Elder Josh Garff

Monday, May 30, 2016

Baptisms and Kung Fu

The Baptism of Ernestine, Catherine and Rainui. "Awesome Experience!"  Ernestine does not have shells because she was baptized on Thursday - a few days earlier.
Well, I think I should start with the first one!

This week we had 3 baptisms! And we also lost 2 of our customers for the scripture cigarettes! Ernestine was baptized and though she had problems with smoking and the word of wisdom before, after fasting, she stopped everything in 1 day. Wow. And ever since, she has had great experiences with the Holy Ghost and will be such a strong member! Another baptism, Rainui, was a cool story too! We asked him to pray to know if the church was true, and as he prayed, he heard a voice saying "Oui". He didn't know what the voice was, so he asked again right after and heard the same voice. We didn't really give a lesson on how the Holy Ghost sounded, but, after asking him, he said it was a warm whisper. Definitely the Holy Ghost! The last baptism was Catherine. She has been taking the lessons for 28 years. Me and Elder Peel found her in January and have been teaching her 2 times a week ever since then. I don't know what changed this time, but she finally decided to get baptized! It was a remarkable experience. For weeks and months people have been telling us that she'll never change. But, 4 months later, she is baptized. There is only one person we need to listen to, and that is the Spirit of God, not the voices of others saying something is impossible.
"The Champion Giving the First Hit"

Other than that, it was sad seeing Elder Putoa leave this week. He finally got his visa and he will be in Fiji for a week, then to the MTC! Of course he had to leave for the baptisms, too bad. But, Ernestine got baptized by him on Thursday, his first baptism! So at least he got to see her baptism! I'll miss that guy, and in the future when he is winning in the Olympics, I can have claim on him as my "Premortal Life Mission Son" ha ha ha! Best of luck to him at New York!
"And Taking the Second One!  I Dropped Him With This One ha ha ha!"
(Yes, he certainly looks frightened)

Funny Moment: More Kung Fu with Benjamin! This week that has been all that we have done! It is so funny! I love Benjamin!
The Furious 5!!!!!!!
Elder McLelland = Tigris, Elder Chion-Hock = Crane, Elder Garff = Monkey,
Elder Putoa = Viper, Elder Thia = Mantis
Culture Shock: I will go with the fact that in our sector, there are churches of every major religion: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Catholic, Protestant (2 different ones), Adventist, Jehovah's Witness, and we think Sanito. Just a little different from Utah!
Spiritual Thought: Everyone can change. Simple. I don't remember who he quoted, but President Monson quoted a general who was asked with the question of why he continued to try to work with and help felons saying that they would change as soon as leopards changed their spots. The general responded: "Well, it's a good thing I'm working with men and not leopards. From what I see, leopards don't change while men change every day." Everyone can change, but the only way they can change is by the love of the Savior, which we can acquire by looking at everyone in the eyes of a parent (thank you Elder Renlund!).

Hope you all are doing well!

Elder Garff

Monday, May 23, 2016

Living On A Prayer - (And,by the way, he's halfway there!)

One Year Mark!  Josh with Elder Meyer, Sister Kelsey, Sister James, Sister Daniels and Sister Merrill
Well, I'm halfway there on Friday and I'm living on a prayer! This Friday marks my one year mark and it has flown! It is crazy to think that at this time last year, I was saying good-bye to everyone and I never would have imagined all of the things that have happened in Tahiti. What a year (as of Friday)!

Things in our sector are going well. Elder Putoa is scheduled to leave on Friday, and we'll miss him! And at the missionary concert, I had the opportunity to meet his family! It was awesome and they are all so nice! I'll miss having him around, and now have to find a new bodyguard!

Other than that, we have a lot of investigators who are progressing and we are doing all we can to help them out! Our sector is on the upward trend and it is all thanks to God and His Spirit!
"Gam and Grandma, this may be an idea for you two.  We had an investigator bring all of her grandkiss to our ward movie night.  The game we can play:  How Many Grandkids Can We Fit in the Trunk?"  

Funny Moment: Lately, Benjamin, our recent convert in February, has been getting into the "Jackie Chan" videos. He has been teaching us his moves such as: The Serpent, The Tiger, The Liger, and The Praying Mantis. Oh, Benjamin!
Happy Birthday Benjamin!
Culture Shock: Still will go to the insects and animals here. For some reason, they will not leave me alone as you will read below. It doesn't help we don't have air conditioning to keep the things out, but it's brinking on ridiculous!
"I have been dubbed "King of the Insects".  Ants got in my cereal...again, a lizard pooped on my shirt, and we found two mamma spiders with their kids chilling next to my bed.  Punks."
Spiritual Thought: I really have seen here that we need to live on prayers. We taught a Buddhist this morning who didn't really agree with the idea of praying for asking for things. He mentioned that prayers should just be of gratitude. While I agree whole-heartedly that we need to thank the Lord in all things and it isn't bad to just have a prayer of gratitude, I can't imagine not being able to ask our Heavenly Father for help in our daily lives. For me, it is impossible to go through this life without divine guidance, and if we don't ask, why on earth do we think that we'll receive? We are lucky to have a Heavenly Father who loves us and asks us to ask Him for help. So, this week, don't hesitate to pray! He's waiting to hear from you.

Je vous aime!

Elder Garff

Monday, May 16, 2016

Temple, Starbursts, and Balloons

Josh and Elder Putoa at the Tahiti Temple
This week was a good week! Elder Putoa and I got Elder McClelland (too bad he wasn't here for St. Patrick's Day...) and he is awesome! Pictures will come next week, we forgot to take them ha ha ha! But, we are in a trio again and will stay in a trio until the end of the month, when Elder Putoa is expected to get his visa. So, not a whole lot of computer time!

Overall, we didn't have a whole lot of new things happen, just a lot of recent convert lessons and a lot of meetings that we attended. The best of which was at the temple. It isn't often we can go to the temple, but it is amazing every time I go. On the mission, one of the things that I miss often is the temple. So, for all of you, make sure to go to the temple to find peace, something we all need!
"Always fun teaching the Law of Tithing to kids!  Takivera's eyes were huge as we poured the sack of Starbursts into his hands because he paid his "Tithing!".

Also, we started our missionary concerts this week! It was an awesome experience and I am in a octet, and we are singing "Brightly Beams our Father's Mercy" in Tahitian, French, and English! Awesome experience! I'll try to take some pictures later!

Last thing, happy birthday Grandpa Anderson! I hope that you had a great birthday and that someone ran over your lawn chair at least once!

Funny Moment: Always a great moment when a bird poops on you in the middle of a lesson, and then poops on your missionary companion... I just have a feeling the animals don't like me here.
"It was Elder Chion Hock's birthday, so why not make balloons!  Needless to say he was happier than he looks in this picture" We are so glad that Josh's time in Skyline Balloon Club is starting to pay off,  yet, we can't seem to make out any of the animals that these Elders are holding...
Culture Shock: Speaking of animals, if you are queasy, don't read this. But, I was riding my bike and next to me, a car was going full speed, a dog ran out in the middle of the road, and yep, the car ran over and killed the dog, in front of my eyes! First time I have ever seen that and it was pretty dramatic! And just like usual here, the car didn't stop, but kept going... Sketchy experience...

Spiritual Thought: Lately I have been reading an old Conference talk from President Monson titled "Finishers Wanted". In his talk he lists 6 marks of a true finisher: One who has a vision, works for it, has faith, has virtue, courage, and prays. For this transfer, my goal is to study each of the 6 topics and be a better finisher. You can only do something once, and you can choose to give up, finish poorly, or finish completely.

Ua here vau ia outou!

Elder Garff

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Ants Have GOT To Stop Marching On My Things Sometime - Right?

The Ants' New Nest Location:  My Bike and Helmet
"STUPID THINGS!"  (Referring to the ants)
This week was a crazy different week! First of all, we had transfers, and I will stay in Maraa, and Elder Davis is in the Marquis! We all thought that it was a joke at first, but right after, a couple missionary called us and asked if his stuff was all ready! So, my son is out in the Marquis! My other son, Elder Putoa, will be going to New York shortly. We were told that at the latest, he will be going at the end of May. So, we'll see in the weeks to come.
Josh with Elder Putoa and Benjamin on bikes.  Benjamin is a 57 year old recent convert!  "I love this man - ha ha ha!"
Also this week, we were able to do very effective missionary work. I will tell the stories when they get accomplished, but we have been working hard to turn things around and things are finally clicking! Amazing what happens in the Lord's time! Hopefully we'll continue to be worthy of His blessings!

And definitely the best thing that happened this week was that I got to Skype my family for Mother's Day! It was great to see everyone and to say thanks to my Mom! I loved it and wish that I could have Skyped all day! Needless to say, I am looking forward to the day when I can actually talk to you and there isn't a 6 second time delay, but, for now, I love Skype! Happy Mothers' Day Mom! I hope that you liked talking to me more than you liked getting wrapped in duct tape and "ivy" ha ha ha!
The Zone just before the transfer
Funny Moment: The ants keep marching - This time all over my helmet and bike.  I really hope that these stupid things don't invade everything that I have. But I wouldn't put it past them...
Culture Shock: I'll go this week to the fact that our zone is one road. That is it. There are little branches with neighborhoods, but only one main road. So, it is easy to find houses! We either go right or left - ha ha ha!
Elders Thia, Josh, Davis, Putoa and Rybin - Just before Elder Davis Left for the Marquis
Spiritual Thought: This goes to the message that I shared with my family for Mothers' Day. For the first part of my mission, I have learned 3 main things: 1. Everyone can change if we look at them for who they can become and who they are tying to be. 2. The most important lesson that I have learned this far in my mission is the importance of the family and the temple in uniting the family for eternity. 3.  Of all the things that I left behind, there is no doubt that I miss my family the most. Seeing my Grandparents, family, and the Staker cousins made me so happy. And if I can feel that kind of joy seeing everyone after just 2 years, imagine the joy that will last after this life and for eternity.

Love you all!

Elder Garff
Now for a Walk on the Healthy Side:
Breakfast This Morning:  Apple, Spaghetti and Barbecue Sauce 

Elder Putoa is a Crepe Master - Josh will really miss him!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Healthy Breakfasts:)

How To Take A Great Nap
Well, this week was a great week! With some exciting news, we found out that Elder Davis will be transferred to the Marquis! Don't know if I spelled that right, but we'll go with it! So, for the moment, I think I will stay in Maraa (on mainland Tahiti), and for now, Elder Putoa will just stay as my companion! So, maybe I'll take up boxing in the mornings ha ha ha!

Lately, we have been practicing for a missionary singing concert for all of Tahiti! I will put in more details later, but it is going great! We start in a few weeks and I'll send some pictures!

I don't have that much more time, but know that we are doing well in Maraa! We have tons of activities, and with English Class, Basketball Wednesdays, and everything, it is awesome here!
Our Tamaaraa (dinner appt.) with the Bishop and his family.  Awesome!

Culture Shock: Always fun when a dog dies and someone drags it out to the side of the road, where it sits decomposing... For the past week, all we have smelled is dead dog. I hope that is not a Tahitian perfume!
Funny Moment: Always fun when you catch yourself singing Christmas songs in the house and everyone looks at you funny. As you can see below, I have had a little Christmas fever ha ha ha!
Spiritual Thought: This week has been a lot about humility as my Mom wrote me this week. Lately, I have really had to humble myself and see that even though I think I know better, the Lord knows best. There is really a reason for everything that happens, and thought it is a cliche, we all need to look at what happens in our lives, take it, learn from it, and succeed in the midst of it.

I am definitely excited for this Sunday to see the family! Happy Mothers' Day to all! And to all, a great week!

Love you all!

Elder Garff
Cheesecake and Rotui Juice - Breakfast of Champions
"I think I am picking up on my Dad's eating habits."