Some of you may have heard about the threat of Hurricane Irma. Although French Guiana is not in the hurricane’s path we pray for all the people of the Caribbean.
We received the following message from the Herringtons: “The direction of the hurricane changes from day to day so for right now, St Maarten will be very close to the eye of the storm. The 6 missionaries in St Maarten are flying today (Sunday) to stay in Martinique. (We could not book flights to Barbados.) Martinique and Guadeloupe will also be impacted by the storm but to a lesser degree than St Maarten. It all depends on the path of the storm which is changing daily. All missionaries have prepared with extra water, food and emergency supplies. Every island has a hand-held communication device and have been taught yesterday how to use it. Missionaries living in low lying areas are moving to higher ground. The safety of all of our missionaries is our prime concern. We would encourage you to join us in mighty prayer and supplication for the safety of the Caribbean people.”
So that we can feel close to Soeur Holt and the wonderful people she is meeting, we have started to ask her to tell us more about her companions. These young women become a huge part of her experiences and lifelong and eternal friends. We feel as though we want to know more. So this week Soeur Holt wrote to us to tell us a little bit more about Soeur Hansen. She is a month older than Soeur Holt, and is therefore 19 (nearly 20) and is the fifth of five children.
Her dad is a professor of business at BYU and is currently serving as Stake President. That is something that Soeur Hansen and I really have in common- the example of great, worthy priesthood holder fathers. Her mum was a primary school teacher (like mine) but is now a writer. One of her books is called Running with Angels. The respect and love that Soeur Hansen has for her parents is astounding.
Soeur Hansen loves to work out, we run every morning together and she even pushes me to get my squats in. She played on the tennis team at home and we have already planned a trip to Wimbledon after our missions.
She is a diligent worker and loves the people so much it’s indescribable. She underestimates her ability to speak French but is truly amazing and demonstrates that you don’t have to say a lot to make a big impact if you have the Spirit with you! I LOVE HER!
It really is wonderful to hear of the special people Soeur Holt is meeting. She was also able to tell us a little bit more about her perceived differences between Guadeloupe and Guyane. French Guiana is so full of different cultures: lots of Brazilians, people from English Guiana, etc. With Guadeloupe it really felt like tropical France and although its people were proud to be Guadeloupean they still kept a lot of the French culture. Here, however, it feels very South American- they just happen to speak French.
Soeurs Holt and Hansen had an experience this week that helped her understand the challenges that some people face. We shared a victoria sandwich with a couple we were teaching. As we ate, we realised that these two beautiful people had not eaten for the past two days, so we headed straight out and bought a pizza and some juice. It broke my heart truly. Then the husband gave us two eggs each because he told us that Jesus said to share your blessings. We tried to refuse but in the end we accepted. I cherished those eggs and they will always be such a symbol of sacrifice discipleship and humility- I want to frame a picture of them!!
There was a lot of teaching in Guyane this week but the Sisters spent a couple of days in Martinique for a joint Zone Conference. Wednesday- after arriving in Martinique I went to teach an old lady with Soeur Robinson- she is house bound and her only visits are the sisters each week so she loves them. She was so sweet- we shared a scripture about the atonement but mostly I just tried to keep her talking.
A Legacy movie night followed with the sisters eating pizza [Legacy is a Church fil that tells the story of some of the Mormon pioneers].
For zone conference we were joined by Elder Alonso, the new area president. The conference focused on asking questions and teaching in the saviours way; we used Luke 10.25-28 to illustrate this questioning using the scripture. We should help people learn rather than talking at them. Our success is measured ultimately by our personal continuing conversion after we finish our missions.
During my personal reading this week I realised how, during Mosiah and Alma, the prophets really strive and pray to be the best instruments in the hands of the Saviour to accomplish his work (Alma 2.30, Mosiah 27.36, Mosiah 23.9-10, etc). I have started to include this phrase in my personal prayers.
Back to Guyane: Saturday we saw the baptism of a great lady called Eliane- she is a super cute lady with 2 grown children. Soeur Eliane was baptised by President Dabreu [the Branch president]!! On that note I was so excited to see the pictures of the baptisms this week in Hyde.
Church on Sunday was great- our two teenage girls Charlanda and Trinity came again!! [We don’t know if the picture below is of those two girls but the Sisters are with two teenagers!]
Soeur Holt received an email from an old friend of our family who used to come to Church with us before moving away ten years ago. Alison Humphreys emailed me last week and she told me that she was the 2nd sister missionary to ever serve from Hyde making me the 3rd. She told me that a mission might not be the best 18 months of your life but it will be the best 18 months for your life. I like that because although I am loving my mission I remember daddy telling me that the rest of your life should be the best- building your family. I can definitely recognise the lessons that I am learning for the future.
She also shared a CS Lewis quote which I really felt illustrates who I am at this moment I love this quote: “When I come to my evening prayers and try to reckon up the sins of the day, nine times out of ten the most obvious one is some sin against charity; I have sulked or snapped or sneered or snubbed or stormed. And the excuse that immediately springs to my mind is that the provocation was so sudden and unexpected: I was caught off my guard, I had not time to collect myself. Now that may be an extenuating circumstance as regards those particular acts: they would obviously be worse if they had been deliberate and premeditated. On the other hand, surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of a man he is? Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth? If there are rats in a cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man: it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am. The rats are always there in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily they will have taken cover before you switch on the light.” I know that charity is the pure love of Christ, and that serving in the way that you are doing now is going to fill you will charity and will stay with you through eternity if you remain faithful. Love it!!
The big news is…. I WILL BE TRAINING A BEAUTIFUL NEW SISTER CALLED SOEUR RACHEL ATKINS WHO IS FROM CANADA!!! Sorry but that is literally the only information that I know about her… but I am the only sister in the entire mission training this transfer- along with 15 elders; so the trainer’s meeting yesterday was slightly strange. I am so excited!! I’m so sad to see Soeur Hansen go but I think this is such a great opportunity to learn and grow with her. I had a Trainers training meeting held over skype I LOVED IT!!! We read D&C 121; I loved 41 all of these qualities are great but it does not say that we have to be perfect it just means that we have to repent each and every single day and try harder to have these Christlike attributes. Also verse 46- we need the spirit and although this section is talking about the priesthood it reminded me of D&C 25.7 when it talks about how as sisters we are ordained by the spirit to utilise the powers of the priesthood.
“And thou shalt be ordained under his hand to expound scriptures, and to exhort the church, according as it shall be given thee by my Spirit.”
I was ordained to this assignment as a trainer 9 months ago.
Love you all and good luck as this week you get back to work and school; missing you always!!