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

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Island Zone Conference - April 28

Scriptures, planners, and the teaching record - essential tools for successful missionaries

We had a little break in our zone conference tour while President Robison attended some training meetings.

Now we are back at work

The Island zone conference in St Lucia yesterday was fabulous. Those elders were ready to learn!

I love it when the missionaries ask lots of questions - especially hard ones that I can't answer.

I also love it when I am the one that does the most learning.

That happened yesterday thanks to the questions and comments of the missionaries and Marlon - a wonderful prospective missionary.

Here are those great elders at work:





and practicing...

and practicing...

and practicing..

and finally - eating

The island zone conference gathers young elders and senior couples from four islands:


Elder Ison, the Rasmussens, and Elder Owens

St Lucia

Back - the Collins, Marlin (who plans to be the first missionary to serve from St Lucia), Elder Moala, The Fauxes
Front - Elders Endemann, Rosales, and Muse

St Vincent

Elders Biver and Montgomery (brand new), the Hattons, Elder Sarager, and in front - Elder Fisher


French speaking Elders Carlson, Maihota, West and Anihia

This was the first zone conference for the Rasmussens - who replaced the Woods in Grenada.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Success Stories - April 13

Elder Montgomery – St Vincent
We’ve been working with a man named *** for a few weeks now. (since before I was here) He was baptized in the Pentecostal church before and didn’t see the need to be baptized again. He said “Jesus was baptized once, so I will be baptized once”. Last night, we were teaching about the Priesthood and a light switched on over his head. “So that’s why you want to baptize me?!” We’ve been telling him over and over, but something about that night just made sense and now he is willing to be baptized for real. Can’t wait!

Elder Huntsman – Guyana

We met a man last Tuesday who said he wanted to be baptized but he drinks a lot and smokes. We talked up the game night the next night and invited him to come. He came and had a great experience with a member. Ever since that night he has not touched smokes or alcohol. He making great strides and it all started with the fellowship of that member.

Elder Jones (Blake) – Trinidad

This whole last week Elder williams and i were trying are hardest to plan efficiently, and to make it a habit. We saw so many people, and even though some plans fell through, i saw back up plans come in and rescue us. we did everything we could, and set goals for each day. As a result, we had 6 investigators at church, and even more trickled in, but after sacrament... If we plan to succeed, we will, if we don’t, then we we’re just "here."

Elder Jestice – Guyana
While checking a member this week we met a neighbor boy who was 15 who we'd never seen before. I decided to talk to him, hoping we could maybe go teach his family. He told us which area he lived in (there are no such thing as addresses in Crabwood Creek), and the next day we went to a different member in the same area to ask him if he knew the boy and his parents and where they lived. Luckily enough, he did, and he took us over there to meet them. Jackpot! There we found a huge awesome family, the ***, and were able to teach them all the restoration. The parents are married and both know how to read (the wife is a teacher), and were excited to learn more. This family will soon be kingdom builders here in Crabwood!

Elder Stebbing – Guyana
One thing that has been very successful this past week has been teaching with recent converts. Two recent converts in particular have really impressed me with the strength of their testimonies *** and *** have been having us go teach their friends, and they have helped us out alot by sharing their conversion stories and testimonies. I've never seen anyone so young in the church share such strong and powerful testimony. The guys that we've been teaching by them don't stand a chance against the power of their two vibrant testimonies of the restored gospel. Our recent converts have been a huge help.

Elder Averett - Guyana
This weeks success comes from working with a member. Sunday after church we set up to go on splits with a member to try and see the people that were at church so that we could set a date with all of them. I went with a young man that is 19 and is preparing to go on a mission. We had finished visiting all the people that we needed to and had a few minutes tell we were meeting back up. We had used this member several times before and I was not sure that he would have any referrals but I decided to ask him any way. He said that he had an old school mate that was living in the area but he had not seen her in like two or three years. He said that we could go and try and find her so we started walking and he looked and saw a house and he just goes "That is it I can just see her face in that house." So we went up and called in just then she came out and he said that is her. She went in the house to get some shoes to let us in. As she went in I had a flash back to a dream that I had at the very first of my mission and that the house was the very house that I had in my dream. It was so crazy and the spirit was there so strong in the lesson she prayed at the end of the lesson and said, "so what do I do just give up everything and follow this Joseph Smith or what?" It was such an amazing experience.

Elder Marshall - Guyana
We were on exchanges this week and we were doing some powerfinding out in sophia looking for some cool people. Nothing was really working out and we were starting to get discouraged but i said we cant stop until we find that family of five. A couple houses later we found a pretty cool family that was excited to have us there. We taught the restoration and committed them to be baptized. They accepted and their neighbor was there so we are going to teach his family as well. It is all about the attitude that affects the work.

Elder Clark (Jordan) - Guyana
We have been teaching a brother and sister since we arrived in Vreed en Hoop and they both committed to baptism on our first visit. Their father didn't agree with the baptism because they have already been baptized in another church. On our second visit, he told us they were both old enough to make their own decisions and he would not stop them from being baptized. We challenged him that night to read from the Book of Mormon and to pray to see if it was true. As of now he hasn't fulfilled his commitment, but he now tells us he is planning on coming to church and keeps asking us to come over and teach. If that isn't a success enough, the brother stopped drinking alcohol, tea bag, and stopped smoking after we taught the Word of Wisdom and extended the commitment. This just shows that the Holy Ghost has great power to change the hearts of men, when invited, and that our loving Heavenly Father will help us overcome any trial in order to continue living the commandments.

Elder Barker – Guyana
so there is this 74 year old man who was baptized less than two months ago, along with his 11 year old son. well this very faithful servant of the Lord, has come to church every Sunday since contact with the missionaries, and has had devotionals every morning with his 11 year old son earlon.
Thats not the best part yet, he has more sons and they work in the interior, and they havent been home for a while, well the sons are now home, and every single one of them and even their friends want to be baptized, they have felt the atonement in there lives, and it gives them a joy they say they have never felt, and want to make more changes in there lives, and get baptized, if this isn’t success i dont know what i;)

Elder Endemann – St Lucia
Wow success in Castries, this last week we were running late to an appointment but still on the way we had a prompting to contact this man, and what do you know this man of all times needed the gospel, when we contacted him we found out that he had been contemplating suicide, he even had a letter written and was on his way to the beach for what? i dont know, but all i know is that this man needed the gospel and he loves it he came to church sunday and now he is preparing to be baptized we are hitting him with 2 weeks notice.....talk about success

Elder Snow – Guadeloupe
this preparation day we were just winding down to take a nap, because we got up at 3:45 to see the sunrise at point de chateau.....so we were tired and right when i was just about to get into bed i thought (hey i think the story of the strippling warriors will be good for FHE tonight) we had already planned to watch "special witnesses of christ" but i decided to read through it anyways and pick out some good parts. so we go to FHE and the dad is wrapped up in the news and so we can't watch the movie. so instead we shared the strippling warriors and the son who has been wanting to get baptised in august changed his mind and decided that this week is his week.

Elder Kinghorn – Suriname
transfers ago, we taught a man that didn't want to listen. We left him a tract and didn't think anything else about it. He never touched the book again. However. his cleaning lady did. She started reading it everyday at work and gained a testimony that these things were true. So when the missionaries came to her door, she gladly let them in. And imagine my surprise at seeing her and her sons at the church as the most recently baptized members. We don't always know why we do what we do, or why we're where we are, but the Lord does. He has plans to bless all his children.

Elder Swart - Suriname
This week we where contacting a drunk guy on the street, so we where gone fast. But we checked his address. He wasn't drinking. We came in, taught the Restoration. He said in the end, together with his wife, with who he is lawfully wedded, They are searching for a church, and they want to come to the fireside on saturday and want to come to church sunday! Awesome! Blessing of getting contact!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Two LIttle Stories

In Tobago:

An investigator sister and her five year old daughter came to the Tobago branch last Sunday for the very first time.

Saturday night at 3:00 AM her daughter came running into her room and said, "Is it time to go to church yet???"

I think Elder Barton and brand new Elder Jarvis must have done a fabulous job teaching that family about the blessings of church!

In Guyana:

Elder Mulder shared this sweet experience in his testimony at zone conference. A sister who had been baptized for a few weeks was trying to put into words the joy that had come into her life as a member of the Church.

She said


That's what it's all about

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Special Gifts in Suriname

"We must seek after spiritual gifts. As we do with the intent to build the Lord's kingdom, with no motive but to accomplish the Lord's will, then the Lord blesses us."

I read that quote from Elder Neil L Andersen this morning in the Church News (April 18, 2009, p 6) and it reminded my of an experience in Suriname.

I was sitting next to my husband on the stand in the small Wanica Branch on Easter Sunday.

I noticed this beautiful young (19-20 year old) sister sitting at the keyboard.

You need to know that there are very few members who play keyboard in the West Indies. Generally we sing hymns A cappella - often without even a starting note. The chorister stands, hold up his or her arms and says, "three....four..." and then the congregation begins singing and makes their way to a unified key (eventually - or sometimes never).

We sang some beautiful Easter hymns that day and this sister accompanied us beautifully - with both hands. I was impressed.

After the meeting I went over and complimented her. I was stunned to find out that she had only been playing in earnest for three weeks. She had played a little with her right hand before, but three weeks ago Elder Vernes, the most talented pianist and organist in the mission, started coaching her. He told me she learned incredibly fast.

He had started her on "All Creatures of our God and King' a week earlier and she played it perfectly in church that day.

But that is not all....

Elder Vernes told me that Valerie has a little keyboard at home for practicing but lately it has been out of batteries. Her home (where she lives with her family including 3 or 4 sisters who are also members of the church) has no electricity. So she has been practicing by just running her fingers over the silent keys!

Here is another story from that same sacrament meeting in Suriname

The branch mission leader got up to bear his testimony and referred to Moses' call as a prophet when he told the Lord that he was "slow of speech" (Exodus 4:10).

This man said that when he joined the church he couldn't read and didn't have much school. He didn't even speak the language (Dutch). As a new member he accepted callings, studied and learned how to read. He said that as he read the scriptures he prayed for wisdom.

He testified:

"God loves his children. If we don't do anything we won't have success. We need to help the Church grow and our faith will grow. Five years ago I was not able to speak Dutch. Now I can speak and read Dutch and stand before you and bear testimony. Without this Church it would not have been possible."

It's amazing to see the gifts and power God has prepared for us as we turn to Him and do His work.

"And all these gifts come from God, for the benefit of the children of God." (D&C 46:26)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Friday in Georgetown

That was the sight waiting for us at the finish of our drive from Canje to Georgetown last Thursday

Georgetown and Canje zones gathered Friday morning at the LaGrange chapel - the largest zone conference in the mission.

We continued our focus on the topics of ordinances, goal setting, and planning

That's an impressive planner!

See that neat little graph on the left side? That's the 'funnel' - one of the powerful tools West Indies missionaries have learned to use to diagnose their work.

We had a number of prospective missionaries - including these two from Crabwood Creek learning to plan with Elder Parrish and Elder Ali

For break, happy happy elders devoured Sister Evans' famous homemade cinnamon rolls

Here they are - the hard working elders of Georgetown and Diamond

Elders Dayton and Mundy (in their very last zone conference) with Elders Marshall and Green

Elders Weiderhold, Chambers, Vaea, and French speaking Elder Tycksen (in his last zone conference too)

Elder Powers (brand new) and his trainer Elder Tupou

Elders Olsen, Lang, Gilley, and Worthington - having a little fun with my photo taking

Elders Barker, Lee, Christensen (brand new), and Findlay

Elders Parrish, Ali, and two prospective missionaries

Elders Damm Clark (Jordan - brand new), Clark (John) and Averett

Elders Moses and Daines

Elders Cotton and Brenkmann, a prospective missionary baptized just a few weeks ago! and Elders Stebbing and Mulder

It was a great conference - but sadly we had to say goodbye to Elders Mundy and Dayton since this was the last time we would see them during their mission

Sunday, April 19, 2009

April Slideshow - I want to be baptized

"I Want to be Baptized" - Clive Romney, My Eternal Family
"Baptism" - Clive Romney, My Eternal Family
"A Call I Hear" - Peter Breinholt, EFY 2000

To view full screen - click on rectangular icon at lower right of movie window

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Wednesday in Canje Guyana

Canje is sort of the 'frontier' of the mission. It's two hours away from Georgetown, the capitol of Guyana, and in a separate district. Living conditions are often challenging but the missionaries love it because they can always find wonderful people to teach and many are joining the church.

It takes great planning expertise to manage the rapid pace of the work

So here are the Canje elders - upping their planning skills in zone conference

Take a close look at the Canje and Berbice 'band of brothers'

Elders Duncan, Palmer, Risenmay and Manwill (brand new)

Elders Sorber, Lundberg, Huntsman and Peterson (brand new)

Elders Bowens, Jordan, Warhurst and Jestice

Elders Gaddy (brand new), Ritchey, Coronado and Scott

Elders Palmer and a prospective missionary plus Elders Welch, Willams, and Falatau

Elder Packer demonstrates how to sweep up - Guyanese style