Sunday, July 19, 2015

Dear Family,

I made it safely!! After 3 flights, a 13 hr over-night flight, and an 11 hr layover in New Zealand, we landed safely in Tonga last Tuesday night. The first night we had a nice Tongan dinner with the mission president's family and stayed in the temple motel right across from the temple! There we met tons of other missionaries who had just flown over from the New Zealand and were all from Tonga. Wednesday morning Sister Emch and I attempted to dress ourselves in the Tongan attire and went outside looking for a trashcan and when we stepped outside EVERYONE stopped and just kinda stared at us like we were zoo animals. We gave up on the trash can idea and ran back inside. How's that for a first day as a missionary haha.. I have gotten pretty used to the attention and stares as I've walked around. No one is expecting the palangi sisters. Each person we met this week asked about it and they are really happy to see us which is awesome. Sister Emch and I met the 2 other palangi sisters at MLC, a training meeting, and they are SO happy more are coming.
So I am assigned to work in Pea as my first area and my trainer is Sister Moloa! She's from Indiana, she was the first sister to come from America and she's been out for 5 months. Pea is an area that's new to both of us so this week we have both had to learn a lot! When we got dropped off at our MQ, it was a huge mess! We had to clean for hours just enough to get settled in. We did lots of cleaning and yard work today and it is BEAUTIFUL now. haha I wish I had taken a picture when we first arrived to compare. And the last update in the areabook was from JANUARY. So we didn't have really have much to go off of. We decided to just start walking down the street to try and find the bishop and ward mission leader. After talking with some people on the street and much searching, we found them both! There are no addresses in Tonga because apparently people just need to know the family name and which part of the village they are's THAT SMALL. Our area is pretty big though. In Tonga, the work is mostly done through the members. Thanks to Lika and Mafi, two RMs in the ward, we were able to find the members and less-actives to teach. They are a HUGE blessing to us. We aren't allowed to be out of our MQ after dark (around 6:30), unless there is a member walking with us. So they walked with us on Saturday to invite everyone to church! One awesome thing about Tonga is that EVERYTHING is closed on Sunday. So of course there are no excuses for not coming to church. If you're not going to our church, you're going to some other church. Our ward is small. Many of it's leaders are very young! The members of the bishopric and ward mission leader are all in their 20's. I counted about 40 people in Sacrament Meeting, so we have LOTS of reactivating to do. I bore my testimony in Sacrament Meeting and I thought it was a success because nobody laughed like they did in The Other Side of Heaven. THANK GOODNESS. Although, a man did come up to me afterwards and say, "Well I think you will need a companion who speaks fluently to ever learn the language." I got the subtle (not so subtle) hint haha. Tongans are very straight up and open.
I'm not too worried about gaining weight, at least while I'm serving in Pea! Our diet has consisted of Chow (or Top Ramen noodles without water--of course hot water is not a thing here) and crackers for breakfast, and chicken for dinner every day. It is spicy so I'm thinking that by the end of the mission I will acquire the tongue for spicy foods! Hopefully! Last night was the first night that we were served real Tongan food (not Kolo food from town) for fafanga. We had Lu, meat wrapped in leaves, and Manioke. It was good, especially after a long day of walking!
We have 3 new investigaters this week! We went to one of the Chinese stores and started talking to the Chinese guy working there. I kept trying to talk to him in Tongan and he had to clarify that he doesn't speak Tonga. WAHOO!! I felt like Elder Calhoun, again. haha His english is very poor, but we have been teaching him through pictures and broken english. It is hard for him to accept that we did not evolve from monkeys, but I sense that he has a desire deep down to believe. Another one we met while inviting people to church. A Palangi school teacher!! I have been soo blessed because we can teach in English.
I love you all! God bless
Sister Betteridge


Our cute little abode.  


  1. I used to live in lil' fale like this one......'Oku ou tui oku ke sii ma'u pe ha mo'ui lelei i Tonga na. Ofa lahi atu kia koe Sister Petalisi - na'a ku 'ilo pe tenau 'oatu ho hingoa fakaTonga....Ofa atu kia koe!

  2. ngalo ke tohi hoku hingoa he komeni i 'olunga.....'ofa atu kia koe mei he famili Kennach!

  3. My name is Janice Hutchinson, and my son is serving in this mission. His name is, of course, Elder Hutchinson. He's on Vava'u. He arrived the end of August. I was really happy to find your blog. He hasn't answered any questions that I've asked. And we didn't even have the address to mail packages or letters. So now I have them thanks to your blog. :)

  4. No way, the Elder on the second to the right if it was looking from left to right, he is my friend from home. Aaah! It is so good to see photos.