Monday, February 23, 2009

"Blue Heaven Rendezvous"

So another Caribbean paradise. I'm the luckiest missionary
ever...its ridiculous. So this is a more desert island, but
the ocean is SOOO blue. It's a lot different than Guadeloupe;
there is not near as much green, but it's still beautiful.
The island is only a 6 mile circumference, and right now there
are 8 elders (there were 14 until yesterday!) Elder Catherine
and Elder Julian and Elder Larson and I will be handling the
Dutch side of the island. There are about 4 different languages
that are the primary languages here: French, English, Spanish,
and creole. So now my plan is to learn some Spanish. Learning
languages is SO dope though! It's fun.

Right now in st Martaen there are 3 progressive investigators.
Celine needs to be baptized pretty soon, both her parents are
baptized and basically we are just praying and fasting for her
dad to do the baptism. Celine really wants her dad to baptize
her, however, Her parents are going through a divorce right now,
and he is being really stubborn. This Sunday we prayed and
fasted for them and I'm pretty sure if he is not going to
baptize her we will have someone else do it, but I know hearts
can be touched, and we would love it to be her father that does
it. Troy is also pretty close to baptism. Right now he knows the
church is true I'm pretty sure but he is working on cleaning up
some things in his life. He has quit smoking and this week we
challenged him to quit drinking. He usually falls susceptible
over the weekends, but I know by prayer and the help of the
Savior he can do it.

The area has just been big time blitzed so we have a lot of
new potential investigators and a lot of new numbers to be working
with. We are excited and grateful for all the hard work of the
elders who were here, and even though for some I think it was a
little difficult to work with a lot of enthusiasm, I felt we did
an overall good job. Elder Larson is great. He is a hard worker
and I'm excited to be with him. He knows his scriptures very well,
and it's great to be able to teach with him. My testimony is
strong and i feel great to be giving it my all everyday for this
great work.

Church was really fun yesterday though. This branch is about the
same size of the other branches I have been in but a lot less
developed, so the missionaries have to do a lot more. It's weird
though because there were about 8 tourist couples that showed up,
and I knew it was a touristy island but I guess its like that every
week! Crazy! The members are funny though, they really are new to
the church. From talking with the branch president the biggest
problem is that members become inactive when they receive a ... lotta work to do.

It's cool to hear Grandpa Taylor is still a pimp(at the stake
dance)! I'm gonna have to have him teach me how to dance when
I get back! Is Tucker just taking notes?

Questions we had for Andy include:
What area are you working on St. Maarten? Dutch side/ Dutch quarter
Tell us about the branch there. I'm still getting to know the branch a little bit but as far as members there are not very many strong ones....the Relief Society President, Sister Lake. is awesome as well as another sister. But other than that everyone is really new. Elder Catherine baptized the branch president last year so....young. One thing that is cool though is there is a medical school here and there are about 3 young couples, both from Utah, who stay in the branch about 2 years. They help but President Robison doesn't like us to give them callings which is smart.
How long has Elder Larson been out? Where is he from? he came out with Chas....he is from Logan I think...he is cool and we will get along great..he likes sports(accept he likes the aggies????)

I definitely agree about president being inspired to get us out of there...we have been continued to be blown away by stuff that has happened there Guadeloupe)..and what the Larry H Miller? That blew me away!!!!!! I was so sad. I heard actually the other day about this. So D Will still tearing it up?

Love you. You guys have no idea how grateful I am for all you do.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

"Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On"

I don't know if you have heard what has been going on Guadeloupe, but the work in Gosier had been going pretty well actually, and we had a couple families and men that were really coming along. So, I was pretty disappointed when we got a call last Wednesday that we should pack our things and that we would be moving in with the Abymes elders. It was already a small apartment and I didn't know the area at all. Thursday was a little crazy though. The Collings (senior couple) gave us the assignment to find gas(we actaully had a car in Abymes) and the Collings thought it best for us to fill up. We spent six hours trying to work connections (luckily there is the elders quorum president, Pres Mogrin, who has so many connections I swear he works for the mafia). Well, President Mogrin finally found someone he knew at the Gosier harbor who had smuggled in gas, so we were able to fill up after a bunch of maneuvering through road blocks, etc. So you can imagine I'm having a heck of a fun time with all this 'espionage' work. After we prepared for a baptism in Abymes. It's just like Joseph Smith's quote that says persecutions may rage, mobs may assemble, armies may combine and calumny may defame, but the work of God will go forth boldly, nobly and independent etc. We worked, mostly doing a lot of tracting in the country side, because they didn't want us to go into the city. It was hard to get a lot of work done though with the greve. Days were long, Elder Snow and I were not in our area, and didn't have any investigators really(we met some people in the Abymes area that were really great, but they technically were not our investigators). So the work was difficult. That's why I wasn't too surprised when on Monday morning we received a call from president that we were all being transferred off the island for a month or more.

I'm now in St Maarten(we call it little America). It's a real tourist island if anyone is interested.... My companion is Elder Larson who seems pretty cool. He likes sports. Unfortunately, he likes the rockets...lame!. I'm really excited to be here though. Honestly, I don't want to be here too long because it's not really French speaking and I don't want to forget my french, but I'm excited to make the most out of the time I'll be here. It's funny, I really have no idea how to contact people in English; it's SO weird. I feel like a new kid all over again haha...anyways nothing to worry about; everything is great. I'm really nervous about Grandpa Neff and Grandma Kathie, but I know they are in the Lord's hand and that he will take care of them for his missionary. Tucker is sounding like quite a pimp: game winner?! That's awesome. I want what him an D Will are drinking. k well you're in my prayers. I'll talk to you on Monday.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Today, we read that the strike in Guadeloupe, indeed, turned violent. Here is a portion of the article.
A union activist was killed overnight in Guadeloupe as the month-long strike on the French Caribbean island escalated into riots and shootings, local authorities said Wednesday.

Jacques Bino, aged in his 50s, was shot dead while driving his car near a roadblock manned by armed youths who opened fire at police with buckshot in the capital Pointe-a-Pitre, an official from the local administration said.

He was the first victim of the escalating violence on the island crippled since January 20 by a general strike over the high cost of living.

The government in Paris appealed for calm and Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie called crisis talks on the deteriorating security situation.

Six members of the security forces were slightly injured during shoot-outs with armed youths, including three police officers who were hurt while helping emergency teams who rushed to Bino's aid, police said.

The activist, employed in a government tax office, was returning from a labour meeting, said Elie Domota, leader of the Collective Against Exploitation (LKP), the coalition of unions and leftist groups that launched the strike.

Gangs of youths looted shops, smashed storefront windows and threw up burning roadblocks overnight along the main streets of the capital and in at least two other towns. At least 13 people were detained.

We are so grateful for an inspired mission president who was in tune with the spirit, and knew when to pull the missionaries from Guadeloupe.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


We did not receive an e-mail from Andy yesterday. Today we received an e-mail from President Robison in which he stated, "Due to the disruptions of day to day living in Martinique and Guadeloupe, we have temporarily transferred all elders serving on these islands to neighboring islands... Your sons are safe. The strikes did turn violent, but the elders were relocated prior to anything that could have caused them problems. Guadeloupe has virtually been shut down for 5 weeks and Martinique is following suit. The elders will be transferred back to these islands once a sense of normalcy returns."

Andy has been moved to St. Maarten. We are not sure who is companion is.

Monday, February 9, 2009

"Bigger Than the Both of Us"

The area of Gosier is struggling right now it feels. Members live too far to be doing any work with them because of the "greve" or strike. No one has gas, and so although Elder Snow and I are doing a lot (I feel we are working harder than we have before, it feels like we aren't getting results. We had 3 investigators planning to come to church this week but couldn't make it. We even went out of the way to pick one up, Madame Rose, but she was sick. I love her to death; she has the biggest smile ever, but she has a lot of problems. She told us the other day she has thought about killing herself and how her son had done the same. I think we took care of it though...but when we have lessons like that its discouraging. Everything seems to be stacked against us. We have to see our investigators, and because of the strike there is no bus, so we "waste" a lot of time walking 2-3 hours a day which I feel guilty about. However, even with all this I know the Lord is on our side and as we keep working harder and harder, and pray harder and harder, He will answer our prayers. I dont know God's plan for our investigators or Gosier for that manner. All I can hope to do is work as hard as I can and remain worthy for the spirit and all will go well. Elder Snow also helps me from getting too down on myself, and is always a bright spot. I know the standard of truth is erected and that this work goes forth, not just in other parts of the world but in Gosier.

The strike continues here. This week a minister of France who was here left negotiations basically because he s
aid the people are dumb...I have no idea when its going to end. haha We loaded up on whatever food the supermarche s had: rice, pasta, etc, but I think we are out of gas for the stove, which wouldn't be good. So hopefully it ends soon. If not, I'm sure it will be fine. It would be fun if we start having to boil water by fire!


In response to some our questions, Andy wrote:

How is it going back to Moule? Did you like the Gosier apartment better? We have not moved back yet, and aren't moving until after the greve, so who knows when I'll be back.
How do you handle going to church in two areas? Are the meetings at the same time? I don't think we will be handling Gosier. I think they will close it until new missionaries come in in April. So soon Gosier will be needing lots of prayers as the missionary work will be left to the members for a time.
Is Luissant back from France? Oh yeah, I forgot to tell ya. I saw him at the bapistm of Renai! He was doing great; I was so excited to see him. I didn't get to talk to him much, but he is doing good. He is my boy.
Is Elder Snow a runner? No, but the great thing is there are some huge hills right outside our apartment and he will at least get up to watch that's nice of him. We kinda got into a fight at the first of the week because I wanted to go all french, which he was not a fan of...after a couple of days he was fine with it though. Its just more difficult to communicate in another language. I never would marry a french girl that didnt speak definately need to be able to communicate well
How is it finding food? Still plenty of food available? Yeah sorta, there is a bunch of bread, no meat really, not much pasta, but lots of rice...not tons of fruit too which is lame.
Are banks open? Thats the weird thing, they are about normal. Nobody is freaking out too bad...well no, the supermarkets can be kinda crazy

So I didnt have much time again cuz we couldnt go to our regular email place but I hope all is well. I love your emails and all y'all. No worrying 'bout me here, it really is fine.

Avec amour
Elder Neff

Monday, February 2, 2009

"There's Nothing Soft About Hard Times"

Wow! What a week. It has definitely had its hectic moments. But, in all of them we have been able to receive and see the blessings of the Lord. The work has really progressed here in Gosier. We now have 8 progressing investigators here and one with a baptismal date.

One(or I guess 4) is a very religious family, the Williams. They are devout evangelists and the two teenage boys are very involved in their church. We have become good friends with them and knowing their religious background have gone the Ammon route of service rather than just teaching the lessons straight. They run a large fruit stand and we have been helping them a lot with it. After we help them we usually are able to teach them a lesson. They are coming along I think, and the dad has promised he would be coming to church. One night after we had helped close up their food stand we were talking outside the family's little fruit shack. We were talking about many of the issues and bad experiences the father had had in his life, ass a teenager and especially in religion. He recounted a dream he had had (when i don't know) and he recounted that he was searching for the gospel, searching for the true church of Christ in his dream when he saw someone standing in the light who was actually Jesus Christ! He walked closer and saw a man sitting next to Christ(he later told us he believed it was a prophet) and this prophet told Brother Williams to go away, that he was not ready for the gospel. Elder Snow and I both felt to tell him that although we didn't understand what the dream meant entirely, we could testify that we were here talking to him extending the true gospel of Christ because he was ready. I felt impressed to share with him the story of Lehi, and his dream and relate that to Brother Williams because he was the one that needed to beckon his family to partake of the fruit, and taste the love of God. It turns out he has been feeling a lot of responsibility and pressure because of his family. We have not seen them yet after this experience, but I hope he has come to see that he is ready, and that God wants him be apart of his church.

Alan and Claudy are both really searching for the true gospel and we have had good lessons with the both where the spirit was really teaching. They both have accepted the Book of Mormon and began reading. Claudy accepts it to be the word of God.

Finally, Madame Rose we met the other day when we were looking for the house of another investigator. We thought to ask this lady and share our message with her. She ended up being from Dominca and spoke english. We shared the message of the restoration with her and committed her to baptism in two weeks and she accepted.

Today has been crazy though.... We found out this week with everything that is going on with the strike(in fact one day during the week we weren't allowed out of the apartment because the mayor called for all of Guadeloupe to "manifest the greve", aka mobs. After the first day of it though we found out that nobody here really has the guts to go too crazy so we went out the next day...But president called us last night and is making major changes in Guadeloupe...he is taking six elders off the island and leaving eight...Elder Snow and I will be moving to Moule and be covering both Gosier and Moule. But we will be staying in Moule. All the Elders remaining on the island are fairly new...only 2 over 7 months. It will be like this until five new elders arrive in April. There is a lot of weight on our shoulders now, and it will be hard to do all this for the next couple transfers but it will be fine with prayer and good ole fashioned hard work. The worst part is that all these elders we won't be seeing again (Garotta, Williams and others. The two zone leaders are leaving, It's wild.

Elder Snow is hilarious. I'm glad to be with him as he is always makin' things funny and he never lets me get down when we have a bad contact or have a bad lesson. We continue to learn a lot from each other, and I'm very excited for the challenges and spiritual growth that lies ahead.

My testimony is strong. Today has been a tough day as our zone family has been changed a little bit....or a lot. I realize because of how difficult it is and how difficult change is in general, how much more I need to be relying on the Lord. I need to be able to feel his love more, feel his support, and I'm excited to kneel by my bed tonight, and withdraw to prayer.

Its always good to hear from the fam...I'm glad Tucker is taking three ladies to basketball games hahaha. I was never that cool. Tell everyone I love them. I'm sorry this can't be more of a "reply to your email" email. I like those better, but it's has taken too long to explain what's been going on.
I love you all like Tucker loves mambas/


PS Pray for this strike to stop, we have to walk three hours to get from this cyber cafe back to our apartment...UGH.