Thursday, August 29, 2013

French Guiana

Elder Fraley left the MTC for a 6:30 am flight on Monday morning. He was able to call home 3 times to talk to family. Sadly, I wasn't able to be there, but my Mom, Dad, Grandma, and sister Abby all got to speak with him.

A few details from the phone call: He was so excited to be leaving the MTC! Elder Fraley said the food at the MTC was just ok. He seemed to have lost 2 lbs in the MTC even though he ate food and snacks all the time. He is super grateful for all the letters he's received, they help a lot. My mom said he bore his testimony in French on the phone and he sounded really good. He chose Panda Express at the airport for his last meal in the U.S. My mom also got to talk to his companion, Elder Lever, and really enjoyed their conversation.

He made it safely to Trinidad to meet his mission president. His first area is French Guiana, with his new companion, Elder Santos. He loved being companions with Elder Lever and hopes that they might get put together at another time during their missions. We'll get to hear a lot more from him on his next p-day!

French Guiana is in South America. There are 3 South American countries that are in the West Indies mission. It seems to be a pretty poor country.

Here are some things I learned from wikipedia:

  • French Guiana has one of the highest levels of biodiversity in terms of both flora and fauna
  • French Guiana is home to many unique and important ecosystems: tropical rainforests, coastal mangroves, savannahs, inselbergs, and many types of wetlands
  • French Guiana is heavily dependent on mainland France for subsidies, trade, and goods. The main industries are fishing (accounting for three-quarters of foreign exports), gold mining and timber. 
  • Sugar and bananas are two of the main cash crops grown.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Salut, je suis Elder Fraley et je suis de Luxembourg!

This is the family letter we received today!


Salut! (hi)

Can I just say, I. Can't. Wait. To. Get. Out. I feel bad for the Tahitians; they're here for 12 weeks. 7 weeks is enough for me. Especially since I've been sick for 6 of the 7.

Woke up at 3:30 this morning, to send Elder Eshiet off! Kind of sad. (Haha, I told him all about Mama Jen and the fam. (and Dad, he's really appreciated your answers. We've shared some of those questions. He thinks you're one cool smart dad. I brag to my district quite often about my fam.) But hey, he's going to write Abby and Mom/Dad. So don't be alarmed Abby!)

About the pictures, I can't wait to see them. Frere Mayne said, "always carry pictures of you with your family and friends. So you can show your "Amis des L'eglise" (friends of the church) that you're normal." So...if I can get some? Of my family and some pics of me with my friends?

How was Jonathan's b-day!? Crazy! Can't believe he's 16. This summer went by fast! Abby and Jonny, are you two excited for school? Abby, make this year count. Have fun. Enjoy it. Senior year! Jonny, have fun also, but stay out of trouble and take it seriously. I expect A's and B's. Abby, all A's. Not that Jonny can't accomplish that, its just that guys aren't as motivated as girls are when it comes to high school grades. You know...

Last Tuesday, devotional: speaker Richard G Scott (no big deal)
Also: First ever, international MTC broadcast to all MTC's, sang in choir. Pretty sure I was on camera twice! (also no big deal!)

So actually, Richard G Scott is a lot smaller in person. Tiny, little old man. However, the spirit that entered with him, not so small. As soon as he walked in, everyone stood up, and the spirit poured in. My body instantly swelled with heat, as, what seemed to be "electricity", shot through my veins. Goosebumps. The spirit filled the entire Marriott Center. The arena nearly wasn't big enough, to contain this witness from heaven. I know, without a doubt, that Richard G Scott is a man of God and called of God.

He gave a powerful talk on prayer. I'll never pray, or think/talk about prayer the same.

We also received two apostolic blessings:
"To all you Elders speaking language, I bless you that the Lord will help you as long as you have faith in him."
"I invoke a blessing on those learning a language. That you may receive the gift of tongues, as you act in faith."
Pretty cool!

Wednesday: every Wednesday, Elder Lever and I watch the new missionaries being dropped off. Kind of fun. I also found out that July 10th, the MTC had the most new missionaries it had ever seen come in.

Thursday: in-field orientation all day, went to several teaching workshops. Got me pumped to get out there!

Friday: received our travel plans! August 26th, 2:30 am (when they leave the MTC) SLC to Houston, Houston to Trinidad.

*Also, whenever Elders/Sisters ask where I'm from, I act like I only speak French. Having my companion translate for me. I tell them I'm from Luxembourg, then they freak out! They think its the coolest thing. Haha. The Sisters love it! After all, it is the language of love! Haha. But after keeping this going for several days, we break the news to them, because we feel bad...Still fun. Believe it or not, its a great way to make friends!

Saturday and Sunday: Just the usual.

And yes, I get to call home. I can either call from SLC, but it would be early, around 4 am. Or call from Houston, but it would be later. Or both!? Just let me know.

Still have the bronchitis...slowly going away. I've had it my whole MTC stay.

I think I get an hour to email this Saturday as well. So I'll talk to you guys later!

A la prochaine!

Elder Fraley

Monday, August 19, 2013

Picture update: only 1 week left in the MTC!

Pictures! Hopefully we'll get a letter in the next day or two! I know that Elder Fraley departs from the MTC next Monday, August 26th at 6:30am. It sounds like his first area will be Guadeloupe for several months while they wait on visas for the other islands. Most of the missionaries go there first and say its pretty neat because out of all the islands, the culture and food, etc are the most similar to actually being in France! Elder Fraley is very excited to leave the MTC and head out to the mission field!

Thought I would share something funny. I babysit two kiddos and today I overheard a conversation between my daughter, Bella (3yrs), and Nathan (4yrs) during lunch time.

Bella: I didn't hear the first part of what she said..."the empty sea"
Nathan: "What's the empty sea?"
Bella: "That's where Aaron lives."
Nathan: "But he can't live there because the empty sea has no water in it!"
Me: "Nathan, Bella is talking about the MTC, the Missionary Training Center. That's where her Uncle Aaron is right now because he's on a mission." 
Nathan: OH!

Our Temple walk yesterday

Elder Lever is such a goof-ball!

We might pick up modeling for the Church

Anziano Parker! Love this kid. Best buds for life!

Just chillin' in the Italian residence. (Italians aren't as cool as the French missionaries)

The "District". With the BEST teachers, Frere Mayne (Christoph) and Soeur Wilson.



Elder Choi, from the Montreal district. haha he's hilarious

Elder Eshiet : hurt his back (left today actually. It's not the same without our black elder)

Elder Lever and I. Best companion!

Elder Erickson and I. We didn't plan to match. He heads out to Halifax tomorrow. Good kid, great missionary.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Quick update

This week we got another family letter from Elder Fraley. I left out a few personal things but there's still a decent update from him! :)


Last Monday, Tuesday, nothing new happened...

Wednesday: 44 new French Elders! Crazy. Our residence is crazy now!

Thursday: Possibly my last TRC. Taught 40 min lesson to 16 yr old member from Lyon, France. She is way cool! The spirit is always so strong in those lessons.

Friday & Saturday: Nothing. However, Elder Eshiest, is deathly afraid of snakes...we hid a rubber snake in his clothes. He screamed like a little girl! Too funny.

Sunday: I love Sundays! Spiritual revival.

Today: Busy! I finally was able to go to the temple. It's been closed since I've been here, due to remodeling. Saw the new video. Mixed feelings about it...not as great as everyone made it seem. Still good though, modern.

I still have bronchitis...5 weeks has really taken a toll on my body...But, I think it's finally started (slowly) to fade. Maybe. I am often needing to clear my throat...haha reminds me of Dad; I sound just like him. Haha.

I can't believe school is starting up soon...time flies. I'm excited for Abby and Jonny.

I appreciate all of the thoughts & prayers. I've noticed the tender mercies that have come from them.

Elder Fraley

Friday, August 9, 2013

What's new?

Sorry that it took so long to get Elder Fraley's letter posted. He has been sick so we didn't get a letter until yesterday. We hope he starts feeling better soon! (There are some pictures at the end of the post that he sent in an email on Monday. They seem kinda random, they look like leftovers that would have gone in the San Fran post)

Quoi de Neuf!? (What's new?)

Last Tuesday: Devotional (amazing). Sang in Choir. No big deal. Received a blessing from Elder Lever and Elder Call. I forgot to mention, I've been sick for the past three was a very beautiful blessing.

Thursday: TRC! I love TRC. The spirit is so strong when teaching members.

Friday: While eating lunch, the tip of my permanent retainer popped out...So, Elder Lever and I took a field trip to the Orthodontist, who was the dad of an Elder in our zone. So the re-gluing was half off, we got 2 free slushees, and 2 bags of candy. Pretty cool.

Saturday: Ended the day with a substitute, Soeur Buswell. She served in Tahiti. She had us practice street contacting. Had an amazing experience. She pretended to be an investigator. We greeted her, told her our names then asked her hers, asked if she needed help. Then proudly stated that, "we have a message, centered on Jesus Christ, that will change your life." (turning-point) Said that we have a prophet, who communes with God and we can speak to God too. She perked up, and asked questions. We then testified of prophets and modern revelation. Which led to the BOM. We testified of the book and her one, with a passage to read: Moroni 10:4-5. Invited her to pray about it and she accepted, wanting us to return. Soeur Buswell said Elder Lever and I did AMAZING and that we knocked it out of the park. What an incredible feeling. We were able to testify and teach off each other, our French was good, and she felt the Spirit (we did too). She was profoundly impressed. Told us to be proud.

*The Book of Mormon is a Missionary's most powerful resource* PMG (preach my gospel)

She also had us look at our name tag. "What two things stand out?"
1) Our name: not our first name, but our last. Our family's name. Our family will ALWAYS be with us and ALWAYS close to our hearts. We represent our family and bring them honor.
2) Jesus Christ: we represent Him. We are his representatives, for He can't be here. We are His voice. Stand as proxy.

Saturday night I got really sick. Fever, body chills, headache, lack of energy, and that dumb cough.

Sunday: fasted for 24+ hours, not a good idea, especially for being sick. Barely made it through Sacrament meeting. Actually, I was sent to InstaCare. Diagnosed with some weird virus and bronchitis. The only way to get better, is rest...go figure. Thankfully and gratefully, Brother Barker authorized me to spend the rest of the day in my residence, to rest...

I feel much better now, still have this dumb cough though. I really think Satan is out to make my time at the MTC miserable...

I'm grateful for my companion. He's great. Always looking out for me. He's a good guy.

I fly out Aug 26th. For some reason, the West Indies Elders have to stay an extra week, while two Elders in my district leave 1 week prior.

So, my Sabbath wasn't good.

My BS (blood sugar) has been up, they feed us a lot. Our room is called "the pantry". We have SO much food. But Sunday, my BS was really low. But I made it through. I've never fasted that long before.

Thanks for everything mom! The packages and letters. They make me so happy...

Well... A la prochaine! (next time)

Elder Fraley


West Indies Elders


Highlighter refills. We put them in front and the light from the flash reflected off. Pretty cool!


Haha, Elder Lever