Friday, May 29, 2009

Getting to Work

This last week has been a good one. We've had quite a few teaching appointments in the last 7 days. We've taught the same investigator again. I looooooove teaching her, she's the BEST. She really really wants to get baptized, but she's living with her boyfriend of 5 years and his family. They are planning on getting married in October, but she may move out before then so she can be baptized sooner. Her boyfriend's family is less active, but we had a family home evening with them yesterday. It was so good! Everybody contributed to the discussion and the spirit was so strong. These are all such good people who just need a little reminder to get back into living the gospel fully. We're also teaching a 15 year old girl who just arrived in Hawaii from Samoa about a week and a half ago. She's so cute and brings such a good spirit to the lessons. Sister Mulipola teaches her in Samoan, so I don't get to contribute to the lessons much, but everyone once in a while she will look over at me and smile really big. She went to church the last 2 Sundays and really liked it, so hopefully she'll choose to be baptized so she can have that much more happiness in her life. We also taught a less active member. The lesson went really well, and he has such a strong desire to have his priesthood back. We gave him some scriptures to read and he came to the Visitors' Center a few days later to read them here. It's so cool to see people choose to come closer to Heavenly Father. Everyone here has such great faith and their prayers are always answered so quickly, it's amazing.

It's been pretty busy at the Visitors' Center lately, which has been nice. We've changed the way we run the tram tour from the Polynesian Cultural Center to the Visitors' Center and the number of guests has increased a lot. The sisters who narrate the tram tour stay at the PCC all day instead of giving the tour here at the VC also. So we now have 2 sisters each day that are assigned to give the tours to the PCC guests. This keeps us much more busy and we feel like real missionaries! It's cool to see the people who are "white and ready to harvest" as D&C says, but they know not where to find the truth. When they come to the VC, we can see their eyes light up, it's great! Usually only about 1 in 14 people will ask to learn more, but that one person is so worth it.

Next week is transfers, but I think I'm probably going to stay in the same area with my same companion. I wouldn't mind though, I love the area and the people we are teaching, and my companion and I are getting along pretty well. I'll let you know if there are any changes though.

Something a little funny that I've discovered lately is that Hawaiian people have very interesting food choices. It seems that the delicacies in meat are hot dogs, spam, and corned beef. I've never had corned beef until I came here. I'd definitely NOT recommend it. People give us hot dogs and rice all the time too. So weird. Spam is actually kind of good, but I've learned it's loaded with fat so I'm determined to stay away. Last night at dinner we had spaghetti and meatballs and french bread. YUM! It was heavenly to have some of my favorite comfort food. My companion said she hasn't had spaghetti for about 6 months! I'm holding this experience dear to my heart cuz it'll probably be a while before I have it again...

I'd like to share with you a scripture I read this morning that I really liked. I never really read the scriptures before and I didn't enjoy them very much, but on my mission that's changed completely. I LOVE the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon. I enjoy reading it so much. I also started reading "Our Search For Happiness" by M. Russell Ballard and I absolutely love it. I recommend that you all read it. Anyway, I read in Alma 26:27 about the sons of Mosiah who were discouraged in their missionary work. Ammon says, "Now when our hearts were depressed and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success." All they had to do was be patient, and the Lord PROMISED them success. I've ALREADY experienced that in my first 5 weeks here! I've been studying patience in the scriptures and Preach My Gospel, and it's such an important trait to obtain. It affects everything else--your faith, your selfishness, etc. The scriptures are so neat!

Well I better run, but before I do, I'd like to share my disappointment in not receiving any sweet mormon tabernacle choir music or healthy snacks :( Haha I love you all so much and miss you.

Love,
Bridget

Monday, May 25, 2009

Polynesian Cultural Center





Hi family! So I just wrote a nice looooooong email with all sorts of exciting stuff in it....and it just got erased. This myldsmail service has a couple bugs that need to be fixed. ugh!

I'll try to sum up what I said before in less words. We went to the Polynesian Cultural Center last week for Pday with Sister Aguda and Sister Sakaguchi. It was really cool to see the different displays, shows, etc. We felt like celebrities because all the employees/BYU students would go out of their way to yell "Hi Sisters!!!" as we walked by. We played a cool game where we pass sticks and sing a little song at the Aoteoroa (New Zealand) village.

We still have a gecko living in our room. I've decided to take Scott's advice and name him "Humberto". I wonder if the other sisters will find that as amusing as I do. Probably not, but it will be like an inside joke with the fam. We have the best sense of humor (at least I think so) in our family.

Yesterday, I did companionship exchanges with Sister Aguda while companion did some training with one of Sister Trainers (kind of like district leaders of the visitor's center). Sister Aguda has only been here 6 weeks longer than me, so we're both pretty new. We went in my area and I was worried because I still don't know the area very well and how I'm supposed to find people to teach and plan out the day. With a little help from other sisters and the Lord, I was able to figure it out and I learned a LOT. It was a good learning experience.

We taught the same investigator again last night (I talked about her last week). She is AMAZING. She committed to be baptized. She doesn't know much, but she already has a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and she's EXTREMELY receptive to the Spirit. It's so cool. I feel so blessed to have someone like that placed into my hands, and that the Lord trusts me enough to be his spokesperson with her. I already love her so much and pray that things will go as hoped for.

I know that Heavenly Father truly answers prayers, as long as we do our part. He has blessed me with a softer heart so that I can continue to change into a better person, and he blessed me by putting people in my path that I can carry his word to.

I love you all so much and am grateful for your support. Please keep writing, I got a lot of letters last week and it gave me so much strength and joy!

Love,
Bridget

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mosquitoe Attack



Hi Friends and Family,

Things are going much better now. We had a teaching appointment last night with a girl who really wanted to learn about our church. She had a lot of Mormon friends growing up and went to church a couple times, but never had the chance to get more involved. She's 21 now and really wants to become a part of our church. Hopefully she can continue to see the benefits that come from the gospel so that she can be baptized and receive the blessings from the Holy Ghost!

On a different note, I am officially being eaten alive by mosquitoes. I've tried bug spray, but it doesn't work very well. The one I have right now has 15% deet. I'm thinking I may have to get one of those crazy concentrated repellents that has 90% deet or something. I have about 15 mosquito bites on my arms and legs right now and they itch like crazy!! Even if I don't scratch them, they still swell up pretty big. The mosquitoes here must have extra potent saliva or something. Other than that, we haven't seen too many bugs. I did find a gecko living in our bedroom curtains the other day. It stuck it's head out long enough for me to take a picture, then hid.

Monday was my companion's birthday. She turned 23. I made a pretty cool birthday poster that had lots of pink (her favorite color) and flowers (I was told that she's very girly). She loved it! The senior couples baked a cake for her, and some other sisters bought a big tub of ice cream. The Zone Leaders brought more cake, ice cream, and soda which was so thoughtful....until we discovered that they ate half of the cake and 1/3 of the ice cream. I guess some members gave it to them and after eating a bit, they thought they'd be so kind as to give the rest to Sister Mulipola for her birthday. Boys are so weird.

The next day was Sister Hu's birthday. She is from Taiwan and super cute. I found out that she's sad because she NEVER receives letters. So I wondered if my fam and friends would be willing to send her some letters. It doesn't matter what they say, just as long as she has something positive to look at and has the chance to feel the joy of getting a letter in the mail! Her address is the same as mine, just address it to Sister Hu. (In case you forgot, my address is 1500 S Beretania St STE 416, Honolulu HI 96826-1937).

Well I better go. We're going to the Polynesian Cultural Center for a couple hours today, so that'll be fun. I'll send more pictures next week! I love you all and miss you. Don't forget to email me back and write letters!

Love,
Sister Smith

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sister Missionaries





Taro


Hey Family and Friends!

There's not too much to talk about. Things have been very slow at the Visitors' Center, and I still haven't taught ANY lessons outside of the VC. It's very frustrating. We've scheduled a few appointments with recent converts and less active members, but they ALWAYS cancel. Hopefully we can find people who WANT to hear from us, because I'm getting restless. Time goes by very slowly when you're not doing much.

A couple days ago I had dinner with some Samoan members. They were very friendly, but Samoan food is WEIRD. They have this veggie called a "Taro" that they absolutely love. On the outside it looks like a white squash or something like that, and the inside is Grey. It tastes like a cross between a potato and rubber. Not so delicious in my opinion, but I'll be eating them a lot I'm sure so I'll have to get used to them. I attached a picture so you can see how weird they look.

We haven't been outside too much, but I already am getting a super cool tanline on my arm from my watch. The sun here is much stronger than in Utah, so I'll have to wear sunscreen a lot. I've heard of a lot of sisters that looked really aged after their missions because they didn't wear sunscreen and their skin was so damaged.

A little funny note about Hawaii--a lot of people do NOT like visitors at their homes. Lots of people have big, mean guard dogs and "beware of dog" signs on their front fences or around the house. Some people have these signs and don't even have a dog. All the houses here look pretty run down, but people pay SO MUCH for rent. They could live much nicer lives if they moved to the mainland, but they're very stubborn and refuse to live anywhere other than Hawaii.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to the night show at the Polynesian Cultural Center. I went with the Wirthlins (a senior couple). They were really sweet and the show was cool, but it felt weird just doing something for fun that wasn't at all related to missionary work. I've attached some pictures and I took some videos, but they're too big to email. Maybe I'll send my flash drive home and dad can show them to everyone and put them on my blog.

Well, I'm out of time but I love you all and miss you. Please continue to write. I don't have as much time to send emails, but if you send letters in the mail I'll ALWAYS respond. I love getting letters in the mail SO MUCH, they brighten my day!

Love,
Bridget

View out of my bedroom window... notice no screens.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Traffic Jam

Hi family! I don't have much time to write today, but I've attached some pictures. The blue dress I'm wearing is the dress we wear at the Polynesian Cultural Center. We wear a different one at the visitor's center, so i'll send you a picture of that later.

This last week has been pretty eventful, but mostly yesterday was crazy. It was our P-day and my companion needed to go to the dentist in Honolulu. It is about an hour drive to Honolulu from Laie (if traffic isn't too bad) and we stayed at the dentist for about 2 hours. We were going to get some food and I was going to buy some vitamins at a HUGE mall near the dental office, but then we realized that we had NO MONEY on our credit cards given to us by the mission department.

We decided to go home and eat there. When we got about halfway there, traffic STOPPED. We found out later that there was a big diesel truck collision and oil spill. To make a long story short, we were stuck in Kahalu'u for more than 3 HOURS, with a couple trips towards Kaneohe to get gas and go to the bathroom. It was a long day, but when we were at the gas station some members gave us some money so that we could eat. Heavenly Father was really watching out for us.

Other than that, everything has gone well. Um...except for my 3rd day when I scraped my car against some other sisters' car when backing out. ugh. no bueno. My mission president is praying that mission headquarters won't see that as a reason to stop me from driving, because only half of the sisters here are authorized to drive.

Something kind of fun that I've enjoyed is the Japanese people that come to the PCC. They love trying to do the "hang loose" sign with their hands, and they love getting pictures with us in their dresses. In the pictures, they always do the "hang loose" sign, but they do it with their palm facing forward, kind of like a peace sign. It's cute.

Well, I better go. My companion is waiting for me. Thanks for the letters and emails--keep writing me!!

Love,
Bridget