Oh boy, what a crazy first few days at the Missionary Training Center. It's been super challenging, both physically and spiritually. And linguistically. Our teachers speak mostly Fijian to us - even though so far they've both been very white and very American. Even though it's been so insane and hard to understand, I am understanding! It's a good thing I learned how to pronounce all the letters, because that's been a huge help. I can introduce myself, ask a few basic questions, give a few basic answers, and almost bear my testimony entirely in Fijian! Granted my testimony is less than three sentences long, but WOW! Talk about the gift of tongues.
I've also begun to learn about how to give a prayer. All of you know me, I have a big testimony of prayer. And I use the word 'big' not lightly. But after learning about how to pray in Fijian (or at least the basics), I've discovered the beautiful simplicity of prayer. I tried to pray in Fijian last night, and even though by the end pretty much everyone was laughing at how much I messed it up, I felt that it was the same as if I'd said it in English. Maybe not as flowery or wordy as I would've said it in English, but it meant the same to my Heavenly Father. Now if I can just memorize the words.
My companion's name is Elder Masoe. He's a big New Zealander who's just really cool and fun. We're getting along really well, too, which is wonderful, and though we differ in opinion or enthusiasm occasionally, we really work well together. We'll see how we teach together, though :) We have two other companionships of Elders in our Fijian District and one set of three Sisters. We have a pretty fun group, which is really encouraging!
I'll tell you one last thing that I've learned before I sign off:
The Atonement of Jesus Christ is an enabling power. It is infinite and eternal, spanning all time, space, and every mistake, pain, and sorrow we will ever experience. I've learned here that, as part of my purpose as a missionary, we are commanded to call people to change. This kind of change is more than a lifestyle change, and it's only possible through the Atonement. That Atonement is perfect and always available, because the one who made it possible descended below all things so that we might rise above.
Mocei! Au kila ni dina Kosipeli!
"There are lives to brighten. There are hearts to touch. There are souls to save."
- Thomas S. Monson