Sunday, January 3, 2016

"Free Agency is Why We're Here" -Sister Eteaki on a Daily Basis

Bula family & friends!

I hope you've all had an AMAZING new year! We have had an wonderful week here in  good ol' Toukley.

The Lord has really humbled Sister Koi and I this week. We have been struggling and having to work more than ever to see progression. It seemed that all of our investigators came to a screeching halt this week. They had gotten off track over the holidays and we felt we were watching them slip through our fingers.

We started out the week determined. We knew what we needed to do and we were sure we could do it. But our efforts seemed to be vain. Our plans seemed to always fall through and our lessons weren't going as planned. Concerns that we thought we had overcome resurfaced, and commitments that were made were broken.

Throughout this, I allowed myself to become discouraged. I want  to really emphasize here that discouragement is a choice. Or rather a series of choices. Satan attacks us every day. He tries his best to slowly and surely wear us down. He wedges his way into our lives. But, Satan only has power over us if we let him. We can have the Creator of the universe, Jesus Christ, by our side every step of the way as we go through this life. If we allow Him to walk with us, there is no temptation or trial we cannot overcome.

But sometimes we give in. We allow Satan to weaken us. He starts playing with our priorities, feeding us negativity, and prompting us to disobey. These are all our choices. As we do these things, we deny the spirit and no longer qualify for it's companionship. Our spiritual sensitivity becomes dull and before we know it, we find ourselves off the path. We feel alone, and afraid. Then Satan tells us we are too far gone, we can never go back. But this is a lie. It then becomes our choice whether or not we listen to Satan and follow him further into darkness, or whether we reach back to meet the always outstretched arm of the Saviour.

As I experienced this process in my life this week, I began to realize the power of agency. Do we realize how much power we have been given? Freedom to choose. To choose good or bad, obedience or sin, happiness or suffering. It is all within our power. There is nothing, no situation, no trial, no feeling, no circumstance that we do not have the capacity to change. We are agents to act, not objects to be acted upon.

Now, please do not think that I am saying that we have power on our own. We need divine help to be able to access the true power of agency. I know that I, with my own strength alone, cannot choose to let anger leave me, or to abandon sin, or to overcome discouragement. I need the enabling power of the atonement to empower me to make these decisions. But as we turn to the Saviour, we can access this power and move mountains in our lives.

I was amazed this week as in my moments of discouragement, the Saviour gently stepped in, picked me up, dusted me off, and bid me to follow Him. But ultimately it was my decision to take those steps towards Him. He was there to call me and comfort me and promise me the blessings that would come, but He waited for me to take the steps.

It is a new year. It is a fresh start.

Many of you have set goals and made plans for this New  Year. You may feel excited and fearless, or you may feel worried and unsure that you can accomplish them. Team up with your Heavenly Father, rely on the Saviour, use your agency, and change your life.

Many of you feel you are stuck. You aren't happy with the situation you are in, but you feel there isn't much you can do about it. You have become content with mediocrity. You may even feel it's just too late for you to accomplish the things you once hoped for. Team up with your Heavenly Father, rely on the Saviour, use your agency, and change your life.

Some of you might feel broken. You feel that you are too far gone. You feel that there is no hope. You have lost the light in your life and you feel too weak to be hopeful. You feel unworthy and don't see a possibility for change. Team up with your Heavenly Father, rely on the Saviour, use your agency, and change your life.

It is never too late, you are never too far gone, you can always come back to the path. Repentance is real. The roots of repentance are bitter, but the fruit is sweet. You can change, you can conquer, you can accomplish. Use your agency and become what the Lord needs you to step up and become.

I love you all. Here's to a year of change and hope.


-If you're wondering what was the result of that challenging week for our investigators, it turned out alright! We continued to work with them and we are seeing progress again. It's been tough and slower than we'd hoped for, but they are growing closer to the Saviour. Lisa is getting closer to baptism. She is solidifying everything for the wedding prayerfully and she wants to be baptised the same week.

-THIS VIEW!!!!!!!!!

-The FIJIAN FAMILY!!!!!!!!!! What the heck, miracle. Running home from Lisa's house on New Years Eve trying to get to the flat on time. Sister Koi calls out to me to cross the road in Fijian. I cross and see a man sitting outside his house. I say "Happy New Year!" And he calls back in Fijian saying "Bye to the both of you!". We keep running and Sister Koi is beaming. "He just spoke in Fijian!!!" We went back two days later and found this amazing mother and son from Fiji who have Mormon family! They are so kind and funny and Sam, the son was close to baptism at one point but he just was a bit confused and pulled out last minute. We are so excited to work with them and help them gain greater understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the blessings that are there for their family.

-I beat the Elder from Vanuatu in soccer. He's probably the best in our district and I played him last p-day and he was so cocky that I beat him. He caught up to me fast, but I beat him and will most likely brag about it for the rest of my life hahahah. Probably can't do it again, but it was pretty sweet for the moment. 

-NEW YEAR! We had to be home early so I decorated our balcony and got us sparkling grape juice, poppers, sparklers, and grapes (12 each after midnight. I think I learned that from Naomi) We had so much fun celebrating and we set an alarm to wake up right before the new year. It was a good one!



-One of the members had us over for s'mores and a New Years message. She put out some ghetto old chairs that she was getting ready to throw out and long story short I fell through one. We were DYING laughing. I chilled like this for probably 20 minutes while we ate and our member was just cracking up. We laughed so hard that night! Love these people. As much as I hate to admit it sometimes, I really do love Aussies.


Well I love you all so much. Sorry this one was so long. But have a great week!!!!!

P.S. As an extra Sister Froemming sent me a picture story. I can't tell you exactly what is going on, but you really have to see it for yourself. If I get any info at all I will share!!!!!!


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