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