Elder Josh Garff

Monday, February 27, 2017

Transfer Week!

Josh at the airport - sending off missionaries and welcoming the new missionaries

Our wonderful friends, Mark and Linda Monsen saw Josh on their recent visit to Tahiti
Ia ora na Outou!

This week is a little crazy as we have transfers! So we are constantly running in and out of the office! But, this week was really cool! We had Bishop Caussé (Bishop in the Presiding Bishopric) come down and he had a conference with all of the missionaries! It was great to hear from a leader in the church, that was French too! There wasn't the awkward pause for the translation, and it was great (see more on the bottom). 

Our late Valentine's Day
Mom note: this package was sent months ago. 
I am glad he has learned to celebrate holidays whenever they arrive.
Also this week, it was amazing to do the transfers. It was great to see the Spirit working and to see the inspiration that President Bize received. He found several changes that Elder Drugeon and I didn't think about. It was a real testimony for me to see that God knows what He is doing when He calls a Mission President. "All is done in the wisdom of Him that knows all". I also received a testimony that every missionary is transfered or stays in their sector for a reason. For those who think it is a random process, it is not in the slightest. It took us 5 days to do, and after a lot of consideration, the changes were made. So cool!

Other than that, everything is going good! We are going with the missionaries that will finish their missions and it is crazy to think in 12 weeks it will be me at the airport! I can't wait to see you all, but, can't wait to get back to work here!
Kenny, Windsor, Rich, Gus and Chloe.  The Dream Team
Funny Moment: Elder Drugeon took his stuffed animal (Kenny) and took pictures with it everywhere! During transfers, during the conferences, it was pretty great! (All without being seen too!)
Culture Shock: Always a great week when you buy 13 liters of juice and a box of chocolate biscuts! (Looks like I'll have to hit the gym and P90X when I get back...)
Our fridge was happy with 13 liters of juice :)
Spiritual Thought: I have 2 this week. The first comes from Bishop Caussé who told us about the Temple in Paris. They searched for a sight for the temple for a long time and during one of the propositions, the political group did an analysis. They said: "This church is the closest church to the church of Christ". Bishop Caussé inside of himself wanted to say "This church isn't the closest church to the church of Christ. IT IS THE CHURCH OF CHRIST". Really cool! 
The other one was we read the baptism of Christ in Tahitian. We are used to the phrase "This is My Beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased". In Tahitian, it translates to "This is My Beloved Son and I thank Him". What a cool translation! Heavenly Father thanked Christ for His example, of course, but, He also thanked Christ for fulfilling the conditions for Christ personally to enter into the Celestial Kingdom. 

Love you!

Elder Garff

Monday, February 20, 2017

When you do that, you must have inspiration...

Tony, Romina, the member integrators, and all the kids!
You have got to imagine how crazy our lessons are with everyone ha ha ha!
Hey Everyone!

This week was a crazy week! I have seen the marriage announcements of 5 of my friends, and it is pretty crazy. I didn't know that love was in the air in America! At this rate, I think the whole world will be married by the time I get back!

As for missionary work, it is great! We had 2 baptisms this week! Tony and Romina came up to Elder Drugeon, 1 week before I got here, and said they were ready to be baptized and choose their marraige date! It wasn't the easiest road, but they both made it and they are doing great! Their kids are not the calmest, but they are fantastic all the same :) 
So, Rick (the camel that we are hiding)...ended up hiding in my pineapple juice!  Silly Rick, pineapple juice is for Elders!

For other news, we have started the transfers with President Bize, see below, and it is really cool! I love seeing things from this side of the transfer! There is a lot of strategy that goes on and it is amazing to see how President Bize works! 

Funny Moment: Me and Elder Drugeon did all of the transfers and worked on them for 3 hours. We showed our work to President Bize who looked at our efforts and said "Quand tu fais ça, il faut faire avec l'inspiration." (Translation: When you do this, you need to do it with inspiration!). It was one of the funniest moments of my mission! Got to love President Bize! 
Elder Anderson and Elder Drugeon tried a Tim Tam Double Share, didn't really work...
Culture Shock:
Spiritual Thought: Elder Drugeon and I had the chance to teach an old couple, the Couple Tihopu, how to use technology. I never thought I would be teaching someone in Tahitian how to use a computer mouse! Sometimes it was crazy frustrating and we definitely developed our patience, but, at the end, I had a moment I'll never forget. This old couple, after 2 3-hour sessions, smiled at me and Elder Drugeon and in one of the sweetest voices, they thanked us for our work and expressed how excited they were to serve the Lord. In our lives, I am sure that God is over our shoulder knowing perfectly well how we should live our lives, but, lets us live them. Like the couple Tihopu, I would hope that after my life, I could look in His eyes and with pure gratitude thank Him for His patience and for His help. 

Love you all!

Elder Garff

Monday, February 13, 2017

Marriage and Conference

After a service project, I was cleaned off by a powerhose. That was a once in a lifetime experience :)
Hey Everyone!

This week was great! We had several multizone conferences and it was great assisting all 4 of them! It was great to hear from President and Sister Bize and it was amazing to see how the Spirit worked in each conference according to the needs of everyone! It was centered on following the Spirit and how to use the Book of Mormon. It is amazing how important the two are in missionary work and how much we need to rely on them as missionaries, and as members of the church! 

This week, we were also able to visit Raiatea! It was great to see some of my old investigators and some of the converts that were baptized after I left! I love the island of Raiatea!!! 
​ Lea! She was an eternal investigator who found the courage to be baptized a few weeks ago!
Super great to see her as a member! 

Because of the conferences, we were rarely in our area, but, we were able to witness the marriage of Tony and Romina! They are two investigators that aren't yet baptized, but took a great step with their marriage!
Mariage of Tony and Romina! It was a great experience!

And last week I forgot but, Happy Birthday Sydney!!! For those who don't know, Sydney is my cousin who just finished her mission in Alabama! She was a great missionary and loves to dance in libraries, so, if you see her in a library, ask for a dance!
Is this the forbidden fruit? (Hinano is the local beer here!) 
Funny Moment: We found the forbidden fruit this week in Raiatea... Who knew that beer grew on trees?
Culture Shock: As this week is Valentines Day, I will dedicate the culture shock to this holiday. We were at a couples night (to eat dinner) and I realized that everyone there either was married or was engaged... Except for me :) I think this Valentine's Day will be a little lonely :) Good thing I am "engaged" in the work of the Lord!
Spiritual Thought: As I was thinking today, I meditated on the thought that "perfect love casts out all fear". Perfect love is literally the solution for all of our fears! If we have fears of failing, fear from sin, fear of man, fear of anything, we just need to develop love! As for this, there is a quote from C.S. Lewis which talks about how we can best develop our love. He said: "Either you can question, worry, and fret asking yourself if you have charity (or love); or, you can go out and have charity (or love)". The best way to develop love is to love. Stop overthinking the process, and just love!
I don't think I can acurately describe why this is funny. But, I created a cereal with a camel as the mascot. Elder Anderson, an Elder who lives with us, has a camel that we hide throughout the house. If you find the camel, you have to hide it in a different place. His name is Rick :) Pictures next week!
Ua here vau ia outou!

Elder Garff

I guess this guy wasn't stealing. It was an "8+2" deal. Meaning the 2 pens were added for free. So, logically, they opened the package and took the 2 free pens!

Monday, February 6, 2017

You have GOT To Be Kidding Me.

The brown spots that you see are ants.  Yes, ants.  We found that they made a colony only in my clothes.  When we took out the clothes, there were no ants in the basket.  Around the basket, no ants.  You have got to be kidding me.
And this is me.  Because the ants invaded my shorts, I had to sleep in my slacks.
Ia ora na to'u mau hoa here!

This week was a little insane! We had a lot of meetings as a mission and because of the missionary broadcast (like you have all heard), we had to make some changes. Missionary life is going to be much simpler, and I like the direction of the Church in general. Right now, there is a big push for missionaries (and members) to be "agents unto themselves". More on that later. But, this week was a very administrative week!

Other than that, we ran all over the place! I was able to do a split with Elder Owens who just became a zone leader at Mahina! It was great to be with him and to see what things he is doing to turn his zone around! This upcomming week, I have the chance to do a split with the Elders of Raromatai in my old zone! I am super pumped and can't wait to see them all!

I hope that this week was great! A big Shout Out to my Gam who is turning a mere 50 years old! I guess that is what chocolate does to you! Your time on earth increases, but your age decreases! 
Bought these little beauties to bring the Spirit of Chinese New Year into the mission office :)
Funny Moment: This will go to the moment where we had a competition between Elder Drugeon and Elder Anderson. Elder Drugeon bought Rice Krispies. Elder Anderson bought "Tilos" an off-brand. They had a competition, and the off-brand was horrible. We have only been making jokes about Tilo, the 4 fingered-toothless crocodile!
Culture Shock: I don't know what the problem is with ants, but they got into my laundry, AGAIN. I couldn't even believe my eyes. They were only in my laundry, not around it, not in the proximities, not in the laundry of my companion, but in my things. I can now say the ants have invaded my: Shirts, Pants, 3 Suitcases, Bike, Helmet, Bed, Shorts, T-Shirts, Scripture Bag, and Proselyting Bag. These things have GOT to find a hobby.
Spiritual Thought: With the changes in the missionary program, I have seen a greater emphasis placed on D&C 58:26-28. If missionaries, or members, are commanded in all things and there are too many controls, we become lazy and unprofitable servants. Instead, we are exorted to become increasingly independent as individuals, and increasingly dependant on Christ. Before, missionaries were encouraged to be independent but, dependant on numbers and leaders of the mission. Now, there is an emphasis that you don't work for the numbers. Rather, you work for Christ because you love Him.

Love you all!

Elder Garff

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Another Busy Week

Hey Everyone!

This week was crazy! We went all over the place and at the end, we couldn't believe that we arrived to P-Day! This week, we were able to do two splits. The first was with Elder Langomazino at Taravao, the second was with Elder Tepa, who is at Papeete. It was a great experience to serve with them and I loved it!
Congrats Kehaulani!
Biggest news this week was that we had a baptism! Her name is Kehaulani, and she was a miracle baptism. The day before I got here, her mom came up to Elder Drugeon and said that her daughter was 9 years old and not baptized. She then asked him if he could teach her! So, 9 days later, she was baptized and we are now teaching her father, who is not yet a member. Cool story there!

This week, we saw the progression of tons of people and we are excited for their progress! Elder Drugeon is doing well and it is great serving with him!
One of the best birthday gifts I have received.  Thanks for the any traps mom :)
Note from the parents:  Just to think - all those years laboring over what gifts to give... all we needed were ant traps.
Funny Moment: As you will see in the photo above, Elder Drugeon is sporting a Christmas tie. We have had the Spirit of Christmas in our hearts. But, haven't lost the vision!

Culture Shock: For all of my mission, I have been in huge sectors that have required a car or bike. For the first time, in Papeete we went on foot! I now know how the Elders in New York feel!
Not every day you can eat a Nutella Panini :)
Spiritual Thought: This week I have been thinking a lot about progression. I have had the privilege of serving in sectors that are next to my old ones. It is amazing to see the progression of everyone. Everyone started in the same position after baptism. It is only the ones that progressed with the Savior that continued to have great changes in their lives. With the Savior, we can progress. Without Him, we are stagnant.

Have a great week! Happy Chinese New Year!

Elder Garff