Sunday, August 8, 2010

"Living and Dying in 3/4 Time"

We have had a super great week this last week. Finishing with an incredible fast and testimony on Sunday, where despite some crazy events, the spirit filled our hearts.

Cayenne is now starting to flourish. I was grateful for the president's decision not to send me to zone leader council, because I was able to have a solid week of wonderful work in our area! There is nothing better than that, too. Our goal for the week was to give out many baptismal dates! And we were turned down many times by many of our investigators that filled our teaching pool...but that did not discourage us. We were still able to weed out those that are not ready for the restored gospel and fine the amis (friends) like Nelson who are prepared and ready to receive the fullness of Gods gospel! Nelson is a young man of 17 years old. He is much more mature than his years however, he understands the divine significance of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith...after receiving an answer to his prayer to know if the Book of Mormon was true(which took some time to teach him how to recognize his answer) he tried to teach his mother about this wonderful book! After church Sunday he called us wondering about which verses it is that Jesus teaches his disciples that there are other sheep not of this fold! We have another investigator John Robert who was intrigued and touched by our first we were not sure how much he understood, but the next day we went by he had already talked to his cousin about how great it was and gave us a referral. We fixed 2 baptismal dates with them. Me and Elder Lunt are trying to adapt our teachings based on the needs on our investigators. We are trying to listen to their needs, and then make it more personal. Elder Butler is doing a great job at implementing what he learned at zone leader council and turning us into the teachers the first presidency wants us to be.

Unfortunately, our only investigator in church this week was Nelson, but he is a stud!!!! I'm almost sure he is going to be baptized to and go on a mission soon. The crazy thing is we just met him 10 days ago, but already he is in love with the Book of Mormon. He has read a lot of First Nephi and has already received an answer to his prayer. It was actually interesting because we came by for the second lesson and we asked him if he had received an answer when he prayed about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith...he sort of disappointingly said not yet. He then said he wasn't sure if he had even had an answer to a prayer. We had planned to teach him the plan of salvation and to fix a baptismal date with him. But as we listened to the Holy Ghost, Elder Lunt and I felt to teach about the Holy Ghost and the way he answers prayers. We taught Nelson how to recognize the spirit in his life. As we taught him and he began to understand that the answers from God do not always come in visions, or big dreams, but more normally through a still small voice and through feelings that we might have in our heart, the light of understanding came across his face and he told us that not only had he felt those feelings in answer to prayers in his life, but that was how he felt as he read from and prayed about the Book of Mormon! He is just great, and the only prevention might be his parents...they are actually very supportive but his mom wants his dad to be there when he chooses a church to be baptised in and for now he is in Haiti...we don't know when he will be I hope soon.

Wouldn't that be so wonderful to see a baptism! How wonderful it is to be part of that sacred covenant or promise in which we have so graciously been given. I pray with all my heart that one of our investigators may be baptized before I leave. At this moment Nelson looks to be the closest. We actually dropped Jose Ca this last week because he was no longer progressing....I think if it was a language barrier we would have overcame it, but I think it just wasn't the right time for him. I don't know if I told you but a family me and Elder Cottam taught in Lamentin was finally baptized. It was George that actually gave them as a referral and for the longest time the mom would not get baptised because she had a boyfriend. She knew the church was true but she couldn't bring herself to let go of the father of her 3 kids. Well I guess the missionaries there finally got a hold of the boyfriend who loved the gospel. They have now been living separately for a few months and just got baptised!

Elder Lunt is motivated, and he is one that has an uncanny ability to achieve when he is motivated. Its funny he doesn't do it in the normal ways that I have been used to, so its been hard getting used to that. I love my companion and he teaches me so much. It's sad to see that while he is just starting this wonderful adventure that will surely be filled with trials, obstacles, success, and achievements, mine is coming to a close. I hope to be the best example for him so that he can continue to convert others and himself more fully to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

"Where's the Party"

HOLY SHMOKES! What a week what a week. I have to thank everyone for the birthday cake and wishes! Better not have had my favorite popyseed cake or I might just lose it. haha...naw...even if you did it's ok because I ended up having a SAWEET birthday!
Andy and Elder Drolet (Senior missionary/new Branch President)

When I got my flights to go to Trinidad I was pretty disappointed because it had me gone about 7 days from Cayenne! I was pretty mad because I did not want to be away from my area that long! And so I talked with Elder Colling who talked to president for me. I told him I'd go if he'd like, but I proposed that Elder Butler, my district leader, go instead of me, since he is younger. Turns out that president had not realized I was going home after this transfer and so it worked out for the best! But shoot! They had me going to Guadeloupe for a one day layover, after to Trinidad for a day and a half, and then on the way back I would have had a one day layover in St. Lucia and another day in Guadeloupe! That was not gonna fly! Shoot with only so many days left I cannot afford to lose that many days of work!

We ended up having a really good birthday dinner Saturday night though...we hit up a steak restaurant. First steak in 2 years! I got medium rare and the dang thing looked like they just killed the cow in the back and then slapped it on the plate! Haha about as rare as they come...I got about 2/3 done and then was finished. Nephi probably would have been able to finish but not me. Last night we had 2 awesome cakes at the Colombians. I actually paid for one of them before I knew the Colombians had all pooled their money together to buy one. Any time you can share your birthday with people you love it's great. It was nothing big...just cake...but it was unforgettable.

The area is going pretty well. We had a huge disappointment at church yesterday. We had over 6 investigators who I was sure would come. Isabelle, Willy, Chile, Fernanda, Alberto, Colin, Nelson, and Josef Ca had been coming too. These are all people that have been keeping commitments as well. Elder Lunt and I were really disappointed before church. I have concluded that it's because these people needed firmer/harder dates. We need them to be coming to church not to fulfill commitments, but because they want to be baptized. We will adjust our teaching, and work on never leaving a lesson without extending/reinforcing a baptismal commitment. Elder Lunt has not yet got to a point where he is teaching 5O percent. That is one thing we need to do better. Consecrating more time to role play in our studies will help him feel more confortable at taking the parole (word). We are currently working with Yvens Timol and were disappointed because he missed church last week after what happened, but he had a legitimate excuse and we were able to teach him 3 times this week which is 3 more than I have ever had in the 6 months I have been here. We have him committed to restart the Book of Mormon, and to search a greater knowledge in it....because he already knows it really well. He has taught so much with the missionaries itHs natural. he knows Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. We are also working with Sr Cledi, and we are teaching her friend Fernanda. We teach her in Portuguese so it goes a little slower, but she loves the Book of Mormon, and this last week we taught her the gospel and the reason for which we must be baptized. She half excepted the baptismal date...but she wants to come to church first. She said she would come, but we haven't been able to find out why she didn't. Colin is from Guyane Francais. Elder Lunt is doing a great job when we teach him. He has the spiritual tools to teach so great, he just needs the French. But Colin recounted to us the entire experience of Joseph smith translating the plates. He love reading, and he finds the story about Joseph Smith incredibly interesting. We have him reading, and if he hadn't come down with sore tonsils he would have come to church. Chile is another friend of ours who speaks only Spanish and Haitian Creole...he has been studying the book of Mormon in Spanish. We really wanted to fix a solid baptismal date with him this last week, and so we took Mario, one of the native Spanish speakers. We taught him the restoration, and we offered the baptismal date. I feel we didn't firm the date up as solid as we should have though, and for this he didn't come to church. We have a great many investigators at the moment who should very realistically be baptized. We needed to keep finding, and also be more effective in sifting the good investigators from those who are not yet ready....I know that baptismal dates will help do that. If we extend a baptismal date when the spirit is there and they say NO....they are not yet ready...I will study, practice, and commit more people to baptism this week.
I have studied the gospel very indepthly this week in the Book of Mormon, and I have been touched at the simplicity and depth in which the Book of Mormon shows us what we must do to gain salvation. It is not hidden, and we are not obligated to search in the most difficult places to find it, but the doctrines of salvation are as clear in the Book of Mormon as the sun in a cloudless sky. I am infinitely grateful to Jesus Christ who constantly supports and uplifts me. Never does a moment go by when I am not constantly supported by his infinite sacrifice. There is truly only one name under heaven by which man may be saved, and it is Jesus Christ. I treasure these last few days I have to proclaim his name and his Gospel.