It is with sadness that we will be leaving Suriname on October 31. We will be going to St. Lucia to take over for a senior couple, Elder and Sister Gartz, who will be finishing their mission. We are excited, but sad at the same time about this new outcome. We feel it was an answer to prayer as I have had some issues with my teeth that Elder Gartz, a retired dentist, will be able to help me with before he leaves. Since the mission will be losing half of the Senior Couples in a month or two, Suriname will have to survive with one senior couple. They should be just fine, the Vanderbeeks are a wonderful couple and quite capable of handling all the missionaries. Elder Gubler has said that senior couples in South America have to be as tough as nails and the Vanderbeeks are. I feel that the senior couples in Guyana and Suriname are some of the strongest couples in this mission.
We have grown to love Suriname and the people here. The members have been so warm and loving. We will especially miss the missionaries. The missionaries are having a lot of success. In fact, there will be eight baptisms performed this coming Saturday.
We had our Zone Conference a couple of days ago. I am so impressed with President Mehr and his ability get up an speak without notes and his knowledge of the scriptures. Elder and Sister Olpin, his parents-in-law, told us that as a young boy he spent a great deal of time studying the scriptures. That was his passion. He has encouraged all the missionaries to memorize certain passage of scriptures. It is amazing how these Elders will get up and quote 15 verses by memory. In past meetings, President Mehr has stressed the importance of fasting. He has asked each missionary to teach a member or members of the branch or ward they are in about the law of the fast. The purpose for the past two fasts were for member referrals. There have been many miracles happen in the Mission because of fasting. This meeting, President Mehr, stressed the importance of keeping the Sabbath Day Holy. He wants the missionaries to do the same thing, teach someone about the Sabbath and have them commit to keeping it holy. The church is new in the West Indies. In order to strengthen the wards and branches, the members have to get back to the basics. Many blessings are promised if these members will obey the law of the fast and keeping the Sabbath Day Holy. In our interview with President Mehr today, he told us that the mission has been really strengthened because of fasting these past couple of months. There have been more baptisms and a greater attendance at church.
I am so thankful to be on this Mission. I am excited to go to St. Lucia, THEY SPEAK ENGLISH THERE. I feel that I will be able to communicate better with the people. I really admire Elder Gubler, he has spent so much time and energy in learning Dutch. I know that he will be blessed because of his commitment to do whatever he has been asked to do. He has had a good time conversing with the Elders in Dutch, but it has been difficult to understand the people with their accent and Taki Tak.
I have gained a greater testimony of fasting as I have witnessed and heard about these miracles. The Lord blesses those who keep his commandments. The church is true and that's why I am on this mission and that's why there are tens of thousands of young men and women sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world.
P-Day in the Jungle
Huge Spider Web, I'd hate to see the spider that
Our hike in the jungle
It was pretty steep
The Elders enjoying the waterfall
Suriname North Zone
Paramaribo taken off the bridge
Old Dutch building
Elder & Sister Vanderbeek