Thursday, September 26, 2013

The work is hastening

The fam got a letter this week! It's so neat hearing that Aaron is out teaching the gospel and having cool experiences with investigators. He has learned so much already and I can tell that he's changed a lot. He sounds so wise and mature! Love him!

French Guiana is awesome, I love it. I like it more than i thought I would. Let me tell you a bit about it's culture:

People: Most are very humble and grateful for what they have. Semi-poor. From the looks of it, it looks and feels somewhat "3rd world". But, everyone has a smart phone and flat screen t.v. in their home. Kind of weird. A lot of homes are run down, but pretty nice on the inside. A lot of apartments. Most everyone lives in an apartment complex. Which makes for a lot of walking up & down stairs. Good workout, but very tiring; the heat down here takes a toll on our energy.

Everything down here (usually) is more expensive. Still getting used to the "Euro".

Food: Only been fed twice by members, but so far, so good. A lot of Indian influence. I eat baguette, nutella, & La vache qui rit (which I looked up and found out that its the Laughing Cow cheese) just about every day. Very French. The juices and fruit down here are amazing! We have two banana trees outside of our apartment.

Some 90-95% of Guiana is uncharted rain-forest. Lots of unusual bugs and animals. Jaguars, sloths, iguanas, lizards, monkeys, giant sea-turtles, etc. Only seen the iguanas and lizards but other missionaries have seen the sea-turtles, monkeys, and sloths. Lots of ants, in our home and in our food...have had to throw out some food.

Elder Santos is from Seattle. He's part Hawaiian, Portuguese, and Chinese. Somethin' like that. Like I said, LOVES to sing. Fortunately he's good. Taught me to read music and harmonize. Very smart. Good trainer. Great missionary. I'm very confident in our companionship and ability to carry out the Lord's work. We are doing our best to become "Preach my Gospel Missionaries". It's an exciting time to be a missionary. The "work of salvation" is hastening.

I recommend, EVERY MEMBER to watch. (He's talking about the "Work of Salvation" missionary broadcast from June 2013.) Every member needs to be a missionary. "The need and opportunity to spread the Gospel had never been greater." At baptism, we all made a covenant, to stand as witnesses of God, at all times, in all things, and in all places. What an exciting time. (D&C 88:73) It is time. There's also never been a more important time, to prepare and strengthen our youth. So, I would like to thank all those (leaders, teachers, friends and family) who prepared me, not only for missionary service, which lasts 2 short years, but also for making and keeping temple covenants, which last for eternity.

Now, let me introduce you to 2 particular investigators. Ned & Albert.

Ned: She is 21, very funny, and an Evangelist. Very curious of religion and spiritual matters. Reads and prays frequently. Has a sincere desire to find and know the truth. However, she has been struggling with our invitations. Hasn't been reading from "The Restoration" brochure, praying about the Book of Mormon or our message, or reading the selected chapters or verses in the BOM. Elder Santos and I earnestly sought and prayed for a solution, something to motivate her. He frequently invited her to church but she would decline every time. When we were planning at the end of one night, we realized we weren't meeting our goals for member lessons. Bingo. So, the first thing we did, coordinated a  member lesson with Ned, and invited the Elder's Quorum President, Pres. Litampha. Every member here, is a convert. So they all can relate to the investigators. Pres. bore his testimony and personal conversion story. I think Ned could relate. Near the end, invited Ned to come to church and she accepted and followed through with her commitment. I can't even express how happy I was to see Ned sitting on the back row in the chapel! She really liked church! (by the way, yesterday the 4 of us missionaries, gave a musical number in Sacrament. Haha sang, "We are All Enlisted".) And she is steadily progressing toward baptism!

Albert: In his early 30's. Haitian. Super nice guy. He actually contacted us. Walked up to us one day while we were contacting, and asked if we could come teach him! I know the Lord has been preparing Albert for some time now. We've only had one lesson with him, but I sense he's been waiting for the Gospel for awhile. He is very prepared. I've had daydreaming of him dressed in white, entering the waters of baptism. Gives me goosebumps every time.

The work is hastening. The Church is true.

Love and miss you!

Elder Fraley

This is the stamp from his letter. I thought it was pretty cool!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Even the smallest of promptings can make a difference

My favorite dessert? Definitely pain au chocolat. Best fresh! Lots of investigators! 

Cool story: It was getting late while contacting, around 8:30. We were tired, and the area we were in wasn't very welcoming. We were turned away every time  As we drove away, we passed this Rasta guy sitting on an electrical box. Preach My Gospel encourages that we talk to EVERYONE. So I told Elder Santos to park the car, so we could go talk to him. We went and talked to him, gave him a brochure with our number on the back, and told him we would stop by later in the week. Not a very promising contact, but it was worth it. We had forgotten about "Rasta" that whole week. We were in that same area last week, and I remembered that we told him we'd come back. So, we stopped by his house. He wasn't home, but 3 women who lived next door where sitting outside, across the street. They informed us that he had left for the weekend. They asked who we were. We told them we were missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. One girl, Selina, was very interested. She asked lots of questions, and we gave her a brochure. She said she found one of our brochures on the ground earlier in the day. There are some study questions on the back that can be answered with the scriptures. But, she couldn't answer all of them because she didn't have this book, "The Book of Mormon". It turns out, that these two white Americans have that book! How bout that.. She asked if we could come back the next day. Turns out she's been wanting to change for some time now. She is struggling with some things and has been praying to God for help. That day that we showed up, she had a prompting to go sit outside. She said, she NEVER sits outside. If we hadn't talked to rasta, we wouldn't have gone up to his house, where his neighbor was sitting outside. It was Rasta's brochure that she found on the ground. We were the answer to her prayer. All from one spiritual prompting, the smallest of promptings.. " Talk to everyone"

We never know when or how the miracles will happen or take place, but as we put our faith and trust in the Lord, He'll guide us to those whom he has prepared. 

I kind of butchered that story, hopefully it makes sense.

I've learned a little Creole... Just a couple of words. A lot of people speak it down here.

Got my first "missionary haircut" today. Elder Santos cut it....... Could have gone worse. Turned out alright. Who do I have to impress anyway

Well, what an exciting time to be a missionary. "The work is hastening". 

Elder Fraley

This was from his email to me. I asked him what kinds of food he's been eating and if the baptism rate was high in French Guiana:

Nothing "too" yucky. A lot of "Colombo". Which is just rice, assorted chicken meat and bones, and the curry sauce stuff. Interesting. The fruit and juice here is amazing! A weird fruit, called "Star Apple" is pretty good! 

Well actually, the baptismal rate isn't that high here, it used to be about 6 years ago but had been struggling recently. But, now that we're here, thats going to change :)

This is from the email he sent to my sister Audrey:

Audrey! I'm sooooo sorry :( 
All of the emails I thought I sent you, somehow got stuck in "Drafts"...

But everything is great! My birthday wish didn't even make it to you... But happy late birthday! I PROMISE you I didn't forget. Missionary promises are legit. Cool thing about missionaries and promises, we have the authority to promise blessings to our investigators ( if done through righteousness) If we say something will happen, God will make it happen for the investigators. 

Cool story, went on an exchange Saturday with another Elder, who struggles with obedience. Nothing extreme, but it's the little things. We were contacting for only 10 mintutes, and he got discouraged and wanted to move on. We had been rejected for about 8 straight doors. As we were walking away, I realized we skipped the bottom level. I said, "why don't we finish those last couple doors? I promise someone is waiting for us." So, he turned around kind of angry and said "fine." We walked back, and the whole way back, I prayed and prayed that someone there will want to hear our message." The very first door we knocked on. Boom! We got there name and number set an appointment to return. Power of prayer. Missionary promises are legit.

I kind of butchered that story but, whatevs. 

You're great, the Lord loves you, and I love you! The church is true.

Elder Fraley

Spraying the apartment with mosquito repellant

Monday, September 16, 2013

Crazy Driving + Funny Story

(FYI: The contact information page has been updated with Elder Fraley's French Guiana address) 

The email my mom received: 


Elder Santos is from Seattle. Loves to sing and play football. Food is good, dessert is better! Fruit and juice is better down here too. Driving. (Elder Fraley has had a hard time telling the question that was asked and then his answer. I guess he was asked if they drive, bike or walk) Had to bike and walk once or twice. Drivers down here are crazy. We've nearly died 236 times. But, God is looking after his boys. 

Funny story: my first Sunday here was fast sunday, so I got up and bore my testimony. Everything went perfect, except, near the end, I made a pronunciation error. I said, "Thomas S. Monson est notre prophète vivant, qui diriges l'Eglise..." (Courtesy of Google translate:"Thomas S. Monson is our living prophet who directs the church.) I was told it sounded like I said, "triche" Dirige- directs or guides. Triche- cheats. Thomas S. Monson cheats the church. 

However, I've had several people ask if I were French, because of my accent. I'll take it as a compliment. Also, people often ask if we're the police. 

Love you, Elder Fraley

A little bit from the email he sent me: 

French Guiana is better than I expected. And the language is harder than I thought. Food is good, desserts are better. Elder Santos taught me to read music! We usually open each appointment with an investigator, with a song. Music can really bring in the Spirit, powerfully and quickly. Sometimes, we harmonize. No big deal. I sing melody and he sings the harmony.

And a few pictures!:

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Second Week in the Field

This week, Elder Fraley didn't write a very long email to the family. Hopefully we'll here more from him on the next p-day of how the mission field is. At least he did send some pictures! (He did say that if you want to send a letter, send it to the Trinidad address that is located on his contact information page.)


Address: I wouldn't send to F.G. Send to Trinidad, and they'll find a way to get it to me. Area is great! Like I said earlier, very humbling. Lots of people to teach. I've got some cool stories! Elder Santos is great! Very good teacher. He likes to sing, he's very good. He actually taught me to read music!

The Branch here... is struggling. Its really been bothering me. Something needs to change. I really think Elder Santos and I can help things turn around. I genuinely care. I really want to make a difference in French Guiana. And I will. Haha, I pray and hope that, that is a righteous desire.

Elder Fraley

My last Saturday at the MTC. With the best teachers! Soeur Wilson and Soeur Judas

Frère Mayne

When we all arrived in Trinidad


Iguana behind the church

Nothin but rainforest behind those apartments

These lizards are all over our house

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

12 flights, 6 countries and 1 week later...

Wow what a crazy week. The French keyboard is different so I apologize for mistakes. Monday, left the MTC at early in the morning, 2:30. Arrived in Trinidad at about 11pm. Our orientation was Tuesday. Spent most of the day at the mission pres. home. He's awesome. Then left Trinidad on Wednesday, 2:30. (the english countries down here drive on the left side of the road, was scary. I'm grateful to be in a French country! At the Trini airport, I was sort of robbed. Lets just say, white, helpless, Americans are easy to take-advantage of. I lost about 70 U.S. dollars.... Long story. Flew to Grenada, then to Barbados, then to Martinique. Had to stay in Martinique for a little over a day because of some flight problems. I loved Martinique! i hope i can go back! Went "porte-à-porte" with the missionaries there, it was a lot of fun. Left beautiful Martinique Thursday afternoon, took Air-France to Cayenne. 

Some 12 flights, 6 countries in 1 week. Cool fact, my mission is the most complicated mission in the world: with 11 countries and 8 currencies. Guiana is 95% rain-forest, most of which is uncharted... People here are poor, but as far as poor goes, they're pretty well off, if that makes sense. France pumps a ton of money into Guiana, Martinique, Guadaloupe, and St. Martin. But Guiana is pretty ghetto. I serve right out of Cayenne, in a town called Montjoly. My apartment is....lovely. Pretty run-down (one-step up from a shack.) Ants, lizards, and other miscellaneous bugs and creatures throughout the apartment. Quite humbling. I've never been more grateful for what I have. The mission sure does change you. It's very hot and humid here. Elder Santos is great. He is teaching me lots.

Love and miss you!
Elder Fraley

I'm glad he finally made it to the area where he'll be serving! Thanks to everyone that reads this blog and supports our missionary! We love him and are so proud. We are grateful for all the love and prayers that are sent his way!