Elder Josh Garff

Monday, February 29, 2016

It's Raining for the 17th Straight Day

Me with Benjamin, a recent convert with my nametag - Ha Ha Ha!  I love this man - and Tinomana's dad is in the background.

Hey all, this week was very, very, very wet! It has been raining for 17 days in a row, and normally I love the rain! But, when you are always going on bike to appointments, it feels like Splash Mountain every day! Still fun though!
Elder Davis, Tinomana and Me

So, the big news this week was that we had a baptism! His name is Tinomana, and he has been receiving the lessons for over a year now! It was a very touching experience, and his dad, after the baptism, who is not a member, told me that everything that Tinomana did for the baptism came from Tinomana. His decision to get baptized, his testimony (especially of the Book of Mormon), and his actions all came from himself, he was never forced by his parents (non-members). It was really touching to hear that from a non-member, who is now taking the lessons. It is amazing what happens when someone bears a pure testimony (Alma 4: 19)

Other than that, just a great week! The work here is going well and we are working with a lot of great people. We are helping a lot of people right now that are changing huge things in their life and helping them to overcome tempations that have beset them for multiple years. But, everything is possible through faith in Christ!
This Picture Just Doesn't Do the Rain Justice

Culture Shock: That sad moment when you hang your clothes out to dry and it rains all week... So they are all still wet!
Funny Moment: Definitely goes to getting hit by a car this week! It was not serious, but let's just say I got knocked off my bike unexpectedly! Then, right after, I almost got hit again by a car backing up ha ha ha!

Spiritual Thought: I have been thinking a lot about a lesson my dad taught me before my mission with finding the "why" behind everything. For missionary work, if we start with the questions "what" and "how" first, we get an approach like this for missionary work: "we are here to baptize you, we will do this through lessons, so that you can be saved at the last day". But, if you focus on the why behind missionary work, like my dad taught me, it becomes like this: "We are here to help you come unto Christ, you can do this through obeying the Gospel of Christ, and the things you can do are accepting and keeping the commandments of God". So, focus on the "why" with everything!

Love you all!

Elder Garff

Monday, February 22, 2016

Parenting 101, A Bee Sting, And A Stolen Bike

More on this below...

Me, my son, Elder Davis, and Elder Peel - The only trio in which I will be the tallest:)

Well, parenting is a little harder than I was anticipating! This week, I received a son in the mission field! Meaning, I am training a new missionary! His name is Elder Davis! He is from Utah and is starting just like I did, with not a lot of French experience! It is definitely going well though! We made it through the first week and are doing well!

Other than that, not much has changed. I did however learn how to drive stick this week and got passed off by Elder Caldwell! So, I can drive in the future! So, I can get off bike duty ha ha ha!

Right now, we are doing all that we can to help the area and to keep our heads above water (figuratively, not literally... I wish sometimes!)
"A Mystical Foggy Day with a Mystical Missionary Pose" - Yes, his own quote.  Thanks Josh.

Culture Shock: This week it rained. And when it rains, it pours! On bike, it felt like we were swimming in a pool every day! It is a good change from the crazy hot, but still, just extremes in weather here!
"Just a little swollen huh?  Now teach a lesson in French and Tahitian with that"
 Funny Moment: Definitely goes to getting stung by a bee right on the lips while biking... After that, it swelled to 4 times it's size and as the trainer, I had to teach the lesson... Try teaching with a marble shooter sized swelling in your mouth in 2 languages! A "fun" experience I don't really want to live again!

(A Mom Note:  Josh also had his bike taken this week.  Likely not his easiest week, but we are glad he is toughing it out.)

Spiritual Thought: This week I have really thought about the scripture in Alma 4:15. We will all have trials and will probably feel depressed after them, but, the Spirit of the Lord will never fail us. He will never fail us if we put our trust in Him. He works according to our faith and if we have faith in Him and His promises, we will receive the Holy Ghost.

Hope you are all doing well!

Elder Garff

Monday, February 15, 2016

A Lovely Valentine's Day Weekend

"I thought 2 "Goods" would make a "Great", but I was wrong...  Somehow Rice Krispies and Pineapple Juice aren't compatible." - We are glad Josh is learning and sharing such valuable information.
Hey Eveyone!

I hope that everyone had a great Valentine's Day and that you all got your fair share of hugs and kisses! For me, definitely not on the mission and probably not after as well. The closest I'll get are Hershey's kisses and hand hugs. But don't worry about little old me!
Takivera and Benjamin!  Awesome Day!
This week was great! We had 2 baptisms! And they both have incredible stories! The first was Benjamin. With Benjamin, he had been taking the lessons for ages. Then, all of a sudden, we had a lesson with just him, and we gave him the Book of Mormon, the first one he had ever received for himself. After a week, he knew the Book of Mormon was true and asked us when he could get baptized! And was!!!!
The next was a 9 year old named Takivera. Defintlely a name I could give my kids one day! He comes from an inactive family who, right now, are trying to get sealed in the temple! Takivera getting baptized was the first step, and now we'll try to keep it up and help them get to the temple!

In all, this week was a rewarding week and after every baptism, there is a great feeling of "yes! That was exhausting... On to the next one!" and hopefully we'll have some coming in the future!

Funny Moment: Benjamin's last name is "RAVEINO", which in Tahitian means "do bad". So, we joked that after his baptism and confirmation (which was on Valentine's Day!) we should change his name to "RAVEMAITAI" :)
Culture Shock: Here, the last names are in ALL CAPS. So, if you don't write a name in all capital letters, it means that they don't have a family name...
Ward Activity on the Beach
Spiritual Thought: I have been reading the Book of Mormon in the book of Ether lately. As I read Chapter 6, I was moved by their willingness to thank the Lord. They were in tumultuous conditions, living with animals, over and in the sea, whipped around, and yet they still sang praises to God endlessly. All that for a year, longer than I have been on a mission! So, if they can stay grateful to the Lord, even during all of that, can't we do the same and be grateful to the Lord, during our little hardships?

Love you all!

Elder Garff - (I think he means GARFF)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Sky is on Fire

Hey Everyone!
Yeah, the sky was on fire!  Crazy sunset that Elder Peel and I couldn't believe.

This week was another good week! It was really a week of preparing people to get baptized and to accept baptismal dates. While it was tiring at times, it was overall really good!

The work in Tahiti continues to progress and we are just following the slogan here "haere maru, haere papu". "Go surely, go softly", basically take the little steps. And with many of our investigators and inactives here, there has been a lot of progression! With the new year, a lot of people have changed for the better and are doing awesome with their progression! Something I definitely hope will keep going!

And, just a weather check for you all. I hope you are enjoying the snow, here it is crazy hot! We are in the hot season right now and it is not getting colder any sooner! I get many comments about how much I sweat, which is usually something like "how can you sweat that much?"...

Funny Moment: Defintely goes to all of the comments I have received about my face. Either it is about sweating, acne, that I look like a 27 year old, that I speak and look like I am from Russia, or that colored eyes are the reason why many people like us ha ha ha!
Josh trying to mimic Garfield's eyes - a little spooky.  Thanks for the tie Truman!

Culture Shock: So, when I received a pair of slacks from my family, I compared them with the slacks that I have been wearing the past 8 months. Can you guess which ones are new?
Which Pair is New? Hmmmmmm

Spiritual Thought: During the mission and during our lives, there are many Ups, and many Downs. While we can't control what happens, we can know that all things happen for our good (Romans 8: 38-39). But, what we can control is which things we will focus on. We can focus on the bad things that happen, and then receive the sad feelings associated with them. Or, we can focus on the good things, the blessings God gives us, and receive the feelings of happiness that accompany them. Choose the Right, when a situation is placed before you!

Have a great week, and don't do anything I wouldn't do (especially you Gam!)

Elder Garff

Monday, February 1, 2016

It's Raining, It's Pouring, and the Ants are all Snoring

Spraying ant poison on my bag that was infested by ants - ha, ha, ha!

Hey everyone!

So, the title is a little strange, but, this week we got tons of rain. The rain was good in some ways because a lot of people stayed home because of it, but it also caused us to travel in the rain all day ha ha ha! So, needless to say, all of the books in my bag got hammered! Also, with the ants, they were snoring in my bag... During a lesson, I put my bag on the ground. After an hour, I picked up my bag, only to discover the ants had formed a colony - in my bag! So, I took my bag home and destroyed the ants in there (see my facial expression below to see if I was a welcoming host...)
"Teaching a piano lesson, and I have to say, with 8 months of no practice, it was rough - ha ha ha!
But, overall, we had a good week this week! We are working with a lot of new investigators and we have a lot of people who are close to baptism! So, the work is going well here! We are trying our hardest so that we can have the Spirit, because it is truly the Spirit who converts people, not us! We are doing well and I appreciate all of your prayers for the area and the investigators!

And, today during a multi zone soccer match, I was talking to some Elders and Sisters from my MTC promo, it is so weird that it is already February! I am already 8 months on the mission! Almost a year, crazy. Some days go by painfully slow, but for the majority of my mission, everything has flown! Crazy how time flies when your are serving!

Je suis vraiment reconnaissent pour toute votre support pour moi et pour le Seigneur! Sans Lui, c'est impossible à accomplir le chose on doir faire ici sur le terre. Ua ite vau e e ohipa maitai roa teie ohipa. Ua oaoa vau ia tavini to'tatou Fatu na roto te ohipa misionare. I roto te mau mea atoa, ua tia'i vau tera e nehenehe ia outou ia farii to'u aroha no outou!

Funny Moment: Though I was angry, the ants were a pretty funny moment ha ha ha!
Culture Shock: When it rained, especially on Saturday, it was crazy! All of the streets were flooded and the neighborhoods were covered in giant puddles! The first time I have walked through 5 inches of muddy water and biked through it all too!
"Through the River and Through the Woods, to an Investigator's House we go!"

Spiritual Thought: This week, I really learned a lesson about attitude changes everything. In our lives, we will have many temptations and many things that don't go quite our way (ants, rain, tests, school, dating, etc...), but, our attitude determines our altitude. We can choose to be happy when adversity comes, or we can choose to be miserable. Choose to be like God or Satan. In the end, why would we chose to be miserable about a situation and become like Satan (miserable), let us choose to be happy no matter what comes our way, to be like Christ!

Elder Garff