Wednesday, July 31, 2013

 I made it through my first transfer.

This is bad lighting and I can't see our faces so this might be a horrible pic, but look how Samoan we are. Elders in their ias (no idea how to spell it--skirts) and us in our pulakasis. We're turning brown .

Look at how Samoan I am. Pulakasi, lavalava, and Samoan name tag. I'm just missing the brown. 

 My team won the game we were playing.. this is the trophy. Pretty exciting stuff.

 Not really sure what this one is.
 Elder Kenape, Elder Keung, Roy, me, Seka, and Sister McBride.

Our pulakasis. We get to wear them on Sundays to church as long as we both wear them. 

My Samoan Nametag

This is from Sunday. Me and Fui. We all made breakfast for dinner at Seka's house and then ate and played games and had FHE and stuff. Super fun.

 These look more like missionary pictures.

 Our "Family" pictures

 P-day fun.

Karen, us missionaries, and Seka. And some palagi man. 
 Seka, Elder Keung, and Roy.

Making food. I was in charge of pancakes. They had never had breakfast for dinner before but they let us pick what we wanted so that's what Sister McBride and I chose. 
 I just love this family.

Our Cheerleading picture

This is me being athletic. If that's possible.
 Look how beautiful!

 More strange bush pictures.

 Look at my hair!

 This photo is so funny. Look at the Samoan kid in the yellow shirt, Roy. Everyone calls this photo the last vision. haha.

 Sister McBride and me on P day. We went to a park--definitely not a hike. But it was so beautiful and fun!
 Seka, me and Elder Keung photo bombing. Seka is the greatest. I love that girl!

They love jumping pictures.

Talofa Family!

Hope all is well. This week was a great week. But most importantly, I'm staying in Samoa!!!!! 

So happy I didn't get transferred. I have at least another transfer in Samoa with Sister McBride. 

Things are so good. Mission life is so good. We taught Valerie and Rona for the first time this last Sunday. They are Sister O'Brien's nieces that just moved here from Samoa two months ago. They're fifteen and twenty-one. They're so sweet. I just absolutely love them. The O'Briens have already been talking to them about the gospel and they've already started reading the Book of Mormon and know a little about Joseph Smith. We taught them about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. And they were taking notes! Could they be more perfect? They really want to learn and Valerie basically bore her testimony about Joseph Smith already. I wish you could meet them. They are just so sweet. I know I've already said that a lot but it's the perfect description. We have another lesson with them tonight which I'm super excited about. It'll be great. They said they want to be baptized. Right now we're looking at August 16 but we may move it to August 10. We'll see. 

Also, do you remember Sasa? I love Sasa! We had two really great lessons this last week. She loves it when we come over. She calls it Bible Study. She said that she knows the church is true! She's just praying to see what she should do. If she gets baptized she has to change a lot of things. She recognizes the commitment and wants to make sure she's ready. Her husband is the deacon in another church and they go to church together every week. She likes her church. Anyway, she just needs to work some things out. She said she would pray to see what God wants her to do and what is best for her and her family. Keep her in your prayers. It's amazing the amount of love that Heavenly Father blesses us missionaries with. I just feel so much love for these people and I want them to be happy. True happiness comes from living the gospel and being close to our Heavenly Father and Savior. The gospel is the greatest ever. 

We found a lot of potentials this week. It was a good Samoan finding week, that's for sure. Now the trick is to actually get to talk with them. We met Nathan. He is a less active member's cousin. We tried her apartment one of the very first days I was here. I barely remembered it, I just remembered her name. Anyway, last week we had just tried someone and they weren't home and we were about to go to our next name on the planner when Soloi's name popped into my head. I told Sister McBride we should go visit them. She was a little unsure, but agreed. We went over there and met Nathan. He was pretty busy, but we had a quick lesson about The Book of Mormon and he agreed to read it. We visited him again this weekend. Had a one minute restoration lesson because he had just woken up and was busy, but he said he'd read and pray. The next day we met his wife, Meli, and Soloi. They said he's been reading the book. They were both surprised because he's never even touched a Bible. Meli said she was really shocked. She said she's not interested, but we visited with her for a little while and got to know her better and shared a scripture. Ether 12:4--one of my favorites. It was incredible to watch her. I know she was feeling the Spirit as we talked about it. She invited us to come back any time we want! This is great!

We had a lot of fun with the ward this week. I have lots of pictures from last P day to send and on Sunday we ate with Seka's family and had lots of fun.

We wore pulakasis on Sunday. Major brownie points. I don't think I've ever received so many compliments in my life. haha. I didn't even look good, just everyone was so excited to see the palagi missionaries in Samoan stuff. I'll send you pics. They are way comfortable. 

Well, I love you all. Remember to read your scriptures. They're the best. When does David leave? Tell him good luck. He'll be a good missionary! Missions are the greatest. The church is true! Choose the right.

Sister Veronica White

Monday, July 22, 2013

 This photo is for Savannah. One of the members had fafaga one night and gave us take out and a Smart water bottle! I was so excited and knew Savannah would be excited for me. 

This was from the wedding. I don't know how well you can see it, but that little boy in the front--he was probably three or four and knew all the dance moves. It was so cute! Very impressive.  

 This is a super thick, super confusing book for missionaries to learn Samoan. It was from the eighties.

This is the inappropriate part of the book. Shirtless men in a missionary book. Plus, Samoans definitely don't look like that. At least not the Samoans we've run into so far. 

 This little girl was about eight. So cute. She told me before that she was really nervous, but she did great. The children are seriously so cute. I love them! 

 This was my favorite dance from the wedding. 
We always decorate our board. 

Talofa Family!

How is everyone? Send me pictures. I wanna see Savannah's efy pictures and hear all about it. It sounds like everyone is doing pretty well. You are in my prayers everyday. 

This week was great! So great! Many miracles. We had our first lesson with Thao. She's the one married to Nepo who is less active and has the son Trey who is very active and wants to serve a mission in a year. She's had the lessons a few years ago but felt like the missionaries were pushing her too hard. Anyway, we had a good lesson on the Restoration and Nepo expressed his desire to go to the temple but told her he wants her there with him. The Spirit was strong. We're going back in a few days. Nepo stayed to all three meetings again! Having him have a solid testimony will really help. It's great when Nepo and Trey bear their testimony to her. 

We had a couple lessons with Sasa about the Restoration and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She said that she believes that Joseph Smith was a prophet and she believes that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. So neat to watch her begin to grow a testimony. She's concerned because her husband is a deacon in another church and she doesn't want any contention between them. She's so sweet though. She's in her fifties. I just love Sasa so much. We just have to have faith that everything will work out for the best. 

Guess what?! Sina came to church! Sina was the one who was ready to be baptized and her husband told her no. He threw away her Book of Mormon and wouldn't let us meet with her or let her go to church. Anyway, we were leaving church yesterday when we see her car in the parking lot. We went up and talked to her. It was so good to see her. We hadn't seen her for a few weeks. Her husband was in the car with her along with his cousin. They were going to the one o'clock ward because there are some Chukeese members there (that's what he is--also probably just butchered that spelling) Anyway, they left after the Sacrament so he didn't really talk to any Chukeese members, but it was such a miracle that they came to church. I have no idea how he agreed to come, but so grateful he did. We're going to go over there later this week with a Chukeese member to meet with Sina and hopefully Amwuch too. Really pray for them! 

Valerie and Rona are the nieces of one of the ladies in our ward. They just moved here from Samoa two months ago and we're going to start teaching them this week. Valerie is 21 and Rona is 15. I didn't really get a chance to meet with Rona, but Valerie is so sweet. I'm excited to teach them! 

Do you remember Kenny? He's the one who pretty much hates Mormons but he felt really conflicted after he met with us a few weeks ago. Anyway, we went to the young adult discussion for his church. Not nearly as scary as I thought it would be. It was actually pretty great. And then he texted us and wanted to meet with us yesterday. We had a really long lesson. He had lots of questions. Some very hard questions. But we continued to testify that we know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. He said again that he's confused because we have a lot of great values and have such strong faith but it's in a false religion. Anyway, he committed to read the Book of Mormon and pray to see if it was the word of God! Such a miracle. Amazing. He wouldn't even touch it the first time we met with him until the very end but he had said that he would never read it. The Spirit definitely touched him. Lots of prayers for him. He's so ready for the gospel. The gospel is so incredible and blesses people's lives so much. He made a deal with Sister McBride and me that he would read the Book of Mormon and pray if we would pray to know if we were wrong. We prayed last night. The church is still true and the Book of Mormon is still the word of God. Good thing, too. 

We've been doing lots of tracting this week. Handed out so many copies of the Book of Mormon. I actually really like tracting and street contacting. It's amazing to see how God has prepared certain individuals. I just love being a missionary! 

I had my interview with President Choi this week. I wish you guys could meet him. He's so great! i just love him. I'm so excited to get to work with him. We're going on a Samoan hike with the YSA from the ward later today. A Samoan hike probably means that we will walk ten feet and then sit down. But I'm still super excited! And Valerie is coming so that will be great! 

We went to a Samoan wedding this last week. I have pictures that I'll send. It was so much fun! I love the Samoans! I'll try and send a video of one of the dances that was performed. They always perform dances at events like this. 

On a side note, Sister McBride and I decided palagis should NOT be allowed to put lavalavas in their window or hang leis from their car mirrors. It really throws us and our Samoan stalking off. Yesterday we hit a house that we thought was for sure a Samoan house--three lavalavas. What more could you ask for? And then it was a palagi man. haha. 

Anyway, great week! So many miracles. Missions are the best! God is amazing and so, so, so good. He loves us all so much. The church is true. We have a prophet today. It's all just so incredible and I LOVE it!

Have a good week. Thanks for all the letters. Keep them coming. Alofa atu! Choose the right.
Sister Veronica White

Monday, July 15, 2013

Another Week in Samoa! (Well, Actually Seattle)

 We spend the morning cleaning on P Day and then we write letters and it explodes. 

look at how beautiful!

 P-Day letter writing
 Look at how beautiful the city is. This was taken on our unsuccessful day up in Northgate. 

 Sister McBride, Seka, Michelle, Katie, and me. They come out with us sometimes. All returned missionaries. 
 More P Day activities. 

We made guacamole and the little ball thing got cut in half. it was funny. I think things are somehow a lot funnier on the mission. 

I made fudge filled squares for District Meeting and our investigators on P Day. Not as good as Cookie Chronicles, I know. But I'm pretty sure they tasted a lot better.

Talofa Family! 

How are all of you? Hope you're feeling better Mom. This week was great. We were never able to have a lesson with Keli and Donnet (the preacher family). But we've been over there a few times. Samoans are SO hard to get in contact with. But we're going to just keep trying.

 We had lots of Samoan chases this week--meaning when we saw a Samoan driving we pretty much follow them to try to see where they live. Some of our chases are successful. Sometimes we lose them. And sometimes we follow them to work. haha.

We were still unable to see Sina this week. I feel so bad for her. Pray for her and for her husband's heart to be softened. Siona still hasn't gotten married. he didn't come to church yesterday either. We're not sure what to do for him. We haven't seen him since Tuesday and he's not answering our calls. We can't go out and visit him since he lives in Kent. That's probably been the most difficult thing. With the mission boundaries changing we can't go visit Federal Way, Renton, Kent, or Auburn. That's where most of the ward lives and most of the Samoans in general. That's part of the reason finding has been so difficult. Our District leader has talked to the mission president but nothing has come out of it. We tried to go to one of the new areas that's been added to our mission to find Samoans this week. We went up to Northgate. No Samoans. Just white people. We realized that where we live is more of the ghetto area. haha.
We were unable to start the lessons with Thao this week. We really need to start the lessons so she can feel the Spirit and realize that this is the truth. But her husband, Nepo, stayed for all three meetings yesterday so we were super excited about that! We need him to be that example for Thao and to be the head of the household. 

We've just been doing tons of tracting! It's been great. Interesting, that's for sure. We realized we're really good at picking out Asian homes. They have some of the same signs as Samoan homes I guess. Anyway, many animal experiences. Everyone seems to have a dog. And the dogs can all smell my fear or something because they come running at me and barking at me. Ugh. I don't like dogs. We've also been chased by a goose--luckily there was a gate between us but it came running at us and followed us the whole length of the gate. And we've seen a lot of bunnies on the side of the road. I guess wild bunnies. They're actually pretty cute. There's spiders everywhere, too.

I lost my planner last Monday and Tuesday. I couldn't find it anywhere. Apparently,  I had left it at the grocery store. Luckily someone had turned it in. I was so grateful I was ready to cry. 

We had the weirdest experience the other day. One of the weirdest on my mission. One of the weirdest of my life, actually. We had an address from the phone book for what should have been a Samoan. It led us to this apartment complex so we decided to tract the complex. The first door we knocked on--this black lady answers and looks us up and down. We asked her if she believed in God. She then told us she was God's chosen. Sister McBride said, "That's great, what do you mean by that?" Oh my goodness. She unleashed on us. She asked us what color Moses was. She then proceeded to tell us that Moses was black and that the Israelites were black. Meanwhile, her dog was going crazy. This was the UGLIEST dog I've ever seen in my life. For real. It was so fat and never stopped yipping and barking the whole time we were there. It had a lion's mane. It was such a gross little fur ball. I wish I had a picture to show you--ugliest dog ever. Anyway, the lady goes back inside and gets her Bible and she flips to five or six different scriptures all trying to convince us Moses was black from scriptural evidence. The Israelites were black. God's chosen people were black. Jesus Christ was black. Her interpretations were pretty hilarious. For example she found a scripture talking about Christ. He's black because he's described as having hair white like wool (only black people have hair like wool) eyes like fire (that's definitely blue or grey) and feet like brass (obviously that's describing a black man.) *Read all of the above parentheses in a black woman accent. Savannah would be good at it. She went on and on just talking at us. Never even let us speak. She basically told us we're going to hell because we were white. Apparently God only loves  His black children.The rest of us are all cursed. Oh my goodness. It was the funniest thing ever. We walked away trying so hard to control our laughter but we went straight to our car and just about died. We were laughing so hard. She hated white people. She told us we couldn't know what we were talking about because we were white and God's chosen people were black. Hahahaha.
We had one of the most amazing experiences last night. We went tracting at an apartment complex that we were a little nervous about. It was a little sketchy. holy cow, though. it was a gold mine. We handed out five copies of the Book of Mormon. We met a girl named Comfort who's 19 and just moved here from Ghana. She was so sweet and shy and was genuinely interested in learning more about the Book of Mormon. I'm so sad we don't get to teach her. We have to send it off as a referral. She said a few times though that she would love for us to come back. She had the cutest little siblings too. I just want to be her friend. She was so nice. 

We also met Antonio. Oh my. He was such a miracle. So prepared by God. We had just finished at an apartment and the next one had two pretty scary, large black men who had been swearing and were listening to loud music. We were pretty scared of them. Anyway, we decided to skip that apartment and the few that were next to it. We were walking up these stairs when we see Antonio inside an apartment with the door open. As soon as we passed him we both just said: Oh. We knew we needed to talk to him. We were about ready to turn around when he was at the door and started talking to us. He came to us! He's in his twenties. He was asking us where our church was and questions about what we believe. He had a friend that came up as well. We handed Antonio a Book of Mormon and were telling him about it. His friend said he wasn't interested, but Antonio said he was. I was so impressed by him. That took a lot of courage. His friend walked away but we kept talking to Antonio. We bore our testimony about the Book of Mormon and told him that if he would read and pray about it he, too, could know if it was the word of God. We invited him to read 3 Nephi 11 and we read the last two paragraphs of the Introduction with him. He was so excited to read the Book of Mormon. I've never spoken to someone who was that interested and excited about learning more. It was so neat! And guess what?! I extended the baptismal commitment. I was pretty nervous because this is pretty much my first time. And he said he would be baptized when he comes to know these things are true! I was so happy! I forgot to put him on date. I was just so shocked that he had said yes. Luckily Sister McBride put him on date. He was so great. I'm so sad he's not Samoan! i want to teach him so bad. But he gave us all of his information to refer to other elders and he asked us to tell them to come in the next few days. He's Christian but hadn't been to church since he was eight or nine and he's been feeling lately like he should start coming back to church. He said he was so happy he spoke to us and when we told him he got to keep the Book of Mormon he was so happy and said he was going to read it that night. I can't even explain to you how amazing that was. The rest of that night i was just giddy. I wanted to cry. God really had prepared Antonio for us to meet him. He's so ready for the gospel. I LOVE it! So much joy! It felt so good. The spirit was strong and he was just so excited about our message. Now we just have to go find our "Samoan Antonio," yeah? 

This week was just great. I love missionary work. It is definitely hard, but experiences like Antonio make it so worth it. God loves him so much and is so excited for him to learn more about our gospel. Missionary work is the greatest! 
I love you all so much! Pray always. Choose the right!
Sister Veronica White