Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Heavenly Father Loves Me!

Bula Vina'a!
Talk about an eventful week! This week has been a little bit crazy. But some really great things happened. We started off the week with a funeral. Funerals are quite the event here. Monday the whole branch and the rest of the village went to the Watikini's house and brought some cakes and things. The men sit and do some ceremonial speeches and stuff and the women go inside and sit and comfort and sing with the wife. Then the close family feeds like 100+ people. The next day it starts all over again. There's the normal funeral then the burial ceremony (where the men/boys dig the grave themselves) and some singing and ceremonial things again.  Then more food. A LOT of food. And a LOT of people. And they slaughter a cow and divide it among all the families that come. It was such a tender experience to participate in the funeral.  He will be greatly missed.
Monday we also had our last District Meeting before things change. We sang "Nearer my God to Thee" and it was absolutely beautiful. Harmonized and with so much emotion. I will never forget it. We have grown so close as a District and I actually feel like we are a family. I'm going to miss each of them so much.
Wednesday I still hadn't heard when exactly I was being transferred. Everyone else left Tuesday morning. But I assumed it was probably Thursday. So I was saying my goodbyes and stressing sara va'alevu. Then I got a call from the Assistants.  They said they were soooo sorry but the next flight they could get me on was not until Sunday Afternoon. After Biu's baptism and the District Conference. I've never been so happy! That's how I know Heavenly Father loves me :)

Thursday for Service we spent FOREVER raking the cut grass at the church. I've never been so grateful for Lawn Mowers where the grass is all collected in those cute little bags. And I also really think the church needs to either invest in one or sell some property.
Sister Laru's new companion Sister Tago (Samoan) came in Friday morning so we were in a trio for a few days. So fun! They are going to be awesome together! I already miss them both so much!
Saturday was Brother Biu's Baptism!!! :) I LOVE baptisms. But when we woke up the water was off. So we were a little bit stressed. But were hoping for an Ocean baptism if the water didn't come on. The water eventually came on but it was pretty dirty. The baptism was awesome though. It was right after Disctrict Conference and it was packed. President Klingler was presiding which was really awesome.  After the baptism we sang "Nearer My God to Thee" and the spirit poured over me as I sang the line "All that thou sendest me, in mercy giv'n." I know that it was a tender mercy from the Lord to be able to be at that Baptism and also that I had the opportunity of working with and teaching someone who has been SO prepared by the Lord to receive the Gospel.  I know that Brother Biu will be a pillar of strength here in Taveuni. :)
District Conference was fabulous. I cried at the end as they sang "God be with you till we meet again" and "Isa Lei" (Fijian Farewell song). They were singing to the Klinglers, but I still felt their love and realized how much I'm going to miss Taveuni. It's my home. And my family. It was kind of a dream come true to hear them sing "God Be With You".   Kind of like from the "Other Side of Heaven." It was the perfect way to end my time in Taveuni and I am forever grateful to my Heavenly Father for allowing me to stay a few days longer.
And now I'm in Lautoka! With Sister Mataoa! She is Tahitian and adorable. And I already love her so much! She is a wonderful missionary and a great example to me! I'm so excited to work with her and get to know the area. Lautoka feels soooo huge even though it's really not. Anything is bigger than Taveuni. But I know I will love it here. And I know that as hard as change is, this is my Heavenly Father's plan for me. I know He loves me. I know that as long as I submit my will to Him and be obedient and work hard and just LOVE the people here, everything will work out. I love being a missionary! :)
Loloma Levu,
Sista Matheson :)

Brother Biu's Baptism!

One Last Ice Cream with Ozie

Last dinner with Sister Laru and Sister Tago

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Goodbye is the hardest part.


This has been quite the eventful week. Good and bad and hard and happy. And everything in between. 
I'll start with the hard and the bad. And the really really sad. Wednesday Morning we got a call that our Branch President passed away. He was cutting grass at the church then sat down because he was tired from the hot sun. He was chatting with a few new members about the temple.  Then another member came and tried to shake his hand but he didn't respond. He never woke up. :( So sad. We think it was probably a heart attack or something, but it seems like a semi peaceful death without too much suffering so we can be grateful for that at least. He was such a great man. The night before, he came to choir practice and was laughing and joking and his last words to me were..... "Moce sista Merika" (bye Sister America). So it's been a hard week. Especially because both of his counselors have been really really sick and one is even in Suva at the hospital. And the rest of the leadership went to Labasa this week for District Conference. But we made it through Sunday. And the funeral is tomorrow. 
Now for something a little bit happier. Biu (our super awesome, 100% golden investigator) passed his interview with flying colors! I was so excited for his interview not to prove to everyone how incredible OUR investigator was, but because I KNOW that hearing a story and testimony like Biu's will strengthen each and every missionary's testimony that Heavenly Father is truly preparing people to receive the Gospel. They are out there. Just waiting. And let me tell ya.... it's REAL exciting when you finally find them. :) 
A few other things we did this week..... Service cleaning the house with Sister Vika and her kids. She just had a new adorable baby boy. Choir practice, choir practice, and more choir practice to get ready for the District conference and now funeral. We also have a few more investigators that are progressing nicely. Yesterday I was also pretty sick and had a fever because my mosquito bites turned into boils again. First time I've been really cold my whole mission. And it was 90 degrees outside ha. But it's better today with a little medicine. 
Funny story of the week........ Thursday morning I woke up to Sister Laru staring out the window. I went over to check it out and there was Brother Fisher. And a heard of piglets. Just staring each other down. Then we watched him run around the yard and catch them one by one. It was a whole family affair really. It takes a lot of coordination and effort to catch pigs. It was quite the sight. It was our entertainment for the week. :)
Now for the biggest news..... I GOT TRANSFERRED.  I'm going to Lautoka 1st ward.  Sister Mataoa is my new companion and Sister Laru is going to be training here. Lautoka is on the main island and is in the "burning west". I'm excited to meet new people and have new experiences but I'm gonna miss the village life SO MUCH.  My heart is in Taveuni. Kai Somosomo. I bawled at church yesterday.  Change is hard but I know it's what the Lord has in store for me and I know he will help me through every step of the way. I've learned SO much in this area and had so many growing experiences. I absolutely adore the people here. They are my family. I'll miss my fabulous companion Sister Laru (and already miss Sister Bechu) so much. But I'm ready to move forward with faith! 
Loloma Levu,

Sister Matheson

Last dinner with the Lalabalavu's. They are the sweetest.  They feed us EVERY Thursday. 

Dinner with the Driver's. One of my many families here. They feed us every week too!

Our Golden investigator Biu (far left) and President Maiwiriwiri (Right) after our lesson.

 After Service at Sister Vika's house. Having a popcorn break with our "Helpers" :)

Primary! We love spending time in primary!