Elder Josh Garff

Monday, August 29, 2016

Follow the Beer Bottle Road

You've GOT to love District activities on a boat!
Ia ora na Outou!

Today, I looked at my companion and said "We're not in Kansas anymore". We tried to follow the Yellow Brick Road, but because we are in Tahiti, we followed the Beer Bottle Road. A little different, but it led us to an investigator, so I was OK with it.
The Beer Bottle Road!  We think that the beer bottles are the foundation and they poured cement on top of them to create a nice smooth road:)
   This week was a good week! It was mainly spent in preparation for President and Sister Bize who arrived yesterday and who will stay with us until Tuesday. It has been great talking with them and I have learned a lot! President Bize gave a talk at a fireside yesterday which was really inspiring for me, (see the Spiritual Thought below.) And, while President is here, we are going to give a formation. So, needless to say, there is a lot of preparation this week!
Another Sunset, like the ones we get to see every day here.  You just gotta love Tahiti!
Also, we had a lot of great lessons this week and we saw a lot of progression. We are still in the building mode of our sector, but we are close! The members are working hard, and the miracles are bound to come!

I don't have a lot to say this week, as time is short again, but I hope that everyone is loving school, and that everyone is getting excited to watch the University of Utah crush byU in football this year! :)
GO UTES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Funny Moment: Will go to finding the Beer Bottle Road. Something that I don't think I'll ever find in Utah!

Culture Shock: With everyone in school and me on a mission, I thought that I escaped homework... But, with preparation for a formation, I found myself typing a presentation on a computer screen for hours! So, school extends into the mission field too!
Hunted by a little Tahitian girl!
Spiritual Thought: President Bize spoke at the fireside about the Church. It is literally the Church of Christ, or the Church of miracles. The same power that Christ, Peter, John, James, and the other apostles uses is in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints today. Now, it is up to us. Do we have the faith to do those miracles? Do we have the mindset of Christ? Do we see others as the Christ? If we say yes to those questions, we can do mighty miracles. And, we can do the small miracles too, if we have the eyes to see the opportunities.

Have faith and do miracles this week!

Elder Garff close as I can get!
The hose wasn't available, but luckily it was raining and we were able to wash the car with rain water and sink water.

Monday, August 22, 2016

While You Take the School Bus, We Take the School Boat!

A Tahitian Sunrise - the same sunrise the students on Tahaa see every day as they go to school at Raiatea.
Hey Everyone!

I hope that this week was a great first week of school for you! If you haven't started school, I hope that this week was a fun last week before school :)

This week was crazy. This week, we had a split at Tahaa. For those who don't know Polynesian geography (I don't blame you), but there are 3 islands in our zone. Raiatea (where we serve) is a 20 minute boat ride from Tahaa. So, to do a split, Elder Piazza and I took the boat to Tahaa! It was awesome and I was with Elder Taoutaha!
Split to Tahaa via boat :)
Other than the split, we had a lot of lessons with members this week which is a big change. People are asking to come with us to our lessons and are excited to do missionary work! It is fun, but tiring too! For example, we should be having 6-7 splits with members! A split for every day!

And that wraps up this week. We were crazy busy, but we still had lots of fun!

Josh as Elder Piazza's barber.  "The first time I gave a hair cut, and probably the last time I will be trusted with cutting hair!"
Funny Moment: Will have to go to cutting Elder Piazza's hair. I had no clue what I was doing, and I hope it is OK ha ha ha! My first time, and probably my last time cutting hair!

Culture Shock: Always fun when you see students pilling in a boat to go to school on a different island.
This is how the kids at Tahaa get to school.  We take buses in America, they take boats!
Spiritual Thought: This week was a week where I thought a lot about the power of members. There was one time that me and Elder Piazza contacted an inactive house and were shunned and ignored. But, as we went on a split later in the day with the High Priest President, we went to the same house and were warmly welcomed. We were astounded at the efficiency of missionary work with the members. So, my challenge for all of you is to work with the missionaries in your ward. Invite them to dinner, show them people who are interested in the gospel, do splits with them, and just be their friends! Don't just pray for the missionaries in the world, but pray, then answer your prayers by helping them out! The members work here often with us, I hope that at home it is the same!

Hope you are doing well! AND GO UTES!!!

Elder Garff
Josh alongside the 120 (You can only guess why they call it that).

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Life of Beach, Skype, Repentance, and Mea

Got to Love the Beach huh?!
Well, that just about sums up my week!

We started by having a P-Day with the district, which turned out to be really fun! We visited an old Marae (old sacrificial site for the ancient Tahitian gods) and found a lot of fun stuff :) After, we just chilled at the beach and stood in the ocean!
At the sacrificial site, we found this rock, which was probably a person who was not too happy to be sacrificed...
After, we had 2 days of busy missionary work, followed by the leadership counsel! It was great, but, because we are on the outer island, we have to Skype every other month. This month was Skype month and while it was hard to hear and we cut out several times (once while giving a report), it was fun! And below, there is an accurate description of how it went!
This is the Leadership Council meeting room.  Everyone was in 1 room and we skyped, so, as represented by the board, everyone was together and we were just a little square on the bottom right of  their screen. Ha, ha, ha!
The rest of the week was full of work, and the best part was when Manihi and DMP (both over 57) went with us and took the charge. It was as if they were the missionaries and Elder Piazza and I were the Member Integrateurs! It was hilarious to see them whipping out scriptures and discussing in Tahitian. Elder Piazza and I couldn't understand all of it, but, they did their work well ha ha ha!

This week was a great week, I hope that it was great in Utah! Shout out to all of my friends getting married! It is weird to see you all married... I can't even go on dates here ha ha ha! And even if I could, President Bize always puts me with companions that the women here find more attractive than I am :)
Not a Bad Place to do Studies huh?!
Funny Moment: Will definitely go to the moment where we were looking for a house. We went to a woman who tried to explain, and was visably frustrated that we didn't understand where she was explaining. After talking with her husband, she came out, looked me directly in the eyes, and said: "Tu vois chez mea"??? (Translation: "Do you know where "thing" lives?"). Uh NO! It took all that me and Elder Piazza had to not bust out laughing!

Culture Shock: The Tahitian word "Mea" means "thing" in English. And Tahitians use it all the time! It is pretty hilarious to hear people asking me if I know "mea" or if I can move the "mea". It is difficult to explain in email, but it is the most hilarious thing to experience!
For My Sister - Another Sunset in Tahiti
Spiritual Thought: Just a little mea, but, this week I have been pondering about the principle of faith. Faith is the smallest of the Gospel principles but is the most powerful. For all of us, there are times that we think our faith is sufficient. Then, there are some moments where we can use our faith but, we doubt, and don't use it. With faith, there is never a point that we can stop acquiring faith on this earth. All of us, no matter what age, what position in the world or church, or how many accolades we have, need faith and need to keep adding to our faith. So, go forth and obtain faith sufficient enough to do all things requisite in Christ!

E mea tia roa ia tatarahapa ia outou!!!!

Elder Garff
It's not every day you find a lizard on your chair at church, but it is often the case.
Bet you'll look next time...
How we did our emailing today - we rented out the chapel:)
Elder Piazza calling the congregation to repentance - Not staged at all...

Monday, August 8, 2016

How Not to Impress the Sister Missionaries

Ia ora na Elder Piazza!

Today I am a little pressed for time, but I'll try!

This week was awesome welcoming Elder Piazza! He is from France and it is quite a culture shock for me! When you walk in the bathroom and see it covered in products such as hair gel and deodorant, it is weird. Then, to realize that none of the 8 products are yours is even weirder ha ha ha! But, we are doing awesome and with him, we have really picked up the missionary work here! I am excited to serve with him these next few weeks!
Family Night with the coolest family in Raiatea!!!
This week we also had a lot of success with the members. We are in a sector right now that hasn't seen the missionaries for ages. As we went, we helped them all out, made awesome friends, and received 14 member references last week! Talk about a people who are excited to do missionary work!

In all, things are going well. I am loving the work at Raromatai and I love all of the missionaries in my zone and district! We are really starting to pick up the work and all is becoming bright with the aid of our Heavenly Father!
Sorry Sister James:)
Funny moment: I love pinning people in with cars, as seen with a Sister from my MTC promotion, Sister James :)

Sappy Birthday Elder Piazza!  I hope you liked the egg I cracked on your head:)
Culture Shock: A tradition in France is to slam an egg on the head of a person on their birthday. I am not that mean, so I cracked an egg on the head of Elder Piazza for his birthday (which was actually the same day as Elder Paulsen's birthday!)
Spiritual Thought: I have been thinking recently about faith. It is the smallest but most powerful spiritual building block that we can have in our lives. If we have faith the size of a mustard seed, we can grow a tree of life. If we have enough faith, all is possible. But, there are 2 catches. Moroni 7:33, we have to do it with the intents of Christ in mind, not for our personal desires. The second, we have to be patient. The mustard seed became something great, but wasn't something great at once. Even with miracles in our lives, we have to continue to be patient. For the mustard seed and our seed of faith to reach our maximum potential, we must wait and continue to nourish the seed (see Alma 32:39-41)

Have Faith, Be Believing, and Go Forth!

Elder Garff

Monday, August 1, 2016

A Week of Goodbyes

You just can't beat a Tahitian Sunset
Well, this week had a lot of goodbyes in it!

First off, CONGRATS TO MY SISTER KATIE WHO IS GOING TO BOLIVIA!!!!! I can't wait to hear how she is doing and can't wait to still be better than her in Spanish when she gets back :) (I say this in all humility)

Second off, for Elder Paulsen, we had a surprise transfer and he is leaving! After 5 weeks we thought he was staying another transfer, but alas, he is gone, and being replaced by Elder Piazza. My first Frenchie :D I heard that he is really great and we'll see today at 5! Definitely sad to see Elder Paulsen go, but, I am excited to be with Elder Piazza and am excited for this next transfer!
Bye Elder Paulsen.  Picture with the Bishop and his Family
I lost the transfer bet, so I had to buy Elder Paulsen brownies
In our sector, we have slowly been improving and we are doing well right now! We are having a lot of member support and all of the members love messing with us, rightfully so, because we mess with them too ha ha ha! I am loving it here in Raiatea and am pumped to be spending a few more weeks here! Awesome!

Other than that, everything is going good. And I can't wait to get all of the emails, especially from my family saying that school is starting. For one more year, I get to enjoy paradise while you enjoy the 8 hours in school ;)
Service Project with the Copara
Funny Moment: While doing a service project, I had an axe and I was splitting coconuts for the Copara. But, when I split one, smoke came out. I didn't know what this meant and hoped it was a sign of my muscle power. But, it turns out it was rotten, and I smelled the worst smell of my life. UGH!

Culture Shock: After a service project, we were served a mega hot dog! It was awesome ha ha ha! French bread, American hot dogs, and Tahitian pineapple juice. You've got to love it!
What an Awesome Hot Dog ha ha ha!  You won't see these in America!
Spiritual Thought: In Mosiah 2:17 we can read that as we are in the service of our fellow beings, we are in the service of our God. For all of us, this means that every time we serve someone, we are actually serving God. What an amazing concept! I never really understood this until I looked at my life through the eyes of my parents here and spiritually. But, as we have kids of our own, I can't wait to thank someone who served one of my kids. The service that someone gives to my children will be ultimately more than the service anyone could do for me. So, how can we please God the most? We look outside of ourselves and get to work serving His Children.

Love you all, And Good Luck Bubs in Bolivia!!!

Elder Garff

Pineapple Filled Tart. Awesome.  Every Friday I have to get one of these:)

Pretty Cool Contrast!  A sunny landscape in front and a somber background.
Another (less attractive) Contrast