Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"Bank of Bad Habits"

Madame Onestas is hanging in there...thank you for your prayers. She came to church last week and loved it...she is such a sweet MAMMIE...every day for the last 10 years she has taken dinner to her son who is in the hospital. She lives with and takes care of her brother who is handicapped and she is just great. She is older though and real worried about damaging relations with the only people that matter to her. It's really unfortunate, but we have faith that all will go as the Lord wants.

Sometimes it seems that Guadeloupeans are just so hypocritical and numb to the word of God because they are preached it since they can walk. But because they have not received the true gospel, but an empty one, given by those that do not live what they teach, they are a little insensible to what we have to say sometimes.

Clean the cabin sounds like such a great activity... I would love to get my hands dirty and work on that cabin...I have been dreaming about the cabin for a year...as much as I miss Utah...I miss the cabin even more...so that works out great..everyone works on it and makes it look good for me when I get home!

HAHA...My siblings are such brats...sorry....I always tell my companions about how sorry I am for being such a turd before my mission...I always tell them of how I was a huge jerk to my family before my mission. But I have to say...I never had too many PPIs....maybe you should just bring back the spankings.

Well, I love you all...you are the best...Elder Shwab and I are getting along just great! He is a stud from Seattle...we definitely don't have a lot in common...but that doesn't matter. In fact I have always gotten along better with companions least like me...I think because I try and pray harder to have a good relationship, knowing that if I don't there might be a problem.

Hahah the other night I got him so good! We were in an area where I had been last week when I was with Elder Evans. It was nighttime and it was real dark when we passed by a huge tree of bread fruit. And as I went over to pick one, a huge dog jumped out of no where and scared the crap out of me haha...so when I realized Elder Schwab and I were in the same area and it was dark I decided to be a huge jerk and scare him...Elder Schwab being all excited about Guadeloupe was starving to try every native fruit and food he could. So, naturally he was pretty quick to run up to the tree and grab a bread fruit.. almost on cue the dog jumped out and went after him as if it was gonna kill him...hahaha I have never seen an Elder run so fast and scream so much like a girl haha.....

It was fun...I love the mission...its just great!

Well I got to go...but I'll catch ya next week


Andy's Letter to President Gamiette:

Bonjour President,
Thank you for your email that boosts my spirits and lifts my hopes every week. This week although physically demanding, and spiritually draining, ended in a great way! Although the first two days of the week were extremely difficult to get things done(Elder Evans was sick) it seems Elder Schwab and I are off to a great start. Thanks for putting me with such an incredible elder. He is an incredible worker, doesn't complain, and has already an exemplary love for the people. This week has been a week of working through difficulties with investigators. We have one, Sister Shermain that should have been baptized this coming week. As soon as we heard the message from our zone leaders that you wanted all the missionaries to fix hard baptismal dates for this week, we went out and did it with her. We taught her the doctrine of the restoration. We helped her understand the restoration and its necessity to our salvation today. After we bore testimony, the spirit was there to push her to say yes to a baptismal date. Those teaching skills we worked on in conference are really working; we fixed two other soft dates this last week(yes we need more, and we will have 10 this week), but unfortunately with Shermain as we have come back to teach her again and again, she seems less and less ready. The change of heart has not yet occurred. We have been finding many new investigators through her however...this last Sunday we passed by her apartment and in the hour we were there we had 4 new investigators!

Our other investigator who had a BD for this Sunday is still facing family controversy over her baptism...they are all against it. We have taken President Kasaongo by to try and help...and we did succeed in befriending the children that were there. But they are still against it, and the solution lies in the faith of our investigator..she has a decision to make...

The returning members we have been working with are going well too...we are using 40 days to make them stronger and help them practice the traditions of Zion. We are slowly seeing the priesthood grow in Abymes and it's exciting...with more patience and continual hard work we will see some baptisms soon. I firmly believe that our success depends on our personal righteousness and our imploring the Lord for his help. We in Abymes and everywhere need HIS power to advance HIS work.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"The Oldest (Handiest) Frenchman in the Caribbean"

HEY EVERYONE....sorry I'm late in writing....this week has been crazy hard and difficult, at least for my own area. Three days this week i had to be out of the area for baptismal interviews...so the work kinda of floundered... But i Still choose to glory in God and the his mighty hand in the work. What a great reason to rejoice! Three baptisms, three more Zion builders and workers. But, there will be a change in Abymes...Elder Evans will be going to the other Abymes Branch in Point a Pitre and I'll be training Elder Schuab!!! HAHA...STUMP THE SCHUAB (old game show on ESPN)...just by his name I'm sure he will be a pimp! He arrives tomorrow. So I already have some pretty funny ideas in my head about what he will look like.

But, let me tell you why the work has been a little rough...Madame Onestas is having her faith really tried at the moment. Like i told you, her baptismal date was for this next week. Well, when her children found out about that they did all they could to put a stop to it. Unfortunately, like many misinformed losers, they believe the rumors that fly around about our church. One of her sons is also Jehovah's Witness, and the crap he is giving her is about being baptized is enough to give her a heart attack. I talked with her last night and she really wants to be baptized...she has felt the spirit many times, and she sees its influence in the lives of other members. She is really confused though and does not want to create contention in the family. My new companion, Elder SCHUAB, and I will do our best to discuss the manner with her kids. I know she would benefit greatly from your prayers.

We have also been teaching another mamie...or grandma...Sister Vincia...from Dominica. She is a really smiley, happy lady! She is so humble as most Dominicans are. Ten years ago she met the missionaries and she was recontacted about 7 months ago. Things had slowly been progressing with her until finally she came to church my first week in the area! However, after that week she has had trouble keeping commitments and reading from the Book of Mormon. It was one of the hardest persons I have ever had to drop. She loves the missionaries so much and she has a testimony that all we teach is true...but right now was just not her time. I felt terrible as we said goodbye for the last time, but I have hope that the missionaries will once again contact her when she is more ready.

Although investigators are not panning out at the moment, we are finding a great deal of success with inactives. Simon and Jose both came to church this last Sunday, along with the Lunguidy family. It is really such a tender mercy from the Lord to be able to have even those little successes to keep motivated and excited about the work. It has been hard with Elder Roberts and Snow leaving and all. But I look forward to serving a good while longer among this absolutely incredible people.

I am not too nervous to train, i just hope the Lord will help me be someone of a good teacher for Elder Schuab...but as is usually the case I'm sure the Lord will permit that I end up learning much more.

Dang....the playoffs are heating up...the March Madness seemed pretty loco....and well there is golf...as much as I'm missing those sports I'm getting more and more nervous to get home. Seeing my buddies leave the field is hard each time, and makes me count my blessings and the good amount of time I have left. KICK BUTT!

Other tidbits: Now that some of the older missionaries have finished their missions, Andy is also close with "his current zone leader, Elder Lish and Elder West also. He is going to Guyan though so that sucks. Elder Roderiguez feels like my little bro, but I still talk to him every week or so. Ee is tearing it up in Guyane."

Sorry short emails this week! I didn't get too long


Monday, April 12, 2010

"The Hangout Gang" Has Gone Home

It sounds like conference was a very spiritual and uplifting weekend for you as it was for us, and I'm sure the rest of the kingdom around the world! We watched conference in the Abymes chapel with all the district of Guadeloupe. We were luckily able to watch it in English...we actually had to watch the first two talks in french on Saturday thanks to technical problems..and I realized that it really is so unfortunate for those of other languages...no matter how hard translators try they just cannot do the prophet or apostles justice. I'm grateful to the Lord who truly poured out his spirit upon the saints Easter weekend. The message for me was that yes times are hard, yes we may get discouraged, however, we must continue to strengthen ourselves and above all strengthen and protects others! And the overwhelming message that Christ lives, was exactly the spiritual means and inspiration we needed to go on forth. I want all to know, but especially the family to know, that I believe in the testimonies of our inspired leaders! Christ truly does live, and the Holy Ghost bears witness of it! The best way we can show forth our faith is by abiding in the same good works that the master abided in: Loving one another, serving one another, and extending arms of mercy and love to all those that need it. I felt so deeply a desire for the arms of mercy and love of my Savior this last weekend, so as Pres. Uchdorft said, it is not only proper, but obligatory that I extend the same to others.

I especially loved President Eyring's talk on diligence. His words ring true and especially at this moment on my mission when Elders Snow, Roberts, and some of the others will be going home(by next week I'll be the oldest french elder! Yikes!), but President Eyring's words and his example are like a great RA RA for me.

This last week has gone well. We ended up being able to teach quite a few lessons despite very a very ineffective weekend. Simon again came to church...he is progressing, but he still needs that confirming testimony that will be his rock and foundation in this church. We have a baptismal date for Madame Onestas on the 17th of next transfer...and we have another date with a sister who did not come to church. Besides Abymes, we also work in Morne-A-l'Eau, so I'm working in the ole stomping grounds (we worked there when I was in Moule).

Mom and dad, I want to thank you too for your great examples and teachings that helped me in finding my testimony early in life. Sometimes I wonder why I was not more grateful for that gift you had given me but I realize now I couldn't have been grateful for something I didn't know I never had, let alone understood. Oh I wish I could have recognized that which I'd had! To Ashley, Tuck, and Hill......YOU KNOW! Get on your knees and ask God to know if all the things mom and dad have taught are not true...better yet get out in mutual or at church and share with someone your testimony...take the leap of faith, and in doing these things you will gain that spiritual recognition of that which you already know and feel is true.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

"Coastal Confessions"

I must say that although our numbers do not show it this week, it was a successful week! We were be able to be with the members very often, however it seemed that many of the lessons we had would fall through. However we did not get discouraged but took advantage of the time we were with a member and we saw less actives or new converts. I predict that our lessons will continue to fall through too unless we can help the members have sufficient faith to take the gospel and the Book of Mormon to their friends. Those appointments don't fall through, and so Elder Evans and I are focusing on that and on making ourselves member trainers. The good thing about being with the members often is that we have many RCLA lessons which were taught with a member. We have been seeing some great success with two inactives in particular. Simon Laurent came to church again this week, and he attended a family night and institute all by his own. He should be receiving the priesthood pretty soon. The success with him has all been coming because of the Book of Mormon. He is getting into that powerful book and feeling the spirit as he does. He commented this week that he would like to go out with the missionaries to see some of his family and friends he wants to talk to about the church. We are also working with Jose, who is an inactive member of the Elders Quorum. I feel very deeply that things are progressing very well in Abymes, and with patience we will see members who are more converted and who are teaching inactives and investigators.

Hey paps thanks so much for the sports updates; it does the spirit some good. I have been thinking alot about sports...and how many regrets I have in them...How did you let me not play baseball? I hope we will be doing a softball league when I reach home.

About the march madness....my money is on Michigan State....cause I had their bball shorts....but as long as Duke doesn't win...I'm happy.

So this week has been blazing hot! We are actually in a pretty bad drought here...but fortunately no one has told the fruit trees yet...they are still pushing out bananas, passion fruits, mangoes, like we won the lottery...we joke (me and my companion) that he has a built in GPS of our area and he knows where every fruit tree is. It comes in handy while we are out walking in that Caribbean sun. This week I managed to make an alright Columbo...I wanna master it before i get home.

I'm glad to hear there is some campaigning to come to the West Indies Mission. Honestly there is not a better time to be coming to the West Indies Mission than in the next two years. President Gamiette is a man called of God and is one who magnifies the keys in which he has been given to save the souls of the people in this mission. As he has opened our eyes, our hearts, and our souls to the task at hand. In the west indies it has been scary at times... I don't know if I'm supposed to share this but only 5 of the 26 stakes in the Caribbean qualify as full functioning stakes....5...The priesthood keys and calls are not magnified as they should be, but the changes and training are being made to fix that. I am comforted that here in Guadeloupe the priesthood base is strong....we just lack numbers. Currently what lacks in Abymes is a ward mission leader...so we and our branch president have made a goal to find the ward mission leader and to baptize him...I love what happens in the church in Zarahemla as Alma establishes it more fully....and I see that happening here in Guadeloupe(Alma 6;6). I know that the call I've been giving is from God, and I'm learning more and more each day that the prophecy that those on the isles of the sea will be blessed does not only apply to the natives..but applies also to me. I'm SO LUCKY to be here...and I thank Heavenly Father so much for this great opportunity. I love the fam, and I thank all of yall for your support!

Kembe red Poma li!

Elder Andy Neff