Sunday, February 23, 2014

I LOVE Somosomo

Ni sa bula vina'a!
Another great week in good old Taveuni! I love this place so much! This week started out with a big, huge, nasty toe infection. I had no idea why. I woke up one morning (after sleeping on the floor of our main room because the bed room is too hot with no electricity at night) and it hurt.  It got worse and worse and everyone started telling me it was a rat bite. Ugh. I thought they were joking. But everyone was saying the same thing. Then they said to warn my whole family. Because a rat bite means someone in your family might die. So consider this your formal warning....DEAR FAMILY, PLEASE DON'T DIE. But I don't know if it was really a rat bite. Hopefully not. Anyways, I got some medicine and it's just dandy now. :) 
Sister Bechu and I decided to start cooking more instead of just eating crackers for every meal. We cooked CURRY! I've always wanted to make curry. Dream come true. And Dalo and fried rice and Vudi and lots of other super exciting things. 
This week was also monumental for the village because for the first time ever a cruise boat stopped at the island and we had tourists swarming the village. They put on a program with a Lovo (like a BBQ feast) and taught them how to sing and dance and weave and make native crafts. They were probably not too happy that there was a palagi (white person) polluting their village pictures. Oh well. 
For Service day, Sister Bechu and I FINALLY got to do washing in the river. So fun. Another dream come true. Although I'm not sure I'm completely cut out to be a permanent village woman. But the water is so clear I could see the fish swimming around my feet as I scrubbed the sulu's on the wash board. 
We weren't able to teach as many lessons as I would have liked this week because we had TONS of fall throughs, but we did get to teach seminary this week. Which is a blast. It's in English and it's exciting to be able to actually share my thoughts without getting a huge headache. 
One of the miracles I've seen since coming on a mission is the ability to talk and teach without freaking out. I know that sounds funny, but if you know me, you know that I stress out way too much before teaching or giving a talk etc. Now I can do it! This Sunday they just called us up to speak from the stand. No subject. Nothing. So we went up. I love speaking now because it's an opportunity to strengthen the whole ward at once.  To bear my testimony and share the truth.  I just turn my will over to Heavenly Father and have faith that the words will come. And they do! Also, they always have us take over the lesson whenever we step foot in the door. My goodness. So we're getting pretty good at winging it. Which is a miracle for me. I hope that's not just a temporary missionary gift, but that it carries over when I get home. 
Satan is smart though.  This last week, I've seen some contention creep into the ward through a seemingly innocent opportunity to cater and earn some money.  It's frustrating. Sometimes I hate the influence money has on people. But I've found a lot of joy and comfort and direction from reading the Book of Mormon. I LOVE the missionary stories of Alma and Amulek and the Sons of Mosiah. They mean so much more to me now that I'm a missionary. The scriptures are coming alive and it's so exciting! :)
Funny Story of the week........ So it was 110 degrees in our flat. And the electricity was down. So.... no fan. The sweat was literally dripping off my nose onto my scriptures in almost a steady stream. And Sister Bechu was laying under the table. She sighed and said...."Sister Matheson, I'm just gonna mop the whole floor with my sweat ok?" So funny. 
One of the best experiences this week was with our investigator Brother Orisi. He is struggling with the Word of Wisdom but has a baptismal date for March 23rd. His daughter is serving a mission right now though and I've seen the impact that has had on her family and her dad. We were bummed because we weren't able to meet with him this week.  Everything fell through. But yesterday when we went to visit him the lesson was incredible. It was about the temple and eternal families.  I got the feeling that we needed to help him build a vision of what it will be like to have his entire family with him in the temple being sealed. Really help him imagine the feelings and atmosphere.  Then we gave him a Temple pass along card and told him to imagine the sealing and look at the temple pic when we wanted to drink or smoke.  I saw his eyes light up and he shared with us his dedication to living this Gospel and his determination to go to the temple.  I'm hoping to be able to go with them to the temple someday. They are incredible. 
This scripture had a big impact on me this week...... ".... yet ye shall be Patient in long suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls." Alma 17:11 
I love this promise because it tells me how I can be an instrument in His hands. This promise is given to the Sons of Mosiah right before they go out among the wild hard-hearted Lamanites. And they truly were patient in long suffering and afflictions. They were thrown in prison, beat, mocked, starved etc. over and over again but they were Patient. And they were an instrument in bring thousands of souls to the Gospel. Missions are NOT easy.  Everyday there is something that is hard.  Some days EVERYTHING is hard. Every second. But the joys are worth it. I love this work and I love these people. I Love this Gospel. 
Loloma Levu,
Sister Matheson

The cultural Event for the Tourists. What a party!

Doing Laundry in the river like a true village woman!

Our water filter after one month.  I thought there was no way it needed to be changed yet. Ha. The white one is new, the brown one is old. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Neil L. Anderson and Bechuson the Not-So-Friendly RAT!

Oilalu! What a week! I never ever know where to start, so sorry if this is super scatter brained. 
First..... the Highlight of the week was our trip to Suva for the MISSION CONFERENCE! It was the biggest group of Fiji Suva Missionaries every assembled. Ever. There are 142 of us now. Elder Neil L. Anderson came and spoke. It was so good! One of the biggest things that hit me was his emphasis on really KNOWING the scriptures. Knowing where all of the stories are found and where you can find scriptures on the Atonement, Faith, etc. He encouraged us to have the "Words of God running through our veins." Tad R. Callister also came and he also rocks. 
At the conference I got to meet a bunch of people finally! Everyone says Sister Pyne and Sister Rich and I look exactly alike. I attached a picture. This old man was upset Bula because I didn't remember him.  Turns out he thought I was Sister Pyne.  (Actually she didn't attach the picture -- maybe next week)
They had a cultural night which was also a blast! Being in Suva made me sooo glad I'm serving in a village. Kaicolo sara ga. It was weird to be somewhere where there is more than one street, and people wear shoes, etc. 
The airplane ride back was a bit sketchy. We got to the airport at 5 am and the elders found out their tickets fell through. When we got on the plane we found out why. A giant SURFBOARD was taking up 6 seats. They were replaced by a surfboard. We about died. Ha. Then the ceiling started leaking and as we were about to take off, the captain's door flew open. Oile. I'm not usually worried about flying, but I was a bit sketched. But we survived. :)
Sister Bechu always teases me about the rats in our flat. But I never believed her. But the other day we were standing in the kitchen and the ceiling came alive. RATS. Running all around. I about jumped out of my skirt. And they didn't stop. All night. There must have been some rat convention at our flat. I don't know. But I couldn't sleep. Then Sis. Bechu reminded me to sleep with a sheet so they don't bite my feet. I flipped. Then she showed me the picture of the dead rat they found a month or so ago. Like over a foot long!!!!! Then I really couldn't sleep. We named our rat Bechuson. But the next day, I was telling the Vuna Elders and was quickly humbled because they kill one almost every night. My goodness. I just kept thinking of the other side of heaven. I'll take my cockroaches thank you very much. I just hope our rat stays in our ceiling and I never have to see him. Oi le Fiji.  Good thing I love this country so much. 
Also, the power has been off a ton this week. HOT!!!!!!! I literally can't think straight when we are stuck in our 97 degree flat with no fan, because the sweat is  streaming off my face. But WAYYYY better here than freezing cold right? 
Miracle of the week....... We took my ipod and speaker on our one hour (each way) trek up to the bush to visit our investigator Resina. When we left it said low battery. We listened to "Learn of Me" which starts "I walk today...." on repeat the whole way up thinking it was going to die any second. On our way down it beeped and said the super low battery warning where it usually dies like 5 mins later. IT LASTED THE WHOLE WAY! And died literally 5 feet in front of our house. We were so grateful for the tender mercy of the Lord. The simple song kept us going in the heat. 
The other night we were walking home late after a lesson and stopped by Sister Ranama's house.  It was packed! The men were outside chatting and drinking a traditional drink, the women and girls were inside learning to sing and dance a traditional meke and the kids were running around with no shoes.  Everyone was so happy.  But I think I was the happiest. I realized that I am truly living in a Village in the bush in Fiji.  This stuff still exists. I love this village and these people and this culture. They help me realize you don't need much to be truly happy. 
I love you all! And I LOVE being a missionary. Life is wonderful. Rats, Cockroaches, Sweat and all. :) I'm a happy girl. 
Loloma Levu,
Sister Matheson

On the plane to Suva

My girls. Sori and Litiana. 

Our hour walk up to the Bush. GORGEOUS!

Pictures sent to me (Aimee's mom) from a visitor to the Somosomo area.