Okay, where to begin?? So much to say, sooo little time.
First of all, it's great, but wow you guys in the USA are sooo blessed!! I knew there were some poor people here, but I guess since we are a long way from the city, this community is as little more poor. We live in an MQ (missionary quarters) in the yard of the Stake President. His family is very nice and they help us a lot they have a small home but they are better off than most because they have real windows, complete walls, furniture, and a front door. Many people here have a few walls, curtains for doors, and no furniture except maybe a bed and they sit on a mat on the floor. Our MQ is nicer than most houses, but it's just a small room with 2 beds, a sketchy little bathroom, and a mini fridge, but i like it :) although I did have to hand-wash my laundry today. That was fun. haha. Oooh and yesterday a friend of Wally and Teri Smith came to our MQ and brought us some hygiene supplies and bottled water! Her name is Pistra. She is my angel for this week.
The church members feed us all of our meals and they prepare WAY more than we can eat, then we sit down and pray and eat, and they just watch us eat, or sometimes they go in the other room, but usually they just watch us. We usually eat ufi or kumala or manioke (all things like potatoes) and chicken and maybe bread or rice. Yep-- carbs, carbs, and more carbs. But I think I will be okay because pulling the "little palagi girl" card REALLY works. They always say: "Kai ke fiu" which means-- eat til completely full, but they believe that we have really tiny stomachs so we don't have to stuff ourselves.
Before I forget this important detail, my first area is Navutoka-- a small community on the East side of the main island, right on the beach. We exercise on the beach every morning. My companion is Sister Wunderlich. She was the 2nd palangi to get here! She has been here for 4 months and she speaks well enough to get along, but we are kind of learning together. She is from Layton, UT and she is a great companion because she really wants to be obedient and do the right thing, so we are on the same page there.
Miracles and cool experiences from this week-
first of all, I got here on a tuesday because i am one day ahead of you, but 4 hours behind on the clock... if that makes sense. 20 hrs ahead. there. So I have been here for almost a whole week. We have had lots of meeting and we went to the temple once, so we haven't had a single day to just work in our area.
BUT on friday, we went around telling people about the general conference broadcast that would be on sat. and sunday and we invited a lot of investigators and inactives to come. (they broadcast a week late here because it has to be translated). Sooo we went to the home of this very poor inactive woman, and she must have been very inactive, because she didn't know what prophets were... so I used a little object lesson and my very broken tongan to explain it to her and then I testified that we have a living prophet and his name is Thomas S. Monson and that she will be able to know that he is the true prophet if she goes to the broadcast and if she prays about it. The spirit was really strong in that little hut of a house and she even cried... so even if she didn't understand everything I said, I know she learned through the spirit.
I was pretty discouraged on Saturday night because we didn't eat all day because our member who was assigned forgot and we were at home in our MQ and we had some crackers and PB so I ate that, but I just wanted some vegetables sooooo bad. Oh i would kill for a good salad right now. And I was also feeling like a failure because I am so bad a speaking tongan, so i said a prayer and asked for some vegetables... and then what do you know!! Our member remembered and brought our food to our MQ and they happened to be a wealthier family so they went to town and bought us some stir fry looking noodles and rice and chicken stuff but it HAD VEGETABLES WITH IT!! GREEN ONES!!! So yes, I know God is taking care of me.
Last thing, we have a new investigator named Viliami and I am really excited about him. I don't have time to tell you his story, but I'll update you next week. Please pray for him!! :)
Okay out of time. I LOVE YOU ALL. You are in my prayers.. they are usually broken tongan prayers, but you are in them!!
Sister Emily Bever
Tonga Nuku'alofa Mission
First day on the job.
Sis. Bistra Latu and her family brought Emily and Sister Wunderlich
some things to help them get settled into their new home