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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Transfers

The Missionary work continues.  We had transfers a couple of weeks ago and replaced about half our Missionaries.  Four missionaries left and six new ones came in.  We now have a total of twelve Elders and two Sisters.  There are an additional two Elders in Vieux Fort and they are currently living in the same apartment.  We will know in six weeks whether or not we need to rent another apartment in Vieux Fort.  It's been fund getting to know these young men and women.  They are outstanding missionaries and they work really hard.  It was sad to see the four that left us.  We have been busy getting their work permits ready so they are legal here in St. Lucia.  St. Lucia is an easier country to work with as far as visas and work permits.  We found out from the Vanderbeeks, the Senior Couple in Suriname that they still haven't issued the work permits for the missionaries that we came out with.  

We are enjoying the two branches that we are working with.  I am amazed at the Vieux Fort Branch as they have two missionaries out and two leaving shortly.  President Nicholas has done amazing work with these young people.  I've been working with a young Elder who will be going to the London South Mission.  He has been a member of the Church for about two years and is excited about his mission.  A young sister just got called to the Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic Mission and will be a great missionary.  

We are also preparing for the 2015 Celebration, celebrating 25 years since the West Indies Mission was created.  It will be a fun event for the members.  Yesterday, St. Lucia celebrated their Independence Day.  They became independent from Great Britain about 35 years ago. It seems like there have been a lot of countries get independent from Great Britain.  We spent the day at the Castries Branch President's home with the missionaries doing service work.  President and Sister DeBeauville are a great couple and have a wonderful family.  We enjoyed spending the afternoon with them.

There are now two Districts, which is a group of missionaries, and still one Zone.  There use to be only one District.  What that means is each week the missionaries hold their District Meeting and before the transfers, they were all meeting together.  Now, there will be two separate meetings, one in Vieux Fort and one in Castries.  We will alternate between the two each week.  They will all get together once a month for zone conference.  We enjoy these meetings.  They go over their successes and struggles and have a training meeting.  I feed them at the end of the meeting.  I've enjoyed doing it and the missionaries seem to appreciate it.  I'm running out of ideas of what to feed them though.  So if anybody has any suggestions, please let me know.  As I've said before, working with the missionaries are the best part of this Mission.  It's a privilege getting to know them.  They have all strengthened me and have inspired me to do better.  The Church is true.  This great missionary work has strengthened my testimony so much while I've been out here.



Two more baptisms, Wilma and Krisshona.
President DeBeauville is in the middle.
    



Sister DeBeaville on left and Wilma's mother.


Brother Joe and Brittany.


Service Project at the DeBeauvilles


Elder Morrison on the roof.


Denzil DeBeauville


The roof is off


District Meeting in Castries


Elders Pierson, Bechan, & Fiame


Elders Jacobson & Schroeder, they
transferred out.


Elder Glade


Our new van


Catries church house
    

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Life as a Senior Couple Missionary

It has been awhile since I have written on my blog.  It seems as though on Senior Missions, you get into a routine each week of what needs to be done.  This mission is different than the younger Elders and Sisters who go on Missions in that we don't spend the amount of time that is spent proselyting and teaching.  Our main duty is to take care of the daily tasks that are involved in making sure the missionary work in St. Lucia runs smoothly, enabling the Elders and Sisters to keep their main focus on the Missionary work.  That is; paying bills, taking care of the mail, visas, providing transportation when needed, and basically providing for the needs of the missionaries.  We also assist the Branches in whatever needs they may have.  We have also enjoyed visiting with the home bound members that are unable to attend Church.

Our time this past month has been spent down in Vieux Fort teaching Family History to the members. We have taught the class each Sunday for the past five weeks.  It has been quite enjoyable. It's a good thing that we were called to work in the Family History Center in Mesquite before we left on our Mission as the Church has changed the Family Search Website a lot and it seems to constantly change for the better.  We became familiar with Family Tree in Mesquite.  It's very difficult for the members to do their Family History in St. Lucia because the archives charge a high price for every document they want a copy of. They have to have correct names and dates to get a document and they will not allow others to search the archives.  Another problem is that the family unit all around the West Indies is chaotic.  As I have stated in my other blogs, mothers have different last names than their children. Brothers and Sisters have different last names.  Fathers have several children with different women and mothers have several children with different men.  Many members do not even have a relationship with their father which is sad.  Basically as a former senior missionary stated, the family unit has been destroyed in the West Indies.  We are thankful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Church as we are starting to see those traditions change in the Church.  It will probably take the next generation or two to see a real change come about, but it will happen.  We told the members to do their best and the Lord will do the rest.  We're hoping that the Church will be able to come into these countries and record Government documents which will make them available to do Family History.  We offered our services to enter their Pedigree Charts and Family Group Sheets into Family Search for Temple Ordinances.  We're hoping to do many before we leave.

I have also been teaching a Seminary class each week in Castries.  I have a small class which I have enjoyed teaching.  Some of the members are too young for Seminary, but it will give them a good start when they are old enough.  The Mission does the Home Study Seminary in this area.  They are studying The Book of Mormon this year.  The lessons have been great and are fun to teach.  I love these kids.  They face a lot of peer pressure as they are the only members of the Church in their schools and among many of their friends.  One gal said that she is constantly questioned and bombarded with anti Mormon untruths.  It makes you wonder why the Church is persecuted so much by others, especially by members of other Religions.  It just strengthens my testimony that the Church is true, because Satan is working his hardest to destroy it and draw others away from it. 

I am thankful for the opportunity to serve here in St. Lucia.  It is a beautiful country and I love the people we are working with.  We've grown to love the missionaries.  It is sad when they transfer out, but we're happy to meet new ones.

The country has gotten back to normal from the devastating flood that happened Christmas Eve.  The Church's donation of hygiene kits finally arrived and the Government was very grateful for the donation.  The Church has also helped the members with losses that they sustained in the flood.  And, we finally got our van.  It is nice to have a 12 passenger van, when we need to transport many.  We are able to transport all the Missionaries in Castries down to Vieux Fort for District Meetings every other week.  Elder Gubler is an expert driver of such a big vehicle on these narrow windy roads.  

We are praying for moisture in Utah and Nevada and hope that it will come and alleviate the drought.  We hope all is well with our family and friends.  We miss and love you all very much.


Baptism of Telly.  He was a contact that was made
at the Dealership where we purchased the car.  What
a great member.  He has really embraced the Gospel.


Telly's baptism


Sylvia's baptism.  She has been a great missionary
and has given the missionaries many referrals and
contacts.


There were three members baptized on this day, Sam,
Shannon and Daniel.  What a great morning.


P-Day at Pigeon Island


View from Pigeon Island


Baptism of Silas


Sister Marius is a bed ridden member who
we enjoy visiting. (she is so funny)  She was
baptized two years ago and just loves the Church
and the missionaries, especially the Elders.  She
calls them her grandchildren.