Tuesday, April 30, 2013

One more catch- up!

This is the last of the catch-up posts to get current from our insane last few weeks!  Random this and that about our various assignments!
 Pretty beautiful view of the Port of Spain coastlineWe've been seeing it more frequently driving there for car repair quotes, bike repair visits, apartment inspections and specialty American food items to feed 75 people at mission events.
 Unfortunately, this site is right next to the one you just saw.  This is someone's home.
 This family of seven children came to the ward we visited last Sunday.  Four of these girls came to YW and one other investigator.  So Young Women's class had ALL INVESTIGATORS and NO members.  That was a new one!  Our lesson was on the Plan of Salvation.  They told me their ages and two were 13.  When I asked if they were twins, the answer was, no, just different mothers, same father.  They said the missionaries are teaching them, but the parents are not interested!  The spirit was very strong as we addressed  their questions.  These people are hungry for truth and light!  Days like this one convince me that we are needed on this mission! 
 I have no idea what this means!  These signs are all over and the only association I have with this word is on a cruise ship when you meet before they sail and go over the safety stuff!!
 Here's another typical sight in the middle of the road.  A guy with a paint brush and a can of paint painting lines on the road by hand!
 I had to include this picture!  This is Madeo and his grandaughter, ARIA!! He is my favorite fresh produce stand guy!  For the last General Authority visit for which we had to make lunch for 75 people with the help of the other senior missionaries, he delivered all the fresh produce to our apartment!  He is amazing and we have a grand daughter with the same name as hers!  She actually spells it ARYA, but pronounces it the same......well, with a Trini accent!
 Recently, our landlord came and warned us that the water was going to be turned off all day to allow for some plumbing work that needed to be done so we filled up our YSA coolers to reserve some hand-washing water.  Here's the real color of the unfiltered water! Makes us really thankful for our filter!
 Here we are at the gate of the church for our YSA activity.  It was pouring rain and we had to go pick up a YSA in a different town before arriving.  The activity started at 4:00 pm.  The gate is still locked.  We were still waiting and look at the time on our clock inside the car!  We waited for 15 minutes more before the person with the key arrived and we could go in and set up for the activity!  Patience, that is one of the great blessings learned on this mission!  The activity was a bon-fire!  With a real fire!  Notice the rain on the windshield.  It had poured all day long.  We expected about 10 people to show and were shocked when 40 came!  It was the bon-fire!  None of them had ever done it before in their lives!  They loved it!
 We started the activity breaking into small groups and performing Book of Mormon skits.  They worked on them and then presented to the group. We facilitated discussion about the principle taught afterward. 
 Nephi's brothers beating him up!
 Laban drunk and unconscious on the floor.
 King Lamoni being administered CPR to try and revive him!
 After the skits, the young adults all carried their chairs out to the parking lot for the bon-fire!
 They had never roasted hot dogs or marshmallows and thought it was sooo funny! They had only seen it in movies!
 You can see it was still raining, but they didn't care!  It is drizzly, warm rain.
 They don't sell Graham crackers in this country, so when I described somores to one of the YSA reps she brought wheat crackers.  We brought the chocolate and the marshmallows.  They loved it!  One of the young adults asked me why Americans call them somores.  When I told her because once you taste one, you want some more, she laughed so loud!!
 We had a testimony meeting after they finished eating.  So sweet to hear their grateful faith for the blessings of the gospel in their lives.  I wish every young adult in America could understand what these young people sacrifice and must change to become members of the church!
 This young man has only been a member for a few weeks and is such a great person.  He is so happy and thankful that he has a new family made up of other young adults that support him in his righteous desires. 

I had to include this story.  This was shared by one of the senior missionaries we work with for his devotional.  He shared a letter written to him from a member in our mission relating their efforts to be sealed in the temple as a family.  Names have been removed.

Dear Elder,

First of all let me thank you for all the help and support both my family and I received from the church to make a dream come true. Going to the temple sometimes seem for some like a walk to the park but for us it was a step on the moon. Unlike most elders I did not have the opportunity to go to the MTC or to the temple before my mission. I went after, at the conclusion of my mission. It just so happened that I was to be released on my birthday. It was the same day I got my endowment. It was a birthday gift from the Heavens. It was a great celebration. Angels attended and the Spirit was just everywhere. I remember sitting in the temple praying after I was endowed. I told my Father in Heaven that I was afraid to go home. I don't know what Suriname holds for me. What future do I have there I asked Him. Then in a sudden. A face came to my mind. It was the face of a young women. The Spirit said that she is waiting. The funny thing about this is that she never liked me before my mission but I came home. Can you imagine my joy to be able to sit with this same person, at the same spot in the same temple ten years after and being able to be sealed to her and our beautiful children for time and all eternity. I have not words to describe the joy and the happiness that the temple has given us.

Our entire world changed as we started to prepare to attend the temple seven years ago. Our house rent was too high so we couldn't save to go to the temple. We prayed about it and shared our concerns with my in-laws. They suggested we move in with them. We did that. We had bought a peace of land to build on but couldn't continue paying for it and if we decided to stop the payment we would lose all the down payment that we had made. We didn't care about the down payment because we wanted to go the temple more. I then had to quit my job because my boss did not want to pay me. I got another job the same day and started immediately. We had another peace of land we had gotten from the government. They said if we wanted to keep the land we would have to build something on it. My wife and talked about it and took our problem to the Lord. The Lord listened and then reply, you know what do. We let the land go. Then suddenly our daughter got sick with her eyes. We spent our saved money and two years going to different doctors almost every week, sometimes even twice a week. After much fasting and prayers she received a surgery on her eyes. She is still healing from that. Then one month before leaving for the temple they told us that our children can not go with us because they are not Surinamese and will not get a Surinamese passport. I went to the embassy of Guyana and applied for two passports. They came a week before our trip, then the embassy said our children are not allowed to travel with those passports unless I cross the border to Guyana and come back. We had to do so. On coming back from Guyana it was too late to travel to Paramaribo so we had to spent the night in Nickerie. We couldn't find any hotel or place to stay so we slept on the floor of a house and attended church the next day. When we came back our son got sick and needed a surgery. He had the surgery and we left for our temple trip.

If we had to do it all over again we would. We have learned so much and have grown so much closer because of these trials we had. We have felt how much our Father loves and cares for us. We had an amazing time at the temple. This is the only church that has the keys that could seal us as a family. I am so grateful to our Father in Heaven for the blessing of being a member of his church.

your brother in the gospel of Jesus Christ 


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