Tuesday, February 23, 2016

I moved....

So last weekend was transfers... haha but don't worry, Elder Porter and I are still together! We got a bit of a scare when the assistants called us last Friday night though. They played a mean trick on us, they actually just called to tell us that we have permission to move in with them if we want. We want to live with the assistants so we can coordinate together since we are in the same ward. We're like a 4 man team. There are more new missionaries who get here from the Provo MTC. Crazy to think that it's been 5 months since I arrived here, and 6 months on my mission. The time flies.

We had some fun with the bananas and mangoes. I made some really good smoothies with just bananas, milk, and mangoes, and ice. But my favorite is the smoothie that had ice, spinach, broccoli, an apple, and 3 bananas. And milk. And cinnamon toast crunch! And it was so good! I tasted it, and instantly I thought of pumpkin pie. That is literally what it tasted like. So I told Elder Porter he had to taste it. And he said "it tastes like pumpkin pie." What!? It literally tasted like that! So we had the assistants try it. And they said the same thing! Crazy right? I think the cinnamon gave it the pumpkin pie feeling. Elder Porter said if I ever open a smoothie shop, I can get famous with my "Pumpkin 'lie' " smoothie. Haha. Okay, enough with talking about smoothies for now. ;)

So as far as missionary work goes. We worked so hard this week. Elder Porter and I went out walking in the hot sun every single day. One quartier in our sector (called la mission, or "te misioni" in Tahitian) is about a 30 minute walk from our house. So once we are up there, we don't want to walk all the way home. The result, we stay out in the sector the whole day long. It's productive, but hot and hard. So the results of this week: we committed a young couple to marriage and baptism! On the 12 of March. The man is an inactive member who will reactivate, but right after the baptism the woman will get married. Exciting! Also, we had two investigators, ages 10 and 12, who had their baptism dates already fixed. They are siblings and were perfect investigators! But now they don't want to take the lessons anymore because their Dad asked them to stay in the Protestant church with him. Even though he is inactive and sits at the house all day, and the kids still want to come to church every Sunday, they don't want to get baptized because they want to stay in the church with their Dad! That seems to be my frustration this week, people doing stupid things with no logical reasoning. It is depressing to see them reject the gospel when they know it is true. *sighhhh

We taught 8 lessons Friday! We went out around noon, after our zone meeting, and walked all day between lessons. Walking up to te misioni, a chinese guy stopped us and said "it's way too hot, come drink some water!" So we went and got a drink. Then he said, I also stopped you because I want to learn about your church! Score! We started giving him a little pre lesson, then when we were fixing another lesson and taking down his information, another family at the same house was like "hey, my niece wants to take your lessons! And me too!" And we were thinking "okay okay, just a minute!" What a good problem to have, right? Haha. So we have about 6 new investigators to teach this coming week from that. And they all seem to have solid potential. That's a blessing from working hard and walking in the hot sun I guess. We also have been teaching a Tahitian papi who speaks pretty much only Tahitian. Elder Porter speaks well enough to teach him. I say a few things, but mostly I just listen. But I have been studying Tahitian and I am starting to understand some of it! The gift of tongues is real. I think I can learn in in 4 months or so from now, just judging by how long it took to learn French. I understand a lot of the Tahitian when I read now too, in the Book of Mormon. It's just words I've never seen before that I have to look up in the dictionary.

Other fun things this week: The new missionaries arrived. Since the mission office and mission home are in our sector, we got to see them all! It's crazy how much I've learned in 5 months here. I was translating for one of the greenies who didn't understand what his companion was saying to him in French. Weird. It feels like yesterday that I was the greeny! It also feels like it's been ages that I've been here.

Our new house is nice. We don't run out of food now. The assistants are cool. We have a good time. The new house doesn't have air conditioning in our room though. We are supposed to get AC soon, but they can't get a hold of the homeowner. So we kind of miss our old house. Hopefully things will improve with that this week. But our house now is 2 stories and a little bigger and it's clean! All of us who live there (the 2 assistants and Elder Porter and I) keep it clean. Lovely! Also, I worked really hard to eat healthy this week. I packed sandwiches and stuff for lunch. I also focused on not eating too much at each dinner apointment. And as a result, I think I lost a little weight! This will be a constant health struggle for the next two years. I really miss being able to go out for a run by myself, or eat healthy all the time, etc. I have limited agency on that front right now. Sigh. But ça va, I am much happier now than the first 4 months or so here in Polynesia. I just have to remember what I went through whenever I am feeling down, and I realize how blessed I am now.

So living with the assistants is fun. We see all the inside stuff of the mission. On Saturday I went on a split with Elder Thia, one of the assistants. We went and picked up some missionaries from the airport who were coming back from the islands, then dropped them off in their new areas. Then we took another one to the hospital, he cut his hand out in the islands. Then we sat with him in the hospital waiting room for several hours. That is their "urgent care." (Socialism is not cool, trust me.) Then I switched back with the other assistant, so I got to go home. They didn't get back to the house until around midnight. That's like a 5 hour wait at the hospital! So it was interesting to see the life of an assistant.

As far as language goes, being around the new missionaries this week made me realize I am really comfortable in French now. The Tahitian is really tough because we aren't immersed in it. Only the older people really speak it. I've been trying to study it each day, but we've been pretty busy with appointments and stuff so I don't always have time to study it each day. So that is still stressing me out. I want to be one of the missionaries who really learns the language and culture and everything.  Today we will go shopping, maybe clean the house a little, and then play bball/volleyball at the Fariipiti chapel. P Day.

Love you all, thank you for the prayers! I hope you have a great week!

Elder Barlow

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