Monday, December 29, 2008
OFF THE BEATEN TRACK
MISSIONARY VS. WILD
Thanks for the corn bread recipe! such a great idea, right now I'm
really craving, too; I had forgoten all about it! I'm glad the
Christmas was good...I was kinda hoping to call and see everyone
was havin a lousy christmas because I was not there...but ya'll
looked great... Christmas was great here as you saw. We had a
great time with the elders and the Collings. They are great.
The day after Christmas was not so great though...I didn't
sleep at all that night and woke up so dang sick...I threw up
in the morning for about 5 minutes and then my head was
spinning the rest of the day...luckily the Collings are here.
They got me and Elder Garotta back to Moule, and me some soup
and other stuff. I felt bad sleeping all day but I was just
not feeling up to do anything but try and sleep. Saturday I
still had a headache and runny nose and stuff, but I was able
to get out and work and that cures everything. But its good now.
Tuck is lookin good man. I can't believe my little bro is
almost 18! I was thinking about that and it blows me away!
He is the man. He has got to start preparing for the mission!
Man everyone looked great! I was so happy to talk to you guys!
It put me in such a great mood! The mission has really made
me so grateful for the family, and also resentful for being
such a geek when I didn't hang out with you too. This week is
gonna be a great week for Moule, if it's Elder Garotta's or my
last week here we gotta go out with a bang. Bunch of
investigators and a bunch of people at church! K well I love
From a separate e-mail:
The zone leaders wanted to get all the apartments spick and
span because a lot of them looked like crap (not ours whoooop
whoooop!) so we stay at one of the apartments. The zone
leaders bring a bunch of extra matresses and then we wake up
at about 6 and clean till 9 or 9:30 and with 14 guys we get a
lot done. Actually to be honest it ends up its 6 or 7 of us
that do all the work and the others are lame. But after we
will go play soccer all together, see a beach and play frisbee,
or see a waterfall or something.It's really hard to transfer
from island to island because of flights so they will transfer
from branch to branch. Elder Garotta thinks we are getting
transfered... I think I'm staying still.
Elder Garotta has become such a wuss on me.. the last two
weeks i have set up markers on a long straight road and have
done ladders....they aren't doing tons though...but I think
he is getting trunky and wants to look good for when he gets
home so hopefully this week will at least be different we have
transfers the week after.
Dad thanks for your advice on the language...I definitely
find a difference in my french when i just get out and testify.
Testifying of the Saviour is the best. Its the fixer of all
things...it can fix a heart when its sad, it can bring calm to
a soul that is stresses, and it can bring the french language
to a missionary when he is feeling really insecure about it.
And as missionaries we definitely can not fear or worry about
sounding dumb when we are doing this work. This last sunday
...so yesterday I guess I had to give a talk and I was really
tired from the day before and hadn't prepared tons...but before
I started I just decided I was not going to worry about what I
said before hand, and I just had faith beforehand that what I
needed to say would be given to me. The talk went so well!
My first talk a couple of weeks ago was a wreck, and the
difference was definitely more faith and less fear.
So the utes are gonna pull an upset pretty soon...I'm so
excited to hear who wins!!!! Elder williams and I are gonna
fast...no just jokin'...first off the fast isn't for that
and second the utes don't need it! I'm glad to hear the jazz
are developing their younger talent. Sports are tight,
unfortunately im becoming a little bit of a soccer fan here,
but I can't help it! It's all they do...so me and hill will
be better buddies.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
It was a crazy week...Monday to Thursday there was a huge gas
strike and we could not get anywhere outside of Moule from Sunday
to Thursday. We did not even know zone conference was still a go
until about 10 o'clock Wednesday night. I guess they are
complaining gas prices are outrageous here(like they are not
everywhere else, too, so everyone decided they wouldn't drive for
four days (the missionaries joked it was just 'cuz they wanted
another holiday). But it really screwed up our week. We had three
really good investigators who had baptismal dates: Michlo, Rosin,
and Renai. We had planned to spend all of Monday and Tuesday in
Moner a Leau working there with our investigators there,
specifically Rosin and Renai who live there. Moule is actually a
three city area (Moner a L'eau, San Francoi, and Moule). We
had memebers set up to come and teach, but because of the
strike our plans were all screwed up. We adapted our plans for
Moule and to work with our investigators there. Michlo was
the only one of the three investigators with a baptism date
who lived in Moule, and we had planned to see him on Tuesday,
but could not even get a hold of him until Thursday night. So
we worked with most of our investigors in Moule, but ended up
doing a whole lot of finding (port a port). Finally, we were able
to meet with Michlo Thursday night only to be devestated to
find he had found a girlfriend, and didn't think he could keep
the commitments of baptism. I don't know how to explain
the sorrow and desperation there is in seeing someone be so
close and yet still so far....Even worse was that we have not
been able to get a hold of Rosin for the last week for whatever
reason. I think he has started smoking again, but this week
has just been rough as far as the work goes. We are having a
tough time finding tons of good investigators too. Everyone
here seems to have so much potential, they are so nice and
great, and yest so stuck in their own religions. I wish i could
do more, but the French limits me still.
Luckily we had the best Zone conference to lift my spirits
after this week. The spirit was so strong and I really allowed
it to teach me some things. In all I still feel the branch is
growing stronger and becoming a more closely knit branch.
This week we were surprised by two of the sisters who made
a whole bunch of pancakes for the branch after church. I don't
know what it is but they are pancake crazy now! Mom thanks
so much for your testimonyevery week, it helps boost mine
each time a read it....I love you and love the fam...thanks for
the awesome recipes, too! They are so kick butt!
COWBOYIN' UP, GUADELOUPE STYLE
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
What are all the bottles on your kitchen counter (previous week's photo)? They are our attempt at food storage haha...we did a huge cleaning though so they aren't just chillin' on the counter.
How has apartment hunting gone? We have not done too much on that, we have been so busy and it is not that high on the list of the priorities
When are the 3 baptismal dates you talked about? See mom's letter (the one that never arrived)
How was zone conference? Oh my gosh it was so great! I wrote a letter about it that hopefully you will get...but I'm finding letters take a really long time to arrive.
Are the members taking Luissant under their wings? Are they fellowshipping him? Yeah he had becoming very well fellowshiped in the branch except that he just left this week for France for like 2 months with a member( they should be getting married in a few months) He needed to go to France for some type of surgery.
Let us know any time you receive packages. Have you received the package with Christmas CDs in it? I actually just got it today and can't wait to listen to the tunes!!!! I laughed so hard when I saw the old school pictures of me, Tuck and the girls.
ANDY'S FIRST CREOLE DINNER
FANCY BANANA LEAF PLATES
LOOKS LIKE A MISSIONARY CREATION?
Thursday, December 11, 2008
my thing is rice. I've been cooking rice for about a week, and
trying different things. I'm known as the cooking "slut" ...
sorry for the term...but I'm just quoting other people. I've set
a goal to learn some good creole food to cook for the fam when
I get back. I think most creole food is cooked with native
spices though so its harder. Hopefully, I'll figure it out.
Dang it sounds like a pretty good week for you all! I'm not
gonna lie, I'm getting a little home sick...little...Christmas
is just the sweetest! Anyways...congrats to Brent and Emily
(baby boy due in April), thats awesome..its the best time of
year to celebrate life!
Christmas is so cool...I just finished Jesus the Christ this
week. Holy cow, it's so good. I read it in 2 weeks so my Book
of Mormon study wasn't as much as it had been, but you know me...
I'm a nerd, once I start a book I can't stop. Its really opened
my eyes though to the reality of his atonement and the difficulty
of his mission, and although he went through temptation that none
of us have been subject to and went through more than any of us
can imagine, he overcame the world!
I can't believe He-dont-suck Tuck applied to Blimpie's. Maybe
if he changes his name to Naylor he could score a job... Ash
thanks for the email..the postcard should be coming but it takes
forever! Moule is good though, the work is going great we have 3
people with baptismal dates, and a couple others who are family
of 2 of them who might come around.
Andy's First Baptism: Luissant
The biggest problem is the branch. There is no unity and
although the branch president is very capable he doesn't help
the best with it...so we have been trying to work with them and
pump them up pretty good. We just got news that the Collings
(Senior couple) are going to be working in Moule for the next
4 months so that should be huge! Keep on keepin on everyone,
I love everyone !
Andy on a P-Day Hike with His Zone
How did P night go? Did you really dress like pirates? Haha, I know you were probably worried we wouldn't look like missionaries if we dressed like pirates, but we ended up not doing it...I came as Papa Noel instead (Santa)...and not really even him. I just wore a santa ha, but its was stupendous! We had a bunch of people there...all the missionaries came to support and had most of our investigors there. We had domionoes, monopoly, uno, and other games that we played for about an hour. For a break Elder Garotta and I made a bunch of pizza thanks to mom's dough recipe, we probably made 7 or 8 pizzas and we shared a spiritual thought about prosperity. It went really well. Afterwords we played a game as a group for an hour. It was really great for the members and investigors both.
Are there any unique Christmas traditions on Guadeloupe? How do they decorate? There are only a few decorations up but not very many. haha christmas doesnt start in october like it does in good ole america...there are some cool homes of people from dominica who put up lights and stuff though
Church Members in Moule
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
This week has been cool in Moule, we have a bunch of new investigators that are pretty new> It's so much slower (the work) here on the french side, and luckily I have been pretty good about not getting down when we hear how many baptsims the english side is getting. Truth is that as long as I'm working hard I have no reason but to rejoice in my God and that I already have taken part in helping one soul come to him. But ya love you guys tons...no worries about the game, mom, I knew they would win haha....Utah football kicks trash...
Other tidbits from the weekly Q & A:
- The West Indies Mission had 237 baptisms in November
- Packages sent via US Postal Service are best sent in a "packaged envelope, not a box".
- "Not gonna lie, all the elders are jealous of my popularity...I have been tearing up the letter records..haha I don't know if its because I get a lot or they just don't get much, but thank you Dianna and Travis, Phil and Mandy, Aunt Carol, Emily and Chad, Allie, Masha, Clara, Paul and Sara ...mail is crucial! and always remember when you send something it never hurts or costs more to throw in a little sports article.
- Louisant's baptism was not in the ocean. It would have been cool, but we are supposed to let the person choose and he wanted it in the baptismal font so that was lame, but cool still...Elder Garotta and I were witnesses.
- Andy wants for Christmas: I just want you guys to have a great Chrismas, and to keep putting me in your prayers, and drop a few lines and thats great
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Man you sound like an apostle .... it's so awesome to see you growing and how great an example you are to me. This week I have been reading in Alma about chapter 45 to the end of it. and the wars are really sweet. of course (especially Teancum...he is my boy!), but i was really touched to read about the 2000 stripling warriors and their mothers. I hope you know that I feel the reason I'm able to be here on my mission is because of you and the principles and faith that you have shown me in your life. You're the best mom. Ok, so I think I'm going to send a memory card home today or tomorrow; but send it back as soon as you can so I can get some more pictures before Christmas. Who knows maybe it will get there before Thursday so you can take some pictures of the party for me...Haha Grandma and Grandpa are the best...I hope Grandpa is back to scaring the little kids in the ward haha...well actually he scares people of every age, not just kids. Crap mom....you ruined the game for me! I think....well at least it was a win from what I can read between the lines.
So lets see what has gone on this week...I don't remember too much. We are teaching this family, the Lepenec family: an older man of about 60, his wife, a Portuguese woman of about 40, and their daughter about 14. The mom and the daughter have come to church on and off for about 3 years and have just got reacquainted with the missionaries. The other day I was talking with the mom and she told me she wants to visit Utah sometime...I asked her when she would be doing that and she replied after her baptism (have I told this story before? oh well who cares haha)! Anyway, Elder Garotta and I have been teaching them every couple of days since then, but the dad has become a problem. Basically he thinks we are a church that just tries to take people's money with our tithing. We have explained how it works; how no one is paid in our church. We have tried to build his testimony of Joseph Smith so he can have a testimony of his commandments, and nothing is working. All he wants to do is argue. So Elder Garotta and I fasted with the family yesterday, and we have faith that that might at least soften his heart to allow their baptisms ( that's the problem, he won't let them be baptized). Elder Garotta and I have set a high goal for baptisms by the end of the month, and we are hoping to get a few this week and a lot next month (I'm really missing the snow and want some type of white Christmas).
Speaking of White Christmas, Elder Garotta has a sweet version of the White Christmas song.....who was it by again....oh ya, Michael Buble! So sweet! We have made a tradition of singing it in the back of peoples' cars when we are on our way back from appointments; they like hearing the English Christmas songs...maybe not the voice that accompanies it so much, but haha...
k well mom i love you and love the family
Answers to family questions.
Did your baptism go through? Oh, I didn't even tell about his baptism to mom...but Louisant's baptism was awesome! A member of the branch did it which is good, its so much better to build those deep spiritual bonds between members than missionaries. He came to church yesterday to be confirmed and he looked like a new man.. so up beat and just looking great.
Can we rip you some Christmas CDs? What can or can't you listen to (Christmas music)? Most Christmas music we can listen to... I think basically anything except songs with romantic lyrics (probably wouldn't be the best for me cuz I'm a lover), but some kids have some Michael Buble christmas....haha I'm not jealous at all..
How did your "P" night go? P night got pushed back to the 5th because of some conflicts, but it is shaping up to be good...we need to get our pirate costumes together...but yeah I think Elder Garotta and I are just going to use some of our Mission fund money for it...it shouldn't be too much, and the members have been really kind at feeding us lately, probably like twice a week.
How are your feet? My feet are great...and I'm not really taking care of them either... I think they were just trying to scare us with all those myths..but I'm watching them..actually this morning we played soccer at this sweet beach and every one's feet were torn up and bloody, it was fun though
Did you buy a machete? NO! man Preparation day goes by way too fast; we never have time to buy stuff! I'm workin on it though...I'm keeping my eyes out for a killer one though
How much longer does Elder Garotta have on his mission? He leaves in February. We just got transfer calls to serve in Moule another transfer so I'm stoked to be with him. I get to hone my culinary skills for another 6 weeks...and that doesn't even count french help!
So the game was good? Man I'm excited...poor Tuck didn't get to go...I'm sure you could have gotten so much more for those tickets! But, its alright...haha i wanna see Tucker's model football picture though...the ladies all over it?
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Cow fait? That's how's it going in french creole. Today has been awesome We just finished zone conference with Elder Vinas of the Seventy. He trained us for a day; it was unreal. Talk about someone just having a spiritual glow around him! He taught what we missionaries need to do to build the church here & build strong branches with strong members so that we can eventually get a stake here. Right now it will be a long process. There is not much priesthood strength and that is the foundation of the church. But, he planted such a vision of how the work needs to be done here.
We have been teaching these elderly couples who are Catholic and we taught them tonight and set a baptism date with them. For one of the couples it was their first lesson. I snuck in at the end of the lesson that I was excited they could be starting down the road of baptism (haha... I think it kind of took them off guard to mention that so quick in our teaching).
It's funny, Elder Garotta and I have been using my lack of french to an advantage. I'm the one who asks the hard questions or commitments or for a member to teach with us. If they say no I just say "I don't understand" what they are saying until they say "yes". They underestimate the sneakiness. We have some really good investigators right now who are on the right track. It's hard here in Guadeloupe to get investigators 'cuz there is a very, very small percentage of the people living the law of chastity. So, it will take some patience.
One brother, Mitchlot, is probably the nicest man I have ever met, but he is scared to death to get baptized and then mess up with the law of chastity after baptism. It's all comin' together though. It is awesome to see the hand of the Lord in His work.
The food is amazing. Although I have not tried tons of the creole, I have been pounding as much fruit as I can. I can't get enough. I don't know if you can get tubby off fruit, but I might find a way to do it. I talked Elder Garotta into buying tons of fruits and vegetables from now on. I don't know why vegetables, I really don't like 'em, but just to make you proud, mom). We bought apples, pineapples, kiwis, bananas, and bunch of yogurt for the mornings. We don't have money for much junk food which is good. Food is really expensive here. It's probably 50% higher prices, but it makes us good budgeters. But, by far the most important fruit here is coconut. One family gave me this coconut milk (warm) and I about threw up. Then my companion, seeing my attempt at pretending to like it, told the family I wanted more (he knows most missionaries can't stand it). But, I have to be honest, the coco here has been growing on me. We have this amazing coconut jam and ice cream right now. Okay, well that was a lot of writing about food.
Last week we did some service for a man in the ward who owns a bunch of cows and pigs. We got to help with them, but the best part is after we helped him in his yard with machetes! Yipee-kai-yay! It was so sweet! I am going to have to buy one this week, cuz I think the zone is going to a waterfall on Preparation Day... I don't know why I need a machete for that but trust me... it is necessary.
Everything is dandy here. I hope everything is well at home. How are ya Hill and Ash? I miss my sisters. Are you getting pumped for Christmas? I know I am. My companion just got a Christmas CD that had one Christmas song sung by my boy Michael Buble', "I'm Dreaming of A White Christmas". So that's sweet.
Tuck, how are the ladies? I suggest using the creek a little bit, we have one in our backyard... such a setup. I need some pictures of the family. Investigators love to see our families, too.
Love you all, Elder Andy Neff
Monday, November 17, 2008
Like His Friend Chas (same mission)
Monday, November 10, 2008
Hey mother dear
Things went all right with Eva, we have seen her twice since then and both times she really was not doing very well/ Luckily there was a lot of family around for her. It didn't help that he (Adonai) was catholic before he died and was not baptized yet/ So it was a catholic funeral. I'm not going to lie; I was upset when Elder Garotta and I showed up and 20 people kept repeating the same prayer over and over again for an hour. They were all reading off some sheet of paper..how comforting is that to the Her? zilch! Elder Garotta and I sang a couple of cantiques(hymns) for her. and I hope it helped a little bit more I don't know, I shouldn't put down their church, but there just isn't much healing that goes on.
That's cool tuck used the story in sacrament meeting though! Sorry I don't write very well so he could quote me...I'm the worst writer. I don't have time to comment on most of what you write me, but its sounds like you are all doing great and I love hearing and seeing how much the family is growing spiritually.
Oh but i HAVE to make a comment about trav's and dianna's baby "hahahahaha" that is so sweet! I love the name and that he is a big boy! Such perfect for them! He is gonna be a monster football player.
Things are great here in Moule. I appreciate the prayers and I promise they do help the work so much! Especially when they are coming for the best family in the world...Last Tuesday I did splits with Elder Williams, the zone leader! He is so sweet! He is going to be playing for the Utes next year so he and I get along pretty well. I'm calling him right after this to talk about the TCU game (thanks dad you're the best). It's definitely a lot easier to understand conversations when with him; he speaks well but doesn't speak as fast as Elder Garotta. He had to take a breathalyser test that night for driving...he wasn't driving bad but they don't like Americans here.
The big news this week has been the election. It's ridiculous how many people ask us about that, and how amazed they are that we have a black president Everyone we talk to that's the first thing they ask is what we think about the election (they realize by my look and then by my french that I'm American). It's funny though, they do not care at all what he says just that he is black.
So mom will be proud of me, Saturday i made about 75 pancakes for a pancake party after church yesterday. Yup. lets just say I'm a pro pancake maker. haha. It was amazing to see how many people have no idea what a pancake is! They loved them...but we did it as a way to start building better relationships in the branch, as well as pump them up for a game night we are going to start every week, as a way to invite investigators to get to know everyone in the ward. The first game night is in two weeks and the theme is the letter P ( I stole the idea from Paul and Sarah Taylor for theme nights with letters). The missionaries are gonna make pizza; I'm going to be playing the piano; we are going to play spoons or another game cuz that doesn't work haha; and teach about the priesthood....sweet! If you have any ideas for other games for other nights let me know. I love you all and you are in my prayers. This week my scripture has been Alma 34...i love the scriptures....Remember that we must worship god in everything we do, in spirit and in truth, and while we do this we must always be thankful for the endless mercies and blessings we must receive from him... It is a blessing to rejoice in our God and when we have trials be grateful for them and remember verse 41 of Alma 34( I don't remember what that says but I wrote it in my journal) there is never a reason to fear as long as we are worthy for eternal life. The church is sweet! Love you guys and keep it real in Utah for me.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
The work is going good though, we taught a sweet family (the Ferrands). Its a brother and a sister who are so freaking nice! They were so receptive and so willing to listen to the gospel. and even though a lot of people are willing to listen. Usually we just walk up to an open door of a house, and doors are always open cuz of the heat, and we say "TO-to-to" the English equivalent of "knock knock knock" and then they let us in too teach, but don't accept what we say. This family, though. loved what we had to say, and we made baptismal dates....I think I'm only gonna be able to do one email a week, but ill send a letter today.
In response to some of our questions, Andy wrote:
If the walk is so far, why don't you ride bikes? I think its cuz they would probably get stolen...but honestly it would be a good idea. It really messes with schedule...because after studying in the morning its about 11(cuz of language) but if we left to go knock doors we would have to walk a half hour and we would have to walk a half hour back for lunch (we dont have enough funds to eat out every night) I think its ok though cuz we usually just make phone calls from 11 to 12 to set up appointments and get members to come (it really is so much better to teach with members, not only is it more powerful but now that investigator has a friend at church other than the missionaries). But the time from 11 to 12 gives us time to make our day more efficient, and then we just skip dinner...so it ends up working out alright. Elder Garotta has really got the branch going, last week we had as many member lessons as the entire district combined; he is a great missionary.
Tell us about the food. I have not had too much of the creole food cuz we usually make our own, but elder garotta makes some mean pasta that is SO good...he also made some boquets the other day ( i don't know if that is something found only here or other places as well) ...we were able to eat at a members house (President Gardel) and they served this awesome creole soup bouillon...it was amazing...unfortunately I have no idea what was in it but a lot of spices...I'm loving cooking though, I have learned how to make a lot from Elder Garotta...and I have even made a few things...we made your chili mom as well as your apricot chicken...we don't have the best cooking stuff so that one turned out kinda...different..oh and i made some money banana pancakes!
Tell us about your living arrangements. The house has three rooms, our kitchen and our bedroom, and then one 10 by 8 bathroom, that is probably the most efficient bathroom I have ever seen. You can be going to the bathroom and showering at the same time. It doubles as both...its cool too cuz its self cleaning.
Tell us about the branch. We have about 15 active members. the primary consists of one family...the Vautiers she has 5 boys who are sweet. This one kid he just turned 12 is tight. He doesn't make me feel too retarded when I speak to him in my french so i have made buddies with him. He is smart though, he speaks a little English and Spanish, and he speaks perfect french! Can you believe that! French is a hard language. Anyways...I told him I have a sister a little younger than him..Ashley? mwhahaha...but then there are a few other members that are good. President Gardel is the man. He helps us tons with member lessons, and never turns us down when we ask. He speaks such slurred french though; I have never had a conversation with him because I can never understand him (je ne comprends pas!). It is a good ward, and the members are very friendly with the investigators we bring. We had 5 last week but it should have been more. Oh and the primary had their primary program yesterday which consisted of four kids, two ladies who spoke, and me playing the piano for their songs.
Is the French spoken proper french or more of a creole? I don't want to talk to much about the french haha...its so bad...the adult people that have moved to Guadeloupe from France or something I can understand pretty well, but kids my age or people that have lived here there whole life I can't understand at all. Even after I tell them I don't speak creole and they speak in french, it is tough...Elder Garotta is teaching me some creole now though, but all in all I'm progressing pretty well.
When does Elder Garotta go home? Is he still the man? haha Its true I suppose; its easy to love your companion for the first week but once you get comfortable with each other its not as good...but not us...he is still sweet, he is a goofball. I took him on a run this morning that was pretty far haha and he kept freaking out at me that we should turn around and go back after about 20 minutes, but then i talked him into believing that although how hard you work during your mission decides your blessings after mission, the workout time and how hard you work then decides how pretty of girl you marry...haha he was all for the run now..no joke that is the only reason he kept going.
Have you had your stitches removed? yea it really was not a big deal at all...they are out and I don't think i have a scar haha I'm a spaz.
I don't remember if I told you last week but our two zone leaders are both football players going to BYU and Utah when they get home...they said president is maybe going to let us watch that game (their dad or someone will send it) I would have a heart attack if we got to see that...cross your fingers
Monday, October 20, 2008
- The weather is so crazy! it will rain for about 10 minutes at a time so hard! harder than i have ever seen anyzhere else; and then it will just stop! its so hot too...and its winter! im sweating so much! but its good.
- Elder Garotta is the man he speaks really great english, he does pronounce some words wrong, and i love making fun of him when he does (you see he secretly wants to be american, and so he wants to speak perfect english)
- Man that is sweet 'bout Tuck! (Tuck had a touchdown catch last week) What a stud! I can't wait till we are all back home and playing some turkey bowl again...i wanna smoke him again.
- Island life is so awsome! its unbelievable how beatiful it is here! I wish we had more time to enjoy it though, its bad but im already looking forward to when i can come back and really enjoy it haha
- I think i have sort of got the hang of things, i still need to adjust to just how tiring missionary work is, the mornings are a little bit of a daze as of late cuz im so tired. but im sure ill get used to it.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
As described on the West Indies Mission blog (maintained by the fantastic Sister Robison):
Hurrah! The newest elders are here but it wasn't easy. They were supposed to arrive at the Trinidad airport at 8:00 PM Monday night. We got them Tuesday night at 10:00 PM - 24 hours late. Here is the story of their 40 hour journey:
- left the Provo MTC very early Monday morning
- arrived at Salt Lake City airportflight delayed out of Salt Lake
- arrived Atlanta , missed departing flight to Trinidad by a few minutes (had to catch tram, run to gate, oops wrong gate, find right gate, no plane)now what?
- contacted Delta personnel, got in touch with us - everyone scrambled
- no easy way to get to Trinidad so...
- early evening 5 elders fly to Cincinnati
- an hour later the other 2 fly to Cincinnati
- sleep a few hours in hotel
- morning - all 7 catch flight to New York City
- early afternoon - all 7 fly to Trinidad
- 8:00 pm - arrive on time
- line up in immigration
- immigration officer doesn't want two of them to enter
- frantic calls to President Robison and Sister Coleman to bring permit to the airport
- 9:30 pm - march triumphantly through gate!
- met by President Robison and the assistants
- 10:00 pm - dinner (?) in the mission home
- 11:oo pm - 12:30 am - handle necessary welcoming and training (finances, paperwork, orientation)
- 1:30 am - finally to bed
- 5:00 am - elders serving in Guyana head to the airport (Elders Harris, Brenkmann, Lee, and Coronado)
- right now (8:30 am) - Elder Neff (going to Guadeloupe) is being interviewed and I haven't yet seen Elders Jones and Noah (serving in Trinidad)
Andy wrote us quick e-mail. It follows.
Hey mom and dad I don't have very much time. But I wanted to let you know i arrived in Trinidad just fine. We got here last night and Elder Barton(chas) was at the mission home because he was being transfered! He said it was one in a million chance we would see each other, but thats just another one of the tender mercies of the Lord. I probably won't see him again on the mission due to different islands. This morning I woke up early and have been chatting and interviewing with President and Sister Robison. They are awesome! They are so nice, and make you feel right at home! It makes me sad they won't be here the whole 22 months for me. But I am off to Guadeloupe in an hour to serve with Elder Garotta as my senior companion. I guess he is a native of France. Ya i'm screwed...no doubt he will make me speak 100% french. But i'm so excited! I'll be making 3 flights to get to Guadeloupe today....is that a record? i'm pretty sure...7 flights in 3 days! holy schmokes..k well gotta go. love ya
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
How goes it up north? I can't believe that you would go to the cabin without me! That's lame, and good luck having fun... just jokin'. I am jealous though. Mom, thank you for the amazing cookies and recipe book. The cookies were gone that night (I only ate two luckily). The recipe book will be nice though. Word on the street is that we have a cook in the West Indies though. I kind of hope not so I can get better at cooking. But, on the other hand if we don't have to cook, there is more time to do missionary work. I'm sure you are getting kind of bored of my letters from the MTC. Nothing really happens. I do like it here and enjoy the study time, but I'll be grateful to leave.
I appreciate your advice on being district leader, mom. I'm sorry if last week sounded like I was shrugging the duty off as "no big deal". Truth is, it is difficult for me because I have to act the leader role and its tough finding the balance between fun guy and serious district leader. I just didn't want to sound as if I was complaining last week, hence, the "no big deal". But thanks for the advice. I know you are doing a great job as Relief Society Pres.
Anyways, nothing too much to report other than that. I just wanna hear more about how everyone is doin'. I hope letters won't be this boring for everyone in the West Indies. Tell Tucker he needs to start dating. I'm dying to test out some french lines that he could use. So, he can fill me in on that, or if not, tell him to write me about football.
I know this church is true and that Christ lives. I know that Joseph Smith was called to open this dispensation and through our testimony of him we can have a testimony of our entire church. He was so sweet! Au revoir, Andy
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
So the house is coming along? I'm glad to hear that. I dibs the big room downstairs when I get back & for sure my machetes will be on the walls (apparently he's moved on from the Ninja sword collection phase). I'm definitely down for some hunting when I get back, dad. I'll be practiced at hunting, sort of. On the mission we hunt for the elect of God. hahah. Okay that's pushing the analogy, but I try.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day here...hahah... every day is the same. I love it for the most part. Studying is the best (who'd have thought!) and I love the feeling of finally understanding something in French. The only thing that sucks is that everyone is getting wise to my pranks. But, we have some new kids coming in on Wednesday. Mwahahahaha! (he's sounding like his Grandpa Taylor)
I've made it a goal to keep all the rules to a T, to set an example for the district (not that I wasn't already... but not perfectly). Getting to bed on time was a task!
My running has continued, and I'm jump roping a lot now. So, I've been able to stay in shape (at least I think). I'm sure you are making fun of me at home, but, no joke, elders that are here nine weeks put on an average of 17 pounds. Not me!
This week I have had my scripture study and discussed in class the saving grace of the Lord (Elder Bednar's first talk.... Money!) I have come to appreciate trials that our Father in Heaven gives me. No, I'm not drunk, but how are we to grow without the blessing of overcoming tribulation? How are we to overcome the truly difficult tirals without overcoming the small ones? See D& C 58:2,3.
I love and miss everyone. Let everyone else know how grateful I am for the letters and support. --- Elder Neff
Monday, September 15, 2008
Its good to hear the house is coming along! surely but slowly, but that has always been the case. So it sounds like the utes are tearing it up!!!! SWEET!!!! i'm so stoked hearing about them! and especially rubbing it in to the BYU fans. I admit i get a little "gym locker" trunky....alright thats a crappy way to put i miss the sports. I get an hour a day for gym but usually i try to run and jump rope if i'm outside(ps, is there anyway i can get a jump rope sent?) its been a good workout its so fun. I feel like rocky and sing eye of the tiger while a do it...no but i do play basketball on some days too, and D-Will (Elder Torres is a D-Will look-alike) sometimes makes an appearance. The french is coming along...we have had some setbacks with new instructors coming in, and have had to teach ourselves a lot, so i kind of suck...But i've been trying to use any spare time i have to work on it. We have to teach the first lesson in French on wednesday!!!! but i think i'll have it by then..I just speak about as slow as a 3 year old.
So we had as ashley would say "Uchtdorf" (ask us why Ashley calls President Uchtdorf that)come last tuesday! I think i've decided he is my favorite speaker! His wife started off things and she was so peppy and up beat. Her English was not very good and she admitted to it but said that she didn't care as long as she had the spirit with her. and although it was hard to understand her at times, her point was understoood. I know that that is how it will be for me in the west indies..i'll struggle with the language at first but those who are ready to hear The Word will hear it through the spirit!, and President Uchtdorf gave an incredible talk on Missionary work, it inspired me tons!!! i'm gonna send you a copy of my notes of that talk.. I have seen so many people here, i saw Harry the other day, and see Pat a lot. its wierd to see everyone though, it almost feels like highschool...minus all the cute girls unfornately. K well i'll send you a letter today as well with those notes.
Love everyone, Elder Neff
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
What is up family? How are things going on the home front? I hope and pray everyone is doing well! Things are pretty decent here, we are into a nice groove and time has started to go by a little faster, so that's swell! Everyone has been getting sick. Even though I wash my hands thirty times a day (you're welcome Mom), I still woke up with a sore throat this morning.
Studying has been going well, I love being here and just being able to study. Although it's not the funnest here I realize that this is probably the only two years I'll be able to be so engulfed in the gospel. It's a true blessing. So I suck at French, but that's okay, it will come. We have to be able to teach lesson one in french in two weeks! (Good freakin' luck) I can barely contact people. But, the Holy Ghost will "quicken my learning", so no worries.
One of my favorite things here is the referral center. We get to call people and share a message with people and offer them a free Book of Mormon or DVD or something like that. I talked to this lady, Gloria, for about twenty minutes the other day. I was able to bear my testimony of the Book of Mormon to her. She is a grandma (which was good for me) and had eight grandchildren. I also bore testimony that families can be together forever. I told her that the missionaries in her area would like to share a message, and she accepted! Sweet, eh?! I can't wait to do this for real in the West Indies! I don't know how in the crap I'll do it in French.
Andy at Jenn's Mission Departure
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Last Tuesday was awesome. Elder Oaks came to speak and spoke on how to teach with the spirit (which has been a big topic lately). Elder Oaks was freakin' awesome. He is the man. I can tell that he is one of those old guys that you would not want to fight; he probably has loads of old man strength. But, he told us that because of the sacrament we are able to have the spirit with us always as we stay worthy of it.... throughout the week. It's in the sacramental prayer where it says" and always to have His spirit to be with them". So that was awesome.
The guys in the district are awesome. We have one kid that cracks me up; almost everything he does. He reminds me of an LDS Tom Tallou. His name is Elder Fernieden. He's from Canada. My companion, Elder Brady, and I have been getting along great. We are good pals. He has gotten really homesick lately so I have been trying to help him through that. It's ok though; everyone gets at least a little homesick. But all the boys are way fun. So, last night was pretty fun! You could say I pulled a grandpa Keith. I hid in our district leaders closet for a good 15 minutes, right before he got in bed. When he turned off the lights to get in bed, I scarred the CRAP out of him! It was awesome. He is kind of anal, too, so it made it all the better.
Well that's all for this week. I just want you to know I am learning a buttload about the gospel (Nacho!). But really the spirit is so strong here. I love it and love you all.
Andy's cousin Maclaine reports about Andy:
I've seen Andy a lot more in the past couple of day. He is hilarious. The first day he was concerned about the food here so I told him to check out the wrap bar. Its where you go and they make you a wrap with basically anything you want in it. I've seen girls that eat it for lunch AND dinner everyday! Anyway, he came up to me a couple of days ago and said " So you got me going on the wraps, then I got my district on them... and now we all have gas". Nice. I met a sister in his district and she said that he's funny. She said that he can definitely be serious and very spiritual but he's definitely got a goofy side. Its really fun to see him here. I took a picture with him on Sunday but it was kind of fuzzy, so I'm going to try to get another one with him.