We have frozen this blog as a historical, yet informational view at what life is like in the West Indies Mission for all those called to serve. This blog was designed for the families and friends of those missionaries serving in the West Indies Mission from July 2006 to July 2009. Every six weeks, photos taken at zone conference as well as a new slide show including every person baptized were posted on the blog. All of the slide shows are also available on our You Tube channel. The current West Indies Mission blog can be found here. Posts on our missionary experience can be found here and earlier. And finally, if you are a returned missionary who served in the West Indies, there is a current blog for you. Click here or visit westindiesrm@blogspot.com

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Still traveling

We just had an excellent island zone conference. Unfortunately we are still having internet access trouble. We return home tomorrown (Wednesday) night. I will get caught up then (I hope).

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The "French Side"

(note - I am in Guadeloupe and couldn't get video clips to upload. I will add them in a few days)

That's what we call the French speaking missionaries who serve in Guadeloupe, Martinique, St Martin, and French Guiana. Elders in French Guiana attend the Suriname zone conference. The others join together in Guadeloupe every six weeks. We had a great conference with them on Friday. They are the 'fine gentlemen' of the mission who started the tradition of wearing crisp, clean long-sleeved white shirts to zone conference.

Don't they look great?
From Sept 08

From Sept 08

Here they are bit by bit
From Sept 08

From Sept 08

From Sept 08

From Sept 08

They're not being irreverent here - we do lots practice in zone conferences. Here the missionaries are planning a short doctrinal lesson to help strengthen members and bring the spirit before asking for a referral.
From Sept 08

We use what is called the 'training model'


Sometimes explaining gets really fun - here the assistants are explaining how important it is for members to trust missionaries.

From Sept 08


From Sept 08

From Sept 08



The Tahitian Elders sing like big strong angels

Lunch is always wonderful on the French side.
From Sept 08

The elders sang a 'thank you' to Soeur Monluis for fixing the lunch.
video here

Sadly, this is the Malmrose's last zone conference. They served an incredibly effective mission on the "French side" and blessed the lives of many many people.

Happily, the Collings are here to continue the Malmrose's great work. They are an amazing couple who learned French during their previous mission in France. They are ready to get to work!

What do we do after zone conference?

Clean up

Set up

Have a little fun

et dites 'au revoir'

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Rubber Duckies

On the day we were trained by President Dorenbosch (the previous mission president) he shared the perfect metaphor for managing a mission:

Being a mission president is like leaning over a bathtub and trying to keep 120 rubber duckies under water at the same time. Just when you get one area in control, a few duckies pop up across the way. You reach for them and that lets others pop up. You fix that situation and another group pops up

and so on and so on and so on....

He was exactly right. Now, when I see a certain look on my husband’s face after a phone call, I ask, “rubber ducky?” And he nods, yes.

Rubber duckies, have been anything from losing two missionaries for three days on a volcano, to angry immigration agents deporting missionaries, to missionaries breaking mission rules.

Last year I gave my husband a big box of little rubber duckies for Christmas. He now has displays of them at home and in the office - to remind him to stay watchful.

For some reason we have had a lot of “rubber duckies” lately.

All I can figure out is - the first stake in the West Indies must be coming soon.

We want every missionary to be exactly obedient and receive the blessings he deserves. My husband often tells the missionaries, “it is your job to baptize. My job is to see that a miracle takes place within you!” We are determined that those miracles will happen.

I added information about internet usage (source of a few rubber duckies recently) in “Parent’s Information” on the mission website. Please take a look so you can help your missionary stay ‘in the water.’

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Traveling on the French Side

We are traveling through St Martin, Guadeloupe, and St Lucia until next Wednesday. Internet is not great on the French side - so I'm not sure how blog posting will go. I'll try.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

They work hard in Trinidad!

It was zone conference today in the mission home - can you tell?
From Sept 08

The missionaries sure do work hard! Will Elder Shideler's shoes survive his last month and a half?
From Sept 08

They were well prepared and ready to learn
From Sept 08

In zone conference we study hard
From Sept 08

have fun (Elder Vance trusts his brothers!)
From Sept 08

and practice practice practice
From Sept 08

From Sept 08

From Sept 08

From Sept 08

From Sept 08

From Sept 08

The senior couples make great role play partners for getting member referrals

These missionaries have faith to find!

Trinidad North zone
From Sept 08

Trinidad South zone
From Sept 08

And the newly named senior couples O-zone ('older' zone) minus the Colemans who dashed to the office. The Guyana couples have named themselves the 'twilight zone'
From Sept 08

Monday, September 22, 2008

Slideshow try

We flew from Guyana to Trinidad today and then had missionaries in the house all day for interviews. It was kind of hectic. In between getting pictures from them for the next slideshow and organizing a project to create a WIM photo gallery down one of the mission home hallways, I worked on uploading the new September slideshow. I wanted to try a new, clearer, even downloadable, higher resolution version. One of my sons has been experimenting and his video looks fabulous. However, everything seemed against me today. Even my son got online and played with it and concluded - "there must be a bug in the program today." :(

September 2008 Slide Show:

Tomorrow is Trinidad Zone Conference. I will take pictures and try to share - if my computer behaves!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Dallin's West Indies facts

We got the following email yesterday from our daughter-in-law Lisa (who happens to be expecting identical twin future missionaries!). I thought you might like to read some of the things she and her oldest son, Dallin discovered about the West Indies (with a few of my pictures and comments in green):

Here is the West Indies researcher - Dallin - our oldest grandson (9) and 'world traveler' standing in front of the Pitons of St. Lucia (his goal is to visit 10 countries before he is 10)

From Sept 08

(the May 2005 issue of Oprah Winfrey's O Magazine named St. Lucia and the Pitons as one of the "Five Places to see in Your Lifetime")

Dallin and I are spending our Friday night playing with his electronic globe. We are having fun learning fun facts about the places you visit on your mission. We wanted to email you the amazing facts that we learn. You probably know most of these.

- Trinidad and Tobago- They have a taxi called a maxi taxi that seats up to 25 people

That is what the elders ride - here's a picture of Elder Cotton and Elder Endemann in a maxi
From Sept 08

- Martinique- The 1902 volcanic eruption is considered the worst in that century

The eruption was from Mt Pelee - seen in the distance

From Sept 08

Mt Pelee is where the two missionaries, Elder Gray and Elder Swain, were lost for three days last December
From Sept 08

We hiked part of Mt Pelee - and it was NOT easy.

Here is what the path looks like

From Sept 08

Proof that I made it at least part way
From Sept 08

Because of the volcano, the sand at the beach nearby is black

From Sept 08

- Grenada- 2nd smallest independent country in the Western Hemisphere

I have posted lots about Grenada lately

- Suriname- pipa pipa . . . flat tongueless frog that only lives in suriname

I haven't seen that one - but we have frogs of all shapes and sizes in the West Indies - and some of them are extremely noisy
From Sept 08

From Sept 08

- Guyana- they have water falls 5x higher than Niagara falls (you have been there!)

Yes - Kaieteur Falls is the longest single drop waterfall in the world. You have to fly in on a small plane from Georgetown for an hour and a half over beautiful rivers and rain forest.

Here we are with the Dunns and Lockharts
(missionary couples who have finished their service). Bob Evans of Fox News fame took this shot and said it looked like the place coca-cola was invented.
From Sept 08

- St. Lucia- Has the worlds only drive in volcano

We've been there - stinky but interesting
From Sept 08

The best part is a hot stream flowing near the volcano with the strangest softest black mud - full of all kinds of minerals. Rubbing it on your skin makes it softer than anything else I have ever experienced - really!

From Sept 08

Here are Dallin's parents enjoying the 'treatment'
From Sept 08

- French Guiana- Largest spider in the world . . .the bird eating spider. Dallin wants to know if you have seen one

I haven't found that spider yet - but I will look for one (right)

If you dare - take a look at a few spiders the elders have found

Friday, September 19, 2008

More Guyana greatness - Georgetown and Diamond

We had a challenge getting to the zone conference today. There is a beautiful big new air-conditioned building in Patentia and that was our target. Unfortunately the Demerara river stretches between Georgetown, where we were staying, and Patentia. It is traversed by a floating bridge that closes to allow boats through a few times per day.

Here is what the Demerara looks like. It, along with every other river I have seen in Guyana, has brown or black water - full of nutrients from the rain forest.
From Sept 08

For some reason, this morning the bridge was closed longer than usual so cars, trucks, buses, and vans jammed up waiting to cross. One intersection ended up in a big mess.

First you need to know that road rules in Guyana are minimal (except the assistants almost got a fine and a ticket while driving us this week - but that is a story for another blog post). The number of lanes of traffic can increase at any time according to need and nerve. I am convinced that the mission van expands and contracts as necessary. Today four lanes met four lanes in a two lane intersection and things just got stuck - and it took over an hour to unstick.

Here is what we saw as waited on our 'two lane' road:

in front
From Sept 08

out back
From Sept 08

We arrived about 20 minutes late to wonderful a sea of pressed white shirts, green ties (not sure why, but it looked great), shining faces...

and shiny shoes
From Sept 08

I am amazed that those shoes walk every day along roads and paths like these
From Sept 08

From Sept 08

From Sept 08

The assistants tried out a new activity to show how scary it can be for members to bring missionaries to their friends.

Here goes Elder White - learning to trust
From Sept 08

From Sept 08

From Sept 08

The assistants taught the missionaries to love, serve, and teach the members in order to develop a trusting relationship and challenged them to teach one of the lesson points from Preach my Gospel chapter three every time they visit a member.

It's a new experience having four assistants teaching all together
From Sept 08

President Robison told some fun church history stories (his specialty). Here is one about Parley P Pratt just after he was arrested for preaching:

In the morning the officer appeared and took me to breakfast; this over, we sat waiting in the inn for all things to be ready to conduct me to prison. In the meantime my fellow travellers came past on their journey, and called to see me. I told them in an undertone to pursue their journey and leave me to manage my own affairs, promising to overtake them soon. They did so.

After sitting awhile by the fire in charge of the officer, I requested to step out. I walked out into the public square accompanied by him. Said I, "Mr. Peabody, are you good at a race?" "No," said he, "but my big bull dog is, and he has been trained to assist me in my office these several years; he will take any man down at my bidding." "Well, Mr. Peabody, you compelled me to go a mile, I have gone with you two miles. You have given me an opportunity to preach, sing, and have also entertained me with lodging and breakfast. I must now go on my journey; if you are good at a race you can accompany me. I thank you for all your kindness—good day, sir."

I then started on my journey, while he stood amazed and not able to step one foot before the other. Seeing this, I halted, turned to him and again invited him to a race. He still stood amazed. I then renewed my exertions, and soon increased my speed to something like that of a deer. He did not awake from his astonishment sufficiently to start in pursuit till I had gained, perhaps, two hundred yards. I had already leaped a fence, and was making my way through a field to the forest on the right of the road. He now came hallooing after me, and shouting to his dog to seize me. The dog, being one of the largest I ever saw, came close on my footsteps with all his fury; the officer behind still in pursuit, clapping his hands and hallooing, "stu-boy, stu-boy—take him—watch—lay hold of him, I say—down with him," and pointing his finger in the direction I was running. The dog was fast overtaking me, and in the act of leaping upon me, when, quick as lightning, the thought struck me, to assist the officer, in sending the dog with all fury to the forest a little distance before me. I pointed my finger in that direction, clapped my hands, and shouted in imitation of the officer. The dog hastened past me with redoubled speed towards the forest; being urged by the officer and myself, and both of us running in the same direction.

Gaining the forest, I soon lost sight of the officer and dog, and have not seen them since. I took a back course, crossed the road, took round into the wilderness, on the left, and made the road again in time to cross a bridge over Vermilion River, where I was hailed by half a dozen men, who had been anxiously waiting our arrival to that part of the country, and who urged me very earnestly to stop and preach. I told them that I could not then do it, for an officer was on my track. I passed on six miles further, through mud and rain, and overtook the brethren, and preached the same evening to a crowded audience, among whom we were well entertained.

(from the Autobiography of Parley P Pratt, chapter 7)

The missionaries were challenged to keep a list of their favorite 'open your mouth' scriptures in preparation for zone conference - verses that teach that those who prepare will be given what then need to say 'in the very moment' it is needed. This message is found all through the scriptures. It was a powerful experience hearing so many words about the Lord's blessings to those who teach the Gospel.

Here are a few of President Robison's favorite finding scriptures:

Alma 16:14
Alma 22:1,4
Alma 26:28-29
D&C 19:37
D&C 63:58

We had a beautiful musical number thanks to Elders Youngyen, Richardson, Young, Clark, and Vernes
From Sept 08

From Sept 08

There's plenty of musical talent here!

During breaks elders Vernes and Olsen improvised duets on the only organ in the entire mission
From Sept 08

The elders loved it
From Sept 08

Both Georgetown and Diamond zones are doing incredible missionary work. The Georgetown District (includes both zones of missionaries) is in the process of qualifying for a stake. The rapid growth of the church in this area makes it likely that a Guyana stake will be formed soon.

What wonderful missionaries!

Diamond Zone
From Sept 08

Georgetown Zone
From Sept 08
Every one of them, including the couples, bore their testimonies today. Here are a few thoughts I recorded:

"I stand among living legends - among men who know what it takes."

"Someone taught me there are two kinds of missionaries - those who are passively busy and those who are actively engaged."

"I know that the spirit will tell us what to say."

"What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail (quoting another missionary)?"

"The first time I taught, I sat with my mouth hanging open - it was so different than the MTC. I didn't know what to say. I have learned that if we trust the spirit, it will tell us what to say."

"I guess I learned to not doubt the thoughts that come into my mind."

At the end of the day, President Robison went out teaching with brand new Elder Ali and his trainer Elder Youngyen. He was impressed.
From Sept 08