Monday, August 3, 2015

This Is It!

Well, this is it! (and no, this is not 'This is it' the Michael Jackson biography movie) I can just put my hands in the air like he did though. This is it! [two hand symbols here -ed]  Mom is probably rolling her eyes.... Sorry Mom.

This will likely be my last regular e-mail home. 

This has been a good two years. I have been able to meet some amazing people, as well as some really troubled people. I've spent hours reading the scriptures, and even more time trying to speak to  and help people in French and Tahitian. I've felt the Holy Ghost's presence STRONGER and more frequently during these past two years than during any other period of my life, and I can say that my personal testimony really has grown. I love Tahiti, and all of Polynesia, and I really am so happy that I have been able to be here. This has been the coolest thing ever. Like, ever. Really though. I have seen people come to Christ, and have their lives changed because of it. 

Mom, I don't know if you remember it, when I told you all about my fist big trip on the dirt bikes with Dad, and just couldn't express how cool it was. I called you on the phone, from the motel. I was DRAINED/exhausted, so tired, but I was excited, and couldn't express to you, how cool it was. All I could say was "It was sooo coool!" I feel about the same way. This has been the most amazing time EVER! I am very thankful for the chance I have to be a full time missionary! I'm not fully 'drained' yet though! I still have a week left in me! :D
 
This week, things went really, really well, and Heavenly Father helped us find some new people to teach! We got to fast (woohooo!) and I felt a boost from it. Fasting is really one of the best things, EVER! Each time I fast, I feel calm, and happy afterwards. It's worth the heartburn. During our fast this Saturday, we met some nice folks, and were able to fix a couple lessons! We also succeeded in contacting a former investigator that we've been looking for, for the past few weeks. We began the fast, left the house, and then IMMEDIATELY found this guy. In-fact, he was the one who found us! He was a bit tipsy, but he was thrilled to see us, and came up to talk with us. We're gonna see him this week, and hopeful we can help him! 

This week went SO FAST. Like really though. It feels like a day has gone by. 'White-washing' a sector isn't very easy, and at first it was a bit slow; but now, we are cruising! I just hope that we can see a few more miracles here before I leave. I will miss Fakarava a lot. I cannot wait to tell you all about this place.

This week, I studied more in the Book of Mormon, and I arrived at 2nd Nephi! WOO HOO!! I have been going really fast, and it has been great to reread the beginning of the book, with all of the end in mind. It has helped me make sense of some of Isaiah's counsel, cited by Nephi, along with large portions of Lehi's dream, and the related interpretations, and revelations that Nephi had (like chapter 15 and 14). Dude, Nephi was the MAN! I read most of that in one sitting. Sometimes I really like reading big chunks to help me see the continuity in the story, and the doctrines taught. Favorite verse thus far : 1 Nephi 13:37

Things are going well here. I got my ticket home today... :\ kinda bitter sweet, but I am SO STOKED to see you all and to catch up! I can't believe its already August. I just cant believe that this is it!

I've seen TONS of other families, with varying degrees of functionality and success, and I can truly say, that I would have no other family than ours! I feel very blessed, and I love you all.

Have a good week.
 
I will see you next Tuesday :)

Hurrah for Israel!

-Brigham

Monday, July 27, 2015

Acre to Acre Contacting

This week was a good one.

We were able to teach about fifteen lessons, and we had some good experiences in doing contacting. Elder Bakow and I did quite a bit of "door to door." The funny thing is, on the far side of the island, "door to door" is more like "acre to acre." The houses are WAY spread apart, so it lets us ride our bikes a lot. On Wednesday, I think we did about 20 miles on our bikes. It was awesome, but it was pretty hot. My trusty blue sunscreen tube has not yet quit on me, but I think I will empty it before too long. (Yes, the trusty blue sunscreen tube that I have had since the MTC!)

"Say NO! to skin cancer!"

This week, I finished the Book of Mormon! I have been re-reading it for a while, and I think I started about a year ago. In the past few weeks, I have been reading it A TON, and on Saturday I was able to finish it. I am really thankful to have been able to read it, and I know that it is TRUE! During this last time reading it, I have felt over and over, the peace and the joy of knowing that it is TRUE! As I finished it this time around, I felt so sad for the Nephites, and so sad for Moroni and Mormon. I was really into the book this time, and I really felt sad for them. I felt the Spirit, and this time instead of asking if it was true, I knelt in prayer, and thanked Heavenly Father for letting me know that it is true. I am thankful for the Book of Mormon. After having finished it, we went and talked to an investigator, and I gave him a Book of Mormon. Having just received more spiritual confirmation that it is TRUE, it was easy to share, and I felt happy doing so. I wish that EVERYONE would read it, and feel what I have felt. I feel like Heavenly Father saved this special gift for me, at the end of my mission.

This week, I have thought a lot about the techniques that Satan uses to try and deceive us. As I read the book of Mormon, I have noticed the word 'Law' come up a lot. God has given us His laws, and he expects us to respect them. Thanks to the light of Christ, we all know when we do what it wrong, and the Laws of God really should match right up with what we feel is right. Satan tries to put out the light of Christ in us, and tell us that disobedience is the norm. He tries to make us become 'past feeling' as Moroni put it. I think that many people in society today are 'past feeling' and now the majority of society says that certain sins, aren't evil, but are "harmless, normal or even good." "It is normal to sleep with your girlfriend and to break the commandments, it is harmless to use drugs and alcohol, and it is good to criticize and find faults with others." I really have seen more and more of this during the past few weeks, and I hope that I can increase the power of my own 'Light of Christ lamp' to see all of the wrong that Satan says is right.

Helaman 3:29-30 = why I love the Book of Mormon.

Thanks for all of your emails and all of your prayers and love.

I am doing my best out here, and I look forward to seeing you all soon! These are my thoughts for this week.

Have a good week!

-Brigham

Monday, July 20, 2015

Heiva on Kuraora

Hello from Fakarava, or as they would say in Puamotu (the dialect of the Tuamotu's) Kuraora!

This week was a good one. It was not the easiest week ever, but it was a good one. We are still having a bit of slow start, thanks to the Heiva here, but we are doing our best. Heiva is like the big yearly celebration, with dances and sports and competitions. Heiva started here, last Monday, and will continue until the end of this week... EVERYONE and their dog is at Heiva, and when we talk with people, they say we can come by, but "after Heiva." We've had lots of potential investigators, but not a ton of lessons. I hope that it will pick up after this week!

Fakarava, despite the Heiva, is AWESOME. I am very happy to know the people here, and to meet some awesome members. Elder Bakow and I know most of the branch now, and we are working on plans to help re activate the less active members. This Sunday was good, but attendance was like thirty again. Not a whole lot. I think we are more than one hundred members, on paper. Gotta rescue those who aren't coming! Our DMB (dirigeant missionnaire de branche AKA Branch Mission Leader) is awesome! He is a nice man, who served his mission like twenty years ago. He went with us to do some door to door, and he has been a good friend this week. He grew up on this island, and knows EVERYONE. It helps a lot.

One interesting thing about Fakarava, has been the amount of tourists. We see, and chat with Americans, New Zealanders (or ites?), English, German, and French tourists. It has been fun. I ordered some copies of the Books of Mormons (ha! I pluralized it 3 times!) and some pass a long cards in English, just so we can give something to the people who come here. Many people come on yachts, and all they do is read durring the travel. I would love to be able to offer another book for them to read! We'll see how it goes, when the books get here!

Last night, Elder Bakow and I had a cool chance to participate in a family night with our branch president and some other members, and one of our investigators! We taught using the story of Enos. It was fun, and we ate really well afterwards. I think I might have gained a couple Kilos in the last 10 weeks. We'll see though. We ate GOAT and POULET CITRON! Sooooooooooo goood! The goat was made with coconut milk. It was good. After the lesson, and after eating, we talked about fishing. The brother who made the goat is a big time fisherman, and he told us about all his shark encounters and about the time he spent on a Tonier (Tuna fishing boat). Cool man. I told him about ice fishing, and he was amazed. It has been fun to meet other fishermen.

This week, I read lots of general conference talks, during my studies. I spent some time reading the talks from when President Monson was called as the prophet, in 2008. I had thought about it because of the recent passing of Boyd K Packer and L Tom Perry. It made me remember Gordon B Hinkley's passing, and how the organization of the church changed. I wonder who the new apostles will be. I can't wait for conference, just so we can find out, and sustain them!

This P-day has been a nice and calm one. No big stuff going on, and lots of time to read emails and clean the house. This evening we will have a lesson, and an FHE! Sweet! Gonna get a good start on the week! 

I got my itinerary officially today. I can forward a copy of it to you, in-case the mission hasn't already done so. It is weird to see my name on one of these. I saw TONS of them when I was in the office, but NEVER with my name on it. It's a bit eerie, though I am very very excited to see you all! I hope that we can have a good impact here on Fakarava during the next few weeks.   

Thanks again for all your love and prayers. I love you and I pray for you!
In a few weeks, I will pray WITH you! Cool huh! 
Have a good week!

-Brigham

Monday, July 13, 2015

Hello from Fakarava!

Hi everyone! I HAVE INTERNET!!!!

Hello, from FAKARAVA!

Yes, that is the name of my new sector. FAKARAVA is a HUGE atoll, east of Tahiti. There are lots of people here, and it is A LOT like Bora Bora. Lots of big cement roads, and even one road with asphalt! I think that there are near 1000 inhabitants on the island, but I am not sure. Either way, it is HUGE here. According to our Branch President, it takes around two hours to cross the lagoon.... by boat. A tour of the island is not feasible, and would take several hours. Our Branch President is a great man! He is 28, and has showed us around the island, and helped us meet some investigators and members of the branch. There are probably around one hundred members here, but the total [attendance] yesterday was about 30... we have some work to do!

Elder Bakow and I left Hikueru on Thursday, and spent all day Friday in Papeete. We got to see the Joneses and the Caldwells (I love both of these couples!) and we got all the things ready for Fakarava. Elder Bakow is still my companion, and we are re-opening this area. It has been about ten years since the island had young missionaries, and there have been a few senior couples serve here in the interim. I'm glad to stay with Elder Bakow, he is a good friend, and I am happy that I don't need to worry about meeting and learning to work with another companion; Just land on Fakarava and GO! We landed here on Saturday morning, and we have been walking a lot. Hopefully the mission will be able to send my bike over. It might not be feasible because the boat from Hikueru is still arriving at Papeete. Then the boat coming here (once a week, phew!) will take a few days, and by then, it might be time to put it back on the boat with my luggage to go home! :P We will see though. 

When we landed in Papeete, Thursday evening, I looked out the window, and saw all the cars and all the people, I thought, WOW It's like I'm back in LA! Hahha! There were probably less than ten cars on Hikueru... 

While in Papeete we were also able to go to the temple! That was a very special opportunity, and I was thrilled to go. I love the temple.

This Sunday, we were given all of the sacrament meeting! We taught Sunday school too! :D This is gonna be a blast! It was a fun chance to talk and to meet everybody.

Thanks for all your support and all the prayers. I feel lucky to have such a cool family, and such a cool mission. I want to finish strong.

As far as pictures go... I think I will just save them for next month. My camera is still kaput, and I will just bring home some copies of Bakow's pictures. I'll show you, and tell you all about it.

I can not believe that things are going this fast. I cant believe it.

Know that I love you all!

Have a good week!

-Brigham
Sent by Elder Bakow, "We are happy to have a computer again, I'll try to send you a couple of our favorite pictures."
Photo Credit: Elder Larsen :)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Jour du Sabbat, Jour du Bateau

Hi everybody!!

This has been a good week. We have taught tons of lessons, but almost all of them have been with members ( less active or new converts). We are getting ready to leave Hikueru, and we are going to miss it. The members here are bummed that the missionaries are leaving. It has been a special stay here. I still don't know where I'm going but I'll let you know next week I imagine.

This week, we had some good experiences, and we did some fun service projects. On Tuesday we chopped coconuts for coporah and on Monday we got to work on the little cabin I told you about. Today our friend showed us his bee hives :) He just got them off the boat from Makemo, and they hope to be producing their first batch of Hikueru honey in August. So cool! He and his wife have been our best friends here and they are always so helpful and kind. I have been taught by their example. They are striving to be autonome (self reliant) in a system that caters to the hupehupe ( lazy in Tahitian). Someday I hope that I could taste their Tuamotu honey.

Yesterday was another boat day and we were at the dock (along with the whole population) for several hours just to get our bikes on the boat to go to Papeete. Its funny how talking with elder Bakow, we often refer to Papeete as home. Its like HQ or home base I guess. We got them taken care of, and also managed to get a few lessons in. Luckily the branch had their Sacrament meeting at like six AM, so the sabbath wasn't completely worldly... in french there's a song "jour du Sabbat, jour du Pere" (Sabbath day, day of the Father) and Elder Bakow and I like singing "jour du Sabbat, jour du bateau" (Sabbath day, day of the boat). It fits like perfectly in the french hymn. Too bad that the boat lands so often on Sunday.

Also yesterday, we ate with the Govenor of Hikueru :) who is also a member; he had us over to meet the men from Papeete who are working on the airport and city maintenance. They were really nice men, and were very French. Two of them were from Bordeau. It is fun meeting new people. After our conversation, I shared Jeremy 1:5 and talked about our divine potential. Its probably the first time they've actually heard and conversed with a " mormon missionary " and I hope that they will be happy to talk with and meet other missionaries in the future. I have the hymn in my head "Nous semmons tous des semences" but I can't remember the words in English. Its about sewing seeds, and I really like it. Its kinda odd how much I've mentioned the french hymns today.... I really appreciate them.

This has been a good week. I don't have too much too say other than "I love you, and I am doing well." I cant believe that I have only a month or so to go. I just gotta do my best and look forward to seeing you again! I pray for you all.

I love you! Have a good week!

-Brigham

Monday, June 29, 2015

Baptism in the Ocean and a Mystery Month to Finish

Dear Family, 

Hi everybody!

This was a good week. We didn't have a lot of lessons, but we did have two baptisms. I got to baptize in the ocean. It was a special experience. The baptismal service was a big success, and yesterday during the confirmations I felt the Spirit very strongly. It was awesome :) I'll have to tell you more about it and show you pictures of it when I get back. I am very happy for and proud of our amis. Oh and Heavenly Father answered our prayers with LOVELY weather :D

Sad news is my trusty camera literally gave up the ghost right after the baptism. I don't know what happened to the camera, but it just quit turning on.... bummer, but it is just a thing. It wasn't wet, and I didn't drop it either... not sure why it decided to quit on me. At least elder Bakow has a good camera, and I can just copy his photos for the next six weeks :) Thanks for the camera though, it has been the best ever. It lasted like two years exactly. For a factory refurb I think we scored :)

We found out last week that we will likely be going back to Papeete the 09 July. This means that we have one week and a half left here on Hikueru, and then I will finish my mission by spending a month somewhere else. I don't know where we will be going at the transfer, but like you said Dad, I am not sure that I care too much about it. I have complete confidence in President and I am willing to go and do whatever he'd like me to do.  Even if it means being a junior companion in Heiri again (but I don't think that will be where I go seeing as it's a sister's sector now ). Hiva Oa would be awesome but we'll see.

This week, I read some talks from Elder Pearson and from President Monson. They are my heroes. I read a President Monson talk from the Priesthood session of conference, and I remembered that feeling of being with Thousands of priesthood holders. I love general conference and everything about it. I got goosebumps just thinking about it. I'd like to watch conference with you all when I'm back.

This week I also started my third and final mission journal!! The green and brown ones are full and now I'm on the white one. Thanks for getting me the journals. I have really enjoyed being able to read about what I did a year ago, and now two years ago. As of today I am also on my last missionary six week planner :O it's weird to think about. I prefer not to. I just need to do my best. I hope that I will be able to keep up with journals in college.

Today we helped some of our friends build a little tin roof house :D It is a lot harder to punch the galvanized self sealing steel roofing nails in than it looks like. We worked with them for about six hours... I am thoroughly pooped. I am looking forward to seeing the little cabin finished.

These are my thoughts for today. I still love being a missionary!

Thanks for all of the prayers and support. I love you all! Have a good week! 

-Brigham

Monday, June 22, 2015

Record Church Attendance and the Light Speed Translator

Ia orana!

Hi everybody!

This week has been a good one, and it went by really fast!
 
We started this week, with a Tuesday that was filled with lessons. We were able to teach about 17 lessons with investigators, and 13 or 14 with new or non active members. Teaching the less active members and the new converts has been really fun. I love the people here!

This week, we had 58 people at church! Woohoo! New record for us! We had five investigators, and some of their children. We were super happy about that yesterday. At the chapel, we watched the broadcast from elder Cook, about the sabbath day. It was all in Tahitian (when it was in Papeete, and I saw it live, it was in English :D). The translators speak SO FAST! They say all of the phrases in Tahitian, as the speaker says the untranslated phrase in English. BUT big and complex thoughts in English take a lot less time to clearly state than in Tahitian. That means that in order to keep the same time limit as an English speaker, the Tahitian speaker must either dumb down or simplify all the comments, or speak at WARP SPEED! I think that the translator did a bit of both. The talks aren't simplified too much, so the speaker has to speak VERY VERY fast. It was cool to hear. He spoke CLEAR and crisp Tahitian, but spoke faster than you will ever hear it spoken in french Polynesia. I was blown away.

This week, Elder Bakow and I ate some weird crab thing. It's fermented crushed crabs and little crustaceans in some sort of white paste that we ate on coconut bread. Its like island sauerkraut. The coconut bread was made not with the normal white flesh of the coconut, but it was made with what they call nou-nou (you let the coconut sprout, and then cut it open and cultivate the heart of the sprout, it is white and spongy and sugary!). In the Tuamotus they make bread using it and they call it feraua nou-nou. Anyways, it was way good. I thought I'd tell you about it. The crab gunk was alright, but the bread was amazing, and together, it was good.

This week, one of our few precious investigators took the plane with her husband to go to Tahiti, and they wont be back for another week. They left to Papeete to get married!!! WOOHOO!! Our investigator will likely be baptized here when they get back. We fixed her baptism for the fourth or July! We called it Independence day (not American Independence, but independence and liberty from sin! :D ) We are super stoked for them. The cool thing is, that I know their family very well. The husband of our investigator, he is from my old sector. I did Skye at his sister's family's house on Christmas and Mothers Day. SO anyway, it has been cool to teach this family, and I just hope and pray that all goes well for their marriage, and that she will be ready to be baptized on the fourth!

This week we should have two baptisms. We are having some interesting challenges coming up with the family of one of our investigators though. I hope and pray that all goes well, and that our ami will be alright.  Our other investigator is a seventy eight year old angel! She is so nice, and teaching her has been so fun! She speaks ONLY Tahitian, and we have been teaching with her member son-in-law with us. He helps us when we mess up or don't clearly teach a principle, and he is a way good translator. He calls us Kolipoki! It has been fun teaching with him. His mother in law is sooo cool! We are just praying that the lagoon is nice and calm, and warm for her Saturday baptism! :D

This week I am studying the atonement.  I have started by studying several words like LAW. I was interested by it in Alma 42, and I have been looking at its use in passages all over the scriptures. When prophets use the word law, they often speak of redemption or intercession too. The plan of redemption. I had a cool insight about what intercession means, and why Jesus gave the intercessory prayer. I'm still studying that. Last night we had a great lesson with a less active family. We talked about the atonement, and I felt the Spirit really strongly. I KNOW that Jesus loves me, and all of us, and that is what makes this whole thing real, and right! I know that He is our Savior, and that we can have joy through Him.

I read about fifteen chapters in the book of Mormon this last weekend, and my goal is to get through all of Helaman in the next week or so. I love the book of Mormon! When you read the war chapters in one sitting, it is AWESOME! The story is easy to follow, and you realize what a looooozer Amalickiah was. WICKED dude. Moroni is the coolest guy ever! I love the Book of Mormon. Elder Pearson promised us that if we read it everyday, we will never feel doubt, and we will be protected. He said if we read it everyday, we will never fall! I was impressed by that promise, about a year and a half ago, and I want to put it to the test!

These are my thoughts for this week!  Thanks for all your love, and for writing to me! I loved all the emails that I got this week and last week. Thanks for everything! I am doing well here, and I am doing my best. I know that the Church is true, and I am so thankful to be a missionary.

Have a good week!

-Brigham

Monday, June 15, 2015

What You've Chosen is At Hand

Hi all!

This has been a good week. Elder Bakow and I taught many lessons, and we fixed a couple of baptisms. One elderly lady accepted to be baptized, she is 78. She is excited about the baptism and she gave up her coffee. :D She was really touched by a priesthood blessing that we gave her, and now she wants to join the church. Her Children are mostly members. It would be awesome if they make it to the temple! 

This week, I had some good studies. We have so much more time to study here  than I did in Papeete. We have all of the past several general conferences as mp3s on the phone and it is great being able to listen to them every morning.  Today I'm listening to the talk "Which way do you face?" Lynn G Robbins is such a cool guy. Yesterday I listened to Elder Oaks talk from the April conference. All of the talks are good, and the more you study them the better they get. During my studies I read Alma 40 - 42 . I never realized how much deep doctrine is in the book of Mormon. 

This P-day isn't the most exciting one, but Elder Bakow and I are having a good time. He is such a good friend. The most exciting part of P-day is seeing your emails! 

This morning we did some laundry and we ate with a nice member family here. The member lady who fed us is so kind. We are starting to work with and teach some of the members of her family. I really hope that they will become an eternal family. We are so lucky to have an eternal family. Actually I think that we are blessed too (not just  lucky) because both of you, Mom and Dad, used your agency well. This week I thought a lot about the Spock quote  "What you want is irrelevant. What you have chosen is at hand." A lot of people want to have an eternal family BUT what they presently want has little influence on the developing consequences of their past choices. What they have already chosen can stop them from getting the blessings they deserve or desire . But because Heavenly Father is a good and merciful God, he can make miracles happen. I love seeing those miracles. God is good. We can't change the past but we can change our future! 

To answer your question, the electricity for the island is generated by one big diesel generator.  It gets a monthly load of fuel from the the boat. If it fails.... camping woo-hoo!  The Internet at church is non existent so we found a way to use our phone at the post office.  Kinda spendy to use their Wi-Fi.

Have a good week! 
 
I don't think that I'll be able to reply to all my mails today,  but just know that I am happy and doing well, and I love you all!

- Brigham

Oh and I forgot!  Dad, I have a fishing report for you, but it's not my own. My friend and his wife just caught what could be a record wahoo. It weighs like 66 kilos. Because they know that I'm into fishing they called us and we saw them with it at the docks. I  have pics of it. I'll show you in a month or two. Crazy cool fish. It's about my height. They are verifying the fish for the record. Pretty cool. I still think that Csilla's fish was cooler.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Improved Tahitian and Laundry Semi-Automatique

Hi all!

This was a great week!

Things are going by really fast. I thought that things would be a bit slower, or would go by slower, at least; now that I am out of Papeete and the Office. Dang, I was wrong. Time is going by so fast.

This P-day was fun! We went with a member family to a motu (a little piece of the atoll). While we were there, we explored, drank coconuts, and took lots of pictures! Again, I have not succeeded yet in sending pictures, but that might just have to wait for two months. It was a good way to spend the P-day, and a good way to get to know this family. Once we got back, Elder Bakow and I spent like two hours washing laundry. We are lucky to have a laundry machine! The machine is kinda semi-automatique. It is a big drum that you put the clothes into, and pour the soap and water in with buckets. We just use some of the precious water from the cisterns. When the drum is full, you turn the machine on and the drum just spins and spins, until you call it good. Then you can take it out and rinse it by hand, or scrub it again, or  you can put it in the spinner (another drum, really small and made of plastic). The spinner gets the clothes drier , before they go on the line. Washing a full load takes a long time and is a full team effort. Lots of water to get from the cistern, lots of drying in little batches, and lots of hanging. It makes me really appreciate having the fancy machines at home.

This week, we had some ups and downs with our investigators. We managed to find a few new people to teach, but one of our amis is having a rough time with the word of wisdom. They all are actually. That is probably the hardest commandment for people to keep here. I am so blessed to not have a problem with that. Thanks Mom and Dad. We fasted with a wonderful family this week, and I am just so lucky and pleased to know these people. We fasted to help our friend be able to overcome some of his dependences. I love these people.

This week, we taught many many lessons to less active members of the church, and then Sunday was like payday! We had three or four families come to sacrement meeting as well as two of our investigators! Wooohoo! I think we were at forty five! New record (for Elder Bakow and I). I think the normal here is about thirty or so. Yeah. It is really small. We even got to teach our gospel doctrines class! WOOO HOOO! Best Sunday ever!

This week, we were also able to give a blessing to an elderly woman on the island. I think she is a little older than 80, and she was really sick. We gave her a blessing, and she was really touched. She's a life long Catholic, but her daughter is a member of the branch. After we gave her the blessing, she regained her health and she was really touched! We were super stoked, and she's accepted us to come back to talk about the Gospel! :D Giving blessings has been a special, and unique experience on my mission. My Tahitian is getting a lot better, between elder Bakow and I; we do alright. We've taught SO much in Tahitian. I just feel blessed to be understood, and to understand.

In short, I am doing well, and I am happy to be here. I'm not sure how long we will be here, or what the plans are (its kind of nice not being in the loop :D ) but I just feel lucky to be here with these nice people.

Dad, I got your picture [of a large trout Mom caught -ed]. WOW! DUDE NO WAY! That is awesome. I am going to find a way to show that to our amis. They always ask about fish at home :D SEVEN POUNDS! SO COOL!

The guy we fasted with gave us a filet of tuna that is probably about the same size of mom's fish. :D
Tuna steaks for breakfast!
hehehe

Thanks for all your love, prayers, and support!

Have a good week

-Elder Larsen

Monday, June 1, 2015

E-mail Sent from Weak Post Office Wi-Fi :P

Hi all!
This week has been a good one. Elder Bakow and I had about twenty five lessons this week ( 10 With less active members ). We were stoked. We fixed a baptismal date with one of our amis, and we even found some new people. We've talked with like everyone on the whole island. And almost everyone has let us come share a message.  Yesterday we met the pastor of the local Catholic church, and we got to know him. Nice dude. He told us about the island back in the day, when pearl and mother of pearl were Huge here. He worked with lots of people who came from all over the world.  Even Japan.  Apparently a huge storm came and killed the industry here, when it wiped out the lagoon. Sad stuff.

This week, we had THE boat come. Only one boat came this month . A mid-sized cargo ship. Because of the boat's late arrival,  (it came Sunday,  but was supposed to come Saturday ) the whole island was at the docks instead of being at church. Our branch's sacrament meeting was held at six PM after the boat had gone. If you miss the boat, there's no red meat and you can't get your stuff from Papeete. So we spent all of Sunday morning at the dock with the whole branch. On the bright side, we got our bikes and laundry soap! :)

Today's P-day was relaxed. We took some food photos that I'll have to show you later. We found some cool crabs, and we helped a friend understand the instructions for his appliance which came on the boat. I don't have much time to write, but thank you all for the e-mails and for the prayers. I love you all!!! I was happy to hear from you all, about graduation and fishing, and about all the adventures in your lives. Know that I love you, and I look forward to seeing you all again. It is getting closer and closer but I don't know if I can be excited for that day or not. I just want to do my best as a missionary and though I don't want to finish it will be so nice to be with you!

Have a good week!

-Brigham

Monday, May 25, 2015

Hello All From Hikueru

Dear Mom and Dad,

Woohoo!
I am in Hikueru and the Internet is like NON existent. You would be surprised. Ive been waiting for about ten minutes just to get the myldsmail page loaded, and so I typed this letter first on notepad, as the page came up, then I copied and pasted it. I wish I could show you it.

Things are so awesome here! We got here on Thursday, as Eulalia was graduating! I really enjoyed being in the plane, and looking out the window like a little boy :D We went direct from Papeete to Hikueru. It is a flight of about 90 minutes, and includes a complimentary Moorea Pineapple juice drink :D I will have to show you the pictures when I get home. I don't think that we will be able to send any pictures from the Hikueru chapel. We shall see though.

You would not believe how beautiful it is here! We got off the plane, and we had to take a boat from the airport to the main island (the airport is situated on what is called a MOTU, or little island next to the main island) The atoll (Hikueru) is actually a partially submerged doughnut. The 'city' or village, is situated on the biggest piece of the 'doughnut' which is above water; and the airport motu is across the lagoon from the village island. As of today, there are actually about one hundred and twenty people, and they all live on the piece with the village on it. I think Elder Bakow and I have talked to like all of them. (almost)

The branch has 90 or so members on paper (but only like thirty people came to church, and I think that there are a lot less than the full ninety here). Everyone here is either 'Mormon' Or Catholic. There is one very old Catholic church, it is the only church building besides our chapel. EVERYONE here has accepted to talk to us, and EVERYONE here is so nice. I am really just blown away by the nice Tuamotu (Puamotu is how they say it) people.

Sunday was an adventure, and we were able to see the branch in action. The branch has a lot of potential, and lots of part member families. I hope we will get some baptisms!

To answer your questions, yes we have a functioning cell phone (I don't know if there are any land lines here), yes we take bucket showers (wooohooo! Its like hiking!), and we do have a working toilet (not like hiking :D ). The water is not very potable, but we have fresh water that comes in on a boat, one every three weeks or so. We also have a water filter (woohoo! still like hiking! :D ) and we do the laundry with the non potable cistern water.

I am having a blast, and I am soooo happy to be here. Yes, we eat, and we eat well! The members of the branch take turns feeding us. They are soo nice to us, and they were stoked to have missionaries. The last time that they had young elders (the only other time) was like in the nineties, and they really really are happy to have us. There are about fourteen families, and so one each family feeds us twice a month. We eat fish (fried, or boiled) as the main course, rice, and raw fish (as the 'salad' or desert :D) I am in heaven!

Really though, I LOVE IT HERE!

Today, we went fishing with the man who brought us from the airport to the village, and we got to know him and his wife. VERY nice people. Lesson fixed for tomorrow. :D
And we got to go fishing :D
This is an adventure,
AND I LOVE IT!!

I am happy to be a 'real missionary' again. We have already had some super teaching moments, and I have felt the Holy Ghost guide us in teaching several times. I just want to do the best that I can, and I know that Elder Bakow and I will be able to do good things here. He is such a good guy.

Thanks for all of your love, and for all that you do! I feel like time is flying. I still can't wait to see you again, and to tell you all about the mission adventures.

Have a good week everyone! and thank you for the prayers. Know that I am doing well, and that I love you!

-Brigham

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Transferred to Hikueru

OK, so it is officially transfer week, and I AM TRANSFERED!! wooo hooo!

It is good news.  Elder Bakow and I will be going to Hikueru (in the far end of the Tuamotus) ON THURSDAY!! Woooo hooo! I have my ticket and everything

Hikueru is an itty bitty island. Its an atol.

AND yes mom, there is internet. We're making sure that we'll be able to e-mail you!

A missionary couple just finished there, and we will be going to wrap up their work, and hopefully to have some baptisms, and help the small branch. There are about forty members there, and one hundred and fifty inhabitants. This will be way way different than anywhere else I have ever gone.... wow.  This is gonna be awesome!

This has been a hectic week, but I am soooo soooo sooo happy. Like really. This has been the best P-day in like 9 months. I am sooo sooo sooo stoked to serve with Elder Bakow. He is a very consacrated good guy, and I know that we can do awesome together.

Boooyah.

So, This week, I was able to get some study time in, despite all the preparations for the transfers. I read about the power of the priesthood, and I have reviewed the book of Hebrews. Unfortunately, I find that Heb 5:4 isn't' like 1000% clear for use in lessons; especially when in verse 1 the French guys use the word souverain sacrificateur, all "powerful sacrificer", which is not the same as the phrasing 'High Priest' in English. Its harder to make the connection: High Priest --> Priesthood

I'd like to know more about the etymology of the word Pretrise in French. Pret means preist, but Im not sure what the origin of the word pretrise is. Its not really found in the bible. But the English word, priesthood is. Neh 13:29 French says sacerdoce.... Interesting. We no longer use the word sacerdoce in french, at church. We always say pretrise.

Anyways, so Heb 5:4 is like the best scripture mastery about the priesthood, and I have always been a bit reluctant to use it, because the verses next to it talk of sacrifice for sins and are not quick and clear to share (the french version reads less simply than the English version too).
So as I studied the rest of the book of Hebrews, I realized that it is really like a big essay, written by Paul, about the order of the priesthood. I have been mulling it over for a while, and the more I study, the more it makes sense, and the more I am thankful for the Latter day Saint explication. Understanding the order of the priesthood, (Aaron and Melchizedek; and worthiness, and faith, and service) thanks to the teachings of this dispensations prophets, makes reading the book of Hebrews much much clearer. Paul talked a lot about Levites, and Melchizedek, and I really want to devote more time to better catch what there is to share in this book. It has been a good study. And I enjoy seeing the bible support true doctrine :D

This week I was also able to study many conference talks. We are blessed to have a phone which can support the LDS library application, and reading by subject is SO FAST. I  can find Liahona articles and General Conference talks soooooo fast, and it is like the TG and BD on steroids. We had a special broadcast this Sunday, about the sabbath day. It was a regional stake conference, with Elder Hamula, sister Barton, and Elder Cook! As Elder Cook talked, he mentioned French Polynesia several times, and as Sister Barton talked, I was able to find, annotate, and bookmark the prophetic quotes and Liahona articles she was sharing in her talk. It was sooo cool. I can re study her talk about Sabbath day observance over again, and keep learning. I am happy to be a member of the church today. Today is a day of light.

So this is becoming a big letter... Oops. We are at the Caldwell's apartment doing our emails. They are such a nice couple, from Montana/Midway Utah. They were at BYU-I. Anyway, they have English keyboards!!! :D

I love you all my family! Congratulations Eulalia for graduating!!! I will be in the air, and on a litte island Thursday. I would love to be in the the Holt Arena with you, but I will take the Tuamotus instead.

I will write next week, and if there is any problems with internet, just know that I love you.  I am happy to be your son, and I know that things will work out. I am soo happy to serve, and I am excited to be able to participate in this little project at the branch of Hikueru. I am doing well.

Have a good week!!

-Brigham
A good investigator friend. We ate with him last night, and Heavenly Father gave us the tender mercy of being able to have Elder White fly in just before hand. Elder White and I (who had taught him) got to go have a goodbye with him. His baptism and marriage is this weekend. so cool!
Last night's call in report.The LAST ONE for me!!! Whooooohooo! Elder Tematahotoa (from FAAA) is replacing me.  We were three APs yesterday, and it was fun. He and Lee Chip Sao will be a good team, and I am happy for them.

Monday, May 4, 2015

I Want to Finish Strong and Be the Best That I Can Be

Hi all!

This has been a good, but FAST week. We finished our Zone Conferences! Wooohooo! And we had some great proselyting experiences this weekend. It was nice to spend ALL day Sunday in the sector (after church that is). It seems like yesterday that I wrote e-mails. Things are really really going fast.

This week, Elder Lee Chip Sao's brother came home from his mission, and President gave us permission to go see him arrive at the airport. It was neat to see him get off the plane in his suit and tag, and it was kinda weird to imagine that one day I might get off a plane in SLC...Naw, that will never happen. 

This week, we were able to see many mission friends in other zones, because of the conferences. I will send a pic or two. I did a lot of driving this week, and I am happy that the conferences are over. Its kind of funny though, all the driving here is nothing next to driving back home. The island is not that big, and doing the tour of the island takes less than two hours. It's like taking a trip to Grandma's house (except that we go at 60 kph, instead of 75 mph) 

Yesterday, we were able to teach six lessons. After church got out, we were still fasting, and during our fast, we had some cool miracles happen. We found several new investigators, and we were able to fix two baptisms! We taught a lesson in Tahitian with an elderly man. It went really well, and I was thrilled to be able to talk about the restoration in Tahitian. There are some hard concepts to clearly express, but our Ward Mission Leader was with us, and he really helped us too. He is from Rurutu (in the Australles). His Tahitian is the best.

It's been officially 8 months that I have been here in Papeete. I just can not believe how fast things are going. I am blown away. My mission has been the most rewarding and challenging thing that I have ever done. I just want to finish strong and be the best that I can be!!

Sorry my thoughts are kind of scattered. I am a little tired, and I think I might to take a nap after e-mails. I got my hair cut, and did some laundry today, and I found TONS of ants in my closet..... The ants are sooooo fast here. Having all the shirts and towels covered in ants makes for an itchy day. "They're everywhere!!!" Hehehehe. I got them all I think. I just have a few bites on my arms. My laundry should be done soon.

These are my thoughts for today. I love you all! Thanks for all the e-mails and for all your love and support.

Have a good week, and I will see you on Sunday!!!!

-Brigham

PS  Oh and mom, Elder Bednar is my HERO! He is soo cool :D  I'm glad that you got to go to Women's Conference!
Zone conference in Paea

My companion and his brother!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Joseph Was Prepared

Hi all!

This has been a good week. I sent some photos of our zone activity! We went on a big hike (the same place that I went with Elder Taylor one time, but we went all the way, about two or three times farther than we’d gone before). We invited President, and he came: D and we had a blast.

This week we had zone conferences!! This went well, and I was happy that we were able to do our zone conferences. We are about half way through and so we will be able to visit all the other zones this week. It has been fun to see all of my MTC buddies again, and to give training's to the new missionaries. I had a special opportunity to have an interview with President, It was a good experience. I am so lucky to work with him! I look up to him.

This week, my companion and I had the chance to talk in our sacrament program! It went well. I talked about Joseph Smith, and my companion talked about the organization of the church today. He is a really good speaker, and gave a good talk. My talk went alright. I am just happy that I had the chance to study for it. I read a bit in one of the institute church history manuals about how Joseph Smith was prepared by Heavenly Father, to be the prophet. During my studying, I read that Joseph actually received many many visits from Moroni, and other angelic BoM heroes. It was cool. I really enjoyed reading JSH and as I did, I felt a confidence, and a happy feeling, that I know that he was really a prophet, and that I know the Church is true, even if I didn’t see him in the forest or see him receive the priesthood. I felt that it was an answer to my prayers; I had prayed, not long ago, for a better confirmation of this truth, and I think that Heavenly Father let me have a talk in church, so that I would have the confirmation that I was seeking. Pretty neat.

This weekend, we had a great lesson with our new WML. We taught an elderly Tahitian man about baptism, and we taught using Matthews account of Jesus’ Baptism. The man, who is protestant, was STUNNED by the fact that Jesus was baptized by immersion, and then, in Tahitian (WHICH I UNDERSTOOD!!!) He began expressing how happy he was to hear what we had to say, and then our DMP kept teaching really powerfully in Tahitian. At the end of the lesson, he accepted to be baptized, and was eager to learn more about the Church. It was one of the most singular lessons I have had on my mission. In seconds, this man’s faith was rocked, and he felt happy and confident hearing the message. It was a good lesson, and a neat experience.   

Also this week, I ATE fafaru again, and it wasn’t so bad. I am telling you guys, raw tuna has really been growing on me.

These are my thoughts mostly for this week. We don’t have a lot of time, because the center where we are doing mails today will close in a few minutes. Just know that I love you all and that I am happy that you are my family! I feel lucky to be your son/brother. Have a good week!!!!

-Brigham
Elder Gilson. I love Elder Gilson

A WATERFALL!

Me and the river in the bottom of the valley

A picture of the zone of Papeete, with President

Monday, April 20, 2015

Lawn Mowing Syndrome

Hi, Everyone.

That is awesome to hear about Cody and Keaton. I hope to see them when I get back.

This has been a good week. We were able to teach 16 lessons! (woohooo!) and we've been busy getting ready for our upcoming zone conferences. This next week and a half will be loaded, but I really enjoy zone conferences. 

This week, not a lot exciting took place, besides our monthly Leadership Council, and the fact that I GOT YOUR PACKAGE!!! :D Thank you soo much! The pants fit perfectly, as do socks and shirts. Thank you thank you thank you! 

As far as the Leadership Council goes, we had a good meeting, and President was happy with our presentation. We prepared a statistical report about where the mission is (in regard to where we where at this time last year, and where we should be according to our objectives). It worked out pretty well, and we had a good meeting. I really like it when President Talks, and he has a very good knowledge of the Bible. When I get transferred, I will miss his trainings, and I will miss working with him.

This week, elder Lee Chip Sao and I were able to fast too. Fasting has been rough for me on my mission, but I see the blessings that come when I do. While we were fasting, I was able to read a bunch in the Book of Mormon. I'm currently in Alma. I love the Book of Mormon.

I don't have a lot on my mind, other than the preparations for tomorrows conference. Being a regular missionary will be nice soon. I know that things will work out, I'm just having 'lawn mowing' syndrome. I don't know if you remember that (Mom and Dad) but you always said the hardest part about most things, is just getting started. The hardest thing about mowing the lawn, was always just getting started. I think that has been the story of my life so far. I just need to lose worry about getting started. Conferences will be fine. I just need to finish the preparations. And then I just need them to start.

I love you my family! I miss you, but I know that I will see you soon! Mothers day is coming up, and I think I will be on Tahiti for it (as in not transferred... yet). I hope to Skye! The same family that we Skyped at for Christmas, would be fine if we did Mothers Day Skye. I will confirm details.

Have a good week!!!

-Brigham
With one of my buddies from my last sector! He got baptized not too long ago!

This one is kind of random. I thought the brand of the gas here was funny. Gazi.... :P You can see it marked on one of the tanks.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Brief Note with Pictures

This has been a good week! We had a transfer, shout hooray! AND A BAPTISM!!! And my companion got to baptize an investigator from his old sector. Wooohooo!

This was a full, but fun week.
 
We taught only eight lessons, but we were super super busy because of the transfer. This transfer involved almost only people in the islands, so we were at the airport many many times this week.

I am SO HAPPY to hear about Kendall's endowment and sealing! That is SOOO COOL! I am so happy for him and Annie.

I think we will be off soon to do some shopping, but just know that I love you all.

I need to go help the office couple with Excel.  I will be back.

-Elder Larsen
Conference in the High Council Room

EASTER EGGS!!! (We didn't have real dye, but elder Bakow's mom send some q-tips made for painting Easter eggs.) It was fun and silly.

Baptism and Marriage
(Old Friends of Elder Lee Chip Sao, they got baptized in a neighboring stake, and we got to see their marriage and my companion got to baptize. )  It was awesome.


Elder LCS Friends' Baptism

Some missionary friends on transfer day!

Our baptism this weekend! (We had a baptism shout hooray!)

This morning's hike/walk to the top of the hill.
We went with our buddies Elders Bakow and Gilson who live with us.

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Airport, the ER, and the Office

Hello everybody!

This has been a good week. Things have been really busy, thanks to transfers, but it will all be over on Thursday. Whew. I have been so tired, but the conference was a good break.

Today has been an interesting P-day, too. We've been to the ER, to the airport, and in the office, and I am not sure what we'll be able to do today. Its good though. Gotta see some missionary buddies at the airport, and I will go eat a good lunch soon. DON'T worry, the ER was not for myself. The hospital is very close, and we go often, to give blessings, or to take sick missionaries there.

This week, I have felt more and more demand for my time, and it's been interesting. I love being here, and I love all the chances that my companion and I have to serve, and to work, but it is good sometimes to have a P-day. :D 

This week, we should have a baptism! We started teaching this investigator about one month ago, and he was really prepared. I am stoked. 

We are going to go eat.

I am doing well.

I love you all!

-Brigham

Monday, March 30, 2015

Saying Goodbye

Hi, Mom!

Thanks for sending the package! I will probably see it in a month. :D  Thanks for your e-mail today too! I am glad that Eulalia will be back too.

This P-day, we said goodbye to a big group of missionaries, and to the office staff. The Andersons (office couple), the Bonnets (housing, and bags), and the Warners (medical) all finished today.  :(  It's like saying goodbye to Grandma and Grandpa again, three times over. :(  Things will be a little tight for the next few weeks. There's a new couple in the office, and they will get the hang of things soon. They are from here, (not Montana like the Andersons) and it will be a lot different in the office. It's OK though. Change is normal. They are really nice people too. I am glad that I will get to know them!

I'm not sure how much I will be able to write today, but I just want you to know that I love you and I am doing well. I felt the Spirit this week, as we taught, and in doing other aspects of the work. I heard a song this week, called Every Word, from EFY 2010. Yes I know its a cheesy EFY youth song, but I really felt the Spirit as I heard it. I am thankful for good music.

Thanks for being my family and for all that you do! I miss you, but I am doing well.

Have a good week!!! 

-Brigham
District meeting on Saturday, at the makeshift visitors center

Monday, March 23, 2015

Brie, Jambon, and Oeuf Sandwich

Hi, Mom and Dad.
 
Good to hear from you! Thanks for the e-mails.

This week, was a good one. I am TIRED, but good. We went to the airport for a 6 AM New Zealand flight, an Elder who's headed off to his real mission, after having served here for a few months. Afterward, we went to the store and I bought some Brie. Oh man, I love that stuff. I made a Brie (de Carrefour), Jambon (de Paris), and Oeuf (de Papeari :P) sandwich. Oh man. It was good. Ate an orange, and some more cheese to go with it. No toaster means camping style toast. Oooh yeah. Good sandwich.

Its funny how I just realized the only thing I'm talking about is food. I think the sandwich reminded me of breakfast at home. Besides the melty brie. :D

Earlier this week, I was with Elder Hunsaker, Rose, Molinari, Edwards, and Doit, all missionaries from my MTC group. They were at the mission home with us, for our leadership council meeting. It was fun to talk with them. I remembered the MTC, and realized that it has been a while. I can't believe how fast things are going. I can't believe it.

This week's been a full one. I am happy to be here, and I am happy to be a missionary. This week, we spent a lot of time with President. I know that I have such a rare chance to be able to spend so much time with him, and to learn from him.
 
Things have been good here. My testimony has been growing, and I know that the church is true. I am still learning about recognizing the Spirit, and I know that I will never stop learning about how to understand the Spirit, as long as I do my best to listen. This week, I re-read many talks from the last General Conference. It was good, and I just felt happy to be in the church. I know that sometimes people in the church mess up, and that some times (in fact always) people aren't perfect, but I do know that we don't need to be perfect to be a disciple, and that we can all learn at the same time, if we do our best, and if we try to stay on the path of happiness.

This week, a really special event happened.
 
Elder Lee Chip Sao and I found a family. A big one. I was with a returned missionary doing a split, and I stopped to say hi to a guy walking around in the neighborhood. He stopped, and was really nice to us, and then in getting to know him, I discovered that he is a less-active member. We asked him for a visit, and then we came back a few days later. When we came back, he was there, with his non-member wife, and many many members of their family. Some are members, others are not. We taught a way powerful lesson about the nature of God, and the Spirit was there. We went back, and they were ALL THERE, and we taught the plan of salvation, and tonight we are going to teach about the first principles of the gospel. I am happy to have found new investigators, and I really really hope and pray that this family will be willing and eager to follow the example of Jesus Christ. For the less active members of the family, that will mean some coming back, and for the non member members of the family, it could mean making covenants! I am happy and eager for this lesson tonight. :D

Other than that, this week has been very full. It was cool, at one moment, for the first time all week, we had 'dead time'. Then the phone rang. We were driving into the sector to see if there was something we could do. The sisters called, and asked us to give a blessing to their ami. Sweet! We filled the half hour of dead time, then things picked up. I really like it when Heavenly Father helps us use all of our time! It is the best.

Tell Grandma and Grandpa hi for me!
 
I love you guys! Have a good week.

-Brigham

Monday, March 16, 2015

This Week Has Been a Rush

Hello everyone! Thanks for the e-mails! 

This has been a slower P-day. We set up for the Meet the Mormons movie, and we came back so we could write home :D my companion is studying up on his driving code, so he might be able to pass his permit here. It'd be nice if he were driving. I've been off and on the computer, and I am gonna pound out an e-mail now, so that I don't forget, and so that you might read it before it's too late. We're gonna go visit some less active members shortly, and I am excited.

Writing this e-mail is a nice break. Sometimes I get frustrated or tired of all the computer, administrative stuff, and then writing home reminds me of why I am here. I love you all.
 
This week has been a rush (as usual) and I am tired. We had a lot of driving yesterday, taking a missionary to the airport, and picking up and dropping off his replacement. We had several investigators come to church! But we had to go before the 3 hours were over, to do the little transfer. Last night, as we polished up the Sunday night report, President came down, and we discussed together at the office. It is nice with President back, and I really enjoy working with him, and getting to know him. He told us that all the missionaries in Vanuatu are safe, but that we're not sure about much else. The storm was huge, but it isn't headed for Tahiti, and we are much more stable here than they are. The majority of structures couldn't handle a big storm there, but here in Tahiti is much more advanced. I am safe.

This week, I read the Liahona article about Jesus' suffering in the garden, and about how He was sent an angel to comfort him, and help Him. I really liked it, and I think on a mission is one of the times where you receive or notice Heavenly Father's help, and His love like that.

This week, I felt the Spirit very strongly during our District Meeting. A couple from the UK, the Jones, gave the training, and it was really a neat meeting. Elder Jones taught institute for a long time, and his studies are fun. He shares some awesome insights, and some thoughts about scriptures, that I'd never have had. The training was about Lehi's dream, and Elder Jones taught using some insights from Elder Bednar. He talked about 'where are we' on the path, and he used some good scriptures to explain things about the path, and about all of the vision. It was super cool. The more I discover in the Book of Mormon, the more I wish that everyone would read it, and that people would seek to understand it. I feel so lucky to have received a good education when I was smaller, and I feel really lucky to be able to read and write, and understand when I read. It is a gift, and something that I really really want to instill in my kids some day. Teaching is really really hard when people can't communicate, and can't reason, or comprehend reasoning. Thanks Mom and Dad, for always helping me learn, and for treating me like an adult, and talking to us. Thank you for helping us.

This week that is coming, I plan to study more in the Book of Mormon, and I'd like to read my patriarchal blessing again. Some one talked about patriarchal blessings, and related them to the Liahona. I really liked that comparison, and I realized that I need to have faith in the promises found inside, and I need to follow it like the liahona. If I don't have faith, or if I make bad choices, the 'Liahona' might stop working, and I will need to make some course corrections. It was a cool thought.

We had a baptism this Saturday! It was the grandson of our ward mission leader! We teach other members of his family, and it was really a good service. Another brother (taught by the sisters in our ward) got baptised, and his baptism was neat too. Seeing our little investigator (nine years old) get baptized, reminded me of my baptism, and really was a special experience. Our little convert gave a great testimony too! We had talked to him about it, the other day, and he prepared it himself. He said that he knew the Church was truly the true church, and that Jesus showed us the true example of how to be baptised. He remembers sooo much from our lessons. He is soooo smart, and gets the lessons. It has been fun teaching him.

These are my thoughts for this week. Thanks again for loving me. And for everything. I got an e-mail from many of you! Thanks! I love you all so much, and it is nice knowing that you are all there. Have a good week, and thanks for all your prayers. I pray for you all too!

Have a good night! :D
 
-Brigham
Our Little Convert

Me with Elder Hill. I love that guy. We took him to the airport so he can go to Tubuai! 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Hi!

Hi all! Sorry, I didn't get the time after the airport to write. :( President's flight came in late, and we had an FHE last nignt.

Thanks for all the emails this week!  I am happy that you are doing well! 

Sorry if my thoughts are breif.

This week was a good one, and I am happy to be here. We broke my all time AP teaching record again (but this time it was a high, not a low!) We taught 23 lessons to investigators, and we had a great week. Elder Lee Chip Sao teaches really well, and we met some new investigators. One of our new investigators had already stopped smoking, and drinking, and has been prepared to be baptized already. It is like magic when you find someone who already lives the standards, and who accepts the gospel. It is amazing to teach people who've been prepared. The big reason this ami is ready, is because his brother is a member, and he's been with him a lot. His example has made a BIG  difference.

Pday was good! I did a really thorough cleaning of the bathrooom, and then we went a fishing! We have an investigator (the one who fed me mahi mahi and lobster) who just moved out of our sector. We decided to visit him on P-day. We went and fished with him, and he showed us how he fishes for all the little surf fish. It was fun. We got lots of little ones. When we got back, we picked up President from the airport, and then we were busy again. Should have written more before the airport... sorry about that.

Thanks for all your love and support. Thank you for being my family and for taking care of us. 
I don't have lots of time to write. Just know that I love you! I am doing well, and I pray for you all! 
Have a good week, and I will write more next monday!

-Brigham

Monday, March 9, 2015

Off to Pick Up President

Thanks for the e-mail!  Happy to hear from Mom & Dad, and to hear that you are doing well! Sounds like the tandem will get some good use :D

I just got on for a few minutes to check e-mails before we go to the Airport. Gonna pick President up. And, yes, things will be getting very busy. In about 10 minutes when we get there. :D

I will get back on soon.

I went fishing today. Got lots of little fish. :D Ill tell you about it in the bigger e-mail. I love you!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Loving the Book of Mormon More and More

Thanks for the e-mails this week! I am working on the pre-major application you sent for school, so I think that my thoughts will be a bit more brief than long today. Thanks for helping me get all the school stuff set up. You guys are the best.

I am doing well. I am happy to be here, and this last week was a blast. Elder Lee Chip Sao and I are getting along well. He is a nice guy, and knows how to laugh, but work hard too. President has been in the islands, and was at a conference in New Zealand, which means that we've had much more time to spend in our sector! Wooohooo! We taught 20 lessons to investigators, and we found some nice new potential investigators.

I am no longer sick. What ever it was, has passed, and I am healthy. DON'T WORRY.

This week, I studied more in the Book of Mormon. I really enjoyed it, and the more that I read, the more I feel that it is true. I read the end of Mosiah, and started Alma. Wow. There are some stories in there that I am SURE I have read, but I must have forgotten them. Like Alma, fighting with his guards against the rebellious kings (NO WAY! Thats like movie cool) and Nehor, the bad guy. It was cool for me to read these stories again, and I really felt the power in them. Hard to explain. During a lesson on Sunday, we read the words of Mormon with an ami (he's 17 and reads the BoM a lot now). I helped him understand about the records being written and then abridged, and while we read the small chapter, I felt the Spirit and I had goosebumps as I realized that the PRECIOUS records, that had been hidden, passed from king to king, and protected like treasure, were now in my hands. And Mormon had his wish fulfilled. SO cool! Again, hard to explain. I just felt the truth of the Book of Mormon, and I have been loving it more and more.

This week, in church I translated for Elder Warner (a senior Elder, who will be finishing with his wife in about 4 weeks :( ) He bore his testimony and I had a hard time translating the phrase 'how often'... It came out kinda goofy, but it went ok. Translating in church is an adventure, but I like it, and I hope that I will get better :D I can't imaging the ASL translating, THEY NEVER STOP FOR YOU! YIKES ! I look up to you Mom! :D I did, even before you translated, by the way.

This week, Elder Lee Chip Sao has helped me be a better missionary, and I am impressed by his diligence. I don't know how much longer I will be in the office. President said that he is very happy with the changes that I have made, and the things that I have learned while working in the office. He said that being in the office is like training for church service later on. Whether I'll be gone in a transfer, or two, I am still happy to serve. I love being a missionary.

These are my thoughts for today.  I really don't like thinking about university too much, because when I do, YIKES I realize that I will see you too! Don't worry, the P-day BYU stuff is not too big of a distraction, and I am so thankful for your help, and thankful for the fact that I got admitted BEFORE my mission. I just need to do what you said Dad, and hold Jesus' hand, and keep going! 

Thanks for everything. I can not express, how much I love you all, and how much I want the best things for you! I pray for you! Have a good week, and pass my love to the family.

Have a good week!!!!
 
-Brigham

Monday, February 23, 2015

Hello Everybody! A REAL P-DAY!

Hi!

This week was CRAZY fast, and has been a rush. Now it is over, and I have had the best, most relaxing P-day ever! I had a CarreFour Panini and some Orange Fanta for lunch. What more could I ask for? :D

Real Pday is the best :D Got a haircut too! A professional one too, though my hair is a little dolphin dewish  (but the sister that cut it is a member, and gave us cuts for free. so nice)

We ate with the Jones couple last night. GOOD FOOD, and great people.

Thanks for the emails this week!

This week we taught 10 lessons and did a whole bunch of transfer related stuff. We did the tour of the island about 3 times, went to the airport at least 6 times, and I had to say good bye to Elder White... :( That was a sad day. I will miss serving with him, and I loved the time we had as companions. He is really a gentle nice guy, and I hope that he makes Rangiroa go on fire! He will do well, and he will always be a friend. Had a Spock/Captain Kirk moment in the Airport (picture attached). 'You have been, and always shall be, my friend.'

My new companion, Elder Lee Chip Sao, is really a nice, gentle guy as well. He is from Hawaii, lived in the Philippines, and grew up mostly here. He is from my First ward (Heiri!) and I know his whole family pretty well. I dropped Elder White off at the Airport, and then picked Elder Lee Chip Sao up as I dropped all the old returning missionaries home. 

The next day, Thursday was our big Leadership council. I had just gotten over being SICK, and I was still a bit ( a lot ) groggy. It actually went very well though, and I felt the Holy Ghost help me as I taught with Elder Lee Chip Sao. I am glad that the big meetings are over this month, and now we can do some good work in our ward.

I am doing well, and I am happy to be a missionary!

So, these are my thoughts. This week. Sorry again for the lack of letter last week. I just hope that you guys know that I am doing alright, and that I am happy to be here. I miss you! (don't tell anyone) and I love you! I really am excited to one day be able to see you all, and Baby Hannah too :D Should be a fun day. Just gotta keep working for it!

Have a good week!

-Brigham
Elder Lee Chip Sao

The Mission Van

Me With Some Friends

Me With Elder White

Me With Elder Sandstrom (who finished)
He's been a good friend.

Elder LCS

Friday, February 20, 2015

A Quick Note

Hi all
 
I am sending a quick note, sorry I did not get one sent on Monday, or Tuesday, or Wednesday, or yesterday... :/

This has been a busy week,

We got several new missionaries, and I was ill on Tuesday. No fun. Still getting back to normal, non grogginess. I am POOOPED, but I will be fine :) I am happy.

Just know that I am well, and that I love you!

My new companion is elder Lee Chip Sao (I have already done splits with him when I was in Hitiaa)
He is really nice, and I will tell you more about him on Monday.

Things are going well.

-Brigham

Oh, and thanks for all the emails! I will probably print them off so I can read them later.

Monday, February 9, 2015

This Week Has Been a Good One

This e-mail has been typed on a French Keyboard, with the English input settings. Being in the office has helped my no-look typing abilities ;D  (That smiley face isn't supposed to be winking, I  just forgot which key does the colon.)

This week has been a good one. We've had a lot of things going on, with preparations for the upcoming transfer, and with the missionaries getting ready to go home. It will be weird to say goodbye, and then it gets even weirder thinking that I only have six months left on my mission. Yikes.

Thanks for the e-mails! Dad, I think it is pretty cool that you got to see Steve Young, front row and all, even though it wasn't for a football game :P 

Mom, thanks for the e-mail as well. I am doing well, and I am glad to hear about my cousins getting married. It seems so weird thinking about that, but I am happy for them, and I hope that all goes well. 

[This paragraph originally omitted] This week, we did some good lessons, and we had several meetings with President Bize. It looks like I will stay in the office for a while longer, and Elder White will be going to another sector shortly. Elder White and I were a little sad, because of how much fun we have had serving together, but I am happy for him, and I know that the new transfer will just be another chance to learn. I don't know who my next companion will be, or when exactly things will change, but things will work out. I have really enjoyed being with elder White, and I hope to make the best of the remaining time we have as companions. 

This week we also welcomed a new missionary couple to the mission, Elder and Sister Jones, from the UK. The are very gentle people, and I am happy to know them. They are very intelligent, and I think that they will be a big help to the mission. It is amazing how the Lord prepares people to come here, and at the same time, it is amazing how the Lord is preparing people to be taught. Elder and Sister Jones will be helping us in the visitors center, and will be working with President to help youth in the islands. 

This week, Elder White and I had some neat experiences, and looking back, I was happy that Heavenly Father helped us use all our time. We had some lessons fall through Wednesday, I think, and as we began calling our investigator who we'd gone to visit, we met a less active member who was just passing by. We said hi, and got to know him, and it was a good opportunity to fulfill our missionary purpose, even though the lesson had been cancelled. I was happy to meet this man, and I hope that his faith stays strong, and that he will have joy. Even if our little talk was simple, and short, I hope that we gave him an occasion to augment his faith. The sad thing about visiting less practicing members, is that they are often 'less active' because of the actions of another. Elder Bednar's talk "And nothing shall offend them" is an awesome explication of why many people leave their faith, and an encouragement for us as disciples, to go and help them. We should do our best to be good friends, and neighbors, and we should all chose for ourselves to not be offended. A cool talk.

These are my thoughts for today. Again, sorry if they are scrambled or short. I am doing well. I am learning more about myself here, and I am learning about how important it is to help others. I am happy to be a missionary, and I hope to become a more effective one. I love you all. Thanks for being such a good family. I miss you, but I am doing OK. I am a little tired today, but thank goodness that it's a P-day. I just hope that I will do my best, and that my best will be good enough this week.

Have a good week, and know that I love you all! Thanks for all your support, and love, and prayers.

-Brigham

Oh, and sorry, I didn't take many pictures this week. I'll send some next week!