Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Easter and General Conference! how lucky are we!!!!

March 29, 2010

Happy Easter Family and Friends,

I am not really sure how to say Happy Easter in Papiamento. All I know is how to say "holy week." Most people here are still in their catholic traditions and that's how they celebrate it. I am actually really impressed with the way that most people have planned to put their lives on hold and focus on the Savior this week and His sacrifice for us. I am so thankful for our Savior and for the resurrection. The fact is that because of Him we have the opportunity to live again after this life, and to be with our families forever. What a great blessing that is to us! Truly this act is the greatest expression of love that has ever been shown! I wish you all a Happy Easter! Enjoy the candy . . . but also the spiritual candy that we get on Saturday and Sunday!

I can't believe that it is conference weekend again already. It has come so fast! That's incredible! I feel like it was just yesterday that we were having October conference. Man time is just flying by. Ii almost want it to stop going by so fast. Before you know it it will be October again! I can't believe it!

Anyways, this week is transfers. I already told some of you about this possibility but now it is set in stone. So I will be the in the only companionship left on Curacao and will be serving a new companion. There will be two of us covering the whole island. And we are absolutely pumped to get to work. I am sad to see my time with Elder Jacobson come to an end. He is such a great missionary. But my new companion is great too! His name is Elder Wilkes and he is from Boise. He gets here on Wednesday but he was with me in Aruba and he and I got along really well so I know that we are both very excited.

So yeah, just us on the island. It is going to be a wonderful opportunity to get a lot of hard work done. But also to work a lot with the members. The area I am at right now is on the edge of the big city and covers about 3/4 of the island. The area has about 10 members in it. So being able to cover the whole island and work with everyone is going to be a lot of fun!

As far as the people in my area, The Burnabella family is doing just great. They are still working on their plans for the trip to Venezuela. Their faith is so strong that I know that everything is going to work out just the way that it should. They still haven't settled anything with the members in Venezuela but they are going to set it up in the next few days which should be exciting for all of us. We went over last week and Sister Burnabella asked if we would give her a Book of Mormon that she could share with her mom. She wrote her testimony in the Book of Mormon and gave it to her mother. This Sunday her mom came with her to church and she absolutely loved it! We are really excited to start working with her mom but we are also really excited to see the way that their testimonies have grown and to see the desire which they have to share the gospel! This family is going to be a strong family here for a long time and I am pumped.

We found a new lady named Erene this week. I love this story because she is reading and studying the Book of Mormon every single day and the light and happiness that has come into her life is just incredible. She knows that the Book of Mormon is true and she wants so badly to come to church. The hard part is that not a lot of people here have cars and so it is hard for her to get the 30 minute ride to church from one of her friends. The good news is that close by there are some members (the Royer family) who catch a bus to church so we are going to get them over to visit Erene this week and set something up. It is going to be awesome!

Anywho, that's about all that I have time for this week. We don't have a lot of time because 5 of the missionaries have to pack up and get ready to fly out tonight so I promised that I would be fast!

I love you guys! Have such a great week! And a great conference weekend. And have a lovely Easter weekend!

I love you guys so much! Have a great week!

A Huge Demonstration of Faith

March 22, 2010

Dear Family and Friends

I apologize in advance for the craziness that may happen with this email. The owner of this internet cafe is watching the news online and he is absolutely blaring the volume. It sounds like some big stuff is going on back home with the health care business. I am just glad that I am not there right now. I think I would be a little to contentious! It feels so good to be able to not have to worry about silly things like this. For the first time in my life I don't have to worry about it and I love it :) I am not trying to listen but I may not be clear in my writing because it's so loud and it's a little hard to concentrate

I hope that everything is going well back home! Has baseball season started up yet or is there still snow on the ground? Is it warming up or is it still cold and windy? It's cool down here because all of the kids have old bikes and kites. Those seem to be their hobbies. In the afternoon when we are tracting it's cool to look up into the Caribbean sky and see like 4 or 5 different kites way way up in the air! It's cool.

Anyways, as for the week . . . Elder Jacobson and I had a great week. It was fun to work in a trio for a little while but it was only for a few days because Elder Radmall's new companion came this Friday. So it was just a few days. As for the work we had some really cool experiences.

The biggest news from this week is from the Burnabella family. The very first day that I was here we talked about faith and about how we need to do all we can and the Lord would provide the way. They have really taken that principle and have applied it to their lives. For weeks they have been trying to work out someway to get married here in curacao. But because of the situation with passports and what not, it's just not going to be possible.

So what they decided to do this week is that they would fly the whole family down to Venezuela to get married. This is a huge leap of faith for them because a trip like that is not a cheap one. They are trusting so much in the Lord not only for this situation but also with the situation that they will have for the rest of their lives. Maedeline said that the only problem that they could see would be housing down there because hotels would be just too expensive. She said she was praying and something told her that the way would be through the church. We told her to get on lds.org and find out who the bishop is in Venezuela so that they could maybe stay with some members while they are down there! It was such a testimony builder to me because I have no doubt in my mind those members in Venezuela will welcome them and help them. We are all in one big church family even in two completely random countries.

Yesterday after church we had a lesson to reschedule their baptism and Clifton told us a great story. He said that he had filled out the request form for to get the two weeks off in April for the wedding. He said that his boss is a really strict Dutch guy and he wasn't sure how he was going to handle it. Clifton said that if his boss wouldn't give him the time off he was going to quit because getting married and being baptized was just too important and not doing it was not an option. He said he went in with the request and the boss ripped up the form and said "forget about two weeks, you have two months to do whatever you need to do! Just be back in two months to work for me again." We were completely shocked to see the way that God has just opened door after door for this family to allow them to be able to be baptized. I have no doubt in my mind that this covenant is the exact thing that our Heavenly Father wants for this family and we are so excited to see the future that awaits this awesome family.

We found a great new family this week. They just rock! We were toking doors one night at about 8 o'clock. We don't normally knock doors that late because, at least here in the Caribbean, most of the people are out by that time. And if they aren't out, they sure don't want to talk to some missionaries. But this family invited us right in. The mom and dad absolutely loved the gospel message we shared. It was cool! At first the dad wasn't really interested but as we talked more and more about God and the gospel, and about the pattern of prophets, he became more interested. When we asked him what he understood about prophets he taught it back to us better than I have ever been able to teach it. We were both shocked and we both took what we learned and applied it to our own teaching. It's cool how that works! Anyways, when we taught them about the apostasy they were all on edge. We left them with a cliffhanger and they want so bad to know about the restoration. We are really excited to go back and share the rest of our message with them this week.

We ate lunch this week with some members here in Punda. Punda is the big part of the city. We were in this restaurant that is like a huge cafeteria. The restaurant area is just a bunch of picnic tables all together. There are hundreds of people and there we were the missionaries and the members in this area of the restaurant. There was another another lady sitting in the area near us. I said "Hi" to the lady and she just glared at me. But after a while we started talking to her and she warmed right up. The members were so awesome with her and she fell in love with the two elderly sisters that had taken us to lunch. She told them that she wanted to come to church with them and that she was so thankful that she found two new friends. We ended up being able to teach her a first lesson and she gave us her address and told us to come by. I thought it was cool how much an effect these two sisters had on the lady. She sure wasn't willing to listen to the guys in the ties but all she really needed was the warmth of a friend and it completely changed her heart. It was an awesome experience!

Well I better get going. My time is running short on the computer today. I hope you all know how much I love you and how much your love and support means to me! Thank you for all of the letters and the love that you share. You will never know how much that means!
I hope you have a great week! I am glad BYU finally won one game in the tournament . . . finally! That was way cool! hahah Hoorah! Have fun enjoying the rest of the tournament for me!

Have a good week.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TRENT!!!! Did everyone fill out their brackets?!?!

March 15, 2010

Good Afternoon Family and Friends!

I hope that all is going well back home and that things are starting to warm up!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TRENT! You are turning 15 on the 15th! That is so awesome! Enjoy the BIG one five! It gets a little down played because its not the one with the car, but who cares! It's still great to be your age so live it up! Congratulations on making the freshmen team for Timpanogos! I am so happy for you! Keep up the good work man and know that I love you! HAPPY BIRTHDAY AGAIN!

Alright well I hope everyone is having a good day. This week was a great week for us. We had zone conference and interviews this week which was totally awesome. All of the missionaries from all of the other islands came here for the zone conference and so on Tuesday night we had 10 missionaries in our house. It was a great experience. It was fun though. Elder Jacobson and I had planned to make a big breakfast for everyone . . . sausage and eggs and yummy stuff. We awoke and went to light the stove and there wasn't any gas. So we went out to check if the gas tanks were empty and wouldn't you believe it, they were both gone! It was kind of funny. 2 one-hundred pound gas tanks got stolen when we had 10 missionaries in the house. Don't worry mom, all is well. We always lock up the house so they can't get in and the landlord is bringing more gas, so yeah, don't worry! Just one of those fun experiences you get to have in the mission.

Zone Conference was awesome. Our mission is focusing on a talk called "Seek Learning by Faith" by Elder David A. Bednar. It is a superb talk. We talked about ways we could improve our teaching to help our investigators become agents and learn for themselves. We have applied what we have learned and things are just going great!

OK and sorry for not talking about the baptism we had this week sooner in the email, but here it is! Saturday we had the baptism and it was quite the adventure. Things didn't go as smoothly as we would have liked. Most of it was our fault. It's a little difficult to pull off a baptism in a week, but we were able to get it done. Even though things didn't go as smooth as we would have liked, we were still able to get Christina baptized by her dad. After the baptism we invited them to share their testimonies and it was just incredible. The dad sounded so happy to finally have all of his children baptized and I couldn't help but think as I looked at this family that families can be together forever. It was so awesome. Christina got up and gave a great testimony she said "I know the church is true. I know that Jesus is our Savior and the Book of Mormon is true et cetera, et cetera, (Etc.?!?) Amen." It was so cute but so perfect. We all got a good smile out of that one.

On Saturday night Christina fell out of bed and broke her two front teeth. She was still a trooper and came to church on Sunday to be confirmed a member and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. I was amazed at how hard satan works to stop these things from happening. Even working on clean and pure 9 year-old girls. He does anything he can to stop another son or daughter of Christ from starting on that path to get back to Him.

Yesterday was awesome too. I don't know if you recall that Haitian family that I told you all about a few weeks ago, but yesterday they came to church and they loved it. The members responded to them so well, especially one member in particular, Jem. She's from Jamaica. One of the investigators is a 15 year-old girl and Jem said "that girl had such an amazing spirit about her. I love her to death! The mom was good too but that girl is amazing! Do everything thing you can to baptize her!" It was a really neat blessing for us because we have been trying to get them to church for so long. And with the baptism on Saturday we weren't able to focus on them. But the Lord blessed us with a huge blessing and they came and loved it! Mariana, the 15 year-old, usually works in the catholic churches on Sundays but she said she doesn't care about that anymore all she wants to do is be at our church on Sunday now! It was a great answer to hear.

Maedeline and Clifton are doing OK. They are still working on their marriage papers. The Consulate ended up not being able to do a lot, but they responded in the perfect way and just kept moving forward and trying hard to get those papers figured out! We are keeping the faith and we know that whatever the Lord wants to happen will happen! Keep us in your prayers! We need all the help we can get.

We are now a trio. We had a missionary who had to go back to Puerto Rico for some medical reasons. So now Elder Radmall, who came into the mission with me, is working with Elder Jacobson and I. We are pumped because we are all pretty similar in personality (we do crazy things) But smart things ;). Don't worry dad! But yeah, things should be good for the next few weeks!

Anywho, we hiked the tallest mountain in Curacao this morning and so I need to get going. The hike was awesome and I got some sweet pictures. But now I don't have much time to email so I have to get going! I hope you all know that I love you and that I am praying for you! Have a great week! I love you all!

Happy birthday again Trent! Have a good party for me! Don't eat too much!

Go Cougars! I see a final four in the future for sure!

I love you all, have a great week!

Baptismal Surprise

March 8, 2010

Bon Dia Famia I Amigonan,

I hope that you are all having a good day today. It was so sad to hear about the tragic accident that occurred back home this weekend. It brought tears to my eyes. I love the Fisher family so much and I was sorry that I couldn't be there for them this week. Fisher family, I love you guys and I hope you know that you are in my prayers! If any of you go to visit them this week give everyone a big hug for me, especially Br.o Fisher and Jordan. Tell them Elder Oviatt sends his love. Porter was always a great friend to everyone and I loved his smile! He's definitely preaching the gospel on the other side! I love you guys!

I hope that besides this tragedy everything else is going OK. It was great to hear that Austin won the big-time state championship game! Way to go buddy! How many state championship rings is that for you now?

Well this week has been a week full of the ups and downs, but we finished this week on a huge up. And I have a feeling that it's just going to keep going up and up and up so that's good. You are all probably wondering about the subject line that I used for this email so let me explain a little more.

Elder Jacobson and I have been working so hard to get our investigators to progress to the point where they could get baptized. It has been frustrating with Madeline and Clifton because they want to be baptized with all of their hearts but we just can't get them there because we have to wait on paperwork, among other things. Anyways we began to become very discouraged this week as we saw that all of our investigators and hopes for a baptism this transfer were slowly starting to fade away. We prayed all week that God would send us a miracle and that we would be able to figure something out this week. On Saturday we got our answer.

We have been working with a family in our branch and we were teaching them the plan of salvation on Saturday. All of them are members except for the youngest two children -- Christina who is 9 and their 8 year old son. We were teaching them the plan of salvation on Saturday and we asked the kids if they wanted to get baptized. They both agreed with huge excitement on their faces and then we asked the Dad if that is what he wanted for his children. He said that it was exactly what he wanted and he pulled out his phone so that we could schedule the day. It turned out that he would be gone at the end of the month and we wanted him to be here so we asked if he would be willing to do it this Saturday! He said that would be perfect! And with that our prayers were answered.

I realize the girl is only 9 years old, but hey! She needs to be baptized just as much as a 49 year old and she is an answer to our prayers so I'll take it. We went over last night and to see the change that has already come into their home is just incredible. The spirit was so strong and the kids were filled with so much excitement knowing that they would be baptized. I was so thankful that God blessed us with this great blessing. It is amazing to be able to participate in the baptism of somebody. It's such a blessing. And to see the change that comes into their lives is what makes it all worth it. It was a huge testimony builder no matter how discouraged or down things might seem God is always there and he always answers our prayers.

Things with Madeline and Clifton are going well too. We passed by on Thursday night and Madeline told us that it was looking like they weren't going to get married here. She told us they had a plan that they were going to go get married in Venezuela and then move again. We were both a little discouraged by that because we knew that if they left Curacao and went on with their lives Satan's hold upon them would get stronger and stronger and the likelihood of getting baptized would move farther and farther away. Anywho, we told her to call her lawyer in Venezuela Friday morning and we would pass by Friday night to see how it went.

All week we were feeling like we needed to take the ward mission leader over to their house to visit them. So Friday night we took him over. We asked Madeline how it went and she looked really sad. She said that the lawyer was gone and would be out of the office for a while. She was sad because their baptismal date keeps creeping closer and closer and she wants this so bad. She has so much faith and it was just hard for her to hear that bad news about the attorney. After hearing their situation the ward mission leader said "why don't you just go to the consulate?" He said "my aunt works there and she's a member of the church! She'll do anything she can to get you the papers you need!" We were all shocked and the story got even better when Madeline told us that after the lawyer's office had said the lawyer was gone she knelt in prayer and just asked Him to help with a little opening. She asked Him to open a door, a window anything. Saturday night she got just the opening by the prompting we had to take along perhaps the only person in Curacao who could help her. We were pumped and we can't wait to see how the rest of it turns out.

Other then that this week has just been full of excitement and adventures. It's great out here. I'm loving every minute of it.

Thanks again to all of you for all you do and for all of your love and suppor. We have zone conference this week which means we get letters and love and stuff that has been in Puerto Rico. President Martineau hasn't come down for 2 months so we are all pretty pumped!

I love you guys so much! Once again, please send my love to the Fisher family. The church is true and I know it with all my heart. And my favorite restored doctrine is that the true Church of Jesus Christ teaches that Families really are Eternal!

I love you all so much have a great week! Go cougars!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Loving Every Minute of it :) !

March 1, 2010

Bon Tarde to all!

I hope that you all had an amazing week this week and that you are all nice and safe and sound! It is crazy to think that February has already come and gone. Mckay told me that he is already done with mid-terms. I can't believe it! Time is just flying by but I am loving every minute of it and i just cant get enough. I know that by the end of this experience I will not want it to end so it's fun to try and suck out as much as you can in every single minute of every single day.

Curacao is great! I hope that my email last week didn't sound too negative. I love Curacao. It's almost exactly like Aruba but if you look at the sizes there is a lot of a difference. I know that it doesn't really look like it but believe me, Curacao is HUGE compared to Aruba.

The people here a great. They don't have a lot of Spanish speakers here and so we speak a ton more Papiamentu, and I have been trying really hard to get a hold of Dutch. I am sorry but those Dutch missionaries are truly blessed. That is one tough language. BUT Spanish is hard too :)

Elder Jacobson and I are getting along great. He hit his 20-month mark this week and he is making sure that he doesn't miss a minute of his mission. He's not trunky at all and I love it. We worked really hard this week and the Lord blessed us with some great success! We have a lot of solid investigators and most of them are families which I am pumped about. So hopefully we will get to be blessed with more success.

First off I will give you un update on Maedeline and Clifton. Like I said last week, we talked about faith and how we need to have faith in the Lord and His blessings that he has promised for us. They told us that it was going to take a while for them to get the papers in order to get married but that they would set the baptismal date and do all that they could to make sure that the Lord would be able to bless them with the opportunity to get married. This week we passed by and Maedeline said that her mom had talked to a friend that was a judge and he said that he would be able to help them a lot. He said he could get the papers through in about 15 days, something that they were thinking would take 4 months. I was shocked but in the end not really. I knew that God would bless us with a miracle. The only thing left for them to do is to call and get the information they need and in the next few weeks they should be married and baptized as members of Christ's true church. The date is still the 27th! I am so excited you have no idea!

We taught them the word of wisdom this week and they said that they would have a little problem with tea and coffee, but they bore their testimonies about the truth of the message to us and they knew that this is what God wants them to do. The next day they had kept the stuff away and up to this point they are doing just great! This family is just amazing and it's cool. I feel like even though I haven't been here for that long, I have known them forever and that there is a purpose for me being here to interact with them. I love it!

We also taught a family from Haiti this week! I love this family they are so awesome! Their name is really weird though and so it's hard to remember. I feel really bad about it but, oh well. It doesn't change the amazing experiences that we've had with them. We taught them with Eric the one-legged soccer player (who rocks) and the lesson was just amazing. They loved the doctrine of the restoration of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ and the restoration of the priesthood power of God. When we invited her to read Moroni's promise at the end she finished it, looked down at the book pointed and said, "this is a good book. This is a book from God!"

Me and my companion were absolutely shocked but we were eating it up! Loving every minute of it! We passed by last night to check up on them and they told us that they had read the Book of Mormon and they absolutely loved it. They handed us the book and told us what other parts can we read! My companion and I gladly gave them another reading assignment and promised that the next time we came by we would bring a Book of Mormon translated into French. Jenny and Caitlyn, I wish that I could borrow some of your French skills (hahah)! It would be nice to be able to talk to them in French but luckily they speak Papimentu too. So it's all good. This family is golden and I love it! We are going to set up a baptismal date with them this week for the end of March and they should accept it with pleasure! I LOVE IT!

I love the mission! There are so many ups and downs that you just can't get enough of it. The past week was incredible and we had so many cool stories that I just don't have time to write them all. I don't have a lot of time so I will tell you one more and then I have to go! I am sorry but just know that things are going well. Curacao rocks and the Lord is pouring out His blessings upon us here!

Because of the change in the missions (these islands going over to the Dominican Republic mission) we are focusing a lot of the work on helping less active and inactive members. This week we were looking over the list and my companion and I felt that we should go see this lady named Modesta Charles. We pulled up to the house and when she came out I was a little surprised to see this old lady. But nonetheless we sat down to visit with her. She said that she had kept having a feeling in her heart that she needed to go to church. There was somewhere that she needed to go but that she didn't know where to go. She said that the day before she had finally prayed and asked God to show her what she was missing. The very next day we showed up knocking on her door inviting back to the church. She told us that she had forgotten the name of the church but now that we had come by she remembered exactly what she was missing. I have no doubt that is where God wanted us to be, visiting Hermana Charles. She's such an amazing lady who has been through so much. She lost her family in a fire, along with a lot of other things, and yet she still has the faith to follow God and Jesus Christ because she knows they exist and that they love her. I am so thankful for this opportunity that I have to be here and to see these miracles happen every single day. We are so blessed to be a part of this gospel and I hope you realize just how much we truly are blessed by the Lord.

Well that's about all the time I have to write this week. The members here are great. They love the Lord and want the best for the mission but as always there is work yet to be done. We ate dinner at the ward mission leader's house this week and he served us mashed potatoes that were absolutely divine. They tasted exactly like mom and Grandmas. It's a taste that I've missed for some time, but luckily it comes around every now and then.

We also had lunch today with a bunch of military guys who are stationed here in Curacao. They come to the branch every Sunday and we translate for them so today they invited us out to lunch! It was cool! If any of you see anything on Facebook or hear anything about that, just tell em thanks for me. (hahah)

Mom don't worry I would love it if you wrote on my Facebook wall! :)

I love you guys so much and I hope you know how much your support means to me! Thanks for all you do and know that I am praying for you this week!

Have a great week! Go Cougars!