We mentioned last week that Soeur Holt’s Valentine’s package arrived the day Soeur Heno was leaving Guadeloupe to go to Barbados. This week the internet connection was better so we got some more photos of her new flat and saying goodbye to Soeur Heno.
We may have gone slightly overboard with the package: Thank you again for my wonderful package- Soeur Needs said that it looked like Valentine’s day had thrown up on my desk!!
One of Soeur Holt’s new companions, Soeur Needs is the Sister Training Leader. This means that in the French half of the mission she is responsible for going on exchanges with each of the sisters individually and she also trains them and does interviews. In the French side there are eight sisters in total. This week they had the Sisters from French Guiana come for a couple of days: On Wednesday after midday we picked up Souers Hootini and Hansen from the airport. They are both so lovely- I really get along well with both of them and Soeur Hansen and I reminisced about the MTC together. So then we drove speedily to grab a bokit to welcome them to Guadeloupe! Soeurs Holt and Hansen were able to meet in the MTC when Hillary (Soeur Hansen) worked in the cafeteria. Friday morning at 4.30 we left to take the Guiana sisters back to the airport, it was honestly such a great experience having 5 sisters in one apartment and it was so much fun but they had to leave at some point. I will keep praying that one day I can be companions with each of them because I already love them so much!! It would seem that with only seven sister missionaries this is a distinct possibility.
The majority of Soeur Holt’s week is spent teaching. On Monday she was able to attend Family Home Evening with the Prince family: two teenage children and their mother. They have a daughter who is actually serving in the London South mission and so were absolutely buzzing when they found out that I was from England and were asking me lots of questions about things that she had been experiencing over there. We went to their home to teach one of their daughters friends as part of family home evening; it was a really great evening and really relaxed and friendly we shared a short message about the plan of salvation, for the food afterwards we had what is called raclette where you take a baked potato- melt your own cheese and cook your own selection of sliced meats on a hob thing that you place in the middle of the table. It’s so good!!
Soeurs Holt, Needs and Robinson have begun working in a different neighbourhood and seem to be finding a number of people who want to learn about Jesus Christ. In teaching she is having some wonderful experiences. One lady this week has accepted the invitation to be baptised: The lesson took the form of a slight plan of salvation recap and a large portion about baptism!! On the invitation to be baptised she said no initially but expressed a fear of not knowing everything/being perfect in knowledge about the gospel before her baptism. Soeur Robinson told her about how we try to chart the lessons we teach so that she will know everything she needs to in order to be prepared for baptism- she loved it!! She agreed to be baptized!
The sisters usually meet with one of the people they’re teaching at the chapel or at someone else’s home but this week it was actually at her house because her son was sick; but honestly that was a small miracle because I have been wanting to teach her in her home just because I think that it can go a long way when you can invite the Holy Spirit specifically into that home; I was with Soeur Hootini and Soeur Robinson at this point. We taught about the restoration of the priesthood and it was actually really great. She also told us that this week because her son had learnt about Family Home Evening in Primary at Church they had had a short FHE with her partner about the plan of salvation. And then her partner turned up to the house and we were able to introduce ourselves! She then told us when she was driving us back to the church for English class that she wants all lessons to be at her home from now on!!
One thing we love to read about is their visits to Soeur Naffers who is the poorly older lady who they get to spend time with each week: Then we went to help her read from the Gordon B Hinckley manual; it was cool because this week’s lesson is about the pioneers and she is literally one of the pioneers of the church on Guadeloupe! The support they continue to receive from members of the Church helps us feel so happy and confident as Soeur Holt is away from us. Soeur Holt was able to visit with the Nestors we watched the restoration film with them and discussed how we can all receive a testimony of the restoration of the gospel. Thursday afternoon, I was with Soeurs Hansen and Robinson; we taught Soeur Point du jour (I told you she was my best friend) via a role play again where we were her friend and she was teaching us about the law of tithing; as last week she is literally so lovely and hilarious, I love her.
The sisters continue to work across two areas, and some days Soeur Holt describes as ‘Abymes days.’ Sunday- I was in Abymes again with members as my companions [Soeur Needs and Soeur Robinson will have attended Church in Lamentin]. They had two people they were teaching attend Church with her. It was a slightly different Sunday afternoon: It is carnival at the moment and so every Sunday afternoon/evening the island shuts down and all the roads shut, we had been told to stay in the house, so we finished weekly planning for two areas and all of our studies. Her favourite scripture from her studies this week is 2 Kings 6.15-16:
And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
As a side note we investigated the ‘Carnival’ and a tourist website suggests “If you can go to only one of Guadeloupe’s annual events, make it Carnival. The event takes place during the week before Ash Wednesday, and consists of islanders dressed up in colourful, masquerade costumes, reveling in the streets. There are two main parades, one in Pointe-à-Pitre and the other on Basse-Terre. The day before Ash Wednesday sees the people dressed as black and white devils dancing in the streets, and that night islanders “cremate” a stuffed dummy called King Vaval.” Also: “In Guadeloupe Islands, Carnival is a major cultural event, which is celebrated over three months: January, February and March. If you are in Guadeloupe Islands during this period, you cannot miss out on this spectacular and colourful event. You will attend parades floats, and many contests! Like for costumes, lyrics and also for choreographies. Count also on the multiple Dance marathons all across the cities to delve into the hypnotic rhythm of Guadeloupe! Colour, music, happiness and laughter will be the memories that you will keep of the carnival of Guadeloupe.” Soeur Holt is not in Guadeloupe as a tourist, and so as exciting as these things sound there are some elements where it will be perhaps safer and also logistically necessary to stay close to home.
The part of Soeur Holt’s week that made us smile the most was: Most of Friday was contacting efforts which was good and fruitful and often times entertaining when we sing in the middle of the street for an evangelist lady. But Soeur Needs said something as well, more often than not even if we don’t get a number we are able to leave those people whom we contact happier and brighter than we left them; and if that’s not sharing the light of Christ and inviting them to come unto Him I don’t know what is. Before she went away Eleanor was often to be found singing… but not in public!
So that was my week!! I love being a missionary and am realising how little time I have to truly serve and share this great message which I have…gotta get to work!!