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