First off, Happy birthday this Sunday Mama! I love you! Make sure dad takes you out to ice-cream on Saturday or Friday!
This week was insane! Half of the week I was in Trinidad, and the other half was full of Suriname adventures. You would think I would be used to the craziness by now! Trinidad was a ton of fun. I was with Sister Petersen, and Sister Ortiz. They are Spanish speaking sisters, so I felt like a newbie in all those Spanish lessons! They are awesome missionaries. I had fun serving with them for a day. We went to probably the funniest district meeting I have been to while we were there. The district leader is not a native English speaker, so sometimes it was unclear what he was trying to teach us. At one point he had an elder do 20 push ups, and then 40, and then he had two elders come up and they each had to do 100. He wasn’t counting right, so they ended up doing about double what he wanted. Eventually all the elders were just sitting there doing pushups, and we have no idea what the meaning behind it was. It was a good time.
MLC was incredible. I loved it! It was fun to finally meet missionaries from all over the mission. We talked about the light of Christ. In life we are constantly converting. Jesus Christ is light. We are either gaining more light, or we are losing light. As we keep gaining light it gets added and added until we have a perfect knowledge. Until we see His face. President Egbert is inspired. I am so happy that I am able to serve in this mission with him as my mission president.
When we got back to Suriname we had no idea how great/crazy our week would be. It was funny because in Trinidad the sisters always say “It’s Trinidad” when something odd happens. Those sisters have NO idea how nice Trinidad is compared with the rest of this mission. Compared to Suriname that place is SOOOO nice! My breath was taken away. Anyways, we went out teaching. Our 8:00 appointment fell through, so we decided to stop by a members house since we aren’t allowed to contact after dark. We tried to call her and she wasn’t home, so we were deciding where to go next. This homeless man walked up to us. (He is a well known homeless man that we give food to sometimes) We are talking to him, and he starts rubbing Sister Ashcraft’s back, and then he all the sudden comes and hugs me and starts going in for a kiss! I almost got kissed on my mission by a homeless man! He then started stroking Sister Ashcraft’s chin and was like “When are you going to kiss me? Tomorrow?” We were out of there pretty fast.
We had some awesome experiences with our less actives and investigators. We were finally able to get a member with us to see Steven. They were perfect for each other. We didn’t realize that until the lesson began. Steven talked about how much he wants to be baptized and wants to come to church, and he told the member that his wife was holding him back. Br. Well came with us, and he had similar problems. It will be good for Steven to see that he can do it! He wants to serve God all the way until the end.
We taught Mike, and he told us the reason why he is taking lessons. He said that he is doing it for himself and not for anyone else. He knows that he needs to be baptized, and he is excited for it. He has problems he needs to work out though, so he still wants to wait until December. I hope I am here to see it, but if not I will be happy that he is getting baptized. He is doing really well. His mom is super sick, so sometimes he is unable to come to church since he can’t leave her alone, but also she can’t go anywhere. We have faith that these problems will be solved.
We had an amazing lesson with a less active named Wendell. We have been trying to get a lesson with him for MONTHS. He always told us he didn’t want to hear from missionaries. We got a lesson set up, and then he cancelled it while we were in Trinidad. When we got back we called to see if we could come, and he goes “Actually, that will work!” We went over, and we had a lesson about Heavenly Father. He told us that his wife had left him, and it had hurt him so much that he stopped believing in God. His mom is a recent convert from Paramaribo, and she is on the 21 day challenge, so she has been praying for him. He has come to realize that there is a God. We shared some scriptures with him about trials, and how God loves us and that is why we experience trials. He told us that the scriptures we read meant a lot to him, and that he was ready to turn his life around and to stop dwelling on the sadness. We asked when we could come back, and he said “as soon as possible!” I am excited to continue teaching him! Miracles are everywhere!
I love you all! Tell Kailey she will be an amazing missionary. She will love it more than words can say. There will be hard days, but I have never been so happy!
Well, well, well. This week was another one for the books! On Monday night President Egbert called us and told us that since the other sisters were having visa problems that we needed to go on an emergency exchange. The sisters weren’t allowed to talk in lessons. It was supposed to last for 2 days, I was there from Tuesday to Friday. It was a long exchange, but I got to go to Rainville with Sister Vernes. On Wednesday night President Egbert called again and the first thing he said is “are you sitting down?” That was not a good sign. He then told us that Sister Vernes and Sister Parker are being emergency transfered to the ABC islands for the next couple of transfers. That means that when they come back Sister Ashcraft and I will be gone. Also Elder Hardy and Elder Christianson are having the same issues, so they are leaving, but they won’t ever be coming back to Suriname. Those goodbyes came a lot sooner than I wanted them to! At least I got to spend a few days with Sister Vernes before she leaves. That also means that I am 100% training next transfer, and that Sister Ashcraft and I are getting split up. We are having to much fun I guess! That also means that I could possibly be going back to Rainville, so then I would have served exactly half of my mission in each branch. I am good with whatever happens.
While I was in Rainville we taught a very nice Chinese man. He doesn’t know any Dutch or English and we don’t know Chinese or Sranen Tango, so we brought our investigator Josh along (He speaks Chinese). Now I have taught lessons in English, Dutch, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese, and Sranen Tango. What’s next? It was a cool lesson, and he is super interested in the gospel! I am excited to continue to teach him.
We also got the chance to teach Oma Abdoelhamid. She is the cutest. She is worried that her prayers are not good enough, so we had a lesson focused on that. It was weird to be the only one teaching, but it was kind of fun at the same time! I couldn’t just look at my companion and expect her to kick in for a little bit. We talked about Joseph Smith and how he was only 14 when he prayed. His prayer could not have been perfect, but it was heard, and Heavenly Father found it important enough to answer. This shows how well He knows our hearts. Sometimes the words may get caught, but He knows the feeling behind them. The spirit in that lesson was tangible. I hope she applies it to her life and sees that she needs to be baptized.
We had a cool experience/ failure that taught me exact obedience. We taught Sister Straal (the relief society president) and we gave her the 21 day challenge. The problem is that we didn’t teach the 4 lessons first. We had a beautiful discussion about Heavenly Father, and then she started talking about missionary work and how she wants to pray to help others to accept the gospel or to come back to church. We thought “look at that! She is already prepared! We can just give her the challenge now.” The next time we went back she started out the lesson with “I wanted to begin the challenge, but when I prayed I received the answer that I wasn’t prepared to do it yet, and that I needed to ask you why.” The spirit hit me! We knew that we had been instructed to prepare the members through the 4 lessons, but we just assumed that didn’t apply in this circumstance. You cannot do that with God. His commandments ALWAYS apply. It doesn’t matter who it comes from as long as they are in the position to receive revelation. I know that God works through us, and he expects us to obey, and then he will make the miracles happen. Exact obedience brings blessings.
We also started teaching Merville’s brother, and guess what! His eyes sparkle too. He is just as golden as his sister. I hope that we can continue working through all the 21 day challenge referrals that Merville gave us! It is inspired!
Missionary work is the greatest.
Love you all!
P.S If possible can I have my homecoming not on Christmas? If it needs to be that works though!