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, 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)

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