Monday, June 22, 2015

The last (and best) letter!

Well, well, who'd a thought this day would ever come?  Not I, that's for sure.  To be honest, it still doesn't even feel real and I don't imagine it will until I get on the plane to Suriname early Wednesday morning, even then it won't feel like I am actually going home until I see you all again. 

This week has been crazy, but thinking about it, it may just be easier to tell you about it when I see you.  I feel like I will need to use hand motions and voice changes and all that stuff, written words just won't suffice haha!

So what can I possibly say for a final letter to a long long succession of weeks? 

First I want you all to know that I am so excited to see you again, no matter how hard it may be to leave all this behind.  I love you all so much and am ever so grateful that you will be there when I get home.  It amazes me how much being away for so long in a distant country with a different family culture made me come to appreciate and love the family from which I come.  I wouldn't trade it for the world. 

Second I want you to know that I have come to know for sure that this church is true and that obedience to commandments is the only way to true happiness, temporally and spiritually (Mosiah 2:41) and I want to hold out faithful unto the end.  I have seen on my mission, if nothing else, the reality of the phrases "obedience brings blessings" and "wickedness never was happiness."  The greatest joys I have felt on my mission were the moments where I saw others humbly obeying the laws of God even if they didn't fully understand them.  They may not have always had the easiest of situations, but I could see the light in their eyes and the joy in their lives.  Its a beautiful thing.  However I have also seen the opposite.  When obedience just seems too hard or too inconvenient, it broke my heart to see them not follow what they knew to be right. Often they asked themselves why they aren't happy, but it was much easier for me to see from my point of view.
I want to live with our family in happiness for eternity, and I know that it can only come through this gospel. 

Third and probably greatest of all is that I love my Savior Jesus Christ.  He has shown so much love and patience to me.  I know He lives and loves everyone of us. We can be changed through His grace.  Oh how I want to make good use of the investment of His blood and pains.  I love Him.

Well, I guess that's it.  I can't wait to see you and share all that has happened over the last 2 years!  And by share I mean that you best be telling me stuff too! 

Wish me luck!
avec amour,
Elder Call

French Guiana/Suriname Zone Conference June 2015


      Saturday, June 20, 2015

      The last zone conference


      What a week! I'm going to just have to tell you the most part of it when I get home anyways, but I'll cover what I can. We had some sweet service for our investigater Pirtam, we filled in the canal in front of his house with dirt, it took a long time I got really sunburnt.  Luckily it faded quickly, I didn't even peel. I think my skin is finally getting used to being burnt! haha The family fed us some crocodile which was sweet!  It tasted mostily like chicken.  A little more game-y though... 

      For the Suriname trip... The ride there was all pretty much the same as normal. But when we were over there we went to church on Sunday. I started to pick up a little on the Dutch, I couldn't speak so well but I could tell what people were talking about. I even got to translate for a Haitian member who couldn't speak very much Dutch. bOne of the Dutch missionaries tranlated to English then I translated into French.  It was fun and kept me awake, because if I didn't have anyting else to do it would have been rough...

      Then that night we went on splits with the zone leaders. I went with Elder Hood who went with us on the trip to Trinidad. We are already good friends. That was probably the best part of the whole week and a half. We sat down with the investigators and began teaching the Plan of Salvation in Dutch. The spirit was really strong, so strong in fact that Elder hood stopped translating into English for me, I was able to follow the lesson almost perfectly, he still translated into Dutch however.  But it was a really cool spiritual experience of the power of the spirit. 

      Zone conference was good. I had to bear my dying testimony... I said everything that I had wanted to but whe I sat down I just felt like something was missing.  It just didnt feel right.  It was weird.  But oh well... Pres. Mehr talked a lot about the Atonement but what I got most out of the conference was study techniques as he showed how he learned doctrine of the Atonement from the scriptures.  It was weird seeing that I was the oldest missionary there, and the only one going home this transfer of everyone that was in Suriname, except the Mehrs. They basically talked about how great their mission was and said goodbye to all the missionaries. When I went to the interview I sat down and President asked me if I had any questions, to which I replied, "Oh boy, do I have questions!" and then he told me that he would see me next week to talk about them... I wont lie and say I wasn't a little dissappointed, but I imagine it was best that I wait until next week.

      So I have my flight plans. I leave on Wednesday to Trinidad then the next day Thursday I will be seeing all your bright faces!

      I love all of you!
      à bientot!
      Elder Call

      Last trip to Suriname

      The Dutch church

       Elder Hood

      The long ride home

       We helped our investigator Pirtam fix the bridge to his shack, it was sweet!  There was a canal in front of his house and with all the rain we've had recently the bridge flooded.  We found a bunch of gross things in the canal, including an old TV.

       Because we helped him out they grilled us some delicious crocodile

      Thursday, June 11, 2015

      Time is running out...


      Well thanks for the update mom! 17 days... wow (gulp)

      I just finished my Returning Home with Honor paper. It was tough answering those questions!  I took a little too much time though sorry...

      This week was a great week for my prayers.  I learned a lot of things. One of the things I learned of which I was most proud of was along the lines of Elder Eyring's talk of the "law of increasing returns" or as I studied it further, the law of the harvest.  I learned that even though my mission is coming to an end, I am not yet perfect.  I was stressed during the week that I have so much more growth that I need to make in my life . But in the long run, what is important is that I get faced in the right direction.  I may not be perfect now, but I am making progress and I will take that direction with me after my mission.  In a sense like after this life.  I may not be perfected at the end of my life but I sure will be in the direction leading to perfection so that afterwords I can continue.  Whereas if I flat-line I would continue afterwords in a state without progression eternally. This life is the time for us to make the choices that give us our eternal direction.  Having received a desire to live the gospel to its fullness during my mission, will give me so much more direction for my life.

      It makes a lot more sense in my notes with all the graphs I drew, it was a lot of fun.  I love studying the gospel and plan on continuing that after the mission.

      I would definitely say I have loved my mission, it is going to be very hard to go, not that I don't want to see you guys or anything, its just going to be weird to going back to normal.  The mission has really been an incredible experience and it's weird that it will just be over...

      Also, this Saturday we will be leaving for Suriname and we will be getting back Tuesday so emails will be Wednesday.  Don't freak out.  You should be used to this by now! haha!

      Last zone conference! woot!

      Love you all bunches!
      avec amour,
      Elder Call

      Me and Elder Bodily

      Hmmm...not sure what happened to his shoes, but it's probably a good thing he's coming home soon!

      Our visit to the fort this morning
      An Aggie and a Ute fan

      Thursday, June 4, 2015



      I've been talking with the senior couple in Trinidad as well as the Turners recently about this and that, and everybody is always so stressed that I started to answer the phone in different ways to lighten things up a bit. The common thing is "Hello this is Elder Call French Guiana" but I was tired of that so I started with Bonjour, then Aloha and Hola and Guten tag and so on. It was a long explination to my introduction but... I thought you would appreciate it. But lets get real, I imagine I could write down my weekly menu and Mom would be all giddy! haha! Love ya mom! 

      I'm finishing sending in my Returning Home with Honor thing, talk about stressful. I had to choose 10 photos from my entire mission to have on it. It took some time...  I actually haven't finished, I took a pause and started writting your letter.

      And now I am just going to finish it next week... It is taking way to long.

      But this week was great. Elder Bodily has really figured out planning on his mission and I'm trying to get as much out of him while I still can, but I would have to say that planning is one of my weak spots... However we had some good planning this week and we got some good results.

      A good story for the week:

      We were walking down the road and a man came up with his scooter. We stopped him and started talking to him. He is from English Guyana and so we were talking in English. He invited us into his house and introduced us to his family. His wife is Native American and so speaks mostly Portugese and Native American but understands French well enough. Their kids speak all three. We shared about the Book of Mormon and they were really excited to get one, one in French and the other in English. The whole family participated in the prayer, it was really cool. 

      and there was Phil Collins playing in the background, super out of place....

      And yeah we will be going again to Suriname for zone conference on the 13th and will be coming back the 16th. And I will be staying one or two days in Trinidad, not quite sure, but it's going to make it really difficult to get that baguette to ya if so.

      I love you all a bunch and can't wait to see you soon!
      avec amour,
      Elder Call