Tuesday, February 14, 2017

February continues

view back towards haamene from the end of the bay, on Tuesday evening. Gorgeous

view of Raiatea from Vaitoare on Wednesday

Elder Jenkins taking a picture of Raiatea on Wednesday

Elder Jenkins taking a drink with Raiatea in the background,  Super blue water

View across the bay of Haamene

Hello family!

This week went well. Last Monday night we had our family night our investigators.  It went super well. We taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Pray that we have the spirit with us! Also, they came to church again Sunday and they are pretty well integrated by the members.

The highlight Tuesday was a choir practice! Yes, the branch council planned to have a choir for our branch conference, which will be at the end of February (the 25th and 26th).  So Tuesday night we were all out on the C's patio with a piano they rolled out there and all the members of the branch council and a bunch of investigators. I was playing the piano. They asked my companion to direct the music (wave his arms, etc.). While I was playing, I couldn't help but smile and not laugh. We were directing about 20 Tahitians who were singing hymns at the tops of their voices. I had the thought, 'if someone drove past the porch right now, they would see 2 huge white guys leading a bunch of Tahitians in loud beautiful singing.' It was an awesome moment. We have another practice this Tuesday. I feel blessed to be able to use my talents to help others accept the truths of the Gospel. Now I look back on all the moments when Mom used to make me practice piano with fondness. I'm glad I stuck with it!

Tuesday also brought bike problems... my back tire wore through and the air tube went flat. So we walked under the hot sun all over the place, since we were far away from our house when my tire went flat. A member helped us out, he lent me a wheel and tire from his bike to use until the new tire I ordered from Tahiti gets here. While walking around Tuesday, we walked past some white people (a less than common sight). They said hello, so we asked 'are you Americans?' They laughed and said 'no, thank goodness. We are from the Holy Land,' in accented English. What?! Haha crazy. Tourists apparently. So that was cool.

Thursday we biked to Tiva, which is up a huge hill and down the other side. While biking down, we just heard a roar of rain hitting the trees on the mountain side. Oh no. Within several seconds the rain arrived and we were instantly soaked. Once the rain stopped, we biked to a bench by the ocean and put our socks in the sunshine to dry out. I took advantage of the moment to snap some beautiful photos. There were also a bunch of hermit crabs crawling around under the bench. It was fun to play with them. We took one home and called him Ernie.

Friday morning we woke up around 4:30am and biked to the quay to await our boat to Raiatea. We got to Raiatea and had our zone conference all day with President Bize. It was awesome. There were trainings on teaching repentance, adjusting to missionary life (with the new schedule changes), and teaching/using the book of Mormon to convert. I liked it, I feel like I do most of the stuff pretty well already. I tried to listen to the spirit and take some notes on things I can do here in my sector. After the conference, we had our interviews with President Bize. I understand his French accent a lot better now. So we just talked. I asked about transfers and how long I'll stay at Tahaa, or where he'll send me afterwards. He said 'I have no idea. Ask Him (while pointing towards heaven).' He then explained a little about the transfers, how that works, etc.  It was fun to tell him about the family we're teaching that we found through my piano playing. That's definitely a reason why the Lord put me here. After the interview, President switched into English and said "Thank you very much." Haha.

Saturday morning we cleaned the chapel with some of the branch members. Then we went out and worked. We biked to Poutoru. All of our lessons fell through, which was a bummer. However, we prayed to be led by the spirit. We ended up stopping by at some inactives' houses. We talked with them and invited them to come back to church. Sunday morning we walked into the chapel, and all the inactives that we had seen came to church! Wow! We were definitely led by the spirit.  When our branch president saw them, he said "Elders, do you know this family? They live way over in Poutoru." I said "yeah I know them, we visited them yesterday." He smiled as he understood that we were the reason that family came. Brownie points for us! Haha

Yesterday (Sunday) after church we ate maa Tahiti at the C's house. It was super yummy! I love it, it's made up of taro and manioca root, fe'i (a banana like thing, cooked like a squash), po'e (a jello-like fruit pudding), poisson cru (raw fish), faafaa (a cooked spinach dish with chicken inside), and of course fafaruu! (I don't know how to spell it really, but fafaruu is the raw fish that is put in fermented sea water and smells like death. But it tastes really good with all the other foods! The best part about fafaruu: after eating it, you can still smell it on your fingers 2 or 3 days later. The odeur is intense!) Then we biked to Faaaha, another huge hill that is very far away from our house. When we got back last night, we slept soundly. And today is P Day!

It's been a good week! Normally this weekend is the baptism for M, the 80+ year old lady. It will be the first baptism of the year for the branch. We'll do it in the baptismal font at the chapel in Patio because the lady is so old and fragile. I need to baptize someone young so we can do it in the ocean, I want to get my feet wet! Haha. The work is progressing. It's super cool. Voilà an update of my week. Glad to hear that everyone is doing alright!

Love you all,

Elder Barlow

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