Monday, May 23, 2016

God's On Our Side

This last Pday we went on a two hour bike ride au secteur to see the boat. That was pretty fun. Basically the only reason people would come to Takaroa is to see the boat. Pretty fun. Bien cramé, though. 

We ate some strange foods this week. One family gave us some "mystery meat" and told us that they would tell us what it is after we finished it. It had a texture a little bit like ground beef. It ended up being fried turtle blood. Just make sure that if you ever it that, you put salt on it. We also had coco crab and 'ipo, and Manioca, all very Tahitian foods. I can't say they were all excellent, but they weren't bad.

As for more spiritual stuff, it wasn't a super exciting week. Some people are progressing a little, some not so much. The situation with Mahana: Her mother doesn't accept her baptism and is discouraging it. Things are going tough with that. It makes it harder with her, and Taaveti, her brother, who is also close with baptism. On the other hand, Maake, Mahana's husband, is getting the priesthood this Sunday, fully ready to baptise her when the time comes for that.

It was really fun to sing I am a Child of God (in English) this Sunday. This week has been Semaine de la Famille, with activites three times a day throughout the week centered on families. To end it, we had a soirée at the chapelle and they had the missionaries sing. They're taking advantage of us. At a wedding, ward activity, whatever the event may be they have the missionaries come sing. I promise my voice isn't that good, but the Tahitians must get a kick out of it.

  In studies this week I came across a scripture that I always love. Alma 26:12

"Oui, je sais que je ne suis rien; pour ce qui est de ma force, je suis faible. C'est pourquoi je ne me vanterai pas de moi-même, mais je me vanterai de mon Dieu, car, avec sa force, je peux tout faire; oui, voici, nous avnons accompli, dans ce pays, beaucoup de grands miracles pour lesquels nous louerons son nom à jamais."

It's so true that without God we are nothing. We can't accomplish anything without him at our sides. It just won't work. But, as long as we worship Him, remember Him, and ask for his help, he will be there for us and we can accomplish everything that he needs us to do. I'm so grateful that God is there for me and that I'm never alone in this life. He's there, ready to pour blessings on our heads. That's a blessing in and of itself.

Have a good week everyone, and keep God close! Never leave Him.

Elder Lewis

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Power of the Gospel: Just hearing it makes you want to be a better person

Iaorana tatou!

This week was actually really...not good. We had seven amis lessons, and four were with the same person. Just a little weird. It was probably that bad because there was a lot of rain this week, and Tahitians think that everything is cancelled with the first drops of rain. Oh, well, better luck next week.

This week we had a soiree familiale chez an "ami". He doesn't want lessons, just soirees where HE teaches, no one else. Last time there was a lot of false doctrine going around. Anyway, we taught the lesson. We talked about prophets, basically the first lesson, and we used a bunch of scriptures from the bible to back us up (the ami doesn't like to use the BoM). Really cool to see the truth come out. Even the Bible agrees that this is the true church.

Some good news avec Beau*. Apparently he's been drinking and smoking less, just on his own. That's a big change because those are the things he like most in life, basically the only thing holding him back from being baptised. So without us specifically engaging him to stop, his just started on his own. I think that's really the power of the gospel. Even just hearing it makes you want to act and be a better person. I hope that's how we all feel all the time. The gospel changes lives!

All is good again with Aimee. Last time, she said she would keep her religion. This time we talked about baptism. Yeah, she didn't even have to bring it up herself! It went well, and it seemed like that last lesson didn't happen. She also mentioned something about her husband being content avec her for quelque chose. She's starting to progress again! Also, she's related to the thief that stole from us and she's helping us get our stuff back. She noticed how he recently gained a bunch of money. Yeah, that'd be from me.

It looks like Mahana's baptism will be pushed back a week or two, but we're not sure yet. Keep her in your prayers. We're hoping it will all work out all right.

That's all the news for this week, sorry, not much. Hopefully more will happen next week.

Bonne semaine! 

Elder Lewis

Monday, May 9, 2016

Alliances With God

Happy Mother's Day! There's not a whole lot to talk about this week, but it was good. Skype with family was fun. Not a whole lot of other news, but I'll give you what I've got.

We started the lessons with the thief's little brother this week. We'll see how that turns out.

I didn't mention this but when we fasted last week we broke it with Nadim*.  Nadim says the same exact prayer each time. This time when he broke our fast, he said the exact same prayer as usual, but this time he threw in "Bénis-moi afin que j’arrête toutes les mauvaises choses sur la terre." Best quote!

We taught Aimee, and it was not at all what I was expecting. Not far into the lesson, she interrupted us and brought up baptism again. This time, instead of telling us that she wants to be baptized and asking questions about how she can do it, she just told us that she didn't want to get baptized anymore, that she  wanted to keep her religion. If you've been following her progress, you'll know that that is super contradictory to everything that we've done with her. I think she's REALLY scared of her husband and what he'll do if she tries to get baptized. We'll still work with her and try to help her out, but it's not looking too good right now.

This Saturday we had a baptism. Do you remember Luc, the inactive (active now) that we've been working with? We blessed his baby in church, and I baptized his daughter, Tehani* this week. Not a convert baptism, but that doesn't at all mean that it isn't that special or important. The morning of the baptism it started POURING! The ground was completely flooded. We started the baptismal service and the rain and wind only worsened. Then we walked through the rain with umbrellas directly in front of us because the rain was going horizontally. So we were completely soaked long before we entered the lagoon for the baptism. But it all worked out, and the spirit was strong. I almost felt like I was baptized myself. That's just a great feeling.

Early morning before the baptism.

At the baptism

The baptism of Mahana doesn't look completely certain right now. Her husband who is "inactif" just needs to come to church with a tie for a few weeks and then he can get the priesthood. Then he can baptize her. As for her, right now she's afraid of how her family will accept her baptism. She still hasn't told anyone, but she decided (on her own) to fast for help. A real testimony right there. She really wants to do it and sh's praying a ton. 

We're also still teaching her brother Taaveti, and I think that her getting baptized will motivate him to do the same. He only needs to pray to know what we're teaching is true, then... baptism!

It's really cool to see some of these people act on their faith and make the changes necessary pour their salvation. It's also really sad to see some investigators release their grip on what they should know to be true and stop progressing. No matter what happens, my testimony doesn't waver. My testimony is only getting stronger that God is our loving Heavenly Father, that he sent his Son Jesus Christ to the earth to bring to pass the plan for our salvation, that par his Atonement we can recieve salvation and have eternal life, that there's more to life than in between birth and death.

Have a great week everyone! Continue in the faith and don't let go of the iron rod!

Elder Lewis

Spaghetti, chicken nuggets, topped off with chili sauce and a singapour soda. Can't beat that kind of dinner!

At my birthday party

It's pouring right now.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Tel est le Chemin

Another successful week! Things are picking up here little by little. 

We had a few investigators tell us that they knew this is the true church. Aimee told us that. We've noticed her progress and gain a testimony, but she straight up told us. The only problem is her husband who is Sanito. He doesn't at all want her to change religions. We'll keep doing the lessons, try to talk to the mari and pray for her. Also, Tita said the same thing. We've been pushing for him to gain a testimony and pray to find the truth, and he told us that he knew it was true. He's just afraid to start that stuff and stop the not so good stuff he's doing right now. He was actually almost baptized a while ago. He was going to get married and baptized, but things didn't work out. He wants that to be the case again for his baptism.

A lot of success with one of our inactifs. He had a strong desir to repent and we've been helping him, encouraging him. Then we found out he had completely stopped everything. This Sunday, he came to church. The past few days, he's acted a little weird. The best way to explain his expression is a knowing look, like he knows something no one else does. After our lesson in church, he mentioned something about a miracle. Then after church, he went and talked to the branch president. He came out and immediately found us and started shaking our hands and giving us "bones". The same expression on his face. You could tell he was super excited. Then he asked if we could take a picture with us. It's super cool to see that change. A month ago we shared a scripture with him-Alma 36. He said he felt like Alma described- torturé par les souffrances d'une âme damnée. Now you can see the joy "aussi extreme que l'avait était mes souffrances." Repentance is real. I've definitely seen the power of this gift. It saves souls.

Also, with this inactif his wife just came back from Tahiti with their new baby so we blessed him and the baby of Mahana this sunday. Also, another one of his daughters just turned eight and they asked me to baptize her. That will be this saturday.

Actually, almost all the success we had this week was Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday we refound Taaveti*, an ami we did the first lesson with and haven't found him since. We come by every once in a while, and usually his mother is there. We might share a small message with her. She doesn't want the lessons, but super nice. Anyway, We taught him again. We also found out he's the sister of Mahana. He's really sincere, and he said he would pray to know if our message was true and if he got a positive response, he will get baptized. Who knows, maybe we'll baptize the whole family.

We also engaged Mahana on Saturday for a baptismal date. They got back to us on Sunday. So on Sunday, we went to church, blessed Mahana's new baby, Kafu, blessed our inactif's baby, Tehautiariiatua* (something like that), had the inactif talk to president, then later, we talked to Maake* and Mahana. She accepted the 21st for baptism (woot woot!) and she wants Maake to baptize her. Because he's inactif, he needs to do some things before he can do it. After discussing, we found out that really the only reason he's "inactif" is because he's afraid to get a calling. He says he's not that intelligent and doesn't want to mess up. We gave encouragements and he'll talk to president about getting the priesthood. Hopefully it will all work out!

We got poisoned this week, and got robbed. Fun stuff! We got poisoned at a four year old's birthday party-by the four year old. Don't ask why the missionaries are invited to everyone's birthday parties. Anyway, the kid had grabbed a bottle that had held gas with the drinks. It was filled up with juice and given to us. Honestly I didn't notice it at first. I smelled gas as I drank, but I thought it was from outside (I was right by the window. Then my companion told me he had tasted it. So I smelled the bottle and sure enough, a strong smell of gas. Next thing I knew, someone chucked the bottle out the window, ran our cups in the kitchen, and came out with coke instead. We also started a fast right after that. Not good. I could taste gas for a long time after.

Yeah, we got robbed. The other elders got robbed, then one morning they returned the sneakers I didn't even know got robbed. Then we got robbed again yesterday, more stuff. Don't worry-nothing too bad, and they know who did it and where most of the stuff are already. Stealing on an island with so few people doesn't work out that well. 

We had this pork soy thing for dinner one night. The pork had a ton of fat. At closer inspection we noticed that it was not only fat, but the skin, and some hair that they had missed when they prepared the food. Just thought I'd throw that in there. You eat weird stuff here...

I've seen lots of blessings this week. Inactifs using repentance and finding the joy that comes from it, investigators acting on their faith. Our newest investigator is the next to be baptized. We've seen people making bigger efforts to change, like fasting (Fasting for a Tahitian is almost as hard as stopping an addiction to alcohol). The Lord has blessed us a lot. I'm so grateful to be a part of this change in so many lives. This is Christ's true church, and the only way to save our souls is by his gospel-faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. I love that I can help people step on the path that leads to Eternal Life. That's why I'm here. That's my mission. And I've been filled with joy as these people find the truth. 

Have a good week, everyone! Faaitoito! Eiaha outou e haamana'o ore e e ekalesia mau i te Ekalesia a Iesu Mesia i te Fei'a Mo'a i te Mau Mahana Hopea Nei! Ua oaoa vau no to maua ohipa i Takaroa. E haamaitai-roa-hia maua. E mea ti'a ia faaroo tatou i te Mesia e to'na mau haapiiraa. Ua here au ia outou!

Elder Lewis