Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"Cowboy in the Jungle"

Ashley and Hillary each received a letter from Andy this week. The letters contained some information that was new to us about his time on Guadeloupe, so we've included excerpts here.

Usually, Elder Snow and I don't have much time to do something fun on P-Day, but we try to every once in a while. The last P-Day we went out in the jungle with our machetes to hunt for animals. We came back with just a lot of mosquito bites, but we did find two coconuts to drink and eat! Coconuts are every where here, and they are the best.

The missionary work is going really well. Elder Snow and I should have two baptisms coming up for a man named George who is from Haiti (there are actually many people here who have immigrated from Haiti because it is too poor there... their kids eat what we would call "dirt cake"). Elder Snow and I have become quite the cake makers for our members. Its the way to win their hearts (hard work helps also!).

It's weird here in Guadeloupe. It is unheard of for someone under the age of 20 to have a job. I'm sure you heard about the strike a couple of months ago. Well, ever since that strike jobs have been scarce. It's a much different life here in the Carib than in the US. And Guadeloupe is a lot better off than other places. It's lucky we live in such a tropical place where they are able to grow enough food to feed themselves. They can grow anything here. The other day Elder Snow and I did some service for Papa Fred aka "Adam" who lives in his own Garden of Eden. We worked a couple of hours and saw trees of coconuts, bananas, star fruit, carumbul and plants of tomatoes, pumpkins, yams, potatoes, sugar can and more. It was so great when we walked away with a barrel of fruit that Papa Fred gave us. The best part is learning how to cook them all. With the coconuts we use our machetes to cut them open, although the first couple of times I tried it wasn't the best cut. In Guada they have thousands of different ways to eat bananas. I'm gonna cook you up something good when I get back. It's gonna be sweet!

Monday, September 21, 2009

"First Look"

So I didn't get moms email this week; I'm pretty sure she sent one, but it's not too big of deal.

Elder Nelson is my companion..he is SAWEET! only problem is he went to Granger High School... so obviously not that bright of guy... a great missionary with tons of love and talents. I swear if they do another sequel to Bill and Ted's he would be perfect. He was a musician before the mission haha...more of the Jimmy Hendrix type though...he had the nappiest dreads I have ever seen I think. He had a band and that was basically his life.. but he actually is a great piano player, too. He is an easy person to love. What I loved was that in a Guadeloupe as his zone leader I knew him and his companion Elder Julian rarely spoke french together, and at first I was worried he wouldn't be too excited about speaking it all the time. But since we have been together he has spoken only french, and he has not complained. He has a strong, powerful testimony of the gospel, and I wish I could open him up a little more. He is terribly shy to teach, to contact, or even to talk on the phone. I don't know how that works out with the whole rocker role before the mission but... I want him to be able to work more, to see at what length the Holy Ghost can really take him. I know with Elder Julian, they were not the most obedient, and a little lazy, so there are some problems with waking up on time for him, and energy in general. But, I feel things will be alright ... my only worry is being too hard on him...I don't want him to force him to open his mouth and to be excited about the work, I want him to want to...

Elder Nelson

The area in Fort de France is awesome! I am sure I'm the luckiest missionary in the world. As beautiful as Guadeloupe was...Martinique I believe takes the cake. The mountains and the tall,large buildings enhance all the already beautiful Caribbean. The best part is...no mosquitoes...YEAH! My companion, Elder Nelson, and I are in awe every day ..HOLY SCHMOKES! Slap me...the only worry I had coming into Martinique was that we had heard from all the missionaries that had been here before that the people were a lot colder, and a lot more difficult to talk to. BALONEY! The first day we had 7 phone numbers and found that they were just as approachable as the Guadeloupeans. The people are sweet!. The one problem Elder Nelson and I encountered for the first few days was not knowing our members. So, immediately we set to work on finding them. The second day we had 2 lessons with members and by Sunday we had visited and taught just about everyone in our area(as we are split into two areas for FDF, we didn't see all the members). But, how great it was Sunday when we saw the little chapel right about the cement factory full of Latter Day Saints. I had no idea that FDF (Fort de France) was such a big branch. There are plenty of priesthood holders too, well nine, but that ain't too shabby; So we are excited to get to work with the members and really change things around. I know that missionaries have had a problem of staying around members homes too long here, and I really want to change that. I believe if the members see missionaries saying "no" to dinners because we go to work, we will see the sense of urgency increase.

My testimony is growing stronger. I realized this week the importance of continually searching to strengthen our testimonies. Every day we challenge investigators to pray to know if certain gospel principals are true. Why? Because by the power of the Holy Ghost we can know the truth of all things. I realized while studying this week that in all things we study and learn of the gospel, we should follow that up with a prayer for that confirming answer that it is true, no matter what level we are at.

To answer your questions.. yeah the x ray is just for my titre... or visa. I'll have a rendezvous the next transfer to go pick it up... After I have that I'm legal for one year in any french area to go and leave when i want. Right now I have what is called a blue card..which is basically a temporary visa which allows me to leave and go, but its only for about 2 months.

Oh, I forgot to tell you about one of the members who is just incredible here. Her name is YVA...she is well-known among all the french members in the Caribbean because any member the passes through Martinique is taken into her hotel that she owns, and then she feeds them..SHE loves the missionaries...they are like her children, and, in fact. that's created some of the problems among the Tahitian missionaries in that they stay way too long at her house. The first Sunday we arrived she had the biggest meal prepared for us..there was home baked bread, meat, pasta, yams, baked bananas pese, salad, artichokes, ...haha I made the mistake of assuming that was the meal. NOPE that was the entré...I was dead...then came the rice, and lamb....and then 2 gallons of ice cream...MAMA! Holy schmokes. One of the Tahitians told us she will do that for the missionaries 2 or 3 times a week...of course we won't go that much, but I cant imagine what effort she goes through for all that haha...

So how much did the Utes drop in the rankings?

Happy birthday to Hillary!

Looking Back at Guadeloupe: Guadeloupe Sunset and Planning with Elder Snow

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Information and photos are from Sister Diane Robison.

Population of about 402,000
This island is owned by France and is part of the European Union. Its currency is the euro.
French is the official language but many of the inhabitants speak Martini can Creole.
Martinique has an active volcano—Mount Pelee that last erupted in 1901.
Enjoys a higher standard of living than most other Caribbean islands.
Is mentioned in the Beach Boys hit "Kokomo" with the line "To Martinique, that Montserrat mystique"


There are 2 congregations on Martinique and nearly 200 members. They are the Trinite (very small branch) and the Fort de France branch. Andy is serving in the Fort de France branch.

Missionary Work:

As of June 2009 there were four elders serving in Martinique. They fly to either St Lucia or Guadeloupe for zone conferences.

Andre Condoris, a young man baptized in France while serving in the military, returned to his homeland in August 1980 and was the first known convert from the country. In July 1983, West Indies Mission President Kenneth Zabriskie visited Andre Condoris and Joell Joseph-Agathe, who had also been baptized in France. The two members welcomed missionaries Mark Richards, Stan Jones, and David Simons in May 1984, and held the first meeting on May 6. One month later Elder Ronald E. Poelman of the Seventy (one of the governing bodies of the Church) visited and a few months later Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone of the Seventy visited. The Martinique Branch (a small congregation) was organized in October 1985. The work has been slow in the country partly due to opportunities for members to immigrate to France.

Martinique is located south of Guadeloupe and Domenica and north of St. Lucia.

Mt Pelee in the distance, where two elders were found after being lost for three days and three night

Church in Fort de Franceis a rented building (upper floor). This may have changed recently.


Standing Tall in Guadeloupe

I am so grateful for the last 4 transfers I have had to serve in Lamentin. These members are truly great examples that I believe will inspire me and motivate me for the rest of my life. It is such a blessing to meet Latter Day Saints like them. I pray that my testimony of Jesus Christ and my service in his name has helped each one of them in some way, even if only to strengthen their testimony. I'm sad because the last week in Lamentin was not the best. I could blame it on having to drive people everywhere during conference, but it is not true. We did not arrive at the success in contacting how I would like. But I have promised myself to do better. We have been working with members and trying to serve them in order to get referrals and although we have seen the members take a better liking to the missionaries thanks to this. Elder Snow and I see now that there needs to be more teaching involved to get referrals. There is one investigator who is feasting on the Book of Mormon! He feels an extreme need to repent. He has been to church the last two weeks and he was able to come to the fireside last Friday with President Anderson. We actually were able to have 5 potential priesthood holders there, a nice note of success before leaving.

Elder Snow is the best, I feel a little sad to be leaving him. He has taught me so much, but I know that we both have more to learn from other companions. He is a champ!

We had zone conference this week and I feel the reason it may have seemed I have been down on myself has cleared up. Last Zone conference President Gamiette bore testimony to the missionaries that ALL of our goals are possible through Heavenly Father's help. They Holy Ghost bore testimony to me that that was true... and you know there was just something missing all of this last transfer...we were having decent success, in fact more success than I had been having before in Lamentin. But, I was getting down on myself because Elder Snow and I were not reaching all of our goals...so what was the problem? Were we not working hard enough? Were we being disobedient? What was it? And now as I'm writing this email the Holy Ghost witnesses to me that true success and/or happiness comes when our goals and the Lord's are one. This work in Lamentin is not mine, or Elder Snow's, but it's the Lord's! Haha, how much more clear is Alma 37:37 now when it says to counsel the father in all our doings, and he we lead us to good(something like that. And that if we ask with faith it will be given to us? ...well with that said...I plan to take that idea, continue with hard work, but strive to be more united with the will of God in Martinique...I'm getting transferred...I'll be serving in Fort De France, in Martinique, which is not to far from Guadeloupe. I'm excited because I will not be zone leader! Haha, it was fun, and I'm grateful for the learning that was had, but this will be a nice break. I'll still be a district leader, but it's not as difficult as zone leader. Well. I gotta go right now, so thanks for listening today

Love y'all,

Elder NEff

PS Let everyone know that my address will stay the same...continue sending things to Guadeloupe(President has told me I'll be back in Guadeloupe next transfer due to legal issues. So, unless you want to send something to me with fast shipping it makes more sense just to keep the same address.

Transferring to Martinique reminds of the leaving St. Martin for Guadeloupe

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"Cheeseburger in Paradise"

Celebrating Independence Day at McDonalds

Not celebrating a 37 Euro bill for four

Well Ka zot fé?

Creole plus deficil langue pou ecri...

Lamentin is starting to get back into the swing of things. We are seeing members who are more determined to give references and work with us. This last week we prayerfully focused on accomplishing our goal for contacts (ten numbers everyday). We saw great improvements in ourselves as we studied and role-played contacts. We focused on becoming more effective contacters. As a result we improved so much our contacts. We jumped from 25 last week to 45 this week...this week, there is no doubt a 70. We also have seen that as we have been contacting throughout the whole day and everyone we see we have qualified ourselves for more help during our lessons. The spirit has been so much stronger, and so the lessons so much more powerful. At the center of all our plans has been the Book of Mormon. There were two people who had come to church Sunday...one was one of these contacts. We have been "advertising" the general authority who is coming, so we are excited about that.

Elder Snow is a blessing in this work...this work would be so hard without a companion. The more I work with him the more I learn from and love him.

My testimony is strong. I have especially been thankful for all the occasions I now have to bear it. We are so lucky as missionaries of the Lord, and I pray that I can recognize more of the blessings I am sometimes too prideful to see. I regret the times when I sometimes don't feel like contacting, and I reflect on the selfishness and disrespect that shows to our Heavenly Father. This week has really taught me to not only have fear of no one, but cherish every encounter I have with one of my brother and sisters, who's Savior is mine also.

This week was fun. Thanks to our contacts our teaching pool has been quite full...there is still some room to grow...the hard thing with Guadeloupians is they hate commitments. And whenever they do give you a time to come back and teach, there are only a select few which will be sure there. So with all that it's impossible to set up member lessons when we aren't sure if our investigator will be there. Haha, that was one of the lessons I learned with Elder Heiner. We would set up member lessons as one of the lessons with our investigators. I would rather get kicked in the belly than have our members take time out of their day for a ratey vous(what we call a rendez-vous when our investigator doesn't show up).

This week should be sweet...It's zone conference and there is an authority general who is coming. Friday is going to be rough because Elder Snow and I will be commuting ten other missionaries who are coming in from neighboring islands. As for all the big news in Guyana, i feel terrible for President Gamiette, and all he is having to do. Please pray for him and his family. But all that will change in Guadeloupe is we will be getting 2 English elders for a transfer which should be fun for them.

So, I'm glad grandpa was able to go down the river...he best be ready to go down with all of us next year when we go to the cabin first week that I'm home. YEE HAW!!!

I got dad's Utah football articles the other week Elder Snow and I were so pumped to hear about our boy JJ...he is such a stud! And Utes won...Dope...the guadeloupians are gonna know for sure that I'm a Utah man, sir.

HAHA, tucker is a nerd, haha, but if he is getting into facebook I don't know...its good but its also lame at the same time.

Hey i wanted to ask how all the boys were doing...I haven't heard too much...but TOM, TRENT, PAT, GARR, and Dan? Wes should be gettin' home pretty soon too....How are my boys?

And of course TJ....whats the news?

K well I love you mom...tell Brother Robison and Sister Robison hi for me (we're going to hear Andy's former mission president and wife speak on Sunday) hahaha...wow I think I'm so funny. Love ya

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

"Public Relations"

President Gamiette is one of the greatest men I have ever met...he doesn't tire and you see the standard in which he lives is different. Ever since President Gamiette has come things have been changing...not so much with rules or things such as that, but as far as focus. Normally, we as missionaries are challenged to contact 20 people a day(aside from tracting). We were doing that, and there was a time when our zone was doing that everyday(which is pretty good). President Gamiette challenged the mission now to not only contact but acquire over 10 phone numbers or addresses everyday(referrals). He isn't one to tell us to do something, or one to ask us to do something that he himself isn't right there doing with you. He motivates people by being around him. He went out with the assistants and got over 40 numbers in under 2 hours! We are seeing that this idea is going to flood our teaching pools, and, hopefully, the fonts a little later. We will be contacting over 160 people every day in Guadeloupe! This is crazy and unheard of! It's hard too, because in Gaudeloupe you can talk with just about anyone about religion(as everyone here are religious experts, or at least that's what they tell each other) for over 30 minutes without receiving a number. The point being that we are able to waste a lot of time if we are not smart or following the spirit. Already Elder Snow and I are seeing many weaknesses in our contacts and many ways to improve. It has been hard...this week we only had 27! We could make excuses, but it's what the Lord wants and so he will provide a way. I can't lie that I have not been stressed and a little down about not being to reach our goals lately, in baptisms, contacts, and in overall helping the members here. But I "hold tight" as they say in french or creole. I know that patience is the key.... its something I don't have much of and am forced to pray for everyday. I hope you will pray that i will have that.

Well, it sounds like everyone is doing well, other than TY boy. haha. Poor kid...you should send me a photo him. So, how is Tuck liking school? He is at SLCC right? I can not believe that. That kid is still the pip squeak to me...is he still working? Oh yeah where is Andy Naylor going? Its weird to hear about Sarah whipperman, and that she lives next door....although it seems like I was just home...so much has changed. It seems like a totally different place. Olympus beat Skyline! Tucker is nice! Miracles left and right....joke! Well, Guadeloupe is starting school this week, and we are excited about that as missionaries...it means people are a whole bunch more free. The weather is hot hot hot...the heat brings out acne a little bit...every once in a while someone asks me if I got bit by mosquitoes. But it really is not that bad!

Well, I'm grateful for you prayers for all the support and love,



PS I got the package from Grandma. Thanks, it was the best!