Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Volcano

September 16, 2013

EXCHANGES

Last week I did two exchanges. One was down in Basse-Terre with Elder Drennan, and it was fun. Just a pretty normal missionary day. I got to meet some of their investigators and stuff. It was pretty fun. But the other exchange is the cool one... I went to Morne-a-l'Eau with the Zone Leader, Elder Tolman. He's been out over a year and a half, and he's an amazing missionary! I learned a ton while I was with him! We went contacting together and it was AMAZING! I've never actually really enjoyed contacting, but this time it was great! Even he admitted that this time was awesome. It was like every door we went to was open to our message! It was so cool! But the real miracle was this one family we ran into...

THE ADELAIDE FAMILY

 We went up to the house and the father was outside on the table doing his bills. We started giving our little message, and he didn't really seem interested. He didn't look up from his papers, but he didn't send us away, so we kept talking. He told us to yell in the house at his wife to come out because she would actually listen to our message. So we told her to come out, and we just started talking about families. They are married (for once, hallelujah!) and they have 3 boys (potential priesthood holders!) and a girl. They are non practicing Catholics. As we kept talking about families and got more into the Restoration of the gospel, we had both of their attention. He had finally looked up from his bills, and his eyes were locked on us. They didn't talk very much unless we asked them a question. We got to a point where we asked them to pray about our message and ask God if Joseph Smith really was a prophet. They agreed to do it and they said they would that night before going to bed! At the end, she grabbed a paper and wrote down "Joseph Smith" in big bold letters. Then her husband told us that he was really speculative to listen to us at first, and thought we were just like some other type of salesmen. But he said that we seemed really sincere and that he actually felt like we were telling the truth! (Thank you Holy Ghost!!!) Then they thanked us and we said a prayer together. Right before we were about to leave, we set up an appointment for Elder Tolman and his companion to go back and visit two days later. They were happy to have a return appointment with us. Then, the wife told us something. She said, "I wasn't going to say anything to you guys, but this morning I was praying for our family. I was asking God for some help." She said she didn't really know what she was asking for, but then she said, "I think you guys are the help I needed. Thank you." HECK YEAH!!!! Haha that lesson got me so pumped! I'm so excited to see what happens with them. They have so much potential! They are primed for the gospel! I hope that they can continue to work with them until baptism. I don't think their last appointment worked out, so they have another one set up for this week. So we'll see how that goes!

THE VOLCANO

Last week the Zone Leaders extended us the challenge to have each companionship get 5 member lessons this past week. And if we did, we could all do a big zone activity together for P-Day (today). Every companionship got the goal (barely, for some) so we got to go to the volcano today! It was sweet! It's about an hour and a half hike to the top. It was super foggy up there, like something out of a movie. In fact, everything up there looked like something from out of a movie! The wind was blowing like crazy, and you could lean over and you would stay up. The rain was blowing up the mountain, and we were all soaking wet. Then, you drop down into where the volcano is and the air is straight sulfur. You can't see any of the lava, but there was this really cool neon green colored rock. Then there was this meadow thing under all the fog that looked like something from the Wizard of Oz. I expected to look down there and see a bunch of flying monkeys or munchkins dancing around. Haha it was pretty sweet!








P-Days here are pretty awesome! We do some way cool activities. I love it, but it takes up a lot of our time sometimes. But I don't think we'll be able to keep having this much fun as time goes on, so I'm soaking it up while I can. I've been able to see things in my first transfer and a half that are new for Elders that have been out a year and a half! So I'm pretty lucky. I love Guadeloupe! It has just about everything. Everyone says it's the best island, and I can definitely believe that.

Well, that's about it for the week! Thanks guys! I love you all, no matter where in the world you are! Good luck with all of your endeavors!

My Dear Grandma...and lots of service!

September 9, 2013

MY DEAR GRANDMA SEELY

On Thursday I got a call from my mission president telling me that my grandma had passed away. It caught me completely off guard. I had no idea it was coming. I was extremely devastated, as one would expect, but I have felt the Spirit testify to me that my grandma is in a better place now and that she’s doing the exact same work in the Spirit World that I’m doing here in Guadeloupe.

In Alma 40:11-12, we learn that spirits rest in the Spirit World in a state of peace and rest until the resurrection. In D&C 138, we learn about how the Gospel is preached in the Spirit World. As I read through these scriptures, I could feel the Spirit so strongly in the feeling of reassurance that my grandma is doing alright, she’s working hard, and she wants me to be happy.

I’m so grateful for her and her example for me. She was an outstanding missionary that served several missions, and she always loved sharing her experiences with me. I hope that one day I can become as great of a missionary as her.


Elder Dayton with his Grandma and Grandpa Seely after receiving his endowment in the Bountiful Temple.



RAINY WEEK

On Wednesday and Thursday it was POURING rain! On Wednesday, we were on our way home in the middle of the afternoon so that Elder Galati could use the restroom. We were about a 4 minute bike ride from our house when it started to rain pretty hard. So we decided to stop and wait it out under a little bus stop. We were getting wet even under the covered bus stop! The road was so covered with water that when cars would drive by, their tires would make little tidal waves of water that would soak our feet. After just sitting there for about 30 minutes, there was no end in sight, so we booked it home. I made the bike ride in about 2 minutes, but when I got home I had to wait for Elder Galati, who was a little ways behind me. By the time I got inside I was completely soaked! My shoes were filled with water and my tie was dripping. After that we hung up our clothes and waited out the storm… the rest of the night. It was my first time ever getting stuck in doors because of rain. I love having a bike most of the time, but not so much that day.

LOTS OF SERVICE

On Tuesday we did service with all the missionaries at our new chapel. It’s sadly still not done… it should be in a few weeks though! We cleaned and set up all the rooms.









On Saturday we poured cement for a member in another branch. Everyone there was from our branch except for the man who owned the house and the missionaries from his branch. It was a long day of service, but I learned a lot and had fun. My neck and nose got way sunburnt though!









Monday, September 2, 2013

The work moves forward!

September 2, 2013

First off...

TRANSFERS

Transfers happened last week. I'm still with Elder Galati in
Baie-Mahault. But there are 6 elders coming in next transfer! So I could
very very likely be training, as Elder Galati is very likely to leave.
I'm scared to train though... I'm not ready at all!

SONIA AND HER KIDS GOT BAPTIZED

Finally!!! It was on Saturday! Things were frantic up until the
meeting started, but everything got done, and it was a good service. I
had the opportunity to baptize Allan. He's the youngest one in the
picture. He's 9 years old. He's so cool though! I love him!

Sonia is really scatterbrained all the time, and she struggles with
keeping appointments. For example, all the previous baptism dates. Oh
yeah, and last week we didn't have it because of a miscommunication
with the clothing. In French, the difference between, "Make sure you
all have white underwear for the baptism," and "Make sure you all have
white clothes for the baptism," is one tiny little word. So,
basically, she called us that morning and told us that she couldn't
get baptized that day. Then, we later found out from her member who is
a neighbor, that there was a miscommunication on the dress code.

Sadly, her 3 kids that just got baptized are all moving back in with
their father (non-member, slow-moving investigator, won't get baptized
because he won't marry his girlfriend, but not opposed to the gospel)
for the school year, so Sonia won't have them around anymore. We hope
we can make sure they all stay strong in the gospel and united as a
family in the church. The branch really needs to make sure that Sonia
is retained. She was as ready as she could be for the baptism, but her
life has so many different paths it could take, that we really need to
make sure she's on the right one at all times.







THE DESIR FAMILY

As you have heard, we had a mission-wide fast to be able to have more
lessons taught to member referrals. We decided to fast with the Desir
family. They are so great! It is the two parents and their 12 year old
son Diemjy. They just got baptized back in 2011, but they love the
gospel! They are quite poor, so the gospel means everything to them.
So we hope that we can work with them to get some of their friends to
become investigators. I love this family so much! They've done more
for us missionaries since I've been here than the whole branch put
together! It's really amazing and sad at the same time. The father and
the son will definitely be getting a couple of ties from Elder Dayton
before he leaves Baie-Mahault.

Frere Desir: He is about 5"5' and he loves the missionaries. He is
willing to work with us just about any time unless it's during his
afternoon nap. He has a tiny little truck with a big tent cover over
the bed and two wooden benches, so it's basically his bus. Haha I've
ridden to a lot of lessons in the back of that truck with him. I love
it! He's very kind and soft-spoken, and he's still learning the gospel,
but he has a huge heart!

Soeur Desir: She's about 5"10' and twice the size of Frere Desir.
She's extremely shy, and we only recently found out that she is from
Dominica, so her native language is English! That's awesome! She cooks
for us all the time! In the last 8 days, she's fed us 5 times. I've
eaten fish (I'm all in on this mission thing now!!) and chicken and
spaghetti with ketchup, Columbo, what I thought was roast beef (it was
actually goat) and rice, fried chicken with french fries (not so good
on my stomach), and calf foot. The calf foot was the weirdest thing
ever! It's pretty much a bone with a tube of fat around it, which is
the meat that you're supposed to eat. It was a soup and Elder Galati
and I were eating it, and when we got done she said, "You don't like
the meat?" I knew that was coming... So I, being a champ, ate the
whole thing! Haha I scarfed it down fast so I wouldn't have time to
think about it. That's how I handled the fish too. Elder Galati said
that he's hardly ever eaten at their house before I got there. I think
they just must really like me! :)

Diemjy Desir: He's 12 years old and he's like my best friend! He's
almost as tall as me, and sometimes I forget he's only 12. Yesterday I
helped him get his binders and stuff ready for school. He's really
excited for school to start. Summer is boring for him. Their family is
too poor to travel, so he doesn't have much to do. He was a little
worried about school to start, so he asked me if we could give him a
blessing. We graciously accepted, but we had Frere Desir do it because
he is the father. I love Diemjy a lot. I hope that I can leave a good
impression on him so that he'll want to serve a mission. So far, I
think I've been doing well. He wants to work with us more.

Their house: Like I said, they're very poor. I would send you pictures
of their living conditions, but I don't want you guys to worry about
me too much... Haha just kidding, sort of. Don't worry, they're very
clean. They just don't have a lot of room to put all their stuff. They
basically live in half of a house and they put up a wall in the middle
so that another family could live in the other half. It's...
interesting.

WINNIFRED

I don't know if I've told you guys about Winnifred yet! Since Sonia
and her kids all got baptized, and none of our other investigators
have been keeping commitments, Winnifred is our only progressing
investigor at the moment. She's awesome! We found her a couple of
weeks ago while we were talking with a contact. He had to go get
something from his mom's friend's house, so we biked over there with
him. We rode our bikes a long way, and we thought we were wasting our
time because he didn't really understand our message, but that's how
he led us to Winnifred. We got there and met her and she was super
excited to see us! She told us, "I'd love to study the Bible with you
guys!" So we were just like... "Okay! When can we come back?" She told
us, "Anytime!" and she gave us some juice. She's from Dominica, which
is a little English-speaking island just south of us. She only speaks
English and Creole, so we can't really teach her in French. So we got
her all of the reading material in English, and she really wants to
learn more about our church. She really understands that if she wants
to know the truth, she has to receive an answer from God. It's
awesome! I extended the baptismal invitiation to her and she said that
she couldn't say yes yet, but she couldn't say no either and that
she'd have to learn more and pray about it. Perfect!! The only problem
is that she doesn't have a car. Luckily a member woman lives pretty
close by. I'll keep you updated on her! Also, since Soeur Desir is
Dominican, she's a great member friend for her to have! We've had her
in one lesson with us, and it was great!