This week was very eventful with a Zone Conference, lots of finding and teaching, and giving a talk (sermon/homily) in Church. The week began Last Monday with a sloth hike where we didn’t see any sloths!!! But we did see a lot of bamboo and actually got lost and so had to figure out how to get back to the main road and then a further 45 minutes back to the cars. I was really missing a map- do you think the Duke of Edinburgh could take away my award??
That evening we had a first lesson with the Ebar family- a super sweet Haitian family. One mistake made was that Eleanora offered us some juice- I, thinking she was going to pop over to the fridge and pour us some, said yes please, however she starting chopping up mangoes and sending her husband to go and get milk etc; eventually we sat down with a glass of mango juice and discussed the Book of Mormon. Later in the week they were able to visit with the family again for what we thought was just a second appointment but it turned into a two course Haitian feast; banane pesee, rice etc, and fruit salad. We took the opportunity and turned it into a FHE- played beaver tails and talked about how we can receive answers through the Holy Ghost.
We thought Soeur Holt had experienced all the extremes of weather in the Caribbean and the Amazon but this week the rain returned. It was chucking it down and apparently that causes these little termite flying things to be everywhere! It was like we were in a plague of Egypt! We were contacting and headed to some apartment blocks to keep dry, we met a man who said he would read the Book of Mormon also a lady who told us that she is searching for answers in her life- it was really special to testify to her the answers that she can find through the Saviour as desctibed in the Book of Mormon.
The highlight of the week for Soeurs Holt and Reep seemed to be starting to teach a new family. We had a lesson with Soeur François who hasn’t been to Church for a while- not sure if I have already told this story but on Soeur Atkins last day we were out running in the morning as usual when a lady shouts us over and introduces herself as a member of the Church- Madame François- she wants us to come and visit her specifically with the intention of baptising her 11 year old daughter. We were astonished but anyway it has taken until now to get a hold of them and we had a great first lesson with her and her two daughters- Dea is the 11 year old and our new ami!! It hit me whilst I was teaching that Dea is Martha’s age and that scared m-e she is so grown up!! Martha stop getting old! They committed to read the Book of Mormon together each evening as a family. Later in the week they were able to teach the family again, but this time with Sister Herrington: a new experience when we invited her to be baptised she told us that she thought she couldn’t because she missed her 8th birthday (she was raised in the church) her mum responded for us and told her about her baptism aged 26. Long story short we are preparing for her to be baptised in January! Sunday we walked with Dea to church…
The Sisters continue to teach Trinity and Charlanda; in one of them their mami was in the corner preparing a slaughtered cockerel, we taught the plan of salvation- irony!! The girls really get it and asked really great questions about life after death like can we repent in the spirit world etc- a great lesson.
There were lots of other lessons this week including one with a Muslim doctor from Senegal- we took Soeur Esther with us and the two were great together- she is also from Africa and her sister is Muslim so was very respectful. We introduced our selves and focused on God is our loving Heavenly Father, a lot about what is scripture and the Book of Mormon how we recognise if a book is inspired writing or not and a little bit about Jesus Christ. An interesting lesson- hopefully he will read the Book of Mormon.
We also visited with Sandrine and shared with her the Christmas message elairez le monde (Light the World), we watched the video, read Mosiah 2 and spoke about how we can serve others during this Christmas season.
Friday was Zone Conference- I wore Soeur Reep’s madras skirt but I definitely need one of my own; President told both of us that we were looking sharp, haha- I guess as sister missionaries that’s the best compliment that we can receive!
We spoke about a variety of topics including:
- The importance of goal setting;
- Soeur herrington taught us about commitments,
- We should study what will help lead people to eternal life.
- Alma 31.5 “And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God.”– teaching doctrine changes behaviour.
I had an interview with President Herrington- this seemed to be focused a lot on my personal conversion, really beautiful interview I got a lot out of it.
English class that evening was jam packed with 7 people there- we watched the Mormon Message about Alfie and his silver bike and got them to tell us what they had understood.
Saturday morning contacting before a visit to Soeur Emmanuell’s home we shared with her il est le cadeau film from a few years ago-
She loved the film and we spoke about how we can put Christ more fully into our Christmas.
On Sunday Soeur Holt spoke in Sacrament Meeting- preaching in Church is not limited to the Bishop but members of the congregation are often asked to share their thoughts. As far as we are aware this is the first time Soeur Holt has preached in Church in French- she also mentioned that on one afternoon we went to Soeur Aimee’s home to do a language study with her so that she could help me specifically for my talk on Sunday… I based it on The Family: A Proclamation to the World but my title was a family Christmas memory centred on Christ, I shared our family scripture study [we pray and read from the scriptures each morning as a family] and the Nativity on Christmas Eve [our ward always has the Nativity play on Christmas Eve].
Favourite scripture for this week is doctrine and covenants 76.5-10
“For thus saith the Lord—I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honour those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end. Great shall be their reward and eternal shall be their glory. And to them will I reveal all mysteries, yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom from days of old, and for ages to come, will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom. Yea, even the wonders of eternity shall they know, and things to come will I show them, even the things of many generations. And their wisdom shall be great, and their understanding reach to heaven; and before them the wisdom of the wise shall perish, and the understanding of the prudent shall come to naught. For by my Spirit will I enlighten them, and by my power will I make known unto them the secrets of my will—yea, even those things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor yet entered into the heart of man.”
Mysteries will be revealed, wonders of eternity, great wisdom and understanding; we will be able to reach the heavens and know the secrets of His will. I love the poetry but more specifically the last part we will know the secrets of his will, I am always trying to do His will- I pray for the ability to humble myself each new day, we pray every time we get out of the car that he can lead our feet to find the elect, we pray every planning session to know his will for what we should teach to our friends. Doing His will but more importantly knowing His will and specifically the secrets or the reasons behind his will is an ever ongoing travail.
We head to Guadeloupe today after emails for exchanges, with Christmas these were the only flights available, but should be a good email next week!! Love you all and see you soon, Merry Christmas!! Xxx