Elder Josh Garff

Monday, November 28, 2016

I Am Grateful For...

I am grateful for pineapple juice, pineapple ice cream, and pineapples in general.
Hello Everyone!

I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Here in Tahiti, we really don't have a Thanksgiving... I would say because of two things... 1. We eat crazy well here every day. So it is like we have a Thanksgiving feast every night! 2. Many people are grateful for every little thing. So, we are surrounded by gratitude wherever we go! So, I can say that I have had a constant Thanksgiving for 18 months!
And we are grateful for breakfast - left by the Seminary students
And speaking of 18 months... all of the Sister missionaries in my promotion are going home next week! It is crazy to think that some of the people I started my mission with are already done! I will miss my "Mau Tuahine Mau", Sisters: Daniels, Kelsey, Morrill, Olsen, Pita, James, Thornock, and Stone. Loved having the chance to serve beside to'u mau tuahine mau!

This week was a crazy week that drained energy, but we are all still alive, so that is what counts ha ha ha! We have been running all over the place and have been constantly doing tasks for our areas, the district, the zone, and the mission! One of the best parts of the week was playing the piano for the Young Womens program this week! I can now say I have worked with all of the women's organizations at Vaiaau ha ha ha! It was a great program and they did well!
Another photo with our awesome Sister Missionaries
Funny Moment: This will go to the moment where we were doing a zone report and our phone suddenly decided to block the cellular signal. So, below Elder Piazza is calling with the Church phone, because our phone stopped working... Not a huge fan of our phone...
Efficiency at its best
Culture Shock: The past 6 months have been a little crazy in Tevaitoa and I have seen something that never happens in Salt Lake. The past 6 months, we have changed: The Bishopric, Young Men, Young Women, Youth Single Adult Leaders, Relief Society, Sunday School, Missionary, and Primary organizations, with the Elders Quorum changing next week. Wow!
Pineapple - gotta love it!
Spiritual Thought: This week, I would like to share a thought about remembering the Savior. In the April Conference, Elder Wong spoke about this subject. For each of us, if we want to live a fuller life, we must remember God. One of the ways we can do this is by being grateful for all that will come in our lives. For things that we don't understand, for things that are hard, for everything we need to thank God and trust in Him. I hope that each one of you expressed your gratitude to God for the gift of His Son Jesus Christ and His Gospel!

Love you all!

Elder Garff

Monday, November 21, 2016

Conferences with the Seventy and Family Baptisms

Raromatai Group with Elder Craig A. Cardon
Ia ora na tout le monde!

This week was a crazy week! It started by taking a plane to Tahiti for a great leadership conference with a Seventy, Elder Craig A. Cardon. During this conference, it was great to be taught by a General Authority and hear his point of view on everything. See the Spiritual Thought below.

After, we flew back, and prepared the zone conference here with Raiatea, Tahaa, Huahine, and Bora Bora! Such a fun time having a "slumber party" in the Church gym! The pictures are pretty great! We were then taught as an "outer island zone" by Elder Cardon which was great again!
Baptism of Randy HOPARA 

After all of the conference and the clean up (took 2 days!), we prepared and had a great baptism for Randy HOPARA! Cool fact, I baptized his sister, Maina, in Maraa (my last sector). Before, Randy was not really wanting to be baptized, but the second I told him that I baptized his sister Maina, in 2 weeks he had a baptismal date, quit smoking, quit drinking coffee, and had a huge desire to be baptized! The Savior works in mysterious ways and I am just grateful to be a part of it! His baptism was extremely special, and I don't think that I will forget the things that happened during this whole experience.
Slumber Party Prep

Slumber Party in the Gym

Well, that was pretty much the climax! Hope that you all are as excited as I am ha ha ha! What a crazy great week!

Also, I hope that you all are preparing to receive Syd the Squid soon! I left at the same time as my cousin, and now she is returning home from Alabama! I loved serving in the mission field at the same time as her, make sure to give her a coconut for me :) Congrats Sister Sydney Anderson!
So very Josh - Pineapple in a new shape, which, apparently, is picture-worthy
Funny Moment:
Culture Shock: When I was in Bora, I assisted the same conference one year ago. I was still in training and scared to death! One year later, it was me organizing it ha ha ha! Something I never thought would happen!
Spiritual Thought: This week will go to the Conference that we had with Elder Cardon. He spoke often of Repentence. As missionaries, we teach repentence often. One of the things that stuck out to me was that to teach repentance, we too must repent each day of our lives. Maybe we aren't repenting of a serious transgression every day, but the goal of repentance is to change our will to fit God's Will. Every day, we need to be repenting and aligning our will with the will of God. So, for each of us, no matter where our curent standing is with God, we need to repent and align our will with His until our will is His will.
You Just Gotta Love Tahiti

Love you all! Happy Thanksgiving!

Elder Garff

Monday, November 14, 2016

Baptism of Rose and Evaporating Ice Cream

Tahitian Ninja!
​During a baptismal interview, I was placed with the task of occupying 4 kids. So, what did we do? The same thing my parents did to us 5 kids: NINJA! 
Hey Everyone!

I don't have a lot of time today, as we have a conference, but I will write really fast!

The baptism of Rose was awesome! Friday, we had their marraige, Saturday, Rose was baptized, and she received the Holy Ghost on Sunday! It was a great experience and it was the baptism of someone who had been taking the missionary lessons for more than 5 years! She is finally baptized and it is thanks to a revelation that Marama received, to be baptized on November 11th! Congrats again!
Marriage of Marama and Rose
Culture Shock: Normally in Utah, we see hot chocolate steaming because it is cold. Today, I looked at my ice cream and saw it evaporating because it was so hot!
Funny Moment: Playing Ninja with 4 kids is pretty hilarious, especially when I had to explain the rules in French ha ha ha! What an experience!

Spiritual Thought: The baptism of Rose was the hardest baptism of my mission and I have thought a lot about why it was so hard. The answer is that Satan really didn't want it to happen. Everything was tough and Rose was literally all alone. Even with hardships that came from us, her family, her kids, and her husband, Rose surmounted all of that this week and was baptized. The scripture that is perfect for her is Alma 23:6. Personally, I know that Rose will never fall away from the church and will stay strong. She was not converted to the missionaries, she was not converted to her family, she was not converted to nothing, but she was converted to the Lord.

Have to run! Love you all!

Elder Garff
My Gam is famous in Tahiti! 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Climbing Hikes and Coconut Trees

Hey Everyone!

This week was an interesting week!

This week we had a lot of planning and not much happened apart from that. In addition to our planning, we had a lot of service projects. One of which included gathering coconuts :)

In the weeks to come, there will be a huge zone conference and Elder Cardon of the Seventy is coming to our mission! We are also preparing for many ward activities and between 2 areas, there is plenty of work to go around! Our investigators are progressing well, and this week, more than anything, was a week of preparation for the next 4 weeks!
The District on the 3 Waterfall Hike
Another crazy thing really fast, the power just went out at the church! So for the past 40 minutes, we have been scrambling to get it back, and the power came back! Yay! But now the time is short... :(

Culture Shock: This will go to Stake Conference. Here, there were 3 main subjects: The Sabbath Day, the Temple, and Missionary Work. In Utah, the talks are great also, but I can't remember the last time that we talked about missionary work! Shows where the focus is for the members here!ent: During our hike, we had a huge water fight! As missionaries, we can't really swim, but, water fights are still good to go! Defintiely a good time there!

Funny Moment: During our hike, we had a huge water fight! As missionaries, we can't really swim, but, water fights are still good to go! Defintiely a good time there!

Spiritual Thought: This week I have thought a lot about the concept of asking God with a sincere heart and real intent. As I thought about this, it is common sense. If we don't ask God with the two factors there, it will merit us nothing. God will only give to those who honestly seek Him. There are times where the answer of God will be difficult. There will be times where He will respond to our questions and we won't want the answer that He will give. But, as President Monson has frequently said: "May we ever choose the harder right rather than the easier wrong". It is easy to stay on the path of mediocricy, but it is hard to trek the path of Christ. To follow Him and His principles 100 percent of the time. How can we know if we are tredding the path of Christ? By asking in sincere prayer with a real intent.

Love you all!

Elder Garff

Manu, a member of Vaiaau, climbing a huge coconut tree

Friday, November 4, 2016

Happy Halloween - It's Weird to be a Frenchie!

For Halloween:  Elder Piazza is me, and I am him:)
Hey Everyone!

So, as today is Halloween, I am dressed up like a Frenchie (Elder Piazza) and he is dressed up like an American (Me). I have to say that the American style fits better, feels better, and looks way better on me :)

Anyways, this week was great! We had a baptism for an awesome kid named Gustave! He has been a riot to work with and we love every lesson with him! We have had too many jokes to write in an email, but his example is huge. Thanks to him, his family is now interested in the Gospel and though he is 13, he is an awesome missionnary! Definitely grateful for Gustave and his example! If a 13 year-old can do it, we can too!
Me and Gustave!  Awesome baptism service and an awesome kid!
Other than that, this week was a huge preparatory week in regards to moving, preparing for stake conference, and our zone meeting. It was great to have a break and see my old missionary companion, Elder Paulsen, and his parents! I never thought that I'd get to see them, but they came! Defintely great to speak Engish!
Great to see Elder Paulsen and his parents this week!
Too bad about his shirt... 

Funny Moment: While throwing out food, we had a huge eggplant (we didn't know how to cut it, eat it, or even use it), so Elder Piazza threw it in the abandoned lot just next to us. It was dark, so he didn't see where he was throwing it, and we think he hit a car! He threw it.... BANG! I couldn't stop laughing ha ha ha!

Culture Shock: This will go to the fact that Halloween for the French is November 1, and in Tahiti we don't celebrate it at all. So, this will probably be the most anti-climatic Halloween I have ever had. Definitely missed Ichabod Crane night with Grandma and Grandpa!
Always fun helping the Sisters (Our Relief Society) move houses!
Spiritual Thought: This week I have been thinking a lot about the influence of the Spirit. To obtain the spirit, Elder Holland in his 2007 General Conference talk "the tongue of angels" warned us against negative speaking. If we are positive and encouraging, we invite the Spirit and can talk with the tongue of angels unto the edifying of others. If however, we are negative and harsh with our words, the Spirit will not be with us and we will be ultimately unuseful in the hands of the Lord. In all things, be edifying in your language and speak in the words and tongues of angels. In other words, speak with the power of the Holy Ghost to edify others.

Love you all, don't take too many pounds tonight!

Elder Garff