Mahalo Nui Loa

9:39:00 PM

Mahalo Nui Loa means thank you very much in Hawaiian 😊

Dear friends and family,

This week literally went by so quickly! Being a visitors' center (VC) sister is so differently from full-proselyting. Half our day is spent in the VC or on tram tours from the Polynesian Cultural Center(PCC) and the other half is when we can proselyte in our areas. But in reality, that half a day is cut in half because of our studying time. So we only have like 2 hours to visit members or tract in our area... and since we're new to the two wards we cover, we're still trying to get to know the members.

When we're on tram tour shift, we lead guests from the PCC to the VC every hour interval, but sometimes there aren't any guests at the time, so we just go by ourselves. The PCC is also sponsored by the church and I had no idea it was so popular until I came here! The best part is giving the tour when there are people that really are curious about the "Mormon" temple or BYU Hawaii. I've given a few tours inside the VC to Chinese people from China and that was really fun! A few are interested and wanted to read the Book of Mormon so we gave them that, but some unfortunately don't even come inside the VC. They literally just spend time taking a million pictures outside, because it is really beautiful. It makes me sad that some visitors that come in tour buses are told by their tour guides not to come inside the VC, or if they do, they tell us not to talk about our religion (which makes no sense..).

One of the many things I love about Laie is the spirit of Aloha. One Auntie told us that practically everyone, at least the Polynesians, are related one way or another in this community. There are so many members here that whenever we're walking on the street, almost every person we cross by will say, "Hey Sisters!" Haha.The downside with such a strong Mormon community is that the non-members here have seen missionaries around for probably many years, and aren't interested in the church for a reason. I think we just want to focus on re-activating less active members in the wards and getting new investigators in the Visitors Center (these numbers don't count towards our area numbers).

I think the week before last week, the Church announced that children of same-sex couples can't be baptized into our church until they're at least 18 yrs old, but they still can still participate in everything else at church. When we get out online chat time at the VC, we had a few people that wanted to remove their church records because they think that the church is being "hateful" towards those children. Honestly, we support and sustain our prophet, Thomas S. Monson, because I know this decision was made to prevent any conflict within those families. Why would a gay couple want their child to be baptized into a church that doesn't support their lifestyle anyway?? The family is central to God's plan for His children, so if they want to get baptized as an adult, they can!

On Saturday, we did this thing called a "district flood." It's basically where our whole district (6 companionships + our district leaders) go to one proselyting area and tract (knock on doors or talk to people we see) for 2 hours. We had so much fun because that area had more non-members than our area. We talked to a guy named Eddie and he just told us his life story haha. He used to box professionally but stopped because his mom didn't support it and he made some really bad decisions, which led to some jail time. He's looking for a job now and getting back into boxing after about 10 years but we had the best conversation about God and religion. We gave him a Book of Mormon to read because it can help him have direction in his life and we reminded him that God loves him and has a plan for him. We ended with a prayer and he agreed for the sisters to visit him in the future. I was sad he's not in our area, but it's talking to people like him, who are open and ready to learn the gospel, that makes missionary work so worth it! He also mentioned that as we talked to him, he felt peace and was uplifted. We pointed out that was the Spirit's presence!

I wish we had more time to proselyte in our areas, but I do have a lot of fun giving tours in the VC. Even if people of other religions aren't interested in joining our church, it's nice to see the similarities between our religions, and talk about why the Book of Mormon and temples are so important to us. I'm so grateful to serve on such sacred grounds and feel the Spirit every day.
Fun fact: the street leading up to the temple is named "Hale La'a" which means "house sacred," built in honor of the temple after it was completed in 1919.

Scripture of the week: Alma 31:38

"And the Lord provided for them that they should hunger not, neither should they thirst; yea, and he also gave them strength, that they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ. Now this was according to the prayer of Alma; and this because he prayed in faith."

 This was just a good picture of the wind in my hair haha, at the Polynesian Cultural Center! I'm not wearing my name tag because we're not allowed to proselyte inside the PCC.

The little "picnic" we had inside the big pad (they call our homes pads, not sure why) because it was raining outside. It's so fun serving with other sisters haha. Fun fact: Sister Na (the one with the fork) lived in the same residence building I did first year at BYU, but on different floors! That's why she said I looked familiar.

Have a wonderful week!

Sister Wu

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