Monday, November 24, 2014

Flyin solo (Bora Bora - week #6)

Ia ora na!

Well, another week past, with some changes in the lineup. Yep, there was a transfer, and  Thursday morning Elder Lee Chip Sao got sent all the way to the tiny island of Raroia in the Tuamotus. We were together for just a little less than six weeks. I miss the guy already. He was a blast, and a good missionary at that. 

Now the question, who is my new companion? As title of this email may suggest, here's the curveball: I don't have one. Let me explain a little. Tomorrow there is a large group of missionaries that are going home, the group that Elder Millett was in. But that presents a problem, because next week is when the real transfer is supposed to happen, when a large group of new missionaries arrives to Tahiti. For some reason the release date for the missionaries going home is a week early, and I guess it couldn't be changed to accommodate the transfer. So Elder Lee Chip Sao left to replace an elder going home, and next week is when the real transfer will go down and I'll have my new companion. So for the moment, I'm flyin solo..

So another question, how the heck am I gonna get work done when Im all alone? Luckily, I'm not completely alone, I'm officially paired with the elders of Vaitape, Elder Gilson and Elder Requillart, for the moment. The goal has been to try and share the amount of work in our two areas and work all together, but of course that naturally shifts more towards Vaitape, cuz they already had more lessons fixed this week. So to try and work a little more in Anau, my area, I've left on splits with DMP and with a couple young adults of the ward. The work isn't quite as effective without a real companion, but I'm hangin on, trying to keep the area alive and still staying in contact with all the investigators.

So this week, there wasn't a lot that went down in terms of lessons in my area, we mostly spent time helping Elder Lee Chip Sao prepare for the transfer and saying goodbye to members. But Elder Gilson, Elder Requillart and I had some good moments in terms of their work. On Friday, we had a few lessons in their area that were all in Tahitian, and I forgot a little how much I love speaking Tahitian, since it's actually been a while since I've spoken it. With one of their investigators, Marie-Claude, she loved how we all spake in Tahitian and we celebrated my birthday eating stake together at a roach coach. Good times.

Well that's all for this week, until next week! This is the last week until the creation of the new ward, so President Bize and the stake presidency of Punaauia will be coming down this next week. I should have more to comment on this next time! Photos:

Goodbye Sao
Sunset, photo credit to Elder Requillart

à la roulotte avec Marie-Claude (Casey's 21st birthday dinner)

I love you all!

Elder Ball

Monday, November 17, 2014

Hâtons l'oeuvre du salut (Week #5 - Bora Bora)

Ia ora na!

Good week. Good times. Always accompanied with small difficulties and trials, but who remembers that stuff anyway? It's already been 5 weeks that I've been here on Bora Bora. I believe that's fairly longer than the average American stays on Bora, and for that I am absolutely grateful to serve here on this little rock in the ocean. There are so many awesome people here, and so many memories made every day. Its a privilege to serve them and help them all come unto Christ.

Elder Lee Chip Sao and I are still pushing forward. We've had some sweet moments with some of our investigators this week, and found some new ones as well. We started lessons with a teen named R------. He's 13 years old already pretty deep into the things of the world, which isn't rare here at Bora. He often passes by the Hutia family, a member family. The family proposed that he take lessons with us, and he accepted! We had a good first couple visits with him this week, he's a super nice, smiley kid. We do the lessons at the beach because its waaay beautiful and peaceful and sometimes it attracts other teenagers to come over and listen. We haven't taught him a ton yet apart from a lesson on our Heavenly Father and prayer, but yesterday one of the Hutia kids tells us "Elder ma, I don't know what you guys did to R------- but he's stopped drinking." Haha, pretty cool! I hope it will be a lasting change.

Maybe the best part of the week was Saturday, when the whole island participated in a proselyting activity in preparation for the celebration of the new ward which will be created in a couple of weeks. We all started with a fast Friday night, and Saturday morning the members and missionaries split up into different sectors to distribute invitations to less- active and inactive members, as well as as many nonmembers as possible. It was a sweet activity, and it was the first time I've seen all the members participating in missionary work like this. Everyone loved it and were excited with all the names they collected of all the people they went to visit who accepted the invitation to come to the celebration. We plan on doing the same thing next Saturday to hit up more people.

After the activity, Elder Lee Chip Sao and I had a good amount of lessons planned, but they were on the other side of the island... faaitoito over to the other side of the island on bike while fasting? Aita, fiu! Just before leaving the chapel we grabbed a young adult named T--- and asked us if he wanted to drive with us to do some lessons. He playingly murmured in the beginning but he agreed, and we had a sweet time together! We taught some solid lessons with R----- and M--- and C---, and it was fun having T--- with us because he shared good thoughts and a sweet testimony. It's awesome because T--- hasn't had the opportunity to serve a mission yet, and times almost up for him. But he said that it was the first time that he went to teach with the missionaries, and he had a sweet time as well. We hope that he'll go again with us in the future and that he'll have the opportunity to serve a mission.

It was a good week. We're excited for the new ward. Also in two weeks the mission will receive 25 new missionaries, and the zone leaders told me that it is very likely that I will train. I'm down to have a second son! Here's some photos.

After a lesson with Raihau. They brought a guitar over, haha. And im not as sunburned as I look.

Typical everyday scenery.

I love you all! Until next week

Elder Ball

Monday, November 10, 2014

Hawaiki Nui madness (Bora Bora - week #4)

Ia ora na tatou!

Today I'm not gonna take too much time, but its been another wet week! The first 4 days of the week it did nothing but rain, and hard! There were some pretty gnarly floods in some of the neighborhoods where we went. We keep hearing things from people that its cyclone season and that its been a good while since there has been one, like 5 years. So its about time that one comes around here pretty soon! I wonder what that would be like to be in a cyclone. We'll see!

But anyway, it rained all week, up until Friday, just in time for the Hawaiki. The Hawaiki Nui is this monster canoe race that happens every year in November. The race takes place over a few days. The first part of the race starts on the island of Huahine until the island Raiatea. The next day, there's a sprint between Raiatea and the island just adjacent to it, Tahaa. The final stretch of the race is Tahaa to Bora Bora, which happened Friday. It's crazy! Since Bora Bora is the finish line for the race, you can bet that there's a good amount of celebration. We headed over there to Matira Beach in the afternoon after the first canoes made their way in, and the sight we saw was insane. The lagoon was filled with boats and tons of people were on the beach. Pretty much the whole island was there partying, in addition to tourists and people from the other islands. We were hoping to get some contacts, but I don't think that worked out too well. To much beer and partying, so we didn't spend too much time there.

But the worst was later that evening. Our dinner appointment was with a family who lives at Matira, so we were obligated to ride over there. The partying didn't seem to die down since the afternoon. I couldn't tell you the number of fights and passed out people that we saw as we rode by! It was sad to see all that stuff, all caused by alcohol. I guess you could say that my testimony of the Word of Wisdom was strengthened that night. I saw only sadness and pathetic behavior, all caused by alcohol. Something so subtle as to dumb down the potential of a child of God with just a few sips could only come from Satan himself.

Coincidentally, we had the chance to teach the Word of Wisdom to A------- this week. He has no problems with alcohol or cigarettes, just coffee. He's got real potential and he progresses well. He reads the Book of Mormon and prays with K--, and he participates in family nights with his family in law. He's been prepared to receive the gospel for sure. We just gotta get over the concubinage block and we'll be good!

Life has been hectic this week, hopefully things will calm down this next week and we'll be able to leave our house and still feel the Spirit. A couple pictures below of the race day at the beach, and of the victoires. Pretty cool. I love you all and have a great week!

Elder Ball

Race day at the beach


Monday, November 3, 2014

Diamonds in the rough (Bora Bora - week #3)

Ia ora na!

Its good to be writing off another email after another week. Its been a long one! Elder Lee Chip Sao and I had our share of difficulties with plenty of lessons cancelled, getting stood up by references and lots of rain, and lots of sand and lots of mud, everywhere. It becomes exhausting! But there's always some beautiful diamonds in the rough that keep us on our feet and help us remember what this work is really about. Not forgetting the fact that we're on Bora Bora, as well.

The week before last, I got a call from a member from Vairao with a reference! She told us to go visit her cousin named M--- who lives in Anau to give her a blessing. So we fixed a rendez-vous for Tuesday and we drove over there with our DMP. M--- is this super nice woman who suffers from bipolarity. Her companion is named H------ and together they have a 6 year old son named M----- who is handicapped and has no usage of his legs. Recently they've been burdened by these conditions and had questions as to why God gave put them in these conditions. We answered their questions saying that God loves them so much and that they have these burdens to help each member of the family grow stronger and look to Heavenly Father for help. Afterwards we gave them all blessings. It was a sacred moment! I have good feelings about this family, and they accepted another rendez-vous for this coming week.

We also had an awesome lesson with a family, comprised of a couple named T------- and R------, the father of T------ named R----. We taught them an amazing lesson on the Restoration, Elder Lee Chip Sao and I both felt like our mouths were filled with words to say and our minds were clear while we taught. The family completely understood the lesson, and when we told the Joseph Smith story I just about teared up the Spirit was so strong. For me I feel like it was one of the best lessons I've been in in a while. We invited them to baptism and Tehapa'i said "If it's for the best for my family, then yes." R---- had some objections, as most Tahitian papis do, but we'll help him out with that. Sweet experience.

Now that I'm writing, I'm seeing how flippin' sweet this week was haha. We had a lesson with C--- the uncle of T-------, who had an aneurysm about 5 months ago. So he's basically sentenced to a hospital bed at home in a paralyzed condition. He's able to understand what people say, but has a hard time speaking. He accepted to have us visit him personally as well, with T------- as sort of his translator haha. We taught him a short lesson this week about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and during the lesson he testified in all the breath that he could, saying "I know Heavenly Father loves me. He is my source of life." Even as we shared John 3:16, he mouthed the words along. He has so much faith in spite of his condition, he even knew the words of "I Need Thee Every Hour" which we sang at the end of the lesson. I almost lost it! 

It was actually a special week, after a bit of retrospection. Sure there have been a good amount of trials, but through our efforts the Lord has placed people in our path that need help. I love being a missionary.

I love you all!

Elder Ball

P.S. Pics finally!

That mountain

My friend Elder S. Gifford Nielsen
The famous Matira beach
The gang, Elder Ball, Elder Gilson, Elder Requillart, our broski Mica,
and Elder Lee Chip Sao, at Matira beach
Same beach, different day, lunch break. Lookin good Sao