Monday, February 1, 2016

First Week in Faripiti

Elder Porter and I with our fanny packs.  We call them "sky  packs" which sounds way cooler.  Hahaha!
Also a picture I have been wanting to send forever. From my first day at Ahe. The internet here is a little better, but it still takes 5-10 minutes to upload a photo. Sorry! Otherwise I would send way more.

A view from the house at Pamatai (the quartier just next to Tavararo), my last night before I found out I was being transferred. Glad I snapped this pic! My current house has zero view, we close the curtains for privacy haha.
Displaying DSCN0176.JPGHi family!

I have a lot to tell you, but I don't really know where to start.  I don't know the name of the street that we live on, but we live next to our stake center in Pape'ete. It's called Faripiti. It's about a 5 minute walk from the temple compound. If you find the temple, our area includes the temple and all the buildings around it (the chapel next to the temple is the chapel where our ward goes on Sunday). Our area is also three big neighborhood areas back behind the temple. The assistants are in the same area as us, but they have two different neighborhoods. Since we are all in the same ward, each night we have our faatamaaraa's together (dinner appointments). So we know them pretty well. They are pretty chill, one is from Africa somewhere (he's a white Frenchy person) and the other is from Colorado. Two fun stories with them: Friday after our zone meeting, us four went and got some pretty good pizza in the zone just next to ours. Perks of hanging with the assistants ;) Then on Saturday, for our faatamaaraa, a member who must be pretty well off took us four to a little restaurant, ordered 7 plates of food, plus dessert, for us four to share, then paid for it and left. Haha. So we ate lots of different types of yummy food for freeeeee!

Other perks of our area: the visitor center is in our area, right next to the temple. We have a key, so we tell investigators to meet us there and teach lessons on big comfy couches in an air conditioned room. It makes it easy to feel the spirit, and easy to take naps! There's also a big screen TV so we show gospel films sometimes. We are on foot in our sector, which is nice.

Cool stories from the week: Monday night we had a huge family night with the senior couples in the mission at our Bishop's house. They all speak only English, and the food was really good that night. We all ate outside, and I felt like I was in America. It was a good start to my new area. The senior couples are so funny. One couple is from Midway Utah, the other from England (love their accents).

We are teaching a 15 year old boy. He is ready for baptism, his mom is getting baptized next Saturday, he wants to get baptized, he's not breaking any commandments, but every time we asked him to get baptized, he says "peut-etre" (maybe). When we asked him why not, he would say I don't know. So we acted in faith and God sent down a crazy storybook miracle. We told the boy: Okay, if God tells you that baptism is the right choice, will you get baptized next Saturday? He said yes. So we said, will you pray out loud right now, on your knees with us, and tell God you want to be baptized, then ask him to confirm your decision? Then after the prayer you will just open the book of Mormon to the first page you come to and start reading? We know God will answer your prayer (yikes, we totally just were calling on God to answer right then, it was a suspenseful moment!) The boy said okay. So we all knelt down, he prayed and asked, then said amen. After the prayer we all sat back on the comfy couches (the visitor's center) and he opened the Book of Mormon. He started reading (boy the suspense was on!) and kept reading. The verse he opened to (are you ready for this?!) was 4 Nephi chapter 1, verse 1. Go read it. It talks about disciples of Christ receiving all who desire to repent, baptizing them, and giving the gift of the Holy Ghost. The boy smiled, sat still, closed the book, then said "OK then." Haha wow! What a response from God! Cool, huh? After the lesson Elder Porter and I were just like "yeah that just happened." Awesome!

That's about all the adventures for this week. By the way, my bedroom has air conditioning! We turn on the AC every night and it is awesome! I feel so spoiled. I will try and send a picture. We also bought matching fanny packs (that's a thing here in Tahiti). So we have been rocking those when we go out walking. Today the plan is to clean a little (maybe), go shopping, and later go play soccer with some other zones somewhere. Coolio. Oh yeah, in my house there are 6 elders, and the house is smaller than my last one! It's a constant struggle to keep it clean. But it's an adventure! One of the Elders is from France, Paris. He is super short and hilarious. Imagine Kaden Bergeson, at his most hyper moments, combined with a French accent and broken English, and a classic French attitude. Hilarious combo. One night he jumped on me when I was almost asleep. I was like "you're heavy" in French. He replied in his accented English "eetz my bones." Hahahaha Elder Porter and I were dying. The things people learn in English are so random. Okay, that's all my fun stories for the week! Keep praying for me, things are still difficult sometimes, but much much much better overall. God has truly blessed me. The past 4 months here in French Polynesia had been the hardest of my life, but I realize that God is really blessing me. Some of my thoughts include: when I get back, I will be fluent in French and Tahitian. I will have lived in a foreign culture and country for 2 years.  My family is still super awesome. I will have a way stronger testimony, and still have my hard work and discipline. I will definitely have much more patience. With all that, no matter what life throws at me I will be able to succeed. Sometimes when I am stressed I think about all that and then say a prayer of gratitude. I'm sure there are so many blessings I won't see for years and years to come, but they will come eventually. Enough sentimentality; I'm just grateful. Love you all and miss you tons! Keep the prayers coming, I feel the support! Love ya!

Elder Barlow

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