Wow, it's already been a week since my last e-mail. It feels like it's gone by fast, but at the same time, I feel like I've been here for months! Lots happened this week and Sister Lavatai and I were super busy. The first half of the week was freezing and I wore pants under my skirt, my coat, a scarf, etc. Now...It is BOILING hot! It's really humid today. I'm already sunburned just from tracting yesterday. I have a very adventurous story about yesterday that will come later in my e-mail. I'll just give some updates of my week.
I keep forgetting to write about Sister Lavatai's food allergies. It really reminds me of Jon (my brother) because she is allergic to gluten. She made gluten free brownies yesterday and it made me smile. She is also allergic to dairy, sunflower seeds, pineapple, beef, and a few other things! Crazy, huh? I don't know what I would do. As a result, members have to be creative with what they feed us. Let's just say my third member appointment for dinner was not my favorite! It smelled pretty good and I sat down at the table to find that we were eating FISH! Gross. Haha. It actually wasn't too bad because it was in a rice casserole, so once I put ketchup on it, it just tasted like chicken. Only on a mission...:) That phrase is becoming more funny each day. We ate at a members home yesterday and she cooked Sis. L. fish and I got a huge steak! It was the best steak of my life.
Tuesday Sis. L. and I ended up going home an hour early because I was really sick with a stomach ache. I have felt sick a few times since being here. I just rested an extra hour and the next day I was good to go!
As for an update on our investigators: Pierrette is still doing well. She just has to tell her sons that she wants to be baptized and then we will set a date. I loved her the moment I met her. She reminds me so much of my mom. She is happy, has short hair, is very kind, and is always striving to learn about the Gospel. I'm so happy for her to be baptized and learn more about the amazing daughter of God that she is. Tracy is our other investigator and things are going well with her too. Sis. L. and I have taught her lessons 1, 2, 3, and the . We don't quite feel that she is ready to be committed to baptism yet, but we will just have to continue to listen to the Spirit. Yesterday was her first day at church! She really liked it. There's a boy in our ward who just put his mission papers in and he brought a girl "friend" to church as well. Her name is Jen. She has been investigating the church for a few months now and has definitely been prepared. She was taught by the missionaries right before she came home for the summer, but I guess they put a lot of pressure on her to be baptized. Sis. L. and I will start teaching her sometime this week. I'm so excited to get to know her and help her come closer to our Savior. When she knows the importance of baptism and how eternally happy it will make her, she won't want to wait to be baptized.
Now...my adventurous story from yesterday. Sister Lavatai and I were so excited that Tracy would be at church. We had arranged for her to drive her scooter to the bottom of the hill that the church is on (Airport Road). It was quite a ways away from her house. She has never really left her apartment except to go to her bank, so she was not very confident in finding directions. Sister L. and I left the church building at 9:00 am and walked down Airport Road. Tracy called us when we were about to the bottom of the hill and told us she was lost. It was already 9:30 and church started at 10:00! I soon saw Tracy driving her scooter about 10 mph (I still don't know how to convert miles/hour into kilometers or farenheit into celsius haha) down the middle of the highway road. Wow, what a sight hahaha. After about 15 minutes of directing on our cell phone and Tracy driving her scooter, she made it to us at about 9:45 am. Then we had to hike up the huge hill. Keep in mind that it is July and extremely hot outside. We were super pressed for time so we had to go as fast as we could. AND it was, so we hadn't had any water or food. Anyway, we had to jog/walk quickly up the hill and were sweating so much. We were only five minutes late to ! After church we had a whole other adventure. Sis. L. and I told Tracy how to make it home from the church. Then we went to a meeting. Right after the meeting, we got a phone call from Tracy. She was lost. We got in our car and drove down to where she was. We struggled to get her to figure out how to get to our car and cross the intersections. As she crossed the intersection, guess who pulled up? A policeman! He was really nice and he basically told her that she can't be driving her scooter on the road and she can't talk on her cell phone while she is "driving." He told her to go back across the intersection and take the bike trail that should take her back to her house. Sis. L. and I walked over to the bike trail with Tracy and told her to follow it home. We got back in our car and began driving home. We got yet another phone call from Tracy saying that the bike trail ended! Sis. L. and I went to her rescue again and walked with her until we knew she could find her way home. We were finally headed home, soaking wet from the heat of the sun. It was quite the morning and afternoon.
We didn't have much luck as we knocked a few doors yesterday either. To give you a taste of what it is like to be a missionary, imagine this scenario in your head: Sister Lavatai and I approach our next house and knock on the front door. A woman comes outside the side door and says "Make it quick." Sister Lavatai says with a smile on her face "We're missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of..." and is interrupted by the woman saying "Why are you here? You're not welcome here. We are all already. Don't come back!" Wow! Some people say they are Christian and then act completely opposite. It's really sad. One of the greatest lessons to learn while tracting is just to smile constantly. We can't afford to get low in spirit just because of some person who obviously does not understand her purpose in life :)
It's incredible to think that Sister Lavatai and I have stewardship over all of tender mercies and miracles as she has been in the past couple of weeks. I don't know what that means exactly, but I'll take it! Although many are not ready to hear the Gospel, it is still wonderful to partake of their goodness. Many are appreciative of our service. A catholic man even gave us two ice cold water bottles when it was so hot outside. It is amazing to view people as children of God because that's exactly what every person on this earth is. Heavenly Father loves us SO much! Never quit. Never give up. Never stop having faith. If you find yourself doubting, turn to the Lord. Read the scriptures, say your prayers, go to church. "By small and simple things are great things come to pass" is a true statement. Through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we have hope. It is a marvelous thing :) I pray that you will all have a wonderful week! I'm excited for District Meeting on Wednesday...it's the first time I get mail :) Yay! Thank you for your prayers. May the Spirit be with you this week!. There are over 54,000 people here and we are the only missionaries. God has a lot of trust in us! It's wonderful though. I'm getting the hang of things slowly but surely. It does make me feel good that Sister Lavatai says she has never been so blessed with
Love you all!
Sister Barton <3