Thursday, December 19, 2013

It's Like Christmas Already Happened!!

December 16, 2013

Hello my brothers and sisters!

It's been a great week here with the "street-dogs" in "B. Mah" (my gangster friends taught me that one.) But really though! It's been awesome! :) It's almost like Christmas is already here! Why's that, you ask... We'll start out with the biggest of the big news first...

THREE BAPTISMAL DATES SET!!! WHAT??!

Dina: We got a referral from the Gamiette family for another one of their neighbors. This time we taught with Sister Gamiette. It was in English too because she's from St. Martin! It was so much easier, but so much different! She had come to the baptism of the youngest Gamiette girl a few nights before, and she really enjoyed it. So at the end of the lesson we asked her if that would be something she wants, and she said yes! She really loves the Gospel! She does her research too. She's always on mormon.org looking for answers to her questions. She's perfect! She is going to St. Martin for a few weeks though, and then moving into a new house, so we had to set it pretty far out. But it's on February 14th! She helped choose the date too! She has a husband and a little baby boy. The husband is in no way opposed to her getting baptized, but we want to try to work with him to get baptized with her. Our next lesson with her is tomorrow, and then she's going on vacation. So we won't get another one for a while!

Dorothy: Our new investigator, Dorothy, has a baptismal date!!! :) We taught her the Plan of Salvation and talked about the Kingdoms of Glory. We asked her which kingdom she wanted to go to, she said "Celeste," and we read in John 3:5 how you can get into the kingdom of God... Then we invited her to be baptized! :) She accepted!! Then, with her, we selected January 25th for her date to be baptized. The only problems I can see with her is that she works at the hospital a lot (nurse), and she might live with a man... But we'll talk about that soon!

Jocelyn: Yes! Jocelyn has a baptismal date again! He's arranging things to get a studio apartment right now, so we're going to try to get him baptized on March 1st, if not sooner! :) I'm excited for that one. He's basically already a member, he just has never been baptized!

DISTRICT CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONS

On Saturday night the members of Guadeloupe put on a Nativity Scene. It was awesome! :) The culture here is so great! They've all got music and love running through their veins. They changed the lyrics to a bunch of hymns and Christmas songs to tell the story of Jesus' birth. And of course it was all complete with a little Baby Jesus... which was a doll... which was black. :) 






Elder Dayton with Shepherds Desir and Constant

Mami Odette, Elder Dayton and Marie, an investigator

The only musical instruments in the Christmas celebration were big drums.

Eclar boy singing "Called To Serve" in French
Diemjy Desir being sneaky and stealing Elder Dayton's nametag.


On Sunday night we got to watch the "Christmas Devotional" put on by the First Presidency. It was great! :) I got to see mom in the choir a bunch! Lot's of close-ups! :) Adrian, our investigator, came with the Kasongo Family, so I was helping him try to find my mom too.

THE ECLAR FAMILY IS GOING TO UTAH

Some of my favorite members are coming to Utah for the holidays! Frere and Soeur Eclar are coming with their little girl and little boy! :) Mom and dad, I gave them your phone numbers and I think they're going to call you to see if you want to join them for a sealing session in the Bountiful Temple toward the end of the month... maybe December 28th. Get ready! They're awesome/crazy/so funny! :) Frere Eclar speaks English very well, so don't worry... he does like to joke a lot though!


Love,
Elder Taylor Dayton

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Kind of a Disappointing Week... But It's All Good!

December 9, 2013

Hello everyone! :)

This last week was kind of a dud. There's not much to talk about...

MY FIRST SICK DAY

On Tuesday, Elder Wade fell sick with a little bit of a... sickness. So we were stuck inside all day. He slept pretty much the whole day, and I just hung out and studied the scriptures and stuff. It was super relaxing and I actually quite enjoyed the peace and quiet! Then we were able to finally get medicine for him, and he was fine by the next morning.

REALLY RAINY WEEKEND

It was also really rainy this last weekend. We tried to do some service for a member at his house on Saturday morning, so we started cutting weeds and clearing out his backyard, then it started pouring! We went inside  and tried waiting it out with some games of dominoes, but it never stopped... So after a while, we just went home. By the time we got home and got everything ready to go out and preach the gospel again, the weather was pretty clear. So, we went over to Mami Odette's little shack-house for a lesson, and right as we finished our lesson with her, it started pouring again! We could barely hear over the noise of the rain pounding on her tin roof. We couldn't go anywhere because we would have gotten completely stuck. So, we got stuck at Mami's for the rest of the night. It wasn't too bad though because she's hilarious! We can barely understand her, because she's from Haiti and speaks Creole, but she is awesome! Then it was really rainy on Sunday again, so we didn't get very many lessons again. That all added up to a pretty lame week in terms of spreading the Gospel.

THE THREE STOOGES AND THE BIG OIL SPILL

One little random afterthought... On Sunday, one time when it started to pour rain, Elder Wade and I took shelter under a little mechanic's shack thing in a random neighborhood. There were three guys there with buckets, trying to scoop up jet black oil from a puddle of water in their front yard. They were all drunk and they smelled terrible! One of the guys was so drunk that he probably told me how he got baptized as a Seventh Day Adventist 5 times, not even joking! The oil was all over the grass and the trees and everything! I think one of the cars' tanks broke and so all the oil is spilling out. They were trying their best to scoop it into the buckets. They would run back and forth in their barefeet, dunking their bucket into the big brown and black puddle. Then they would run and dump it in other places in their yard, and the oil was just running back into the puddle! It was one of the funniest looking scenes I could have imagined. 

POWERFUL MEN GIVE POWERFUL PRAYERS

On Friday morning, Elder Wade and I had a very rare opportunity to work with Elder Gamiette, an Area Seventy and former West Indies Mission President. He's in our branch, but he's hardly ever in town. But he was in town, so he set up an appointment with his neighbor. He's an AMAZING teacher and the lesson went super well, even though Elder Wade and I didn't think it would go smoothly in any way! But that's not one of the most memorable parts of the experience. The coolest thing was when we got to Elder Gamiette's house, he invited us in to have a prayer before we went out to teach. He gave one of the most powerful prayers I've ever heard! I can't even explain it! I could feel that he was truly calling on the powers of heaven. It felt like he scared away every evil spirit within a mile radius by the time it was over! It was so sweet! Now I need how to learn to get better at praying...

That's pretty much it for this past week! It sounds super boring, and it kinda was. But I loved it nonetheless! :)

Always look on the bright side of life,
Elder Taylor Dayton

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

December already?!

December 2, 2013

Good morning/day/evening to you! :)

I hope all is well in your part of the big, beautiful world. If it's snowing, go enjoy the snow. If it's hot, go out and get sweaty. If it's perfect, then pray for snow or heat, because life's too short to live in comfort all the time.

I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving! Can you believe it's really December? Christmas is right around the corner... Time has really been flying by! The weeks are starting to feel like days. Every time a new week comes around I have to wring out my brain to be able to recall all of the things I did recently, so I can update you all on my life here in Guadeloupe. It's been a great week for us! I think I set a record on number of lessons we taught this past week, and more importantly, number of lessons with a member!

EXCHANGE IN GOSIER

This last Wednesday I went to a new area and the district leader came to my area for a 24 hour exchange. I was with Elder Peterson from Tremonton, Utah, who is about 8 weeks into his training, and we were in his area. He's in Gosier/Pointe-a-Pitre, which is basically the nicest and most highly caucasianly-populated beach town, and the most ghetto big city on the island in one area. And boy did we have an adventure!

They have a car, and his companion usually drives, but for the exchange, Elder Peterson was the designated driver. It was about 6:00 PM, and we were just leaving Gosier to go to another appointment. We were pulling out of a little alley-way, onto the one-way main road, which was a right turn. As we were pulling out, a car was passing, and Elder Peterson was slowly inching out to see if there were any more cars coming. And as he crept out, he went just a titch too far, and BAM! we hit the back-right wheel and fender of the other car... BUMMER! It was totally an accident. Elder Peterson's a really good driver, but he just made one simple mistake. I felt so bad for him! Especially since he's still so new on the mission, and he technically wasn't supposed to be the driver of the car!

The other guy was pretty mad, but we just followed all the standard procedures and filled out paperwork with the police. It was really intense at first because Elder Peterson doesn't speak French very well, so I had to calm the other driver down and handle all of the legal stuff with the police all by myself. But I'm proud to say that I was able to do it! :) And now everything is taken care of, and Elder Peterson is in the clear!

That whole experience just makes me never want to have to drive on my mission. It's too stressful.

OTHER UPDATES ON THE WORK HERE

Stephanie and Laura: These are our Columbian friends that Elder Wade and I contacted. While I was on the exchange, Elder Wade and Elder Pratt set a baptismal date with Stephanie for the 28th of December! So now we're working toward that with her. It was only our second lesson with her, but it sounds like she was really excited about the idea of getting baptized! We're going to try and set the date with the rest of the family too next time. They couldn't come to church yesterday, but they're coming next week.

Adrian: He's our friend that's our wheelchair basketball champion. He came to church for the second time yesterday! He liked it. But he's still having a hard time setting a firm baptismal date. He thinks too hard about things. We're trying to get him to find the faith that he needs to continue.

Annie and Rudgy: We had two lessons with them last week, and they told us they were going to come to church! But then on Saturday morning, she texted us and said she was no longer interested... We were devastated! We don't really know what to do now. We're going to stop by again this week and see how they're doing. Hopefully she was just having an off day or something.

Dorothy: She's a new investigator we have! She's really cool! Plus, her name is Dorothy! :) She's super smart and she's from France (the big part on Europe.) She's sort of Buddhist, but very open-minded. She's very busy though because she's a nurse, but we've already set up a day for her to come to church and have our next appointments... in a few weeks. She's great though! :)





CLEANING UP THE FIELD

The last two Saturdays we've been doing service up at a field by the Gamiette family's home. There's a big soccer field that has been overgrown with weeds. But we've been weed-whacking all of it and raking all of it up. It's been quite the project! We're trying to get it ready though so we can have branch activities there, have somewhere for the young men to play soccer, and a place for activities to invite our investigators to. Then afterwards we ate fresh coconuts, courtesy of area seventy, Elder Gamiette.

Yours truly,
Elder Taylor Dayton

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 25, 2013

Hello loved ones! :)

Happy Thanksgiving! I'm sorry, but due to our eventful and fun-filled day, I don't have a lot of time to email. But I'll try to do my best and fill you in on everything important that's going on down here in Baie-Mahault, Guadeloupe, France.

First bit of news is really sad. Jocelyn can't find a home and he probably won't be able to move out until February. So we had to cancel his Dec 7th baptismal date. :( We're still working with him though! He's still coming to church and everything! We just have to wait until at least February/March.

THANKSGIVING!!

This holiday season I'm so extremely grateful for my family and friends that support me so much out here on my mission! :) Thank you all! I'm also thankful for the wonderful mission that I'm in and the wonderful missionaries that are serving with me. We had an awesome Thanksgiving feast today for P-Day! It was just like I was at home! :) We had ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, salad, and TONS of pies! It was so good!! I'm stuffed right now as I type this email. :) We also had our own little Turkey Bowl with the missionaries in our zone. We played a little bit of classic American football and some soccer too. It was a great holiday! I hope all of you have a happy Thanksgiving as well! :)

NATACHA AND KERRYANN

Natacha and Kerryann are some old investigators that used to be taught before I ever got here. Theirs are some names that kept coming up ever since I've been here, because the Gamiette family in our branch knows them pretty well and asks us about them occasionally. So, Elder Wade and I decided to go and pay them a visit last Sunday. Natacha is the mom and Kerryann is her 16 year-old son. They are both super cool and fun to talk to! They're both trying to learn English, and they both speak pretty well, so we help them a lot with that. One of their biggest problems with our message, and the reason they were sort of let go by the missionaries, was the Book of Mormon. She can't get past the fact that she needs another book than the Bible, if it teaches very similar principles.

So yesterday (a week after our first visit), we went and visited them again and we talked about the Book of Mormon. The lesson was just alright and they listened to everything we had to say. I wasn't talking very much and Elder Wade was doing most of the teaching. I was noticing how they were acting interested but I could tell that they really weren't all there with us. It wasn't more than just some head nods and some "mm-hmm's."

So toward the end of the lesson, after we read Moroni's Promise, I cut in and just bore my simple testimony. I testified to them that the Book of Mormon is everything they need in their lives right now, and the only way they can find that out is if they actually read and pray about it. I told them how important it was for me and that I was even willing to give up two years of my life, away from the 3 sisters I love, to share this Book with the world. As I was bearing my simple testimony, I could feel the Spirit so strongly and I know that they could feel it too by the look in their eyes. It was such an amazing experience to feel the Spirit just fill the room as we taught them. 

We committed them to read, I hope that they continue to receive us and keep their commitments. Kerryann especially has a ton of potential and I can't wait to see where things go with him! He's so great and he could contribute so much to our branch here, and one day be an amazing missionary too! That's the way I like to look at him right now, and I just hope that we can at least help him to find the Truth in this world.

This Gospel is true! I love it! I love the Book of Mormon! Read it! You'll understand why there are 80,000 people in the world who put their lives on pause to share it.

Gotta go! You guys are the best! :)

Love and thanksgiving,
Elder Taylor Dayton

The Work Continues

November 18, 2013

Hello everyone! :)

I hope it's been a good week for all of you! It has been for me! We got our transfer calls on Saturday... and I'm training! Her name is Sister Jackson!... just kidding... I'm staying in Baie-Mahault with Elder Wade! Feels good to not have to worry about learning a new area or a new companion. My wish is to get a baptism in Baie-Mahault before I leave! Looks like I'll be spending my Christmas here in Baie-Mahault with Elder Wade for one more transfer! :)

ADRIAN

Adrian came to church yesterday!! And he loved it too! :) He's great! He's a man of his word for sure. When he told us a week and a half ago that he was going to come to church on the 17th, he wasn't lying! He came with a member in our branch who is great! It's so nice to have such a good branch who loves to help fellowship new members. Missionary work doesn't work very well with missionaries alone. One of our members even took him to a single adult fireside, which he also loved!

Now we're trying to get him to accept a baptismal date. We're kind of hard-pressed on time, because he's potentially moving back to Bordeaux, France at the end of December. So we really need to start taking care of business so that he doesn't slip through the cracks.

I told him about my awesome mom in the MoTab too, and he thinks that's so cool! :) He doesn't even know what the MoTab is yet, but I'm going to give him one of those CDs that you sent me mom. So thanks! That'll be perfect! :) I'm also going to give him one of the many ties that you've also sent me to match his colorful, striped dress shirt that he has! :) I love him so much! He's such a sweet investigator! I just hope that he can have the Spirit testify that these things are true so that he doesn't continue to overanalyze all of our teachings. Please pray for him!

MARIE

We also had an old mami come to church yesterday. Her name is Marie. She was a referral from another mami, Mami Odette (the lady who gave me the weird orange mush stuff/food that I shoved in my bag.) They're both Haitian, so in the lesson, they just talked Creole the whole time! I could follow a little bit, but it was really hard. But she ended up finding a way to church with Mami Odette, when neither of them have a car! Kind of a miracle I guess... :) But I honestly don't know how she'll progress. I hate to say it, but she's almost too old and too hard to teach that I don't know if we'd ever be able to teach her effectively enough to help her build a testimony. But we won't give up!! :)

NEW FINDING METHODS

One of the biggest problems we've run into now that "winter" is here, is the fact that the sun sets at like 5:45. Then after that, people start going to bed! It's super weird! I think it's a Caribbean thing. With our daily schedule, we normally didn't get out the door until 12:00, which is exactly when the siesta hours start here. So basically, we'd get out the door right as people were closing theirs.

So, then comes the solution! We rearranged our schedule! Now we leave our apartment at 10:00 AM, then we go and find new investigators until 12:00, then we do our language study and eat lunch! It's so much better! :) We've only been doing it a few days now, but we have already seen a huge difference in the quality and quantity of our contacts.

One of the new investigators we have that is worth mentioning is named Laura. She's actually from Colombia, so she speaks Spanish too (Elder Wade speaks Spanish), and she lived on St. Martin for 5 years, so she speaks English too (I speak English)! It's great! :) We contacted her and set up a return appointment to give her a Book of Mormon and explain our message. When we returned, her daughter Stephanie was home as well! We taught them the Restoration and they received it pretty well! We're going to try to get them to church this week. I'm really excited for them! They're super nice! We've only taught them one time, but they already invited us over to their house to eat dinner with them on Christmas! Hopefully that means that they're planning to stick with us for a while! :)

6 MONTHS??!!

This week will mark my 6th month in the mission. Weird!! My mission is 25% complete already! And next week is Thanksgiving! I'm kind of sad that I don't get any snow for the holidays. :( It's always hot here! It's starting to cool down just an itty-bit though, so sitting in our apartment for studies isn't too bad anymore.

That's about all that's worth going on about for this week. I'll let you guys get back to whatever you were doing before. :)

Love you to the end of the earth!

Elder Taylor Dayton







 For P-Day today we went to Deshaies again. We went to a classic French "boulangerie" (bakery) and got sandwiches, then went out on a dock to eat them. Elder Wade fell in love with his chicken sandwich. Elder Bodily (he's super sweet!) and I took a couple selfies while Elder Wade thought we were taking pictures of him. Haha! Then there's Elder Glover too. My feet ended up getting pretty sunburned!

Friday, November 15, 2013

An old friend, more work, and a blender!

November 13, 2013

Hello world!

Sorry for the late letter. Everything in Guadeloupe closed down on Monday for a "holiday." People here take any excuse they can to take a day off of work... It's so weird to be in the city on holidays! It's like a post-apocalyptic scene from a movie where EVERYBODY died and you're the last ones one earth! But no, people are just inside sleeping or watching TV.

Editor's Note: It was Armistice Day on November 11th, a holiday in most areas in Europe commemorating the end of World War 1. 

ZONE CONFERENCE

We had Zone Conference last week. It was great! I loved it! I got to see almost all of the rest of the French missionaries in the West Indies! They're great! I'm excited to work with some of them in the future! :)

I got to see Elder Taylor David Russell!!!! :) He's one of my childhood friends that's serving here in this mission, but on the island of Martinique. We've always had a special connection because we have the same first and middle names! He came to Guadeloupe for Zone Conference! It was a great reunion! :) We've literally known each other since kindergarten, and he lives just around the corner from me. We even learned French together in High School! Now we're speaking "fluently" on our missions in the West Indies! :) It's sweet!!





One thing that was really stressed in Zone Conference this time was obedience. Our senior couple, The Bennions, just went home, and we don't have any senior couples coming in on the horizon! We have 16 missionaries here on Guadeloupe, with no immediate adult supervision. Oh boy...  I'm sure we'll be okay. But President Mehr really wants to make sure that we're all doing our best to be EXACTLY obedient. He wants us to be using our time completely, and wasting none of it at all. He gave me a new persprective on disobedience... Glorified beings give off a certain amount of liight. The more righteous the being was in this life, the more light they'll have in immortality. In immortality, we cannot do anything to change the amount of light we have. We are stuck with exactly the amount of light we deserve. And in this life, all we can really do is lose light. He told us that EVERY SINGLE TIME you do something that is even slightly disobedient, you are literally losing light! It's really grave and scary to think about it like that! That wasn't the only thing we learned though. The rest of it was lovely. :)

ENGLISH CLASS

One thing that we've gotten started here in our branch this last transfer is English Class! It's great here! Since I've been here I have only met ONE American, and it was completely by chance at the grocery store. That just goes to show how rare of a species we missionaries are in Guadeloupe... Tons of people here want to learn English, and who better to teach it than missionaries?? So, we've been doing it every Friday night and it's great!! It's far from professional, but our students love it! We get a consistent flow of investigators who come, which is great! The members love it too. On average, we get about 6-10 who come! For any of you missionaries reading this who are in foreign language-speaking missions, English Class is really fun and a great way to teach people! :)

WE GOT A BLENDER!!!

When you're in the Carribean and there's fruit everywhere, you've gotta have a blender, right? Well we didn't have one until just recently. But now we have one, and it's the best! :) We've been making one or two smoothies each day! It's the end of the transfer (transfer calls this weekend!!) so we used up some of our leftover money on a bunch of fresh fruit! Bananas, pineapple, strawberry syrup, coconut syrup, peanut butter, honey, nutella, etc... :) C'est bon!!

That's the news I have for you on our blender. I'll keep you updated on that next week. ;)




WORKING TOWARD BAPTISM

This past week we have been able to firmly set a baptismal date with Jocelyn for December 7th. He is our investigator who comes to church every week, but just hasn't been baptised because he doesn't have his own house! He's been taught by countless Elders, but we are really hoping that we can be the ones to make the jump into the waters of baptism! This past week we've been working a lot with him to help him get through the process with all the legal stuff (I think like social services, etc.) We've been really trying to encourage him and get him excited about baptism. We've fasted with him, made him two cakes now (one was for his birthday last Monday!), and we visit him several times a week to keep him thinking about it.

If you can remember, please pray for him to be able to do all that he can to keep his commitment for December 7th! This is something he's been putting off way too long, and he really needs this change in his life right now!

Our other investigators haven't been so strong as of late. Annie and Rudgy sadly had a family member pass away this past week, so we didn't get to see them for our last two appointments. And Adrian just has a lot of doubts and wants to move really slowly. We're still working with them though!

The weeks are really flying by now! I can't believe that I've been in Guadeloupe for 4 months now! It's so crazy! I have gone through so much already. But there is so much work to be done here, I can't even say that I've even scratched the surface of the iceberg! I have a lot more I still have to do. I'm excited to keep going and I hope that when I come home, I will be able to say that I'm satisfied with the work that I did while I was on my mission.

That about wraps up this last week here in Gwadloop! :)

Je vous aime!!

Elder Taylor David Dayton

Zone Conference this week!!

November 4, 2013

Bonjour everyone,

First off, I have to apologize. This is going to be a short email because I don't have very much time, and I'm using a French keyboard. I always use French keyboards, but usually they have the option of changing the arrangement of the letters in some of the settings, so I can type the way I'm used to typing, but today I don't have that option. For example, the M, A, Q, Z, W, X ,, ;, ., ', and a bunch of the other keys are in different spots!! So IĆ¹, sorry guys; youmre just going to hqve to beqr zith ,e this zeek...

ZONE CONFERENCE

This week is Zone Conference!! I'm super excited! I don't know how most missions are, but in our mission we only get to have Zone Conference once every two transfers. So we hardly ever get to see President Mehr in person. This is only my second Zone Conference, so I'm super stoked! It starts tomorrow, and all the missionaries from the other French islands, Martinique and St. Martin, are all coming to Guadeloupe! It's going to be a lot of fun because we get to see a lot of the other French Elders. The French side of our mission is only about 30-40 people I think, so it's like one big family! :) It's really cool because we know everyone very well!

BAPTISM DATES

Last week we decided to go for it and set baptism dates with four of our investigators... Annie and her son Rudgy were willling to accept the invitation to be baptized, but she's quite hesitant to make a commitment to set a date already. She's been to a lot of churches and she has a lot of doubts. So we're trying to get her to be able to come to our church to see how it is. The only problem is that she goes to her mom's house a lot of weekends, and she doesn't have a car either...

Adrian! I don't know if I told you about Adrian yet. He's super sweet! We found him contacting and he's one of the coolest guys ever! He has a hard time walking and is actually considered handicapped because of it. One of his femurs/hips didn't form correctly as he grew, so one leg is a little shorter than the other and he has a hard time walking sometimes. But he has the biggest heart!! He's a champion of the Caribbean at wheelchair basketball! He does a lot of work with underpriveleged and handicapped youth. He also does a lot of work to help handicapped people find jobs. He helped design an assembly line of some sort where blind people can actually have a job to make a salary! He's awesome! But even though he does all of this for other people, he lives the most humble life. He basically has nothing. His apartment is basically empty! It makes me really want to look at my life differently every time I talk to him... But we've been teaching him a little (about 3 lessons I think?) and he understands things really well. We gave him a BoM and he's been reading it. He still prefers the Bible, but he hasn't found anything he finds extremely weird in the BoM, so that's good! Next time we're planning on teaching him the Plan of Salvation. I'm super excited to teach him about our belief in resurrected bodies! I think that's something that could really touch him if we teach it right (with the Spirit, of course.) He's also not too opposed to the idea of being baptized again by the proper authority, but he hasn't accepted a baptism date yet either sadly... And he doesn't have a car either! Please pray for Adrian! He needs this Gospel in his life!

Jocelyn! Our last one is an investigator of about... 2 and a half years. He's already had about 3 baptism dates set, but he has failed his interview every time! He needs to find a new house, because he lives with people (a woman and her kids) that he is not related to. So, to be eligible for baptism, he has to move out. It's not so much a problem because he's in a relationship with anyone, but he's really poor and he needs his own home. He comes to church every week though and knows the gospel so well! Most people in our branch think he's already a member. He needs to get baptized so bad! We fasted with him yesterday to be able to find a house by the 7th of December. So we're going to work toward that date with him... Time flies on the mission, so hopefully we can work fast to get him in a different housing situation by then!

Thanks for all your love and prayers! :) You're in my prayers as well!

A la prochaine,
Elder Taylor Dayton

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Happy Halloween!

October 28, 2013

Happy Halloween everyone!!

Too bad they don't really have Halloween here... They have their own special Memorial Day/Day-of-the-Dead thing ("La Toussaint") on November 2nd, but it's not really celebrated here. And obviously they don't have Thanksgiving. I guess the pilgrims didn't get along with the natives here, so people don't get to eat turkey, ham and pumpkin pie every 4th Thursday in November. So I don't really get a holiday this fall. :( Bummer!

Editor's Note: All Saints' Day in France-- Many Christians visit special church services on All Saints' Day. They may also visit cemeteries and place flowers on the graves of deceased family members and close friends. It is customary to leave chrysanthemums or wreaths of artificial flowers on or close to the graves. All Saints' Day is also an opportunity for many people to spend time with family members and close friends. This holiday falls during the autumn (fall) school holidays, it is a popular time for families to take a short vacation or to visit relatives living in other areas.

A lot has happened in this last week! Most of the things are just funny little short stories...

SERVICE FOR MADAME "E"

There is a less-active in our ward. She doesn't come to church because her mom apparently won't let her. She supposedly doesn't like the church at all! So this last week we decided to ask to serve her mom. And she actually said yes! (Nobody ever says yes when we ask to serve them.) So we helped her out in her little shop/bar thing that they own. She wanted some cleaning and rearranging done on the shelves where she had all of her food. (This little shop is not American, and it definitely would not have passed American health codes!) So, Elder W got to clean all the dead bugs off of the cans and the shelves, and then scrub off the little pieces of poop that they left everywhere! Haha it was pretty nasty! But I loved it because we got to serve someone and try to help her open up her mind to the gospel! We got to help her for a total of 4 hours this past week, and when we do service, we get to change out of our normal proselyting clothes and into recreational clothes. Which brings me to my next story...

I LOST MY SHOE

On the first day we did service for Madame E, I had all of my clothes in a bag that I put in a basket behind my bike. I thought there was no way that anything would fall out. But then when we got home that night and I opened my bag, one of my shoes was gone!! It fell out of my pack at some point during the evening. So Elder W and I set out the next morning to find my shoe during exercise time. I had no idea if we were going to find it anywhere or how long we'd have to ride to look for it. But we said a prayer before we set out and started back-tracking. Luckily it wasn't too far from where we lived. It was only about a 30 minute ride round-trip. I was EXTREMELY grateful to find my shoe! It was just on a road right next to a bump that I remember hitting. So it must have fallen out when I hit it. And it was still in perfect condition. Phew! But then the real miracle is that on the way back I found a broom on the side of the road! And our other one broke! So I told Elder W that the broom is the real reason that I lost my shoe... Haha :)

A MILLIPAD IN THE CAR!!

In Guadeloupe, there are no snakes anywhere. There are not any very big spiders that I have seen. There are lizards and frogs everywhere, but they aren't harmful. But... there is one thing that everyone in Guadeloupe is absolutely terrified of and they're called millipads! There like these really big millipede/centipede things that can grow almost up to about the length and thickness of a hot dog. They are a reddish-brown and supposedly if they sting/bite you, you are going to be in a lot of pain! I've heard that lots of times people go to the hospital for these things! They're not very common, but they are around.




So, on our way home one night, Elder W and I rode our bikes past a car that was pulled over on the side of the road. As we passed, I noticed that all the people were outside of the car just standing around, so we decided to go back and see if they needed help. It was a group of two women and about 4 or 5 little kids. They told us that they were driving home from the beach when a millipad crawled up one of their legs and scared them to death! So they pulled over, but then it disappeared. So they were searching around in the car with a flashlight trying to find it, but they were too scared to lift anything up or really look for it. So Elder W and I, being the men that we are, decided to help them cast out this evil creature.

After several minutes of shuffling through the things in the car and looking under the seats, we couldn't find the thing anywhere. So, we told the family that we were pretty sure that the millipad was just as scared as them and that it had escaped. So we decided to say a prayer with them that they could drive the rest of the way home safely and not have any problems with the millipad. When we brought up the idea, the kids were all like, "Yeah!! Let's pray! Let's pray!" Haha it was pretty funny. So then we said the prayer and sent them off. They didn't live in our area, but we gave them our number just in case they wanted to contact us for anything. The next morning we got a text on our phone thanking us and telling us that they all got home safely. It was really nice! We texted them back and told them that we were sure that it was the power of prayer that did it! :) You never know when an opportunity might come up when you can teach a simple principle of the gospel!

A and R

This last week we found a new investigator through our own efforts. She is great! Her name is A and she has such a good heart! She's Catholic and she loves the Lord! She's always happy to see us and she almost never stops smiling! But she's having some rough things going on in her life right now and she needs a little bit of hope. And that's where we come in! :) She's extremely open to our message and we have already taught two great lessons to her and her 14 year-old son, R. They told us that they would pray about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith to see if they really do need to get baptized by the proper authority. We asked them if they would be baptized if they received an answer to their prayers, and she replied with "why not?" That's what I like to hear! :) The next step for us is just to follow up and try to find them a ride to church!

THE LANGUAGE

My French is really coming along now and I can understand basically everything our investigators say in lessons. It's really amazing how that has worked! My teaching has improved so much. I know there is no other way that I could have learned French this fast if it weren't for the Lord. The gift of tongues really is one of the Sacred gifts of the Spirit.

I'm loving Baie-Mahault still but I'm scared that I could leave it soon! I'm halfway through my 3rd transfer here already. I'm convinced that the area I'm in right now is really the best area in the whole mission. We have the strongest branch, some of the best families, and the most leaders in our area than any other on Guadeloupe. And Baie-Mahault is absolutely gorgeous! The only thing that would make our area better is if we had a car! :)

Anyway, I love you all and I hope you all have a wonderful week! :)

Love,

Elder Taylor Dayton

New Companion

October 21, 2013

This has been a great week! I've gotten a new companion here in Baie-Mahault, we bought new helmets to replace our ancient ones, we made some really good cookies, and the Cardinals are playing the Red Sox for the MLB World Series!! :)

ELDER WADE

Elder Wade is great! He's my new companion now after an emergency transfer among several of the islands. As soon as he came in, we got to work. He brought in a whole new level of enthusiasm to the work, and we're really going to re-vamp the area! I know I keep saying this, but we're going to be working a lot with the branch now. Elder W had the idea and we made cookies this week for two families in our branch and they both loved it! One was a less-active family and the other was the family of a member that works with us every so often. The cookies were pretty good, but I think it's just the thought that, "The missionaries made us cookies!" is what really counts and really makes them happy! :) We already got one referral from doing that! Now we're just waiting to get contact with the referral.

Elder Wade having a geography lesson with some kids. They were talking about America, specifically Utah and Michigan (where the missionaries are from) and someone asked where Iceland was in the U.S. :)  So they got out a map....



"W"

It's been a long time since we had a lesson with W ... On Saturday, we had a ton of plans, but they all fell through (a missionaries daily expectation), so we biked ALL OVER and visited as many people as we could! Every person we could think of, we went to visit. So, we went over to W's house and she was like, "I can't meet with you guys right now, but come back tomorrow!" So, we went back on Sunday with a member of the Priesthood that speaks English (W speaks English), and it was a great lesson! Well, not really... Until the end, when our member said the prayer, he finished and W said, "I feel really satisfied when you pray." Then we asked when we could come back and teach her again and she returned the question, pointing at the member that was with us and said, "Any day works for me. When can YOU come back?" So we're going back on Tuesday night for our next lesson! It was nothing super magical, and she didn't commit to baptism or anything, but that just shows the magic that comes from member missionary work. :)

Aside from that... there's not many lessons that I really feel like I need to mention. F hasn't been able to meet with us in what seems like FOREVER! But I'm still really hopeful for him, so we're definitely not giving up! So now I'm going to answer a few questions that my mom asked:

QUESTIONS:

How big is your branch? Is it called the Baie-Mahault branch? What do you do on Sundays there? Do you have specific duties, or is your job to support the members? Do the Bennions attend there too?

Our branch is called the Lamentin Branch, and we have an average attendance of probably about 80 members, which is the biggest of the three branches here on Guadeloupe. On Sundays, besides attending church, we just have a normal day of proselytying and finding people to teach. At church we just try and help out with the branch, giving our thoughts in classes, and helping out wherever we're needed. We try to sit by our investigators if we have any at church. I really like Sundays a lot because lots of people are home. Most businesses are closed on Sunday, so things are a lot less busy and it's a lot more quiet around. The Senior Couple, the Bennions, just attend whatever branch they want to I think! They're not in ours very often though because we don't need the support as much as the other branches.

Does it rain every day?

Not really... Some weeks have been pretty dry so I never see rain. We usually have at least a little rain every week, but I wouldn't say every day. But sometimes it pours! Lately, I've been seeing less and less rain though. We're starting to head into the "dry season."

Do you feel safe there?

I feel EXTREMELY safe here! Marijuana is illegal here and so are guns! I never feel threatened at all. The most threatening thing for me is just the weird looks people give me when I ride past them on my bike and wave. Haha maybe I'm just naive and I don't really notice the real dangers... but as far as I know, I'm pretty safe!

Avec beaucoup d'amour,
Elder Taylor Dayton

My Companion is Leaving Me!

October 14, 2013

Bonjour ma famille et mes copains,

ELDER G IS LEAVING

On Saturday we got a call from President Mehr with a little adventure for Elder G... He's going to St. Vincent, an English-speaking island, to be with a struggling missionary. There have been a lot of problems with disobedient missionaries and so a lot of changes had to be made, so Elder G got swept up in the tornado as a part of the solution. He's going to be with a missionary that is homesick that President Mehr just wants to get going. Elder G and I were only a week into our transfer together, but now he's leaving. I'm excited for him though! Please pray for him and his companion in St. Vincent.

But now that my companion is leaving, what happens?... I'm going to be with Elder W in Baie-Mahault! So, I'm staying in my area, and another missionary is coming to be with me! He was my companion in the MTC for 2 weeks, so we've already been together before. It'll be fun because I'll get to call the shots and teach him the area! I'm excited to be the big boss! :)

THE WORK IN BAIE-MAHAULT (pronounced "Bame-ow")

Last week, our all-star investigator F. wasn't able to meet with us. But he came to church!! We're going to try and set a baptismal date with him this week. I just hope he read the pamphlet we left him and prayed about it. I know if he does, he'll receive an answer!

We had a lesson with somebody we contacted last week. She is a very-practicing 7th Day Adventist and we had a great lesson with her! She wanted to learn more, told us she'd read the pamphlet, and she wanted a Book of Mormon to read too! So we asked her for her information to set up another appointment, but then she told us she lives in another area... We found her at her sister's house (who wasn't interested in us)! BUMMER for us! So, we're giving her up to the sisters. Hopefully they can do something to be able to help her find the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Some of our other investigators have slowed down in their progression. For some of our eternigators (eternal investigators), we're leaving them for a little while to be able to think about what they really want from the missionaries. Because of that, we have been doing a lot of contacting and re-contacting. This week we have a lot of people we're going to re-contact and have some lessons with, so I hope that we can have a lot of new investigators soon! Also, we're going to try to get in contact with each member in our area at least one time per week. That way they'll be thinking about the missionaries more and they'll realize that we're serious. Then they'll give us some good referrals to work with. (That's the goal at least.)

We're also trying to keep our member that we baptized, S., active in the church. She hasn't really had a car, so it's hard for her to get to church. Plus, we are trying to help her understand the importance of making an effort to come... We explain things several times before some people understand. But that's the way some people learn, so we'll keep working! She just got home teachers too, so hopefully that will help in her integration into the branch.

Sorry, I don't make the work here sound very exciting. It probably sounds like I'm doing nothing here. But I love it! :) It's good here! Keep praying for the missionaries all around the world, and if you want to give Elder Dayton and Elder W an extra special little shoutout, go ahead! :)




FRANCE + ISLAND = REALLY EXPENSIVE MCDONALD'S!

This is really random, but McDonald's here is dang expensive... We went last P-Day. It was my first time in like five months. We ordered 9 things off of the Dollar Menu, and it cost us 15.75 in Euros, which is like ~$22USD!! It was ridiculous! It was still good though. :) 

Beaucoup d'amour,

Elder Taylor Dayton

Friday, October 11, 2013

Fun Photos

October 11, 2013

Mom's note: Elder Dayton sends lots of photos, which we LOVE, but there isn't always a way to share them all... So this post is simply that--sharing some of the photos sent from the most handsome missionary on the planet!

From our activity at the beach in Deshaies, on 9/9/13. It was absolutely gorgeous there!! I didn’t actually eat the crab, so don’t worry; :)




Wow! Just....wow!

On our way to do a service project in Pointe Noire, we drove through the National Park and it is so beautiful! The man is Frere Desir and that’s his little truck that I love.




Kareem and I. We were on our way over to a members house with him and an investigator for a lesson, and he was just like, "I'm getting on!" So we rode over like that. He acted like he'd done it thousands of times! It was so funny. I loved it!








The next are at a house of a friend of a member's... The member was staying there for the week while the owner was on vacation... Oh my gosh! At least a million Euro house! It was gorgeous! It was built by a civil engineer! :) I don't think we'll be able to afford to rent/find anything like that here in Guadeloupe after I come home. It was super sweet though! The car is an old Ford Mustang. The only Mustang I've ever seen here on Guadeloupe. Probably worth a fortune!












The worst door contact I've ever had... Mostly because there isn't a door! It's the weirdest thing ever! It's a staircase that leads to a wall. There's literally nothing there except graffiti!




At the Desir house. Frere Desir is cutting us some fresh coconuts to drink and eat.




9/30/13: We found an abandoned ship in Baie-Mauhalt by accident today! We played soccer with the zone in the morning. After, we were reading scriptures with the zone down by the sea, then we went for a walk and discovered it! It was super cool! I don't know what it's from, but it's super old and rusty. We went inside and climbed around on it. I don't know if it was the safest thing to do... but we're all fine! 









The Moment of Truth

October 7, 2013

Let's get right into it...

I'M NOT TRAINING

Phew... I think? We got our calls on Sunday morning before conference started. It's not that I was afraid to train. I'm just scared to have to teach a new missionary how to speak French! That was just about my only concern. I think it actually would have been pretty fun. But Elder G and I are both staying in Baie-Mahault! It's gonna be sweet! We're getting better and I think we're gonna get a lot more done this next transfer. I'm stoked! :)

Transfers in the French side of the West Indies Mission are CRAZY! There are only about 30 French missionaries, so you know just about all of them, so the tension is super high every time transfers come around. You know where every area is, and you know a lot about any of the missionaries you could potentially be with, so your mind goes crazy up until the point you get your phone call from the assistants. There are 6 new Elders coming to the French side this transfer! It's so crazy! The French side is growing so fast! We're only getting 3 on Guadeloupe this transfer. So now we'll have 16 missionaries on Gwada, and 15 of them have been out for 14 months or less. And 9 of us are less than 6 months into our missions! It's so crazy here!

The changes in our branch is that we're opening up an area in a city called Sainte Rose! The sisters are going to be on bikes and they're giving the car to the Elders who will be opening the new area. The Elder is Glover (one of my favorite missionaries that I came into the mission with) and he'll be training a new missionary! It's gonna be awesome in our branch! :) We now have 6 missionaries! Too bad we still aren't into our new chapel yet.

Since the Sisters are losing the car, their area is getting absorbed by Elder Galati and I. So we added a city that I think is like twice as big and twice as hilly as Baie-Mahault! So now we have our original area, plus Petit Bourg, which is HUGE!! We're gonna have a lot of biking ahead of us! It'll be good! :)

CONFERENCE WEEKEND + MOM WEEKEND

Conference weekend was AWESOME! Being a missionary and being able to watch conference is so much more of an experience than I ever had before. I was alert the whole time (okay, I dozed for like 5 minutes) and I learned so much more! We got to watch it at the chapel with all the other missionaries. They set up a TV in another room so that we could watch it in English. I'm really grateful for that!



I saw my mom!! :) That might have been one of the highlights of conference for me. I got to see my mom! (She's in the MoTab in case any of you didn't know.) So on Sunday before the first session started at noon, I was running around showing members my photo album so they could see what my mom looked like so they could look for her. It was really fun! :) A lot of members were actually able to find her too! But some of them thought it was too hard... haha apparently all white people look alike to black people! :)

One of my favorite talks was all of them. :) But I really liked the one by M. Russell Ballard too. I liked his promise that if every member shared the gospel with one person, millions would have their hearts touched by Christmas. And I liked how he said that it doesn't matter if we aren't successful in sharing the gospel with someone, as long as we are doing the Lord's work, there is no failure!

INVESTIGATORS

I don't have time to talk about too many people, and there isn't a lot to talk about anyway, but the one person I should mention is Fabrice. He's the member referral from the recent convert named Wina. We've taught him 3 lessons now, and he's learning so fast! He is so interested in the gospel! He's great because he doesn't like to commit to anything unless he's positive that he can do it.  We've taught him through the Plan of Salvation and he doesn't have much of a religious background, so he's still just absorbing it all. At the end of the last lesson, I committed him to pray about our message and pray about the Restored Gospel specifically. Then I extended the commitment to him to be baptized if (when) he receives an answer that this is true, and he accepted it! There wasn't a "but" or an "if." It's the first legitimate "yes" I've gotten from an investigator so far on my mission! It felt great! I'm excited for him! Please pray for him and us as we teach him, so that we'll be able to say the right things and follow the Spirit.

Love, love, love,

Elder Taylor David Dayton

Almost Done With Training!!

September 30, 2013

Thanks, thanks, thanks for everyone out there who writes to me, emails me, reads my blog, thinks about me, and prays for me. I have some of the best support out of anyone I know! I have the best friends and family out there! It's really hard for me to not be able to talk to you guys more. I feel like I should be thanking you more, and I wish I could so badly! But finding time on the mission to be able to sincerely thank everyone is almost impossible. So this is just a thank you to everyone out there who reads this. I love you all! :)

 A VERY TIRING WEEK

Last week was exhausting! I don't know what it was, but it wore me out! It's been a lot hotter than normal. It hasn't rained in a while either. We're supposed to be in hurricane season!! What the heck! And I think we biked a lot more this past week. We went to a less active that lived outside of our area. She told us to ride our bikes to a grocery store about 25 minutes from our house, and she'd give us directions from there. Then we called her, she told us to take a left at the round-about, then go straight until we got to the Catholic church on the left, and she just lived right past that. So we went... and went... and went uphill... and went up-mountain... for 30 minutes!! Basically 30 minutes straight of strenuous pedaling! I was dying! Then we got there and she didn't have all the right parts for the weed-eater, so we couldn't do anything for her... So we talked for a little bit about her rebellious life and then left. The ride back down the mountain was pretty fun. :)

On Friday we had our first English Class! It was at the new chapel. It's not open for church yet, but we can still go inside and do little get-togethers. The sisters couldn't come so Elder G and I were by ourselves. We biked to the church, set everything up, planned our whole lesson, and waited... and waited. Nobody showed up! It was a total bummer. Better luck this Friday I guess! Haha we need to tell more people about it I think. If any of you who read this want to learn English, come to the white industrial building in Arnouville, Guadeloupe on Friday nights at 6:00 PM! :)



THE WEIGHT ON MY SHOULDERS

This last week has been tough. I had to take charge in all of the planning for each day and for every lesson. It was hard, but I did it! I liked being able to call the shots. It was good preparation for me I think. Next week is the end of my training, so I could be getting a new companion, and he could be a brand new missionary! There are 6 new ones coming in, and there are 10 elders that could be trainers next transfer. That means I could be the one that's supposed to know how to speak French, know all the investigators, and know how to not get lost! I'm super scared to find out what's going to happen! We'll probably get our transfer calls on Tuesday. I've been preparing myself to be a trainer, just in case it does happen.

Elder G will probably be leaving Baie-Mahault next week. We haven't heard anything, but that's usually what happens. He did his training here, then he trained me, so he's already been here for 6 months. So we're getting ready for him to leave. I'll be sad to have him go! We had some tough times for sure, but we're really good friends now! I feel like the distance we've come in our relationship is amazing! The credit goes to both of us for learning how to deal with each other, by changing ourselves first. We had some good companionship inventories that really helped us a lot. If you're just honest and express yourself sincerely without trying to destroy the other person, you can work wonders. It helps to finish what you have to say by telling them things you like about them and things they're doing well, then they're a lot more likely to take to heart all of the things you said before that too.

Things are going well here! The work is steadily moving forward! Keep loving life everyone! If you ever feel like you could use a little more happiness and joy, read the Book of Mormon!