Huge Dog Attacks!

Transfers are this week, and we should find out today if Sister Inia and I are staying together or not. There is a good chance she could go because she was my trainer and you usually don’t stay with your trainer longer than 2 transfers. But you never know!

This week was another week of trying to get a hold of people. No one seems to be home or interested, but that’s ok because Sister Inia and I have been thinking about it and we feel really strongly that we need to work more with our ward and the less actives in the ward. There are so many of them! The list goes on and on and on, and so we are trying to go through that. I’ve really learned the importance of home teaching and visiting teaching while I’ve been out here because the one thing recent converts and less actives need is a strong friend in the gospel, someone that will be that example and a little bit of a push. One of the girls that we baptized, Cheyenne, she went up north a few weeks ago and she hasn’t come back yet, so we are getting a little bit worried about that. Hopefully she gets back soon!

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Had a crazy experience this week.  We went to this one house looking for someone who was investigating the church once upon a time, and when we went to the door this HUGE dog came running out of the house in full attack mode and jumped on Sister Inia.  Man I thought she was going to bite her for sure, but the dog didn’t touch her, and then the dog jumped on me.  Same thing….nothing happened.  Well then the owner grabbed the dog, apologized and pulled the dog inside.  Let me tell you I loved dogs before my mission, but the dogs out here they are all trained to just attack everyone because people want to keep their families and things safe. So man the Lord was looking out for us that day…..that dog should have bitten us, but it didn’t.

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Papakura Sunset

Let me just say I have learned so much from Sister Inia, and she has really taught me how to have fun on the mission and how people will want to listen more if you just be yourself, not a robot. Here in NZ people are really straight up, and they don’t beat around the bush that’s for sure, so I’ve learned to get a little bit more to the point on things.

 

I love you guys!

Sister Vavla

Man It’s Cold!

The work has been really slow.  None of our investigators are progressing and we have had to drop a few of them for right now.  This week we are going to try and find some more people to teach. Even though there isn’t a lot going on things are going really well and we have been busy finding out if people are still interested. We found this old list of potential investigators and less active members so we are going through that.

Man its so cold!!!  And when it rains it gets even colder!  Oh funny story my nice brown winter coat I brought out doesn’t fit me anymore 🙂  I’ve gotten too big for it!  I used to be able to fit a jacket inside of it! The members are taking really good care of us out here I can tell you that!

We haven’t gotten very many referrals for the members, working with the members is definitely something we have to work on for sure. Honestly, the one thing I really need help with is just forgetting myself and getting to work. I was reading this talk this morning and it talked about giving your whole heart, might, mind and strength to the Lord and I feel like I’ve given him my might and my strength, but I don’t think I have given Him my whole heart and mind.  That’s something I have really been struggling with.  Just say not my will lord but thine be done.  Honestly, having my will be the fathers will is a hard thing for my mind to wrap around.  I think another thing I have come to realize is for the past 19 years I have been living way below my potential. All my life I have only felt average, and I’ve told myself my whole life that all I am is average. I have come out here though and I have realized that I don’t need to be average.  I can reach my potential, and I need to have way more confidence in myself.  I don’t have enough confidence in myself and what I can do. So those are a few of my personal battles and struggles, but man that’s what I love about this mission.  I am seeing things in myself that I never saw before and I am so grateful for this mission because it is refining me for sure. Man I used to think I was the best and I don’t think I would have seen the things I see now if I hadn’t gone on a mission.

Love you guys!

Sister Vavla

Email After Mother’s Day

Oh man it was awesome seeing you guys on Monday! Don’t worry mom it didn’t bother me at all, honestly I have come out here, and especially being comps with Sister Inia, that stuff really doesn’t bother me anymore, I guess I really just don’t care what people think of me anymore :).  I know that honestly it only matters what Heavenly Father thinks and he was the one that blessed me with the lactose problem so I know there is no judgement there 🙂  Same with the room thing, Sister Inia and I are always joking about how bad I am at picking things up, but let me tell you she has changed me.   I don’t leave my stuff all over the place anymore, and let me just say you guys wont even know who I am when I get home, because I am not the same Savannah that got on that plane 3 months ago.

It was a slow week this week Sister Inia was sick so we were at home one full day and the day before we didn’t do much because she wasn’t completely there :). Man my comp loves you guys, straight up, afterwards she was like oh man your family is so cool!  Haha I don’t know why she thinks that 😉 Just kidding….you guys are pretty bomb. THE POOR FOCUS! (the car she was driving before she left had a small accident)   WHAT happened to it!   Man can’t even leave the car for 18 months 🙂

Some interesting things, so I have eaten dog and horse already, the horse is really good, the dog is alright, its better with salt 🙂  I’ve also eaten raw fish and fish eyeballs, I’m just waiting for the cat next 🙂  Just kidding, I don’t think I want to eat cat.

So we do a restoration presentation when there is a baptism.  The Samoan elders asked us to do one at their baptism.  Well it’s a Samoan ward so Sister Inia and I taught the Restoration in Samoan!  It was really nerve racking but we did it and there was a really nice spirit there!  So those were some of my experiences this week.

Pele’s baptism went really well, she was so excited, and she was able to get her less active siblings to give talks.

We had a referral from the Elders this week.  It was a mom, her partner and 4 children.  We went over to their house and she and her family have been prepared to receive the gospel let me tell you!  She was telling us how things have been going a lot better in her family’s life but they want a religion to make it even better.  She was telling us how she wants her children to have values/standards, and she wants to bring them up the right way. Man she is keen as and we are excited to start teaching her. Her partner works all the time so he won’t be there but man they are golden.

I’ve learned a lot this week. I think one of the things I learned, is that we have a bigger effect on people than we might think.   That’s not just missionaries.  We all as members have a greater effect on people than we think we do, and people are watching more than we think they are.  They notice something different about us and they notice how happy we are. I guess a question you can ask yourself is:  What kind of example am I setting as a member of the church? What do people see in me? Do they see a reflection of Christ? Or something else? Am I living my standards everyday or is it church on Sunday, and do what ever throughout the week? When I first came on my mission I thought people just thought we were so weird for going around teaching about the gospel, but what I’ve learned is not everyone does.  It was really neat because this is something one of our investigators told us :

“I love how both of you openly display your faith in god, Jesus Christ, and the church. You’re both extremely passionate, and having parts of my family as members of the church, I respect that. If there were ever anything worth believing, and having faith in, it would definitely be what you both advocate.”

When I heard that I realized something important, there is no need to be ashamed of this gospel.  Yes, there are going to be people that think we are crazy, weird, and a cult with 35 wives, but there are so many more people out there that look up to us and see our example and kind of I guess hope for some of what we have. Mark 8:35-38 says we can’t be ashamed of who we are and who we represent. Be proud of who you are.  I know religion isn’t the in thing right now, but that’s okay, there are so many blessing that come from living the gospel, and doing the right thing. “If ye haven’t chosen the kingdom of God first. It in the end makes no difference what ye have chosen instead.”

So things are going, life’s good, and I am really loving this mission!  One thing I love is learning and that’s all I am doing……all day ever day.

I love you guys!

Sister Vavla

Driving on the Left Side

Man driving is all good, but man karma got me back.  My comp is the worst back seat driver ever, and let me tell you I have learned a lot of self control since I started to drive with her.  It’s funny because I prayed to have a little humility, and I don’t think I will be doing that again any time soon (haha).  She will tell me when to indicate, and well pretty much just tell me how to drive.  Its been a tough pill to swallow but I haven’t blown up on her because I know she is just trying to help me drive on the left side of the road.  It’s not her fault….she just doesn’t want to crash and/or wants to get to the right place. Who knew driving on the left side of the road would teach me humility and patience (haha).  Man, they weren’t joking when they said a mission changes you 🙂

One thing I have been working on, is trying to find out who I am.  When you come out here on a mission man you really have to find yourself, because you aren’t exactly who you were when you were back at home.  You are still you, and I remember I was studying, trying to figure out why things just aren’t working out for me.  Why everything is going the way it is going and I realized its because I am trying to be everyone but myself.  I’m trying to be my companion, I am trying to be the elders, and I am trying to be all these different people, but I am not trying to be me. So I was sitting there and I thought who am I?  Who is Savannah Vavla and what makes her different from all the billions of different people out there.  After that I felt prompted to pull out my patriarchal blessing and write down every attribute.

So I found all these things but its definitely easier said then done becoming these things.  I have a really long way to go, and it’s hard because I see all these things I can become and all these things that I know are inside.  I just don’t know how to let it out, to let these things show, how to become Savannah Vavla.  Hey, that’s were I need to have faith, just keep on working and keep on praying and I know I can find out who I am. Wow this mission is doing so much for me.  Honestly, as a person, I think I have learned more about myself in the past few months then I have in the past 19 years.  I was talking to Sister Inia and I told her I am grateful I am figuring all these things out now instead of when I get married because I am only with Sister Inia for a few months but I am with a husband for eternity (haha) so good things.

Sorry I haven’t been sending any pictures the internet cafe we come to has a virus in all the computers that wipe away all the pictures so I don’t want to get a virus on my camera and lose all my pictures! Super crazy week this week!

We had Chey’s baptism last Friday and then we had Uria’s on Thursday and then Pele’s next Saturday!  Man the field is white already to harvest that’s for sure.

We were out, and we went up to this house and when we got up to the door we could hear through the window “The church people are here!” Haha and then Sister Inia looks at me and says loud enough so they could here, “Did you hear that sis the Church people are hear.” Haha oh man it was really hard not to just crack up right then and there but we held it in because they came to the door and told us they were busy. Then we went to another house and he told us to put him on his Do Not Disturb list so as we were walking to the car Sister Inia said, well Sis pull out your don’t disturb list and put him on there.” Haha man it was pretty funny, we had a nice laugh about those two.

It did make me take a step back.  Honestly, I really just wish I could tell everyone that closes their door on us, how much they are missing out on the blessings they are depriving themselves of.  Just how much the gospel would help their lives!  However, I’ve learned that one of the hardest things to deal with out here is personal agency.  It’s hard but hey its all good because we have those people that are improving and really making an effort to change.

We met this one lady Lizzanne she is really nice and super keen to know about the gospel. My companion and I have a really good feeling about her, the first time we sat down to talk with her she wanted to know about the 10 commandments because we told her by keeping the commandments we can be happy, and wow, she is really ready.

Ok, I can’t really remember anything else (haha).   I really need to get better at writing in my journal, but I am just so tired at night, I just say my prayers and crash (haha).

Oh one other thing, Uria the girl we baptized, we found out that her mom and Sister Inia are related!  Crazy stuff!  If there is one thing I have learned out here is everyone is related one way or another!  It’s cool though, because of this, the mom wants to start learning about the gospel!

Thanks for 19 years of love and support!

Sister Vavla