Monday, September 29, 2014

I only got lost once...


Sorry my letter wasn't too long last week.  I went overtime, and I thought I told you all about what happened.  I'm not sure today's letter is going to be any longer...

Chez Bennion is the the senior couple's house.  The old senior couple used to live there so that's what the house is addressed under, it is now the house of the new senior couple the Richmond's. The Richmond's are from Tahiti, they only speak French, they cover the whole island, and I have only seen them twice since I have been here. I haven't received your letter yet, so I'll keep checking.

The work has been going well, its been tough because we have had a lot of district leader duties that we have had to take care of, like baptismal interviews in Lamentin, meetings, and bunch of stuff that has taken a lot of time for traveling which cuts down a lot of working time.  We haven't really done very much contacting because of that, most of our time is visiting our couple of investigators and the less active members.

Yes, I live in actual Basse-Terre, which is the actual capital of Guadeloupe. I live in "Petit Paris" specifically. The group building is just down the road from our house and it shares a parking lot with a boulangerie. bakery

Its a lot harder to get together with all the missionaries on Guadeloupe. We haven't had very many big activities.  Today we hiked La Grande Soufrière, not sure how to spell it but it means the sulfur maker.  Its the volcano in Basse-Terre.  It was really fun and really beautiful.
La Grande Soufrière, is an active stratovolcano on the French island of Basse-Terre, in Guadeloupe. It is the highest mountain peak in the Lesser Antilles, and rises 1,467 m high.

Well as for the rest of this week. I hardly got to work in my area at all. On Tuesday right after district meeting I went on an exchange with Elder Okano in Capesterre.  I had to figure out the bus systems because he is new and this is actually one of my first times ever actually using the buses.  I only got lost once. We had a great time and met some cool people.  One guy stopped us on the road asking about genealogy.  I never had that happen before.  Most of the time I was trying to help Elder Okano speak more, he is actually really good with French but I wanted to get him to help more in their lessons, he did really good.

When we were supposed to switch back I learned that the car wasn't working, so I couldn't be driven back to my area, so I had to stay another day in Capesterre.  Thursday I got picked up from Capesterre, only to get dropped off with Elder Broadbent in Baie-Mahault for another exchange.  We were on bikes and we got dumped on by the rain.  We had to stop on the side of the road under a canopy and wait it out.  While we were there we talked to a really cool kid that had to wait out the rain too.  They are going to try to re-contact him this week.

Finally Friday afternoon I got to come back to Basse-Terre.  We visited an investigator and talked about prayer.  He is still waiting for his court appeal on Oct. 2 before we can start setting up for baptism, but he really wants to be baptized.  As we were walking back I realized we were in an area that I recognized (I don't know my area very well yet) and so I asked if we could stop and see an old contact that we missed during the week.  Turned out he was home and it was the only time during the day that he happened to be home.  He brought up a lot of good questions.  One about why bad things happen to people.  I was impressed to share the story of Brianna when she was born.  I told him that she had done nothing wrong to deserve heart problems at birth but that I myself was affected by it as well.  I told him that when she was born I remembered praying as a family for her and that it was one of the first spiritual experiences I ever had. I really like this guy that we taught.

Nothing too special happened other than that during the week. We had church at Capesterre group.  Then we climbed Soufrière this morning.

The email place is closing, I gotta go. I love you all.  I'll try to get back on if I can but if not, have a great week!

avec amour,
Elder Call


Monday, September 22, 2014

First week in Guadeloupe!


Not much time to write today, so I'll just be quick and send a few pictures.  I'm really very happy right now in Guadeloupe.  I can't even compare it to Martinique, because they're so different.  Martinique is a lot more "French" than Guadeloupe, but I refuse to compare them. haha

Here is my new address:
Elder Braden Call
Chez Bennion
Le Residance "La Baletullerel"
Bat. A Apt. 17
Moudong Sud
97122 Baie-Mahault

We had zone conference last week and the missionaries from Martinique came over.  I had an interview with Pres. Mehr and his wife that was really great.  They are amazing people.

I had the chance to give some blessings this week and it was a very special experience.  I know for a fact the the priesthood is a power given to men to bless and save God's children.  I know that it is found in this church.  I know that I want to be able to help my family for the rest of my life by living worthily in order to bless them with this power that God has given to us.

I love this gospel and I love you guys.  You are very important to me and I can't wait to see you all again.  I feel your prayers and I am praying for you.

avec amour,
Elder Call

Elder Drennan was chopping some piment fort (hot peppers) and got some in his eyes.  His eyes were burning for a good ten minutes while we tried to find a remedy to help him.  This is Elder Ehlert trying to rub it out with a banana peel  

This is our car with Les Saintes in the background

Sunset from Saturday night!

This is our Group building

Pictures from Zone Conference

Monday, September 15, 2014


Bonjour ma Famille!

Well I am just going to go as quick as I can over this crazy last week.

So Tuesday we had the big meal with the Lacambé family.  That was just about the whole day, I sent a picture of their house. Then on Wednesday I got all packed up and had to wait until 3:00 or so to fly out. We sat in traffic driving up to the airport to pick up Elder Simms who replaced me, coming from Basse-Terre, where I am replacing him, we did a little switcharoo.  He came in around 12 and then we went to eat kebabs with everyone.  Then Elder Fraley and I headed out.  I was really happy that he was on the same flight as me heading up to Guadeloupe, but it was really sad having to get off while he stayed on to go up to St. Martin.  We finally got separated, this time for more than 1 transfer I bet.

When I got in I was picked up by the zone leaders for the island of Basse-Terre, Elders Christiansen and Peterson. (Guadeloupe is actually 2 islands connected by a bridge, I'm on the very bottom of the left one) There are 2 zones to answer you question, Basse-Terre and Grand-Terre.  Then we made the long trip to my area, which is in the bottom left corner, more west than the actual tip.  We stopped to drop of the blue Elder Okano at Capesterre.  By the time we got home there was just enough time to do studies.  Elder Drennan met me at Capesterre.  I think we are going to have a great time.  We both have a big vision for the area.  He was on Martinique with me for 3 transfers so I know him pretty well.  We are going to have a lot of fun and we are going to get a lot of work done!  I'm excited.

So for Basse-Terre, the church is only a group and we have a family that is progressing very well towards baptism.  We had the first real lesson with them this week though, and the kids all want to be baptized but their mom is a little hesitant. We also have a guy that wants to be baptized who used to be a part of a gang but changed his whole life when he met the missionaries.  In our area there are a lot of less active members so we are going to try to focus a lot on visiting and helping them rather than knocking doors the whole time. Its nice having people to see.

There are 2 zones on Gwada but we almost never see Grand-Terre zone.  We have 10 in our zone and I'm not sure yet how many missionaries are on the island total.  There is a couple here, they are the Richmond's from Tahiti.  We have a nice apartment, its smaller than my last one but it has a balcony that goes all around the building which is perfect for my hammock and it has a good view of the ocean.

Je suis bien installé à la Guadeloupe et je suis content être là:)
passez une bonne semaine!

avec amour,
Elder Call

The whole Martinique zone before Elder Fraley and I left

Elder Fraley and I are departing.  He's heading to St. Martin.  We've been together all but 6 weeks since the very beginning!

Packed up and ready to go

Exchanging ties with Elder Fraley at the airport

Photo bombed by Elder Russell

My new apartment

View from my apartment

Pruning some gardens for a lady

Lacambé family's home 

Monday, September 8, 2014

I'm heading to Guadaloupe!

Bonjour Ma famille,

Well, it took longer than I thought but you finally forgot about me... I didn't get a letter.... So I guess I'll just have to write one to you and hope you're still reading these.... ;)
Apparently my email sent but the letter wasn't included.  Strange...

I felt really good this week, despite the the fact that I am going to be leaving for Guadeloupe now.  First off, we had 131 people at Church!  It was probably the greatest Sunday to have ever been the last Sunday on Martinique, I am so grateful to have been here to see these wonderful people experience such success!  I had to say goodbye to everybody and break the news that I was leaving because they only announced that Elder Fraley was leaving (heading to St. Martin) during sacrament because I showed up late (not a bad missionary, we just had to help show Clavel, the Cuban family how to get to Church) After Church we all ate and I tried to tell everybody and take pictures, but my camera stopped working.  My first thought was "not again..." but finally I got it up and running, so no worries.

During the week I was able to get in contact with some good people. We saw Tania who lives in Trois Ilet. Her only problem is that she doesn't have a car.  She has been reading the Book of Mormon everyday, she says she knows its true, she has spiritual experiences every time we come over, and she called us last night to tell us "thank you" for having found her and taught her because she was praying and received a confirmation that it was true and just felt so grateful.  She wants to talk to her family, she is THE MOST prepared person I have ever met.  Just thinking about it blows my mind.  She has a date for the 27th and she is thinking and praying about it, I am sure sure she'll receive an answer that it is what she should do.

Dana on the other hand has plateaued.  We started her off on the book of Mormon, she has been reading on her own, but she doesn't remember that much of what she read.  She was supposed to come to Church but again she didn't make it.

The Clavel-Manuel family got home from Cuba and the mom actually came to Church!  It was the first time! It was only because I was leaving, but she really liked it and she said she was going to come back.  I told her that I was leaving Saturday night and she was really sad and I felt really awkward.  She kept explaining deep Spanish phrases to me about how she felt that I was leaving, I wasn't really sure what to think. haha, but I was happy to have made such an impression on her.

Then on Sunday afternoon after we finished cleaning up, we stopped by the Martials to give Arik and Samuel-Lee blessings for back to school.  I felt very honored to be asked to do it and it was very spiritual and I felt very happy.  It was the last goodbye for them because I am going to stop by to see them once more, but it was pretty sad.

So the next time you hear from me I will be in Guadeloupe.  I'm going to have to learn a whole other form of créole again, but I am excited.  I am going to Basse-Terre to be with Elder Drennan who left last transfer.  It should be good, we were good friends already.

Well I am out of time, its not a great letter, but hey, at least it is a letter,right? ;) hahaha

I love you all and I'm sorry the pictures were slow.
avec amour,
Elder Call

Photo bombing the Turner's at the botanical gardens

Here fishy, fishy...

 The Sillions

Record attendance at church.  131 people!  Amazing!

Monday, September 1, 2014

A blessing 9 months in the making!

Bonjour Ma famille!

This week was surprisingly good.  Again we didn't have much working time, but I thought that it was spent well.

I also had a miracle, well actually I think you guys did.  During this week where I have been having a lot of time to myself, with Elder Glover being sick, I had time to look though all of my stuff.  While I was searching I stumbled upon a photo that you had sent me around Thanksgiving of last year.  You had sent it telling me to find someone to give it to with your testimony written on the back before Christmas.   Obviously I didn't end up doing that, (Sorry!  I just never found anybody that I felt good about giving it to)  I decided to slip it into my proselyting scriptures with the English translation and take it with me.  The next day with Dana we had a great lesson where we started her officially reading the BOM from page 1.  At the end she randomly asked about how our families were doing, which I realize now almost never happens with investigators!  I instantly remembered the photo and gave it to her.  She teared up as she was reading it and the spirit was really strong.  I see now how the Lord was slowly preparing that miracle, and I want to thank you for allowing it to happen, she told me to thank you!

We also found a lady on Sunday in Trois îlets who wants to get baptized.  We were teaching the Restoration and as she read how Joseph Smith had "lacked wisdom".  She paused and said that she had been telling herself that the entire week.  The spirit testified really strongly at that moment.  She seems very sincere and agreed to be baptized even though she doesn't understand why she has to get re-baptized.  We even asked if she could work towards the 27 of September for baptism.  I felt like it was really, really rushed and we kind of overwhelmed her, but she felt the spirit and I think she agreed.

Elder Glover and I have been doing really well this week.  On Friday during companionship study we had a long talk about our weaknesses and trials and it was really good.  We talked about regrets we had and our general overall thoughts of the mission,.  We both have determined to do a lot better.  I have felt myself improve a lot recently and I feel a lot more hopeful about the future.

So, this week was a little like last week until Thursday when we were able to get out working and saw Dana. Our power got shut off on Thursday as well.  We had some mix up with the propriètaire (it's the same word in English but I forgot how to spell it in English...)  We thought that he was supposed to be paying the power bill because I had gotten a notice with Elder Johnston some 5 months ago saying that they were going to shut it off around June or so.  It never happened so we assumed that he took care of it.  I guess they decided to turn it off.  So we have been staying in the tiny Lamentin apartment for the end of the week waiting for them to turn it back on.

Elder Glover is still douloureux in pain but the fever is gone and I got him out working this weekend.
I feel fortunate that I haven't gotten sick.  I have been staying with a chickengotten Elder (not actually a word but it's what we call people that get chikungunya) for a long while now and it hasn't gotten me yet!

I also went on an exchange with Elder Fraley on Saturday right after we helped Trinite move.  It was really nice to get with him one more time.  Oh yeah, we are getting our transfer calls this Saturday, and its been a good long time since we have both been here, we might get separated....

Well I love y'all!  I love my mission and I love this gospel!

avec amour!
Elder Call