Monday, December 28, 2015

27 December 2015 - Week 8: Joyeux Noel! Bonne fete!

Bonjour everyone! 

I survived my first full week in New Cal! It was an interesting week because we didn't/couldn't do missionary work every day due to the holidays and people not wanting to talk to us. Plus, on Christmas, we had a party with all the missionaries in New Cal, which is about 30, but I'll get to that later. 

Soeur Tellus told me how to change the keyboard to be English, so I haven't had problems today--woo hooo. I don't think there are any free internet places in our area or even a library with computers. We might try to find one this week so we don't have to rely on the STLs [Sister Training Leaders]. We want to be independent!

We don't live in an apartment building. It's more like a house, but the upstairs is an apartment, then two downstairs, and one separated on the side. It's hard to explain. Laundry is at our apartment, but we just have a washer. We have a clothesline though, so it's cool. The washing machine is right outside our apartment—like outside outside, haha.

The view from my apartment--I think it looks like San Francisco but more island-y.

We get up at 6:30, exercise, eat, get ready, do our studies, then go out to teach and find! We have to be in at night at 6 o'clock because we're in the city, and people like to drink at night, haha... After 6 pm, we do more studies and plan and stuff.

We've been fed once at a member's home, and the sister drove us home because it was after 6. We're really not supposed to walk at night, but if someone can drive us, we can stay out later. We mostly feed ourselves. Soeur Tellus cooks for us, haha, but we mostly eat rice and bread and random meat.

There have been missionaries in Vallee de Colons for years. White-washing just means that both missionaries are new to the area. There is an area book from before, and we're going to try to contact old amis [investigators] this week. There are eight missionaries in our ward because there are four secteurs that fit into the Magenta Ward [congregation]. The five were just the new missionaries who hadn't already been in the ward before transfers. There are four sisters and four elders and that's also our district, the Magenta district. So the way it works is that we're in the South zone, in the Magenta district, in the Vallee de Colons secteur. 

We know our boundaries now because we got a map. In the past, missionaries in our area and in the Magenta area would be confused about the boundaries, so right now there's a small bit of our area that the Magenta sisters think is in their area. But we're just gonna let them have that part, haha. I don't think there are currently any people they're teaching in that bit of space. [The Mission] President has asked us to stay in our areas.

Mardi [Tuesday]: We had a zone conference (the South zone—there’s only two zones in New Cal, north and south) and we talked about working with members. We really do need to work with members in order to find people and we can also strengthen the members and their ties to the new converts if they're involved in missionary work. I shared my testimony in French with the zone, which was pretty cool! After our zone conference, we had a lesson with our ami [investigator] C--- where we got to know her and what her needs are. She wants to be baptized but doesn't feel ready. She's had the lessons multiple times so she knows a lot, but she needs to increase her faith and read the Book of Mormon. We'd love to see her get baptized because she needs the peace that the Gospel brings! That night we went to a member's home, the Leaokitu's. We sang a few Christmas hymns and they fed us some cookies and drinks. They're really sweet :)

Mercredi [Wednesday]: We tried to go see our ami S--- and teach her about the Plan of Salvation but she wouldn't open her door. Here in New Cal, there are fences around all the houses and you can't just open their gates and knock on their doors. You have to yell at the house and hope someone hears you and opens the door. So we yelled “Bonjour!” and waited and yelled again, but she didn't answer. She wouldn't answer her phone either, but we'll try again this week!

That night we went to the Tuahivaatotonohiti's home. They're all recent converts except the dad, who was inactive but started coming to church when the family started taking the lessons. They are an awesome family! We went to teach the two boys and the Papi [father] follow-up lessons. We taught about fasting. They whole family knows the Gospel really well, and they help each other live it. It's awesome! Then they fed us dinner. I don't know what it was called, but it was Tahitian and delicious :) 

Jeudi [Thursday]: We couldn't do much missionary work because no one wanted to have lessons because it was Christmas Eve. We knew no one would open their doors if we went porte a porte [door to door]. We did some grocery shopping and we made enchiladas, a fruit salad, and tiramisu to take to the mission Christmas party the next day.

Vendredi [Friday]/Noel! We had the mission Christmas party! We had a short spiritual meeting, then we got to change into P-day clothes and play sports. We played volleyball, soccer, and dodge ball. Then we changed back into our other clothes and watched the Polar Express in French. While we watched, we ate the food that the members made. They made so much food! When we were done, it didn't even look like we'd eaten anything! Then we did a "white elephant" but we didn't play a game with it, we just went up as companionships and picked random gifts. I got a tiny squishy soccer ball, so that's cool, haha. It was a good Christmas!

Samedi [Saturday]: I got to Skype my family that morning from the DMP's (ward mission leader) house. Then we went to eat lunch at this party that the Wallisian committee was having to celebrate the New Year. Here in New Cal, the Church has set up committees to help investigators learn how to keep their cultural traditions and live the gospel. They have a Wallisian one and a Kanak one. The Wallisian committee is fun, and we ate really well! You always eat well when the members make food! Then we were supposed to have two lessons that afternoon but neither of them worked out, so we just stayed at the party. 

Dimanche [Sunday]: We went to chapelle (church) and three of our amis [investigators] were there! Plus, our recent converts were there! I was so happy! Plus, I was able to understand the talks and the lessons more this week--my comprehension of French is improving! The Gospel Principles lesson was also really good. The teacher taught simply but clearly and answered all the questions. I even learned new things, and I don't even really speak the language! That's how good of a teacher he is, haha! After church, we had a short lesson with our ami W--, and we committed him to be baptized on January 16. He was supposed to be baptized on Saturday, but he hasn't been taught all the lessons yet... But now we have three weeks to help him prepare, and I'm really excited for him!!

Our zone's goal is for each companionship to have two baptisms this transfer and I think we might we able to do it if W-- and C--- can be ready! Yay for baptisms!

This morning, we cleaned the kitchen in our apartment--like deep cleaning: washing ALL the dishes and wiping the insides of the cabinets and cleaning the counters and the sink and the stove. We found that the sink might be leaking, so we're going to call the Guerreras, the senior missionary couple here who help us out with pretty much everything because the mission president is about 700 miles away, haha. But yeah, we'll see!

I'm doing great! The work is starting to pick up and my French is slowly getting better. I hope all of you had a great Christmas and that you will have a great start to 2016!!

Je vous aime!
Soeur Matheson

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