Dear People I Love,
I am here, sitting in some island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, lots of people, smells, and green plants. Actually, psych; I’m in a nice air-conditioned office typing my life away in an email to you wonderful people. Kinda the same surroundings, not. But the exciting part is I get part of both worlds because if I take 10 steps to the door of my office I will be confronted with the sweaty, humid heat, the sweet perfume of burning trash and smoke, and the sounds of cars slowly driving down the roads of Tonga. In about 20 minutes Fafanga will come, which means I will eat some nice chicken, probably fried, but maybe if I’m lucky it will have coconut milk and onions and be wrapped in taro leaves and cooked in an underground oven called an Umu. Very delicious. If the people bringing my meal are feeling especially generous, it will have a thing called Ufi, which is also called yam, but it's nothing at all like the yams we have at home. It’s a starchy white root, usually about the length of your arm and about 2-5 inches thick. I love Ufi, but it's very expensive due to how long it takes to grow and how difficult it is to plant and harvest.
Today I received a little slice of home when I was able to watch the first two sessions of General Conference here in Tonga. In about and hour and a half I will go to watch the Priesthood session of conference and hopefully continue to learn. Today has been an exceptional day; I never truly realized, nor appreciated, how spiritual conference is and how wonderful the speakers are and how much you can learn and grow from conference. This will be a highlight in my life from now on. (I never gave it too much attention before my mission, a mistake I regret)
This week we have had a very slow week for missionary work. Every investigator has cancelled on us; every appointment we have set up didn't work out. Just one of those weeks you know? I am doing fine, not depressed or anything. I wish I had more to report but I accept that life isn't perfect. It's giving me a lot of time to figure out why I’m here on a mission and it made me realize something deep down. The thing I realized is that I want a family. That's my big goal in life. Everything I’ve done, wanted to do and learn and become, has slowly started to point to being a dad and having a family. I want to have an awesome family where we all love each other and we can stick together even during hard times. I want to be like my family back home (wink, wink) I don't know how this applies to my missionary work, but its what I was thinking about today. Good goals to become. As a missionary I can help other people have happy families that can live together forever so it gives me a little more purpose. Also, as a missionary, I can learn to receive revelation and become a good leader and get a long better with other people, everything that will help me become a good father.
I guess I can share some stories of the stuff the happened this week. First off, I got my Tongan license. President wanted us to give a senior missionary a ride to and from work everyday; he is a really humble guy and had been walking back and forth from his house to work everyday since his wife went to America. So I got the opportunity to get my license and now I can drive the mission truck when I have permission. It's a stick shift, which is great, very fun! Second, I drive of the left side of the road, which is weird! It’s a total shift and kind of messes with my head, but after a bit of driving I think I’ve got my head around it. Also, the steering wheel is on the right side of the vehicle, the gear stick is on my left and I shift with my left and everything is a little weird, but I like it. I didn't have to do any tests or anything to get it, just pay 60 bucks. They assume I can figure out how to drive I guess.
The other exciting part of this week was I got a ukulele. I have been learning to play it; everyone who lives in Tonga basically knows how to play it. It’s a natural instinct I guess. It’s really fun and easy to learn. I got a crappy plastic one, but it was still way expensive. Luckily, plastic doesn't go bad and I am stealing an idea from another missionary and having everyone I like sign my ukulele so I can have my Misiona Tonga ukulele, with signatures from all my favorite missionaries. An interesting item to take home, but I’m excited.
Transfers are next week! Maybe, just maybe I’ll be leaving, but maybe not. There are benefits to staying and leaving. If I stay I will be able to Skype home really easily, enjoy the air conditioning, speak English, learn the ukulele, and eat good food. If I leave, I will get to spend more time learning Tongan culture, learning the language, talking to people, new companions, no office stress, no teaching people how to use computers (I don't even know how to use them) so that's my life. Listen to me if ya want.