Well, shoot. I guess the word is out. Yes, I am indeed learning Hindi! Oh man, I have so much to say that leads up to that though, let me start from the beginning...
First order of business, SO SO sorry about no phone call before leaving!! I'm not entirely sure what happened, but apparently and for some reason, the funds on my card lowered significantly since I called last in Utah, and I didn't even have enough money on it to call home! Nor did I have enough on my person at that time, in coins anyway. So yeah, so sorry! I was wayyyy bummed when the airport person called out that our flight was boarding as I frantically figured out how to call.
It was pretty cool, Elder Hunkin and I got to meet up with the MTC Tonga and Fiji districts at the airport. The Tongans left about an hour before us, so we got to catch up with the Fijians. Seems like an awesome group! The flight wassss...
Fortunately, Elder Hunkin and I were able to cheat the system and sit next to each other. I got probably a good five to six hours of sleep on our 11 hour flight, the rest was spent talking to Elder Hunkin, writing, reading and listening to Fijian music.
Then, BOOM. FIJI. Elder Hunkin was absolutely siked out of his mind, and so was I. This place is just incredible. You'll see in the pictures, though Herb seemed to show up on a clearer day so my pictures are a little muggy haha. It was actually supposed to be a three hour flight, but because of traffic, it ended up being five hours. The scenery helped a lot, but it was still toooo long. When we got to our stop though, my intake was picked up by KAI KUBERA! I was sooo happy to see him, what are the odds ay? Apparently he's the zone leader of the Suva area or something, but yeah! He's doing really well and he said he loves you guys. Elder Kubera and his companion Elder Carlson took us to the mission home where we met President Layton, who greeted me with "Oh, we've been waiting for you!"
Then, curve balls of the flipping wide. In about two seconds, President Layton pretty much spiritually punched me in the gut. With a truck (hint hint). Let me start off by saying: The people here drive absolutely mad. Taxi drivers are insane and people walk off the sidewalks and onto the road willy-flipping-nilly, rarely ever looking. Also, they drive on the left (or WRONG) side of the road here. Now there's this: I have roughly one year of driving experience, I don't have my corrective lenses. here, and I have never driven stick in my life nor do I know how.
GUT-PUNCH NUMBA DUA: I have been assigned to drive a Toyota HiLux.
GUT-PUNCH NUMBA DUA: I have been assigned to drive a Toyota HiLux.
I've had some brief lessons from the ZLs, so I'm honestly getting more and more confident about it. I can't wait until I can go without stalling or halting! It's honestly way exciting a tiny bit scary but wayy cool! I'm taking more lessons today at qito.
GUT-PUNCH NUMBA RUA: Let's start with some good news, 'Io doesn't have to feel left out about Herb and I speaking Fijian to eachother! Shocking news, it's because I'm speaking Hindi!
To practice a bit, and I'm probably spelling this wrong because literally my Hindi learning materials consist of Elder Mong Yen and Indian people:
Humar naam Elda Ishibashi hai.
Hum Hawaii ke hai.
Still working on it, but as we visit with people, I get more and more stoked to learn it! It's actually super cool sounding and I can't wait to understand these people and be able to respond! Also can't wait to meet Joseph one day and talk to him in front of Herbert. Vakajealoustaka saraga. One super cool thing about my mission, I'm among the first and only missionaries EVER, ANYWHERE, to serve a full mission learning and speaking Hindi. They've been switching Elders from Fijian to Hindi for a while, but only recently did they start calling Elders to proselyte in Hindi right off the bat. That's super cool, I think, and I seriously just can't wait to learn this beautiful language. I will definitely pick up Fijian along the way, so hey, I'm sure to come home able to have a decent conversation! I'll come home speaking two new languages. The gift of tongues is real, and Elder Mong Yen is a testament of that.
Elder Mong Yen is the MAN. He's from Tahiti, and has a thick Tahitian accent. He speaks French and Tahitian from home, and in the field, he's had to learn English, Fijian, and Hindi, and he's super advanced in all three. He has four and a half months left in the field, so when he's finished training me, he'll have one more transfer before he heads back to Tahiti. I'm his first son! Meaning he's training for the first time. I can see he's a little stressed about it sometimes, but I try to be as big a help as possible and he handles everything like a champ. Says he was way excited to have a son, just took him by surprise haha. Speaking of lineage, and on a side note, I met Herbert's grandson! His name is Elder Heines and he's in my district. Elder Heines was trained by Elder Morgan, who was trained by Elder Ishibashi, and Elder Heines said that Elder Morgan spoke very highly of Herbert. It was pretty cool to meet him! Anyways, Elder Mong Yen is awesome saraga. The best thing about him, I think, is that he reminds me DEAD ON of 'Io. His build, his mannerisms, the way he talks and walks, it's all so familiar and nice to have around haha. He doesn't say much and he's suuuper humble about his language skills. I'm super excited to serve with him for the next three months.
SO YEAH. Basically, President Layton was like,
Here's your trainer, here's your area, you're speaking Hindi and driving a truck. Go to work.
MY AREA. I'm serving in the Nausori North Hindi Area, with covers both Nausori North and South and a little bit of Suva I think. I spent my first night in Suva with missionaries that cover Suva 3rd ward. Both families we visited knew Herb, even though he served in Suva 2nd! Anyways, about Nausori, something AWESOME happened last night that I'm sure you've heard about already. Elder Mong Yen and I were walking to our WML's house for a Missionary Correlation Meeting, Brother Maiwiriwiri. He'd recently returned from his mission in Utah. Now I knew the name sounded familiar, so I thought "... huh." When we entered his property, I noticed a Hawaii sticker on the back of their car and a Kahuku Red Raiders emblem hanging from the rear-view mirror, and I thought "... huh." I asked about it, and Brother Maiwiriwiri said "Oh, my mom went to Kahuku." and I thought "...huh." After the meeting, we went inside for dinner and I was introduced to Sister Maiwiriwiri.
"Where are you from, Elder?"
"Ah, I grew up in Kahuku."
"My mom too!"
"Who's your mom??"
She gasped, covered her mouth and threw her arms around me saying "Oi! You're Elder Ishibashi!" It was at that moment that I remembered that MOM told me about Sister Maiwiriwiri! The Maiwiriwiri matavuvale is the bomb. Afterwards, she told me they watched my letter opening and we all took a picture. I imagine you were sent those already haha. But yeah! Soooo cool to meet them.
Welp, I paid for two hours and I don't know exactly how much more time I have, and that's basically what's been going on, so I'll stop here!
I'm so so so glad you're all doing alright and you're still being so immensely blessed. Just know that despite all of these sudden (BIG) changes, I'm way happy that I get the opportunity to face these challenges. I know that these challenges are God-given, and they will be an enormous blessing to me here in the field and forever thereafter. Somehow.
I love it here. The scenery is almost as beautiful as the people. Take care my family, I love you all more than I can ever express. Au lomani kemudou valevu sara dina, I'll know how to say that in Hindi by next week! Again, I love you guys so much.
Until next week, danbaad, and moce!
Tumarlog best son,
- Mosaea 3:24
"You speaking Hindi now, brass."
-Stalk-peaking over LA
-Moce toka USA!
-Temple right next to the mission home
-Kids that live upstairs have the neighborhood kids come over for roka sometimes, and Elder Mong Yen likes to join in.
-Bus ride to an area to see some families