Monday, March 28, 2016

Good things keep on coming

Before I forget: the photos. The first one... this Wednesday for lunch we went to the Caldwell's house with the assistants for lunch. They made us tacos, which were so amazing and normal and American tasting! I loved it. The second photo was at our zone meeting on Friday. Elder H

picked me up like a baby! I love him haha. And remember that I am 6'4" and probably heavy. Wow!

Okay. Hi family!

Happy Easter! They don't celebrate Easter so much here. Instead they celebrate the Friday before and the Monday after (today). As far as celebrations, mostly it's just a day off work from what I can tell. I actually forgot it was Easter until at church yesterday someone gave us chocolate.

It's been a good week overall. I was sick from Wednesday until yesterday with a pretty bad cold. I slept a lot. We didn't have any lessons anyways so it worked out okay. Our sector has really slowed down. We don't really have any progressing investigators. The good news is R got baptized this week! She actually went to Bora Bora to get baptized in the ward where her family is (she is at Tahiti for school), but the baptism still counted for us, so that was cool. Also the assistants had 3 baptisms in our ward on Saturday, so the work is going good.

Friday we had no lessons planned, so at our zone meeting we were talking to Elder Caldwell and asked him to register me for driving. Since all the cars here are stick shift in the mission, to be a driver you have to be "registered" by Elder Caldwell. That involves going for drives and learning to drive stick. So for about an hour or two Friday afternoon, I learned to drive stick and drove all over Tahiti! I picked it up pretty quick, driving stick is so fun! Elder Caldwell passed me off as good to go for driving after just one drive, which is pretty quick I guess. The cars here are either little Avenza Toyota vans or Toyota hilux trucks. I learned in a little avenza van.

Okay, Friday night we got transfer calls! Elder Porter is getting transferred to Paea, the zone on the other end of the island. He is super pumped, and I am a little sad that he is leaving haha. We got along really well. Also Elder Thia is leaving the house (he's been assistant forever, he's going to go finish his mission training a new missionary in the zone of Paea also!), so I am sad. Our house was so much fun because we all got along really well. The new assistant will be Elder R (from France) and my new companion will be...... drumroll.... Elder L! He's a Tahitian, which means he speaks French and hopefully Tahitian too. He is out on the island of Tahaa right now, so he won't get here until this Wednesday. He is a slightly newer missionary, which means I am the senior companion now. That means I am in charge of what we do everyday, all day. Wow! There is so much time in one day too, I am going to have to pray a lot to know what to do everyday! Apparently I am the district leader, too. But our district is my companionship, the assistants, and a senior couple, so I don't have too much to worry about there. I might have to do an occasional training or something. Also I am in charge of all the paperwork for baptisms, signatures from everyone, etc, and working with the mission office for all that kind of stuff. I will learn a lot! So Elder L and I will probably go tracting a lot a lot a lot a lot this week. We also have a good member reference to follow up on on Wednesday.

That's all the big news! I gotta go, we are starting rehearsals for a missionary choir concert thing with all the missionaries here on Tahiti. Funstuff! Overall this week, I have felt a lot of stress relief. I feel so relaxed! I don't know why, maybe because I was sick. But I realized, even though I'm a little nervous to be the senior, and sad that Elder Porter and Elder T are leaving the house, I realized that good things keep on coming. I think it was in a recent Ensign or conference talk. Good things keep on coming. Even though this good thing is coming to the end, more good things are in the future. I have to carry on until I get to them.

Love you all tons, I gotta go!

Elder Barlow

Monday, March 14, 2016

Family, hello!
How is America? This week has been up and down, but overall good. To start, because I am so pumped about it, we went hiking this morning! There's a cross up above the quartier called the mission that lights up every night and that you can see from down in the city. So we drove up to it this morning, then it was about a 20 minute hike/jog from the car. And wow that 20 minutes was an awesome workout because I am out of shape! But I was thinking, if I could go hiking every P Day like that then I would totally fall in love with Tahiti super quick. It was beautiful and felt so good to run outside. It was me and our two zone leaders who went, around 6:45 am Tahiti time.

Other fun things this week: I finally convinced Elder Pruett to go running with me on Saturday. Before that, no one in our house would go running with me. Haha. And he loved it, so hopefully we will go a few times a week now. That would help me not be fat! Besides that, I keep doing my push-ups and sit ups and stuff like that.

The missionary work this week was pretty good. I don't really remember anything in particular. We did our normal routine, studies in the morning, then lessons throughout the day. This week it wasn't raining (yay!), which means it was hot and sweaty (not yay...). Saturday was an eventful day. D and H got married in the morning, then H and M were baptized just after noon. I baptized M and Elder Porter baptized H. That was the first time I have ever baptized someone! It was cool, and a little nerve wracking. But it all went well. Then yesterday at church I gave H the gift of the Holy Ghost and Elder Porter gave M the gift of the Holy Ghost. That was even more scary because it was all in French in front of everyone in sacrament meeting. But later we stopped by H's house for her to sign something and she said that she felt the Holy Ghost come into her head and seep down to fill her whole body. Cool! The gospel is true!

As far as studies go, I like the article about light by Larry R. Lawrence in this month's Liahona magazine. He has some really cool insights. Also I read DC 93 and really liked it in French; I'm planning to study it tomorrow in English to make sure I understood everything. Language study with Tahitian is very slow going, but at least it's going. I actually had a dream in Tahitian this week, which was weird and awesome! I told someone there was a man in an airplane in Tahitian. E taata i roto i te manureva or something like that. Haha. Weird, huh? I haven't ever had a dream in French yet.

Well, that's all the fun we had this week that I can think of. Right now we're going to go play basketball at the chapel here at Fariipiti (we do mail in the geneology center here). Glad to hear you are all doing well. I love hearing from home and everyone.

Have a good week, be righteous, etc. etc. haha
Love you, go hiking for me and send me pictures! Is it warm there yet?

Elder Barlow

Monday, March 7, 2016

Another week...

French toast in French Polynesia!
Hi family,

This week went by pretty quickly. It's always crazy when I get to Sunday night and realize the next day is P day again. It goes by fast and slow at the same time. This week it rained... less. It still rained quite a bit at night, and sometimes during the day. But not too much, at least compared to the week before. We have two baptisms this coming Saturday: D and H are getting married and H  is getting baptized, and a girl named M is getting baptized. We're excited for that. Also we fixed another baptism for the 26th of March with R, so the work is going pretty well. We have a lot of member references to follow up on this coming week too.

Other fun things: I made French toast one night (super good, it tasted like home!).  Elder Porter and I found some rub on tattoos in an applesauce package he bought. Haha. We told the assistants that they were real tattoos, which is hilarious. We like to tease them. Mine is still on my ankle and it's been almost a week!

Oh yeah, last P Day we ended up going to Mahina, which is the zone two zones away from here. There is a nice beach there with a view looking back at the mountains of Tahiti. Unfortunately the mountains were covered in low clouds, and also no one brought a ball for beach volleyball, so we were standing around and just talking to all the other missionaries there. But I have now officially waded into the ocean here! So that was cool. I want to come back here after my mission sometime, hopefully I will have the means to do that. I really want to go explore Tahiti without any rules or regulations.. haha. Also I want to go back and visit Ahe, now that I can actually speak the language.

The gift of tongues is real! French is coming along nicely. The Tahitian,'s still really hard. I learn a word here and a word there. But I don't ever speak it to anyone. So that stinks. And I don't always have time to study it. It's okay, I will keep working and the gift of tongues will click in eventually.

There you have it, my life in Tahiti. I don't really know what else to update you all on. Hope things are going well at home, it sounds like you all had a fun week.

Love and miss you all,

Elder Barlow