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!
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Pictured: Rob in his "lava lava." Looks like a towel to me, but he called it his lava lava. Wrong ocean? He was happy to spend P-day with the other missionaries in Grenada on a field trip to Concord Falls. Here are his notes from this week: "Haha. We went to the waterfalls today which was a lot of fun. Very cool view. Ya, the waterfalls were rad! There was a little pool next to the waterfall :( wanted to swim in it so bad. lol Well, this week has been good. We've been trying to contact a lot of the less actives in the area still but it's hard to get them to commit to much of anything. Brother Allison came to church this last Sunday again, which was really cool. I wanna see him get a sweet calling in the group. And his fiance will hopefully be getting baptized very soon. We're gonna see Brother Allison tomorrow and try to make some weights (metal pipe with concrete on each end.) haha. And he's gonna feed us so that'll be cool. I hope it's tannia porridge again. That stuff is so bomb! My new comp Elder Lameta is a good guy. He's from Samoa and eats a LOT. haha. Fun to serve with, too! What I tell all my investigators when we talk about the plan of salvation is like, 'God promises that everyone will be given the opportunity to either accept or reject His gospel before we are all resurrected, and that this could be your opportunity right here right now.' Hopefully it puts things in perspective with people, letting them know the importance. The hard part is I know how fun it can be in the moment to be living 'in the world.' It's hard to just give up everything and totally commit to something that 'might' be true. That's why breaking everything down with testimonies and showing proof of the truth is so important. Otherwise, why would anyone leave behind their things they enjoy doing? Heavenly Mother, O boy, ever try to explain that to anyone before? Not the easiest thing in the world. lol. Reminds me of when we were invited to a 'scripture study' for a Pentacostal church. Well, we weren't invited, but people in my district were and they said they needed me there to back them up with scripture. lol -____- It was awful. This lady basically got up and pulled out a sheet that talked about why every other religion was wrong. I was able to explain EVERYTHING on that sheet about the LDS church except the Heavenly Mother thing. That never really sunk in with them. lol. Good stuff. I don't know what else to report! haha I can never remember everything. O ya, I don't think I ever told you about when we helped out the group leader. Our group leader, Brother George, is building his own house and so we had to haul 56 cinder blocks up this HUGE cliff. So we just carried them two by two for an hour or so. But afterwards we took his cutlass and cut down a few pieces of cane (sugar cane) and munched on that while sitting on the side on a rock on this big slope. We even got a nice ripe pa-pa (papaya) and ate that too. Then from Brother George's garden he made us this really delicious soup! It was bomb! haha. Kind of a cool story. I forgot my camera but I'll have Elder Dancan send me some photos he got on his. We also have been finding a lot of tamarind around on the ground. I don't know if you've ever heard of that, but it's basically this really sour nuts/fruit thing. I don't know how to even explain it but they are really good. I feel like you could just live off of the land out here, so many fruits. Especially now that it's almost mango season. I can see them all getting super ripe and they all look so tasty. haha. Probably should be sharing more spiritual experiences but that's kind of what my mind is on right now... can you tell I'm hungry? haha. Ok, well I'm just about out of time so I'm gonna go and eat something! Love you guys! Thanks for the support back on the home front! I appreciate you guys so much, and I'll cya in about 10 months... but who's counting right? ;) Bless up gas!"
No pictures again this week, so I'm including some Grenadian color from the interweb. Rob will be staying in the beautiful little fishing village of Gouyave through another transfer, but with a new companion and old friend from St. Lucia. Here are his notes from this week:
"Transfer calls were yesterday, and I'll be in Grenada for another month and a half! Serving with a new district leader, Elder Lameta. haha. He's from Samoa. I was his district leader back in St. Lucia. He's a cool dude. Maybe you remember him from some of the photos from back in the day. But ya, our less-active contact wasn't at church yesterday, so that kind of sucked. Anyways, things here are okay, I guess. Gouyave is very tough to find anyone progressing. People normally aren't keeping commitments. Not an easy area to serve in. Still trying to find the elect, but with little to no success. :/ Hopefully things will come around this next transfer. All good though. I took a picture of the Sunday dinner I had [not included]. haha. It was soooooo good! The typical, baked chicken with rice and peas and plantains and figs. BUT, I did get to have a drink called "Seamoss." haha. Apparently it's just like the name implies, moss that grows in the sea - mixed with sugar of course, and other stuff. It was tasty as heck! It occurred to me the other day how weird it's going to be to get used to being on the right side of the road. lol. I feel so accustomed to the left side that it will throw me off for a few days when I get back. But I guess we all saw that coming. I've been reading a lot out of Mosiah this last week. King Benjamin's address more specifically. It's SO good. Very inspiring stuff in there. Makes me wanna be a better person, you know? Anyways, I'm on a short time today. I miss you guys and hope all is well. I've decided I'm going to stick it out the whole two years and not come home early for school. Hope I'm making the right decision. Seems like obviously it should be, but sometimes I have my doubts, you know? Anyways, love you guys. Thanks for everything. Bless up!"
Found a video on YouTube, showcasing the Friday Fish Fry in Gouyave. Quite randomly, you can see two elders in the background of the video. Neither is Rob, of course, but it looks like missionaries traditionally enjoy the fish market and festivities. If you are interested, you can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGDrA9zE7_Q
Rob has been enjoying the people and the food of Grenada. I'm including an internet-swiped photo of chicken and plantains, as I imagine Rob might have been served, since he didn't send any photos. Here are his notes from today: "Haha. Another HOT day in the Caribbean, that's for sure! P-Day is going great, got to catch up on some needed sleep and am ready to tackle the week yet again. Sunday was GREAT. We got a less active member to church who is going to be a power house in this group. It was really cool, he hasn't come since I've been here or for awhile before that, I guess. But apparently he used to be a very strong member. He also brought his girlfriend (now fiance) who got up and bore her testimony. I asked him if we could teach her at some point and he was on board! Pretty cool. I could see her getting baptized very soon! As far as disappointment goes, yeah, it's hard, but you know, you get used to it. When it happens I usually just think, "Why didn't they come?" and "What can we do to eliminate the problem?" Most of the time it's because they feel nervous, 'cause they won't know anyone. So the solution is either set up an activity or bring a member out with us. One thing that really stood out to me at conference last week, seems like they really hit home on the atonement and how we WILL make mistakes, but that's the point of life is to recover and become more refined in the process. This week has been interesting. We go out teaching a lot with this member who is always super cool with us, but we occasionally let him inside our apartment for lunch and stuff. Anyway, recently out rent money for the church building we pay for went missing >.> So that has been an awkward scenario. I didn't take to TOO harshly, I mean it sucks but he'll never admit it so I'm kind of like, "Well, he can't come into the apartment anymore and we'll move on from there." Elder D. has taken it a little bit more harsh than I have though, because he was really close to the guy. But other than that, things have been good. Always stoked to hear about Dylan going out into the field. It'll be the greatest thing he's ever done, and also the hardest, but don't tell him that part. lol. Other than that lots of Bible bashing. Seventh Day Adventists seem to have come out of the woodwork this week. Always a fun time. I try to be nice to them as much as I can, but they are just so rude that I get to the point where it's like, "Okay, let's take a look in the scriptures to show you how wrong you really are." Still no success in that area, though. Doesn't seem to be too effective... but it sure makes me feel a lot better :D. We got fed a LOT of food yesterday by investigators. It's funny, 'cause it was the same exact thing for lunch and dinner from two different people. Rice and peas, chicken and plantains. lol. I love plantains, by the way. Holy crap, they are so good out here! O, also, one of our investigators taught me how to make tonya soup. They call it porridge out here and WILL correct you if you call it soup... multiple times. haha. Anyways, it's basically like this sweet potato porridge, and it's really good! We had it once before at Brother Allison's house (the guy who came out to church on Sunday). Courtney said in her email that you guys are really nice to her and that I should be grateful to have parents like you, which I sure do! It's a blessing I feel like I have taken for granted for a long time now. But thank you for always being supportive and for wanting the best for me. Not everyone has that and I appreciate everything you guys do for me! So thank you. This transfer has been one that is much more relaxed. I don't feel as much pressure from anyone, which is really nice. Still working hard, just without the added pressure, you know? I'm excited to be home though, that's for sure. Thanks again for everything. I appreciate all you guys do for me! I'm excited to see you guys for Mother's Day! Tell Baxter I miss him and I'll be home soon! I'm going to go and eat some KFC now. haha. Love you guys! Bless up."
A Google search for "tonya soup" yielded only pictures of soup made by people named Tonya. HOWEVER, a little more searching brought pictures of the tania log (root vegetable pictured) and tania log porridge (the one pictured was made with carrots instead of sweet potato). Apparently, in the Caribbean, tubular root vegetables are called Ground Provisions, and the tania root can be combined with other vegetables and flavorings to make a variety of dishes. I also found a recipe for Tania Fritters, but that is another story. If you are interested in a video demonstration of how to make tania log porridge, I invite you to search for it on YouTube, and be prepared for a true taste of Grenada. I like to think Rob's porridge was Guinness-free. Ya, mon.
Stock photo of a street in Gouyave, Grenada, since there were no photos in Rob's emails this week. He sounds busy and happy, which is just how we like him to be. Here are his notes: "O man, what a great conference we had! You know it's funny, cuz I was having a big issue with an investigator who had been doing research on some Mormon bashing websites. One of her issues was that we shouldn't be pushing people to achieve perfection and how our works won't qualify us for entering the kingdom of God. So that really nailed everything on the head! Quite amazing to see God answer questions like that. It was exactly what I needed to hear in that given moment! Really helped me reaffirm my faith in the heads of the church. Haha. Ya, conference was stellar! Lots of questions answered! It is amazing to hear from everyone and to see what everyone else got out of it. It's like they obviously only speak about one or two things but people get so much out of it. Kind of reminds me of the scriptures, how you can read the same verse over and over again and the get something new out of it. Everything here is pretty much a struggle as far as getting the group to grow, though. Everyone falls through with commitments, butttttt such is life right? Lol. Lately I've been thinking a lot on the Atonement. Kind of cool how conference time seemed to talk a lot about repentance and such. Lately our main focus as missionaries has been to teach repentance because it's the only way people can humble themselves as little children and submit to the will of the Father. Sorry for the late email. We had kind of a busy day. Elder Dancan's birthday was yesterday and one of the members scheduled a suprise bday party for him which we spent most of the day at. But ya, we saw conference in St. Georges. You know its too bad we don't get to hear as much from President Monson because he always has so many powerful things to say. They always make me think and ponder, you know? Things here have been OK just struggling getting investigators to keep commitments. Everyone says they're going to come to church and then they don't show. :P Agency is rough sometimes. Sorry for the short email. Didn't have much time today. I'll send pictures next week. I can't talk a lot today I'm sorry we got to the computer very late but just know I love you guys and am learning a lot out here. Thank you for everything! I feel bad I feel like mom had a lot of inspired questions via snail mail but I can't remember what they are >.< sorry I'll do better next time! Love you guys!