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!
It is rainy season in the Caribbean and we are hoping Elder Platt can keep his feet dry this year. He was happy to hear he will stay in Gouyave, Grenada at least one more transfer, six weeks. Here are his emails from yesterday (photos will be added when I get back to my desktop): "Haha, yes, rain! Ya, the rain is getting kind of old, I'll be honest. I believe my exact words were, "Man, I can't wait till I don't have to be wet... All the time." Lol. Looking forward to that. That and home cooked meals. Everything here is chicken and rice. We get the occasional KFC or Subway which is nice, but man do I miss home cooking. Am I allowed to make a request for when I get home?! I don't even know what I want, just know I miss your cooking. Transfers came in yesterday and I will be staying in Gouyave for another transfer with Lameta! Which I am cool with. Just wish I had some A/C! Haha. Things here are good. Sister Jenny came to church again which pretty much makes her reactivated. Kinda radical! You know, it's kinda funny you mention the thing about voices because in last year's conference during the priesthood session President Monson talked about the same thing, and whenever my investigators talk about how are they "supposed to feel the Spirit?" I go over exactly that! I tell them there are SO many outside influences around us it can be hard to pinpoint which is the Spirit. I continue to tell them, "Why do you think it is we ask you to turn off the TV? Or eliminate distractions in general? So we can discern when the Spirit speaks to us." I tell them the next time you pray and ask God if this is true, then stop and listen to the calm voice, the voice of reason. And by all means if that calm voice speaks softly and warmly that this is not the path for you, then we will stop coming by. But I know it won't. Lol. Just got into a little lesson. But ya, just thought it was cool that you brought that up cuz I use that a lot! Nobody showed up to scripture study this week. Well, I shouldn't say nobody. Brother George (group leader) came, and Sister Calliste, but she was 30 minutes late and we decided to call it since no one was there:/. BUT, we did get to run into Sister George, who I hadn't met yet but heard a lot about. She used to be very active and I've been wanting to see her for awhile. But ya, it was cool, got to introduce myself and invite her to church again. She said she would be there but didn't show up. Lol. But hey, we know where she lives now so we're gonna stop by today:). Elder Holland is so inspiring. He's so right about the Book of Mormon being the true source of conversion. Many things will stand in your way to try and lead you off course but one thing will always stand true: The Book of Mormon. I suppose that's why they call it the keystone of our religion, eh? Well hey, tell everyone I miss them! This week's been hard but the work continues, right? Just know I love you guys. Thanks for the support. See you soon!"
Another week in Gouyave, Grenada, and no new pictures to share - but Rob sounds great and we are excited for his successes. Here are his emails from this week: "Holaaaaa. Haha. It's been a good P-day! We just met up at the St. Georges chapel and played ping pong. It was funny watching these big Polynesian dudes trying to navigate a light little ball on a table. All they really know how to do is smash things... hard! So that was fun. The scripture study thing was good. Three people showed up! More than I thought would come. Lol. So that was cool. They said they wanna continue it, so that'll be nice. We started the Book of Mormon, and by that I mean we went through the Intro/8&3 witnesses/Joseph Smith's testimony. It was cool. I barely had to do any speaking. Everyone was just kinda like, "How could the Book of Mormon NOT be true? Look at all these witnesses!" Lol. I kinda gave a little insight on how one of the witnesses stood in front of a court of law testifying of the truthfulness of the translation. They found that interesting. One thing that stood out as we were reading to them was that it says in the introduction that basically it works WITH the Bible.... Imagine that, eh? -___- I can't tell you how many times people say the Book of Mormon is our Bible. Lol. "Where's dee Mormon Bible!?" Haha. The whole group was like, "People need to read this so they can know!" I'm thinking to myself, "If only it were that easy. Haha." Other than that, we had Brother Allison AND Sister Jenny come to church on Sunday, along with Dwight (another less-active member), so that was cool! Sister Jenny gave a talk which was nice and I could really feel the Spirit in the room while she gave it. Ya, I know it's a good work that's being done out here and I'm seeing the positives, as hard as it is. Lol. Hopefully these next 9 months will be a breeze and will just fly by, you know? Just gotta keep getting lost in the work and I should be just fine. That's cool that they're implementing the self reliance program in the states nowadays. I could see it being very beneficial for our country. My testimony really has been growing out here more than I could ever imagine. I can feel the Lord shaping me into what I need to be. In the good times and the bad, in fact especially the bad... funny how that works out, eh? I just hope I can do a good job and leave with no regrets! But I love you guys and can't wait to see you again. Thanks for everything! Bye."
Since Rob has not sent any photos in a few weeks, I decided to troll the internet for a picture of the KFC in St. Georges. There is no fast food in Gouyave, but once a week on P-day he is usually in St. Georges, and usually visits the KFC. He says they do not have anything but chicken and biscuits - no other sides. And asking for a particular piece of chicken doesn't mean you get that piece. Nevertheless, he loves it, and it's nice to see his P-day hangout.
Thanks to Brother Stewart from St. Georges for this picture of Rob. He went with the missionaries to play cricket on P-day today and posted this shot on Facebook. Yesterday was a public holiday, Whit Monday, in Grenada, so emails came in today. Here are his notes from today:
"I didn't even know what Whit Monday meant until you told me. Haha, ya, seems like there is a holiday every week here! Any excuse people have to get work off, I feel. The successes here are few but the little miracles are the ones I tend to hold onto. The work here is progressing. We got Sister Jenny (Brother Allison's ex wife) to start coming back to church, but they don't like seeing each other so they come every other week. haha. I taught the Gospel Principles class on Sunday (and gave a talk, lol) but the subject was on scripture study, so I got a chance to share my experience as to how scripture study is essential in seeing blessings in our life. So in the middle of the lesson I felt inspired to share Alma 32, about experimenting on the word. I then asked the class by a raise of hands IF we held a scripture study on Saturdays who would go? EVERYONE (all 7 of them, haha) raised their hands! It was pretty cool. So this Saturday we're gonna have like a deep clean of the church and a scripture study and a dinner. It'll be cool. Sister Jenny volunteered to make pizza from scratch if we provided ingredients so that'll be fun, I think. I told them something along the lines of "Put God's word to the test. When He makes promises He will always deliver! Let's read the scriptures once a week together and see how it blesses us." I'm just hoping people will show. lol. I'm assuming that if food is involved people will be more geared towards going. :P I know those Skype calls give me like a serious boost! They pump me up (especially when I get to see Baxter. And NO, you cannot spoil him enough. He deserves all the attention in the world. Poor Bax!) Not too upset about missing Billy Joel. lol. Not as upset as seeing that you guys have latest Star Wars movie on blu ray.... Broke my heart a little, but that's ok. lol. But other than that things here are good. I get to thinking, man just a few more months and I'll be outta here and back home in a bed with A/C and TV to watch and games to play and I'll get to start school and progress my life. It's gonna be awesome! haha. It probably won't be as glorious as I perceive it to be but I can dream, right? haha. I don't know, the grass is always greener on the other side as they say. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to be here and to do the work, but sometimes just relaxing and hanging out with family/friends is very appealing, ya know!? Anyway, enough of my trunky talk. Just know I miss you and love you guys (especially Bax). Thanks for all the support and the help from home. I only got what? like 9 more months to go? Not too bad, eh? Just now ;) Love you guys! Keep on fighting the good fight, haha! One love, bless up, JAH BLESS.
It was great being able to talk to Rob on Mothers' Day yesterday! After several attempts, we finally got Skype to work with both audio AND video, so it was amazing to see him and hear all about his most recent adventures. He loves the little fishing village of Gouyave (pictured above) and his companion - who made him dinner while we talked. Although he is certainly not suffering, the work is hard and a bit discouraging. Here are his notes from today's emails: "Heyyyyyy it was so cool talking to you guys yesterday!!!! You should tell everyone about the time we got to talk [3 hours!]. hahah. Elder Lameta got a bunch of time too, apparently his mom posted on facebook how much time he got. lol! It was soooo cool today, our branch president took us on a tour of Gouyave in the real bush area where all sorts of fruits are growing! It was sooo cool. We got to go around and see all the trees and cross rivers and hear stories behind it all because he used to live there. We had such a good view of this huge forest area! haha. His house isn't there anymore but he knew where all the cool spots were. I forgot my camera however... :( Sorry about that one. haha. On the way we found 2 huge crabs that had lodged themselves together, but they were either fighting or mating, one of the two, and were conjoined in their shells. lol They were making weird hissing noises, too. haha. It was fun. We got rained on pretty hard like you guys were saying. I'm excited for it to be normal temperatures again. haha. Well, I miss you guys a whole bunch and love you. Thanks for helping me take care of school stuff and staying in my corner to pursue that. I hope we can get the ball rolling and everything will work out the way it is supposed to. One thing I've learned out here is the hard work it takes to be successful, and I'm more than willing to put in that work. One other thing I learned at the self-reliance meeting on Thursday (even though we were really only there for investigators, lol) was that when working for a company I always had the mindset of put in work and get paid, but a new realization came to me earlier and that is to take into consideration the betterment of the company you are working for. Put in perspective of how you can help that company become better because you are a part of it, you know? But ya, just a thought I had this week. But anyways, thanks for everything and the support and being there. I really do appreciate it, so thank you. Poor Bax. He doesn't get the royalty he deserves, I feel... Less than a year and I will come home and spoil him rotten ;) I don't think it's healthy NOT to think about the future though, you know? Isn't that why they started implementing this program for returning missionaries in the first place? I think it's a good idea to plan, but yeah, I won't let it take control of my time. :) Yeah, I'm sure it will be much more cool to look back at it all than in the moment, but that doesn't mean that it has been a bad experience, just difficult. But only the good things that are worth keeping are difficult, so I just gotta keep working through it and trust that the Lord knows what's best for me. :P Thank you for the prayers, thank you for EVERYTHING. You guys are a tremendous help on the home front! I mean it! So thank you. Miss you guys a ton! Hope all is well ;) I have a feeling when I come home you'll be sick of me within a few weeks and want to get rid of me, but we'll see. haha. I will go and I will do! Thanks again!"
Since Rob forgot his camera, here is a picture from the Internet of sugar cane fields in Grenada. Yesterday as we Skyped, he showed us some sugar cane they had been given, and how they eat it - stripping down the outer shell with their teeth, then chewing and sucking on the sweet cane.
Rob explained this picture in his email, but even now I am not sure whether it is turned the right direction. Yes, that is Rob in the tree. Here are his notes from this week, in which he actually answers a few questions (!):
"Explanation: The tree was a plum tree at a member's house that this little boy wanted me to climb to get him some plums. haha. I was like, 'Psh, you don't gotta ask me twice." So I scavenged some plums for him and then everyone and their mother started coming out wanting plums, lol, so I stayed up there for a good minute throwing down plums for the neighborhood. In answer to your other question, there are no building codes here. You pretty much just pick a spot and start building. And by building, I mean put cinder blocks down and sheet metal for your roof and you're good to go. They call the stuff they make the roofs with 'scaffold,' or at least that's what they called it in Barbados. It's weird getting used to all the different terms for everything in the various countries. Regarding your comment about the weather [we noticed on the weather app that it was raining and the temperature down to 81!], seriously though, the weather lately has been amazing! It's nice to NOT be sweating all day and night for once :P. Sorry for the late response. Yesterday was a holiday so we are having P-day today instead. Seems like every week has a holiday of some sort here. lol. This week has been all right. I got sick at the beginning of the week and just started to recover when Elder Lameta got sick with the same thing, so we haven't gotten to do a whole lot this week. :/ But we had an activity with the group yesterday for the holiday that was a lot of fun, and Brother Allison came to it and brought stuff. He seemed to have a really good time, so that was nice. But other than that just been reading a lot of scriptures. Been going through the New Testament again, marking a lot of scriptures that have to do with visions in the Old and New Testaments. The reason being that a lot of people here seem to believe that anyone who sees God will surely die. So then I explain to them that it's only if they aren't worthy. I just don't see God being limited to much of anything really. But that's just my take on it. Sounds like on the contrary, you guys have been VERY busy, though. That's cool that Alex had a good time on his birthday and his baptism was good as well. I'm bummed I couldn't be there to see it, but oh well. How is everyone doing there? Was it cold in Utah? Sorry, not a whole lot to report on this week. Just trying to survive. lol. Time seems to be going by a little faster now however, which is nice. Seems like I'll be home in no time. I feel like since I hit my year mark it's kinda been a little bit more relaxed. Just need to keep myself occupied with the work. Anyway, it's a new week and time to buckle down and get to work. Just know I love you guys so so so much and cannot wait to be back home again. Thanks for helping me with everything! I am excited to talk to you on Mother's Day - you have no idea... maybe you have some sort of idea. ;) haha. Miss you, and Baxter of course! Love you guys, talk to you Sunday!!!