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!