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Monday, August 3, 2015

Maybe the last one...


3 August 2015 Mo'orea

Well, I'm not sure if I'll have any time to do any writing next week so I'll write this as if its my last letter.

Its been absolutely fantastique serving my mission here the last two years. It still really hasn't hit me that I'm leaving. It probably wont hit me until I'm home. I think it's better that way in the end. Well, I havent really prepared for a "last letter". I guess it should be filled with wonderful clichés and cheesy statements about missions and such. So, excuse me beforehand if it starts to smell a little like camembert.

I think a mission to Tahiti can only be understood by those that pass through the experience. The people are incredible, absolutely incredible. You take out the internet, wordly concerns, fear about what people think about you, and a whole boatload of other things and you may be able to start to understand the people here. They are so wonderfully charitable. You can talk with almost anyone, everyone calls each other "couzin". They are all so worried about being "american" or "European" that it is hilarious sometimes to see how they have "assimilated" these cultures. There exists a war between two very different cultures, occidental and islander, and I hope it's the islander that will win.

I'm going to miss being able to speak with people in Tahitian. I went through many pains to learn this mostly oral language. The language is about as living as the plants that are in a constant battle to reclaim the land that everyone fights their siblings for. There are not very many missionaries that speak Tahitian as well as I have been blessed to. I think there are maybe 4 or 5 of us, 3 of which are finishing. Sadly the language is slowly dying out. Some day I think 
I'll be a speaker of a dead language. But, that language helped with the conversion of many older people throughout my mission. Older people that could only be touched through their native language.


We had a triple baptism of all children.
We helped reactivate their families
and then the children were all baptised.
This is Ariirai.

Manovai


Moerava and her grandfather

I'm not sure I'll ever eat as well as I have here. So many nights were passed with stomach aches that could have been avoided. But eats hard to resist when you have a Tahitian mami crying "Elder ma, Tamaa" and giving a stern pointed look that means "I made all this food, and someone better eat it".

The people here are incredibly spiritual and humble. Most first contacts are super spiritual experiences, and the people have a natural God-given thirst for the gospel. I think it comes from the fact that they are so purely part of the house of Israel. These people will feel the spirit, know it's true and accept baptism after having only met you within a couple of weeks. It's incredible to see their faith in Christ. It's incredible to see that the Spirit really talks to these people in their hearts, thoughts, and quite often dreams. It's so wonderful to be surrounded by faith instead of skepticism and sarcasm. That's a lesson everyone of us needs to learn. God commands us to be as children, not intellectually, but in a more faith based sense. It's a lesson every person raised in occidental culture needs to learn.

I learned enourmously here. It was really a refining time. I like the way I am now much more than how I was before I came to Tahiti. It's hard to describe internal changes, so I wont try. I think it's impossible to sum up the total accumulated knowledge of two years of study and teaching. As Elder Uchtdorf said, "I tried to contemplate the atonement, and could only come to this conclusion, that God loves every one of his children." (paraphrased) I think its the same for me. I understand a lot of things a whole lot better then I did when I left. Simply stated I know Christ lives. I know God is our Father, and that he wants us to become exactly like him! I know that we can change, and make commitments that will help us to achieve that goal. and that through the grace of Christ all this is possible. I stand by Nephi (chapter 11) when he said:

6 And my soul delighteth in proving unto my people that save Christ should come all men must perish.

7 For if there be no Christ there be no God; and if there be no God we are not, for there could have been no creation. But there is a God, and he is Christ, and he cometh in the fulness of his own time.

Don't think I can express the sum total of my mission in any other way. Like Nephi that's what I love to do, and doing it with the power of the Book of Mormon changes lives, in time, and in eternity.

Love you all, and I'll see you very soon!

Faaitoito, à bientôt!

Elder Molinari

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Lots of Pictures

27 July 2015 Moorea

We went on a long hike today to "the lookout of the three pines." I don't have a lot of time to write so you'll have to be content with pictures from the hike and a few others from the week - which I just realised are mostly flowers.


These remind me of Kirstin's cherry blossoms from Japan,
although they have nothing to do with cherry blossoms nor Japan!


This is me and a giant spirit tree.
Its called that because lots of spirits live in it o.o




Fields and fields..... of pineapples



This is the shot we climbed for - Three Pines Overlook.
Well, maybe for the panoramas too!
A selfie in paradise
This is an addition to my badge picture collection


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Good Week

20 July 2015 Mo'orea
Relaxing at the swimming area of a resort near PaoPao
Well, it rained...almost all week. Missionary work is tedious when it rains, well not really. Tracting is tedious when it rains, and we do a whole lot of that here. Our movie night for "Meet the mormons" was a success. Our new ami François came, thanks to the support we have from another member who served his mission in Australia. After watching meet the mormons for about the 10th time, I can safely say my favorite part is the pilot's story, followed by the Humanitarian. The members here are INCREDIBLE! Its only been 2 weeks and you'de think I've been here for a month.

This week the pedal on my bike exploded. Well, the bolt exploded - good thing there were no cars on the road because it totally sent me veering into the middle of the road. So....the trooper almost made it to the end. Now I'm seeing what I have to do about the pedal...We do an Enourmous amount of biking here, but I don't think its as much biking as Tautira so its not too bad. I'm just very tired at the end of the day, thanks to my almost 5 months in a car.
I snapped a pic of this friend


Today we went to The hotel at the end of the Paopao sector. Dont ask me for the name because I cant remember. It was stunningly beautiful, and not a single person responded hello when you said hello to them. Welcome to the coldest part of paradise. Other than that we saw two dolphins do some tricks, and a small sea turtle sanctuary. Baby sea turtles love playing around in the water, its pretty amusing. Never before has the temptation to jump off a dock into CRYSTAL CLEAR water been so strong. Good thing there were railings on the bridge.
We got a new car! Not really. We're on bikes!

Since My father has been sending me speeches, I'd like to recommend one I find particularly enlightening. Brad Wilcox, on grace. Incredible talk. You can find it on BYU speeches.

Love you all!

~Elder Molinari




Post Coming Soon for 13 July 2015

Our computer broke and I haven't been able to get to the post for last week.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Transfer

6 July 2015 Tiarei
I hardly have any time to write you guys and since I'm on an American keyboard, its impossible to type quickly. I have a boat to catch to Moorea in an hour or so. I'll try to give events of the week through pictures! Oh, and I got changed at the last ;inute. I'm now going to Haumi at Moorea.

Love you all, enjoy the pictures

Elder Molinari

We had 2 baptisms this weekend, and the font drained over night...call the firefighters!







The shorter sister on my left is Titiura, To the right is Hinerava.
Hineraa was also a miracle.
She decided to be baptised Saturday last Tuesday.
After Baptism: moi, Titiura et Elder Houde



This is mami Taamino, she made the flower displays for the chapel Sunday

Last picture with my zone in Tiarei



Monday, June 29, 2015

Transfers

29 June 2015 Tiarei
The camera lens doesn't quite capture the gradient
colors in the sky.
Well its incredible, but I got transferred for the last 5 weeks of my mission. I'm going to Moorea, Paopao. I’m pretty happy; it’ll be nice to be on an island again. My companion is another Vanuatu, named Elder Tokalolo. The transfer was actually a "special assignment" designed to help elders who have been out for a while but have difficulty taking the lead, assume the responsibility. 3 others from my group that finish in 5 weeks have a similar responsibility. All in all I can't complain, Moorea is GORGEOUS, and the ward there works like crazy so It’ll be a nice send out. There’re no telephone poles in Moorea :)

Elder Houde,Titiura et moi
Anyways, this week we had an awesome experience! Titiura had her baptismal interview. The one thing that was preventing her from baptism was marriage. Her boyfriend said he would never marry her. So what did she do? The day of her interview, she came with all her possessions packed in two bags and announced she was returning to live with her mother. She has an incredible testimony, and it was amazing to see her leave the terrible situation she was in. After the interview she took the bus to her mother's house, and that was that. If that isn’t a literal example of faith, I don’t know what is. Especially since she had a testimony after reading the first Brochure we gave her, we hadn’t even taught yet! Just goes to show you that this is the Lord's work, He touches hearts. Choices determine destiny. Baptism is Saturday, just before the transfer happens Monday.

Other than that it was a pretty average week. Its hard to believe I’m so close to the end!

Love you all!


Elder Molinari




Monday, June 22, 2015

Concert and Work

22 June 2015 Tiarei

This week was incredible in terms of work. We were busy every day until sundown with lessons. The end of each day we were completely fried mentally and physically. We have these moments during our end of day planning where I'll stop to think, and Elder Houde will as well. Then we will wake up 15 minutes later. It’s pretty funny.


Anyways, I'm not sure if I already shared the story, but one of our amis, Titiura, will be baptised July 4th. Her date was given to her in a dream. We didn’t even fix it. No big deal. When you have a very spiritual people, Heavenly Father can accomplish his work in a very spiritual way. That just lets you know a little bit how things work here in Tahiti.





Tuesday we had a lesson in a Faaapu (farm), which involved crossing the river. Luckily it hadn’t rained too much.




This is us in the Faaapu. I’m hiding among the Bushes. The bushes are called bird of Paradise, "oiseau de paradis", because of the flower in them. This is the flower-






This is where we teach lessons to latchkey children that don’t have anyone really that watch them, in the back of our pick up.


Other news...I can site-read most hymns now on the piano. It’s been a little less than a year that I play every Sunday. It’s helped me improve a ton piano wise. Who knew that a little Chopin revival before leaving on my mission would have come in handy? Maybe I'll tie in a little engagement for all those reading this week. Break a habit and try something new. By that I mean, try to develop a new talent or skill. Who knows, maybe it will come in handy some day? ;)

We did the first of a series of missionary concerts this week. IT was really nice to see everyone, and to sing for an enormous audience! There must have been over a 1000 people! The concerts were, nice and the testimonies born were great as well. My favorite was my buddy Elder Franco. He bore a killer testimony in Tahitian. We will be doing more concerts throughout July, and even next Sunday. Did someone say road trip?




This photo is my companion, Elder Houde, Elder Gouttin, and I. He's a French elder that came with us at the same time. We finish together. We stole a big bag of popcorn after one of the rehearsals and ate as much as we could!

Today we went to a beach to play soccer. I cut my toe pretty badly on a shell. Tahiti problems.

Love you all!

Elder Molinari

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Sorry!

15 June 2015 Tiarei
Auguste et moi


I realized last week I had sent photos, but not written a letter! The biggest thing that happened last week was Auguste's Baptism. It was awesome, and I absolutely love this guy. He's super funny, and is always cracking these dry jokes that just make me laugh so hard. Here’s the abridged version of his story.




We can’t find people. Say prayer. Go to end of road that leads to nowhere. Find Auguste. Auguste accepts lessons. We find out Auguste had tons of contact with the church as an adolescent. Lessons start. 2 weeks go by. Spirit bears powerful witness of the truth of the restoration to Auguste. Baptism fixed for following week. Auguste lives all the commandments and aligns his life completely with the gospel. Baptism. Miracle. Then Sunday, he got the Aaronic priesthood, and since we had two of our investigators getting it at the same time, he received, and then immediately got to participate in giving it. What an incredible experience. Miracles happen, God prepares people for us, and if we ask we receive.

We also have almost no P-day anymore because of concert rehearsals. Luckily the last one was today. As a treat president let us all watch “Meet the Mormons,” in French. It was awesome. My favorite story was the world war two bomber guy.

This week we had a genealogy activity at the church where we talked about the booklet my Family and how to fill out ascendance sheets. We had 15 amis, I'd say it was a success. Well I know that the genealogy is mostly done on The Norwegian side, I’m excited to do it on the Italian side.

Last week I had been missing teaching principles of the Gospel Sunday (I’ve kind of picked up the habit). Well, Heavenly Father worked things out so I could teach, but not only that, he inspired a couple we teach to come to church. The husband is a rather skeptical guy, and we never really get to have a good conversation because he's always diverging during the lessons. Well, we only did one lesson with them but it was difficult. So I had said to Elder Houde, the next time we see them we need to teach the atonement, one of the most doctrinally satisfying topics we can teach. Well, Sunday it just so happened that the lesson I got to teach was my favorite, the atonement. By the end it was obvious that they were visibly touched by the spirit and authority of the lesson topic. Let’s see if there’s progress this week *wink*


Elder Smith, whom I trained, moi and Elder Fareata,
who Smith is training. Three generations!
Well...that’s about all I have to say that I can think of at the moment.

Faaitoito outou

Elder Molinari

Monday, June 8, 2015

Bapteme

8 June 2015 Tiarei





So we had the baptism for Auguste this week! It was AWESOME! Auguste is the one in the middle. To the left is our ward mission leader named Frère Perry, and all the way to the left is Frère Gomis, a ward missionary.


Elder Houde is on the right end. I think I mentioned that he is from Montreal. His mother is French and his father is French Canadian and Native American. He already spoke French before coming here and he speaks English fluently. His French is like French French, but with an accent Canadian. It’s pretty cool!


Auguste et moi



We went to Auguste's house after the baptism since he didn’t have anything planned. We watched "How Rare a Possession" the film with Vincenzo di Francesca. It was awesome.







Like most of the flowers here this one is just growing wild. It is a pretty exotic one. I thought it was a good photo then I realized there's a bug on the petal *sigh..








I got my birthday package this morning – only a week after my actual birthday, but it was like having another birthday. I enjoy all the fruit. 

I celebrated my birthday with the family Temanaha Moo. They have 2 sons on missions right now. They are twins. One is in Japan, the north and another is in Colorado. They were in the MTC the same time as me and finish the end of July.





I tried to get a cool picture...but my camera is just not good enough to describe the pure awesomeness of what a full moon is here.





Another shot of the moon. The trail it makes in the ocean is astounding. That’s a little motu out in the distance. The lights are from the fishermen there. The light is incredible on the water. This is the 4th moon I’ve had here, and finally I told Elder Houde I needed a picture. This one is from the side of the road.

Okay, have a nice week. I love you all.

Io vi voglio bene!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Emille's Baptism

Emille is in the middle
1 June 2015 (my birthday) Tiarei

We had Emille's baptism this week, and it was really nice. IT was super early in the morning, but we still had a good turn out from the ward. He's been waiting for a long time to be able to be baptized. Emille's a papi we've been teaching for a few months. He hasn't missed a Sunday since we started. Finally he was able to be baptised this Saturday.

It was awesome.

We taught, contacted and did everything in Tahitian because he doesn't speak French. He's a spiritual powerhouse! When we first found him he didn’t talk very much, and had a difficult time understanding the gospel. But ever since we contacted him he hasn’t missed a Sunday, and we've just seen him open up like a flower these last few months. It was incredible to see his faith and determination. Somewhere along the lines the spirit bore witness to him of the truth, and after that he couldn’t be stopped.

We found an enormous amount of people to teach this week, it was awesome. We also found a couple named Teiho and Vaitiare. I think I wrote about Teiho last week, and this week we saw his copine with him. She told us that the week before we had found Teiho, she had been praying that they would be led to the truth and apply the gospel in their lives. After that, we found Teiho, and he told us that normally he would never accept anyone like us, but he felt something push him to say yes. It was a really neat experience.


We had 2 "mini" missionaries with us this week. They have sent their papers (ed note: application for missionary service) in and are waiting for calls. They were with us all this week, and it was awesome. The one with glasses is named Samuel Hootini, and the other Benson.
The "mini" missionaries aren't really miniature.
Thanks for the Birthday wishes! I love you all!

Elder Molinari



Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Another Week

25 May 2015 Tiarei

Well, not exactly. It was the first full week I passed with my new companion, Elder Houde. He's absolutely awesome, love the Elder to death. I now understand the difference between "compatible" and "complimentary". Most of my companionships were "compatible" companionships. But this one, like with Elder Kokona, we are "complimentary". Meaning we have differing and similar qualities, which create a very versatile and powerful team.


Elder Houde et moi

We found an enormous amount of new investigators this week, and for this coming week. One of my favorite moments from this week was from a lesson with Teiho (tay -i-sho). We taught about the sealing power and the restoration. At the end we taught him how to pray and asked him to ask if what we had taught was true. HIs response was interesting. HE said something to the effect of, guys, I'm going to make this a whole lot simpler. I know something is true when I feel it. There is a certain feeling I get when I feel the spirit. When I was talking with you guys, I knew it was true, I had that feeling. We told him to pray anyways, but its always awesome when people remark the response during the lessons. That’s one other thing I like about my new companion. We feel the spirit almost exactly the same way, its super cool being companions with someone just as aware of the spirit during lessons and other situations.

So my invitation for all of you is to try to get more connected with the spirit this week. Turn the volume down. Unplug. Try and really feel the peace that comes from living the gospel. Love you all!

Elder Molinari


Another sunset

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

It's So Late!

18 May 2015 Tiarei

Sorry for the lateness of my letter! We were at Papeete for most of the day doing a rehearsal for a missionary concert we will be doing in June.

My companion was transferred, and my new companion is Elder Houde! He's from Quebec, which relatively speaking, is not too far from New York. In fact, I think he's the Elder in the mission that lives the closest to me :) He's super awesome and a really hard worker; exactly what I wanted. We're gonna rock it here.

As for things that happened this week, we had lots of cancelled lessons...I should know better than to call before hand and ask if it’s still good :|

Turns out, the international driver’s permit is linked to my license, but I told Elder Houde he can drive, so no worries with the permit.

Editor’s note: his driver’s license expires on his birthday, June 1. He will renew when he comes home.

Oh! I forgot my camera, so I'll send pictures next week!

Sorry, this letter was rather drab. But! I love you all, thank you for your eMails and support!

Faaitoito

Elder Molinari


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Rain



11 May 2015 Tiarei

It rained a lot this week. Big tropical rain storms, but its starting to be the season of wind and rain. The nights are getting cooler, sometimes you want a sweatshirt when there's a breeze.

We participated in the challenge that our mission President gave us to find 15 new investigators in the last 3 weeks. Most were found in the last few days (we procrastinated a bit xP). Even with the procrastination, with mighty prayer and very wet socks and umbrellas we managed to find them all. Miracle.

Transfer calls will be coming this week or the next, but I think I'm going to finish here. However, it would be nice to do one last excursion >.>

The Skype call was nice. We'll see each other pretty soon though! Now all my skype calls and general conferences on my mission are finished!

We were going to play beach soccer today but it didn't work out - they were putting new sand on the field...and of course it was on P-day :x

We got to go to the temple 2 times in the last two weeks, once with the Elders and HItiaa, and another time with the Elders of Faaripo and Papenoo (perks of being the one with the car). It was really nice and a great recharge for the weeks to come. Going to the temple really gives us blessings of mental stamina. Its a good wind down session where we focus just on the plan of salvation. Exactly what I needed this week!

This week we were teaching an ami named Hinerava. We just started the plan of Salvation lesson, which I love because its really during this lesson that our amis (friends) develop a testimony of the Book of Mormon and Jesus Christ. At the end of the lesson, which was a discussion based around 2 nephi 2, we asked if she had any questions or comments. At which she looked at us and said something to the effect of , "well that was really clear". Then she proceeded to tell us how clear the Book of Mormon is and the doctrine. Moments like that can make a week.

Love you all! Faaitoito

Elder Molinari

Friday, May 8, 2015

Another Week - just pictures

This dog joined us one day and followed us around for about four quartiers


Sunset from the drivers seat of the car



Another angle of the same sunset, from the same drivers seat.

Monday, April 27, 2015

21 Months

27 April 2015 Tiare

I couldn't think of any other title. I hit the 21 month mark this Friday, but because of my extension I wont hit the 3 month left mark for another 2 weeks :)

I know Elder Johnson likes talking about the "bell lap", I'm on the last 200 meter sprint.

Jean Claude. I wanted to send this one because it is epic.
The person baptising is our ward high council member
This week was great because we had the baptism of the Rattinassamy family.
We had our Baptism this weekend. It was awesome!
Mother-Heiata, Father-Jean-Claude, Daughter-Ravatea

 It was a great service, President Bize gave the talk on the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I liked his experience. He was in a stake conference in a stadium somewhere in California and an apostle was presiding the conference. At the beginning the spirit told him,, "you better be prepared to bare your testimony". He reaction was, nooo, I'm on the other side of the stadium, he doesn't even know me. Then the second time he was prompted to prepare he started to think it might happen. The third time he was prompted he started putting together thoughts to share. Sure enough when the person who was conducting got up he said before we hear from Elder Nelson, he has asked that Pièrre Bize come and bare his testimony. Luckily he had listened and prepared the third time he was told!

This week we have been out searching like crazy for new investigators. We did a lot of contacting. Which means lots of gross unattached dogs all around you. We didn't find anyone, but there are some potentials we can revisit.

This morning I studied virtue. I learned quite a great deal. It is important to have a pure heart if we want to have the spiritual power necessary to work miracles. Also, by purifying our hearts and minds we qualify to "see god". I know that by searching after this attribute we can find an inner strength and serenity that comes from the increased presence of the Spirit. Virtue encapsulates purity, chastity, penitence, integrity, and spiritual receptivity. May we all pray for this divine attribute!

Love you all, 

Elder Molinari