Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"The Good Fight"

Well, this week has been an incredible humbling experience for me, and my zone. This whole week we had fixed a goal of having a bunch of people at church ...all the elders prayed fasted and worked together to reach this goal. We had countless zone prayers. We challenged every elder to call every old investigator, anyone that had ever come to church. We set such a great goal at church because next week is our goal to have 12 baptisms as a zone. So we needed this stepping stone of people at church to make the big leap ...and not only did we not reach it, but we were not even close. It seemed just about every investigator that told us they could come bailed at the last minute, It seemed every golden investigator was unreachable, had car troubles, injuries, fears, and everything Satan could do prevented people from coming. It seems as though a darkness of disappointment and discouragement has settled in on our zone, and all the elders. All of them are disappointed, and questioning what they we could have done different. However, we continue forward with charity and love, knowing that when the trial of your faith is at hand the adversary will do anything to turn you away from the success that is at hand. The are actually many possible baptismal dates we are looking at, and although many had not been able to come to church we look to the horizon. It's really hard for me to KNOW, without a doubt that goals are possible and then to be so short is hard...It is a testimony of 1 of 2 things....either we are doing things absolutely wrong, or that Satan is working hard. I feel the spirit still so I don't believe we are doing things wrong...I just feel that this humbling experience is forcing me and all the other elders to rely more on God through Prayer...it's forcing us to get on our knees. At the moment I honestly don't feel I have any idea how to do missionary work...all I know is that there are MANY who are prepared for Baptism...and the only way to bring them to the waters of baptism is by the Holy GHOST...without the spirit you will not teach! Never has that verse rang more true. Despite all this, I'm excited for the week to come...I believe success is close, and we have only need to endure and we will see it. We have a couple of sweet investigators, men even, who are close to baptism..all is well!

Elder Cottam is coming along with his french....a little...its still kind of frustrating but I respect the crap out of him for sticking with it...he doesn't complain and works hard, so what more can you ask for!

Man...I feel like my emails are crappy...nothing really that cool. Its just been busy.

Today is our Thanksgiving...we are doing it today so that it doesn't take time out of the week. We are all getting together at the Collings and are all cooking stuff....I made some pretty dope Peach pies...well they look sweet...we will see how they taste. We are going to be watching the Joseph Smith Movie, Prophet of the Restoration after so it should be a pretty sweet day. Sadly, there will be no turkey bowl...lame! But I guess you won't have one either. Next year, baby!

Hey so are y'all sending me some pictures with that Christmas package? I need some.

Haha I cant believe RSL won...each week I get sports articles from Aunt Carol and I'm always disappointed when more than half are about RSL...they seemed like they were pretty crappy!

So how are them Jazz doing? IS D Will tearing it up or what?

K well I love everyone...keep on keeping on!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"Trouble on the Horizon" (No President for Zone Conference)

SO the familamy…whats crackin?

Sorry for the tardiness…

Zone Conference
We had probably one of the weirdest zone conferences ever Monday and Tuesday. Sunday night Elder Cottum and I picked up all the elders from Martinique, St Martin, and also the assistants from Trinidad. Oh yeah I forgot to tell ya…my old companion Elder Wright is now assistant to President Gamiette. It was great to see him again. He is quite a stud. Well late Sunday night while we were together with the other zone leaders and the assistants we got a call that President's flight was cancelled and he wasn’t going to make it to conference. We did our best to make do… the assistants and us each taught a lesson with some "how to apply: activities. It was good but it just wasn’t the same with out President.

This last week I was able to go on splits with one of the district leaders in my zone... right now there are two districts in Guadeloupe..the Basseterre and Grandterre Last week we went on splits with Basseterre and this week Grandterre. It was wild being back in my old area for the day. It felt like only a few days since I had been teaching there with Elder Snow. Well after making sure we had our contacts for the day and working with some of their investigators we felt impressed to see some of my old investigators that Elder Snow and I had taught before the strike. Because it was a little late we only had had time to see one. But it was worth it. Mr Albero was at his home, and was excited to see me(honestly, I was surprised he remembered me). I love seeing people I knew at the first of my mission, because now we can actually understand one another. Well, it turns our he has been reading quite often the Book of Mormon and is about half way done. He keeps it by his bed, and reads it when he needs a boost. We taught what it means for him and his family (a wife and two kids, who were not there) if the book was true. We read the last two paragraphs of the introduction. The spirit was strong. We asked him if he had ever had the opportunity to ask God if the book was true? He said that although he had prayed for God's help to understand the book almost every time he reads, he had yet to ask God if it was living scripture He remarked that he just assumed it was. With the spirit strong we invited him to prepare for baptism in 2 weeks and he agreed! What a testimony that God prepares his children! I remember that when Elder Snow and I had taught him he had been an alright investigator, but with the strike and his job he never had much time. We wrote in the area book but no elders had yet seen him. I'm grateful for that great experience!

Our Branch
President Eclar is pumped! The new motto for the branch is "Chak moun a moun” which is creole for every person should have a friend at church! The presidency of the branch is young and learning, but full of faith. They fixed a goal for 45 investigators or friends at church! Haha they are crazy! But anything is possible. This last week we had five people at church! But nothing a little kickin' butt can't fix!


Dang….whats up with that? IS TCU that good? Tuck says they are the best in the nation? True?

Also what is up with Dirk Natrensky? Is he getting trunky at all? HE IS HOME IN 4 months!Thanks for the pic of mom…I could use some more pics though…and also of you paps! There are never any of you!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"Green Flash at Sunset"

Sunset on Guadeloupe


Well, this was quite a miraculous week again. Every companionship had over 70 contacts this week…which is pretty amazing when you know all last transfer that there were 2 times when one companionship had 70. Everybody is working hard. Contacting, I've found, is the tiring part of missionary work. You can have lessons every hour and feel like you had a great day, but the day is so much sweeter when you come home exhausted because you were running between rendez vous and talking with everyone along the way. The elders are great in this zone. And although baptisms are not up right now, they will be come…already there have been quite a few miracles. My companion who still can't speak a lick of French(but its coming along) was part of one this past week…we had just got done with a rendez vous that we had fixed with one of our previous contacts and she was alright. It was a good lesson and the spirit was present. I taught most of it, but right when we were about to leave Elder Cottam was prompted to ask if she knew anyone else that might be interested in our message. And as a matter of fact she did! Kitty, one of her friends is also in the middle of searching for God in her life. We called her and let her know we were the missionaries who had talked with her friend Franciane and we would like to meet with her to talk about God's restored church. She agreed; we brought a member with us and had one of the best lessons that I have ever been a part of. It turned out that Kitty had just barely lost her father last week and was going through a rough time. We told her that that God understood, that a plan he created long before she came to this earth would allow her to see her father again and that this plan was a plan of happiness. She couldn’t come to church this Sunday because of funeral services but next Sunday is for sure. I believe that Elder Cottam and I are gaining the Lord's trust at this time by working hard and diligently. It's taught me that the Lord's trust really isn’t won during times of need, but like Nephi when he was given the promise that all things would be done unto him, according to his word. (Helaman 8 or something) We still have a long way to go, but we are on the right track…seeing miracles, and loving this work.

David Family

The David family is doing great. We finally got the father to sit down with us and we taught a lesson on faith. He participated and it was great. He even took the family to church this Sunday and picked them up. Dimgee(the 8 year old) participated in the primary program….he recited the 8th article of faith…and then last night when we passed by to read with the family we asked him to say the prayer and the prayer consisted of "dear heavenly father, we believe that the Bible is the word of God as far as it is translated correctly….’ Haha it was hilarious. But this week we are going to pass by the family with President Eclar and see if we can get the father to come to church…there is one problem with the family though…we found out that Brother and Sister David are not married…they have been together for 30 years! That was kind of a bummer but no big deal…the father just needs to feel the spirit and then feel the spirit during a lesson on eternal families.


Its been pouring cats and dogs…I have never seen so much rain…there have been two days where we have walked without the car this week and both days we got caught in the rain and had to go home to change…it was the best! I love the rain.
Elder Cottam and I hit up a waterfall last p day…the Haut de Lizard! It was sweet…right now we need to get prepared to do zone meeting this Tuesday and then we will have to teach during zone conference…so that will be….fun?

Haute de Lizard Waterfall

Oh and i just want to mention how much I love bread...french bread...I'm gonna be a baker when I get home 'ANDY THE BAKER'


Yeah, it's frustrating but I'm getting up at 5:30 and getting exercise in….its not too bad. Elder Cottam doesn’t like getting up early so running is kind of hard haha. Elder Snow was good about that…he would just eat his cereal and watch me run haha. I miss that kid… Elder Cottam is cool and we get along, but we just aren’t all that much alike. HE HAS NEVER WATCHED AN ENTIRE SPORTING GAME!!! Haha he is an incredible missionary though….I'm trying to motivate him to learn French quicker so he can be even more kick butt

Monday, November 2, 2009

"Bring Back the Magic"

It was such a great feeling to come back to Lamentin and see some of the great sisters and brothers I had worked with just a month ago. I was so impressed by the changes that I have seen in the branch of Lamentin since I left 6 weeks ago. When I left, there was much disorder, and during the meetings on Sunday the spirit was prohibited. We didn’t start on time, and there were kids running around, but since President Eclar has been made present the house of the Lord has been put into order and there was a reverence and peace during the meeting that had not been present before. I mentioned the feelings I felt during a powerful testimony meeting. One of the sisters got up after me and explained that the changes that I saw were individuals becoming more converted. Our conversion is truly a lifetime process isn’t it? We had 2 investigators at church Madame David and her son, and there is no question that they both felt the spirit, and so they should be baptized pretty soon. They will be going to a family tonight with another family of the branch. This week was another miracle for me. By the time I arrived on Wednesday we had 0 contacts. And on top of that Elder Cottum and I had very little time for proselyting because of transfers, we had to close an apartment in Moule, and had to go to Basseterre to bring the elders some furniture for their apartment, and then car problems. In all we had 3 hours Thursday, Friday and Saturday afternoon and night, and then Sunday after church. We prayed and strived to have 70 contacts still and got them done. We made a point of challenging all the companionships in the zone to have 70 contacts so we sure had better them, too. Already we are seeing God's blessings pour out. This morning, a girl who didn’t even give us her number or address called us asking questions about the brochure we gave her, and was really interested in getting a copy of the Book of Mormon. I know obedience is the key to missionary work, and 70 contacts is the first thing asked of us. I was convinced that this is a key to success after last week. Elder Nelson and I did all we could to have 70 contacts and we were blessed to have 5 incredible people at church (that's why last week was so great). I won't lie though....getting 70 contacts takes its toll. Today we were standing in need of 23 contacts. Normally, Sundays are the roughest too as no one is on the streets to contact. But it was a holiday...All Saints Day...so everyone was at the cemetery...haha we talked with everyone!!! probably 200 people, but we got them!!! It is definitely missionary work at a new level. But it is exhilarating to see us reach our goals! This week we will be able to settle down to the normal 10 contacts each day.

Our zone is solid!!! We are even younger than we were before...right now there are 2 elders older than me. Right now there are 8 companionships including the Collings. There are companionships in Gosier, Abymes, Point a Pitre, Capestterre, and 2 in Bassterre. I was sad to come back and have to close Moule, but President Gamiette is pushing to have a stake...and the smaller branches are joining the bigger ones.

Elder Cottom is doing great. He is a great elder, and works extremely hard. He is from Colorado...haha I think he will be a challenging companion. He just got over from the English side of the mission, and doesn't speak any french...I know president knew what he is doing though...but contacts are much harder because we can't split up and do them...I'm speaking french all the time with him though so hopefully that will pick up. Other than that he is an experienced and hard working companion. He is one that never played sports, never watched movies, as far as I've gathered he was on the computer his whole life before the mission.

George my latest baptism (in Guadeloupe) is awesome..I was so excited to see he has received the priesthood, passing the sacrament, and working with the missionaries. You talked about Ashley and Hillary they are still going to church with their mom, Patricia. The only bad news is that Rene has moved from Moule and is in St Martin, but Elder Snow was moved there and is tracking him down for me.

I did a deep study on the relation between faith and miracles. I read Mormon chapter 9 that shot my faith through the ceiling this week. I testify God will give us all that we demand of him, as long as we doubt not. Sometimes our faith is insufficient and we do doubt, but we can pray and fast that our faith will be sufficient!

Hey I wanted to thank Hilly for her postcard. I was so stoked to see Flaming Gorge... I can't believe she is now 15! Holy shmokes! Time is flying by.