Bonjour mes amis!
The days here are truly flying by now, and they are so good! We are all learning such valuable things, and I've truly figured out how to center all my work on who really matters, the people I will be teaching in Tahiti! All the language, lessons, teaching techniques, everything is learned with my progressing investigator in mind. It really helps motivate me for the right cause and it increases my sense of love and charity for others. It is an attribute I have been praying for for a long time, and I can finally feel its true goodness!
The French language is definitely coming along! It is getting to the point where I can understand people speaking pretty clearly, and i can pronounce things correctly for the most part, but forming sentences and speaking a conversation off the top of my head is still definitely a challenge. Our district has been trying our hardest to speak as much French as possible, all the time. It really is hard because we are so used to being able to easily make our point, but that's we we can speak Franglais! (English and French, equivalent of Spanglish) It's better to say what we know in French and what we don't know in English than to not speak any French at all. If I work hard enough, I know I will be blessed and learn it well enough in due time!
So yes, our district is 4 elders and 4 sisters, consisting of Elders Lovelock, Hansen, White and I, and Sisters Bradshaw, Taylor, Van Wagenen and Chytraus. We all get along super great! It really is hard to imagine getting tired of all these people after 9 more weeks. I can only see us becoming closer and better friends and uplifting to each other by the end of the MTC. Sometimes it feels like we love to have a little too much fun, so we have to remind ourselves to get back to work. It is definitely a blast to work with all these Elders and Sisters, ils sont trés amusant!
Our progressing investigator, Manuarii, is actually one of our teachers (surprise, surprise). But he is an excellent teacher for us! Very rarely does he speak any English, so it takes a lot of attention to listen to his French and try to take in what he's teaching. He is definitely passionate, and he pushes us like no other. He gave us 2 minutes to prepare the first Preach My Gospel lesson in English, and then 5 minutes to share it with our companions. Then he gave us 5 minutes to prepare the lesson in French, and then 10 minutes to teach it! It was difficult, both in English and French! We had to make our lessons consice and to the point, saying only things that were the most important. We had to deliver it meaningfully and powerfully too! It was difficult in French especially, with so little time to prepare and so little things to be able so say! But it worked out, and I felt like a delivered efficiently. It was a sweet experience.
We practiced contacting as well, with our other teacher Frere Coulson. It went well, but it didn't go well at the same time. The reason I say that is because I felt confident about what I was saying, and I could remember well how to say a lot of the key phrases that I have been studying! It was definitely the Gift of Tongues playing a part. But after our short message he said he didn't want to take our lessons. He rejected us! All Elder Lovelock and I could do was bear our testimonies one more time and leave him our number in case he was interested. It definitely felt pretty bad, and I felt like we failed! But afterwards Frere Coulson said we did an excellent job, and that we responded to the situation appropriately. He also said that when he rejected us I visibly changed (I can believe it, I was a bit upset!) and that when I bore my testimony again, I said it with so much power and with the spirit, and he said that I need to bear my testimony like that every time. I took that feedback to heart. Even though you can only say so much in French, a few powerful, hearfelt words can go a long way!
Yesterday (Sunday) was fantastic! It is awesome to be able to hear many different people speak at devotional every Sunday night. Last night we heard from Shane Littlefield, the Coordinator of Pre-Missionary Learning or something like that. He gave an excellent talk about having the right attitude as a missionary! I learned that I need to be bold and not shy, dilligent and not lazy, kind and not rash, and obedient and not disrespectful. He said that the best and most blessed missionaries were the most obedient and hard-working. These are words of wisdom that I take seriously. I also had a great experience reading the Book of Mormon during personal study. When I was reading through 2 Nephi, I felt a burning and a swelling within my chest as I read about the Savior Jesus Christ and his atonement, and my desire to read more and more grew! I felt so much happiness about what I was reading, and as I contined to read the swelling grew, and I knew that what I was reading was true! It kept growing to the point where I just about teared up right in the middle of class, and I knew that these teachings were true happiness! It is a true wonder how plain and simple truths stated in these scriptures will make you feel the spirit, the Holy Ghost, just while you read them. This experience manifested to me that these teachings are, without a doubt, true, and the spirit truly did manifest it to me. The Book of Mormon contains true principles, and anyone and everyone can and should read it! Just give it a try, even if you're not religious it contains priciples of hapiness that are beneficial to living life. I promise this!
I found a piece of paper at the devotional with this message written on it, and it hit me hard. It is a quote by Elder Neal A Maxwell, and it says "God does not begin by asking us about our ability, but only about our availabilty, and if we then prove our dependability, he will increase our capability!" This is just awesome! It is a reminder to me to never doubt how well I can prepare or teach the gospel, and that if I trust and have faith in God he will comfort and bless me with the spirit. I would type down Alma 26:12, but I don't have much more time. It basically supports this saying in a beautiful way, so go read it!
Anyway, that's all I have time to say, so peace out and love life! I love you all, and thank you for your letters! I will try to send some pictures in the near future. Faitoito!