Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Zone Conference in Guadeloupe

January 27, 2014

Hello!

We had a crazy busy week this last week and I did a ton of stuff! But there's weirdly not a ton that I have to talk about... Just kind of a plain old week. Hopefully I can remember everything...

ZONE CONFERENCE

We had Zone Conference on Guadeloupe on Wednesday. We flew there Tuesday night, and then came back home to Martinique on Wednesday night. It was a super short trip, but it was a lot of fun! In the Conference one of the biggest things I learned was in Sister Mehr's lesson about repentance. True repentance comes from FORSAKING our old ways. Then we try to BECOME something new. Baptism is a necessary step for the repentance process because the final REMISSION of sins comes from partaking of the sacrament. (There's more to it and I learned a lot more than just that, but I don't have my notes with me.) Then we had a great lesson taught to us by the assistants on asking inspired questions. It was perfect! It was just what I needed! I also had a great interview with President Mehr. He is so inspired. He gave me a lot of great advice on things I can do that will help me in every aspect of the work.




EXCHANGE (JW's)

This last week I went on another exchange. I went into the Lamentin area with Elder Drennan to spend the day with him. We were on foot and took a lot of buses and had a pretty good day. Then our last lesson for the night was an appointment with two Jehovah's Witnesses (they're EVERYWHERE out here!) I hate arguing with people and I find myself to be quite patient most of the time. That definitely came in handy in our lesson with them. They were seriously so ridiculous! All they did was spend an hour and a half using science and articles trying to convince us that the Bible hasn't been changed. One of them was very cool and nice, and actually spoke English. The other one was really rude though. There was not one time during the whole night that I felt the Spirit while they were talking. They never bore testimony or even talked about they way they felt--they based everything on facts and brain knowledge. But it was just their personal interpretations of the facts, so none of it can even be proven to be true... At the end of the lesson I pretty much told them that it wasn't worth our time to continue with them, and I got them to accept a BoM from us and told them to read it. I'm absolutely confident that if they read it, they will not be able to find any faults. #crazyJWs

I DON'T KNOW WHAT ELSE TO TALK ABOUT

There were more things that happened this last week... I can't remember... OH YEAH! We had 3 baptisms on Saturday! The Elders in Sainte-Luce baptised three young kids. Two brothers (9 and 11) and a little girl (10). They're all the children of members, but they still count as convert baptisms. I got the chance to interview Kimberly and it was awesome! All three of the kids are so smart and have such strong testimonies! They already know twice as much as I did when I was that young.




Well, that's just about it for this week. Sorry, not too much happened. This week we should be back to serious work and discovering miracles around every corner! :) #getready

Je vous aime tous,
Elder Taylor Dayton


P.S. Elder Lever and I went for a run this morning. We decided to run up a hill in a field of sugar cane. Haha we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into! It was super bumpy and covered in thick grass, so I was rolling my ankle all over the place, and Elder Lever definitely ate it and rolled one time! Haha we got super tired super fast, so it wasn't the best workout ever, but we had fun though! :) 

P.P.S. It's getting a little bit chilly here in Martinique! It dropped down to about 22 degrees this past week!! #celsius #sorrymom #badjoke :/

P.P.P.S. I forgot to talk about any of our work in Trinite! Elder Lever and I are rocking it! We're going big this next week and we're gonna try and set some baptismal dates. We think that Christina is going to accept one! :) We're pretty pumped for that!!


Monday, January 20, 2014

Another Chill Week in Paradise

January 20, 2013

Hello family and friends!!

FINDING ELDER DAYTON'S GROOVE

Just another week down here in the Caribbean. I'm hitting my 8 month mark on the 22nd, so I'm almost one-third of the way done--not that anyone's keeping track...  But I really feel like I'm in the groove of missionary work now. I'm still not perfect, but I know more or less what I'm doing. It feels great! I can speak the language, I can talk to people, I can teach them about the gospel (actually, I'm a TERRIBLE teacher, but we can't all be perfect, right?), and I'm getting way better at typing on these French keyboards! 

I'm also starting to get into my district leader role. It takes up a little extra time, but I love it! I feel a lot closer with the other missionaries on the island because of it. It's not just me and my companion 24/7 (although I would be cool with that... Elder Lever is a total WIZARD!) I still hate teaching district meetings though. I have to teach other missionaries how to do their job every Tuesday for 60-90 minutes. I feel really inadequate for the job, but I'm up for it.

Another thing that I didn't realize would be as energy-consuming as it really is, is running our little group for church every Sunday! Elder Lever and I do everything! We set up the program for sacrament, call speakers (usually us 2 and someone else), and then teach the Sunday School lesson too! We basically do all the preparation for that on Sunday morning before church because on Saturday night we have to clean everything so that it's ready for Sunday. (primary song, holla!)

INVESTIGATOR POOL

Elder Lever and I have started picking it up with some investigators now. 
Here's a few of them:

Daniel: former long-time investigator with a lot of hang-ups on small little things about our church. He believes lots of things are true, but he just doesn't like things like the Word of Wisdom and the idea that we have Godly potential. His girlfriend lives in Gwada and is a new member there. She really wants him to get baptized.

Sylvia: Slowing down... Our lessons with her aren't too great anymore. I'm a really bad teacher, and I need to learn how to ask more inspired questions. She doesn't retain much from the lessons because she's kind of quiet and we/I don't get her involved enough. (Sidenote: Elder Lever's younger than me, but I'm learning a ton from him. Like how to be a better teacher. He also helps me a TON with my district leader job.)

Christina: She's NEW! She's the girlfriend of our recent convert Marclin. She wants to get baptized!!! Now we're just teaching her and helping her understand WHY she wants it. We want her to understand the importance of making this covenant before we jump in the ocean with her (yeah... there's no baptismal font here! Heck to the yeah!!)

PICTURES:

Some pictures of Elder Russell and I hiking with his most recent convert Kevin and his fiancée, Lorisa. Also on the beach with them playing badminton. #cave #waterfall


































People burning stuff... That's Elder Russell burning his crown because he broke his "feve" from his "Galette des Rois" (If you don't know what that is, google it.) We made him burn his crown because he broke it... Then Elder Drennan broke his too! So Elder Smith, my sick new homie and Parker Jones look-alike (HOLLA P-JONES!!), burned his crown. It was pretty hilarious!




Editor's note: The Galette des Rois, meaning "King's Cake" is a popular French cake that celebrates the holiday of Epiphany (January 6th), the day when the Three Kings visited the Baby Jesus. As part of French tradition, a small feve (favor) is hidden in the cake. The person who finds the feve in his or her slice becomes king or queen for the day. I think the burning of the crown part was just made up by the missionaries! 


Random pictures of a road and the ocean. Yeah, that's what I get to see EVERY day as we drive around looking for things to do. #gorgeous




Pictures of our beautiful house/church! :) The picture with a banister in it is the view from our balcony. Yeah... I know... #stunning (P.S. I have confirmed that YES, you can hear the ocean from our house.)





Me and my beautiful companion, Elder Adam Lever, eating our fajitas. Thanks for the Christmas present mom!! :) #delish




LOVE 4EVER,
Elder Taylor Dayton #havingfun

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Q & A

January 13, 2014

Hello everyone!

I got my mission call on January 16th last year... It's crazy how time has flown by! Now I'm actually here on the island of Martinique and I still can't even believe it!

This cybercafe that I'm at doesn't have a USB port that can accept my memory card adapter, so I can't upload any pics this week... :( And that was pretty much all I wanted to talk about! But basically I went on an awesome exchange on Friday with Elder Taylor Russell in his area. We spent a big part of the day with Kevin, who just got baptized on Saturday! He's engaged to another member and they're planning on getting married in the temple in a year from the date of his baptism! Super sick! :) But on Friday, we spent the day with the two lovebirds playing badminton on the beach and going on a little hike. Then we finally got to work and went and taught an awesome member lesson with a new investigator who is so ready for the gospel!

Elder Lever and I are working to turn some of our potential investigators into progressing investigators. We've started to try inviting more people to church, and lots of people are pretty open to the idea! Hopefully we get some more people in attendance in the future. We have one investigator named Sylvia who is pretty solid. Also, we just met a family with two teenage girls while contacting last night by the ocean, and they were super nice! We got their phone number and they said that they would come to church. I hope we can start teaching them! They seemed pretty promising. If you want to pray for them, I think they're the Belle-Rose family... but I'm not sure... but I'm pretty sure Heavenly Father will understand. :)


Since I don't have any pictures for you, or much else to talk about, I'll answer some of your questions!


I assume you have A/C in your place? As nice as it is...I would think. 
No I do not actually! But it's probably about a constant 75 in the house. Maybe 70 at night. The ocean breeze keeps it pretty casual. :)

How was church? Did you speak or teach?
It was great!! I gave a 15 minute talk on the importance of the family in God's Plan. By the end of this, I'm going to be pro at giving talks... to small groups of people that I don't really know very well. :) haha Then I helped teach Gospel Principles with Elder Lever. We had about 12 people at church, and two of them are sort of investigators! So it was a pretty good Sunday. We only do two hours of church because of how small the group is. We also had President Occolier come, our Branch President. He gave the Aaronic Priesthood to Elder Lever's most recent convert/baller/homie Marclin. Haha he's so sick!! He's going to be able to bless and pass the sacrament now. And he's going to start coming with us to appointments so that we can teach with him. Our next step is to baptize his girlfriend Christina!

Do you ever drive the car, or does Elder Lever always drive?
Elder Lever is the assigned driver. I haven't driven yet. But I might have to start driving every once in a while when I do exchanges.

How do you pronounce your comp's name? Does it rhyme with fever, or never?
Fever! :) 

What do you have to do as a District Leader that's different now? 
I have to do nightly calls. So between the hours of 9:30 and 10:30 (bedtime), I'm basically just on the phone. So I don't really have any time to wind down... that kinda stinks. But I still make sure I find time to write in my journal and brush my teeth before collapsing onto my bed! I also have to teach 90 minute lessons to all the missionaries every Tuesday for district meeting. So that's cool... :/ not! Haha but if you guys have any talks you like or good teaching ideas, etc. I'd love to hear them! I need some material!

Is your comp a co-District Leader with you? I'm not sure how that works...
No. I'm the District Leader for all of Martinique.

Is there one Zone on the island?
Yes. Elder Russell and Elder Ardeche are the Zone Leaders in the big city of Fort-de-France.

When will your next Zone Conference be? And where?
Next Wednesday in Gwada! We'll be away from Martinique for a total of about 24 hours. Two quick plane rides of about 30-45 minutes each, then we're right back to work--filled with the Spirit!

Do you ever dream in French?
Yeah, sometimes... It's weird though. Lots of times it's a dream where either I don't understand what people are saying or they don't understand me.

Do you notice any difference in the food on Martinique vs. Guadeloupe?
They have better pizza here! There aren't nearly as many bakeries everywhere though. But overall, the food's pretty similar.

With not many members nearby, do you ever get invited over anywhere for meals? 
We have a family that apparently feeds us about once a week. It's Soeur Anthony from St. Lucia. So she speaks English. I've heard she can bust any missionary's gut with her cooking! Her son is Marclin, the 26 year old recent convert. He was born on Martinique, so he speaks French. But he's trying to learn English with us, so it's pretty fun. She also has a handicapped son Jean-Jean who is about 30 and passes the sacrament for us. He's pretty awesome. :)

Do you see a lot more tourists on Martinique?
I do see more tourists here. Part of it might just be because I'm in a more touristy city than my last area. Trinite is sort of popular with tourists I think, but I've heard that most of them go down to the south part of the island though. It's pretty much white people everywhere down there! haha

We've been talking and maybe we will try to do Christmas down in the Caribbean the Christmas after you come home.  What would you think of that?
Expensive... awesome... SO fun! I don't know. How are flights down here in the summer compared to during the winter? I think Christmastime here would be more enjoyable (like a getaway.) But I feel like summer might be cheaper to get us all back here.

Will you be meeting as a group every week or will you go to the branch every so often? 
We meet as a group every week except for fast Sunday. Then we go to Fort-de-France. Then after we always eat at Soeur Yva's house. She makes the best food! She loves the missionaries. And we love her too!

Love,
Elder Dayton

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Hello from Martinique!

January 6, 2014

My favorite people! Hello!!

I made it to Martinique. I'm safe and sound! And I'm absolutely LOVING everything about it so far!! It's incredible. I don't have a lot of time, so I'm going to throw a bunch of information at you without proofreading anything, and I hope you can understand it all! D'accord? Bon...

ELDER LEVER

Elder Lever is my new best friend for the next six weeks. I got kinda forced into it, but it's okay... Anyway, he's a 2013 Bingham High graduate--a Utah boy! (Holla!) He's been out 3 transfers now, which is one less than me. He's been in Trinité for his whole mission so far. He knows the area really well and can always find something effective to do. It's so great! He's extremely easy-going and we get along so well it's almost unreal. I'm already sad for the moment that he leaves me and I get a new companion. I love the guy to death!

THE CAR

That's right! I'm no longer on a bike! We have a super nice Chevy Cruze. It's the nicest car on the island I think. Fully stocked! It's so much more effeicient. We can go see anybody we need to whenever we want. I love the car so far. The only problem I can see with it is that I might get fat(ter).


Elder Dayton and Elder Lever in their Chevy Cruze

TRINITE

I love our area! It's so beautiful! It honestly is probably one of the most beautiful areas I've seen in Guadeloupe or Martinique. We have one of the biggest areas too. It covers a huge chunk of the northern half of the island. One of the best parts is that we live in a place called Beauséjour, which is on a peninsula, which means that both sides are covered by water. SO SICK!! The ocean here is gorgeous! We can even see the ocean from our house! And sometimes I even feel like I can hear it...

OUR HOUSE

It's HUGE!! Since we live so far from the church in the big city, a few transfers ago, the missionaries got authorized to hold chuch in our area. So we just have a little group. And because of that, we had to buy the building where we would hold church. And that happens to also be our house. So yes, it's very big, and pretty nice.

MARTINIQUE IN GENERAL

It's more white than Guadeloupe... There are still mostly black people, but it's more Metropolitan-French than Gwada. I like it because I don't stick out as much as before.

It's also BEAUTIFUL here! Right now I'd say that it's more beautiful than Gwada. It's got more hills, and the big cities are less ghetto, and less crowded. I think it has better beaches too, but I don't really know for sure yet...

There is only one branch here. It's about 60-ish active members. Our group in Trinité usually has about 8 in attendance. Because of that, I will probably give a lot of talks, which I have not done yet on my mission... Gotta learn sometime!

Love from another island in the Caribbean,
Elder Taylor Dayton

PS I see Elder Russell ALL THE TIME! He picked me up at the airport and we've slept at his apartment twice now! When I got here, Elder Russell informed me that I'm also the new district leader for Martinique... That was a surprise! So there's that.


Elder Taylor Dayton
Residence Aigue Marine
Bat. A3 Appt. 7
Rue de la Dorsade
97200 Fort-de-France
Martinique

Friday, January 3, 2014

Going to bed in 2013, waking up... ON A NEW ISLAND!‏

December 30, 2013

Dear family and friends,

I'm getting transferred!!! This week I'll be going to MARTINIQUE! I'm super excited, a little bit nervous, and a little bit sad. I've been in my area since July, and I've really grown to love it. But now I get to experience a whole island of new adventures. I'll be serving in the area of Trinite with Elder Lever.

MY LAST WEEK IN BAIE-MAHAULT, GWADA

Not too much happened in Baie-Mahault. It was a normal proselyting week, except for we had P-Day on Christmas Eve to celebrate with all the missionaries in Guadeloupe. It was really fun! It was one of the best Christmas celebrations ever! :) We had TONS of food! It was a classic American style Christmas feast. I was stuffed! 




1275 - Our good friend Emily gave us all little stockings with Chocolate and a little Cutie inside. 


1283 - Our awesome/hilarious Zone Leader, Elder Tolman, entertained us with some Chubby Bunny. :)


One of my new best friends, Elder Bodily, was there to really pump up the party.

And we got to watch Monster's University after we ate!! It was AWESOME!! :) I miss movies so much!

At the end of the night we did a little tie exchange. :) I got Elder Pratt's old yellow paisley tie that he calls Azland.


After the party with the missionaries was over, we went over to a little party that some of our investigators were having. They are from Columbia, so they gave us Tomales and some other classic Latino food. And we ate it all out on their balcony, which overlooks the bay! It was delicious, but it was really uncomfortable to eat because I was still stuffed from the other feast we had! 

Me, Wade, Laura (holding her baby), Laura (again), and Stefany. They are so nice! I hope that one day they all get baptized!



On Christmas morning Elder Wade and I got up and opened up my package that I got from my family. I got the best gifts ever!

I got my transfer call on Friday, so that's when I found out that I was leaving my area. So over the last little while I've been trying to see as many members and investigators as possible and get some last little memories with them before I leave!



Funny Mami Odette holding some weird fruit/stuff that she stole from somebody's tree! I love this woman to death! She was so mad that I was leaving. She always threatens to beat me with her "baton," but she never actually does. :) I'm getting out of here without bruises luckily!


Another member Nancy. She saves us missionaries here on Guadeloupe! She works for OFII, the immigration process, so she makes sure that we all become legal without any problems.

Nancy's 11 y.o. son Kylian. He's a stud. He'll serve a mission someday.






Some random guy from a different branch traded me ties after church on Sunday. He was just like, "Cool tie, wanna trade?" And I was just like... "Sure!" Haha I got the lower end of the deal, it was a brand new tie, but it was definitely worth the moment! :) While we were taking the picture, he held his arm out and I had no idea what he wanted me to do with it, so I just gave him a fist bump. :)










 I'm really going to miss the Versailles family a lot! :(
Nadege was the first person I baptized. I'm gonna miss her a ton. She was my best friend!

I would have deleted this picture that Nadege took, but I kept it because it shows their shopping cart that they borrowed in the background. :) Classic!

Me and Carim


Me and Stan. 


Jocelyn! He should be getting baptized soon! He has a date set for March 1st.


   Mini Elder Daytons! :)



We also met a guy that raises roosters to do "cock fighting!" He's so awesome! His name's Tony. He gets his roosters from all over! The one I'm holding is from Puerto Rico, and it's worth about 900 Euros... NUTS! He trains them! :) hahaha They've gotta have strong muscles I guess!


 Editor's note: I guess cock-fighting is legal there?!

Anyway, that's all I have time for! Next time you guys hear from my, I'll be in Martinique! :) I'll be getting a new address too, so I'll get you that as soon as I know it.

Love you guys!
Elder Dayton

Merry Christmas, Everybody!

December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

We got our P-Day moved to Tuesday for this week so we could have a little party with the missionaries of Guadeloupe. We're having a big feast this afternoon at our new "mom's" house. We had a couple move into the Bennion's old home to kind of take care of us missionaries for a while. They aren't called as missionaries, but they're just serving us until a senior couple actually gets called. Her name is Emily and her husband is here working, so she's giving us a hand. She's really nice! :) She's American and she's making us a bunch of turkey and mashed potatoes. A classic Christmas Eve Dinner!

Our branch had a little activity at the Cesarin's house this last weekend. We sang a bunch of Christmas songs that I didn't know. It was a lot of fun! Christmas Spirit was in the warm and humid air! :)










Elder Wade and I did some service for a non-member/non-investigator/just-a-friend last weekend. We went over not knowing what to expect. She had us put up her Christmas trees! :) I was very grateful to serve that day.







On Sunday night the Gamiette's had Elder Wade and I over. We went and visited their neighbor Sandrine and gave her some Christmas treats. Then we sang some songs with the Gamiettes and some other members, the Bouchaud's, from another branch. It was AWESOME because they all spoke English! And we had homemade wassail. They're such an amazing family! It was just like I was at home again! :)



I love you all and I hope you're having a wonderful time this holiday season! :) I'm so grateful for My Savior, Jesus Christ, and everything he has done for me. I'm so thankful that I have the opportunity to share the message of His Gospel with the world.

Love,
Elder Dayton