Monday, October 28, 2013

Bonjour Tout Le Monde!!

This past week was super great and I've now hit the point where my weeks are starting to mesh together and I can't remember what has happened this past week but I will try my best to remember everything important!

First of all, to answer the question- What have I eaten?

Found a coconut on our morning run and tried to open it but failed.  Fr. Wong promised to show us how to open a coconut.  Thank goodness!
The food actually hasn't been too bad and I've actually surprised myself at how willing I have been to try everything! A famous Tahitian dish is Poisson Cru which is like raw fish mixed with veggies and what not? I have no idea how to describe it but I've had that a few times in a few different ways and It's actually not too bad! I'm definitely a texture person and I don't love the texture of raw fish but it's not too bad and I'm getting used to it! A lot of people serve like pasta and like a soup sort of dish with  meat and cream. It's usually not too bad but its so heavy and so usually I just try my hardest each meal to eat as much as I can (because let me tell you- Tahitian kids really know how to do down some food! Its like they haven't eaten in a week! lol).
Our dog, Zeus, begging for food.

This is what a pineapple plant looks like. So cool, right?

There is always a baguette at every meal which I love. Tahitians are always about different kinds of juice or like water with different syrup flavors. They're usually pretty good so I like to try the different kinds but have gotten a lot more cautious after I poured myself a glass of a bluish green one that tasted like straight up watered down mouth wash. I got so mad at Soeur Carter for letting me pour it but we had a good laugh later because I really could only get like 3 sips before I had to stop to prevent myself from gagging. Soeur Carter is like later- "Some people like it!" Ha ha and I'm just like yeah, who?! Ha ha companions are the best. We really get some good laughs in sometimes.

Other than the food, I've really started to get used to the culture here. There are some things I love about Tahiti and other things I see that really make me grateful for my upbringing and that I came from such a good family in America. I see a LOT of broken families which is hard to see, but it only makes me want to help them so much more. The only difficulty is that since so many people come from broken homes, there is almost no example of what is right and so its just a vicious cycle that never ends. Thank goodness this gospel is true and brings so much joy because it really is the best gift we can bring to people.

Soeur Fisher and I at the fireside (and the photobomb lol)

Soeur Carter and I at the fireside.  People just hand out leis at events like firesides.  IT'S THE BEST!

I had an interesting experience yesterday when we went to the house of one of our amis for a lesson but he wasn't there. He's  a fisherman and is hardly EVER home and so it's hard to catch him at home especially since he doesn't have a phone. So we were pretty sad his appointment fell through, but we  just decided we would visit someone else. I had the impression to visit an inactive member, Teina who lives practically at the end of our sector  even though she usually works. I couldn't understand why but we went anyways to see if she was home. She ended up not being home buttt on our way back, we decided to stop and set an appointment with another ami that we hadn't  planned on seeing that day. We set an appointment and ended up staying for a while talking to our ami and his wife. They were so nice and fed us too so that was an unexpected surprise. As we were sitting there talking to him and his wife, I just couldn't shake the feeling that I felt like I knew this woman. It was so bizarre but I really do feel like she is someone I was meant to meet here. She is a very strong member in one of the break off religions of Mormonism (can't remember the name) so who knows what will happen with her, but I really feel like I need to bring the true gospel into her life. It was a real testimony builder of the plan God has for each of us and how important each person we meet is in our lives.

When it rains a lot, waterfalls appear! So beautiful!

Other than that, things are going well in Papara! Its been VERY humid the past couple of days but today it is perfect island weather so we are happy about that :)
Where we proselyted yesterday. Sooooo beautiful, right?
Thank y'all for all of the thoughts and prayers! I really have never been so grateful to have such great family and friends! :)
Everything here is bilingual. I love it!
English class. Notice all the parts of a bicycle?
This is a picture I took from the car. This is RIGHT by the road!
Beaucoup d'amour,

Soeur Rachel Taylor


Monday, October 21, 2013

Bonjour tout le monde!
This. week. was. crazy. But soooo great. Man I love what I do. I really have the best calling and I am living in the most beautiful place on earth. Every day I'm just blown away by the beauty of this island. This morning, we ran up by the mountains and it was soooo beautiful! It's been raining on and off this whole weekend so needless to say we were also hurdling some pretty big puddles too but it was great. There are just So many trees everywhere and the vegetation is just gorgeous. I don't think Ill ever get used to the gorgeous views that I see every day. Its the best. 
So okay, I have to say that this week was definitely labeled a week of faith and miracles for me. I'll start off by talking about the split I went on last Wednesday. So Soeur Carter is an STL and so she had a meeting with all of the other STLs in Papeete on Wednesday. So I ended up with Soeur Fisher (also a greenie) because her companion is an STL too. We all live in the same house so that was fine but the only problem was- WE DONT SPEAK FRENCH. Granted, my language isn't terrible but comprehending is still a challenge for me sometimes and I cant speak that well or fast enough to teach a whole lesson. And Soeur Fisher is in the same boat as me and so we were kind of freaking out a little bit. The plan was that Sr Fisher and I would go with our DMP and his wife (who I can pretty much understand completely now) and we would go around to our lessons. We were still pretty nervous but it was nice to have DMP and Sr Mathilde for good backup in case we really needed them. It ended up being AWESOME because I really had no other choice but to put ALL of my trust in the Lord. Sure, I didn't speak perfectly, but he always prepared a way for us to accomplish what we needed to.
A few miracles were that I was able to commit our investigator Charle Willy for baptism (Nov 9th! SO excited.), we taught all of our lessons, I experienced one of the coolest example of the gift of tongues in action with Tahitian, our faatamaraa was with a family that spoke English (SUCH a miracle) annddddd Sr Carter made it just in time for our Soirée Familiale with a family and our new investigator Vaitiare. It was so great. Charle Willy is one of my favorite persons to teach because he's 13 years old and just has so much desire. He's definitely every missionary's golden investigators. He already wants to serve a mission so committing him for baptism was so great because it's such a huge step in the right direction. He has the biggest smile too so he's definitely a joy to teach.
Teaching in Tahitian was super cool too because we found a potential new investigator and he's super cool. I hope that everything goes well with him (Mika) because that would be another opportunity to teach in Tahitian! And then lastly, I'll talk about Vaitiare. Vaitiare is also one of my favorite investigators because she has SO much desire as well. We had one of the most powerful lessons on Friday which I want to share a little about. So it was our first lesson with her and already she's shown us all the signs that she has all the desire to learn. Halfway through our lesson, I got the impression to commit her for baptism. At first I was like what the heck? We've barely started into the lessons! Well it didn't go away and so I finally went for it and it was incredible. She kind of nodded her head and then broke down into tears. She then described some things that have been weighing her down and we were able to help her and then DMP gave her a blessing. It was sooo powerful and definitely was a testimony to me that it's always so important to follow the spirit because I don't know what would've happened if I hadn't asked her to be baptized. We saw her the next day and had another super great lesson and it was so great to already see the change in her and how much happier she was. It was great too because we were able to commit her for baptism and I'm super happy to watch her progression. The work is definitely moving here in Papara and I'm excited for all of our baptisms in November! Being a missionary is the best.
On other news, I was sick again on Thursday which was really bizarre because I was doing so well! It's also weird because I was sick the first Thursday I was here too. If this is a pattern, this is not going to work out for me. Haha so we'll see if this Thursday is better for me.
I also drove manual for the first time yesterday! Dad you would be so proud. We only drove down this one road for a little bit and I only went to 2nd gear but hey! We didn't die or crash and that's all that really matters huh?
Well I'm out of time and I forgot my camera so expect lots of pictures next week! Sorry to disappoint because I know that's all that yall look for anyways on these emails :) (At least I would if I were in your shoes lol)
Never forget that its impossible to have faith and fear at the same time. If you put your faith in the Lord and trust in him- Youll NEVER fail. I'm proof of that let me tell you.
Learning two languages is the best thing ever, no matter how hard it can be sometimes.
All of the work, sickness, mosquito bites, and fatigue is SO worth it when you can see the change in the peoples lives you teach and help everyday. Also- my life is SO great and I've never been happier.

Love yall!!
Faaitoito to'u utuafare e mau hoa!

Soeur Taylor

Monday, October 14, 2013

Ia Ora Na Ma Famille!!! I wish I could type fast enough!! This past week has been so great. I LOVE it here in Tahiti. The weather is a lot like Houston just not as hot so I love it. Plus we have a car now all the time so its nice!!
Coast of Tahiti.

The coast road.

So anyways, where do I start?? The languages are going well and I am learning so much each day! The french gets better each day so that's been nice when talking to people and when teaching. I still have a lonngggg way to go on the Tahitian but I know that when I get to a good point with the French, I'll try to really improve my Tahitian.
Cool story with Tahitian by the way- On Wednesday night we had our Family Home Evening or "Soirée Familiale" with that new family (I cant remember their last name at the moment) but it was all in Tahitian. We had 3 members from the ward there (the just released bishop and 2 other leaders) who led the lesson and Sœur Carter and I just bored testimony on prayer. Sœur Carter speaks pretty good Tahitian so she did great but I was a little nervous. Nonetheless, I stood up and started off by saying,  "I speak just a little Tahitian, but I want to try." I then bore my testimony on prayer and I know that I made a lot mistakes. Even though I said probably everything wrong, I don't think I'll ever forget the look on their faces when we both finished. They were all so happy (especially the Mami) and afterwards, one of the leaders made a remark about how we were Americans and we spoke their language. It was SUCH a cool experience and really motivated me to want to learn so much more Tahitian. The thing here is that since I'm white and American, they expect me to be able to speak even a little bit of French but they don't expect you to know Tahitian aka their language. It's very cool and I hope to one day able to speak Tahitian very well.
Bizarre fruit here called Tupace?

Public water facility for fresh water

Thursday was a rough day for me because I got sick. I don't know how but I think it was either the water or something I ate. But we were going around and visiting our amis (investigators) and inactive members to see if they were coming to our activity at the temple and I just kept feeling worse and worse. I felt really weak and I had a terrible migraine. I let Sœur Carter know and we both decided that it was best if we cancelled our faatamaraa because there was just no way I could eat and we just needed to go back to the house. So we stopped by the house of our faatamaraa and Sœur Carter went and talked to them while I stayed in the car with Sœur Mathilde (Ward mission leaders wife). I was just resting in the back of the car when I saw President Lai come out to the car and ask if I wanted a blessing. It took me by surprise because I hadn't met him yet and I was so touched that he wanted to give me a blessing. So I went inside, and they gave me a blessing. After the blessing, they gave me some medicine and this sugar water or some kind of warm liquid in a cup.. I kind of looked to Sœur Carter like uhhhhh is this okay? She nodded and so I drank! It turns out that it was supposed to make me throw up and so sure enough, 2 minutes later I was puking in the back of this member's yard. Ha ha, there goes the first impression. It was all good though and I am doing so much better. I think that part of it was dehydration too but I have discovered this magical rehydrating solution (actually it was Sœur Carter but oh well) of taking a water bottle and doing a 75 percent water and 25 percent mango juice. Its great and seriously works miracles!! Thank goodness for Tahitian mangoes. And ritz crackers!! They have those here and so those help me get enough sodium since I sweat so much here.

Well I'm out of time because French keyboards and slow computers are the most frustrating thing  of my life right now !! ( I know my life is hard)

I'm doing so great and am SO happy here. Sœur Carter is the best ever. I couldn't have asked for a better trainer!!

Love yall!!

Sœur Taylor
Tahiti is such a beautiful place

Cute little Stacey!
Tahitians have the cutest babies ever!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Bonjour tout le monde!
Since I didn't have a Pday on Monday and neither did my companion, we are emailing today! I'm still getting used to this french keyboard too so this should be interesting trying to type this email. lol
I made it! The flight from LA was long (8.5 hours) but we finally landed in Tahiti at like 10:00 Tahiti time. Président  Sinjoux met us at the airport along with the APs and couples from the office and we jumped into cars and headed to the temporary housing right behind the temple and just down the hill from the mission home (The housing is for when stakes from the the outer islands come to Tahiti to go to the temple). It was pretty nice and we slept so well because we were EXHAUSTED. In the morning, we had breakfast and orientation with Président et Sœur Sinjoux and then interviews and a bunch of paperwork after that. We were all super anxious to interview with Président because he told us where we would be serving.
The Mission Home

Me and Soeur Aniel with our new lays.

Sooooo because I know you're all dying to know, I am currently in PAPARA! Its on the south side of the island (Tahiti) and I'm beyond excited. My companion is Sœur Carter! She is incredible and SUPER helpful so I'm super lucky to have gotten her as my trainer. We live in a house with 2 other Sœurs who are assigned to the area right next to ours. It's also really exciting too because Sœur Fisher (in the other district at the MTC) is in our house so I'm super excited to see her everyday. Our house is actually pretty nice! We have a washer and dryer and I'm in an area with a car!! We also have a guard dog (Zeus) who is super nice and keeps the roosters out of our yard. He barks super loudly if anyone ever walks by the gate in front of our house so that's a little comforting too. We don't have warm water at the moment, but usually we do! Small side note: Its actually both super hilarious and super annoying because there are roosters EVERYWHERE and they all get together and crow at each other at like 4 am. Other than that, I sleep really well. Our house doesn't have air conditioning but Tahiti always has a nice breeze so its really not bad sleeping at night. The people are all so happy and nice and I'm really excited because we have 4 lessons tonight, one of which is with a new family!! We'll see how that goes but I'm super excited to actually teach real people.
My trainer, Soeur Carter.

Our house in Papara
View from our back yard.

My french is not too bad, but I'm still trying to get used to peoples' accents and comprehending what they say. I haven't used much Tahitian yet but we're teaching a Mami tonight who likes to be taught in both. I might be able to say a few words and comprehend hardly anything butttttt oh well. I'm putting all my trust in the Lord and I have faith he'll be there with me every step of the way. That is something I've learned now more than ever!
The only side effect of from speaking only French (and some Tahitian) is that I constantly have a headache which gradually turns into a migraine. Nonetheless, I know that it can only get better and that somedayyy I'll be fluent enough!
Speaking of migraines though, I experienced my first faatamaaraa (dinner appointment) last night and it actually wasn't too bad but I had a migraine and was a little queasy which made me not hungry. Butttt I ate anyways and actually had a very cool experience. I will admit that I almost gagged a few times because my stomach was freaking out but I survived :) There was no fish served and they actually made these super good cakes so I got super lucky! We have another faatamaraa tonight so we'll see how that one goes!
Like I said, we usually have a car (which is manual by the way! I cant drive manual! Haha luckily, Sœur Carter does. Who knows if I'll have to learn) but the other Sœurs had to use it today because they're a trio and us greenies don't have our bikes yet. We actually only have half of our luggage because everything wouldn't fit in our car. lol So Sœur Carter and I are on bikes for the day. We just rode to this member's home where they have a computer we can use and the ride over was both super hilarious and super sketchy at the same time. There were all these cars whizzing by and the whole time I'm both praying to not fall off into the ditch on the side of the road/hit any cars and I'm trying to make sure that my skirt doesn't fly up in the wind or get caught in the bike. I wish I could've seen myself because I would've been laughing so much more than I already was. Maybe its a good thing I'm in a car area! lol

Well anyways, I don't have much time because it's taken me forever to type this but I want to share one little thought. During my travel here (on the train, flights, and in the airport) I had a lot of time to think about what kind of missionary I want to be and what I want to accomplish during my next 15.5 months in Tahiti. I thought back to when my teacher, Frère Roney told us something that really has stuck with me. He told us not to be a rusty tool. The Lord can accomplish his work with rusty tools, but it takes longer and requires more missionaries. Instead, be the tool in the Lord's hands that is sharp, clean, and useful. That hit me hard and has become something I'll tell myself throughout my whole mission. Don't be a rusty tool. And just because I'm a set apart missionary doesn't mean that this motto or phrase doesn't apply to all y'all as well! Don't be a rusty tool. It's easy to share this wonderful message and member involvement is so essential for moving the work along (I hope y'all were listening during conference!!).
Thank you for your prayers; I am doing so great and I am SO happy.
Beaucoup d'amour,
Sœur Taylor

Our church Temple in Papeete, Tahiti