Saturday, March 20, 2010

Broadening Horizons

So I'll have all the San Fran posts when I get back. I'm still in this fabulous city, but wanted to get this posted...

The Tongan culture is incredible.

There are a huge amount of Tongans out here, and I love it.

A lot of my life has been spent in a bubble. I lived in Utah until I was nearly 16. I left for a few years which opened me up to a lot of new things, but then I went back to Utah.

This last week I have seen and been a part of so many new experiences and opportunities because of the Tongans.

I went to a Tongan singles ward on Sunday. It was one of the greatest things I've ever done. Most of it was in English, but even then, the Spirit was so strong and so great. Relief Society was taught in Tongan. It was an incredible testimony to me that the Church is true no matter what. I really had no idea what was being said, but that didn't even matter. I knew that what she was saying was true. Amazing.

The people are so open and welcoming. Anytime I go to a ward that isn't mine, I feel awkward and in the way. I don't know anyone, I don't know where I'm going, I just feel strange. This time though was completely different. They took us in, and treated us like we had been there forever.

Throughout the week we've spent a lot of time with these families and they don't treat us any differently than they do their own cousins (that's a whole other story right there...)

On Monday night we went to the singles ward's FHE. It was hands down the best FHE I've ever been to. We had an amazing lesson first, and then some hilarious games. We were split into two teams and competing. The first game was "You know you're Tongan when..." and the group had to act out something to finish the sentence. My team decided it would be hilarious to have me and the other girl I was with participate. We got way into and dominated the game.

The last game was a pick-up line face-off. Me and one of the other girls sat in the middle and boys from the opposite team would come up to us and give us the best pick-up line they knew. Our reaction determined whether or not they got a point. The second guy to come up to me said "All I have to offer are these hands, this strong Tongan body and..." but after that, I was gone. I had been won over. Seriously, they are the most attractive men I've ever met. No joke. They're attractive in more than just their physicality though. They are sweethearts, all very talented, they all play rugby but are very musically inclined as well. They are all just way nice and fun.

They ended the night with a sort of testimony meeting, which was incredible. To go from having all sorts of crazy fun and laughs to serious/spiritual moments like that was amazing. Everyone there has so much love and appreciation for everyone. I loved it.

Tonight we went to the Tongan Stake's Relief Society birthday dance thing. I have never felt so white, blonde, and skinny in my entire life. But just like at church, it didn't matter. No one noticed. They didn't even think twice about it, and if they did, they didn't make a big deal about it.

Everything that was said or done tonight was in Tongan. I had no idea what was being said or done, but it didn't matter. They sang a closing hymn in Tongan and it was the most beautiful thing I've ever heard. It wasn't necessarily the most talent I've heard or anything, but the power and spirit behind it was the important thing. They sang with so much love and strength and testimony.

I've always been a part of the majority. When it's come to traditions, background, etc. and even if I haven't been (like as far as church and stuff) it hasn't been a big deal. I've found my group and fit in. I never really made a point to branch out. To come here and be the only blonde in a room of 500 people, or to be the only one not understanding the words being said is a very different feeling, but it's been very enlightening.

This whole week has been incredible. Stay tuned for more stories and adventures. Look on Facebook for pictures!

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