Elder Josh 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.