Some views of Basse Terre
As the weeks move on Soeur Holt adjusts to the highs and lows of missionary work. One of their challenges is when people cancel or fail to be at appointments, it is a minor irritation but one that Soeur Holt is slowly accepting. That evening both of our rendezvous fell through so we did a lot of contacting…On Wednesday she read a quote from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland [of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles] which really stood out to me as the work is starting to get harder: our work isn’t easy because salvation cannot be easily achieved. Why should we expect it to be easy for us when it wasn’t easy for Him, as his willing servants we should take upon ourselves a small part of what he suffered.
Although missionary life can sometimes seem hard there are also plenty of joyful moments which help Soeur Holt find a balanced perspective. One ‘tiny’ precious blessing, which Soeur Heno shared with her was the fact that during emails last week Soeur Heno got the news that her first nephew had literally just been born, how cool is that!! He is called Louis which is so French but I can’t believe the luck that we email once a week and this child was born in time for his aunty to receive a picture of him!!
There were many other blessings for Soeur Holt this week; not least of which is the young man who Soeurs Heno and Holt have been teaching. On Saturday evening we were able to visit with this young man and his family (who are members). We followed up with him after his fast, he said that he would think about 4th February and tell us for definite at church… The lesson we had planned seemed perfect because after talking so much about baptism we discussed that it is not the final step but the first on the covenant path with our Heavenly Father…it was great because his mum …was there to testify with us!!
Sunday, in the morning Soeur Heno and I made an amazing, if I do say so myself, apple crumble because there was a munch and mingle after church! Church passed, but the greatest thing then happened at the end of the munch and mingle- the young man said yes to next Saturday as the day of his baptism!!! He shook our hands and everything!! We started to ring people on a need to know basis but while ringing we realised that he had already started to broadcast it to the world: his friends, family and missionaries who have taught him previously but are now home. Soeur Heno and I agree that he has been taught by so many missionaries that it is definitely not because of us- we just happen to be in Abymes at the moment when he decided he was ready. I am so excited to start my mission off by seeing such an amazing young man get baptised- he wants to serve a mission as soon as possible and truly has the potential to be future leader in the church!!!
As a funny aside, there was a man who came to church with a massive blue afro on his head!! After all of these experiences it is not surprising that when we asked her ‘Which French word sums up your week?’ she replied: ‘saperlipopette’, it means ‘oh my goodness’ or something similar but no one but old ladies use it, Soeur Heno taught it to me and I’ve been using it pretty often much to the amusement of every native French speaker I use it in front of!!
There was also a worldwide missionary broadcast from Salt Lake City this week. All the missionaries around the world watched it as some changes were made to the way they organise their schedules; they also received some training from Church leaders:
It was formatted like we were flies on the wall for a missionary council meeting with Elders Andersen, Oaks and Bednar [of the Quorum of the Twelve] as well as Bonnie L. Oscarson and some others… main points…
- When you don’t know what to say bear testimony of Jesus Christ, with the spirit
- Pray always!
- Don’t get caught up trying to discern what is revelation or your own thoughts, if the thought is good just go and do good!!
- A testimony of the Saviour is not just merely words but part of who you are and everything that you are.
- Miss not opportunity to serve your fellow man, we are His servants!!
As we read those points it struck us that they are good advice for us all. Being a disciple of Christ is a lot about who we are and what we do, in addition to what we believe.
Soeurs Holt and Heno (and for part of the week Soeur Robinson(and the car!!) because Soeur Needs who was making a 3 day trip to St Maarten for visa reasons) continued to teach many different people. One is a man called Frere Paul who has recently come back to Church: We taught about the priesthood and the Saviour’s earthly ministry. He is always on it with questions and insights.
Frere Paul’s business- the three fingers represent him being a Mormon as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are separate [it’s a unique symbol to Frere Paul]
Frere Paul’s home and yard
Part of the new schedule was implemented on Thursday: we started the new schedule by planning in the morning and it was really bizarre! After lunch we picked up Soeur Volet and actually headed into the Gozier Elders’ sector to visit with a couple of ladies who aren’t coming to Church at the moment who the branch president thought would benefit from being visited by sister missionaries. We shared a short message about the strength and comfort that can come from the atonement of Jesus Christ and she shared her conversion story with us. The struggle with both of these ladies is that the only reason there is no public transport on Sundays here!!
Some lessons are very positive like Saturday morning when they visited the lady who was referred to us by Soeur Heno’s cousin, we taught her about Jesus Christ’s ministry on earth and the great apostasy, she was so excited to find out what comes next and to come to church once her car is fixed!! Some are similarly positive but also comedic: whilst reading a scripture about the blessing of eternal marriage she [the lady they were teaching] promptly stood up and walked across the room to the bathroom and proceeded to go to the toilet with the door wide open! But that’s not even the funniest part- after we had closed with prayer she stood up and started to strip off to get changed to go out, suffice it to say I have seen more of this lady than I would have ever have liked!!
What a week!!!
Love you all and miss you lots
PS It would still be lovely if you were able to send her a letter; she reports I got a letter this week from Millie Miller and if the postage date is correct it came in 3 days!!
Soeur E.R. Holt
Bat D Nombre 28
97139 Les Abymes