Monday, February 6, 2017


Bora Bora in the background.

Hello family!

It is February! Wow, time is flying. This week went really well. It was work as usual, lots of biking, lots of sunshine (except for right now, it is raining hard and there is a lot of loud thunder and lightning outside!). I love calling this island neverland. It is so gorgeous. I realize more and more each week recently how much I will miss this place. It's so great to be able to worry about nothing but sharing the gospel. I have to come back here one day with all of you.

The people here are amazing.  Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday morning this week I was outside doing my daily exercise on our little covered patio area. The brother of sister C stopped by each of those days around 6am to drop off fresh hot french bread from the bakery down the street. The people here love us so much it is amazing! I really think I was sent here for that family in particular. We have a lesson with them tonight and I can't wait.

Branch council earlier this week was interesting. I helped the branch make a mission plan for 2017. Also, the members had some questions about rules and such for sacrament meeting (can non members take the sacrament? etc.) I had to bust out the church handbook in french several times and correct the members. It was a little strange to tell all the church leaders here what to do. But it was also super cool. The more we study the scriptures and rules, etc, the more we can help others serve the Lord effectively while following all the rules.

The past few weeks have been great, I feel like we are being led by the spirit. That is probably the best feeling you can have on a mission. We showed up at an inactive member's house in Tiva on Thursday. She started crying just because we were there. Apparently she wanted to quit smoking and come back to church. She prayed asking God for help and mercy. The next day we showed up outside her house. It's interesting. For us, we had nothing to do, so we decided to go see if that particular inactive member was home. I had never met her before. I've found that often the spirit leads us when we just try and work hard. Often inspiration comes in the form of good ideas, or even thoughts of "I have nothing better to do," followed by action. I think about these kind of things while we're biking all day, because we bike A LOT.

What else is new... we fasted Saturday night to yesterday with the branch council, specifically for missionary work. While fasting Sunday, we biked to Faaaha (one of the furthest away areas in our sector, also one of the biggest hills to climb) under a blazing hot sun. We found 3 new amis and taught several lessons. Blessings of working hard! Also, at church yesterday one of our amies named M went into the branch president's office to talk with the branch president. After sacrament meeting, we found out that our branch president committed her to baptism! Awesome! Haha. M is an 80+ year old lady. I haven't really done much to teach her, she's been an amie for a long time. But finally she's ready to get baptized! It will be next Saturday (the 18th) at the chapel in Patio, because they have a baptismal font. M is too old and fragile to baptize in the ocean outside the chapel here in Haamene. She asked me to give her the Holy Ghost. And so the work moves on here at Tahaa!

Elder J and I have plans to make smores on a little sandbar out into the bay of Haamene off our backyard once we fix a baptismal date with an ami. We didn't actually commit M to baptism, it was the branch president. So we're waiting to fix some more baptisms before we have our reward of smores. Haha. Also, after the first baptism here I am planning to go to the store and spend the $7 necessary to purchase a box of Fruit Loops in celebration.

Life's good! When not out biking or teaching lessons, Elder J and I are talking about BYU and how pumped we are, etc. It's a constant party. While in Poutoru this Saturday, an ami gave us a bag of "ramboutans (spelling?)," a little red tropical fruit. We biked down the road to a nice stretch of sand. We sat on some rocks in the shade of a tropical tree with a view of Raiatea across the ocean and munched on the sweet ramboutans while talking about life, college, bro stuff, etc. for a good hour or so. It was awesome. I felt a little guilty afterwards about wasting the time, but life here is just ridiculously awesome right now. If you had the view of Raiatea and the blue ocean in front of you, you'd be tempted to sit there for a long time too. ;)

Looking forward to this week: work like normal Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Friday morning we are going to Raiatea for our zone conference. That will be all day long. President and Sister Bize will be there, so we will also do interviews with President. We come back to Tahaa Friday night. Saturday and Sunday are normal days, and then it's already P Day again! Time is going too quickly.

Thanks for all the prayers and support and emails. I love hearing from you! Miss and love you all,

Elder Barlow

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