I never know how to start out these emails. This week was another goodie. Sister Baker and I are still having lots of fun together, and all of her bruises are starting to heal. No more crashes this week, so that is good!
A while ago I think I mentioned Stephen, our investigator in a letter. This week we had a lesson with him, and he goes “my wife told me that this is the last time we can meet together.” We have been teaching Stephen for a long time, and he is one of the most prepared people I have ever taught. He gets dressed to come to church, but his wife forbids him to come. Anyways, when he said this my jaw dropped. I was like, “Does that mean that we can’t come back?” Then he told us about how him and his wife got into a huge fight and in the end they decided that he would take lessons until I leave, and then he will make his decision between the church and her. Oh boy. We are just praying that his wife will have a change of heart so that he can have the best of both worlds. Stephen wants this gospel and it hurts to see the agency of someone else getting in his way. The right time will come. I almost started crying through that whole lesson. I love teaching Stephen!!
Yesterday we were contacting. We were in our contact area, and we contacted an entire street without any success. No one wanted to talk to us. As we were walking to our bikes to go to our appointment, we hear a woman yelling at us to come back, We walked over to her and she let us inside. She then started to explain that she is a very spiritual person, and that she has been praying and asking God for a miracle. She then said that when she sent us away she felt terrible. She had sent away God’s gift to her. She then started to pray that we would come back, and the second she opened her eyes there we were walking to go back to our bikes. She is super sweet. It was interesting though because I was teaching her Dutch. She speaks Sranen Tango, and somehow I was able to understand her. The gift of tongues is real. We are excited to visit her some more!
Also as we were contacting we talked to this woman who was from Nederland. I have been having Sister Baker lead out on teaching and contacting lately (and phone calls which are pretty entertaining). The woman said that she was in Suriname because her father had passed away, and she was here for his funeral. SIster Baker didn’t understand her, and said “Leuk!” I tried to cover up the fact that she had just told this woman it was cool that her father died by just saying sorry over and over again. It didn’t work, and we got sent away. I do not miss the days of not understanding people. Been there done that!
I love my area, I love my companion! Life is good!
I am going to start this email with a random fact about Suriname. They watch three things on tv. Soccer, World Wide Wrestling, and the presidential election. They eat it up. For the last couple of months people have been pulling up beside us as we are biking or walking to ask who we were going to vote for, and then after the election they all congratulated us. EVERY SINGLE PERSON we talk to says “should I congratulate you on your president?” I love how into it they are!
This week was interesting for sure. Just to give you a piece I will tell you about our lesson with an investigator named Wintano. He is 9, and a ball of energy. His mom was just reactivated, and now we are teaching her son! We got there, and he walks out in this tiny, tiny towel. We told him to put on some clothes for our lesson, and he told us that he was about to shower, so he didn’t want to make his clothes smell bad. (Peolple “shower” like 5 times a day here. They also never wear clothes) We sat down for our lesson, and I made the mistake of sitting across from him. Bad mistake. He just set the towel on his lap and would lift it up to his face pretty often. I think I have seen too much of Wintano! Trying to teach a naked person is very difficult!
Yesterday I had a special moment. In April they are planning to do a temple trip. Problem is that no one is signed up. I realized that no one even makes the effort to go because they know they cannot afford it. I have received a testimony of the temple patron fund since I have been here, that is for sure. The members don’t understand it though, and so I wanted to help spread the joy a bit. They had the flyer on the bulletin board that no one looks at, so I took it down and started to talk to people about it and show them what I meant. One in particular really stuck out to me. The Kabelis. I walked up to Br. Kabeli and told him about it, and he just looks up with this huge smile on his face and tears in his eyes and goes “I heard about that, but I didn’t know it was real!” I was like “It is real, and you and your wife CAN go to the temple.” The spirit in that moment was incredible. I talked to President Verway, and we decided that it would be good if we put a big focus on that next week in classes.
We have been teaching this less active named Zr. Ria, and she hasn’t been able to read because she lost her glasses and couldn’t afford a new pair. On Tuesday I told Zr. Egbert, and she pulled a pair of reading glasses out of her purse and told us to give them to her. The next day we headed over there, and she was so excited! She put them on and opened her Book of Mormon and just started readign away! She then looks up and goes “I can read!!!” She went inside and showed her family. I hope this helps her to progress in the gospel!
I guess you could say it was a good week. Especially because we had zone conference and interviews this week, and now this coming week a 70 is going on a mission tour, so we are having another zone conference on Friday! I will be bearing my dying testimony though, so I am not looking forward to that. Two zone conferences in two weeks. Sounds like my kind of life!
I had absolutely no idea that Hailey was going on a mission! That is so exciting! She made the best decision ever. I cannot express how thankful I am to have served these past few months. It will be hard. SO SO hard, but it is also hilarious. Read Preach My Gospel now. I wish that I would have known it better. I love ya!
Well, we got our last transfer calls, and I almost cried on Saturday. I actually did cry at the zone conference because I thought it was my last, and President Egbert walked up to me and told me that I got to go to one more! Woot woot!
I love you all!
Well, this week was incredible as always! We had zone conference. This is the life! Zone conference every week. President Gonzalez from the seventy and his wife were there. It was fun. They are a super cute couple. He would just rip out the role plays from everywhere! His wife would be so excited when he chose her to be the investigator. The only problem was that that was my last one, and I had to bear my dying testimony. Sister Ashcraft went first, and she got us all crying, and then I went up and I was a wreck. I love my mission, and I am so happy to be here. I couldn’t sing the closing song at all! We said goodbye to the Egberts and President and Sister Gonzalez, and Sister Egbert goes “Don’t worry! I will have the real chocolate milk ready for you in 4 weeks.” I had a little panic moment there.
We had some cool miracles! We were teaching the relief society president and she mentioned her son, and we go “Has he ever met with missionaries?” She says “No”. “Well, does he want to?” Her again “No”. Then he rides up on his motorcycle! We talked to him and set up an appointment. We went back last night with President Verway, and we had an amazing lesson. Everything that Regilio (the son) was saying highlighted the restoration perfectly. We also gave his mom a chance to share her testimony, and we asked him what he was feeling, and he goes “There is so much that I don’t know. If my mom said that this is true, it must be true.” He then talked about how he wants to come to church! We committed him to read and pray, and we are going back on Saturday. It just helped me to realize that we never know who will accept the gospel and who will not. Sister Straal was unaware of her own son being prepared! How many people around us do we just assume don’t want to listen when they actually do?
We also had the opportunity to see how God throws a grenade in your plans to help his plans fall into place. On Wednesday, the Elders called and told me that I needed to find some keys to the office at the church. When we got the call we were just sitting down to have a lesson with Zuster Yetty. We called around to get the keys while we waited for her to come outside, and we were told that we had to be at the church RIGHT NOW if we wanted them. We told Sister Yetty that we would be back, and biked away! We got to the church to find our branch president’s wife sitting at the church, and no one else was there. She teaches seminary, and no one had shown up. She was looking pretty down, The keys that we came to pick up ended up not fitting, but we knew that we were sent there to help her out. We had an awesome lesson, and by the end her spirits were much brighter! Funny thing. Sister Yetty lives with a member of the branch presidency, so we could have just stayed there to pick up the keys. We were where we needed to be though!
Well, I hope you all had a great week! I love you. Have a happy thanksgiving!
Well, well, well. This week was another goodie! We got to go to the senior couples house for Thanksgiving, so that was a bunch of fun. I forgot how much I love potatoes. Man those were good!
We had some very interesting experiences with contacting this week. They were definitely testimony builders for me. We klopt at this one house, and a man walks out in a blue speedo. At first we were having a nice friendly conversation about Christ, but then I mentioned prophets, and he started yelling at us for a long time. He was calling us frauds because we were going around and purposely confusing people. I tried to nicely end the conversation, and he started yelling at me and telling me that I was insincere. We both bore our testimonies and he twisted our words to make us sound like terrible people. I mean I have had experiences like that before, but for some reason this one hit me different. When he finally let us leave he walked inside and slammed the door, and I broke down. We ended up going home real quick to pray to forgive him and to find the elect. Which we did! Moments like that remind me of why I am here. I would not be here in Suriname if I did not know that this church is true. Especially not for 18 months! Good news is we became super determined and we found a ton of new investigators after that. After the trial comes the blessings! Also, on our way here he pulled up next to us and told us God bless. Maybe he read the pamphlet that we left.
Wintano got baptized! It was a beautiful baptism. His mom was reactivated about a month ago, and since then we have had the opportunity of teaching him. He got confirmed, and then about ten minutes later he gave his first talk since it was the primary program. Little man is growing up!
Awkward moment though. One of the investigators that we dropped a few weeks ago showed up to the baptism thinking he was getting baptized. We had a very clear drop lesson, so I don’t know how that happened! He just sat in the back the whole time punching himself in the face because he was so bored. Yep, still not ready for baptism.
Random news that I got on Friday. We were doing Sister Bakers last day of training, and all the sudden we hear the ringtone for President Egbert go off. We pick up the phone, and he tells us about Sister Parker and Sister Vernes coming back to Suriname! They are back! We thought we were going to be in trios for the last few weeks of the transfer, but they got an apartment. Also, he told me that I am flying to Trinidad this Friday for MLC. That was a little unexpected. I only have 3 weeks left, and I am flying to Trinidad twice. Just let me be in Suriname!
So yeah, that is the news from me! I hope you all get to start out December great!
Happy birthday to Lex and Land this week! I’m sad I am missing another one, but I hope you two have the best birthdays ever! Love you both.
Wasn’t the women’s session of conference just incredible? If you haven’t watched it yet I highly recommend it. My favorite speaker President Uchtdorf spoke, so that could be the reason why I enjoyed it so much. Some how he always says exactly what I need to hear. In our mission President Egbert has been pushing this thing called a designated area. We have divided all of our areas into about 8 subareas, and then we prayed to know which one we need to focus on. The goal is that we will knock on every door in the area so that we can reach as many people as possible. We have seen many miracles this way already. What President Uchtdorf said rung with our designated areas! He spoke of some elders who knocked every single door in a four story apartment until they reached the last one and that is where they found success. So many times we start things, but when trials come up we stop. We need to keep pushing forward and we will find success. I am excited for the day when I will be able to say that I knocked on every single door in our designated area.
This week we had a chance to get back in touch with our investigator Stephanie. It was amazing! We had basically given up on her since she was never home and never answered her phone. On Wednesday we had a little bit of time and we were in her area, so we decided to give her one last chance. She was home! We noticed now that we have been drawn back to that area time after time. Now we know the reason why. We needed to talk to Stephanie. We sat down with her, and she opened up immediately about how her brother had died a few years ago and that she felt that she would be able to live with him again. We had a great lesson about eternal families, and then we set up a return appointment for Friday. That lesson, boy I don’t know where to start with that lesson. We taught her about the restoration. It was one of those times where I remembered that we aren’t actually teaching. We are helping the spirit to remind her of things she already knew, and she did know them. I think that is one of the best lessons I have had my whole mission!
Other awesome news. Since I have entered Kwatta we have been teaching Ravi. He is an active member, but he was pretty dead spiritually. I don’t know what kept him coming to church. It has been fun to see him grow! When we first started teaching him he would not talk. Not one word. Those lessons were very difficult and awkward sometimes. Then little by little he started to have a few spiritual experiences. A couple of weeks ago we walked in to the chapel, and he was sitting behind the sacrament table! We talked to him this week, and his eyes were lit up like crazy. He is excited about the gospel again. It was the first time he had blessed the sacrament in over a year. He told us that he wants to be worthy to bless the sacrament every week, and that is what helps him to make important decisions. There is a completely new light in his eyes that was missing before. Only the gospel can do that.
Fun story about contacting in our contact area. We were going down this one street, and we were actually having some pretty good success. We got to this one house and the man inside goes “I’m a missionary too!” He then was like “Do you want to visit my church on Sunday?” We start talking and I was like “that is great that you are making sacrifices to show your faith in Jesus Christ.” We asked what church he is a missionary for, and then he asked us. The second that the name of the church came out of my mouth he runs off of the porch towards and and he is like “You are in the wrong church! You don’t have the holy ghost!” He then starts yelling at us as he is speaking in tongues, and he goes “If you can’t do that you are in the wrong church.” He stormed off, and Sister Ashcraft and I just sat there a little speechless for a bit. It was a good time. That man has it a bit turned around. If you can do that you are in the wrong church. God is not behind something that makes you feel so dark and empty inside. He is only behind happiness and peace!
We had a fun week. We are enjoying our little fling transfer together before we go train for our last two! It has been a blast to work with Sister Ashcraft. We are going to make this last week together one to remember. I wish our time was longer.
I love you all. It was sad to hear about Tara. I hope that she can recover quickly! Have a great week!
This week might be a pretty short one. I will tell the fun news though! Next transfer I will be staying in Kwatta, and I will be trainign Sister Baker. It will be a bunch of fun! I am guessing that I will spend a total of 8 transfers in Tammenga branch and 7 in Kwatta. Good thing I like it here!
This week was probably the closest thing we had to vacation as missionaries. On Friday we had zone meeting, and then conference the next two days. I think that is the least I have ridden my bike in a very long time.
Conference was incredible. I feel like every talk was written just for me, so sorry for the rest of you! The first talk was a sign to me of God’s love for me. In this hard time for our family with Grandpa’s passing God sent Dieter F. Uchtdorf to remind me of the Plan of Salvation. He knew exactly the message I needed to hear, and exactly I needed to hear it from. Gado Bigi! The whole conference I was amazed at the profound impact all of the talks gave me. They all hit right to the core.
President Egbert told me to write of two of my favorite memories of Grandpa, so here are two of the many!
I think first is Hissy cat. That cat was so mean, but somehow he loved that thing. As grandkids we would not go anywhere near him we were so scared. If we saw him in a hallway we needed to walk down, we would decide that whatever was at the end of the hall was not important enough. If Grandpa could love that cat, he could love anything. He had a real appreciation for God’s creations.
Another is when I lived in Cedar City, and Grams and Gramps were in St. George at their resort. I went down to visit one evening, and we went to Olive Garden with Reva and Keith. That was a blast. Gramps of course ordered something adventurous. I think it was squid, and passed it around for all of us to try. It was fun to have the chance to talk to everyone. That was a fun night!
I will tell one miracle. We have been teaching Donovon, Ivan, and some other kids for a while, and working on getting the parents to sit with us. We had some crazy last minute schedule changes because the Egberts were coming into town, and so we had a chance to go to their house that we wouldn’t have otherwise had. We got there and their dad was sitting on the porch! We taught him, and all the boys gathered around. He gave permission for his sons to get baptized, and he wants to follow the lessons and check out what his sons are so excited about. That was incredible. We would not have been able to meet with him if our whole day didn’t fall apart. God truly lets things fall apart so that He can put it back together the way He knows is right.
I love you all! I will talk to you next week!
Hey all, I would like to announce the birth of my daughter, Zuster Baker. She is awesome. She is from Arizona, and she went to Boise State for college. Sister Baker is such a fun person to be around. She is always happy. Also, if you would like to meet her she is on the TV show “Behind the Mask”. She was the mascot for Boise State and also her high school. I LOVE being her companion. She is catching on to things pretty fast.
This week we had some MIRACLES! Must have come from our fasting. We had an incredible lesson with Mike. We talked about how the only way that he will be able to find direction in life is through the gospel. Through Reading, Praying, and going to church. He has had it kind of crazy the last few months, so he has only been able to make it twice. The lesson hit home with him, and the next day he was at church with his two cute daughters. They had a blast in the nursery, and he was able to enjoy our gospel principles teacher tell us that we can get sealed to our non member family members in the temple while they are still living without them present. Gospel Principles is always a good time. They sure love to keep missionaries on their toes here!
It was a special moment for me yesterday at church. There is this active member Zr Yetty, and she is the most incredible member missionary ever. She breathes the gospel. The other day we went to her house, and she was having a hard time. She had been slapped in the face with a couple of her weaknesses, and she was feeling pretty down on herself. Sister Ashcraft and I then shared classic Ether 12:27, and talked about how weaknesses are opportunities for growth. That God gave them to us out of our love. Then we also expressed how many times our weaknesses seem to be linked to our strengths. Maybe someone is entertaining to listen to, but they aren’t the best listener. The spirit was amazing in that lesson, but I didn’t realize how much it actually effected Zr. Yetty. At the beginning of church she leaned over and asked for the scripture that we had shared with her. I then handed her the page from my scriptures since it is torn out from using so much, and we both had a good chuckle. She got up in testimony meeting and started bearing her testimony of how God sends people to us right when we need them. She then shared that story above. It felt nice to know that I could give back a little to the woman who helps missionaries so much.
I love this gospel. When I think of the way I used to be, and the people whom I teach used to be I am astounded. None of us are even close to the same people. This gospel really is the only way to find enduring peace. No matter what comes our way!
I love you all!
PS. Mom, do you think that it would be possible for me to get that Dutch book grandpa gave me when he found out that I would be Dutch speaking? It would mean a lot to me if you could save it in my preschool sweet. Love ya!
Well, it has been another fun week! I love my companion. Sister Baker is absolutely hilarious. We have eachother cracking up the entire day. When we go out teaching I will just be going along, and she will be sitting there clueless to what is happening in the lesson since it is in Dutch, and then I will just look at her and wait. She knows the look I give her when it is her turn to talk. Sometimes we sit in silence for a long time while she figures out what to say, but it is always worth it. She has an incredible testimony! I call her the little cherry on top to all the lessons.
We had some interesting experiences this week. So one of the members has been teaching me a bit of chinese the past couple of weeks. We were at a chinese winkel, and I decided to try it out! The man was very nice. Our whole conversation was going between chinese, sranung Tango, and Dutch. We did whatever we could to communicate. It was a good time. I made a new friend!
We also contacted this HUGE family. We were so excited to teach them, and then when we showed up we realized that only the kids knew Dutch, and that the parents only speak Sara Mcans. Goodness this country has a lot of language barriers. We had a very interesting lesson about the Book of Mormon. At least we all got along really well. Now whenever we bike past all the kids yell “Sister Baker!” They can’t figure my name out… They were such a cute family though!
We had some random miracles. We were contacting in our contact area, and we had biked past this one house we had contacted before, but there was a different man outside. We decided to turn around and talk to him. Problem is that when we got back he was gone! He had gone back inside. We klopt a couple times, and it seemed like no one was coming out. I started to count down from 5 to signal that we would leave at one, and right when I hit 1 he came out! He is super cool! He has great potential! I guess he met with the elders years ago, and they would come almost everyday to teach him, but they got transfered and no one ever came back. He since then had moved. We are excited to continue to work with him!
On Thursday our appointment fell through. We were at the church since that is where we were all going to meet, and there were some members, and they all wanted us to teach them! It was a fun lesson. There were about 5 active brothers that we were teaching. They are all also in either the district presidency or the branch presidency. It was nice to be teaching dedicated priesthood holders. Our area doesn’t have too many of them, and getting to teach a bunch together was great. We talked about Heavenly Father and who He is. It was an incredible lesson! It is nice to teach dedicated members. We motivate eachother. They motivate us to keep spreading the spirit that we felt, and we motivate them to keep going!
I love Suriname. This is definitely the place I am supposed to be right now in my life. I love you all! Have an incredible week.
Well, for me this week flew by! Saturday night when we were planning for the next day I was absolutely shocked that we had church the next day. I couldn’t believe it! It was a fun week though. Right now it is mango season, so everywhere we go we get handed about 10 mangoes. Somehow we are supposed to eat all those! Good thing I like mangoes a lot!
We had a really cool lesson with a less active member named Jaymian. It was about the Book of Mormon. At the end of the lesson he goes “You know what? In Koewarison (another area) the elders just leave a copy of the Book of Mormon on the fence, and no one touches it. No one is even curious to see what is inside. If there was a wallet sitting there it would be gone in 2 seconds! Little do they know the Book of Mormon can make them way richer than any wallet can. If only people would just open it and read the treasure inside.” He has such a good point. We all tend to chase after the money and the cars, the cool jobs, the fame, but we forget about the treasure we have such easy access to. The Book of Mormon is incredible!
I also realized that I have become such a typical missionary. Jaymian said something about getting home at 11:00pm on Saturday night, and I was like “Where do you go?!” I was completely shocked that someone would dare to be out at such an hour.
On Saturday night there was a fun little rainstorm. It was Sister Baker’s first rainstorm in Suriname. We were Sitting at Jenny Dinge’s house, and it was super loud, so we are yelling at each other to be able to hear. All the sudden a lightning bolt struck, and all the power everywhere was gone. It was completely dark. We all crowded around the little light Sister Dinge had on her phone, and we had an incredible lesson about Jesus Christ. That moment is a precious one for me. I will always remember it. Just the warmth of the spirit as we sat around and talked about so many miracles He did just for us. The zone leaders called and told us we weren’t allowed to leave, so we ate some hotdogs and watched “Finding Faith in Christ” to spend the time. It was fun!
It was a good week. I love it here in Suriname. There are so many special moments I do not want to forget. I wish I had a camera team following me around so that I could have every second on video.
I love you all!
Where to even begin with this insane week!? Holy cow. I thought that basically all the crazy memories I would make on my mission were already past, NO NO NO. This week was definitely one to remember. This is a direct quote from Sister Baker “I had to have on of these weeks sooner or later to see what missionary work is actually like.” We were biking around with our heads chopped off! Here are some of the things that happened. Maybe I will just start with Wednesday.
In 24 hours Sister Baker crashed 3 times. What happens is we will be biking, and somehow our tires will get intwined, and next thing I know I look back and she is trapped under her bike, or her bike is trapped under her. The last time. Oh man. I have tears in my eyes because it was so funny. She crashed and just yelled “Not again!”. I look back and she is just laying on the ground. I busted up laughing, and there was this nice Hindu man standing there in shock. His mouth was just hanging open the whole time. We dusted her off and we were on our way and he was completely confused and walked over to the spot she fell and inspected it. Poor man probably had a heart attack.
Sister Baker almost got eaten by a cow. I wish I had a photo of their staredown. Bahahaha!
We met a crazy man who told us that the people who killed Jesus are going to kill us because we are letting our testimonies shine. He then said that Jesus is going to send him to go and kill all the people who crucified him. The whole time he was talking he was spitting all over the place. It looked kind of like foam. It also got all over me. What a good soul.
Now we will move on to some other days. SO, Yesterday was Diwali. It is huge here. On Saturday night the Hindu people have this parade/ march thing around the whole city. They just so happened to have it the whole time we were biking home. Every road we needed was full of the parade. We had a curfew to make, so we decided to try and pass it. Did we end up accidentally being part of a Hindu parade. Yes. Was it fun? Yes. Did they give soda to us confused white girls with helmets while they were laughing? Yes. Did I spill that soda all over myself while I was biking and then go home to take a shower to find there was no water after I had already completely lathered myself on soap? Yes. That was a very memorable day. Good news is that we have water now and that I am clean from all the soda, and I can say that I was the special guest in a Hindu parade.
We also had a lesson with Donovon and Ivan/ the sannas. They all got in a huge fight and didn’t listen to a word we said. Then yesterday none of them came to church. I think Sister Baker and I accidentally started a riot. Oops.
Yesterday though. So much food. We just so happened to have appointments with ALL of the people who used to be Hindu, but still celebrate Diwali. I think I am still bursting at the seams. This skirt was a whole lot looser last time I wore it!
Today is halloween, so we decided to visit some Jewish ruins. It was a graveyard. Perfect way to celebrate. No one else here celebrates halloween though. It was fun. I drank some “mineral water” It was basically just water that was yellow coming from the ground. Tasted like water. Surprise surprise.
We did have some cool lessons though. For sure! We taught Wintano, and we asked if he would pray and ask if Joseph Smith was a prophet. Immediately he bows his head and starts praying, and then he opens his eyes and goes. “Yep!” He had such a big smile on his face. We were just asking him to do that before we saw him again, but hey, that works! He is on date for 26 November.
I love you all!
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!
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!