Monday, January 25, 2016

Semaine 72

Bonjour ma famille,

It is hard to believe this is the last letter I will be writing from the mission field. This week has been weird as I have been saying goodbye to so many people. It still does not seem real. It has been a great week!

Wednesday we had the Worldwide Missionary Broadcast, which was amazing. Now I just wish I had more time to apply the things I learned. Biggest miracle of the week, we got a huge shipment of copies of the Book of Mormon!! It has been about a transfer since we have had Book of Mormons to hand out, but we finally got some. Now the work can really move forward!

The scripture that has been on my mind this week has been 2Nephi 25:26, specifically the first three lines, "We speak of Christ , we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ..." and if I can take the liberty to change a couple words at the end,"so that our family and friends can know to what source they can turn to obtain a remission of their sins." I feel like this is a perfect missionary scripture, that is what we do. I have definitely felt that I have rejoiced in Christ, spoken of Him and preached of Him. Like Elder Andersen said in the broadcast Wednesday we must "always have Christ on our lips", if we do not know what to say "Testify of Him".

If there is one thing I have learned while serving here it is that He is always there. He never forgets us even though we might forget Him at times. He loves each one of us personally and more than we can imagine! He restored His gospel again on the earth through the prophet Joseph Smith so that we can make covenants and learn and grow to live with our Heavenly Father again. And most importantly, that Jesus is the Christ. It is through Him that all of this is possible.

I know missionary work does not end for me on Thursday when I am released, just full-time missionary work. Saturday a sister called us to tell us about her friend, she was so excited and said she would tell us more before church. We ran into her in the parking lot before church and she excitedly told us the story. She had been praying to know who she could share the gospel with. As she prayed Heavenly Father gave her three names, and she said that when she received the three names, He said these people are precious. She gave us the name of one of the people who is her neighbor, but she said she has not met the other two yet.

Missionary work is how we can find joy; I thought I knew what the joy of the gospel was before my mission, but I have found an even greater joy as it has increased through sharing. I am sad to leave this place and these people I love, but I am excited to see the people I love back home too.

I love you. Je vous aime. And I will see you soon. A bientôt!


Soeur Banks

Monday, January 18, 2016

Semaine 71

Che famille mwen,

It has been a good crazy week here in Gwada. The Soeurs de Guyane flew back Tuesday morning. Our plans for the rest of the transfer changed a bit too. The Sisters of Martenique, both companionships, were supposed to be coming to Gwada to work with us, but plans changed so there are no more exchanges for the rest of the transfer. Kind of sad, because I will not get to see those Sisters again. We do get to skype them for a little meeting Wednesday.

We have had some awesome lessons this week. Last night we taught Tatiana at the family Eclars house. It was amazing! She has had a hard time understanding the plan of salvation so we have been talking a lot about faith. Our lesson last night was beautiful, the Eclars are celestial people. We felt like it was a turning point in Taitiana's conversion.

We started teaching Maggie this week with Sister Kasango. Alain, Gladys' boyfriend, is bound and determined that they are going to be baptized as a family all on the same day. They have a big chalkboard on their porch. When we walked into the lesson Diana showed us the list of questions they had made on the board about God. When we called the other day to reconfirm our rendez-vous I asked if they had read in the Book of Mormon, she replied that they were reading together right then!

We have some awesome investigators. I will be sad to leave them.

Sorry so short this week. I'll write more next week for the last email. I love you and hope you have a great week!


Soeur Banks

Monday, January 11, 2016

Semaine 70

Bonjour a tous,

It has been an exciting crazy week! The sisters of French Guyane, Soeur Hyde and Soeur Gomez, came to us last Wednesday and we had a great exchange. We have found that exchanges are always full of miracles. I'll tell you about some in just a minute. We took the sisters to the airport Friday to go back home and their flight was cancelled...and the next available flight to Cayenne is Tuesday! Crazy! Longest exchange ever! It has been great. They were a little sad that they were not able to be with their investigators, especially at church on Sunday, but we have had a great spiritual miracle-filled time together this week!

It was truly a week of less-actives. We had found less-active members at church on Sunday! It all started on Thursday, we had an appointment to visit a less-active sister we have never met before who lives in the Elders' area. Our Branch Mission Leader asked us to see her. So Thursday we called her to reconfirm the rendez-vous and after a kind of crazy series of events the only information we had was the area she lives in and the number A2. With that very broad information in the Elders' area that we do not know very well, we set forth with determination and the Spirit, after a prayer to find her. We parked the car got out and right away, right in front of the car found A2! But it was not actually her. We decided to try a different complex, and we found A2! It was locked; but luckily her neighbor was just walking up and showed us exactly where in A2 she lives and opened the door for us. It was a miracle. There is no way we could have found her on our own without the spirit guiding us through his still small voice.

The best part is this less-active sister found herself a ride to church and came on Sunday! Another less-active sister who has decided to come back and prepare to go to the temple came too! We had a great lesson with her about tithing this week.

Another miracle story. Soeur Gomez and I were contacting yesterday and walked up to this nice lady and her kids. We said hello and explained who we were and she said "I know." We asked her if she had talked to the missionaries before and then she explained that she knows the church because she was born into the church. We found a less-active member!! It is so cool to see how the Lord guides us to where we need to be through the Spirit. Through little thoughts like "we should start contacting from the back of this complex" or "we should talk to this lady." It is amazing to see how the Lord works in our lives. It is our job to be ready and prepared, in tune to hear the still small voice.

I feel so blessed to be a missionary and to be surrounded by so many great sisters! Time flies and I still can't believe it is coming to an end soon.
I love you, have a great week. See you soon.


Soeur Banks

Monday, January 4, 2016

Semaine 69

Bonjour a tous,

Bon ânée!  It sounds like your new year is starting out nice and freezing cold. The year is starting out well here in Gwada.

We finished off 2015 strong. We saw Bethina on Tuesday, she is awesome. She has really been studying and searching for the answers to her questions. She has found her answers through the word of God in the scriptures and modern-day prophets and by using the gift of the Holy Ghost. She is an amazing recent convert with a solid testimony. Tuesday was a miraculous full day. Gladys and Alain read together in the Book of Mormon, Stephanie has been ponderizing! It was a great day! We finished off the year of 2015 helping a sister in the branch paint her wall, it's always good to end with service. She gave us a bag of fruit and told us that they have a tradition. You eat a piece of fruit at midnight on New Year's and you keep the seeds and put them in your wallet. If they stay there all year you will have more money in the year to come. I now have a bunch of maracudja seeds in my wallet.

Had a great exchange with Soeur Covey on Wednesday. It was awesome to see how pure testimony and sharing personal experiences can soften a person's heart. We saw a lot of great things happen together during our exchange.

The Lord is always watching over His work. He guides us when He needs us. Sometimes it is to meet the relative of a member, who already knows a lot about the gospel and gives you cool Guadeloupean dishes. That happened this week. We were able to see the sweetest older sister in our branch on Saturday. She is old and kind of lonely. She is a talented seamstress with a solid testimony of Christ. We passed a lovely moment together, she showed us the beautiful quilt she has been working on for about 17 years and we talked about the gospel and family history work.

We taught a beautiful family on Saturday! We followed up on this guy we contacted and he has a wife and two kids; the best part is that they are married!! We had a great restoration lesson with them, the spirit was so strong testifying of the truth as we shared the first vision and bore testimony.

The gospel is the only thing that will save the world. It is wonderful to see the joy the gospel brings everyday, but also sad to see so many people reject it. But God has given us our agency for a reason.

It was wonderful to see a less-active sister we have been teaching come to church yesterday for the first time in forever. She has decided she wants to go to the temple, so she is turning around her life! It is beautiful to see her changing.

I love the gospel and I love sharing it! I hope you have a great week and find a way to share the joy of the gospel with somebody!


Soeur Banks

Monday, December 28, 2015

Week 68

Boujour a tous,

I hope the rest of Christmas was great for all of you. I loved talking to you. Our Christmas evening finished off nicely watching Inside Out, a great choice for the one movie we get to watch a year as missionaries. It is a fabulous movie, very well done; many tears were shed by most of us while watching it. Soeur Hoover and I, afterwards, had a great time relating it to the gospel. As missionaries we are helping people make core memories as we introduce them to the gospel, give them the Book of Mormon and ask them to pray about it. Some of the most important core memories ever! The rest of our week was great, we saw some great Christmas miracles:

It all started Wednesday evening, all of our branch was invited to the home of Frére et Soeur Cesarin for a Christmas party, to sing and eat food. They asked us to invite our investigators. We stopped by Nadege's a couple of hours before to invite her and her family. As we were explaining where it was I mentioned the name of the family and her boyfriend knew their son! Random miracle! They said they might come and we left with a prayer in our heart that they would.  We showed up at the party and the other missionaries were the only people there with a couple of members. Typical, everything starts late here. The party started and guess who showed up...Nadege, her boyfriend, Alain, and her two kids, Diana and Stephen! We were so excited! When we had to leave, the members took such great care of them, they had a great time.

Saturday we had a lesson set up with Nadege. Almost every lesson we have had we have invited Alain to join, but he has never accepted our invitations. Saturday we sat down and Alain was already there, ready for the lesson! We asked him if he was going to stay and he said yes! Miracle! We planned to talk about the Law of Chastity, how perfect for both of them to be there! Yes, we were a little nervous at first to talk about it with the both of them, but it is exactly what they needed and it was a beautiful lesson! We also had some fun playing hangman all together afterwards.

But the miracles don't stop there! Nadege had not yet been to church because Alain was not willing to take her and the kids, but they all came on Sunday!!! It was such a happy day! The lessons were perfect for them and what they need right now!

Soeur Hoover and I were talking about how the gospel changes us. We have already seen such a big change in Nadege since she has started learning about the gospel. The change is starting in Alain as well. The joy and hope the gospel brings is contagious! It is the joy of following the plan God so lovingly has given us. It is the peace and assurance that come in keeping His comandments and trusting in His words. Nadege has more hope and a desire to learn more and follow God!

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest Joy. As missionaries we find more of that joy everyday scattered through the work. The gospel is great, what more can I say.

I love you and have a great New Year!!


Soeur Banks

Monday, December 21, 2015

Semaine 67 Joyeux Noel


Joyeux Noel tout la monde! It's almost Christmas! Time is flying! We had a great Christmasy week here on Gwada. We have been sharing the Savior is Born video with everyone we can here. We had a great district Christmas program Saturday. We are excited for the activities of Christmas this week.
Here Christmas involves a lot of singing. They do this thing called Chante Nwel, which is Creole for Sing Christmas. Basically you get together with family and friends, eat and sing Creole Christmas songs, then eat a bit more budan and then keep singing some more. Most of our branch is getting together at a member's house on the 23 to Chante Nwel together, it is going to be awesome. We were also invited to a Christmas party chez le famille Eclar ,who are some of the coolest greatest members of all time, Christmas Eve. It won't quite be the Mulvey family Christmas party, but it will be amazing.

We had a great lesson in Relief Society (le Societe de Secours) yesterday about missionary work. It was a great lesson and discussion about our duty to share the restored gospel of Jesus Christ as members of His church. We have all taken upon us His name by entering into the waters of baptism and have made the covenant to be witnesses of Him at all times in all things and in all places.

We were talking to a sister after a lesson she accompanied us to. She told us how she will be spending Christmas with her parents and nieces and nephews. They usually dance and have a great party in the evening, but she made a great plan. She decided she wants to teach her nieces and nephews what Christmas really is, why we have all these parties and festivities. She has really caught the spirit of Christmas which is truly the missionary spirit. This time of year is known as a time of sharing, so sharing the joy of the gospel of Jesus Christ should be our first priority. Sharing the gospel brings the greatest joy.

We have seen miracles while teaching Nadege and Diana this week. It is so great to teach them because the spirit is always there and they are so willing to learn and accept the gospel. It is an environment where the spirit can edify and comfort. She is going through some hard things, but she is starting to see the light of the gospel.

Have a great Christmas! I hope yours is white and beautiful. Ours here will be beautiful in a different hotter kind of way! I keep expecting it to get cold because it's Christmas but I'm still sweating my brains out. I love you!


Soeur Banks

Monday, December 14, 2015

Semaine 66

Che famille mwen,

Sounds like it is getting nice and cold and snowy back home. This week on Gwada it has been extremely hot! Hotter than usual, I think my tan got a little darker too! It's Christmas time, but doesn't completely feel like it.

We have been sharing the new Christmas video with everyone. When we ask people if they like Christmas, the response is usually the same, something about how they like it but Christmas is for kids. That is where they have it wrong. Christmas is for every single person on earth, because Christ was born and lived and died for every single one of us. Christmas is great, and one of the best times of year to preach the gospel.

In exciting news, Bethina was baptized on Saturday! It was wonderful. I will tell you a little of her story. She is the sister of two members. Her sister, Wina, lives in Baie-Mahault and her brother lives in Guyane. They have been members for a few years. Bethina encountered the church in France a few years back while studying there. She immediately loved it, but because of some circumstances in her life she could not be baptized then. She kept coming to church and her siblings have been praying that she would make the decision to be baptized and make the necessary changes in her life. And she did! She came to us a couple weeks back and told us she was getting baptized on the 12 of December!  We have worked hard with her these last couple of weeks to review all of the lessons with her and prepare her for baptism. It was amazing. She was so happy and told us that she could not believe it was finally happening! Her cousin baptized her. It was a very happy day for her family who are members of the church! They have waited a long time for that day.

Transfer news...Soeur Hoover and I are staying in Baie-Mahault together!! And I couldn't be happier!  I love Baie-Mahault and Sister Hoover; it will be a good place to finish. We have some awesome people who should be getting baptized this next transfer.

As a companionship we are hoping to make these next six weeks the best six weeks . It is crazy how time flies.

I love you and have a great week!


Soeur Banks