Wow.... I don’t even know where to even start this email. Bula Family! I miss you all a ton! I loved talking to everyone on the phone at the airport. The plane ride was way long because I had to sit in-between two of the biggest guys in our district and I was squashed ugh hahaha. So, I’m in Fiji right now....words can't describe it. We landed in the Nadi airport at 5:00 in the morning and took a 5 hr bus ride to Suva! So we show up.....we meet President Layton and his wife and they are way cool and they fed us some food and made us feel at home and then they threw us a curveball! They said, “you all will be going out teaching tonight!!” I was like ha ha haaaaa NO! So we go and they send Elder Nelson (who i got along really well with at the mic) and I with the suva north's district leader. So we get in this van and drive to the flat where we would spend the night AND IT WAS CRAZY! SMALL BED ON THE FLOOR and NASTY FLOORS! Lizards on the walls and cockroaches in the cupboards! But, it’s all good haha! So then we went teaching! The next thing I know it's POURING rain! And I’m walking in the jungle! IT’S MUDDY WET and very humid. It feels like you’re in the shower pretty much! I was still in my church shoes and on the way to the house the path is muddy and slippery so I slipped in front of the vale (house) right before we were about to go in! In fiji, before you enter someone’s house they bring out a bowl of water for you to wash your hands. This little fijian boy brings out the water and I’m covered in mud! I FELT SO BAD WASHING MY HANDS IN IT! THE NEXT thing I know I’m sitting in this tin roof house on a dirt floor out in the middle of the jungle sitting cross legged in front of a fijian family. That’s when I experienced CULTURE SHOCK! ha it was way cool though. I couldn’t stop smiling because I was way nervous and then the dad asks me to say a prayer! So I did and the lesson went well...I shared my testimony and we got a baptismal date! Too bad it wasn’t my investigator because I was only doing this for one night! Anyways, they insist that they would feed us but the thing was we had a dinner appt right after that! So I was culture shocked and then I got stuffed with chicken curry which I ate with my hands. YUM YUM! And then I was fed some green slimy leaf that was cold and I was told later that it was supposed to be warm so ew hahaha! Then I had beef and it had small bones in it...so not quite sure how that works haahaha. The next day we went shopping for our sulu's. Way fun but I’ll admit I feel kinda like a girl right now! So thursday afternoon I got interviewed by president layton and the first thing he asks me is if i’m an eagle scout! GREAT! He was like do you like the outdoors and I was afraid to answer yes but I did anyways! Now what do you know. We get our calls that night and read out loud where president has assigned us and i’m sent to a very small island called Taveuini! He told me it’s out in the bush a bit and that I could only pack 30lbs of my stuff to take with me and the rest would be left at the mission home haaa! I’m the only elder from my district on this island! So let me tell you all about how long it took me to get here in Matei Taveuini haha..... 2 DAYS! So I packed up on thursday night, the zone leaders dropped me off at a random flat in suva and didn’t tell me when they'd be coming back and i stayed with some elders there for about 4 hours. Then they came back and picked me up and drove me to the airport. It was on a small plane that took about an hour and it experienced some major turbulence that about made me pee my pants but life is good yeah!:) So we land and the zone leaders meet me there and we drive around for a little bit while they did their zone leader stuff and then it’s 7:00 and i find out i won’t be getting to my area until saturday! Because they have to drive an elder from my district 5 hours up to a place called nakaukawa. They said i should go along for the drive. So i drove with elder stock who was from my district. Nakaukauwa is where he got assigned! So we start the drive. It starts pouring and we have like a four wheeling truck and we are off roading to this place..... It’s dark and we are going out in the middle of nowhere in the jungle. The zone leaders tell me tons of uplifting stories about how big black magic is here in fiji... It’s actually a huge problem here and i hope i never see any of it but they all say that likely i will so yayyyyy fun fun funnn hahhaha. Heavenly father protects his missionaries just gotta remember that! So we get up to nakaukauwa and it’s out way in the bush. The zone leaders tell them not to go into the forest by their flat because it’s said to be a dark forest and missionaries have had bad problems there in the past. So just so you know this place is the most stranded place you can serve in the fiji mission. It’s in the mountains on the north side of Vanua Levu. I am the only missionary who has ever been allowed to drive up with the zone leaders to see it. Family...Their flat was literally only four walls and it has no door. No electricity. The toilet wasn’t even a toilet and they bathe in the river and the area is way creepy. I felt so bad leaving them there. So then we drive all the way back after we dropped them off and i get to the zone leaders flat and fell asleep in my church clothes on a matress on the floor. They wake me up at 5:00 the next morning and get me on a bus with another elder coming here for transfers and we take another 4 hr bus ride to get to the boat to sail to taveuni haha. The past few days have felt like a never ending ride of indiana jones and the jungle cruise ride! The boat ride was about an hour and the only thing that helped make all of this worth it was the island is so pretty. It’s the dream zone for missionaries to come here and all the missionaries tell me missionaries never get this place as their first area and that i’m like way lucky. So i’m here and i’m safe. My trainer is really cool we are like the same person. I’m taller then him bullllaaaa. This never happens to me! What’s cool is that i followed his blog a ton before i came! His name is elder barnaby and he's from boston and way way way good at the language! So i’ll get trained well! Our flat is in Matei Taveuini but we travel between two flats every day and the other one is in Qeleni. President wants us to open up the area there. It’s about a 2hr walk away from matei so should be fun hahaha! Yesterday was sunday for me. We had a ward baptism in the oceaaannnn! So cool. Church is weird.... They made me talk for the baptism just randomly and i was like ummmm okay so i did the best i could! Church is held in like this old small run down house and it smells bad! and everyone leaves after sacrament. It’s not even a branch here. They call it a group. It was way funny because during the sacrament talks the group leader (equivalent to a stake president kinda haha..) he read out of the ensign the whole meeting. They all call me elda chonutee because they can’t pronounce z's! I really have no idea what else to say. Literally i feel like i’ve been on this huge adventure already and i have no idea where to start or what else to say! I’ve been through so much the past few days and it’s definitely humbling! I miss all of you. I'll be starting to teach some lessons soon. Please pray for me and the language! I'd like a baptism in the ocean soon:) that would be sicccckkk! I feel really scared right now because every thing is new, but praying helps. Thank you all for all your prayers. I miss you mom and dad and everybody! My showers are cold hahaha! I eat tuna every night ugh but yet i feel the spirit so strong already here and i feel so ready to share what i have with the people - i just have that language barrier. I pray for all of you and i have lots of pictures!
|My bed for the first night in Suva|
|A Fijian Vale|
|Some Fijian Houses|
|"Jurassic Park" Mountain haha|
|A Fijian Market|
|We found this owl injured in the middle of the road staring at the car on the way to Nakaukauwa|
|Bus ride to the boat|
|Bus ride to the boat|
|The boat I took to Taveuini|
|Elder Barnaby and I|
|Where ward baptism took place|
|View from house|
Pictures found on the blog of a senior missionary couple…so thankful for these pictures!