Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ding Dong Ditching... Missionary Style!


How's it fam?? Did you have a super duper week?! I sure hope so! I hear it's like below zero degrees over there! Holy Smokes dude. I hope you're not freezing too much! Just drink lots of hot chocolate. And don't worry! It's freezing over here too! I'm not going to say just how cold because I know you don't want to hear it :D 

Would you believe me if I told you this was my backyard??
Believe it! :) Gorgeous, huh??
I can't remember if I told you about the Marshallese people Sister J and I visit or not. Man they are awesome! They're from the Marshall Islands and all live in one house. They're on scholarship from their government back home and go to BYU here. We've been meeting with this sweet lady named Joana and this solid guy named Cooper. We went over to see Joana the other day and we asked how she's been doing. She told us that they get their money from their government back home, but they never send the money on time. So these poor things have no money for food and are so hungry! Can you imagine having to worry about that? I can't even fathom having to think about whether I'll have food the next day. As she was explaining the situation, Sister J and I knew exactly what to do. Over the past week, we were somehow blessed with way more food from the members in our ward than usual. We had so much left over food it wasn't even funny! Before, we had no idea what to do with it, but after our visit with Joana, we totally did. We hurried home and scavenged all the food we could find. Even our pad mates chipped in, it was awesome! Since we've also been in Honolulu so much with all of our doctor's appointments and such we ran into some very generous members down there. They gave each of us 20 dollars for food. People are too kind! Even though it was nice to have, we knew the Marshallese needed it more. We stuffed the money into the food bags and doorbell ditched the bags of food on their porch. We hurried as fast as sister missionaries can and hid behind some palm trees to see their reaction. Let me just say, that that was the best door bell ditch I've ever ditched before! ha I was smiling from ear to ear really, I couldn't have been happier. The Marshallese were so grateful. Even though they couldn't see us, they knew we must've been hiding somewhere because they yelled out, "Thank you so much! God bless you!" Tears filled my eyes. As Sister J and I were walking home, I remember having President Hinkley's words go through my head from his talk, "Lessons I learned as a Boy" when he says, "Now don't you just have a good feeling?" 

The next day, we had a lesson with Joana and she committed to be baptized! February 2 baby! Chihu! (In case you were wondering what chihu means, it's the Tongan word for 'heck ya!') Anyway, she is golden and ready. The only thing she needs to do is have the courage to ask her husband back in the Marshall Islands. We're praying hard that he's okay with it. 

Just a couple days ago, we were out proselyting and no one was home! Not one. We were trying to think if there was anything we could have done to make Heavenly Father upset with us, like forgetting to end our companionship study with a prayer or forgetting to write down a back up plan for one of our appointments. Anything! Maybe He was trying to teach us a lesson, we didn't know. So we knocked on Hei's door. Now, we have been trying to contact Hei ever since I've been here. And so far we've had no luck. Zip zero. But we knocked and guess who answered! Hei! (you say his name like 'hey' btw. ha kind of funny when you say "hey Hei!") Anyway, Hei answered and this is exactly to the T what he said, "Hi guys! I'm actually reading the Book of Mormon right now and I have a few questions. Would you mind helping me out?" No joke. Sister Johnston and I looked at each other, smiled, gave a resounding 'yes!'  and totally knew that was an answer to our silly worry prayer seconds before! It's okay when things don't work out exactly the way you plan because Heavenly Father ALWAYS has a plan! And it's even better than the one we have! I totally learned that this week. Everything will work out the way it's supposed to. 

Even with all the medical stuff going on, I can feel the love of my Father in Heaven so much. He is always aware. He is aware of each of you. More that we know. But we can come to know if we just give heed! 
I love you all! May the spirit be with you!

Love and much aloha,

Sister A

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Pound A Baptism

Aloha and Happy New Year family!

Wow I can’t believe it’s 2013, no way! How did that happen?? Time sure flies when you’re having a blast all the time. Can I say that I love being a missionary? Someone told me if you’re having too much fun on your mission, then you’re not working hard enough. But I disagree! Really, even though it’s hard work, the life of a missionary is the life. Ya I’m pooped 24/7, but I’m happiest I’ve ever been, being out here and serving and loving the people of Hawaii. 

How was your New Year’s Eve?? Did you eat any Raclette? Play games? Watch Psych? Watch the ball drop? I sure hope so! Man I miss those things. HOWEVER! I had quite the New Year’s myself.  You see, Hawaii knows how to party let me tell you. On New Year’s Eve (and days before and after), Hawaii is on fiya... literally. Fireworks of the illegal variety are going off so often that you almost don’t notice after a while! You can honestly have a sit anywhere in Hawaii and have a sick fireworks show. Our whole Zone got to be together, so we all sat in the temple parking lot and watched fireworks. THEN, we started living the movie, “Tangled” because hundreds of lanterns covered Laie. So sweet!

Amidst all the holidays and parties, our missionary week was a wonderful one. No different from any other week here in beautiful Laie. First off, Sister J and I have been visiting the Kauvaka family whom we have decided is our beautiful adopted Polynesian family. They are from Tonga, and definitely one of my favorite families. Let me explain a little bit about them.

The first time we went over to their house they FED us. And when I say fed, I mean POLYNESIAN FED. It’s quite different from what us palangi think of as being fed. You don’t eat until you’re full… no, you eat until you’re tired and falling asleep right there on your plate! For example, I ate five huge pieces of French toast fried in butter and egg with choke amounts of syrup, who knows how many pieces of spam fried in butter (Hawaiians love their SPAM. It’s actually soo delicious! Never thought I’d say that), a three-egg omelet, and choke juice. It was delicious obviously, but I felt like I was going to barf. I haven’t eaten that much in a whole week! But it’s incredible how giving these people are. It’s amazing how if you eat the food a Polynesian family gives you, then they trust you. Eating shows your love for them and in return they love you even more. It’s so sweet because they don’t have very much here, and yet they are so happy to give you all that they have. I haven’t seen a more loving people. It makes gaining five pounds every meal an honor :D 

Shoots, I just realized I already have to go even though I have so much more I wanted to say! I’ll just save it for next week. It'll keep you in suspense for the next seven days. 

Know that I love you oodles and oodles! I love hearing from all of you and can’t wait to hear from you again. This gospel is so true it’s not even funny! I come to love it more and more every day and I invite you to do something every day that will help you love it more too. Heavenly Father loves you!

Loves and kisses,
Sister Annen

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Up or Down

Mele Kalikimaka everyone! 

Merry Christmas Hawaiian Style!
These are our sweet muumuus we get to wear everyday.
It's a little late I know, but hey! At least I got to CALL YOU!!!!!! I can't believe I got to talk to you guys and hear your voices only a week ago! Did that really happen?? Did I really get to talk to the coolest people on earth? Oh man, BEST Christmas present ever. You sounded like you were having way too much fun... :D Stop it. ha You all sounded so good and I'm already totes stoked for five months from now! And what are your plans for New Years? Got something sweet planned? Don't have too much fun without me. For New Years guess what we as missionaries get to do... stay up til one baby!! Chihu! One AM! Usually I'm in bed by like 9:30 so let's see if I can actually stay up that late. 

So another choice week out on the mission. It was crazy with the Holidays with choke amounts of people at the VC. So sweet! Since there are so many people visiting for the holidays, the VC has been putting on musical firesides every Sunday night. We scheduled the Tongan choir to sing one of the nights and everyone was soups excited because...well... it's the TONGAN choir! Have any of you heard a Tongan sing before? Ya... angelic voicesI tell ya. So a couple days before, they called us up and cancelled. Yep. So you're wondering, now what right?? Tons of people come to these things; enough where speakers have to be put outside the VC and people have to listen from outside. PACKED. As we were thinking about what to do, someone suggests, "Hey! Maybe the missionaries can put on the fireside!"
ha I'm sorry, what?? Replace the Tongan choir? In two days? No, you don't understand, we have not called to sing in front of massive amounts of people! But as we talked about it, we totally knew it was the right thing to do. We practiced and practiced like crazy for the next two days and didn't sleep or eat. ha no we ate, of course we ate! Missionaries! Anyway, let's say it was stressful, but finally right before the fireside we kind of pulled it together. As a Laie Zone, we all prayed together, asking Heavenly Father to help us not totally bomb. After we all prayed, and throughout the fireside, we felt calm and happy. Even though we messed up sometimes, we knew it didn't matter because what was the point of the whole thing? Not to show off our performance skills, definitely not. The point was for all of us performing and listening, to feel the spirit of Christmas and the spirit of Christ. I know I could feel it. Plus it was so awesome singing Christmas songs and playing the ukelele at the same time. Can't beat that. 

This week was also choice because Sister J and I got to go to the sealing of the Tune family! So amazing! We had taught them a little bit before and they're such an adorable, solid family. After our lessons, Brother Tune would husk a coconut for us with a machete dude! A machete! Don't see those very often. We were looking forward to their sealing day for a full transfer and it finally came on Friday. Brother and Sister Tune with their cute daughter Emily were beaming and beautiful and happy, and now... eternal.  What a blessing Heavenly Father has given us right? To give us the opportunity and blessing of being with our best friends forever. He loves us so much. I could absolutely feel it as we sat in the sealing room. Temples truly are the house of the Lord. 

Well my dear ones, I better be off! Know that I love you <----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------> this much!!! Remember that your Heavenly Father is only a prayer away. He is waiting to help us and bless us, if only we ask. I didn't realize how powerful prayer really can be until my mission. And I'm still learning everyday. Make this the best week ever! I heard a cute saying the other day that says, "your day goes the way the corners of your mouth turn." Cool huh? And even if they're pointing down, the Lord can help us! Through Him, they can always be turned up.

I love you all! But more importantly, Heavenly Father loves you. 

Love always,
Sister Annen
Michael Ballum came for a fireside at the Visitor's Center during Christmas!
He was incredible!
He told us he had a "devilish" of a time.....  :)