Je espere te avoir maitai! (editor's note: I hope you have ? "maitai" - Tahitian word?)
Doesn't feel like I hav been here for 3 weeks but I have - boy does time fly. This will be our MTC Week 4 (since the first half-week you get here counts as week 1), so just 2 weeks left of French 'til we start Tahitian. We are all so excited!
There are a few Tahitian missionaries here that all our teachers know. They came to our class on Friday and sand for us and gave us shell necklaces - the first of many we were warned. Soeur Buswell (one of their teachers. Soeur is sister in French and pronounced "sir") said she had over 20 lbs. of shell necklaces when she came home.
We are starting to get off on tangents in our lessons and talk about the culture in Tahiti and it is super fun. They eat with their hands, there are not many spiders, everyone has a giant metal spike in their yards for shucking coconuts, and banana trees grow like weeds. There're so many funny things about the people that I can't wait to see for myself.
Apparently, the mission president's wife has some political connections - this is the rumor - and she is the reason so many more missionaries are in Tahiti. Originally, only 25 missionary VISA's were issued for all of Tahiti - but the Lord's work needed to move forward and thus they were able to open it up completely - no restrictions. This means that there will be hundreds of missionaries all over the islands in French Polynesia. Our teacher said they are opening tons of islands at the moment because they can now fill everywhere else they need to. The Marquises Islands were also closed for many years, and they just recently got opened as well, it would be amazing to serve there! Most of the islands opening up are in the Tuamotus - tiny atols - basically a lump of sand in the middle of the ocean. Also a lot of islands speak their own dialect of Tahitian, so there may be more language learning in my future!
Tahitian French is a lot different then France French. The cadence is much slower because you have to roll all your r's, which is nice because it makes comprehension great! I can pretty much understand everything people say to me now, thanks to the gift of understanding of tongues.
The key to getting good seats for devotional is to join Choir. If you show up early to Choir, you can be right in the front super close to whomever is speaking. It's great! Speaking of devotionals, every Sunday night we get a choice of films to go watch. They are usually old devotionals given by the apostles at the MTC... and they are phenomenal! You get to hear the general authorities speak like you have never heard them before. One of my favorites so far has been Elder Bednar's "Character of Christ" address. He goes through stories about Christ and about people, and challenges us to find Christ's character in them!
We've been here long enough now that the devotional topics have looped already, it's kind of funny. Sacrament meetings are fun, we are given a topic on Saturday and you have a random chance of being called up to give a talk in French/Tahitian. We are a French speaking ward, and it will be fun when we learn Tahitian 'cus our district will be the only ones understanding us!
Our investigator Hutia is progressing nicely. She just wasn't opening up to us, so I fasted about how we could really get to her. Before our lesson, the spirit told me I should write an allegory involving rowing the gospel. The lesson was great! She opened right up, was super engaged and even promised enthusiastically to keep her commitment! Fasting is such a great way to accomplish our purpose as missionaries!
The Lord loves us individually!
P.S. Our name works perfectly for the Tahitians to say, it even sounds like a combination of islander names..