Well to start things off, I arrived fine. It wasn't really that bad. We got out of the car; I met some poor soul that had to carry my rock collection of a suitcase all the way around campus. I was then given a little envelope with stuff and both my name tags and sent on my way. It really wasn't as overwhelming as everyone said it was going to be.
There are five other elders in my room with me, so things are tight but REALLY fun. My companion is Elder Twede from Utah...but he was born in North Carolina and grew up there. He’s a nice guy, really knows his stuff and we make a killer team. The other non-Utahans are from Canada and Georgia.
There are 12 missionaries in my district; 6 sisters and 6 elders, of the twelve 8 are from Utah...no surprises there! I think most of the missionaries are from Utah. We had a welcome fireside and they asked people to stand up from where they were from and he did international first, then the states. There were only 2 other people from New York in our devotional room. I was thinking “man not very many people have stood up.” Then I realized he saved Utah for last. When called, roughly 85% of the room stood up.
We are all packed into this tiny room for nearly 10 hours a day doing language study. We spend 6 weeks learning French and then the last 6 learning Tahitian. The Tahitian missionaries are kind of like a legend here. Everyone knows about us and how long we are here...and feels sorry for us. I don’t think it will be too bad though.
French is coming along tres vite (very quickly). We have an investigator, Vetea Taihoarii (Vay-tay-a Tay-sho-wahr-i-i) and we've taught him 2 discussions. The first one we had a script and it was rough, but the second one we just went in with a few key words and it was a lot better. We ended up teaching him in French for about 35 minutes, so the gift of tongues is definitely real.
The food is literally Cannon Center (one of the dining halls at BYU) food, and you also are served kind of like at the Canon center. So no surprises there, however I’m going to have to try my best not to eat a lot so I don’t outgrow all my pants.
My schedule is crazy. We are scheduled for breakfast at 6:30 AM., which is normally the time you are supposed to get up. Which means we are going to have 11 weeks of waking up at 5:45! I guess it’s not too bad since when we get to our mission it will feel like we will get to sleep in for 45 minutes extra!
After breakfast we go to classroom instruction then lunch then more classroom instruction. Out of waking hours I think we are in our classroom for about 10 hours a day studying language. There really isn't much time for personal scripture study or anything like that.
It sometimes feels like I've been here forever, learning French forever. I can’t wait to learn Tahitian. It sounds so cool.
Well...not much to say other than that!
Je sais que Dieu t'aime!