Tuesday, January 5, 2010

December 3rd 2009

Dear Everyone!

Thanks for all the emails!! I was so happy to hear from Mom, Dad, Papa, Ronnie, Todd, and Scott!

Thanksgiving was good, but it didn't really feel like Thanksgiving. I attached a picture of some of the sisters and myself after one of our dinners at a members' home. I also attached a picture of one of the most common scenes in the little town of Kahuku (aka chickens EVERYWHERE). The BYU/Utah football game was almost as big of a deal over here as it is in Utah, so after learning that BYU won, another Sister and I took the liberty of being annoying to one of our Zone Leaders and another sister who is a Ute fan. At the Visitors' Center, every missionary has a little cubby to put our stuff in, so Sister Cutler and I made signs to put in their cubbies that said, “We are filled with exceedingly great joy. Do you know Y?” I attached a picture of that too :) There are also pictures of all the Visitors' Center sisters from the first transfer I was here and now, so you can see who I'm serving with and how much my hair has grown!

I'm really happy here right now. Like I said before, being back here has shown me how much I've grown and changed. I feel like a completely different person from the last time I was here. My companion (who is from Tonga) gave me the best compliment I could receive from a Polynesian. She said, “Sister Smith, I've never met a hauli like you before,”“What do you mean?”“You just fit in with everyone!”Woohoo! Now I know how Dad felt when he lived here and was finally accepted by the Polynesians. It's kind of weird to think he was here once upon a time. All of the youth we work with go to the same middle/high school that Dad went to back in 1963 – Kahuku Intermediate and High School. Craziness.

But being here has given me a strong testimony of the Lord's hand in our work. He really inspires our Mission President to put us where we can be the most effective instrument of God. When I was first in Laie, I remember meeting a boy named Travis who had been taught for about a year, was going to be baptized, but didn't show up to the baptism. We wanted to start teaching him again and invited him to the ward “senior dinner” for all the graduating seniors. He went to the dinner and participated, but I noticed that his classmates/ward members weren't as friendly with him as a missionary would hope. They were all athletic and “popular” and he was super smart and liked computers. Travis was always in the back of my mind for those 6 weeks. I wanted so badly to help him receive the blessings of the gospel and be happy but I didn't know what to do. 6 months later, Sister Kolo and I were trying to figure out how we can get the work moving in the wards we moved into. We looked at the ward boundaries of the BYU ward we are serving in and noticed that it covers the Hau'ula area (where Travis lives). Immediately Travis' name came to my mind. Maybe he'd enjoy a student ward better than a family ward to better fit in! So we asked him if he'd be interested—he said yes. We had a lesson with him yesterday along with one of the ward members who was an ideal fellowshipper. It was SO AMAZING. He already has a strong testimony. I think he just needs friends who can support him. Our fellowshipper, Nate, is giving Travis a ride to church on Sunday. I'm so happy. Heavenly Father had this all planned out—I can feel it!

Well, time is up so I better go. But keep writing. I love and miss you all!

Sister Smith

P.S. Ronnie asked how many missionaries are serving in this mission. There are about 180 on 6 different islands. Most are here on Oahu.

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