Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Week 3

Bonjour and Iaorana,
 The city of Punauuia is one of a kind, there is so much work to do here.  My companion and I are in charge of three long streets that head straight into the mountains. Everyday I ask myself why I walked the mountains just to sweat through my pants and get declined by people.  Then you have the drunkenness ! They love talking to us, just telling us we worship Joseph Smith, but then when we actually start talking to them about the gospel of Jesus Christ they listened and seem really interested but just to tell us they aren't interested anymore because they love to drink alcohol. Oh well at least we tried! Contacting here is another story!, We basically just stand outside the gates and yell Ioarana!!!!!! Till either they come out, or we get chase by dogs haha! Only in Tahiti! Other than that, life here is rough, but then I just have to remember why I am here. Its for the families who want to change, and only through us they are able to do it. I just have to remember the joy I can bring to the people here. I love them all and I just want to be able to bring that joy to them. When days are low, I just have to remember there are 600 plus more days that can be awesome!
Love you all!
Elder Todd

                                           Great view from our appartment

                                           Another View of the island of Moorea

                                                       Dogs are everywhere

                                                          Beautiful stairs

                                                  Yep! that is our sleeping corners

                                                  It is so hot that we need 2 fans

                                               Take off your shoes, that is the custom here. 

                                                    Trying to stay dry from the rain.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Tahiti Week 2

Bonjour and Iaorana,
This week was so long, I can't believe I actually made it to Monday! I am so exhausted because we do so much work here it's overwhelming and when I get home like at 9pm I crash cause I just cant stay up anymore... The work is good though. This week we were able to get 6 amis (investigator) to attend church and the only thing that makes me love the work is seeing them smile and seeing their life change. It's the greatest thing to see as a missionary, the change in these peoples lives. 
 I love the view from my apartment because it overlooks the sea and I get a great view of the island of Moorea! Then we have the sunsets which are just amazing I wish you all could see it for yourself! Probably the best part of each day is seeing the sunset and then being able to eat at member's home for dinner! It can never go wrong with those two! One thing that's funny that happened was last Sunday! So we meet this guy who is less active and we teach him and his girlfriend, I love them both! His name is Foster and he's just a super chill guy. Anyways it's Sunday and he's taking us home and decides to take us into another zone, which we are not allowed to do in his mini cooper and then gave us  Mcdonalds before he stops at a beach where we watch the sunset lol. Things like that just make me laugh and it keeps things interesting. Other than that the week has been pretty standard. I hope more things happen this week that I can talk about. But until then, I leave you with a few pictures!
Elder Todd

                                                                Bon appetit!
                                                          Enjoy our Pday by the beach.
Ready to do the Lord's work

                                                    Beautiful flower to make leis

                                     Our view of the island of Moorea from our appartment

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Tahiti Week 1

 Ioarana tout le monde!!!!

The first week out on the mission and a lot has already happened!!! To start off, it was a blessing to hear from my family at the airport and to hear all their kind voices. The flight wasn't too bad and I am just so excited that I am finally here. I was greeted by some friends and family and it just made me smile! I am in Tahiti guys! For the next two years. It's so crazy to think that, but I am just stoked to be here! I met my companion Elder Barfuss, and he is so cool. He is from Utah like it seems most missionaries are, and he is just a perfect second comp. I am serving in Punaauia and its the greatest first sector! I have already run into more family here than ever, it's the greatest. We put in so much work this week and I had such a good time teaching people and just being their friend. People here are so nice, you can say hi to anyone and they will act like you are good friends. But the downfall of missionary work is that it is so tiring. I literally crash every night it's so terrible! But everything else is awesome, the language is coming, the food is way better than the MTC. I can finally stop eating cereal lol, the sunsets are unreal! Everything here is just a dream come true! I love the mission life! I am sorry for the short update, but it is my first P-Day and I have tons of emailing to do and I am still trying to get used to the French keyboard lol, but it will come and these updates will get bigger I promise! Anyways I love you all, thank you for all the support! 
Au revoir et NANA!
Elder Todd

Beautiful leis at our arrivals at the airport with our mission President Pierre Bize

                                                   Happy to see my beautiful meme                             

 And Tati Vaea Baude. Thank you both for the beautiful leis.

Thank you tati Erroline for the cold bottle water.

                                                     With my companion Elder Barfuss

Saturday, October 15, 2016

My last week in the MTC

Okay guys!! I have to keep it short because I have a lot of stuff to take care of today, with packing, laundry, temple, cleaning the dorm, and last minute things for class and language. It's so exciting to know that in two days I will be back home on the little island of Tahiti! I am leaving the MTC on Monday morning and will be arriving in Papeete Tahiti late that evening. I have so much excitement and I can't hold it in. Every morning for the past week I've woken up just yelling how many days are left! I still can't believe that I am actually going. It has been a long nine weeks, as I have expressed a lot, but I am actually glad and thankful for the time that I had here at the MTC. I know if I would have had less time here, I wouldn't be as prepared to enter as I am now. I would still be dealing with other things that would take me away from the work. But the time here allowed me to grow a bit, and I can say now, I am ready. This week was pretty eventful. I said my last goodbyes to some friends Monday and Tuesday and looking back I woke up at 3 am every week to say goodbye; it's quite sad to say it will be my last time doing that, but I am happy it's me who's next. Tuesday night's devotional was given by Elder David A. Bednar. He talked about how he studied conference and how we should study it, too. It was really insightful and just the things he would say... I could feel them coming directly from God. He is such a powerful speaker and I am so grateful that I was able to witness him speak before I departed. Wednesday, the new missionaries came and it was a pleasure to greet them for the last time. Thursday, our last class with Frere Vanderhoms was just the saddest thing ever. I honestly wouldn't still be here if it wasn't for him. He has helped me countless times and I am so grateful for his guidance and counsel. He is my friend and I know he loves me just as much as I love him. I will never forget the experiences we shared together... Everything this week just went by so fast; now I am leaving the MTC very soon. It is finally happening, the work is just about to begin. My prayers have been answered and I can't wait to witness the joy of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, to be lost in his work. to fall in love with the people, to find myself, and to see all the blessings my heavenly Father has for me. Je sais qu il vit. Il m aime et Il a repondu a mes prieres. Il est toujours la (I know He lives, He loves me, and He has answered my prayers. He is always there). For my next update I will be in my new area and I promise I will have pictures of the beautiful islands for you!

Take care, love you all and goodbye.
A bienot, Je vous aime! Au revoir.

Elder Todd

P.S. here is a link to all my mission photos, some that are on the blog, but others that are not!: tevatoddflickr

                           Elder Loder off to Romania!

                              New flowers at the MTC

      Sister Colling's last day; will miss the crazy adventures we had!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Week Seven in the MTC

ONE MORE WEEKKK!!!!! I can't believe I have been here for seven weeks now. It's crazy to look back at the last two months and see where I have come from, but I am just so blesses to have had such experiences here in the MTC. As much as I want to leave I will miss this place, it finally grew on me. Well I can go on and on about how excited I am about leaving and finally touching ground in Tahiti, but let's get a recap of the week! So Tahitian and French are going great, I mean I speak better French than Tahititan, but je peux parler le francais et reo Tahiti maitai'roa mana'o vou i te nehenehe vou pauru reo Tahiti et le francais sa peux aller. J'aime parler le francais et le tahitien, c'est tres beau! Anyways, I hope some of you can understand that haha. I said goodbye to a lot of people here, it seems like I see them come and go and it's weird because that's going to be me next! On Wednesday we received the new Tahitians that will replace us after we leave. One of them is half Tahitian, like me!!! It's so exciting and I just love being able to connect to people so quickly. I met someone who went to BYU- Hawaii before entering the MTC and and I just cannot wait to attend BYUH after my mission. She was saying how some days the teachers would just cancel class because of how nice the day is! I am just so excited to have so many adventures there. Today I was able to some service in the temple and I had the most spiritual experience I have ever had. I felt like the work I was doing for other people who have passed connected me to them; I felt their presence and it was almost like they were talking to me. I was crying with tears of joy. I knew that what I was doing helped someone- I never felt so much joy and happiness in myself and for them also. I will never forget that. I have one more week here and I want to make it count. I made a goal for myself to push through the final stretch and really get to work with the language and feeling the spirit. I want to leave this place knowing I got something out of it. I know I can. I want to bear my testimony in French: Je sais que Jesus Christ et Dieu vie. J'ai un grand teimoignage qu'a travers Jesus Christ et Dieu Je peux recevoir la paix et j'ai aussi l'opportuniter de partager ce message aux peuple de Tahiti. Je sais que l evangile du Christ leur donnera du bonheur. I can't wait to share my next chapter with you guys, Tahiti is calling and I am ready to go, I'm called to serve! NANA!

Orematua Todd





                         Saw all of them come and now I get to see them leave
             An old friend from Paso 1 ward. Happy to see Elder Corbin Hughes

                         Flowers from all of us to celebrate our teacher's birthday

Monday, October 3, 2016

Week Six in the MTC

The Tahitian language finally came!!! I love every second of it; its hard but I seem to be picking up on it quite well! it just gets me so excited because I feel like I am in touch with my culture, and I am finally becoming more Tahitian than ever! we have already taught three lessons in Tahitian and its weird because during the lessons I can completely understand what they are saying (partially because they are acting) but more or less I am understanding the words they are saying. I testify the gift of tongues is real. On Tuesday I said goodbye to some friends as well as my good friend Elder Tetauru who finally started his mission. I miss this guy so much; he has helped me with my language in many ways and has just been a great friend overall. I know I will see him in two years though, we have it all planned out. on Wednesday we received our solo sister, Sister Weyland, and wow right off the bat she has already taken control. She's older than us and she just treats us as her younger brothers. It's really funny. Her French is pretty good and it's just great to have someone else who can help us focus and learn more. The rest of the week hasn't been much but each day I am closer and closer to leaving and finally setting foot on the beautiful islands of Tahiti... 2 more weeks I can't wait!! I feel like I have been at the MTC all my life; it's pretty funny actually, I know when I finally arrive I'll be wondering when I have class and when my set meals are haha. I am going to be so lost, but it's going to be so great! I promise once I leave these things will get more interesting. I won't be doing the same thing every day, each day will be a new adventure and I'll have more to talk about! But until then, maururu pour tout votre support et je vous aimes. Au revoir e nana!

Elder Todd

                                              Snow in Utah

                                 Last temple walk with Elder Tetauru

                              Angel Moroni was glowing on Sunday

                   My good friend last devotional before he left for Sweden

                          Woke up to say goodbye to Elder Tetauru

Goodbye Elder Tetauru

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Week Five in the MTC

So this week went by quite fast, not much happened so this might be short. I have been here for five weeks and I feel like I have lived here for all my life; its the same thing everyday and not many new things happen anymore. I'm falling into a routine and I honestly need to get out of here haha. It's good and all but I think I am ready for the real thing, to finally be immersed into the missionary life. Tahiti never felt so far away, but hey only three more weeks! I can't wait! Something new that will happen actually, I just remembered, is that we will start to learn the Tahitian language on Monday and next Wednesday a new Sister Missionary will join our small district of four boys. Hooray, a new change! She will be a solo Missionary, but she is already fluent in French and is just here to learn Tahitian with us. It changes the game because now we have to be less reckless in the classroom and prove to her we aren't just four obnoxious guys haha. I can't wait to see the difference this new addition will have on our district; we'll see. I've also made some new friends and they keep the MTC more interesting. We like to take all the plastic spoons from the dining hall and stick them on as many people's belt loops as possible... it's not much but it keeps us entertained! Also, my cousin Neil entered the MTC last Wednesday and it's always a joy to see family. He would've been in our zone because he is going to the Congo in Africa speaking French. But since his mom taught him French when he was younger he's on the fast track...*cough, cough...thanks mom!!* Anyways, things are doing better and time is just ticking down. I really can't wait to get out on the field; I can just taste it. Au revoir mes amis...

Elder Todd

                                   Happy to feel the rain

With my cool cousin Eder Neil Haparai- Hansen
Our mothers went to school together since they were little all the way until high school

Friday, September 16, 2016

Week Four in the MTC

I apologize for not updating you guys on my progress last week. A lot has happened, good and bad, but I'll save you the time and just talk about the good! So what I think is pretty awesome that happened in the last two weeks is the fact the three apostles ( Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Elder Quentin L. Cook, and Elder M. Russell Ballard ) came and spoke at devotional ( Sunday, Tuesday, Sunday) all in a row!!  I felt like they spoke directly to me; all of them had a piece of advice that I felt was especially for me. I am so grateful for all the experiences here, and as hard as it is, I see change in myself and the way I view things.
I just said goodbye to a few friends the other day who just went off to Tahiti and I can't wait to be with them again - five more weeks!! I feel like the time here goes by really quick, but it feels like eternity. It's crazy to think that for the next two years I will be serving people who I would've never thought I would and speaking two languages that I grew up with, but never thought to speak. It really is a blessing to be called to Tahiti and I thank God everyday for that blessing. I know I was chosen to serve the islands because over there someone, even if it's just one person, needs to hear the message that I have learned to teach and come to love. Someone there is waiting for me and that is the most exciting part- I can't wait to see that person's face, to see so much happiness... to feel like I changed the world for the better. The purpose of a mission for me at the beginning was to see how this journey could change my life, and it has, but I see now that the real reason of a mission isn't for me to get all the benefit from. I've found that it's for the people... for that one person that I will have the privilege to change, and to help them feel joy in their lives. That's why I serve, that's why I am here, that's why I stay when all I want to do sometimes is go home. But for that exact purpose, I stay.
 My French is coming along; it's weird to see how much I've learned in just 4 weeks. I feel so comfortable speaking; I can almost carry on a conversation. But when you finally feel like you are picking it up they cut you off and have you start learning another language from the beginning.... In a week I will be learning Tahitian, what the heck!?! I just started to feel good aabout my French and now they want to kill my brain with another language... Oh well, it is what it is!
Anyways- it's been hard, it's been fun, it's been up and down, and all of the above and more being here. But with all of that, it has ultimately been the greatest thing being out here and I can't wait to see what else is in store on this journey. 
Merci beaucoup et au revoir!

Elder Todd

 Me and Elder Tetauru

Me with the Tahitian flag

  Me and Elder Tetauru

     Me with Elder Tetautu and Elder Ugbah

All the missionaries that are going to Tahiti Papeete Mission

 Taking a nap in my hammock

More nap time hahaha!!!