Wow…. I don’t even know where to start right now. I’ve safely arrived at the Provo, Utah Missionary Training Center where I will be for 6 weeks studying the Samoan language and how to teach. I am absolutely loving it here. It is so amazing being surrounded by such righteous, loving elders and sisters.
So Week 1, Day 1 was quite the day. It actually felt like a whole week long and looking back, I’m not sure how I made it through. After a very long morning of flights on Wednesday and arriving at the MTC, I received my name tag and was sent immediately to picked up my language study books which is like a 25 pound bag of books. After that, me and my host/guide went to my room for .5 seconds, set my stuff down and I was showed where my classroom was and then there I was sitting in Samoan Class. We call our class of 12 people our district and each of us have a soa (companion). There is no messing around here, we get right to work and use every second of class. Every second…. But it’s great. My teacher speaks only samoan to us and I understand very little. That parets not too great but I am learning! I know that this is going to be one of the hardest things I will ever do and I’m not going to lie, thinking that in 6 weeks when I leave here I will be able to speak fluently is pretty impossible to believe. But I have also learned that with faith, and trust, and prayer, absolutely nothing is impossible. I don’t think I have ever prayed so hard, or so much in my life than I have here in the MTC.
We have been working to integrate Samoan vocab words that we have learned into our everyday talk with people around us. So saying hello is always talofa! Saying thank you is always fa’afeti. It’s so awesome hearing everyone around here speaking another language! My roommates and I (we are all Samoan speaking) and I LOVE THESE SISTERS. Everyone thinks we had already known each other before with how close we have all gotten. Also, I love my soa. Her name is Sister Gardner and I know our companionship was inspired. Everyday I can see why the Lord placed us in companionship. She is so sweet and so honest and keeps me sane. I’m so grateful for her and the spirit she brings. We are already teaching investigators… or those wanting to learn more about the gospel. The second day we were doing that! Luckily, we were doing it in English and it was incredible. Tonight however, we teach someone for the first time ONLY IN SAMOAN! Like what?! It’s only the 3rd day!!! As my soa and I were planning a short and simple message that we could share with Faletui, (our Samoan investigator) there was definitely a high level of stress, anxiety and we would find ourselves getting distracted with anyone who would walk by us just because we were getting so discourages… so Sister Gardner busted out and said, “Hey I think we should say a quick prayer and maybe refocus our thoughts.” I LOVE HER! I know that it is such a simple and little thing but it is so significant to pray to our Father in Heaven when ever we need guidance or direction or to simply invite the Spirit to be with us. I know that God hears our prayers and He does answer them. Which is another thing… Patience is quite the virtue. Although we pray and may think we need something right there and then, the Lord knows what lies ahead for each and every one of us. I have been learning in these few short (but really so so long) days to be humble, and allow Him to take control. He answers prayers the way we need them and today, it was through a kind word of an MTC worker who was cleaning our stairs… or a service from others to you, or the direction to study a section in the scriptures that basically screams out something you needed hear. I know the Savior loves us. And He knows each and everyone of us and what we need. He knows when we are struggling or need a little push and he wants us to pray to Him, to pour out our concerns with Him.
Some other exciting news, last night Sister Gardner and I (pictured above) were called as the Sister Training Leaders for our area!! So to kind of explain how that works because I literally had to draw this all out last night, is that our classroom where we learn the languages in is called our district as I said before. So there are many districts, or many different classes of languages that make up our area. And the same people who are in our area make up our branch which is who we will be have our Sunday church meetings with. So now my soa and I have been called as Sister Training leaders over 60 missionaries, one of the largest branches, who are speaking/signing 6 different languages. This means I get to interview each sister and really see how they are doing. They talk to me about their concerns, their homesickness, their excitement… it really is a special time for us. I also get to conduct relief society, which is an womans organization in our church where we can we learn and grow from each other as sisters. I am so grateful for this calling. I call ourselves the islanders bc we have us the Samoans, the Tongans, the Madagassi’s, Marshal Islands… all those places! We have such a unique, diverse branch and I love each and every one of them. These languages are something else though…. wowwwza
But that is something else I have learned… Love. As we teach investigators and each other, and work with our companions it’s weird to think that oh after 30 minutes of just knowing you I can feel that I love you and care for you and all that you’re doing. It’s a little bizarre but it’s so real. I know that this is how the Savior is. He loves everyone, no matter what you’ve done or said or thought or what circumstances you have been through.
I know this is getting long but here are some pics to put some faces to the names.
The group photo are the sisters in my district, we are all Samoan speaking, 4 of us are going to Samoa, one to California, and the other to New Zealand. WOO!