Friday, January 29, 2016

Relying on the Lord

Hey Everyone, 
So this week was interesting. First off, we got a call Saturday night from the assistants, Elder Edmunds is getting transferred to tavararo in the stake of Faaa. My new comp is Elder Barlow. I don't really know anything about him yet except that he arrived with Elder Isabell (my first son). This should be a fun transfer.

So this week, the work went pretty good. Anoun has been progressing really well. She had her interview with the Zone leaders and she passed. She's really excited to be baptized and the ward has done an awesome job of making her feel welcome. She's also invited a lot of non member friends and members of her family who are inactive. Her baptism is this Wednesday and it should be really special. 

We found a new family this week. Its someone we already talked to before. We thought they were inactive but it turns out that the dad and two of the kids are not baptized. We started teaching them and its been fun. The dad doesn't really speak or understand French all that well so we have to go with members who speak Tahitian really well so he'll understand. They have a son named Junior who's really smart and who loves the lessons. He's really motivated to read and pray and come to church. Luckily there's a really nice couple who knows the family so they're in charge of bringing the two kids to church. 

If there is one thing I learned this week, it is how utterly powerless and useless I am without the Lord. I realized this week that everyday I have to rely on the Lords help. I have to plead with him to protect me and help me overcome my trials and weaknesses. The Lord will show unto us our weaknesses so we can be made humble, so that we can rely on Him and through his grace be made strong again. I'm very grateful for the Lord and for his patience towards me. 

I love you all. Have a good week!! 
Elder Cole Porter

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Zone conference

Hey Everyone, 

Not a lot has happened this week! Its been pretty calm here. We had a zone conference on Wednesday. It was nice. We talked about engaging, finding, and how to improve our teaching skills. Elder Jones, a senior elder from London, talked about our mission culture and lessons we learn from the book of Mormon about missionary work. 

We had a lesson with our new convert, Karine. She's doing good but she's been having a hard time lately. Her friends and family are mad that she was baptized so they insult her a lot. She's been feeling really lonely. Luckily, the ward here is awesome so some sisters went and visited her and that helped a lot.

Our investigator Anoun is doing awesome. Her baptism will be next wednesday. She's been fellowshipped by the ward and she comes to all the activities. Everyone thinks that she's already a member. 

One of our other converts, Betty has been helping us find new investigators. she's been inviting her family and friends to come take lessons with us and they accepted. So this week we should be starting lessons with them. 

So this week, I was very interested in the story of Ammon and his brothers as they taught among the Lamanites. Ammon ended up having a lot of success because he converted King Lamoni. He basically converted an entire Kingdom. His brothers on the other hand were beaten, mocked, and thrown in prison. They didn't have the success that Ammon had had. I was wondering why and I read this verse in Alma 20: 30 And, as it happened, it was their lot to have fallen into the hands of a more hardened and a more stiffnecked people;" The Lord had sent them to a different sort of people who weren't ready to accept the gospel. They got out of prison and started preaching again and in chapter 21: 17 it says "And it came to pass that the Lord began to bless them, insomuch that they brought many to the knowledge of the truth; yea, they did convince many of their sins, and of the traditions of their fathers, which were not correct." The Lord decided to bless them. I learned that its not our job to succeed. Our job is to do the best that we can. It's the Lord who gives us success, that's his part. This has been a hard lesson I've had to learn. I know this is God's work and I know he loves his children. I love you all! 
Talk to you next week!

Elder Cole Porter

Eating lunch at zone conference.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Sharing my spirit

Hey everyone, So this week was good! We had a baptism yesterday of one of our investigators. IT was awesome. Her name is Betty Ta'i. The ward came out to support her and her family was there to. Our Bishop also came a gave them a really beautiful marriage blessing. 

We found a new investigator this week. Her name is Anoun and she's awesome!! Apparently, she's been praying for us to show up to talk to her. She's been extremely prepared by God to receive our message. She accepted to be baptized on the 27th of this month which is her birthday. She came to church and loved it. She was also at the baptism of Betty and she cried because she felt the Spirit. The ward is really happy because they all know her because the rest of her family is all members. 

So we had our interviews with President Bize this week and he told me that I have a problem with teaching a lot of lessons without ever getting a baptism. He told me to read Chapter 11 of Preach My Gospel which talks about commitments. I was kind of mad at him at first for saying that. And I came up with a lot of excuses in my mind, like,  I've never been in an amazing area that gets a lot of baptisms or where the members work a lot, or I've always been in sort of not very good areas. But I humbled myself and asked God how I need to improve? And I also asked whether or not President was inspired to give me this counsel. So I read the chapter and I was drawn to the section about Bearing Testimony Often. As I was reading, (and my mom's  going to love this), the Spirit told me that " You are very good at helping people understand that the message is true but you're not very good at helping them feel that it's true." My mom's been telling me since forever that "I don't open up and let my spirit show. And that I'm too closed off because I don't want to show vulnerability. And if I would just let my spirit guide me and shine through me, instead of just using my brain and knowledge, it would make all the difference, not only on my mission but in my life." So this week I decided to try and bear very sincere testimony during all of our lessons. I've already seen the difference. I also learned that Heavenly Father knows me and inspired President Bize to tell me things I needed to hear, even if they were hard to hear. And that I need to trust in my leaders (and my mom).

I know that this church is true. I know that this is the Lord's work because I see His Hand as He helps and works with His children. I know He loves us and I know that the true Gospel and Church of Jesus Christ were restored by a living Prophet. And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Elder Cole Porter

Betty and her husband (with me and Elder Edmunds) at her baptism.
View of my area with the mountains in the background.
Me and Elder Edmunds with our ward mission leader, at his home.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Happy new year!

Hey Everyone!! I wish you all a very merry new year! This week was pretty fun for us. The work was a little slow due to all the partying but we've seen some good progress in our other investigators. We also had some cool experiences. 

We have an investigator named Betty. Her boyfriend is a member named Tane and they are going to get married this Saturday and she is going to get baptized afterwards. We're really excited! She's been taught for a couple of years but she's finally getting baptized! She's super ready!

So on Tuesday, we found two new investigators who are Pentecosts. They were really cool. They were really open to the Book Of Mormon and they said they were going to read it. At the end of the lesson, the guy did the prayer and it was awesome. We all held hands and the prayer involved lots of hallelujahs and amens. Sweet!!

I really like the new mormon message, "Look Foward to Your Future". It talks about the story of Lot's wife and how we shouldn't look back on the past. Its really inspiring. My new goal for this year is to focus on the future and forget the past.  

Thats about all for this week! I love you all!!! Have a good week!    

Elder Porter

Me eating Fafaru (remember? Fafaru is that dish they make where they take raw fish and soak it fermented sea water for days or weeks. It smells like a sewer, but I'm really starting to like it!)
This is a pic of the "plateau of Taravao". It's a little piece of land that connects Tahiti-iti (little Tahiti) to Tahiti-nui (big Tahiti). 
Hiking on pday
Me and Elder Heno
Me and my comp elder edmunds eating New Year's Eve dinner with a member family.
Elder Heno made me jean shorts. And I'm super happy to be wearing them. Can you tell?

Mission Christmas party

Hey Everyone 

Hows it going in Gilbert? Christmas was a blast here. So the Christmas Party for the Mission was so much fun. We watched a movie, played games, and i got a panda bear for my white elephant gift! Swag! Elder Heno and I also got to visit some old investigators! 

I got to Skype my family on Friday which was awesome! My mom cried a lot but that can't be helped. The Wifi worked really well, which has never happened in all our skyping sessions so that was a plus! 

Then We had the baptism of Karine. She's the woman we've been teaching who's son is on a mission in Canada. And because of his weekly emails home, her heart was softened and she allowed us to teach her. Pretty Much the entire ward showed up which was really cool to see. Even President Bize came! It was so special.

Afterwards, Elder Heno, Packer, Edmunds and I went to eat at the Tani's house in Pirae. They're a family that elder Heno and I taught when we were in the Pirae sector.  It was awesome to see them again. They made some delicious food! and then we lit some chinese lanterns that worked perfectly! 

I was incredibly sick on Saturday actually! I was pretty much confined to my bed all day! oh joy! That was fun, but Saturday night was even better! We had a super mega huge dinner with a family in the ward. I have never seen so much food! There was....just to name a few things, cigale (which is like a big locust), lobster, crab, raw chinese fish, raw coconut fish, sashimi, steak, chicken,  tuna kebabs, MekaMeka kebabs, pasta, fries, fafaru (which was extremely delicious), taro, po'e banane, roasted pork, and dessert! Crazy right?! It was so good! Afterwards we all drank some Martinellis! super classy!

Anyways! This week was good, notwithstanding my being sick and all. I was really grateful to be a part of Karine's baptism. I can't imagine how her son must feel. I was just really happy to be able to help!  I love you all! Have a awesome new years!!!

Elder Cole Porter

Me and my old comp Elder Isabell at the Christmas partyKarine and my comp Elder Edmunds.

Christmas dinner with the Tani family
The mega huge dinner with a family in our ward!

Christmas in Tahiti

Hey everyone,

This week was good. It was a lot of hard work that paid off. It was a lot of walking and a lot of sweating because it was so hot. So we should have one baptism this week on Friday, Christmas Day! She has progressed a lot and we're excited to see her be blessed. 

We attended a FHE last Monday night and we met a new family. The dad is inactive and his wife and kids are Catholic. We talked with them and it was apparent that they both wanted a change in their life. When we did a lesson with them during the week, we saw that there were some problems between them. We found out later that the dad is not really there for his family and that there were some pretty big problems in his life. The wife wants to bring her family into the church but he gives no support. We're working with the ward here to help them workout their problems. 

The ward here has been really helpful. We have some awesome members who go with us pretty much every day to teach investigators. Investigators are so much more comfortable if there's a member there with us. We had one member who went with us to see a couple and he talked in Tahitian for awhile and I didn't understand everything but he convinced them to think about a baptismal date. It was pretty cool. 

I really enjoy the Christmas season, even if you can't really tell that its Christmas here. One of my favorite Mormon Messages is "What Shall We Give?". It's a video where a family does a bunch of little kind acts of service while MOTAB sings in the background. The theme is what shall we give Christ for Christmas. We've been inviting all of the investigators to do that. Reflect on what we can give Christ this year. 

Thank you all for the support! love you all

Elder Cole Porter

Crazy weather

Hey everyone,
So this week was interesting for us. The weather was crazy. The temperature got into the 90s which compared to Arizona doesn't seem that hot but combined with Pacific island humidity, its killer. On Saturday, it rained super hard! We all got soaked that day! I'm pretty sure there were some parts of Tahiti that were hit with overflowing rivers and mud slides. 

So last Monday, We were filmed by a TV crew! We sung 3 Christmas songs and it will be broadcast Christmas Eve to all of Tahiti. And as a Christmas gift to my Mother, they put me smack dab in the middle and I was literally forced to smile for like 3 hours! My worst nightmare, my mom's dream come true.

This week the work was a little slow because the vacation has started. During vacation times in Tahiti everyone goes away on a "vacation"! I guess they don't realize they live in PARADISE!? We are helping Karine prepare for her baptism for the 25th. She officially confirmed that she is ready and she's been making efforts to obey the word of wisdom! she's progressed a lot! Her son is serving a mission in Canada and he's apparently very very happy that she's getting baptized! We are really proud of her! 

This week was probably also the week where I worked the hardest! We walked about 70 km this last week, which is about 43 miles. I've never been so tired. The crazy part is that we didn't have an amazing amount of lessons or new investigators. It took a lot of work to accomplish the little things this week but it was worth it. We have a lot of investigators who progress towards baptism. And I pray they will accept the gospel and be baptized.

That's it for the week. Love you all!

Elder Porter
Our zone 
Eating lunch
Stormy skies over the temple
Gingerbread house