Monday, May 25, 2015

Hello All From Hikueru

Dear Mom and Dad,

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,

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!


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.


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!!

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!!!!


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!