Week 4 down and we've been here almost a month! Weird. Let's see, after emailing last week p-day was almost over because we spent ...

Week 4 down and we've been here almost a month! Weird.

Let's see, after emailing last week p-day was almost over because we spent so long emailing! That evening though we started another jeûne d'anglais (English fast) and his time Frère T challenged us not to say a single word in English, even to ask how to say something. It was fun though, because we had motivation: he brought us something from his trip to Tahiti, but we had to earn it. In the end we were more or less successful and he gave us some super chouette seashell necklaces! (chouette = cool in french. well, actually directly means 'owl' so don't ask me why they say that). It amazes me how they could possibly find that many perfect little seashells, but they did and I love it. The Elders are jealous of us because they hardly ever get to wear theirs here, doesn't really match their ties, I guess. Ha, you'd be surprised (or maybe unsurprised) by how much Elders discuss their ties. I guess you can't blame them, it's pretty much their only form of self expression. Frère T picks who says the prayer every class based on who has his favorite tie (which really threw him off yesterday when all five of them bought and wore the exact same tie).

Saturday was also a jeûne d'anglais. By the end of the day, I guess you could say we were pretty French-fried. (I wish I could take credit for that one, but one of our teachers taught us that.) Honestly though, sometimes I get stuck in French-mode and it's weird switching back to English. On Saturday I had to keep reminding myself that I was still allowed to think in English. One Elder says he can't say or write 'with' anymore, he always goes for 'avec,' such as when he and his companion were giving a rare lesson in English and in the prayer he said they were grateful for this time avec the investigator. And I think it was Elder L the other day who couldn't even remember how to say Atonement in English. It's a struggle. I think Sœur S nearly cried when she tried to talk to someone in Spanish yesterday! And probably the weirdest part was when one of our new roommates said that Sœur S and I have a slight accent in our English when we get back from our last class, just for a few minutes at least. Both my French and my English will probably have an odd accent by the end of these 18 months!

Anyway, Sunday was lovely as usual! Sœur S gave an awesome lesson about Faith in Jesus-Christ, and props to her because the wife of Elder Brent Nielsen of the Seventy was visiting our class, along with Sister Burgess (the MTC President's wife) and our Branch President. She did really well, and as Elder P likes to say, it was "right in the Honey Nut Feelios." Sacrament Meeting was great as well, except maybe for the terrifying part where I had to give a talk with about 30 seconds warning! Every week they choose two missionaries to give a short talk in the mission language (so French in our branch) and I was the lucky chosen one. They don't tell you in advance if you're speaking though, you find out when everyone else does! We all thought they would pick from the district that left on Monday, because they usually choose from whoever is leaving soon, but alas, we were wrong. I think it went okay? At least, people said they understood me, so good enough. Hymns were interesting during the meeting however, as our branch was joined by one of the English branches (the schedule got all mixed up due to the previously mentioned visitors) so I could just hear the English lyrics being sung on top of the French around me. That was weird. It was funny though - since we had two branches, I spoke in French from our branch and then a sister from the other branch spoke in English. One of the Branch Presidency told me that they told her "you and Sister Ladd gave the exact same talk!" and her eyes got all big, "wait, really?" I don't think I actually made eye contact with anyone in that branch (or probably anyone for that matter) but I imagine the poor things were about as lost as we were when Sœur B was asked to give her talk in Tahitian. I should have told them "it's okay, I don't know what I'm saying either."

Anyway, Monday we were back to class as per usual. We've been learning/reviewing more of the heavy grammar this week, and I've also been trying to get a head start on Tahitian, so I've been focusing on learning how to pray in Tahitian this past week. I can only say a very simple prayer though, so I'm just trusting that Heavenly Father understands Franglaitian! (French, English, and Tahitian? Let me know if you've got better ideas.) Our lessons have been going well I think! We have a cool new investigator, "Brian", who is a 'gold tag' which means (or so I've been told, have not verified) he could be an actual investigator! We don't usually get those for French. He is actually one of the Spanish volunteers, but he wanted to practice his French so he asked our teacher if any of us would be willing to teach him. We've only had one lesson so far, but it was fun! Very different, but fun, and definitely some great practice for the field.

Also, Tuesday's devotional was hyper-chouette! This week has been the training for new international MTC Presidents, Visitor Center Directors, Church Historical Site Directors, etc., which means that several of the Apostles have been on campus. We didn't see them, only the mysterious blocked off and fancily decorated hallways in the main building, except on Tuesday our devotional was by Elder Neil L. Anderson of the Twelve! How cool is it that I got to be in the MTC for two devotionals from the Twelve! He taught us to always have Christ's name on our lips, and never hesitate to testify of Him, whether it's a 45 minute lesson or a 2 minute conversation on the street. No matter how much we testify of Him, it will never ever be enough! Elder Anderson said he'll be using some similar thoughts for his broadcast next week to all of the missionaries around the world, so anyone who is watching that, sorry for the spoilers! If you can watch it though, I would definitely recommend it! Also, I sang in the choir again, and that was a lot of fun, as always. The choir director teaches us so much about the songs that I never knew. His lesson for us this week (Joseph Smith's First Prayer) was that, as Elder Holland taught, if you are ever struggling to bring the Spirit to a lesson, just tell the Joseph Smith story again.

On Wednesday Sœur S and I got four new roommates! It's been a little lonely in our room ever since Sœur M and Sœur L left. They are all going to the Indianapolis mission, English speaking, and it's been fun to welcome them and help them settle in! Unfortunately we don't see them all that much because our schedules are completely different. Our rooms been packed but it's fun! Oh speaking of new missionaries, Elder P was only able to keep up the "I'm from France" thing with our new French missionaries until Sunday, when they found an actual French Elder on our Sunday walk. They still have trust issues ;)

Okay I think that's all I got as far as the what of this week, now I have a few thoughts as far as the 'why.' (i.e. here a few spiritual thoughts to think about this week!)

First, one thing that stuck out most to me from Tuesday's devotional was a scripture that Elder Anderson shared, Moroni 8:25-26 : "And the first fruits of repentance is baptism; and baptism cometh by faith unto the fulfilling the commandments; and the fulfilling the commandments bringeth remission of sins; And the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God." I loved that line 'love endureth by diligence unto prayer.' If you remember last week I shared the scripture "perfect love casteth out all fear." That's been my motto all week whenever I feel particularly nervous for a lesson. And this scripture gives the how! Perfect love is a blessing of having the Spirit with you, and that love endures with diligent prayer.

The other thought I had comes in two parts: First, if any of you were there at my farewell talk before I left on my mission, I talked about the outrigger canoe on the Tahitian flag. I related it to families then, but I used it as an analogy for faith in my spontateous talk this past Sunday. Basically, Tahitian canoes have three parts: te va'a, the canoe, which represents you and me. Then there's te ama, the outrigger, which is what keeps the canoe from capsizing in the ocean waves. I think of that as Jesus Christ, which Helaman chapter 5 describes as our foundation "that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you." Then there is te mau 'iato, the poles that connect the canoe to the outrigger, which I think of as our faith. Would you ride your canoe out into the ocean if the poles weren't sturdy and strong? So must our faith be strong in order for our foundation in Christ to be truly firm.

Second, as it turns out, our teacher, Frère T, is a Tahitian champion in canoe racing! He taught us the one word that his mother (a world champion canoer) always said: TAHOE, 'all together!' For racing, canoes usually have 6 riders, and if they don't paddle exactly together, not only will they slow down but they may risk breaking the boat. I think we should be tahoe in two ways: as missionaries, we need to work in unity with our companions, or district, the members of the area, and the investigators as we strive to invite them to come unto Christ. And individually, we should be tahoe with Christ, as He teaches to "take my yoke upon you." As we bring our lives into unity with Christ's example and the promptings of the Holy Spirit, we can truly become champions!


Ua mauruuru roa vau no i te Tamaiti, o Iesu Mesia. E ua here au ia oe! (Translation, maybe, I hope: I'm thankful for the Son, Jesus Christ. And I love you!)

In any case, je vous aime! Sœur Ladd

P.S. it's pronounced "ta-ho-ay"