Monday, August 31, 2015

Week 51 in the field

Bounjour mes chere freres et soeurs,

Storm update:  Yes, the storm did pass here, it just rained a lot on Thursday and we were not able to go out and work. It did not devastate us like it devastated Dominica. Dominica has 366 rivers on the island so when they get large amounts of rain it floods like crazy! We have a lot of Dominicans here on Gwada so we have been hearing a lot about it. Here we just stayed inside for a day and we were fine.

Other than being a little wet, it was a good week! We went to a wedding on Thursday after the storm passed. It was the wedding of a member and her now husband who was one of the investigators of the Elders in our branch. It was so beautiful. What makes it even more beautiful was he was finally baptized on Saturday! It was so exciting and they have already picked what temple they are being sealed in next year! Getting married in France is quite a process, it is not easy and fast like in the states. Here it takes months to do the papers and you have to go to the town hall to get married and sign the papers with witnesses and all of that. We have an investigator who has been working on her marriage papers for months, she finally has a set solid marriage date for the October 31! She is super sweet. Her name is Anny. She is from the Dominican Republic and has been taught by the missionaries for a while. Her future husband is a member who has recently come back to church. They have the cutest family. She actually asked us to be her bridesmaids, but sadly we had to decline because we can't do that as missionaries. We are so excited for her to finally be getting married.

That is something we run into a lot here in the West Indies, couples that are not yet married. When we find a couple who is married we get super excited, its like they are just asking to be taught and baptized. This week we found the cutest couple, who are married! It was the evening and we found ourselves contacting in the Raizet again. Not many people were out and it was kind of dead. We were rolling down the street and there was someone parked with their hood up. We went over to see if we could help; even though we have no mechanic skills, but it is true that the Gospel of Jesus Christ helps us in all situations of life. It was this super sweet couple. As we talked to them we found out that they are married and already have a strong faith in Christ. They told us to come by whenever, because they would like to talk with us. We were super excited. Future eternal familes make us super excited!

I also had the opportunity to go to Goyave on an exchange with Sister Hoover this week. It was super fun, I had never been in Goyave before. Goyave literally translates to the fruit guava. And funny enough I tried a guava for the first time this week while in the town named after the fruit. It was a great exchange and Sister Hoover is awesome! She has been in the field for three weeks and is doing great things!

Thanks for the Happy Birthday wishes! Today for Pday we hiked the volcano on Basse-Terre in the rain, it was so foggy but super cool! Not many people can say they hiked a volcano on their 21st birthday! Our sweet Sister Training Leader made me a cake. It has been a good day so far.

We are looking forward to a great week filled with lots of member lessons here in Abymes. I love you and I hope you have a great week too!


Soeur Banks

Monday, August 24, 2015

Week 50

Bonjour a tous,

We have had a good, kind of stormy, but not really, week here in Gwada.

We saw the miracle of finding two less active members this week. The first one was completely out of the blue last Monday night. Our appointment fell through and our backup so we were wandering around le Raizet. We were trying to figure out where we could knock on some doors. As we were riding around we saw a car that had its lights on still. We decides to knock on the door of a house nearby to ask if it was their car. A lady answered the door who only spoke Spanish, and a tiny bit of French. Through our broken conversation we figured out that her name is Lucia, she is from the Dominican Republic, she has been in Guadeloupe for a year and she is a member of the church. We had the opportunity to talk with her more yesterday. She was baptized when she was 9. It has been a long time since she has been to church. She is so sweet and we are excited to get to know her better and help her come back and be a part of the branch!

A couple of weeks ago we met a guy on the road who said he had talked with the missionaries in France and had been to church before here in Guadeloupe. We took his number and visited with him last week. As we visited with him we invited him to be baptized and we extended to him a baptismal date. This past week we were working with a member and we had planned to pass by and see this guy. As we were standing outside his house talking about the lesson and what we were going to teach, our member commented that there is a member with the same exact name as our investigator. He was not there so we visited someone else. That night we checked our branch list and sure enough he was on it. He is already a member! He did not tell us. Those were two of the miracles we have seen this week; It is cool that we found these people this week just as our Branch President has asked us to start focusing more on reactivating less active members.

It is a testimony to me that our Heavenly Father loves all of us and he is watching out for all of us no matter where we are.

Another fun story that goes along with that. We get new minutes every month on our phone on the 23 of the month. This month we ran out a day before so we couldn't call anyone to confirm our plans for the day. We went out with a prayer in our hearts and it was a great day! Only one lesson fell through and we found a new investigator's house without calling him! Heavenly Father is definitely watching out for us.

Have a marvelous week and know that I love you!


Soeur Banks

Monday, August 17, 2015

Week 49

Bounjour a tous,

It has been a good, busy, little bit crazy, week here in Gwada. We have spent a lot of time walking around Point a Pitre and waiting for buses this week. We had an awesome district activity on Saturday. It was a big Olympiad sporting event. It was super fun and I am only a little sore and a little sunburned :)

This week has not been quite as successful as we had hoped it would be. We saw some really cool investigators kind of drop off. We were a little discouraged, but the Lord is always watching over his work and putting new people in our path. Yesterday night we had a very interesting lesson. We contacted Patrice last week at her house as we were looking for an old investigator from our area book. We had a nice lesson last week, she expressed that she was very Catholic, but wouldn't mind if we came back again the next week. We went by again yesterday and the lesson didn't start out that great. She was going off about her neighbor who wants to kill her dog, but the lesson took a turn. It ended up being one of the most spiritual lessons I have been in. The spirit was so strong and we know she could feel it testifying to her. It was so cool to see how the spirit changed her heart. She went from listening just because we were there, to having a real desire to know more through the spirit.
We saw another miracle talking to a less active. He has more recently gone less active because he has been involved in some stuff he was not supposed to be in. Our lessons with him have usually been frustrating and unspiritual. It is amazing to see the change as he has started overcoming his problems. He told us he has an appointment with a counselor. It is amazing to see the change in him, he is happier, he is not angry and always trying to argue with us like before. It is a testimony to me of how the path to Christ is the only path that will really make us happy. Wickedness never was happiness.

We also had the exciting event of getting a new sister on Guadeloupe this week! Sister Hoover is new and is being trained in Goyave! We are excited to get to know her better and eventually get to know the other two new sisters who are in Martenique and Guyane as well.  The Lord is hastening his work.

I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!


Soeur Banks

Monday, August 10, 2015

Week 48


Transfer calls were Saturday....drum roll please..... Dranks is staying together in Abymes!! And we couldn't be happier! Yes, Soeur Driggs and I have been nicknamed Dranks. It has been a good week for Dranks in Abymes.

I did start off the week in Petit Bourg on an exchange with my old companion, Soeur Dorsan. It was super fun and I learned a lot. We helped a really sweet sister in the branch clean her windows and organize her food storage and we taught some awesome lessons. With transfer calls we found out that they are putting Elders back it Petit Bourg. We are short on Sisters right now on the French side. We are down to four sisters on Gwada! President Herrington did tell us that next transfer 9 missionaries leave the mission but there are 23 coming in!  Get ready for some major changes in six weeks.

I think I have written you a little about Stevens before. He is the one with a unique sense of style. We had an awesome lesson with him this past week. He is very commited to God and to his word. He has a strong testimony of prayer and how the spirit communicates with him. We talked about the Word of Wisdom in our last lesson. Sometimes it can be a challenging topic for people here in the Caribbean. Stevens has definitely been prepared for the gospel. He admitted that it would not be easy, but he is going to work towards living it. All things are possible through Christ.

Yesterday we saw a great miracle at church. Sister Driggs had called everyone yesterday morning reminding them of church, and it was looking like no one was going to be there. We had called one couple, Marc and Ketlee Saturday night and they said they couldn't come. We were sitting in the chapel waiting for the meeting to start trying not to feel discouraged that none of our investigators were there. The biggest miracle happened. Marc and Ketlee walked in! The even bigger miracle was that the members were all over them welcoming them! We didn't even get very much time to talk with them after church because the members were so excited to see them . They even got invited to an FHE! It was one of the greatest Sundays. It strengthened my testimony of fasting. A while back we fasted for member work, for the members and us to be able to work better together to help our investigators. We saw it happen! The Lord responds in his own manner and in his own time. In total, yesterday we had 5 investigators at church, which is amazing for this branch!

The gospel is true! It is the only way to find true eternal joy! Soeur Driggs and I are excited for this transfer and have a good feeling about the things to come. Six more weeks of Dranks! Thank you for your prayers and your love. Have a great week!


Soeur Banks

P.S. It has been a while since I have sent photos, sorry for that. Now I have a new camera so you should be getting photos from me more often. First is a photo of me and Soeur Driggs taken by Naomi, one of my favorite little girls in the branch. Second is a throw back to the 23 July, my year mark. Decided to take a classic Banks family photo outside the house like the first day of school, this was as close as I could get. Third is of the ocean in St Anne. We went visiting teaching with a member and got to see some more of the island.
That is it for this week. Bon semaine;



Monday, August 3, 2015

Week 47

Bonjour a tous,

We can tell it is summer here because everyone asks us if we are on vacation, and they look surprised when we tell them we live here. They look surprised when we tell them that and also when we say things in Créole. It's not everyday you see two little white girls speaking Créole.

During summer vacation it is a little harder to get set appointments with people. But, nevertheless we have had some great lessons this week. 
We found a really awesome new investigator this week. His name is Mardel. We decided to ride around a bit in an area we had not explored much and Sister Driggs suggested that we talk to these two guys that were talking in their front yard. We found Mardel and his neighbor Victor. We talked to them and shared the Book of Mormon and set up an appointment for later in the week. We had an awesome lesson with him. He has lots of questions, but as we shared scriptures with him he found answers to questions he has had for a long time. When we invited him to read the Book of Mormon he told us of course he would, because God gave him all the time he has, so he can take at least an hour for God if not more. Those were some of the most wonderful words I have ever heard come out of an investigators mouth! Such a contrast to the excuses that so many other people give us. Soeur Driggs was truly guided by the spirit to find him.

Yesterday a member, Soeur Monlouis, invited us over for Munch to break our fast. It was great, we tried a lot of different fruits and ate lion fish. There where two eyeballs so the Elders made us eat them, it was an interesting experience. We have some awesome members here.

The Herringtons were here in Gwada this weekend. I was talking to Sister Herrington about how great this branch is. As we were leaving after church, waving to people, pulling out of the parking lot, I had a moment of realization of how much I love the people in the Abymes Branch. They have a special place in my heart and I have learned so much from them and with them. They have definitely changed me for the better.

Missionary work is hard, sometimes heartbreaking but the greatest work on the face of the earth. It brings the greatest joy. When Christ is the center of our lives everything else really does fall into place.

I love you and have a great Christ-centered week.


Soeur Banks