Monday, August 19, 2013

First Letter from Hawaii - Sammy is in Oahu

I'm finally in Hawaii! And haven't seen the beach since I landed. The night we landed we went to the mission home and had dinner. The mission president and his wife are awesome. They're super nice and way chill. Then we opened up our "Christmas letters" which told us where we were assigned to labor, and who our trainers would be. I'm in the McCully ward in the Honolulu area. I am in a threesome for the next 2 weeks because for some reason I came in-between transfers. My trainer is Elder Ukenio. He's from Kiribati and has been out for 13 months. He's really cool, but doesn't talk that much. My other companion is Elder Wells. He's been out for about the same time. He's from Highland and apparently went to Lone Peak. He was a senior my sophomore  year, but I don't remember meeting him ever.
We're assigned to all the Micronesians except Chuukese. So we have Marshallese, Ponepeian, and Kiribati investigators. Most of our investigators are Marshallese, but they all speak English. I speak Marshallese to them, explaining whatever I can, but for the most part I don't really get the opportunity to speak the language.
Our ward is very diverse. We have Marshallese, Chuukese, Kiribati, Ponepeiian, Samoan, and White people. They have separate sunday schools for each language. I didn't understand anything the teacher was saying in Marshallese. Native Marshallese speakers talk softly, don't really pronunciate, and slur all of their words together, so one sentence just sounds like one massive word, and that's if you're close enough to audibly hear what they're saying in the first place.
Our pad (that's what our residences are called) is really small, but it's got a shower and a kitchen. Because I'm in a threesome, I'm sleeping on the floor for the next two weeks until Elder Wells gets transferred out.
The members here are awesome. We have a calendar that gets taken to Relief Society every sunday, and families sign up to host us for dinner almost every night. The members feed us so much food, and then make us take food home. It's disrespectful to decline food when it's offered to you, so we end up taking food home every night. No wonder most the elders here get fat. Last night we went to Mama Reyes' house. She's a member that always feeds the missionaries when they don't have a dinner appointment. She fed seven elders, then had us sing Chuukese songs all night.
Also the kids here are so sick. No matter where we are, the kids always run up and high five us. They're the most outgoing, scared of nothing, kids I've ever seen. One boy in Palolo Valley came running up to us and was like "hello Mr. Jesus man!"
I'm loving it here so far, and everything's going great! I love all you guys!
Elder Sammy Merrill

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