Soeur Holt and Soeur Atkins continued to serve together until Wednesday which was transfers day. Last Monday was p-day where we joined the American Elders for a Thanksgiving feast- it was really cool- everyone had made something and the Remire Elders had even cooked some turkey! Whilst eating we followed a tradition and went around the table saying something that we were thankful for- the spirit was really strong in that moment.
That evening we taught Trinity and Charlanda about the plan of salvation until our life on earth. They had questions about the pre-mortal existence but they said that they would pray about it. Mami told us to come next time prepared to answer her questions about the spirit world (she had already taken missionary lessons over a decade ago and this is what she remembers)- we’re so excited for the next lesson.
Tuesday morning we went running again with Soeur Sandrine, such a great way to get to know her and this time I kept up- we drove home the way we had run and calculated that it’s a good 5km- sign me up now!
District meeting got off to a great start when I walked into a massive pile of letters on the chair:
Post off Bett and Brian Austin, Kate Layne, Aunty Alison and Uncle Andrew, Richard Reep, Thomas Dyson, Dawn Anthony, Sue Sinott, Millie x2, Emily Dyson, Janet Clifford, the Flynns, Reuben and Freya Dearnley. Wow!!!! The rest of the day was filled with contacting and goodbyes for Soeur Atkins.
On Wednesday morning we cleaned the apartment during exercise so that it would be absolutely spotless for Soeur Reep’s arrival, before planning for a day of lots of driving here there and everywhere!! stressed.com. We headed to the airport where Soeur Atkins took forever to check in but finally everything was sorted we said our goodbyes- I teared up, lots of hugs and off she went leaving me for Soeur Moore, bokits and Guadeloupe!
There are a number of reasons why missionaries always have a companion- not least of which is the Lord’s law of witnesses- that two people can share their testimonies of the truth: “in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established” (Matthew 18:16). Another reason is for safety’s sake. On the Tuesday afternoon Soeurs Holt and Atkins received a phone call from the Elders saying that Soeur Reep’s flight time had been mixed up and that there would be a time of 12 hours tomorrow where I would be companionless and therefore I needed to find a member. It was so late already and I hate imposing on people but I rang Soeur Baksh and she said no problem but that she was expensive, haha!!! Answer to my prayers- we went to a lesson with Soeur Esther where she fed us again! And there Soeur Baksh phoned me to say that she couldn’t stay with me for the entire day just until 2 in the -afternoon. I was so stressed- it was now 7 o’clock in the evening- what could I do?!! I rang Soeur Limtempjha- the Relief Society president and she said that she would call all of the sisters in order to find someone- whilst Soeur Atkins was sharing 3 Nephi 9.13 Soeur Mirta called saying that she would be willing… And breathe…
On leaving the airport Soeur Baksh told me that a member who doesn’t come to Church lived near the airport so we tried to visit her but apparently she has moved house and only her really impolite husband was there at the old home. We headed back to her house where she had prepared lunch for us, rice and fish- so good (I love Soeur Baksh she is so funny!!)
Then we drove over to pick up Soeur Mirta only to then drive back so we could drop off Soeur Baksh so that I would never be alone. Next we visited an old lady who is can’t come to Church due to health called Soeur Lucienne- it broke my heart as she cried when we arrived because she only gets a small number of visits. Then Dahana- we taught her the temple, it was cool how much she had already learnt from Young Women’s and that she has that goal for a temple marriage.
After studies we headed off to the airport only to find out that the flight had been cancelled in Martinique and Soeur Reep wasnt there. President called and a long story short meant that I was staying the night at Soeur Mirta’s!!
Theme for the next two days: Philippians 2.12 do we obey during his absence? President’s confidence in me to do my duty, a person’s true character is revealed when you think no one is watching. This links very much with some study that Soeur Holt had been doing this week. President Herrington had shared: “To have strength to repeat this work day after day and to see the Lord’s hand in it when public achievements are limited requires more than just determination. The character of a missionary must strengthen through prayer, personal study, obedience, the growth of faith, and a deep commitment to obtaining the attributes of Christ.” (2017 Seminar for New Mission Presidents)
This paragraph really went along with my Christlike attribute for this transfer: ‘Duty’, there was once a seminary lesson taught when we were asked to write a Christlike attribute on a stone that would be a solid foundation of personal meaning to us and I wrote duty, you can probably still find it on my desk… why did I get up at 5.15 to go to seminary- duty, why did I do my homework when I was tired- duty, why did I come on a mission- duty to my God. Often times I personally get caught up trying to do everything all at once that I forget to do the simple Sunday school answers that would strengthen my determination and character. I read in Ecclesiastes 12.13 fear God and keep his commandments this is the duty of all people.
I read a talk by Keith B. McMullin entitled ‘Our path of duty’: in living and performing our duties, making our contribution to life we build self-esteem and self-worth. Duty is keeping the commandments and making it a pattern of living after the example of the Saviour; we do what we are expected to do and to be; but we must do more and go the extra mile this is the manifestation of our faith.
Back to Thursday!!! I woke up at 6.30 did my exercise alone, showered ate breakfast and was contemplating how I would wake up Soeur Mirta! She woke up and off we went to the church where we had permission for me to do my studies with the Elders so that Soeur Mirta could get some of her chores done. Then she came and picked me up and off we went to Soeur Gaelles- we read together in D&C- 25 she is so special to me. Another phone call with President- Soeur Reep won’t be getting in until Friday!!!! He asked me if I would feel comfortable staying home alone that night, I said no- after over a year of having a companion by my side 24/7 I would rather stay with Soeur Mirta, but it was crazy that he had that much confidence in me!
Lunch then Soeur Mirta helped me go through the member list and then we made some visits. That night Soeur m treated me and made me pudding: she called it a crème.
Friday morning- studies before the Elders picked me up and we all went to the airport where finally I met Soeur Reep, we headed home and got lunch at the boulangerie. During companionship study I took her on a tour of Montabo, weekly planning before we taught English class to Natasha- a Haitian lady and Matilde a metropol lady who has a friend serving in Salt Lake City Temple Square and it was so amazing to see the impact that this friend had had on Matilde and her impression of the church in general, I hope that maybe I am doing that for someone back home! Bought a pizza the essential flavour of Guyane before finishing weekly planning.
Saturday- we went on the Relief Society activity on a train round Cayenne then contacting.
Sunday- Church was good but Soeur Reep was sick with the flu for the rest of the day. So I destroyed our area book and made lots of calls!
I loved the poem that mummy sent to me last week and I feel as though it really suited my week as I said goodbye to the beautiful Soeur Atkins:
There’s a comforting thought
at the end of the day
When I’m weary and lonely
That sort of grips hold of my
crusty old heart
And bid sit be merry and glad.
It gets in my soul and it drives
out the blues
And finally thrills through
It is just a sweet memory that
chants the refrain
“I’m glad I touched shoulders
Did you know you were brave,
did you know you were strong?
Did you know there was one
Did you know that I waited
and listened and prayed,
And was cheered by your
Did you know that I longed
for that smile on your face,
For the sound of your voice
Did you know I grew stronger
and better because
I had merely touched shoulders
I am glad that I live, that
I battle and strive
For the place that I know I must fill;
I am thankful for sorrows,
I’ll meet with a grin
What fortune may send good
I may not have wealth and
I may not be great,
But I know I shall always
For I have in my life that
courage you gave
When once I rubbed shoulders
It reminded me also of a song that I can’t sing- the one from Wicked that daddy always quotes ‘For good’.
I have been blessed to meet live and work with so many amazing people over the course of my mission and as I now enter another new companionship I look for the things that I can learn from Soeur Reep so that I can be changed for the better.