Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Week 36: Four Baptisms and Amazing Faith

Hey everyone!

This week was a very awesome week! There is a lot to talk about but I am just going to jump to Wednesday night! 

So Craig (the guy who owns the famous restaurant out here) invited all six of us missionaries to his house! He is American, quite wealthy, and so generous to us missionaries! He made us burritos and it was so flipping awesome...holy heck haha...because it's been so long since I ate Mexican food! Delicious!! We started talking about all of the famous people that he has met because of his restaurant. He told us that the rudest celebrity was Eddie Murphy (kind of surprising); he said that Johnny Depp was kinda weird (not surprising), Dwight Howard is super cool, Leonardo Dicaprio was super awesome and nice, and then he said that Carrie Underwood just glows and Megan Fox looks just like she does in Transformers and she is super nice as well. Just a little piece of insider Hollywood information for you all! Hahaha!

Thursday night we had a little problem. Taurahiti called us late that night and told us to cancel his baptism which was scheduled for Saturday. So we went straight to his house to talk to him to see what was worrying him and to calm him down. He was having a small problem with his family so we talked about it and I gave him a blessing and he felt a lot better! He always says when there is a problem that "It's Satan, trying to prevent him from doing the will of God" which is true! 

Saturday was a great day! We had four baptisms.......... so you can see that it was an amazing week! We showed up at the baptism and we saw our four scheduled baptisms (that's always a relief).  I'll tell you a little about them:

Purea Atiu: She just got married to Mana Atiu just a couple of weeks ago and Mana baptized her! The cool thing about that is that Mana hasn't been taking the sacrament for 15 years, but he has slowly worked his way back to the church and this week he was ready and worthy to baptize and confirm his wife! When she was baptized she was so happy and Mana was as well..they both had this giddy smile on their faces! It was great to see.

Tepoe: She lives with the Atiu family and so we would teach her all the time when we were over there. She was a really tough investigator and really asked a lot of questions...it was good. She was Catholic before and her family is Catholic (they live in Tahiti).  She knew this church was true for a long time, it was just hard for her to join because of her family and her fear of what might happen if she was baptized. In our lessons together, you could tell that she wasn't confident in herself, she would always cry in the lessons and stuff and was just worried. But when she was baptized and after when she bore her testimony, you could see in her eyes the she was happy and had confidence in herself and the decision she made.  Wow!

Taurahiti: He had it super hard before the baptism (like I told you above). He had many problems with his mom and dad and so many little problems in just his own little family.  His wife is Mormon and is active and everything! Right before his baptism i was sitting next to him and he looked super tired and worn out. I asked him how he was doing, and he said, "Satan is strong man, he's doing all he can", but he was still here at his baptism.  After he was baptized and confirmed you could see that a weight was lifted off of his shoulders. I think great things are in store for him.

Sylvain: Sylvain is a quieter man, he doesn't talk very much, but I have never seen more faith in a human being! His wife is Protestant and she doesn't like the Mormon church, but he started taking lessons with us and he felt something and followed it. Two hours before his baptism, his wife left him! He still showed up to his baptism with watery eyes and all, and I remembered that I shared a verse with him from D&C 19:23. It says that if we follow the Lord we will have peace! So when I was talking to him and he told me the news about his wife I just didn't know what to say but he said in his quiet voice, "I'll have peace." He was baptised, and he asked me to confirm him and I was honored to do it for him. When it was all over I asked him how he was doing and he said, "I have peace." 

So this week I realized just how powerful Satan is; the guy will do anything that he can to prevent people from following Christ!  But I realized that faith can be stronger! Faith is what pushed Mana and his wife, Purea, to get married and pushed Mana to get where he needed to be to be baptized. Faith pushed Tepoe through the barrier of fear. Faith pushed Taurahiti through this week of nothing but trials. Faith carried Sylvain to follow Christ even when his wife wasn't behind him. You can see the result for each one was positive and I know they will be blessed! If we have faith in Christ, even in hard times or when times are super scary, our consequence will be positive and God will fill our lives with hope and love!

Love you guys!!

Elder Connor Boyd

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Week 35: The cannons of Bora Bora and Kapualani's baptism

Hey Everyone! This was a pretty great week!

On Monday, we emailed and did our stuff and then all six missionaries on Bora went to see these cool cannons! 

Apparently during WWII, some U.S. troops came here and set up a base, and that's how America discovered Bora Bora and that's why it's a popular island today. I thought that was pretty cool! 

Then we had a great family night at our home! Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we just stayed busy with lessons.  I can't really remember any significant details to tell you about, but I know they were great days! ;)

Friday was pretty awesome so here we go! We had a 3 lessons to do in two hours so that we could make it to District Meeting, but I told Mr. Bean (the district leader) that we  would be a little late. All three lessons were super long because they were lessons where the investigators were really touched and started crying (I have realized that this happens a lot here) and you can't just leave and say we have a meeting! A lot of people are going through hard stuff and when they feel the Spirit it just seems to come out of their eyes! It makes me realize that everyone has hard times and that I better never complain because my stuff is never that bad! I'm so glad that I have the most helpful tool to help them...the Gospel! 

So after the lessons we had District Meeting and it was uplifting like always. So about three weeks ago a whole group of kids started to call me Paul Walker, and guess what!!? It spread like wildfire!!!! All the little kids here call me Paul Walker now... not sure why, maybe it's just because I'm the next Paul Walker soooo yeah! Maybe I drive my bike like a maniac...hmmm...not sure. Hahaha!

Saturday was absolutely siiiccckkk (in a good way)! that morning we had the baptism of Kapualani! 

Kapualani was a reference from the ward and she is awesome! Kapualani's mother is an active member and she is from Australia... her name is Karen, so she and I always speak English to each other. Her husband is Tahitian and they have another kid named Caleo and he is just like B...he doesn't stop moving! He is 6. So we started teaching 9 year old Kapualani and she wanted to get baptized, the only problem was the dad, he is Protestant and he doesn't really want to be part of the "Mormons". It was honestly a miracle because when Kapualani asked her dad last week if she could be baptized he said yes! So we planned the baptism and she wanted it to be at Matira Beach so Craig (the American that owns that awesome restaurant out here) wanted to baptize her because he is very good friends with that family and we were like "Of course"! So Elder Escoffre (Mr. Bean) and I were the witnesses and we got to go in the water!  Pulu didn't want to get wet so that's why Bean helped me out...haha!  So yeah, it was so awesome! I took a selfie in the water and I'll send it because it's dope!  Haha! 

Craig did the prayer in English when baptized her. It was so awesome! Then Kapualani gave her testimony, and man that was powerful! She thanked her dad for letting her be baptized and she started crying so hard and then Karen gave her testimony,and yes she was crying too, and then to our surprise, the dad (Timi) gave a testimony! He said that he is just waiting until Caleo gets baptized so they can do it together. He will take the lessons and get baptized too!  That was just so awesome!

Sunday was a pretty normal day. During church Kapualani was confirmed and received the Holy Ghost and it was great. But at about 9:30 last night we got a call from a recent convert  who is 17 years old and really needed help! Her family is rarely there to help her and she was baptized not long ago! We just talked to her about how hard times will pass and she will get through it! I shared Romans 8:18 (it's an awesome scripture...I recommend that you guys go look at it) and gave her a blessing then we had to leave because it was pretty late and we and the member with us had to get home. We will keep tabs on her this week.

It really was a great week!! I really learned even more to LOVE missionary work and to LOVE people!! Love is a word of action, or I guess you can say it's a verb! When you love someone, do you DO all that you can to show them that you love them? That is real love!! That is how you love someone, you SHOW them! I think a lot about the life of Christ, that is what He did; He SHOWED us how much He loves us in everything He did!

Peace! And have a good week!

Love, Elder Connor Boyd

Monday, April 11, 2016

Week 34: Weddings, a Baptism, and a visit from President Bize

Holy nuts!  This week was crazy but awesome!

Monday after emailing we went and cleaned our house and then played some volleyball.  I get destroyed every time because Tahitians are natural maniacs at volleyball...I need Kennedi on my team. Then we played basketball and let me tell you, Tahitians play dirty! Haha! So it's always a crazy, competitive game.  It's super fun!

After a full day of lessons on Tuesday, we had so many lessons planned Wednesday, but we had 5 cancel on us so that was kind of a big downer.  But you know there will always be those kinds of days! That night we had our baptism with Zina (it's pronounced Teena) and man it was so awesome! Zina started taking the lessons a long time ago (like 3 years ago) and then we saw her at church one day and started talking to her and she wanted the lessons again!! She has just been sooo awesome! She was a bit timid about sharing her feelings about the gospel before, but at her baptism she was bearing her testimony! It was so awesome to see!

Friday, we had another wedding! Our investigator, Warren, got married and the wedding was super cool. They seemed so happy! Elder Puluiuvea played the guitar and I just held the microphone ... haha!  Yeah, I woke up super, super sick that morning but it was fun to be there. I was literally dying because I was worried I was going to get sick all over the place!

Then after that the wedding we still had a few lessons to do. Then I had to go home to get some more medicine and I just planned to lay down on the couch for 5 minutes then I woke up 5 hours later and Mr. Bean was there looking at me and I was so confused! Apparently they went on splits so we could get our scheduled lessons done, so I was happy about that, but sad that I missed our lessons!

Saturday: President Bize came to visit, but first we woke up and went to another investigator's wedding. Her name is Tehea and her husband is a member and she is planing on getting baptised soon.   It was an awesome wedding! They were both crying...it was happy crying..IDK you could just tell that they loved each other so much and that God has blessed them so much. They were truly happy! Just wait until they can get sealed to each other! 

So right after that wedding, a car pulled in with our next investigator, Taurahiti, and he was getting married! Hahaha! His wife is a member and that was awesome too! Taurahiti is just super funny! They were really happy too!

After that we had some lessons and President Bize went on a lessons with us. He is a good teacher! Then we had a meeting with President Bize and all of the members that have callings that focus on missionary work.  It was a good meeting and I learned a ton of new stuff and got some great, new ideas!

Sunday we went to church and the Bishop was at the podium congratulating Zina on her baptism and the two new couples on their marriages and Taurahiti was just walking in as the Bishop announced his name and he raised his arms up like "Oh yeah, I'm here" and everyone started laughing! He is a huge jokester haha! After church we had interviews with President Bize and then went to a couple of lessons and then we had a fireside that President did for our investigators. He just explained everything super well!  Why and exactly how God restored his church, and just made everything feel so perfect. It was so awesome! He is truly a powerful speaker.  

This week was super awesome.  I loved watching our investigators get married, and a baptism here in Bora Bora was a big reward! All of our hard work is paying off! Watching these marriages made me super excited for the next phase of life after my mission. I know there will be good times and tough times, but I'm excited that I can go through all of that with my best friend!  Families are crazy important and the fact that God gives us the chance to have an eternal family is a big miracle in our lives. It's something that I want more that anything and I want everyone else to have that miracle in their life too! We can see how much God loves us just by looking at the blessings of the temple and eternal families. God loves us wants us to be happy, but we can't be fully happy unless we choose him! 

Love you all!

Elder Boyd

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Week 33: Elder Sovereign and Andre leave Bora, but the work goes on

This week was good...except for a few sad good-byes.

Monday after emailing, we went to Boule Atiu's house and visited for a little bit and then we played volleyball and basketball; yes, I freaking wrecked it that day hehe!

Package from home ...

Tuesday we had lessons all the way out by Matira Beach which is completely at the end of our sector. It's super far away but always worth the pedaling and plus the beach is sooooo dang pretty out there! This was also the day that Elder Sovereign (my awesome buddy from MTC days) and Andre (one of my favorite members from my first area in Fa'aripo) had to leave. They were actually on the same plane, so we said goodbye to them both. It was pretty sad, I hate transfers! Sovereign was bawling but I was a rock haha! It's so hard to say goodbye to the people that you love and have served! 

It was super hard to say goodbye to Andre. I remember my first week in Tahiti when I couldn't understand a thing and I was kinda like 'woah' and he came and talked to me because he speaks English (he served a mission in Australia) and he said something to me that I have honestly been trying to do my whole mission. He said, simply, "have fun and work hard"! He has definitely influenced me greatly...you just really remember those people who took you in and helped you out when you are thrown into a whole new situation/country!  

I sat down by him when he was waiting for the boat to take him to the airport and he was like, "I'm gonna miss you man...good luck with your mission... and remember, have fun and work hard." It was just like my first week here again, but with a kind of respect for each other now, and then we stood up gave each other a hug and walked to the boat.  Then I gave Elder Sovereign a hug and told him "good luck" and that I'll see him again soon and they both left! I'm so glad I have had the opportunity to meet such amazing people here who I hope will always be in my life after the mission! I'm feeling really lucky. 

Wednesday we had some lessons as well as some contacting. It was a pretty busy day but I don't remember much of it haha!

Thursday morning we had a lesson with a guy that was about to go to prison. We talked to him last week for a bit but he wanted one more lesson before he went off to prison. So after the lesson he said he felt strongly to ask for another judgement (court hearing) again. So he did, and they are re-looking at his sentence! Wow! That was a small miracle!  

Then right after that lesson a member in the next house called us over to give her 32 year old sister (Oreillia),who was not a member, a blessing. The minute I saw her I could just tell that cancer had completely overtaken her body! She was skinny as can be and she tried to speak but it was just a small little whisper that you couldn't hear very well! We gave her a blessing and the spirit was nuts! She wanted to do a lesson with us the very next day. 

The next day was exchanges and it was totally the worst time to do them because I was in the other sector and I really wanted to be there for Oreillia (the lady with cancer) and she was on my mind all day. But I worked my hardest in the other sector and it was pretty fun! At the end of the day when I returned home I heard that the lesson with Oreillia had gone really well. 

Saturday morning Oreillia passed away. We immediately went to her house and were met by her sister with tears in her eyes and she asked me if I could say a prayer! So she turned to her whole family (who are not members...the sister is the only Mormon) and she introduced us. We went to Oreillia and it was so sad but I know the she is in a better place and is in paradise!  We circled around her and I said a little prayer.  I can't remember what I said exactly, but I know this prayer was guided by the spirit! The spirit was crazy strong! After the prayer we went to our scheduled lessons and got ready for a great conference weekend. The conference talks were amazing!

I'm super grateful for the plan of salvation and the atoning sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ. Without Him nothing is possible. He came and sacrificed for us so that we can have more chances, repent of our sins, and live with him again forever. Seeing how life can take us from this earth, leaving those we love behind for a short time, but knowing that we truly will be reunited again really hit home for me this week.  I love God, this work, and family with all of my heart!

Love,  Elder Boyd