Well I thought I would be in the MTC forever, but looks like I'm leaving pretty soon! Time just keeps speeding up and I have no idea where it went. We leave SL(the 12th) and fly to LA, LA to New Zealand, and New Zealand to Nuku'alofa. So we leave and arrive in Tonga late night (due to the time change and layovers). I'm getting more anxious to leave now! I want to start talking to real people! Yesterday, our teachers admitted they are giving up on us. Since they feel like they have taught us everything they can (which I don't believe), they don't know what else to teach. Sooo they like to tell us Tongan stories about spirit turtles and what not. I like to count the victories here in the MTC. And one of those victories was the realization that I've studied French for four years and Tongan for a little over four weeks and I feel more comfortable talking and teaching a lesson in Tongan than I do in French. The spirit is AMAZING. I know that if I had studied Tongan anywhere but here in the MTC for four weeks or even much longer, I'd be no where near where I am now with the language. Brother Fisher said that people study Tongan for YEARS to get to where we are now. Apparently agents have been skeptical and have come to visit MTC's in the past because they want to know why missionaries learn languages so fast. I have always wondered that myself. I figured that the gift of tongues was magic. Now I understand what it takes. Lots of work. Lots of faith. And lots of heavenly help. I'm going to need a little more heavenly help, though, to help me say a new word that I learned this week from the scriptures. It's "mahuhuhuhu," which means piercing. Try saying that one fast! Or maybe it's just me. I can't say it for the life of me and so whenever we would come across it as we read 3 Nephi , of course it would always be my turn and then everyone would laugh at me. haha I'll keep working on it.
My sweet companion, Sister Moreno, went home earlier this week due to health problems. She worked so hard and after many challenging weeks, President Willes practically FORCED her to go home to get better. She is an example of courage and faith to me and I am so grateful I was able to serve with her. I am so excited to see her recover and join us again in the Pacific Islands. I am now in a trio with Sister Emch and Sister Stokes. Sister Stokes is serving in New Zealand and Sister Emch will be in Tonga with me (:
We received 15 new Fijian missionaries this week, which DOUBLED our zone. There are 3 sisters from Papa New Guinea and Tahiti. The sister from Tahiti can only speak French and understands verryyy little English, which is a challenge! I can't even imagine having to learn Fijian AND English in an English training center. Heavenly Father really does have a sense of humor! When I heard that she only speaks French I thought WAHOO I can help!! It was pretty depressing to learn, however, how much I have forgotten after trying to speak with her. Hopefully it's been enough to help her feel loved and welcomed. The three of them are just the cutest. Within the first night, we received knitted bags from Papa New Guinea and blouses and necklaces. It is very much the polynesian way and it amazes me how excited they are to give. We realized how slow Americans are to give when we felt that all we could offer were Sister Emch's favorite SnapPeas. We will keep working on that. We need to tell them, though, that they should save their gifts for people in Fiji.
Last week we taught another volunteer member, and we were able to teach a cute old Tongan lady about receiving answers to our prayers. I shared with her the story of how I decided to serve a mission. Barely into it, I started crying as I felt the spirit testify of the significance of that experience. It was a very tender moment because the lady then shared her own story and started to cry. Although I couldn't understand most of it, I felt the spirit as she talked about receiving answers to her prayers. It is that feeling and experience that I rely on when it gets difficult here. President Willes shared with us a good message on enduring to the end. It's discouraging and unimaginable sometimes to see the end and what we need to do to get there. Whether that's learning the language, completing a mission, overcoming an addiction, or making it back to the presence of our Heavenly Father. All we need to do is endure today. Work as hard as you can today. Then start over the next day. If we get discouraged thinking about the end and feeling that it will never come, we may let days go by where we aren't doing as well as we should or moving away from Christ. So just endure today.
I love all so much! Have a wonderful week <3