Monday, September 26, 2016

Bananas can be cooked

Someone gave us bananas, so we decided to experiment.  We fried bananas in oil and even microwaved a banana and ate it wrapped in a slice of turkey.  Cooked bananas are super delicious. 

Hi family,

Well, the story of my life the past every p day ever is that there is never enough time. So this email will be quick. Today we cleaned our car and the house a little bit, and now we're going to go shopping really fast before driving to Papeete to go to the mission office and then go on a hike! Woot woot! We're going to hike to that one waterfall I already did when I was still in Papeete. But this time we're doing it with several other zones so it should be pretty fun. I'm excited at least for the exercise.

This last week was kind of tough. We didn't have very many lessons planned all week, and then every day at least one lesson or more seemed to be cancelled. It was frustrating. What do you do when you have 4 or 5 hours of unplanned time and door to door is not recommended because it's so uneffective? It's tough. I've already visited everyone I know, including members,several times over. I had several moments during the week of "oh man, I hate this. I'm tired of people seeing me and running inside and closing the doors and windows and saying 'we're not interested,' etc. I miss a smile and 'hey, how are you?' " Yes, those moments exist on missions.

What else is new...  D is still getting baptized this weekend. Our bishop called us last night asking if D was ready. Bishop didn't think he was ready, and he asked us "who did his interview, I want to talk to him, who are your zone leaders?" etc. So we got D to meet us at bishop's house and did a lesson with them all last night. We explained to Bishop that we are the zone leaders (it was a moment of 'we are the brute squad'... 'we are the zone leaders' hahaha sorry hope you get that reference), that D had satisfied the conditions for baptism, and then we taught them. Luckily D came in clutch and asked Bishop to be the one to baptize him. As soon as he asked that, Bishop was touched and everything went smoothly. So yeah, that was super stressful yesterday.

For the week, overall pretty normal, besides not a lot going on. I had fun cooking some bananas.
Last night we ate with an older Tahitian couple, so they were talking to us in a lot of Tahitan. And I actually understood quite a bit! The tahitian is coming little by little, I understand a little more each week. But I am far from fluent, or even able to communicate effectively. French is good though, I can express myself and do everything I need to. It's weird to take control of situations in a language I didn't even speak a year ago. The gift of tongues is cool.

Tonight we're going to eat with some members for family night. We ate at their house a few weeks ago and they asked what our favorite foods were. We told them fresh fish! So tonight should be a good meal! Next week for my birthday I have already been invited for family night with C and his family. Should be fun.

Oh, so we're teaching this young french boy named D. He's 18 and super smart and talks in really fast Frenchy french and he's awesome!  And we started talking about marshmallows, and it turns out tomorrow we are going to have a s'mores night! He has never eaten them. I can't wait.
Elder N and I get along great together. He's super nice and happy. He's my little sidekick, it's fun stuff.

Hope you all have a good week. I restarted the book of mormon this week and I am loving it. I'm impressed by the difference between Nephi and his brothers. Don't forget to thank the Lord for all the blessings he gives us, gratitude makes a little worth a lot.

Love you all!

Elder Barlow

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


Wow! Hi family,

This week was insane. Last Monday was basically not a P Day. I dropped off Elder S in the morning, then we had to do a bunch of stuff en ville, like changing a car tire. By the time I cleaned the house a little and showered, it was already 6pm and time for our family night! It went pretty well, I taught the whole first lesson (by myself) and committed them to read the book of mormon, pray, and get baptized if they find it to be true. The wife is super converted already! She comes to church every week now and I love her! We can't do more lessons with them until next week though because they are super busy preparing the marriage of their son for this weekend.
Tuesday I didn't have a companion. I basically signed off my sector for the week. I dropped off one of our Elders in Faaa because he was transferred out to the Marqueses Islands. Then I stayed with his companion Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. We worked in both his sector (Maraa) and mine (Orofero). I like Elder M, he's cool. We shined shoes together and went for a run and it was great. Wednesday morning we drove back en ville to pick up Elder M's new companion: he's training! It was fun to be at President's house and see all the newbies. They seem so young! Crazy to think that just one year ago that was me and my MTC group.
Wednesday night and all the rest of the week I went with C, our new convert, all day long to work and teach lessons. It was super weird to not have a companion all week. At night I was with the Elders of Vaiatu (who live in our house with us), but I did my planning for the next day all alone, called the shots all alone, etc. In some ways, it was super nice! But in other ways, it was super stressful.
Thursday and Friday we worked pretty hard. C and I went contacting a little bit, and actually found 2 new amis who seem pretty potential. I got a little sunburned for the first time in forever. It was awesome.
Friday I also gave a training in zone meeting. I took over the zone and ran it all by myself this whole week. I'm ready to go back to the Tuamotu islands where there's less responsibilities ;) haha just kidding. But seriously, this week was pretty crazy. Also, the ward asked me to give a talk in church Sunday, so I prepared that on Saturday ("prepared," more like read some scriptures and just went for it on Sunday). Also, there was a missionary themed fireside last night at the stake center. Saturday the grand council member in charge of it called me and was like "the choir who was supposed to sing isn't coming. So the missionaries are going to sing. Prepare 4 hymns." So I got the zone all up to date and everyone came on Sunday to sing. But things got more complicated. Sunday after church we taught some lessons, then went to do our report. But there is no more internet at our chapel. And yesterday the internet didn't work at the stake center. So we had to call a member in the ward of Vaiatu and do the report at their house. And that made us late for the fireside to sing. All our missionaries were in there singing. So basically it was a bunch of crazy situations out of my control that made me super stressed last night and I am just so grateful that today is P Day. Wow.
The good news from this week: Elder N finally got here Saturday night at 5pm. He was all covered in flowers from the members of Takaroa when he got off the plane!
And our faatamaaraa yesterday was amazing. We ate chicken and potatoes, cooked fish (rare here- it's always raw or no fish at all!) which was delicious! rice, pasta, mangoes, papayas, watermelon, bananas, cooked/fried bananas (my new favorite, holy cow they are so good, I'm going to try making some later), chocolate tart and brownies! It was super delicious. Haha. Anyways, today is finally P Day and we already cleaned the whole house this morning and I went on a run, and cleaned the car. And now we have to go downtown (en ville) again to go to the mission office to pick up people's suitcases and stuff. On the way back we'll do our shopping for the day! Can you tell that I'm going looney? Haha. Pray for me, I love you all, the church is true.

Elder Barlow

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


Last week's P day!

Picture of the presqu'ile (almost island) on the back of Tahiti.

Goodbye dinner with the members for Elder S.

Hello family!

This week flew by. Things are different now. Last week was hectic, Thursday all day we were "en ville" (downtown) for the mission council of leaders. That was good. It's fun to be at President's house and learn from him and eat the delicious lunch they always make with all the other DZs and STLs. Crazy that it's already been a month since the last meeting. Friday night we got transfer calls. Elder S finished, so I got a new companion. My new companion is... Elder N! He's a super nice little redhead from my MTC group, we started at the same time. Right now he is out in the Tuamotu islands. They haven't bought his plane ticket back to Tahiti yet, so I have no companion for a week! Yikes! So this morning I dropped off Elder S. downtown, and I have no companion for the near future. I have to do splits all the time with the other missionaries or with ward members until my companion gets here. Also, I am now totally in charge of the zone as the senior zone leader. All the responsibility now falls on me!  Basically my whole P Day today consisted of driving en ville and dropping off Elder S, then getting the tire on our car fixed up, getting a haircut, and then doing our shopping. We haven't even cleaned the house yet or the car, and it's already 5pm! Stressing out, because in one hour we have a family night at a new family's house with our bishop and relief society president and I get to teach it all by myself (remember how I don't have a companion yet?). Haha yikes! I am of the opinion that P Day should be two days long. One day for getting everything necessary done, and another day for resting. I like the normal weekend of Saturday, Sunday. It works out better. One day just isn't enough. But voilà quoi. Enough complaining.

So this past week was actually pretty good. We got a super great reference from our Relief Society president. We went to see the family (the mom and Dad of the family, actually). The Dad said "why not try the lessons, why not get baptized?" So we'll see how it goes with them! The family night I mentioned is at their house tonight. Pray for me, I need to be directed by the spirit! The longer I am on a mission, the more I realize how little I can actually do to help people. It's the spirit that does everything, I just have to be there to be an instrument for the spirit to manifest itself. It's humbling, knowing that I am not good enough by myself. Weird.

Other' fun news: there have been several cases of the "dengue" in our zone, so pray for me that I don't get it! It's spread by mosquitoes and knocks you out with a flu/fever like symptoms for a week or so. A mosquito just bit my leg....

Sunday we ate with member families at lunch and dinner who wanted to say goodbye to Elder S. The people here are really so kind. It is so hard not to get fat when people stuff delicious food down your throat several times a day. But voilà, I sent some photos. Hopefullly you got them.

Also, Saturday was the baptism of E! Yay! Her mom came, which is a huge step. Her mom wanted E to get baptized, but wanted nothing to do with the missionaries herself. I'll go contact her this week and commit her to take the lessons. Then the whole family can get baptized soon! That would be cool.

Did I mention that the new mission challenge for the next three weeks is to fix 5 new baptisms in each sector? That's my new goal starting today: fix 5 baptisms over the next 3 weeks. I'll keep you updated.

Anyways, this week should be pretty crazy, working with members and not having a companion and all. So pray for me!

Love you all, gotta go!

Elder Barlow

P.S. So I got a flat tire in the car this week.... a nail was lodged straight through the tire. A member put the spare on for us, and today we took the normal tire downtown and got it all fixed up. Thank goodness for the members who helped us out! They also gave me a bunch of instructions on how to make maa tahiti (tahitian food). Cooking party when I get home? Haha have a good week!

Monday, September 5, 2016

mois de septembre

Photo from last month's mission leader council. All the zone leaders and sister training leaders.

Hello family! Can you believe it is September already? This week went by pretty quickly.

I don't have much time to write, we're going to go to a "treasure hunt" competition between zones at a botanical garden on the other side of the island in about an hour, and we still have to go do our shopping for the week, so I will be brief!

This week went well. We fixed another baptism for the 17th of September with V! V is a woman who is the step daughter of a member in our ward. She came to C and M's baptisms last week and was really touched. This week we continued teaching her and she said she wanted to get baptized but didn't feel ready. I felt so guided by the spirit to just start talking about the word of wisdom. I was taking a guess that she didn't feel ready because she smokes or something. I was right. She smokes about 7 cigarettes a day. So we made a calendar with her to decrease 1 cigarette per day, in other words to quit smoking in about 1 week's time. She agreed, then agreed to be baptized the week after! Yay! The church is true haha

Another cool experience: I was on a split in my sector of Orofero with Elder F, an Elder who just got transferred into our zone last week. We were teaching an ami who is not at all interested in listening to us. We were teaching her and her family members, but I was mainly focusing on her. I was trying to figure out what her needs were and then teach accordingly. I prayed and felt prompted to start talking about eternal families. That made no sense to me, according to her needs, but I was like "what the heck this lady isn't listening to anything we're saying, I'll talk about eternal families." So I just started going off on eternal families. The lady got even less interested, to the point where I stopped talking mid sentence and was about to say "thanks for your time, can we end with a prayer?" And then one of her family members, a lady, said "I want an eternal family!" When she said that I got the chills through my body. The spirit totally told me to talk about eternal families! The lady then went off about how she has been in the world too long and wants to come back and have the blessing of an eternal family, etc. She then committed to come to church this Sunday... and she came! The Lord knows his children.

This weekend we have the baptism of E, a 10 year old girl we've been teaching. Her parents are not at all interested in church, they drink and smoke and everything, but they have been pushing her to take the lessons and get baptized. This week, they came and talked to us a little. They're coming to the baptismal service! I hope to commit them to start taking the lessons afterwards. The whole family is so potential! It's amazing how my views of certain things have changed on a mission. Now when I see people who drink and smoke and live in sin, I see it as potential. It's amazing what the Savior can do to people's lives when they decide to follow their Lord. I know Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer.

Love you all, hope you have a great week! Wish I had more time to tell you more, but voilà.


Elder Barlow

P.S. Elder S finishes his mission next Monday, so I will be getting a new companion! Pray that I get a good one! Haha