Elder Josh Garff

Monday, October 24, 2016

I Want to Be Baptized This Sunday...?!

Ia ora na tatou!

This week was a crazy week. The biggest event that happened was that a Mami (grandmother), Mami Miryama called our Branch President and told him that she was sick of waiting and wanted to be baptized this Sunday. Mami Miryama has been what you can call an "eternal investigator" and after coming to the chapel for more than 5 years, she decided to be baptized! Defintitely a shock for me, Elder Piazza, the Branch President, and the entire Branch! Wow. See more for the spiritual thought!
Awesome experience with Mami Miryama!  Talk about a miracle!
Other than that, this was an eventful week. We had a lot of sport activities and a lot of service, and this time, I wore sunscreen :) We went from a tired and sweaty sport activity, to a lesson, to sports again, that is definitely the dream life of an Elder (but I can't say the same for our investigators who were taught ;) ) All of our lessons went well, and I can't complain for the progress of our invesigators. We are truly starting to see some miracles, and another great miracle was that Raitahi (a recent convert) came to church in a missionary haircut, received the Aaronic Priesthood, and a calling! The comments about Raitahi have changed from "When is he going to fall inactive" to "when is he going to receive the Melchezidek Priesthood". Through the obedience of Raitahi and the miracle of Mami Miryama, there is a renewed sense of faith and hope in the sectors of Tevaitoa and Vaiaau that didn't exist before. Amazing
As my high school basketball coach, Coach Bunting, always said, "Don't make the same mistake twice!!"
Sunscreen Works
We also said goodbye to 3 of our sister missionaries (all replaced by Sisters, so we are still the Relief Society) Sister Ladd, Mendenhall, and Jeanneau, and welcomed 3 others: Sister Toyon, Durrant, and Padbury. It is a fun district and I'm excited for the next 6 weeks!
The District (Relief Society) One Last Time before Sisters Mendenhall, Ladd, Jeanneau, and Noble left
Culture Shock: A Sister Missionary came home (Sister Rooarii) and she came up to us and asked to be put to work! Before church this Sunday, she took her parents and did Door-to-Door contacting to get people to come to Church. That is some Sister Power right there!

Funny Moment: This will go to when we found a lot of ants. Instead of being angry like usual. I rushed to my suitcases and pulled out a bunch of ant poison that my family sent me. Probably the best birthday present ever, thanks Mom and Dad!!!!! :D
You see the white box?  There is ant poison inside.  After one night, all of the ants were curled up and dead.
I am finally on the scoreboard.  Ants: 5  Elder Garff: 1

Spiritual Thought: For the past 3 months, Me, Elder Piazza, and the members have been doing a lot of lessons and family nights focusing on getting a family baptized. We did everything for them, and when they started to not progress and elongate themselves from us, we all were devestated. We all thought they were a family sent from God to be baptized right now. But, they thing we didn't see was that our efforts were maybe not to help the family at this time to be baptized, but that our efforts did help Mami Miryama get baptized. Starting 3 months ago, she starting to quit drinking coffee and keep the commandments of God. We literally did nothing directly for her, but, through our efforts, Mami Miryama told us that she was ready to be baptized. It was another strong testimony for me that every effort is not wasted. Had we not done those firesides and family nights for the other family, Mami Miryama might never have been baptized. But, thanks to the Spirit and a little effort from us, Mami Miryama, an eternal investigator, was baptized this week.

Every Effort Counts!

Elder Garff

Monday, October 17, 2016

This Week Was Really a Pain in the Neck!

Josh and Elder Piazza with their Tahitian Drums
Hey Everyone,

This week certainly was a fun week... As a result of the hike we did last week, my neck was badly sunburned and was stiff because the sunburn held it there for 3 days. So fun doing contacting and lessons like that!
Sunscreen.  Sunscreen, Sunscreen.
Other than that, it was a good week. The highlight would have to be the Relief Society Activity. We played the Tahitian drums for the Branch of Vaiaau and it was fun! We watched a dance, listened to songs, and saw a parade for each of the wards/branches, which was awesome!

For a more formal note, we had several great things happen this week, and a lot of progression. I'll say more in the weeks to come, but it is amazing to see the great miracles come to pass through the little miracles. Alma 37: 6-7.

Lastly, Elder Piazza and I are staying together another transfer! We got the calls a week early, and found that we will be losing 4 sisters :( But, they will be replaced by 4 other sisters, so we still have the Relief Society! It will be the first time that I will have stayed with a companion for 4.5 months and it will be great! I am excited to see the results this transfer! 
Le'a is one of their investigators.  She is awesome and should be getting baptized soon.

Funny Moment: We were teaching a 13 year old boy named Gustave about the law of chastity. We told him that homosexual relationships were not good for Heavenly Father and right after, he started laughing uncontrollably and said he wasn't MaHU! It is now a joke between us as missionaries ha ha ha!

Culture Shock: I was about to tell all of you to make sure to wear suncreen, but, I realized that in Utah there will be snow soon... So that was a bit of a culture change!

Spiritual Thought: This week, due to the sunburn and stiff neck, I thought a lot about a common word in the scriptures "stiff-necked". After being through a week of "stiff-neckedness", I realized how wise this counsel was. If we are too prideful for the commandments of God or if we are too set in our ways, we are only hurting ourselves. As we keep the commandments and as we become less "stiff-necked", we free ourselves and all pain associated with our pride goes away. My challenge to you all is to obey the commandments of God. This will not only help you avoid being stiff-necked (a perfect sunscreen), but will also help you loose your "stiff-neckedness".

I hope all is going well in Utah! Go Utes!

Elder Garff 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

I Have Arrived at Raiatea!

The District at the peak of the hike up Te Mehani.  They have "Arrived"!
Hey Everyone!
I don't have a lot of time today, but I'll try my best!

The biggest news was that Raitahi, one of our investigators that we picked up in June, got baptized this week! It was a great change of heart that he had, and next year he wants to serve a mission! His baptism wasn't easy, but it was a great experience!
Raitahi's Baptism - Awesome moment and a great step for our sectors!!!!
Also, this week, we had a lot of great participation amongst the ward leaders and members. We weren't able to do a lot of lessons this week, but when we had them, all the members wanted to work with us. My favorite split was with our awesome Branch President, President Mapuna! He is awesome and a powerful President!

The Apetahi - Found only on Raiatea and Tahaa.  You have to hike the TeMehani (8 hours) to see it:)
Allow me to explain why it is a little rushed today. In Raiatea, it is said that if you don't hike the Te Mehani, you haven't arrived at Raiatea. At the top, there is a flower that only grows on this mountain and a mountain at Tahaa. So, it is extremely rare! It took 8 hours to hike, so sorry if I don't respond to all the emails today ha ha ha!
My Sunburn - it may not look bad, but I think I will start using the sunscreen that my parents sent.

Mom Note: We sent numerous bottles of many types of sunscreen.  Josh left it all in a package for us when he departed from the Provo MTC 14 months ago...
I am not sure how our guide got into this hole - We were just happy he got out.

Also this week we had a Leadership Council.  It was over Skype, so it was difficult to understand sometimes, but, it was great!  It was a great spiritual experience, but it also earns the Funny Moment of the week.  To liven things up, we took all the little figurines that I had and assigned each one of them to a leader at the conference!
Leadership Council
Culture Shock: This one will go to the flower. I am not a huge flower fan, but, it is always cool to see something rare, even if it takes a bad sunburn and 8 hours :)
One Last View
Spiritual Thought: President Bize talked a lot about the Holy Ghost. It is the one thing that every missionary seeks in their mission. And, for the Holy Ghost, it is there for us as we are worthy of it. If we are arguing with people, not being obedient, and not listening to His promptings, we can't keep Him. In True to the Faith, we can read that as we abide by the commandments, we will gradually receive a fulness of the Holy Ghost! So, no matter where we are (missionary, young adult, primary, highly aged person, etc...) we can continue to seek the Holy Ghost, so He can always be with us.

Love you all! And Go Utes!

Elder Garff
I didn't mean to dress like this for our sports activity...but it just happened like that:)

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Conference and a Good Story for Maggie:)

I hope you aren't tired of these, because here, Elder Piazza and I aren't!
Ia ora na tout le monde!

This week was a good week! Our sectors are doing good work and the zone is doing really well! There are a lot of great things happening and it is a great turn around from a few months ago! It is crazy to think that I have already been in Tevaitoa and Vaiaau for 3-4 months! Time flies huh?

This week was great with General Conference, tons of lessons, and with errands all over! Nothing crazy new this week, but it was another solid week.
Elder Piazza and I preparing to take a swim in a fish pond.
As my dad has often said: "There is a pool and a pond.  The pond would be good for you."
Maggie, I felt like Ammon this week. We were at our second counselor's house this week and he was talking about his daughter who would be coming home soon from her mission. We were talking and then his wife came and asked if I was finishing my mission soon. After I said 8 months, she showed me her daughter and basically offered me her hand in marriage! Like Ammon, I had to keep my mind on my mission, but hey, I guess I am not only getting referrals for investigators, but now referrals for marriage. 2 Birds with 1 Mission! 
President Uchtdorf has changed a little while I have been here!
Funny Moment: Always good to watch a blue President Uchtdorf giving his talk during Conference!

Culture Shock: Here, many missionaries look for Tahitian Pearls. But, the members often say that a Tahitian Pearl is code for a Tahitian Wife. Check :)

Spiritual Moment: This week, I loved the talks given by Elder Bednar and Elder Oaks, and the message I will share is of an experience, a scripture, and Elder Oaks. Elder Oaks said that if you are a good example and keep the commandments, you can help with missionary work. In Romans Chapter 5 Verse 19, we can read that through the obedience of one person, many will be brought to the truth, but, through the disobedience of one person, many will be driven away. As a missionary, I have seen both worlds. People who have been baptized because of a great example, and someone who regressed because of a terrible example of a member. So, my challenge for all of you is to keep the commandments and be a good example. You'll never know the results of being 100 percent obedient, but God and those you will have touched will.

Love you all!

Elder Garff
Don't ask.  I don't even know.