Email 30 Sep 2012

So I have made it 2 weeks now! And I barely notice the humidity. However, It is moving into the hot season here, but it is also the rainy season. Today is the first direct sunlight I have seen in several days! Otherwise, it’s just been raining and raining! I’m pretty sure that my other email that I just re-sent today had all of the details about the area. But Fiji is really different! It’s awesome though! I think everyone has skewed perceptions of Fiji. It is a very poor and run down place! At least a lot of it is. When you get into the main part of Suva however, It’s more like a city back in the US. There is McDonalds here, but it is expensive! at least $10 for a small combo. However, the exchange rate is almost double from the US dollar to the Fijian. So most food or non American items are really cheap. It’s pretty easy to get by here. Most of the areas we teach in are called squat settlements. people can just build wherever and the homes are typically tiny and made out of scrap wood and metal sheets. I’m pretty sure the nicest home in Fiji is the mission home! However, most places here have running water and electricity. The only place you really get the imagined vacation Fiji is at resorts, or at places away from the towns that have the nice beaches.
Overall, I am glad I am starting in an English area. I really need the help in the language, but I’ve learned and been humbled enough to realize that I needed to work on other skills and abilities first. But I love the area. It’s probably the most spoiled area for missionaries. The ward here is one of the strongest. They always feed us! If we don’t have dinner set up, there are some families we call that always have us come over! So we rarely pay for dinners. There is a lot of good food here too. Curry is really big. Plus taro and dalo. However, no one here takes the bones out of meat when they chop it up and cook it, so you have to pull bones out of your mouth a lot! Most food here I love! I’m getting hooked on a drink made with lemon leaves. Way good! Plus they have cooked milk with sugar added that is really good too!
Since it is an English area, we tend to teach a lot more Hindi people. I’ve taught very few Fijians! But the culture here is way different too. The saddest things that I find is that kids get beat, and sometimes, really really bad. There is one kid we see often while teaching who is probably only about 5 or 6, but he get beat a lot and is such a quite, shy, and scared kid. Elder Tausinga is like his best friend, and he always runs to him when his aunt or mother get near. But here in Fiji, beating your kids is just normal, and a lot of what happens here would never be allowed back home. I think it’s why there are so many gay people here too. All around the streets in the city there are cross dressers, and men whistling at us. The other really sad thing is the amount of stray dogs. There are few aggressive ones I’ve seen so far, but there are tons that are afraid of people and just want food. Some just lie in the middle of the sidewalks like they are ready to just die. But there is a lot of really good stuff here too. There is a lot I know I am meant to learn from the culture.
So this last weekend we had my first baptism! And only my second weekend! It was a girl named Grace. She was a golden investigator who was just ready to get baptized from the beginning when the Elders first started to teach! And then I showed up and helped do the final push and Friday she was baptized by my companion, and then Sunday I confirmed her! It was pretty epic.
Otherwise, we had 2 more baptisms lined up for the 13th of this month, but we discovered that her and her husband aren’t married and that the husband still has a legal marriage with another woman. So we are working on helping them with a divorce and then a marriage. If that works out, then Moni and her daughter Arishma will be able to get baptized!
Otherwise, we have been helping with several less active members and struggling to find new investigators, but that is our focus for this week. Luckily, one of the less active members we are helping has a daughter who is not a member, and she has had some lessons before, but now agreed to let us teach her! So we were able to find one!
Anyway, I love it here! I love my companion, I love the Zone leaders here, I love my President, I love the people, I love the land, It is awesome! Just trying to learn more patience with myself and more confidence! I can’t wait to get the package! From what I understand, meat products will just get thrown away if sent, so don’t try to send jerky or anything like it!
That’s all for now! Just so you know, I’m about to make a withdraw from my account to pay for the bike fund, so don’t worry when you see my account change!
Au Lomani Kemuni! Moce mada!

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