Sunday, December 27, 2009

Twas the week before Christmas...

Bonjour! Je viens de prendre cette photo avec l'appareil photo webcam machin ici.. J'espère que vous allez l'aimer. Salut!

Elder Winget
Collin was at an internet cafe that had a computer with a webcam last week, so we were lucky enough to get a picture! If you know french, then you can read the message he sent along with it. :) Here's an excerpt from last week's letter:
My companion's name is Elder Ulivaka- he's from Ducos. He's 18 and he's been a member since 2000. His dad is branch president in Ducos. I can definitely tell a difference in maturity level compared to ordained set apart missionaries who have been through the MTC and have been on a mission for a few months, and a convert member who has been teaching with the missionaries a few times and will be hanging out with me for 3 months. But for an 18 year old-- I couldn't have asked for better. He's a good kid and we have lots of fun and try to work hard. My sector is getting progressively more difficult- I've already knocked almost every single door personally--- but I've talked to as many people in my whole 7ish weeks here than like 1 week in VDC or Ducos. It's hard but it's good. Elder Ulivaka is the first Wallisian to go on a mission- even if it's just a mini mission. Wallisians are very catholic- and as such are hard to convert. They're basically like Mexicans that speak French. They even look alike. They are also similar in that once they're converted- they're very strong. So the few Wallisians that are in the church are very good church members. There currently are not any members in Wallis but I guess they're working on it.

Well as well as what happened this week, we sang in a choir in Paita- the Parau family invited us to sing with them. We sang Abide with Me in English, Tahitian and French. It was really cool. We sang in front of everyone in Paita- about 200ish people. It was mostly just me who sang in English, then I sort of hummed in Tahitian and we finished off with a bang in French. Abide with me fast falls the eventide the darkness deepens; Lord with me abide. I like that song.

Also this week a group of 17 youth and young adults came from Vanuatu to play Futsal- and they were all members. The branch did an activity thing for them at the chapel- we ate and there was much dancing and singing and partying. It was cool-- then they all came to the chapel on sunday and they pretty much did the Sacrament meeting. They blessed the sacrament and did all the talks- in Bislama, English, and French. It was cool. What was even cooler was that I understood a lot in Bislama-- it's just like English in a blender. It was cool beans.

Then after church we went and sang Christmas carols for some of the Parau's friends in Tontouta, Tamoa and Paita. It was cool to go to Paita-- blast from the past. It went really well, and we heard from quite a few people in Paita that we had sang really well. I think it was partially because French people can't sing so some of the other choirs weren't so good- and at least one was aaaawful. But we didn't stay long enough to hear the others-- just in practice. Anyway, it was a decent week.

It's humbling to serve with Elder Ulivaka- I realize that I'm not the missionary I need to be. I realize with my other companions, they already know how to be a missionary so we sort of push each other when the other doesn't feel like going on any more-- but with him, he doesn't really know what we're supposed to do, he doesn't really know the rules, and I want to show a good example for him.. I don't want to ruin his image of what a missionary is. I know that members sometimes think that missionaries are these amazing perfect spiritual giants-- and it's only true a very small amount of the time.. We're all just the same as everyone else. I don't want him to go home thinking that missionaries are just fakers during when they visit with members and then completely different when they're alone. So I've got 2 more weeks to convince him otherwise. Theeeen the plan is that I train another new missionary-- if he ever shows up. He's from Vanuatu and may or may not speak French or english......... So that will be a kick in the face. But it'll work. And either way plans change every time so I have no idea.

Friday (Christmas) I'll be going down to Noumea to hang out with the other missionaries and stuff so maybe you could call me Thursday at about noon (my time) and I'll tell you exactly the best time to call me. I think that 2:30 christmas day will work but I'm not 100% positive.. So yeah.

Anyway, don't worry about me, everything is going well. Elder Ulivaka is a good missionary and isn't even difficult-- the only difficulty is being a little bit more serious than I want to be.

I'll talk to you Christmas. I love you. Have a great week. Merry Christmas.

Elder Winget

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas Program and a surprise Baby Blessing

Here is a picture from last Christmas. I don't have a current one yet - Elder Winget is very busy these days, which is good :) He hasn't had time to send pictures for a while, but that's okay.
this week was interesting- the "missionary committee" at church, which ended up being "Elder Winget" organized a Christmas fireside which took place at our church this Saturday evening. We wanted it to be sort of like music and the spoken word, so we kind of got a general idea put on paper and then Elder Winget put it all together. The point I tried to get across was that there are too many things that distract us from the real reason why we celebrate Christmas and so we wanted to do a night of songs about our Savior instead of about santa and stuff. Anyway, we had choirs from each auxiliary (elders quorum, relief society, ym, yw, primary, and returned missionaries) sing a Christmas song, and at the end we had a choir from each foreign language represented in our branch. We had a choir from Vanuatu sing in their island language and then Bislama, Tahitian, Drehu (the language of Lifou) and English (me, Elder Wilcox and Sister Cummins). It was supposed to start at 6:00 pm. We invited people and had it announced at church… So we showed up at 5:30 and there were 3 people there- of course Marcelline was there- she’s awesome. Then Sister Temake and her daughter were there. Then the sister missionaries showed up- Sr. Seiko and Sr. Cummins. And then… We waited around until 6:35 when the branch president showed up and opened up the chapel. (we were sitting out on the grass at this point) Then we hung out until 6:45 waiting for a few people to show up… and we decided to start. There were only 11 people there at the start including 4 missionaries. Eventually more people showed up and it went pretty well. We sang some cantiques and I read scriptures from Isaiah 7 and 9, Luke 2, Matthew 2, and Helaman 15. The Young Women ended up being a solo- and everyone else’s parts were slim- but by the end it worked out. It actually went really well, in spite of all the problems. The Vanuatu group really pulled through for me- they dressed up, they brought candles and a baby Jesus and did a whole little.. Show. I’m really sad it was in the chapel- not allowed to take pictures!! But they did really well and I was really surprised and really happy that they put so much thought into it.
Bislama is a really funny language- maybe you can look it up to find more or something, but it basically started because Vanuatu is a group of islands that had more than 1200 languages or something.. English and French traders came through and sort of established a language.. And it eventually evolved into Bislama. I gud and I stret are from Bislama- meaning are things good? Are things straight? Ha ha. It’s funny. Anyway, they sang Silent Night in their island’s language and they sang a song in Bislama called “Jesus was born in a Manger” and something about how it makes us happy. It was really awesome and I was so happy to them that they actually worked on their part for the program. It went really well and everyone thanked me and said that I sing really well-- which is dangerous- that’s when people start asking me to sing crap. Dang it. What the gladsome tidings?! We actually sang Angels we have heard on High for our English part. Cool beans.

Afterwards I found out that the reason nobody came was because there wasn’t food. -_- island people……….

Other than that, the news is that President Callister came and did a zone conference on Tuesday and it was awesome.

Also, I blessed a baby on Sunday. Not really sure why or how or who still… The 1st councilor in the Branch Presidency is Tahitian and seems to hate Americans for some reason. He comes up to me and says GET your companion. And he starts just talking really fast and as if we were in huge trouble. He was like I’m going to smack you two- I don’t know how I’m going to do it but I’m going to do it. Then he just starts writing on our program for Sacrament meeting- “Baby blessing” and then the name of a child. Then he circles the place on the program where we’d do it and then said Okay baby blessing and then he left. And I’m like um… No “S’il te plait”? no “Hey there is a family who needs their baby blessed- do you think you could do it?” Nothing of the sort, just I’m going to hit you and then baby. Bam.. Anyway, I blessed the baby and I still don’t know why or whose baby it was. That’s life in the Tontouta branch. I almost lost my cool actually because of all the ridiculousness that happened that day- but I decided it wasn’t worth it and I just vented to my companion later. Weird.

I have to do 2 exchanges this week too, so I’ll be on the run all week. I have been living out of my suitcase all this week anyway- since we have 1 bigger apartment and 1 apartment about the size of a small hot prison cell, we leave the majority of our stuff up in Boulouparis and pack a few days’ worth of stuff and go down to Tontouta- but then I have to go up to Borail on exchange- and then down to Kutio the very next day. Oh dear.. I might run out of clothes.

There are 3 French Christmas songs that I know of that don’t exist in English- “Il est né le divin enfant” and “Noël nouvelet” which is actually rad I think. And “Un flambeau jeanette Isabella” Which I guess exists in English- bring a torch Jeanette Isabella. The first two are in the French hymnbook.

Thanks for all the birthday stuff—I’m still working on the scripture challenge. I haven’t found myself with oodles of time to do it but I’m about 1/3 of the way through and I think they’re all right. :D

Well that’s all- merry Christmas and happy new year.

Elder Winget

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Elder Winget!

Here's an excerpt from Collin's latest email. I'm glad he had cake and birthday presents for his birthday, since his birthday package didn't arrive until 2 days later!

Good Morning! That's how you say Hello or hi in silly english. And hellohowareyouwatsurname is SillyEnglish for "this is the only thing I know how to say in English after taking english classes daily for 7 years isn't French school great?" I am doing well. Sorry I'm emailing you late- you're prolly all in bed and stuff. We're in Noumea because of Zone Conference tomorrow and we were doing random things all morning and we just got here to internet.. I guess we'll just do nothing for the rest of the day.. Darn. Well tomorrow will be fun because Elder Callister- our area president will address us at Zone conference tomorrow and he has scheduled a personal interview with each and every missionary in NewCal.. how scary! I don't think I'm bad so I'm hoping I'll pass. He's a great guy and he gave a great talk. I did actually get your package this morning and I've been slowly looking at it throughout the day. I actually was needing to buy deodorant and pens- and I was happy I looked in the package before I did shopping. Now all I'll have to buy is razor blades. Oh how I hate shaving.

Weeeeeell I'll tell you about my birthday.. It started out with Elder Wilcox made me pancakes in bed and it was good. We went out and tried to talk to some people about the Gospel but people don't live in our sector. I think we may have the least populated missionary sector in the world. It has about 3000 people.. And none of them are ever around. I miss being rejected when I knock on doors back in Ducos-- or being rejected in street contacting in VDC. In Boulouparis and Tontouta every house has a gate and a fence around the yard so we just have to yell at the house. I stopped saying "porte-à-porte" and started saying "yelling at houses". So we end up seeeeeeeing about 3-5 people in a day and 4 of them flat out say no and some times 1 of them will at least accept a brocure to be nice. I figure maybe I just have something to learn in this sector.. We'll see if I learn it. At least my companion is awesome because if he weren't my life would be hard and ridiculous. Anyway, so we did that all day and then that night we were invited by Marcelline to eat and have cake. She is awesome. She's very hard to read and at first she scared me- she looks angry all the time but she's really really nice and actually happy most of the time. She's a funny lady and actually one of my favorite people on this rock. So she invited us over and we shared a short "lesson" which was sort of just a mess-- we did "the turtle lesson"- had them draw turtles and then we shared 3 Ne 27:21 and 27 I think it was about examples and patterning our lives after the Savior. I think I got the reference wrong-- sorry. The kids didn't pay much attention but whatever. Anyway, this is a sort of poor family who lives in a Tribe- so they're not so fancy but they're uber nice. So we're sitting outside under this.. shelter? thing? They have a normal house but we always do lessons outside under this... well picture those table things that they have at Westmore park- covered by those.. deal thingers. And that's basically what we were under- except it's constructed out of like wood and trees and stuff. Cool. Anyway, so they start blowing up balloons and hanging them up around the awning thing and it was cute.. then we ate dinner and then they brought out the cake. Which was actually really good. They made a 21 out of candles and I blew them out and they sang happy birthday. So we ate cake and then Marcelline bought a present for me!! I was so excited. I had no idea what it was going to be and so I was preparing myself to be "pity excited" and thank her kindly- but it is actually really cool. She bought me a Kanaky t-shirt which is rad- I wanted to buy one exactly like it and almost did. And she bought me a towel that has a map of New Caledonia on it. Another thing which I wanted to buy myself before I leave! I was so excited and I was super happy that she cared about me and thought about me. She's great and her family is rad. Her 11 year old son is also baptized and they're trying really hard to become an eternal family. I admire them a lot.

Thanksgiving- me and Elder Wilcox went to Super U- the local grocery store in Tontouta- and we bought stuff.. I made Cheesecake from scratch and Elder Wilcox made this cool apple steak stew thing. He cut up apples and tomatoes and peppers and steak type meat and a bunch of apple juice and put it in a big pot and then we cooked it for 45 min ish and then we ate it and it was good. I was happy. Definitely no thanksgiving in america but I was satisfied.. kind of. I actually sort of caught myself staring off into the hot night sky being eaten alive by mosquitoes in our doorway wishing I was with you guys. Oh well, in a couple months. We get to have 4 july together as our next holiday. w00t.

District leading is going well.. I did a training on the Christlike Attributes- as explained in PMG chapter 6- and asked everyone to be more Christlike this week and remember that we're called to Serve and not called to preach. I talked to Sister Cummins a few nights ago and she said it was a great training and that she and her companion Sister Seiko have been trying their hardest to be as Christlike as possible this week and have lots of experiences to share next week. I'm excited. I have to keep my own commitment and I'm going to try my best do to the same this week. I've thought a lot about what it says in the missionary handbook that leaders are called not just to direct but to edify and uplift and inspire the missionaries in their district and I'm going to try to do my very best. I'm hoping to do even better this time around than last time I was DL. :)

Anyway, thanks a billion for the package.. I'm still going through it and I'm happy as a clam to have recieved it. I haven't checked out the scripture deal yet but I'll look at it later and i'll tell you how well I did. that's really clever and I appreicate all the work you guys put into it... Thanks for thinking about me- sometimes it seems like nobody cares... but I'm glad that someone remembers me back home and I love you a lot. I think about you guys probably more than you think about me and you're all in my prayers. I'm glad thanksgiving went decently well in the end and I hope you have a great week. Merry Christmas and Happy thanksgiving. Bears. I love you.
say hi to luke and jake and aaron and everyone else in the world.
Elder Winget
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