Monday, January 26, 2015

Week 20


So here is a quick run down of Guadeloupe. Guadeloupe has two parts Grande Terre and Basse Terre, they are the two wings of the butterfly, look at a map it willl make more sense. I am serving on Grande Terre. Here we have eight missionaries, two companionships of Elders and two companionships of Sisters. I am in Abymes which is where the church building is here. There are twelve missionaries on Basse Terre with one companionship of sisters. Sister Dorsan has served all her mission so far in Guadeloupe. She started in Goyave on Basse Terre and then Abymes. She goes home in September. I got to meet all of the Basse Terre missionares on Saturday because we had a training meeting with the second counselor in the mission presidency. It was fun to meet people that I have heard about but haven't met because I've been all the way down in Guyane. Also got to see some people again who I have served around but havent seen in a while.

It is a bit different here than in Guyane. it is more developed here in the way that there aren't a bunch of illegal shack neighborhoods and a lot of stray dogs. All the streets are paved here. Most of the people here are Guadeloupean or Hatian. There is not as much variety as in Guyane. There are a lot of cows here. I haven't really seen the ocean yet, but I hear it's beautiful. I haven't had any pineapple yet but I did get to try sugar cane. We were contacting on Saturday and a guy we were talking to gave us some. It's good!

Do you know what is crazy? I've been on my mission for six months already! Last Friday was my six month mark! Time flies!

We found a cool new investigator this past week. Actually he found us. We were teaching Xavier on the bench in the park where we always teach him when it started to rain a little, so we ran behind the church there and sat on the back steps. As we were sitting there teaching, a man came up and started to talk to us. He was interested in our message, we gave him a book of Mormon and set up an appointment. We met with Eddie for the first time the next day in the same spot. He had already started reading the Book of Mormon and wanted to know more. Eddie is homeless, he lives behind the church where we met him. He has already started changing his life and it was no coincidence that we met him because the gospel is exactly what he needs. We gave him a restoration brochure and when we met he basically taught us the restoration because he had studied the brochure. He is a little nervous to come to church, but he said he will come this Sunday.

Things are good here in Guadeloupe. I'm sweating more than I ever have in my life, but I'm loving it here. I'm getting more used to riding a bike everyday. I love you, I love the Lord and I love the people here. Have a good week!


Soeur Banks

Sister Dorsan made me a cake for my 6 month mark, she is the best!

Sister Dorsan eating sugar cane

Abymes Sisters living the bike life

Monday, January 19, 2015

Week 19 My First Week in Guadeloupe!


Greetings from the butterfly-shaped island in the middle of the ocean! I made it to Guadeloupe! It was a sad farewell to Guyane and all the people I love there but I'm excited to be here. My companion is Soeur Dorsan, she is from Florida. She was baptised about 7 years ago. She is cool and I love her already. We serve in Les Abymes on bikes. Right now the biking is hard, but I'm getting the hang of it. It's been awhile since I've been on a bike.

There are some really cool people here. We have an investigator named Xavier, He was the first investigator I met here. He always reads the chapters we give him and wants to learn more. We invited him to be baptized, he wants to be baptized but he is scared of what his mother will think. We told him we would fast with him this week for his baptism and for his mother's heart to be softened. After his lesson we were waiting for the bus because we decided not to bike on Saturday. We waited and waited but no buses came. Xavier was nice and he waited with us because it was getting late. He taught us some hip-hop while we waited. The bus didn't come so we started walking home. We were not thrilled about the thought of walking all the way home so we got a stop. A stop is another word for hitchhiking, but don't worry it's a lot safer. We only ask women and families to give us rides. We asked one lady who was getting into her car but she said no, so we kept looking. We found a family in the Carrefore parking lot who was willing to drive us home. They were really nice and we gave them a Plan of Salvation brochure. Once we got home Xavier called us. He said he talked to his mom about how he wants to be baptized and she was fine with it! Miracles! So it has been an exciting first few days. I got my first stop and have taught some cool people.

We were walking down the street the other day and a guy stopped us and started talking to us. Once we said we were representatives of Jesus Christ he was really interested. We went over the next day and taught him and his wife and we have another appointment with him this week. There are some very prepared people here waiting to be taught and baptized.

It's the beginning of a good transfer. I'm excited to see some people get baptized this transfer. I love you all and have a fabulous week.


Soeur Banks

P.S. My new address here is...

28 Res. Village Fleury Dugazon
97139 Les Abymes
Guadeloupe, West Indies

Me and Sister Dorsan at the church

Monday, January 12, 2015

Week 18: My Last Week in French Guyane

Bonjour ma famille,

So the big news this week is I'm leaving French Guyane after serving here for three transfers. I was expecting to stay here for at least one more transfer with Sister McDaniel but turns out the Lord has other plans for me. We got transfer calls on Saturday morning and I leave Wednesday for Guadeloupe!! I will be serving in Abymes Guadeloupe with Soeur Dorsen! I am excited but a little sad at the same time to be leaving French Guyane and my dear companions.Soeur McDaniel is staying in French Guyane and Soeur Vance will be coming down to be her companion and Soeur Riley was called as a sister Training Leader in Martenique with Soeur Tenney. Our trio is being split up all over the mission.

We have been saying goodbye to a lot of people. Yesterday We were over at the Baksh's house helping Soeur Baksh with her family history on Family Search. She had some names and dates to enter in for her grandparents. I was designated to be the person to help her because according to my companions I "know more about it" than them (which isn't really true because I've never really used it. I've just watched Mom use it). I really caught the spirit of Elijah while helping them. I realized how much family history hasn't been recorded here. Talking to them, they only know their family history a couple of generations back and they don't even have all of the information because it is not written down anywhere, it is just from family members' memory. We were sitting there at the computer and Frere Baksh was telling me names of his family and I was trying to find them. It was fun! At that moment I really just wanted to tell everyone I saw to write down their family history and their stories because they are so important. Mom, with your love for family history and Dad, with your knowledge of Family Search, you will be able to help so many people when you go on a mission. There were so many times last night I wished I could just call you so you could help Soeur Baksh out. I like family history, its missionary work in the spirit world!

Pday today has been full of packing, but we did go on a hike this morning with the Elders and we saw a sloth, some monkeys and I found a dead iguana (don't worry there is a picture attached). I'm going to miss this place and these people but I'm excited to be in Guadeloupe with Soeur Dorsen, riding a bike!

Well, this week is bound to be an exciting one and I'll probably have a lot to write about next week. I love you all and I hope you have a fabulous week.

Lots of love,

Soeur Banks

P.S. I will send you my new mailing address next week and if anyone has my Guyane address tell them to stop sending stuff there. Thanks you are the best! I love you! big hug!

Me and the dead iguana I found on our hike.

The Sister Missionaries and some of the Sisters of the Cayenne Branch.

Sister Riley told me I had to send this picture home.We were having some fun taking pictures by grafitti the other day in Cogneau, pretending like we fit in here.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Week 17: A New Year and Suriname


Had a fun week down here in South America. New Year's Eve we didn't get much sleep because our neighbor really liked loud fireworks that sounded like bombs. We worked hard last week trying to get a lot done before we left for Zone Conference in Suriname.

We left Saturday morning, drove to the border, which takes about three hours, got on a little boat to cross the river and then drove in a taxi for three more hours to get to Parimaribo. We had a great fireside that night. We stayed with Zuster King (our sister training leader) and Zuster Christensen.

Dutch is a weird language. Church on Sunday was all in Dutch other than President and Sisiter Mehrs talks which were translated. They were having their district conference. Listening to Dutch made me feel like it was the first few days of my mission again, when I didn't understand much of what people were saying. There was one guy from Haiti in their branch who only spoke French, so we had fun talking to him.

Sunday night we got to watch "Meet the Mormons!!" It was so good! During the last story about the Mom sending her son on a mission most of the missionaries were crying, including me. It was a great movie and a great explanation of our faith.

We had a great zone conference on Monday. There were a lot of missionaries there. The amount of missionaries in Suriname has almost doubled since last time. In our conference we talked a lot about Mosiah 18:21 and having our hearts knit together with our branch. I learned a lot. I even had the opportunity to be chosen to give a short presentation about a point of doctrine. I was also asked to lead the closing hymn which we sang in Dutch. I don't speak Dutch or sing it, it was an interesting experience.

We were spiritually fed and physically fed very well this weekend. Ate some good Roti and some Surinamese food. We also got to buy some American food! We had a small suitcase packed full of macaroni and cheese, cereal, pancake mix and a lot of other stuff.

We had a good Suriname trip and now we're back working hard for the last week of the transfer. I'll let you know next week what is happening.

Love you,

Soeur Banks