Sunday, December 28, 2014

Joyeux Noël de Guyane

December 22, 2014


Ho ho ho family!

I hope you're not freezing your toes off right now. My toes do kind of hurt, but it's just because I got a couple of blisters from running on the 72 F° beach into the sunrise this morning. Woe is me...

I'll be seeing you all in just a few days on Skype! I'm pretty excited about that! Except I don't really know what we're going to talk about. Christmas Day is going to be a lot of fun. We already have the whole day pretty much planned out. We'll be visiting members and investigators and sharing short Christmas messages all day, and inviting everyone to be baptized.

Today we're celebrating Christmas as a zone. We will be eating a nice Christmas meal that we're all pitching in to prepare. Then, President Mehr has authorized all the missionaries to watch a movie at 6:00 instead of going back to work. So we're watching that Disney movie called "Frozen." I don't know what it is. Hopefully it's a good one!

The missionaries got together and prepared a Christmas feast.

I don't have much news for the week. We had a total of 5 investigators at church yesterday, and 4 of them have baptismal dates! That's the best we've done so far.

QUINCY and COMPTON are two investigators from Guyana, so we teach them in English. They're really cool. Quincy has the same problem as Pierre-Louis did though, in that he is trying to get his papers and he's not married to his partner. But Compton is his partner's 18 yo brother. He's really cool. He just looks and seems a lot like someone I might meet in the US. It's weird speaking English with people, because it seems too natural to be able to communicate. He hasn't been in French Guiana for very long though so he doesn't speak a lot of French, so church yesterday was a little bit boring I think. But both of them have accepted to be baptized if they receive the confirmation of the truthfulness of the BoM.

JOSE came to church again. He's still loving the BoM! His partner Val wants to get baptized in the 7th Day Adventist Church though, so we're letting her go. But Jose is super sweet! I wish I had my boy Elder Owen or Elder Hill here to translate Spanish for me. Jose is hilarious, even with the language barrier. My Spanish is slowly coming along though. Sadly, I have nothing to study with at night or during lunch.

CHIKELSON came to church too for his second time! It was a real panic trying to get him ready to go in order to have him get a ride. I ended up ironing his shirt and pants for him and we rushed him out the door. He's still an energetic goofball gazelle. He's really funny and has a hilarious laugh. He talks about baptisms seriously though and wants to be ready. We just need him to think about it all the time, and less about soccer and his abs. 

I love you all!

Merry Christmas!
Elder Dayton

I'm Sunburned

December 15, 2014

Hello family,

I hope you're enjoying the snow because my neck is peeling and I'm turning into a Rudolph. This last week was fun.

First, saddish news. Frederic moved away back to Saint-Georges and we don't have his phone number or any other way to contact him. He told us that it might happen. We don't know when he'll come back or where he's going next. He's talked about moving back to France. It's too bad, but he has the Book of Mormon and he told us he would search for the missionaries wherever he ends up. I know he'll be okay. And who knows, maybe he'll come back next week! He's unpredictable.

JOSE AND VAL

Yesterday we sadly only had two investigators at church, but they're both really cool. We can only see them with members that speak Portuguese or Spanish because he's from Peru and she's from Brazil. They are very poor. They probably have the least expensive house out of any investigator that I have ever taught. It's basically just metal siding and planks of wood on the side of the road. But he has a scooter, so he's able to come to church. My two years of Spanish class has been able to come in handy a few times, pero, yo no comprendo mucho.

Jose loves the Book of Mormon! At church, he couldn't really understand what was going on because he doesn't speak French, so he was just flipping through the Book reading stories. He read the story of Alma and Amulek in the prison and how they walked out of it as it crumbled to the ground. He thought it was really cool. He says that Amulek is the coolest. It's pretty sweet. He spent a whole night doing research on the church after our first lesson. The next time we went he told us in detail exactly the process that Joseph Smith went through in order to obtain and translate the plates of gold, and he told us about how our church is organized just like the Primitive Church of Jesus Christ. He is loving it! And Val is super spiritual too. She doesn't say much in the lessons, but just closes her eyes and smiles as she soaks up the feelings of the Spirit.

FINDING FUTURE MISSIONARIES

This last week we had some new investigators. We have some cool ones. One is named Lucas, he's a 17 year-old Brazilian that loves soccer. He's a stud. Plus, he understands what we teach him so well. He's really cool and he is interested in the Book of Mormon. He couldn't come to church on Sunday because he was at a church manifestation for his girlfriend's religion.

Nicolas, a 21 year-old Brazilian. He's just really timid and kind, and a really humble baker. His mother passed away a month ago, and he's been looking for comfort. He loves to read and he believes in God, plus he has a scooter! He couldn't come to church on Sunday because he had some family things going on.

CHRISTMAS IS ALMOST HERE

Good luck preparing for Christmas and getting your last bits of shopping done! I'm looking forward to hearing about your experiences. If I'm lucky, I'll probably receive some Christmas cards in January or February! 

Have a great week! Remember, "Courage has few witnesses." - Thomas S. Monson. Be courageous! Take a stand. Be a hero. Make something right. 

Love,

Elder Dayton

Fasting Miracles

December 8, 2014

Helloooo!!

Wow!! My heart is just so full of gratitude for everything that I have in life. I love you, my family and friends. It looks like Thanksgiving came a little bit late to Elder Dayton this year.

This last week was awesome! Elder Belnap and I worked like a couple of horses in our area and set records in our weekly numbers. We were able to work double-time, doing some splits with members, talking to everyone, to get twice as much done. We had a total of 13 new investigators and gave out a total of 16 Book of Mormons! We had many miracles.

CRAZY METROPOLITAN FRENCH WOMAN

We went to see an investigator on Saturday, but sadly we couldn't see her. So we went to leave, and as I was backing up Elder Belnap, he said "Wait. There's a woman coming. Talk to her." So I looked down the street and saw the woman coming toward us. Before I could even open up my mouth she put her pointer finger up in the air and yelled, "Non! Vous dégagez! Sortez de là, vous dérangez ces gens! C'est interdit, c'est une rue privée!" She was fiery. Elder Belnap responded, "Mais nous avons le droit." And she just said "Non!" and kept walking briskly right on past us and shut her electronic gate. Then she watched us back all the way out of her street until we were gone.

I don't know what had gotten into her. She was very insistent that we leave. It was as if we were going to bring a plague upon her home. She must have seen some of those stupid French TV reports about "Mormons". It made me pretty mad, but the way she acted was just so hysterical that Elder Belnap and I were able to just laugh it off. It was really funny. It was the most angry, white French lady we have ever met on our missions.

FINDING FREDERIC

This last weekend we fasted for the missionary work in our area, and for baptisms in the month of December. During the 24-hour period in which we were fasting, we experienced miracles with finding new investigators. One of them is named Frederic. He is a man that, 3 days prior to meeting us, he was doing hard drugs, smoking, and drinking. It had come to control his life so extremely that he was trying everything he could to kill himself and get out of this world, but God just wouldn't let him die. He said that he finally just sat down, looked at his wife in the eyes, gathered his three children around, threw all the drugs he had down on the table, and decided that from that point on he would never smoke, drink, or do drugs again in his life. He was going to give himself up to God. So he left his home, his cars, and all of his belongings, and went 3 hours north to Cayenne, French Guiana to stay with his sister-in-law, stopping at every church he saw on the way, trying to find God.

On Saturday night we decided to go over and teach a recent convert, Jenny, at her home. That's when we met Frederic, Jenny's uncle. We listened to his story. Testified to him the difference that the Book of Mormon can offer in his life. We taught him, gave him a Book of Mormon, and invited him to church the next day. The next morning he came to church with two of his children, holding onto the Book of Mormon and said to us, "I read what you told me to read. I know that this book is the truth." He wants to change his life around and enter into this church through baptism. I know that fasting brings us miracles. When we give up our physical appetites and turn to the Lord in prayer, he pours out blessings in abundance.

WHAT HOPE REALLY IS

I had an awesome personal study on Sunday and discovered a little bit more about hope, and why it's important to have. In Alma 32, we read that by faith we plant the word of God in our hearts, and through our patience and diligence we nourish that plant until it springs forth bearing the most delicious fruit of all. In verse 37, we see that before the seed even takes root, we are already calling it a "tree." How do we know that it's going to be a tree? We don't. But we plant the seed in our heart and HOPE that it will become a tree. If we don't have faith and the hope that the seed will become a tree, bringing forth fruit, it will be scorched and shrivel away (38-39). Looking at the seed "with an eye of faith" (v. 40) makes all the difference.

I love you all!
Elder Dayton


P.S. We played soccer this morning at our turf field that we always go to. It was sweet!


Is it really December?

December 1, 2015

Where did November go?

Hmm... oh well. Another month gone means... I don't really know what it means, but it's December now. So you better get your sandals on because it's hot down here in the far-far South of France.

8 BAPTISMS IN NOVEMBER

At the beginning of the month, Elder Belnap and I set the inspired goal for our zone to get 8 baptisms in November. And guess what? We did it! The Lord truly did bless our zone and miracles happened. The sisters pulled out a miracle and got us our last 2 baptisms we needed this last Saturday. They weren't even on date to get baptized until last Wednesday night. Plus, the District President was visiting our branch from Guadeloupe, so it was a good way to show off. It was the most baptisms for one zone that the French West Indies has had since... I don't even know if that's ever happened!




THIS LAST WEEK WAS WEIRD

Elder Belnap and I were sort of perplexed this last week as a bunch of our golden investigators just sort of dropped themselves. We did a lot of searching and finding, and in the end we got some potential new investigators and a member referral.

Renato has turned into a sasquatch and now lives in the forest. His kids are still around though (as you can see in this photo of Johlbert making a funny face with Elder Belnap)! All the Brazilians live in a neighborhood named Arc-En-Ciel, which means "rainbow" in French. That's where we work a lot. It's the most happenin' place in all of French Guiana! I seriously feel like I'm in Brazil when I'm there.



Chikelson, our 17 year-old Haitian friend who lives in little Brazil (Arc-En-Ciel), was our only investigator to come to church! He's pretty sweet, but in the lessons he's sort of up in the clouds. He's an interesting one... But he'll make an awesome missionary one day! Plus he likes soccer, so he'll fit in with the branch here well. He's like a Usain Bolt-type character. He's just got the build of a gazelle. (He's about 6'-0" and 150 lbs. which ain't too bad if I do say so myself.) He's also a boxer. Maybe if he doesn't get baptized he can just be my personal trainer or bodyguard.

TRANSFERS

It's transfer week!!! I'm staying. And thankfully, Elder Belnap is staying too. The only one leaving from French Guiana is Elder Lever. He'll be missed down here. :(

GERSON NOEL GOT BAPTIZED

Elder Lewis, who is still in Martinique, baptized Gerson Noel last week!!! That's my boys! :) Both of them.



Love,

Elder Dayton

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2014

Guess what. I'm officially a sister missionary! I'm over 18 months now! You know what that means... Time to start working on my figure! (6 months 'til sexy, right Elder Brown?)

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Today is Thanksgiving for us missionaries. We can't miss out on a full day of work on Thursday! So we went out for a nice Amazon hike with all the missionaries this morning. We saw a few monkeys jumping around in the tops of the trees. None of us felt like cooking anything, so we just had a relaxing Thanksgiving meal at a Brazilian all-you-can-eat buffet. It was really expensive, but REALLY good! It was unlike any other Thanksgiving I ever had!




Elder Lever (above) and Elder Savage (left) in the Amazon jungle.
 Elder Belnap and Savage

 View of French Guiana from the Amazon jungle

 The Brazilian buffet Thanksgiving feast!




INVESTIGATORS

Yvelson didn't come to church on Sunday. He kind of disappeared toward the weekend. He's still awesome though! His neighbor, Micanor, now is investigating too.

Brenda didn't come to church either. She was going to, but she got scared. But we had some cool lessons with her last week. She keeps asking us really good questions and she is very interested in learning more.

Renato and his two kids Kimberly and Johlbert... Renato is never home sadly. He works out in the forest, which is a few hours away, so he is away from home for almost a week at a time. So it's hard for us to even catch him home! The only time we saw him last week was 30 minutes before church on Sunday morning. We invited him to come to church, but he said that he had to get his stuff ready because he was going back out to the forest again. We see his kids from time to time. They still want to get baptized, they just need the time!

Meïlynda did come to church! She was our only investigator that did! Her dad dropped her off in the morning. We had a member take her home and talk about FHE's and what they were. So we're going to try to invite her to one sometime soon!

We met a new investigator this last week from Haiti. His name is Chikelson and he's 17 years old. We met him after one of our lessons fell through. We were just walking around a Brazilian neighborhood and he came up to us and said, "Hey, do you guys have any books that I can read?" So we gave him a bunch of reading material. He's super cool! He wants to come to church and he wants to preach the gospel and he really wants eternal life! He really might be too good to be true! Sadly, he had a soccer match on Sunday morning, so he couldn't come to church. We'll get him there soon though!

THANKS

I'm thankful for my family. I'm thankful for happy news from home. I'm grateful for missionaries. I'm grateful for this Gospel. I'm gratful for the last 18 months of my life and everything that I have learned. I'm grateful for Jesus Christ and his Atonement, and this wonderful time of year that we can celebrate it with others.

I love you all!

Elder Dayton