Monday, August 28, 2017

Called of God

This was a good week. It's just one of those weeks where you feel accomplished, even if you didn't have a whole lot of success. In this secteur we don't have a whole lot of time to find new people, it's just going to our fixed lessons. We tend to always be late, too. Right now we're just focusing on the investigators that we teach, and things are going pretty well with them. I think the reason why we're always late is just because everyone talks a ton. A TON. Normally one visit shouldn't last more than an hour, but sometimes we're stuck talking to people for two and a half hours. It's crazy. It's a little stressful because a bunch of people expect a bunch out of us and they won't let us take care of other things. But it's all right, that's just life.

Actually, this week Elder Tiatia and I got a new companion. His name is Elder Teriitahi and he'll be staying with us until the end of my mission, then he takes the plane to Madagascar which is his real mission.

Brigitte* and her inactif boyfriend, Afu* the other week and at the end they asked us for a few things. They felt a little embarrassed to ask us to help them, but when we said we could, they asked for more. One of the things they asked for was shelves. I'm not entirely sure why they need shelves, but we said we would help them. So we brought it up in our Conseil de Paroisse and randomly someone there told us that he had a spare shelf that he was getting rid of. So we set up a few plans to help them with those needs. I hope it will help Brigitte to open up her heart more. In our last lesson we talked about charity and she realised that she needs to change too, not just Afu. Afu has been working hard to change his life. He comes to the chapelle each week, he's respecting almost all the commandments, he's just waiting on Brigitte right now. We're praying so that they can become a family united for eternity.

We had a great lesson with Ivan. We learned a lot of key information. We talked about the Word of Wisdom and we engaged him to keep it by the 10 September. He prayed about the date of baptism that we gave him, and said that he didn't get the answer, but after talking about it for a while we showed him that he DID feel the Holy Ghost. So he wants to pray again and if he feels the same way, he'll take that for his answer. Also, one of his member integrators is his brother who came here from Huahine to see the doctor. Ivan was there to see his brother's baptism three years ago, and he wants his brother to be there for his baptism before he goes back to Huahine. He has a strong testimony, he's working hard to change his life, and it's really cool to see the gospel change his life. Right now we're hoping that his brother will go back to Huahine quickly! haha but either way, I'm glad to be able to help these people. It's awesome.

The big event of the week was Saturday. Elder Stevenson came to Tahiti and we were able to do a conference with him. He's definitely called of God, I have no doubt of that. He gave some really good points on missionary work. I feel like if I were to right them down you wouldn't care that much so I won't do that. But for part of it he talked about obedience and the blessings we get from being obedient. That can apply to all of us, not just missionaries. One of Satan's tactics is to get us to think that obedience (or righteousness) is misery, and that disobedience (or wickedness) is joy (Alma 41:10). If you think that by being obedient to the commandments of God is stopping you from being happy or if you think that you can be selectively obedient and that you will still receive blessings, you are being tempted by the devil and you need to get rid off these thoughts. That can be dangerous.

He also had us unlock our hearts for two minutes and gave us advice on the second mission, but don't worry, we locked our hearts right back up haha. I've still got the final stretch of the first mission, and I'm not slowing down. I hope by the end I'll be able to quote 2 Timothée 4:7

Oh, by the way, the bapism of Mark got pushed back one week, partly because of the arrival of Elder Stevenson, partly because of some other things, but it's still solid. He's getting baptised the 2 September now.
That's all for this week. God lives. He always talks to us through his messengers that he chose.

Jesus Christ can save us from everything that is bad. Je vous aime! à la prochaine!

Elder Lewis

Monday, August 21, 2017

Blessings and Blessings

Iaorana tatou!

Wow, it's a crazy difference going from the cool life of Papeari to the fast life of en ville. This week has been packed full of lessons and giving blessings and inviting people to come unto Christ.

So it's been a week now with my last companion. It's super cool being with Elder Tiatia. For the weekly groceries last week he bought seven big packs of chicken, sixty eggs, and a bunch of cans of tuna. Wow. That's polynesian. We have lots of really potential people we teach here. Lots of couples and families, so it's my goal to unite these families in the Gospel. We have a baptism this week with someone named Mark. He's been taking the lessons for the last four years, and he just decided that the twenty sixth is the day he needs to get baptised, so he's been working on the Word of Wisdom and has finally repented of everything. He's ready to make an important covenant with God. We are probably going to do the baptism on Friday, though, because on saturday Elder Stevenson comes. We'll have a missionary conference with him, and he'll be doing a fireside at Papeari (too bad I got transferred). I'm pretty excited for that conference, I'm sure it will be great.

All right, so I mentioned last week that the Hospital is in our secteur and that we would probably be giving lots of blessings. I didn't think we would be giving just so many! we probably gave about twenty this week. We get multiple calls a day from random people from all of French Polynesia that need blessings because they're sick. We give blessings to all sorts of people, from mildly sick to on the point of passing away. It's really interesting to see how the power of God works in these situations. It really requires faith to perform healing blessings. Also, school starts back up, and everyone is asking us to bless their kids for the new school year. It gets kind of crazy, but it's rewarding, too.

We have an investigator named Ivan* who accepted baptism this week. He has a lot of faith and really wants to follow the example of Jesus Christ. He also wants to get baptised in Huahine, so we'll figure out how to make that work.

Okay, I have to go. I know that God lives and that He loves us. He knows us all personally, and wants us to be happy. He's waiting for us to turn to him, and then he will pour out countless blessings on our heads. Jesus Christ is our Savior. If you think that you can get by without His healing power, you're wrong. I'm so grateful that he loves us enough to have sacrificed his own life for us. The best I can do to thank him for that is to share the joy I have felt with everyone else. Bonne semaine!

Elder Lewis

Engraved pearls

Big Spider

Monday, August 14, 2017

Transfers Struck Again

Well, yeah, I'll start by talking about the transfers. I had a feeling that I wouldn't end my mission in Mataiea and I was right. This was a huge transfer because 35 missionaries are going home and 30 are coming today. Only four companionships stayed the same, so that was probably the biggest transfer call I've had on mission. Right now I'm in the ward of Pare in the commune of Pirae. Looking back, I realize that Hamuera prophesied that I would go here, but I thought that he was wrong. My new companion is Elder Tiatia. He comes from Utah, but his parents come from Samoa. It'll be fun working with him. In the secteur of Pare is the Hospital, so it looks like we'll be visiting it daily to give blessings to people.

This week has been rough. Not only is Mataiea a hard secteur to work in normally, but the transfers started on Thursday, and since then we have done almost no missionary work. However, the Lord never ceases to give us miracles, and we saw some blessings this week.

We taught Rarahu* and figured out what's blocking her from engaging herself. It turns out she's kind of scared of how her family will act if they find out that she joins this church. I hope that she will continue and put her trust in the Lord, not fearing what man can do, but what the Lord can do. She came to church without us even inviting her, so that was pretty cool.

Since this week was pretty hard, in our planning we decided to not just make a plan and a backup plan, but also a plan c and a plan d because we knew the first two wouldn't work out and then we would be left with nothing. So we set plans to contact some people that we've been trying to see for a month. We ended up seeing the first plan, and the second, and the third, and the fourth. What!? That was a blessing that we needed. So we got several new investigators this week that are all more or less potential.

That's it for this week. The Lord is Good and he's always ready to help us out. We just have to make an effort to receive His help. I'm grateful for everything I've learned so far on my mission and I have complete faith that things will continue to work out well. Even if I don't help people get converted to the Gospel, I've been converted myself and there's no one that can stop me from staying strong.

Alright, à la prochaine! Je vous aime!

Elder Lewis

Monday, August 7, 2017

That They Might Have Joy

Teie taime, e papai vau i  roto i te re'o tahiti no te mea, e mea fiu ia parau i roto i te re'o marite. Aita vau i rave i te mau mea e rave rahi e te faahiahia i teie hebedoma, e'ita ra vau ia hinaaro ia papai i te hoe rata poto roa. No reira, teie to'u mau mana'oraa 

Okay, I'll stop writing in Tahitian so that you can understand me. Not much has happened this week. We're still working with the same investigators, and there isn't much news from the last time except that we've pretty much lost Manava. It's super hard to contact her. I think it's still good for the mariage this month, but it's not looking good for the baptism.

Other than that, the theme recently for missionary work is helping people have joy. That comes through repentance, baptism, and the temple, so we've made a bigger effort to bring people to the temple because we know that they will experience so much more joy in going to the temple than any other activity. It is the house of God, after all. 

So this week we were able to go to the temple with some recent converts and we're setting up a time to go with Maeva. It was cool to see the change in the new convert as she went through for the first time. Afterwards she told us that she wanted to come every week, and that she didn't want to leave the temple. That's the joy that comes from the temple. Here's the deal: are you sad, upset, or worried? Go to the temple, and you will find peace and joy. Take advantage of it, it's really worth it. 

Well, I don't have much else to write this week, so I'll leave you with a scripture and my testimony:

2 Nephi 2:25, 26

Adam tomba pour que les hommes fussent, et les hommes sont pour avoir la joie. 

Et le Messie vient dans la plénitude du temps, afin de racheter de la chute les enfants des hommes. 

God placed us here on earth so that we could have joy, and because of the great Atoning Sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ, we can not only have joy in this life but eternal joy after this life. I know why I am on this earth, it's so that I can be happy. I know why I'm here in French Polynesia, it's so that I can help people have the same joy that I have felt from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

I love you all and have a good week! 

Orometua Lewis

 Conseil des dirigeants. 2nd photo is with the cook, Julie, who is retiring after many years working for the mission. The Elders and Soeurs love her food!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

"I didn't think I'd ever have to use the How To Begin Teaching points in English"

Iaorana tatou!

Well, the highlight of the week was the baptism of Poenui. It was good, and her dad showed up! We talked to him. He's super nice, and said he would come to the confirmation also, but he ended up getting sick and not being able to make it. C'est dommage, but we're going to keep trying. Poenui's awesome, and I'm sure that she'll stay strong when she goes to England next month.

Things are going really well with Fetia*. Every lesson she tells us that she prayed to know if it's all true, and every lesson she says that she didn't get her answer yet. So we really focused on helping her recognise the response. At one point we asked her if she believed it was true and she said yes. We asked her why, and she started telling us a story that happened and ended up saying "I already know it's true." Woah. I've never had an experience like that. Basically she already got the answer to her prayers about two years ago, but she just didn't realise it until we asked her that question. You could really feel the spirit when she was talking. So know she knows it's true, and we're moving on with the next step.

We visited and inactive family last week and they directed us to some chinese guy named Alexandre* who wanted to do the missionary lessons in english. We didn't really know at first if he really wanted to do the lessons or if he just wanted to perfect his english, but we visited him anyway. So this week we got hold of him and did a lesson. It turns out that he is from Laos and went to france when he was really young as a refugee. Then later he made it to Australia, New Zealand, and finally here at Tahiti. He has a really cool story and we explained that the gospel can help him in his situation. 

It was hard to teach him, that's sure. We had google translate off to the side to help us out. I didn't think I'd ever have to use the How To Beging Teaching points in english, and definitely not the one that says that we might not speak the language well, so if you don't understand, ask questions. I also realized the importance of the spirit in teaching. You can't be too focused on what you're going to say or the spirit can't guide you.  Another thing I realized is how hard it must be for these people to try and understand a young missionary's thick accent. Te haere. It's also a good thing I memorized scripture mastery in english. I didn't think that would be very useful. 

But in the end, he said he felt something warm in his heart, and we know that was the spirit. I really hope that we'll be able to show him the importance of the gospel and how he can have an eternal family if he follows the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Well, those are a couple fun stories, I wanted to write more, but I got to go. See you next week!

Elder Lewis