Well, here is one of those describing Samoa letters. At this point, I'm used to the food pretty much.
I'm pretty used to finding flies in my Koko and the occasional hair in my Saimini ;)
I live in a small house/shack think on a family's land. Elder Mo'o and my pieces of foam are right next to each other. We have some mats, a couple of chairs, mosquito nets, a fridge and that's about it. Food isn't really a personal thing here. If it's in the fridge, it's fair game!
Culture is very different. cool, but different. For such a humble people, they are also very proud. Walking on someone's land we have to say a speech. Going into a fale, another speech. After Fofoga, another speech. Always have your legs crossed, never pointing at someone. When you pass food or go in front of someone you have to say "Tulou" or in English, "excuse me.
The language is hard...The order doesn't make sense in English. The translation often doesn't mean the same thing. Samoan has many words that have multiple meaning for the same word. T's turn to K's when you are speaking in a more informal tone, and you must know when to be formal and when not to. For example, "Sa ou tala'i i le nu'u a FaleLatai" would turn into, "Sa ou kala'i i le nu'u o Falelakai," depending on who I'm talking to. I'm getting better, but it's not easy for me like Spanish was. In fact, Spanish gets in the way a lot haha. I often try to think of the Samoan word, but the Spanish word comes to mind.
Missionary service is different out here. Everyone lets us into their home. But only a few are interested in what we have to say. Difficult sometimes to see if they are actually interested or not. It is extremely religious here, but there isn't a freedom of religion. Some villages, it is Fa'a Sa (forbidden) for Faifeau talai (missionaries) to proselyte. Other villages you have to be Catholic or you can't live in the village. Frustrating sometimes, but not much to be done.
I do bucket laundry every Monday. It's a process, but I'm getting better at it. Everyone tries to give us free stuff here. They believe they receive blessing for it. Service can be difficult. No one wants us to serve them , so sometimes even if they say no- we do it.
Days I love it here. Others I can't wait to be home. But I know I need to be here. By now you've probably gotten my last letter. i've had a lot of feelings of inadequacy out here. Mostly language and culture. At times, I can honestly say I've considered coming home. But then, there are those days when I give an entire family a blessing, or when i see the light in investigator's eyes and I think it's absolutely worth it. I've done hard things before: trek, Hamilton Football, etc. This is by far the hardest. However I can say with all honesty that it is the most rewarding. I want time to go faster, but I know that I need to enjoy this opportunity.
I love and miss you all so much. Writing these letters are always very bittersweet for me. i look forward to the day when I return home with honor-knowing that I truly was an instrument in the Lord's hands. The gospel is so true. Go forth and bodily declare it. Nothing in this life will bring greater happiness.
Ou te alofa ia te outou. E mumua, ona ou sii le viiga ma le faa'fetai i lo tatou
Tama Fa'alelagi noa lenei avanoa e fa'asoa atu lenei molimau. Ou te iloa emoni lene:
Ekulesia. Ou te iloa o Ieso Keriso o le Faaola o le Lalolagi. ou te molimau atu afai outou
faitau le Tusi a Mamona aso uma, olea outuu mava pota ma mava se laona filemu.
Ou te ioloa o Thomas . Monson o se perofeta moni.
Ou te ilou emoni le Togiola ou te molimau atu o le Togiola emafai ai ona.
Tatau Sa'olato mai agasala. Ou te molinau atu a fai outou usiusitai a le poloaiga, olea outou maua fa'amanuiaga. I le suafa o le alo o le Atua, Iesu Keriso, Amene.