Thursday, June 24, 2010

"Coming Around"

We worked extremely hard this week. It seemed almost every night we were pedaling our bikes as fast as we could to talk with as many people as possible in order to get our 10 contacts. On more than four occasions this week we didn't get the tenth contact until the last ten minutes of the day. Elder Lunt and I are grateful for the miracles we have seen this week. Our goal has been to be working with a sense of urgency but without impatience. As a result we have been able to better wait on the Lord and rest hopeful until the miracles happen. For example, this last Thursday we had a goal for 2 new referrals, a member lesson, and two new investigators. The whole day was not going as planned, and the only thing we had firmly set up was a member lesson with a recently reactivated sister from Brazil, Sister Cledi, but she does not speak too much French. When we called about a half hour before the appointment she said her friend had canceled on her for tonight. Our first thought were "DANG, WHAT WILL WE DO NOW?". Instead of fretting or worrying we went to the lesson anyway hoping that God would figure something out. AND HE DID! In only 30 minutes Sister Cledi had called and invited another family to come receive the missionaries, and they agreed. It was a miracle! And I know if we will wait on the Lord with patience and continual faith, we will see miracles. Now the first lesson with this family was not as we wanted. He is firmly based in another church and because of the language barrier(he speaks only Portuguese) we did not teach the restoration as I would have liked. In my little Portuguese I know we taught the Book of Mormon. He loved it! We will see them next week. Although in that lesson we did not give a baptismal date, that is our goal and plan each new lesson. We are teaching the doctrines of salvation, and every first lesson we are giving baptismal dates. However, we do find that sometimes we must break the restoration into two lessons in order to obey time constraints. Teaching in Creole and Spanish slows us down a bit. But we are finding most of our investigators among Haitians and Refugees. The branch is doing alright, however the priesthood is really lacking in leadership. And meanwhile we are still pursuing the branch luck as yet...but patience and hard work will pay off! We do need to get all our contacts though or we are not doing our very best!

We are teaching many, many people, however, none are too close to baptism. This last week we took 60 numbers or addresses that we need to follow up on and we still have the 55 or more from the previous weeks, so it's hard to stay on top of that with a companion that doesn't speak much.Luckily Elder Lunt is a stud, and I love him to death...he keeps me happy even when I get in my real upset/stressed moods.

Elder Lunt is progressing. Honestly he will be a great missionary, but I'm trying to work with him with the french. HE hates it!!! And because he hates it, he won't study it like he needs to. He is very limited as far as what he can do in French.....I love that kid to death...but I don't know how to help him love the language though! We talked about it this last week, and since then he has been praying to love it. He is a great missionary with a great soon as he gets french he will be unstoppable.

Well, it sounds like everyone had a great week...good to hear. I can't wait to see the two Seagle munchkins haha...they are the best.

Your creole food sounded pretty legit...I'm disappointed to admit my cooking has been taking a break here in Cayenne...I don't know why...I think it's just a lack of time. As zone leader again it's harder. I'm also trying to learn some languages in any spare moment I have. I'm now able to teach in Spanish and Haitian creole, but right now the biggest need is Portuguese. So hopefully I can learn that one, however, the pronunciations in Portuguese are so different from the other languages I have learned.

PIONEER TREK IS RAD! I hope Hill remembers it well, but not for the same reasons that I do :)

Well, I've got to go...good LUCK ASHLEY! Hope you have a great recital.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"African Friend"

Jose William was finally baptized on Sunday. I felt bad because I really wanted a member to do it, but I couldn't tell him no when he asked. The baptism was great. Elder Rodriguez spoke as well as Mario.

The Branch President search is coming along well. Like I said to President Gamiette, Elder Lunt and I must be more prayerful, but this last week we met with a couple less active members and we are gonna see if we can start teaching them. At first I just assumed we would need to baptize him, but there are quite a few Melchizedek holders who are inactive and already have the experience necessary to be a great president. One is the district president's sons...Brother Litampha...he is married in the temple and his wife is just wonderful! Three fourths of the time he doesn't come she gets all 5 kids ready and teaches Sunday school. She is a returned missionary too, so he already has the built in support he would need. He worthy as well. His case is just one of laziness....there is also another man who is actually from America. He served a mission in France when he was my age. He ended up moving to French Guyana after his misison. His name is Mr Wilmur and hasn't been to church in 20 years....apparently he doesn't like the church here in Guyana and how it's run, but when he visits the states he goes to church. I know he sounds like a huge nerd, but that's what we are working with and who knows if the Lord has been preparing him.

The wealthy couple is not panning out to well...apparently the husband isn't too interested, and although the wife is interested, she is getting a lot of trouble from her husband. They actually got into a fight the another night about we are going to give them some distance right now. We don't wanna cause problems.

I'm doing great...I'm getting up early and working out still, although I'm not able to run because no one wants to. It's not to bad because we have bikes. But boy I can't wait until I can get home and run whenever I want!

JOSE CA is doing great! He came to church another time, and he is just one of those Africans that should do Dentyne commercials...always smiling! I have learned a tiny bit of Portuguese from some of the Brazilian members, and with that and Spanish we can carry on a lesson but it's still really rough. I did a splits with Elder Rodriguez this last week and he is able to communicate in Spanish pretty mind is starting to explode with all these languages though...currently we have investigators that speak only Spanish, Haitian creole(which I didn't know before), and Portuguese. I think the Lord is really blessing us to be able to teach and find these amazing humble people that let us and our terrible language share with them the message about the restoration! It is already blessing the life of Jose's the best! How many people really heard that a young boy conversed with God and angels only 200 years ago? To most that is blasphemy! We are part of a very very few that have heard and believed in the message of the Restoration...and we are blessed for it, aren't we? The church is just so SAWEET!

Well I gotta go, but take care. I love ya!

Andy and Elder Lunt just after a huge hurricane....ok, maybe just a really big rain storm.

Monday, June 7, 2010

"Ridin' In Style"

Well, our zone is the ultimate soccer zone. Basically you could put us up against Brazil and we would kick their trash! We have Elder West and Williams who come from England and they have played soccer their whole lives, as well as Elder Miranda from France, but By far Elder Rodriguez is the best player; he is incredible! So we have fun on Mondays making Elder Lunt and I look like fools.

Jose Wiliam was not baptized this week. We finally got permission again, but he didn't come to church. We will be fixing a baptismal date soon.

Tell Tucker that I sucked (about getting home at a decent hour) and that he needs to start practicing getting up at 6:30 so he is not like one of the puds that complains about it in the MTC! I got my whole apartment who has trouble getting up on time...I gotta plan something good to get them! If any one has any ideas I'll welcome hearing them. Cold Water? Elder Heiner was telling me the other day that he used a hot iron on his companion's foot once because he refused to get out of bed haha. I'm not that mean.......or am I?

We all got brand new bikes here in French Guyane...the coolest mission in the world is now complete!

Andy on a teaching appointment with John Paul, a member from Haiti

Andy wrote the following to President Gamiette:

Dear President,

My family is doing just wonderful this week. Although school has just got out for the summer, everyone is staying motivated and busy. My dad gave me some great advice this week in order to help me and Elder Lunt find the new branch president that Cayenne needs. My parents are staying motivated with me just till the end. They are the best.
Cayenne is going just wonderful. This was our first full week of good solid work! I feel close and "in" with the members once again. However for the first part of the week we searched searched and searched for a new branch president. We contacted everyone, and even did some tracting in areas where we felt we might find him(and I'm totally anti-tracting. But members were just hard to see in the beginning of the week. However we know that we will most likely find our branch president through referrals, as most of missionaries personal finding efforts lead us to the more humble people. We actually found many Haitians that were really humbled and interested, however, the state of Haitians refugees isn't the best for a new branch president. We are also teaching a young man from Africa. His name is Jose Ca. He is great. However, he only speaks Portuguese. He came to church this Sunday, and we plan to give him a baptismal date as soon as we learn how to say that in Portuguese. Luckily there are quite a few Brazilian members with whom we can work. But at the end of this week we are still looking for our branch president. Currently we are teaching a family who are a referral from a member. The husband is a business man who is wealthy. He is very smart and could be a great leader for the church. But he is wanting to go slow. His wife on the other hand wants to move faster. We may need to just pray these two into the church! Things are going really really well though.

Elder Lunt is tearing it up. He is always in a great mood, which is my kind of missionary. This week he had some break throughs as he has begun contacting without me for the first time! It was actually last night that he finally got the courage to break off and and get ur' done. That has been one of the reasons contacts have not been 10 each day, is because we had been doing them together. But, yesterday I believe Elder Lunt had 4 by himself! His effort and courage is inspiring and he is a great example. The french is coming as well... really slowly, but it's coming.

I feel the love of the Lord when I search each day to follow his will, and to reach my goals. The fatigue I feel at the end of each day fills my heart with thanks towards him and for the tiny understanding he is giving me about what he goes through for us! I search to draw myself even closer, and to tire myself a little more so that I might understand more and more. I love this great work in which we are engaged and I know that here in Cayenne we are about to see great things!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

"Boats to Build"

I actually slept through the whole flight over the Caribbean! I was so tired! We flew to Martinique and stopped to pick up some other passengers and then it's direct to Guyane. I did get woken up to have a breakfast. There is nothing better than a free airline meal isn't there? That goes right up there with staying in a hotel.

What a great week! I felt so blessed to be able to see all those great people back in Cayenne! I gotta see Cesar who has now taken over for Elder Rodriguez as translator during sacrament meeting. He is also teaching the gospel doctrine class to investigators and new converts, and is blessing the sacrament. Talk about a tender mercy from the Lord! It was so great to see him going strong. It was also equally great to see Jose William, who recently got permission to be baptized. Not just that but he has met another Latino member from the branch and they want to go to the temple! Jeah! But first things first for Jose...he must be baptized. The Fogas has been going well apparently...they are consistently inconsistent about coming to church...usually about once every two weeks. I was probably most happy to see Elder Rodriguez though. He definitely struggled with his last companion who didn't want to work too much...but he was a stud throughout the transfer. He is my boy and easily my best Pal in the mission. He has grown up tons since I was with him, and is now a powerhouse missionary. It's thanks to him the branch hasn't just fallen apart. But now we are back and we have some work to do. There will be no cutting corners though, it will be a lot of hard work, which I'm excited to have already started. The biggest work will be in finding a new branch president and bringing back all the french members that have gone inactive.

Andy wrote to President Gamiette:

Dear President,
Congratulations to your family on the recently completed triathlons and 5K race. I don't know if I told you in my last interview that I'm signed up for a marathon a month our two after I get home. Of course, right now I'm not focusing on training for it, however, I am keeping goals to help me stay in good enough physical shape to jump out of the starting blocks in a few months when I go home. And so for me your example really helps me see the importance again of fixing goals to meet the bigger and greater ones. That is my goal in Cayenne. I know we will not have much success if we do not fix marker goals. But I would like to share with you my personal goal for this transfer. I actually received it from the Lord. It was during sacrament meeting yesterday while we were taking the sacrament and I was doing a count of the members. I felt a strong impression that this branch needs a leader. Right now President Peredes is doing a so so job at branch president. But I had a very strong impression that Elder Lunt and I need to find a branch president this transfer. The funny thing is that later that night, when we past our branch president's home, we found out some interesting news. He and his family have just received French visas...they are planning to move to Paris within the next 3 months. For me that was a strong confirmation that what I had felt earlier was right. So that is our goal. We have not currently set any marker goals, but that will be very urgent to get done. I pray that I may have faith as Nephi and know that when the Lord commands, the way is prepared.

I would like to ask you though what might be some good Key Indicators for finding a branch president?

This week in Cayenne was not the best for numbers. Elder Lunt and I were getting familiar with some of the investigators that were left and try to build strong relationships with members. We are currently teaching a sweet family that is a referral from a good sister! They are not yet married, but are planning to get married by the end of the year. We are having a family night with them tonight and they are planning on attending church this next week.

We did have one investigator who came to church this last week. Evett has actually been to church 3 times already but for some reason had lost contact with the missionaries. She is great though! She was actually the one that invited herself to church.

Elder Lunt is doing well. This last transfer really hurt him though. He was not able to work because of being sick, and there was absolutely no progression in the language. I try to speak as much as I can without making him too frustrated. He is a great elder though! He is a totally different missionary when we contact someone who speaks English. I want to help him have the faith and courage to just give up the English, and I think he is close because as we live in an apartment of 4, the other two elders both speak only french. So, even though I have never been a fan of 4 missionaries in an apartment, it's actually really great for Elder Lunt.

Thanks president for putting me here in this great area! Things are going to get going! We are getting the whole zone going on 40 days again. When I got here there was absolutely nothing. Because of that less active work was slow last week, but things are starting up! I feel incredibly optimistic about the work!