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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

30 December 2013 Uturoa, Raiatea

We nearly went back to normal life after Christmas. The only problem is it’s considered Holiday until after the New Years. So no one still wants to do anything. [Cough cough] including a little bit my companion. He’s soooo Tahitian. I love it : ]

We hiked up a mountain today. I can’t remember the name, but it’s the mountain just next to Uturoa. You could see all the islands in Raromatai from the top, and the wind was super strong and nice.

Elder Twede (my MTC companion) got transferred to Faa’a (he’s not very happy with the move), and Elder Franco (he came out the same time as me) got transferred to Takaroa in the Tuamotus (he is super excited). I’m so jealous :]. I am happy to stay here. I love it here and there is still plenty for me to do before being transferred.

I’m pretty sunburned right now. After our hike up and down the mountain, we played volleyball for the rest of the day.

Some advice for new Tahitian missionaries:

1. Bring two sets of sheets so you can use one set while the other is drying.

2. Bring dark athletic socks (grey works) instead of dress socks. They absorb moisture and wick it away from your feet better than the dress socks.

3. Practice eating REALLY, REALLY slow.

4. Bringing a mini speaker is one of the best decisions I could have made.

5. Poplin pants are the best.

Sometimes on a mission you’re not a teacher, you’re a fisher. That’s where we are right now. The dangerous thing about fishing is you sit and eat too much! When you visit members’ houses to get references they always give you food! Not complaining. Just warning!

Alma 18, pay close attention to how Ammon teaches the king. It’s executed flawlessly. He also teaches all the missionary lessons in the same order we do. It’s interesting.

Well that’s about all I got for the blog.

Love you all

Elder Molinari

Note from the editor (the father):

We spoke with Elder Molinari on Christmas day. He looks good and sounds good. He converses quite fluidly with the natives in their version of French. We didn't hear much Tahitian other than a word or two now and then. He is quite proud of his “farmer’s tan”. Hi face was pretty red. He was easily distracted by a fresh mosquito bite on his arm and by anyone passing by who was speaking anything other than English.

He was able to “Skype” from a member’s home. It was great to hear and see him. He says he has to be okay, “How can you not be when you’re in paradise?”

There was a rooster cock-a-doodling in the background. More than once he excused himself from the screen to chase the rooster away. It would returned every time after he sat down again. He said there are a lot of roosters everywhere and they start sounding-off very early in the morning – like 3 AM! When he first got there they would wake him every morning, but now he sleeps right through it.

He seemed to be very relaxed and fully engaged in the “island way of life”. What is it about living on an island that allows one to be so laid-back and carefree? It seems to be the same in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Jamaica and I am sure we can add many others. “No problem, mon.” “Don’t worry. Be happy.”

We seemed to spend a fair amount of time talking about the dogs on the island. Dogs are dogs there. They are tied up in the yard to keep an eye on things. They eat scraps from the table, don’t come in the house and are pretty dirty and mangy.

He continues to tell us that the fruit is AMAZING! Apparently, we don’t know what most fruit is supposed to taste like. Bananas are soft, moist and very sweet. Pineapples are sweeter than sugar and have no acid taste. Most people grow fruit trees in their yards and a lot grows “not in yards”. It grows everywhere. All you need is a good machete and it’s yours for the picking! He is amazed with pineapple plants and the way they grow. Mango season just ended. The fruit that we know the most about, apples are not readily available there and are highly sought after. People think they are so delicious, because they are different.

There are many French nationals on the islands. The nicest homes and properties all seem to belong to the French. They are vacation homes on the ocean. It is difficult to find many true islanders. There is a significant European and Chinese presence throughout the islands. It seems that the Chinese own most of the shops and store fronts, which seem to have funny, nonsensical English names.

He is currently on the island of Raiatea. There are three other missionary companionships on the island: a pair of sisters, another pair of elders and a couple. Uturoa is the most populated area on the island. Everyone lives around the shore line. The center of the island is mountainous and mostly uninhabitable. The southern part of the island is mostly rural. Elder Molinari is in the more "urban" portion, to the north. Everything being relative, the big city isn't very big at all. But it is the most densely populated part of the island.

The family where he spent Christmas has adopted him. They have a son on a mission now too. I said we were happy to loan Kristoffer out for a while. We are happy that someone is watching after him.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas in Tahiti - Pictures

 My MTC District in Tahiti Christmas 2013
 Ward Christmas Party 2013
 Tahitian Nativity
Sunset from Uturoa with Bora Bora and Tahaa

Monday 22 December 2013 Uturoa, Raiatea

The only thing that’s really happened since I last emailed is a baptism!

We've been teaching 2 kids named Temahani and Mehani. They are cousins, and both age 11. They are totally awesome, and were totally ready for their baptism. Their family is inactive right now, but there baptism has sparked a new motivation in the family. The grandmother is coming to church again, and the grandfather even came to the baptism. It was really special.

Before the baptism they were both a little nervous, and didn’t really know what to expect. After I had baptized them both they said they started crying when they came up out of the water. I told them it was there spirit rejoicing with all the angels and Heavenly Father and Christ in heaven. After that they both went up to bear their testimonies. Even though their testimonies were written they both were overcome by the spirit as they bore their testimonies. It was really powerful and special. It’s really touching when the spirit overcomes children, because they don’t exactly know what’s going on, but they always push right through. Even the hard old Grandfather was tearing up. Of course I lost it, everyone was tearing up, the spirit was so powerful, and it felt like the chapel was full of angels.

It was great, and exactly what that family and I needed.

Afterwards an older member came up to me and whispered, "you were the door". That really hit me for some reason. It makes you realize how little a step baptism is in comparison to all the blessings that await after the baptism. It literally is just the door, but a very ornate door at that.

I was getting nervous about transfers coming up after this week, but after this baptism, I’m actually really calm. I feel like this is the family I was sent here for, to get them back on the path to full activity, they’ve all started attending chapel since I got here, except for the papi, but I hope the baptism will get some gears turning. I feel like I've accomplished what I need to, and if I need to move on it won’t bother me at all. Missionaries are kind of like the way Jesus describes those who are born of the spirit in John 3. The wind bloweth where it listeth or something like that.

This week was particularly hard; most of our amis are getting hit with trials, and stuff. The other side is really strong at the moment. Pray for us, I think they are aware that we could actually meet the mission goal of 1200 baptisms. Thank you for all you do. I think its second Nephi 9, which Nephi talks about Adam and Eve. It’s an absolutely flawless lesson, of the creation and fall. I’ve been studying it to know how to teach that better. If not its second Nephi 2, either way they are both REALLY good chapters. That’s all. Love you all!

Elder Molinari

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

9 December 2013 Uturoa

9  December 2013 Uturoa, Raiatea

Sorry ahead of time if this letter is a little all over the place, I didn’t have time to plan it today!

Well it’s been a wild week. We are approaching the end of the year and we haven’t quite met our goal. The goal for the mission is 1200 baptisms, We are currently near 800. With close to 200 others fixed for this month. The dirigents (leaders) left to Tahiti for training, and they were all committed to find 5 baptisms by the end of the year. The plan of action is to engage everyone. We have been visiting contacts like crazy teaching so many lessons, and its soooo great! As a result we have two baptisms fixed for the 21 of December, two kids, cousins, their names are Mehani and Temehani. They are so awesome. We also have another baptism coming up on the 15 this week :) 

Each investigator we have engaged this week has also said yes to baptism. We just have to fix dates, which is usually the hard part, however, we’ve been fasting and praying and planning for a miracle and I think the Lord will help us save an unprecedented amount of his children this week. However, the trials have been hard for our amis (friends) with fixed dates and we know that whenever you fix a date trials come. No baptism is an easy baptism...Elder Tumarae and I are prepping ourselves for an intense week this week. We know there is going to be lots of opposition because the other side knows we are about to accomplish a lot of work. In fact we are both coming down with something right now, not a coincidence, but whatever we going to push ahead just the same.

This week we were searching for a reference, and we tried this house but no one was there. We finally found the right house but no one was there again. Then we saw that there were people in the house we had tried earlier and for some reason we felt like we needed to go back. We got there, introduced ourselves, asked if they had time for a message, and the response was. <> It turns out there father is in the hospital having an operation and its been very hard. They have two little girls, and en fait he is a cousin of the Bishop, so the bishop is the member integratuer (integrator). We’ve had lots of little <> like that this week, lots of new families and old contacts. It’s been great, and i think the bishopric and some of the members in the ward are getting more motivated! Probably because they see we have nearly 20 investigators who attend church and we are out biking from 10 in the morning to usually 7 at night. Its been very tiring, but that’s missionary work! Its missionary work for a reason, and I love it.

I feel really at home here now that the language is settling in. Yesterday there were two tourists who came and visited the chapelle thinking it was the protestant church. Also a family of members came and visited the chapelle. I have to say, it felt really weird talking in English and I didn’t realize how difficult of a time I was having forming sentences. It was just really weird. French and Tahitian sounds more normal than English at the moment. The nonmembers were from San Antonio, so we talked a little about the temple there. And then they talked a little about Romney, they said the reason he didn’t win was because he was to <> it was funny. Then I told them to find the missionaries when they return home. Who knows maybe they will. The member family came into the class for the investigators, and one of the Tahitians asked if I could translate what was being taught for them. The Father was really nice though, he noticed I was with an investigator and he said <> he was really nice!

P day today was super fun. The old assistants who should have finished there missions several weeks ago are here acting as <>. There are going to help the Raiatea and Tahaa islands increase the speed of their work. They are awesome. We went with them and the zone leaders today to the beach and the old Temple site where they did human sacrifices and whatnot. We played rugby on the beach, then it was super hot, so I climbed a coconut tree got us all coconuts and we drank them and ate mangoes. Nothing like P day on Raiatea! After that we walked a little in the ocean, we are allowed in the ocean up to our knees :) Sadly I forgot my camera!!!!!! Oh well another time.

Ok that’s about all I can think of right now! Love you all Alma 7:11-13 are particularly enlightening Mummy. in v13 it states that Christ didn’t actually need to suffer for all the stuff because the holy ghost knows all, but he did anyways so he could succor us better.  Ether 12 is fantastic as well. 


Elder Molinari

Friday, December 6, 2013

I Don't Know What Week It Is Anymore

Hello. Well that was weird.

This week has been a lot of hard intense searching. Sometimes missionary work is mostly fishing instead of feeding but that's fine. We extended nearly 30 challenges to do missionary work and followed up on nearly 30 members missionary work this week. Elder superstar had given me an enormous list of names when he left and most of this week was spent searching out all the people who were on the list. Some of them for investigators that had just been put on hold for no reason!!!!!! WHAT!!!!!yeah I know, I was pretty furious when you hear yeah we had a lesson scheduled but so and so never showed up and we thought well maybe they are busy. Sp they waited and waited and a month and a half goes by and Elder Tumarae and I show up. Luckily the Lord kept there hearts soft and they all were very happy to recommence the lessons. So all in all we got 6 new investigators this week. and we fixed 2 baptisms woooooo! Both 11 year-olds who are part of part member families. They read the scriptures and do their prayers every night. And there influence is actually re integrating the inactive families in the ward again. A Mami who has been inactive for a while came to church this for the first time in who knows how long, because I think she has joined in saying prayers with them. Its amazing how Heavenly Father Works.

Well, now that my companionship troubles are over for a season Elder T. and I can turn our attention to the next problem: Missionary work in the ward. Elder T. and I are going to really hit it hard to jump start this zone. We want to show the members here that missionary work actually works. We are going to start with working hard with the bishop and the bishopric, and from there hopefully the success fasting and prayers will trickle down and infect the ward as well. All we can really do is work. 

Elder Tumarae is hilarious, he likes to sing in the shower and is always patting his belling and saying I had lots of blessings in my old secteur, he was on the Tuamotus. Like I said his favorite phrase is bien maigrir, but he doesnt have any problem clearing out the fridge! Which isnt too much of a problem because he like to buy most of the food, which is ok with me because between you and me he eats most of it! :) Its been really good though, he knows how to teach and speak and always has really good advice. Hes just coming off of a hard companion as well. Dont add this part: his companion was an american who had basically given up trying to learn french, he had been out for a year and spoke far far worrse french then I do according to Elder T. Elder T helped lift him back up again and they worked hard in there zone. So we are both very happy to be working the way we are right now. I hope ill get to be with him for a while but He will probably just finish out my training and Either I or he will be transfered, and ill probably train either in my zone or a new one.

Some wierd things have been happening lately. I dont know how to ex^plain it, maybe you can ask blaine about it when he gets back but you start to forget what you look like. Like, you forget that you are a white american surrounded by polynesians sometimes. Its rather bizarre and I dont know exactlt how to explain what it feels like. Also The people now all look so different and unique. When I first got here I had trouble telling sme poeple apart, but now its like every one looks completely different but the same still. And I think my steps towards becoming tahitian are progressing. The last two nights I was cold and went for an extra blanket!? It was about 2 oclack in the morning and my thoughts were jeez im cold, it cant be less than 70 degrees...I need another blanket! Yeah its pretty funny, but I dont mind really its almost nice! Also we were at a family home evening the other night in tahitian, and everyone was searching for a word, including the grandparents who were assisting with us. Then I found the word first: upootia! It means to overcome. It was great, everyone lost i because the american found the word first, and the bishop said well i guess he is more of a taata Tahiti (man tahitian) then us! It was pretty funny.

Kirstin sounds like she is having a good time. apart from the drama. Wo, massive deja vu just now. anyways, she should be fine. There are a lot of high school like tendencies at the MTC because of the age lowering but you just have to ignore them and not let poeple bother you. Your concern is you work for the Lord and that is all that matters, if other missionaries think they are better then you then that is unfortunate and their problem. Anyways I already sent a letter to her!

I've been reading the general conference talks, and I particularly like one where the story goes: there was a stake president and a 70, and the stake in question had lots of problems with unification. And the president asked the 70 what he should do. The 70 responded tell them to read the scriptures, and president asked which scriptures and he responded, its doesnt really matter. Ive been using that so much lately. If you read the scriptures you will invite a spirit into your life, and be able to overcome tons of obstacles sometimes without even realising it. Like elder Bednar said, sometimes we dont even realise all the subtle ways the lord is blessing us. totally true.

My matress is pretty much gone now, im going to have to ask for a new one. Oh and preach my gospel is amazing, I would suggest using it to teach the lessons to nicholas for family nights, and also invite other non members to family nights.

Love you all!

Alma Chapter 7

Elder Molinari