Monday, June 24, 2013

Wow! Samoans Love Food

 Doing laundry
MTC District
I'm so sad these sisters won't be in Seattle so I'll never get to serve with them. They're so great. 

 The two trios from our zone in the MTC

 What the cake looked like after the car ride. 
 Me covered in frosting.
 I don't know if you can see how dirty my skirt is. 

What the cake now looks like.
Mission life is so good! The best! I love it so much. So much happiness. 

Talofa family!

How are all of you? I hope you get feeling better, Bruce. And Dad's knee too. I'm praying for all of you. I pray for you everyday. 

The book cover is so cute! Oh my goodness. I love it so much. I'm so excited for you. This will be so great. Can't wait to get home and have my own copy and reread it. I love it so much. 

Well, I've survived my first week in the Samoan ward. Well almost first week. I was told that Samoans love food, but wow, do they really love food. They feed us fafaga (dinner) every night. Also, who knew, but Samoans really love Chinese Buffets. They think they're incredible. So we go to Chinese Buffets quite often. And they watch you eat to make sure you're eating enough. They make you go back at least twice and then dessert. My companion, Sister McBride, said that one time she went to Chinese Buffets six nights in a row. Holy cow. That hasn't happened yet. Just two nights in a row so far. I haven't really eaten real Samoan food yet. Apparently I'm getting my first real Samoan food tonight with the Bishop's family. They just eat a lot of meat. 

The ward is really great. They're all really friendly and just laugh at me. But in the nicest possible way. haha. I'm the third sister missionary they've ever had and I'm replacing the one that was Samoan so it's a little interesting. Everyone's so nice but I have some big shoes to fill becuase everyone loved Sister Lotoa. I've learned some Samoan words and phrases. I just try and learn a few new words each day. I can say please, thank you, dinner, hungry, sleep, families are forever, yes, no, I am a daughter of God, the Book of Mormon, and a few other things. 

So far one of my favorite things about the ward--the children. Oh my goodness. They are so sweet. It's a little more relaxed in the Samoan ward so they'll come up and play with us and give us hugs and stuff. So cute. I love it so much. There's one little boy named Jackson who's probably 5 or 6. He is one of my favorites. I've seen him a couple times now and he always waves to me and talks to me. He's so great. 

It was interesting to be in Sacrament Meeting and not understand what was going on. One of the youth speakers gave their talk in English so that was nice and the other one gave his talk in half Samoan half English so I understood that part. The Bishop announced my name but I didn't know what was happening. Then I figured out that I was supposed to get up and bear my testimony. I started by saying talofa and Sister Ilaua (she's so sweet. I've met her a couple of times because of ward correlation and they fed us dinner) was so proud of me. I really like her. We went to Sunday School with our investigator, Siona, so it was in Samoan. It was really hard to stay awake. 

We have two investigators who are on date for baptism within the next week--Sina and Siona. Pray for them please. Siona just has to get married and then he should be good to go but he rescheduled our lesson for tomorrow so just really pray for him. Sina is so ready to be baptized. She's so sweet and she has an adorable little three year old girl. She just has to get permission from her husband but he's on the boat. I only semi-know what that means but apparently they go up to Alaska and they're gone for a couple months or something. Anyway, she still needs to ask him but it's hard to get in contact with him and she's worried he'll say no. We're going over there tonight and we're going to teach her about fasting and fast tomorrow but really pray for her.
Pray for new investigators too. We go off referrals and we've seriously contacted everyone in our area book. They're either not interested or never answer their door. Some of them we hear too. It's kind of funny when you walk up and hear people and the TV and then you knock and everything gets quiet. We've actually watched the blinds close at some places. Not very sneaky. But all we can do is keep going back. We're really going to push the ward for referrals but pray for us. I really want some new people to work with. Once Sina and Siona get baptized we won't have any progressing investigators. 

We had a neat experience. We were out tracting for training purposes since we don't really have much success tracting for Samoans. Anyway it was pretty late in the day on Saturday and we had had no success. No one was home or they didn't want to talk to us. It had just been a long day. It was President Larkin's last Saturday so the goal was to get as many people on date for baptism as possible. Apparently it works a little different in the Samoan ward because Saturdays are super successful for palagi areas but not for us. Anyway we get these voicemails called miracle blasts and all these people were talking about how they had just met someone who was so ready. It was so great! But anyway we had just visited a less active member and had about fifteen minutes left so we went to this apartment complex and Sister McBride told me to pick a door. We walked up to one and knocked and out comes this very large white man in short shorts and no shirt. It was pretty gross to be honest. But I tried to see him as God sees him. We told him we were missionaries and all that stuff. He was interested so he went back and got a shirt on (thank goodness!) and came out and spoke to us. We had a mini Restoration lesson and he was so great. He seemed so interested and willing to learn. We went over the second to last paragraph in the Introduction adn then read Moroni 10:3-5. We gave him a Book of Mormon and a Restoration pamphlet and he said he would read 3 Nephi 11. It was so great. We got his info to pass on to the misisonaries in his area. It was definitely a miracle from God. I wish we could work with him but that's ok. He was ready for the gospel. It was a great experience. 

Another cool thing happened yesterday. We were visiting one of our referrals and there was no parking anywhere in her complex so we had to park kind of far away. She didn't answer but on our way back we ran into a man named Daniel who took a Book of Mormon and wants to learn more. So we got his info to give to the missionaries in his area as well. It was so neat. We wouldn't have met him if we hadn't have had to park so far away. God really knows what He's doing. I'm so grateful for that. Being on a mission is the greatest! I love it so much. I'm so grateful I have this opportunity to serve. The gospel is so true and God loves all of us so much.

Funny story. On Friday the family that signed up for fafaga had a wedding reception so they invited us to come and eat there. We ended up being there for so long. Samoans never start on time. At least the Samoans I know so far don't. Anyway, the sister of the groom is from our ward so we didn't even know who the bride and groom were. There weren't very many people there so it was kind of awkward. Anyway they're cutting the cake. The wedding cake was about four or five separate cakes. After they cut the cake they gave one to the Bishop from their ward and then one to the bride's family and then one to the missionaries. Apparently everywhere we go we just become guests of honor or something. It felt so weird to walk out of someone's wedding who I didn't even know carrying one of their cakes.

I tried to get the elders to take it home but they said they would just stop by later and pick up their half. So I was left to hold the cake on my lap. We stopped by Sina's after the reception and when we got back to the car the top layer of the cake ahd cracked and started slipping off. It wasn't a huge deal though. I just had to squish it back on. My hands were covered in frosting at that point so we tried to wash it off in the parking lot with a water bottle. Then we turned back around to get the cake from the hood of the car and it had just slipped more. We once again tried to squish it back together but it didn't work so well. We got in the car and from there it just got worse. There was cake falling all over my lap and my hands up to my forearms were covered in frosting as I tried to hold the cake together. Sister McBride ended up driving with one hand so she could hold the part together that I couldn't reach. IT was seriously one of the funniest things ever! There's a cake trail from our car to our apartment. When I stood up from the car to get out so much cake fell to the parking lot that had been on my lap. I have some hilarious pictures to send home. I'm not sure if I'll have time this week but I'll try. IT was so funny. We were dying laughing. Luckily my skirt came clean. Currently there is a heap of wedding cake in a bowl in our fridge. Someone else's wedding cake. If we ever get given a cake again the elders have to take it home that's for sure. They of course thought this was hilarious. Which it was. Definitely one of the funniest things ever. We had to clean our car, our kitchen floor, our carpet, our counter and ourselves. IT was quite the ordeal. 

Well I hope you allhave a great week. I love you all so much! Choose the right! 
Sister White 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Hello Family!

I am here. We arrived safely to Seattle yesterday. It was one of the longest days of my life. Woke up at 3:30 in the morning yesterday so we could leave the MTC bright and early. Actually it was still dark, but there's a cliche for Dad. It was so great to get to call you guys yesterday. Everyone sounded great. Happy Birthday Mom! We'll have to do this day of service again when I get back from my mission. Sounds fun.

They told us to talk to people on the plane about missionary work. Well I had two elders to the left of me, an aisle to the right and another elder on the other side of the aisle. I guess that's what happens when you have 31 missionaries arriving in seattle. It's the most they've ever had. Pretty exciting stuff. 

We were picked up from the airport and handed out pass along cards for a few minutes. The missionary that was driving us was a terrifying driver. We found out in the car that we were being assigned our trainers that day and depending on what zone they were in that would be our mission. So six zones were going to Federal Way and four zones were staying in Seattle. Pretty much all of us knew that most of us would be going to Federal Way. Then we drove to the mission president's home. Not gonna lie, it felt pretty cool that I already knew what it looked like. We took pictures and stayed at the mission president's home for a long time because he had to interview all of us. The interviews were pretty short but it still took a long time with everyone. We had some training and ate delicious food. 

Oh my goodness. They were these beef sandwich things. I don't even know but it seriously tasted like one of the best things I've ever eaten. All the sisters from my zone were making fun of me because I was seriously in heaven. I was so excited not to eat an orange and cantaloup for a meal. It was delicious.

Because of our last name I was one of the very last people to be interviewed by the mission president. He asked the normal questions about my family and to describe myself and stuff like that. Then he asked how I felt about what he had said earlier (he had been talking about all of the different people that live in this area--how there are people from countries we've never heard of and how there's a lot of diversity. I told him I like different people or something like that. I don't really remember. Then he asked me how I feel about Polynesians. I told him I liked them. Then he asked whether I liked their food and I told him I didn't know. He asked me whether I would be able to eat a lot of food, even if I didn't like it. I told him I'm a little bit picky (probably an understatement) but that if necessary I would shovel down food I didn't like for the Lord. That was pretty much it. I thought that was kind of random but I didn't really think anything of it.

We get to the Mercer Island building and have a meeting and then the trainers all come in and he starts announcing trainers to come up. He would say a little bit about the missionary and the area they would be serving in. Then he would tell us whether it was in the Seattle or Federal Way mission. There were a few people staying in Seattle but it felt like everyone was going to Federal Way. He started out with elders and then went to sisters. I was the very last sister announced besides the two Spanish sisters. The suspense was killing me. My heart was racing. I didn't realize I was the last person though. Anyway, all of my district except one sister got called to the Federal Way mission. And guess what? I'M STAYING IN THE SEATTLE MISSION!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Oh my. I am so excited. I'm also a little bit sad because I really loved my sisters from my district and even the two elders. I was hoping I'd be able to serve with some of those sisters some day. But it feels so right to be in Seattle. There's not too many of us staying.

But guess what else? I'm in a Samoan ward. They speak Samoan in Sacrament Meeting and then for Relief Society they have a Samoan class and an English class. My trainer has only been here for two transfers. So she just got finished training and now she's training me. She's been in the Samoan ward for her two transfers. We work with a set of elders really closely apparently. They're also in our ward. I met them last night at a ward correlation meeting. The two elders serving with us have both been in this ward before and now they're back. One understands Samoan and the other one does pretty well but they don't speak it. Sister McBride (my trainer) had a Samoan companion who knew the language so she taught her some stuff. She understands some words and phrases. I officially now know how to say hello, goodbye , yes and no. haha. 

The ward correlation meeting was in Samoan part of the time and English part of the time. The only problem was that I could barely tell the difference between when they were speaking in Samoan or English. They're really hard to understand but I'm sure it will just take a little time. The elder who understands Samoan well is from New Zealand. He has a really cool accent but I also can't really tell what he's saying most of the time.

We have dinner appointments every night. I guess they just feed us all the time. So that will be interesting. I'll probably gain weight, but hopefully I'll at least like  the food in the process. We have two investigators who have a baptismal date in the next couple weeks so that'll be great. I met one of them last night and we're meeting the other one later this afternoon. Earlier we went to some referrals. We knocked and we watched the blinds close and heard them hide. But it's ok. Every rejection is just that much closer to someone accepting our message. 

We don't do much tracting because we go off referrals since we only work with Samoan people. I can't really remember anyone's name that I met last night. They're all hard to pronounce. But it's so great! I never would have expected this of my first area on my mission. Or any area on my mission really. But I'm so excited to get to know these people better and learn about their culture. I can't wait to go find Samoan people who are ready for the blessings of the gospel!

When the mission splits we'll still be going to Federal Way at times. We travel all over the missionary boundaries since we only work with Samoans. Pretty cool, huh?

Can you even believe it?! Who would've guessed I'd be in a Samoan ward. Pretty crazy and so, so exciting!

They all call me Palani or something. I don't know how to spell it. But it means white and they all think it's hilarious becuase I am white but our last name is also white. I met quite a few members last night. They just kind of hang out at the ward building on Tuesday nights I guess. It's so funny. They all are laughing at me. Probably becuase I had this huge look of shock all last night and have no idea what they're saying. Even when they say it in English.

Love you all so much. Choose the right.


Sister Veronica White

Friday, June 14, 2013

2nd P-day

Hello family!

How are all of you? Thanks so much for the pakcage. It was so great to get it and I love the headband you guys made. So cute. Savannah's little bear card she made--awesome! 

Wow. This week--so many things to say. I don't even know where to begin. It's been a long week. Time is so weird at the MTC. All the days feel SO long but then days still kinda go by quickly. I don't know? Anyway, it's been a good week. Lots of growth in the gospel. 

How was girls camp, Savannah? Hope you had fun. Hope everyone is doing well. I'm praying for you all everyday. Happy Father's Day Dad! Hope you have a great day! Sorry I'm not there to give you a GIANT hug. And Happy Birthday, Mom! I would also give you a HUGE hug if I was there. I love you both so much and am so grateful for the great parents and examples that you are to me.

We fly out Tuesday!!!! At 4:30 am. Well, we leave the MTC at 4:30. I think I might get to call you. I bought a phone card today. It will probably be early Tuesday morning. I think before we fly out from Salt Lake so maybe around 7ish. Anyway, just be awake so that I can talk to you! Sunday was good but it felt so weird. We had Sacrament Meeting with just our zone so it was a small meeting at seven thirty in the morning. Then Relief Society was with all of the sisters. SO MANY SISTERS! It's incredible. On Sunday I got to spend some time on the computer doing Missionary Portal stuff and I got done early so I got to watch Mormon Messages. I love Mormon Messages so much! They are my favorite thing. You should look up the one with Henry B. Eyring speaking. The three different family situations. It's so good. I'm sure you've seen it before but you should watch it again.

We've had some really good devotionals. I'm just so excited to get out there and share the gospel with everyone. It really is for everyone. It's so important that we look at people for what they can become and not how they are now. We are talking about salvation here! It's just incredible. We're not even just talking about one person coming unto Christ but it can affect generations--it affects FOREVER. The gospel is just so good. I love it so much. 

We were having a Zione meeting the other day. It was so good. Anyway, I was paired up with an Elder Bailey from the other district, also going to Seattle. (Guess what, Joe? It's Thurl Bailey's nephew. I thought you would think tha'ts cool.) Anyway we had watched part of Elder Holland's talk about Christ talking to Peter. I don't remember for sure when it was given but it was pretty reecently. You guys should watch that for FHE or something. So amazing. Anyway then our teacher Brother Rasmussen told us that we were supposed to talk to the person we were with and one of us was supposed to be Christ and the other was supposed to be Peter. It sounds weird and it kinda was. But after we did that one of us was supposed to be a person we really admire and look up to who is strong in the church. They were supposed to have fallen away and the other person was supposedd to be Chirst talking to them. I was Grandma Higginson and Elder Bailey was Chirst. It was weird playing Grandma as someone falling away. It sounds so weird but it was so amazing. It was such a spirital experience. It made me realize how personal with Christ our relationship is. Or at least should be. He's overcome everything for us and he never gets annoyed at us when we make mistakes. He has a perfect love. The Atonement is just the best thing ever. I'm so grateful for it. I can't believe that Christ would love us enough to go through that and that God would love us enough to let His perfect son go through that so that we could have the opportunity to return to Him again some day.

The Atonement really is incredible. We can change because of it. It really is enabling. I think i might have mentioned last week but I feel myself being enabled and changing for the better. I have such a love for my investigators that I'm working with here who aren't even real. I have such a love for my companions. Everyone thinks I'm just this happyy, positive, girl. Seriously people are telling me that I'm the most positive person they've ever met. Um, what? I feel like Savannah or something. But I know it's because of the Atonement and because I'm coming closer to Christ that I am changing to be a better person. I feel so happy. All the time. I love this gospel so much!!!!!!

I love you all so much.
Sorry again for all of the randomness. I feel like this is probably a crazy email but I hope it makes sense.
Love you! Choose the right.
Love, Sister White

Friday, June 7, 2013

First P-day in the MTC

Dear Family,

Hello! How are all of you? How is Joe's knee doing? Any news? My P days are on Friday while I'm at the MTC. It's been really great so far! They keep us really busy. But it's really good. I can't believe I've only been here for three days. It feels like it's been longer than that. Yesterday was such a long day. But a good long day. So many spiritual experiences. I've felt the Spirit confirm to me so many times in the last few days that this is what I'm supposed to be doing. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I've felt so much happiness. Everyone just seems so happy here. I've seen so many people I know. There's lots of Lone Peak kids. Everywhere. I've seen Sister Manwaring a lot too. It's taking some getting used to calling everybody Sister and Elder.

I have two companions. We're in a trio. One is named Sister Batton. She's from California and is 22. The other, Sister Goble, is from Utah and she's 19. They're both going to Seattle as well. There are two other sisters in our dorm that are going to Seattle and two elders from our district going to Seattle. The other four elders are going to St. Louis, Missouri. I love my district so much. Oh my. Everyone brings so many different strengths. It's interesting having a trio to work with. The other sisters are definitely more outspoken than I am but I think we balance each other out pretty well. They are both good sisters and I feel very blessed because I know Christ is helping me to love them. I don't mean that it's a challenge to love them, I just mean that I feel such a great love for them even though I don't know them very well. Love is a thing I've been focusing on a lot. During one of my personal study times I focused on attributes of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and one of the things that really stuck out to me and kept coming up was LOVE. He loves us so much. He has such a perfect love and it's been so amazing to feel the love that they have for me and for all of these missionaries that I'm serving with. We've focused a lot too on how we have to love our investigators so much. We have to have a Christlike love for them before we meet them.

There are so mnay missionaries everywhere! Over 900 missionaries came in the day that I came in. That's the most they've had yet. We've done some role playing but it was with a big group. We have our first appointment with our progressing investigator tomorrow. I'm a little nervous for it but I'm trying to change that attitude. It's not me who does the teaching it's the Spriit. So I know that if I've planned well and have the Spriit with me and pray to have it touch our investigator that deverything will be ok. My teachers are so great. I really like them. They have such strong testimonies.

The first day that I got here I missed meeting my district so I dodn't get to meet up with my companions until later that day. The food is alright. Breakfast is by far the best but none of the food is really great. I've been spoiled with Mom's delicious cooking abilities. I love you all so much. I feel like I have so much more to say but I'm running out of time. Just know that I'm doing so well. I love being a missionary. There's a strenght and purpose that comes from it. Love you! Choose the right.

If you're ever down in Provo you can go to the post office in BYU in the Wilk and send packages to the MTC for one dollar so that's nice. I'd love to get a package, but also send letters! Thanks for your letter. I like using Dear Elder becuase then I can get it that day. Have the kids do that. I miss them. I wish I could hear Savannah sing. That is one of my favorite hymns. I'm sure it will be beautiful. I have seen Elder Judd. Every day so far actually. Yesterday I saw him three times I think. It's funny. Some of the kids from Lone Peak that I never would speak to in the hall when I was there--we end up saying hi and visiting for a sec. That sentence was worded weird, sorry. Anyway, I just think it's really comforting to see a familiar face. I'm not sure if I get to call at the airport or not. I asked around but no one is certain.

There are at least thirteen sisters going to Seattle and seven elders that I know of. So many going. I learned something though, apparently I could still be sent to Federal Way. they haven't opened up the mission yet so it's opening july 1. They're taking some missionaries from Seattle and Tacoma to make the Federal Way mission. When I first heard this I was so sad. I REALLY want to serve in Seattle. So badly. But I've been praying and will continue to pray that I will have a good attitude about it. Either way everything will be fine. its' about the people so that's what important. I've just been so set on Seattle so I think that's why it freaked me out a little bit. 

We went to the temple today. It was really great. I just missed you, Mom, because I've never gone to the temple without you since receiving my endowments. We had a really great lesson earlier about the Doctrine of Christ. I still need to study it out. But we focused a lot on the Atonement and it was so great. I feel like I learned so much more about it. It's truly amazing. This gospel is amazing. Sorry I missed you. We'll have to try and figure it out next week. I might be able to get on one more time later today but I'm not sure, so if not just knwo that I love you all SO MUCH. write me please!!!! I want to hear about what's going on. Tell Savannah the card she made with the fox was the coolest thing ever.

I just had the coolest experience. We were doing laundry and I was just writing a letter while my companions spoke with these other elders. I was kind of listening but not that much. Anyway, I started visiting with these other elders that were to the left of me. One is from Brazil and the other is from Ecuador. They are serving in Salt Lake. The one from Brazil reminded me of Mehmet. He kinda looked like him and acted like him. It made me really happy.

Anyway, the one from Ecuador was 26 and he has already graduated from college and was working as an industrial engineer. He left his job to go serve a mission. He lived in Spain for a while Dad. anyway, it was just one of those really cool experiences where you know that God loves the person you're talking to so much. I don't know if that makes sense. I just felt like God was so proud of him for his decision. It's so cool. This gospel is the greatest thing there is. I love it so much. I feel like I have such a love for people that I didn't have before. It's so amazing. I know it's a blessing that I'm receiving from my Father in Heaven. We were talking today about how the atonement is enabling and it changes your nature. It's already changing me into a better person. I love the gospel so much! We're so lucky to have it in our lives. WE need to always remember that and not take it for granted.

Have a great week. Love you all so much! You're great. Do fun things while I'm gone. Don't be sad, Mom. I'm so happy! Love you!!!!!!!! Choose the right.

Sister White

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Missionary Training Center

 Today Veronica entered the Missionary Training Center. She will be there for thirteen days. Can't wait to get her first letter.