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Monday, December 16, 2013

Eight Months!

We've been out eight months today.  It's hard to believe we have less than a year left.  We are enjoying St. Lucia.  It is a beautiful Island and the Branch members are so warm and loving.  It's hard to believe that it's almost Christmas.  As I said before, after being in snow for every Christmas, the season is different without it.  I kind of miss it.  We attended a baptism early this morning at the beach.  Some of the members came with jackets and sweaters and I was in a short sleeved shirt.  I asked them how they could be wearing such warm clothing and they said they were freezing.  They even said their cooking oil freezes. Believe me when I say it doesn't freeze over here.  I think what they meant is that their oil hardens instead of being melted all the time.  I did singing time with the Primary today and asked if any of the children had seen snow.  All except for one had never seen snow before. Of course, we had to sing "Once Their Was a Snowman".  It was fun being with the Primary children.  

Elder and Sister Gartz left last Saturday, so we have this Island to ourselves as the only Senior Couple.  It is fun getting to know the members and working with them.  Our time is split between the Vieux Fort and Castries Branches.  They are both small and I feel they appreciate our help.  My time is spent teaching music in the Primary.  I have also been asked to teach Seminary.  They are doing home study Seminary, so I will teach it once a week. They are out of school for the holidays, so I will start Seminary the first of the year.  I'm excited about this.  It's been a long time since I've had any teaching assignment in Church and a long time since I have worked with they youth.  They are studying "The Book of Mormon".  I am also teaching piano to a young girl.  I hope to get more students.  Elder Gubler and I are hoping to be very busy in St. Lucia.

Last Monday we spent the afternoon with Sister Simone and her daughter, Christine and granddaughter, Carrise.  Elder Gubler the computer whiz set up their computer with a Magic Jack and also set them up with email accounts.  He showed them how to use the internet.  He searched out their names and pulled up some information on Christine.  She was so excited. Carrise, the granddaughter was familiar with facebook, but Elder Gubler taught her a few more things.  We enjoy helping the members and visiting with them.  They love the Missionaries.

We are planning a Christmas party for the Missionaries on Christmas Eve.  We want to go caroling and have a dinner afterwards.  It all depends on whether we get our van or not if we go caroling.  It is in Castries and we've seen it.  It's even been paid for.  We are waiting for a waiver of Custom fees from the Government.  So, who knows how long that will be. 

We hope that you all enjoy this Christmas Season.  We're thankful to be serving the Lord by doing this great Missionary work.  

Overlooking Soufriere.
Pitons are tall mountains.

A view of a dormant volcano near Soufriere.


Beautiful coastline of Gros Islet

Another view of our apartment.  We live
at the bottom.

Our humble Christmas tree.


Living room




Sunday, December 1, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I want to wish everyone a belated happy Thanksgiving.  This was our first and only Thanksgiving out in the Mission field.  We had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner for the Missionaries on Tuesday.  I helped Sister Gartz in preparing the meal.  I cooked a turkey and made stuffing.  I had to improvise on the stuffing, as I couldn't find any sage.  I found a poultry seasoning with sage in it.  I thought it tasted pretty good.  Elder Gubler went down to the church to attend a District Meeting with the missionaries while I stayed at the apartment.  We cook with propane and I'm not use to it yet.  In Suriname we had a bigger tank than here.  Nevertheless, I ran out of propane during the cooking.  Our landlord left us an extra tank, but it was also empty.  I tried calling Elder Gubler, but no answer.  Dinner was being served in two hours and I still had 1 1/2 hours left on the turkey.  Luckily, I caught my neighbor who was just leaving and she gave me her extra tank of propane.  Oh how I miss my kitchen.  The dinner was good and it was fun being with the Missionaries.  They are great.  As I have said before, the best part of our mission are the Missionaries.  We had all the normal food that is served.  The Missionaries brought the desserts and we even had pumpkin pie.  Elder Schroeder actually cooked a pumpkin and made pumpkin pie.  It was pretty good.  He told us later that he didn't even have measuring cups or spoons.  I was very impressed.

On the actual Thanksgiving day (Thursday) we went with two Elders to Soufriere  It is a beautiful village down by the Pitons.  There currently aren't any Missionaries in that area.  The two that were there were moved to Castries.  It takes a little over an hour to get there.  The roads are very narrow and windy, up and down mountain passages.  The last time we took the Elders there, our borrowed car got a flat tire and also broke down on the way back.  This time we took the brand new car.  The Missionaries taught three discussions to different people.  There was a 27 year old gal that has been searching for a church that answered all her questions.  She has been very impressed with the message, saying she has never heard anything like that before.  She has visited numerous churches and has felt that there is something else out there.  As of now, President Mehr has said that the Castries Branch needs to grow more before opening up that area again.  In other areas where there isn't a Church, the Missionaries hold Sunday Meetings in their apartment which are called group meetings.  We were hoping to do that in Soufriere, but more work needs to be done in Castries.

Today was the last Sunday for the Gartz'.  They leave next Saturday.  Elder Gartz was acting as a Branch President for the Castries Branch.  A local member, Brother Debeauville, was called as Branch President.  President Mehr came out and set him apart.  Since this area is small, President Mehr is the Ecclesiastical leader over the two branches.  He has asked us to oversee these two branches and make sure they are operating properly.  He has asked us to train the members in the different organizations.  So our time here will be split between Castries and Vieux Fort. 

The Christmas season has started here in St. Lucia.  The shops are decorated and Christmas music is playing.  It is a little strange because it is so hot.  Elder and Sister Gartz gave us a small Christmas tree, so I will put that up shortly.  It will be nice having our own Island to work in.  We are looking forward to working with the members and getting to know them better.  As Thanksgiving has passed, I am so thankful for so many things.  Mostly my family and my Savior, Jesus Christ.  I miss you all very much and am so grateful for all that you do for us while we are out here.   We love you all very much and hope that you all enjoy this coming month as we celebrate the birth of our Savior.     


Thanksgiving dinner

Thanksgiving dinner

Thanksgiving dinner

Baptism yesterday

Elder & Sister Gartz
Sister Gartz is wearing a St. Lucia
native dress.  Their last Sunday

Poinsettia tree outside our apartment.

Our view

Some more of our view.