Sunday, October 30, 2016

Dear Family

This week was a historical week for the people of Tongamama'o. We worked together with the primary president to put together a Halloween ward party for the kids (it was mainly all her but we helped with the idea) It was very new and different for everyone, many kids were confused, some were scared, but it turned out good and they hope to start a new Tongamama'o ward tradition by celebrating Halloween every year. Each auxiliary decorated their own room at the church and the kids walked around door to door asking for candy. 

After last weeks challenging week of work, losing our progressing investigators, we ended up doing a lot less teaching and a lot more walking around knocking doors and trying to find new people to teach. And for anyone who has served a mission before, it is usually not the most rewarding or loved thing. I sometimes can't help but think to myself if our knocking on doors just the two of us is actually going to pay off because half of the houses tell us never to come back and the other half sets a time for us to teach and then isn't there when we do go back to teach them. But one of the miracles we saw this week through our diligence and faith was finding a new investigator by knocking on doors. Actually not really new because they were taught once before during our stake companion exchange and they live right next door to us but we've been trying to find them ever since that first week we got here. Every morning during our studies we would see the father driving off to work and he wouldn't get home until after we got home. We visited the wife trying to schedule a time to meet with them, but she is not interested and would tell us to come back in a few weeks so were getting nowhere by visiting her. But we knew we needed to find this father and teach him, every time we saw him drive off to work I'd think to myself when are we going to be able to find a time he is available. Friday afternoon we went back to one of the houses we had met knocking doors and they weren't home but we were surprised to find the father we had been looking for and a coworker working on a car in their front-yard. He stopped his work and said the family wasn't home but asked if we could teach him right there. We taught him and committed him to baptism. He had read the Book of Mormon and said he believes it is a book from God and wants to read it more and belong to the church. He told us that only him in his family is interested, his wife and her family are strong Catholic. We went back and taught his whole family Saturday night. Right now, we are trying to help him to stop smoking and drinking. I think his wife's heart was softened a little when we taught the Word of Wisdom and when he is able to overcome his addictions and change his life he will be able to help his whole family convert to the gospel. The challenging thing will be finding the time to teach them, but I know God will help this family and help us to know how to help them convert to the gospel.  

Ofa atu!

Sister  Petalisi

                                                                  Stake service at the Wesleyan high school

                                                         Historical 1st Halloween celebrated in Eua 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Dear Family,

This week another sickness hit 'Eua and it seemed to hit only the missionaries except for me and my companion. We spent lots of the week "tauhi mahaki" taking care of the sick and being their nurses running them medicine and drinks. Both of our investigators that had their baptismal dates set for last week were not baptized because for one her mother did not want her to and the other her grandma. It was pretty hard on all of us. It has become more and more vital that we work very close with our members in this ward to hasten the work here. I'm grateful that I work in such a loving ward that focuses on the missionary work and is trying so hard to find people for us to teach. Our area isn't that big and both of the missionaries in the Wesleyan church here in our area have told their members not to accept us into their home and we have been facing lots of rejection and opposition with the non-members in this area. Most people are straight forward about it, some let us in anyways because they live by the belief that we all pray to the same God and they probably just feel bad for us and some run away. We were pretty amused when the 30 year-old investigator we found last week we walked past his house yesterday and caught him running from the table he was laying on outside his house to hide behind his mango tree like only a teenager would do. Although it is hard and a huge test of my faith, the greater the opposition we face the more powerful the testimony it is to me that our message is true and this church is God's church and kingdom on the earth. Just as Jesus Christ told his apostles they will be despised by all nations because of His name, we see it around us today wherever we go. There will be a time for these people where there hearts will be softened and they will accept us or future missionaries into their home to teach them the message of the restoration. We must not give up on anyone. We have lots of work to do to prepare for the 2nd coming. Mate ofa atu!

Sister Petalisi

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Dear Family,

You asked if things are closed on Sunday's here. Yes, Tonga is still very much like that. Nothing is open on Sundays and recently they closed all of the bakery's which used to be the only thing open on Sundays. When I first came, I heard it was half the population were members of the church, but it is now higher than that, but I don't have an exact number. 
This week's stake program was fun and successful! We spent each day in each of the 4 areas in this stake with all of the missionaries and the members of that ward. We went around and taught all of the families the members had invited for us to teach. We had lots of new investigators and baptismal dates set up in all of the wards. 
Thursday I flew to Tonga for a Temple trip and MLC and came back with President and Sister Makai and Elder Walker, the area seventy that visited the stake for stake conference this weekend. Lots of great things happened this week, continuing to help Susana and Ofeina prepare for the baptism this weekend and preparing for Conference weekend, but the highlight of the week was finding a new investigator yesterday. We went around trying to visit as many investigators and less-actives as we could before walking to our stake fireside last night. The Lord led us to a house and we found a 30 year old guy who accepted our invitation to be taught and baptized. We have high hopes for him and his family and excited to go back this week. 
More news to come next week. Love you and have a great week!!

Sister Petalisi

Conference with (Left to right) Ofeina, Siu, Susana, Mele, Sis. Petalisi.

Stake Conference with President and Sister Makai, Elder Waller and President Ma'u.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Hey so just writing a quick note.  We are doing a stake program today in preparation for stake conference next week. We will emal on Saturday but things are going well back here in Eua . I got a warm welcome from my old members here and love being back even though it was heartbreaking leaving my wards in Vava'u. I plan on going back as soon as possible! The 8 hour boat ride was beautiful after the first  couple hours of sea sickness and throwing up. We stopped in ha'apai to drop off an elder and continued to the main island. We all picked up our new companions (there were a lot of us) and had meetings in Liahona on Friday and then me and my new comp flew to Eua Thursday morning . I am training a sister from Vava'u Sister Moeata. We've been trying to meet all the investigators and less actives the last sisters were working with the past few days but not much luck no one was home so we did some of our own finding. We found 2 of the investigators that I had started teaching when I worked here before and set up baptismal dates for both of them. We went to general conference session with them last night. They are 2 teenage girls , Susanna and ofeina. Lots of work to do this week to prepare for conference and continue the work that the previous missionaries left here. Love you all have a wonderful week! 

Ofa atu!! 
Dear Family,                                                     October 3rd.

Although it was a short 6 weeks in Vava'u, it was 6 of the best weeks
I've spent on my mission. It tears my heart every time I have to leave
an area and those that I taught and the members that helped us, but
God's timing and ways are higher than ours. My companion got her visa
and left this morning for the Philippines. Tomorrow, I will be riding
a boat back to my old area in Tongamama'o 'Eua. 8 hours from Vava'u to
Tonga and then another 3 to Eua. I will be training again but don't
know yet who she is. It was definitely a shock and I planned on
finishing in this area, but I guess there is more I need to do in

The 11 year old daughter of the family we found a few weeks ago was
baptized yesterday and her family is doing great. Continuing to teach
them the lessons and they are always excited to learn more of the
doctrine. One of the families in the ward lives next door to them and
their daughters are the same age and best of friends. When Lusia Faa,
the girl that was baptized, stayed up on the stand to bear her
testimony after being confirmed in Sacrament meeting, her little
friend walked up and sat next to her. They are the cutest.

Lani and her 8 year old son are both preparing to be baptized this
month. As well as my old companion's nephew and niece who are set to
be baptized this week. I love this work and I love this gospel. There
is no greater joy than seeing the gospel work in other's lives and
feeling it everyday in my own. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior
and that He lives.  Have a wonderful week!

Sister Petalisi
This is an email I tried to send a couple weeks ago but the
net wasn't working.

Dear Family,

Yes, lots of emergency transfers lately. My new companion is Sister
Vaa'i from Nuku'alofa Tonga (Halaleva). She is waiting to get her visa
so she can enter the Philippine MTC and they are hoping to get it by
next week!

Lots of great things happened this week. We had Ward Conference in one
of our wards on Sunday. The members were pretty excited preparing for
the conference and inviting their friends.We found 2 new families this
week, a widow whose husband recently passed away and her 8 year old
son, and a part less-active/non-member family. We got a call from the
Bishop's counselor one day letting us know that his friend was having
doubts about his church's doctrine on God and he wanted Mormon
missionaries to visit him and if they could help him understand the
God-head, he would come back to church. We went and visited this
family prepared to teach them about the Godhead. But when we sat down
and started to talk with them, before I knew it, I was sharing with
them the message of the restoration. It was as if I wasn't speaking. It
was the clearest and most understandable explanation I've ever given
of the apostasy and the restoration of the gospel. The mother was
crying and the father just stared at me, wide-eyed. He couldn't say
much, bu the did say he was shocked. He thought Mormons prayed to
Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon was our Mormon Bible and that we
didn't believe in the resurrection. They shared with us that they felt
a light enter their home the day we visited with them because of the
understanding they were starting to have of the truth. Their family
came to our Fireside Friday night and Conference on Sunday. They are
all less-active, except for one of the daughters who isn't baptized.
It is exciting to see the ward so excited about this new family
potentially coming back to church. The Stake President wants to come
with us whenever we visit to teach the family. The leaders of the
church have recently been stressing the importance of working towards
the less-actives and promising that there will be more convert
baptisms if we do so. We have started to see the fruits as we've tried
visiting more less-actives. I know that when we sustain our leaders
and heed to their counsel, the blessings will come.

Ofa atu!
Sister Petalisi