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!


Happy Fall!

September 25, 2013

I hope you have all been having a good first few days of Autumn. Here in Guadeloupe, I have definitely not noticed a difference in the seasons. All the trees are still green and the air is still as hot and humid as when I got here. The only real difference I can see is that I have seen a few more cockroaches in our apartment, but I'm pretty sure cockroaches are on their own schedule... so that has nothing to do with it being Autumn. It's hard to imagine what it would be like to have to put on a long sleeve shirt now. That would be death here! I'm kind of jealous of all of you that do have seasons. That'll be one thing I'm definitely going to miss, being in a tropical climate.

The last few days when the sun has started to go down, the sky has been doing some crazy stuff! On the east side of the sky (opposite of where the sun is setting) there have been some crazy colors! It's been all like pink and blue and stuff! And the first day that it happened was on September 22nd, which is the first day of Fall, right? I wonder if that has anything to do with it. It's like the sky is all pink, but there's this huge, bright strip of blue that splits the sky in half! It's super sweet! It reminds me of the blue and pink Trix Yogurt that I used to eat as a kid. :)




MEMBER REFERRALS

Member referrals are the best thing ever! It makes it so every time we get a new investigator, they already have a friend for them in the church. Last week we had two member referrals! One of them was from Elder Gamiette (yes, an Area Seventy/former Mission President that's in our Branch here), and she's awesome! She has 3 kids and they're great! We've taught them 2 lessons, and they both went very well. The mom felt the confirmation of the truthfulness of our message and she was really excited to learn more. Both of those lessons were with Elder Gamiette, and they were both AMAZING! He's such a good teacher! It was the first time I've ever been able to work with him. Sadly, he's always super busy traveling to other islands for the church, so he can't really keep teaching with us. Hopefully we can keep teaching this family though. And the big bonus is that she has a car!! Heck yeah!! haha That's actually a huge problem in our branch. Nobody has any room in their cars to bring any more people to church.

The other member referral was from a recent convert. She got baptized on my first Saturday in Guadeloupe, and she's great. It was one of her friends from work, and he really wants to learn more about the gospel! He has a lot of questions, with just a very basic background of religious knowledge. He hasn't been baptized in any church either, which is a good thing for us, because we don't have to go over the whole "getting baptized again" thing. We had to reschedule our appointment with him this week because of some weird meeting changes, but hopefully we can have a good lesson with him soon!

THE WEEK OF DOOM!

Right now we're in the 11th week of our 12 week training program for missionaries. So, I'm almost done! But, this is the week where the junior companion is supposed to take over ALL of the planning for every day and plan all the lessons... Oh boy. It's been super tough so far, and it's only like half way over! But, I'm starting to love it! :) I like being the one to decide what we're doing all the time. But it's been good so far just because we've had so much to do. These next few days are going to be rough because we don't really have anything planned, and we have full days to fill! Plus, the district leader is coming up to Baie-Mahault with me this week!! Ahhhh!

THE LANGUAGE

One good thing though is that my French is coming along great! I can communicate with just about anyone now, as long as they're not super old or Haitian. I'm far from where I'm hoping to be, but I'm not afraid to answer the phone or set up appointments anymore. It just takes a long time and a lot of repetition sometimes. But I've gotten a lot of compliments and people are impressed that I've only been in Guadeloupe for just over two months, so that makes me feel good. :) 


Btw, there are a TON of Haitians here! They all speak Creole, and that's kind of where the French Creole comes from. It's super fun to listen to Creole because it just sounds like really ghetto French. And reading it is like playing a French version of the board game "Mad Gab." haha

Avec amour, from the Carribean,
Elder Taylor Dayton