Tuesday, April 25, 2017

April 24

Hello family!

This week flew by. Every week flies by. Every Saturday we realize that another week has come and gone already. It's weird.

We worked a lot this week, biked a lot, etc. We're trying to find new investigators. This week we made little fliers with questions on it that the book of mormon answers. We put the corresponding chapters of the book of mormon that answer the questions next to each question. At the bottom we wrote "if you want to know more and if you want to receive a free copy of the book of mormon, call the (our phone number)." We're going to put the fliers around town, like at the store and the post office. We also made the same flier but in a book mark size that we now give to investigators and use to contact people. Hopefully the creativity yields some results. This way interested people can contact us.

Tuesday I was really hoping to find someone to teach. I prayed that God could use us to show his power. We stopped by a lady's house and she told us she had the Dengue, a mosquito carried sickness. So we gave her a blessing. Maybe she got miraculously healed. But the opportunity to give a blessing was probably an answer to prayer. We'll stop by to see how she is doing tomorrow.

Wednesday was a lot of biking. A few weeks ago some random guy called out to us " Hey elders!" The last time someone did that was M, in the street at Orofero. He is now baptized, so I had to contact this guy here on Tahaa who said Elders. It turns out that he got married about two years ago so his wife could get baptized. He's from Tahaa and his wife is at Papeete. But she moved back here last week so we started to teach them both. She came to church yesterday, but her husband (the investigator) didn't. The Lord's timing is interesting, the fact that he led us to that guy right before his wife (an active member) moved here.

Thursday night we taught the first lesson to N and M, a younger couple. We committed them to get married and baptized in 2 weeks, on May 6. They said they'd pray about it. We took them cookies on Friday. We also went to see them Saturday night with our Branch President. It turns out May 6 is too soon for them. A lot of these people will take more time in their spiritual progression. I'm just here to help them out as best I can, even if they don't get baptized until a later day.

Friday we biked to Faaaha and visited M. She's the older Protestant lady and probably our most potential investigator for the moment. She keeps reading the book of mormon. We committed her to stop drinking tea. She has almost stopped smoking, thanks to the book of mormon. She knows the church is true, but hesitates to get baptized. But if she got baptized it would be huge because she has a lot of kids and grandkids!

Saturday we biked to Poutoru, then Saturday night went out with our Branch President to visit N and M, like I said. N ended up not even being there, which was a bummer. But we had a good talk with M. They didn't come to church yesterday, but hopefully we can talk them into getting married sometime soon. It was great to go out with President Tsing. He's a sharp guy.

Sunday morning I got out of the shower early in the morning to hear the phone ringing. I was surprised to see President Bize's name on the screen. He was informing me that he will be coming to Tahaa next weekend. He asked me to set up a fireside Sunday night at Cumorah and a family night Monday night here at Haamene. Also, he will be going on a split with us and with the Elders of Cumorah while he is here. That will be great! We'll go visit some amis with him. I've never done a split with him so I'm super excited. He has the priesthood keys for the missionary work and it shows when he talks to investigators. There's a different power. It's cool.

This morning we went to Raiatea. While walking to the boat, H and M drove past us. They pulled over and asked if we were busy today. They want to talk to us. I'm praying they tell us that they are ready to get baptized and want to know how soon they can. haha. Thinking positive.
I've been praying a lot for some miracles and some success before I leave here. I will miss Tahaa. I have a feeling that something good will happen in the next few weeks.
Thanks for all the prayers and letters and support, it means a lot. Miss you all tons and can't wait to see you!

Have a good week. Love,

Elder Barlow

Friday, April 21, 2017

encore avril (still april)

Elder P and Elder G! We were proud of how much we fit in the back of the little truck. 3 bikes and a ton of suitcases!
View of the bay of Tiva from the south side. Super pretty over there.
Spoiler alert... we made cookies! With Mom's recipe from home. They turned out DELICIOUS.
Have you heard about the latest (pine)Apple product? iPhone is out of style.

Hello family!

Happy Easter! Eat some Cadbury eggs for me. This week flew by. I have the feeling that my time is running out on a mission and I want to make the most of it.

Last Monday we had a much needed low key P day. 
Tuesday we contacted all our amis here around the bay of Haamene. We managed to fix a lesson with a lady we haven't taught yet for tomorrow, so that was a success.
Wednesday morning we woke up early and biked to catch the boat to Raiatea. While over there, the zone leaders picked us up from the dock. We helped them out with some transfer stuff. They had to pick up suitcases and bikes from the sisters' house and drop it off for another boat to take back to Tahiti. I was Elder G's zone leader before, and now he's my zone leader. It's fun to see them balance all the responsibilities. We fit a ton of stuff into the back of their truck. 
Thursday we biked to the beautiful bay of Tiva. We decided that we are in a tropical version of the Shire. 
Friday we did our district meeting by telephone.Then we made cookies for our investigators! We used Mom's recipe from home for chocolate chip cookies. We used raw sugar instead of brown sugar, oats that had been pre ground a little bit, and a chocolate bar with nuts in it (because we didn't have brown sugar, a blender for oats, wheat flour, chocolate chips, or nuts). But they actually turned out really well! It smelled just like home and tasted like home too. A little bit sweeter than normal, maybe because of the milk chocolate bar, but overall pretty good. It made about 4 dozen cookies. We delivered a bunch to MC and S and J, gave some to D (another amie), and then biked some over to Faaaha for M (another amie we've been teaching). We got feedback yesterday from everyone: they loved them! Homemade cookies don't really exist here so that was fun.
Saturday morning there were some stake leaders who came to our branch to go visit and stuff with the auxiliaries. We went out with them in the morning. In the afternoon we biked to Poutoru. We found a lady who said we could come back next week... hopefully that turns into a family that we can teach. It's tough here because the sector is so big and we're on bikes. We can only visit people once a week. As a result, if they're not there one day, we end up not seeing them for weeks at a time.
Sunday, yesterday, went well. No one really did anything special for Easter. Our sacrament talks didn't really even focus on it. I forget about holidays and stuff here on this little island. It's too peaceful and removed from the world.
Some fun experiences: Monday night after our family night at the C's house, M and S brought some food over to our house. S dropped it off and just said "thank you so much for teaching me" really sincerely. It touched me. We love S!
Tuesday S and M dropped off some fruit at our house when we weren't there. Elder J and I had fun taking pictures with a pineapple. Haha.
We met lots of people yesterday while biking around. Hopefully this week brings some new investigators and good news. 
Keep praying for us. I love and miss you all lots!

Have a good week,

Elder Barlow

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

April showers bring may flowers!

Did a split with Elder P. at Raiatea! He's my zone leader. We started at the same time in the MTC.

Misty mountains in the rain at Tiva, also in our sector.

Fun time! He's really short and I'm really tall so we took a funny picture.

View of Raiatea from our sector at Poutoru. There was a really pretty boat.

Hello family!

This week was pretty crazy. Lots of biking. Wednesday we woke up before 5am to bike to Vaitoare and catch the boat to Raiatea. We did that because I went on a split with the zone leaders (Elder P), and Elder M came back here to Tahaa with Elder J. Wednesday was a really good day. It was so fun to work with Elder P. We both started at the same time in the MTC together, so we're both really experienced missionaries, etc. We taught some great lessons and it was fun to meet all the members in their sector. The longer I'm out, the easier it is to relate to people here. I love members so much! The Tahitians just love missionaries, so every time you're in a different sector, if anyone sees you they'll come up to you and ask your name and everything. I made so many friends in the 24 hours I was at Raiatea.
Thursday morning we woke up early again to catch the boat back to Tahaa and finish the split. Friday we woke up before 5am again and biked to catch the boat back to Raiatea for our zone conference. The conference was super good. I loved learning from President Bize. He talked a lot about staying worthy to be able to be called by the Lord to serve. He told several stories about people who hadn't been called to serve as branch presidents because they hadn't payed a full tithing. It's sad when people disqualify themselves from potential blessings. He said looking back right before his call as a mission president, he could see that the Lord had prepared everything already. Nothing could prevent him from being called as a mission president except himself. Luckily he was worthy and able to be called to serve. The other main point that I got out of the conference was to give it our all. Time on a mission is very short, and we need to be fully committed for these two years. I want to be a little more diligent after the conference! We also had interviews with President Bize after the conference. He said I'll probably stay here a while longer. I'm happy with that! I was really touched by some of the things he told me. He said something along the lines of "The Lord needed an Elder Barlow in that sector." It helps me see that the Lord knows each of us personally.
Saturday morning we woke up before 5am to get ready and then bike to the chapel for general conference. We watched it live, so the morning session started at 6am. Too early! I really enjoyed all the talks. I don't have a favorite talk in particular. But I enjoyed hearing the prophet speak about charity and the book of mormon. Also, there were tons of talks about the Holy Ghost and the Divinity, the nature of Christ, and the Gospel in general. There seemed to be more doctrine and less stories in this conference. It was all in French, so maybe I didn't understand some of the stories if there were some. Haha.
Sunday we woke up before 5am again. Conference again. In the afternoon we biked to Faaaha and worked the sector a little.
Update on our sector: Already we taught one lesson yesterday, so this week is bound to be good.
Today we woke up early (again!!!) because we have to go to Raiatea. While we're over there we're going to meet up with the zone leaders and go check out a traditional polynesian altar thing, where they used to sacrifice people apparently. Cool! Tonight we have a family night at the chapel with the whole branch to promote unity among the members. We're in charge of teaching a portion of the lesson. And tomorrow the work restarts.
Glad to hear that everyone is doing well. Have a great week!


Elder Barlow