Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Trust God, Week 8 on Ahe

Dear family,
Thank you so much for the prayers and fasts, the advice and the worries. Also thank you for the emails with all the advice and love. I teared up a lot this morning reading them!
This past week was so much better. We stayed at our own house and did our studies each morning, even our companionship study! Even though it was only about 10 minutes of comp study, it helped a lot. We also taught 22 or 23 lessons and I learned to do some fun stuff from Elder Gruhn, like make taffy candies from coconuts! Also, the Lord continues to provide food for me. There's always something that pops up to eat. I can't wait for the day when I can go to the store where there is bread and fruit for sell. Here there is only crackers and powdered milk. 
Also, the mission said they sent bug spray! I am anxiously awaiting it. I ran out of my own probably halfway through October. That being said, the mosquitoes bite me less because my skin is tan and tough now. But I still get lots of bites on my feet. 
Please keep praying for me. And stay safe. Etc. I hope you all are doing well. Is it Thanksgiving this week? They don't celebrate it here. A scripture I really liked this week is Alma 38:5. In French, the gyst of it is that however much you trust God, he will bless you with the same measure. In French it is quite elegant, I don't know about the English. Haha

Elder Barlow

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Seen some little miracles...

Hi Family,
     The branch here is small, perhaps 80 members with 20 or 30 active. There are not many youth; they are all on Tahiti for school. Yes mom I sleep on a pad thing with a mosquito net. Our house isn't bad, we have a fridge and an oven and a sink. And it's made of wood, not grass or anything haha.
     There are 300 people or so on Ahe; tiny, I know.  I'm on the opposite side of the Atoll as the airport.  Maybe you can find it on Google Maps.  We have running water, but it's not drinkable.  We have to buy all our water in bottles.  Also, the shower is cold!  No hot water here.  For breakfast I usually heat up water on the stove, add chocolate powder & dehydrated milk powder & sugar, and add biscuit/cracker things.  It's pretty good.  I wake up at 6:30am. each day & work out.  Then from 7-8 am we shower/prepare and eat breakfast.  Then we either study or teach lessons.  Did I mention we opened this area?  There haven't been missionaires on Ahe since the Spring.  People here are so open.  It's a different world.  Also, the people feed us well each night.  Always there is rice and meat or fish.
     The language is very difficult.  I can't understand most people's French here.  They talk very fast and with an accent.  A lot of Tahitian is spoken, too.  So I don't understand much.  The weather here is very hot and humid.  The humidity made all my books curl up a little.  My scriptures are all warped- but that is okay.  I have very tan arms and a tan face.   On P-day we go out fishing with members on boats.  Last week I burned my feet really bad because I forgot to put on sunscreen  Now they're just really tan.
     I've seen some little miracles since I've been here.  One day, we had no food for breakfast and I was starving.  I read in Alma during my personal study a scripture about the Lord providing clothing/food etc. to the sons of Mosiah.  Minutes later, an investigator stopped by and dropped off some sandwiches.  A coincidence, at 8:30 am?  I think not.  So that was really cool.
     President Bize is awesome. Friday President Bize came to Ahe for about 3 hours total. He met with us, his missionaries, for about 15 minutes each.  It was great to meet with him.

Anyways, miss you all tons.  Please pray for me and be righteous and safe!

Elder Barlow

Monday, November 9, 2015

Week 6 on Ahe, Week 12 on Mission!

First Morning in Tahiti, September 29th
Hey family,
I am still alive. This week was more of the same. It's very difficult but I am growing spiritually. I started carrying all my books around and now I just sit down and study wherever. I was able to get in a full hour of language study 7 days this week! Fist bump. Anyways, I've been studying chapter 6 of PMG a lot and I really love the virtues Patience and Charity. I pray for them every day and I try and gauge how patient I am with my companion every day. Also, I prayed for charity after studying one day and had a really special experience. I felt my heart fill with the Holy Ghost and felt like all my shortcomings and sins were purged, and I only felt a desire to serve others. I want to feel like that all the time, but now I'm kind of back to normal. Haha!
 Elisabeth said life is really good for you all. That's an answer to my prayers. I pray every day for 3 specific things: patience/charity, the gift of tongues, and for my family to be protected while I am away. I can see myself slowly changing, hopefully becoming more humble, etc. My only regret is that the week before my mission with you and G/G Barlow in western Washington, I remember I was grumpy all week because my shoulder was injured. You remember that? Please forgive me. I could care less now whether or not I could workout. Haha. 
On a less spiritual note: I am now 87 kilos. There is no fresh fruit here except for Coconuts, which you can't really eat. The only food is what the members feed us. Fatty stuff. Combined with being stuck on a tiny island it is very difficult to not gain weight. But the Word of Wisdom is a commandment, and 1 Ne. 3:7 teaches us that God prepares a way for us to keep the commandments. So now I also pray for fruit to be provided and I am going to start eating only 1 plate of food at each dinner appointment. Anyways, that's the news this week. We lost power yesterday morning, so I showered from the bucket again. But today it is back. This weekend President Bize is coming to visit Ahe and then another island nearby with other church leaders for a conference thing. So that will be good. Also, I may start an English class here soon. 
Glad you are all doing well.  Stay righteous and pray for me to have healthy food and spiritual endurance. Pray, pray, pray for me please!  I can honestly feel the prayers. Love you all,
Avec beaucoup d'amour,

Elder Barlow

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Power out on the Island...

Hi family! Hopefully you are not too worried about me. The week went well until last Friday or so. Then we lost power on the island. Luckily some people have solar power for backup, like our Branch president, but in our house no power means no running water. So the weekend was really hard. I showered by hand with water from a bucket and then shaved without running water. It is an experience of the mission! Elder Gruhn and I started singing and playing the guitar one morning and making up our own songs. I sang about how God must favor mosquitoes.  That made him laugh. So we are becoming friends.
This week we got power back. It is very hot here. Always. We sleep out on our terrace, or porch, because it's too hot. Weird that its cold in America.
Well, the language continues to come slowly. Last night at our dinner appointment a member told me he thinks I am starting to speak better. That was encouraging to hear. Also, I have a scripture for Dr. Feller: 2 Nephi 24:8. Other scriptures during the week that I really liked: 3 Nephi Chapters 8 9 and 10 helped me realize I have it pretty good here. Then in Mark 10:28 to 30 I love the promises. And also 3 Nephi 13:31 to 34 is comforting for me. I never know where my next meal will come from. Haha
Anyways, things are still very difficult, but I am doing okay. It's a blessing to say that. Thank you for the prayers, I can feel them. Thank you for the emails too. I love hearing updates on everyone and everything...
Everyone, stay righteous and happy and safe.
à lundi,

Elder Barlow
​Selfie after our first lesson together in the field. I totally am looking like a Pedersen in this photo :) Oct. 4

Birthday Cake!  Oct. 3

My birthday cake. That is our Branch President.

 Haha!  Here is a mosquito I killed. They are bigger and thicker here than in Tahiti or America. yikes.