First off thank you for the package! It was super great to get all of that stuff. Haha we get one drawer with a lock to put all of our valuables in so you know I am keeping my power bars in there until I leave for Kiribati. I could just see all of the Samoans in my zone start eyeing them as soon as I opened the package, but power bars are one thing I am not going to share ;)
As for the MTC, I am really starting to get a hang of this language. I do not think I have ever wanted something or worked harder for something in my life and I guess the Lord is respecting that and helping me out, wait scratch that I KNOW the Lord is helping me out. Recently we accepted a challenge as a district from our teacher Brother Packer to memorize a scripture in both Kiribati and English everyday. (Brother Packer is my favorite of the two teachers we have. He is honestly the perfect teacher for me and he knows how to keep us awake and interested so that is good. He was born in Kiribati and then adopted by an American family and then eventually served his mission in Kiribati so that is awesome!) So far we have done two scriptures (Moroni 10:5 and 3 Nephi 11:29) and the experience is amazing! Also side note, out of the five languages in our zone (Fijian, Kiribati, Marshallese, Samoan, and Tongan) almost every single one of them has at least one teacher who served in Kiribati but is a different nationality so they can teach other languages. It's awesome to hear all of their stories and I wish I had time to tell them all to you.
Two things I will tell you though is that Kiribati people fish on some islands by swimming around with a bow and then shooting any fish they see. Then they will swim back around picking up any of the dead fish that are floating on the surface of the water. Haha apparently it is the coolest thing to watch, but we can't join in because we are not allowed to swim.
Another thing is one of the main reasons we are allowed to go in the water is that there are no bathrooms on a lot of the islands or at least it takes awhile to get to them so everyone just goes in the ocean. Apparently it is rude to say hello to adults when they are doing their business so that's a bummer, kids are fair game though ;)
Amazing experience of the week: we got to listen to Elder Ballard for our Tuesday night devotional and during it I kinda had a stomacheache, and I had the weird prompting to ask two of the last Elders I would go to for a blessing. They are both great but I just didn't think they would take it seriously. I finally decided to do it for two reasons: one I had decided to act on all impressions that I have so that I can continue to get more and secondly, I figured it would be good for them to get to feel that spirit that comes with giving a blessing. That night they gave me a healing blessing so that I would not get sick in the near future. The next day I woke up and I didn't really notice anything different. Then about lunch time I started to get a headache and started to feel really hot. Then I noticed that my earlobe had swelled considerably and that entire area was super painful, and come to find I had been bitten by a spider right in that area. It was probably the biggest spider bite I have ever had and it was right on my neck. All I could think in that moment was how I could have gotten seriously sick if I had not trusted in the Lord and asked for a healing blessing. I took some ibuprofen and after a couple of days the swelling and fever went away.
Also, last quick story I just remembered...One of the elders in my zone was like taunting me calling me a skinny white boy and typical samoan stuff. So I threw him over my shoulder and spun him around until he finally shut up haha. I think they've all respected me a ton more since he is one of the two biggest in our zone, just as big if not bigger than my companion,
Talk to you all in a week!
Elder Pettingill (the Younger)