Monday, January 11, 2016

Dear Family,

Well you'll be glad to hear that the storms have disappeared and Tonga is back to it's wonderful humidity and heat. These past few days I have done lots of reflecting on the past few months that I've been in Pea and one of the biggest causes of my joy is seeing and experiencing the growth of this ward and how it has evolved over the past 6 months. As I sat in church yesterday, I felt nothing but pure joy as I thought back to my very first sunday coming to the ward and finding only a few families enter the chapel. One of the member's daughters who often visits from New Zealand came to visit this week and as we greeted her at the door she asked if we were combined with another ward because of how many people filled the chapel. It's been very rewarding spending this much time in one area and seeing it's growth over time. Two of our investigators that we are now preparing for their baptism were first invited by a member to hear our message and being strongly fellowshipped by them. Another member is helping us work towards her less-active husband and friend. To anyone, this sounds like a normal, but great thing. But one of these members is the 11 year old girl we taught and was baptized just 5 months ago. Another is a man that has come back to church from inactivity, rebaptized due to a lost membership, and now preparing to go through the temple. The last one is a woman that has also come back to church strong and preparing for the temple within the last few months. It gives me great joy seeing these 3, who weren't members or active not too long ago helping us work with these other 4 to come back to church or be baptized with their own personal experiences and strong testimonies. The power of bringing just one individual to the gospel is strong. The Lord's work is beautiful!

Another highlight of this week was an unplanned lesson that we just finished with Nutei, a couple hours ago. Walking from another teaching that fell through, we ran into Nutei at a little store on the side of the road and he was really excited to see us and asked if we were available then to teach him instead of our later planned lesson tonight. He came out of the store with his Book of Mormon already in his hand and we sat down outside of the little store to teach him. Before we even opened with a prayer and asked if he had read the chapter we asked him to read, he opened up his scriptures to the chapter which was all marked and highlighted. After the prayer, we asked him to share his thoughts about the reading and he shared a beautiful testimony about the baptism and enduring to the end. He also said that he knew the church was true and when we reextended the same baptismal invitation that he wasn't so sure to before, he said yes without hesitation!! And after we set the date he asked us what he should wear. One of his friends was also present in the lesson and he also said yes to baptism but it may have been due to some peer pressure because Nutei pretty much answered yes for him when we invited his friend to be baptized. But that's okay because he is at least a new investigator and we will keep teaching him! 

Well I love you all! The church is true.
Sister Petalisi

Vilo hoa with HOLA
(?? not sure what that means)

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