Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Allo, bonjour! (How I answer the phone every single time)
I know everyone is buckling down to get ready to go back to school; faaitoito. Everybody who finds themself in this situation: work hard and find a way to make your study material interesting- thats the best way to retain information.  Tahiti is starting to get hot again because the seasons are reversed so we're starting the equivalent of spring over here. Riding bikes has been a joy though because the road is right along the ocean so we're always getting a sea breeze. 

My companion and I are at the half-way point in our transfer- 6 weeks down and 6 weeks left, doing well. She will definitely be training next transfer & I know she will be a great trainer!  There are two girls who are filling out their mission papers right now and theyve spent a lot of time going on splits with us, it has been so fun. Splits with the missionaries is one of the best ways to understand how to teach, DO IT if youre preparing for a mission. They share experiences, their testimonies, and their thoughts during the lessons and it is so great for the investigators to have that variety of confirmation. 

Tahitian is making more sense and for that I am so grateful. Its always a hoot for older Tahitians when I speak in Tahitian because I. am. so. white. The other day we taught a family home evening (soirée familiale) in Tahitian and at the end this awesome woman named M expressed thanks for the message and said I was the first white person she had ever heard speak in Tahitian. Sometimes I represent all white people.

DMP Tchong-tai et famille:
The people highlight is my DMP (Dirigeant de les Missionaires de Paroisse) aka the Ward Mission Leader, and his family. They participate all the time and it is absolutely wonderful, they are seriously my Tahitian family. The couple have the cutest love story: they worked together, they both got fired because their boss didnt like that they were together so he gave them a choice and they chose each each other. He was a non-practicing member, she was an investigator. One day she fell into a coma and the doctor said she wouldnt live longer than a week so he went home and earnestly prayed with all of his heart for the first time in his life and he asked God to take his life in place of his wife's. She awoke from the coma and they both became active members of the church. They have a 1-month old and a 1-year-old and even though they have young kids, they always want to be at the lessons! She asked me last week to be the godmother of the youngest, Caleb, and I sobbed I was so touched. Sometimes he starts crying when I give him a kiss on the forehead so yeah, its a relationship in progress, but its all good. 

There is absolutely NOTHING like a mission, I dont even know how to explain things most of the time. Its going to take a lifetime to fully appreciate the experiences Im having here. If youre thinking about serving a mission, GO, if you have a window of opportunity to serve a mission, GO. Of course its a personal decision but thats how I feel about it. Its also incredibly difficult sometimes but thats the only way you can appreciate the power of prayer. 


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Bonjour et mahana maitai!

Quick update: I am really enjoying my mission experience right now. I honestly have changed a lot to become a better missionary, mainly I am way more humble and patient. I am still in the process of learning more about this Gospel but I know for sure that I need this Gospel in my life for toujours et à jamais. Je parle en français tous les temps and speaking English out loud is kind of odd sometimes. 
Ok quick investigator highlight: Pierre
Ok he is the cousin of a member who is always going on splits with us and she recommended that we stop by one day. He drinks and does drugs so he talks really fast and raises his eyebrows quickly up and down as a sign of agreement and when we first met him he ended up talking about how he needs to get married & he asked me when I finished my mission. After that he asked me for my real first name and I told him I would tell him after he got baptized. Anywho, he started out the lessons just joking around a lot but as of yesterday's lesson he has started reading the Book of Mormon we gave him, he prays multiple times a day, and he still jokes around but he really wants to change his life now. Miracle!
There is an unorganized, but very real, club here that I think has finally accepted me. The club is called Tahitian speakers. Based on what Ive observed, membership can only be given by an existing member of the club, that is to say, the approval of a Tahitian "Mami" or "Papi". This approval is expressed by "mmm"s of approval when you say something correctly and emphatically in Tahitian. I had such an experience the other day when I explained a principle in Tahitian and when the older members of the room started nodding and murmuring their acceptance of my message, I knew I had made it. A great feeling of peace and love came over me at that moment. 
Ok alors, keep calm & carry on. :) If you havent heard from me in a while, you will hear from me soon & thank you for your patience. 
love, Soeur Carter

Tuesday, August 6, 2013



Everyones thinkin' it, I'm just saying' it: 6 months. That’s right, this
time next year I will be home (assuming there are no complications with the
travel arrangements & the weather is ideal for flying) so it's probably a
good time to reflect.

1. A mission is really hard sometimes. That’s all I am going to say about

2. Tahiti is one of the most naturally-beautiful places I have ever visited,
and I've visited some pretty places. I'm so lucky I get to serve a mission
in a beautiful place, that helps with the gratitude & appreciation aspect of
mission life.

3. Obedience is really important. Im not brain-washed, I just have lived the
benefits of following the rules & everything is so much easier.

4. English is a little hard to speak sometimes. I am not saying this to make
it seem like I'm so fluent in French & Tahitian that I can't speak my native
language. I stand out here because Im American but Ive picked up some bad
habits that would be out of place in America. One could say that I feel akin
with Richard Wright in "Black Boy". (also because I have black heritage?
-unconfirmed rumor)

5. The mandatory training I received at the beginning of my mission is now
being solidified by my example and training of my comp Sr Hopuu. I really
like being in charge but Im staying way humble because I cant actually speak
the language all the time. Pretty big deal but fortunately I have become the
Queen of Facial Expressions so we manage to be pretty good at figuring out
what’s going on.

6. I’m way more humble than I used to be. That’s “awll” I have to say about

7. I am solidly converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
by the experiences I have had and the knowledge I have gained.

Random side note in response to little cultural differences: all the girls
greet each other by the 'bisou' which is the kiss on each cheek, you kiss
kids on the top of the head, and I shake hands with all the men.

If you are dedicated stalkers of my blog or if this is the first time you’ve
glanced at this page, visit www.mormon.org to understand more about my
mission. I especially love the 'slice of life' videos of different members
of this church, watch just one and you will want to know more. (the Brandon
Powers one was pretty great)

Spiritual experience to finish off the letter:
Every morning before we head out we say a prayer of safety to protect us
"sur la route" and that the drivers will be safe. One morning my companion
and I were biking (we had already biked about 10 miles at this point) and as
I was crossing the road, the driver indicated that it was ok to cross but
she didn’t actually stop the car. The car hit me as I was crossing in front
about 10 mph and I fell into the road. Im not sharing this experience to
scare anyone, but only to share the miracle that I was not hurt at all. I’m
totally fine, my bike was totally fine. I got up right afterwards and
continued biking, later stopping to say a prayer of thanks. The creator of
the Universe is watching over me & my Heavenly Father is protecting every
missionary who is obedient. I know that every prayer is heard. Start your
prayers in the name of Heavenly Father (or another title), share the things
that are important to you/express thanks/ask for help, and finish "in the
name of Jesus Christ, amen."

Have a fantastic week!
Soeur Carter

Inaha, i te mau hohoa:
(Behold, the photos:)

1. It pays to have rich friends in Tahiti. But really, I am really loving
the black pearl earrings that the Fare family gave me!
2. I heard you liked Tahiti, so I put some Tahiti in Tahiti. (Pinterest?)
3. My planner and journal- I use both on the daily and would be
directionless without. One time I lost my planner for a day and I became
Jean Valjean and started singing "Who Am I?".
4. The cutest kid who kept falling over because the helmet was so heavy & it
was so hilarious. He was the one who gave me the earrings. :)
5. Usually how my language study goes down. Sometimes I occasionally add the
French and Tahitian Books of Mormon.
6. The view just outside our DMP's house, pretty typical. :) The mountains
are pretty much 90° straight up, pretty daunting for all prospective hikers.