Monday, August 29, 2016

Hello Family

Burning a shirt to celebrate one year on the mission!
Lentils for the multizone conference!
Well, this week was alright for me. We worked hard. It rained all week, for the first time in months. Luckily we're in a car so we don't get too soaked. I honestly don't know what to write about. I'll be honest: when I write emails, I'm struck by the sheer number of crazy stories and experiences I have on a mission. There's no way I can describe it all in a short email. If you want to really understand what a mission is like here at Tahiti, you'd have to come serve a mission here at Tahiti.
Anyways, the mission challenge this month is to do lessons in the presence of a member. We've been working really hard to set the example for the zone. So basically every morning we call different members of the ward until we can find someone to come with us to all of our fixed lessons. The goal is 12 member lessons each week. We had 16 last week and 12 this week. With members, you have someone who can relate way better to the investigators and bear a powerful testimony and integrate the investigators once they come to church, etc. It's way more effective than just a lesson by two young white guys. I really like our ward, the members are great. We got a new ward mission leader last Sunday, he worked with us a little this week.
What else is new...
I ate snails yesterday! That was a first. I also ate lots of lentils this week, which I really love a lot!
Oh, so Thursday we had a multizone conference with our zone (Paea) and the zones of Taravao, Papeari, and Punaauia. Our zone was in charge of the main course for food for everyone, about 60 people! Yikes! So Tuesday Elder S and I were stressing because we didn't know what to do as far as food. We had a tight budget of about 80 000 francs (about 80 dollars). We got the great idea to do lentils! Yum! We went and saw Papi Tepa, an old Tahitian papi in our ward who is also a new convert from earlier this year. We asked him how to make lentils really yummy and if he had the pots and pans we could borrow, etc. In the end he offered to make it all for us if we brought him the ingredients! So it turns out 5 little bags of lentils feeds about 50 people. Who knew? It ended up costing about 30 dollars to feed 60 people. I felt pretty money efficient. :) haha. I love saving money, even when it's not mine! So to make lentils, you just put lentils in water with some onions and corned beef or whatever meat you want (it's super good with cut up lunch meat like roast beef!) and spices or salt if you want, and then you heat it all up for a really long time and let the lentils soak up all the water. You serve it hot as a semi liquidy mess over hot rice. It is super delicious, cheap, easy, and healthy! I experimented with lentils later this week and found out I can make them in the microwave in about 20 minutes (but it's not as tasty). That's my fun news for the week! All the food worked out for the conference. There was just enough lentils for everyone to go through the line once, but not enough for everyone to have seconds. Oh well, we all need to watch our weight here in Tahiti anyways. The conference was good, I don't really remember any specifics right now off the top of my head, but President Bize gave a really good formation on leaving our fears behind and using our strong points.

This Saturday was good. We had our two baptisms. The ward here is great, I love the people. They came and supported. I hope to re inspire the ward with a few more baptisms and really get the members in the missionary spirit. That's what happened at Papeete once we started having baptisms every month. The ward here has only had 3 baptisms this year, but now there's 5 total. My goal is 15 baptisms for the end of the year (also the mission's goal for every ward in Tahiti- at least 15 baptisms). So there are 10 people out there that I need to find, teach, and baptize. We have some really great investigators that we're teaching right now, including some younger kids and a teenage girl who wants to quit smoking pacalolol (marijuana). I'll keep you updated on their progress over the next few weeks. Things are going well overall.
Yesterday and today I am driving people all over. As a zone leader, I have to drive missionaries all over the place for their needs. Today has already been a crazy P Day of driving and trying to get things done. I want to just go clean the house and the car and sleep! We'll see how it goes though, I have to drive back downtown later and pick up Elder S. He went to Moorea today for P Day because he served over there at the beginning of his mission. He wanted to go visit some people for one last time before he finishes (in two weeks!).

Oh, one last fun story! Today while shopping, I saw G T

! He is one of the people I taught during my brief stay in Tavararo (Faaa). Remember when I skyped from their house at Christmas? He works at Carrefour, the grocery store where we went. He still remembers me and was so excited to see me. He told me I have to come visit him before I finish my mission and give him one of my nametags so he can remember me. He got baptized with his wife and daughter in February. I am continually humbled by how loving the people are here. This morning seeing him was again a fulfillment of the promise in my patriarchal blessing that those I teach on my mission will always remember me and praise me for the effort I put forth to bring them the gospel. Super cool to reflect on those moments.

Well, I love you all tons! I am going to go eat, I am super hungry hearing about all the yummy Amish donuts and deep dish pizza and cruise liner food y'all ate this week. Have a great week, keep praying for me!

Until next week,

Elder Barlow

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