Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Week 19: Christmas at the Mission home, the MTC gang reunited, and the Skype call home

So this was a pretty great week!
A day in the life

Monday after emailing we went to the beach and of course played soccer!  It was the last P-day with all of the older missionaries in our zone; like Elder Bonet, Elder Temanaha-moo, Elder Drugeon, Elder Teamo, Sister Kaiha, and Sister Cromar. It was really fun (but kinda sad) because they were all here when I first got to Tahiti. I couldn't really understand them (except Sister Cromar because she speaks English) so now it is hard to see them go. After that we had family home evening at the Orbeck's house which was great!

It wouldn't feel like Christmas without a visit to the Orbeck family

Tuesday was a slower day. We walked around to everyone in our sector to either find new people or to set up lessons with investigators, but everyone was still pretty busy with cleaning up the mess or Christmas. It was just good to see everyone.

Elder Boyd and Tuhey "The little Blueberry"

Wednesday was awesome! So we did our studies in the morning and then our zone did our weekly meeting Wednesday instead of Friday because Friday was Christmas! Everyone leaving or being transferred talked a little bit and we kind of said our goodbyes. Then our zone and one other zone got to go early to the mission Christmas party because we were getting a reward for accomplishing President Bize's challenges. When we got there I saw Elder Harrah and Sister Lawrence from my district in the MTC and it was great to see them. 

Christmas at the mission home

For my reward I got a little flute. Haha! As soon as I got it Elder Drugeon was like "oooohhh nooooo" hahaha! I guess he knew that I would be running around the house trying to play little tunes on that flute!  Get ready roomies! When the party started I saw my companion from the MTC, Elder Terry, and that was so awesome. I missed that Elder! I got to hang with my whole district from the MTC that day; they are all doing great...I have really missed them! President Bize told us that this is our Christmas break (for one evening...ha) and we watched "How to Train Your Dragon 2" and we had a good time.

Reunion with Elder Terry and others from the MTC gang

Thursday we went on splits and Elder Bonet was with me.  It was Christmas Eve so it was a slower day but I enjoyed my time with Bonet anyway!

Elders Boyd and Bonet with Ward Mission Leader Papi Tera

Friday was Christmas and the big Skype call. Wow! Everyone seems exactly the same and I miss everyone so much. I loved talking with you all! Then we went and wished all the members Merry Christmas and finished the night drinking Martinelli's sparkling cider with Elders Drugeon and Dalton! 

The Christmas call home

Package from home...

Saturday the assistants called! My companion is heading to the other side of the island and I stay here in Faaripo! My new companion is Elder Elledge and he is American and has been out on his mission for quite a while. I am excited to meet him on Wednesday. Later that night Elder Urbani called me just for kicks and giggles and that was really fun talking to him again. It was really cool because this time I could understand him speaking French and that made me so happy!

Sunday we had dinner with our zone and I said goodbye to everyone. Christmas week was great to be together, enjoy the members and investigators, and to celebrate the birth of our Savior. This week things should get back to normal and the work will be busy and exciting again!

I read in Moroni 10 this week and I love how Moroni says never to forget the things that God has already done for you; he really has done so much for us.We will all be so much happier if we focus on all the wonderful things

Love you all,

Elder Boyd

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Week 18: More mud clean-up, healing fire ant bites, a tour of Pape'ete, and discovering kiwi fruit

Hi everyone!

It was a busy week...a good one, but I'm tired!

Elders Boyd & Teamotuetau

Monday:  So after I emailed last week, we quickly went to the store and headed straight back to doing service.  So much work to be done after the flooding and it feels good to help.  Pretty much what we did this week was take food to all the people in my sector and help wherever we could because people are busy with cleaning up everything! (You should see one of my pairs of underwear...haha it's straight up Tahitian-mud looks like the military garments so that's pretty gives you an idea of all of the mud we are cleaning up over here)!  Anyway, towards the end of the day Sister Orbeck was trying to get me to go to the doctor because of the bites that are still all over me (by the way they are actually fire ant bites...ewww) but I just politely said "no"...ha and then she left and went to the store. She bought all of this expensive mйdicine for me!! Gosh dang it, why are people so nice?!  These are the best people ever!! After that Sister Bize (who is a little French angel) brought me some more medicine because she and President Bize came down to check on everyone and they were really nice and helpful! They are amazing people. 

Tuesday: I woke up and was in the other room eating some bananas and kiwis (which I swear are straight from heaven) waiting for my companion to finish getting ready and then you guessed it...we did more service and it was a good day!

Choose the Sprite when a choice is placed before you

Wednesday: We ended up doing clean up and service! (You didn't see that one coming...hahaha) and we tried to start setting up our lessons again but everyone is busy building up the town obviously. We did get 5 lessons in this week anyway....which was nice. The work will go forward! I found out today that my companion from the MTC, Elder Terry, is being transferred to a really beautiful island so I'm gonna call him today and tell him he is a lucky dingus! Haha! I miss that kid...I didn't really know how much I would miss funny little Elder Terry...haha...good times.

Pedaling most of the day is the new normal

Thursday: Woke up...haha! Oh, I forgot to mention that right next door at the chapel there are some members who are sleeping there right now because their homes are in too much of a mess after the flood.  It's sad. BUT, they have made breakfast for us all week and it is great!  They have this thing called "milo" and it's kinda like hot chocolate but man that stuff is amazing!

Exploring the island with the Orbeck family

Friday: Another big day of service and the day my body finally realized how tired I was! Holy moly!  We had a zone meeting too, which is always fun 'cause my zone is funny to be around and just basically awesome.

Saturday: We got up and did more work and then visited our investigators and tried to set up some more lessons for this week. We have several set up so we are getting back to the normal schedule.  Then we went to sing at our first of three Christmas concerts.

Sunday: We went to Church and then went and got ready for our second concert. Ok, so I will remember this concert forever!  It was at a little outside party thing, and we get there and Sister Tissou (who is awesome by the way) is playing the piano. But the piano there was like a weird old jazz-like piano and it was so awkward to sing to!  Ha!  And then the MC, who would talk in between each song, was talking all smooth and jazzy-like and Elder Dalton, Elder Gilstrap and I were laughing our heads off! I guess we needed a good laugh after the last week! 

Then all of a sudden, in the middle of the concert floor, these dogs just got into a full-out was crazy! Then all of these dogs came out of "goodness knows where" and joined in and got in a circle around the two brawling dogs and were barking at them! Then this guy came up and started kicking the dogs (I think he had been drinking a little too much) and these ten little kids came and joined in and started kicking at the dogs and then another guy came in and grabbed one of the fighting dog's legs and just chucked the dog like 20 feet...oh my gosh! This was all in the middle of our concert!  Haha its was a disaster...but it made my mission! (Oh and also the baptisms and serving people made my mission...haha). It wasn't exactly the MoTab Christmas concert by any means! Then we had our last concert at the Mahina chapel and that one was pretty awesome.  Let me tell you "Silent Night" and "O Holy Night" in French sounds so cool and Christmasy. "O Holy Night" was just me, Elder Pruett, Elder Drugeon, Elder Dalton and Elder Gilstrap yeah I got forced into that one! But it actually sounded great.

In Church

Ok, so I learned something this week. My whole life I have told people that I hated kiwi, but truthfully, I never tried it before because the outside looks hairy and gross and like a great big poop dropping! But this week we ran out of food and that was the only thing left so I decided I was gonna be brave and try the kiwi. So I ate it and I was like, "oh my gosh this is amazing, this has got to be the fruit from the tree of life" but then I was sad because I had missed out on 19 years of truly living and enjoying kiwi! 

This is kinda like the commandments of God, Satan makes the commandments of God look like a kiwi, it looks unappealing on the outside, it doesn't look like it will benefit us at all. But when we just open it up and we live the commandments it'll be good and delicious and make our lives better! The truth is that it really is good! Sooner or later we will realize the things we should have been doing and then we will be extremely sad because we could've been doing it all along and had the joy from it! So there is my little kiwi story...haha!

Merry Christmas everyone.  Talk to you in just a few days!!

Love you!!!

Elder Boyd

Monday, December 14, 2015

Week 17: Storms of Life Reveal True Character - A Testimony Builder

Hi Everyone!

Ok, I'm only going to write about Saturday and Sunday this week...these two days strengthened my testimony so much!

So saturday I woke up and we had planned a split for the morning, so I went and taught a lesson with Elder Drugeon in Papenoo and while we were there it started raining lightly. After the lesson we headed back towards the house and to the church (they are right next to each other).  Elder T. and I had a lesson with Tuhei "the little blueberry" and I was leading the lesson and at the last minute I decided (felt prompted) to teach on charity instead of Patriarchal Blessings, which we had previously planned. My companion was a little surprised, but it was a good lesson! 

Right after that at the church basketball court outside, the ward was having our Christmas party! We were all there eating and suddenly it started raining really, really, really hard!  Everyone was ok because we were under a pavilion. But it was crazy rain, seriously! So it was about 12 o'clock noon and I'm sitting there and my buddy Jerry says to me that the river is really high and the water block at the top of the sector broke! Then I see Arama sprinting and he is muddy and soaking wet.  He runs and talks to his mom for like 5 seconds and then he books it back towards the canyon. 

Check out these video links of the destructive flooding:

This was a road turned to a river

To explain a little, my sector is truly a canyon and there is a river that runs right beside the road and I see what is about to hit us! I said to my companion, 'let's go change and help"!  We changed in a minute and ran to help. As soon as we got to the road I couldn't believe my eyes! The road had turned into a high speed river! There were trees and cars just completely smashed by the rushing water of the river.  Literally, cars were smashed!  There were houses to the side of the road just full of mud and stuff and water was everywhere. 

Locals scrambling during flooding

I immediately thought of all of the members and other people still up there in the canyon so we went through the backyards and had to climb on houses to make our way up there.  We had to swim through the Protestant church and as we got through I see Arama holding a little kid who he saved!  Then we saved 2 little babies! Then we swam to the Perron home to tell the mother that her kids, Tuhei and Bryan, were safe and ok back at the church.  So we got high enough up the road that we could walk but it was still up to our thighs.The road was still a crazy high speed river, but we went and checked on Teahi and he was carrying his kids to a higher elevated home and we helped him get the kids to safety. Then we went to the Orbeck home to check on them and the home was covered with mud but not as bad as some of the others (but still bad). 

Elder T and I in the Flood Zone

We got to the point where we could run so I was going to check on Noel but the bridge to get to her house, and the other members and investigators in the area, broke in the flood so they were all trapped. Then we saw Teiho and he was a wreck because his girlfriend was at his house on the other side of the river and begged us to help.  I figured that if we climb and scale the mountain right next to the river we could make it to the other side.(Sorry, it's hard to explain the layout of the island) So I went first and it was tough because it was super steep and if we fell, we fall right into the river.  So wow,  we finally made it but apparently I got bitten by a billion of "no nos" (little biting mosquito type bugs) and I was in crazy pain.  We got to the house (which was totally fine because it was high enough) and Teiho and Sharon used the last of the water they had stored to help me clean the bites. That was a big testimony builder for me...they used all that they had left just to help me.  We waited just a while until the river calmed down so we could cross it. I actually ended up going to the hospital that night and they gave me some medicine and stuff.

Covered in No-No bug bites

The next day (Sunday) the Papenoo and Faaripo wards (Papenoo got hit too, but Faaripo is worse) had a testimony meeting and it was unbelievable! There were so many amazing testimonies. Testimonies of people who lost a lot or even everything they had! Then that whole day we worked because I wanted to help my sector with the clean up. Finally,that night Elder Drugeon, Elder Dalton and I went around the two sectors giving food to everyone with Brother Tissou. He drove us in his nice pickup because the road in Faaripo is broken and cracked and ruined so we needed to have a pickup to get around. We crossed the river and brought food to Noel and Eria and all of the investigators who are pretty much trapped and we got back at like 10:30 at night. 

In moments like this you see the true character of people. In Elders Drugeon and Dalton I saw true servants of Christ. Those two did everything they could for our sectors and I have so much respect for them. I saw Arama (a kid who is inactive but wants so much to be better) risk his life two times to save two little kids.  I saw Teiho and Sharon try to help ease my pain with the last of the water that they had (because the water and electricity weren't working because of the floods) and I saw members who lost everything (down to the whole foundation of their homes) and they are the ones asking if WE are ok! They were the ones bearing their testimonies that God lives and loves us! All the people I just named are the ones who did all they could for others...... why??? Why did they do this? It's charity brothers and sisters..ironic that I had the opportunity to teach charity twice earlier that day with my companion and Elder Drugeon and then I got to see true charity in action. When times get serious and tough.... who are you gonna be? Are you gonna have that "pure love of Christ" (charity) or are you gonna be worrying about something insignificant or all of your possessions?

I was so touched by these last two days that I crashed on my bed (because I was so exhausted) and just cried because of the true character of these people!!! I have never seen anything like this.

I love you all and I hope you have a great week. I miss you and pray for you.

When times get serious....who are you gonna be?

Elder Boyd

Monday, December 7, 2015

Week 16: A view from the top of Tahiti

Hey Everyone!

This week was honestly nuts! Busy and packed...just the way it should be on a mission!

Monday: After we emailed we went to the church to practice for a Christmas Concert and sang for what felt like forever. That wasn't great because I was in the church...closed in...all day....and that's the one day we aren't at church all day! Hahaha! But move over MoTab...we sound pretty good.

Elder Boyd and his little buddy Brian

Tuesday: You guessed it...lessons all day! It was a lot of work, but hey, my back is feeling sooo much better!  I don't know why but it's honestly better so mauruuru Heavenly Father!!! Our hot water stopped working at our house, so good times!  AAAHHH! Elder Drugeon thinks that it is Satan trying to tear us down because both companionships in our house are really, really successful right now! I guess Satan continued trying to bug us because it rained like nuts all week as I've been soaked all week. But you know I'm happy doing the work of the Savior so no big deal!

Wednesday: We did splits pretty much all day. I was with Yanki and my companion was with Frere Opuu (Papi). It was fun!  We got so much 15 lessons that day...and Elder Caldwell came and we went for a drive on the mountain which was amazingly beautiful. I could see everything on the island from there, and it was so pretty.  He passed me off so I can drive in the mission now!  Yes, I am now called the Paul Walker of Tahiti.  I will drive in his name and keep his legacy going! 

Views I get to enjoy every day on bikes

Then our zone got together and the Stake President bought dinner for us. I had steak with fries and let me tell you it was "durrrricious", but I felt like I ate forty pounds of butter so ... wow!

Thursday: Just another day and a lot of great lessons....but I cannot remember a whole lot of specifics that would make sense to you all.

Friday: We had zone meeting and then we practiced singing for Sunday (I'll explain that in a little bit) and then just more busy stuff and finally bien dormir!

Saturday; Kind of a crazy day but we did have to put off some of our investigator's baptism date because we have got to get them married first and there just wasn't enough time for all of it to come together fast enough...bummer! We ate at McDonald's...hahaha...good old fast food! 

Good old McDonalds with Papi Tera, Vehia Orbeck, and Poerani Orbeck

Sunday: We sang at Stake Conference and that was great and Elder Haleck (he is so awesome) was there and I got to talk to him again. It is amazing to be right with someone from the Quorum of the just feel the power. 

Tahiti Temple with the Orbeck family

At the Temple with Elders Teamotuaitao, Packer, and Hemo

I love being a missionary! Love you both mom and dad. I'm sending a Christmas package today...I'm getting excited for Christmas! 

Elder Boyd

Monday, November 30, 2015

Week 15: Baptizing Tuhey (the little blueberry)

Bonjour, Ia Orana, Bonsoir, Maitai?, Toe oe huru? Ok is everyone?

Here is an update on what happened during this last week....

Monday: We didn't end up going to the lighthouse last week and I was so excited to go but we couldn't make it happen. We might go today so fingers crossed. Yes, we played beach soccer and then I just walked knee deep in the water because it feels like money on my legs! Most of the time Elder Dalton, me, and others stand in the water and just talk...haha...I could do it all day on P-day, it feels good to chill. After P-day ended, we had family night at the Orbeck home and that was really great. We had a testimony meeting and the Spirit was strong...I bore my testimony about my mommy. Ha!

Tuesday: I can't really recall lots of details but we taught a bunch of lessons like we usually do every Tuesday; that's like our busy day; I'm not really sure why, but people seem to like to hear about the gospel on Tuesdays!

Wednesday: We had a lesson in the morning with Natalie.  The first time we taught her she already knew that the Book of Mormon was true and and she wants baptism but we have a couple of things to get lined up first. During that lesson the Bishop joined us and he bore his testimony and told the story of the Orbeck family and Fabreese and all the amazing stories that have happened in this ward.  We set a baptism date for the 12th and she is going to try and prepare and be ready.  After that lesson a missionary couple named Elder and Sister Caldwell from Midway, Utah came and taught me to drive stick shift so now I can drive a stick shift car because that is what we have out here.  Soooo look out Tahiti!  I'm not the driver yet, plus my area is mostly bike, but when I get to an area with a car I can drive. Pretty sick if you ask me!

Thursday: Just another crazy, busy day like always...Ha! No turkey and stuffing out here in Tahiti!

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were the toughest 3 days of my mission so far...but things are good...the language is coming along...and I am committed more than ever to be the most hard-working servant of Christ.  I don't ever want to be seen as just a kid with a name tag, I am here for more. 

On Saturday we baptized little Blueberry Tuhey and that was really great.  The Spirit was strong and we have a lesson with his Mom and Dad next week.  My back was really hurting again that day so I asked my companion for a blessing and I felt way better.  I will be good.

I love you all! Mom, thank you so much for the letter and Ensign conference magazine you included with my package...I actually read from that this morning.  Dad, thanks for your email too...the poem is really great.  You guys are the best parents ever!

Elder Boyd

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Week 14: Birthday in Tahiti

Hey, Ia Orana! 

This week was really great! Of course the week started on P-day with beach soccer (but today we are actually going to the lighthouse on the island and we get to go to the top of it so that's gonna be new and awesome!) 
P-Day ankle-deep in warm water with my Zone

Also, last Monday was the last day Sister Stastney was going to be in our zone so she took our journals to write in them and wrote us all great messages. We hung with our zone at the beach and I loved it...the sand was so hot that Elder Pruett and I both got burns on our lily white feet so that was really painful for a couple of days, but it healed quickly. Then Elder Teamo lost our house key so we had to stay in the house and study the rest of P-day but we found it the next day just in time to get back to work. 

Elders Teamotuetau and Boyd

Tuesday we had a whole lot of lessons and it was pretty much a good, normal day. Wednesday was our English language class and it was extra fun and went super well. We taught the verb "to be" and "to have" and played a fun game. The Tahitians love games and are always up for some fun so it was great! Ha!  A lot of people here have the desire to learn English so we always have a good turn out. Elder Dalton is one of my favorite people ever and we get along great! He and I laugh at all of the French words that sound a little "iffy" in the English language and have a good time all day long! 

Thursday was my birthday and we went to have a conference at the chapel in Papeete with this guy who taught about stress and how to handle it. It was a good message. Then when I walked out of the conference my whole zone had made a cake and sang "Happy Birthday" to me. They gave me a "Frozen hat" and it was awesome. That afternoon we had good lessons and then we had dinner at the Orbeck's house but it out to be a birthday party for me! They sang to me and gave me presents, just some really cool Tahitian decorative stuff and it was a pretty great day.

Birthday dinner with the Orbecks and other Mahina ward members

My 19th Birthday with good people I have been able to teach and see baptized

Friday we just had a lot of lessons again but it was hard cause I was really tired, I don't know why. It must have been all the Birthday partying! Haha! It was really funny because over here when someone is eating they yell "Tama'a" which means "let's eat", so when I'm eating they are all like Elder! Tama'a!, and I'm just like......ummm ok, haha, yeah that's what I'm doing! I'm not sure if I'm not eating fast enough or if I'm not eating enough...I bet you never thought you'd hear that one! 

Elder T and I with Poerani and Vehia Orbeck

Saturday we had splits all day and I had a lesson with Remoana and Angenita and that lesson had the Spirit from the get-go! It was seriously bouncing off the walls and going nuts! And I was like ooohhhhhh geeeezzz, do you feel that? Will you be baptized? And they said yes! So yeah, another baptism coming over here.  

I forgot to tell you about Fabreese who was baptized this week. You just look at this guy and see humility on his face! I love that guy!  Also we are teaching these two guys named Steve and Arama; Arama is a member and Steve is a non-member and they are really cool. Funny thing, Steve's Bday was the same day as mine so that was a cool day! 

Steve (green shirt) Arama (white shirt) Yanki (lower)

On splits with Yanki. I love that guy!

This week I really gained an appreciation for my sweet little mother and I miss her soo much! My mom is a miracle and from the start of my life she has taken care of me and loved me! 

I love you all! Happy Thanksgiving to all back home!

Elder Boyd

Monday, November 16, 2015

Week 13: Baptism of the Family Orbeck

Hey Family! This week was really great and went by really fast.

Last P-Day we gathered with another zone and an Elder who was in the MTC with me, Elder Isabell, was there too so he, Elder Dalton, and I got to spend some time standing knee-deep in the super-warm ocean and talked for awhile to catch up on great missionary experiences so far. Eventually, we joined the others playing (you guessed it) beach soccer SURPRISE, haha but yeah it was a good day.

We enjoyed Family Night with Yanki again (the ward missionary I told you about last week), and that is always so awesome because I love Yanki! I got to teach lessons to all of his kids who are currently inactive but all so great! They are progressing a lot and seem to want to make the necessary changes in their lives to return to full church activity.

Tuesday was just a really busy day and we did a lot of work and taught a lot of lessons...great day!

Our first English class on Wednesday went surprisingly well! As we hoped, a lot of people came to the class and it was really fun because Tahitians are just super energetic and they know how to enjoy life, so we played English Learning games the whole time and had a great time. The whole Orbeck family came as well which was really cool! It was a success.

Of course, Friday was the moment of truth for the family Orbeck as we baptised all of them ... and it was sooo awesome!! I got to baptize the little girl named Vehia who is 13 years old. She is so little and humble, and their whole family is remarkable. I have been so blessed to watch this family change and grow and become involved with the local ward members. Mahinui, their 16 year old son, is now considering the possibility of going a mission right when he is 18. I love these people!

 The family Orbeck on their baptism day

A new day for Vehia

I haven't told you about this house we pass all of the time with all of these great Tahitian guys who sit outside and have the most contagious laughter ever! It is fun to visit them when we pass by, and guess what? They are all active members of the church as well. I guess it's a Tahitian brotherhood thing, and they sure seem like they have a good, clean, fun time -- all day long, every day. Life is good in Tahiti.

Our investigator who was supposed to be baptized on Saturday who is a good young man, can't be baptized because his parents were going to kick him out of their house if he went through with it.  So he had a lot of pressure over that and cancelled. I feel badly for him. Hopefully hearts will be softened. So then something crazy happened! I went on splits with frere Opuu Tera (Papi), and while we were out in a neighborhood I talked to this guy and set a time to teach him on Sunday (yesterday). It turns out that he's the oldest brother of our investigator that had to cancel his baptism! So, that is going to be a big blessing! If the older brother will listen and feel the spirit, it might help to soften the hearts of the parents.  Keep them in your prayers! 

Another super funny, but incredible, thing happened this week...haha. While talking with Tuhei, who is the awesome little kid that I met when I very first came to this ward, I felt to give him the baptism challenge, and I said, Tuhei my friend, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be ...", and he just cuts in and yells, OUI!!!!!!!! Hahahaa it was so funny the way his excitement got the best of him, and also very touching. So, he will be baptized on the 28th of this month.

Sunday was such a great day because it was the Primary program in our ward, and that was so hilarious! hahaha. I love the kids here! There is just nothing better than the Primary program is a favorite all around the world.

Love, Elder Boyd

Monday, November 9, 2015

Week 12: Bursting with Baptisms

Hi Family!

Ia-Orana! I have to say that this week was honestly sick (these days, that means awesome)! 

Here's a quick recap of a very eventful week. Monday night we went and had FHE with Frere Yanki and I gotta say that Yanki is one of my favorite people! I'll try to get a picture with him this week. He is a Ward Missionary and he is absolutely amazing. All of his kids are inactive, but his son, Antoine, wants to come back so we are teaching and helping him. 

Tuesday we gave a blessing to Yanki's other son, and after the blessing he said, "I will stop doing the things of the world". It was absolutely amazing to see the change in him. We had a lot of lessons the rest of the day. We get to teach so much every day, it is really cool. Later that night Elder Dalton and I were talking about how a lot of people we meet want to learn English, so we had the idea to start an English class. I called Sister Jones who is one of the couple missionaries whose job is to help the native Tahitian missionaries with English and stuff like that. She was giving some lessons that day and she approved the idea on the spot! So, Elder Dalton and I will be teaching an English class for locals every Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. and I'm really excited about that! I know a lot of non-members are going to come so that will be a good opportunity for us to find even more investigators and get to know more people. 

Wednesday and Thursday were just normal, busy days and we taught a lot of lessons! My investigators T. and H. are not quite ready for baptism yet even though they want to get baptized. They need to work on a few more things and they will be ready. T. is really progressing but H. is not trying quite as hard. I know something will motivate him, and I trust the Lord will help with that. 

Friday was also a pretty great day. We started off with district meeting and it's always so fun! My zone is awesome! Ours is the most successful zone in the mission right now and President Bize is really proud of all of us. He motivates us to do our best. I'm so blessed to be in a zone where everyone works hard and is super fun to be around, it's awesome! In our lesson with Eria we changed his baptismal date to the 21st of November and he asked me to baptize him, ha so pretty nuts if you ask me! 

Saturday was an amazing day because all our lesson appointments were awesome! In our lesson with the family Orbeck I felt to testify of the Savior and I shared John 17. I talked about all the things He has done for us and then the mom said with tears in her eyes, "I feel his love". The spirit was present and we all felt it. They are being baptized on Friday and I have been asked to baptize the daugher, Vehia, my companion will baptize the brother, Mahinui, and a member is baptizing the mom and dad. I called President Bize and invited him to the baptism and he was so excited when he heard it was a whole family, but he can't come as he is going to another island to visit other missionaries, but he said he will be thinking of us. My Mission President is a great man and he loves all of the missionaries. He is awesome. 

We spent Sunday mostly studying after Church as we had no lessons set up on the day of rest. This Saturday we will also be baptizing Marutea, so this week will be great with both him and the family Orbeck entering the sacred waters this week.

Having dinner with Vaitiani and her family. They take great care of their missionaries.

It's great to hear things are going well back home. Congrats to Deeds on taking 6th in State with Volleyball, and tell B good luck with "Heck Week" as he starts wrestling practice.

Love you all, 

Elder Boyd

Monday, November 2, 2015

Week 11: Smiles by Emilie, commits on splits, and casting out evil

But first .... 

The Boyd Family enjoyed an unexpected, and wonderful correspondence on Sunday with the newest member of the Mahina ward -- Vaitiani, the lady whose baptism Connor was part of two weeks ago (his first baptism). She sent the following (translated from French) along with the video and picture below. 

"Hello, it will be with pleasure that I bring you news (short stories) of your son, elder Connor. This evening there is an activity in Mahina and the theme it is "where from I come". I shall show him your messages and we shall make photos and videos. First two weeks we saw that he was not well, that he was sad and it is there that my daughter Émilie came towards him, to give him a little smile and hug. He misses you enormously. We make for you of big kiss."
-- Sister Vaitiani

Vaitiani's daughter, Emilie with her Elder Boyd

This meant so much to us. Elder Boyd has not mentioned or reported anything but gung-ho excitement to his family, so the observation that he looked a bit sad, lost and in need of a little kindness and that little Emilie responded was precious to us to learn of. Emilie and Connor now have a special bond that can be seen in their faces. And we were so grateful Vaitiani made Connor record this little video to us. It's fun to hear the language starting to influence even his English.

Video from Elder Boyd - Only plays in a browser -- not on a mobile device.

Now ... This Week from Elder Boyd:

Hey everyone back at home!

So this week was really good! Last Monday after I emailed we went to the mission office and we met with the AP's and I got all of this new stuff to use to teach our investigators. Great new pictures and stuff; I love getting new stuff like makes our lessons even better.  After that we went as a zone to this great restaurant (a member invited us there) and she gave us like 600 dollars worth of food. Heavenly! Then we went and played beach soccer again, and let's just say I really stink at beach soccer! I'm really hoping we can agree on a hike up in these lush mountains soon. 

Tuesday was nuts! It was just a lot of work, and it was awesome! We had sooo much work to do that my companion and I had to split and he went with a member and I went with another member to teach lessons. I was a little worried, but I honestly liked it! My companion is awesome, but man the guy can talk! And sometimes I like to use a little quiet to invite the spirit.  Elder T talks crazy fast and a lot of times I have to kick him under the table to let him know that I have something to say! Ha!  But the lesson with just me and and the member went really well. It was cool to see that I could do this even without my awesome comp.  The lady we taught wants to be baptized...I am so excited!

Wednesday we did splits again and this was my favorite day of the mission so far. I went with Francis who is the ward missionary and we taught Chantal.  She is an investigator who is uneasy about baptism, so I shared Alma 34:40-41 and told her to be patient and she will know when the time is right.  Then I talked about my mom and my dad and how they had amazing patience and kept their hope that they would eventually have kids. They had to wait seven years for a kid and that was me! I'm so grateful for their patience and continued hope even when things seemed impossible or hard. Instead of waiting any longer, she committed to baptism and will be baptized on November 28. So that was awesome!

One of the Members who owns a restaurant invited our Zone to dinner.  It was sooo good!

Later in the week I had an experience that changed my whole perspective on a lot of things. I'm still teaching this great kid who is my age and lives in a tiny shack. After we had the lesson (we were outside) I asked him to continue praying and reading, but he said that it was difficult because there are bad spirits in his house. I thought that sounded kind of weird, but my companion said we could bless the house. He asked me to do it!  So we go into his shack and I don't feel anything, so I started a prayer and then suddenly I just felt like I was being surrounded by Satan. I could hardly speak. 

At that moment I felt like I should say (and I did) "In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to get out".  Almost immediately after that the dark and evil feeling was honestly gone and I felt the Holy Ghost around us in the house. That was really creepy. Satan is real. I hated the feeling of all of his power thrust into me. It was a horrible feeling. I honestly got a headache from it.  I seriously still have a super bad headache, and ever since that experience I've been really tired. It's like I'm coming back from an injury. I've never felt something this strange before. 

It was sure an eventful week. Elder Urbani was transferred and Elder Dalton who was in the MTC with me is the new guy in our missionary house. It's great to see him again.  

Elder Boyd with Elder Urbani (French) who was transferred this week.

Mom, the food here is good, nothing weird or crazy yet. Fish and chow mein-like stuff, plus steak and fries.  I like it.  No crazy bugs or spiders and the people are great! 

Love you all!

Elder Boyd

Monday, October 26, 2015

Week 10: Mission Home Visit, Bingo de Papenoo, and Hanging with Tuhay

So this week was really great! After emailing on Monday we went to run some errands at the mission office and I got to talk to the AP's and President Bize. It was great to visit with them and get to know them better. After that when we were driving Elder Drugeon did the funniest thing...I'll send you the video.  It's good to get a gut-busting laugh every now and then! 

Tuesday was really good.  We taught a lot of lessons and the family that I told you about last week that wanted to wait a year for baptism told us they all decided they were ready! My prayers are being answered. I can't tell you how awesome it is! The whole family will be baptized on November 14th. I'm so excited!

We have been teaching so many people with different backgrounds and stories. We've been teaching an inactive member named Francis and he is great, then this week he was called to be a Ward Missionary himself! It's a big change in his life in a very short amount of time, and he will do great! 

Wednesday was also a good day. We visited Patu Eria and he is doing really well. We are going to start teaching his brother and sister too. We then had a lesson with Brian and Malina and they wanna be baptized. I'm praying for ways to get Brian baptized now. I really hope that he will because he is so awesome and funny and he knows this is what he should do. Then Thursday we went and just taught a bunch of lessons.  We stay really busy. 

Friday was awesome. We had a zone meeting and after that our whole zone went to this place where people gamble called "Bingo de Papenoo" and we sang Church hymns outside just to see if we could get a few inquiries! Ha! That night we all had dinner with the Stake President and that was really great. We have a great zone. 

Saturday we all fasted for our investigators and that night we got a letter at our door from a lady who wants the lessons.  Can you believe it? It was really awesome. The power of fasting is amazing! Sunday we went to church and I hung with this little kid named Tuhay who just likes me for some reason...he is awesome. The Tahitians are great!

Mom, I'm so sorry that this letter is short and no pics. The WIFI keeps going bad at the church and I'm running out of time, so next week will be a really good letter! I love you.

Elder Connor Boyd

Monday, October 19, 2015

Week 9: The Bizoo is weird, Patu is a hungry kid, and Vatiani got baptized!

This week was really good! Monday after I emailed home, I went to town in Pape'ete and played more beach much beach soccer I'm going nuts haha! It's not too bad, but everyone in my zone played soccer, before the mission, so they are good -- If only I could get them to play baseball!
Tuesday was super duper! We had zone conference with elder Haleck, a member of the Seventy, and we talked about planning. He shared his amazing testimony of the savior and our prophet, in English, and there were also translators for French and Tahitian. It was so good! Afterward he interviewed 10 missionaries, and I was fortunate enough to be one of them. I'm not sure why I was chosen to interview with him, but it was a great experience. 
After that, we had a teaching lesson with Herenui and committed him to both baptism (on the 7th of November) and marriage prior to that, so good things are in store for Herenui. 
Wednesday was a rough day because a bunch of planned lessons cancelled. Thursday was awesome though. We visited an investigator named Eria Patu who is a 19 old kid, and I think he feels a lot of stress in his life, because he is already starting to have gray hair. All his clothes are dirty and he is always so hungry, but he has such a good heart. I love that kid. He thinks that I am super big for my age haha. He loves feeling the spirit, so during our lesson when the spirit was strong, I asked him to be baptized and he said yes. After that, we talked about the baptism program and he asked if there will be food like 4 times -- haha it was so funny! Sure, we'll bring food! 
Friday at night we took a nice couple, Brian and Malina, to the Pape'ete Temple for a tour. They were so touched by the feeling on the temple grounds and because the front doors are see through we could see the workers in the temple. Bryan looked in and did the hang loose sign to them (which is a cool way of saying hello--its like the peace sign haha) so that was hilarious! The temple workers all laughed haha. Taking advantage of the moment, we asked them if they would commit to both getting married (civilly now, and in the Temple in a year), and to getting baptized. They are sincerely thinking and praying about it. 
Vatiani and her kids on her baptism day!

Saturday Vatiani was baptized! This was my first baptism and it was so awesome! Bryan and Malina came, and Patu also--our guy who asked if there would be food. He ate most of the food there hahaha, it was too funny!! It was such a great and happy experience though! 
Also this week, I talked to this guy and when he left he gave me the bizoo (the French custom of kissing both cheeks) and let me tell ya -- that is the weirdest thing eeeeeewwwwwww!!  Haha it's just weird to me -- maybe I'll get used to it at some point, but I'm not holding my breath. Maybe I should -- and puff out my cheeks. :) 
Sunday was a good sabbath day, but also sad as one of my favorite investigators, JN, informed us he doesn't want the lessons anymore. I felt devastated because I really thought that he was feeling the spirit and he was becoming so involved. I'm not sure what happened, but I felt very disappointed and sad most of the day. However, later that night we were able to find two new investigators. All in all, a week of ups and downs, but mostly UPS!

I'm so glad things are great at home. I am trying to figure out my camera. I don't know why the pictures are blurry. I'll figure it out.  Love you all. 
PS I was able to get my new mission bike. They'll see me coming!

-- Elder Boyd 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Week 8: Nutella is really good

It has been another great week! Last week after we did our emailing we went and played beach soccer with my district.  I should have taken a pic because the island is so pretty from the beach...maybe I'll remember a camera this week. 

Last week after P-day we had the feeling to visit Noel, an investigator, so we went to his house and he had time for a lesson. We taught about faith and then after we finished I had the feeling to read to him the story of Jesus getting baptized, so I did. After that (in broken French) I gave him the baptism commitment and he said YES!  Awesome! The cool thing about Noel is that he was going to lose his home because of financial problems, but two weeks ago a miracle happened. He was able to get enough money and the bank decided to be patient with, him which is unheard of out here I guess. So wow! We also committed Marutea, Chantal, Vaitiani, Imiura and Jose to baptism.... so yeah, it was a dang good week!

We have 27 people we are teaching right now so the days are super busy but really good.  We have 15 of those who are really progressing well which is great. It can be frustrating because many people forget about our lesson appointments and leave or just can't do them at the time we scheduled -- always a bummer. There is one family that wants to be baptized in a year because the mom thinks her son isn't quite ready, but we think he is... geeezzz I wanna baptize her now...they will be so blessed when they finally commit.

Best food moment. of the week...I bought Nutella at the store, and Nutella is really good! Just sayin'.

I got to call Elder Sovereign and some of the others from the MTC to check in this week. It's cool to stay connected with them. We had a great bond from our first few weeks of missionary training together.

It's super fun to watch the surfers from the road...we live right by a very popular surfing spot and it is sooooo cool to see them shredding it up in the waves!  

I hear Kennedi is killing it in volleyball and I can't wait for wrestling to start for B! 

Love you all and have a great week!

Elder Boyd
View from our small Missionary home.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Week 7: Fa'aripo with Elder Teamotuaitau

Connor arrived in Tahiti safe and sound at 2:00 a.m. on September 29th. We heard from the mission office that he was serving in the Fa'aripo area with a Tahitian companion.  He had his first P-day on Monday and finally got to write home.  He sounds great and is really excited about teaching the people of Tahiti!  He asked all of us to pray for him as he continues to work on the language but most importantly to pray for the investigators that he is already loving to teach.  We feel each day the blessings of having a missionary in our home and love you all for being such a great support for our little Elder! 

My MTC district newly arrived in Tahiti.

October 5, 2015

Hi Everyone!
Just letting you know that everything is well and I love it here in Tahiti! It's a beautiful island but I'm in a rougher part of Tahiti called Fa'aripo.  Everyone is so nice, but they literally live in little shacks. Yet they are still so nice and happy!  The members are like moms, they cook us dinner every night, so we don't have to cook at all...hahaha...I love it! My house is pretty cool. The front yard is the ocean and my back yard is a mountain! It is amazing! There is a stray dog that stays outside of our house...I named him "Aito" which is Warrior in Tahitian.  My companion's name is Elder Teamotuaitau, he is awesome and we work well together. He is Tahitian and doesn't speak any English. We share a room with another companionship, Elders Drugeon and Ubani. They are both French and, you guessed it, they don't speak any English, so it's definitely interesting, and a bit lonely. I have some work ahead of me to learn Tahitian so my companion and I can communicate, let alone communicate with the people I came here to serve.

With my Trainer, Elder Teamotuaitau 

My companion and I already have 24 people that we are teaching... it's really crazy. I guess the people here really like my companion! I can't speak the language, so it's not me :) I've been able to teach some lessons, and I'm actually teaching an investigator, Jean Nichelle, in English. He speaks English (thank heavens) so yeah, that is going well! We have had two baptismal commitments (I don't know how because I don't speak the language so I HOPE we have two baptismal commitments.) So yeah, all is well! 

There is a huge problem with people keeping the Word of Wisdom and the law of chastity out here, so that can really be a challenge. Each day we get up and pray to know where to go and we are guided. When we get to a home we just yell "Ia Orana!" (yo-rah-nah) which is "hello" in Tahitian, and the people come out to their yard and talk with us.

Conference was really good. Luckily I got to listen to it in English so I could understand. Elder Jeffery Holland's talk was amazing. I was also amazed that President Monson could barely stand, but he looked into the camera like he was looking straight at us and he was talking about Jesus Christ!  That is amazing to me... it shows how much our prophet really loves us.

How is the family? I hear that Kennedi's tournament went really well. I love you all!

Pray for our investigators. They all have a great desire to know. I can't understand them and I worry that they can't understand me, but they have a great desire in their eyes. I see it and I know.

Have a great week and I love you!

Elder Boyd

Elders Sovereign and Boyd in front of the Tahiti temple

Aito, our stray dog who keeps us company

The mountain beyond our back yard