The Islands District.

Bula Vinaka!

To start, I’m not going to directly respond to all of your comments.  Just know that I appreciated them and don’t have a whole lot of time to respond.

I’m in the best district, but don’t tell the French speakers I said that.  We’ve got the sweetest missionaries.  Most of them are Samoan or Tongan.  Sister Su’a and I went to the temple together today on a companion split.  That was the highlight of my week, besides the time I got to spend with my teachers.

Nathan left, but we saw each other quite a few times before that.  We took a picture together.

Here at the MTC, we’re always doing something.  Usually, it’s fun.  I go to the gym everyday, and we play four-square.  It usually gets too intense for me because the Islands Branch takes it very seriously.  The elders and I shoot hoops instead.  We spend the majority of our day in class, and we’ve got two teachers.  One of them is very down-to-earth and looks like he spends most of his time in the gym.  We also spend a lot of time listening to 100 different ways of saying “teach by the spirit” and “be obedient”.  I focus on language study during those times.  I listened very well the first time, so you don’t need to worry.

By the way, that French missionary I tried to talk to?  He was a teacher.  Oops

Remember our bet whether there would be more sisters or elders when I entered the MTC?  There were more sisters.  During my first week, the MTC was 52% sisters.  Apparently, it was a big deal because the sisters in the relief society presidency told us all about it.

Good news:  I can bear my testimony and pray in Fijian.  We’ve even taught four lessons in Fijian.  It’s coming fairly quickly, and Fijian is pretty basic.  However, they’ve got a ton of pronouns and describing who owns what gets really confusing.  If I say, “na kequ me” it literally means. “the goat I own for eating”.  They’ve got ownership specific pronouns.  I can’t wait to get to Fiji.  Apparently they don’t assign specific dialects or languages until you’re in Fiji, so I could be learning Kiribati, Gilbertese, Tuvualuan (I have no idea how to spell that one), or French.

Elder Holland spoke at our Tuesday Devotional.  Definitely the best speaker I’ve heard at the MTC so far.

Most of the valagi {white- Susan} sisters in the Islands District all prayed to get sent to the islands.  They grew up loving Lilo and Stitch and all things in the beach style.  Some even have stories about specifically telling their stake presidents they wanted to go to Samoa, Tonga or somewhere “warm” and “tropical”.  I’m the odd one out, but I know I’m in the right place.  My mission call aslo continued the tradition of me living a sit-com, but I love it.  Anna Hawkins wanted to go somewhere stuffy and European where she could learn all about history and say big words in a Latin-based or Germanic language.  Now, Sister Hawkins is dying to go to Fiji.  Working with my Polynesian sisters makes me feel even better about where I’m going.  Our lessons focus mainly on strengthening family bonds and improving ourselves through the gospel, and the teachers talk about how the Fijian people were always willing to listen and try to keep the commandments.

I’m the music coordinator for the branch.  We can pretend that’s surprising.

About some of the pictures.  Elder Peeti is the one taking the group-selfie-picture.  He’s a great guy.  From New Zealand, he’s wonderful at teaching and playing basketball.  Very genuine.  My lovely, short friend is also from New Zealand.  Her name is Sister Fetalaiga, and she’s one of my favorite people in the whole MTC.  She’e entertaining and sincere but has some semi-violent four-square tendencies.   Sister Tailele took the selfie.  She’s the sweetest, besides Sister Su’a.  They probably tie for the sweetest.  I don’t know who the elders sitting at the lunch table are.  Nathan’s friends going to Italy?  That just showed up on my camera.  The two Tongan elders are the funniest guys here.  They don’t speak a whole lot of English, but they’re very friendly.  When we went to the temple to take photos, they picked some pink roses and stuck them to their lapels and posed whenever anybody walked by with a camera.

Tell Wade I want an email about the Pioneer Trek.  About the sandals, one pair is good enough.  I found out that the 30 pound weight limit is a real thing, and the teachers suggested packing as light as possible.  Thanks!  There were supposed to be seven more missionaries from Papua New Guinea going to Fiji, but the Visas were just slow.  Apparently, I only have to travel on my passport.  That’s great news.  I haven’t seen the Smiths {senior missionaries going to Fiji that we met at the crosswalk – Susan}, and I’m not sure where the suitcase guy was going, sorry.  {It was a sister we saw with two huge suitcases.  I surmised she was going to Russia- Susan}.  You can write me as often as you want.  In fact, I’d prefer that you did.

Au lomani kemundou!

Sister Hawkins



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