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

Monday, December 7, 2015

Semaine 65

Ma chere famille,

It has been a busy week in a few different countries, and we are very tired of airports. We had some great exchanges with the sisters of Martinique and Guyane. We got to meet a lot of people and learned a lot as well.

We started off in Martinique with Soeur Driggs and Soeur Jacobsen. They are a companionship of great faith. They have an awesome investigator who read through Ether in the Book of Mormon! She owns a bakery. They had a lesson on the Sabbath day and asked her to close her bakery on Sunday. Without hesitation she said yes! She understands that God will bless her when she keeps His comandments. Mosiah 2:22-24.

I spent my very first day in the mission field in Martinique, as I was waiting to go down to Guyane. We ended up visiting a member that I visited that day. This sister had just been baptized the week that I visited her the first time  It was a moment of reflection for me as we talked with this member, I saw how much her faith had grown since her baptism almost a year and a half ago, and I also reflected on how much my faith has grown since the last time I was there. It was a great time in Martinique, with lots of walking and some fantastic lessons.

Then we headed down to Guyane. Back to my mission birthplace. The sisters there are preparing for a baptism this Saturday! They have been working hard with Enock to help him prepare. He recently moved to Guyane, and came to the realization that he moved there to find the gospel. We were able to visit him twice while we were there. He has a strong testimony and desire to learn. As we were teaching him about the temple and we showed him a picture, he could not wait to go. He felt the sacred spirit of the temple, even though it was just a photo. He has been truly prepared by the Lord. Also, we had the opportunity to see our recent convert, Marianela, again. She is moving to France this week so I was lucky I got to see her again.

I learned so much from the sisters this week and feel blessed to have the opportunity to visit and work with them. I am always touched by the love and kindness of the people we are around.

We are excited for a baptism this week. Battina will be getting baptized this Saturday if all goes as planned. We are excited for her and we had a great lesson with her this morning.

This week will be another exciting week with zone conference, baptism and transfer calls. Time flies. Next week is the start of my last transfer. I never thought that day would come. I still feel like I just got out in to the mission field.

I hope you have a great week. I love you.


Soeur Banks

P.S. We did watch the First Presidency Devotional last night and it was amazing! I loved Elder Bednar's talk and I was thinking of Nick as Elder Whitney was talking.