Dear family and friends,
So this week was good, and I learned a lot. Pretty usual for me, I guess. Nothing super exciting happened; I don't have very many funny stories or anything. That’s just life.
So lets see... Monday, after we went to town and got stuff we came to email. I emailed all you guys then got started on weaving a Kafa for Elder A (kafa is the rope like thing we wrap around ourselves). I had just learned how to do a bunch of different weaving from Elder T who is my district leader so that was kind of fun. I did a little bit every night and finished it Saturday night. So after we emailed and stuff we kind of did some work then went to Family Home Evening with this family. When we got there they had already finished. We were only 30 minutes late, which in Tonga is still way on time. I was really surprised they started on time. Anyway, so we sat and just talked to them forever.
Tuesday we had a district meeting in Tefisi and had a good time chilling there. Those meetings tend to be a lot of fun. One of the sisters was finishing so after the meeting we had a party at the bishop’s house in Tefisi. It was essentially just a feast, but we ate a baked dog. It was delicious and I learned how to eat ngaako. That means like any fat or grisly or not meat part of the animal. The best way to eat big chunks of fat and stuff is to chew as much as you’re comfortable, then swallow. It goes down pretty easy and the Tongans love to eat straight fat and skin so it's great. I love ngaako now. Tendons and cartilage aren’t too bad to eat either. (This wasn't on Tuesday, but at one point we ate raw fish. A guy was gutting fish and he was like hey, do you want some? So we were like yeah, so he scaled a couple and we just ate it right off the bones, 100% raw. I also ate the liver of the fish, also raw. Pretty good, a little fatty, but not bad. Its the equivalent of my catching a trout out of a lake, taking off the scales and guts then eating the fish right there, I can't wait to do it once I’m back in America.) Tongans are happy when we eat their food and the people here want blessing and want to feed the missionaries. When we politely decline food it makes them sad and mad because we are denying them the blessings of feeding us and helping us. I always thought this was odd, but we are trying to do better with accepting people's food when they offer because it makes them a lot happier.
Wednesday, oh, I played checkers!! So in Tonga they play a lot of checkers; it's called vei maau. It’s like basic checkers but there are a lot of really random, weird rules that kind of don't make sense, but once you know how to play, it is really fun. I always go to this one house and play with these two little girls. I think they are 11 and 12, but they are like the champions at checkers; they repeatedly beat the snot out of me. On Wednesday I was finally able to beat one of them, but the other still kicks by butt. I don't really care about the game, but it gives us a break and it makes the family happy to come watch me get whooped and pretend mad. Lots of laughing.
Thursday.... ummm..... To be honest I can't remember what I did Thursday.
Friday we went to the elementary school. The word in Tongan is Api
lau Tohi, which translates directly to "house of reading book". Every Friday at 9am the missionaries have been assigned to teach the religion class. So we went there and I learned that I will never, ever, ever be a school teacher. I love all the little kids, they are the nicest cutest most wonderful people ever, but trying to teach a lesson to them is the hardest, most frustrating thing in the world. I understand why they have rulers in all the classrooms to hit kids when they are being naughty. So we tried to do a game and we made two teams. Both teams ended up getting mad, even the team that won. So they game was bad. Then I tried to do a tree of life activity. Yeah, that failed miserably. I lost complete control of the class.
Saturday, just working; nothing special, really.
Sunday was a great day! So church was awesome. It’s hard to explain how important the sacrament is to me now. It’s like the most refreshing shower. It takes a week of frustration and disappointment and pain and smootths them out like wrinkles in a shirt when you iron. All the bad gets swallowed up in Christ, all the imperfection is gone, and you get to come back and stand before God pure again. You can face the week again, excited to improve. Obviously the imperfections and weaknesses don't go away, but it's like taking a break and coming back with full force of effort. It heals the wounds so well. Even when something new comes up you have the strength to endure as if you were never hurt before. So yeah, after the sacrament we went about our duties; we celebrated a birthday for one of our members and ate really well at their house. Then we came back to our house and did studies. It was the most peaceful Sabbath day in the world. I had a long talk with Elder L about loving the people, something I struggle with. I have hope and optimism that I can succeed; the scriptures spoke to me. It was great. Eventually we made it to the night and we had one last experience. It was at the house of a lady whose husband didn't want their family to do anything with the church, but she desperately wants to come back. The husband was away so she asked us to do a little lesson about how prayer can help. Afterwards, her kids were all falling asleep, (she has the cutest kids in the whole wide world) and they sang “I am a child of God” with these sleepy eyes and man, it was such a tender moment. Ko ia pe.