Sunday, May 19, 2013

Some things I know about my mission

The West Indies is a region in the Caribbean that was discovered by Christopher Columbus. He was searching for India, but found these islands, later coined "the West Indies." Another name one might hear for the West Indies is "Les Antilles," which means in French "the Caribbean."

The West Indies are a chain of about 10 small islands in the eastern Caribbean. They are east of the Dominican Republic, and stretch down to the northern coast of South America. 

The climate in the West Indies is hot and humid. There is a dry season for about half the year and a rainy season for the other half. But the air temperature is almost always between 70 and 90 degrees year ‘round, day or night. Almost all of the people of the West Indies are of African race. They are mostly descendants of slaves brought over from Africa by the Europeans centuries ago. There are three languages spoken in the mission: English, French, and Dutch. The mission home for the West Indies is in Trinidad & Tobago, an English-speaking area of the mission. There are 4 main French-speaking countries in the mission, three of them being islands, and one of them on the mainland of South America.


The French-speaking islands in the West Indies are Saint Martin, Guadeloupe, and Martinique. The other French-speaking country in the mission is French Guiana, in South America. (Most of the facts and info are from this blog: westindiesmission.blogspot.com)

French Guiana

In French Guiana, there are usually less than 10 elders serving at a time. The elders in French Guiana have to travel all day by canoe and taxi to get to zone conferences.


Saint Martin

The island of Saint Martin is divided in half. The northern half is French, and the southern half is Dutch (Sint Maarten.) There are more nude beaches on the French side of Saint Martin than there are missionaries.  However, baptisms are usually done in the ocean on non-nude beaches.


Martinique

The island of Martinique has a population of 433,000 people, and the total LDS membership is 199. That probably wouldn’t even fill up the main part of an LDS chapel in Utah. There are no wards in any part of my mission—only branches.

Two elders got lost while hiking a volcano in Martinique a few years back. They were lost on Mount Pelee for three days and three nights, but they ended up being just fine.
 

Guadeloupe

The last island, Guadeloupe, is the most densely LDS French island in my mission, with a staggering 0.1% of the population being Mormon. Guadeloupe also holds the world record for most rain in a minute, which is 1.5 inches.

There is a baptismal font in one of the meetinghouses, but the baptisms are usually done in the ocean, and sometimes waterfall pools.

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