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