Elder Josh 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

Monday, September 7, 2015

"I'm So Glad That I Kept Taking Piano Lessons!" - or something like that...

Hello everyone!

I hope that this week has been a good week for you and that you have all enjoyed the week!

In Tahiti, things have continued to be crazy! So, this week we did a service project that involved cutting down banana trees and clearing a space for a house! For the project, I was given a huge machette and just wacked down trees! I definitely felt like the Lorax would not like me... I couldn't really take pictures, because I had a knife in my hands, but it was awesome! The food this week was good as well! It still is really chicken, rice, and flavored water, but hey, I'll take it! No fafaru yet (I'll explain that when I have it)!

On the spiritual side, things were still great over here! We have continued to teach tons of lessons and still are teaching in 2 areas! We had 2 people confirm baptism dates this week and they are for the 19th and the 26th if everything goes well this next week! So, it should be awesome! And, I haven't really mentioned this, but though I still can't speak French or Tahitian, everyone knows I can speak the language of music! I have played in Sacrament Meeting, a baptism service, and a Priesthood Meeting, with other things that might come too! So stay "tuned". Another cool thing this week included the marraige of Jeanine (see picture) which was huge! Definitely a cool moment for her and for her family!
Definitely the Spiritual Moment of the week goes to one of my favorite Investigators, Papy Kenny. Before I got here, he had talked with the missionaries, but didn't want anything to do with the church. But, the past 3 lessons, I have bore a testimony of the Book of Mormon and how important it is for him to read it. Now, he speaks Tahitian very fast so I have no clue what he is saying, but, somehow, we started reading 3 Nephi 11 together and the Spirit was very strong! After 29 verses, I asked him if he wanted to be baptized, and he said yes! He said he wanted to think about a date, but I know that the reason he wanted to be baptized was centered around reading the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon makes a huge difference in all of our lives, and through it, we can know the will of God for us, find a desire to follow Christ, and lead others to the same knowledge. Pray for him to receive a baptism date tomorrow!!!
Everything is good here, hope all is well at home!
Elder Garff