Monday, January 30, 2012

Muy ca parle Patwa too-sell (I only speak Patwa). Muy ca cweneon (I'm just fooling).

BONJOUR MA FAMILLE!

So, one of the very first things I told Sister Dayton when the transfer started was this:

"Missionary work is the Lord's work - but it is also an awkward work."

She didn't agree with me, saying that all we had to do was not be awkward and that we would get blessings, or something like that. I told her to wait, and she would see what I meant.

And this past Saturday, she did.

So, we went to go Joanna on Saturday night, around 7 PM. In Saint Lucia, it is pitch black by about 6 PM, 6:30. We go up to Joanna's house and there is a drooping electrical wire in front of her house (which at the time we thought was a clothesline). Undeterred, we go up to the house and we can see in her front room, watching television. Joanna is hard of hearing, so we call out "GOOD NIGHT!" as LOUD as we can, but she can't hear us. Note: we are standing outside in the dark. So, Sister Dayton goes up to the door and knocks. Joanna still doesn't hear us. Sister Dayton knocks LOUDER, and then Joanna's cat jumps up and runs over to the door. Joanna gets up and goes to the door, looks through the window RIGHT at Sister Dayton, and then sits back down! Sister Dayton calls out again and is like "JOANNA!" So, we stand there in the dark for a few seconds, trying to figure out what to do. Sister Dayton then said, "I feel....creepy." And I replied, "and now we see that missionary work is an awkward work."

This week had many many BLESSINGS! Our member work has SPIKED! When we got the mission vehicle, I was a little disgruntled about it, thinking that if it helped our member work, I would love it - but if it stayed the same, I wouldn't like having it. WELLLLL, the car has enabled us to start taking out SISTER BAPTIST. Sister Baptist is seriously one of the coolest people I've ever met. Whenever we're about to leave to take her with us, she says, "Let's go, buddy!" She has such a strong testimony and is willing to come out with us ANY TIME during the day, which is a huge blessing. Family, we used to struggle to get three member lessons in a week. This past week...we had eleven! AHHHHHHHH! Sister Dayton and I are pushing ourselves this week to involve the members even more. Seriously, having the mission vehicle is such a blessing - though I do miss walking every where and taking the bus, since we always contacted people while travelling to our areas.

As you can see by the title, I've been learning Patwa (also known as Creole). I love speaking it! Pretty much, I just ask people how to say things and write it in my planner. It's funny though - NO ONE agrees on the pronunciation and since it's not really a written language, you just have to ask and see which one people agree on the most! Now, when we pass someone, I say "BON SOIR!" and they laugh really hard and reply, "Es ou ca parle Patwa?" (you speak Patwa?) and I say, "oui. Muy ca parle Patwa too-sell" (Yes. I speak Patwa only). Every one laughs SO HARD when I say it - no joke.

In other news, JOSE HAS A BAPTISMAL DATE!!!!! YES YES YES YES YES. He is working so hard to keep the Sabbath day holy. At church this week, we learned about Nephi's example of saying "I WILL" instead of "I'll try." We had a lesson with Jose after Church, and he was like "Yes, I WILL come to church every week." We taught him about the Word of Wisdom and he was like "Alright." I am so excited for him!

Anyways, I'm plum out of time. I love you all so much. Thank you so much for your support. I know this gospel is true. I know that Jesus Christ lives!

Love,

Sister Rachel Brisson

So, I didn't have time to read everything in my inbox, so post scripts next week. BUT! I mailed letters to Diana, Diane, Sister Fish, Sister Sims, and Laura Murray on Thursday. Diana, I sent it to the FLSR! NOOOO!

CURRENT ADDRESS INFO:

You can email me at rachel.brisson@myldsmail.net (because I can receive but cannot respond to your emails, please include your mailing address so I can write you back!). You can also continuing using www.DearElder.com for the cost of a stamp, or you can write me at the mission office address:

Sister Rachel Anne Brisson
West Indies Mission
PO Bag 543
Valsayn
Trinidad
Trinidad and Tobago

So, you asked for my new address. Here it is, but be aware that letters can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months to get here. Please write me emails - I can print them out, so it doesn't eat into my internet time at all. If you want to use it, here it is:

PO Box 923
Gablewoods Mall South
Vieux Fort, St. Lucia 00124

You can also send packages to this address, but it's the same deal. DHL and FedEx are the fastest, but you have to have a number. Since this goes up on the blog, I'll send the number to Marcia, and you can ask her for it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I have a glasses tan. Don't be jealous.

Mon, Jan 23, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Hello Family!

There is one thing I've neglected to mention in my emails since I arrived in St. Lucia.  So, I will talk about it now:


Saint Lucia is Jurassic Park.


Yesterday, Sister Dayton and I were about to leave for church, when I went to put on my shoes.  My brown shoe looked a little strange, so I thought part of the inside of it had just ripped the last time I'd worn it.  BUT OH NO, I was wrong.  Take a look at the picture (sorry it's blurry!)

 

We also have this little frog (and I mean LITTLE, he's like the size of the end of my finger) who comes into our apartment EVERY NIGHT and hangs out by our sink.  Why he does so, I can't quite be sure.  But he is there every night, by the water filter.


This past week has been...hard!  Because of transfers and zone conference, I've heard how the sisters are doing on the other islands.  Apparently, they're finding A LOT of success, and their areas are flourishing.  Ah, I was so happy to hear about how everything is going for them.  However, it also made feel a little depressed.  I've been here for 4 1/2 months, and none of our investigators has progressed beyond coming to church a few times.  And I blame myself for that.  Whenever we've had to drop someone, I always think "how could I have taught them differently so that they would have accepted the gospel?"  Or, I know that there are people who are prepared to hear the gospel, but perhaps I'm the one who hasn't been able to find them.  What if I had contacted just one more person, or tracted into one more house, or asked for just one more referral....AHHHHHH.  So, that's how I've been feeling this past week.  And the Lord knew, and He blessed us in many ways!


First, let's talk about JOSE.  I mentioned him in a previous email.  Jose is from Venezuela.  Sister Fraser and I taught him towards the end of my first transfer, and we've worked with him since them.  We got him a Book of Mormon in Spanish, and HE LOVES IT.  He reads it in between working.  He had come to Church a few times, but Sister Dayton and I wanted it to be a consistent thing.  We taught him the Sabbath day, and I was a little worried that he might have some reservations about it, since his restaurant is open all week.  We taught it to him and he almost automatically said, "Alright, I'm taking my day off on Sunday.  I used to take it on Monday."  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!  I just started GRINNING.  And was he at Church on Sunday?  YES HE WAS.  He marked what chapters to read in the Book of Mormon for Sunday School next week.  YES!




The Lord also blessed us with...JOANNA!  Joanna is a woman that Sister Danielsen and I had taught once, but hadn't been able to go back and visit.  We stopped by this week, and she was excited to see us.  Even though it had been a month since we'd seen her, she remembered what we had told her about Joseph Smith.  She is hard of hearing, so we all take turns reading parts of the teaching tracts, then discuss and see if she has any questions.  We taught her the Plan of Salvation, and she asked us, "So, I was baptized into a Pentecostal church, but I guess I'd have to be baptized again, right?"  And we were like, "As a matter of fact..."  She also asked us about the Spirit World and what happens there, and she said, "Well, I don't want to be unhappy!"  We invited her to be baptized and she said, "I'm going to pray about it and yeah, if God tells me, of course."  YES, EXACTLY!  It's also cool because Sister Dayton has a lot of experience talking to people who are hard of hearing because she used to work in a nursing home, which is SO HELPFUL.


The Lord ALSO blessed us with Church this Sunday!  On Sunday, EIGHT RETURNING MEMBERS CAME TO CHURCH.  That is the highest I've ever seen!  I was so happy to be sitting in that sacrament meeting.  So, so happy.


Lastly, we've been trying to get our member work up.  On Sunday, a member told us three times that she wants to come out with us whenever we're working and to tell her when we want her to come.  BLESSINGS!


I love Saint Lucia, and I love that I have the opportunity to share the gospel here.  I know that   Jesus is the Christ.


Out of time!


Love,


Sister Brisson


Now for some belated shout outs:


Lauren Trout - I started laughing SO HARD in the middle of the internet cafe when I saw that picture of you as Lava Lauren!  Definitely printed that out.


Colette!  Thank you for the life updates!  A few of them have made me QUITE CURIOUS and I would love more information on them.  I'm glad you're doing well!


Diana!!!  Send me your personal statement!  I want to read it!  GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR APPLICATION!


Stefani!  Thank you for the belated pictures!  She is so cute!  Remind me - where are you living right now?


Delia!  Thank you so much for your email!  It brought such a smile to my face!  I would love to write you a letter back - if you send me your mailing address I'll send you something.

Monday, January 23, 2012

My Little Greenie















Tue, Jan 17, 2012 at 2:29 PM

Hello Family!

So, MyLDSMail JUST changed its format (and I assume Gmail did as well) and it so SO AWFUL.  It takes forever to load and it is so messy!  AGHHHHHH.  Oh well, guess I just need to work on being more patient...

I didn't quite have an opportunity to tell you how my last week of this past transfer went, so I'll tell you now!  Sadly, we had to drop several people.  We said goodbye to Keltrina and Brother Raymond.  But! He came to church the Sunday after we had our last lesson with him.  Ahahahaha.  We dropped off Sister Danielsen at the airport on Wednesday morning last week, and goodness, I miss her!  Perhaps we will serve together again...who knows!

This past week has been TREE OF LIFE TO THE MAX.  Two of our investigators just finished reading there, then Sister Dayton and I taught the youth Sunday School class on it, THEN we used it in practicing our teaching skills at Zone Conference!  AND we just had read about it in the Book of Mormon for companion study (which I will talk about a little later...hope I don't forget!).  The Tree of Life vision has always been interesting to me.  Most people focus on the fruit of the tree, saying "oh, the fruit is the most desirable...it's the love of God...what do we have to do to partake of it...why did Lehi want to share it...We have to hold to the rod..." etc.  Of course, those are important observations.  However, what sticks out to me when reading it is THOSE WHO ARE WANDERING IN STRANGE PATHS OR ON THE BROAD ROADS.  I remember thinking about it in the MTC, realizing that, as missionaries, we are helping those people find the Iron Rod, aiding them in holding on to something, letting them move forward, instead of wandering aimlessly.

Now!  Let me tell you about my new companion!  (I hope you all caught the My Little Ponie reference).  She is Sister Nellie Dayton of Orem, UT.  She JUST finished a semester at BYU before leaving for the mission.  Diane and Lauren, she knows that roommate of yours who worked at Jamestown.  She is like a combination of Brianna Sonnefeld/Rory Gilmore/Rebecca Dombrowski - so, she's great!  She's the 2nd oldest in her family, and she is taller than me!  That means, at last, I don't have to protect my companion!

So, whenever anyone says "exact obedience" I think of "CONSTANT VIGILANCE!" from Harry Potter.

This past week, we started teaching a Bible Study class in order to help us find more people to teach!  We're teaching it from the Institute REL 211 manual.  It's interesting - if you do all the reading blocks from it, you'll read the whole New Testament.  The missionaries here in Vieux Fort will switch off teaching it every week.  We're hoping that it does what we want - help us find more solid people.  I taught it this past week and it went well!  The members had a wonderful discussion about the foreordination of Christ.

And yesterday, we had Zone Conference!  I loved meeting some of the other sisters who are serving in the West Indies!  I attached a picture!  From L to R: Sister Walch, Sister Butler (the first North American sister in the mission), Sister Phagwah (who was also trained by Sister Fraser), Sister Dayton, Sister Udall, and me (whose hair is all out of wack...whoops!)  President Gamiette gave a presentation on improving our teaching skills...which made me think A LOT.  President Vinas (of the Quorum of the Seventy) was there as well and talked with us about real growth - it's not about baptisms!  It's about people moving through the ordinances of the Church, going to the temple, those who endure to the end...THAT is real growth, and that is what we want to achieve in our areas.

Annndddd I have a picture with President and Sister Vinas!  It was windy ahhhh.

Then, I had my interview with President Gamiette.  It was the first individual interview I've had since I first arrived, ahaha.  I thought it would never happen!  We were talking about the area, and how a few things aren't going so well, despite our efforts.  He said, "hmm...." then pulled something up on the computer and asked, "Sister Brisson, what if I was to send you to somewhere, like Barbados?"  Before I could even think, I blurted out "No!"  There is someone for me to find in Vieux Fort, I KNOW IT.  I can't go!  So, I won't be leaving - yet!

Ack I always run out of time!  DAD, are you okay?  Goodness, I just got your email.

Also, President Gamiette has challenged us all to read 6 pages from the Book of Mormon every day as a companionship and finish it in two transfers!  It's going well!

Jacob, read Alma 40-42 this week!  SOOOOOO Good!

I had some little shout outs to put this week but it looks like I don't have time!

Love you all!

Sister  Brisson

Sunday, January 22, 2012

the quickest of quick emails!

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Family!

This email will be VERY FAST since I only have about seven minutes to write it!  Yesterday, our district went to hike the Petit Piton for a recreational activity, which ended up taking MUCH longer than we expected, and then the internet cafe wasn't working...long story short, I'm taking a few minutes to write you now!

Hiking the Petit Piton was fun, but it was pretty much just STRAIGHT UP ROCK CLIMBING UP THE FACE OF THE MOUNTAIN.  My poor pair of black shorts is quite hole-y now :(  I'm also super cut up - lots of battle scars.  Sister Danielsen and I only made it halfway.

Apparently, we are going to Barbados for ZONE CONFERENCE!  So I'm not sure when I'll get to email you again.

PS - THANK YOU ALL for your wonderful emails this week!  PS - Sister Dicou, did you ever receive that letter I sent you?  Mail from here can be slow, so just checking.

Sister Danielsen flies out tomorrow and I get my new companion about an hour after that!

Love you all!

Sister Rachel Brisson

Next week: My Little Greenie


CURRENT ADDRESS INFO:

You can email me at rachel.brisson@myldsmail.net (because I can receive but cannot respond to your emails, please include your mailing address so I can write you back!). You can also continuing using www.DearElder.com for the cost of a stamp, or you can write me at the mission office address:

Sister Rachel Anne Brisson
West Indies Mission
PO Bag 543
Valsayn
Trinidad
Trinidad and Tobago

So, you asked for my new address. Here it is, but be aware that letters can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months to get here. Please write me emails - I can print them out, so it doesn't eat into my internet time at all. If you want to use it, here it is:

PO Box 923
Gablewoods Mall South
Vieux Fort, St. Lucia 00124

You can also send packages to this address, but it's the same deal. DHL and FedEx are the fastest, but you have to have a number. Since this goes up on the blog, I'll send the number to Marcia, and you can ask her for it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Transfer Transfer Transfer Transfer

Wed, Jan 4, 2012 at 10:56 AM

HELLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO FAMILY!

Since New Year's Eve and Day were on a Saturday and Sunday, most businesses and government offices took Monday and Tuesday off as holidays.  SO, I get to email you now!  Unfortunately, I quickly perused the emails you sent me, so I'm sorry if there's any dire questions that I neglect.  I printed them out, though!

ALISHA,  thank you for sending me the pictures!  AH SHE IS SO PRECIOUS!  I'm glad that you are both doing well and that everything worked out.  How are Evelyn and Wally liking her?

This past Saturday, I received my transfer call.  Here's how the conversation went:

Elder L'argent:  Sister Brisson, you are staying in Vieux Fort.
Me: Great!
Elder L'argent: And you will be training Sister Dayton.
Me: Oh okay.  Question: How many sisters are coming out this transfer?
Elder L'argent: Just this one.
Me:.....What?  WAIT, WHAT?

So...I'm going to be training the only one.  I don't know how else to say this: IT'S QUITE HUMBLING.  I don't know quite why I'm the one who will train (because there are definitely more experienced sister missionaries than me!), but if it's what the Lord wants, I'll run with it.  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

But what about dear Sister Danielsen? Well....SHE IS GOING TO BE A PIONEER AND BE THE FIRST SISTER MISSIONARY TO EVER SERVE IN TRINIDAD.  EVER!!!!! SHE'S MAKING HISTORY!  Her companion will be Sister Weaver, who (whom?) was in my MTC district.

When I found out that I would be training again, I asked Sister Danielsen what she thought I could improve on or do differently as a trainer.  She looked inquisitive for a moment, looked at me, and said, thoughtfully, "Teach them how to use the shower.  Because I didn't know how for my entire first transfer, so I was taking cold showers."  Duly noted.

Since my little companion doesn't come from the MTC until next Wednesday, we won't be transferring until then (everyone else transferred today).  Gloriously, this means that Sister Danielsen and I get to spend another week together.  Oh my goodness, I am going to miss this companion of mine.  A lot.

Anyways, I am sure you all are wondering how things are going down here.  Or maybe not.  REGARDLESS, let me tell you!

Sister Danielsen and I have been working with a less active member named Louis.  When I was in my first transfer, I did not like working with less actives, AT ALL.  I found it frustrating, and I had little patience for it.  However, as we've taught Brother Louis, I've come to enjoy working with returning members.  We had a lesson with him a few weeks back where we were going over the first part of the Plan of Salvation.  We read 2 Nephi 2:22 with him and were about to go over what the Fall meant.  BUT, he stopped us.  "Wait. Wait."  He paused.  "The same state?  So that means they wouldn't have had any children?  Woah.  I never thought of it like that before."  He figured it out and we didn't even have to explain it to him!  So, on Monday, we watched the latest version of the Prophet of the Restoration ( the one narrated by Lucy Mack Smith - if you haven't seen it, watch it.  'Tis good!)  We asked Louis what he thought of it after he watched it.  He said, "You know, I didn't know that Joseph Smith had gone through all of those things.  But he didn't give up.  And that makes me want to not give up."  It was just...such a beautiful moment.

My birthday was spent just like a normal missionary day.  We had been up in Castries (which is about an hour away) for our Zone Meeting.  Sister Danielsen was kind enough to make me a chocolate cake with Rainbow Chip frosting!! (am I 22, or 12?).  Elder Meredith made me meatballs (with potatoes and plantains mixed in...SO GOOD), AND, he gave me the pair of pants I wore at the talent show, since he's just going to buy new pants in Guyana (where he's been transferred to)  Ahaha, I was so happy.  New Year's was also good!  The only thing we did for it was set an alarm at midnight, haha.

On Saturday, Sister Danielsen and I went to visit one of investigators.  He was sleeping, but his wife, daughter, and his daughter's husband were there.  We talked with them for just a little bit.  The daughter and husband were visiting from Switzerland (JeanMarie, you should go find them!).  As we were talking, we found out that the husband is an atheist (and we all know that I love atheists).  We talked about eternal families and how religion is more than just church - it is how we live our lives.  Even though I know we probably won't be seeing them again, I hope it helped them.

This week, Sister Danielsen and I are working on helping our investigators PRAY to know the TRUTHFULNESS of the MESSAGE that we share.  We ran into Brother Raymond last week in Laborie - he was riding his bike.  And I saw on the back of his bike that he had the BOOK OF MORMON WITH HIM.  He carries it around with him, but he won't pray about it.  We're working with another investigator who is Muslim.  She loves the Book of Mormon and the Restoration tract, but she won't pray about it.  I surmise it's because she knows the answer that she'll get.

Family, I love you.  I hope you all had a wonderful New Year's.

Love,

Sister Rachel Brisson

PS - Emily Heath, thank you for the birthday wishes!  Happy Birthday to you as well!  I hope 22 treats you swell!
PPS - Diane!  Haha, I wondered what happened to you!  I'm going to send you a letter next week!
PPPS - Diana!  I still need your new mailing address, please!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

not enough time to write!


Bonjour, ma famille!


Because Christmas was on a Sunday, most places of business took Monday and Tuesday off as their "Christmas Holiday," which means that I am emailing you now!


ALISHA CONGRATULATIONS ON THE BABY!! A GIRL A GIRL! Send me pictures when you can, please! Ahhhh! And tell me when you choose a name!


It was so wonderful to talk to you all on Sunday. Even though there were a few hitches in the technology, I was grateful that I was able to see the majority of you. I hope you enjoyed my stories. Marcia, I want to know more about what you were telling me right before I got off! Jacob and Spencer, I hardly got to say anything to you. Tell me how things are going, please! Ah Amber, I wish I had gotten to speak to you more! Mother's Day, I guess :)


Since I didn't get to write on Monday, I'm trying to think of the experiences I've had from the past week and a half to tell you! Let's start with the TALENT SHOW.


This past Friday, the branch had a talent show. Several of the members got involved. We had a skit done by the youth about choosing the right, and two of the Augustin brothers did some breakdancing. The missionaries here (Sister Danielsen, Elder Jensen, Elder Meredith, and I) did a Christmas medley. Elder Meredith and I also did our own act. Let's just say...a few weeks ago, I thought to myself, "I could probably wear Elder Meredith's pants." And I can! And Mom sent me some fake mustaches. So...the last picture on here shows it better than I can explain it, haha. We did a remix of "Praise to the Man" and "Silent Night" and the crowd went WILD!

Also, I realize that I've attached some pictures and have no explanation! One of them is me with Pershama's daughter, Kayd. The other one is of Sister Danielsen, Kayd, and I. Another is of...ummm, the missionaries and the Baptist family. Another is of Elder Meredith, Sister Celina, and I. We're making a V and an F with our hands, for Vieux Fort.

Ahhhh there is so much to tell you from this past week, but nary enough time to tell it! This past week, we visited a woman named Agnes. She is one of the most regal people I have ever met. She lived in Martinique for some time, and has moved back to St. Lucia to take care of her mother and aunt. So, we were teaching her the Plan of Salvation, and we talked about how we had lived with God before. We asked her what she thought of it. And, she said, "Well, that is the first time I'm hearing that! I'll have to pray about it. But I believe you. I really like that." AHHHHHHH! Agnes! It was SO AWESOME to hear her say that. The Holy Ghost truly does just bring things into people's remembrance.

Anyways, I am almost out of time. We are transferring a week early for some reason, so I find out on Saturday. I will probably email later in the week again because Monday is another Holiday.

LOVE YOU ALLLLLLL

Sister Brisson

PS Diana! Send me your new address, please! LETTER IN THE MAIL NEXT WEEK I PROMISE

PPS - REBECCA DOMBROWSKI I EXPECT AN EXPLANATION FOR THAT E-VITE

love you!












CURRENT ADDRESS INFO:


You can email me at rachel.brisson@myldsmail.net (because I can receive but cannot respond to your emails, please include your mailing address so I can write you back!). You can also continuing using www.DearElder.com for the cost of a stamp, or you can write me at the mission office address:

Sister Rachel Anne Brisson
West Indies Mission
PO Bag 543
Valsayn
Trinidad
Trinidad and Tobago

So, you asked for my new address. Here it is, but be aware that letters can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months to get here. Please write me emails - I can print them out, so it doesn't eat into my internet time at all. If you want to use it, here it is:

PO Box 923
Gablewoods Mall South
Vieux Fort, St. Lucia 00124

You can also send packages to this address, but it's the same deal. DHL and FedEx are the fastest, but you have to have a number. Since this goes up on the blog, I'll send the number to Marcia, and you can ask her for it.