Monday, July 14, 2014

Week 34: "Half-Hatched Duck Egg"

Dear Family,

Who knew that my mission would be so exotic? I'm training a Tongan, and this week we are going to eat dinner at a Phillippino lady's house. (Hopefully - fingers crossed.) She's not a member of the church, but she's famous for having missionaries over, and feeding them half-hatched duck egg. I have to try it. I want to experience as many cultures as I can while being out here. :) The other week we got taken out to a rather delicious Indian restaurant. I'm a big fan of trying things from different cultures. 

Speaking of cultures, I've learned a couple unexpected things about Tongan culture this week. 1) If you compliment each other specifically about an item of clothing, the recipient of that compliment feels obligated to go out and buy that same item of clothing for them. Luckily I found that out sooner than later. I don't want my companion to feel obligated to buy me anything, much less her entire wardrobe! 2) Gifts are very private. There is no "opening presents" at birthday parties and the such. It's just between the giver and the receiver. That's really cool to me, however different it may be from our culture! 

The other good news - I'm feeling better. Sister Fiefia has been seeing a chiropractor (for free I might add - he is the kindest soul on this hemisphere I swear.), and he offered to adjust me too. It's been fabulous. When I had my major headache, it almost went away for two days (two glorious days that I could go out and work), but then Friday it came back with a vengeance after district meeting. I didn't even feel safe driving. One of the other Sisters in our district suggested I go see a chiropractor because my nerve may have been affected, and she was right. Friday night I was sick, but Saturday I toughed it out (with the help of a generous amount of pain killers), but after seeing John, he did something that I swear made me taller, and I've been great ever since. Hallelujah. However, part of what I had on July 4th - July 8th must have been a virus, because Sister Andrus (the lady I live with) is now down with the same symptoms. It's no fun.

The other good news part 2 - We had a baptism this weekend! The first I've seen in this area! Patsy, at 71, chose to be baptized. It was a powerful experience. People can change their lives, even in their old age. Her good friend Ed (more commonly known as "Mr. Ed") baptized her. I had the opportunity to sing at the baptism as well. I sang, "Savior Redeemer of My Soul." I'm so glad to have been able to share that with Patsy. The Spirit was incredibly strong there. The only thing that didn't run exactly smoothly was the baptism itself - we made sure we had 2 extra, able bodies young men in the font with Patsy and Ed, just in case either of them lost their balance. Well, nobody lost their balance, however, they must have not rehearsed exactly how Patsy was to go in and out of the water, for basically she just bent at the knees until she was fully immersed, and then came back out. It was cute, but it worked. :) She was radiant afterwards. Her daughter and grandkids who are not members came to support her. That was nice to see. Turns out her daughter was a theatre major! And by accident as well! She had never taken drama in high school, but in college she decided to take an intro to theatre class for fun, and by the end her teacher offered her a full ride scholarship in it! Naturally, she accepted! Amazing. After her twins are grown she wants to go back into that field. It was so cool to talk to her about that. She has a lot of questions about the Church that she wants to ask us as well. 

This week we'll be working hard. We've been kind of held up these past few weeks due to circumstances as well as cancellations, but these next few weeks will for sure be busier. It's all about serving those around us as much as we possibly can. I love unplanned opportunities to serve. Those are the best. 

I know that serving others brings so many blessings. I am so grateful for those who have reached out to serve us. When I was sick, a Tongan family made Sister Fiefia a meal - a piece of home. Today when we were getting groceries, a lady in our ward paid for our groceries. Man, sometimes it's hard for me to accept gifts of service like that, but it sure was an incredible blessing at this time. I just hope I can help and give to others as much as I've been given. It reminds me of the hymn, "Because I Have Been Given Much." I don't think we'll ever be able to repay just how much we've been given. 

I also had the opportunity to sing in church Sunday, and our less-active adopted grandmother came!! I was so happy - it felt like having family there. At first - and even as I sang - I was slightly disappointed because I didn't see anyone we had invited to come there, but after the meeting we saw Lana in the back! I adore her! She honestly feels like a family member.  Also, funny moment of the song - during the last line, a fly kept on flying and hitting my face. It was determined to stop everything I'm pretty sure. I think I kept my composure well - until the very last word - where it decided to land on my eyebrow. Good one, fly. Needless to say, my last note wasn't as extended as I intended it to be. :) The bright side is that nobody noticed I was having troubles! 

You know the drill. :) I love you all.

-Sister Bennett

We helped a family with the baptism of their granddaughter!

This is the most incredible landscaping I've ever seen done by someone who didn't hire professionals. His yard is a masterpiece. 

A cave, conveniently a part of the landscaping. 

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