Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"Sea of Heartbreak"

Well there were some problems that is why I am emailing you today (rather than Monday). I ended up having to use MY card to buy our tickets but I will be reimbursed. I am basically a travel master by now with how many dog gone planes I have missed. (We're guessing that Andy flew to Guadeloupe yesterday... we thought it was to be on Wednesday, but he's now on Guadeloupe).

I am so ready to be back here. Its me and Elder Wright(our zone leader. This will be our first transfer where I am not the youngest french elder....5 new kids should be in. But we are all hungry for sharing the gospel...I think all the other missionaries who left to Guyana are now hungry for just working their butts off....I want to thank everyone who prayed for David and his baptism too. We were working with him twice a day...teaching the lights out for his baptism....he had quit smoking and drinking for 2 weeks and everything was good. When it came time the day before his baptism though we went by and he told us he didn't want to see us anymore....it broke my heart....I had never felt like I had before...to someone to be so close to accepting that great gift of the Holy Ghost and then to deny it is the worst. But as believers in God we must accept that we all have our agency. I didn't do the best job of that at first but I had to ...the day after was crap too....I didn't want to work, I felt as if all I do on the mission is for nothing...until about Sunday I felt like this and then I don't know what it was but something just snapped me back into it and i just felt inspired to kick butt again...now as big black would say, "its time to just DO WORK SON" ....HURRAH FOR ISRAEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So I'm sorry about that bad joke with the retainer....well actually...it was not THAT good of joke...you guys are just gullible hahaha! K well not much time this week, but I love ya'll!

ps I want to thank everyone for the letters and packages that I received when I got back to Guadeloupe....my family and friends are renown here for their abundance of good news...thank Aunt Leslie for the great valentine package and Grandma and Grandpa as well...letters from all the aunts and uncles are the best, too...thank them for me...oh and I have received your tie and CD so we are Good in the hood...thanks so much

Thursday, March 26, 2009

"Turning Around"

We finally got an e-mail. I guess the Elders were working with the Assistants on their mormal P-day so they took their P-Day on Wednesday-- hence the delayed e-mail.
I about died from Ruby's story (2 year old Ruby had a precocious experience with poop-- ask Emily about it). That is hilarious hahaha. I love the slang you are using too. So Hill and Ashley are doing good then? I hope I can get some pictures from their performances. Did either of them have to wear funny costumes? I sure hope so...how come T Fud didnt write me back last week? Don't tell me he is too busy ...I have a really cool tie I want to send him for prom (it's a burberry tie with mathcing cufflinks and handkerchiefs that would look sweet), but I wanna know when I can send it? Or if I should? We found them these fake ones for 8 dollars. Its always good to hear the family is doing well. Tell everyone that I miss them. This last week was a blast for us, work was great but during the last week I had been talking with the Olivers(senior couple from here) about musicals, and how I like them a good lot. Apparently they asked president and had permission for us to come over to their home and watch Singing in the Rain with them. Grace Kelley was a pimp! (hmmm... and we thought Debbie Reyholds was in it). I had never seen it, but that show is awesome! So I was thinking that the next package you send it would be cool if I could get some musical songs on a CD. That day reminded me of Grandmas though just cause we had a pot luck...I made some scrumscious bokits(Guadeloupe sandwich). SO yup, we are heading back to Guadeloupe...President had planned on me training one of the new missionaries coming, but last second decided to put me with our zone leader Elder Wright, who will be a solo zone leader while Elder Catherine will replace me as trainer(this is his last transfer). I'm kinda glad I didn't have to train though, I'm way too young and I would probably have been a lousy one. But Elder Wright is awesome, he speaks french the best of all the missionaries and the most creole. So hopefully we can tear it up.

This week was our zone conference. The assistants came and we had them with us the last 3 days. I was able to work two of the days with Elder McDaniel. He is an incredible missionary. He is also a professional at getting boils though and one of them popped when I was with him...have not eaten since. The Lord has really blessed us since last time I wrote though. We have found many progressing investigators and friends, and although I didn't think we would be able to do it, we are going to have planned a baptism for this Saturday. His name is David and he is from Ciracou. He doesn't speak much English, much French, or really much of anything. But Elder Larson and I are able to communicate with him using the little English and French he knows and then our Spanish dictionary. We have been teaching him a lot, and the last two weeks has been to church. Even though the last week he had to walk the whole way cuz he had no money for the bus. He is really living humbly and I'm grateful the Lord has been able to humble him by this way. So I ask you to pray that things will continue to go well for him. But all is well. I'm grateful for your testimonies and want to let you know how much mine is growing. Everyday we get to see the love of God for his children and for us. He blesses us so much and pours his spirit out upon his servants. I promise you that if you look for ways to serve God by serving others his spirit will be poured out upon you.

Hey, so did you ever get my package that I sent from Guadeloupe for your birthday mom? I hope so, anyways I sent Clara's for her birthday when I first got here. I just sent her a bracelet and a scrapbook with some pictures of me in it, but she just barely got it. Have you heard how she is doing? or seen her at all? Is Sarah and Thayne's brother moved in yet? That's sooooo weird...oh well haha. It's good to hear about Thayne though. I wish I could hear more about everyone else. I miss the fellas...k everyone I love you all tons, make sure tucker writes me this week.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

"Coconut Telegraph"

No emails from Andy this week. DeAnna did receive a birthday package that was post-marked February 11 (that dang strike!). We do have some pictures from his zone conference yesterday. Thank heaven for Sister Robison.

Missionaries Passing On Photos to Sister Robison

The St. Maarten Missionaries

Andy in a Trio Singing at Zone Conference. He must be singing the melody.

Andy and his companion, Elder Larson

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"Coastal Confessions"

Since I have been moved from Guadeloupe about 4 weeks ago, and been serving in St Maarten I have really tried to work as hard as I could, and take advantage of the time here to teach in English. Although Elder Larson and I have worked pretty hard, we have not seen results until this week. Last week I despaired at seeing all our commitments to come to church fall through. I felt like giving up, or at least not working as hard, however I knew I needed to keep with it. And because of patience with the work, I know it wasn't much, just one week, but I had at least a little patience to continue giving it my all. We had a great week and have 9 great progressing investigators!I love this area! The people are so great here and are so willing to listen to the message of the Restoration. The trick is helping them gain a testimony and conviction that what we share really matters to them. As Elder Larson and I try to teach with the spirit more and speak of the Book of Mormon with more sacredness, I think they will realize its importance. We have 9 great investigators though that we have been working with for a few weeks and its great to see the last few weeks of hard work finally paying off. Elder Larson and I are still getting along really well. We have great companion chemistry, I think, and teach really well together. As far as my testimony I had a really great opportunity this week to give a talk on the atonement in sacrament meeting, and I really enjoyed it. I constantly feel the support of my Savior while I work, and although I probably don't do the best at recognizing his help by showing my gratitude for what he does for me, I am trying to do better. This week was great, too, cuz I had my talk on Sunday and was kinda nervous cuz I had to talk for a good amount of time and so I planned to use some study time Saturday morning for preparing. However, as the weekend approached I realized we had overbooked the day to the point we didn't have time to study, have lunch or dinner...I was nervous for the talk, but the day ended up being an awesome one and because of that work we had 5 people at church! The talk went alright, too. St Maarten is great, I'm seeing 3 to 4 cruise ships come in and out ever day. This is a ridiculously ridiculous mission. We four elders are havin a great time together. Last night Elder Larson and I got home before them, and we turned off all the lights and relocked the door and scared the crap out of them, that was fun. I got it on film, so I'll send it. There is not much to do on St. Maarten unless you wanna shop, but even then it's only diamonds that they sell....I'm thinking about buying one...what do ya think mom? haha just kidding. The mission is great, I'm having a great time...have you heard how TJ is doin' in the Navy?

Oh, I forgot to tell you. I actually bought a pair of shoes the first week I was here. I found some good ones at what we call the Chinese everything store....they were $20....I felt really dumb when they broke the next day...wow I felt like a dork, but I got them sewn by some guy so they will be good for about another month...

Love y'all

Monday, March 9, 2009

"Simply Complicated"

So this week I wanted to share this example of love and of humility. We have been trying for about a week to meet with this man Andrew whom we met at the hospital while we were visiting a member of the branch. He was working security and I got talking to him and asked if we could come by and share our message another time because He seemed like a really great guy that we could teach. However, because of his work schedule he never has time. We took his number so that we could give him a call and see when he would be free. We called and called because we know he could be a really great investigator and eventually member of the church and finally we were able to set up an appointment for Saturday. He lives by himself here on St Maarten and is working as a teacher Monday to Tuesday from 8 AM-3 PM and then working as a security guard from 7PM-7AM! Holy crap! I don't know hos is does it. But the reason is what blew me away: he is working all this so that his father may buy a home and sister may go to school, and he is not making much. So he doesn't have much time for anything else, and after we had a great lesson about the Plan of Salvation and answered some of the questions he had for us he let us know his wife had left him a year ago. With all that has occurred to him he is really a happy man, and I was really thankful for his humble example and encouraging hope. It's people like this man that make the work worth it, and make me want to do better at what I do. So I know its no amazing miracle story, but it is a miracle life.
But other than that I have been really enjoying myself here in St Maarten, and right from the start I wanted to make the most of the time that I would have here. I have tried to really work my hardest and to do as much good with members, inactives, and investigators as possible. But as I have continued to work work work, and pray and pray and pray, I find just how hard it is. It is so much harder than I thought to change hearts. We have people promise and swear they will be coming to church and they don't come, and I just ask why? I recently read the talk by Elder Holland at the mission president seminar where he believed the reason they don't come is because salvation is not easy and because it wasn't easy for our savior. That has really been a comfort this week as I have accepted and been humbled by the reminder that it was not easy for Christ. These people here have such potential but we have about 5 awesome people who have problems such as chastity or work holding them back from either coming to church or being baptized. So in regards to my testimony, I'm actually really thankful for times that are hard and trying as that's when we cultivate and show our testimonies. I know if we continue to work and show our faith in the Lord for this work, it will progress.
SO Sawyer looks like a pimp haha, but I'll flat out tell you right now, eventually I'll be his favorite...SO the jazz are awesome! D will is a pimp, is he scoring more than Chris Paul? Well, I'll try and attach some pics for this week, alright? I gotta go though, love you all.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Guadeloupe Strike Finally Ends

POINT A PITRE, Guadeloupe - An accord was signed late Wednesday bringing to an end a 44-day general strike on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, while negotiations continued in Martinique over a similar stoppage.

French authorities signed the agreement with the LKP movement of unions and leftist groups that launched the strike on January 20 to press for higher wages on the island, one of France's overseas departments.

The detailed agreement, covering a multitude of everyday subjects, provided for a 200-euro (253-dollar) monthly increase for low wage earners.

Most shops, schools and government offices have remained closed during the strike that has laid bare tensions between the island's black majority and white business owners.

A union activist was shot dead during rioting at the height of the conflict last month in Guadeloupe

Monday, March 2, 2009

"You Call It Joggin' "

It sounds like everything is pretty settled down, and not too much going on, except for Sawyer(did I mention I loved the name?). So it sounds like the ward is doing awesome. I'm glad to hear that no one else has died.... it really is an old ward... and everyone is just getting home from missions which is weird. I have bad news, and I say it because you said you were excited about all the stories missionaries have, but I have a terrible memory. It seems that I can't remember further than a week back ever haha ...that's why they tell us to keep journals though.
So, Philipsburg is good. There are such great people here; people who are so kind and humble. So we are in the middle of teaching a lot of men right now who are sincerely searching for the truth and who have a great spirit of understanding, however, many of whom we are teaching have a chastity problem. The traditions here in St Maarten are defiling to God. These men have children and are not too far from marriage, luckily. We are working on helping them repent and get married so they can enter the waters of baptism. Even though I have no marriage experience at all, I do get to share from what I have learned from your and dad's great marriage. Kevin knows this church is true and is really trying and wanting to marry his girlfriend, but is scared. We are continuing to counsel with him. Samuel has been coming to church for a while and I took some time to get to know him on Sunday. He, too, needs to be married. His girlfriend is a member and they should be getting married this month.
Philipsburg is doing really well. With 4 elders here I believe its potential is becoming more clear. We meet so many potential investigators everyday who are sincerely searching for the gospel. As the weeks continue I pray that the results of these contacts will be manifest in church attendance and baptisms. The people here are ready, and I'm trying my best to be ready for them. Elder Larson is an animal; I have never met anyone who knows his scriptures like he does, a very smart individual. He is fun too. I feel we work well together, and am excited to continue to serve. My testimony is solid. This week has had its up and downs but as soon as I have hit an obstacle I have prayed for patience and did my best to keep on. I know with all my heart that if we are patient with our lack of success or misfortunes, if we continue on with faith and diligence that we will have success. I thought it was interesting what you shared with Enos. I love that story, and I actually put a picture of Enos on my Preach My Gospel cover. Enos is the best example of prayer, and how it should be. All should be done in faith, because of his faith and prayer not only were the Nephites blessed, but also the Lamanites. Its by his prayer that we have the Book of Mormon today(he prayed that one day the record might be read by the Lamanites and it was given him because of his faith). What an example for us.
Elder Catherine and I get up at 6 to go running across the street at the baseball field and we do stairs too. (Elders Catherine, Larson, Julian and I share an apartment... the other two don't like working, but because it's kind of a melting pot of nationalities, many of the people cook foods from where they are from. SO I still get creole food and some Guyanese(which is different. This week I am going to be buying some new shoes, and a new pair of pants and perhaps a belt(both my shoes are about done and two of my pants are done; that's just what walking everyday will do).

Go jazz!!!!! I love to hear that they are tearing it up!!!It does the soul good.