This week flew by. It went way too fast. I feel like I was just here yesterday. I do like talking to you all though, so I will take it! Sister Vernes and I are doing great. We love the area we are working in. We think this week will be our last week to serve together though. We have been companions for 4 transfers (6 months) so I think things are about to switch up! As of right now 1 missionary is coming next transfer out of 11 because of crazy visa issues. We have no sisters coming, and we have 5 elders going home. We keep losing more than we gain! It’s okay though, that doesn’t stop the work from progressing!
Sister Vernes and I are in charge of cleaning the baptismal font, and I swear that every time we need to fill it we find something crazy, and it gets crazier every time. The first time we found a beautiful butterfly. You know the kind you see in movies (the pretty blue ones found in rainforests). This time we found a huge lizard thing! Last Monday we were at the church and I found the huge lizard and I tried to catch it, but it ended up running under the door and hiding in the baptismal font. I completely forgot about it. I am just sweeping away, and all the sudden there he is! I called Zr. Vernes in, and we started taking pictures of it. I was getting real close. Sister Vernes wanted a video, so I took her camera, went up close, and was like “hello!” That must have spooked him pretty bad because he darted. He ran over my feet and hopped down the drain of the baptismal font never to be seen again. It was all on camera too. What are we going to find this week?
Merville is still doing incredible. She called someone by herself to find a ride to church, and she is talking to her last pastor to tell him why she is joining this new church. I hope that goes well! I love teaching her. She is one of those people who knows all the answers, who already lives all the standards of the church, so getting baptized is just making it official. I love her! She also came to the baptism on Saturday and loved it, and fellowshipped a new investigator. She will do great things.
Hugo. Oh boy. Well, I don’t know where to start with him. Basically he fell in love with Zr. Vernes, so we can’t teach him anymore. The elders inherited him, and I don’t think he will be getting baptized any time soon. Sad day. At least we got to have a lot of laughs! I just wish I would have known so that we could have spent our time on someone else.
Good news is that we are finding super cool investigators every day! I love this mission. It is a good time. We contacted this woman randomly, and she is great! She is related to the strongest members of two branches. She asked us why she gets emotional when she talks about God. I am excited to see where this goes with her!
An 8 year old recent convert from the Netherlands was visiting a member in our area, and they both came teaching with us the whole day. It was the cutest. At one house there were a lot of animals and he goes “this place is a zoo!” He also helped us teach Merville about tithing. He brought 10 cookies and told her to give 1 to God and then she could have the rest. He then said look how many blessings you have! Can he stay in Suriname?
I guess time flies when you are having fun! I love you, and will talk to you next week!
That was a good week! I have a lot of new news to tell ya! President Egebrt was in town for zone conference, and this week is transfer week, so we got our transfer calls in our interviews. I was just talking about how I love being Zr. Vernes’s companion, and he goes “well, that is going to change.” If you knew President Egbert you would know that he talks at the speed of light. He went off just blurting these things that continuously kept blowing my mind.
1. My companion is going to be Sister Ashcraft! Can you believe that? I am so happy. We are going to have a blast together. I must have been good because I have been hoping for this for a long time!
2. We are both Sister Training Leaders now, and we are going to Trinidad in 2 weeks to have a Missionary Leadership Conference.
3. My return date has changed to December 21. Not sure how I feel about that one yet… I thought I had another Christmas! It will be fun to be home for Christmas though. I told you that last skype was the last one!
4. The new sister coming in a few weeks doesn’t speak English or Dutch. That should be interesting.
I must have just sat there with my mouth dropped in shock. I wasn’t expecting a transfer call at the time I thought I would get it a couple of days later, and I didn’t guess any of the other stuff. It was a good interview though! I learned a lot!
So, do you remember that lizard thing from last week? Well remember how every time we fill the font we find something worse. We had to fill the font for Merville and 7 other peoples’ baptisms last week. (Suriname is doing pretty good right now) On the way we were like “I wonder what we are going to find!” We walk in and sweep the font, and don’t find anything. “Sweet!” We turn on the water, and it smelled so bad. SO BAD. I then look into the drain, and there is the lizard. He is back for revenge. There is this cover thing I had to lift up and he was missing about half of his body. The elders were supposed to meet us at the church for zone conference planning, and they were late, and so for their punishment they got to clean it out. The AP’s were also there, so they got to see what Suriname has to provide. It smelled terrible though, so we bought a gallon of bleach and poured it in the font and let it air out for a couple of days before trying to fill it again. What are we going to find this week?
Steven is back in town! He called us. HE called US! Golden investigator. We went to his house, and he is ready as ever to be baptized. Problem is that his wife doesn’t really want it. We taught him a lesson about how important it is for our salvation, but that it is important for families to be together. We told him God is trusting his faith to see if he is truly ready. He then goes “I am ready! I want to be baptized.” Hopefully we can soften his wife’s heart. She likes us already and waves at us on the street, so it shouldn’t be too hard. It will take a lot of prayers though, and the amazing combination of Zuster Ashcraft and Jorgensen!
This is going to be such a fun transfer. I can’t believe that Kailey is leaving so soon! Is the para-sailor okay? I guess President Egbert isn’t the only one throwing my mind through loops!
I love you. Have a fantastic week, and remember to be “anxiously engaged in a good cause” – that one was for dad.
Being Sister Ashcraft’s companion is the best. I knew that we were still going to get along perfectly when we kept saying the same things again on the first day. I swear that our minds are just in-sync. There is no other way to explain it. I am excited to continue working with her. I know that she was sent to Suriname just for me. I love her so much!
We already have had an adventurous week together. We want to really concentrate on contacting this transfer, so we made sure to have some time everyday to do at least a little bit. We chose to go on this one street on Thursday, and no one was intersted. It was so hot. We are in the dry season again, and everyone was having their daily nap time. Not a smart move on our part. Surinamers love their sleep. After kloping and kloping we were about to give up and head to our next appointment. We both kept glancing at the same house, and we were like “should we kloop one last house?” “yeah, why not?” We kloop and the lady inside lets us in and she had her daughter come out. She is super cool. When we gave her the Book of Mormon she goes “Yes, now I have something to keep me busy!” We are excited to teach her and her cute family some more.
On Saturday there was a baptism, and we were assigned to teach by the elders. As we were up there teaching we heard this huge bang, and there was a lot of commotion going on outside the church. One of the members got up and then came back and pulled a couple elders out. They later came in with two men, and they sat nicely through the baptism. One of them got back, and I noticed that the elders would follow him wherever he went. The baptism ended, and we all went outside and there was a cop car. Odd. Then the elders put one of the men inside, and the cops drove away with him. I asked what happened, and I guess that the one who got arrested was stealing one of the Elder’s bikes, and the other man caught him. That is what all the commotion was. Then one the guy got up and the elders were following him he had asked to go to the bathroom. One elder stayed inside, and the other went out and waited at the bathroom window. The man’s face popped up in the bathroom window, and Elder Ort just goes “Sorry brother, you can’t do that.” That was one of the more interesting baptisms I have been to.
Yesterday, we had an appointment, and we had a member coming. Sounds pretty normal, right? Well, the men we were teaching are from Haiti, and they can only speak French. The member got lost trying to come to the appointment, so Sister Ashcraft and I are just trying to communicate a little bit with these men while we waited. After a long struggle, one of the men, John, started to have us type what we wanted to say in his phone. His phone translated terribly. I asked what their favorite food was, and then the member called and told me he wasn’t coming. Sister Ashcraft and I then had the adventure of trying to set up a new appointment. After trying super hard we just sat in silence for a little bit, and then all the sudden we hear the phone go “What is your favorite food?” We all started cracking up at the situation. Then the member magically appeared and saved the day. He is also from Haiti, but he can speak some English. Very little, but a whole lot more than John! John wants to come to church, so I guess it was a good use of our time!
Well, the time has come again for me to say tata for now, but I love you all!
I am jealous that everyone got to go to the cabin. That just might be my favorite place in the world. Floating that river with the canoe. The hot pots. I AM JEALOUS.
We had a good week though. It was a lot of fun. Our investigators are doing incredible right now. We are happy with the progress that they are making. Merville is still golden as ever. We have started teaching her all the commandments, and she has no problems. She thinks that they are super interesting. I like her attitude, She still takes notes, reads often, and texts us to update on her progress as she reads. Also, if she reads a pamphlet she answers the questions in the back and reads all the corresponding scriptures. I feel very blessed to be able to teach her.
Hugo is being somewhat frustrating right now. He finally got Sunday off from work and started his new job, and he took off for the weekend! He has made so many sacrifices for the gospel though, so he will come around. It was the first time he got to see his family in a few months, so I guess I understand. At least he called and let us know!
Mike. Oh man. I love Mike. On Thursday we had an amazing lesson with him. He set himself on date, but not until December. Hopefully I get to see him get baptized before I leave! We have tried to move it up, but honestly, December might be pretty accurate since he has a crazy work schedule. We have been teaching him about the temple a little bit, and President Ibrahim was at the church waiting for a meeting, so he decided to join us. Everything he said was perfect. PERFECT. He bore his testimony about the temple, and then he linked it into power that he has received from the gospel to quite smoking. Mike has a smoking problem, which President Ibrahim didn’t know. He said that he tried everything to quit, but the only thing that helped was the gospel. The spirit was super strong. He basically covered everything that Mike has concerns about without knowing what he was doing. I am excited for Mike. He just wants to be sure that he will not mess up again after he is baptized. We will help him to see that we all make mistakes even after we are baptized.
Molijn. He is cool! We dont get to teach him too often because he has three jobs, goes to school, and is raising kids. He has such great potential. He comes to church whenever he isn’t triple booked. We have finally been able to get through the resto with him. We teach this huge group every Wednesday night. Basically the whole neighborhood comes together (most are investigators) and we teach the lessons. On Wednesday he was there and he told us that he memorizes the scriptures we share with him in lessons and then shares it with his family at home, and random people on the street. He also brought a friend to the lesson! He will do great things.
Funny moment. Oh! I got a new bike this week! This one should last the rest of my mission because it is actually mine, and not a spare. This is bike number five. That isnt the story though. Sister Vernes was on a spare for a day for some reason. I dont really know why, and it was an adventure. The beginning of the day was a struggle because the chain kept falling off, but then later in the day her seat developed an attitude. It likes to tip backwards. She would be biking and then all the sudden the front of her seat would shoot upwards and it looked like she had been impaled with something. She would be falling off the back of the seat, but her skirt would get caught and she would be stuck on her bike. It was a good time. Even after we tightened it it kept doing it, so I think the bike it possessed.
I love you all. Enjoy the Olympics. I am also jealous of that. No one in Suriname really even knows that Olympics are happening. Make sure to wave the mini flags when Sam is playing!