Sunday, October 26, 2014

Goodbye Martinique!

October 20, 2014

Hello everyone,

I have some very sad news. I'm leaving Martinique after 10 of the best months of my life. I'll be spending the next 40ish hours of my time here running around saying goodbye, giving hugs and handshakes to everyone that I love.

I'll be joining Nate, Norm, and Zack down in South America! I'll be in the Amazon Jungle of French Guiana (Guyane Française) to be a Zone Leader with Elder Belnap! I'm super excited! I know Elder Andrew Belnap and he's an awesome missionary/bodybuilder/man-hunk, and he baptized a bunch of people that I taught after I left Baie-Mahault! He has also served here in Fort-de-France too, so we've basically served in all the same areas.

Elder Lever is also down there, as well as two of my favorite missionaries, Elder Smith (P-Jones' lookalike) and Elder Savage. There are also some sisters, but I don't really know anything about them.

I'm being replaced here by Elder Christensen, who is a boss missionary. He's going to baptize all of my investigators... I'm so jealous. I'm so excited for him and Elder Lewis though. They've already served together before and they were powerhouses!!

I don't know much about French Guiana, but I know that it's way more hot and way more humid. I know that the branch is just exploding though and the missionaries are baptizing like crazy. So I'm excited to join in on the fun, and I hope that I can continue leading them to victory with Elder Belnap.


He's still progressing. He should be getting his patches to help him on the road to quitting cigarettes in November. So we gave him a baptismal date for the 15th of November. He really wants to get there! I'm excited for him and I hope to receive an email while I'm in Guyane about a baptism.


So his phone broke this last week, and so we weren't able to get ahold of him at all. We could call him and hear him speak, but he couldn't hear anything we were saying. It was so frustrating! Elder Lewis and I were so sad and we were feeling like giving up hope. We had thoughts that Gerson wasn't serious enough to ever get baptized. But then on Sunday, a true miracle happened and he was at church when Elder Lewis and I got there! He got a ride with the President somehow. I told him that I was leaving to French Guiana and he was so sad. He told me that he cried and was devastated that I'm going to miss his baptism. That's when we realized that he was truly sincere. He'll make it to baptism. He just needs Elder Christensen and Elder Lewis to get him there. We're having a family night with the Maugers and Gerson tonight. It's going to be a great member lesson, and a good final farewell.

His "woman" is pregnant and is having some complications with the pregnancy. She has been ordained bed-rest for the next month because there has been a fracture/break of some kind in her belly. The baby is due in January, but they're really starting to worry. So Elder Lewis and I went and visited them yesterday because Pierre-Louis wanted us to give her a blessing. And miraculously, Frère Mauger and his cute little Haitian family showed up for a visit. So he joined in on the sealing of the anointing. It was an amazing blessing. I could truly feel God's power and the Spirit working through us as I pronounced the blessing upon her head. It was something I'll never forget. Pray for Wilta and her baby, and also for Pierre-Louis to find work.


Elder Russell and I had a fun and successful last exchange together. We of course ended the night eating chicken and bake.


Oh yeah! There was a baptism! Tania Sablé got baptized by Elder Sims and Elder Glover down in Sainte-Luce.

A bunch of members that I said goodbye to... Sister Yva, who cooks so well and makes the madras ties. Some Young future missionaries. Some faithful ladies of the branch. Good ol' Frère Chinan and his sunglasses. Frère Lagin, former missionary and really really good friend from the branch. Renaud (yellow tie and blue shirt.)

Cake at the Sillons' house with a 10 on top for the number of months I spent in Martinique. If I ever come back here on vacation, they're the couple to contact, because they know EVERYTHING about the island.

Gerson Noel with me and Elder Lewis. I'm going to miss him so much. He's become a great friend. Saying goodbye is going to be hard.

I love you all very much! Happy transfer week! :) Travel safe!

Elder Dayton

A Wedding and New Branch Callings

October 13, 2014

Holy mackerel!

This last week was explosive!!! I have so much I have to tell you, but I don't even think you'll get 1 percent of the emotion of what I'm trying to convey to you.


Christina, who got baptized in April, just got married to Marclin last Tuesday! It was awesome! We had a wedding reception in the middle of the day, and most of the guests were the 12 missionaries of Martinique. They were so happy! They want to go to the temple! They are slowly figuring things out in their lives now, and things are really starting to look up. Marclin just bought a car too, so now they have no excuse to not come to church! We just need to figure out what is still stopping them.


Sister Anthony made a funny face when she saw me at the wedding. She was supper happy to see me!


This last week Frère Cerol (aka Freddy, my recent convert) got interviewed by President Mehr and was found worthy to be ordained an Elder. He, as well as two other Melchizedek Priesthood holders in the branch all got callings on Sunday! Now we've got some real firepower here in the branch in Martinique! It makes me so happy to see how much the branch has progressed! :) We now have an awesome RM as our Gospel Doctrine teacher, an awesome member from Canada as our Branch Executive Secretary... and, get this. FRERE CEROL GOT CALLED TO BE THE FIRST COUNSELOR IN THE BRANCH PRESIDENCY!!! He's such a boss! :)) That was probably the coolest part of the whole transfer for me so far!
Frère Cerol giving me a pound/thumbs-up on the bus after passing his Melchizedek Priesthood interview. He's awesome!!


So, back when Elder Jex was still here, there was a joke going around between some missionaries and one of the members that I was a High Priest. It was just some harmless sarcasm... so we thought. So apparently the rumors kept going around, and a large group in the branch here literally thought I was a High Priest! I didn't think that they really believed that it was true until Saturday when President Occolier (our Branch Pres) came up to me and asked me if I was in a bishopric before. Then I finally realized that the joke had spread without my knowledge. So I told him no, I have never been in a bishopric. I'm impressed that they all actually believed that I was mature enough to ever be ordained a high Priest. It made me feel pretty good. :) haha There are only 5 High Priests on the island of Martinique, and 2 of them are less active, and one other one is Elder Turner.


He hasn't come to church the last two weeks. His phone has a problem so he can't hear us when we call him. It's really frustrating because we can't really communicate anymore. But we still have been able to teach him every now and then.


He keeps coming to church. And he's trying some sort of nicotine patch to quit smoking. Yesterday at church Elder Lewis and a member gave him a blessing to help him quit. We've now taught him basically everything except for tithing. And our talks about baptism are getting more and more serious.


He was here this last weekend and I had an awesome interview with him. He recommended that I read "The Infinite Atonement" so now I'm trying to get my hands on a copy... He also gave me other inspiration on how I can improve, and I'm super excited to get working.


He didn't come to church. He's a busy guy, trying to support his family, he's not married, and he has problems with smoking and coffee. We'll keep working with him, but if he doesn't try to keep commitments, we might have to give him a break from us.


We lost contact with her... :/

I love you all very much! Have a great week! I have no idea what I'm going to hear this next weekend when I get my transfer call! But I do know that Elder Russell is leaving, but he's coming your way. I'll miss him. :( You better go to his homecoming talk!


Elder Dayton

 Me and Elder Lewis super sweaty one night after running to the LAST bus after a late night appointment. We missed it and had to walk about 40 minutes home. It was an adventure though! :) Sometimes we do crazy stuff. Those times are going to be the most memorable of my mission.

Elder Lewis and I got soaked on Sunday after church. Oh well. #ithappens

We went on a cool little hike today in the mountains and the forest. My good friend Elder Russell might have just had his last mission hike. :( I'm super excited though because we're doing an exchange this week! We get to have one last blast doing missionary work together before he goes back to Kaysville! :)

Conference Answers Questions

October 6, 2014

Conference was awesome! In the very first song, High On the Mountain Top, I saw my favorite singer up close like 3 times!! It was the best! :) Also, Mom, I LOVED the arrangement of Softly and Tenderly. You were right! That really is such a beautiful song! I don't cry on my face, but on the inside I was tearing up a little bit.


Holy mackerel! Conference was amazing! I had some very specific questions answered very specifically. Especially during Henry B. Eyring's Preisthood Session talk. It was so good! And of course, I loved Elder Bednar's awesome talk. I listen to all the sessions in French this time around except for Saturday Afternoon and Priesthood. I miss a little bit of the vocabulary in French, and a little bit of the emotion, but it was great to watch it with the members and some of the investigators.


We have a new investigator that we found and taught last week, and he came to conference! His name is Mr. Déluge. He's in his 50s or 60s and he is pretty awesome. He's surprisingly normal. He has some girls and seems to lead just a nice, non-crazy Caribbean life! He liked the one session of Conference he saw and was there for President Monson's talk. Sadly the power went off about 3 minutes into his talk for the rest of that session. :(


I've been able to serve here for the last 9 months, and I've grown so close with all of the members. I had several of them asking me how much time I had left on my mission. They all feel like I'm getting so old. And it's weird, because I am!! I only have 7 1/2 months left! Ken Tingey just got home! Life just goes on too fast... I don't want this to end.


This past week in 3 Nephi 6:13 I really liked the concept it explains that among the Nephites, "some did return railing for railing, while others would receive railing and persecution and all manner of afflictions, and would not turn and revile again." I'm trying to be more like the others who would receive railings, but "would not turn and revile again." Something I've been learning on my mission is to not bite back at comments that people make, whether they are meant to be hurtful or if they just get under my skin. I've become more open to people's advice, and I'm growing better able to discern when people are expressing to me heartfelt feelings. As Dallin H. Oaks taught from 3 Nephi 11, contention is of the devil, and even the commandment-keepers need to beware of disputations. One of the greatest attributes I feel that I'm acquiring out here is self control. It is difficult to hold back sometimes, but at the same time it makes me feel so FREE!


Elder Dayton