Monday, February 29, 2016

Hello family!!

Not much news this week, but something exciting from this week was a new family that we started teaching! The noble that lives in Pea  and her husband are amazing member missionaries. Background...In each village there's always a hou'eiki. The heiarchy in Tonga goes something like 3. the normal people on bottom, 2. Hou'eiki or nobles, and then 1. the King and royal family. Ours happens to be a member and from America! They just started coming back to our ward in Pea because they went to a ward in town to help Prince Ata convert to the church, the prince that was baptized last year in Hawai'i. Now they are back in our ward and it has been lovely because they feed us french toast and mashed potatoes and stuff like that which isn't found here in Tonga. Anyways, her name is Diana and she let us know that she set up an appointment for us to teach her friend, which was last Monday night. When she told us who it was we were pretty shocked because not only did we know her already, but she was one of the very few houses in Pea that pretty much slammed the door in our face. After explaining our purpose of being there and earning her trust we were able to discuss the restoration of the gospel and she apologized for the way she had first treated us. She explained that she thought we were just coming to baptize her and her whole family. . .which isn't completely inaccurate. But I hope you can all maybe learn something from this little experience which taught me how members can LITERALLY open the doors for missionaries. She didn't make it to church this week but she did make it to a relief society activity where they made flowers to make a kiekie and she loved it! 
The cyclone wasn't bad here we just had to stay inside for a couple days as a precautionary. The streets in our village were flooded and it took forever to walk places depending on where you're going. But that's all part of the adventure! But nothing bad on the main island here in Tonga. All is well. 

I love you all,
Sister Petalisi
Sister Piinoki, Petalisi and Pilauni.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Hello all!!                                                                                                     February 15, 2016

Sorry I couldn't write home last week net was down. AND transfers did happen last week AND I'm staying! Going on 8 months in Pea and I couldn't be happier! It's been a joke with the members that this will be my only area for almost 18 months, but its starting to feel less and less like a joke each transfer I stay. I am grateful though! 

Well here's a little update on Niutei. In our lesson with him a couple weeks ago we learned that he was able to stop smoking and drinking! We also talked to him about church because that was the only commitment at that point that he wasn't keeping--to come to church with us. He explained that ever since we started teaching him and inviting him to church and baptisms and activities, he's wanted to come, but was too shy because it's been forever since he's worn men's clothing and so he didn't know what to wear. Which was so so awesome because it shows how the spirit really is the teacher. We never had to say anything about how the ways he dresses is not okay, but the spirit taught him without us saying anything. All he has ever worn to his church is dresses , but he knew he couldn't show up to our church in a dress and was too shy to wear men's clothing. HOLY COW the church is so true!! He showed up to church as well as another fakaleiti that we are working with who was baptized awhile ago but less-active. 

One highlight from this past week was the teachings we had with one of our new investigaters, Semisi. There's an older lady in the ward who has been away from the church for a year now and just recently has come back strong to the church. When we visited her she said that there were 2 guys in her house--one nonmember and another less-active--who she wanted us to teach. She then told us that she planned on coming back to church that week because she needed to be a good example to them. We've had some awesome discussions with both of these two. We have taught him every night since last Monday and what impressed me the most was his deep knowledge and understanding of the Bible. He spent some time in Fiji studying the Bible. And like Joseph Smith, has been to many many churches, but found something wrong in all of them. Every night we had a discussion with him, covering deep doctrine from all the lessons and every night he would come with his read chapter in the Book of Mormon and lots and lots of questions..WHICH WAS AWESOME. What I started to notice was that he seems to already have made up his mind on his beliefs based off his understanding of the Bible and he is looking for something that doesn't match from the Book of Mormon or our church's doctrine with the Bible. Teaching him has truly strengthened my testimony of the church. His questions are deep. Sometimes I do not have a good answer to them and I feel like I'm being tested. But something that the spirit was able to teach me during these discussions that President Tupou has often stressed--"THE BOOK OF MORMON IS NOT ON TRIAL. THE READERS ARE." Realizing just what this means has helped me as I've gone to these discussions, and made me really really excited, rather than fearful, to talk to with him and answer his questions. I realized that I don't need to kill myself thinking about how I'm going to prove that the Book is true, because it already is true! There is absolutely NOTHING wrong in the Book of Mormon and as long as he is open to the spirit and we do our part to help him feel it, he will know it is true. 

Well I love you all, and have a wonderful week!
xoxo, Sister Petalisi

Niutei Tenifi

Vilo hoa with Fapiola!

When it rain, it pours!!