Monday, August 24, 2009

"I Love the Now"

Elder Snow and I saw the blessings of the Lord with our member work this week. George, was baptized yesterday by President Constant(branch president). We have been working with our members a lot lately, just on teaching them how to teach the gospel. And I'm talking about all our members not just our branch missionaries. So we have even scheduled a few rendez vous with George where two members have taught him without us being there(once or twice when we have had too many other appointments). On one of these occasions, my favorite sister in the world, Soeur Eclar challenged him to be baptized(another testimony of the effectiveness of members). This was not a missionary was a branch baptism. We have seen top many problems with that here, where missionaries do too much of the work and the investigators are left after baptism with no one. When we were explaining to George who could baptize him, the missionaries were not even made an option. We are seeing the work which we have put in over the weeks with the members pay off! Our members are learning better how to teach...and even though there are many who are still scared and not ready to take that leap into the cold waters of missionary work. There are some who are creeping to the waters edge and getting their toes wet, watching other members like Soeur Eclar dive right in, and are taking a little more confidence.

I never really realized the importance of father's blessings until the mission. Right now there are so many part-member families in the branch that the elders quorum is having a rough time getting together to make sure that every family with children will receive a blessing before the school year. We as kids are so lucky for the home that you and dad built for us. Every time I teach about scripture study or prayer I use the example of our family.

hahaha, Ashley is such a nerd....are all girls seriously like that? That's weird...I'm trying to learn to be a good companion so I can be a better husband...sometimes it's hard, and sometimes I need a whole lot more patience, but I'm thankful for the lessons it teaches me. I sent some photos with the email today from the baptism and also from my one year anniversary(you burn a shirt, but i also sent a package a few weeks ago and in it was a CD for the family with a bunch of photos and stuff.

Anyways Paix Dehours!

Elder Andy Neff

We had a few questions for Andy. Thankfully, he responded.

• What is going on with Judicael (haven't heard much about him lately)? He is coming to church and all the activities, but he does not yet have a contrite spirit or a broken heart. He is not reading the Book of Mormon much or keeping the commandments. He is not progressing....we are going to let him go for a little bit and check back in a while.
How many missionaries in the Lamentin branch? We are fluctuating with legality things and elders getting hurt. Elder Snow and I are hauling elders all over...we have had 6 to 2 missionaries in the last 3 weeks.
How is handling the manual transmission? I am not driving any more luckily haha...I actually had a little accident with a speed bump, and lost the privilege.... I don't want talk about it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

"Pacing the Cage"

Well, things are going.... Some of the older missionaries tell me that it's because it's the summer and vacation, and it was exactly the same last year, but I don't buy it. I'm disappointed in myself. There should be changes since last year. We should be having more and more at church, not the same. Our finding efforts were greatly hindered by Elder Miles this week(no fault to him) who has had terrible problems with his feet. We did splits with him and his companion, Elder Olsen, when he needed to go to the doctors, and because the doctor gave us the results that led to his transfer to Trinidad. I was with Elder Olsen for about two days, and Elder Snow couldn't do much with our investigators with Elder Miles who couldn't walk. So I have faith that contacting and finding will be the key this week, as we have had less time with that. Its frustrating with not having as much time to work...but it just means we have to work harder and smarter...THERE IS ALWAYS A WAY TO DO WHAT GOD ASKS OF US. That's why I love this gospel! 3 Nephi 3:7 is a verse that everyone knows, but we must live with that faith...that there is always hope, always a way to accomplish our righteous goals. We were extremely excited to get our Branch President back this soon as we could we set some goals to activate some of our priesthood and he fixed a goal FOR THE BRANCH of 5 baptisms this month. We move forward with faith... I have faith in him and his priesthood keys that he holds. So the work goes forth, and we will work harder and smarter. I know that all this is giving me experience that I will need...we should treasure up our trials in our life...all our afflictions, because they are trials and afflictions in Christ.

I love Elder Snow, he is so cheerful, and uplifting. Like with all companions there are things that I would like that he would do different. He gets distracted easy, and sometimes looks too hard for the fun in things, but I sometimes feel I push him too hard, and I'm too critical. Of course, the first person I need to look to if there is a problem is myself. All in all we get along great, and I pray that I can love him even more....

I want to address what dad wrote about a little earlier in the week. He had read my patriarchal blessing this last week...about the gift of this summer has been a slower, and I have prayed and pondered ways to help the work...I have also sought counsell in my patriarchal blessing...and I read that..and I'm grateful for your advice dad. So let me recount an experience from this week from my journal(I have it with me)...

August 14, 2009
Me and Elder Olsen had a great day today. I'm grateful for the spirit that Elder Olsen carries with him, and I guess so it is with those that love the Lord like him. I was lucky enough to be on splits with him today. We were lucky enough to meet a great family today, Family Anitalo. They come from Haiti, and have two daughters of 8and 10 years. We had planned to find a family night before, and that had been in our prayers since planning and during our studies. We prayed for a family of four...when we knocked their door we didn't think the mother was much interested. But she invited us in letting us know we only had a few minutes, and honestly I just think she invited us in to be polite. We met the father who was busy watching the television...we noticed he had a wounded leg for some reason. He had bandages, and I think that he had been cut by a machete. We talked with them a little about what had happened. After a minute or two I asked him if he would like a blessing. He replied a little half-heartedly "yes", haha. I was not so sure at this point, questioning his faith. Elder Olsen had never given a blessing before so he rathered that I do it. Before I felt to ask if we could give them a quick lesson about the priesthood and the restored power of God on earth. I think that really boosted his faith. The blessing went well and I don't remember what I said. But I felt the family was really touched. After the blessing the father got up from the chair without saying anything and left the room. Before we knew it the mother asked if we could bless her daughter. Elder Olsen, by the comforting of the spirit, felt a little more comfortable giving a blessing, so he did it. Next, we hadn't seen the father and so we were getting ready to leave when the father, Mr. Anitalo, came in with just a towel on, having just got out of the shower, and he said with the biggest grin on his face...IT'S BETTER! His leg had been healed! I don't think fully, but tons better. He was walking a whole lot more confidently on his leg..hahaha before I really thought about it I blurted out the reply "Seriously?!". After registering what I said I felt terrible...what kind of faith is that? Seriously? As a servant and representative of Jesus, I must have a greater faith in his power... But now I know the healing power of the priesthood is real...both spiritual and temporal and in all things.

It was a spiritual experience...I'm sad I will not be able to teach the family...but I find that it is less than a coincidence dad decided to write me about that this week....

ON a funner was the TOUR DE GUADELOUPE this week...hahaha boy was that fun...I don't get what is so fun about watching people ride bikes...its true they wear some sexy spandex...I love it...We saw people who wore their favorite riders in football I wore my Brett Favre jersey to the Packers game..there are the fans that wear the spandex haha...ridiculous... k well love everyone

Monday, August 10, 2009

"My Head Hurts, My Feet Stink, But I Do Love Jesus"

I'm not going to lie. This was one of the worst weeks of my mission. Actually the last two weeks. Elder Snow and I were not able to get much done on Wednesday and Thursday because of transfers. This week we spent over 30 euros paying for parking at the airport.That was frustrating, but there were a bunch of elders flying in and going out of Guadeloupe. But, even aside for that the work was just HARD. We have received direction from our branch president to work with inactives and part-member families, and that has been slow. We have seen a few families, the family Bilba, Jason, and Demmin. All are part-member families. But, all have there individual problems. We had great lessons in fact with the family Bilba and Demmin about having family prayer and the unifying power that it has in homes. The family Bilba has been pretty good about it, and it has been a sweet sweet blessing to see the difference in her children. The family Demmin was not as diligent, but we have a family night with them tonight. President Gamiette tells us that if they don't come to church then bring the spirit of Zion to them to cultivate that desire. None of those families came to church this last week though, and we only had one investigator. In evaluating the week with numbers it was one of my worst ever on the mission. And to add to that, every week there seems to be fewer and fewer people at church. This last week there were 30! Man, it really hurt my soul to see that on Sunday. It has been a sad week, and I don't know what to do! I know that i can make a difference, but I don't know how. However....I KNOW the direction we have received is from God, and even if I do not see the big picture right now, the spirit tells me to continue in this way,in doing what our branch president wants, in knitting our hearts with that of the branch president's. In doing that we will have success. I love Jesus Christ! As my Redeemer and Savior, he comforts me. Every day that I draw closer to him and become more like him, I realize the weakness and nothingness of myself. I have spent a good amount of time praying about what needs to happen, what the Lord wants Elder Snow and I to do...I'm grateful for that sweet quote that dad sent from President Snow. I'm grateful for the scriptures for the comfort and wisdom that is in them. Thanks mom and dad for making me read them every morning...haha I can honestly say that in drowsing in and out of sleep every morning while reading I didn't learn much from the scriptures, but what you did teach me, and which is doubly important was the great importance to read them.

Monday, August 3, 2009

West Indies Sunsets

Kudos to Sister Robison and the Elders of the West Indies Mission for some fabulous sunset photos.

"Making Music for Money"

Well, this week I felt was a success. After being directed on how to work with our branch president, that's the first thing we did. We went to him and asked for his advice, letting him know that we will do all that his asks of us. I think that's important in showing him that we will do EVERYTHING that he asks...already the trust and unity between the branch and missionaries has increased. Our president left on vacation Thursday taking with him the questions about how many baptisms the Lord would want for Lamentin, and how many inactives he wanted to come to church. The one answer we had to know was with whom he wanted us to work. He commanded us to work with all the part-member and inactive families. We have started that and are excited to see the results of his priesthood power at work.

We have continued to work hard with the branch missionaries. We have been training them individually, creating lesson plans with them in a training process. They are learning and growing spiritually, and this week they had their first lesson without the missionaries! Elder Snow and I were so excited for that. We have a baptism coming up for this week, Judicael. He should have been baptized last week, but he is still having trouble with cigarettes; it is his only problem. He is at all church activities and is calling members on his own to pick him up for church. I know that the Lord is watching over this island and that he will bless us in reaching our goals if we as missionaries are responsible and accountable for the goals we set. In fact, that could be said for any righteous goal we set. Judicael should finally be baptized this next week. He really needs our prayers to stop smoking. We finally fixed a plan for him with our district president. Judicael has the desire, he wants to serve a mission and he wants to follow the path of Christ. We had a great lesson with him about that path, and how if he has not seriously repented and given up his sins he cannot be baptized. And the dangers of if we take up that path, the consequences of leaving it after the baptism. Nephi(2 Nephi 31), tells us that it would be better that we had not known Jesus than to quit this straight and narrow path. This gospel is the best, it is the perfect gospel, and there is no other way under heaven in which we can gain eternal life with our sweet families. Judicael is serious. We are seeing changes in him, and I am thankful for your sustaining prayers that help him. I'm gonna to let him know that you pray for him as well.

So, I'm not getting transferred; Elder Snow and I are still zone leaders. So that will be fun to be with him again. He is my boy. There was a talent show the other night for the district. He can sing pretty dang well, and I played "Everything" by MB....we stole the show! Actually, we didn't see many of the other performances because it started an hour and a half late, and so we had to take all the elders home after only a half hour. Our zone has not changed too much, they are sending over two other missionaries, making 16 here! I feel bad for the collings because they love to teach, but they never have time because they are ALWAYS doing office work...they feel bad, they so badly want to teach and change lives, but without them we would be up the creek. It's too bad too because they have such a great spirit about them; they are great teachers and every time they teach, you sense their sincere love of the gospel. Oh and to answer dad's question, they can speak pretty well. They did serve in France for two years, but they have the most horrible accents ever haha. We missionaries get a kick out of 'em.

Well I gotta go, but I love y'all and you have to give Spence a big "what's up" from me. Oh and congratulate Ben...he is a stud (cousin Ben Seagle made the "A" football team).