I hope all is well with everyone!!
So I have just finished another week here in Huahine and it's been pretty great! And I've been able to meet more of the ward members.
One cool thing that I am able to do here: so the ward Soeur Spackman and I go to is the Fare ward, and they have a piano, but NO ONE in that ward knows how to play the PIANO....so of course when they saw a fresh very white face they asked me "tu joue au piano?" And later on Soeur Spackman told me that they have gone a long time without actual piano music during the sacrament service....soooooo I get the opportunity to bring music back into that ward on sundays by playing the piano for all the songs. When I was little I wanted to quit piano so bad but of course my mom never let me quit....and now I'm thankful for that. I'm glad that I am able to share my talent while on my mission and make their sacrament services more enjoyable now on sundays.
We had a lesson this week with an amis named Hinerava. She is so sweet and lives with all of her family. But the day we were teaching her we were supposed to go over 3 Nephi 11 which talks about when Christ shows himself to the people of the Americas. However, when we got to the lesson she told us she was having a rough day, because her cat who was really old was probably going to die that day. And for all who know me...I love cats, and it hurt my heart to see her so sad. And in the middle of our lesson she goes to check on her cat, but when she came back she said "Il est mort," (He died). Hinerava wanted to continue with the lesson to keep her mind occupied, and as she was trying to read her favorite verses from that reading she couldn't see because she was crying so hard. SOOO naturally when I see someone start crying I start to cry so that's what I did. And Soeur Spackman told me that that was the time I could use to share a personal experience about one of my pets, because she never experienced the death of a pet before. So, with tears in my eyes I told her about one of my cats my family had when I was younger, Clancy, and I was crushed when she died, but I knew she was old and she was no longer in pain. I told Hinerava that our Heavenly Father has a plan for all of us (in very broken up French), and we may not know why certain things happen, but I know it's for a reason that will help that person or animal later on in the after life. She was so cute, and she later told us that she felt comforted by the simple testimony I gave. Our lesson did not go as planned at all, but that's always expected in the field. Our lesson was supposed to be 30 minutes later than when we actually showed up, and both Soeur Spackman and I believe it was the Spirit telling us "don't worry about being early. Hinerava needs you right now."
We have another amis whose name is Elie, and she lives up in the mountain and she's an older Tahitian Mami, so naturally Tahitian is her preferred language. We started to read Moroni 6 with her which talks about some of the purpose of church members and the importance of going to church is, but 2 verses in she stops us and says "Je suis fiu," (I am done). She then explains to us that she loves the spirit we bring when we teach her the lessons, but she is frustrated because she can't understand what we are teaching in French, but she understands better in Tahitian. She is one of the reasons we want to keep up with Tahitian, because there are older amis on the island who would love to hear the message we have, but they are hesitant to accept the missionaries, because most of them only speak French and have lost what Tahitian they learned at the beginning of their mission. So the rest of the lesson I taught her the best I could in Tahitian and Soeur Spackman taught a little in French but also Tahitian. We invited her to church, but she said she couldn't because she can't go to her church (Protestant) and then go to our, because she's afraid of the judgment she will get from the people at her church when they see her going to "that Mormon church." It's frustrating that our amis don't want to come to church because they're afraid of judgment, but it only means Soeur Spackman and I work harder to let her know that there is nothing to be afraid of and the judgments from her friends are worth nothing in the eyes of Heavenly Father.
So fun fact: since i'm a new missionary in Fare I have to introduce myself a lot. So basically I simply tell them that I'm from Alabama which is in the southern part of the United States and that fried chicken is very popular there, because who would have guessed....they eat fried chicken here too hahaha. So when I said that all the members thought that fried chicken was my favorite meal, and every faatamaaraa (meal) we had with members since I've been here they've made fried chicken haha. It's not my ultimate favorite food when i'm in the states but it is my favorite food here, because it's the most familiar food to me here.
And we also have 2 BAPTISMS coming up this Saturday. Martine and Simeon are getting married on Friday and then Martine is getting baptized on Saturday, and Stanley is hopefully getting baptized Saturday too!! IT'S SO EXCITING!!! Both of our amis are so ready, and can't contain my happiness.
So today is also my pday and Soeur Spackman and I, and Elder Toame and Elder Tama went to a non-members land and they taught us HOW TO MAKE......VANILLA!! Basically how you join the pollen of the plant with the other part of the plant to make the vanilla stalk.
After the vanilla lesson we went with an amis family, the Famille Teavae to collect shells on the beach. The dad, Tama, has an old old beat up jeep that we were able to take to go farther down the beach when not many people go to search for shells. and the beaches on Huahine is sand but most of the beach is covered now with pieces of coral and rock that have been dragged in from the ocean. It was beautiful, and thankfully it was a little cloudy for a bit, but then the sun decided to show its face and who would have guessed it....I got FRIED. Like I'm not even kidding. My knees, my arms, my face, my neck are red red red....but not my shins which is weird haha.
A few days ago we also got the opportunity to have a mission conference. We had Elder Pearson who is an area 70 for the South Pacific Islands and Elder Rollins who is a member of the Quorum of the 70 come and speak to all the missionaries. They had the mission conference in Papeete, so we weren't able to be there in person and it would have been too expensive and pointless to fly us back in for a day SO we watched it through live video transmission. The entire mission conference was centered around being obedient and our ability to receive blessings when we obey the white missionary handbook. Elder Rollins also spoke about the Gift of the Spirit and how all of us have the gift, but AFTER we are baptized we are endowed with a more "amped" up version of the Gift of the Spirit.
My favorite quote from Elder Rollins: "like fireflies, light goes unappreciated without a dark backdrop."
One of my favorite lessons we had at the end of the week was with an amis named Maire. She is so ready for baptism and she loves the lessons, and we had planned to teach her about baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost that day, but she was so sick. Bless her heart she felt miserable, but we were more than welcome to come back the next day, but as we were rescheduling the lesson with her she asked what the lesson was about..."bapteme and le don du Saint-Esprit," we said. She then said "oooh..venez venez. oui je sais je suis malade mais je veut cette lecon." So we went inside to begin teaching but we ended up rescheduling because she was still so sick. How amazing she is, because no matter how sick she was she still wanted to hear about baptism. She wants to be baptized, but she wants her daughters to start taking the lessons too. We also explained to her that the power of prayer is amazing and we invited her to pray for her daughters that they may soon accept the lessons.
There as been so much that has happened now that I have entered the field. I'm getting better at understanding the language(s) but now that I hear actual natives speaking it's kinda made me a little discouraged but Soeur Spackman told me that the first 3-4 months in the field is gonna be like that, so I just gotta keep doing what I'm doing and it'll come. The Christ like attribute of Patience is such a big thing to work on while in the field.
I don't have much time left, but I will also send more pictures. I hope everyone can see them, and if you can't just let me know and I'll will try and fix that.
Good luck to everyone who starts classes or who have already started classes back home. It'll be great!!
Ua here au ia outou!!
Tuahine/Soeur/Sister McKenzie Morrill :)