Monday, June 22, 2015

Half Way!

Iaorana friends and family!
I am officially half way done with my mission, which is really hard for me to believe! TIme goes so fast when you are working hard, having fun, and LOVING! This week I have learned again the importance of love. Loving our investigators, loving our members, loving the area, loving my darling companion, and most importantly . . . loving God. I realized again that I am on my mission for many reasons. The main reason is because of my love for our Heavenly Father! As I have been on my mission for the last nine months of my life, I truly have learned who we are. We are children of God. He loves us and we need to love Him! To truly be able to feel His love in our lives and be able to receive and notice His blessings, we need to do our best to do what He has asked of us. I love the scripture in Joshua 22:5 which says, But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commandments, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul. To feel His love for us, we need to love Him too and show this love through our obedience and serve Him with all of our hearts and souls. I know that if we do our best to love our God, He will always be there to help and comfort us in our life! He even has blessings we cannot imagine waiting for us to find! I love the scripture in First Corinthians 2:9 which says, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things that God hath prepared for them that love Him. Sœur Shariatmadari and I have been doing our best to show our love through our actions and obedience this last week! We have seen and lived through so many miracles in the last week! Just a few situations . . . we had talked to this lady one day on her door step. She would not even let us in or let us sit down, but we shared our scripture of the day with her anyway. Then left her there telling us that she was not really interested in a next time. During the week, we came across two boys who were jogging on the beach. Since we share messages with everyone we see who will listen, we shared a scripture with them as well. They accepted for us to come back for a next time and described to us where their house was. Immediately I knew that it was the same house the lady lived in. So the day came and we went back to this house, but this time we were happily welcomed by the the young men and even the lady! We shared the Plan of Salvation lesson and they loved it! Before we could even finish the lesson, they asked us when the next time was and invited us to eat with them! I know that this house is in need of the gospel and it was actually a way cool experience. Also, our friends, Emilienne and Tihote are getting married and baptized this week! They do not have a lot of money and were not able to pay for much. It was amazing to see the ward members put forth their talents and efforts to make this wedding possible. I love my mission and I love our Heavenly Father. I know He lives and He loves us and He listens and answers every prayer! Try to feel His love this week through your actions and obedience! I love you all! Thank you for your love and support and just everything! Have an amazing week!
Love, Sœur Heather Kofford
Enjoying the beach on P-Day!
Sister Shariatmadari and me on the beach!

Monday, June 15, 2015

God Did Not Send Us Here To Be Average

Iaorana friends and family! I love and miss you all so much, but I honestly do love my life here in Tahiti! It is blowing my mind that this week I will be half way done with my mission! It honestly seems like just yesterday that I was dropped off at the MTC. When I was struggling to even understand the basic Tahitian vocabulary and starting the journey that has already changed my life forever. I am so thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life and the opportunity that I have to try to become more like our Savior little by little each day. I found a scripture in the Book of Mormon this week that I had loved before but means a lot more to me now. It is Alma 37:6. In this scripture it tells us that by small and little things, great things are brought to pass. I love this scripture because I know that each one of us are living it individually on our path of life. It is by the little choices and decisions that we make each and every day that will eventually determine our detstiny. I have loved using this thought for myself during the last nine months. I try to change, improve, and become the best version of me possible. This is not always easy and like we know, we have to be humble and be shown our weaknesses for this process to be possible. But God works in amazing ways and if we will open ourselves up to Him, there is no limit to our progression. I have definitely changed since starting my mission. I am not the same person as I was before and I am happy to keep changing into the person that only God knows I can become. Soeur Shariatmadari and I have been trying to apply this principle as well in our area of Papeari. We know that through little acts of perfect obedience and righteousness, God will give us miracles. We know that we are not perfect missionaries but thats okay because all we have to do is our best and God will always provide the rest! We had our first baptisms in this area yesterday! Tau and Teaviu are our newest members here in the Papeari ward! Their testimonies afterwards were some of the strongest and most sincere testimonies I have ever heard. I know that God has prepared something amazing for them in their lives and I am happy that they have now started to find their true worth and potential! After the baptism, we continued to see miracles because the parents agreed to talk to our Bishop at church and work things out for their marriage and baptism. And so it was done! They talked with bishop and they will be married and baptized the 27th of June! We have seen so many miracles and it truly is amazing to see the power of our faith and little works which bring to pass big things! God truly has his hand in everything! He knows us and loves us and He did not send us here to be average! So this week, try to focus on the little things that will bring big blessings and more happiness into your lives! Do the little things that will help you improve yourselves and find your true potential in becoming like Christ! You are children of God! Your worth is unlimited! I love you all and am thankful for your love and examples and support! I hope you all have a great week!
Love, Soeur Heather Kofford
The baptisms of Tau and Teaviu!
Sister Shariatmadari and me with matching skirts!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Miracles and Smiles!

Bonjour ma belle famille et mes amis!!
Soeur Shariatmadari and I had a fantastic week! I love my companion! We are constantly working so hard. We are either talking to everyone, studying, or laughing. I have love love loved my other companions, but it has been fun getting to talk and joke about American things together. It is interesting being two Americans together in a foreign mission. I do not know if people just know that the struggle is always real or what but we have been so blessed together. People are so nice and we literally just keep receiving blessings after blessings and miracles after miracles. When Soeur Shariatmadari and I started our companionship, we set a lot of specific goals that we wanted to achieve together. It is amazing as we go throughout our days as we really do try our best, to notice the hands of God in the lives of others and watch the Holy Ghost lead our paths as well. Also, it is so cool how God gives us opportunities to improve ourselves, to find again our weaknesses, and to discover again that we are capable of so much and that we have an unlimited potential. In the last three weeks with Soeur Shariatmadari, I have really learned how to be bold. I have never liked making decisions in life maybe because I am a little bit indecisive and maybe I am just scared that if I pick one thing there was something else that could have been the better option. I have been thinking a lot about decisions and choices this week. I think I already shared this thought but there was a conference talk from last fall that talked about decisions and choices that we are faced with each and every day. Of course we always have the choice between the good and the bad. At times we might be tempted to choose the bad but at least it is easy to distinguish the good. After this, we have the choice which is good and a choice which is better. In this situation it is easy to settle for the good and not take the extra effort to go for the better. But in this state of mind, we re still cutting ourselves short. There is something else that God has in store for us. And that is the BEST CHOICE. After all of this. . . the bad, the good, and the better . . . we always will be given the option to chose the best thing. This is hard. The best choice in life will always be the thing that brings us closer to our Savior, Jesus Christ. On a mission, this requires going the extra mile. That exact obedience, that happy diligence, that hopeful faith! But in these moments of loyalness to our Heavenly Father is when He provides us with the rest. When He provides us with His grace, and allows us to feel His love through His son. So this week we had one day where several of our lessons fell through and we were left talking to everyone we saw. We successfully filled our day with good things. We found several potential investigators. As the day started to come to a close, we were faced with the choice to head early to our dinner appointment or to try to talk to a few more people. We were in a tiny street and drove past several little children. They all said hello as we rode by. We decided to turn around and to talk to them. They all looked a little young and we need to ask their parents permission before teaching them so I asked where they lived and if there parents were home. We were secretly thinking that we could win a lesson with one of their parents. One of the little girls ran into the woods and a minute later came out with her mom. This woman was very special and from the minute we started talking to her I could feel the spirit prompting me as I asked questions. Not even asking the daughter if she had ever talked to the missionaries, if she knew what the church was or if she even wanted the lessons. I told the mom that her daughter was in need of our Heavenly Father in her life and asked her if we could start the lessons. The mom looked to the daughter and the daughter without hesitating got a big smile on her face and accepted immediately! I then asked the mom if she would accept the baptism of her daughter for the day when she would know for herself it was true. Normally I do not ask this question this soon or this straight up, but it just came out and sure enough the mom accepted. So last week we started the lessons with the daughter, Teaviu. Soon her little brother joined with us and of course the mom was present at every lesson. The two children knew the church was true after the Plan of Salvation lesson. Their baptisms will be on Saturday the 13th. God is amazing and totally lead our path that day. I asked these two young children, Tau and Teaviu, how they knew the church was true and why they wanted to be baptized. They both replied that it was because they knew it was a good thing. I asked them how they knew it was a good thing. They replied that they knew that God wants to see them again and they want to live with Him again one day. It is crazy how true the church is, even the young children can feel the truthfulness of it and the love of God. I know that God has something amazing planned for these two children and I am happy that we could be in tune with the spirit being able to make the BEST choice to help these special people find their identity and true potential in life. I know that this church is true. I know that God knows us and loves us individually. And I am happy to be living my life for Him. Thank you for everything!! The love, support, friendships, everything! I love you all! I hope you have a fantastic week making only the BEST choices! 
With lots of love, Soeur Heather Kofford
Tau and Teaviu at church with us yesterday!
Soeur Shariatmadari and I with Papi on his birthday!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Sun Has Come Out at Papeari!

Iaorana friends and family!
We had another great week together! I love my companion Sœur Shariatmadari and God has definitely been good to us! We have spent our days being diligent and obedient and practicing our faith, but also having fun along the way. Sœur Shariatmadari tells me that I am no longer American. We found a spider bigger than my hand in the bathroom the other day. Naturally I killed it and my cute companion started freaking out! haha It was the funniest thing. Also, we had to buy paper towels, hand soap, and several other items at the store that I had forgotton were necessary before coming to Tahiti! It is fun being two Americans together! People are super nice and life truly is always an adventure! This week we had two sisters from our ward come and work with us for a couple hours one day. They showed us several people that were very interested in taking our lessons. One of which was Poohina. When we arrived at her house, the spirit was already really strong. We introduced ourselves and shared a little message about our Savior Jesus Christ and then we felt like we needed to invite her to be baptized . . .so we did! She accepted. So her baptism will be the 11th of July! We also have two new investigators named Laura and Jiovany! We had two lessons with them and on the third lesson they awkwardly told us that they did not want to continue. This broke us a little bit but we did not lose our faith. Saturday night I decided to call them and invite them to Church just incase they felt like coming. We got to Church not expecting them to be there . . . and to our surprise there they were sitting on the front row! We will be having a family night with them this week and will ask them to see if they want to continue the lessons. It was such a miracle to see them at the chapel! We also ave a cute investigator named Monoihere who is totally ready to be baptized but her parents are not okay with it. Her sister had to wait until she turned 18 to be baptized and now is leaving on her mission tomorrow! Monoiheres sister talked to her parents while we were right there with her. Their hearts were softened and they said that they would think about it. She just has to get the paper signed and then her baptism should be good for August! We have so many miracles that happen each day and it truly is amazing to see the lives of others change through this amazing gospel. I love the scripture Doctrine and Covenants 59:23. It tells us that if we accomplish our works here on the earth, we will be rewarded with peace in this life and with eternal life in the life to come! I know that this is true. I receive the peace that the gospel brings every single day and truly do know that we are not alone in this work! It does get hard sometimes when the plan doesn't go as planned, when people use their agency in negative ways, or when your own weaknesses are put right before your eyes over and over again. But I know that as we do our part, God will save us each and every day. Every minute and hour of every day if neccesary! I love our Heavenly Father! I love you all! Thanks for your love, support, prayers, and everything!
Have a great week!
Love, Sœur Heather Kofford
Sister Shariatmadari and me catching a ride!
The kids we teach gave us gifts for Mother's Day
Sister Shariatmadari and me with our coconuts!
I love my new companion!