Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Happy 4th of July!

A picture of the temple I took one morning this week because it was pretty.
Dear Family,

Well, no one in Tahiti knows what the 4th of July is. It's kind of like Thanksgiving. So enjoy a hamburger and fireworks and all that fun stuff for me. The sisters in our zone had planned to make hamburgers and hotdogs, or so they said, but then yesterday I asked them what the P Day plan was today and they said MacDo! Which means McDonalds. A mcdonalds hamburger on the 4th of July is basically blasphemy or treason before the state, so I will be boycotting that zone activity. I'll probably make a classic PB n' J sandwich. Haha.

Yesterday, Sunday, was fast Sunday. We started fasting after lunch Saturday, so we finished our fast yesterday around 2:30pm. That worked out well with our plan yesterday. We went to church in the morning, 8am to about noon with after church meeetings, then right away we left for Papeari, the other side of Tahiti. It's about an hour drive or so, so we got there right around 2pm, 2:30ish. In fact, Elder Requillart had a branch president back in France when he was little who is from Tahiti, and they invited us over to eat. So we got to Papeari and ate a delicious meal. The wife of the family is French, and they made us a legit French meal. I love French people. The meal is called "raclettes," (say rack-let). Basically, they have a sweet kitchen appliance that looks like a pancake/crepe maker. But it's raised up about 6 inches. Underneath is space for little non stick spatula things. So what you do. You put baked potatoes on top of the pancake/crepe grill to stay hot. Each person has a mini personal spatula that you put underneath. You put slices of special raclette cheese in the spatulas, and ham if you want, and it melts! Then you cut up your potato, pour the melted cheese over the top, and eat it with ham slices (hot or cold, however you want). They also had a delicious salad. Wow! It was a delicious meal. It tasted so.... normal. Extremely delicious, but normal. Not a ton of white carbs and fried meat and rice. It reminded me of home. Also, Papeari is far away from the city, so it was nice and quiet. Here in Papeete is constant sound. Anyways, after eating we went to the stake center at Papeari for our last missionary concert this year! It was fun to see all the other missionaries. It made yesterday feel like a mini holiday, since I only spent about 20 minutes in our sector working.

Saturday was good. We studied, then went in the sector. Our faatamaaraa was at noon, so we ate really well and started our fast around 2 or 3pm. Also, Saturday night was the baptism for V! It was great. J baptized her. That was cool for me, because I baptized J last month. Now he is baptizing his family! Cool how the gospel works. Also, V is basically ready to serve a mission already. She shared some cool scriptures in her testimony Sunday at church and I am humbled to be the missionary who got to teach and baptize this family! They are the golden family for a missionary!

Oh yeah, Wednesday was like a national holiday or something here. In fact, no one really knows what the holiday was, but there was a parade in Papeete and all the missionaries walked in it! Sounds like fun right? Wrong. Actually, we ended up waiting in parade formation for about 2 hours to walk in the parade, standing around in the sun waiting and waiting, and then the actual parade route was about 5 minutes long.

Other fun news: Elder F likes running! He's the new assistant in the house, and we went running a few mornings this week. Turns out my heart is in pretty good shape from biking, but my hips and legs were super sore after running! It's been too long! Eating healthy and exercising like I want is definitely one of the biggest trials for me on my mission. I have no agency, because you can't just go running without a companion. I hate that rule. Honestly, I am an independent person. I like making decisions and going and doing what I want just like that. It drives me nuts waiting around for someone else's agreement for every little activity. Argh. Haha mini rant finished.

What else is new... I talked with Elder P on the phone last night. He went out to Makemo, an atoll in the Tuamoto archipelago. It's comparable to Ahe, just a little bigger. He was feeling a little lost. He went from being the assistant, in the middle of all the action, etc. to being out in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do! Haha it's his first time in the islands. But it's a good life experience. I'm glad to have the experience and lessons and memories from Ahe. I want to go visit Ahe with you guys one day, it would actually be fun for 1 or 2 days as a tourist.

Voilà my week! I don't have much else to report. There's a mini transfer in 2 weeks. If I'm not transferred, then I'll be transferred for sure at the next big transfer in 4 weeks. I've been in Papeete a long time now!

Well, I love seeing all the pictures and hearing all the updates from your guys' week. I miss you all tons! The longer I'm away and the more of the world I see, the more I am convinced that our little family is a piece of heaven on Earth and there really is "no place like home." I'm grateful we are an eternal family. Keep me in your prayers, have a good week, love you!

Elder Barlow

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