The big news of this week is transfer news!! I am staying in Abymes with Soeur Tepapatahi and I am so happy I really thought that I was leaving and I really didn’t want to; we both screamed down the phone at the APs (Assistants to the President) when we got the news. The next transfers are in six weeks time and so this will mean that Soeur Holt will have been in Abymes for about 7 months. We’re glad she’s excited and happy to stay.
We have asked Soeur Holt a couple of times about any excursions she has on p-day, and so far the highlight seemed to have been the visit to the museum a couple of months ago. We had seen pictures of other missionaries in the past at idyllic looking locations, and this week the Zone were able to go to a waterfall. So p-day we woke up super early at 5.30 (seminary time!) and headed to the river/waterfall. It was beautiful and amazing to kind of feel the benefit of the water i.e. up to our knees. The Tahitians tried to fish with the elders to no avail and the rest of us just took in the opportunity to be in nature. We all ate together baguettes and meat balls which Soeur T and I had made before heading out to shower and do emails shopping etc. We think you’ll agree that the pictures look amazing, and it was a good recharge for the missionaries in preparation for a week of work.
There seemed to be a few opportunities for service this week. These were very diverse in nature. One day we ended up at a banane pezee restaurant helping to clean and cook. Our objective was to talk and contact the customers but no one was there at that time so instead we helped and talked to the owner and her partner. A really bizarre morning but we spoke about the gospel and served and also got free banane pezee at the end of it. A more planned activity was when we helped at the banque alimentaire which is like a food bank.
Soeurs Holt and Tepapatahi were also able to help some of the people they are teaching. Murielle picked us up to go and help her set up for a party that she was throwing for her daughter’s ‘profession de foi’ in her church. We ate at her home before ironing for the entire family Soeur T and I laughed because none of them knew how to iron white shirts and were amazed at how we do it (we iron them the same way!!) We then helped set up chairs tables decorations etc. When we got home we talked about whether we thought our day had been effective as missionaries and we said yes! When one guest arrived we overheard her complaining Murielle that she had invited the Mormons- Murielle defended us and told her that she thinks we are wonderful and kind. We talked with the entire family and all asked us questions about why we were there etc and we really felt that it went a long way to establishing and improving the image of the church and so that these people can see missionaries as people as well.
The Sisters continue to teach people and love the opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. One such example was really bizarre- the lady’s entire familky was at her house cutting hair and the children were eating ice cream- not really contusive to the spirit or teaching. But we were committed! She told us that she wants to read all of the Book of Mormon before being baptised. We spoke to her about how we have a series of lesson which we teach which we know will prepare her. However when we asked her about her reading she said she had read regulations de naissances ie birth control in the guide to the scriptures. Sr T didn’t believe her but there it was in black and white!! Even funnier is that her favourite topic ever is the resurrection; every lesson she asks us about is and there is was on the opposite page, but no she had read about birth control! Why? Because they are always talking about it on the telly apparently…. we laughed because otherwise we would cry. Another lady told the Sisters that she would come to church if it wasn’t for her oxygen tank!!
They also continue to meet new people: That evening we went to see someone we had been teaching who wasn’t in and has stopped responding to our phone calls. No bother- we both had a really strong feeling to contact his neighbour and we found a super cool young man to teach- he talked to us about how he has lost lots of people in his family over the past few months and he is really searching for confirmation that there is a life after death. We obviously testified of the plan of salvation and the opportunity we with have to live with our families again.
Friday afternoon we had a lesson with Sister Bordin and a lady we have been teaching who has loads of questions about the atonement of Jesus Christ and how could he have really died for me? I tried to use both the Bible and Book of Mormon- we talked about the plan of salvation so Genesis 3.22 being linked to 2 Nephi 2.22-23 or for the atonement 1 Peter 5.7 linking to Alma 7.11-12. Sister Bordin was amazing and talked about her experience prior to joining the Church and how she felt lost with regards to fully applying the atonement in her life and how only through the plan of salvation has she been able to understand and apply. She also bore amazing testimony of the Book of Mormon- at one point Marianne said “oh so it doesn’t replace the Bible, it compliments it.” She thanked us at the end for our visit and told us that she felt lots of her questions had been answered.
While Soeur Holt is away we have control of her Facebook account and it was a really lovely surprise to see that Sister Bordin had added a picture with the comment ‘I love Monday evenings’ which is when Family Home Evenings happen.
Family Home Evenings this week – we went to the Nestor family to do a fhe, its Coeurby’s birthday party- I made a Victoria sandwich and we played the flour game linking it back to repentance using Alma 7.14 and being clean. Such a fun night with one of my favourite families. The flour game is one we enjoyed as a family while Eleanor was growing up, so it’s nice to see that she’s transporting across the Atlantic.
Soeur Holt had exchanges with Soeur Reep. This coincided with Saturday morning which is sports with the branch- the Elders left after 30 minutes to do service with the zone leaders. So we seized the opportunity to contact the people who were playing; I realised that when I have a native speaking companion I know she can make the first move to start the conversation with small talk when it is not a given that I would know the vocabulary- after the small talk I can then join in. But with Soeur Reep it was all on me and I can do it!! We met 3 young men playing basketball and when we talked about religion one told us that his family has a problem with the baptism of children so we read Moroni 8 with him and he seemed really excited to learn more!!
Soeur Holt learned some things about herself in her studies this week: In my New Testament reading this week I really loved Luke 10.41-42 and the story of Martha and Mary- I changed the name Martha to Eleanor and said “Eleanor, Eleanor thou art troubled and worried about many things” (which is so true) but only one thing is needful to listen at Jesus feet.
Luke 17.10 also stood out talking about how an unprofitable servant only does that which is his duty and I think that is often true of all of us and especially as a missionary when the work seems hard and the sun just keeps on beating down do I just do my duty or do I always try to serve my Master with all my heart might mind and strength? Which linked with a discussion During district meeting last week where we talked about character and specifically the character of our Saviour Jesus Christ; I loved a definition that an Elder gave of character though – it is how we react to any given situation and the consistency of that reaction.
As an aside, even though Soeur Holt is away she was able to cast her vote by proxy in the UK Parliamentary elections last week- an event she referenced in her sign off: I love you all- have a great week; stay healthy happy and safe (that goes for the political situations right now as well) xxxx