It's crazy how much success we've been having the past few weeks, and especially this week. A lot of it is thanks to DMB [Branch Mission Leader], too. We'll contact someone and ask if they want to take the lessons. They will say no. Then we come back with DMB and he will talk to them in Tahitian for five minutes and we will set up a date for lessons. Magic, priesthood, I don't know, but he's got some special power! We got five new investigators this week, and potentially six on the way.
We had a lot of lessons like normal, pushing for marriage with one couple, Making sure our investigators know the difference between our church and the Sanitos (RLDS), trying to help Purotu with the problems she's still struggling with. Thomas*, a recent convert (as of a few days before I came here) has given us three references, all of which are our investigators. We're teaching his sister and her husband right now. Their religion seems to consist of being healed from cancer and a tumor. That's good, but not everything you need. They also think they know a lot about religion, but it takes a lot to explain some simple facts (and then they go on for the fourth time about being healed from a tumor). We've got some work to do there, but it will be good. I've also realized that with a lot of religions they believe in and know a lot about the death of Christ, but aren't familiar with his Atonement in the Garden of Gethsemane or his Resurrection. This couple was really confused when we talked about how Jesus bled while praying in the Garden. To them, he quickly prayed before being crucified. It's sad that a lot of people don't know about one of the greatest acts, if not THE greatest act, that has happened on this earth. I'm glad we can bring this knowledge to people here. What would we do without the knowledge of the Atonement?
Now for some of the really good stuff. Actually, a lot of it happened while I was on splits in the other sector. They contacted two people to start lessons with. Marc*, who we taught, he agreed and believed everything we said, and accepted a Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants that DMB pulled out of his bag. He left for Tahiti a few days later, so we'll continue the lessons with him when he gets back. Fainga*, who is catholic. The other elders had found him and he declined the lessons, but when DMB talked to him, he accepted. We taught him and he believed everything, too. Elder Terry asked him to pray right then to know if our message was true. And he did. Afterwards he said that he felt a little uncomfortable doing it then-he normally prays at night. He didn't get an answer, but said he would pray that night. He also said he would come to church this Sunday (he didn't make it, but next time).
They also taught Maite*, one of our new investigators. Her daughter-in-law was there and said she would get her to come to church. The daughter-in-law has a nonmember husband who we will try to start teaching. So that will make Maite, her eight-year-old son, her other son, and her husband that we can teach.
The biggest thing that happened this week (and I'm mad that I missed it) was that they visited the father of Moeava. Did I mention that he is the brother of DMB? So they talked in Tahitian for a while, then Matthieu*, the father, talked with Elder Terry for a while, joking around. Sweet!! They also asked him if he wanted to take the lessons and he said that he'll think about it. We'll try to keep talking to him and finally ask for permission so Moeava can get baptized. In our lesson with Moeava, we finished up going through the baptismal interview questions and talked about baptism. She said she was ready. Then we asked her that if her dad agreed to her baptism today, when would she want to get baptized. She immediately said "tomorrow!"
It's really cool to see her progress. She has definitely gained a testimony and strengthened her faith. Also, thanks everyone for the prayers and fasting. That definitely helped. So we ended up setting up her baptism for the 14th of April, if her dad lets her. Everyone, miracles work!!
Talking with Adrien*, an inactive that we teach, he said that he went down from thirty cigarettes a day to twenty. We engaged for him to go down to ten this week. He said no, that he was ready to give it all up and repent, and that by next time he will have stopped smoking completely. Right now, his wife isn't so ready to change, and Adrien is afraid to fall back in because of her. We'll keep working with them.
Also, we did our presentation thing for the Sanitos. They threw an Easter Thing, where all the religions here sang some Easter songs. Most of it was typical Tahitian singing: Practically yelling in Tahitian to a sort of jazzy synthesizer music. We sang "Ce Matin-là", "Merveilleux l'Amour", and "Je sais qu'Il vit, mon Rédempteur" where we (the elders) sang the first verse, then the rest came in after that. I'll tell you, the spirit was strong. It was kind of weird though. They had a cross up front, and they kept on showing images of crosses. It seems that even with the holiday celebrating His Resurrection, people are still focused on His death. I know that my redeemer lives, and that He really did redeem me from my sins. I'm so grateful for his sacrifice that made it possible for me to return to live with Him and my Father in Heaven.
A few fun things: Teaching someone who doesn't remember lessons very well and is just overall an odd person. We taught prayer, because every prayer he gives is exactly the same, and he doesn't know the difference between Heavenly Father and Jesus (even after giving an hour long lesson just on that). At the end, we engaged him to pray, but sincerely, not saying the same stuff he normally says. In the prayer, I heard two words that he changed. Other than that, he paused for three seconds, then said another pre-prepared sentence. Our next lesson, you could tell he remembered the last time because again he paused a little in between saying the same prayer as normal.
And having a dinner appointment at a six-year-old's birthday party. Good job parents, throw in the two in one.
Yeah, a lot happened this week. It was good. Hopefully the success continues. I have a strong testimony in God's plan for us. We lived with him as spirits before this earth, and we rejoiced and gladly agreed when he told us we could come to Earth to gain a body and become like Him. He loves us. He's given us lot's of things because he loves us:families, scriptures, prophets to guide us, and most importantly, his only begotten son, Jesus Christ. I'm so grateful for the gift of the Atonement which allows me to overcome sin and become perfect like my Father. I'm also grateful for His death, an more importantly resurrection, which allows me to overcome death so I can become perfect, just like my Father. I know that what we do know determines our destinies and we can find true happiness though the Gospel.
Until next time!
Here, we have a "washing machine." It has the opening on the top. We fill it up with water from our shower bucket, put in detergent, and dump in clothes in. Then it will slowly turn back and forth for fifteen minutes and "wash" our clothes. Then in the dryer, which is surprisingly good. It spins the clothes fast, but you have to do it right or it will start banging and making loud noises and NOT dry the clothes. But by the end, they're only slightly damp, and hanging them up for a while will completely dry them.
Not a ton of rain, actually pretty sunny lately. Not any more humid than normal from what I can tell. There are a few cars, but gas is expensive. There are a lot of motorcycles and scooters, though. I can go from one end of the sector to the other riding in the middle of the street and not worry about getting hit. Usually we'll stay in the village, the three roads close together, and I ride for about thirty seconds in between lessons. Then, maybe once or twice a day, we'll cross the bridge and ride another five or ten minutes. Actually, we just started lessons with four different people who all live at the end of our sector, so that's like a fifteen minute ride. If you look at a map or something, our sector is from the village to the airport. The rest of the island is the other sector, so they will occasionally take a boat across the lagoon, but not us.
Our house is probably twenty to twenty five minutes from the other elders who live right next to the chapel "en haut." Normally they come to us for things, but occasionally we'll come to them. I'm not sure exactly, but I think the village is on the east, slightly northern part of the island. We live right behind the bank, infermerie (I don't know what that is in Wnglish) and the mairie (also don't know what to call that). Right in the "center" of the village.
You know pretty much everyone, if not by name than at least by face. At some point though, you'll see a car coming by with four or five people, and you wave, but realize that you don't know any of them. And it's almost like a disturbed feeling- I don't know ANY of them!? Also, the kids have a two week break from school (on another island) so they came back, and suddenly the island is flooded with a bunch of teenagers that I don't know. That's weird too.
At the Sanito thing
Choir-mostly sanito, but with some other religions too. We have four investigators here, and the other elders have at least two