Tuesday, June 30, 2009

These were days never to be forgotten...

Andy's Mission President and wife returned home yesterday. Although we have communicated with them only by e-mail, through the fabulous blog maintained by Sister Robison we feel that we have come to know them... at least a little bit. Sister Robison put this slide show together as a tribute to the West Indies Mission. If you have a minute, watch it. Although there are not any photos of Andy, we feel that it is representative of his experience. For the now the sound is not working. I'll try to fix that soon.

These were days... from diane robison on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"Stories We Could Tell"

---As I regard our numbers for the week I definitely see that the need with our investigators is that they need to be challenged to baptism. Elder Heiner and I recently read a quote by a recent general authority that says any friend of the church that has attended a sacrament meeting should be invited to be baptized. That's something we definitely could work on. This week went really well, though, for not having been in Guadeloupe for over half the week. I came back and all our investigators had received exactly what they needed for their progression. I love Elder Heiner and am so grateful for his hard work! I'm not going to lie though....there have been countless times where i would have loved to put the smack down on that kid. He is by far the hardest companion that I have had yet...but how can you not love and be grateful for someone that serves the Lord. That is the unifying element of all things. Any relationship or friendship can be saved in serving the Lord, and I know that's true. I had thought Elder Heiner was one of the most prideful know-it[alls ever, but I was wrong. He loved the Lord and worked hard, and I was humbled and things worked great!

The transition this next week will be different because some other elders will be taking over our area, but I'm confident they won't skip a beat. My testimony is strong, especially after the inspiring experiences in Trinidad. I loved reading about Oliver Cowdry and his quote of his time with Joseph Smith, "these are the days never to be forgotten". I realized that is exactly the words I want to say every moment of my life...in the service of my Savior.

Elder Wright will be going to S. Martin. Elder Snow and I are back together. The boys are back....the boys are back.....he is a stud....I think he was kind of surprised that president assigned him as zone leader, but he is ready to kick butt.

Man, Chas (Barton) is such a G....He is doing work down in Trinidad and now Guyana....it was surprisingly not at all weird to see him...it did make me feel at home and like no time has gone by at all. I wonder if it will be like that with all of you....but he is my buddy, life long friend for sure....these days in the West Indies are the days never to be forgotten!!!!

All the Zone leaders in Trinidad just got pumped up...we set goals to break some records, to baptize and retain more, to work harder, to get up earlier...I love this band of brothers, and now I feel a lot closer to all the missionaries in the west indies, not just the French elders. And it's again thanks to the Lord...because we are all in this fight, working and serving him, we are unified. This week we felt the Lord's blessings pour out on the mission. We had the most baptisms in a week than the West Indies have ever had, 68...beating the record by 2...We in Guadeloupe had only three of those, but that's pretty good for us. Elder Snow and I should have a baptism coming up this next week.

Oh yeah! The first thing I noticed about Trinidad was that everything was so much cheaper...their restaurants cost the same as our toilet paper...lousy EURO! But doubles is the thing Trinidad is known for...they are very hard to explain though...its on a type of pita bread with this very diarrhea looking sauce that is full of some good spices.

"Doubles" look like this. It is a curried chick pea filling inside fried bread - usually with mango chunks and served with pepper sauce (very very hot in Trinidad)

Really I don't need much...your love, support, and prayers are enough. there was one thing i do want though that would be great. I want a stone that has Eben-nezar engraved on it....if you look in the Bible dictionary it explains what it means...it could be spelled wrong by the way. i love what it represented to the Israelites! Basically its means...alright...GO KICK BUTT

Speaking of butt....I probably ate the grossest thing on my mission this last week...straight up pig butt...it was about 2 inches thick and 1 and one half of it was the skin of the pig and the other half meat. You could taste and feel the texture of hairs and all that...I about ralphed! it took about 5 minutes to chew each bite. yuk! Most things I don't have problems with but...ya

With transfers on Wednesday, things will be wild driving all the elders around and picking up people at the airport, but hopefully not too wild.

Friday, June 19, 2009

"If the Phone Doesn't Ring It's Me"

We didn't receive an email from Andy this week. He was travelling to Trinidad for a Zone Leader Council. Thankfully, Sister Robison documented it on the mission blog. Here are a few pictures.

The Elders Hiked to a Local Waterfall ...

for Instruction and Testimonies...

and a few group photos.

Apparently, there has been a ZL change. Elders Biver, Snow & Neff, the French Zone Leaders.

Elder Biver is in French Guiana. Andy is reunited with Elder Snow.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

"King of Somewhere Hot"


What's going on? Summer is here (like dad said) and I'm in the Caribbean! Wow, that's sweet....I'm sorry you are all stuck in dry Utah climate without coconuts and creole food....OK not really, I'm just remembering how awesome the end of senior year was and trying to make myself feel better..I cant believe that Tuck won all that junk(cash, Ipod, movie tickets). That's awesome...its been a crazy week for y'all? Those are the craziest but you're grateful for them the week after. I'm so glad to read your emails every week; they are the best. I'm happy to report that I got the little package last week. That was pretty nice, and like mom's note said, I about died when I saw the masks (surgical masks for the swine flu) ... hahaha.
SO, this week has been amazing...Elder Heiner and I have been doing some good stuff, I think. We had a great experience with Christopher's grandma this week as we sat her and her whole family down to commit them to read the Book of Mormon every week...we used Moroni as an example of how he went around fortifying his cities just after war instead of laying back and waiting like Amalikiah. We said that we never know when the next battle will be, and and that's why it's important to fortify ourselves every day by reading the Book of Mormon. It went so well and ever since then she has been reading really well as well as the rest of the family. We are hoping she got an answer to a date we gave her and asked her to pray about. We will see tonight at family night with President Eclar(our district president, aka " the kick butt guy"). He is the best, he is our closer. He is a great example for me...same with President Gamiette (the soon to be "new" mission president).
This week we have been helping him a little bit to get ready for the move. His family are such champs, his daughters especially who are already great missionaries. I'm excited for him to be our mission president. He gave an incredible testimony yesterday in Fast Sunday where he talked about how he had ran a triathlon last week. He expressed how hard it had been and how the only thing that kept him going was the fresh bottle of water at the end of each 2 kilometers. He said that during the race his thoughts turned to the atonement and to church and how no matter how hard life gets there is always Sunday, the sacrament, where we renew our baptismal covenants, and as a fresh bottle of water renews our strides. HE expressed his love and thanks to the members and wanted them to know how much he loved them even through times where it might seem he is reprimanding them...Well other than that it was a pretty normal week.
Elder Wright and I got to shuttle around a seventy on Sunday that was fun. Oh yeah! I forgot to tell you... apparently I'm flying to Trinidad next week for zone leader council...now its normally not that big of deal, but I was stoked 'cuz I heard Chas was a zone leader there, so I'll get to hang out with him for a few days! Well, it's that time again...I love you all.

Avec amour,

Elder Neff

Madame Gustav's Baptism ... Andy helped find and teach her

Christopher's Baptism... hopefully the rest of the family is baptized soon

Thursday, June 4, 2009

"Guadeloupe Farewell"


What a great week we had last week! President and Sister Robison are the best, and I have appreciated them for all they have done for me, for the members, and for also for my testimony. Each zone conference was always such an uplifting experience, and was always centered on the atonement of Christ. Its so true that that subject, that atoning sacrifice, is the center of all we work for as a church. We had our last zone conference and it was great. It was the final hammer or the final nail in the coffin of their mission. Later after the conference, we had interviews with President Robison...and he wanted to do them differently where he would give us words of wisdom, or his advice for after the mission (kinda trunked me out a bit, but only for a minute). That was really nice, and helped me decide a little more about some things.

Overall the week was kind of a roller coaster. Elder Wright and I really were able to get the missionaries pumped up that we would have 10 baptisms...we fasted and prayed all week, not knowing how it would happen but knew it could have been done. I honestly thought for sure it would be a miracle that would happen, and two days before Elders wright and Julian had a breakthrough with a mom who hadn't let her two daughters get baptised for over a year even though they had been going to church. They got her to say yes...we thought our prayers were answered and were so excited to tell all you all we would have 10. Little by little our baptisms started falling through. First, I had an interview with a lady and her son, but they were just not ready. Second, some elders had two of their baptisms get cold feet, and lastly that mom we talked about had a change of mind the day before! Talk about a hole in your sail! (we think he didn't learn that phrase in Salt Lake) But, we tried not to let it get us down...we were still able to have two baptisms: Christopher, who Elder Heiner and I had been teaching, and Madame Gustave in Moule(whom Andy found with Elder Garotta and had been teaching prior to missionaries moving back to Moule. It was a great reunion, and Christopher's family was all there so it really was a blessing. Thanks for all your prayers ... it really means a lot to me, and to the Lord. But I still feel most of those baptisms will be baptised in the next few weeks. It's great though, Guadeloupe is still baptizing faster than it ever has and its all thanks to the obedience and hard work of elders, members, and also your prayers.

It's true that our zone is really young, but some of these new elders are studs! They are strong and ready to kick butt. There are even two elders who have only been out 2 months and they are together tearing it up.

We are still finding many people to teach. It's getting tough for me because as much as is going on with having to do things for the other missionaries, legality things, and having many people to teach I don't feel like I'm handling it the best. I'm not the most organized person and I'm just shooting myself in the foot...luckily no lost wallets or keys....yet ....but hopefully this will help me overcome my weakness of unorganization (is that a word?). One of my favorite scriptures is Ether 12:27, and it really applies to all things, even something as lame as organization.

The French is getting better...Elder Heiner is such a hard worker, but still kinda struggling with the French so we have been going all French and it's really helped me a lot...I can probably say the French of the West Indies is probably no where near as good as the French of the French missions in Europe, but it's just different.... BUT THEY CANT SPEAK CREOLE!

Well it sounds like everyone is doing well. I cant believe Tuck is graduating! That blows me away! He is old! Pretty soon he will be 19; I still can't believe homes is 18! I miss ya buddy. You need to let me know what's up with the sports, and the uncles...I heard from deeds that Alex, Spence and John started a kick ball team? That is awesome haha! Anyway, sorry emails are late this week...hopefully they will be regular for Monday.

Love ya all.


Andy and his companion, Elder Heiner