Elder Josh Garff

Monday, December 28, 2015

Ia orana te Noera! and What Would Christmas Be Without Golem?

Josh adores his Christmas sweater - It was a gift from his thoughtful siblings.

Well, of all of the Christmas' that I have had, this one, like my cousin Truman Ballard told me, was the most memorable. This week was definitely a week to remember, and it started with a crazy P-Day, awesome Christmas party for the mission, and then a Skype!
So, just a quick story for P-Day, I'll attach a picture but there is a scripture that says the Gospel will be preached to every living creature, so I figured I would give proselyting to turtles my best shot. One turned his head away from me, and the other one was pretty interested!

Josh preaching the Good Word to the turtles

After, on Wednesday, we had a huge Christmas party for all of the missionaries! It was an awesome experience! I got to see all of my MTC group there and it was so crazy just seeing everyone! It took up 6 hours of our day, but with a mix of watching movies, gift exchanges, and talks from President and Sister Bize, it was an awesome evening!

MTC District Christmas Reunion
But, above all, the coolest experience of the week was Skyping with my family. We only had 45 minutes, and it seemed like 45 seconds! Definitely one of the coolest experiences of the mission!
Culture Shock: I think the culture shock of the first green Christmas here was crazy enough! And don't worry, though it didn't snow, we still got covered in rain (melted snow? Close enough!).

Ohipa Oaoa: Defintely goes to Preaching the Gospel to my Turtle friends. Nothing beats that this week!
Spiritual Thought: This was sparked by my Dad's email to me today. If, after just 7 months, I cried just at the sight of my family because I was so happy to see them, just imagine what will happen at the end of our lives, when we are able to return to our Heavenly Father, the most powerful Being in the universe, who loves us more infinately than we can ever love someone else. Just a little something to ponder about, what will our reaction be at the end of this life? Tears of shame for not keeping the commandments? Or, tears of joy for the knowledge that we can live with God for eternity?
Love you all, Happy New Year!
Elder Garff

Bonus Material:
It is a little known fact that Golem actually was one of the visitors.  We learn two very important things from this photo.  1) Josh has not lost his sense of humor and 2) We need to be more careful about the type of advent calendars we send to him.
What would Christmas be without Golem?

Monday, December 21, 2015

"The House After the House with the Dog..."

Well, Christmas is finally here! It's Practically Upon us!
My Christmas Trees!

Things have been going great here in Maraa and I couldn't have asked for a better sector! Elder Peel and I are working as hard as we can everyday, and have been doing some pretty crazy stuff! We have been working with a lot of great people for baptism, and should have a lot coming in the next few weeks! Other than baptism stuff though, this week was really a "get to know the sector week" and it was a little bizzare! Going from a small island like Bora to Tahiti was crazy, I felt like I was crazy overwhelmed! I wonder what it will be like in 1.5 years! Ha ha ha!

Funny Moment: We were looking through the area book for investigators, and found an investigator, with an address! But the address, as I will post below, was "The house after the house with the dog". Thanks whoever wrote that, we'll definitely find that house!
"House After the House With the Dog"... Thanks!

Culture Shock: Definitely will go to the Green Christmas here! I don't think we'll get snow, but we'll probably get rain!

Spiritual Thought: This is definitely about Christmas, and will be what my Mom asked for "A Christmas Thought". When reading in the Liahona, I read an article written by Elder Christofferson. He said that for Christmas, we should just take a moment and be filled with the love of our Savior for us. He then quoted a man who compared the Holy Ghost to a fire. To receive the warmth from the fire, we don't need to be smart or complicated. After working to have the Savior in our lives, all we need to do is sit back and enjoy the warmth from the fire. Regardless of your spiritual standpoint, take time this season and take 10 minutes at least and let the Spirit of Christ fill you. You don't have to be thinking of crazy thoughts, and don't have to be the prophet or church leader, just be you and take a moment to appreciate Christ and let His Spirit warm you this Christmas season!
Josh and Elder Peel

Love you all, Merry Christmas!

Elder Garff

Monday, December 14, 2015

Ants in My Pants

Hey all! You will never guess what happened this week! This week was one of the best weeks of the mission so far, and it was filled with plenty of surprises!

A pleasent surprise was 2 baptisms this week! We baptized Temana (investigator baptism) and we baptized Jeannine (an excommunicated member baptism). I had the privelidge to baptize them both and they both have very different stories. Jeannine has been working ever since January to get back in the church, and after a marriage, following the lessons, changing times for work, and baptizing her kids, she is back! With Temana, he has a little bit of a learning disability, so we had to change our teaching style a ton. But, it just goes to show that the Lord is looking out for everyone, and if we ask, He will give us the way to succeed.
Jeannine's Baptism
Temana's Baptism

The crazy surprise is that I am not in Bora Bora right now! I got a transfer call to serve on Tahiti! I am right now serving with Elder Peel in Maraa! It was so weird to see all the cars and big buildings (which I am sure are nothing compared to America!)! So, I'll be here for a while, and I'll be the senior companion, definitely freaking out a little bit right now!
Na Na Bora Bora
Also, we had a fireside that was awesome! It was about the meaning of Christmas and how Christmas is about the people, not about the presents. Definitely a cool message! And for one of the videos, Elder Webber and I translated the subtitles into French (the French movie isn't out yet)! Definitely a cool experience!
Ants In My Pants
Funny Moment of the Week:
Definitely goes to finding a colony of ants in my pants! They were hanging up, and in the morning, we found the colony all over 2 pairs of my pants and all over my dress shirts... Definitely had to laugh that one off!
Josh's First Boat Blessing
Culture Shock:
We were asked to give a blessing to a boat... Not every day you find someone asking for a blessing on their boat! Just goes to show how important fishing is here!

Spiritual Thought:
This week, I came across a quote that Elder Stevenson said. He said that when he was called to the Quorem of the 12 Apostles, he was very overwhelmed. But, President Monson told him that the Lord qualifies those who He calls. Several times on the mission, I feel like I am not qualified at all to be a missionary. I am trying my best, but there are honestly times that I feel like the French or Tahitian isn't coming, comprehension and speaking. But, the Lord will qualify me to do His work if I remain faithful to Him. And for all of us, if we are faithful to the Lord, we will be qualified to do what He asks us to do.

Elder Garff

Monday, December 7, 2015

I'll Have A Purple Christmas Without You

Josh (Garfield) and Elder Webber (Spiderman)
Greetings everyone! I hope that everyone is liking the snow and if you are like I was, I hope you are all enjoying scraping the snow off of your cars every morning! Here, it is the hottest time during the year, so instead of scraping ice off of the car, I am wiping the sweat from my face and mud from my bike ha ha ha!
Josh with his Purple Christmas Tree

This week was a crazy busy week! We have every hour of every day filled with plans, back-up plans, and everything we can think of! This week, we worked really hard to prepare people for baptisms and saw a lot of progression! We have a transfer coming soon, so I might not be able to see them get baptized, but nevertheless, they are coming! This upcoming week, we should have a ward Christmas party (Friday), 2 baptisms (Saturday), and a Fireside that we set up (Sunday), so a crazy week ahead!
Josh with Elder Borgholthaus and Mateata
Other than that, everything was pretty normal. We are doing all we can to bring everyone to Christ, no matter the area! One of our investigators, Mateata, was baptized this week! But, in Raitea (another area). So technically the baptism doesn't count for us, but it was a great story with her! With my old companion, Elder Borgholthaus, we started teaching her and it was one of the hardest things that we attempted to do, as her mother is a leader of the Protestant Church. But, through the Spirit, we managed to help her get baptized!!!! Awesome story and decision for her!

"We saw this little friend one morning after our studies"
A Mom Note:  Frankly, I think this looks similar to a Komodo Dragon.  We will be sending Josh a crossbow for Christmas.
So I, by request of my parents, will add 2 things every week: Culture Shock and The Funny Moment of the week! Enjoy!
Funny Moment:
When explaining the Plan of Salvation, I accidentally told our investigator that the Spirit Prison was better than the Spirit Paradise... That was a little awkward.
Culture Shock:
One of the first things I learned here is that always, you take off your shoes before you enter into a house. Maybe something you want to try with the snow!
Spiritual Thought:
This week I have thought a lot about the power of the Holy Ghost in teaching. I will go in a little more depth next week, but I have truly learned that only through teaching by the Spirit I can be an effective missionary. And, to have the Spirit in our teaching, we need to ask for it! "How can you expect to receive something if you didn't think to ask me?" In our lives, we need the Spirit, to learn effectively, help others, and to be led to righteousness. So, in our lives, we need to ASK for the Spirit!
Elder Garff

Monday, November 30, 2015

Happy Halloween?

Hey all! I'll explain the title of this email later... But today was a great week! Here in Bora things are really picking up! We have been finding a lot of new investigators and we experienced miracles this week! We literally experienced miracles! In the work of the Savior, I have honestly seen more miracles in my life, not because of me, but because I am reaching out beyond myself and I am realizing how much I am really dependant on the Savior. Every time we listen to His Spirit we are blessed! And with the miracles, I will tell you in 2 weeks what they are... :)
Apparently, our Halloween package for Josh just arrived this week.  He and Elder Webber have been celebrating Halloween.
So, everything else has been going great! Elder Webber and I have been working as hard as we are able every day and are putting together a Christmas fireside, which requires us translating a video into French... Should be awesome! The language is defintely coming better too, it's just through all of the small and simple things that the great things are brought to pass!
"Our Chapel - Pretty Awesome!"

Know that I love you all and I hope that you are all enjoying the snow! Here, it's crazy hot, super windy, and when it rains, it is hard to tell if it is the sweat or the rain on our faces ha ha ha!
"Thanksgiving Feast - Playboy Roulotte - Ua Reva Tatou!"
Spiritual Thought:
In a talk given by Elder David A. Bednar, he asked the question, "I wonder if in our comfortable lives of electricity, air conditioning, and modern commodities if we have forgotten our daily dependance on the Savior" (definitely paraphrased). My Spiritual thought for this week is focused on our daily dependance on the Savior. I know that every day I don't ask for His help in the mission field is a tough and near impossible day. But, every day that I humble myself and ask for His help, I find miracles and strength. My challenge to you all to start this Christmas season is to realize how much Christ is in your life and to give Him credit where it is due (everywhere!).

Elder Garff

Monday, November 23, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hey all! I hope that this week brings Tahitian-like meals for you all! I think it is funny when people ask about Thanksgiving here, because I basically describe a dinner appointment every time ha ha ha!
Josh with Elder Webber and Keanu
 This week, Keanu was baptized! This kid is an absolute stud! There are tons of stories about him, but the one that stuck out the most to me was right after his baptism, there was a huge celebration, tons of cake!!!!!!!!! And there was a rehearsal for the talent show, and tons of other things happening. While Elder Webber and I were putting away the chairs for Sacrament Meeting the next day, Keanu saw us and asked if he could help. So, he put aside all of the food, friends, dancing, etc... so he could help us. Talk about an amazing kid!
"Tama'a Maitai after the baptism huh?!"

Other than that, this week was another great week! We have continued to work as hard as possible and should be having a lot of success with baptisms in the next few weeks! Right now, our goal is to have 5 by the end of the year. I don't know if I will still be in Bora by then, but hey, 5 baptisms by the end of the year for Bora Bora! We have 1 fixed for the 12th of December, and we should be having 2 others fixed at least this week!
Josh changing his first flat tire
Though this week was great, my bike didn't really get the memo... So, this week I got a flat tire and it took us 3 days to finally repair it! Talk about frustrating! The part where you inflate the tire popped entirely off, it was definitely a fun experience ha ha ha!
"This is how I work out every day - I lift empty gas cans.  With empty gas cans, you know that every shower is cold, no heat!!! Got to love it!"
Spiritual Thought:
This week, I want to share a little Thanksgiving message with everyone. Before the mission, I didn't realize how blessed we are to live where we do. In Utah, there are tons of luxuries that many people around the world don't have. As I look around where we serve, one of the richer sectors in the mission, I am more and more grateful for my home.
But, most importantly, I think the mission has taught me the most about being grateful for my family. I think I might have taken for grated being with my family, and now am starting to regret every time I didn't do something with them and could have. I love you all so much! Definitely know that I am grateful for you and will always be thinking about you!
So, this Thanksgiving, don't focus on the food, focus on the family: Our family here on the earth and our eternal family.

Elder Garff

Monday, November 16, 2015

Another Week in Paradise

Hey all!

I hope that everything back home has been going well! Here, things are heating up! While everyone in Utah is putting on sweatshirts and pants (though I would suggest that everyone wear sport shorts), here the topic at every house is how hot it is! This time of year in Tahiti is the hot and mosquito season! So, a little different than back home!
A Tahitian Celebration
This week was a very preparatory week. We have started to focus more on the things that our investigators need to be baptized, and we have a lot of baptisms on the horizon! Next week, we should have one! I will tell you more next week, but this kid is really impressive and understands the Gospel a lot better than I did at his age, and he is an investigator!!! We have also taken a lot of action and have tons of events coming up! Including a ward talent show (27th) and a ward Christmas Fireside (December 13th). So, a lot of really cool stuff is coming up!

Next week should be awesome! I hope that you are all doing well, and just know that when the snow comes, I'll be sweating up a storm!
"Notice that Bryan, the man behind me, has biceps bigger than my head!"
Spiritual Thought:
This week, I really learned a lot about judging others. Sometimes, I am very quick to jump to conclusions without getting the whole story. But, something that I have learned before, and something that I relearned this week was that we need to have a positive attitude toward everyone and not judge them. It is hard to change a lifestyle and it is impossible to be perfect. President Brigham Young said once that on earth, we are commanded to be as perfect as we can. A popular phase nowadays is a saint is someone who keeps trying, (thank you Nelson Mandela) and if we are trying our own personal best, that is enough. That is what God demands of us, not to do the personal best of someone's capability, but to do our own personal best.

Elder Garff

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman and Garfield - Week 1

Bonjour everyone!
So, quick explanation with this above... Elder Webber and I have been given cartoon characters because of our names. So, all of the kids and most of the adults here call us Elder Spiderman and Elder Garfield. So, definitely awesome!
Tan Lines brought to you from Maitai roa
This week was a good week! It was a weird week adjusting to a new companion, but, like Elder Borgholthaus, Elder Webber is awesome! This week, we taught a ton of lessons, and I think we taught the Plan of Salvation at least 3 times a day! Pretty awesome! And all of our investigators are in a great progression! We are teaching a lot of kids right now, so working with a lot of parents too, but we should be having a couple of baptisms soon! Stay posted!
And with the language, everything is coming along much better. Definitely I still have to keep working and now I am more tired than ever when I come back to the house, but it is not as frustrating anymore! So, definitely a good sign!
A quick shoutout to Elder Abraham Smith-Driggs for rerouting my mail - Thanks Man!
Spiritual Thought:
With learning a new language, I sometimes put myself in the shoes of our investigators. They are incredible. If someone came up to me and could barely piece a sentance together, I don't know how patient I would be with them, or if I would want to talk to them for an hour or two every week. Here, I have really seen true humilty. To change and do the will of God taught by a couple of Elders who have French as a 2nd language would be tough. But, with humility, there is the Holy Ghost. And with the Holy Ghost, there is a conversion. Truly, I have come to see that only through the Holy Ghost can others be converted to the Gospel and come unto Christ.
Hope the snow isn't too cold over there!
Elder Garff

Monday, November 2, 2015

Au Revoir Elder Borgholthaus - Bonjour Elder Webber

I hope that everyone had a great Halloween! And that there were some great costumes!

As for my Halloween, it was great! We had a great activity, and my health I think has declined, more on that below! But, this is the end of my training (yeah!!!), and there were a lot of treats. One is that the language is finally starting to come along! I still have a long way to go, but it was like getting the fun size candy bar! It was sweet, but the king size is the way to go right? Nevertheless, I am very grateful for my small candy bar :) The other treat was my new companion! His name is Elder Webber and he is from Florida! He used to be a zone leader and will finish his mission in 3 months! It is crazy, I am put with all of the wise and old missionaries!
 Elder Borgholthaus - Nice Balloon lei Josh
About that, I also sent my companion back home. Elder Borgholthaus was an awesome companion for me, and defintely taught me how to speak French better, how to plan effectively, and how to love the people. I definitely can learn a lot from him and hope that I'll see him in 19 months!

Speaking of that, it is crazy that I have been here for 5 months! If you could the months, I have been here for 7 (I started the very end of May and it is the very beginning of November ha ha ha!)! It defintely has gone fast, and I think that is it going to be even faster, now that I can somewhat understand people!
Elder Webber

Funny Thought!
So, about my health. During the good bye tour for Elder Borgholthaus, we said hi to some investigators in our old sector, Faanui. Tom, the investigator, took one look at me and the first thing he said was, "Elder Garff, tu as grossé"! Or, "Elder Garff, you have gotten bigger/fatter"! I definitely had to take a look at myself and say, "yeah, I have put on a few pounds..."!!! You might see that in the pictures I send!

Spiritual Thought:
My Gam sent me a talk given by Elder Bednar about the Atonement of Christ. From this talk, he said something that is on the front of every planner I have (since I received the talk) which has helped me discover how I can be a missionary and actually serve effectively for 2 years. "Individual willpower, personal determination and motivation, effective planning and goal setting are necessary but ultimately insufficient for us to triumphantly complete this moral journey. Truly, we must rely upon the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah." Truly as a missionary, I have found that only when I rely on Christ can I complete this mission with no regrets and find the strength to continue every day, even when I have none.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Last Week of Training - "Let Them Eat Cake" -(Thanks Marie)

Shark Feeding - Something fun for a P-Day

Well, it is finally here! The last week of my training! It is a crazy week too because my trainer is finishing his mission! So, I am really hoping that everyone will bake us cakes ha ha ha! If I have not said this before, I have kind of thrown my diet out the door and have invited all of the cake! Marie Antoinette said, "Let them eat cake", and I am starting to see the wisdom in that statement.

Things here are going well! We are continuing to work with all of the members in our ward and it is great because we have a lot of support! One of our main member integraters is named Tania (I'll send a picture later), but Tania had to go to Tahiti to be there for his wife (she is giving birth). It has been a struggle without him, but he is coming back this week! So we should still be doing well in the quartier!

I don't have a ton of time to write today, but I hope that everyone is doing well and that you all have a great Halloween!
Yes - living next to a car dealership!

Spiritual Thought:
This week I have really been pondering about a talk that my Gam gave me given by Elder Bednar about the Atonement of Christ. Not only the Atonement of Christ, but the enabling power that we can receive from the Atonement. Many times on the mission, I have thought to myself how lucky I am to have the Atonement. Not only to be cleansed from my sins, but to receive strength. Several times I have felt too tired to continue, to comprehend, and to speak French/Tahitian. But, every time I pray for strength, I receive it. And you all can receive the same power. It is not the power to change your circumstances, but the power to receive strength from God to overcome them.

That's my ponsé!

Elder Garff

Monday, October 19, 2015

Guitar and Ukulele - Sounding like a Tahitian :)

Hey all, this week was a crazy week! The craziness was due to the fact that we had a multi zone conference and we had to travel by boat to Raitea, another island in French Polynesia! It was really awesome to see all of the missionaries that I knew like Sister Morrill and Elder Toame, and it was especially cool to hear from President Bize, our mission president, his wife, and Elder and Sister Haleck (Elder Haleck is a seventy in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). During the conference, we learned about the importance of baptism, so, this week we engaged all of our investigators to baptism! It was a cool experience and there was a visable change during these lessons from the others that were not focused on baptism! So, stay tuned for the baptisms!

Bora is doing great and everything is crazy great here! Just a few awesome things! So, first, make sure to have a snowcone with condensed milk on the top!!!! It makes the snow cone taste like ice cream!!! I'll send a picture in a week or two! Soooo good! Another great thing, shout out to my Grandma Anderson! We have taken classes lately for the guitar, and the ukelele! And it has been awesome to play and actually be able to know all the chords! By the time I get back, at this rate I can sound like a Tahitian!

Spiritual Thought:
This week I have really been pondering about whether or not I am in the place that I need to be in my progression as a missionary. I finish my training in 2 weeks and I feel like I still have to learn a ton of things. But, my Grandpa Garff and my Dad have shared with me that the spot that we are all in right now is where the Lord needs us to be. That spot can be in Tahiti not understanding anything, or in school being fed up with midterms, or any other spot. The thing to know is that wherever we are, the Lord needs us to be there for a reason and it is our responsibility to do all in our power to make the most of it, learn, and continue to progress in the way that we think the Lord needs us to progress.

Hope you are all doing as well as the Utes' football team!

Elder Garff

Monday, October 12, 2015

Enjoy Every Moment - Raw Fish, Utah Football and Everything In-between

Raw Fish - 5 times a week or so.  Pretty Good!
Ia Ora Na!
Well, this week was another crazy week! This week, we taught 28+ lessons and the Spirit was extremely powerful in many of them! Right now, we have a lot of investigators who are really close to baptism and after marriages and other lessons, they will all be ready! We are hoping for a lot of baptisms on the 30th, the day that my trainer leaves, and hopefully those will all work out!
Speaking of my companion, he is really awesome! He finishes his mission in 3 weeks but still is continuing to work hard every day! And, he is crazy fluent in French! So every time that I mess up, he is always there to cover for me! Definitely blessed to have someone to fall back on when I need help (sort of rings a bell with the Savior for all of us huh?!) I definitely like working with him and hope that we can continue to work hard! We are both very similar in that we both like to be doing something all the time and want to be doing the right things too, which I am very grateful to have in my first companion in the field!
Other than that, everything is going well! We are going to visit another island for a mission conference this week, so we'll actually get to see the other missionaries here! There are only 6 missionaries on Bora, so it will be interesting to actually see everyone that has been called here!
The Primary Room in the Ward - We requested this from Josh so that we could show the kids in the 12th ward here.
Spiritual Thought of the Week:
So, definitely with the language there are a lot of ups and downs. Throughout my life, I have really been known for doing things until they are done and then moving on without really stopping to appreciate what I am doing. So, the spiritual thought of the week goes to my mom who told me to enjoy every moment, even the ones that you can't understand! So, my advice for myself and all of you is to enjoy everything that you do! Through joy, we are better motivated to do things and through this motivation, there comes a better sense of why we are doing what we are doing and a desire to do it perfectly.

I hope that everyone is doing well and of course enjoying Utah Football!

Elder Garff

Monday, October 5, 2015

"Hey!" from Bora

Hey everyone!
Another great week in Bora Bora! This week, it was a little weird because we had 2 new elders come to Bora Bora! So, I am still new, but not the newest ha ha ha! It's nice because I'm not the newest, but it's also kind of scary, because I still need a lot of work with everything before my training is done in 4 weeks ha ha ha! The new Elders are Elder Stewart and Elder Sovern. They are doing great and have great trainers, Elder Loamano and Elder Schwartz. Because of the new elders, Elder Borgholthaus and I gave one of our 2 sectors to the others. We lost Faanui, but we kept the sector of Vaitape which is doing really well! We have a lot of investigators right now that are working towards marraige dates and have a lot more that will be baptized once they know more about the church!
On another front, this week was a great week for General Conference! Here, they didn't have Conference in English, so we watched it in French. Because of that, I didn't understand a whole lot... But, the Spirit was definitely there and contributed to my Spiritual thought of the week!

Other than that, this week was a good week with a lot of lessons and with an increased purpose to the mission life for me.
Vahineura and Kohai - Two cool kids in Bora

Spiritual Thought:
This week I have thought a lot about the why to many things. As missionaries, our purpose, our "why" is to bring others unto Christ by helping them receive the restored Gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. This is our why and the reason why we do everything. This week, I discovered the "why" for investigators. Every investigator we meet and everyone who is not a part of the church needs to receive baptism and needs to be a member of the church to know where they came from, why they are here, and where they will go after this life. This is the Plan of Salvation. Without the Plan of Salvation, our lives have no purpose and nothing else matters. Investigators and everyone in the world needs to hear this message and the reason why everyone needs to be baptized in the church is because that baptism washes away sins and thus allows us to obtain the greatest gift of all: Eternal life, a life forever living in the presence of God.

Hope you are all doing well!

Elder Garff

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Minions Arrive

Hey everyone!

This week was a great week! My companion, Elder Borgholthaus, and I had a lot of success and we are doing well! We currently have a lot of people that are close to receiving a baptism date and who could definitely progress fast! So, keep your hopes and prayers up for our investigators!

This week, we had an open house, where we shared the Gospel with the mayor of Bora, a Protestant Deacon, a Catholic leader, and several others! It was a great experience and I will send a picture of our booth below! During the open house, we invited people of other faiths to come and see what our church is all about! In addition to the open house, we have had several activities like weddings, movie nights, and other things that are great places to talk to people about the Gospel! For the next week, we are excited, and hope you all are too, for General Conference! It starts at 6 in the morning here, so no complaining for those who get to sleep in until 9!

The big news here is that there is a transfer and I will not be the newest missionary anymore! Definitely still don't know the language or the culture entirely yet, but hey, I'm not the newest anymore! We have 30+ missionaries coming in, including 2 who will come to Bora!
Spiritual Thought:
In all things, we need to have faith. We need to have faith that through Jesus Christ all things are possible. And after we have taken that step of faith and have started a journey, whether it is a mission, school, or something else, we need to continue in hope. Faith is a belief in something not seen and which is true, and hope is the act of holding onto that faith, believing that the promised blessings will come in the Lord's time. If we doubt and lose our faith, we lose our hope also. In all things, keep the faith, continue in hope, and endure to the end.

I hope that all is going well at home, know I miss you all!

Elder Garff
Mangos - Awesome!
Fifiri (donuts) with Peanut Butter and Nutella - likely not on the P90X diet guide

The Minions Have Arrived!

* The language of the Minions consists of bits and phrases of many different languages.  This is about how Josh feels now.  The languages are coming, it just takes a bit of patience.  We thought it was only appropriate to send a few his way.


Monday, September 21, 2015

"Pass the Raw Fish...?"

Hey All!
This week was a great week! This week, we had two baptisms! Hitiarii (9) and Lohem (8) and it was a great experience at both baptisms! They both are coming from part-member families and both showed great examples of faith, and both showed a tremendous desire to be baptized! Also, in addition to baptism, there is an ordinance where you can receive the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of God. And, in my broken French, I was able to give the Holy Ghost to Lohem! It was really special because it was the same day (September 20th) that I myself was baptized and received the Holy Ghost! So, definitely a great experience with the 2 baptisms this week!

So, about the title of this email, I found myself saying at one of our dinner appointments "Pass the Raw Fish", and right after I said that (in French of course), I had to take a minute and wonder "Did I really just say that?" All good though! In addition to that, we had some crazy food this week like turtle (pretty good stuff!) and mangoes picked from our backyard! Just a tip on the mangoes, you can't catch them with your head (If you know what I mean...)

 Things are definitely getting better language-wise, and definitely my trainer, Elder Borgothous is helping me tremendously with that! I am hoping to get it before the end of my training, which is in 6 more weeks... Hopefully it'll happen!

And to explain the last picture... On Saturday, it rained all day, and we are on bikes. So, it got to the point where our socks were too wet to wear into peoples' houses! So, we went barefoot for a majority of the day and were drenched all day! Definitely one of the crazy days for sure!

Baptism Refreshments - Met with Josh's Approval
Spiritual thought of the week:
With every baptism, there are a multitude of sins that can be prevented. A scripture that is in the front of every planner I have in the field has James 5:20. Until recently, I didn't really know why baptism was so important. But now, I have the approach that with every baptism, we are preventing a multitude of sins, meaning that in a sense, we now alleviated some of the pain that Christ suffered during the Atonement for us. Every time we decide not to sin and invite others to do the same, we are eliminating some of the "drops of blood that [could have been] were spilled for [us]" ("This is the Christ", Song). So, everything I do is to help others to come to Christ, and in a way, do all that I can to eliminate the burdens of the Savior, even if they are small alleviations.

Hope all is well, it is in Bora!

Elder Garff

Monday, September 14, 2015

Be Comforted - and Learn How to Rotate the Pictures Mom

Bonjour toutes les monde!

I don't know if that is spelled right, but hey, I tried ha ha ha!

This week was another good week! This was probably one of the busiest weeks that we had, and next week might be even more packed! For next week, we have 3 possible baptisms lined up and we hope that all of them will be ready to go! I'll be sure to send some pictures next week about that! Also, we have a lot of investigators that are starting to get deeper into the lessons and many that are very interested in the Gospel! Vaitape and Faanui (our areas) are awesome and have a lot of potential!

As for the language, there are times that I feel like I can say anything, and then I get some humble pie and BOOM, it's gone! So, definitely I have to remember to be humble ha ha ha! But, in all humility here, the language is definitely better than it was Week 1. It is still a struggle to completely understand people and say things with clarity, but, if there is hard work and the Spirit, all things are possible!

Spiritual Thought:
This week we taught tons of lessons and a great thing that happened this week was that every lesson that we taught had a greater influence of the Spirit! There were many lessons this week that I felt like I lost all of my French and had no clue what was going on. But, I felt a prompting in several of our lessons to share a certain scripture (Joshua 1:9 , 1 Nephi 3:7 , etc...) and my companion said after the lessons that the things I shared were exactly what the investigators needed to hear! So, definitely the thought this week is that through the Spirit, we can overcome anything whether it is a language barrier, an understanding barrier (like school), or anything else. I know that during the hard times of my mission, I have had to pray for the Lord's help more than I ever have before. And every time I feel lost or discouraged, the Spirit always comes and I feel like the sons of Mosiah who were in need of comfort and the Lord said simply: "Be comforted". So, for comfort, understanding, and everything else, I know that the Spirit will help and comfort you all!

Elder Garff