Monday, December 7, 2015

'Tis The Season to Be...In Paradise

Iaorana everyone!

This week hasn't been super eventful. We managed to get out of the car and walk around. We chose the best days, too. Super hot. We were constantly pouring sweat, but it was worth it (also I can't complain because most missionaries don't have a car with A/C). We had a reference for a girl named Manihi* a few weeks ago, but our first lesson appointment kept getting canceled until now.

We taught her with a member, and she had a friend come and listen too. I don't know if this is how everyone does it, or just my companion, but we use the How to Begin Teaching points, and basically set up a next appointment. Not really teaching for the first lesson. Also, That morning for studies, I had studied the Plan of Salvation for a lesson or two that day. I got confused and thought we were teaching it to Manihi, and when Elder Millerberg set me up perfectly to start talking about the first question, Where do we come from, I went for it. Elder Millerberg just went with it and talked about the second question, why are we here. At the end of the lesson, Manihi kept talking about a warm feeling she felt, and asked us what it was. Hmm, well that would be the Holy Ghost. Yeah!
 So Elder Millerberg explained that, and she kept talking about how good she felt. She said that whenever she talked about the gospel she felt that way. Score! So we set up more lessons with both of them. They both basically want to talk to us every day. We also contacted her boyfriend a few days ago and set up lessons with him as well. 

Also when we went contacting, we found a seventeen year old who let us set up a time to teach him. We came to his house later for the lesson and he wasn't there. But his brother was, so we ended up teaching him, and setting up another appointment. While we were teaching him, his mother came and we talked to her for a little bit. She's super nice, and we'll try talking to her next time. The whole family is protestant, so they already believe in God. They're all super humble and nice. It's going to be awesome teaching them!

We do have some bad news this week. We have to drop her. In our lesson, she talked about how she needs to solve her problems by herself between her and God. She doesn't think it's fair for us to help her. Nooo!! That's why we're here! She prays really sincerely, she writes notes to remember our commitments, and is really trying to change. It's sad to see her go. 

The same day, though, we got a baptism set up. We had a lesson with Luc*. Luc is about fifty, and speaks more Tahitian then French. We teach him lessons, and he agrees with everything we say, and repeats some of the words. We've had the feeling that he doesn't really actually know what's going on. This is basically the conversation we had at the end of the lesson:

Luc: I was talking with someone yesterday about baptism, and I was wondering when I can be baptized.
Elder Millerberg: Uhh... the 26th?
Luc: Okay, let's do that!

We were a little flustered. We had no idea he knew what was going on.We ended up pushing it sooner to the 18th because he's ready. We went through the baptismal interview questions and he's good. He came to church this Sunday. He kind of hung around us at first until he got more courage, then went up to some guy, shook his hand, and started talking to him. We let him go after that. During the second hour, the class with investigators, we talked about prayer. Liline taught the class and repeated what she said in Tahitian so he could understand better. At one point, she asked the question: What are some of the things we pray for?

Some people answered things like blessings, say what we're thankful for, and then Luc's hand shot up and he said "baptism!" Yeah, he's ready.

Also there was a French couple that came to church and went to that class. I don't think they've ever been to church before. I was paying attention to them, and could see some skepticism, but also some thoughtfulness as we shared experiences of prayer and talked about how it helps us.

We got to see the Christmas devotional Sunday night. It was really poor quality and the Tahitians kept trying to mess with it to fix the volume and stuff, so it cut off a few times. It was also in French, so I didn't get a whole lot out of it, but with what I did hear and understand, it was good.

So we've started to listen to Christmas music. We see Christmas decorations here and there. It's just not the same though without the snow, the family, the lights up everywhere. I may be listening to Christmas music, and it may be December, but that doesn't change the fact that I'm walking through palm trees, driving along the beach and ocean, getting tanned (and burned). But despite not really having Christmas, I'm still having a great time here.

Speaking of Christmas, I was studying in Helaman and 3rd Nephi. I read about all the prophets testifying of the Coming of Christ, and the people becoming righteous and wicked, until the coming of Christ. Everyone saw that all the signs the prophets had testified of were true and a ton of people repented and were baptized. That just shows a little about the big gift we get from Christmas. Just his birth in the world converted many. I also read up until his resurrection and coming to visit the Nephites.

It was really cool to see the events that took place there. They heard a voice in the heavens, powerful to shake the earth, yet a soft, loving voice. They heard it the third time: "Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name- hear ye him." Jesus descended and told the Nephites why he came to the earth. He let them feel the wounds in his hands and feet, and taught them, before returning to heaven. It really is a blessing, the gift we got for Christmas two thousand years ago. We can repent of our sins because of his Atonement. I'm trying really hard to use that gift as much as I can.

Okay, that's about it. Oh, actually just a few things I've noticed here: Food is really expensive. A box of cereal: $5.50. About a liter of milk: $3.50. A small can of tuna: $3.00-$4.00 You can get a bottle of flavoring for water for $15. It's crazy.

Okay, I completely forgot the other thing. Maybe next time.

Have a good week everybody, and stay on the Lord's side. Use the Christmas gift. I love the Gospel!
Elder Lewis

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