Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Going Home

May 18, 2015

Dear friends and family,

Boy, this is it...

I don't have much to say, really. I'm just full of gratitude right now. It's been two years full of struggles and pain. My body is tired and ready for some rest. But my spirit has grown and developed more in the West Indies and wants to stay here. As it says in Helaman 6:3, "The people of the church did have great joy because of the conversion of the Lamanites, yea, because of the church of God, which had been established among them." 



The fruit of my labors have brought me more happiness than I thought could be possible.



Yesterday as I was reading in the Book of Mormon, I was in Alma chapter 15 and I read in verse 15, "the people that were in the land of Ammonihah, they yet remained a hard-hearted and a stiffnecked people; and they repented not of their sins." I thought to myself, "Why?.. Why did Alma chapters 8-15 consist of the preaching of Alma in this city?" In Alma 8, he got rejected in Ammonihah and left, but the Lord sent an angel and commanded him to go back. So he "returned speedily to the land." Why did he spend so much time, persecution, and efforts in writing about it all if the people remained so hard? He could have been in Sidom all along where people were humble and converted easily to the gospel! The answer I came up with is this...

It's not about the masses. It's about the individuals. He was able to convert two people during this time that ended up becoming some of his greatest friends and fellow-laborers: Amulek and Zeezrom. It took a lot of pain, a few visits from angels, the grace of the Lord, the influence of the Holy Ghost, and some serious repentance, but these men changed.

I'm so grateful to have been able to serve the last two years of my life in Louisiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, and St. Maarten. I'm so grateful for all the people I've been able to meet and the lives that I have seen changed. I received wonderful news this morning as I was told that down in French Guiana, Maria (who was baptized a few months ago) was able to see her husband, Valdir, get baptized as well. And this Saturday in Martinique, Pierre-Louis and his wife Wilta are getting baptized. What a wonderful way to finish off my mission!

The baptism for Ronald this past Saturday was amazing. I had the privilege to baptize him, and Elder Broadbent got to confirm him a member of the Church. I wish you could have been there as he bore his testimony after the baptism. It was so simple, yet so sincere, and so special. He was glowing.




I speak for myself, Ronald, and all of my friends here in the West Indies when I say that WE know that Christ lives. WE know that He has restored his Church upon the Earth today through a prophet. WE know that through the Gospel we can find eternal happiness. There is no other way. The Spirit has touched us and WE know that God loves us. These things are true and "WE know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually" (Mosiah 5:2).

I love you all so much. I can't wait to see you all and continue to tell you about the things I've learned and the testimony I have gained. I'm so excited to come home and tell you how much I love you, in person. Soon we will be as the people of Nephi, "gathered together... round about the temple... in the land of Bountiful; and they were marveling and wondering one with another, and were showing one to another the great and marvelous change which had taken place" (3 Nephi 11:1).

I love you all. See you soon!

Signing off in St. Maarten,
Hurrah for the West Indies,
Hurrah for the Gospel,
Elder Dayton





Listen to the Spirit

May 11, 2015

Hi.

Mother's Day was great! It was so good to talk to you again!

This last week is going to be hard for me. I have to work as hard as I can, but I have to prepare to leave at the same time. There are so many people here that I have to say goodbye to and so many things I'm going to miss. I'm going to miss our neighborhood. I love all the people that we live around. I know them all by name. I'm going to miss this branch and all the members here. I'm going to miss our investigators that we've been able to meet and teach.

LISTEN TO THE STILL SMALL VOICE

On Thursday during planning I was thinking about how little time I have left, and I was thinking about Ronald, and the idea came to my head: "Invite Ronald to be baptized next Saturday." So Elder Broadbent and I prayed about it and planned for it. On Saturday  we were going to teach the Law of chastity and commit him for May 16th, but on the drive over I felt like it wasn't the lesson we were supposed to teach.

Suddenly, the idea popped into my head to go through D&C 20:37 (the qualifications for baptism) with him and then review the baptismal interview questions. He passes with flying colors and we explained to him that he was ready.

Then I said to him, "We've prayed about this and we don't see anything that can prevent you from being baptized next Saturday, May 16th."

He sat there quietly, got up, looked at the calendar on the wall and his work schedule, flipping through files of papers. All the while, I was praying for him to accept. Then he looked at us and asked, "Why did you pick this date?"

Elder Broadbent explained that he was ready and that there was no point in waiting and that we had felt inspired that he should be baptized the next week. Then Ronald turned to me and asked, "What are your thoughts?" I explained to him that God needs him on His team, and needs him to serve.

Then Ronald said to us, full of emotion and clearly being worked on by the Spirit, "This is the third time I've been given a date. I'm not going to rebel any more. I can't go to war against God. I accept to be baptized on May 16th." He then went on to express his gratitude for us and our friendship as tears welled up in his eyes. I stood up and gave him a hug and thanked him, then Elder Broadbent did the same.

Ronald finished the lesson with a long prayer of thanksgiving and asking for God's help to be baptized on Saturday. Then Ronald went to his bedroom and pulled out his last 3 bottles of alcohol and threw them in a sack and handed them to us. As we walked down the hill, away from his house, my heart was full. We threw the bottles in the dumpster, drove away, and then found a nice quiet spot to offer a prayer of gratitude.

Please pray for us and Ronald so that everything will go well for his baptism this Saturday.

I can't believe it's really time. After today, I will only get to email you all one more time before my mission's over. I honestly don't know how to describe my feelings. I have butterflies in my stomach. I don't know if it's from sadness, excitement, anxiety, or what. It's been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I am so grateful for it.

Talk to you just now!

Love,
Elder Dayton

pics:
Penny pitching and s'mores for family night with the James Family. They hadn't ever eaten s'mores before, but they sure loved 'em!




Some investigators: Victoria and her granddaughters Flora and Cherice.

Ronald giving us his alcohol. He's still a little teary-eyed. We were all pretty emotional.





A centipede in my sandal! I think it was a message for me to start wearing my shoes again...




Our street: Delight Estate.




A Great Week

May 4, 2015

We're sitting at the Clawsons' apartment (the senior couple) right now doing our emails. Check out the sweet view from their patio. 

Right now the AP's are here in St. Martin doing tradeoffs. It's Elder Hatch and Elder Larson, both from Utah. They're both really cool. For the first time in my whole mission I've been able to finally work with an AP. For some reason, until now, things never worked out for me to be able to work with one.

On Monday night when we got home we found a special little surprise waiting in the middle of our kitchen floor, ready to sting us. I'd never see a live scorpion before in my life!



We had a cool week and we've been able to start teaching a lot of families and younger couples. Last night as we were reviewing our week Elder Broadbent realized that this last week we started teaching and bunch of S&B's. 

Sherrie & Bobby (and family): They're Guyanese and they all promised that they would come to church this week. They have some potential. Teaching is a little bit slow for now though.

Shantal & Bryson: I'm really excited about these two! They're younger, have two kids, and they're both super intellectual and successful. We felt prompted to go and recontact Shantal late one night, and we ended up having a cool lesson with the two of them.

Steven & Barbara: A couple from the DR. They're really humble and nice. Steven doesn't go to church, but Barbara does. They both want to find out if this Church is the true church of Christ. We were able to teach them with a med student member who is an RM.

We also had another new investigator last week. His name is KEVIN RUDOLF!! (I don't know if you all know who that is.) I thought it was pretty funny though when he told us his name. Apparently, he got baptized by the 7th Day Adventists last month, but he's still willing to find out if the BoM is true. We're just gonna let it rock until he receives an answer. Then he'll come to the true church and we'll say, "Welcome to the world!" Then he'll say, "I made it!"

Yesterday was fast and testimony meeting--the last one of my mission. So I decided to take the opportunity to bear my testimony one last time with a missionary name-tag on. I'll give you a resume (summary) of what I said:

I know that the Book of Mormon is true. It really does answer the questions of the soul. One of my favorite things to do with people we find is teach them this concept. I often ask, "What is one thing you would like to know about... (God, religion, life, etc.)?" We meet a lot of people, and one of the most common questions I hear is: "Does hell really exist?" As I look into their eyes when they ask this question, I can sense an honest concern and a worry about their life after death. I like to explain to people that the "hell" that they picture in their head usually isn't what it's going to be like. This last week in Mosiah 2:38, Elder Broadbent helped me learn more about what hell really feels like:

"Therefore if that man repenteth not, and remaineth and dieth an enemy to God, the demands of divine justice do awaken his immortal soul to a lively sense of his own guilt, which doth cause him to shrink from the presence of the Lord, and doth fill his breast with guilt, and pain, and anguish, which is like an unquenchable fire, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever."

This is what hell really is. It's not so much of a place as it is a feeling. The flames and fire that people often use to describe "hell" is an accurate description of how it feels spiritually to have the pain, guilt, and anguish that comes from sin. This spiritual death that we all experience at times in our life is what "hell" really is. We all have gone through it at some point or another, and there is really only one way out. In Mosiah chapter 3, King Benjamin continues to talk about the Atonement and how Christ came to suffer that same pain: "so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people." The only way out of these feelings is through repentance. In verse 19, Benjamin explains this hell-like feeling will not go away, "unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord." These last 2 months here in St. Martin have been a time of great spiritual growth for me as I have really learned to recognize and understand the "enticings" that I feel.

I know that if we all listen to the Spirit and follow what we are being enticed to do then we CAN escape from the spiritual hell that we all go through in life. Through sincere repentance and faith in the Atonement we can be freed from the sense of guilt, pain, anguish, disappointment, discouragement, and embarrassment. This gospel that we're striving to live is not a Gospel of sadness. We're meant to have joy. (2 Nephi 2:25)

I love you all! Have a great week! I'll have to get you more details on the Skype later. See you on Sunday!

Love,
Elder Dayton

P.S. Congrats for dad, who's be makin' birt-day dis Tursday! I love you! Happy 54t!

Pic: Me throwing away a bag of garbage for Ronald. It had a bunch of left over coffee and teabags that he had us throw out for him. :)

Editor's Note: The previous Friday, some of Elder Dayton's ward members--Brent and Kris Ford, and Dan and Kristina Baird--from Kaysville stopped in St. Martin on a cruise. They got permission to meet the missionaries at the Sunset Grill, and watch the airplanes come in and land at the airport. They also brought Elder Dayton his suit that he'd previously mailed home, because they never wear them in the West Indies. It's just too hot. But he needs to wear it to travel home. They had a wonderful visit!







Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Rock, Paper, Scissors

April 27, 2015

Hello, good afternoon!!

This last week was good! We had some cool member lessons and found some sweet new investigators! I just wish I spoke Spanish. There is a part of our area where there are a ton of people from the DR and they're all so nice and humble. I'll have to start practicing my "hola" and "como esta" again.

The best part of the week was with Ronald! I'm gonna tell this story in a long, roundabout way I think...

RONALD--the Fall of Adam and rock, paper, scissors

So with Ronald, we've taught him everything already in preparing him for baptism. But now, as he has hit a roadblock in being baptized, we are just going through all the lessons again to make sure he keeps the faith until he gets his life arranged. So this last Wednesday we planned to go over the Plan of Salvation. Having a background of a Jehovah's Witness, he believed in some of the misconceptions of the Fall of Adam, that we fortunately understand, thanks to the restored gospel.

As we prepared for it I was a little bit worried and we felt inspired to focus on practicing to teach him the Fall of Adam. We did role plays, looked up scriptures, and kept reviewing how we could make it simple for him to understand. I was sincerely worried that his misunderstanding would cause him to disagree and become less receptive to us. But I can testify, that preparing to teach invites the Spirit to testify in lessons and teach through you. 2 Nephi 33:1--"when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men."

As we taught him, he kept giving us his perplexed face as we stated points of doctrine and explained about why the Fall was necessary for us, how God had already known that it was going to happen, and how we are not going to have to pay for the sins of Adam. As we shared a scripture from 2 Nephi 2:24--"But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things." After reading it, he looked up at us with a smile on his face and said, "I've never thought of it like this, but it just makes sense!" I'm sure that he was being taught by the Spirit.

As we kept teaching, he grasped onto every single point that we brought up, and slowly but surely, all of his confusion and misconception about the Fall of Adam and the nature of the Atonement were resolved. At the end of the lesson he said, "There are so many people that don't understand this!" We asked him if there was anyone that he knew that we could teach and he said yes! He definitely felt the same spirit that Lehi felt when he said, "how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth" (2 Nephi 2:8) Right after the lesson, he took us to his neighbor next door and said, "Hey, these are two guys that I want you to talk to. They can teach you more about what I've been learning and why you see me going to church again." It was super cool. So we got the lady's phone number, and we're going to pass it off to the sister missionaries to teach her (she lives in their area.)

And to wrap it all up, we taught him how to play "rock, paper, scissors" at the end of the lesson (it was a battle to see who got to say the prayer.) Who doesn't know how to play "rock, paper, scissors"? Apparently, he didn't play a lot of games as a child. It was so funny! We taught him how to play and on the third hit, when you normally put out your weapon, he would always be stuck between forming a pair of scissors and a rock, so he would put out his fingers halfway, in like a curved position. And then he would BUST UP!! He has the most jolly laugh and the brightest white teeth. He let out this big "HO, HO, HO!!" and then he cackled through his teeth as he tried to hold it in. It was contagious too, and Elder Broadbent and I couldn't contain ourselves either. It took us all about a minute and a half to calm down before we could actually do the prayer. It was an awesome experience and one of the most memorable lessons of my mission. :) Someday, I hope you all can meet Ronald.

Anyway, I have to go. I'm excited to see the Fords and Bairds this week at Sunset Grill! I'll make sure that we take some pictures. Thanks for sending my suit with them! I hope I fit in it!

I love you all! Talk to you again just now!

Love,
Elder Dayton

pics:
A cool pic of me at our "water tower." It's something that President Mehr recommended we do - find a peaceful place that we can resort to, every so often, with our companion to talk and to converse with the Lord. It's a private spot that overlooks our area that Elder Broadbent and I go to pray whenever we need extra help and counsel from the Lord.




Elder Broadbent and I got bokits! Just like the good ol' days in Guadeloupe. I got ham and cheese, and he got chicken and diarrhea (he got BOO'd at church the next day).




Do you see what's wrong with this picture?

Yeah, I had another run-in with a spider. Don't worry though, I won.







Grammar Lesson

April 20, 2015



 What's up?

Boy? It's Monday again. I does finish just now. I reach one time! It's just crazy, man.

Sorry if you didn't understand. I'll explain a little bit more in a bit.

RONALD

First of all, Ronald is doing great still. He came to church again and in Elder's Quorum he leaned over to me and asked, "Don't they know what they're going to teach beforehand? Do they prepare for this?" So he recognizes the importance of preparing lessons for church, so he'll be a great EQ President someday. But he did bring up a good point. Lessons in church aren't very good when they haven't been planned...

We fasted with Ronald over the weekend and now we have a FHE with him at the branch president's house tonight. He's doing great! He's still praying about when he will be ready for baptism. We're hoping for May 9th, but we're not pushing him too much.

OTHERS

We haven't seen Abdul since the last time. He's pretty much dropped himself. Samantha is still doing well, but it's hard for her to come to church right now because her mom is on vacation in Haiti so she has to help with the children while the father is at church. Her relationship with her father isn't too great either, so it's hard for her to ask him for anything. Hopefully things will start going better.

The James family told us again that they were going to come to church yesterday. And they didn't come... again! Our lessons with them are awesome still. We had a great FHE last week and had a lot of fun. But... they're turning a little bit flaky. But we're not giving up hope!

This last week we had a ton of new investigators! We did a lot of finding, which is not the most fun part of missionary work. But nothing happens in missionary work until you have people to teach! We have some cool new people, and hopefully they commit.

GRAMMAR LESSON

So, here in St. Martin, the people have some interesting ways of saying things. Here are a few examples of things that I've noticed. These are just a small portion:

Tree-Tirty: means "three-thirty." Many people in the Caribbean don't use much of a "th" sound before an r. (i.e. The tree of us are going true town to the trift store to buy some more tread for the sewing machine.)

One time: means immediately or right away. (i.e. I'll be to church one time. or, She showed up here and started mashing things up one time.)

Just now: means anytime in the near or distant future. i.e. I'll be finishing this email just now. or, The Secong Coming is just now.

Not as yet: means "not yet"

Reach: means get there or show up. i.e. I'm on my way home. I be reaching in about 5 minutes.

She/he: they don't like saying her or him. i.e. Look at she face! She look mashed up!

Boy?: an interjection used to express frustration, often used in response to a question (especially rhetorical questions), but may be used on its own. i.e. Boy? or Hey, are you going to finish that sandwich?... Boy? or, Sorry, I forgot to fill up your car, but here are your keys... Boy?

That's about it for now. I'll look for more, and I'll get back to you next week. Hopefully this little guide will help you better understand the way I speak for when I get home.

I love you all! Have a great week! I'll talk to you just now!

Elder Dayton

Elder Broadbent
The St. Maarten Zone

Sunday, April 19, 2015

"Pood Foisoning"

April 13, 2015

Yeah, last week I ate a bad cheeseburger and got food poisoning. So did another Elder. It was not a pretty sight. I was only dry-heaving in the morning, but then had diarrhea for the rest of the week. I lost weight though, so now I'm back to pre-mission physical shape (skinny, and that's it.) I'm healthy now though!

But we ate at an awesome restaurant in Maho Bay! It's called Sunset Grill. We watched planes come in right over the beach! It was so crowded, and with all the people it was a bit distracting, so not the most missionary-friendly environment, but a cool experience nonetheless. We met a family from Lehi, and the daughter goes to BYU! It was way cool! There are tourists that come to church just about every Sunday, too, from the States. When I was in Martinique and French Guiana, I thought I'd never see another American again for the rest of my life.



Funny thought I just had. People pay thousands and thousands of dollars to come and visit this place where I walk around going door-to-door, in in the hot sun, listening to all sorts of rude comments and opinions on my religion. How lucky am I!

RONALD

Sadly, Ronald didn't get baptized on Saturday. He still has some things he's trying to work out so that he can feel forgiven for past transgressions. He called us on Thursday to tell us that he wasn't ready, and that he would need more time, so we went and saw him on Friday morning. We found out that he needs more time and we're going to continue teaching him. He said, "I may not be baptized yet, but don't worry, I'm a member of the church."

He had an interview with the Branch President on Sunday, and now he's working with him as well, as an extra support for Ronald. I think that (once home teaching gets started in the branch) we're going to get Ronald some home teachers too.

SAMANTHA

She's doing well. She confronted her fear of her dad and asked him if she could come to church on Sunday. He said no, because he had special plans for her family in church that day. So we'll try again this Sunday. She has gotten an answer and she knows that the Book of Mormon is true! She prayed and had an experience with the Spirit! Oh, how that made me happy to hear. That is one of the greatest rewards in missionary work. I love when people learn things and come to know the truths that I cherish and love so much.

THE JAMES FAMILY

Robert had to work yesterday morning, so the family couldn't come to church. But this Sunday, we're going to get the kids there whether the parents come or not!

PICTURES

We have some really nasty neighbors. The fat one likes to weed the yard across the street naked with all her kids. The other two are always stomping around in other neighbors' yards. (The pigs and the cows.)



Pictures from Sunset Grill. The lady behind Elder Glover spilled beer all over us. She smiled, embarrassed, but didn't apologize.

Elder Fraley talking with Elder Thompson; Elder Broadbent

A member from Utah has been sailing the world for the last year and a half and stopped here in St. Martin. His yacht is huge! He's loaded. He gave the branch a tour of it.

Elder Broadbent and Dayton

BRINGING FORTH ZION

This last week I chose a new topic to study the Book of Mormon. I'm studying about the Spirit, and it's been great so far. I'm learning new things already. In 1 Nephi 13:37 it talks about the saints in the latter days: "blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost." This is such a cool blessing! We can have God's Spirit with us, and it's power! BUT it's conditional upon our diligence with bringing forth Zion. So let's preach the gospel, share our testimonies, fulfill our callings in church, and help support other members of the Church who are struggling.

I love you all!

Elder Dayton


April Fools

April 6, 2015

Hello hello helloooo!

What a great Conference weekend, right?!! Ah man, I love the prophets, apostles, and everyone else, especially my mom!! During the last song of the first session, I was telling people that my mom was in the Choir, and passing around photos, and Sister Thompson was like, "The camera men are idiots." Then mom popped up! A nice, long close-up of my momma! :)

Kyle S. McKay is a 70 now!! I totally knew it was coming! I mouthed it with President Uchtdorf after he said "McArthur... Kyle S. McKay." He's in my ward!!

I got my ear pierced by a wasp yesterday morning as I was picking up my laundry outside, and I shook out some of my clothes, and a wasp flew out and got me right on the ear lobe!! I ran inside yelling, and the wasp followed me! Then Elder Broadbent sprayed it with some Lysol and I fried it with the electric tennis racket. That little sucker messed with the wrong laundry.

A new temple is going to be built in Haiti!! That was one of my favorite news(es?) of the Conference!! I'm pumped for that! I'll go there someday, I hope. Now basically all the members in the French West Indies will be going to that temple now. We had three investigators come to Conference, and 2 of them were Haitians! Let's all celebrate by eating some banan peze!!!

RONALD

He came to the Sunday sessions and loved it! And we taught him tithing with the Branch President and First Counselor between sessions, and he agreed to follow it! We're going to see him three times this week, and then he's getting baptized on Saturday!! I'm super pumped!!! :) He's going to be such a strong member.

SAMANTHA

An awesome 18 year-old whose family comes from Haiti. She speaks French and English and Creole, runs track, is first in her class in Math, and is super awesome. Last week she accepted a baptismal date for April 25th while she continues to pray to receive an answer if this Church is true. And she reads everything we give her to read! She downloaded the Gospel Library on her phone and we didn't even tell her it existed! She came to the end of the first session on Saturday, and the beginning of the second session, but then had to leave. She even took notes during the sessions!! The potential problem that we might run into though is that her father drives a church bus and is an assistant pastor in their Haitian church... But at least he is already used to holding a calling and speaking in church!

ABDUL

We didn't get to see him last week. He works too much. But were finding more success up around where he lives, so maybe we taught him so that we'd be led to finding others. I believe so.

Gotta go! I love you all! Send me your shirt and shoe sizes, just in case I find something cool at a shop here!

Love,
Elder Dayton

P.S. You'll never guess what I did for p-day today!! I played golf! We went to the driving range with all the missionaries and it was so sick! We hit the balls into the water. I hit the farthest... not to brag or anything.









P.P.S. I got Elder Broadbent with some good April Fools pranks. I put kool-aid powder on his towel, so when he dried off, red splotches popped up everywhere, and he had no idea why!  

Then I put some soy sauce in his beddytime tea, so when he drank it he said, "wow, this tea is strong!!"


And I put cayenne pepper and salt on what he thought to be cinnamon toast. :) Good thing we get along! I love that guy!