Monday, April 28, 2014

March 31, 2014 - Tahitian Prayer - Concert

I have probably reached the happiest point on my mission. Is it still really hard and stressful? Oh yes, but I couldn't be more happy. Things are going great. I never realized what a difference it makes to have the support of the members, but seriously, our members are amazing here. I saw so many miracles this week so here we go.
Yesterday we had a huge concert with all the missionaries in Tahiti in our stake center with all of our stake and the amis (investigators).  It was awesome.  We have a really great program where we sing a bunch of hymns and there is a projection and missionaries bear testimony.  Since I am from Faaa I was asked to give the closing prayer.  I honestly was so so terrified because I knew I had to say it in Tahitian from the moment I was asked.  Sometimes when the Americans speak Tahitian that really shocks people and touches especially the amis because they don't expect it.  You immediately earn respect here if you speak it, and so here I was sitting and I knew I had to give a really good prayer in Tahitian to close the program and I was so so scared because I knew what an affect it could have if I did it correctly.  I was praying so hard I wouldn't totally ruin everything. I gave the prayer in Tahitian and I am not really sure what happened during it but all I know is I was able to say things smoothly and correctly and just like a Tahitian with sincerity.  The thing you have to understand is that here people give their Tahitian prayers about 100 mph and so if you want to sound like them you have to say it like that too.  After I finished everybody got really noisy and freaked out because they didn't expect it.  I can't tell you how many people asked me for my picture afterwards.  It was so funny, but seriously it touches people so so much when you speak Tahitian here.  I was just grateful I could be a tool in the hands of the Lord to share his spirit for people who prefer Tahiain over French.

Next thing this week.  My sector is so so awesome.  Yes it is very dirty and full of people drinking and smoking but there are so, so many people to teach.  I love it and my companion is super optimistic and funny.  I laugh so much every day because we do some really funny things, and because members and investigators here and just everyone in general have visions all the time and I find a lot of them funny.
 This week we continued to teach Poema who is getting baptized in 2 weeks.  She has now given up cigarettes for one week so she can be baptized.  She is so amazing and so willing to sacrifice anything to be baptized.  It makes me so happy to so the change in their family.  Her husband was inactive but is now coming back to the church.  We were doing a lesson about the plan of salvation and at the end he looked at us and asked with all sincerity if he could still make it back to live with God again.  Even after leaving the church for a time.  I told the story of the prodigal son and how when he came back the father accepted him with loving arms.  He was so relieved to know that he was still on track to receive eternal life. I really love them so much.
Which leads me to my thought for today.  I read a talk today that really changed my perspective of things especially the Atonement.  This week I reevaluated my relationship with Jesus Christ.  I realized that I have a lot of faith in Him and His mercy to make up the difference for our sins after all we can do.

I realized that I am not sure sometimes if I have the faith that He can save me from myself personally and my imperfections.  For everyone in Tahiti I am positive this is the case, but it is just so hard for me sometimes to see myself and my potential when I am constantly faced with all of my errors and weaknesses.  I don't always follow the spirit and sometimes I make stupid mistakes that could have prevented me from helping this work move forth.  And the thing is I think a lot of us think this way. We are constantly missing the blessings of the fortifying and enabling power of the Atonement because we don't think we are worthy.  We just don't measure up, and how sad is that.  All that He asks us is our best.  I loved an example I heard this week.  Sometimes we just wait and wait and keep striving for perfection but it is never going to happen.  It is not like sick people wait to get better so that they can be able to take the medicine, and it is just like that for the Atonement.

I am so grateful for my mission because I have grown so much more close to my Savior and in doing so I have so much more love for myself.  I know I am good enough, because He thinks I am good enough. I don't know how many times I have struggled with hating myself in my life because I thought I haven't reached the bar or the level of goodness that I thought I should have reached, and now I realize that was never the point. I still have all of my weaknesses and faults but it is ok, because I know He is willing to work with me to fix all of those things.  Little by little.  Oh, how He is merciful.  If there is anything we should learn in life it is how to use the Atonement in our lives.  Every day.  I love the Lord and I know this is His church and kingdom.

I couldn't be more humbled to be His servant.
Love Soeur Kimball

March 18, 2014 - 1st Transfer, Tipaurui

Hey, so yes it is true.  I got transferred. I was so sad, but happy at the same time. It is my first transfer. For six months I served in one valley of Tahiti.  Everything I know about Tahiti is what I saw in my little neighborhood which is not that much.  I said my goodbyes and I cried and everything and people gave me baskets and seashell necklaces and now I am serving with my new Tahitian companion Soeur Sommers in Tipaurui.

Oh boy is it different.  I couldn't be more excited.  Soeur Sommers has only been here four weeks so I will be training her for the next eight weeks.  It will be my second time training and oh how can I tell you that training is a very humbling experience, especially when you are asked to train people that speak the language better than you and understand the Tahitian people better than you.  I have already learned a lot.

Anyway, let me tell you about my new sector.  It is really awesome because it is in the city which means there are so many more people to talk to. I absolutely love it. There are tons of apartement buildings which means more people to preach the gospel to.  I got to the point in my old sector where I had talked with almost every single house and knew almost every single person by name so you can see how everything now is just so thrilling.

There is so much potential here and I think we are going to see a lot of miracles.  The ward is super focused on missionary work and even now they have a plan to give away 170 books of Mormon.  This morning for my first lesson in the sector we scheduled a baptism for next week for the wife of a member in our ward who had already had the lessons.  I have already seen so many miracles and I am so excited to see the people in Tipaurui grow their faith in Christ by living his teachings.  

I was super sad to leave my cute French companion but I know she will continue to do great things in Tuauru.  I have really grown to love her.

So, I guess that is my life right now and I love it.  This transfer I really want to be able to get better at understanding Tahitian, because I can speak it alright but understanding is a whole other ball game, especially when they are papis who speak really fast,  really really slurred and really softly.  I know the Lord will help me with my endeavor so that I might be able to continue to help others.

This transfer I really want to be able to enjoy every moment and just love the people.  We had a conference where an area president talked to us and said that we need to be masters in teaching the doctrine of the Father and His nature, because it is only when others feel of His love for them, and understand truly their divine nature as children of God with a purpose in life, that they can change. I pray that I can be able to transmit that love that He has for His children.  Truly our work here is just to remind people of who they really are so that they can embrace the fulness of blessings that this gospel has to offer.

 I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that Jesus Christ is at the head of this church. How blessed we are for what we have been given.
Soeur Kimball

March 10, 2014 - Vaiarii

Ok you guys, so to understand this week you have to look at this photo.  Lots of things happened this week but I want to just talk about this one person, Vaiarii Raihauti. I know in this photo he looks like a murderer and like he is angry but really he is a great kid and right now you are all going to hear the story of his conversion.  He is the one next to me in the corner.  I promise he isn't actually scary. It has been crazy.

The conversion of Vaiarii starts in December last year.  I and my companion were in their yard to teach a lesson to his sister but we had never met him.  I don't know what happened but for some reason he decided to come to the lesson and hear us with his brother and part of his family.  I think I wrote about it in another email, anyway we taught a lesson about the Restoration and invited everyone to read the Book of Mormon to see if our message was true. The next week we dropped off a Book of Mormon. Out of all of his family it was really only him who cared.  The rest didn't really feel like finding out but Vaiarii read the Book of Mormon and prayed sincerely like we asked him.  At this point he was super super shy but we would just come and visit him anyway.  We invited this brother in our ward who you see in the picture to come with us to the lessons and he started inviting Vaiarii to family home evening and started teaching him too. Vaiarii told us he prayed about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and had a really strong impression but he really had a hard describing it, so of course we continued the lessons with him for the next 2 months and he would come to church with us every single week or with Dan ( the man in the photo).  He was still really shy and scared of us.  I think just because we are two foreign girls but we finally got him to open up and he decided he wanted to be baptized.  He didn't tell us everything because he was embarrassed but he really wants to go on a mission too.  He is 19 years old and now is preparing to go to the temple in one year so he can go on a mission and serve the Lord.

I told him now we are going to use him and he will be the member fellow-shipper for all of our amis.  haha.  He thinks I am psycho... the poor kid.  Two days ago he bore his testimony and it was so powerful.  He shared his gratitude for the Lord for having showed him His church.  He was so sincere.
I share this story for two reasons.

1.  We taught all of his family and it was only him who believed and acted on his impressions, which shows us that even though the gospel is true not everyone is going to accept.  It is just our duty to invite everyone so they can decide for themselves and understand the goodness of the gospel for themselves.

2.  Member fellow-shippers are so so so important. Without Dan there I don't think Vaiarii would have been converted.  The testimonies of members and their experiences really validate our teachings and relate to others.

I know the church is true and I am so happy that Vaiarii is so happy now.  I am so happy to have been able to help the Lord in His work.  He is so good.

Tahiti February 24, 2014

This week was great.  First of all we had the baptism of Tepiu and Tachyna the two girls with inactive parents.  They were completely adorable.  It was I and my companion who had to plan the baptism and do the talks and everything.  I really was so so worried that everything wasn't going to turn out.  It was kind of a last minute scramble and then I was so worried that nobody would come and there wouldn't be any support and the chapel would be empty. The good news is I was wrong. We had a great day. I guess you would expect that a baptism of a new convert would be an incredibly spiritual and amazing experience, and it totally was but just not in the way that you would expect it.  As soon as the program started I just felt so peaceful.  Many of the members came and they brought a ton of food too. I was so so relieved. I almost started crying, and I even sang a musical number with my favorite primary member in our ward. I don't know how many times I had prayed for everything to turn out alright and I would just like to tell all of you that the Lord answers prayers.  The spirit filled the chapel and it was so evident that the Lord was so happy His two young daughters Tepiu and Tachyna entered the gate of baptism. 
Elder Nelson came and talked to us! And just the missionaries. It was incredible. I honestly thought we were going to be transfigured or something.  He talked about the Holy Spirit and how we have to pay attention to all of our feelings and thoughts because the Spirit always will guide our thoughts when we are worthy so that we can be enlightened and gain more knowledge.  Holy cow! He was so powerful.  And he really talked about how we live in the most blessed time.  How we were held for just the very end.  We are in the time that all of the prophets prophesied and so we have good reason to jump out of bed every single morning from excitement.   We dont have any reason to not be happy.  

In my sector this week we really have been working still with the family Tehoiri, who I talked about before. The mom is so ready to be baptized.  She is one of those people who were already prepared by angels. I have never seen such a miracle. It is just a question for her husband to stop smoking. I loved a quote I heard this week that no one can say that it is impossible to give up an addiction unless they have gotten on their knees and asked for the help of Heavenly Father and I know that is exactly what he needs to do.  I see their family in my head at the temple and I know that everything will work out.  Before I wouldn't have believed it but I know that with the faith needed and desire the Lord will really bless that family.  He already has. 
Well that was my week and I will see you guys next week again.  NAna
Soeur Kimball