Tuesday, April 26, 2016

8 months

Hi family,

So it turns out I was actually pretty sick this week. On Tuesday we had our interviews with President Bize. That was really good. I can understand and reply now, so that is cool, in  French. I asked what do the best missionaries do differently than others? He said it's a combination of two things: obedience and innovation. I'm obedient, so I spent a lot of time this week just trying to think of ways to be innovative as a missionary. Any ideas? Creativity... those two things probably apply in the business world too. Cool, huh?

Tuesday afternoon I did a split with our zone leaders. I went with Elder Millerberg in their zone so that I could stay with the car (they have a car) because I was sick. When I was still sick Wednesday they just extended the split another day! Haha. Wednesday we went to the doctor. Weird to do that in French. It's scary enough in English, right? The doctor said I have either Bronchitis or the dengue, lovely tropical malady. Regardless, I had a 39.5 C fever, which is actually 103 F! Hot! No wonder I was so wiped out. Thursday I got some antibiotics and a bunch of other pills and stuff I had to take. I'll be on those until Wednesday this week. Also I got my blood drawn. Remember how scared I am of needles? Yikes! But it was a different funny French guy who started speaking broken English to me. And he was really really good at it, I didn't feel a thing. The medicine seems to be working, I was able to go work hard Friday Saturday and Sunday. Today I am a little wiped out, I didn't sleep too good last night because I am still coughing. They should have the blood test results by now, but I haven't heard the results. It's probably important to know what I have... hmmm. I'll follow up on that because I know Mom is probably worried. Thanks for the prayers.

Our sector is doing good. We had a lot of lessons this week, we had the "standards of excellence" for the mission. I have mixed feelings about the numbers. I know they are there to motivate missionaries to work hard, but I don't like thinking of lessons as just filling up a quota. Each person has a very individual path that can lead to Christ and their redemption.

So Sundays on missions are actually a day of "unrest" in my opinion... haha. Yesterday we were waiting for our amis to come to the chapel. They told us Saturday they would come on their bikes. When they didn't show up we called them and they said "change of plans there are now 4 of us so we need a car to pick us up." I was stressing a little because it's not that easy to just find someone who has a big car here to go pick people up. Even more, we were already like 20 minutes into the sacrament meeting. But regardless, we found a car and they came to church and that was a miracle. It's a family we are working with who wants to be baptized the 7th of May. We do lessons with them almost every day. Right now we are working on the word of wisdom. Yesterday we confiscated a bottle of alcohol. Haha imagine us walking down the street with that! We threw it in a dumpster the next neighborhood over. The adventures of missionaries.

This morning for P Day our zone and 1 or 2 other zones were invited to eat crepes for breakfast at the mission home. We had succeeded a zone challenge the past several week to get lots of references from members. So that was fun to see everyone. After the crepes with everyone, we walked down to the chapel right here next to the temple and had a missionary practice for our missionary concerts, coming up in May. Then we did our shopping, cleaned the house, and now our mail! And already P Day is basically over and the week starts again. I am always a little sad for P Day to end. I think I need two days a week of a break. Haha.

Oh yeah, and by they way, it has been 8 months on my mission! I am 1/3 of the way done. I don't know how I feel about it. It has been fast, but at the same time extremely slow. Everyone here says from 6-12 months is the long part of your mission, and after the year mark it speeds up really fast. We'll see; if that's the case then I have 4 long months ahead of me. But it will be good. Right now I am doing really well, I like my sector and my companion. What more can you really ask for on a mission?  thanks to Elder Langomazino I am starting to learn some Tahitian. I can now teach a little in Tahitian. It's crazy. The gift of tongues is real.

I caught a lizard this week and put it on my nametag for a photo shoot, that was fun. Then I kept the lizard with me and used it to scare a sister missionary ;) I am evil hahahaha. Okay love you and miss you tons, have a good week!

Bisous (kisses),

Elder Barlow

Monday, April 11, 2016

I am a crazy person

Hello family!

What a week. We have been super busy all week. I don't have a ton of time, so I'll just share some highlights. This week we worked a lot with our ward missionaries. They are mostly new converts, and they are amazing! We went and did some lessons with them all morning on Wednesday. Afterwards, we didn't have any more fixed lessons, but they were so excited that they made us go door to door with them! That's amazing to see. Most of them were baptized in January of this year. As a result, we fixed a bunch of lessons for Saturday, and we went out and worked with them all morning Saturday again. It is much more effective to teach with natives. The investigators feel much more at ease and an invitation to come to church from actual ward members means more than an invitation from a 19 year old white boy.
What else is new... our sector is slowly picking back up. We had more lessons this week, around 22. We also worked with our new converts and will realize some new references from them hopefully this week. We teach maybe 20 percent of the lessons in Tahitian, so that's cool. I still don't really understand anything, but it will come.
Okay, why I am a crazy person: So we worked super hard all week, and by Thursday I was feeling a little tired. Friday morning I felt pretty exhausted, but we had a bunch of scheduled lessons that I didn't want to cancel. When I woke up Saturday I felt very sick, but we had planned to go work with our ward missionaries. So we went anyways. I thought to myself, God will bless me. This will prove how much I am committed to the work. We went and worked all day long. By Saturday night I was so exhausted I could barely walk. I was writing in my journal, and I realized God probably thought I was an idiot haha. It's better to rest when you're not feeling well. Well, as a result, I woke up Sunday morning and there was no way I would go to church, I felt terrible. I got dropped off at the zone leaders house and I slept all day long. At night we went back to our house and I slept until this morning. All in all, that makes about 30 hours straight that I slept. I didn't know that was even possible. I've never slept that long in my whole life. I don't know if I have the dengue (a mosquito carried illness), if I just became overexhausted, or what, but I still feel pretty sick today. A lovely tropical malady. I have a headache and a cough and my muscles are all fatigued. I almost threw up yesterday, but since then I haven't had any nausea. Also, I think I have a fever. I woke up last night completely soaked in sweat, and my entire bed. Everything was completely soaked. I didn't know there was that much water inside of me! Yeah.... yuck. Haha so anyways I have had a fun past few days trying not to die. Pray for my health! We'll see how this week goes, but I imagine it will be much slower because I feel horrible. My plan for p day today is to go home and rest!
On the upside, I have a photo of Elder Langomazino and me! Tuesday night (I think) we were at the mission office waiting for the assistants to go home. They were late, so we were all alone in the office after mission curfew (9pm)! Funny, huh? Then the second photo is of the mountain here. It doesn't really do it justice. Just know that I took the photo from maybe 100ft above sea level, and the mountain is a lot closer than it looks in the photo. You can see the individual trees on the mountain in real life. It is incredibly steep and straight up and down. Cool! I want to hike it one day.

Well that's all for this week! Hope you are all doing well, love and miss you tons! Pray for me!


Elder Barlow

Monday, April 4, 2016

Mission life continues

Hi family!

Another week is come and gone! This week was a growing week for me. I took over the sector on Wednesday, when Porter left and Elder Langomazino arrived. Langomazino is an Italian name, but he is from here on Tahiti. He's a short, strong little guy who I love a ton! He is amazing! I'll tell you more about him later. (Sorry mom I don't have any photos of us yet!)

Wednesday was stressful. As senior now I have to make all the plans and call everyone and find something useful to do! I have a little more compassion and understanding now for my earlier companions who would sometimes call it good and just sit around because we had nothing planned. However, thanks to Elder Langomazino, we worked super hard this week!

Our sector: So our sector had kind of died the last two weeks. We didn't have really any amis who were progressing. I was pretty stressed about finding things to do. But it turns out, the Lord is in charge and placed people in our path! We got a great member reference of a family. The parents are already married (thank goodness!) and they have all already received the missionary lessons, but somehow a long time ago the missionaries forgot about them or got transferred or something. They all want to be baptized! So we'll work with them a lot in  the coming weeks. We also went and did some OLB (ouvrir la bouche, open your mouth) aka tracting type stuff. We found a bunch of new amis! And we found some old amis too. We didn't know what to do at one point on Saturday, so we just started walking. We were passing the house of an old amis right as he and his girlfriend were leaving the house. I haven't been able to get a hold of them for several weeks, but thanks to seeing them that night, we fixed another lesson for next week. Yay! Super pumped for that. Yesterday also my report for the week didn't look so good (number wise). But then last night Elder Langomazino and I ended up fixing 5 baptisms for the 7th of May. Yes! The work is taking off.

This week has been different. We were really led by the spirit. Elder Langomazino is amazing. He is the most obedient missionary I have met so far in this mission, but not only that, he is cool and normal and fun! He doesn't speak English, so I have really improved my French conversational skills. We are able to "bro" in French. It's cool! He's been out on the mission for 5 months. Elder Requillart is the new assistant in our house, and he is super funny too! We all get along well, but now it's in French at our house. I call Elder Requillart farani-pai, which is Tahitian for spoiled frenchy, more or less haha. It's funny.

Conference was really good. My favorite talk was the first one, President Eyring. He said that whenever we gather together in the name of Christ, he is there among us through the Holy Ghost. I thought a lot about that this week each time we prayed to start a lesson. I felt the spirit a lot more during the lessons. There were several times we were talking and I didn't feel anything, so I would stop talking and change the subject in the middle of the sentence. I would just open my mouth and bam it was filled! And as a result, a man we talked to told us we could come and teach him and his family the first lesson. Super cool! I finally have experiences where the spirit has led me! It's amazing. What a good week. I am happy and excited for the future. Now I understand how the mission can be so fun and hard and enjoyable. I am falling in love with the people. Oh, also, Elder L speaks Tahitian! So we can teach way more people now! And I learn a lot more Tahitian by listening to him teach. We taught a family the first lesson and I recited the first vision of Joseph Smith in Tahitian! Crazy stuff. Ua ite atura vau, i te pou maramarama... I saw a pillar of light... Cool!

I am doing extremely well for the moment! Time is flying this morning, I gotta go. Love you all, congrats to the Wilkinson family for all the good news! Love you guys!

Elder Barlow

P.S. The pictures! Last monday at our missionary practice with Elder Pruett and Elder Thia.
And the last night together with Elder Porter (Tuesday night)! We were at the mission office, and the sisters came to pick something up. They left their car open, so Elder Porter and I got in and took a selfie in their car! We're so sneaky! Haha it was a fun last night together