Monday, 29 February 2016

Vallee Taapuna, Puna’auia. - quick transfer

Hey guys. this week was kinda weird. 

On Tuesday night, I got a call from the assistants to President Bize, and he said that there is an emergency transfer.  So now I’m in Vallee de Taapuna in the Stake of Puna’auia. on the west side of the main island. And I’m the driver! I’m gonna get so fat. 

This secteur has a lot of work, and it is pretty much on a mountain side. It is basically just hugely steep hills everywhere. My new companion is Elder Owens from Florida. He is super awesome. He has been out on his mission just one transfer before me. Life is sweet over here, it is way different than Mataiea. 

Mataiea works off of the highway and only has dirt roads that go off into the valleys and is quite flat, Here in Taapuna Valley it is super steep, all paved and the style of the houses is a lot different. I feel like Mataiea is a lot more beautiful, but the work here is better. Just before I left Mataiea, I ate a red tuna sashimi, which is normally quite the amazing experience, but I guess it was sitting out for too long, so all of Friday night, I was puking up a storm. Then Saturday I couldn't really walk very well. But we still ended up getting a bunch of missionary work done. But yesterday and today all is well. I have to tell you, after my mission, my immune system will be rock solid. 

The Elders in my house, who cover the Secteur Matatia next to ours, are, Elder Kokona (Vanuatu) and Elder Stewart (Cardston) Dats right, two Alberta boys in one house. Infact i think Thomas Miller told me to look out for him when I posted my call on Facebook. 

Well. all is well over here, there are some changes, but life continues as normal. Peace!

Elder Goodwin

The Aritaii family and I. Good friends from Mataiea.

My Tahitian father. frere Wheeler (and Elder Elder Lo'amanu)

Me and the Mataiea Ward Mission Leader, Sava Maitai... and his accordion.

My new companion, Elder Owen and I - Taapuna, Puna’auia.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Email issues and splits with the Mission President

Hey. Tell people sorry if they emailed me but didn’t get a reply. Myldsmail had a bug. They fixed it now. I’m going to try and resend the emails that are actually showing up in my sent mail file. I love you guys. I’m on the phone right now so it's kinda ‘fiu' to type. (fiu =  is used when someone is annoyed, angry, tired or fed up)  Know that I am alive and well! Basically all my emails lately have been written on a phone, so spelling is bad and I miss-type a lot. Please ignore the mistakes, because I know they are plenty. Lately members have been using the church computer on Mondays to do genealogy… so I have had to do a lot of emailing on the phone. It is super ‘fiu.'

My area is in a slump, it has always been a slow area for the main island. Basically I’ve been working my butt off to try and make somewhat of an effect on this area’s progression. Within the first two weeks together, my new companion and I, contacted every home in the area. We could have done it faster, but we decided to pace ourselves down so that we stayed busy. 

I barely know how to write down what I have learned, because I have learned so much. I have seen how important it is to have good leaders in the Ward congregation who are willing to even sacrifice the smallest amount of time to help us. I have seen how important it is to study the scriptures, and really pick out what they mean and how they apply to your life. One major thing I’m learning is self awareness. On a mission I have noticed that I am a lot more aware of my own pride and my own imperfections. I think that is certainly a reason young men should choose to go on a mission. It's not just to baptize. The Spirit does that if you are doing your part. But I can see that young men can miss out on an amazing opportunity to grow and become more Christ-like. 

I’ve learned so much in the four months I’ve been here that I find it really hard to work it down into email form.  I’ve never been good at comunicating in general. that is something that i need to work on. I have changed a lot. My focus has entirely changed from before my mission. While I’m here, I’ve been so focused on work, that I’ve been slowly forgetting that I have a family back home.  Just know that I am here, work hard to become a better person. Every single difficult situation, every time I get fiu... but then fall back on my Heavenly Father, I become a slighty more wise person. 

The truth is that I’ve been sent into a challenging secteur. The work here is slow, and has always been slow. President Bize wants to change our secteur for the better, so he has been pushing us really hard. It is super tiring mentally and physically. I did splits with President Bize which where awesome. I totally expected him to like be disappointed in us and tell us that we should be getting better numbers, but in fact he told us that we are doing a lot of good work. He said he knows that our secteur is a challenge so he said he has a lot of respect for us. I learned a lot. President Bize is a really cool guy. and he is super focused on the work. Contacting with him is fun because he is super direct. But in his car driving around, he talks about his favorite fast food joint or what ever. He is a super smart guy and you can tell he is really setting apart his time to serve the Lord. 

I’ve learned that it is so important for leaders and members to support missionary work. Our secteur also has a large population of another denomination. I have nothing wrong with their religion and seek to build bridges, but they can be shockingly mean. I mean, not everyone is like that, some people will engage with us... but the Polynesian attitude has been lost with some. But I love what I do and I can feel my Savior supporting me. I see little miracles everyday. 

I don’t have a lot of crazy experiences, I’ve just been working and working. I don’t think I’ve used my camera in about two weeks... but all is well. My companion is so much fun. His mom is sending me a traditional Tongan dress skirt and President Bize said that if both Elder Lo'amanu and I wear it, we can wear it on Sundays. Other that--last week I went to Te’ahupoo, and forgot my camera. We went fishing as a zone, but we didn't catch anything.  Te’ahupoo is super cool, the road stops at a certain point, the highway doesnt actually go all the way around the presque ile. but it was nice. Probably the most beautiful part of the main island. Yeah we saw a shark swimming up to my bait, and when it bit, I freaked the crap out. It pulled so hard the line cut my fingers and the line snapped. it was so cool. the shark was small, maybe only a meter and half long. but it was beautiful in fact.

This morning we did this cool service project for a member in our Ward. We invited eight missionaries to come. We went out into the mountain and cut down huge trunks of bamboo, and crossed this cool river, and the member tempted us to swim, and boy I have never felt such huge temptation in my life… but we didn’t give in. It was in this beautiful enclosed area. It is one of the places I have to visit again when we visit. We carried the bamboo back, then built a huge chicken coop. We then wrangled 36 chickens and put them in the coop. There was one left at the end, and me and an American Elder, Elder Davis, came up on it and surrounded it, and it was so scared it layed an egg right in front of us. We where laughing so hard I cried. Just imagine eight elders trying to catch chickens for about an hour, it was so much fun.
it has rained every day this week, and we think we might get the remnants of the typhoon that hit Fiji this week. My tahitian is improving, we have two investigators that speak only Tahitian, so I have gotten a lot more opportunities to practice. We teach this one elderly lady. She is so so so nice and she knows my Tahitan sucks. But she says the simple things I express, say a million words. Life is going good on the main island, but there are more adventures to come. Peace out.  

Reading back on this email, I realize how bad my English has gotten.

Oti roa (really done now)

Ua here vau ia outou.
Elder Goodwin

Study time with an attentive partner

Elder McLaughlin and I today. 

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Doing great...

Hey. Nothing really exiting happened this week, I don’t really have a long email. Just tell everyone that I am doing great. Today I am going to Teahupo’o* for a zone activity. I gotta go. Love you guys!

Elder Goodwin

I went to the temple on Thursday. It was pretty sweet.

*Teahupo’o (sur la presqu'île de Tahiti) est un spot de surf célèbre pour les vagues régulières les plus larges et les plus épaisses du monde. Teahupo’o is known for having the biggest surf waves in the world.

Monday, 1 February 2016

New companion - busy week

Ah the food. I have not really written down many of the local recipes and foods, because a lot of them go by feel and a lot of them are pretty impossible to make in Canada… although I know how to make fafaru. and I will be making some when I get home.

I finished paying for my bike last week, it is really nice. I haven’t used it much because I still have the car.
Everything is going awesome! My new companion, Elder Lo'amanu and I get along really well. He is a super funny guy. He has a lot of mission experience--has been on his mission for over a year and speaks Tahitian almost perfectly. It has been a pretty solid week, I’m pretty tired, but it is a good kind of tired. all is well.

Elder Goodwin,
P.S. I’ve heard a couple different versions of my name, one is Faufaa Maitai, one is Maitai’re. (Faufaa = to be busily engaged in work,  Maitai = good)