Monday, October 27, 2014

Week 7 in Guyana

Bonjour a tous,

I can't believe it is almost November! I'm glad to hear it's cooling off at home, it is still roasting here. Wet season is supposed to start soon so it will cool off a very little bit, but not really.

We have a new sister!! Sister McDaniel! We picked her up from the airport Thursday night. We are excited to have her.

We were so excited to see three of our investigators at church this Sunday! We have also found more less actives this week. We contacted a man a couple of weeks ago and we went back to visit him this past week and it turns out his whole family are members of the Church. We were sitting in a restaurant today and a lady came us to us and told us she is a member from Brazil and she wanted to know what time church is and where it is. So many people are members from other countries who move to French Guyana and don't know where the church is. We hope to continue finding more of these people every week.

Here in the W.I.M. we have a Book of Mormon reading schedule and we read the Book of Mormon every two transfers. We just started again. I just read the story of Lehi's dream (1 Nephi 8) and have been thinking a lot about it. After Lehi eats the fruit he is desirous that his family should partake as well (vs12). In verse 14 he sees his family but they are standing there as if they knew not what to do. He then beckons them over and calls unto them with a loud voice (vs 15). This is exactly what missionary work is. We are all family, but some of our brothers and sisters are standing there because they don't know what to do. It is our job to call unto them and invite them to come unto Christ. Some won't come like Laman and Lemuel because the great and spacious building looks like more fun, but it isn't. We are excited here in French Guyana as we see more peole come when we call them and beckon them over to partake of the gospel. We also see our investigators turn to the great and spacious building, which is sad. But everyone has their agency, which sometimes can be frustrating, but it is a blessing.
We are looking forward to a great transfer here in Guyana. Have a Happy Halloween back in the states. The Church is true and your Heavenly Father loves you more than you know. I love you all too. Until next week.


Soeur Banks

Monday, October 20, 2014

Week 6, Transfer Info and More!


I have been in French Guyana for six weeks! We got our transfer call on Saturday. Transfers work a little differently here in the W.I.M. than other places because transfers usually involve planes. We don't have a transfer meeting like most missions because we are spread out over so many countries. We get transfer calls! We got our call Saturday afternoon from President Mehr telling us that we are staying in French Guyana but, we are getting a new sister missionary, Sister McDaniel! We are going to be in a trio and Sister Riley is going to be double training!! She is flying into Trinidad today and then to French Guyana on Thursday!!! We are so excited! I met her in the MTC because she got there a few days before I left. Most everything else is staying the same down here in Guyana. One Elder who has been here for about a year is being transfered to St. Martens but that is it.

This past week was great. I finally got to meet the rest of the French side sisters over skype. We (Sis Riley, me, and the zone leaders) had to take a trip to the border of Suriname and French Guyana to take care of some passport stamp issues. We spent seven hours in the car. We got stuck in a rain storm on the way back. Rain here is definitely nothing like rain in the states.

We have had some cool teaching experiences this week. After finding so many contacts last week we have some promising new investigators. We visited one woman who we found who had said he had a lot of extended family who were members. We were teaching her and her 17 year old son came out and she told us he was a member of the church! He was baptised when he was 8, but once they moved to French Guyana from Peru he couldn't find the church so he found a different church to go to. We were so excited and we hope the rest of their family will want to be baptised.

On Tuesday before district meeting we got a call that one of the Elder's investigators in Cayenne was being kicked out of their house so they needed help moving. They were living in an area of illegal shacks basically and the government was making all 150 people move out. We spent the morning helping them get everything out of their house and move it to another house in another area. I can honestly say it was something I never expected to do in my life, helping illegals move. There were news crews all over the place; one of the Elders ended up in the back of the news report on TV. He had a few members call him and tell him. As we were helping a lot of people were wondereing why a whole bunch of well dressed white people were helping people move out. Service is not something a lot of people understand down here. A lot of people are really suprised when we ask if we can help them with anything. Some people down here are very friendly and kind, others aren't.

I was so excited to hear you got to meet Sister Riley's family! I have heard all about them and they sound pretty awesome! Right after emails we are going to print out the pictures of you together so we can hang them on our wall!!

We are excited to keep working hard down here. I hope all is well back in the states; Love you all.

Soeur Banks

Monday, October 13, 2014

Week 5 in French Guyana!


It has been a good week here in French Guyana. The Lord blesses us in ways we don't expect. We were disappointed that none of our investigators with baptisimal dates came to church on Sunday, but we did have one investigator at church, Fode! We found Fode one Sunday when we were walking around on our way to see if an investigator was home. He was just chilling in his yard. He is Muslim but he is interested in our message. Hopefully he will keep coming to church and get baptized.

This week we had to drop one of our best investigators because he proposed to Sister Riley. We were really disappointed because he would have been a really cool member and he had a baptismal date for November 1. Hopefully some other missionaries will be able to start teaching him someday and he will be baptized.

We have found a lot of new people to teach in the last week because as a zone we had a goal for each companionship to contact 25 people. We did! We have found some people who have really been prepared for the gospel.

The Elders came out to shadow us as we taught on Friday.We had our zone leaders and another Elder who was in French Guyana for a day from Guadeloupe to finish some legalization stuff with us. It was a bit nerve racking having three other missionaries there watching us teach, but it went pretty well. Learned a lot from the Elder from Guadeloupe.

Today as a reward for us all getting our 25 contacts we ventured out into the jungle as a zone. We drove past a couple monkeys but that was all the wildlife we saw. Lots of bugs, we got eaten by bugs. We climbed around on a cool waterfall. Sometimes I still have moments where it really hits me that I am a missionary in South America, it blows my mind. Holy cow! French Guyana is such a cool place!

It is crazy to think that this is the last week of the transfer! I've been here for almost 6 weeks!! Time flies! I love you! You are in my prayers. Keep being awesome and share the gospel with others!!!

Lots of love from South America,

Soeur Banks

This is where I sleep
This is a typical road in French Guyana 
This is our living room with our desks and the view out our window.
You can almost see out truck outside.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Another Great Week in Guyana and General Conference!!!


I hope you got the pictures from my companion last week. Here is a quick explanation of those. The one of me by the tree and looking at the ocean were from our nature hike last p-day. The hike is about ten minutes away from where we live on the Rue de Plage. There is the picture of the boat we took to Suriname, that is Elder Pratt one of our zone leaders in the pic. The last picture is of me and Sister Riley. I thuoght you might like to see a picture of who I spend 24/7 with. We took that picture two p-days ago on the beach.

This week was a good week and it flew by. We definitely had some adventures. General conference was awesome! I loved Elder Bednar's talk about why we are a missionary church, so true. We have some really cool investigators with baptismal dates. We hadn't been able to visit our investigator in a while and were worried she wasn't that interested and committed anymore, but when we visited her she had been reading and she had gone over the baptismal interview questions and written down her answers! I am so excited for her to get baptized! the only hard thing with her is that her parents don't like us and they lie to us and tell us she isn't there when we go over. The good thing is the work of the Lord is stronger than a couple of people who don't like us.

I think I wrote a little about Christian before and how he had already drastically changed his life before we met him and he knows the Bible really well. He tells us a lot of stories about his life and Sister Riley and I were both thinking how cool it will be when he can share these stories in fast and testimony meeting with the members of the branch.

We have three investigators with baptismal dates who are siblings. Sister Riley started teaching Jean Claude a while ago then they found his sister, they didn't know they were related at first. Last week he told us his other sister was interested in hearing about the gospel. The gospel blesses families:)

Nothing can stop the work of the Lord. I'm proud to be a part of the missionary force in the world today. I know Dad got an elbow in the side every time they mentioned missionary work in conference. Every time they mentioned it there was a reverent but enthusiastic cheer coming from the clerks office in the chapel, which is where we were watching. The church is so true and conference was a testament of that to me. I love you all. have a good week!


Soeur Banks