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! 


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!


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!

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!