Sent April 23rd, 2012
I slacked so badly in writing in my journal this week, so I'm not quite sure what to tell you!
A few weeks back, we had branch correlation, and our branch president (President Nicholas) suggested that we set up a fireside in place of our regular Bible study. We invited people to come to it for 2 weeks, and it went so well! Patrick, Waverly, and Marla all came! AND A SURPRISE INVESTIGATOR, Rosalyn! We had mentioned our Bible study class to her WEEKS ago, and we hadn't been able to see her for a few weeks. She just showed up! We watched The Testaments (which honestly, we end up watching often). Overall, there were 6 investigators there and several members. One of the youth in the branch, Joeguy, brought a friend.
We had 3 of the people we're teaching come to Church this week! YESSS! Patrick came for the 4th time! Annndddd a couple we've been teaching named Tracy and Samson came as well! Haha I felt bad for our investigators this week, though! President Corbin (counselor in the mission presidency) was here for Branch Conference, and he spoke on tithing. Then, in combined Sunday School, he talked more about tithing. So, our poor investigators were probably like "what is going on...?"
So, in St. Lucia, there are a lot of missionaries who pass around from the different religions. Several of them specifically go and pray for those who are sick and/or old, which I love! It provides those who can't come to church because they're home-bound with a religious outlet. However, when Sister Dayton and I are out tracting, people often think that's what we're here specifically to do, so it always causes confusion. Even after teaching someone a lesson, they'll still sometimes think that that's what we're here to do. Well, on Saturday, we had lots of open tracting time. We start with contacting one referral, which ended up leading us to LOTS of home-bound people. So, we ended up doing exactly what we have to explain to people what we don't often do. Ahahahaha. I think this story didn't make sense, oh well.
I have a special story to share with you this week. At the very beginning of my mission, back in September, I taught a young woman named Valerie with Sister Fraser. She was living with her boyfriend, who is an inactive member, and his mother (a recent convert) and grandmother (Sister Baptist, one of the most stalwart members in the branch). Valerie is reserved - she's shy. She's 18, and grew up in Martinique. On my 2nd transfer, Sister Danielsen and I continue to teach her. She would never say much (even when we would ask the most open-ended questions), but she began coming to church. In November or December, we found out that she was a few months pregnant and was due at the end of March, meaning she couldn't be baptized until she had the baby. (I'm not sure if that's church policy or West Indies policy, but those pregnant out of wedlock can't be baptized until after they give birth.) Back then, I thought there was no WAY I would be here until then. She became more open with us over time. Eventually, we turned her over to the Elders, since she lived in their area (we taught her since we were visiting the recent convert who lived there), so I haven't taught her in a while. A few weeks ago, Valerie moved out! She started going home to Choiseul (45 minutes away) during the week, then coming back on the weekends so she can go to church. She's started bringing her younger sister, Carzia, to church, and she brought her mother this past Sunday. Over time, Valerie started dressing more modestly when she would come to church. A few weeks ago, I asked her, "Valerie, why do you want to be baptized?" She responded, "I want to show God that I am willing to keep His commandments. I want to be an example to my child, and I want to raise them in the Church."
Valerie is way past her due-date, so the doctors recommended she have a C-section, which she went in for last night. She asked Sister Dayton and I to come visit her in the hospital today, which we are doing after we finish emailing. Family, I am so happy that I get to be here for this. I can't wait to see the baby! She hasn't missed a Sunday since the middle of October. In a few weeks, we hope to start working with her again (since she now lives in our area!) and getting her ready for baptism.
I know Jesus Christ lives. I know that this gospel changes lives, all for the better. I wish I could tell people I know from home not to give up on religion, not to just settle for their own conclusions because THERE IS MORE to life. So much more!
I love you!
PS - I want to write back some of my friends, but it's that time of year when people are moving around, going home for the summer, switching apartments, etc...SO, please send me updated addresses, please!