Rob is serving a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the West Indies. This blog will contain his letters home. He is doing a great work, and would love to hear from you!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Superheroes, canine and otherwise

Another email from Rob, sent to his dad later today: "I got some extra time. Mostly when I'm bored I just end up reading the scriptures. I'm starting to learn a lot about them (chronologically that is). It's too bad I didnt let u guys teach me more when I had the time. haha. O well, I'm here now doing it. Customs of the people here are a little different. No one gets married here which leads to a LOT of single parent families. We however just started teaching this guy named Troy. It's funny, cuz we had 15 min left in our day and we never go home early, and we've been trying to contact this guy since we met him for like a week. and just couldn't get a hold of him. So in our last 15 min we went to this little hole in the wall marketplace to pick up some bread and sure enough there he was. haha. Diligence is so key. Anyway we just had our first lesson with him that got interputed by some Jehovah's Witnesses coming in and bombarding the lesson. haha. But he was pretty put out when they told him super hero movies were an act of the devil, so I used that as my oppertunity to come in and say that basically that's the most crazy thing I've ever heard, and that super hero movies are awesome. lol. Anway, we're going to give his wife a blessing on Thursday or Friday. She's in the hospital with ataxia? I haven't ever heard of it but maybe u guys can do some research on it. So hopefully we can pull off some serious miracles and show this guy what the light of Christ is really all about. You know, clean up the confusion ;) haha. Anyway, tell Baxter I miss him and that he's the king of the world and the creator of all things that have to do with awesomeness and the light of my life <3 and that he's misunderstood and deserves a throne. lol O, also so awesome to hear about Brandon! [Rob's brother-in-law, who has had a medical breakthrough after a blessing.] Hope he recovers quickly! k g2g this time for real, but I'm excited to hear from u next week."

Fireflies are Real

The first part of Rob's email today was directed to the dog. Not surprising. Each of Rob's emails has directed a greeting to the dog. I sent him this picture of Baxter, which is Baxter in a typical pose. The post script below may be very upsetting to Baxter, so we are not sharing it with him. Nor do I plan on doing any research as requested. We are looking forward to a call or Skype on Mother's Day. Rob's email is quoted here: "Bahahaha yessssss Baxterrrrrrr! Tell him I miss him. Sorry if I can't answer all your questions. It took me 20 min to read all the emails. lol. Things here are good! Elder Wilson and I had lunch with a sister from the branch who fed all the missionaries in our district. It was really good! (Not as good as your food tho) ;) What can I say? Mormons can cook. haha. As far as Skype goes, you might wanna send me your Skype name just in case, so I have it. Otherwise, the Skype name we use is given to us by the Church so I don't know what it is yet. Sooooo, something new? I am starting to get better at learning the language here. Which is sometimes seriously the most broken English ever. haha. I saw fireflies for the first time a while ago. Not sure if I already told you that. Nobody ever told me they were real. lol. I always thought they were just something out of cartoons, so as you can imagine it was a trip to see them for the first time in real life. haha. We were teaching a girl named Otasha when I first saw one and I was like "Whoa! No way! Are those fireflies!???" She then gave me this look like "Are you from Mars?" and was like "Ya, they're a nuisance." bahahaha. Shows how much I know. One of the sisters from the branch gave me some guava cheese which is basically candy, but it's sooooo bomb. Also these things called tamarind balls. lol. She's the same lady that gave me mauby syrup to try, so that was awesome. And no, I haven't gotten any of your snail mail yet. I haven't gotten anything from anyone :_( Probably takes a while to get here or something. :P O, I'm reading the Book of Mormon, like thoroughly, and every time I have a question I can ask Elder Wilson, who's like a scripture wiz! haha. But I'm just trying to get people to church here which is harder than it seems. We had three families on Saturday that told us they were going to for sure be there and then none of them showed up, which was kinda a bummer, but what can you do? I don't know if I'm gonna get any baptisms in this area but to me it really doesn't matter. I hope I can just leave them with a good impression about the Church. Anyways, I g2g but I'll see u next week! PS: O hey, I almost forgot, this is very urgent and important! I need you to find the paperwork/ requirements for having a pet monkey in the United States! I'm gonna catch myself a monkey at the end of my mission to bring back or maybe after my mission is done. Any research you can do would be greatly appreciated.
This is a picture of an actual Barbados Monkey. Rob did not take this picture. But if he wants, I will frame it and put it up in his room in lieu of a real monkey.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Bajan Centipedes

Rob wrote this email to his dad yesterday, giving us a little more insight into how things are going in Barbados. Here is his letter: "Haha, my food intake has been peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and mac n cheese. If mom could send me some recipes that would be awesome. My companion is good. Real smart kid, so whenever someone tries to Bible bash us I just get to sit back and take notes. lol. Hasn't rained a whole lot since the last time I talked to you, mostly just been hot. We did a service project the other day cleaning up a member's backyard. I ended up cleaning out what looked like this really dingy storage block that was covered in leaves and dirt (bugs nest galore). Found 5 giant centipedes like the ones you see in the movies. lol. The guy with us informed me they are extremely poisonous and to not get bit. haha. So naturally I slayed those suckers! You would've been proud. lol. It's been hard trying to get to know people though. Not only cuz they are very proud and stubborn people but there are still times where their bajan accent is so thick that I just can't understand them :/ But I'm glad I could start in this area because I've heard that the rest of the islands are like super nice and you get like 2 baptisms a transfer, so I'm glad I could humble myslef from the start, you know? Anyway, things are good. I'm still counting down the days. lol But I'm trying to just get lost in the work so I dont think about home too much. How's Baxter????? Give him a treat for me plz."
No, this is not Rob's arm. It is a photo that came up when I Googled "giant centipede Barbados." My understanding is that the big ones are slower than the small ones. Some comfort.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Random Photos

I will try to stop whining about not getting any photos. These came in some time after the email letter today. I include two from the air and three from the ground. Very little explanation with the photos, only this cryptic note: "those are some pics of the house with all sorts of egyptian stuff drawn on the house. they even had an obelisk in their yard O.O"

Buses, Bach, and Bad Hair

Here is the latest email from Rob, still serving in Black Rock, Barbados. By way of explanation, Rob's grandmother (Roger's mom) has been thrilled to hear about Rob's mission. When we see her each week she immediately asks about him and what news we have. At our last visit she wanted us to ask Rob how he approaches people he meets, or in other words, how he might introduce the gospel to folks in Barbados. The first part of his email answers that question. Here's Rob (slightly edited): "That's so cool that Nana is asking stuff like that. To answer your question, I normally just try and get to know people first before going into a spiritual thought. I'm still not too good at it but I'm getting there. The people here are quite prideful (haha), but I love 'em! Got to ride on the bus quite a bit this last week. I was sitting in the front seat listening to Reggae while people were shouting and I just looked around and laughed thinking, "Man, what on earth am I doing here?" lol Thought about Bryant [a long-time friend] while riding the bus. He would've gotten a kick out of it. Hey, have you ever seen that episode of Seinfeld where they get their shower heads replaced? If not watch it cuz my hair is like that here (hahaha). O ya! We're allowed to listen to classical music out here, so if you could send me like some Chopin or Bach or something that would be really awesome! Anyways, miss you guys a lot. Just trying to get things done out here. Met a guy yesterday who was an electrician so I got to relate with him a lot and got him to laugh quite a bit, but hopefully things follow through. Other than that, teaching the people here is really hard. It's apparently the hardest island on the mission to get baptisms, cuz people will just speak their mind at you and it's usually pretty negative. Good thing I got tough skin. How's Baxter?????? [the dog] Give him a treat for me plz! I'm getting thru the 2 Nephi chapters right now and it's extremly difficult. Any way of getting through those tough ones? O ya, I'm getting super tan out here lol. You probably won't recognize me when I come home. Anyways, miss you guys a ton. I'll be back to email u next week! O, and tell President Ellsworth he's the man! I appreciate the prayers. They make a world's difference."
I am including this photo from the mission home in Trinidad, which I recently found on the West Indies Mission Facebook page. Who knew? Still no photos from Barbados. Can this be my son? We continue to google Bridgetown, Barbados in order to visualize the area Rob is in. Hopefully he will remember to take pictures before he leaves Barbados.
Googled photo of Bridgetown, Barbados.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

More from Black Rock

One more note from Rob's preparation day yesterday, sent separately to Roger: "It's so cool being here and teaching real investigators. I feel so blessed. It's a great eye opening experience to see the poverty here and how much people are just getting by. I'm hoping to change a lot of lives out here and bring them some peace and happiness. Tell Brother Evans "Did I mention it's hot?" haha. It's pretty toasty here but hey, my tan's already starting to come in so I can't complain. Just got done playing beach volleyball with the district which was really fun. Sorry I didnt send any pictures. I forgot my camera :("
NOTE: This is not the volleyball Rob used; it is pictured here because the colors are similar the the colors on the flag of Barbados.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Black Rock, Barbados

Mondays are preparation days in the West Indies Mission, which means we look forward to emails from Rob on Monday each week. Here is today's note, with answers to a few questions about how the work is going in Black Rock, Barbados: "Heyyyyy, it's been great here! Just soaking up the lifestyle here in Black Rock, Barbados. haha. People here are so proud to be Barbadians, or "Basians" as they like to call themselves. I've pretty much been eating regular food considering I don't know how to make anything and neither does Elder Wilson. I did have a drink called Mauby. haha. It was different but I kinda liked it. We have a guy called Jeff that is a member that goes around and teaches with us. He apparently got into an accident a while back and isn't right in the head but he's soooooo awesome and I love teaching with him even though I can't understand a word he says. haha. So word has it that Barbados is the hardest language to understand because the people's slang just shortens every word as much as possible. Like Black Rock is pronounced "blah-rah." lol. But some people are easier than others, so that's nice. We have about 10 investigators, 2 of which seem to be really solid, just need to start getting them to come to church. Tell Baxter i miss him :( and the family too i guess ;). It feels weird being out here but I'm just trying the best I can to get lost in the work so I don't think about time so much. It's funny how much it rains here, like one minute it's sunshine then the next it'll rain like super hard! It'll only last about 5 -10 minutes usually, but it's really random. lol. Anyways, hope all is well." Then a second short email: "Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you I have a biking mission. haha. It's actually really fun getting around and getting the workout in every day." We are so glad Rob is doing well and enjoying his area. Hope to hear more from him next week. Below is a map of Barbados, with the Black Rock (Blah Rah) area of Bridgetown marked. I include the map for those who are keeping track, or in case you are playing advanced Trivia Crack and need it for a Geography answer.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Mission Home

From our last phone call with Rob we thought he would go straight to Barbados, so it was great to learn this morning that he did have a significant opportunity to stay at the Mission Home on Monday night before traveling to his assigned area of labor. In an email from the mission president we received three photos of arriving missionaries and news that he will be serving in the Black Rock area of Bridgetown, Barbados. When I Googled Black Rock Barbados, one of the images that popped up was of Simon Cowell, who apparently bought a villa at the "luxury Black Rock development in Barbados." Huh. That would be an interesting contact. Below are pictures from the Mission Home in Trinidad, where Elder Platt spent his first night in the West Indies. We hope to hear more about Black Rock when he emails on Monday.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Barbados Bound

We were able to talk to Elder Platt briefly this morning from the airport, before he departed out of Salt Lake City. Final destination: Barbados! He sounded great, excited to be in the mission field after a wonderful week in the MTC. Barbados is part of the Lesser Antilles islands in the Caribbean. It is about 21 miles long and 14 miles wide - roughly the shape of a pork chop - 250 miles north-east of Trinidad and Tobago. We assumed Rob would travel first to the the mission home in Trinidad, and he does have a layover there, but his final ride today will take him to Bridgetown, Barbados. Hopefully we will receive an email soon with details of his trip. When we know exactly where he will be serving, we will update his contact information. Below is a map of Barbados, in case any of you are as clueless as we are about the West Indies.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

We've been hoping for pictures of Rob in his black name tag from the MTC, and finally received some last night. He looks happy, and says his district is the BEST. He is leaving soon to travel to the West Indies, and we are hoping for a call from the airport. He has had an amazing MTC experience! Here are his pictures: