Thursday, January 23, 2014

Baptisms/A new year!/YSA Water Party Activity

 One of the favorite things about our mission is frequent baptisms.  The Spirit is always so strong, and it is such a sweet experience.  Sister Montoute was baptized a couple months ago - her son (15) a few months before that.  This is her son, Mosiah, and the next two pictures are of Jamilia, his friend. They are next door neighbors.  They are both 9 years old.  Mosiah shared the gospel with Jamilia as the Elders taught him, and she loved everything he shared with her.  Jamilia actually had her baptism set two weeks ago, but she doesn't know how to swim and is terrified of water.  When the elders tried to help her through it, she just couldn't do it and was soooo sad.  So two weeks later, Mosiah decided he was ready to be baptized, and he would go first to give her courage.  Here, Elder Dearing baptized Mosiah while Jamilia watched from the side.
 Then Elder Guzzman helped Jamilia into the water while we all held our breath with a prayer in our hearts that she would have enough courage to go through with her plan.  This is so common - a literal terror of the water and never learning to swim.  When we had our first YSA beach activity, one of the things that surprised us was the Stake President's concern because so few people know how to swim.
 I love that Elder Guzzman is leaning down to reassure her that he would keep her safe and protected.  As soon as she came out of the water, she yelled out a reflexive shout of joy that was music to our ears.  She was so happy and proud of herself.  After the baptism, I visited with her Dad.  He is not a member, but is learning about the church.  I mentioned to him the Lord said, "And a little child shall lead them…".He was visibly touched and said, "I know and I feel so proud of the courage it took for her today to be baptized! This shows how much she loves the Lord and wanted to be baptized."
Sister Montoute bore her testimony and said, "God is gathering His sheep into his fold. After I was baptized and given the Holy Ghost, I felt angels surround me.  I had a strong impression to love my children and as I did that - just love them consistently - they would all come into His fold, which is the strongest desire of my heart.  This is the second of my six children to be baptized.  I know this is His church and the only way families can be together eternally!"
 This was our big New Year's Day celebration - lunch at McDonalds with Batemans and Rays. We were shaping 2014 on the front row.  I have no idea what the jokers on the back row were doing behind our heads.  
 Elder and Sister Ray had two friends come and visit them from Arizona - both professional musicians. Diane Baker and Eckhart Selman.  Here we were being instructed by a steel pan player in the Savannah in Port of Spain.  We so enjoyed spending time with them. Sister Ray invited us all to dinner one night, to which we both contributed.   He is German, and she is Japanese.  For a surprise, I made spaetzle and red cabbage  to go with Sister Ray's chicken and gravy.   He was thrilled.  They are wonderful, gracious people.  They will actually be performing at Tuacahn (an outdoor theatre in Saint George) after we return - how fun to go see them perform at home!
This represents just the middle section and about half of the attendees to our YSA January activity.  The  purpose was unity.  We had 60 people, total.  We started with a devotional on the theme.
We had three different relays to emphasize the cooperation required in unity and the importance of working toward a common goal.
Racing toward the finish line without busting the balloon between them.

Sponge Bob relay.  Move all the water from the front bucket to the back with a soaked sponge overhead.

Soaking up the sponge

Squeezing out the water on the other end

Partner water-balloon volleyball

The champions had a play-off/ these guys were the champions!

The opposing play-off team

Catching the water balloon before it hit the ground

Water balloon capture the flag

The black flag team was victorious

Slip and slide was the final activityThey had a blast.

Most had never done this in their lives - they loved it!

On p-day we took our North west zone on a rare outing - a hike from Chagaramos to Macurepe Bay.

 We all had to spray our legs against Denghi mosquitos, first

We came across real Tarzan vines part way up the hike and the brave ones gave it a shot.

Yup - it's blurry, but that is Elder Monson - aka Tarzan

Even Sister Edmonds gave it a try

 This picture of Elder Beck was the best

 Back on the trail

First overlook at the top


On the bridge at the beach

All obedient missionaries - they just looked at the water………..

 These missionaries are really amazing people - we are so lucky to work with them.

Another view from the beach….

 Elder McCalla's reenactment of the first vision.  We love this quiet-spoken giant of a young man.  He is from Jamaica and as we walked the trail he told me his story.  Two years ago, he had a girl friend who was LDS.  He knew that she was a mormon but knew nothing else about it.  He said he thought it was some evangelical church.  Once when he was at her house, the missionaries stopped by and started talking with him.  He was very interested in what they said and invited them to come teach him.  He said as they taught him, he felt a feeling of calm and peace he had not experienced before.  Then later as he read the Book of Mormon, the same feeling came over him.  He asked the missionaries if he could be baptized the next time they came to teach him and within a year, he went on his mission.  In the interim, he taught his two younger sisters and his mom about the church and was able to baptize them before leaving on his mission.  He is a remarkable young man.

In the bamboo cathedral at the end of our hike

 Some notable Trini sights on the way home - Rasta hair all grown into one.

I've just got to catch travel back to the store and return this box of hair dye - I want my money back!

We have seen some remarkable sunsets here in Trinidad!

1 comment:

  1. Marilynn and Dwight -- WE MISS YOU! BUT..... we love your blog and love seeing and reading about this amazing experience that you are having. I get chills thinking about the generations of people that you will have had direct influence on as they grow in the gospel. You are taking this sacred assignment and following Christ's example to minister in His behalf. Love you guys!
    p.s. -- we are good.... still serving in our YSA stake - me RS President and Lynn High Council. I feel like a stranger when I pop into the home ward - crazy. I LOVE learning and working with so many amazing YSA Relief Society presidencies -- they all teach me way more than I could ever teach them. So valiant and strong. See you both soon! Enjoy every single second....