Monday, July 25, 2016

Listen! Follow! You Will Receive Blessings!

I don't know what's happening this week other than that Satan is trying really hard here to stop our work. We've had a lot of success actually, but non of our baptisms seem to be working. Normally Pierre should have been baptized yesterday. At the beginning of this last week we were talking to him and he said that he might just want to push his baptism, that he didn't need to get baptized on the day we fixed. We kept talking and teaching, and we even had him do a baptismal interview. In the end, he still decided to wait. As for Kiai, due to the same reason her baptism was pushed for today, it's being pushed for next week, if at all. The problem is that we don't want to baptize someone who will become inactive as soon as she's baptized. She still wants to be baptized, so we'll see how that turns out. Also, now that Louis is baptized, we started teaching some of his sons. We set up a date for this thursday with the one who has progressed the most, but their mother isn't okay with the other two getting baptized yet. Anyway, something not so good happened in their family yesterday. I won't go into details, but it looks like we're going to wait for the baptism. I guess that's not too bad, though, because another brother has been progressing more and more too. Tupiti is the one most ready, but his little brother, Teremu is close. Yesterday we were teaching the two kids the commandments. I didn't know how well they would understand, but it went really well. We actually taught every commandment in the lessons and they could recite each one perfectly. We spent two hours over there, they wanted to keep going even after we had taught all the commandments. I hope things will start to work out better for that family. 

It was pretty cool teaching those kids the Plan of Salvation. At this point, only Tupiti really wanted to be baptized. We went through the Plan. We had to adapt from the way we normally teach so that they could understand. By the end, Both kids wanted to be baptized. After seeing all the blessings of God's plan, how can you reject it? It was then that we fixed their date for baptism. 

A funny moment in the middle of the lesson as we're teaching all the kids of Michel:

Vaea* (age 5): Je suis mormon, moi, pas catholique!

haha if only he was at the age of accountability!

Something strange happened, that I never thought I'd see. We fixed a baptism with Tita. I've been working with him since I came here and he was never progressing. Then all of a sudden, baptism fixed! I think that it was at least in part thanks to Thomas, the one who was baptized right before I came here. He has a really strong testimony and was in a similar situation to the one Tita is in right now. Anyway, we didn't even invite him, he just showed up to the lesson. You could tell that Tita wanted to impress him a little, that he looked up to Thomas who had overcome the same struggles. I think that, at least in part, Thomas's testimony and the change he made helped Tita to push forward. I can't forget, the Spirit was there, too! Anyway, Tita is now working to be baptized the 1st of September

Other than those big things, Aimee's husband's heart is softening little by little, we're finding some new amis, things are progressing little by little. It's sad to see that these baptisms are falling through, but it's cool to see the progress also.

Alright, that's it for this week. Things are good, the mission is great! I know that God is always there, and I know that we will be blessed if we listen to the Holy Ghost who will tell us all that we should do. I've seen the Holy Ghost in use a lot this week. Listen! Follow! You will recieve blessings!

Elder Lewis

Sunday, July 24, 2016

You Reap What You Sow

This week was a weird one. Some days we had no success, some days we had a ton. There were only three days of the week where we had a lesson, yet we pulled off fourteen lessons by the end. Is that normal?

Tuesday, we just had our average lessons, nothing too exciting. We taught a good lesson with Tita. He hasn't done anything to change since I've gotten here, but we're motivating him enough to start trying to stop smoking. We talked to President Bize before he left on Tuesday. Apparently no body has ever gotten as many baptisms as we're getting on Takaroa before. Not bad. He also wants us to baptize Louis's kids before next week, so that will add two or three baptisms to the total. Also on Tuesday, we taught a lesson with an Amie and her son who came here for vacation from France. He took the lessons there, too. In the lesson, we couldn't stay on topic, he kept asking us these questions that I've never heard come out of a Tahitian before. Definitely Farani. I wonder if that was how a normal mission is, with investigators asking complicated questions. Here, the hardest question to answer is "Are we allowed to smoke while we're fasting?" or "'Who's the brother of Jesus?" I don't know why, but everyone likes to ask that second one.

The next few days we had no lessons, so we just contacted (or I should say recontacted) people. We finally got a hold of some really potential amis, who then rejected us. We've been trying to contact them for like a month now, and...nothing. That was disappointing. We also contacted the Catholic neighborhood en haut and saw their big shrine for the statue of Mary. That was pretty cool, even if those catholics did chase us out of there.

I don't know if I've mentioned this already, but Nunui is moving his marriage to Tahiti. I'm probably going to be transferred right before that, so maybe I'll happen to see his marriage, but it looks like I'm not going to be there for his baptism. Right now he just needs to gain a strong testimony and commit himself a little bit more, and he's there.

We taught Anne again. Man, it's hard getting a lesson with her. We taught the Plan of Salvation. She doesn't seem to have a really strong desire to be baptized or anything, but she's taking in everything we're saying. Again, the only problem after she gains a testimony is the parents...Lots of prayers for this one haha.

Here's some news with Kiai: Normally she should be baptized today, but due to a miscommunication, it's going to be next week. Don't worry, everything's good with that. She's ready and has a strong testimony. I can't wait for next week!

Other than that, there's not a whole lot of super exciting stuff. Heiva is still going on, we're doing some good missionary work. We've had some success, some let downs, but we pulled through in the end, so it ended up working out.

It's really cool seeing the success. I've been sowing, I've been digging, I've been thrusting in my sickle with all my might on Takaroa for six months, and I'm finally reaping the reward. It's such a blessing always to be able to help people come to Christ and change their lives. If I don't know that this church is true, I know that the fruits are good, and that by following the principles of the Gospel we can find a fullness of joy and peace in this life and an eternal life after this life. I love that I can help people achieve these blessings. E parau mau te Ekalesia!

Elder Lewis


Coprah contest 14 Juillet



Monday, July 18, 2016

You Reap What You Sow

This week was a weird one. Some days we had no success, some days we had a ton. There were only three days of the week where we had a lesson, yet we pulled off fourteen lessons by the end. Is that normal?

Tuesday, we just had our average lessons, nothing too exciting. We taught a good lesson with Tita. He hasn't done anything to change since I've gotten here, but we're motivating him enough to start trying to stop smoking. We talked to President Bize before he left on Tuesday. Apparently no body has ever gotten as many baptisms as we're getting on Takaroa before. Not bad. He also wants us to baptize Louis's kids before next week, so that will add two or three baptisms to the total. Also on Tuesday, we taught a lesson with an Amie and her son who came here for vacation from France. He took the lessons there, too. In the lesson, we couldn't stay on topic, he kept asking us these questions that I've never heard come out of a Tahitian before. Definitely Farani. I wonder if that was how a normal mission is, with investigators asking complicated questions. Here, the hardest question to answer is "Are we allowed to smoke while we're fasting?" or "'Who's the brother of Jesus?" I don't know why, but everyone likes to ask that second one.

The next few days we had no lessons, so we just contacted (or I should say recontacted) people. We finally got a hold of some really potential amis, who then rejected us. We've been trying to contact them for like a month now, and...nothing. That was disappointing. We also contacted the Catholic neighborhood en haut and saw their big shrine for the statue of Mary. That was pretty cool, even if those catholics did chase us out of there.

I don't know if I've mentioned this already, but Nunui is moving his marriage to Tahiti. I'm probably going to be transferred right before that, so maybe I'll happen to see his marriage, but it looks like I'm not going to be there for his baptism. Right now he just needs to gain a strong testimony and commit himself a little bit more, and he's there.

We taught Anne again. Man, it's hard getting a lesson with her. We taught the Plan of Salvation. She doesn't seem to have a really strong desire to be baptized or anything, but she's taking in everything we're saying. Again, the only problem after she gains a testimony is the parents...Lots of prayers for this one haha.

Here's some news with Kiai: Normally she should be baptized today, but due to a miscommunication, it's going to be next week. Don't worry, everything's good with that. She's ready and has a strong testimony. I can't wait for next week!

Other than that, there's not a whole lot of super exciting stuff. Heiva is still going on, we're doing some good missionary work. We've had some success, some let downs, but we pulled through in the end, so it ended up working out.

It's really cool seeing the success. I've been sowing, I've been digging, I've been thrusting in my sickle with all my might on Takaroa for six months, and I'm finally reaping the reward. It's such a blessing always to be able to help people come to Christ and change their lives. If I don't know that this church is true, I know that the fruits are good, and that by following the principles of the Gospel we can find a fullness of joy and peace in this life and an eternal life after this life. I love that I can help people achieve these blessings. E parau mau te Ekalesia!

Elder Lewis


Coprah contest 14 Juillet



Monday, July 11, 2016

Surprise!

This week was fun. There were some days where we had no success, some days where it worked out all right. We had a baptism this week. I'll start form the beginning.

We taught our last few lessons with Ahomana before he left for Tahiti. We were able to teach him most of the lessons and watch as his testimony strengthened a ton. The last lesson we taught, the spirit was super strong. I'm happy with what we were able to do, even if we don't see it through to the end. We got a picture with him before he left. He's back in Faaa right in Elder Terry's new sector, so maybe he will be able to continue and get baptized there. 

The Heiva started this week. Activities each day: basket, volley, beach soccer. Friday and Saturday were cultural days where we saw Tahitian dancing, there was a contest for Mr and Mrs Takaroa, as well as bike and running races. It's nice to participate in these. Stay active, have fun, eat well (there are lots of food stands, we'll be eating there throughout July) and gaining new investigators. So far we've gained one investigator, a nine year old girl who will only do lessons if Moeava is there. The problem with that is that Moeava has stopped lessons for a while. We  talked to her, and she agreed to be the "member integrator" for Hinatea*, but she doesn't want the lessons. 

Nunui is getting closer for baptism. He's having his marriage in Tahiti, so I'll miss that, and it looks 
like I'll miss his baptism too (I'm probably leaving at the end of July). Right now we're just helping him to remember all the commandments, and after that, he's ready.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned Teiki*, our new eight year old investigator. He's the grandson of Akamai. We started lessons, but he was timid, so we just stuck to becoming friends with him. We talk to him as he's octopus hunting, we give him popcorn at the Heiva, just hang out with him. He's opened up a lot more, so we tried the lessons again. This last time, we taught him how to pray. It's a start! It will take some time, but he'll come along.

Saturday is where things went crazy. Our first lesson was with Louis at 8:00. We go over there and find him sitting on a chair outside talking on a phone crying with his wife standing next to him. Right as we came up, he hung up, stood up, shook our hands, and said "├ža va?". He acted like nothing really happened. We were thinking that he had just received bad news. His wife explained that they weren't tears of sadnes, but tears of joy. He had just talked with his pure catholic dad about him getting baptized, and his dad said he would support him. I said last week that the big block was his wife, but a smaller one was his dad accepting, too. Oceane*, his wife, said that they'd take it slowly, but it was a step for Louis. So we went and did the lesson with Louis. Towards the end of the lesson, he had one of his kids call his wife over, because it was urgent, and as his wife came over, he kept talking, not acknowledging that she was even there. The whole time I was thinking "What is it? What is he going to tell her? I figured he might just straight up tell her he was getting baptized, whether or not she agreed. Finally he told us that  yes, he was getting baptized. Today. Not tomorrow not monday, not tuesday, today. His wife said that when she saw his reaction to his dad, she was afraid, and realized that what Louis wanted to do is good. So she accepted. 

Then Louis told us that someone had mentioned that Pres. Bize was coming today (yeah, it was us #TGforeknowledge) and he only wanted that Pres. Bize baptise him. Back in February, Pres. Bize had come for a conference and talked to Louis, back when he still hadn't completely opened his heart to our message, and gave him some inspiring advice that Louis quotes all the time now. Ever since then, he's wanted that Pres. Bize does the baptism. So last week, we threw it in there that he would be coming. Anyway, we raced up to talk to the branch president, and we confirmed that we could do the baptism that day. We called the mission president and told him to bring his baptismal clothes. The rest of the day we rushed around between doing lessons and setting up the baptism. President Bize arrived, and an hour later we had his baptism. Louis bore his testimony at the end, and It was awesome! Definitely ready. And it was also cool because he didn't know the programme, he didn't know what to do, he just wanted to be baptized. And he didn't want to wait.

So now, Louis is baptized, his wife is coming back and following her husband, their three kids who are over eight will start the lessons. At least one of them has wanted to be baptized for a while, but couldn't. He was at a youth conference, and the baptism became a part of the conference. So he saw his dad baptized, a total surprise, and now he can, too. So many miracles happened right there. I'm so glad I got to witness all that happening. 

I know that God has a plan for us. We need to search for it, and we can find our purpose. I know that I'm supposed to be here right now, helping the people of Takaroa come unto Christ. I know that there is one way that we can be truly happy in this life and the life after, and that is through the gate, which is baptism. Then we are on the path that leads to Eternal Life. Then we will be able to recieve all the blessings that Father has in store for us. Then we will see God's plan for us unfold before our eyes. I was able to witness someone enter this gate and start on the path to happiness. I know that through Jesus Christ and His Atonement, we can all be saved and enter God's rest. I'm a missionary called of God to help people achieve theses blessings, and I know that what I'm doing here is right. 

Anyway, that's it for this week. We're making progress, more baptisms on the way. This work is great.

Elder Lewis

Last lesson with Ahomana

Go team Nanako! for the Heiva


Michel won Mr Takaroa friday night, baptised saturday night



Baptism pics



Monday, July 4, 2016

Not Bad, Eh?

Yeah, this week was a little crazy, like last week. We only had one day where we were able to do our studies in the morning. We often ride bikes for thirty minutes to go to one lesson, then go back thirty minutes the other way for our next lesson. Lots of rain, too, which doesn't help. But either way, the Lord is with us, and we have success.

On tuesday we went to another baptism. This time it was James* baptising. I don't know if I've written a whole lot about James, but he's a former inactif that we taught when I first came here. It's cool to see him baptising his son now!

Also on Tuesday we started teaching Ahomana*. Last week he got a blessing, and this week we started teaching him. We've taught him almost every day this week and we're there for about two hours each time. He's catholic, although not very active. Each lesson he goes on for a long time, talking about all the things that God has done to help him in his life. He definitely has faith in God. We've taught him the first three lessons now, and we gave him the LdM and some brochures. He read the brochures and started the LdM. As we teach, he's sincerely seeking to learn and accepts everything we teach. I honestly can't tell about everything with him, but I'll try to give some highlights.

When we gave him the LdM, he held it in his hands, and said that he could tell that this book is sacred.

He talked about his desire to go the the Celestial Kingdom, and doesn't want to go to any others.

He calls us "Les anges du Seigneur".

He talks about how god gives him whatever he asks for- outrigger canoe, motorcycle, winning vaa races, stuff like that. He said it took like nine years for the vaa, but he got it in the end. haha!

Since the baptism, James has been feeding us more. He brought up that he would get a goat, and when we said that we had never eaten goat, he invited us over to eat it. Then he found out that I hadn't eaten fafaru before, so he invited us over again for Fafaru and breadfruit. If you don't know what Fafaru is, you ferment fish in sea water basically. It does NOT smell good, but it doesn't taste that bad.

Things are going well with Aimee. We talked about fasting and invited her to fast this Sunday. She agreed. She said that she's been bringing up baptism to her husband every once in a while. She really wants to get baptized. so we fasted for her and her husband. We're hoping that her husband's heart will start to soften and we can help her get baptized. It's a good thing we wouldn't let her stop lessons with us!

That's actually the same situation with Louis. He's trying to talk more and more to his wife, trying to get her to accept his baptism. Man, if it weren't for family, we'd have four baptisms before the week is over!

Saturday was probably the most successful day on my mission. We had eight lessons planned throughout the day, and came home that night having done nine lessons. Rarely, if ever, have I had every lesson I had planned. Not bad, eh? 

We also finally got our first lesson in with the sister of Moeava-Anne. It was actually in our class for PME. Moeava normally comes to that, but she didn't come that day. Someone went to get her and came back with her and Anne. Sweet! We've been trying to start lessons with her for the past month maybe, everyday going to her house, but having no success (she's pretty shy, and generally won't come out of her house). And the one time that we don't try to do a lesson with her, she shows up. So we taught two investigators how to be a missionary. We're also hoping that when both Anne and Moeava try to get baptized, the father will soften his heart and let them both get baptized. 

This week has been long, eventful, exhausting, and rewarding. We're getting really close with a lot of baptisms, just not quite there. I think with a little more time, Takaroa will explode with baptisms. Hopefully I'll still be here for that!