Week 2 – MTC

It’s P-day #3 and I’ve been in the MTC for sixteen days. Some say it flies by but I think it goes by just right. Maybe that will change when I’m about to leave.

With the Kiribati and Malagasy districts departing on Monday, a lot of leadership positions are being switched around. Elder Mahe and I are assigned to be the new zone leaders. Our duties include setting the agenda for sacrament meeting, recording branch council, interviewing district leaders, and carrying around a flip phone that can only receive calls from the front office asking us to find someone in the zone. Right now it’s not so bad but in a week we’re welcoming fifty-nine new Elders and Sisters into the zone. It will be a challenge meeting everyone and learning their names but thankfully Elder Mahe is super friendly and loves talking to new missionaries. We met with the old zone leaders in their dorm and participated in some kind of ritual where you drop a huge rubber-band ball then make your personal addition to the ball and write your name on it. They didn’t know how old it was but judging by the size it had to be at least a decade. They also gave us a bottle of bubble bath soap which we are to never use. The MTC has lots of quirky inside jokes.

The language is coming along great. We walk into lessons now with only the Tongan scriptures and a dictionary in case we can’t remember a word. Usually we can get by just asking each other. It may seem obvious but it’s so much easier to understand what the investigator is saying when you yourself are speaking your own thoughts and not memorized phrases. My main problem is that I listen especially for tense markers and pronouns to help make sense of a sentence, but these are often skipped in casual conversation. There are a few native Tongan Elders in our zone that I’ve tried speaking with and I can barely understand them because of how much slang they use. I imagine it will only get more difficult when I actually arrive in Tonga.

I can’t wait to depart but at the same time I want to hold on to the next four weeks because they’re all I get to prepare myself. I have a feeling I’ll get a big wake-up call when I land in Tonga!

‘Oku ke lava ‘o lau ‘eni? Toki sio!




Author: Elder Patrick Watts

I am serving a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Tonga Nuku'alofa Mission.

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