Saturday, September 24, 2016

Week Five in the MTC

So this week went by quite fast, not much happened so this might be short. I have been here for five weeks and I feel like I have lived here for all my life; its the same thing everyday and not many new things happen anymore. I'm falling into a routine and I honestly need to get out of here haha. It's good and all but I think I am ready for the real thing, to finally be immersed into the missionary life. Tahiti never felt so far away, but hey only three more weeks! I can't wait! Something new that will happen actually, I just remembered, is that we will start to learn the Tahitian language on Monday and next Wednesday a new Sister Missionary will join our small district of four boys. Hooray, a new change! She will be a solo Missionary, but she is already fluent in French and is just here to learn Tahitian with us. It changes the game because now we have to be less reckless in the classroom and prove to her we aren't just four obnoxious guys haha. I can't wait to see the difference this new addition will have on our district; we'll see. I've also made some new friends and they keep the MTC more interesting. We like to take all the plastic spoons from the dining hall and stick them on as many people's belt loops as possible... it's not much but it keeps us entertained! Also, my cousin Neil entered the MTC last Wednesday and it's always a joy to see family. He would've been in our zone because he is going to the Congo in Africa speaking French. But since his mom taught him French when he was younger he's on the fast track...*cough, cough...thanks mom!!* Anyways, things are doing better and time is just ticking down. I really can't wait to get out on the field; I can just taste it. Au revoir mes amis...

Elder Todd

                                   Happy to feel the rain

With my cool cousin Eder Neil Haparai- Hansen
Our mothers went to school together since they were little all the way until high school

Friday, September 16, 2016

Week Four in the MTC

I apologize for not updating you guys on my progress last week. A lot has happened, good and bad, but I'll save you the time and just talk about the good! So what I think is pretty awesome that happened in the last two weeks is the fact the three apostles ( Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Elder Quentin L. Cook, and Elder M. Russell Ballard ) came and spoke at devotional ( Sunday, Tuesday, Sunday) all in a row!!  I felt like they spoke directly to me; all of them had a piece of advice that I felt was especially for me. I am so grateful for all the experiences here, and as hard as it is, I see change in myself and the way I view things.
I just said goodbye to a few friends the other day who just went off to Tahiti and I can't wait to be with them again - five more weeks!! I feel like the time here goes by really quick, but it feels like eternity. It's crazy to think that for the next two years I will be serving people who I would've never thought I would and speaking two languages that I grew up with, but never thought to speak. It really is a blessing to be called to Tahiti and I thank God everyday for that blessing. I know I was chosen to serve the islands because over there someone, even if it's just one person, needs to hear the message that I have learned to teach and come to love. Someone there is waiting for me and that is the most exciting part- I can't wait to see that person's face, to see so much happiness... to feel like I changed the world for the better. The purpose of a mission for me at the beginning was to see how this journey could change my life, and it has, but I see now that the real reason of a mission isn't for me to get all the benefit from. I've found that it's for the people... for that one person that I will have the privilege to change, and to help them feel joy in their lives. That's why I serve, that's why I am here, that's why I stay when all I want to do sometimes is go home. But for that exact purpose, I stay.
 My French is coming along; it's weird to see how much I've learned in just 4 weeks. I feel so comfortable speaking; I can almost carry on a conversation. But when you finally feel like you are picking it up they cut you off and have you start learning another language from the beginning.... In a week I will be learning Tahitian, what the heck!?! I just started to feel good aabout my French and now they want to kill my brain with another language... Oh well, it is what it is!
Anyways- it's been hard, it's been fun, it's been up and down, and all of the above and more being here. But with all of that, it has ultimately been the greatest thing being out here and I can't wait to see what else is in store on this journey. 
Merci beaucoup et au revoir!

Elder Todd

 Me and Elder Tetauru

Me with the Tahitian flag

  Me and Elder Tetauru

     Me with Elder Tetautu and Elder Ugbah

All the missionaries that are going to Tahiti Papeete Mission

 Taking a nap in my hammock

More nap time hahaha!!!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Week Two in the MTC

A lot of things happened this here we go. To start it off I've been having problems with my jaw lately- locking up and giving me pain -  but lucky for me, one of the members of the branch presidency is a pediatric dentist! He took a look at me Sunday and after 5 seconds of analyzing he said, "Yup, your jaw's messed up," and looked at me with a straight face like it something serious... And here I am, with a look of confusion, not realizing that it's his sense of humor and personality to make missionaries scared. But he quickly reassured me that everything's alright and said that I could take a trip down to his office so he could fix me up. So Monday morning, my companion Elder Jenkins and I take a trip out of prison; and man we were free for almost 6 hours! Upon arrival Jenkins and I, the two missionaries, walk into an office full of little kids and let me just say that I never seen a room light up with so much excitement for visiting missionaries! I mean these kids gasped and looked at us like we were heroes... It put a big smile on my face... Brother Markham (the pediatric dentist) greeted us and went straight into fixing my jaw; he decided to mold a sleep guard for me to wear during the night. The paste they used to mold this thing tasted awful! But I wasn't complaining because anytime spent outside the MTC is precious haha! The assistants even made me balloon animals and gave me stickers to put on my name tag, I really felt 5 again! It was great, and to top it off we had lunch at his house, and dang his house is huge! Other than being a dentist, Markham likes creating non- alcoholic wine. He travels around the world to find the best grapes for his wine; he's even been to Paso Robles which is interesting since it seems like nobody knows where this little town is! He gave us a tour of his house, showing us his cellar and his vineyards, and we had lunch with some of his favorite wines he's made... I've never tasted so much flavor in my life- my taste buds melted, I loved it! But by that time Jenkins and I needed to head back,  so Markham sent me off with another bottle to keep. Before I left I asked how much the apointment would cost, usually it would be $350, but he told me, "This is my favor to you; don't worry about the cost. This is a service I'm more than happy to have done for you, because the service that you will give the people around the world is far greater than this little one." And those words right there, I'll never forget them, because I'm grateful for what he did for me and my jaw, but I've never looked at the work that I'm doing in the way he described it. It was left impressioned in my head for the rest of that day. My work for the next 2 years is so important and I always knew that, but I never really acknowledged it until now. Take what I am for example: the definition of a Missionary is a person who leaves their family for a short time, so that others can be with their families for eternity. It's a simple phrase but it's so full of truth and reassurance, and I can't wait until I get to do that service for someone. So that's Monday for you! Tuesday was our devotional and man, let me just say that singing is so much fun, and I think I'm actually getting better at it! I started playing the piano more too because I feel lost without my guitar so I have to fill in its shoes with the next best thing. Wednesday we did something called TRC, which is where we teach members of the church lessons, but in French of course, and the best thing happened to me... As I walked into the building of 18M, across from me was a missionary that had such a huge impact on my life. Sorry for this tangent, but about two years ago I had the opportunity to travel to Tahiti to play basketball for my uncle's team, and one of the nights there we were having dinner and some missionaries showed up, one of them being the same missionary standing right across from me, in the building of 18M. His name is Cody Rose and at the time in Tahiti his talk with us wasn't as significant as it is now. He started talking to the team, asking us if we were serving missions and telling us some of his experiences, and I remember telling him I didn't think I was going on a mission partly because of other things that were going on in my life at the time. But he told me he had similar feelings towards a mission, and he told me his story and told me what changed his mind and like I said it wasn't much of a significant factor in my life at the time like it is now. But the story he told us that night stayed in my mind for the rest of that trip. We befriended each other on Facebook and stayed in contact after his mission, and going back to the present day it was just an amazing experience to see this man again. I have no words for how I felt seeing my friend. I broke into tears and we exchanged a big hug- It reminded me of the devotional from Tuesday night: the speaker talked about how great the worth of one soul is in the sight of God and this man was definently of great worth, he touched my heart. I'll never forget that experience, how one missionary, one soul, can be so great, and can be the influence a person needs in their life. A lot has happened this week and I'm so happy that it's Friday and that I get to share my experience with you all, I can't wait for more experiences like this to happen so we can continue to share this journey together. Until next week! Au revoir.

Elder Todd