Monday, August 29, 2016

Lots and Lots and Lots of New People

Hey, Iaorana everyone! Sorry I didn't get the chance to write last week.

Last week wasn't super interesting. We're still trying to get the work going. For some reason, we just can't seem to get lessons in with any of our investigators. We found seven new investigators last week, so not bad. Most of those were thanks to a blitz we did in our sector with the zone. It's ridiculously hard to find those people and teach them again, though. One by one, very slowly, we find them again. This week we found six new investigators, so again, not bad.

Last week, I had a fun experience with that couple who only reads from the bible in lessons. I guess I haven't mentioned their names. Nicolas* and Giselle*. The cutest couple, sweet, loving, basically like a second set of parents. And the feed us at the end of each lesson. The lessons are always full of spiritual thought after spiritual thought, scripture after scripture. It's really cool to see how excited the couple gets over these discussions. This lesson was about the Holy Ghost. At one point Elder Murdock shared a few quotes from Harold B. Lee. Nicolas and Giselle LOVED them! They talked about how true those quotes were, and were super excited about them. Of course, we didn't say that a living day prophet said those things. We kept talking, and the scripture in 1 Corinthians about the gifts of the Spirit was brought up. We talked about that, and I decided to pull out our modern day scriptures to bring in a second witness of the truth. Risky move. Note that that was the first scripture that we've shared that does NOT come from the Bible. I talked about how I have a testimony that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. Normally, one of them would agree with what I said or share a scripture to back up what I said. Nothing. There was an awkward silence for about ten seconds, and then they started talking about how they don't want to change religions and how they believe wholeheartedly in the Bible and other stuff like that. Wow. It's just mind blowing to me. I don't have the words to describe this, it's just crazy that they accept everything so much, but can't accept other scriptures. 

This week it rained a lot, we had a multizone conference, and some other things come up, so it wasn't super effective. We pulled it off in the end, though. Yesterday,I had the most successful day in Tautira so far. I'm used to teaching easily three or four lessons a day, but here in Tautira it's one, maybe two. It takes a lot of work to find each person and teach them. On Sunday, after church we taught an ami, our one planned lesson for the day, then we went and tried to find some other people. First person we tried let us in. Usually he will repush the lesson a week or two in the future, so it's nice to get in a good, spiritual lesson. 

After that we went to a little neighborhood that we had never been down before. We contacted it for the first time a few days ago. First house we tried, we hadn't talked for more than fifteen seconds before this woman let us back. We thought it was way too easy, and that she was just messing with us. Second house, a mami who told us she was Sanito, but would welcome anyone willing to talk about God. Third house, An inactive family who wants to come back into the Chruch and baptise their nine year old son.

So on Sunday we did the first lesson with the woman from the first house, Manihi*. Her husbad said that he was really interested, so he joined us. So we taught Manihi and Jeremie* the Restoration. I'll admit, that was the first time I ever taught a lesson with someone breastfeeding right in front of me the entire time. Anyway, this family is golden, and don't be surprised if we soon have three baptisms fixed from this family. They're super sincere, and they asked all the questions that we have answers to. 

Okay, one more cool experience, and I'll finish up. In that same neighborhood with a lot of success, we found this young mom and her two little kids. As we talked, we found out a lot about her. Life's not easy, her husband is rarely home, and when he is, he's drunk. She has a lot of other problems and questions, and if we could, we would have taught her all the missionary lessons right there. We settled with teaching about the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation. 

What I noticed most about this conversation is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ really answers all of our questions. Any worry, doubt, question, or trial in our lives can be solved by the Gospel, by Jesus Christ and his Atonement. I'm so glad that I am a missionary and that I'm able to spend two years of my life helping people receive these blessings. There are so many people out there with so many difficulties, and they can't quite find the light, the relief that they need. 

Oh, I remembered another really potential ami we found. Revatua* was a reference from another missionary who had gone to school with her and they kind of knew each other. Not much to go off of, but it worked! Revatua went to school, so she's smart (you wouldn't believe the difference going to college makes, or even just finishing high school). She has a lot of mormon friends who have talked about religion, and she's super interested. Right now, she's just waiting for the response to know if this church is true, so another baptism is coming up pretty soon haha.

Anyway, sorry the letter is really long this week, I guess it make up for last week, too. That's just some of the adventures that are happening out here in the islands. May the grace of God be with you all.

Elder Lewis

Monday, August 15, 2016

Mountains, Mosquitos, and Much To Do

Iaroana everyone!

This week hasn't been a whole lot eventful, mostly just getting to know the new sector and figuring things out, but I'll give you what I've got. 

First things first, I have to tell you how beautiful Tautira is. None of you believed me when I said that Takaroa wasn't that pretty, but now you'll be able to see the contrast. I'm still not used to seeing mountains, lots of green plants, rivers, etc. I sometimes just stare at things for a while, thinking, "What is this?!"

I don't know if I've already mentioned this, but Tautira just got done with a baptising streak, and I'm coming in to clean up the mess. We don't have very many investigators, so we're doing quite a bit of contacting. Which is weird for me, I'm used to doing no contacting because I already know evreyone in my sector. 

We found this Jehovah's witness and started teaching him. He's got to be at least a hundred years old. He's been a member since 1963 to give you an idea. Every time we asked him a question, he would go off on totally unrelated témoin doctrine and it was really hard to bring it back. What made it worse is that there were hundreds of mosquitos! I've never seen so many in one place in my life! But this investigator didn't seem to notice. To give you a sense, at any given time there wer about thirty mosquitos perched on your leg, trying to suck your blood. That was so hard to consentrate, switching between fending off a mosquito army and listening about how 144,000 people will be saved. 

We do have amis with more potential than that. There is a couple who are adventist, although they left after seeing flaws. They believe wholeheartedly in the Bible, and that's there faith, nothing more and nothing less. For the lessons, we only use the Bible. We teach our lessons through the Bible, and they share scriptures, too. I've never seen anyone who know's so much or has so much faith in the Bible. The thing is, it's hard to help them accept that there are other scriptures, too. We can quote BoM scriptures and they will completely accept, but as soon as they know that it comes from somewhere other than the Bible they can't accept it. It's so hard to see someone with so much faith, so close to receiving the restored gospel, but not quite there. They definitely have potential, though.

We also do a service project each Saturday, building a house. I've never built a house before, but it's pretty fun. 

There's a lot to do here. It's a big area, lots of non members, lots of people. It's going to be fun!

Elder Lewis

A few pdays ago we went out to the edge of the reef and got some pretty cool pics (4)





We found this half blind bird that couldn't fly, so we got some pics of it

Me and Luc

Pictures from the Heiva (3)



Huh

Me and the crew- Jean, Beau, and Pierre 
Mami Anita and Mami Marilyn (2)


Monday, August 8, 2016

"I'm in the cool, rainy, green, mountainous part of Tahiti, so that's a big change from Takaroa."

Iaorana!

I'm emailing from Tahiti right now. Yeah, the transfers should have happened in a week, but they took me early. 

This week hasn't been super eventful. A lot of the lessons were cancelled, and the ones we had weren't that interesting. We did have two baptisms though. The baptism of Kiai was on Monday. Elder Nelson baptized her. There were a lot of members there to support her, although none of her family showed up. She was confirmed this Sunday. It was supposed to be me that confirms her but I left right before. 

Tupiti was baptized on Thursday. I mentioned last week, but his mom suddenly accepted his baptism so we got everything together and did it. Again Elder Nelson baptized him. I missed his confirmation, too. He was so thankful to be baptized, and his testimony afterwards was powerful. 

Also on Thursday I got a call saying that I would be leaving this Saturday, not next Saturday. The next day I packed up my stuff, Saturday I sent it on the boat for Tahiti, and took the plane in the afternoon. I got on Tahiti at 5:00. No one showed up. I waited for almost four hours and no one was there. It turns out that everyone thought I was supposed to come in a week, so no one knew I was there. That was lots of fun. Finally I was picked up and stayed with the Zone leaders that night, went to church with them on Sunday, and they dropped me off Sunday afternoon. And here I am. 

Quite an adventure. Anyway, my new sector is really big, there are four missionaries taking care of it. They just got finished with a baptizing streak, so I'm coming in right at the end of that. I'm in the cool, rainy, green, mountainous part of Tahiti, so that's a big change from Takaroa. We'll see how it goes!

Okay, gotta go. Sorry this was so short.

Elder Lewis

Monday, August 1, 2016

Good News

Wow, this week went by really fast! Sorry if there's not much to talk about this week. We did a decent amount of lessons and slowly over the past few weeks the work has been doing better and better. Nothing extreme, just gradual. More progressing investigators, more investigators, more baptisms fixed, more baptisms. All the interesting stuff happened on Sunday. I'll start there.

On sunday morning we managed to get Kiai to church. Elder Nelson's bike broke so we couldn't go to the chapelle up there. Apparently a lot happened. We heard about it all afterwards. Apparently TWO baptisms were announced, for Kiai and Tupiti. We had no idea that it was good for Tupiti. I guess something happened and his mom changed her heart (again). No complaints there. All of Louis's family was there, and Louis blessed the sacrament. A returned missionary gave her homecoming talk. We also had twelve investigators show up to sacrament meeting. Combined with the other branche, that's sixteen investigators at church this week. Yeah, I think that's a record! haha.

So we're having a baptism later today for Kiai. I'll send pictures next week. The baptism of Tupiti is this Thursday. Who knows, maybe we'll have a few other random baptisms here before I leave!

Oh yeah, I'm finally leaving TAKAROA. Transfer calls were Friday. I'm leaving for Tautira, in Papeari, the presque ile of Tahiti. It will definitely be weird to be in an area with more than a couple hundred people, most of which are mormon. My new companion is Elder Murdock. Yes, the Elder Murdock whose last sector was TAKAROA. So I already know him, that's pretty cool. Because there is no room on the plane, I'm leaving in two weeks.

That's it for this week. Not much, but it's good. Here's a pensée spirituelle before I go:

D&C 121:20-21

20 Il y a une loi, irrévocablement décrétée dans les cieux avant la fondation de ce monde, sur laquelle reposent toutes les bénédictions;

21 Et lorsque nous obtenons une bénédiction quelconque de Dieu, c'est par l’obéissance à cette loi sur laquelle elle repose

This law is that if we want a blessing, we have to be obedient to a cetain commandment. Then God must bless us. Pretty simple, pretty cool. Think about what blessing you want, and then obey the commandment. I've seen that on my mission, and I know it works. If you read this, try it out. That's a challenge.   

Elder Lewis