Elder Josh Garff

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

First the Relief Society and now the Primary

Sunsets and Silhouettes - Welcome to Tahiti!
Hey Everyone!

I hope that this week was a good one for you all!

In Raiatea, it was interesting! For several days this week, Elder Piazza and I went to the Primary Program rehearsals :) I was asked to play the piano, and it was such a blast ha ha ha! The Primary programs here are different than at home, and I have to give a big shout out to my mom, for all the work she does for those programs! Wow.
You can't see me, but I am playing the piano for the Primary Program rehearsal
Other than that, this week was a good week. Elder Piazza and I are still working well with the members and have set in stone our sport activity! It is really fun to play basketball against the Tahitians with all the American moves that I picked up. But, just as a warning... When I come back, there are several Tahitian "Street Moves" that I am anxious to try out ;)
The Andersons will understand this picture - "I still reign..."
Our district is still the Relief Society, as the missionary couple hasn't come yet, so, Elder Piazza and I are the lone Elders still. As we spent a lot of time for the district, I can safely say that we spent a lot of time with the "Relief Society" and the Primary. If this keeps up, next week I should be talking about the Young Women!
A Chow Mein and Fries Sandwich.  Interesting choice!
Culture Shock: At one of our dinner appointments, we ate with a couple. Our maternal languages were: English (me), Italian (Elder Piazza), Tahitian (Fr. Raapoto), and Spanish (Sr. Raapoto). And what language did we speak in? French.
Got to Represent my Team!  Go Utes!
Funny Moment: This goes to the Duolingo Application. Who, after I did the beginning test rated me 1 percent fluent in French! After making 2 little errors you think that the app would be a little nicer to me?
Duolingo Application Score - We are cheering for you Josh!
Spiritual Thought: I'll keep this one short. But, Elder Piazza and I had the opportunity to listen to President Uchtdorf and his talk about faith during the General Woman's Session (again the Sisters!). With our faith, we need to realize that it is the power we need to submit to God's will. Not the power to change the will of others and God. With a strong faith, we can better adapt to God and His will. We cannot, with a strong faith, change the agency and choices of people or God Himself.

Ua here vau ia outou!

Elder Garff
Not Too Bad Eh?
Gorgeous View - That's Tahiti for you!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Birthday Parties with the Relief Society

Happy Birthday!
Josh serves with marvelous people who have been so good to him.  They have helped him celebrate his birthday throughout this past week.  We are so grateful to these wonderful people in Tahiti! 

Hey Everyone!

Thanks for all the birthday wishes, it certainly was a good birthday! I want to wish a Happy Birthday to my Pa too! It is an honor to share the same birthday with you!!!

Here, we celebrated it with our ward mission leader (DMP in French, Dirigeant de Missionnaire de Paroisse) and one of his friends Manihi! They are some of the funniest people I have met and it was awesome to spend time with them! Like my sister Rachel told me to do, I ate a LOT of cake and drank a LOT of pineapple juice :)
The Dinner Deast!  Manihi and his wife, DMP and his wife, and Erika!
This week was just an exhausting week in general. We have been running all over the place doing errands for the ward, zone, and today is what we like to call a "Chill P-Day". Haere maru noa! We started by cleaning the outside of the house and tons of arranging in the house, and we are now just going to relax!

The things that happened where just a lot of lessons, nothing crazy in particular. We have a lot of investigators in progress, now, we just need to help them accept the engagement of baptism! It will come! But, other than that, we had a lot of meetings this week and tons of planning. Nothing like 4+ hours of meetings in Tahitian! :D
"The Relief Society"
They brought him a cake and juice - Favorites for sure:D
Funny Moment: Because the other Elders moved, Elder Piazza and I are the only Elders on Raiatea. So, at our District Meeting, we called it "Relief Society", because it was me, Elder Piazza, and 6 Sisters! Not every day that happens!
Culture Shock: When singing Happy Birthday, the Tahitians sing in French, then English, then Tahitian! Pretty fun :)
Spiritual Thought: This thought comes from my Pa, who shares the same birthday with me! In the Tahitian culture, there is a huge tendency to talk on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on, and you get lost in the sentence (speaking and listening)! A lesson I never thought about before my mission but have reflected on during my mission has been in the "Code of the West", "Talk Less, Say More". As a missionary, when giving advice, or when speaking in general, make your words count. Are your words the worth and quantity of pennies or dollar coins? Do you speak a lot and say nothing? Or, do you speak less and say everything? Maybe that is why the Spirit talks to us not every second of the day, but when we need Him the most. If He talked to us all the time, we'd tune Him out. But, we know that when He speaks to us, His words count and should give all our attention to Him.

Love you Loads!

Elder Garff

Monday, September 12, 2016

Huahine, Tahiti AND GO UTES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nice panorama of Huahune huh?!
"I am a missionary and I live in Tahiti, this place is oh the jolliest that you have ever seen. Our missionaries are the fairest and each one is a shining star, we'll fight for our dear Lord for missionaries we are!"

As you can see, I have been thinking a lot about the Utah vs. byU game, and congrats to the Crimson!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Stopping byU with 18 seconds to go on a two point conversion!!!!! I wish I would have seen the game! I asked President Bize if I could watch the game, and he said yes... I could watch the one next year...

But, here, this week was really awesome! We started by taking an airplane and doing a split with the Elders at Huahine! Sister James, the Sister Training Leader, also went with us to do splits, so we technically went on a split with her :) It was awesome to see Elder Cooley and Sister Kelsey again! Mini MTC reunion :) Also, always good to see Elder Fawson and Sister Noble :)
Mini MTC Reunion
The MTC again!  Josh, Elder Cooley, Sister James, and Sister Kelsey!
After, we took a flight to Tahiti to go to leadership council. It was awesome and it was great going in with a great report for our zone! All of our missionaries have worked hard and the Zone of Raromatai is doing well!
A Huahine "Split" with Sister James on the airplane:)
After, we had a party to celebrate our triumph of the last zone goal (average of 10 lessons with a member for 3 weeks), then worked until we collapsed this week. Needless to say, the "semaine de ballad" was a tiring but good week!
Elder Piazza.  As we would say here: KO
"Everybody's got a Pondering Place", and I found one on the airplane this time:)
Funny Moment: Pictures and detailed description are not included, but it was fun watching Elder Cooley do the Tahitian Dance!
Culture Shock: As missionaries, we do splits with a lot of Elders, I had the chance to go on a split with Elder Ford :) Don't worry, I didn't sell him.
Josh with Elder Ford
Spiritual Thought: This week I have been thinking a lot about gratitude. In all of our trials, we have a tendency to complain, not to thank. In a talk by President Uchtdorf, he said that we need to be grateful in our circumstances, not because of our circumstances. A great example is the Jaredites. Ether 6: 9-12 we can read that they were tossed in the sea in little boats, with little air and light, and had probably the roughest 344 days of their lives. But, all during their journey, they praised the Lord. Even after they landed, their first act was not about themselves (building houses, planting food, hunting, etc...), but it was praising God. If they can do that, even with hard circumstances, I am sure we can be grateful in our circumstances, no matter what they may be.

Elder Garff
You have got to be kidding me.  The one time we are on Tahiti and we missed the Distribution Center by 4 minutes.
Well, I guess Tahitians are known by their strict adherence to schedules...
So fun to see that the ducks have a big influence - even with the cat calendar:)

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Busiest Week of My Mission!

Top Left:  Elder Toriki, Elder Ivie, Elder Perrut, Sister Perrut, Sister Bize, President Bize, Elder Bize, Elder Opuu, Elder Taoutaha, Josh - aka Elder Garff, Elder Piazza
Bottom Left:  Sister Maa, Sister Ladd, Sister Jeaneau, Sister Turina, Sister Mendenhall, Sister James,
Sister Sanchez, Sister Teahu
Not Pictured, but still in the Zone:  Elder Cooley, Elder Fawson, Sister Kelsey, Sister Noble
Well, I am happy that I am still walking and thinking after the past 8 days!

We started last Sunday with a fireside, the speaker was President Bize. It was a great experience, and all of Sunday we got to spend with President and Sister Bize! Awesome!
Monday, we also spent with President, and with President and Sister Bize, we practiced our songs for the missionary concert, played a little football, and looked for a gaseous water spring, which we gave up trying to find after a few hours!
Tuesday, we had a huge zone conference with Tahaa and Raiatea! We tried to Skype in with Huahine, but the wifi and the church gave out :( Elder Piazza and I gave a fun formation too, about how to succeed our challenges, see the spiritual thought.
Wednesday, we did a split with the assistants, including my old zone leader Elder Teamoutuitaou! It was great and we got to see a lot of new investigators, as we were with Elder Fareata, who was the Elder here before he got assigned as assistant and I replaced him!
Thursday we had a breakfast with real American pancakes!!!! :D with the Sisters in our district. Throughout the day, we were planning for tomorrow and had tons of meetings... Fun!
Missionary Concert - I am in the back:)
Friday we had our district meeting, a split with the Elders of Fareatai and at night had a missionary concert! I played the piano for the majority of it, and it was great! Sister Ladd was the leader, and she put the whole concert together this week!
Saturday, we had tons of lessons and meetings, and after running all over the place, we came home to find out that our zone won the mission challenge! It was to have 300 lessons with a member over the course of 3 weeks, and we had 337! Definitely proud of the whole zone! Pictures to come :)
Sunday, we ran all over the place again. It is always fun when you have to do a split to go to two churches, do the report for the zone, have a surprise ward counsel at the same time as your lessons, and plan an emergency split. And during the split, run all over and do multiple zone reports in 1 hour.

(Sorry for that exhaustive list. It won't be like this in other weeks!)

In all, I am glad to survive :) Next week should be a lot less complicated :)
Translation:  "Auto School...Keep Your Distance."
Another Translation:  "Rachel Garff is Driving...Keep Your Distance";)
Funny Moment: Always great to stop outside and eat at a restaurant. But, it is important to look at what type of restaurant it is before eating there...
So, after the missionary concert, we paused at a little restaurant and ate outside, but after we started eating, we realized that we were at a brewery "Brasserie".   Just imagine all of those members and investigators who saw us - Ha ha ha!
(Note that we are drinking pineapple juice and apple juice - don't worry!)
Culture Shock: There is a major American influence in Tahiti, but that doesn't mean that the French don't put their own stamp on things! This is seen with the car below:
Riddle for my Dad:  In French, the J and G sounds are switched, which makes this brand....
Spiritual Thought: Something that Elder Piazza and I shared during our formation at the zone conference was how to realize our goals/objectives. My favorite point was to not look for excuses and just to accomplish your goal. In Jesus the Christ, Elder Talmage explains the parable of the Good Samaratin. The Priest and the Levite had all of the excuses in the world, and passed by the wounded man. The Samaritan however, didn't. "Excuses are as plentiful as weeds by the side of the road. They are there for us if we want them... The Samaritan didn't have an excuse, for he wanted none." For us, we have all the excuses in the world to not succeed in school, excuses in the mission, and in life in general. If we want excuses, they are there. But, if we want to accomplish our goals, we can't search for, want, or make excuses. Don't search for excuses and you won't have any.

Love you all, hope school is treating you all well ;)

Elder Garff

Another Tahitian Sunset - You gotta love Tahiti!
How Not to Impress the Sister Missionaries Part 2

How Not to Impress the Sister Missionaries Part 3

The Sister Missionaries left a ton of pink sticky notes on our car, so we took them and drew hearts and our names on them - thus, pretending that we got heart attacked by them.  This went over really well:)
Snap Chat Photo with Elder Paulsen