Talofa lava tagata uma!
First of all, a huge thank you to both sets of grandparents, my parents, the Tujagues, and Dominique and family for the AWESOME care packages. You took such a good care of me while I was in the MTC and I really appreciate it. You guys are the best. Everyone in my group enjoyed your treats too. THANK YOU!!!
Tomorrow I head out for SAMOA!!!! The MTC went so fast and I'm so grateful for the learning opportunities and the great experiences I have had. I'm really gonna miss the MTC a lot. My first week here, we were all saying goodbye to the Fijians and I thought how I wish that was me, I wanna just get out of here already. The Branch President said something that night that I never thought I would understand. He said leaving the MTC is harder than leaving your family. At the time I was like no way. But now that it's my turn to leave and go out in the field, I agree with him. It hit me that I will probably never see 99% of the people I met here. I have become such great friends with so many missionaries it's gonna be really hard to say goodbye. It helps to know I will see my family again in two years.
This week was a lot of "this is the last time in two years I'll do this."
Monday we had to memorize these speeches for each time we enter someone's property and home. Before we give them, we put our bags on the ground, put our hands behind our back, and bend over a bit. In the first one we say, "Mr. _ ,we are so sorry for obnoxiously trampling your lawn but we would like to take this opportunity to chat and become familiar with you. If not, we have other visits we have to be at."
Monday night we just gathered all kinds of American food for the Tongan elder who is coming to Samoa with us to try. He was hilarious. He loved everything. We gave him pop rocks and the first thing he said was, "Why do you do this to me?!?!" Apparently he talks a lot and does all kinds of stuff in his sleep so traveling with him for three days is definitely gonna be interesting.
Tuesday morning we were teaching our "investigator" Ane for the last time. During the lesson I realized I forgot something I needed and so I asked if I could run to the class to get and she said yes. So I got it and ran back but when I sat down, I realized I grab the wrong thing and I just put my head down and ran and got the paper I needed. My teacher was cracking up.
After that we had to go to the doctor because Elder Redd had a toenail issue. On the way to the doctor we drove past the BYU baseball field and the team was out there practicing. That made me super homesick but I know my time will come in a couple years.
That night we sang a little farewell thing for us with the whole zone. The spirit was SOO strong. We hardly know what we are singing when we sing in Samoan but we still are able to feel the spirit which is awesome.
Thursday we had in-field orientation. In-field orientation is just role playing basically the whole time from 8:00-5:30. It wasn't as bad as people had said it was but it was still pretty rough. That night we did Skype TRC. The people we taught were so nice and I understood a lot of what they were saying which was really cool.
That night we said goodbye to our teacher, Uso Kinisone. He was such a good teacher and challenged me to be better. He pushed me just the right amount and I progressed so much because of him. He shared his mission stories and pictures with us that night and it got me so pumped. I am pretty scared though about the centipedes that are on the island. They're like the size of your hand and the bites are really painful. I'm gonna do everything I can to avoid them. I don't know how I'll react when I see one for the first time.
I'm so excited to get out to Samoa but a little nervous at the same time. I know I'll remember these experinces for the rest of my life and I can't wait to share them with you as I go!!
Alofa ia te latou!
Just a note from mom and dad. Justin arrived in Samoa after about 20 hours on a plane and about that long sitting in airports. Here he is in Samoa with his Mission President and his wife. Let the adventure begin!