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

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Old and New

We just had transfer week and, again, we welcomed some fine new missionaries and sadly, had to say goodbye to some wonderful friends.

Here is the impressive new group - Elder Vaea, Romney, and Lubberink

And here are our old friends - Elders Roberts, Bishop, Doumbia, Alexander, and Shideler

Here they are getting into a little mischief (egged on by President Robison) replacing a statue that we keep trying to get rid of.

This is what happens as we switch the two groups - a crazy busy mission home

New Elder Vaea showing us how to make a delicious Tongan mango drink

Elder Sturdevant and Mundy (zone leaders) splitting up

Elder Lloyd going to Guyana

Elder Alexander going home to Texas and Elder Doumbia going home to Paris, France

Do new Elders Romney and Lubberink look nervous? Not at all!

Lots of eating, drinking (water), and visiting

Mission Blessings

I try to keep this blog about the missionaries and not about my husband and I. But today I just have to share one of our mission blessings.

We left home in July 2006 with these ten sweet grandchildren - eight granddaughters and two grandsons

Here is what has happened in 2008 - and we only have four married children!

Baby boy Mason - born in March (on President Robison's birthday!)

Baby boy Jeremiah - born in May

Baby boy Jack - born in August

and yesterday IDENTICAL TWIN BABY BOYS Henry and James joined our family

I know - enough pictures! But I love this one with the orange hats

This army (basketball team?) of future missionaries is one of our precious mission blessings

We now have eight granddaughters and seven grandsons

The two hardest things are:

Not being home to help out

Getting a picture of all fifteen grandchildren (or at least of the five boys)!

Monday, November 24, 2008

An incredible weekend

November is a month focused on gratitude in the West Indies Mission. In fact, gratitude has been a theme woven throughout the entire year.

A few months ago we all studied King Benjamin's discourse in Mosiah 2-4

"O how you ought to thank your Heavenly King" (Mosiah 2:19)

We also discussed Elder Eyring's masterful conference talk on gratitude - O Remember

"find ways to recognize and remember God’s kindness"

At the beginning of the month we gave each companionship this document to post on their walls

The picture is from a baptism at a beautiful waterfall in Guadeloupe

So - what happens when we spend a month in gratitude?

Wonderful things so far

This weekend the West Indies missionaries confirmed sixty-nine people as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. With one week to go in the month, the elders and couples have had 211 confirmations in November. This may be the best month ever in the West Indies.

We heard testimonies from a few of the Trinidad new converts in our 'every-six-weekly' mission home fireside last night. They are wonderful, strong, committed new members.

Here is Ashton, one of the newly baptized members, with Elder Farrer (who is on a flight home with Sister Farrer at the end of a a powerful mission as I type this)

Ashton was baptized Saturday, confirmed Sunday, and bore his testimony Sunday night. Here is a story Elder Farrer told me about Ashton's path to baptism:

Last Friday night, Elder Shideler (finishing his mission this month) and Elder Noah (just started his mission) stopped by to see Ashton but his house was dark and it seemed that no one was there. They walked on down the street to see another appointment. When they were finished Elder Shideler said, "We need to go back." Elder Noah wondered why but they passed by and Elder Shideler yelled into the dark house. Ashton stuck his head out and said, "I'll be right out." But then he delivered sad news to the elders, "I don’t think I'll be baptized. I'm just not sure I can keep the commitments." This hit Elder Noah hard so he bowed his head and started praying inside that the Lord would touch Ashton’s heart and change his mind and that he would have confidence that he could keep his baptismal covenants. As soon as Elder Noah finished his private prayer, he glanced up and at that instant Ashton looked him in the eyes and said "I want to do it."

In his testimony last night, Ashton spoke with confidence and gratitude for the wonderful feelings he had and he expressed firm conviction that he is on the right path. He will be a great blessing to the new Point Fortin Branch in Trinidad.

The baptism - Elder Farrer, Ashton, Elder Noah, Trevor (also baptized Saturday), and Elder Shideler

Elder Palmer (who also baptized) and Elder Noah - happy missionaries doing what they do best

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hello and Goodbye to Trinidad Couples

We gathered in Trinidad last night to welcome the Barnes and Palmers and say goodbye to the Farrers who leave Monday morning and the Colemans who leave December 16th.

How do we cope with change?

We chat

We eat

and eat

We celebrate a birthday

We enjoy making new friends

Palmers (Auditing and Training)

Barnes (South Trinidad)

And appreciate the blessings of serving with old friends

Colemans (St Martin and office)

Farrers (St Lucia and South Trinidad)

And then we shout

"Hurrah for Israel!!!"

Thursday, November 20, 2008

December Zone Conferences - "never did fall away"

We are back from our training with Elder Bednar, Elder Gonzales and the area presidency and their wives. It was wonderful! Now we are looking towards the next round of zone conferences - the last of 2008.

Here is the schedule:

Wednesday Nov 26 - transfers

Zone Conferences:

Monday Dec 1 - Suriname
Wednesday Dec 3 - Georgetown, Guyana
Saturday Dec 6 - Canje, Guyana
Tuesday Dec 9 - Island (in St Lucia)
Thursday Dec 11 - French (in Guadeloupe)
Tuesday Dec 23 - Trinidad (in the mission home)

We will be sharing some things we learned from Elder Bednar with a focus on how to stand firm in the gospel - ourselves and those we teach.

Here is an interesting study you could do to join your sons:

Carefully read Lehi's vision in 1 Nephi 8 and figure out why some stayed firm and others fell away, even after tasting the fruit. Elder Bednar suggested that the fruit is the Atonement and the tree is Christ. Other interesting questions are:
  • Are there any parallels between the influence of the large and spacious building and what is happening in the US today?
  • What do we need to do to protect ourselves?
  • What can we do to help others be converted unto the Lord and never fall away (Alma 23:6)?
  • Are there others in the Book of Mormon who stayed firm?
  • What caused them to remain steadfast?
  • Are there things missionaries can do to help those they baptize stay strong?
  • What can missionaries do to prepare to stay strong after they return home?

Those are some of the things we will be talking about (I think - we are still in the planning stages).

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Picture of the Day

We are away from the missionaries for few days, so my camera has been idle. But I am starting to go through the photos they gave me for the next slideshow. I thought it might be fun to share a 'picture of the day' occasionally when I come across something fun.

Here is my first Picture of the Day (taken by Elder Mundy):

Doesn't Elder Guy look determined as he and Elder Barton perform this baptism in Tobago? You see, there is no font in Tobago so baptisms are done in the sea. Occasionally, the water doesn't calm down and cooperate. But dedicated Elders always find a way to get the job done. They told me that the water looked somewhat calm when they walked out but just as they finished the baptism a big wave rolled in. They quickly moved to shield and steady the young lady and took the hit themselves.

Here are a few more pictures of the baptism:



Missionary work is the best! (Elders Barton, Mundy, and Guy)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Traveling for a few days

We will be gathering with the Caribbean area leaders and mission president couples to be trained by Elder Bednar this week. We are excited to learn how to make this mission better for all the members, missionary couples and young elders.

Trinidad Youth in the New Era

There is a wonderful story in the November 2008 New Era called "Believe it to the Bone"

You can download a pdf of the entire issue here

Thursday, November 13, 2008

We may be old, but we're not dead yet!

(Sister Leishman, who impressively made today's trek despite rebuilt knees, named this blog post)

The Trinidad senior couples of the 'O'zone of Trinidad went on a journey today

Last Monday the Trinidad (younger) Elders came to Maracas Waterfall for a fabulous zone meeting. You can read about it here.

Not to be left behind - the senior couples decided to make the same hike - actually more of a mountain climb, but the reward was sweet.

"That will be $100 tt please" - Elder Coleman

Up we go

Elder Collins, our nature guide

First we climbed up to the large upper waterfall

A stunning sight

Who is that man? (oh - it's President Farrer)

He is having too much fun

We know where he learned to have fun - Sister Farrer!

Hurrah - we made it!

Next we climbed halfway down and detoured to a gorgeous series of waterfalls and pools

A couple of (intentional?) slips led to a few splashes

This particular splash was made by an (unnamed) senior missionary complete with shoes and missionary tag

Another unnamed senior missionary (last name begins with 'C' and ends with 'man') crept up behind President Robison to give him a little scare and just he was about to pounce, slipped and landed in the water. Lesson learned - don't ever try to startle a mission president

We returned to find the mission van had been broken into but oddly enough, everything was found piled by a nearby rock minus $100 tt (about 17 USD) and one towel. All charge cards, cell phones, and the rest of the money were untouched.

The angels must have been kept extra busy watching over us today