Thursday, December 12, 2013

Bula from the MTC!

Bula! Time is so strange here at the MTC! It feels like we've been here a month and yet I swear I checked in just yesterday. But it's fabulous! I've decided the MTC is definitely what you make of it. If you are determined to have a wonderful experience here.... you will! The spirit is so strong.  Especially when we sing. I love it. Here are a few updates on my life here.

The Language: 

Fijian is a blast.  I have never seen such long stinkin' words in my whole life. For example. The number 21 is ruasagavulukadua. Crazy. They also really like V's and K's.  This first week has been such a testimony to me that the MTC and the programs here are inspired! And also..... the gift of tongues is real. The ability to learn insane languages comes straight from Heavenly Father.  Yesterday I got cocky for a minute before we started to play a game and suddenly, I couldn't even remember the word for "You." Then I was humbled again and remembered that it's not me, it's Heavenly Father. We have four teachers and all of them are awesome. By the second day we were praying in Fijian and the third we were bearing our testimonies in Fijian.  (I am going to try and send you a video of me bearing my testimony on about the fourth day.) Fun fact... I am definitely supposed to go to Fiji because the way you ask a question is by the tone of your voice.  And it's exactly the funny Australian accent that you all make fun of me for. Ha. I am soooo happy when I am studying the language though.  

 We've also taught five lessons in Fijian. It's pretty humbling.  Our investigator, Pita, commited to be baptized yesterday! (YAY!!!) We've only made a few hilarious mistakes so far. Tikina is the word for verse and Tinika means canned fish so one lesson we kept trying to share canned fish with him. He was bummed when it was only a scripture. Ha. Another lesson we thought we were sharing JSH 1: 16 - 17 with him when it was actually the Joseph Smith Translation of Matthew 1: 16-17.  Says something about being "With Child." He was trying so hard not to laugh and we were SO CONFUSED!

My Zone:

There are two districts going to Fiji (entered the same day) and one district of three elders going to Samoa (two of which are the Zone Leaders.)  There are 9 Elders going to Fiji with us.  Most are Polynesian or Australian but there is one from Utah and one from Alabama.  They are so fun. There are 8 sisters.  I love them all sooooo much! 

Sister Pauga: my companion.  She is from Samoa/New Zealand so she has great English but it definitely still polynesian.  :) We get along super well and are Sister Training Leaders together. 

Sister Pauni: Samoan.  Hilarious. I can only understand about 15% of what she says. I think it will actually be easier to communicate when we learn Fijian. She is a crack up though and always in her own little world. 

Sister Tongoi: From Kiribati. She is a sweet heart and is ALWAYS taking pictures.  

Sister Iro: I LOVE this girl. She is from the Solomon Islands and is the only member in her family and such an example to me.  Her broken English testimony is one of the strongest I've ever heard. 

Sister Itea: Also from the Solomon Islands.  She sticks with Sister Iro a lot and doesn't understand much but she is precious and is also the only member in her family. 

Sister Kaititi: From Kiribati/Fiji.  She is a funny girl and pretty outgoing.  She always says she's the most "Notorious" which she thinks means trouble maker. Ha. Love her though.

Sister Uate: Tongan. She is Hilarious.  LOVES to eat. She's also the only member in her family. 

The most humbling and spiritual experiences have been with these girls.  It's humbling teach someone to use a computer mouse and "those strange machines that wash your clothes" and the giant black machines that give you food and how to count American coins.  They have taught me more than I can say. You expect it when you are in a 3rd world country but I don't think about it at the MTC until they ask me for help.  I am blown away by their sacrifice, faith and courage.  They don't have anything. In fact I didn't even unpack some of my stuff because I didn't want them to feel bad.  Luckily the MTC helped them out with shoes and clothes etc.  I've also given them quite a bit of my stuff, so you might have to send more mom. But how can you not? Many of them have no support. Their families think it's stupid and refuse to help them.  They have no one to email. No one praying for them.  Please pray for them just as much as you pray for me. Remember them.  I can't imagine what it would be like. I get choked up ALL. The. Time. because of their examples and backgrounds. 

So I'm the only Valagi (White person) And these are the conclusions I've come to. 

You know you're the only Valagi in a  Polynesian Zone when.......

  1. You are late to everything except MEALS :)
  2. There is ALWAYS something to laugh about. Always.
  3. When you can't find anyone..... they are at the vending machines.
  4. The entire zone gets stopped by every single other Polynesian on campus.  And there are a lot. 
  5. There are 7 different Polynesian languages spoken in your zone - all of which sound the same. 
  6. Lights out at 10:30 is simply a suggestion. - We are lucky to be calmed down bymidnight.
  7. No one ever says yes. It's always a nice eyebrow raise and "Mmmmm." So confusing.
  8. Everyone is always happy. I love this. 
I feel like my experience at the MTC is significantly different than the other Sisters I have observed.  It's both easier and harder. But I wouldn't change it for anything. I love these sisters. 

Other Stuff:
  1. Since I've been here, I've seen Elder Howe (His Tagalog is superb) my old Relief Society President, and a few others.
  2.  It's freezing. I don't know why I ever thought the jacket I'm taking to Fiji would be warm enough for Provo Utah in December.
  3. The Salad bar is my best friend.
  4. The Robe was a fabulous choice!
  5. Milyssa was right.... Mints are a life saver. 
  6. The temple is closed :( 
  7. Pray for our Visas to come!!! Our zone leaders were just reassigned to California because their Samoan Visas aren't here. And apparently that has been happening tons!  
  8. There were like 800 missionaries that reported Dec. 4th. 
  9. I am the only one who plays any piano. So I have to play for everything. I definitely should have practiced more. 
We had a wonderful devotional on Tuesday night.  Elder Cook came and spoke about missionary work. It was so inspiring. He challenged us to look at an area when we first arrive and ask " What can I do to strengthen and help this branch/area?" Then be determined that it will be better off when you leave.  I loved that.  His wife, Mary Cook, also spoke of a little girl Jana who was so excited that she had the most important part of her Christmas play.  Her mom expected that she was probably Mary or something but she was surprised when Jana simply held a huge tinfoil star above.  Her mom asked her about her part after and Jana said it was the most important part "because I showed everyone how to find Jesus."  That's us!!! How exciting! We are called to be the stars that show others the way to Christ.  I love being a missionary.

I love you all and hope you are doing fabulous! :)  

Loloma Levu,

Sister Matheson :)

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