Monday, August 31, 2015

And the Miracles Continue!

Wow! I do not even know where to start! God is good! He lives! And He loves us! Staying another six weeks here in Papeari was not a mistake! We are finding so much success through diligence, obedience, and faith and I cannot even believe it! I go to bed at night and am just so happy! I have been better at praying now than I have in a long time, because I always feel like I need to be thanking God for our countless blessings! Heinaiki and Itia are getting baptized this Saturday which is so special! Itia prayed that if she overcame her fear of water and got baptized that her family would be touched and follow her path. And sure enough her son, Bayard, and his girlfriend, Djelma are getting married and baptized on the eighteenth of September! Their whole family has completely changed and I absolutely love them! We had our first lesson with them on my birthday, and this is the best birthday gift I could have asked for! We also received a reference from a lady in our ward, she is a little girl named Lucy! We taught her the Restoration and she accepted to be baptized on the 12th of September, also her parents accepted and signed the paper which never happens! Naomis baptism is on the 11th! She has been taking the lessons with other sister missionaries for quite a while and her parents would never accept her baptism. Finally she started coming to church in our ward and I don't know what changed but they accepted and she will enter the waters of baptism next Friday! We also met Jonas! His wife is a member that just started coming back to church! She is darling and I love her! Her husband was supposed to get baptized the same day as her a couple years ago, but fell into temptations. Now a couple years later, he does not smoke, drink, or do drugs. He is so ready and we helped him to see that! His baptism will be the 12th as well! Heavenly Father is a powerful man! He can move mountains if He wants, so it only makes sense that He can work miracles in changing hearts! This church is a church of miracles! The only thing we have to do is open our hearts and be touched by the spirit! We have to become as little children, innocent and humble. And when this change occurs, God can mold us into the people He knows we can become! We are capable of anything in life! With Gods help, everything is possible! Literally all we need to do is put our faith in Him and do our very best to obey! So if you are struggling in life, or may be in need of a little miracle, it can be done through God! He loves us and wants to help us! He wants us to be happy and to find success! And if we will let Him in, He will show us He is there! So put your trust in Him! I love our Heavenly Father, and again, I know He loves us! Try to feel this love! I love you all and pray for you and hope for you! Thank you for everything! Have a great week!!
Love, Soeur Kofford
We love serving in Papeari!
Papi Tautu!!
Baptism of Monoihere!!
A Huahine family found our house and came to visit! Love these people!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

We See Better in the Light!

Iaorana my wonderful friends and family!
I love and miss you so much and still ask myself all the time how I got so blessed to be a part of your lives! We had another amazing week! God is good! We started out the week with the baptism of Doris and Teanau! These baptisms were both such miracles! It has not been very long since Doris joined another local church and thought she had found the truth and light in her life. Soon enough, a week later we show up on her door step and made her smile and laugh more than she has in years! She explained to us that she knew the church was true the moment she felt the presence of the spirit in her home. We shared the lessons and after prayer and fasting she decided to join the only true church on the earth today. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Her life has completely turned around. Then there is the story of Teanau. We started the lessons with her right when the companionship of Soeur Kofford and Soeur Shariatmadari commenced. She was living and sleeping with her boyfriend and also had issues with drugs. With the power of the Holy Ghost we asked her and her boyfriend to break up and committed them both to follow the Word of Wisdom. Sure enough, not too long after, Teanau moved out and Raimo is now preparing to serve a mission. Raimo also stopped smoking and drinking and it is amazing to me to see the light that came into his life and eyes! Teanau finally stopped smoking last week and was able to be baptized with Doris on Wednesday! Beautiful day! We also had three members of the 70 come and talk to us this week. President Robbins, President Sinju, and President Pearson! Their talks were amazing and I wish I could send you all of my insights and notes and everything I learned and realized, but I will explain the highlights briefly. They talked about the importance of the spirit in our life and being led and guided by Him! If you do not have the spirit with you right now . . . go do something about it so that He can dwell in your heart and in your mind and show unto you the things that you must do! I also loved the fact that in our premortal life, we agreed to come here to earth to accomplish the things we discussed with God before this mortal existence! Each of you have a huge potential with things that God needs you to do to help Him to prepare His kingdom! The Holy Ghost will lead us to these things if we will do our best to invite Him! Another important thing that we have to do is to pray to have Him with us! So do it! Pray constantly to have Him with you! I love the Holy Ghost and I know he loves me and I am so thankful for his presence in my life! I also learned the missionary that I need to be is an effective one. And to be an effective missionary we have to be guided by the spirit! I hope that I am being the missionary and person that God knows I can be! I hope that I am doing my best to accomplish my work here on the earth and become the best I possibly can! We had another miracle yesterday! A couple of weeks ago we started lessons with Djelma and her daughter Hanaiki! They were golden investigators and Hanaiki accepted baptism for the 5th of September! We then found that Hanaiki's Grandma had not yet been baptized and was actually really distraught about this! Her only issue is that she was scared of water! We fasted and prayed and sure enough she accepted to be baptized the 5th with her granddaughter. She was so happy about the fact that she could see her husband again that had passed away a few years earlier! Now we were just missing Djelma and the husband. The husbands name is Bayard and needs to change his life. He never really showed up when we would come for the lessons, but we committed him to come to church anyway. And yesterday . . . he came! Afterwards he let us know that he wanted what we had! He wanted the light! So if all goes as planned, Him and Djelma will be getting married and baptized on the 12th of September! God lives and He knows and loves us! He knows where we need to be and when, and he even knows what we need to say! In our life, sometimes it can be kind of hard to be following exactly and becoming exactly the person that we had agreed to become before. We see better in the light! With the light of the spirit . . . you will not find yourself lost! So search out this light! He is waiting to help you and guide you! I love you all! God is real and this church is true! Have a great week!
Love, Soeur Kofford
MTC buddies and our trainees!!
World famous teahupoo!
Love my companion!
Doris and Teanau's baptism!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

La Vie est Belle!

Bonjour tout le monde! Je vous aime!!
Life is beautiful in the eyes of the missionaries here at Papeari! We continue to find success and happiness in serving the Lord! There are so many miracles waiting to happen and I see them happen right before my eyes each and every day! I also love seeing the lives of our investigators change and I am amazed how God enters into and changes their lives forever! Through God everything is possible and when we are being directed and lead by His spirit . . . true happiness comes about! For this week, Monoihere was baptized! Her story is a miracle! She was one of the first lessons we taught when I first got into this area with Soeur Faana. We had this one single lesson and after that she headed back to her island to school! When Soeur Shariatmadari got here, we were able to get to know Moniohere a little bit better while she was here for a weekend visiting family. Her sister is a member of the church but her baptism was not at all accepted by her parents. She had to wait to be eighteen, be out of the house, and then could make her decision to be baptized. Moniohere is sixteen and has taken missionary discussions already with her sister. We learned that she too had the desire to be baptized, but could not do anything about it because of her parents. So we all decided to pray and fast together and sent the permission papers home with her to the island, hoping that we would see a miracle. Sure enough, she called us saying that the papers were signed! We fixed her baptism for the fifteenth, the first Saturday she would be back here at Tahiti. So in the middle of all of this, her sister gets called on her mission to Australia, but had to wait for her visa and was stuck in our mission for a couple of weeks. When their mother found out that the sister was still here on Tahiti, she got really mad at the fact that she could not talk to her daughter and ripped up the parent permission form for Moniohere. We all prayed and fasted again and worked things out slowly with the family and Moniohere showed up here at Papeari with the signed permission slip! When the Elders had her interview, they told us after that they have never felt the spirit so strong and that she was the most ready person they have ever seen to enter into the waters of baptism. On my mission I have really learned the importance of baptism and also the importance of all the covenants and ordinances that we make here on this earth. We are not here to do nothing. We are here to find out who we really are, who we were before this life, our real heavenly potential. The door of baptism is how our investigators are first able to really taste a bit of this eternal happiness and love! I know that God lives and He has a plan for each one of us! He knows us individually and He watches us daily! He already knows the best things for us in life and that is why He gives us the opportunity to make so many sacred promises with Him! So this week, think about how special these things are and try your best to really be able to respect these covenants and stay worthy of His spirit and help! These things protect us, they enlighten us and bless us through everything! I am so thankful for this church and for our Heavenly Father who loves us! I know that everything is possible through Him with our faith! We truly can only limit ourselves! I love our Savior Jesus Christ and am so grateful to be able to change myself and become better through Him every day. And I love having the companionship of the Holy Ghost who leads and directs my life! This church is so true! I love it and I love you all!! I hope you all have a great week! You are in my thoughts and prayers!
Love, Soeur Heather Kofford
Moniohere's baptism!
Twinning it up!
MTC district flying high! Meeting the challenges and eating breakfast at presidents house!
Service!! Made 50 plates of food!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Staying in Papeari!

Iaorana Friends and Family!
Thanks for all of the birthday wishes and love and support! I love and miss you all and am so thankful for the blessings that you are in my life! We had a great week! Monday night we were invited to a ward family night . . . that turned into a surprise going away party for me because everyone thought I was being transferred! Before the party our Bishop wanted to make sure that it was really me being transferred and so he called President Bize hahaha! Surprise, neither of us were transferred! So we had the party anyway! What a night! My birthday was great as well! We had great lessons and ate dinner with one of my favorite sisters in the ward, Clem! She invited some other families that I love so much and our new converts! We ate fish and chocolate cake! They know me so well! As far as last week goes,we still had lots and lots of miracles! We met Djelma and Hanaiki who are golden investigators! They love church and said that they are going to come every week! They also had lots of questions about baptism that we answered at church! So pray for them! We also did a service project and cut down three trees! Ha, I did not know what yard work was before this mission, Holly I will be happy to help you rake when I return haha! I do not have a lot of time and I wish that you could all be here to experience the blessing of this mission! I love life and am learning so much! You are in my thoughts and prayers! Keep up the good work! Love you love you!
Love, Soeur Heather Kofford
Staying in Papeari!
I love Sister Arbuckle!
20th birthday!
My birthday cake!
Pizza in Tahiti!!!
Tahitian pearls!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Good Life!

We had another amazing week here in our wonderful area of Papeari! I love my mission. I am learning so much about everything and sometimes it's a little bit hard for me to take it all in! Sometimes I wish I could have a paper and pen and a free moment to write down every thought! This week we realized again that life is like cleaning a messy house. You know that its a mess and that things need to be changed. So you start to clean and you clean and clean and its not your favorite thing but you do it anyway. Sometimes you even turn on the music and have some fun in the process! And while you are cleaning you are surprised to find that you left ten dollars in your pocket and now you have cash to go out to lunch! As you continue you find that you also forgot to clean up your late night snack and now the milk is crusted in the cup with the Oreo crumbs, this takes a little more time to clean up than it originally would have. All in all, its a good process because the final product is a clean house where people feel welcomed and happy . . . along with you, you are happy. In life we are constantly going about cleaning ourselves up! Our purpose is to live our life to the best of our ability in accordance with the principles of the gospel. Through this we come to know ourselves because we come to know God. He shows us our strong points when we need them most. We are molded into the people that He knows we can become through our weaknesses. On my mission I learn new weaknesses that I have each and every day. I learned that before I started this spiritual journey I truly did not even know who I was. Through the last couple of baptisms that we have had I have really got to understand the repentance process through the lives of others. I have seen people change and be obedient to the commandments through their desire to change and their love for God. It has been truly amazing for me to see! From the Word of Wisdom to the Law of Chastity, no matter how hard a commandment is for a person, they can change. This change is only possible through the Atonement and sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I have started to pray to ask God to better help me understand the Atonement in my life. He answered my prayers by bringing all of my past weaknesses and sins to my mind. This was a hard day. I felt so bad and so guilty! Then I ran across a quote from Elder Packer that said if we have any doubts about anything or are feeling sad that we need to put the atonement to the test. So I genuinely thought about all of these little things that I could have done better in my life. From not being nice to my sister to wasting so much of my time being lazy and much more. I was sincere and prayed and throughout the whole week I felt an inner peace! I cleaned up that messy house and invited an even stronger influence of the spirit into my life. I am so thankful for the Atonement in our lives! I know that Christ lives and that He knows us each individually! He loves us! If any of you are sad or worried about something, put His atonement to the test! This Church is so true! I am so thankful for the 18 months I have to come to know and love my Heavenly Father! I love you all and know we are in each others lives for good reasons! Have a great week!
Love, Sœur Heather Kofford
Tahitian sandwich!
Boat ride to a little private island on P-day!
Peace and love!
Lunch with friends!
Poohina's baptism!
Crowns with Eloodie!
Tahiti temple!
Swinging on the beach for P-day!
Another great baptism!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

God is Good!

I hope you are all doing well and loving life! Things continue to go amazingly here at Papeari and we truly do love life! The weeks go by so fast, its truly incredible! Last week was so good and full of lots of amazing things! The older I get on this mission, the more I realize that things are not about me. It has been amazing for us to experience that as long as we are holding our end of the deal with obedience, diligence, and faith . . . that God really will pull through with His part as well! Everyone is waiting for this gospel and they are all being prepared whether they know it or not! It is amazing to hear the individual stories and try to match the gospel principle that they need and apply it with the spirit to help their needs and bring them unto Christ. We are all lost in our own way. We are all still sitting in the fire with our master constantly holding and watching us. We are all being refined. But the important thing is to be aware of this change, to see the hands of God in our lives, to open our hearts and let Him in. This week we saw several examples of this. We finally met Regina. We first met her through a Survey that we did with the Elders a couple weeks ago. She was a little tricky to track down but we kept trying and now are glad we did! We soon learned that she does not have a religion but does believe in God and wants to know more about Him. After the first lesson she agreed to read out of the Book of Mormon and pray about coming unto Christ through baptism. I know that she has been prepared for these messages of hope and happiness. She is missing something in her life and even though she might not realize it, she was searching. I know that if she will open her heart and realize her need of God, He will respond to her. Please pray for Regina! We also started the discussions with two darling girls named Moeani and Mahana! I love them because they remind me of my darling little sister, Shaylee! They are both beautiful, really smart, and super receptive to the things we share. Half way through their first lesson, the older of the two, Moeani started crying and could not describe why. She was happy and we described to her that she was feeling the spirit. These two Young girls had been prepared through their experiences as well and are praying about their baptism as well! We also had the baptism of our dear friend Mihiau. Her baptism was supposed to be last week but had to be rescheduled because she fell into temptation and smoked a cigarette the morning of her baptism. She has been through a lot. She had already received the missionaries as a little girl but her mother did not accept her request to be baptized. This traumatized her a little and again she fell into a dark world of sin. She became a little cold with her opinions towards the church and now as an adult it was only after she saw her father-in-law change that she re-accepted the missionary lessons. After a bit she decided that she did want to get baptized but had a really hard time giving up smoking and was not seriously motivated to do so. Eventually she put in her efforts and fasted and found success in quitting. Through all of this, she kept a lot to herself and did not like sharing her thoughts or testimony very often. Then came the day of her baptism. Such a cool  experience! When the service was over and she shared her testimony for everyone, her first sentence was: I joined this Church because I know that its true. So simple but it pierced my heart in just the right way. She opened her heart and let God in and He helped her change. The rest of her testimony talked about how we can change through Christ and how we truly can earn eternal life! I was blown away! I think that my favorite thing in life is seeing others change and find happiness! I love this gospel and the truthfulness of it! I am a member of this Church because as Mihiau said . . . I know its true! Life is hard but with the gospel there is nothing that cannot be resolved! So if any of you are struggling with your testimonies, open up your hearts, put God to the test and ask for yourselves. I love you all! Keep trying to notice the blessings that we receive each day and always seek for opportunities to become a little more like our Savior! I love you all!! Have a great week!!!
Love, Sœur Heather Kofford
These are two of our investigators! Hanaiti and Nona! They are professional Heiva dancers! They taught us a dance this morning and let us wear their costumes that they made!
Crepes with dmp!!
Mihiaus baptism! Our sister!
I found some antlers for father Kent! We can do better than that! hahaha Just kidding, I don't even know what this was! This is Regina in the picture with her wiener dogs!
Pretty sure we all new each other before this life! Love them!