Monday, February 27, 2017

Je Tiens Le Salut des Ames

Iaorana Tatou! 

This week wasn't the best week in Faaa but we had some cool experiences anyway. 

We had gotten a reference a while back (if you can call it a reference) for a guy named Jules*. That was basically it, a name. Since then we have tried without success to find him. Then, one morning we were going to visit an ami and we started talking to two men that were nearby. Then one of them told us his name, and what do you know, it was him! He told us that he had never been baptised, that he wants to turn his life around and get baptised. Well, that was cool. The only problem is that he's always out fishing and a little hard to get hold of, so we're working on that.

We had a conference with Bishop Caussé this week. Super cool. He talked a lot about the Atonement and how it is the center of everything. He encouraged us to find our purpose out here, to use the Atonement each day, and to eat continually from the tree of life. He also mentioned that our goals need to coincide with the Lord's goals. Sometimes we want to do things our way, but that's not what the Lord wants for us. Here's my favorite quote:

"Je tiens le salut des âmes dans mes mains." (I hold the salvation of souls in my hands)

That's why I'm here. It's pretty important. I'm glad that I have the priveledge of offering salvation to the people of Polynesie Française. 

On friday night we got transfer calls. Wow, those came fast. This transfer really flew by. Elder Fawson is going. In fact, he's already gone. He left yesterday. The transfers were a little weird with all the planes and stuff. My new companion is Elder Fareata, but he won't be coming any time soon because his plane doesn't leave the marquises for two weeks. It'll be fun trying to solve that problem. 

Saturday night a shocking event happened. I won't go into details, but it just shows that the Plan of Salvation is real. We really come from God, and he gave us free agency. What we choose to do here has an impact on our future. We really do have the chance to get Eternal Life. It's the Plan of Happiness, and I'm so grateful for this plan in my life.

Just one last thing: President Monson said that our choice will determine our destiny. Let's all make the choices to have a good destiny, a good future. It's simple. Each choice has an impact on our lives. Choisissons le bien.

Elder Lewis

Monday, February 20, 2017

Hastening the Work

Wow, the work is hastening here in Faaa. Our biggest problem right now is trying to schedule all the lessons . We're always running late. That's  what you get when you're in a biking secteur with some of the biggest mountains in Tahiti to go up and down multiple times each day. We weighed ourselves, and unless these scales that I've been using aren't accurate, I've lost about fifteen pounds since coming here to Tavararo. Que de bonheur, que de bénédictions!

We taught Sebastien* and Paea* and later that day we came back to teach the sister of Paea, first lesson, so at this point they've got to have the first lesson memorized. It's still haere maru haere papu with them, we're going to try to engage for baptism again this week.

Also this week we were riding our bikes down the mountain and I caught a glimpse of someone that I thought was Aimee from Takaroa. It was! That was pretty cool. She asked us If we could come by for a lesson before she would leave for Takaroa a few days later, so we passed by the next day and did a little visit. It's cool to see the progression a half year later.

Tuesday was valentines day, which we had forgot entirely until this papi came by to pick us up for our faatamaaraa and reminded us, taking us out to a "special" roulotte to celebrate for some steak-frites. That is my favorite papi! haha

We got a reference for this woman named Helene*  who we thought was in our secteur and we fixed a lesson with her and then found out she's not in our secteur. So we went to that lesson and tried to hand her off to the other elders. She said she didn't want any other elders because we were handsome. Uhhhh... So I'm not sure how we're going to do that. But the lesson was really good and she agreed to pray to know if the LdM is true. The only problem was her friend that assisted the lesson who had already talked with missionaries and knew the doctrine. She just kept asking questions about things like baptisms for the dead and the sabbath day and if we can see God. So we tried just focusing on Helene. It was a little hard, but it ended well because she felt the spirit. We also gave a blessing to her baby named (after a book of Mormon Prophet) and explained to her where that name comes from. It was a really cool experience.

One really fun part of this week was when we got a reference for the friend of the son of the Pres. of young men in a different ward that happened to be in our secteur. So we passed by, and eventually found this nine year old kid. So we started teaching him a little about Jesus and how to pray, and some friends came over to listen. Eventually there were seven of them. So far we've taught them everyday and they are super into the lessons. Now they're trying to convince all of their families to talk to us. That was all them on their own!

On Saturday we planned a trip to the temple where we would teach our amis the Plan of Salvation. At the start no one really showed up, but by the end we had a pretty good group of about eight amis. It went pretty well, despite a few miscommunications. Then some of them came to the chapelle yesterday. Actually, recently, we've been struggling to get inverstigators to come to the chapelle. Usually none show up. But this week six showed up! Also, none of the amis that came Saturday or Sunday are amis that we currently teach. We're going to start teaching all of them ASAP.

So many blessings this week! Those were just some of the highlights, but there was so much more that happened. The Lord is really pushing His work.

That's it for this week. Bonne Semaine!

Elder Lewis

Monday, February 13, 2017

"The LdM is the center of the Church of Jesus Christ, and by reading it it can help us in our lives more than any other book. "

Wow, this week felt like two. So much stuff happened.

It started with tuesday when this awesome member had us teach a family that he shared the gospel with. Normally there were three of them but one couldn't make it, so we taught this couple the first lesson. They were really open, and although they didn't accept our invitation to be baptised just yet, with some time they will be ready. Thanks, members.

When our DMP does our Faatamaaraa, often he works when we're open, and we have things when he's open, so it doesn't work out very well. So what we do is he has his mother-in-law, an amie, do it. We eat and talk, and we have a really nice, spiritual conversation with her. She wants to be baptised but right now her husband doesn't want it at all. One day she'll be there.

This week we had a multizone conference that was focused on the LdM. Really inspiring. It was about how we need to use the LdM for conversion. We're trying to focus more on the LdM in our lessons and really teach the importance of it. It's so true. The LdM is the center of the Church of Jesus Christ, and by reading it it can help us in our lives more than any other book. So, share it! So we did that, we focused on it, and improved our techniques, and got a handfull of potential people. So, challenge: Take a LdM, choose a favorite scripture, give the book to a friend and share your favorite scripture. Testify of how it has helped you in your life and how it will change theirs. How can someone deny your testimony? Who doesn't want a better, happier life?

So here are a couple experiences with the LdM: We found this papi named Gerard* who is sanito but doesn't really know about the different religions. We presented the LdM which he gratefully accepted and he invited us back the next day. We came back and taught him the story of Joseph Smith, and it wasn't bad. Again, not yet ready to fully accept our message, but petit à petit he'll accept. 

We also did the LdM bible exchange with the témoins de Jéhovah. At first they weren't too willing to accept the book, but they eventually took it. We'll see if anything happens next week.

We've been trying to teach this guy named Maipe*. His wife is a member, and actually I knew really well her mom in Takaroa. It's been really hard to teach him, actually. He hasn't shown any desire to read in the LdM or to pray or to go to the chapelle or to do any other things with him. One day this week we we taught them on families and eternal life. We engaged them to fix goals for their family. We thought it was a really spiritual lesson and that Maipe would hold up his engagement this time, but when we came back it was just the same as usual. We tried setting up more goals, but no success. It's so sad to see this family that's missing out on so many blessings. He said that if God himself came to him and told him to go to the temple with his family, that he wouldn't go. He would send his wife and daughter, but he wouldn't go himself. I guess that means to some extent that he believes it, and he's just not ready to change. 

Well, those are some of the stories for this week. Each day I'm seeing the Lord's blessings. We're not quite seeing the success that we want, but I'm positive that the Lord has other plans than we think.

Love you all!

Elder Lewis

Monday, February 6, 2017

"Jesus Christ really is our Savior and our Redeemer and that true happiness in this life can come through Him and His Atonement."

Iaorana tatou!

This week was pretty interesting. There were a lot of cool experiences, a lot of not cool experiences, and overall a lot of weird experiences. I'll try to share some of them.

We found a new investigator this week named Paul*.  For the first lesson we taught the Plan du Salut. It was really awesome. He asked some really good questions and talked about how being baptised when you're young doesn't really work because you don't know what you're doing. We also had him pray at the end. He did a really sincere prayer and ended with something like "thanks. Amen." Then he told us that it was his first time ever praying.

We had a few moments this week that were  a little hard. It's always hard when you try to invite someone to come to Christ and they don't accept what you say, and even go against it. We taught an antichrist. That was one of the most interesting missionary experiences. I won't go into details, but it was pretty frustrating. We're going to try to come back again and try to explain a lot of things that he misunderstood. I can only hope that he will realise that Jesus Christ really is our Savior and our Redeemer and that true happiness in this life can come through Him and His Atonement. Talking about the little trials, we taught this guy from another religion who we've taught before, and he's brought up some of the same points about why he thought that we were wrong, but we were hoping that this time he would open up his heart a little more to hear our message. It didn't work. He immediately brought it back to that same point and stuck to it. I told him that although we had different beliefs we weren't there to break his faith but to build it, and we wanted him to do the same for us, letting aside that point of doctrine that he kept bringing up. He agreed, and then immediately went back to that. Well, he basically said in a very kind voice that we were of the devil. He said it like it was his duty as a disciple of Christ to tell us that if we didn't change we would go to hell. Man, I hope that I don't sound like that when I teach. Anyway, I think we're putting him on standby.

We found an inactif named Moroni*. His wife isn't a member, so there's potential there. He said that he wants to stop smoking, but his wife doesn't really want to, and it's really hard for him. In the end, we engaged him to read a chapter in the LdM and pray each day with his wife, along with brushing his teeth after every meal. He cancelled the next lesson with us, but then he came to church on Sunday! We didn't even invite him to church! And he came with his wife. So, along with the little trials, there are also little miracles.

Oh, we talked to some Témoins who offered to give us a bible next week. They were really nice. We're going to try to give them some LdMs, although I don't know if they'll accept them. We'll see.

Last interesting thing of the week: We had some guy call us one day for les cours d'anglais. Apparently the elders before us used to do them, and this guy wanted to start them back up wit his family. I expected it to be him, his wife, and daughter or something, but it was him, his four daughters and two friends. And they told us that they weren't mormon. So we taught seven amis, and set up times for some future cours. They also said that they would bring more people next time.

The Lord's constantly blessing me here at Tahiti. I'm seeing each day lots of blessings and the love of God for the ma'ohi people.

That's all for this week-

Orometua Lewis