Thursday, November 17, 2016

9 November 2016 - Week 53

Bonjour famille!

I just got back from Vanuatu this morning. It was numbawan! That means “good” or “great” or “awesome” in Bislama. And that’s about the extent of my knowledge of Bislama at the moment. Except, I know that “swim” means to shower, so you can say you’re gonna take a swim or go swim, but you’re really just showering.

But before I get into the Vanuatu trip, I want to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Megan! I can’t believe that you’re 23!! But I love you and miss you and hope you have a great day!

Also, our amie Henritte came to a soiree familiale and to church on Sunday, so as of right now things look good for her baptism on the 26th!! Woo hoo!!

We left for Vanuatu on Sunday afternoon right after church. The plane ride was SO bumpy because of the turbulence and, comme d’habitude [like usual], I barfed. BUT it was another stealthy ninja barf and the elder sitting next to me didn’t even realize I was throwing up. That’s skill. The funny thing was I was feeling motion sick on the plane, and so I said a prayer to feel better--et voila, I barfed. And I usually feel better just after throwing up, so I think it was an answer to prayer. So even though y’all probably didn’t want to know all that, I shared it because it was still a spiritual experience, quand meme [all the same]. God answers our prayers even if it’s not in the way we expect or necessarily want, ha ha.

Anyway, we got to Vanuatu and stayed the night with all of the other STLs again. One thing I love about MLC [Mission Leadership Conference] is getting to meet and interact with the missionaries from Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands. The STLs are super nice—they’re numbawan, ha ha!

Monday morning, we decided to go into town, so we jumped on a bus. We ate a breakfast of Vanuatu sweet bread and bananas, all of which only cost 220 vatu total, so about $2. It’s crazy to be able to buy a whole bunch of bananas for just one dollar! We did some shopping too. I bought a pair of probably fake Ray Ban sunglasses for $4 because “our future is so bright that we gotta wear shades!” Plus, we’re allowed to wear sunglasses out here and it’s summer again, so I need them!

At the beginning of MLC, we talked about having more faith and how to be better leaders. It’s all about example and service! Then for lunch we went to a resort restaurant on AN ISLAND! We took A BOAT to Irinki Island and had a delicious lunch. Who else can say they rode on a boat during their mission? It was so fun!

After lunch, we counseled together about the needs of the zones and the improvements we can make. Now we just need to train the missionaries and we’ll have more miracles! Oh yeah, throughout the mission for the month of October, we had 197 baptisms! That’s numbawan!

We did some team-building activities after that. My group was really good at solving the human knot, and Soeur Caress and I did pretty well at the egg toss, ha ha. Then we all played ultimate Frisbee together. Soeur Caress would always try to confuse and distract the other team by yelling the name of whoever had the Frisbee to get them to throw it to her. And one time it actually worked! She called out the elder’s name and he was like “okay, cool,” and threw it to her. She was surprised at first, but then took the opportunity and threw it to me, and then I to another sister. We scored a point just like that, and all the other missionaries were like, “What just happened?” ha ha.

The next day we were at the mission home all day going over housekeeping things—emergency preparedness, plans for Christmas and progress records. We also talked about the goal for next year to flood the mission with the Book of Mormon and really focusing on conversion because of a testimony of the Book of Mormon. That night, we had a musical fireside and we all sang hymns and other songs. Soeur Granger let us watch some Vocal Point and Noteworthy music videos, ha ha. [These are BYU male and female performance choirs.]

But all good things must come to an end. We flew back to New Cal this morning without any problems. We’re just taking it easy today and napping (we got up at 4:30 this morning!) and also enjoying the New Cal weather. It’s so much more humid in Vanuatu—you can literally see it! So yeah, I’m appreciating the weather here more, ha ha.

When we got back to the bureau [office], I had a package waiting for me from Grandma and Grandpa Matheson. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I LOVE YOU!

After our exciting trip, it’s back to normal missionary life! I need to make the most of the time I have left. I can’t believe it’s already been a year, but looking back I see that I’ve learned and grown a lot. I love being a missionary and I know this Gospel is true. I know God lives and loves us. I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior. I know that Joseph Smith was the prophet of the Restoration and that we have a prophet today who leads and guides us through Priesthood keys, authority, and revelation. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. It is the word of God. It contains the simple truths of the Gospel that brings us true happiness and joy, and leads us to life eternal with God and our families. Au nom de Jesus-Christ, Amen. [In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.]

Je vous aime! Bonne semaine!

Soeur Matheson

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