Summer, I suppose, is here! Not that I can quite tell at the MTC, being the time bubble that it is... but today the first sign of summer peeked out from under the covers of spring... there was watermelon in the cafeteria for lunch!!! My tummy has never been so content :)
This week was fairly routine, other than the addition of TAHITIAN. The language structure is relatively simple, but that doesn't make it an easy language to learn. In French a person would be able to figure out about 30-40% of the words just by their Latin roots, but in Tahitian EVERYTHING sounds pretty much the same, and has NO relation to anything we are familiar with. Solution? Brute memorization. It is a very simple, descriptive language, which makes the words quite lengthy. For example, haamaramaramaraa means window! ( to make+light/intelligence/wisdom+noun particle which = window!) Maramarama also is a verb that means a few different things, and an adjective as well. We have been working on basic introductions, contacting, saying prayers, and bearing testimony in Tahitian. The trick is getting your mind to stop thinking in English (or French) because the syntax is polar opposite. For example: Ua mauruuruu tatou ia'oe i te mau faueraa. (past tense/feeling marker word+ thankful + we pl. inclusive + to you + for/to the +pl marker + commandments). Or Ua here au ia'oe ( feeling marker +love+me+to you). Simple sentences, but it helps get the idea across. The trick, according to Frere Asay and Frere Coulson (who FINALLY returned from his trip to Tahiti) is to keep things VERY simple in Tahitian. They are simply beautiful people. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3cmPqqfgKY
Here is an exciting bit of news -- the MTC choir (which we ALWAYS attend because the director is so fantastic) doubled in size yesterday! Why? Well, mark your calendars: the MTC choir is going to be singing at a live worldwide training broadcast on June 23rd. The first presidency will be there, as will a million other people. The topic: missionary work, of course! All people with ties to missionary work (ward mission leaders, ward missionaries, mission presidents, families of missionaries, etc. ;) are encouraged to watch. There are further details in the event section of lds.org.
The MTC is now overflowing with missionaries. Literally. Last Wednesday we had over 1000 new missionaries come in... on ONE DAY! There is now an "MTC West" campus (aka Wyview) that is included in MTC activities via broadcast. Because of the large number of missionaries, Tuesday night devotionals will now be held at the Marriott Center. We are excited for the weekly field trip down the road ;) There also may be someone pretty fantastic speaking tomorrow... I'll keep you all posted ;)
Soeur Taylor and I have been so blessed to be serving as the STLs in our zone. The branch presidency, zone leaders (some elders in our district, our good friends) and other district leaders are really top notch and we all work well together. Because it is our responsibility to administer as well as minister to the sisters in our zone, we have spent a significant amount of time the past week in interviews -- talking with the girls, helping to build companionship relations and smooth out difficulties. Soeur T and I, being the generally mellow girls that we are, are learning a LOT about how to love and counsel other sisters in our zone. Honestly, at first we wondered how in the world we could solve some of these problems... but in the last week I have learned two very important things. 1. God will make those he calls equal to the task and 2. The power of prayer, the Holy Ghost, and preparation. Mes amies -- prayer is POWERFUL. God is capable, and He does change the hearts of others when we pray for them. He will change our hearts as well if we open ourselves up to his infinite wisdom and love. I am awestruck by how much I have grown as an individual by serving in this position. How much it has made me ponder, study deeply, pray with all of my heart, and lean on God for direction and guidance in tricky times. Oliver -- you are right! A mission is like condensing years and years and years of living into a very short amount of time. Soeur Taylor and I have also gotten very close lately -- we are so lucky to have been called as companions and we are learning so much from each other.
More than anything, though, I want to express to all of you the joy that comes from giving 100% to the work. The days when I challenge myself with personal goals, when I schedule out every 30 minutes of the day with what I will be studying/doing, when I keep my thoughts centered on developing Christ like love for all those around me, when I run those 7 miles between the gym times, when I absolutely EXHAUST myself working......... those are the days that I lay down at night with a smile on my lips and peace in my heart. Those are the days that I want to shout to the world the truth of this restored gospel! Those are the days when the time flies, when I feel like there is so much to learn! Those are the days that I feel like I never want to come home :) I love those days and strive to make each day count! If you are not quite as happy as you would like to be, perhaps you need to be working harder, perhaps you need to move yourself closer to God. That is what someone said to the missionaries here last night. I agree 100%. I loved it when President Mengum said that "On a mission, Christ is sure to increase. You will decrease". So true!!!! It is not about us, nor will it ever be. Success and happiness comes from giving your all and holding nothing back. God will bless. He will replenish. http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/10/of-regrets-and-resolutions?lang=eng#watch=video
Wow... The time is ticking!! It will be over before I know it! I love you all and thank you SO MUCH for your love, support, letters, and Dear Elders! I wish I could respond to them all personally, but alas -- we only have an hour a week for email! They bring such joy into my days :)
My stay at the MTC is officially halfway through! Strange, right? Though it doesn't seem real yet.......... I AM GOING TO BE ON AN ISLAND IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SOUTH PACIFIC IN 5 WEEKS!!!
All my love, to'u mau hoa!