Monday, July 27, 2009

"Growing Older But Not Up"

What a sweet birthday I had! Your package actually arrived on Saturday afternoon! So I was pretty excited about that. HAHA I loved every little thing. On judging how much I liked it though I have come to the conclusion that I'm a huge nerd, but that's OK. Thanks so much though! It was really a great birthday! Its weird to think that I'm 20! I still feel about 14, and act probably younger. The Collings made me a sweet cake that we ended up eating at a family night, so it was a good day. The members were good to me, they are such sweet people. I love them, all of them, There are many that the only way to describe them is pioneers, with a roll-up-their sleeves, get it done spirit that I wish I was more full of. My favorite family, The Eclars (its thanks to Pres. Eclar, that I now know kicking butt is the key to happiness). All they do is work. Everyday they are both working, hungering to do missionary work, even though he is the district president and she the relief society president with two young kids. There are days at a time that they do not see each other. And each time Sister Eclar tells us she wants to work we ask her, "Sister Eclar...have you seen your husband today?". She replies it doesn't matter Elders, we have eternity to be together...she is the best. And he is MR Kick Butt.

Well this week has been a little tiring. Elder Snow and I had to prepare for Zone Conference for President Gamiette. That means driving elders and president to and from airport, making sure everything is ready for interviews and zone conference. All really wanted to do was prepare spiritually, but I thank the Lord that I made some time to fast and read a bit before. There were definitely some questions I had that were answered this week.

I believe every missionary at the conference was humbled and edified more than ever before. At the beginning President Gamiette started off a little bit shaky with the English, but I think as we were praying in our hearts to feel the spirit, the Lord began to speak by President Gamiette. The spirit prompted questions by elders, and we had a powerful experience. President Gamiette has a way of taking the simplest scriptures and opening your minds to what they mean. I guess it would be more appropriate to say the spirit has a way of teaching the scriptures simply. He taught us from the Beatitudes, 2 Nephi 31, Mosiah 4, and Moroni 8:24-26. If you would like to do a study I would encourage it. Oh and also 2 Nephi 32 the first part. Even Elder Colling came away saying, "I have taught the doctrine of Christ and the Beatitudes thousands of times but I have never understood much until today." It was a great humbling experience. We ought to be so grateful for those that have the keys to receive revelation and lead and guide us in our wards, in our stakes, even our primary class rooms. I do know that those keys had been passed and the President Gamiette holds them.

After Friday I was so excited to get out and work, even though it was a busy week we got a lot done. There was some running around Saturday for some baptisms. Judicael is stuck between two chairs(as they say in french) because his parents don't want him to be baptized, or at least not right now. They say it is too early. He wants to and he is ready, but we are glad he doesn't want to be disobedient to his parents. If it continues to be a problem though he knows that his first loyalty is to his Heavenly Father. So if you could pray that his parents' hearts will soften that will be great. We have also been working with Stephanie and Katia, a part member family whose mom is DIFFICULT! Elder Snow and I have tried teaching the doctrine, she even had a spiritual experience, and she still believes they are not ready. I have tried working the Neff charm, we made a cake and all but nothing. But things are going very well. I'm excited for this week to come and this transfer coming up. President has been worrying about the youthfullness of our zone so he has talked about making Elder Snow and I zone leaders and trainers at the same time. I about pooped my pants when he said that. I'll do it if I have to, but zone leader is tiring enough. So I sure hope not. I miss the days of just worrying and focusing on my area. Anyways, I love you all!

Monday, July 20, 2009

"A Pirate Looks at Twenty"

Dad, I would've put money you were going to fall asleep at the Harry Potter movie! haha, but that's OK, I'm sure the family will use that as another excuse to see the movie. It sounds like everyone at home is doing well. One of my biggest regrets is that i never got too involved and close to any of my aunts and uncles and did nothing to really help them. It was all about having fun for me haha. Its exciting to hear about Brian! It is so bizarre to hear that he has talked with the Robisons! This whole mission goes by way too fast...its a downer it has to stop and I'm almost half way done. I cant believe Spence (Young) he is almost done.

Well, this week was another one where Elder Snow and I really were blessed by the Lord. It's amazing how much his hand is extended towards us his children to bless us if we will just pray to know how he wants to bless us. This week Elder Snow and I have continually prayed for success for all our elders, and, of course, for ourselves. We have been trying to find ways to be more effective and even bought a cooler to make lunch more effective. We don't return home for lunch now and are able to eat in only half hour. It saves us a good amount of time. So this week we had a good number of lessons and were able to see the progression of many of our investigators, but when Sunday came around and we were doing our morning rounds of calling our investigators we found that many of them had problems that kept them from going to church. It was the biggest kick in the pants after one week of hard work, but what would you know when Judicael came and in fact we had 5 people at church, 3 of which we didn't plan for. These three are a mom and 2 daughters. The mom has two older daughters, Starling and Wendy that have already been baptised(they are older) and the two younger daughters(Stephanie and Katia) want to be baptized, but their mom has told the missionaries no for years because they are too young. We passed by last week and had an alright lesson with them, but didn't think much of it. This last Sunday though the whole family showed up. And during the sacrament meeting the mother had a beautiful experience. She recounted that during the blessing of the sacrament she felt the spirit poured out upon her and filled her with a warmth she has never before felt. During the whole meeting I was praying that something might touch this lady, that Heavenly Father might push her just a little bit and that she might accept the persuasion of the spirit. We are going by tonight again, so pray for us! Things other than that are great! I have not got your package yet, but that's alright...I'll still have a great birthday...I love you all and pray for you all... I'm grateful for your prayers and for all the prayers of cousins and friends, family in the world.

Also, in a letter to Tucker, Andy recounted:

I cannot honestly express how important and awesome the mission is truly the most important thing one can ever do in his or her life. You get to kick butt all day! This last Friday Elder Snow and I had lessons all day from 9 AM to 9 PM , 10 lessons in all...all we ate other than breakfast was a little pasta we had made the night before in the car while driving...we came home dead physically and spiritually, but its the nights like last Friday that make the mission memorable..ITS THE COOLEST BUDDY....just kick butt, nourish your testimony by sharing it with your friends, your testimony is really something you have to fight for.


Monday, July 13, 2009

"Waiting for the Next Explosion"

The area in Lamentin is going. We have 3 strong investigators who are doing all the things they should in preparing for baptism. It's such a blessing to be apart of their conversion process! Elder Snow and I are really working on being able to be the mouthpiece of the spirit for them. Just things like always having a prayer in our heart to have the Holy Ghost, and praying our way through the day that we can be an adequate messenger of the restored gospel and representative of our Savior. I'm really excited about a young man we are teaching, Judicael, 22. He is getting up at 6 o'clock to read his scriptures with us (well, we read in our apartment he in his). He has a date of baptism for this Saturday so we are praying that will go well. He is a young man of humble nature, and has even shared desires to serve a mission. We challenged him to quit smoking this last Thursday; he smokes almost a pack a day, thats just crazy! So we know it was going to be hard for him, to show him that we were dedicated to help him, Elder Snow and I each agreed to give up something hard for us...for Elder Snow it was soda, and for me bread....these frenchies know how to cook some bread... Gosh and this internet cafe is just next to a dang boulangerie so the smell of fresh bread is killin me!

Elder Snow is the best and is always making it fun to be a missionary. He works hard and is a good example of humble leadership. He is a great example of service too, always shining my shoes and ironing my shirts. It's kind of annoying to tell you the truth because after he does something I'm obligated to do something for him haha, of course I'm kidding. But, this campanionship is doing great

Finally, my testimony is there. This last week I have focused on trying to be more spiritual, to have a better sense of the sacred, and to be less light-minded. These things invite the Spirit to the work, the spirit of God that so fuels the fire of this work. I want to be that servant of God that depends solely on what the spirit tells him to say. I know that if I try to use my own inadaquate knowledge of the gospel and my own words I can accomplish very little. I know this is the work of God and I love it oh so much

We have a family night tonight with a family that has two kids who come to church every week, but have not been baptized because the mom will not let them. We did a little service for her Saturday and are gonna make a sweet cake to butter up the mom.

In the zone there are 2 who don't have baptismal dates, but they are going to baptize if they do everything they can to qualify for the Lord's help. And i think Elder Snow and I are going to do splits in their area in the next week or so to help them out.

I feel like the mission is just flying by, and I'm not doing too many "fun things" as in waterfalls, beaches and all that, but we are getting a lot done.

The McDonald's we ate at to celebrate Independance Day was super lame.... it's so dang expensive and they dont have a dollar menu!

Alright, well I love you all so much; I love all the extended family and love hearing about them. Family is SWEET isnt it?


Tuesday, July 7, 2009


TE MAL (My bad about no email last week)....... I sent a huge email last week, but it must have not gone through! It was a good one, too. Elder Snow and I have been so pumped up lately. Ever since Trinidad (Zone Leader Council) we have been overflowing with a desire to kick butt! President Robison shared with us in Trinidad the key to having 200 baptisms every month. That is that every zone has to have a magic number every month(the magic number every month is when every companionship baptizes). To this day the French Zone is the only zone never to have had the magic number. So when we taught at a zone meeting two fridays ago, we shared that it was up to us...every month. Setting goals is the only way we can progress. I think Elder Nelson said that without goals we would run up and down the field without ever crossing the goal line. We had our all the elders carefully plan and pray to fix a goal for their specific areas. I found that my faith was a lot less than that of the French Zone elders. For the year we have a goal for 155. I know that there are at least 155 souls that are prepared to receive the restored gospel this year, and I pray that the other elders and I can prepare ourselves enough that the Lord trusts us enough to put them in our path.

So I ask that everyone pray for that goal. Our preparation included a scripture study at a waterfall. Elder Snow and I found some great scriptures about how much God loves his children on the isles of the sea. How our goal is a mighty one, but God has helped his missionaries or warriors in the past. We raised our Eben-ezer (see below for definition of Ebenezer) and our Title of Liberty. It was a very spiritual experience in the tranquility of the Guadeloupe cascade.

And the Lord has really poured out His Spirit upon the island. We have seven elders who are under 5 months out, and yet they are kickin butt! There were four people baptized this last week and a few will be baptized this coming week. Elder Snow have a couple of baptisms set up for 2 people in the coming weeks. I love our new investigator Juedi Carel. Elder Heiner and I found him. He was a 22 year old "gangsta", but after teaching him he has changed so much! He shaved his dreads a few days ago(without us even telling him anything. He had some humbling experiences right before we met him in which he decided to turn to God. The light of Christ has guided him to the path of God! And there is no better feeling than when your investigator comes to church for the first time and offers the prayer! He is sweet! He is scheduled to be baptized on the 19th, and hopefully Malia for the same day. We are making changes in Guadeloupe, repenting, and becoming better. That's what it's all about, becoming better. These are the days never to be forgotten!

Elder Snow and I are having a blast....Its definitely harder to have fun in French than in English... but Elder Snow is a goon.haha I'm not gonna lie...right now I'm working on finding the balance between lightmindedness and light heartedness (we're not sure what that means) easier with Elder Snow though.

PSSSS I made Gulumbo (not sure what Gulumbo is) for the first time this last week!!! It was so good!.....ok not that great!!! but I didn't throw up! Well everyone know that I AM proud to be an American...we are eating at McDonalds today to salute America (at least that's our excuse).

I love everyone! Give the love to the Knaphus family for me...I think about them a lot (nose touch for mark).

*Eben-ezer (Stone of Help) A stone set up by Samuel as a token of gratitude for deliverance from the Philistines (1 Sam. 7: 10-12). The place had previously been the scene of two defeats (1 Sam. 4: 1; 1 Sam. 5: 1).