Wednesday, July 27, 2016

27 July 2016 – Week 37: The miracles are flowing!!!

Bonjour tout le monde!!! Ca va?? [Hello, everyone! How’s it going?]

This week was AWESOME!! You know why?? Because there are real miracles happening here in our mission, the Great VPVM! [Vanuatu Port Vila Mission]

First, William is getting baptized on August 6th!!! We invited him on Thursday during our lesson on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and at first he was like, "maybe, yes.” I kept asking if it was a real yes or an iffy yes (a "oui oui" or a "peut-etre oui") and finally he said OUI OUI!! He's been progressing SO FAST and he has A SUPER STRONG TESTIMONY! I love it because for him, the Gospel is logique [logical] and that's why for him it's easy to accept all the commandments and everything. He even prayed to know who to ask do to the talks and everything for his baptism. He's already a member!! And today for our district activity we're going to go play Laser Game again, and we invited William and Joyce and Moise and they all want to come play with us! William especially is super excited :)

Another miracle: The daughter of the Maruhi family, Lisislena, is going to get baptized on August 27th! She's nine, so she's technically a convert even though she grew up in the church. We have been teaching her the lessons and set the date with her and her mom. We're hoping that the dad will start coming back to church because of her baptism! And they invited us over for la soiree familiale [Family Home Evening] next Monday! Woo hoo! 

AND NOW THE GREATEST MIRACLE OF THEM ALL! Manu, the ami that we had invited to be baptized WAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYY back in May is going to get married and get baptized August 27th!!!!!! :) :) :) :) :) We hadn't been able to have lessons with him regularly because he works a ton, but we'd see him at church on the weeks when he could come. So when he told us on Monday that he and Nysia (his girlfriend who's an inactive member coming back to the church) are getting married and that he's getting baptized, we jumped for joy! And their goal is to be sealed in the temple one day! Miracles people, miracles!!

This weekend we had stake conference with Elder Haleck, the Area President, President and Sister Going, the New Zealand temple president (and also the famous All Blacks rugby player NBD), and [Mission] President and Sister Granger. The whole conference was all about missionary work, and it was awesome! We're hoping that this will make the stake move and get going! All the members want a temple and talk about it all the time, but they have to put in the work first. And something Elder Haleck said was to treat the missionaries like your own kids (because there are actually a lot of missionaries serving from New Cal). After that, a bunch of members gave us food. Like, A LOT of food. So don't worry, I'm definitely not going hungry. 

And for the conference, a member had called us to ask Sister Rooarii if she knows how to make flower necklaces, or couronnes de cou, to give to the temple president and his wife when they came. Soeur Rooarii said yes, and then one day we went out searching for flowers with Soeur Michele Tetuira. That was an adventure because we weren't really sure if we could take the flowers from certain places or not. But we trusted Michele because she's a policewoman, haha. Then Soeur Rooarii and I made the necklaces on Friday night so they'd be fresh and pretty still for when the Goings came. It was fun to do a crafty-type thing. I have missed that!

Last Thursday, we did a service project at the chapel to help with the gardening. We dug around all the trees and did some weeding. The member who's in charge of all the chapels promised our district pizzas for having helped him. So yesterday after our district meeting, he brought us two gigantic pizzas and juice! (Like I said, don't worry-I'm being fed!)

And today for our district activity, we're going to have lunch together at a park in Dumbea and play volleyball and then go play Laser Game! Like President says, "Work hard, play hard!" :)

Well, that was my week! And just so y'all know, the transfer call is coming this week so I tell you next week if I'm changing or not!

Soeur Matheson

The couronnes de cou that Soeur Rooarii and I made for the New Zealand temple President and his wife.

Our district after district meeting (and killing time while waiting for the pizza!).

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

20 July 2016 - Week 36: Little Miracles

Bonjour tout le monde!

Our district has experienced some miracles this week! The sisters in Dumbea Sur Mer have an ami who is planning on getting baptized in August, the Elders of Dumbea now have a car (it's a must to have a car in Dumbea because it's a HUGE secteur) that is a yellow Juke, which Sœur Flake nicknamed the "Pikajuke," AND we have a new ami that is progressing and that we're going to invite to be baptized in August!

The ami is named William and he's a friend of the Guidi family in the ward. He's been coming to Church for a little while now, but we didn't push him to take the lessons because we were waiting for him to ask us. And guess what! He finally did! Haha, it helps that he and Moise started talking at Church and, because Moise is a super member missionary, he really talked up the missionary lessons to William. We've taught William every day so far this week, and we'll teach him every day (besides today cuz it's P-day and we need a break). He's progressing really fast and he understands everything really fast. It helps that he's already read the whole Book of Mormon and now he's re-reading it more in depth, and he's read the whole Principles of the Gospel book, and he reads all the brochures we give him. He says he doesn't like reading buuuuuuuttttt that's a lie, haha. And he's already quit smoking, drinking, and drinking coffee. He's literally a golden investigator, and he could be baptized tomorrow. But we're not gonna push too much because he wants to be sure about everything, but he's already told us multiple times that he knows the Church is true. He already refers to it as "our Church" not "your Church" like other amis do up until they get baptized. Yeah, he's a miracle!

On Thursday, we had a conference with the Grangers and we (finally) watched the Worldwide Missionary Broadcast that everyone was talking about in January, haha. It's a really good broadcast and, comme d'hab, [as always] I was super motivated to get out there and work after the conference!

On Friday, we went to visit this inactive sister that another member had told us about. We taught her and talked with her and she wants to come back to church. Awesome! But then we looked in the ward list, and she's not there. And we talked to the ward clerk to search for her in the records for the stake, and she's not there. Meaning she's not a member. WHAT. This is why we stress the fact that we are a Church of ORDER because when there's not order, people get lost. So we need to figure out what went wrong with her membership record... And yesterday, we heard that the missionaries in the past didn't always send in the baptismal records to be put in to the system, so maybe her record got lost somewhere... Oh man! Craziness!

Other than that, things are going well here in the great VPVM! Sorry, I'm out of time to write! Talk to you all next week!

Tal Toul!
Sœur Matheson

P.S. sorry for the lack of pics I know you all hate me for not sending pics............. :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

13 July 2016 - Week 35: Baptism!

Bonjour tout le monde! 

This week we had the baptism of Marie-Christine!! Woo hoo! And everything with the program went exactly as planned (the complete opposite of Moise's baptism, haha!) The funny thing was that Marie-Christine had asked for President Guidi, the stake president, to give a talk at the baptism and to do the confirmation on Sunday. Haha, we were really surprised, but she said she really likes the testimonies he gives. And it's true, his talks and testimonies are awesome. Haha, our DMP (ward mission leader) was skeptical that President Guidi would be able to come, but we asked and he said yes and it was awesome! The baptismal service was great and the Spirit and the love was there! And it was great because Marie-Christine had invited some of her family and they came! I was really happy for her. :) She's Melanesian, from Belep, which is an island waaaayyyyy up in the very north of New Cal. She had a bit of a rough life growing up and ended up having kids really young. She's only 55 but she has 10 kids that are all grown. I think her life situation hardened her and when we first met her, she wasn't super open. But now, she's soft and patient and loving and that's because she's had un changement de coeur! The gospel really changes people and I've been able to see that change in Marie-Christine. And it's awesome because she has a lot of support from her son and her daughter in law and from the ward members. She's already going to be put in a visiting teaching team! 

Moise is doing great! He had a bit of a rough time last week, but this week he's a lot better because he's relying more and more on the Gospel to help him in his daily life. And the awesome thing is that he's a real missionary! He talks about the gospel with the people at work and he invites his brothers and other family members to church and activities and even to take the lessons! His older brother came to church on Sunday (in the Ducos ward because it's earlier) and Moise said he was really into it. And he (and Michele. his sister in law) had invited his other sister in law Amelie to take the lessons and we've taught her once but the second time she had to cancel. We hoped to teach her this week but it's Bastille Day and the long weekend and they're doing things as a family. And Moise has really taken charge of helping the ami (named William) of the Guidi's. Joyce, the daughter, invited him to church and he's been coming for a couple weeks. He lives in Riviere Salee and for the moment there's no missionaries there, but now he wants to take the lessons. We decided that we can teach him at the chapel and Moise wants to be there for every lesson. This week for the long weekend, a lot of the ward members are going up to Kone to go camping and Moise invited William and now they're going together and I'm sure Moise is going to be talking about the Gospel the whole time with him, haha. But it's awesome and it's so great to see recent converts progressing so much and really diving in to the work here! 

Oh yeah, I don't know if I already told y'all or not, but William, the recent convert from Vallee des Colons, got married to Lovina, his girlfriend! Now we're just waiting for them to be able to go to the temple together to be sealed! :) 

The rest of the work here is going little by little. A lot of our amis want to be baptized but they can't yet because they need to get married (or break up but we don't encourage that because we preach families!) We teach them every week but they don't progress because all that's left to do it get baptized... But we're working and praying for it! And a lot of the other work we've been doing lately is visiting inactive members. On Monday, we went out with a counselor in the Relief Society to find some inactive sisters and had some good visits. It's always way better to go visit inactives with the members because it helps them have a connection with the ward and not just with the missionaries. They're more likely to come back to church if they have the support of the ward members. We're still praying and working for miracles here in New Cal! It'll take some time, but they will come! :) 

That's all for this week! Je vous aime tous!! 
Bonne semaine!! 
Ta ta na na bisous! 
Soeur Matheson

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

6 July 2016 - Week 34: Busy busy busy!

Bonjour ma famille!

This week literally flew by! We were always busy, but now that I'm sitting down to write to you, I have no idea what to say! 

Ummm... Marie-Christine is still good to go for her baptism on Saturday! Woo hoo! We had a soiree familiale [Family Home Evening] with her and her son and his wife on Monday and it was really nice. They're so humble! They don't have much money or anything, but they still offered us the best that they had: dinde et puree (turkey and mashed potatoes) and yogurt for dessert. And they gave us the rest of the yogurt to take home. This family will definitely be blessed for the sacrifices they made to have us at their home! And Marie-Christine has been inviting everyone in her family to her baptism (all of her kids, her mom, her sisters, her cousins, etc.). I'm hoping they'll all come out to support her, and that they'll feel the Spirit there!

We had a powerful experience with Moise this week. He was kind of having a crisis and lots of doubts and anger, and he was letting it all out on the Lord. We just let him talk, and then we asked him if he was ready to receive the lesson that we, as representatives of Jesus Christ, were there to share with him. The Spirit was really strong, and I really felt the power of my calling as a missionary. I know that even though I'm a sister and I don't have the priesthood, I still have power because I was set apart to preach the Gospel and represent Jesus Christ. The lesson was awesome after that, and Moise really humbled himself and accepted the message we shared with him. 

We have a new amie! She's actually the sister-in-law of Moise and the Tetuiras. They really do missionary work in their family!! Haha :) Her name is Amelie and we talked about the plan of salvation as well as the proclamation to the world on the family. She actually already knows that the Church is true because she's seen the changes in her family (Moise and his brother) and she knows that she shouldn't look any farther to find the truth. We're going to see her again tomorrow and we're hoping she'll come to church on Sunday!

We also started teaching the daughter of an inactive member (Frere Maruhi, that I talked about the other week). She's grown up in the Church but she didn't get baptized when she turned 8, and now she's 9 and she wants to be baptized. We're hoping to fix her baptism for this month because she's totally ready and there's no reason to wait! It's awesome because she practically knows all of the stories about Jesus Christ and all the miracles He performed. This little girl is so sweet and smart!

That's all the time I have for right now! Je vous aime tous!

Soeur Matheson 

Us and the APs [Assistants to the Mission President] Elder Similai and Elder Fidow after Mission Leadership Conference