Soyez Toujours Joyeux

Sunset from Uturoa, Raiatea Iaorana tatou! La vie est toujours belle à Raiatea. Sorry again about last week, we hiked Tapioi (on a cl...

Sunset from Uturoa, Raiatea

Iaorana tatou!

La vie est toujours belle à Raiatea. Sorry again about last week, we hiked Tapioi (on a clear day, you can see all the neighboring islands like Bora Bora) and so we didn't have as much time to email.

We had a couple more lessons with C. He did indeed enjoy church last Sunday and wanted to come again but he was sick yesterday. He finally started reading the Book of Mormon we gave him, but instead of reading straight through he's been studying topics from the index in the back. Classic C. It's hard to keep our lessons simple because he has too many deep questions! Apparently he's been reading up on the church online as well. I'm hoping he's reading the right stuff, but the fact that he asked us if we're a cult does get me a little worried. But he's a smart guy and is patient as we try to answer his questions.

Another of our investigators, P, came to church the first time though, and come to find out, the former ward mission leader is his cousin. I'm pretty excited about that because Frère A is awesome when it comes to missionary work. He sat by P all through church and explained everything. Lessons with P are funny sometimes because his sister (?) T is really bad at eavesdropping subtly. We've invited her to just come over and join the lesson but haven't quite convinced her yet. We invited her to come to church with P, and she said, "If I'd come to yours, would you come to my church?" And we surprised her by saying "We'd like to! We would if we could!" It's too bad that it would be a little weird for two Mormon missionaries to show up at the Adventists next Saturday.

On Wednesday Soeur K was sick, so we took things a bit easier. We haven't had much luck asking people if we can do service projects for them (they can do it themselves, thank you very much) so we took it upon ourselves to create our own. We picked up a bunch of trash in the neighborhood. About three seconds after we started, a man walked up to us and turns out he's a former member of the Church from one of the other wards and wanted to come back to church! On Friday we learned how many missionaries it takes to change a flat tire after our district meeting. That was fun. Turns out it takes 10, plus a couple of members because our jack wasn't tall enough so they brought theirs.

On Saturday we won the Tour de Raiatea. Haha there was some sort of cycling race going on and as we passed I asked Soeur K if we should take them on. I'd say we've got just as much training as any of them. Also we talked with one of my favorite papi's, Papi H. My first week here we talked to him by the docks (one of our favorite places to look for people staring at the waves, reflecting on the deeper meaning of life i.e. prepared to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ). He's still just about as crazy as he was then. He seemed to open up a bit after I switched to Tahitian and bore my testimony (about all I can say in Tahitian) but I can't be sure because then he started talking in Tahitian (which I still can't really understand). He was also pleased to find out that Soeur K is a Maori from New Zealand, but when she said she's from Wellington he said "Oh, Wellington... huh... c'est SALE!" (it's dirty!) He didn't want to take our Book or Mormon, but we "accidentally" left it on his backpack when he wasn't looking.

Yesterday we fixed a surprise baptism! Our ward mission leader has been wanting us to teach his nephew R, who's been avoiding us. But he came to church yesterday and we had a lesson with him and the ward mission leader's son. And he said yes when we asked him to be baptized! That was a really happy surprise, and now we're going to work really hard to build his testimony before his baptism.

My thought this week comes from some advice I shared with my cousin Elder Rollins, who is justing starting out in the field in Brazil. There's one lesson I hope all missionaries learn quickly. Don't complain! Be overwhelmingly, annoyingly, excessively positive and optimistic. It's a habit I'm still working on but it can fix a lot of problems; like comparing yourself, getting discouraged, criticizing others, homesickness, disunity, etc. If we look for the best in every situation and person, it's a lot easier to forgot ourselves and go to work because we worry less about what we want or think we need. And perhaps most importantly, we can change. On a mission (and in life!), changing and progressing personally is so important. But missionaries (and people) who tend to be negative just waste time being unhappy! To be fair, they often have things to be unhappy about, like a harder area or a harder companion or they don't speak the language yada yada yada. But all those things are actually opportunities in disguise to grow and learn. Look on the bright side and rejoice in every small victory! 1 Thessalonians 5:16 : "Soyez toujours joyeux."

Ua here au ia outou!

Sœur Ladd

A goat, as promised

Our secteur from the top of Tapioi