Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sister Carter is in Tahiti!


I am in Tahiti and having a power struggle with the French keyboard so this letter will have to be somewhat brief.

I hope everyone is doing well!!!

This time last week I was on an airplqne to Tqhiti and I have experienced so much since then. I think rather than give you an overview, I will give short descriptions.

1. I have become a master at using this electricqlly charged tennis raquet thing to kill the swarms of mosquitos that are everywhere.

2. The ocean is approximately, in my limited scope of color knowledge, 58 shades of blue. 

3. We have a Doberman guard dog named Zeus who is my Tahitian version of Macey and he will basically attack anyone who isnt a sister missionary. When I do my ab workouts he tries to climb into my lap, he is always following me around when Im outside.

4. I have tqught about 15 lessons so far in my tri companionship (again!) with Sr C and Sr P. 

5. I ate raw fish my first night here and its actually not super weird but i will always prefer cooked, probably.

6. I had food poisoning Saturday night but super fast recovery, good to go for the 6 hours of church the next day. every american gets sick but most people get way more sick than I was.

7. During a lesson once, i watched an army of ants carry a Cocoa Puff across the floor. 

8. I have fasted from food for 2 of the 6 days that I have been here.

9. We have a stick shift car that i am learning how to drive. Pretty much no one in our companionship knows how to drive but Sis C is the senior companion so she took over. it is always an adventure when we drive on the dirt roads, bouncing around jalopy-style. we pretty much have a hysterical laughfest of relief every time we reach our destination.

10. Every time you greet someone you say about 11 different versions of greetings (talking over eachother), kiss women on the cheeks, shake hands with men, and at the end of each encounter- another flurry of saying variations of goodbye.

One of my companions is getting trqnsferred today, she was just here long enough to get us familiar with this area, so i hqve to finish so she can pack. We will miss her!!

I hope everyone knows how much i love you like crazy!! Do not worry about me, a lot of things are different but the language is coming and im already friends with a bazillion people. :) This church is true and I love being here in Tahiti. I will try to send more pictures soon!!


love, here, amour,
Soeur/Tuahine Carter

Friday, April 19, 2013

Praying in Tahitian

Ia Orana! ("Your Ana!")
This time next week I will be in Tahiti and this is my last P-Day at the MTC!!!
I become aware of this reality sporadically. I am in the phase of the MTC experience right now where I really miss my dog/my family/my friends but I have so much enthusiasm for this work and its significance that I mainly want to get there, love people, make them happier, and have the time fly by until I get home.
We recently had a devotional by a Brother Droubay in the Media Department of the MTC who showed us a bunch of things about the promoting of www.mormon.org in London, England and New York City, NY and it made all of us missionaries so proud of our church. So, there is a musical called "The Mormons" ou quelque chose comme ca and apparently it is a comedy and makes fun of the Mormon religion. The Church bought double-decker buses in England with a massive banner across the buses with our website. Apparently there was also a bus campaign for the comedy musical "The Mormons" (anti) that declares, "The Mormons Are Coming!" The speaker solemnly declared that he had captured the best picture of this dispensation when a Mormon.org bus pulled up behind one of those buses that said, "The Mormons Are Coming" and it came across as though the "Mormons" had arrived. The two buses followed each other around the city on their routes. :) There was a campaign going on at Christmas where the Church purchased massive billboards in Times Square promoting the remembrance of Jesus Christ at Christmas. We had billboards all up and down Broadway. An aerial shot was taken and amidst all of the Mormon.org positive campaigns, the Atheists had purchased a little billboard saying "Dump the myth, keep the merry." You could barely see the Atheist billboards for all of the Mormon.org signs. The speaker noted that we "dominated" both major cities.
At this point, we only have about 3 lessons left which brings the grand total of French lessons to around 40 and the grand total of Tahitian lessons to around 25.
I love and appreciate all of the letters and packages, they mean so much every single time! I really do apologize for how long it is taking me to reply to some of you lovely people, there is just so much to do here!
We're going to speak only in Tahitian tomorrow, should be interesting. My district and the other Tahitian district are so fabulous, it's pretty ridiculous how great everyone still is after spending SO much time with each other. We're all really excited to get to Tahiti and one Elder was joking and saying that as soon as he gets off the plane he's going to run all the way to the other end of the island and just live out of a grass hut, forget the mission. We're getting into Tahiti at 10:00 PM at night, which is around 2:00 Utah time so I'm going to get one of the most hours of sleep I have had in almost 3 months SO EXCITED.
I'm not sure if I've mentioned this or not, but the tap water is not drinkable in Tahiti. I'll have a filtered water bottle but it is pretty much standard procedure that everyone is sick for the first 6 months of their mission because the water is used in everything. The way that came across to the Sisters is: don't worry about gaining weight in Tahiti, you'll be riding bikes and being sick.
I don't want anyone to worry about me, I have all the resources I need to succeed. I will continue sending emails while in Tahiti but letters and especially packages will be a super sketchy business so just know ahead of time that it will take about 4 months from the time you write me a letter until I can write you back. But I will include some Tahitian sand in my letter, so it will be worth it. :)
At this point of the MTC my great loves are: watching videos of incredible Mormons on www.mormon.org, I've pretty much watched every single Mormon Message, reading talks, listening to talks in Tahitian/French/Navajo (Navajo only once for fun), reading Jesus the Christ (Chapter 12 if you're following along with me), and falling asleep at each and every opportunity.
So much love for everyone who reads these blogs and if you have the means, tellement love for people who are taking care of my family. 
Soeur Carter
P.S. I gave the closing prayer in Tahitian for Church last Sunday. I could have given it in French but we all decided it would be cooler in Tahitian. We are in the French district and we just got some new French-speaking missionaries so after I finished the prayer I looked up and saw a few heads bob up after "Amene" with a slightly pained expression that they didn't understand a single word of "French." MTC humor :)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

10th week at the MTC

Hello, Bonjour, Ia Orana!!!
How are you? Comment ca va? E aha to'oe huru?? :)

Ok so I am on my 10th week here at the MTC, hoping to receive my travel plans in 2 days (fingers crossed that my VISA came through)!!  I know about 200 words in Tahitian, slowly but surely getting the hang of this thing. French is lovely of course and much easier in comparison to Tahitian. I am praying my heart out over here so I can learn these languages, otherwise I would be nowhere as confident.

I realized that I haven't been sending you the good stuff regarding the speakers that have visted the MTC and spoken! Without further ado, I would like to send a few awesome quotes that I hope will be as relevant to you as they were/are to me.
"We spend too much of our lives acting as though we're going to stay here, but we can't and we won't." Elder Holland (quoted by Sister Sheri Dew when she spoke on Easter evening)
"The most important thing in this life or the next: real growth." Lawrence E. Corbridge (Quorum of the 70)

"Love is a celestial respiration of the air of paradise." Victor Hugo (quoted by Bishop Gerald Causse)

"The veil is removed from our minds and memory when there is no longer a difference between faith and reality." Bishop Gerald Causse
"The Devil can have us in his power if he can do these three things:
1. confuse us about Jesus Christ, the Savior
2. confuse us about who we are
3. confuse us about how to hear the Spirit, Holy Ghost

If we are strong in these three things, the Devil will have no power over us." Sheri Dew

"The Gospel doesn't let you stay the same." Sister Barker (she used to be shy, but callings in the Church pushed her out of her comfort zone)

"It is no coincidence that Nephi and his brother 1st got the plates and then 2nd got wives." Brother Michael T. Ringwood (spiritual maturity before you raise a family)

General Conference was AMAZING and so incredibly neat watching it with over 3,000 missionaries here at the MTC!! If you saw the special feature in between Conference sessions on Sunday, I was wearing a brightly-colored, kind of African tribal shirt and we were on camera at least twice for the part where the choir sang!  My life here at the MTC is swinging from one dynamic to the next, one personality to the next. From the time I wake up at 630 AM (I have only slept in once, and that was because we forgot to set the alarm) until I go to bed at 1030, I am learning. I am studying Tahitian and French, teaching at least one lesson a day and I have been filling my time with studying language, reading Jesus the Christ, and all the other scheduled things.

I just now mentally calculated that I have taught about 25 lessons in French and 12 lessons in Tahitian. "Faitoito!" is pronounced like 'fie-tweet-o' and means 'stay strong'! :)  I had the opportunity to speak a little Arabic last night with a RM who served his mission in Indonesia and it was so great but French and Tahitian are crowding out brain space for Arabic, I've forgotten a lot.

My district is great, the Elders are like brothers and they are so sweet to us, Sisters. They take our trays, buy us Powerade Zero, tell us how awesome we are, thank us for our help, and are gracious when we win "Elders vs. Sister" competitions. :)

Family, I will be replying directly to all of your lovely letters in a hand-written letter which you'll get soon! Everyone, thank you so much for the love and support, the letters are so fun to receive and even though I don't always get to reply as soon as I like, I will reply at some point so thank you for your patience. :)
Love Sister Carter

Friday, April 5, 2013

2 weeks and change to go...

Hello All!
Alrighty they recently changed the rules for the email thing, so I have an hour to write YAY! The MTC is still standing and I am doing pretty well, thanks for asking. :) I am about 3 weeks into learning Tahitian and I am speaking sentences on my own now, it's a flipping miracle and sometimes I impress myself. Let's be honest, I am having divine help over here. (Prayers work.)
My companions are so awesome and incredibly talented with impersonating different accents. I cannot really describe how hillarious it is when they take on the character of a Russian babushka or a middle-aged Irish woman. Soeur F has an uncanny ability to quote Nacho Libre with an impeccable Mexican accent and I've experienced abdominal pain on many an occasion.
VISA: No idea what the status is but apparently our mission president's wife has political connections so we're hoping she can pull the right strings to work the system and get us over there. Actually, there's a pretty good chance that all of our fears will be put to rest sometime this week if/when we receive our travel plans. One missionary just barely went to the French Embassy today so we're all really hoping that things work out for him as well as the rest of us!
Some Tahitian for you gorgeous people:
utuafare = family
Varua Maitai = Holy Ghost
maramarama = intelligence/light/enlightenment
hinaaro= need
na rea ra= ok
haapiiraa= school/class/lesson/anything related to learning basically
Atua= God
Iosepha Semita (Ee-o-tayfa Tem-eeta)= Joseph Smith
I know approximately 150 Tahitian words (I've studied about 250 but retention is tricky) and I feel confident about teaching lessons/talking in French so it's probably a good thing that I'm out here in the mission field or else I would have an adoring fan club following me around. JE BLAGE! ("I joke!") They are both really pretty languages, I'm honestly not stressed about learning them because it's so worth the effort. Next I plan on learning how to play the ukulele and dance Tahitian.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter! My companion, Soeur Johnson was the piano accompanist for the Easter morning devotional and was FANTASTIC and our speaker was Gerald Causse- a General Authority, member of the Quorum of the Seventy! Easter evening devotional: Sheri Dew. After that: we watched "Recognizing the Spirit" by Elder David A. Bednar. It was such a fabulous day.
I'm doing my best to reply to everyone's letters, time is a tricky thing over here. I sincerely love and appreciate the mail I receive, I cannot thank you enough. Missionary work is hard work and I really appreciate feeling like I'm not missing out too much on everyone else's life!
I really feel as though I'm actually learning 3 languages here in the MTC: French, Tahitian, and the Holy Ghost. For those who are reading this and are not Mormon, the Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead. The Godhead consists of: God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. God and Jesus Christ have (glorified) bodies, but the Holy Ghost is a spirit that can reside with us if we are living worthily. I have been slowly getting better at recognizing when the Spirit is directing my thoughts in our lessons, which is the whole point of missionary work. I am not serving a mission to teach people, I'm serving a mission to love people and share a message of the restored gospel and the Holy Ghost will be the teacher who can speak to their heart. It's kind of an interesting and amazing concept, please go to www.mormon.org or www.lds.org to learn more!
Missionary life: You feel guilty when you read an English Book of Mormon instead of a mission language Book of Mormon, you watch Mormon Messages like they're your favorite show, you go to bed at 1030 and you feel totally exhausted, and you pray ALL THE TIME (tous les temps!)! It really is so different from anything else I have ever done and I couldn't have had the same experience anywhere else. Thank you so much Mom and Dad for supporting me in every way possible, I will never stop feeling appreciative for your love. Rest of the family: same thing except for the money part. <3
I am going to upload pictures next time because I can't find my card reader flash drive!  Faaitoito! ("Stay strong!")
MTC Mailbox #184
2005 N. 900 E.
Provo, UT 84604