Saturday, August 5, 2017

Week 103: Last Letter home, final visits, and testimony

Soooooooo this is gonna be my last letter because it is my last P-day on the mission. It feels super weird to be writing you guys for the last time, and the next time I talk to you all is gonna be in person!!! 

This week with all of the partying on the island over with, we were finally able to go and see some people and they weren't too busy!! Tuesday we went to see Moeata and caught her at a time when she was making sculptures. She makes some really cool stuff! I got a few pics so you can see them, but she was doing really well. 

We talked for a really long time about everything really and it was great to see her less busy. We went back to see her Thursday and had a money lesson with her!! She is one of the easiest investigators to teach because she just gets it really well!! It's easy to see that one day she will be baptized!! 

Soooo sad news with Aldo; he will not be baptized on the tenth because he is not yet ready, but he is determined to make a difference and keep progressing, and we are totally okay with it because we feel the same thing. We feel that he is just not ready yet. It has been so great to really get to know him! He and his family are just the funniest people ever, and I know that one day they will be sealed in the temple forever!! 

Today Aldo took us up this huge was sweet! I was sitting up front talking to him, and we had a great conversation about the temple and the sealing. I told him about how I remember when my family and I were being sealed to my little sister, Kennedi!! I was sooo little (4 years old), but I still have the image of us around the altar as a family, and my sister in the middle. I don't know why I still have the image in my head, but I remember that!! Aldo really wants that for his family as well!!

We have some members from Nuku Hiva who came here to visit us yesterday, and they will be staying until the 13th, sister Ellis and the ward mission leader, brother Butcher. They are great, and we have really been needing their support, especially for the sisters here. They have really been needing it, so it's great having them here for my last week.

Visiting Melodie

It feels a little bit weird being at the end of my mission... I feel like it's just begun. I feel like I'm just now learning what it takes to be an amazing missionary, and I'm going home....... but I've really learned that in the mission if you do your best the Lord will do the rest (hey that rhymed, unintentionally), like in D&C 133:59  "And by the weak things of the earth the Lord shall thresh the nations by the power of his Spirit."

This verse has described my mission. The mission has been a place where I have never felt so weak and powerless, but when I relied on the spirit, then I was strengthened! The Lord doesn't want his missionaries to be perfect; that wouldn't fulfill his purposes. But if we do our best, the Lord will turn us into the people he has intended us to be while helping His children come unto Him in the process of all this! 

I have come to know that Joseph Smith is a true prophet called of God to restore the Church of Jesus Christ again on the earth, and to translate the Book of Mormon. I know that the Book of Mormon is true, and I know that all these things were done by God himself!! God loves us all and only wants us to be happy! If we keep His commandments that is what we will be!!

I will miss the Tahitians and Marquesans. I have learned so much from them and their way of life! They are sooo nice, and soooo generous, and I was lucky to have spent two years serving them!! I love these people!!!!

I love you all too, and I'll see you really soon!!! Pray that I'll make it back safely, hahaha.

Elder Boyd

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Week 102: Goats, boats, and the joy of missionary work

Hey guys sooo this week was a bit of a tough one because of the island parties and the arrival of the boat, of course haha, but it's okay, we were still able to have a pretty effective week!!

For P-Day we killed a goat. Sunday we had church and had a great lesson given on missionary work by my comp, and then we ate the goat that we killed the day before, followed by a super detailed planning session!

Monday-Wednesday were days that everyone was preparing for the boat to come. Everyone was way too busy to do anything, so we searched for ways to help people prepare for the boat. I prepared my suitcases to be put on the boat. We found lots of opportunities to help out Melodie with her work that she needed to do for the boat! The boat that comes here is called the Aranui; it's a cargo/cruise ship, so there are also tourists that come here for a day!! Wednesday we went to put my stuff on the boat, so now I'm living off just a few changes of clothes for the next couple of weeks!

Thursday Aldo's back was still hurting him, so we went to help with coprah again and elder Ugbah and I actually did a lot better, haha. We got used to the technique and were able to actually help him. It was good because we got to spend some quality time with him during the day!

Our lessons went well this week, and our investigators are really progressing, especially Melodie and Aldo!! Melodie is opening up a little bit more and having some cool experiences with the BOM. Aldo is great, but he is just sooo terrified of his parents. The thing that really worries him is his mom, because she has like a disease that if she gets a super high blood pressure, or if she gets really stressed or angry, she falls unconscious and apparently it's dangerous, so that's Aldo's biggest worry! 

But we had a really good lesson about the family and discussed how if he raises his family in this gospel his kids will turn out great, and their family will be more united and happier. You can tell that family is his soft spot -- family is almost everyone's soft spot, haha! His goal is really to have a happy family, so we feel that that lesson gave him a lot of courage!!

Friday I woke up a bit sick and we tried to do some lessons that we had planned, and then I rested.

This week I talked to my old comp, Elder Rybin, and he heard news that Sylvain Champier, a French guy that we taught in Bora Bora, just got endowed in the temple!! I was sooo happy to hear that!! It's sooo amazing to get good news from old areas about new members that you've taught!! And then, during personal study, I read a verse that really caused me to remember so many of the people I have been blessed to be a part of teaching here in French Polynesia (Alma 7:17).
And now my beloved brethren, do you believe these things? Behold, I say unto you, yea, I know that ye believe them; and the way that I know that ye believe them is by the manifestation of the Spirit which is in me. And now because your faith is strong concerning that, yea, concerning the things which I have spoken, great is my joy.
This scripture just made me reflect about all those times and testimony builders I have had on this mission that has given me such a great joy!!

Have a great week!

Elder Boyd  

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Week 101: Serving Aldo, a perspective on Faith

Hey guys. Soooo this week was great.

Sunday, we had a great day of church, haha, even though there weren't a whole lot of people there because of all the partying that happened last weekend! After church, Elder Ugbah and I did a super long weekly planning to figure out some stuff that we can do to help this area, and we really think that we need to spend as much time as possible with Aldo! So we planned to ask to help him out with his work and serve him a little bit more.

Monday we got to work and headed all the way to Hane on bike to go and visit Moeata. She is still doing really really well, she is just really busy with her dances and stuff like that, but she is still reading and praying and progressing so that gave us a little reassurance.

Tuesday Aldo twisted his back, so we went to help him and that was a great opportunity to spend the day with him. Basically the work we did is this thing called coprah, where you cut coconuts in half with an axe and then you cut the white out of the coconut shell with this special knife, and you and put it in big bags. After we did ten bags of that, we carried these super heavy bags 200 yards to his car and then we took it down to a dryer thing where they lay the coconut out in the sun for like four days then package it up and send it to a factory in Tahiti that makes coconut oil! A lot of people make their living off of coprah, but man it's really hard work! Aldo was super happy that we were there to help him. He kept saying "fortunately you two are here".

After that we had some lessons with Carla and Melodie, who is on fire this week! She is reading and praying and receiving a whole bunch of answers to prayers! Carla is doing ok; she is progressing slowly but it's ok! There are a lot of things she still needs to learn and understand, and GIVE UP haha! 

Wednesday we had a good full day of lessons and went to bed super tired!! I love that, haha. 

Aldo's lesson on Thursday was great!! Honestly, we are still not sure if he is going to make it or not to the tenth (his planned Aug 10th baptismal date), but we are praying soooo hard for him. There is a weight on his shoulders right now, but he can do it! I trust that God is preparing him by his own way and in his own time! 

Friday we helped Aldo again with some of his work and did some lessons!

This morning we killed two goats with Aldo, and we prepared them with him, and we will eat them tomorrow!! Yay!!! Haha, I got some sweet videos, sooo yeah!!

Something I learned on my mission is that God has a plan for everyone and he has things already prepared and planned for each individual. Our job as missionaries and children of our father in heaven is to have faith in Him and do the work that He has assigned us! It's as simple as that! For example, having faith in God doesn't mean that I know with a surety that Aldo will be baptized the 10th of august! Faith in God means that I trust that God is realizing the immortality and the eternal life of man in his own way, and that if I do the work that God has given me then I'm helping Him with that! 

Faith does help us know with a surety that every thing will be ok in the end, and that we will have peace..D&C 19:23: Learn of me, and listen to my words, walk in the meekness of my spirit, and you shall have peace in me! I'm so glad that I served in Ua Huka because that is something that I learned in this area!! In my other areas I saw miracle after miracle, even in Aru'e, which is a tough area, but here in this area I have really learned that no matter how hard I work, the area is only going to move at the pace that God has planned it to. Faith is an amazing principle!

Have a good week guys. I love you all.

Elder Boyd

Monday, July 17, 2017

Week 100: Last place in the 5K, but finishing strong with no regrets

Hey guys! Sooo this week was a great week!!!! So pretty much for P-day on Saturday after emailing we went to watch all the dances, and Saturday was the Hakas and those were super cool! I captured some sweet videos to show you guys when I get home!

Sunday we had church went and visited some investigators!!

Monday was weird because it wasn't P-Day haha, but we were able to recontact some people and do some lessons. We started lessons with this girl named Carla who lives with, and is family with, Melodie (and they live right next to us). Carla actually won Miss Ua Huka this year. She is super cool and we are really good friends with her, but she has already been through the lessons before. She has had some amazing experiences, but when the missionaries left the island, and she left to Tahiti for school, she let go of things for a while, and now she is picking it back up and is super determined to make a change!

Tuesday we saw Monia and she is doing great. She has lots and lots of worries and doubts, which is normal, but we talked about the plan of salvation and had a really good discussion about that and she took it really well. She wanted a full week to reflect and ponder and read the BOM, so we are praying super hard for her.

Wednesday we had a lesson with Aldo, and he is stressing out. That man works soooo hard and has sooo much to do. Life as a Marqesan farmer is tough (he has like 3 different gardens to handle), but in our lesson we were able to talk a lot about putting God first and the rest of what we need will be given to us. He then asked for a blessing and now he and his family are stronger than before!

Thursday we had lesson with Melodie and Carla! Melodie's lesson was kinda funny, haha, cause she would say stuff like "I don't know if I have the desire anymore." or "My faith is getting lower", and because we are close with Melodie, and she is a tougher girl, Elder Ugbah and I were super bold with her in that lesson, and we were guided purely by the spirit. At the end of that lesson she was back to normal! 

Carla's lesson was great as well. We retaught the restoration and she keeps saying stuff like "I want my future kids to grow up in this" or "My family better except this one day". Carla is 17 and Melodie is 21 BTW! 

Friday the 14th of July is like the 4th of July in America, so there were all these huge activities, and the Mayor invited us to run a 5k run. All of our investigators were wanting us to win, haha, but we knew we weren't going to. The competition was huge, and I played baseball so I'm not much of a runner, haha. But because our friends and investigators think of Elder Ugbah and I as athletic, they immediately think that we will win. Buuuuuuttttt no. We came in last place hahahaha!!!!! But it was the hardest 5k I have ever done!!!! it was an intense run!

Soooooooooo the end is coming, but I'm just trying my best to finish strong. I am super happy, but sad to leave soon, haha it's hard to explain how I'm feeling!! I am very grateful for this mission. I will never regret this decision!!

Love you all,

Elder Boyd

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Week 99: It's hard to teach when everybody's dancing

Hey guys! All of July here in French Polynesia is just a huge party, so this is when the missionary work tends to slow down, especially here in the Marquesas islands. It's crazy how much these guys prepare themselves for the partying haha! I had this idea to change our P-day to Saturday because everyone is out or hungover, but Monday everyone is at home. We called the Mission President and asked him if we could change our P-Days for the month of July, and he thought it was a good idea. So yeah, that's why our P-Day is today.

Hopefully we will be able to have a better week, because this week hit us hard. It was the boat week and the preparation for the dances and stuff. Last year, I spent July in Bora Bora and it was sooo cool because I got to see some of the cool Tahitian dances and cultural stuff, and now we get to see some of the cool Marquesan dances!! But everyone during the week was preparing for them, so it was tough week for missionary lessons!!

Monday we went and helped Aldo collect all of his lemons off the trees, and we put them in big crates to prepare them to be sent to Tahiti. That is how Aldo makes his money! And then we had a lesson with Aldo!

Tuesday we helped Aldo with his lemons and we went contacting with no success.

Wednesday the boat came, so we had to wait all morning to pick up our stuff that came on the boat (thanks mom for the package) haha, and after that we went out contacting.

Friday we had our district meeting and we talked with the elders of Nuku Hiva about ways that we can stay busy and working during this month of July, haha. We came up with some good ideas and a good vision, and then we had a lesson with Monia. 

Last week I forgot to talk about her!! Sooo basically, Monia has been studying with the Jehovah's Witnesses for like 2 years and they have just pounded in her head that the BOM is of the devil, and that our Church is bad, and all that stuff. But the last couple of weeks we have been going to see her just to say hi and check in on her. We noticed that she slowly started to open up to us that she finally accepted us to come back and talk to her and stuff like that.

So last week during our lesson with her we talked about the BOM (the week before that was the restoration and that was great as well), and we shared the powerful verses in Moroni 10:3-5 which directs to ask of God, and she started crying after she read that verse. It was crazy! She just really felt the spirit! So we gave her the Book of Mormon and also the conference edition of the Liahona magazine, and this last week she read all of the Liahona and some of the BOM and she looooovvvveeeeddd the Liahona, but she was weirded out at how simple the BOM was, haha. She was used the Jehovah's Witnesses and their bible and all this complicated stuff, that once she got to something simple it was weird for her.

She read all the book of Moroni and she loves it! She liked the BOM, but she still has her doubts!! This woman is soooo afraid of messing up, so she is just really scared of getting into something new! She says that every time she reads the Liahona or the BOM, or talks with us, she can feel something (obviously it is the spirit) like a feeling of peace, a warm feeling. She asked the Jehovahs Witnesses what that was, and they said it was the devil disguising himself as light. They think that the devil can do that!! 

She is just having a hard time letting that go. But it's ok because she is just really scared to mess up and disappoint Heavenly Father. The Lord blesses people like that, and He will make it known unto her. I feel like he will definitely open her eyes just by small experiences!! Sooo yeah, that was super cool this week!!

Then we went to Hokatu with Christine and her family to watch all of the Marquesan dances, and that was awesome! I didn't get any pics because I took all videos. So I'll show them to you guys when I get home! A Buddy of ours, named Carla, won Miss Ua Huka, so we were super pumped for her!! That was my week. 

Recently, I have just been feeling such big gratitude for the things that I have learned on my mission. I feel like when I get back it will just be a new start into the real world! The real world is a DINGUS, but the gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us how to overcome the world and find joy! Jesus Christ has overcome the world, so if we hold on to His example, we will overcome it as well! Light will always overcome darkness!! 

Have a great week! I love you all!

Elder Boyd

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Week 98: Aldo sets a date - and the difference between the Marquesas and Tahiti

Hey guys! 
So sorry! The internet connection went out again on the island but this time it was for the whole weekend! Makes it hard to write home on P-day! 
I can't believe that yesterday was my little brother's 18th bday! (Everyone feel free to wish my little brother "Beezer" a Happy Birthday)! I really can't believe that Brendon is officially an adult right now...who would've thought that this day would come so fast! Haha! Watch out world!
Since I don't have a lot of time before I will probably lose connection again, this will just be a short email to fill you in on my week!
So last Monday we helped Aldo with his coconut tree garden and we cleared this huge thing out with big knifes and stuff like that, twas dope! Then our Branch Mission Leader came over from Nuku Hiva and visited for the week. So this was the first time in months that we've seen another leader of the church or priesthood holder. And it was actually awesome!
He joined us in many of our lessons and it was an extra force for us! It was great to have him here. He said that he has seen a major progression here in Ua Huka since the last time he visited which was back in March!! He said that people wave at us now and that people are more friendly towards missionaries for sure! That is something that I didn't realize had been happening until he said that!! When we arrived everyone was super scared of us, but now we can talk to most of the island without people trying to hide from us haha! There is still a lot of persecution and weird moves like that but its ok, dinguses will be dinguses! 
Aldo is also doing super great! IDK if I mentioned this in my last letter but Aldo prayed for a date to get baptized and he felt that God was telling him to get baptized the 10th of August, his birthday, so we are working toward that date with him. That's the last week of my mission, so if he gets baptized that week I would totally be a happy camper!!!! So pray hard!!! He still needs to stop smoking and needs a little bit more confidence in himself!! God is leading him, so it will all be good!! God is leading all of our investigators slowly but's just super hard to have patience sometimes! 
The Marquises Islands and Tahiti are like two different missions, because they are literally two different kinds of people!! In Tahiti the missionary work moves so much more quickly and smoothly, but here it takes a lot of time because of the small numbers and the powerful influence of the Catholic Church that has been on this island for years. I have learned a lot about how God works here in Ua Huka!!! I also learned that missionaries have such a little part in an investigators conversion, so we need to have complete confidence in the Lord for anything to work!!! Alma 7:23
So I've got six weeks left on the mission, and I'm sooo grateful for the decision that I made to serve a mission. I will never forget the experiences that I've had and lived during these two years, they will influence me for the rest of my life!! Love you guys and have a great week!! I'll have pictures and a better email next week!

Elder Boyd

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Week 97: Pit stop on the way to Hane, and you never know who is watching your example

Sorry again for the tardiness in writing, we went to help Aldo with some work. It was super fun because we all were working with machetes and were cutting down this huge area to turn it into a cage where he can put all of his goats! Sooooo yeah this week was super great here, very busy!!

Last Monday It rained like crazy, and when it rains like crazy that means that the WIFI stops working, and all stores close, etc. So we literally did nothing except sleep and studied in the scriptures haha!

Tuesday we went on bike all the way to Hane, but before that, Marie Christine made Puaka Toto (which is pig cooked in its own blood) and its sooooo good that I ate way too much and I threw up on the way to Hane, haha, but it's ok, I wasn't sick after. We were able to contact and meet new people that day! 

Wednesday the sisters had their Relief Society and we went and visited a good friend of Marie Christine (Tatiana), and she was super great and invited us to meet with them again because apparently her husband wanted to talk to us!

Thursday we went to see Moeata but she wasn't there so we had a lesson with L. That was good, but man, she has so much anger in her heart and she is suuuuper prideful so it's really hard to teach her. We tried to give her the BOM and she accepted, so I really hope that she reads it.

Friday our investigator Julie was doing an open house thing where she was making food and delivering it for people, so she could make money to buy a marble tomb stone for her son who died a long time ago, so we went and helped! Moeata was there helping as well, so we talked to her and apparently L is being kind of a dingus to her and telling everyone that she is mormon now and stuff like that, but she is doing in a persecuting way, so she had a hard week. She is still reading the BOM and working hard--she is a stud! All of our investigators are just champions because if someone is even seen talking to us, the whole island knows and they all start criticizing the person -- its super sad to see that.

Saturday we did a lot of meetings and a massive planning session. It took us four hours, haha, but we have a super good plan for this week coming up!

Sunday morning we met Tatiana's husband, named Teva, and we did a lesson with him. It was super great! He wanted to talk to us because he is just astonished with our sacrifice and our example. He said that he notices the way we treat kids, and he says that its rare to see people like that. He noticed how all the kids just love us, and he says that it's because kids have a pure heart and they go toward people who also have a pure heart! I liked hearing that! I'm just super glad that Elder Ugbah and I have been trying to be good examples on this island in spite of the persecution toward us and those we teach! You never know who is watching ;)!

Jesus Christ was our first and best example, and by being baptized we take upon us His name, meaning that we are also examples of Jesus Christ and His gospel.  Everything people do in this world is based off of examples of others, so if we strive to follow Christ's example, we will help others change, because you never know who is watching, but there always is someone watching!

Have a great week! I love you all.

Elder Boyd