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!


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!


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!

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!