Saturday, September 28, 2013

Our second YSA wedding, food news, and other important stuff!

Oh....... so many things have happened!!  I never have time to blog anymore, and I know when I am home I will regret my infrequent blogging for the last half of our mission.  Oh well, better sporadic than never!
Here are two of our darling YSA's; Shabiat and Curfew.  They are sisters and this was a mission farewell party for Shabiat.  Curfew is preparing to go, too.
 She did such a great job at the party. 
 This was a companionship race.  Elder Monson and I wisely decided to opt out of the slide-across-the-floor race!  He was a great ref! She also had a get-to-know-you game that was really fun, and we used the idea at our Senior Conference, which everyone really enjoyed.
 Bearing a beautiful testimony with her rather large missionary tag which Curfew made. 
 Curew set up a photo booth with photo props. I think the beard is a nice look, don't you?  He looks like one of the seven dwarfs........which one was it?  The mouth is awesome!
 And of course, it wouldn't be a Trini party without FOOD!
 Speaking of food, our mission is past half over, (August 12th) and we JUST found two fabulous restaurants in Port of Spain!  For the Senior conference, I had to compile a list of activities, restaurants and things for the senior missionaries to do during free time over the three day conference, so I did some research and of course, we had to check them out ahead of time to decide if we would recommend them or not. Yeah, they were worth including some pictures on the blog!
 We needed second opinions on our research so our dear friends, Elder and Sister Ray, accompanied us on this onerous task assigned us!  The funny thing is that our son, Jordan and his family, met Elder and Sister Ray in Gilbert, AZ before they came here.  We frequently gut-laugh about how Jordan told them they lucked out and were going to "paradise!"
 In other food news, we were checking out a food caterer for Sister Mehr for Senior Conference and found this one.  The building on the right is their new expansion.  We figured the food must be pretty good to support this expansion, so gave it a shot and it was a great new find.
 Here we are inside the confectionary part of their operation.  Sister Ray was done with caterers!
One evening for Senor conference, several of the couples went to the above pictured restaurant and had a wonderful time.  Some of these couples serve in very remote areas of the mission, so this was a very rare experience for them.  Our conference was wonderful.  Some lasting memories: Elder Carter, a Senior missionary shared, as we were talking about retention, that when he joined the church, his first Sunday came and when he went into the building, a member came up to him with a family and little kids.  They shook his hand and asked him to sit with their family.  He said for the entire first year of his membership in the church, this family looked for him, and saved a place for him to sit with their family.  Just a couple months in, the routine of that much time at church was a bit much to get used to, but when he thought about not attending, he knew this family would be disappointed, so he just could not do it.  He reminded us that loving new members is the only way to make them want to be there long enough to truly be converted.  So many wonderful thoughts were shared, but I will remember this from President Mehr's many insights: When you pray, ask Heavenly Father what you should ask him about.  Be patient, listen and He will reveal it to you. Write down the insight and answers you receive.  President Bennion said in an extended conversation about working with local leadership, that we should "taste our words," before we speak them.  He told about his brother driving home from work one day while having negative thoughts about his wife, dwelling on those things, and getting angry.  He said he stopped and prayed to God that He would remove those negative thoughts from his mind.  "Control your thoughts; control what you say.  Ask Heavenly Father before you say anything, and go to him first.  You will be so grateful you did that.  Before you speak, taste your words.  If the words are bitter, you ought not to open your mouth and let those words come out.  He said, "I have said words that I would give anything to bring back and not have said."  The Lord would always have us be kind, positive, and loving.  Great conference!
 Look at all these youth in Port of Spain Sunday School class being taught by Bishop Hooker, an incredibly fine man.  These young people are the future of the church here in the West Indies!
 Our YSA activity this month was awesome!  We did the airplane crash; tour of telestial, terrestrial and celestial kingdom guided by an angel.  In this picture you can see the airplane and the stewardesses with the captain.  The captain's mother made these costumes, and they were astounding!  They served peanuts and soft drinks on the plane and nailed the presentation!  There was a miracle as we put the script together that I want to remember here.  Elder Monson and I had a blast writing the airplane part.  It was raucous, so funny and everyone was laughing and having a great time. However, as we finished writing that part, we were very concerned about how we would transition to the very spiritual part of the presentation.  What should we do to transition from the crazy silly to the spiritually significant and serious?  We were both thinking, and I was praying for inspiration and immediately pure intelligence came in a clear bolt of thought. "Have Sister Edmonds sing a hymn."  She is one of our zone young missionaries and has the clearest, sweetest, most beautiful voice.  I called her immediately and she was happy to attend and participate.  So, right after the crash sounds,  one of our awesome YSA's prepared them on his computer, the angel told them to close their eyes, and Sister Edmonds stood up in the middle of the plane, in the aisle, and sang acapella, "Be still my soul" and "Jesus, lover of my soul."  It was so perfect.  Everyone was silent, awed by her beautiful voice and straining to hear every word. Sister Shirts then offered the opening prayer.  It was the perfect transition for the rest of the evening.  We are sooo humbled by how much the Lord helps us in our calling, how near the Spirit is, how much the Lord cares about the work we are doing with the youth and YSA's in the West Indies.  What a privilege it is to be a missionary!
 How adorable are the costumes?
 The celestial room presentation.
 Singing the closing hymn, "The Spirit of God."
 We finished the evening with  a bon fire, roasted hot dogs and somores and had a testimony meeting.
 Today was an amazing day!  We went this morning to Susan Montoute's baptism.  Right after her baptism, she was so excited to share her testimony!  She said when she was 16 the missionaries first contacted her, and she was not interested because she thought it was a "white man's church."  She later joined the pentecostal church, but said she never felt settled spiritually.  She was still searching, still needing to find something more.  Several sets of missionaries tried to teach her, but recently her son joined our church, and she sensed a deep happiness in him that she had not recognized before his baptism.  The missionaries began teaching her and challenged her to read the Book of Mormon.  She has diabetes and has no glasses.  She loved to read previously, but her eyes are too bad to read now and she has been unable to read for quite some time.  She prayed to God that if He wanted her to join this church she needed to be able to read the Book of Mormon.  After her prayer, she opened to the first page and could see!  She said she read from the first page to 2nd Nephi chapter 6 (page 67) when she received a powerful witness that it is true and the word of God!  She knew she wanted to join the church. She said what she feels now is JOY and certainty that this IS the true church of Jesus Christ.  Her greatest desire now is to bring her husband and the rest of her children into this church.  Another man at the baptism, stood up right after her, and said the same thing happened to him!  He, also, could not see to read, but when he picked up the Book of Mormon in faith and prayer, he could see the words on the pages. 
 A few hours after the baptism, we were able to be part of a wedding;  the second of our YSA's since we have been here.  Jemore has helped us with Celebration 2015 computer graphics and Shandell has been in the Young Women's presidency and a wonderful friend.  Together they are a powerful force for good.  As with all the member's of the church here, they get married civilly and then begin the long process of saving money to be able to go to the temple to be sealed. I felt privileged to be asked to play the piano for the wedding.  I was very glad I brought one book of appropriate music. 
 Walking down the aisle in the chapel with her Dad.
 The Stake President performed the wedding.  His talk was based on the Proclamation to the family and the counsel there about how to have a successful marriage.  It was excellent.
 Then they went over to the Sacrament table while I played music during the signing and witness part which is necessary in this country to make the marriage legal.
 After they were married, her Aunt picked her up in a huge Bear Hug!
 We brought some cookies for afterward in the cultural hall.  That was the wedding.  Simple.  Sweet.
 Mr. and Mrs. Jemore and Shandell Campbell
 The happy couple, President Gould and Shandell's mother.  Seriously, I look at pictures of us now, and think,Wow, we are alarmingly pale! I am so used to looking at the world with a much deeper hue.  Colors look so much better on darker skin!!
Our daughter put this picture on fb.  I had to copy it because we are coming up on our 40th wedding anniversary in a few months, and it blows my mind that this 40 year journey has flown by sooo fast!  It seems like just a little while ago that we would say, "When we are old, let's serve a mission together...............................................


  1. My favorite part of this post was, "wow! We are alarmingly pale!" Lol
    That food looks yummy.

  2. I loved the update. What a special time. You are going to be so glad you did this when you get home... I also didn't know that you and Dad were having your 40th wedding anniversary this year! That was a great picture. Dad looks so smitten. You both are perfect examples of what an eternal marriage should look like. Love, Jordan

  3. I completely agree with Jordan! You guys are amazing and have set a wonderful example for us of what an eternal marriage looks like. Your gifts and talents have perfectly prepared you for this mission. What amazing work you guys are doing for the church is the WI.

  4. I loved this post! It is so much fun to see you guys in actions ;) I want to come have dinner with you...the food looks amazing! It was fun to see you having dinner with the Ray's because that is the couple we met this summer before they left. What a small world!