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Monday, May 5, 2014

Celebration and Devastation

The weather in Saint Lucia is getting hotter and it is much dryer.  The beautiful green grass is now brown because of no rain.  The locals tell me that the rain should come soon and all are anxiously waiting.  The cruise ships have also slowed down because of the season.  

Much has happened this past month.  Saint Lucia's Celebration 2015 was held April 18 in Vieux Fort.  This event was the first of several celebrations commemorating 25 years since the Church has been in the West Indies.  We were proud of the two branches as they did everything on their own in putting on this event.  Sister Nicholas from Vieux Fort was extremely busy preparing food and getting the Church ready. There were over 100 people that came from Castries and Vieux Fort.  There were musical numbers, poems, instrumental, and speeches performed. They all did an excellent job. Sister Carter who was the first member baptized in Saint Lucia gave a brief history of the Church in Saint Lucia and bore her testimony.  There were strong testimonies borne that day of the truthfulness of the Gospel.  The Monsons and the Francoms, Senior Couples, were there to support the event. Elder and Sister Monson, the couple who showed us the ropes when we first came on our Mission will finish their mission next week.  The Francoms, a couple from Lindon, Utah will be taking their place.  It was fun spending time with them.  We took them down to Soufreire and several other places around the Island.  The Francoms are currently in Guyana and are jealous of us being on such a beautiful Island.  

On a sad note, we received a phone call early Friday morning from Nadia Louison, a member of the Castries Branch.  Her home and everything in it was completely destroyed by a fire. She is a single mother of five children, ages 13, 11, 9, 7, and 3.  We rushed right over and it was difficult to see that destroyed home.  Luckily, no one was home and all are safe.  The home was not insured and she lost everything.  She is unemployed at the moment and has no source of income.  Life in Saint Lucia is very difficult for these wonderful people.  There is high unemployment and most have to survive on little income.  The Government has little or no welfare.  It is also difficult as the family unit rarely has a mother and father.  Most are single mothers with children.  Her children's father committed suicide several years ago.  My heart breaks for Nadia and her children.  It will take years for them to overcome this devastation. I would like to seek help from all who are willing to donate anything to help her rebuild her life.  If you would like to donate, please mail or give all donations to Alan Gubler, 70 N Coleman, Tooele, UT. 84074. He will then get the money to us to give to Nadia.  She has been a member of the Church for three years and is very active.  We really enjoy her children and they are so well behaved and eager to learn the Gospel.  The home was a simple home made of plywood and tin roof, but it was shelter and a home for her and her children.

Transfers are this week and we are losing four of our Missionaries and gaining four new ones. We also have a Seniors Conference next week in Trinidad.  We had a baptism on Saturday and I feel that we helped with Dorothy in her decision to be baptized.  When I first met her, she told me that she wanted to join the Church, but couldn't give up her smoking.  She had smoked for 50 years.  I told her about Priesthood blessings and fasting.  She immediately asked the Elders for a blessing and we all fasted for her to give up smoking.  She was able to quit smoking and is so thankful to finally be a member of the Church.  Her son who was baptized a couple of months ago, was able to baptize her which was a special moment.  We have grown so close to the members here in Saint Lucia.  They are such wonderful people.  

President Nicholas from Vieux Fort was on the verge of resigning from being a Branch President.  There isn't any active Priesthood men in Vieux Fort that could take his place. Elder Gubler was very instrumental in counseling with him and encouraging him to stay as Branch President.  He does a wonderful job and has helped four young people go on Missions. We are so thankful that he will still be a Branch President.  Another tender mercy that convinced him to stay, was a former Bishop of his when he joined the Church 32 years ago in England came to Saint Lucia for a visit.  He was able to attend Church with him on Sunday and bore a very strong testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel.

We never know what may come from one day to the next with this Mission, but I love Missionary work and I know it is the Lord's work.  It is hard and is difficult being away from home, but I know we are a help in strengthening members and investigators.  The Church is true and all we ask people to do is read The Book of Mormon and pray about it.  I love to hear their testimonies and conversion stories.  God does hear and answer our prayers.

Elder & Sister Francom and me

Me and Sister Monson near the Pitons

Elder Gubler in front of waterfall

Enjoying a mineral spring

Celebration 2015

Devastating fire

We helped the Elders clean up,
messy job

The Elders enjoying a game of Uno while
waiting for a meeting

Two of my favorite people, B.J. and Bryana

O'Brian caught some lobsters and fish for the Elders
and cooked them on the fire

Sister Jannel Walter on the day she left
for her Mission in Santa Domingo, Dominican
Republic, tall girl in blue skirt, with President &
Sister Nicholas & two daughters and Tearya.

Dorothy at her baptism

The Anthony family


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