Wednesday, April 20, 2016

20 April 2016 - Week 23: Obedience brings blessings!

Bonjour tout le monde!!

Sorry my email last week was so short and rushed! Having time to email can be a struggle here in New Cal, so when we actually get time, it's a blessing! :)

President changed our p-day to Wednesday and we (the leaders) are supposed to report to him about how it's working out. It's mostly because a lot of the cyberbases (especially in the north) are closed Mondays and a lot of other stuff is closed on Mondays, so having district activities on Mondays is hard.

The theme for this week is obedience! Haha, at least for Sœur Rooarii and me! On Monday, we had a reunion with both zones, the APs and President Granger. All of the zone leaders and STLs gave trainings, so that means Sœur Rooarii and I gave a training! It was in English because during all of the meetings we have with President, we speak English--the mission language is English [on Vanuatu, they speak English and Bislama]. For other meetings just with the New Cal missionaries, the meetings are in French because French is the language of this part of the mission. Anyway, the training was in English, which was fine for me, but Sœur Rooarii was freaking out. She understands and speaks English very well, but she was nervous about not being about to express everything she wanted to say. So we prepared and practiced a lot and prayed for the gift of tongues, and the training went really well! A lot of the missionaries complimented us, and President was really happy with it!! 

Laura and her companion, Soeur Rooarii
We talked about obedience and how once we really understand why we have the commandments and the mission rules, we will be obedient with willing hearts. But it has to come from us first. We encouraged the missionaries to read the missionary handbook and work on the things that they haven't been doing or things that they know they can do better. Sœur Rooarii and I have been doing that, too, and I can tell you that when we're striving to be obedient, we have more success in the work!

[Regarding] STL duties, we do have exchanges. We're having one with Paita next week and Dumbea Sur Mer the week after. In the north there's only three companionships of sisters, including us, so we don't have too many people to worry about, which is nice. There are 3 American sisters in the north, the other 4 are Tahitian.

The sisters of Dumbea District: (l-r) Soeur Pahio, Sr. Rooarii, Laura, Sr. Flake and Sr. Temanaha-moo
Sr. Rooarii is awesome and we get along great! We really help each other to be obedient and to work hard. She's a great teacher during the lessons. And she helps navigate while i'm driving, haha. The driving is fine. I'm getting used to the Qashqai. It's a lot bigger than the Sorento, so i'm getting used to that. I honestly love having to have Sr. Rooarii do the backup for me--it helps a lot. The missionary rules are a blessing! [Mission rules require that one missionary stand outside the car and "direct" the driver while backing up.]

Driving is pretty much exactly like the U.S. except there are a billion rond points [roundabouts] here, and you just have to know the rules of what lane to be in if there's two, and how to signal for when you're going in and when you're going out. The roads are not too winding in our area, but in others here in the north, like Dumbea, they're pretty wind-y. I drive on the express [freeway] almost every day, so I feel like when I get home I'll be a pro. There's some traffic in the afternoon, but not nearly as bad as CA hahaha.

This week President challenged us to have 20 lessons every week. For some missions that's usual, but here in New Cal, that's a real challenge. The highest number of lessons I've had in a week is 15 and that was a really good week. But I know it can be done, especially here in Koutio! Sœur Rooarii and I have accepted President's challenge. We made goals to have shorter lessons, and to see our amis multiple times a week. And to be more obedient--especially with the small things like actually getting up at 6:30 and working out, haha. As we've been striving to do that just these past few days, we've already seen the blessings!

For example, we invited our ami Marie-Christine to be baptized on the 21st of May and she said yes! She was surprised at first, and then said that she had wanted to wait until her birthday in September. But then she said that if it's Heavenly Father's will for her to get baptized in May, she'll be ready! She has so much faith and has seen the blessings of living the Gospel and having faith already. I know she'll be ready to be baptized in May! The cool thing during our lesson yesterday was that at first she was really tired because she hadn't slept well. She was having a hard time staying focused and answering the questions we asked her. The Spirit really wasn't there at all. But then we decided to sing a cantique [song] and after that the Spirit was there. That's the reason why she said “yes” to being baptized. I know that if the Spirit isn't there during the lessons, there's no point. The Spirit really is the teacher and the one who pushes our amis to choose to progress.

Also this [coming] week, we want to challenge two of our other amis to be baptized as well. During our meeting with President on Monday, I really felt impressed that we should give them a little push by inviting them to be baptized on a certain date. The two are in different stages of progression in the Gospel, but I know that if … they're really willing, they can make the necessary changes to be ready to be baptized. That's also why Sœur Rooarii and I want to be really obedient this week--to have the Spirit with us and invite these amis to be baptized and have them accept!

Oh yeah, Lucien, an ami from Vallee des Colons, was baptized on Saturday!! Sœur Tellus told me that it was amazing, and now he wants to serve a mission! Lucien is a testimony to me of how if we're really willing to accept the Gospel and change our ways into God's ways, we will be blessed. He was an ami that we pushed to get baptized by giving him a date exactly a month after. He accepted and did what needed to be done to be ready. That's the result I'm praying for for our two amis here in Koutio this week!

Koutio is a great secteur! There's a lot of work to do here and the great thing is that the members want to help! Most of the lessons we've had have been lessons with members, and that is amazing! My companion, Sœur Rooarii, is a wonderful missionary and teacher. We really work well together as a team and push each other to be better and have more faith in the work and the counsel President Granger gives us. Since I've been an sister training leader these past couple of weeks, my testimony of the fact that President Granger is called by God to lead our mission has really grown, and because of that I have more faith in the counsel and challenges he gives us and I'm more willing to follow it.

My testimony of obedience and having a willing heart as our motivation to be obedient has grown as well. Something I really loved during General Conference was Sister Oscarson's talk. She talked about knowing the Gospel and really believing it and bringing it from our head into our heart. It's so true! That's helped me a lot. We've also taught that concept to some of our amis, especially one who's really logical and loves researching the Gospel but wasn't really sure if he believed it yet. He knows it's true in his head, but he needs to feel it in his heart as well. That's when the change of heart comes and also when we can see the blessings of the Gospel.

I know this Gospel is true and that it brings LASTING joy and peace into our lives. I'm so happy I can be here in New Cal sharing the Gospel with these wonderful people, even if it means I'm not with my own family. I love all of you and I hope that the expériences I've shared will strengthen your faith and love of the Gospel!

Je vous aime tous! Passez une tres bonne semaine!
Ta ta bisoux!
Sœur Matheson

We went bowling for a district activity, and I didn't get the lowest score!

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