I COULDN’T BE MORE GRATEFUL!

My childhood was drama free growing up with boys

Hi beautiful sisters, my name is Malaea Tangi. Born and raised here in New Zealand in the beautiful suburb of Mangele. 🙂 I am of Tongan decent, so 100% coconutti. I am the youngest of 6; 5 older brothers. My childhood was drama free growing up with boys, as you can imagine. Zero drama. I grew up in the gospel with my family; however, three of my brothers fell away from the church at very young ages. My eldest, third and fourth brothers went their own ways. To this day one of the three has found his way back to the gospel and received his endowment in the past year. One of the many things I love about this gospel is the process of repentance. No matter what we go through in life, it is never too late to have that change in heart and come back to Christ.

Out of the 6 of us, only 1 brother (the youngest) is currently serving his mission in the Tonga, Nukualofa mission. I am about to embark on the same journey as I have been called to serve in the Philippines, Legazpi mission-reporting to the Manila, Philippines MTC on Friday 3rd July 2015.

I only hope and pray that my story of how the gospel has blessed me, will help further increase your faith and gratitude for this gospel. To know that there is always a way back in times where you feel like you’ve fallen off the tracks because Heavenly Father has one ultimate goal for us – that is, to return back to live with Him.

It wasn’t until I started reading the scriptures

Growing up in this gospel, I have always fed off the testimonies of those around me; my parents, leaders that I looked up to, etc. It wasn’t until I started reading the scriptures and came across Luke 22 where I read about Christ suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, bleeding from every pore. I don’t think I have ever felt so emotional whilst reading the scriptures. I guess, at this point, I realized how I’ve taken this gospel for granted many times. I have seen Gods hands in my life many times and the gospel has blessed my life abundantly. I see them everyday, both great and small and no doubt, it has blessed your lives too.

One way it has blessed my life is through missionary work. Growing up in primary, one of the questions I remember the leaders always asking was “who wants to serve a mission?”. I was always one of the kids who raised their hand. But truthfully, I never meant it. I only raised my hand for praise. As kids, we tend to do things sometimes to please adults or for them to praise us and say how good we are. But as I grew up and came to understand more about missionary work and learnt more about the gospel, my desire developed and became more sincere and real. Although I was still unsure about serving, there was a seed planted inside me and knew it would grow someday.

It wasn’t until the last youth conference where I found my answer. I remember this weekend because I always think of it as my turning point, where I found a true desire to serve. So that weekend, we had what we called, the Manukau Stake Youth Mini Mission Conference. And as you can tell by the name, everything was based around missionary work.

These rejections were very discouraging

An experience that really strengthened my desire was on the Saturday of this weekend. While my companion and I were out proselyting, we weren’t very successful to begin with. It was constantly rejection after rejection after rejection. And for two young women trying to find that desire to serve and searching for the answer whether or not to serve, these rejections were very discouraging. But I remembered something one of my young women leaders said to me about facing rejections while door knocking, she said, “they’re not rejecting you; they’re rejecting the church.” so after each rejection, I kept reminding myself of this.

As my companion and I continued to proselyte, we came to this house with a long driveway. Just as we were about to walk up, President Tafiti, (at the time, 2nd counselor in the Manukau Stake Presidency who is now Bishop of Auckland YSA 1st Ward, Manukau Stake), prompted us to pray. So my companion and I stopped and prayed. We prayed that the house we were about to go to, that someone would be home and be willing to listen to what my companion and I had to say. As we walked up to this house, we got there just in time to catch a lady and her daughter coming home from a birthday.

We introduced ourselves and although the timing wasn’t good, she was still interested in what we had to say and invited us back another time. So we took this as an opportunity to get her details and pass it onto the full time missionaries to follow up with this potential investigator.

However, it wasn’t until that night, where I found the desire to serve. So that night, we opened a stake youth fast. The purpose of this fast was to help us gain the desire to serve and to pray and ask God whether or not serving a mission was for us. I can truly and sincerely testify to you sisters, that my prayer was answered. Heavenly Father answered my prayer and is evident today that He wants me to serve a mission. As I mentioned earlier, I have been called to labor in the Philippines, Legazpi mission. I couldn’t be more grateful and honored to know that the Lord has trusted me to go out and help to hasten His work.

I frequently prayed in my heart

Another example of how the gospel has blessed me is through the temple. Preparing for my mission required me to enter the temple, and on Saturday 20th June 2015, I was privileged to enter His holy house and receive my own endowment. What a blessing this was! I cannot describe in words the way I felt in the temple, but I hope as I continue to live each day, that my actions will show the great love I have for this gospel and how grateful I am. The spirit, the peace and joy that overcame me as I walked in was overwhelming. I immediately felt the love of my Saviour. I was filled with His spirit every step of the way.

Prior to entering the House of the Lord, I frequently prayed in my heart. I prayed that the spirit would testify to me that this church is true. As I began the process of my endowment, something so small, literally the smallest thing happened. At this point, I knew, straight away that it was the spirit working and testifying to me through the small experience that this church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true.

It may not have been the biggest, most obvious experience, but its the small things like this, that happen within the temple walls, that I will always remember and cherish. It experiences like these that help strengthen my testimony and faith in Christ.

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Beautiful Malaea outside Hamilton, New Zealand Temple 2014

Sealed to my Grandparents

The temple has truly blessed my life with the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation. To know we will be able to see our loved ones who have passed on before us and be reunited with them again in the presence of God. 2 years ago, October 26th was one of many significant days for my family. Not only were we celebrating my nana’s last birthday with us, but it was the day my father and his younger brother, who passed away years ago, got sealed to my grandparents. To know that after all these years, my dad and his brother were not sealed to their parents but are now sealed, brings me to tears of happiness. I can’t imagine what it’ll be like for a family to not be together in the next life. So for that, I am truly grateful for temples and the ordinances performed inside that enable us to draw nearer to our Father in Heaven and our Saviour and allow us to be reunited with our loved ones again.

Be willing to change for the Lord.

My beautiful sisters, I am so grateful for this gospel, for the knowledge that I have. I am so grateful for the atoning sacrifice of our Saviour, Jesus Christ that has allowed me to be where I am today, getting ready to go out and hasten His work. Truly grateful for my membership. I know that the temple is the Holy house of the Lord. A place where we can find refuge, a place where we can receive spiritual upliftment and spiritual revelation that we seek. Through the temple, I have grown a deeper love for this gospel. Elder Richard G. Scott said, “the temple is the best place to understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ”.

For those preparing to serve a mission or preparing to enter the temple, be willing to change for the Lord. Preparation starts now. I encourage you to pray. Pray sincerely about the decisions you make. Pray with a “sincere heart, with real intent and having faith in Christ” and He will answer your prayers because he will feel and know your sincerity. I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers. It may not come when we need it, in that exact time but just like President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “…the answers of your prayers will come in His own way and in His own time. You need to learn to listen to the spirit.”

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Malaea with her beautiful parents on the day of her endowment.

PACIFIC LDS WOMEN wishes Malaea all the best as she serves the Lord in the Phillipines.

Malaea reports to Manila, Phillippines MTC Friday 3rd, July 2015.

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