Tuesday, July 30, 2013

And suddenly...I'm in Guadeloupe!

July 24, 2013

Hello everyone!

Sorry it's been so long! And sorry I didn't email on Monday. We went hiking and we didn't time until today to do email. But I made it to Guadeloupe!! I'm safe and sound... and somewhat comfortable. I'm not in Lementin, I'm in Baie-Mahault (pronounced "Bay-Mow"). I don't know what that means yet, but I'll probably find out someday.

I don't even know where to start! Louisiana was amazing! I miss it a lot. I knew I would! That's how it's worked every time I've left an area/companion/district!

One of my favorite people in Louisiana! He's basically blind. His names is Brother Watkins. He's less-active, but he loves the missionaries (mostly me). Haha I asked him if I could put my arm around him and he replied, "Keep your hands off of me."

Then he grabbed my hand. I told him, "Alright, now look at the camera." He's definitely blind! hahahaha

My cool hat I got in LaPlace. It's the New Orleans Pelicans.

My companion in Guadeloupe is Elder Russell Galati. Things are going great! He just barely got done with his training, and now he's training me! He speaks the language quite well for how long he's been out. He was fortunate enough to have a French trainer. I, on the other hand, do not speak the language very well at all! I can only speak very simply and slowly. But the biggest problem I have is that I cannot understand anything the people are saying! They talk so fast and it just sounds like they're mumbling to me! Hopefully I can catch on quickly. It's extremely frustrating at times. It's so exhausting to try and understand what they're saying, and my brain is working at a million miles and hour. A lot of the time my mind just wanders off and I zone out because I don't know what's going on.

Elder Dayton and Elder Galati

I am also so exhausted all the time! I think my "chronic fatigue syndrome" gets worse with humidity. Even though I'm getting a full 8 hours of sleep per night, throughout the day, all my body wants to do is sleep. I have to focus all my attention just on keeping my eyes open while in lessons and church. I feel so bad sometimes because it probably looks like I don't care, when I really just don't have a clue what's going on!

My first week in the mission has been hard. Talk about culture shock!! I'm still getting over the first time I set foot in a French grocery store. All the food here is so weird! I can't find anything that I'm used to eating! But Elder Galati has been helpful, and we've been able to get some food that isn't too bad... We've eaten plain noodles with magic sauce and a hamburger patty every day for lunch! I love it more and more every time I eat it! :/ haha

This week in my personal study I have been focusing on how to teach the lessons in French, as well as how to get investigators to church. I also decided to jump on board the mission goal of reading the Book of Mormon once every 2 transfers (12 weeks). So I just started to read where the rest of the mission was, in the middle of Alma. I love the chapters when Alma is counseling his sons. He gives them great advice that is very applicable to me, and he always finishes with an empowering message about missionary work. I love it! One of my goals is to gain a knowledge of the scriptures and know my references better. I feel like I'm improving a little bit!

I have been meeting a lot of investigators and members, and I'm doing my best to learn their names and get to know them better. The branch here is amazing! I just wish I was better at the language so that I could utilize all the tools we have here. This would have been a great area to come to near the end of my mission. I've heard that it's the best branch in the mission. Apparently we have the most worthy Melchizedek Priesthood holders and the most endowed adults! It's great! We also have the only General Authority in the mission in our branch! His name is Elder Gamiette. He's the former mission president here in the West Indies. His daughters are also serving mini-missions with the sisters here. One is 17 and the other is 18, and they're amazing missionaries! They're basically like full-time missionaries here, tags and all, but they just haven't been officially assigned to this area.

I have loved it so far though. Missionary work is one of the hardest things I have ever done, especially in a foreign country and a foreign language. But I know the Lord will bless me as I continue to work hard.

Love you all,

Elder Dayton

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