I hope everyone is doing splendid!
So I arrived in Tahiti with my district at about 10pm ish Tahiti time last Monday evening and we were greeted by an awesome welcome party. It was so sweet! And we got to meet President Bize and Sister Bize (my mission president) for only a short bit because it was so late.
After that we went straight to the temple grounds in Papeete and stayed in the temple guest housing for a night. And then the next morning we had breakfast with President Bize and his wife and me and Elder Toame (from Vanuatu) were told to start off the interviews with President Bize, BUT when we finished with our interviews we were told to go right to the temple to do a session inside.....WHY? BECAUSE....I am in an outer island now!!! Missionaries who have been assigned to an outer island are told to go do a temple session because there isn't another temple anywhere in Francais Polynesia except for on Tahiti. And Huahine is about 100 miles from Tahiti. And I flew from Tahiti to Huahine Thursday morning with Elder Toame. Huahine basically splits almost evenly into two circles but is connected by some small land and a bridge. Elder Toame is on the Haapu side and I am serving in Fare. My companion Sister Spackman and I are the only sisters on the island and Elder Toame and his companion are the only elders on the island too. Our zone consists of the missionaries in Huahine (us) , the missionaries in Raiatea (another island), and the missionaries in Tahaa (another island). So we do zone meetings by Skype and phone.
And YES...for all who are wondering...they do have internet, cellphone service, and cars on the islands.
So Thursday and Friday and Saturday Sister Spackman and I just went. We had 3 lessons on Thursday, 3 lessons on Friday, and only 1 lesson on Saturday.
So basically the way the island works on the weekdays is that a lot of les amis d'eglise like having lessons early in the morning, but when it RAINS we normally have to cancel our lessons because we have our lessons outside bc it's not common for missionaries to come inside the house to teach lessons unless the investigator says it's ok. And it gets dark around 6-630 and there are no street lights to guide ppl so you better have lights on your car or bike or you won't be able to see anything. And after 630 we aren't supposed to go porte a porte (door to door) prosylting because no one is ever out after dark on foot. And usually the entire island goes to sleep at 8 so we don't even have lessons that late either so we use that time to go back to the house and finish up our 4 hour study block we weren't able to complete earlier on in the day because of lessons.
On Thursday the first lesson I had was with a man named Stanley. He is married to an almost inactive member and we fixed a baptism date for him the day I was there....August 29th! He is doing great and he loves the gospel. The only thing we are helping him work on is to stop smoking, because he himself as already seen the bad effects of smoking and is willing to stop which is awesome.
Later that afternoon we taught an 8 year old little boy named Munro. A lot of his family are members but his parents aren't because they live in a concubinage and they need to be married first before they can be baptized, but they are letting Munro take the lessons and decide for himself if he wants to join the church which is awesome. He is super shy but when I got to know him a little better I broke out of his shell and started talking to me more (which was slightly hard for me because he was talking really fast and I could only pick out a few words from every sentence he said but I pretty much got the gist of it). AND that lesson we taught him about faith. We used the analogy of FAITH is like a COCONUT tree (because those are everywhere in Huahine) and told him how our faith can start out as a little seed and then grow and grow into a big tree.
Friday morning we taught a Tahitian Mami name Elie! and she's hilarious. and she loves reading the Buka a Moromona in Tahitian. So we mustered up the best Tahitian we could and read to her some of King Benjamin's speech in Mosiah 2 and explained to her that King Benjamin was not a mean king like some in the Bible but that he was caring and told his people that he was a servant to God. That the people are not serving him but are serving God, and that he tries to help his people in any way possible as well. and we compared King Benjamin's actions to our actions as missionaries. As missionaries we always try to look for little acts of service which we hope may turn into lesson opportunities later on down the road but we always look to help others out. So we taught that lesson in Tahitian and French which made me and Sister Spackman motivated to not lose our Tahitian but practice it a lot.
And let me tell you about the food here....interesting...and good. It's different of course from the MTC and a normal home cooked meal and it'll take some getting used to. Oh and I got a stomach bug early yesterday morning and had to stay home from my first sunday because of it. Not really sure what it was from but I'm all better now. IT just totally took me out yesterday. BUT NO WORRIES!!!
This place is beautiful and i'm in a bit of a culture shock but that's expected. I love the people; they are so nice and willing to help you with the language!!
I'm running out of time but I hope these pictures i'll send as well will suffice for now. hahaha
AND my NEW ADDRESS!
Sister McKenzie Grace Morrill
Tahiti Papeete Mission
Ua here au ia outou and I couldn't be more excited to start my adventure here. Even if it also involves getting sick my first week here hahaha