There are a few special events that have not been recorded yet. I must address them before moving to our Guadeloupe trip.
One is the familiar sight of returning home to Trinidad! We are traveling with Celebration so much now…. so we get all warm and fuzzy when we return to these common everyday views of our home island - burning garbage on the side of the Freeway…………..ahhhhhh - home at last!
Zone conference in January and a picture of all of our adorable sisters!
This was a great memory. When we return home, our entire family is going to Hawaii for a family reunion. (We only have three months left - we can't believe how fast it has flown!) These pictures were submitted by our grandchildren for the T-shirt family reunion logo coloring contest. Elder Monson and I could not possibly make this decision since every one of our grandchildren is a Rembrandt in embryo - so the other Senior missionaries and some of the young missionaries weighed in for the final decision. It was a hard decision for them, too! The top right submission won!
The bottom left here was a computer creation. We loved them all and laminated them to be used as place mats in Hawaii!
This was the view outside the plane window as the sun set on our way to Guadeloupe. I imagined walking across those clouds to the throne of God someday in eternity.
When we opened the curtain in the morning from the hotel, this is the sight that greeted us!
This was our first foray into the French areas of our mission. We had a wonderful time. The people are so loving and radiate the gospel in their lives. I love the kiss-on-both-cheeks thing. I wonder if I could convince everyone in Saint George to begin that tradition? I'm thinking, no, it won't catch on somehow. The butterfly Island is beautiful!
The chapel in Guadeloupe. We went in the morning with the young elders to settle a landlord dispute and then were excited to go to a Celebration practice with the youth.
We were so thrilled to see what they are working on and preparing. Trios, Duets, poems. Great leaders and coaches working with them - it was so impressive! After the practice, we met with their Celebration committee and covered all upcoming concerns and questions. We had to have an interpreter, but could communicate just fine with a wonderful former SL temple square missionary speaking for both of us.
The next day was district conference. We arrived an hour early to meet with the Martinique branch president about Celebration. Right after we sat down, the choir director came up and asked if I would accompany the choir and could I practice with them now. They had practiced three hymns without any accompaniment. We worked on them, and they did a beautiful job in the conference. As we were leaving, she came up to me with an interpreter. She told me, "I have prayed and prayed to the Lord to send angels to help me today for district conference. This choir has been so difficult to conduct with no music. I was so worried and concerned about how it would go today. When I left home, I prayed that somehow we would be able to have music to assist them. Then with tears in her eyes, she said, "You are my miracle. You are the angel the Lord sent so that I could praise him today with our choir." I was crying too, and thanked her and told her that there has been nothing sweeter in my mission than to be an answer to someone's prayer. How sweet it has been to experience this appreciation from our sisters and brothers here. Somehow all those years of practicing as a kid did not seem like it made all that difference, except for my own enjoyment (thanks, mom) but it has been so sweet to be able to really help when needed so much.
This young father on the left holding his son bore his testimony at district conference, at the president's request. He told his conversion story. He said his wife was first interested in the church and he could see her happiness, so he thought to himself, "Why not me? - why don't I try to find that happiness?" As the missionaries taught him about the power of the priesthood he said, "I could never begin to imagine that I could have the power to baptize and bless my children." As he read the Book of Mormon, he felt the Spirit confirm the truthfulness of that book, but he had addictions that controlled his life. Everyday he was smoking and could not stop. Elder Gamiette was his friend and told him that he could give him a blessing to help him overcome his addictions. So he said, "Why not - it can't hurt." So the next day, after his blessing, he went outside for his smoke, and as he lit up, it did not taste good! He said, "I didn't want it anymore. The desire was just gone. I am so thankful for the strength that blessing gave me and that I was able to be baptized and prepare with my wife and two boys to travel together as a family down this road towards Jesus Christ." His testimony was amazing. He recently baptized his son, and after this meeting he was set apart as an Elder.
Still dark over the water, but lighting the sky
With the sun just breaking through
Still behind the clouds
Warming the sky
Full, vibrant color
The sun-kissed mountain
The warmth of the sun coloring the earth
A few of the missionaries posing for the sky
Our feet on the edge
Fully lit with the ocean color I LOVE!
Some scenes walking back in full light
Sprays against the rocks with the new sun
Full light of day
This earth is soooooo beautiful!
French districts have phenomenal bakeries!
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm We grabbed lunch here and took our trusty map and rental car on the road to find an amazing waterfall that the Elders told us we must see.
How gorgeous is this road?
Remember in Princess Bride, the rodents of unusual size? Well, we found in Guadeloupe leaves of unusual size!!! Aren't those the largest you've ever seen?
What a friendly little bird - just visiting, right when we got there.
This national park is not Trinidad! It was gorgeous.
There were three waterfalls. This one was way in the distance and is reputed to have been sighted by Christopher Columbus way out at sea. It beckoned him to come in to get fresh water.
We hiked on a well marked trail to the second waterfall.
It was glorious!
The wondrous variety of this earth created for us to inhabit is evidence of God's love for each of his children. He gifted us with an earth so glorious - we acknowledge his love in it all!