Date: Tue, Aug 30, 2011 at 1:46 PM
Subject: Week 7
Hello everyone in the outside world!
How is everybody! Thanks everyone that has written me and mom thanks for the package! It was awesome! Is there anything that I can do for anyone? Just let me know!
It's crazy being in a place that you are volunteering at and you feel like a prisoner sometimes. You can't do this and you can't do that, you hear it all the time! LOL and they make it hard to even see anything outside of the MTC with the fence and the trees surrounding the whole place. The only time you can feel free is when you head to the temple! ha ha but other than that it has been an amazing experience. It's neat to see all of our district improve in a lot of ways. Our language is starting to get better, and our testimonies as well. Although, we are starting to see the end in sight and some of us are starting to get 'lepa'. Lepa direct translation is you are rowing into an island and you stop rowing and let the waves take you into the island. Our Branch President and teachers have explained to us how much more we can still learn if we take advantage of this place. I feel like I can take advantage of what the MTC has because my dad has taught me to work and I went to a year at BYU and learned how to study. It's almost like the Lord has blessed me to have both of those opportunities. Now I just have to keep being obedient and the Lord has promised me with lots of blessings. That's the thing. Whenever we are obedient to the commandments the Lord has given us, then he promises to bless us. We can't receive those blessings unless we are faithful in keeping the commandments. D&C 121 explains this principle. I'm still working on being exactly obedient. Sometimes I slip up now and again, but let me tell you it is hard not to break a rule once in awhile. Not because you say no but that time doesn't allow for you to get everything you want to do in. Or it's just a very strict environment and you are expected to keep a lot of rules. Anyways it has been awesome. Sometimes it is easy to get frustrated but I have learned to be a lot more patient with myself, because if you aren't then you are mad all the time, and that drives away the spirit. It's also neat to be teaching an investigator and you know right after the lesson there is no way that you did that on your own. You understood every word you said and understood most everything they said, one because you studied it but mostly because the spirit is helping you along the way reminding you quickly of the materials you have learned. Some people here only focus on language study and they study the language during gospel study. I have found that you I am much more effectful when I have invited the spirit first. I have found that I will read 30 minutes of just english and then 30 minutes of both samoan and english. It has been working great so far.
Our teachers are starting to use the K style with us in teaching appointments. It makes you so mad! Why do they have to make things so complicated by having so many ways of speaking! ha ha They have the K style and the T style and then you have to know the respectful language when you are talking to someone else and when you talk about yourself you have to speak the normal language. And then we haven't even gotten into the Matai language yet. Which is when you are talking to a Samaon Chief. Our teachers say it's like 3 languages in one. So it's fun ha ha but I know that I will eventually get it when my Savior needs me to. I will continue to work hard so that someday I will get the language down and hopefully I will be able to help people recognize the promptings of the Holy Ghost. I know that if I can do that then I have helped them in so many ways. I know that the Savior has a work for me in Samoa and that if I stay faithful he can make me into a better missionary then I can on my own. That is why I have to be a hard worker and an obedient missionary.
I can't believe that there is only 2 more weeks! I am starting to get really excited! But i'm also starting to get really nervous! I have never been out of the U.S before and had to speak another language. It will be hard at first for sure but I know that it will be well worth it! We are starting to go over the culture stuff a lot more in class it's actually pretty cool! They say that lot's of people stop you on the street and ask you to come inside to eat some food. He says it's ok to say no but you have to say a really nice no and it takes awhile. He also says people won't even have any food ready and if you say yes they will yell at their kids to go and hurry and grab food, while you talk with the parents. He says if it's apparent that they don't have any food, it's better not to be a bother and just to decline the offer. But he says it's funny because so many people will basically tell you to come over there and have some food. And every house you go to they offer you food, it's their way of saying thank you for coming to my home. They really like missionaries a lot down there. They are a very God-fearing people. So there is a lot of superstitions or however you spell that lol. He said during the Tsunami that they spent like 2 hours giving blessings to people and that most of them weren't even members of the church. Obviously you have to be very respectful to them and the way you show them respect is using words that show respect to them and using words that make you lower than them. Like when you go to their house you say sorry for stupidly trespassing on your house, but will you let us in. Then you say things like thank you for welcoming me to your palace your heiness. ha and when you talk to people you have to be on the same level as them. So if they are sitting down you either have to bend your knees or sit down with them. Because if you stand up then you are making yourself above them and that's not respectful. It's actually pretty neat to think about. Oh and the kids pretty much take care of the parents. The parents just tell them what to do and when they are no longer needed then they can go do whatever. The boys of the family have a little house out back most of the time and don't stay in the same house as the family.
Anyways I love you all and thanks for all of your support! It means so much and thanks for being such a great family to me! I have also had the best of friends and they are the best. Love you