Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Big news this week

Hi family,

Saturday was a really good day with lots of lessons. Now the big news: Saturday night we were in bed already. After 10:30 (our bedtime), the assistants called. And guess who is getting transferred? Me! I was shellshocked! I thought I would stay at Tavararo for the next 6 months. An average missionary here has about 5 sectors on his mission, and now I am already at my third one! Yeah, that was weird. So, now I am in Pape'ete 2, which is basically downtown Pape'ete. My house is right next to the chapel/stake center at Farepiti, and I guess President and Sister Bize are in my ward. And our sector is actually the same sector as the assistants, but they're busy enough with other stuff that they need another companionship in the same sector. So my new companion is named Elder Porter. He's an American. Our new sector is on foot, no more biking. Apparently the ward here is a well oiled machine. One time the missionaries got over 60 references from members in one week! So I will be extremely busy (I hope!). Anyways, when I got the news Saturday night I was extremely sad to leave the Pamatai house. It was so much fun every night with my zone leaders, Elder Stafford and Elder Sorenson. Also, yesterday after church we engaged two more people to baptism. So there is a baptism fixed for every single weekend in February in Tavararo, and I am leaving! Oh well, God will still bless me. But I was bummed to leave right when our sector was exploding!  I am now in my new sector (as of an hour or so ago), so I don't really know much about it yet. Okay, we're going shopping right now, so I'll tell you about it next week!

Love you all,

Elder Barlow

5 months already... Letter from January 18th

So I've been on a mission for 5 months already... That passes quickly. This letter will be short. We have a family night in a little bit at a member's house. Anyways, the week was fine. I had my first baptism of my misison on Saturday! It was a 16 year old girl named P. The baptism was excellent. Our Bishop baptized her and I gave a talk on the gift of the Holy Ghost.Sunday I taught our Gospel Doctrine class. My comp. told me I was teaching it about 20 minutes before church. God must have helped me a lot, because it was a pretty good lesson, and in French no less. 

Today was a great day. I started cleaning the whole house, and I have inspired my zone leaders to clean too! So we deep cleaned everything, including the refrigerator and mopping the floors. Yes! That was an improvement. Then we went to the mission office to drop something off, and I got some letters and I heard Ethan put in his papers! Make sure to tell me right away when he gets his call! (I'm secretly praying for Tahiti, even though I know the chances are slim... hahaha). Keep me in your prayers! I love you all so much! Our family is so special and I love every one of you and miss you tons and can't wait to see you again and be together for eternity! 

Tahiti is alright, there were a few more mosquitoes around this week. But nothing like Ahe. So I am counting my blessings. I'm trying to be more positive, sometimes I get down in my thoughts. I know the Lord is blessing me and sounds like he is blessing you all too. The gift of tongues is real, I really feel comfortable now in French. The Tahitian will come bit by bit, I try and study everyday but it's been hard to get a regular study schedule lately. But hey, if I do my best, I can rely on the Lord to give me the gift of tongues.

Love you all, gotta go!

Love Elder Barlow

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Fresh Food!

Hey family!

It was great to hear from you! How's the winter weather? This past week has been kind of hot here! Well, things are the same here this week. I don't really have any cool stories or anything to report. We taught some lessons, we have a baptism fixed for Saturday and a few more for February. I feel really really comfortable speaking French now. Most of the time I understand everything in conversations. But it's still hard when there's long talks and stuff at church. That's hard in English to listen and understand everything, let alone French with Tahitian! Haha. I started studying Tahitian maybe 2 weeks ago, including reading the Book of Mormon in Tahitian. I look up all the words I don't know. Since that is about every other word, it takes a long time to read. I am now in 1 Ne. chapter... 1! Verse 16 or so haha. Slow going, but it's good stuff!

Our sector is doing okay. There are a lot of big hills, and we are on bikes. In fact, I stopped gaining weight in a bad way. If you all saw me now, you wouldn't consider me skinny, just normal. But combine normal with 6'4" and I probably look pretty darn huge to the people here. Haha. Weird. So I discovered there are huge bags of frozen broccoli at the store here. It makes for the perfect snack. Just microwave a big bowl of broccoli for 10 minutes and you have a healthy, yummy, filling snack! Also, I enjoyed buying apples and oranges and carrots this week. And I discovered an Australian cereal called Wheat Bix, which is probably even healthier than those nasty multi grain flakes we buy back home! Haha. Basically wheat bix are bricks of wheat flakes. But with the bananas here, it's pretty darn good. So I'm feeling pretty good health wise.

This morning for p-day we played basketball with some other missionaries. It was fun and felt good to run! Then we went shopping. I bought a ton of food for the week, cereal, milk, fruit and vegetables, etc. Also, the grocery store we go to is in a mall thing. They have a smoothie shop, so I got a smoothie and it was soooo good! I miss my smoothies. When I get home, I just want to eat a smoothie with all of you and go for a walk! Haha

Nothing else is really new. Tonight we have two family nights with investigators, so we'll probably do a split to be able to teach them both. The gift of tongues is real. Thank you all for your prayers and fasts and everything. I feel the help. I think of you all often. I've really come to realize that nothing matters except family. Yes Dad, even my estate with your gardener house on it. Haha. It's good to dream big, but it's the little things that bring the happiness. And I have also realized how blessed I am to be here on this mission. I am going to see so many blessings from this throughout my life. I just have to push through the hard times. I like to think that you are all a part of my mission also, because you are thinking of me and I'm thinking of you. It's like you're here beside me helping me when it gets tough. Anyways, I'm done being all sentimental and stuff. I love you tons and miss you too! Enjoy your cold snowy weather!


Elder Barlow

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Happy New Year 2016!

Hi family,

How's life? Sounds like you had a good New Year. They celebrate New Year here, everyone goes to the chapel and at midnight there are fireworks everywhere and everyone stays up until 4 or later in the morning. They like to party here in Tahiti haha. I went to bed around 10 on new years and slept through all the fireworks at midnight. Apparently it was really loud and you could see fireworks off the island of Moorea from our balcony at our house. We have a ridiculous view. Elder Sorenson woke up and watched the fireworks so he was telling us about them during breakfast on the 1st. Anyways, wow it is 2016!

Anyways, I read that conference talk "What lack I yet?" and I've thought a lot about it. Yesterday I fasted with that question in mind (among a million other things). Last night I thought again, "Heavenly Father, what lack I yet? I want to go work, I would be happy to train someone new, or whatever you need, what lack I yet?" Then I received a one word answer. What lack I yet? Experience. And I thought about it, yeah that's true. I am still pretty darn green, when it comes to greenies. But then as I was getting into bed, I received further light. The scripture came to my mind in DC 122:7: These things will give you experience and be for your good.  As I thought about it, it made sense in my head. Yeah, there are lessons I need to learn. I also liked the conference talk "It's never too early, it's never too late." While reading it, I thought a lot of Dad. Thanks for being the perfect dad, Dad. I want to grow up to be just like you. Haha I feel blessed that we already have such a good father son relationship and I look forward to the future. Eternity, in fact. Maybe one day you'll beat me at speed scrabble ;) 

We taught some good lessons this week. Even though we seem to waste a lot of time, somehow we are leading the zone in lessons and other stats. The Lord seems determined to bless me, perhaps for my time on Ahe. Did I mention that my first week here we found like 15 new investigators? People come up to us and ask to receive the lessons. Haha it's crazy. We got a reference from a member this week. We taught her twice, and she is ready for baptism. Now she just has to talk to her boyfriend about getting married first. Our other baptism for the 9th got bumped back to the 16th for logistical reasons, but it should go through just fine. There are other investigators who are also progressing towards baptism. On Sunday we had 7 investigators at the chapel! Bam! That's a killer stat. Anyways, the truth is the work is the Lord's.  If the Lord wants it to happen, he'll make it happen. Also this week, I re explained something my comp had taught to an investigator who hadn't understood using a game that Elder Gruhn used to explain prophets to people. And the guy totally understood after I explained it! It was so cool to see his eyes light up when he got it. Shout out to Elder Gruhn! After being around other missionaries, I can see that Elder Gruhn was actually a pretty darn good teacher. He knew how to teach for understanding. Good thing I payed attention. I have lots of little ways of explaining things up my sleeve now that I learned from him. 

There was something else I was going to say, but I forgot. Oh, this morning I cleaned our whole house for a few hours. Like I was dripping in sweat by the end. But it was so dusty and gross before. Now it is livable. Oh, and I bought carrots and frozen broccoli today at the store. I am pumped to eat healthy!  Can you convert Francs to dollars for me? I want to have a sense of how much stuff here really costs. For example, what is 1 dollar in Francs, what is 100 francs in dollars, what is 1000 francs in dollars, what is 10,000 francs in dollars? My raisin bran costs 500 francs a box. Worth it. Haha  Okay, gotta go now. If you have questions for me about Tahiti or whatever, let me know. Thanks for the prayers and fasts. I feel it a lot. Today was really good, probably thanks to the fasts yesterday. I know God is at the helm.

 Love you all, ça va ça va ici. 

Vous me manquez,

Elder Barlow