Friday, September 2, 2016

Monday, August 29th - Happy 20th Birthday Elder Sterner from Tutuila, AMERICAN Samoa

Note from mom:  We didn't hear from Justin on Sunday which is his usual emailing day.  I was so disappointed because normally that would have been Monday in Samoa which would have been his birthday on the 29th.  Then when we heard from him the next day, on his actual birthday in the USA, it all made sense because he had been transferred to American Samoa and crossed the international date line.  I was very happy to be able to wish him a happy birthday on his actual birthday and to hear about his very busy transfer week.

Dad, son, grandson, great-grandson

Literally the longest week of my life.
So Monday night we got the transfer call. Elder Tiatia is now in American Samoa training a new missionary. I am also in Tutuila training a new missionary in an area called Tafuna. Training for the 3rd time!

Tuesday we had district meeting in an area called Sauniatu. It's a village about 45 minutes north of the main road and it's so pretty. It is surrounded by mountains. We got home and then packed for the transfer. We went and said goodbye to some families in Fagaloa. It was hard to say goodbye but definitely not as hard as when I got transferred from Faleasi'u since I hadn't been there for nearly as long. Around 8, one kid in the youth we got close with and our ward mission leader came by and we just took some chairs and chilled out in front of our house on the balcony thing. We talked for a while. Our ward mission leader was a really cool guy and we got really close with him and his family.

Wednesday we had to leave our house around 6:30am because we had to be at the office around 8:00. We got to the office and then we had to go to a chapel nearby and we did training stuff with our new trainees all day.  The new group that came from the MTC was really big; 27 from Provo and over 30 all together. My companion is Elder Fano from Hawaii. He already has pretty good Samoan so that's good. The way we usually travel to Tutuila is by a 30 minute plane ride but since there are a lot of missionaries getting transferred to Tutuila, president decided we would take a boat. The boat left Thursday at midnight.

Thursday morning we did some more training stuff and then at 2pm we got to go to the TEMPLE!!!! It was so awesome and I was begging president and the APs to see if we could go and we got to. The temple is the best. After the temple, we had some dinner and everyone was getting their stuff packed for the boat ride. We left for the harbor around 10:30pm, got situated, and then headed off. It was about a 9 hour boat ride and we got there Thursday morning because the world date line is in between Upolu and Tutuila.  So we got an extra day, like a do-over of Thursday.  We got to our area around 12:00. We live with a family but we have our own little house in the back which is nice.

my three sons

Tutuila is sooo different. It feels like Hawaii. Everyone has American cars, there's American food - 2 McDonalds, a Carl's Jr., Pizza Hut, KFC, a store that's basically like a Costco, things like that.  
They have high schools and they play sports. It's SO different. Coming from Fagaloa to here has seriously been a culture shock. Oh and everyone has perfect English so everyone just wants to speak English with us, but I just respond in Samoan. We had Carl's Jr. and McDonalds on Thursday.

 Friday we just tried to get an understanding of our area. The areas in Upolu and Savaii are easy to manage because they just go by villages. Here there are all kinds of roads and stuff. It's super confusing. They had a ward activity Friday night that we went to to try and meet some of the members. Friday we had KFC for dinner...

Saturday we went on a split with a kid in our ward. He's cool and has perfect English. We met some of the ward members. Everyone is really nice. Then Saturday night we got a call from the ZLs asking what area we had been working in and they said it was the wrong one. There are three wards in Tafuna. We thought we were supposed to cover 1 and 2 and the sisters cover the 3rd but it was the other way around... So tomorrow we're gonna have to start all over.

Sunday was good. The chapels here are so nice and have A/C.  Everyone has trucks and they trick them out.  It's pretty funny.  

This week has just been hectic so if you have any questions ask because I probably forgot to mention something.

the boat ride


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