because it needed some work haha. I will try to send some pics after it is done, but I wish I had taken some for a before and after! We moved in with another set of sisters nearby. Sister Faux, a palangi sister, and Sister Pakalani, who is from here. Last week, I said I wasn't worried about gaining weight. I spoke too soon. I have eaten more food this week than I think I've eaten in my life! The members love to feed the missionaries and we have enough left overs in our kitchen to feed an army. This week I ate ota ika (raw fish) and octopus and I thought that I wasn't going to survive through the night. It wasn't bad, but it didn't treat my insides too well. But that is all over and done with and I am feeling great now! Hopefully no more digestive problems and sickness in the future! 

Mission life for the sisters is very particular and traditional! If we go out in public, we have to have our hair braided, tupenu's and ta'ovala's on and we cannot wear makeup. The first couple days I felt like a little kid because my companion would braid my hair every morning. It was awesome. haha I decided that they purposefully make it like that for protection. Because who would pick on a small kid? It's awesome though, I love everything about it. It's comfortable and everyone recognizes us as sisters instantly. They have tons of respect for us, even if they are non-members or less active. Most people speak Tongan to me, but if they are more comfortable speaking english, they will just speak english. There are a few in our ward who are from New Zealand and speak only in english to me. 

One day, my comp and I were very discouraged because we had just lost all of our investigators and one of our potentials. As we walked down the street, I thought to myself--Where are the people I am supposed to teach?? I felt like I was doing all I could and trying so hard. My companion even voiced out loud--God, Where are you?? Kidding, but not really. I felt reassured just to keep the faith. Endure with faith. Literally, a few minutes later on that same small road, a 10 year old girl walking home from school asked us if we could teach her english. She led us to her house and we met her family. Her grandma interrupted us as we were trying trying to teach her english and said that we were welcome any time to come teach them the gospel. Her son who lives in New Zealand is baptized and she loves the missionaries. She said she would love it if all her family could be baptized one day. It was an amazing experience because we knew that God wanted us to know that he was there. That as long as we continue to seek His help and try our best, he would guide our footsteps. Yesterday, the little girl and her sister came with us to watch a baptism and this week we will start to teach them. I love the work! I know that despite the weaknesses and imperfections of man, the work will go on! It is the Lord's work and he stands at the head of this church. A couple quotes that I found this week that I love...
"We have been privileged to be born in these last days, as opposed to some earlier dispensation, to help take the gospel to all the earth..." (Howard W. Hunter)

"Let there be cultivated an awareness in every member's heart of his own potential for bringing others to a knowledge of the truth. Let him work at it. Let hims pray with great earnestness about it" (Gordon B. Hinckley).

Love you all! Have a wonderful week filled with positive attitudes and happy hearts (:

Ofa lahi atu,
Sister Petalisi

Food storage after a couple days of fafanga. Notice the milk in the back

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Dear Family,

I made it safely!! After 3 flights, a 13 hr over-night flight, and an 11 hr layover in New Zealand, we landed safely in Tonga last Tuesday night. The first night we had a nice Tongan dinner with the mission president's family and stayed in the temple motel right across from the temple! There we met tons of other missionaries who had just flown over from the New Zealand and were all from Tonga. Wednesday morning Sister Emch and I attempted to dress ourselves in the Tongan attire and went outside looking for a trashcan and when we stepped outside EVERYONE stopped and just kinda stared at us like we were zoo animals. We gave up on the trash can idea and ran back inside. How's that for a first day as a missionary haha.. I have gotten pretty used to the attention and stares as I've walked around. No one is expecting the palangi sisters. Each person we met this week asked about it and they are really happy to see us which is awesome. Sister Emch and I met the 2 other palangi sisters at MLC, a training meeting, and they are SO happy more are coming.
So I am assigned to work in Pea as my first area and my trainer is Sister Moloa! She's from Indiana, she was the first sister to come from America and she's been out for 5 months. Pea is an area that's new to both of us so this week we have both had to learn a lot! When we got dropped off at our MQ, it was a huge mess! We had to clean for hours just enough to get settled in. We did lots of cleaning and yard work today and it is BEAUTIFUL now. haha I wish I had taken a picture when we first arrived to compare. And the last update in the areabook was from JANUARY. So we didn't have really have much to go off of. We decided to just start walking down the street to try and find the bishop and ward mission leader. After talking with some people on the street and much searching, we found them both! There are no addresses in Tonga because apparently people just need to know the family name and which part of the village they are's THAT SMALL. Our area is pretty big though. In Tonga, the work is mostly done through the members. Thanks to Lika and Mafi, two RMs in the ward, we were able to find the members and less-actives to teach. They are a HUGE blessing to us. We aren't allowed to be out of our MQ after dark (around 6:30), unless there is a member walking with us. So they walked with us on Saturday to invite everyone to church! One awesome thing about Tonga is that EVERYTHING is closed on Sunday. So of course there are no excuses for not coming to church. If you're not going to our church, you're going to some other church. Our ward is small. Many of it's leaders are very young! The members of the bishopric and ward mission leader are all in their 20's. I counted about 40 people in Sacrament Meeting, so we have LOTS of reactivating to do. I bore my testimony in Sacrament Meeting and I thought it was a success because nobody laughed like they did in The Other Side of Heaven. THANK GOODNESS. Although, a man did come up to me afterwards and say, "Well I think you will need a companion who speaks fluently to ever learn the language." I got the subtle (not so subtle) hint haha. Tongans are very straight up and open.
I'm not too worried about gaining weight, at least while I'm serving in Pea! Our diet has consisted of Chow (or Top Ramen noodles without water--of course hot water is not a thing here) and crackers for breakfast, and chicken for dinner every day. It is spicy so I'm thinking that by the end of the mission I will acquire the tongue for spicy foods! Hopefully! Last night was the first night that we were served real Tongan food (not Kolo food from town) for fafanga. We had Lu, meat wrapped in leaves, and Manioke. It was good, especially after a long day of walking!
We have 3 new investigaters this week! We went to one of the Chinese stores and started talking to the Chinese guy working there. I kept trying to talk to him in Tongan and he had to clarify that he doesn't speak Tonga. WAHOO!! I felt like Elder Calhoun, again. haha His english is very poor, but we have been teaching him through pictures and broken english. It is hard for him to accept that we did not evolve from monkeys, but I sense that he has a desire deep down to believe. Another one we met while inviting people to church. A Palangi school teacher!! I have been soo blessed because we can teach in English.
I love you all! God bless
Sister Betteridge


Our cute little abode.  

Monday, July 13, 2015

On our way!

Dear Family,

Well, time really flew and in 2 more days I'll be off and outta here!! I thought I was ready and I THOUGHT I could speak Tongan...before yesterday. A tongan elder (who is actually flying to his home with us to get his visa) said the prayer at in-field orientation yesterday and we told him to say it in Tongan so we could try to understand. He spoke so fast I couldn't tell one word from another and I could not even make out the "Dear Heavenly Father" that I was expecting to hear...He came and sat down and we all just stared at each other thinking the same thing. We asked him if he was speaking Tonga, hoping that he was trilingual or something, but yep he was. haha OH NO I felt like Elder Calhoun --"That's not what they taught me in the MTC."  

One really neat thing that I love about the MTC is how international it is! There are missionaries from all over the world and it's cool to see parts of each culture in such a small space. We've been able to meet many missionaries from Tonga also. Last Saturday we had a 4th of July celebration and in it they had a flag parade. A missionary going to the country and a missionary from the country got to hold each flag and I got to hold the Tongan one with a sister from Tonga. It was fun to get to know her and talk more about the mission from her perspective! We are getting pretty anxious to leave! They even let us stay up to watch the fireworks. But by the time we got out of the devotional/celebration I was super exhausted and wasn't super enthused by the late fireworks. You know you're a missionary when it's only 10:30 and you rather sleep than watch fireworks on the 4th of July. Or maybe that's just what being an adult feels like. haha. 

Last P-day we got to clean the temple because it's shut down for maintenance. We helped clean chandeliers and WOW I have a very deep appreciation for people who make, clean, or do anything with chandeliers. It took me 3 hours to take down and put together 3 of them while others were cleaning the crystal..and they were just the tiny ones on the wall! But it was cool to think about why we have to clean and take such good care of them so meticulously. It is the Lord's house and it deserves the utmost of respect. But next time anyone goes into sealing room #9 in the Provo temple, just think of me when you see how clean those wall chandeliers are. (:

It TOTALLY is a dream temperature in Tonga right now. That's how it was when we went for HEFY. But it is "winter" there, what they call the wet season. I've heard their summers are almost unbearable, so we'll see! Apparently it's been pretty rainy there the past week. It's down pouring in Utah right now so I think God is preparing us for the weeks ahead of us. Hence, the picture of us appreciating the rain at the MTC. 

This week has been amazing and I have felt God's love for me immensely. For starters, we watched Elder Packers funeral an hour or so ago. As I reflected on the idea of dying and the plan of salvation, I couldn't help but think of HOW COOL it is!! I have always known that death is only goodbye for now and see you later. But it hit me that death is so exciting!! Yes, we have to say goodbye to some people for short while, but we will be going to the spirit world where our parents will be and all of our loved ones will be that have already passed on. I think it relates somewhat to serving an 18 mo/2 yr mission. We will be pretty sad to be ending our mission wherever that may be and to leave the people we have grown to love, but really, we are going home. We are going back to the parents that brought us up and the people who love us tremendously. I'm so grateful for the knowledge I have of the Plan of Salvation. It is beautiful. 

Well, it is so good to hear from you! Sounds like there were almost some casualties at the island (; Be safe and don't fall in!! But if you do just get it on film so there is evidence when I get back! haha Love you all so much <3 Have a great week!

Sister Betteridge

Hard to say goodbye to teachers!

enjoying the rain

Sweet stranger took our photos in the airport to send to family!!
On our way to Tonga!!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Male famili!

Well I thought I would be in the MTC forever, but looks like I'm leaving pretty soon! Time just keeps speeding up and I have no idea where it went. We leave SL next Sunday (the 12th) and fly to LA, LA to New Zealand, and New Zealand to Nuku'alofa. So we leave Sunday and arrive in Tonga late Tuesday night (due to the time change and layovers). I'm getting more anxious to leave now! I want to start talking to real people! Yesterday, our teachers admitted they are giving up on us. Since they feel like they have taught us everything they can (which I don't believe), they don't know what else to teach. Sooo they like to tell us Tongan stories about spirit turtles and what not.   I like to count the victories here in the MTC. And one of those victories was the realization that I've studied French for four years and Tongan for a little over four weeks and I feel more comfortable talking and teaching a lesson in Tongan than I do in French. The spirit is AMAZING. I know that if I had studied Tongan anywhere but here in the MTC for four weeks or even much longer, I'd be no where near where I am now with the language. Brother Fisher said that people study Tongan for YEARS to get to where we are now. Apparently agents have been skeptical and have come to visit MTC's in the past because  they want to know why missionaries learn languages so fast. I have always wondered that myself. I figured that the gift of tongues was magic. Now I understand what it takes. Lots of work. Lots of faith. And lots of heavenly help. I'm going to need a little more heavenly help, though, to help me say a new word that I learned this week from the scriptures. It's "mahuhuhuhu," which means piercing. Try saying that one fast! Or maybe it's just me. I can't say it for the life of me and so whenever we would come across it as we read 3 Nephi 3:11, of course it would always be my turn and then everyone would laugh at me. haha I'll keep working on it.

My sweet companion, Sister Moreno, went home earlier this week due to health problems. She worked so hard and after many challenging weeks, President Willes practically FORCED her to go home to get better. She is an example of courage and faith to me and I am so grateful I was able to serve with her. I am so excited to see her recover and join us again in the Pacific Islands. I am now in a trio with Sister Emch and Sister Stokes. Sister Stokes is serving in New Zealand and Sister Emch will be in Tonga with me (: 

We received 15 new Fijian missionaries this week, which DOUBLED our zone. There are 3 sisters from Papa New Guinea and Tahiti. The sister from Tahiti can only speak French and understands verryyy little English, which is a challenge! I can't even imagine having to learn Fijian AND English in an English training center. Heavenly Father really does have a sense of humor! When I heard that she only speaks French I thought WAHOO I can help!! It was pretty depressing to learn, however, how much I have forgotten after trying to speak with her. Hopefully it's been enough to help her feel loved and welcomed. The three of them are just the cutest. Within the first night, we received knitted bags from Papa New Guinea and blouses and necklaces. It is very much the polynesian way and it amazes me how excited they are to give. We realized how slow Americans are to give when we felt that all we could offer were Sister Emch's favorite SnapPeas. We will keep working on that. We need to tell them, though, that they should save their gifts for people in Fiji. 

Last week we taught another volunteer member, and we were able to teach a cute old Tongan lady about receiving answers to our prayers. I shared with her the story of how I decided to serve a mission. Barely into it, I started crying as I felt the spirit testify of the significance of that experience. It was a very tender moment because the lady then shared her own story and started to cry. Although I couldn't understand most of it, I felt the spirit as she talked about receiving answers to her prayers. It is that feeling and experience that I rely on when it gets difficult here. President Willes shared with us a good message on enduring to the end. It's discouraging and unimaginable sometimes to see the end and what we need to do to get there. Whether that's learning the language, completing a mission, overcoming an addiction, or making it back to the presence of our Heavenly Father. All we need to do is endure today. Work as hard as you can today. Then start over the next day. If we get discouraged thinking about the end and feeling that it will never come, we may let days go by where we aren't doing as well as we should or moving away from Christ. So just endure today. 

I love all so much! Have a wonderful week <3

Sister Betteridge