Sa Dina.

Bula Vinaka!

We got our flight plans today!  I’ll be leaving the MTC on June 29 at 11:30 a.m.  Looking forward to that bright and glorious Monday.  This week started out kind of rough because some of my favorite sisters left for the islands.  Sister Fetalaiga and I shared a very heartfelt goodbye, we couldn’t stop laughing.  Admittedly. we were just trying to avoid crying or anything dramatic, so we kept joking about everything instead.  Sister Clark and I plan to find each other at BYU in two years or so, and Sister Fetalaiga wants me to go to a New Zealand YSA dance with her.  We also lost one of our teachers this week, he’s going home for the summer.  We’ve still got three teachers left for only two students, but it was sad anyway.

After their departure, I became a sister training leader.  I’m now in charge of taking care of the newest missionaries in the branch.  At first, I was a little overwhelmed, but I love the new Tongan and Samoan sisters.  They work very hard and get along well.  The only things I really have to worry about are paperwork and Relief Society assignments.  We work with the Zone Leaders too, Elder Clay and Elder Laulea, and they’re pretty great.  It feels like we’re all new here, but I’m getting ready to leave.  MTC time goes much faster than regular time.

I’m well-fed here.  I had finally mastered the art of eating at the MTC when Elder Laulea arrived.  He’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, so I didn’t think anything of it when he started bringing me food at dinner.  I finally asked why he kept bringing me food.  He responded, in the gentlest way possible, “You’re too skinny.”  He looked to his fellow Tongan elder for support, but the Tongan elder just patted him on the arm and said (with a great big smile on his face), “Don’t worry, she’ll learn in the islands.  Don’t stress it.”

Until yesterday, we’d just been teaching our teachers and returned missionaries living in Provo, but we got to Skype-teach a Fijian Yesterday.  It was probably my favorite experience at the MTC so far.  Up until now, it’s just felt like I was back at BYU practicing for the real world.  Once the church member in Suva showed up on the computer screen, I felt very happy.  She was sincere and considerate, despite my imperfect knowledge of the Fijian language.  Words and phrases I didn’t know I knew began popping into my mind.  It’s the Lord’s work, not mine, and when I taught the Fijian sister, I wanted to help her because I loved her.  I enjoyed the challenge and felt the real need for me to use the things I’d learned.  After we finished, I left satisfied with my performance, and I’m now super excited to go to Fiji.  I’m definitely not fluent in Fijian, but In know I can learn it now.

Confession:  My favorite moments are when I understand what people are saying in Fijian.  Sister HawkinsDSCF0154

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