Monday, October 27, 2008

"Stranded on a Sandbar"

So my clothes are taking a toll with all the walking and sweating we do...and also you will be very disappointed to know that a pen exploded in my pocket this week haha wow I'm dumb...but its all good, they are fine.

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 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 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 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

"Trying to Reason with the Hurricane Season"

Hey family!

Well im finally here! It is awesome! My companion is Elder Gorotta and he is a cool frenchman. He knows how to work hard and is defintitely pushin' me. He has already been such a help to my french...he also allows me to do a lot when we teach (more than i am actually comfortable with sometimes, haha but its good for me, but it always works out good). Elder Gorotta is so good with people! He is friends with everyone i swear! I'm so stoked to be with him, and he has an accent that is fun to make fun of....but anyways we are serving in Moule, a small town...and there are no worries about getting fat, 'cause we have to walk everywhere! The nearest bus is about 45 min walk, and the church is an hour and a half walk (with contacting and stuff), so I'm getting at least 5 miles of walking in a day. After emails we are gonna have to carry our groceries back (yikes). The people here are good...I say good not great because there is no doubt they are the nicest people ever...anyone here would invite you into their house and gladly talk to you for however long you want, but not " great" because its hard to find those that are willing to do anything with our message...but I know the Lord will lead us to those that will...the members are great...President Gradel had us over for dinner the other night and we have just started to get him helping with missionary work, we still need to get the other members to help more but Pres Gradel is great! He invited 6 friends over when we ate over that we were able to teach (k well i bore testimony of what my companion said haha, im not at a good enough french level yet, but i did do a sweet magic trick for entertainment)....crap i ran out of time, but ask me in your emails this week what else you want to know and ill tell ya....k i love everyone and am praying for everyone
Additional information gleaned from a response to emails included:
  • 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

"Travellin' Clean"

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 doubt he will make me speak 100% french. But i'm so excited! I'll be making 3 flights to get to Guadeloupe that a record? i'm pretty sure...7 flights in 3 days! holy schmokes..k well gotta go. love ya

Saturday, October 11, 2008

"Come Monday"

Welllllll...thanks for the letter mom and dad. I'm just sending an email this week since i'll be talking to you on monday So plan on monday morning from about 6-8 sometime..sorry for the large window...Thanks so much for the package usual the cookies were quite the hit...well the gingerbread ones were.Were those other cookies a new recipe? i miss your home cooking...i have managed to get through 9 weeks of fattening all you can eat MTC crap with only gaining 6 pounds! Its unbelievable but kids put on an average of 15 here i think. Its ridarn probably wouldn't have even been 6 but this last week the packages of food have been flowing in (Clara, Ange, the fam) I should call you all satan! but I appreciate it sounds like you have a lot on your plate right now... I know what you are doing is hard but that you are being blessed for it...and no you don't sound proud, just supermom is all. During the priesthood session (Which was awesome by the way)president Eyring talked on stretching ourselves as children of god and that as we grow spiritually heavenly father is going to rely on us more...soo keep doin what your doin:)...but ya I hope ya'll saw me, Tucker said he did, but we watched it as a choir on tuesday and I only saw my face in a crowd of about 20 haha. I got the shaft by the camera men! but its was awesome being there and feeling the magnitude of righteousness in those chairs in front of us. K so funny story....last night I was lying in bed, and a must have been having a bad dream or something cuz i jumped in bed and came back down and smacked my head on a bar, i woke up after that and was all upset cuz I knew I'd have a huge bruise the next day, and my head was throbbing! haha It does take some serious skill to sleep apparently, but I laid my head back down and i saw my pillow was all bloody! i don't know how in the crap I did it but i had a huge gash on my right eyebrow ridge!. I tried to go back to sleep with a towel around my head(it was like 4:30 in the morning) but couldnt fall back to sleep cuz it wouldn't stop bleeding...i tried going to class and stuff with it but it wouldn't stop so at about 8:00 I went to the doctor and they sent me to the hospital down the street for stitches . hahaha! And the award for dorkiest stitches story ever goes to?! Andy Neff, in learn how to sleep! but ya I guess I'll have to find someone to take them out in the in west indies or something. So no worries over here, I'm taking care of everything and we will talk to you on monday! Au voir mon famille! "I like ya a lot"

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Final Week at the MTC

Dear .... Everyone,

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
And from his email: I just got back from another day at the temple. Its cool that all the missionaries go through every week. Each session the probably has 5 different languages everytime! its wild! I'm going to miss it. So i should be getting my flight plans tonight sometime, i'll let you know the low down next friday...I'm stoked for singing tomorrow night...we get to the conference center around 3 and practice till about 5. Apparently i'm singing 2nd tenor but i think by the time i'm done singing the songs my voice has covered about every part haha. Mostly i'm just excited to hear the direction we will recieve from the brotheren this weekend. HOw awesome is it that these men that recieve revelation from God, are all talking to us in two days. and i know there will be something in conference for everyone. HOw are my buddies doing out in the field? it sucked to have pat leave the mtc, i didn't even realize how much of a comfort it was having him there until he left. K well you all have fun, i'll talk to you later, Elder Neff