Elder Josh Garff

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Cigarette Business

Well all, I don't know if I'll come back and sell cars. During the past week, I have really enjoyed the cigarette business that we have started! So Dad, I'll let you know in a year...

Ha ha ha! So, I'll explain that sentence above! In our area, there are several people and investigators that smoke. As we thought about what to do, I remembered a story that my teachers quorum adviser, Scott Young told me. He made "scripture cigarettes" to help people stop smoking. We thought we'd copy this idea, and made our own scripture cigarettes! Every time our investigators want to smoke, they have to take one of our cigarettes, unravel it, and read the scripture inside! Thanks Scott for your great idea! It is working and lots of our investigators are progressing!
OK everyone - relax.  These are apparently Scripture Cigarettes.
Honestly, when the kid only sends a couple of photos per week, I am forced to use things like this.  For heaven's sake, all he has to do is point the camera out the window and take a picture - he is in Tahiti.  Instead, until my wishes are voiced on Mothers' Day, this is what you get.

Other than that, things are going well in Maraa! Elder Davis and Elder Putoa are hilarious together and have been called "Tom and Jerry" "The dog and the cat", and I'm just the one that gets to watch and love it all! With the 3 of us, we are doing all we can to cover a large biking sector with no bikes (they are all still flat, even after putting in a new air chamber!!!). Every day is fun and productive for us!

Funny Moment: Always a great moment when after the chapel you go to the second hour, and the instructor asks if you can give the hour long lesson... Got to love planning ahead!
Culture Shock: Will go to movies again. We talked with a family at a dinner appointment for a while about movies, and when I get back, I feel as if I'll be in a different Era... (P.S. Don't spoil the Captain America movie for me... Or else)
Ward Mission Leader's Birthday Celebration (eith Elder Davis and Elder Putoa).  Josh mentioned that his flash is not working too well...much like the bike tires I guess.
Spiritual Thought: Anything is possible if we view others with love. One of our investigators has been taking the lessons for about 30 years. When we started, many people told us to stop wasting our time, that she was too hard, and would never change. But, after several months, she has started to change. The advice of President Monson is really powerful. If we view others with love and for who they can become, the change is possible. So, never view people for their shortcomings, but rather for their potential.

And, before I leave, I hope that my Aunt Carrie and Grandma Anderson, and lots of cousins know that I wish them a Happy Birthday! Carrie, I'm late for you, sorry about that... And Grandma, know that I celebrated your birthday here! I hope that you two had a good one! Mahana oaoa no'orua!

Love you all!

Elder Garff

Monday, April 18, 2016

My Sister is a Major URI TAATA!

Ok, the biggest news of the week definitely goes to a prank that my sister Katie pulled on me. For weeks, everyone has been telling me about this "Luke Reeves" guy. And I honestly was concerned that Katie was going to get married before I got back from my mission. So, today, I opened my mail, and I read "I'M ENGAGED!!!" Shocked, I hurried and opened the email, and then, I read that she received a mission call to Bolivia!!!!!!!!!!!!! So, I have to say, my emotions were a roller coaster: shocked, confused, angry, happy, astonished, furious, astonished beyond all measure, no clue what now. But what news! I'm excited that little Bubsy is going to serve a mission! Now I just have to find a way to get back. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And also, JJ's birthday was this week! And he is a teacher! Congrats to JJ and his big win for SBO! I can't wait to hear the things you'll do!
Me and my 2 sons, Elder Davis and Elder Putoa with our 4 bikes, all of which got flat tires during the course of the day.  We had no repair kit.  A lot of walking for us!
Some other big news, for the past few weeks, I have been serving with Elder Davis and Elder Putoa (because Elder Davis is still recovering from his hospital stay). Elder Putoa is the heavyweight champion of Polynesia, champion in several other countries, and is going to try for the Olympics when he gets back. And he is the funniest Elder I have ever met! I am half training him while he waits for his visa to serve his mission in New York!

So, not a whole lot of other things I need to tell you all. We are doing our best to reconstruct the work here and things are going well! With the 3 of us, it is crazy fun, crazy exhausting, and super great!

Funny Moment: Katie, I don't think I'll ever forget that moment. Well played.
Culture Shock: Living with a Tahitian in our house is certainly different. I have only served with Americans before and every culture has their different little things. It has been awesome to talk with someone who isn't fluent in English, it is good for the language!
Spiritual Thought: I have been thinking a lot recently about testimony. In my interview with President Bize I asked him about this question. He said: "Don't waste time and energy asking questions that you already know the answer to". And it was a great piece of advice that I needed to hear. With us, if we have received an answer like Oliver Cowdrey (D and C 6: 22-24), that should be enough. And after we have received an answer and a witness, why do we need a reconfirmation? We don't.

I love you all, Bubs, congrats again on your mission call! JJ, congrats on your ordination to be a teacher!

Elder Garff
50 cent bread.  Awesome deal you won't see in America
$10 bag of Doritos.  Terrible deal you won't see in America

Katie's Engagement - A Masterful Prank

This week's post begs a little background information.
Katie recently made the decision to serve a mission.  While her papers were being prepared, she devised a plan by which she would tell Josh.  Naturally, she elected to lure him into believing that she was engaged instead.
Then, for Family Home Evening, we invented Katie's fiance' via a game of "Mash"
And Luke Reeves was born.

As Katie introduced Luke to Josh through her letters, and through correcting our letters, Josh began to believe the tale.  But, trusting his instincts, demanded a picture.  Katie immediately found an unsuspecting fellow business student, (name withheld in order to protect the innocent), who consented to play along.  She sent Josh this photo:

Letters came from Josh, asking if Katie was going to wait until he got home to get married.  Finally, Katie's call arrived, and she created the following announcement titled "BIG NEWS"



Luke is the absolute GREATEST and you will love him when you get home, but as for right now, love the PROPOSAL STORY!!

Yesterday, after he picked me up, we had a wonderful lighthearted dinner with his family (they are amazing by the way) and then we drove up the canyon a little ways to ride HORSES! We went on a gorgeous trail ride that winded up a pretty steep mountain and ended up being opposite of Park City's slopes. Once we arrived at the top, we got off the horses, hiked a little farther to where there was a HUGE lit heart on the opposite side of the mountain!! It was INCREDIBLE and I have never seen anything so beautiful! Here, he got down on one knee...and this is where we broke up...:) 

I got my call this week and I have been called to serve in the Bolivia, Cochabamba mission!! I am so excited and privileged to serve in such a great place:D I report to the Peru missionary training center on August 2nd and will be preparing to teach the gospel in Spanish-jealous?;)

Luke Reeves is really is a solid guy, but he was just made up by our family in a family home evening game of MASH (I'll send you a pic;)). However, I wasn't lying about the big news or that I'm engaged-I'm just engaged in a good cause to serving a mission:D All the other stuff was just to remind you about how incredibly witty, clever and charismatic your favorite sister is! With all this said, Rachel is still predicted to be married first so don't worry;)

Sorry to play the prank, but someone had to do it;) Have a great week, make good choices, and don't hate me okay? haha:D

Josh responded:


And, you definitely got me, I'll put it on the next email ha ha ha! To everyone! But that is so great to hear! Congrats on your decision, and you really did get me, I opened that and honestly thought that you were engaged!!!! That was one of the weirdest transitions in my life! Shocked, confused, angry, shocked, confused, happy, angry, happy, furious, astonished beyond all measure!

Gosh dang it Bubs, I'll get you back one of these days.

Elder Garff

Katie has been called to the Bolivia Cochabamba Mission.  She will report to The Peru MTC on August 2.  Josh has vowed retaliation.

Monday, April 11, 2016

A Few Thoughts on Gratitude

Again, I don't have a lot of time and I am on the phone... So I can't send pictures either or the group email. For the blog, maybe just put a little spiritual message on Gratitude and counting all the blessings you have.

This was a week where Josh really has had to do this.  He informed us that he was dealing with "Pink Eye", so counting one's blessings is a better focus.

In true Josh style, here are a few quotes on gratitude that might convey his intended entry this week:

"Be grateful.  Count your blessings and gifts and privileges and see just how long that list is.  I imagine that each of you will have difficulties ahead of you.  None of us can avoid them.  Bur do not despair.  Do not give up.  Look for the sunlight in the clouds.  And be grateful for what you have."
                                       Gordon B. Hinckley , Way To Be, p.21

"None is more impoverished than the one who has no gratitude.  Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy."
                                       Fred De Witt Von Amburgh

"Gratitude can transfer common days into Thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy and change ordinary opportunities into blessings."
                                       William Arthur Ward

"Mortal forever mistaking who and that counts.  Even so, we should be more quick to express genuine appreciation to others.  The arithmetic of appreciation is far less practiced and known than the multiplication tables."
                                       Neal A. Maxwell, Believe, p.55

"The habit of saying thank you is the mark of a cultivated mind."
                                       Gordon B. Hinckley, Way To Be, p.18

"The happiest people I know are not those who find their golden ticket;  they are those who, while in pursuit of worthy goals, discover and treasure the beauty and sweetness of the everyday moments.  They are the ones who, thread by daily thread, weave a tapestry of gratitude and wonder throughout their lives.  These are they who are truly happy."
                                       Dieter F. Uchtdorf, forget me not, p.30

Count your blessings, and remember to acknowledge from whom they came, and possibly be grateful that you do not have pink eye.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Long Time No See eh?

Hey everyone! I am sorry for the long time it took me to write you all! I'll explain below, but the past couple of weeks have been insane...

So, I'll start with 2 weeks ago! Happy Birthday Mom! I didn't forget you!!!! I hope that you had a great time sharing your birthday with the day that Christ was resurrected! I thought about you all day and I hope that you got my Heavenly SMS's!

And Easter was great! Definitely one of the best experiences of the mission this far! And during Easter weekend, we had a baptism for Maina and Tama! 2 people who didn't progress before and who I met in February. Maina told me the thing that was blocking her was prayer. She could not bring herself to say a prayer in front of others. After the first lesson, she prayed at the end, and offered to give the prayers every lesson after! The Holy Ghost really worked with her and Tama and Honoré, the dad, and thanks to one little prayer, a lot of faith, and the Holy Ghost, they got baptized. Another awesome experience that I got to see here at Maraa!
Maina and Tama's Baptism - "Awesome Experience"
After, we were at the hospital. Elder Davis had a serious knee infection that caused us to stay at the hospital all week! We went in to the emergency room Monday morning, expecting to leave in the afternoon... Then found out it was serious and ended up staying in the hospital for the whole week. Not exactly the best place to do door to door contacting, but we still were able to help people anyways! And, because of this incident, Elder Davis cannot walk. So, President gave me a new companion, Elder Putoa!!! Who is waiting to get his visa so he can serve his mission in New York! Elder Davis is still with me, and we are now a trio! He will just do proselyting with the Elders who have a car. When he is better, he will be with me all the time, not just for studies.

Even with the hospital, I was still able to watch General Conference! And this Conference was awesome! I liked a lot of my talks, and my favorite talk will be the spiritual thought!

I hope that you are all doing well! And if I am slow in responding to your emails, I am sorry, we have got very limited time with choir practices starting up and with 3 people sharing one computer... I'll try my best!
Josh amid Rotui juice containers - Fort or bar graph - you be the judge
Funny Moment of the Week: Definitely goes to Elder Davis being on medications:
Elder Davis: I think my pillow is radiating heat
Me: Ok...?
Elder Davis: Can you move it? It is ticking me off!
Me: Why! What on earth did the pillow do to you!?
Fun experience to say the least!
Culture Shock: Let's just say I was expecting an "American like" hospital when we got to Tahiti... It was still nice, but definately miss the American hospitals. I'll leave it at that
Spiritual Thought: The conference talk that stood out the most to me was given by Sister Durham. She talked about the father who was crossing the lake with his shoes that were weighing him down to his death. It was through the Holy Ghost that the father realized this and he was able, after much struggle, to take off his shoes and progress to safety. For me, it was a great allusion to our lives and the sins that weigh us down. Sometimes we have blind spots, but if we listen to the Holy Ghost and act on our impressions (even if we like the "shoes" or "sins" that are weighing us down) to leave our sins behind, we can progress in our journey and make it in safety to the kingdom of God.

I love you all!

Elder Garff