Elder Josh Garff

Monday, June 27, 2016

Bonjour Raiatea

Tahitian Sunset - Love it, Love it, Love it!
Hey Everyone!

This week was definitely a week of change! I actually left Maraa on Saturday, so it was pretty awkward sometimes saying hi again to investigators and converts I had already said goodbye to! The reaction of everyone was "You are still here???" (I guess I wore out my welcome huh? Ha ha ha). But, it was a good last week with Elders Puluiuvea and Elder McLelland!
Josh with Elder Puluiuvea and Elder McLelland
As Saturday came, I got to take a flight to Raiatea, my new sector! The cool thing about our mission is that if we go to the outer islands, we get to take a plane! I love doing it!!!!!! And, as I landed, I found my new companion, Elder Paulson, and one of the first things he asked was if I knew how to drive stick. I laughed and said "I can try!" And thus comes the title of this email. I am still learning how to drive stick (it's getting better!), but I can still drive better than my Sister Rachel who is in Driver's Ed :) People may get off the road for me, but with her, they clear the sidewalks too. Ha HA! (I say this in all humility and love)

Here is my island I am serving on (Raiatea).  Unfortunately it was raining as I took this picture, but it is still beautiful!
But, the sector is great! I don't really know it yet, as I have been here for 3 days, but it is actually the old area of Elder Webber and Elder Borgholthaus (2 of my old companions). It seems like I'll just be following Elder Borgholthaus my whole mission ha ha ha! First at Bora, then at Maraa, now at Raiatea!
Coconut Oreos - I just had to try them!  They weren't the best, but it was worth a shot

Culture Shock: Always a great moment when you find coconut oreos, and they are a dollar cheaper than the regular ones!
Yes, I am the designated driver, and the first days of stick were rough to say the least.
I'm still trying to repair my relationship with the truck:)

Funny Moment: It will definitely go to the moment I got into the car. Everyone asked if I knew how to drive, I said yes. After I backed up, as I shifted, I stalled. Then, stalled again as we tried to exit the parking lot. In a car full of Elders, I haven't heard the end of it!
Every once in a while Josh will send these "Josh Pose" pictures.
Take them seriously if you wish, but know that he was laughing as he sent them.

Spiritual Thought: Just a cool thought that I had about our divine identity. Elder McLelland and I were joking around the other day about dating. And he told me who I wanted to date, I said a beautiful daughter of God. After, I caught myself. I thought of all the times I had heard someone was going out with the daughter of a rich family, or a daughter related to someone famous. As I said a daughter of God, jokingly, I thought of approaching the doorstep and asking for His daughter. Imagine if we could do that, how much more respect would we have for our fellow brothers and sisters if we looked like them as children of the most powerful Being in the universe. So, my message is something my Grandma Elaine told me to do, "view others in the eyes of God".

Love you all!
Elder Garff
Au Revoir Zone of Paea!  I will miss you!  Thank you for the 7 months I was there!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Happy Fathers' Day Dad! and Happy Birthday Bubs!

"For Katie - it reminded us of the oso"
Hey everyone!

I have to start by saying Happy Father's Day to my favorite Dad! Thanks for all of the times that you helped me out in my life and for always being there. Even when I hit a pole and busted my car 40 minutes away from home, you came (even though it probably wasn't the most convenient for you!). Thanks for always being there for me! And Katie, Bubs. I would have sent you a huge birthday present, but because you have your future husband,9 Luke Reeves, I'll leave it to him to give you a birthday present.

So, the biggest news of the week is that we are having a transfer! After 6.5 months in Maraa, I am getting transfered to Raiatea! It is an outer island right next to my first sector Bora Bora, and I have heard that it is just as beautiful! I am excited to head out there and start a new chapter! But, I'll first pay a tribute to Maraa by listing my favorite 6 things that happened here.
1. The baptism of Catherine: One of my favorite baptisms ever! Living proof that though change is hard, it is possible through the Atonement of Christ, a Divine Heritage, and efforts on our part.
A Favorite Family to Teach!  Catherine, Rainui and Poerava.  Tough to say goodbye!

2. The baptism of and times with Benjamin! I will never forget this man! A convert who was with us 24/7 and who was key in our last few baptisms. I love you Benjamin!
3. All of my companions: Elders Peel, Davis, Putoa, McLelland, I love you all! Thanks for the opportunity to serve with you!
4. The ward members, especially our Ward Mission Leader, Bishop, and people that ate with us every night! Tamaa Maitai!
5. Living in a house that had amazing sunsets, which helped me appreciate again the beauty of Tahiti
6. The Teriipaia Family.  This is another favorite family of mine.  Theirs were the first baptisms I helped with in Maraa.
Another Favorite Family.  The Teriipaia Family were some of the first baptisms I helped with in Maraa. 
Culture Shock: On bike, you see much road kill, and not road kill you'll find in Utah, so, if you are squeamish about that sort of stuff, skip the first picture!
Why did the chicken cross the road?  Actually, he didn't.
Funny Moment! The whole time in Maraa, I have been using a day by day cat calendar that my loving family gave me. Every week, we picked a winner and the runner up. The winners formed a castle, and of course you have to have a good foundation to build upon right?
I am sure that in the Kingdom of God, Jesus will love the cats too
Second Place Cat Pictures.  All part of the Game.
Hundreds of Cats. Thousands of Cats. Millions, and Billions, and Trillions of Cats!

Spiritual Thought: This week, Elder McLelland and I listened to a talk about grace. The speaker, Brad Wilcox, gave an interesting analogy to the piano. Mom pays the piano teacher to give lessons to her child. But, she tells the child to practice. Does the child's practice pay the piano teacher? No. Does the child's practice pay the Mom? No. Rather, we have all been saved by grace and the price is already paid. The question is will we practice? Will we keep the commandments of God and continue to try even after we make mistakes? If we will keep the commandments and follow Jesus, we will be comfortable playing in the presence of God. If we don't follow the commandments, do you really think you'll feel comfortable in His presence? Do you really think you would want to accept the grace of the Savior if all you did was trample His teachings? Live your life so you will feel worthy enough to accept the grace, already paid for, at the last day. Perfect Practice makes Perfect.

Love you all! See you next week living the outer island life again!

Elder Garff
Goodbye Maraa!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Health is my #1 Priority

The Elders Exploring New Lands
Hey everyone!

I hope that you are all enjoying the summer and that you all have some great plans! As for me, I am just going to keep doing missionary work, the greatest work of all! :)

This week involved a lot of finding and a lot of scheduling. Soon, we are going to have a temple trip with our 10 converts and with a couple of our inactives too. It should be happening the 25th of June, which is a little sad because I don't think I'll be here... Next week we are having transfers and as I have been in Maraa for 6.5 months, I think I'm gone this Saturday. Bummer that I can't go to the temple with them, but, we'll see!
Deep House Cleaning - First time the fridge has been cleaned out in 6 months:)
Also, this week we had the missionary concert at our Stake! It was fun to sing for people I actually knew, and I had the chance to bear my testimony. Normally I am not scared to speak in front of a group. But, in French, I'm not that great at expressing my thoughts ha ha ha! So it was crazy nerve wracking, and I hope it was ok ha ha ha! I'll put my thought below.

Other than that, this week was very rainy and we did our best! We have some baptismal potential, and we are in the contacting/finding phase again. Always some interesting moments there!
An abandoned hot tub that we found while on a hike - Erie...
Funny Moment: One of the Elders in my MTC group is Elder Meyer. When I came to our zone (Paea), he was there. Then he got transfered. Then, he came back a few months later. And last week, he was in an emergency transfer and left Paea again! What a fun thing to say that He was here, left, came back, all during when I was here ha ha ha!
Poor Elder McLelland.  He has fallen for two consecutive days off of his bike.  Not a happy moment...
The water behind him is a 1.5 foot ditch.
Culture shock: So, here many healthy things are expensive, so, we sometimes have to resort to unhealthy foods. Below are some of the foods I ate this week :) (Don't worry, I don't eat like this all the time!)
Pizza with BBQ sauce, ham, more BBQ sauce :)
A Hamburger Sandwich with French Fries and Chocolate Moose for dessert
I never really liked Oreos, but I could not resist trying the new Triple-Double flavor
But then I bought a salad, so it all evened out:)
Spiritual Thought: President Monson said in the 2015 October General Conference that we need to share our light with others. The reason why? I read in Alma 19:6, where King Lamoni received the word of God from Ammon, and was cast into a coma-like state. The reason why was because the dark veil of unbelief was being cast from his mind. Obviously that is the work of the Spirit, but who brought the Spirit? Ammon. If we want to help others and help them cast the veil of unbelief from their minds, the Spirit will do it. But, who will bring that Spirit? 
Will it be you? Or will you be a bystander?
Also, look up Ephesians 5:8. Even if your life is not the best right now, repent, and become a light for others.

Be a light for all the world!

Elder Garff
Beautiful Tahitian Sunset

Monday, June 6, 2016

Words Speak Louder Than Pictures (this week)

Even though Josh said that there would be no pictures, I found this one on the mission Facebook pages,  Josh mentioned that this number was Lead Kindly Light. They have been working together on this program for a while.  Strange how I recognize none of the ties Josh wears...
Words speak louder than pictures week... the computer doesn't work, so, we are doing emails on phones. Fun! But unfortunately we can't send pictures :(

This week was good though! We are just in contacting mode, just as after baptisms. You have to find more! So that's what we did this week and it went over well! We found a lot of potential that could get baptized! We'll keep trying with them!

Other than that, this week was different as we had a seventy come, Elder Coward. He gave amazing talks for our 3 sessions of stake conference, and it was awesome to hear him! See the spiritual thought!

Also, I got to see Elder Putoa again! He is going to America today, after finally getting his visa! Best of luck to him!
IF YOU ARE IN THE PROVO MTC, look out for Elder Putoa! Say "Ia ora na" for me!

Culture Shock: Culture of the mission here. It is weird to see all of my friends finishing their missions! Sister Hales, Sister Hemmert, Elder Ballard, Elder Cooper, Elder Garrett, Elder Black, Elder Peterson, Elder Ehlert, Elder Young, and many, many others! Time flies in the service of the Lord!
Funny Moment: We plan every night for 30 minutes. But, after coming home crazy exhausted, we planned in 5. Because it was all meetings planned, we just sped through everything, prayed and crashed. This is funny for returned missionaries :)
Spiritual Thought: This will go to the idea that Elder Coward shared. He said that when teaching, we need to get out of the way. Don't give an answer to a question right away. That is like giving a hungry man a fish. Rather, when someone asks a tough doctrinal question, study the doctrine together, and ask them to pray about it. This teaches a hungry man how to fish. This will provide answers, for the present moment and in the future as they have questions. Teach doctrine and invite them to act in accordance with the Spirit, don't just simply give answers.

Love you all!

Elder Garff