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Monday, May 26, 2014

170th Anniversary

26 May 2014 Tiapa Paea
This is the stadium where we held the celebration.
We had the 170th anniversaire of the arrival of missionaries in French Polynesia; it was pretty big and exciting. Every stake on Tahiti put together a dance performance representing one of the groups of islands here. Our stake did Tupuai in the Australes. It was pretty incredible. The stadium was completely filled with people. That was Friday night, we didn't get home till REALLY late.
This is our stake's dance. It was pretty cool.
We were pretty far away, but I tried to capture it.
Then Saturday night there was a devotional in the stadium, which was pretty long and we marched out onto the field With President Sinjoux surveying us in the upper stadium. I felt a little like the storm troopers with the emperor looking over us while we were doing that. Then we walked around the track and waved to everyone, all in all it was a really weird night. My camera died shortly before so I couldn't sneak any photos. Elder Hamula is getting released as the pacific area 70, I think Elder Pearson is taking his spot. I liked his testimony, it was very simple but you could feel the power, as he cited his authority as one of the 70 of JESUS CHRIST, it was powerful.
Dancers representing the Tuomotus
More of the same.
This week we had to give a blessing with an oil substitute. I couldn't find where I placed my oil bottle, but we were already about to give the blessing. So I put a few drops of Terra Shield in the little gold vile, consecrated it and then gave probably one of the nicest smelling blessings I have ever done. I think it works because it’s pure oil. At least let’s hope so. Before the other missionaries used coconut oil to bless people, and that’s basically what terra shield is, so I guess it was a throwback blessing in honor of the CN 170.

We had a lot of baptismal interviews to do this week, which means I got to drive the car a lot. I’ve got stick down now; I’ll probably try to buy only manuals when I get back now I’m converted. I got to drive the car deep into our valley, needless to say it was pretty bumpy but she made it up to Vetearai's house. The sketchiest part is when you have to let someone pass, because the roads are just -just-wide enough to let 2 cars through, it’s pretty fun.


Looking back I’m actually really grateful to be put in Tiapa. I really like it here. The people are awesome, there are lots of Tahitians, and you don’t have to travel really far for anything. We are in Week 10 out of 12 of training now, coming down to the end of it, so we'll see what happens.

I was reading Alma CH 1 and was pretty interested by the teachings of Nehor. In Verses 3 and 4 there are 3 things he teaches that the world actually teaches today. It’s pretty interesting that the Devil is always the same and works through the same false ideas and vain beliefs.

It also hit me that the righteous people had to go to war because of the bad choices of the wicked. People may not be aware, but their bad choices will usually end up affecting others as well and there poor decision will take the free agency of others, which will in turn implicate the demands of justice onto that person who made the poor choice, making them responsible for ALL the bad that happened as a result of their choice. So, we need to try our hardest to make good choices, keep the commandments, and stay away from others that are making poor choices, or else we will inevitably get involved.

Nava'i tera (Well that’s enough)

Faaitoito

Love you all

Elder Molinari


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

170 Years, 170 Marching

19 May 2014 - Tiapa Paea
The reason I didn't email last week is because we had a BBQ zone activity. We couldn't keep the coals going, so this photo basically sums up Tahiti and most of my day to day experiences. Yes, the bottom of the BBQ is the wheels from a rolly chair.

Ed. Note: The actual fire container of the gril is the drum from an old washing machine. And the two cooks are not missionaries, but two recent converts.


 These two weeks have gone by pretty quickly. I'm really sad, that the training is coming to an end. We only have 4 more weeks. This is week 9, and its 12 weeks long. I hope I get to train again; I want another go at it. I kinda didn't really figure out how to do it til about 3 weeks in. I'll probably get moved since we are coming up on 4 months here in Tiapa. It's funny, but I'll be kinda sad to leave, I really like the members here-everyone speaks Tahitian!

This week; I don't really have much to report on. Our lessons are progressing nicely, we have more and more every week, and all of our new investigators read the Book of Mormon. I can comfortably have conversations and do contacting in Tahitian now - thank you, gift of tongues.

We had several funny experiences with birds this week. We saw a bird trapped in the chapel. So we went inside to save it. We chased it into a corner then I went and petted it behind the head and around the ears where Zuzu liked to be petted. It went from being all scared to super fluffy.


Then it sat on Elder Smith's finger and we walked outside. But even when we walked outside, it waited with us a couple minutes before it remembered it was wild and flew away.


Then we had another experience with a bird. We were doing a companionship study, and this bird just came into our room. It was chilling under Elder Smith's bed when I noticed it. I secretly told him to give me his camera, then he threw it over and it smashed against the wall. It was pretty funny, the bird then starting walking out after that.


The 170th anniversary of the arrival of missionaries in French Polynesia is this week. So all the stakes and wards are combining together to put on the usually enormous French Polynesian dance-cultural-show-spectacle-thing they always do. I'm pretty excited. The missionaries are going to march in it as well. 
It's only the missionaries on Tahiti; 170 of us! It'll be cool, but it was really hot while we were practicing marching at the stadium. While there, it was nice to see a pole vault runway - just lets you be at peace somehow.
The box was full of dirt. I don't think it has ever been used. 
The book on a pole vault runway!
In my scripture study I'm at Mosiah 25-26. And I've noticed a huge pattern of authority. They talk very carefully about who had authority, who could baptize, who could give authority, and then how it was used. I really like it. It shows that you can't organize a true church without authority given from God. I just really liked how the people of Limhi had made a covenant with God to serve him, but they realized no one had authority to baptize - let alone organize a church. So they didn't. Pretty powerful.
Here are a couple of beautiful Tahitian sunsets. 
There is a spectacular sunset nearly every night. 
The island you can see is Moorea.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Editor's Mother's Day Edition

11 May 2014 Mother's Day Video Call

Since it was Mother’s Day on Sunday, missionaries were allowed to call home. We were fortunate to be able to speak with both of ours: Elder Molinari in Tahiti and Sister Molinari in Tokyo. In fact, it was a video call, but we were unable to get all three videos to work at the same time. It seemed that Japan wouldn’t allow it. We could see Tahiti and we could see Tokyo. They could see us too. Tahiti could see Japan, but Japan couldn’t see Tahiti. Despite technical difficulties, we were all able to talk together. Both missionaries are doing well.

While Sister Molinari is still on the uphill-side of the language learning curve, Elder Molinari feels he is fluent in French and gets by quite well in Tahitian. He says he gets quite the reaction from elder Tahitians when “this skinny, white kid breaks into Tahitian.” He loves it!

While we were “Skyping” with Elder Molinari, a young child came into view and kept repeating “ay-dar, ay-dar.” We thought he was asking for something important. Turned out he was just saying “elder, elder”!!! It doesn't’ appear we would do very well there.

We were able to get some answers to questions we had from Elder Molinari. He is usually very light on responding to our questions.

He will remain with Elder Smith, whom he is training, for another six weeks (one transfer in mission jargon). His mission president, President Singoux only has one transfer left before he completes his mission. He is from the islands and lives on Tahiti, so he doesn't have very far to go to get home.

The missionaries know little or nothing about the new mission president whom we believe to be from the United States. He will begin his three-year term in June.

The musical firesides Elder Molinari participated in for the past two months were performed in each stake of the church on Tahiti for audiences of about 1000 at each performance. We do not know how many performances there were. He said they were very well received.

The Tahitian people love to joke and tease. So he feels that he has become quite a jokester, as if he wasn't before. They are a happy people who have plenty of love for just about everyone.

His favorite thing to eat is “sashimi” or as we know it by its Japanese name “sushimi”. It is raw fish with nothing on it. The fish types are “red fish, blue fish and yellow fish. “ They can sometimes get a bit more specific. He did say he likes red tuna, which we don’t seem to have here. We have yellow fin and blue fin tuna, but when fresh yellow fin tuna is cut, it looks red. He also drinks soda now, which he didn't drink before his mission. He said you just can’t escape drinking it. Apparently they don’t have water to drink.

Elder Molinari feels he has become a trend setter with his cotton plaid ties. He claims he never saw any when he first arrived, but now they are popping up all over. He was wearing a wide, wild looking bright green tie with large fruit-like forms on it. It was pretty ugly. Not so sure about trend setting with that one!

With “all that soda”, he has been drinking; he says he has gained about 5 pounds. They are fed well by the members. He seldom has to cook anything. I believe they do breakfast on their own, which is typically cold cereal.

Both he and his sister marveled at the absence of wild animals in either place. There are birds, of course, but not many rodent-type animals. At least, not that they see! There are dogs all over the place. And there are plenty of mosquitoes. He smacked one at the beginning of our call and then proceeded to show us what was left of it (the flattened remains) on his hand.

At one point in the video call, the member whose iPad they were using to chat with us, stepped in and said that Elder Molinari had to remain in their ward for the rest of his mission because he can play the piano and they don’t have a piano player in the ward. They actually have a real piano too, which isn't a common thing in Tahiti. Now they have a real piano and a real piano player so they don’t want to lose him!

Before signing off, he favored us with two songs: the one he sang in the concerts as part of a barbershop quartet and the other, a Tahitian love song. The latter, he sang quite quietly into the iPad, but the people in the house still heard him and ooh-ed, aah-ed and applauded. As did we.

He is having fun and enjoying his assignment in paradise. Time is moving quickly as he said he can’t believe he is approaching his one-year-mark in July.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Well...

5 May 2014 Tiapa Paea

Well this week wasn't too bad. We got more new investigators. Elder Tau, the traveling trainer, was only with us for maybe 4 days? He's pretty awesome; he’s from Tubuai, so he’s pretty quiet but really nice. 


One of our new investigators is a Mami (ed note: a grandma or elder woman) that always chased away the missionaries. Maybe it’s the white boy speaking Tahitian approach that works so well. I guess we will never know. She was actually a reference from a member, and everyone is always shocked that we are teaching her. She speaks really clear Tahitian so my comprehension is enough to get by easily with her, luckily we have the spirit to help us understand and speak.

Elder Smith and I are doing a personal purification plan right now. We made a list of all the things that we wanted to change and little habits we want to eliminate. Then we started with a fast, and then make a covenant to do your best to stop or start doing the things you put down. This goes for 40 days. At the end the promise is you will have a renewed spiritual strength and power. So we are a few days in and I've noticed a difference already, it’s really nice.

This sector is quite interesting, it makes you really appreciate finding a person to teach, as well as every teaching experience that you have. The other side however, is that it is crushing when a reference falls through or someone doesn't want to take the lessons anymore.

The one thing I have noticed about the mission in Tahiti is you work soooo close to church leadership. You pretty much see how a ward functions - or how a ward needs to function. If you are a Zone leader you work closely with stake leadership. It’s pretty crazy. The missionaries play an intrinsic role in planning and development of activities, programs, and who knows what else - the piano. You really see how the mission is quite a training experience. I don’t know how often you work with leadership in other missions but that’s like all you do here.

We've hit the 7 week mark of Elder Smith’s Formation, he's pretty awesome. We're pushing on, every day we do the chase for new people to teach :)

I can’t believe it’s almost June already, the mission just kind of slips by without you even realizing. I can’t believe the year mark is only a few months away. Yikes.

I really liked the thoughts about teaching and discussions that you shared the other week, I applied them this week in my class at church and the investigators actually started talking. It was great, I tried to get some questions out that create an environment for a discussion, and it worked out pretty well. I didn't even get close to finishing the lesson. I really needed that thought because my actual lessons were becoming a bit drab as well :|

My spiritual thought comes from Alma 5:14 and 19. What’s the difference between the two verses? I’ll give you a hint, it has to do with the faces.

Ok, I love you all!

Elder Molinari


They are ancient carvings.
These pics are from Elder Smith's camera
Here are a couple of Tiki that are taller than me.

This is a drawing I did while waiting for Elder Smith to email.
Not quite the same as the Tiki men.