This week was very exciting and emotional for Soeur Holt and for all of us at home. It was American Mother’s Day on Sunday so we got to Skype for an hour. We made sure that everything was set up the night before and that we could play the call through our television so we weren’t all huddled round a screen. It was probably the most anticipated event of the year in our house. Just being able to see and talk to her for an hour was absolutely amazing- and very emotional.
Soeur Holt felt the same way: Thank you for your beautiful faces yesterday I know that I cried but it was honestly tears of joy; I love every second that I spent with you all but I know that this is the place that I am meant to be right now.
There were many things we talked about but a couple of things that we learned were:
- We’ve been pronouncing two of her companions’ names wrongly. Soeur Heno is apparently Soeur ‘eno. You’d think being from Manchester we should have known to drop our h’s. Soeur Hootini is Soeur Ho-o-tini with every letter pronounced.
- Soeur Holt has taken up running every morning- this was Soeur Heno’s influence. Soeur Hootini used to play tennis while Soeur Holt ran, but Soeur Tepapatahi likes to run too. They have half an hour at the beginning of each day for exercise.
- Soeur Holt is not as red as the photos suggest!
- Being from the UK the only thing we use umbrellas for is to shelter from the rain- Soeur Holt now uses one to protect herself from the sun.
- She described how to make banane pezee- we’re still not convinced it is as delicious as she describes but she has promised to make us some when she comes home!
There were so many other things, but just know it was a lovely 60 minutes- we were also able to have her grandparents and nana skype or pop in to spend a few minutes with us all. We need to say a huge thank you to Sister Volet who allowed Soeur Holt to Skype from her home. We asked Soeur Holt to share her beliefs/ testimony with us in French and were impressed with her progress. She tells us that she is now thinking and dreaming in French. We include a video of her testimony- the playlist of two videos overlaps because we had two recordings that captured different parts.
Following the Skype call- the Sisters made coco-freeze ice cream with Soeur Monlouis the old fashioned way:
Last Tuesday was Soeur Hootini’s last day in Abymes with Soeur Holt. That evening we went to visit Frere Paul who gave us passion fruits from his garden and Soeur Hootini said some goodbyes. Then Soeur Volet where Soeur Hootini shared her favourite scripture and said goodbye. The next morning after personal study we switched companionships.
Soeur Tepapatahi is from Tahiti, has been out about nine months and speaks hardly any English at all. Soeur Holt sees this as a blessing as she continues to develop her ability to speak French.
Immediately, we had a lesson scheduled with a man so there no time for crying. After ringing him several times and waiting for him for 30 minutes we gave up and went contacting (this became a theme of the week). But on the positive side we managed to meet up with him in the afternoon; Sunday was great as he came to church for the entire 3 hours!! and loved it and said that he is coming again next week.
The sister missionaries continue to love meeting with the Nestors. We did some role plays with them about how to give out brochures to their friends and people that they meet .We had planned to teach their son but he was resting. Sister Nestor hopes that he can come to church with them all next week.
We also had an amazing lesson with one of the men we have been teaching for a while. We decided to read with him in 3 Nephi 17- my favourite chapter in the Book of Mormon. Soeur Bouchaut worked with us and we talked about receiving a spiritual witness about the message. I can’t describe it but the spirit was so strong in that lesson as all three of us bore testimony and as he committed to reread the chapter and pray to receive a response.
A theme for the week is that a lot of our fixed appointments fell through. One night we ended up doing some hardcore contacting in the rain thunder and lightning. Everyone we contacted said we were stupid and should go home but there was no stopping us! Other people the Sisters met through this included a hairdresser who is hilarious and declared his desire for a wife and his love for Soeur Tepapatahi. I don’t think we will be going back! And also a farmer who needed help with his cattle.
Tuesday: We got bokits with the other sisters from Baie Mahault and the Guiana sisters were over for exchanges so it was a big party!! I love all of the sisters on the French side of the mission so much!!
Friday morning we visited Soeur Bordin who is the Relief Society President. She told us that she wants to work with us more. We have made plans to work with her and visit the sisters more with her this week. Soeur Holt encouraged us to work with and give support to the missionaries in her home ward in Hyde.
This Sisters also got to visit an Adventist Church this week. A visit to see Soeur Naffer, then we got picked up by a lady called Bernadine (we had taught a lesson to her last week with our friend Antoinette) to go to her church with her. She received a prize from the pastor for bringing us as visitors!! We had a great chat with a young man and a lady that I had contacted a while ago who asked for us to go and visit with them. Bernadine introduced us to her son and his partner and their baby girl who actually stopped yesterday and gave us a lift home. So you could say that we are best friend with the Adventists now!!
The missionaries have also started a sports morning on a Saturday to get the young people whom we’re teaching involved and integrated. It was a huge success, a good number of members came and our ami Matthew came with his 19 year old brother!! Yesay!!
We also got a story about suncream- perhaps to highlight that she is applying it regularly!! I had put on some suncream which ended up in my eye and I couldn’t see. But it gave us the opportunity to contact a lady who was working at the private ambulance depot!!
We’ll end with a couple of Soeur Holt’s spiritual impressions from the week. In studying the atonement this week in the context of the plan of salvation, I found a scripture that really touched me in Mosiah 14.5:
“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
I’m really impressed by the imagery and poetic nature of this verse, that through his stripes we are healed!
She is grateful for all the strength and support she receives. I read Moroni 7.31 and loved the fact that this verse seems to say that angels are working alongside me as I work to fulfil my purpose as a missionary. After my skype yesterday I finished the Book of Mormon and read Moroni 8.2-3 and I think I was feeling really sentimental or something because when I read that I imagined you praying like that for me my beloved daughter Eleanor…. cheesy I know!!
“My beloved [daughter, Eleanor], I rejoice exceedingly that your Lord Jesus Christ hath been mindful of you, and hath called you to his ministry, and to his holy work. I am mindful of you always in my prayers, continually praying unto God the Father in the name of his Holy Child, Jesus, that he, through his infinite goodness and grace, will keep you through the endurance of faith on his name to the end.”
Love you and have a great week xx