Monday, October 21, 2013

Zone conference in Suriname

Bonjour ma famille! ça va?

Zone conference was a blast!  We were in Suriname for 3 days.  On the first day we woke up really early to drive 3 hours out to St. Laurent du Maroni, bought tourist cards to get into Suriname, then got in a canoe to go across the river.  Once across we were waiting maybe an hour for the taxi guy to show up.  Once he got there we drove another 2 hours to Paramaribo to the chapel there. We got left there and had to wait about another hour for the AP and zone leader to come pick us up, then from there we got dropped off at what I hear is the nicest apartment in the mission.  Man, it was nice!  It was a full on house with air conditioning, a walk in closet, and only two Elders stay there even though its about three times the size as ours.  Anyways, we had to wait out in front of the house for Elder Staley and Elder Free to bike back and unlock the door for us.  After that, they didn't have a companionship that could take all 4 of the Elders so we just had to hang out in the house the rest of the day.

Then next day we got picked up by the assistants to go to another church building where zone conference was.  Everything was in Dutch, and let me tell you, I'm so glad I'm learning French. Dutch just sounds so... ugly, haha!  AND Suriname is kind of a dump.... it has the same scenery as Guyane but people are a lot poorer from what I could tell.

Zone conference was cool we talked about handling stress with a new "adjusting to missionary life" book that they will be sending to all the missionaries.  They were supposed to give it to us in the MTC but I never got one and I haven't met anyone who has haha.  We also talked alot about the importance of fasting and the Sabbath day, and how to teach it to our investigators and less actives. We also ate some Surinamese food which was quite delicious!  Rice, egg roll things, fried bananas, and something like mozzarella sticks.  I forgot what the bananas were called in Dutch, but in creole its banane pesé and they eat it here too.

That night Elder Santos and I went with Elder Staley to visit a lady that he baptized, to teach a lesson.  It was about the scriptures and feasting on the words of Christ, he translated back and forth for us.  Elder Santos and I sang a hymn in French for her, but the coolest part was at the end she asked for a blessing of comfort and I got to be a part of the circle. That makes 3 languages in which I have been a part of giving blessings.  Man it felt so cool even though I had no idea what Elder Staley was saying.

It was cool to meet the Gubler's.  I didn't get too much time to talk with them but I saw her taking pictures of me.  I'm glad she sent them. Sister Gubler looks a lot like Paula.  I also was able to see Nick.  He seems to be doing great as well.

The next day we made the long trip back and now we are back into the swing of things!

So that wraps up most of that, on to the questions! On y va!

How are you treated by the people there?  Do you ever get treated poorly?

Haha sometimes! The best is when someone opens the door, sees us, swears or something, and slams the door.  That hasn't happened too often but I always start laughing afterwords.  Most people here think we're Témoigne Jéhovahs so we usually have to clear that up first.  Most of the ridicule doesn't come from our religion, but rather out race.

How are things going with your new companion?

Oh man its great!  I'm tired so often now but its great because it means I'm finally working hard! Elder Miyasaki and I are very different but we get along well!

Any new investigators?

We've been getting a lot of work done with contacting its been super!  The one I'm probably most excited about is Mdm. St. Aubin, my first street contact ever.  I contacted her on my own a LONG time ago but Elder Maoni and I never saw her after that.  Finally just on Saturday we were able to get back in contact with her and share a lesson.  The coolest part is that she was understanding what we said, her and her husband Ernest.  Usually people just repeat what we say and you can tell its going in one ear and out the other, but they were all repeating what we said then retelling us in their own words, making sure they understood. man it was good!!

How is your apartment, bathroom etc.  Is it better than what Jordan had?

Yeah its pretty upscale.  We have hot water and I think the water is clean on the French side but I still only drink filtered water.

Have you had any good food this week?

Pres. D'Arbreu is a butcher and he gave us this big 'ol bag of steaks and we cooked 'em up this week.  I've gotta say, I'm become quite the chef if I do say so myself.  Evelyne, une ami de l'église, is going to make us banane pesé some day this week I think, so I've been eating well!

Have you gotten the letter to make you legal in the country yet?

Still working on it haha!  We actually had to go take x-rays a while ago and now we need to go turn in the results and after that I'm not too sure what else we need to do but we should have it soon enough!  The x-rays were super awkward... I had to stand up on this pedestal with my shirt off and my face plastered against the machine.  Elder Fraley was really funny about it, he was critiquing all the procedural problems haha.   I think that these papers are for all of the French countries so I would have had to do them on any island and since they are all a part of France it works for all of them, even France I think.

I wasn't able to get a camera in Suriname, and things are really expensive here in Guyane.  So, maybe it would be best if you could send me a new one.  I was going to send some pictures today from Elder Miyasaki's camera, but it's not working in the computer.  Maybe next time!

Je vous aime ma famille!! have a good week! Things are really going well for me down here and I love it!

Avec amour,
Elder Call