Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Temarua No More

Transfers! Elder Millerberg and I both got transfered to Papara. I should've seen it coming, but it still came as a surprise. We have to drive through Papara to get to Temarua and the sisters in Papara drive through Temarua, so it was just to make things easier.  I'm still with Elder Millerberg, still in the same house, the only thing that changed is we changed sectors with the sisters. So we have their ward, investigators, etc... I wanted to see our investigators continue to progress, but I guess the Lord knows what he wants and will guide me in Papara.

This week has been pretty slow due to Christmas (a total of I think five lessons), but what we did do was good. The lessons that we taught were good and we ended it with a baptism, so no complaints.

Rava's baptism was awesome! We've worked hard with her, and it finally arrived. Due to some problems with her family who didn't want her to get baptized, we had to do some last minute arrangements, but it all worked out. The best part was at the end when she bore her testimony. Normally the investigators will basically just thank people and sit back down, but she bore a really sincere testimony that brought the spirit and really showed that the church is true.

For Christmas we did some mission activities including dinner and watching "How to Train your Dragon 2", some zone activities, skype, and a barbecue at our house to finish off Christmas. It was all a blast. Don't worry, we still remembered the real meaning of Christmas. I can't show enough how much Christ means to me and all the things he's done for me. I hope you all remember him, too!

Okay, that's all I've got for this week. Just know the Church is true and that God is always there beside you, wherever you go.

Elder Lewis

I missed the picture of Alain's baptism last week

Rava's baptism

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Oaoa Noela! (Merry Christmas!)

 This week was pretty good. We had two baptisms, my first of the mission! For Luc's baptism, I was going to give a talk on baptism, but the other speaker did instead, which left me about two minutes to scramble together thoughts on the gift of the Holy Ghost. We also had Alain's wedding and then baptism. Then, this Saturday we have Rava's baptism. Yeah!

This week we contacted in the middle of a drug deal. We went up to these two guys and started talking. Then we noticed they were smoking. As we were talking, one of them walked behind us, sold some drugs to someone else, and then booked it on his pink bike. That was a fun experience.

This Sunday we picked up a mini missionary, our next door neighbor. He'll be with us for the next three weeks, so hopefully we'll be able to pick up the work and get more investigators, because everyone wants to sleep and get drunk over the Holidays and we're losing a lot of people until after the Holidays. We were able to attend his ward for Sacrament meeting and the Christmas program, then pick him up after he was set apart, and go to our ward's Christmas program where all the primary kids sang. It was adorable when this little (maybe four or five years old) kid got all emotional in his solo and started crying. I started feeling the Christmas spirit from that point on. Some of the primary kids also made us some treats, so that made my day.

I've been studying a lot in General Conference talks and the scriptures about faith. I really love that topic. What I've found out is that having the desire to believe will lead to faith. With faith we can perform miracles, but it's after our faith that God shows us miracles. The scriptures say that if we have the faith the size of a seed, we could command a mountain to move. I'm pretty sure most of us have at least that much faith. So why don't we move mountains? Because we don't think we're able to. We're lacking faith in ourselves even though we have enough faith to work miracles. My challenge is for everyone to find the faith to work miracles. And it all starts with the desire.

I've also thought about families a lot and the importance of gospel centered families. It's extremely important that parents teach their kids from an early age to build a testimony. From Family Home Evening to daily scripture study to sincere prayers to seeking spiritual knowledge. We were sent here to become like God and the family can really help us get there.

So those are my thoughts for this week. I know that God has a plan for us and that he is always waiting for us to search, through scriptures or prayer, and he wants to give us the answers we're looking for. I know that the gospel truly makes you happy, and that nothing in this word can come close to giving you a successful, happy life than the word of God. I know that God lives. I know that he loves us. I know that as we strive to obey all of his commandments, the windows of Heaven will be poured out upon us. I know that if we have faith we can work miracles.

I'm like Alma right now, wanting to preach the word of God to everyone and letting everyone feel of the love, joy, and peace that I feel, but I'm satisfied with my calling to teach the people in Tahiti. I have complete faith in the Savior and his saving and helping power for each of us.
Merry Christmas!

Elder Lewis
Fruit from the tree of life! Just kidding, it's lychee.

Random horse on the side of the road.

On the bathroom doors of our church...

Luc's baptism

Sisters stole my camera.

Aito (Warrior)

Baptism/marriage lunch: potatoes, noodles, potatoes, potatoes, chicken. I think you get the gist of Tahitian food now

Primary kids gave me this

Me and a tortoise in a botanical garden 

A giant...raspberry?

Monday, December 14, 2015

"I was glad to have been an answer to her prayers."

This week we started a new investigator, Teremu*. He's old and only speaks Tahitian. So, my first lessons in Tahitian were this week. We had a translator for us, so it wasn't too hard. He's protestant and has some crazy beliefs about our church and basically everything. His idea of prophets is: warriors with spears who kill people who are disobedient. We're not sure if he really understands what we teach, but he's awesome.

We had a father and sons activity. It started 45 minutes after it was supposed to because no one showed up, but it was really fun. There were activities like: Having a father and son sit up front and someone holds a paper above their head with a word. Through hints from the rest, they try to guess the word. Tie tying contests. A game where the dads are blindfolded and go through the sons seated in a row, only feeling their heads, and trying to find their son. I did this one. It was funny as Elder Millerberg feels the head of a kid a few seats down, and goes "Voila!" We never did activities like this back home, and it shows that using no money, you can have a blast. And we did. Everyone loved it.

God worked a few miracles this week. We got a lesson canceled, so we went to visit Jordan*, an investigator I haven't met yet. We set up a lesson with him, and as we were leaving, I felt like I shuold go down the street where a few kids were playing. Elder Millerberg had the same impression, because he stopped going towards the car and suggested we go that way. There was a house that belinged to an inactive family. We asked one of the kids if the parents were home, and he brought out his mom. We started talking to her, and she explained that she was inactive. She also said that that morning she had prayed, asking God to bring her good people that will motivate her and her family. Then we showed up. It was a super cool experience. I'm glad to have been an answer to her prayers, and I'm glad God lead us there. I'm also glad to help this entire family become more active.

Later that day, we taught Etienne*, a smart politician, also my first time teaching him. His big problem was with faith. I pulled out a scripture that I've really come to love- Alma 32:27 It fit his situation perfectly. He decided to keep reading the next few verses, and I explained that any time he feels something good, it comes from God. He talked about how he had goosebumps, and we explained that that was what we were talking about. It was awesome how that scripture was fulfilled right then and there.

We had some steak for dinner one night. It was the most raw steak I've ever eaten, with less than a millimeter of brown meat on the outside. Delicious though. Oh, speaking of food, I remembered my other thought that I forgot  last week. Fish is WAY better raw, here. They just don't make good fish cooked. So if anyone ever comes here, make sure you go raw over cooked.

We did lose an investigator, Marc*, this week. He loves us coming over, but hasn't stopped smoking, and that's the only thing holding him back. We talked about eternal life, and he said he wanted it. I asked if he would give up smoking to have it. He said no. So close.

At another faatamaaraa, there were these two seven year old girls and an eight year old boy who were adorable! They did most of the talking. At one point they were naming all the planets, and one girl said "Rurutu!" Close, but not quite. The girls also showed me their secret handshake, so I'm in.

Do you want to get a gist of Tahiti? We were contacting in the blazing hot sun. A little down the Island, there were rain clouds and we could hear thunder. How does that even happen?

We had a Christmas party that started an hour and a half after it was supposed to. I have a picture of the food. It was really good, and a lot of investigators showed up. I think they had an entire pig, and maybe two, for the meal. I did have to explain that as a missionary I can't dance with them.

I learned stick shift, and sorry Dad, but Elder Millerberg did a better job than you. I ended up driving on the road (because it's basically just one long road), and it all of a sudden started POURING rain. Pouring. That was a fun experience.

We taught Rava. We talked for a while, then ended because she had to go. But we ended up staying, and the conversation shifted to baptism. I gave her some scriptures on baptism, then drew my little drawing. I asked her what she would do to get into the celestial kingdom, and she said repent. I told her that was good, but not enough, and she (a little grudgingly) said baptism. So I committed her. And she said yes. I asked her if she would prepare for the 26th and she agreed. Immediately after the lesson, Liline from outside said: So when's the baptism?

Rava told her that I chose the 26th, then Liline asked "And are you ready?" Tiarere said that she was. Yes!! After so long working with her, it's finally going to happen!

Well, that's about it for this week! It's been full of really cool experiences. The Lord really will answer prayers and he will help you with your problems. Trust in Him and have faith, and you will work miracles. I know that that is true.

Elder Lewis

Some random pictures of our house.

We sleep with fans on us to keep us cool throughout the night. It's our only source of cool air (no A/C)

our coconut tree

Almost all the church buildings are like this: With a courtyard in the middle and all windows and doors always open

We found some eggs, and then a lizard who guarded the eggs for a while

Banana trees off the side of the road

Little bananas on the bottom starting to grow

The owners were going to let it die so we took it in. Just a kitten

A one foot tall wax Santa candle thing

Ward Christmas Party pictures

This picture doesn't do the amount of food justice, but look in comparison with the cups. Here's the math. Normal plate: 7" in diameter, this plate: 10" in diameter. Two 7" circles= slightly less area than one 10" circle. This amount of rice would completely fill a normal sized plate.
The Christmas meal consisted of pasta, rice, more pasta, mashed potatoes, chicken, and pork. That's a Tahitian meal for ya

Rava wanted a picture at the Ward Christmas Party

Here's a good close up

Us with Luc at the Christmas party

Some cool sunset pics

Some fruit

Some weird things we found at the store

I'm rich!!!