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 mĐądicine 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