Sunday, January 19, 2014

Bula from Somosomo!

Bula Vina'a!
I'm finally a real live missionary in Fiji.  Like the kind that teaches people and walks in the hot sun all day.  Yep that kind. And I LOVE it. I have seriously had an incredible first week and I don't know how in the world I am going to be able to remember everything that has happened.  We flew into Nadi at like 6 am on Monday morning and rode a bus all morning. It is so lush and green and beautiful here. We did our orientation and stayed with host missionaries and went out to Family home evenings with them. Such a good experience. 
Tuesday we went to the temple and prepared our feast with the mission President and his wife.  They are so nice and I'm sad they are leaving in July, but excited for the new mission president as well.
Wednesday we had another orientation and at the end they passed out our first assignments in a little white envelope.  Holy crap.  I think that was more nerve wracking than opening my mission call, mostly because we had all been speculating and saying where we wanted to go.  EVERYONE wanted to go to Taveuni. Because it's the most rural that the sisters can go.  I was trying not to get my hopes up and thought that maybe I would be sent west to like Nadi or Lautoka but when I opened my assignment.........
Somosomo Area, Somosomo District
which just happens to be in.....
I would be lying if I said I wasn't completely stoked.  The more rural the better, right? Lucky I had in mind that I might have to take only 30 lbs. to my mission. But it was still hard.  First I helped Sis. Alaga pack for Labasa.  She cracked me up.  She was struggling soooo much and was devastated she couldn't take everything with her, but we finally got it figured out.  Next I packed.  So HARD.  There are so many things I wish i could have brought.  I took like half of my clothes. And that's pretty much it. Seriously. I took some really small baggies of a couple other things.  Eh, it will be fine though. Then I stayed the night with the Sisters in Nausori and was kind of bummed because we just stayed inside all day but they are super nice. And it rains a TON there. I don't wake up much in the night, and I woke up like 5 times because it sounded like Niagra Falls. I was really concerned about my decision to not bring an umbrella or a jacket. Or a pillow.
We flew on this tiny adorable airplane to Taveuni.  And it was beautiful.  Like pretty much paradise. The airport was basically a shack.  No security or indoor waiting areas.  Only one ticket booth and a scale. Because they have to weigh every single thing or person who steps on the plane. My companion Sister Bechu (who looks exactly like Kiara in her passport pic. in the office) was there to meet me along with a senior couple and Elder Fiso's companion. We went to lunch and drove around the island. It was love at first sight.  This is exactly where I am supposed to be. So small and so green and beautiful.  They call Taveuni the Garden Island. They dropped us off at our adorable little flat and we went out right away.  It was raining and I felt like a missionary for the first time. Awesome. Our first lesson was with Orisi.  We sat on the mats and I couldn't even think straight between the bazillion flies; seriously, and the sweat dripping from my face, and my hips were dying, and I also couldn't understand much.  But I was still so happy. I. Love. These. People. Sister Bechu took me around to meet a bunch of the members who all rock.  Man, if there is something my trainer has taught me it is that relationships with the members are SO IMPORTANT. She's also Fijian and I'm trying to take advantage of learning Fijian from her. This island has a different dialect where they drop all of the K's (which is about half of their language) so that's a little hard and takes some getting used to.
Friday we went to a house dedication of the Maiwiriwiri family who has been a huge strength to the church here.  I'm not going to bore you with all of the lessons from this week but we have tons of investigators -- like 15 families and individuals and they are all so unique.  There are a lot of Word of Wisdom problems here and my view of Drunks has changed.  I used to laugh and take pictures of them.  Now I'm just sad.  Because I see the heartache they bring to their parents and families. It's a big problem here. There are even returned missionaries. I was so disappointed when we saw one of our investigators drunk.
Saturday started out AWESOME.  We walked up to the Dalo plantation of one of the members to teach Vuli, and and it was beautiful.  They taught me how to husk a coconut and said I was a true Fijian now.  I wish I had brought my camera. And man.  So many frogs. Everywhere. I almost stepped on like 10 in the half hour we were at the plantation. We also have a huge ant problem at our flat.  I was gonna make some noodles one day and I went to use the water boiler and Sister Bechu looked inside and said...."Uh... I think you don't want to use this."  I looked inside and it was swarming with ants and mold and who knows what else.  I laughed so hard. We were at another dinner appointment and there was a huge rat that ran across the room right in front of our dinner on the ground.  Sister Bechu says our rat at the flat is even bigger. Ugh. And in the shower the other night I felt something on my foot and..... Cockroaches. Climbing on my foot. Oh boy. Good thing I'm not a germaphobe. If the rats start coming out.... it might be "too much five for me" though. Ha.
Another funny story,..... we were talking about how I have given up all hope on getting ready. It's gonna be a bun and no makeup the entire time I'm here.  It's just too hot and humid for anything else. But Sister Bechu looked at me in all seriousness and said..... "[sigh]..... My hair is just always angry." So hilarious. Everyone here has a fro and I love it.
We were supposed to have a baptism yesterday, but it fell through. The uncle postponed it for Aca (who is 12) because he was hanging out with the wrong people and some people say he was drinking the night before his baptism. But we talked to him and he seems to be doing a lot better. So hopefully next Sunday. I introduced myself in Church yesterday and shared a thought from Lehi's dream about the desire to share the gospel with those we love, then bore my testimony.  Most of it was in Fijian and I was up there for like 10 minutes which was really encouraging.  I want to be pretty functionally fluent before I leave Somosomo because this is the best place to learn. I'm trying to to talk and joke as much as I can, and the people seem to be warming up to me. We had a legit Fijian lunch yesterday.  On the floor. Flies. Strange foods. No silverware. So crazy.  I decided you just have to accept that you are going to be sticky and dirty the whole time, and move on.  Sori - the little girl I was playing with - had pork fat and crumbs ALL over her and she got it all over me. But it's ok. It just takes getting used to. We taught a bunch of other lessons.  One of my favorites is a family from Kiribati.  There are so many kids and they all sing in English, Fijian, and Kiribati.  It's beautiful. They melt my heart. I really hope they get baptized before I leave.
This morning I woke up pretty dang sick.  Probably from the lunch yesterday. Who knows.  I usually don't get sick though, so it's a wake up call for me and I think I'll have more sympathy from now on. I think we are going fishing today for the rest of P-day, then to family home evening.  So I really hope I have enough strength to do that. But I'm excited. There are so many fun things to do here for P-day. And every single inch of this island is pure paradise, so that helps.
I'm sorry this is a novel. Ha. But basically I love it here. I have learned a ton so far. Missionary work is truly WORK! I come home dead tired every. single. night. But it's so worth it.  We get along so well and this area is so white and ready to harvest, so I'm excited to see what happens in the next 3 months. I don't know how I got so lucky to be in the BEST area of the BEST mission in the whole world, with the BEST trainer.  That is a lot of bests.  And I am so thankful. 
I miss and love you all!
Loloma Levu,
Sister Matheson :)

I have to explain the reference Aimee made to "too much five".  After she got her mission call, Emilee was in Seminary and the teacher was talking about missions and how he thought on your mission papers you could rate on a scale of 1-5 how much you would like to go on a foreign mission and learn a foreign language.  He then asked if any of them had siblings either on a mission or with a mission call.  Several did and he went around the room asking where they were going.  When he got to Emilee she said Aimee was going to Fiji and speaking Fijian.  He said. "Wo--that's too much 5!  If a 5 lands you in Fiji speaking Fijian, I'd go with a 3.5"  It's a standard joke in our house now.

My view as I flew into this island.

My comp and I eating a coconut from a member. 

The GORGEOUS river that runs through Somosomo.  I've never seen it without like 15 kids swimming in it.  It's unreal.

A little girl at the house dedication.  Her name is Torika.

The real live VERY Fijian meal yesterday after church.  Unfortunately I'm pretty sure this is what made me so sick.

Sori and me at lunch.  She is a doll and we are best friends.

My awesome trainer Sister Bechu and I in front of our adorable little flat. Cute eh?

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