Tuesday, November 15, 2016

thanksgiving already?

A nice hot meal waiting for us in our washing machine!

Fafaru, which is raw fish that they put in fermented salt water!

Sweet Reunion with a family taught last year!

Iaorana family!

This week went a little better. One of our investigators died, that's always a bummer. We went to his funeral. He was old and his death might actually be a good thing because now maybe his whole family will listen to us. That's the first funeral I've ever attended in my life. It was outside the family's house right next to a bunch of chickens. Tahiti. We worked generally really hard this week. I've been pushing to work hard. We found some more people who might be potential, we'll go and follow up with them this week. I no longer have any fear to contact people. It's pretty interesting. After doing door to door every day for a few months here, I don't care if people yell at me or whatever. I just go with the flow.

So for one of our faatamaaraa's, the member called us and said he would stop by our house and drop off our meal. But we were out in the sector working. He asked where he could put the food. I said on top of the washing machine (which is outside, under our car-port open garage like thing). He said, "on top of the machine? Not in the machine?" He was worried that cats or chickens outside would eat the food. Haha so I said, okay in the machine then. When we got home that night, we found a nice hot meal waiting for us in our washing machine. Hahaha

Yesterday after a lesson, the family invited us to stay and eat with them. The Tahitian tradition is to make "maa tahiti" (tahitian food) every Sunday. So we got to eat maa tahiti, my favorite! It was super good! On the right side of the plate is fafaru, which is raw fish that they put in fermented salt water. It smells like rotting fish, but it tastes pretty good actually! I love it! Also, the yellow banana like thing is fe'i, which is like a mix of a banana and a sweet squash. You eat everything with your fingers, no silverware, and put coconut milk all over it all. It's a messy, slurpy, delicious, heavy meal. This is just a few of the foods in a meal of maa tahiti, there's actually like a million different dishes that are all considered maa tahiti.

The zone had some mini miracles, with two baptisms this last week that were scheduled for December. The investigators decided they wanted to get baptized sooner. Sweet. As a zone we went to the temple together on Saturday. Normally that's against the rules but I had worked it out a few weeks ago with president. He accepted. That was fun. After the temple we started a fast as a zone with some of the stake leaders. I like the temple, it's been a while since I last went. I noticed some interesting things I hadn't thought about before. Always learning. It's really weird being on a mission. I have had some moments on a mission where I feel like the Lord is really preparing me for something, like he knows me and has chosen me to do something for him and his gospel. I don't know. I had one of those moments in the celestial room. I just had the hymn come into my head "I'll go where you want me to go" and the thought that I'll just keep on keepin' on. Things will be fine.

This week has been a little stressful. Elder Cardon (of the 70) is visiting our mission this week. Tonight all the zone leaders have a meeting with him followed by a dinner at President's house. Then tomorrow is a multi zone conference. All the zone leaders have to plan a meal and everything for the conference (of about 60 people). The conference tomorrow happens to be in our chapel here at Paea, which means I'm basically in charge of everything. I'm playing the piano and I have to get our chapel all set up and this P day is already over and I need another P day! Haha there is too much to do! There's 4 zones coming to the conference, so I asked the other 3 zones to worry about the food, a salad, and a dessert, and drinks. I'm in charge of getting the building ready: tables, chairs, forks, spoons, knives, plates, etc. I had some of my missionaries reserve the church building and ask their relief society to help out. Today we have to go buy all the stuff at the store. It's a little stressful. And since there's a 70 coming, everyone wants everything to be all perfect. Our mission president's wife wants nice tablecloths for the tables, etc. Haha.  I just want to be nourished spiritually by the 70 and then eat some good food! But whatever, making people happy seems to be important. I really have grown a lot, when I look back to the start of my mission. I'm directing tons of people to do tons of stuff, all in a foreign language, and everyone listens to me and stuff gets done. Crazy how that works. I know the Lord is at the head, this is his work, and that by living the Gospel we all become better. It's a process of refinement. I now see how living the gospel consistently over a lifetime really will prepare us to be like Christ one day, so that we may be accepted into his kingdom.

Have a good Thanksgiving, eat some pie for me! But don't get too fat because I want to go hiking with you next summer! I've had several dreams lately about the mountains and I'm really missing Colchuck lake! Thanks for the prayers on my behalf, this week went better. The zone has had some miracles and everyone is in a little bit better of spirit. Keep praying for me like crazy, I need it!

Happy turkey day,

Elder Barlow

P.S. Tell me which kind of pie turns out the best this year. I'm in the mood for some pumpkin pie and some pecan pie. With vanilla ice cream. Haha eat some for me.