I am here. We arrived safely to Seattle yesterday. It was one of the longest days of my life. Woke up atin the morning yesterday so we could leave the MTC bright and early. Actually it was still dark, but there's a cliche for Dad. It was so great to get to call you guys yesterday. Everyone sounded great. Happy Birthday Mom! We'll have to do this day of service again when I get back from my mission. Sounds fun.
They told us to talk to people on the plane about missionary work. Well I had two elders to the left of me, an aisle to the right and another elder on the other side of the aisle. I guess that's what happens when you have 31 missionaries arriving in seattle. It's the most they've ever had. Pretty exciting stuff.
We were picked up from the airport and handed out pass along cards for a few minutes. The missionary that was driving us was a terrifying driver. We found out in the car that we were being assigned our trainers that day and depending on what zone they were in that would be our mission. So six zones were going to Federal Way and four zones were staying in Seattle. Pretty much all of us knew that most of us would be going to Federal Way. Then we drove to the mission president's home. Not gonna lie, it felt pretty cool that I already knew what it looked like. We took pictures and stayed at the mission president's home for a long time because he had to interview all of us. The interviews were pretty short but it still took a long time with everyone. We had some training and ate delicious food.
Oh my goodness. They were these beef sandwich things. I don't even know but it seriously tasted like one of the best things I've ever eaten. All the sisters from my zone were making fun of me because I was seriously in heaven. I was so excited not to eat an orange and cantaloup for a meal. It was delicious.
Because of our last name I was one of the very last people to be interviewed by the mission president. He asked the normal questions about my family and to describe myself and stuff like that. Then he asked how I felt about what he had said earlier (he had been talking about all of the different people that live in this area--how there are people from countries we've never heard of and how there's a lot of diversity. I told him I like different people or something like that. I don't really remember. Then he asked me how I feel about Polynesians. I told him I liked them. Then he asked whether I liked their food and I told him I didn't know. He asked me whether I would be able to eat a lot of food, even if I didn't like it. I told him I'm a little bit picky (probably an understatement) but that if necessary I would shovel down food I didn't like for the Lord. That was pretty much it. I thought that was kind of random but I didn't really think anything of it.
We get to the Mercer Island building and have a meeting and then the trainers all come in and he starts announcing trainers to come up. He would say a little bit about the missionary and the area they would be serving in. Then he would tell us whether it was in the Seattle or Federal Way mission. There were a few people staying in Seattle but it felt like everyone was going to Federal Way. He started out with elders and then went to sisters. I was the very last sister announced besides the two Spanish sisters. The suspense was killing me. My heart was racing. I didn't realize I was the last person though. Anyway, all of my district except one sister got called to the Federal Way mission. And guess what? I'M STAYING IN THE SEATTLE MISSION!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh my. I am so excited. I'm also a little bit sad because I really loved my sisters from my district and even the two elders. I was hoping I'd be able to serve with some of those sisters some day. But it feels so right to be in Seattle. There's not too many of us staying.
But guess what else? I'm in a Samoan ward. They speak Samoan in Sacrament Meeting and then for Relief Society they have a Samoan class and an English class. My trainer has only been here for two transfers. So she just got finished training and now she's training me. She's been in the Samoan ward for her two transfers. We work with a set of elders really closely apparently. They're also in our ward. I met them last night at a ward correlation meeting. The two elders serving with us have both been in this ward before and now they're back. One understands Samoan and the other one does pretty well but they don't speak it. Sister McBride (my trainer) had a Samoan companion who knew the language so she taught her some stuff. She understands some words and phrases. I officially now know how to say hello, goodbye , yes and no. haha.
The ward correlation meeting was in Samoan part of the time and English part of the time. The only problem was that I could barely tell the difference between when they were speaking in Samoan or English. They're really hard to understand but I'm sure it will just take a little time. The elder who understands Samoan well is from New Zealand. He has a really cool accent but I also can't really tell what he's saying most of the time.
We have dinner appointments every night. I guess they just feed us all the time. So that will be interesting. I'll probably gain weight, but hopefully I'll at least like the food in the process. We have two investigators who have a baptismal date in the next couple weeks so that'll be great. I met one of them last night and we're meeting the other one later this afternoon. Earlier we went to some referrals. We knocked and we watched the blinds close and heard them hide. But it's ok. Every rejection is just that much closer to someone accepting our message.
We don't do much tracting because we go off referrals since we only work with Samoan people. I can't really remember anyone's name that I met last night. They're all hard to pronounce. But it's so great! I never would have expected this of my first area on my mission. Or any area on my mission really. But I'm so excited to get to know these people better and learn about their culture. I can't wait to go find Samoan people who are ready for the blessings of the gospel!
When the mission splits we'll still be going to Federal Way at times. We travel all over the missionary boundaries since we only work with Samoans. Pretty cool, huh?
Can you even believe it?! Who would've guessed I'd be in a Samoan ward. Pretty crazy and so, so exciting!
They all call me Palani or something. I don't know how to spell it. But it means white and they all think it's hilarious becuase I am white but our last name is also white. I met quite a few members last night. They just kind of hang out at the ward buildingnights I guess. It's so funny. They all are laughing at me. Probably becuase I had this huge look of shock all last night and have no idea what they're saying. Even when they say it in English.
Love you all so much. Choose the right.
Sister Veronica White