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!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Leaving St. Vincent

Elders Platt and Jones took one last hike up La Soufriere, an active volcano on the island of St. Vincent.

It was great to be able to talk to Rob via Skype on Christmas. He loves the people and the island of St. Vincent and will be sad to leave. But he also loves St. Lucia and the friends he made there a year ago, so receiving the news that he would  finish his mission in Castries was bittersweet. Here are his notes from today: "Heyyyyy, sorry everything was closed for Boxing Day and then another holiday after Boxing Day -  so I’m just now getting on email. It was awesome to see you guys on Christmas! So cool! Not a lot to add since a few days ago. Hope we got to cover most of the bases. Boy, were we fed well on Christmas! WOOF! The day after Christmas we were fed by 2 members and they both served us HUGE meals. haha. And on Christmas day the senior couple fed us. It was really nice too! turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, the whole 9! [I mentioned Elder Booth’s Facebook post about Christmas traditions in St. Vincent. The people there do a lot of laundry, clean their homes, hang new drapes, and go into the towns for singing festivals – and sometimes Black Cake. Rob responded by saying:] Yes that's fairly accurate about the traditions here. Something that stood out to me is that people here just want a peaceful relaxing Christmas without all the huss and fuss. It made me wonder about the things I normally do on Christmas day, like get enveloped in the gifts I received, eat tons of food, things like that which are not necessarily bad - but it’s Christ’s birth we are celebrating. I feel like I could probably be a little more focused on Him on that day. That’s so cool Nana remembers seeing me! How awesome is that? I’m so excited I got to see her and the family AND BAXTER!!! What a good dog! Haha. It was fun seeing the kids too, even if they are timid little humans. ;) I’m glad the kids got to have an enjoyable Christmas! Sounds like it was a lot of fun! It was really cool to see you guys, feels like it’s been forever! Luckily only 3 more months and I’ll be back at home again. Lots of green here, so it’s gonna be weird coming back to the desert.  O ya! Duh! Transfer calls. President will sadly not be keeping me here, but I’ll be going back to Castries, so that’ll be nice. Elder Hardy is coming in to replace me, don’t know if you remember him. Hopefully he can pick it up where I left off. It will be great to go back to Castries for the end of my mission. I’ll be with Elder Hendricks. He’s a greenie that just finished his first 12 weeks so that should be... interesting. Thanks for the inspiring words. I appreciate it! I will be sure to ‘go and do’ for my next few months out here. Thanks again for everything.  Love you guys! I gotta get to saying my goodbyes and packing my things :)

Talk to you soon!”

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christmas in St. Vincent

Rob sang "Mary, Did You Know" in a duet with Sister Stewart.
Kingstown Branch in Saint Vincent being favored by wonderful singing missionaries at the Christmas Party Friday evening. Rob is in the black Christmas hat.

Calliqua Branch in Saint Vincent with singing missionaries at Christmas party.

Many thanks to Elder Booth for the pictures of Rob at various branch Christmas activities this week. It's been a busy week on St. Vincent, so we were happy to hear from Rob today. Looking forward to a chance to Skype with him on Sunday! Here are his notes from the field: "O my worddddd!!!!! Haha. Sorry couldn't get emails out in time Monday or yesterday either! Been super busy running around doing Christmas stuff/pday stuff :P And YES, I'm stoked to see you guys on Sunday! It’s gonna be so cool. Haha. I’ll call you guys Sunday after church and we’ll set up a time. Sound ok? And you have no reason to feel bad about the Christmas package! It was exactly what I needed and I'm sure it wasn't cheap! So tytyty for that, it let me keep some memories out here which is priceless for this particular time. :) haha. The Booths are pretty cool people and do a lot of good work out here. I’ll tell them thanks for the pictures. Christmas is just around the corner. And yes, I did sing a duet with Stewy (sister Stewart). Lol. And there is a video on her camera. Maybe I’ll get it for you soon. :) She asked me a million times to sing at the branch Christmas party, and I kept refusing. Haha. Eventually I said "I’ll only sing it if you sing it with me." Bahaha, so we sang it together. It was pretty fun. And yes, they love their parties here. The Kingstown branch put on a bunch of funny skits that had me in tears! Haha. It was hilarious! Then again when you’re a missionary for long enough anything is hilarious. Haha. I  have a sweet Christmas gift for you! It'll be very Caribbean. Haha. And homemade. But I think you’ll like it! I’ll give you a hint: It’s made out of these things called "donkey eyes." Haha. I’ll attach a pic [no picture came through].;) And the dogs do deserve medals!!! They are so brave and courageous! (Well, mostly Baxter.) So apparently for Christmas we will just be doing the first hour of church, which means I’ll actually be free from 10:00 AM till the rest of the day! Which should be nice! I love the idea that you might be able to put the Skype up on the TV screen. That will be great to see the whole family, and Baxter won’t get cut out! That’s very comforting actually! I’m glad Nana is getting adjusted a little better! That’s nice! It’ll be fun to see Shelley and Brandon and the kids for Christmas too! Looking forward to it. I’ll see you on Christmas and we’ll talk more. Yes, there is a choir in the branch. They sang last week though, so I'm assuming they will be off the hook this week. The branch I'm in now is SOOOO nice I think I've already told you about it but we have like 6-7 returned missionaries in the branch and it runs super smoothly :) Huge blessing, I really don't want to leave. :/ But we’ll find out about that Saturday, I'm assuming. And no, I will not be speaking on Christmas. :) Thank you so much for the words of encouragement though, I'll try to exert those Christ-like attributes as much as I can :) Less than three months now! Looking forward to it. I’ll see you on Christmas and we’ll talk more. Sorry for the short email :P Love u guys! I will continue to "go and do." :)"

Found this picture of "donkey eyes" online. Should be an interesting Christmas gift!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Breadfruit and Limeade

The video above was taken by Sister Herrington at a recent zone conference. In the video, Rob gives us his Christmas greeting from St. Vincent at around the 55 second point. Here are his notes from this week, some of which are in answer to our many questions: "Yes! We were roasting breadfruit with Omari [see photos below]. It was really good! I don't know if I've already told you, but breadfruit is a lot like a potato, just in my opinion a whole lot better! Smoother consistency and such. And yes, it was very good! Haha. We did also kill another chicken, this one was very old and was suffering so Omari said we needed to put it out of its misery. :/ Elder Jones was very sad because he absolutely loves chickens. Haha. The tree climbing was us getting some "limes" out of a tree. I'm not sure you could consider them the limes we are used to but none the less they were Caribbean limes. We were picking them to make lime juice with our breadfruit. Haha. There are no mission rules about tree climbing as of yet. But never say never. We had a fun P-day today!!! Made breakfast with all the missionaries at the church! It was pretty cool. Guess you guys got to see the video Sister Herrington posted from zone conference. Pretty funny! Omari is doing well. He does a lot of cool things for us as far as showing us St. Vincent traditions and stuff. I probably don't show enough appreciation or gratitude for all the stuff he does for us. I think he's doing fairly well, though. LaVerne we haven't seen for awhile, just due to conflicting schedules with sickness and storms and all that jazz. Casley's been sick this week too, so it's been kinda rough. The branch wants the  missionaries to put on a skit for their Christmas party on Friday though. Haha! I'm not too sure how that's all gonna go down, so pray for us! The picture with the elders was from zone conference on Saturday. We were with Elder Mikolysky, Elder Nixon, and Elder Smith. They are all really good guys. As for me, I will continue to work and try to bring people closer to the Savior. It's amazing to be able to have the time to think about Christ and the opportunity He's given us. Like, where would we be if there was no Christ? Of if Christ's mission had failed? Would we even be here? Just very incredible and makes me feel grateful for Him. Transfer dates will actually be on December 28th, so I would arrive in my new area on that date most ideally. St. Maarten would be a stronger possibility than going back to Barbados, but we'll see what happens. I made a request during my interview to go back to Castries, St. Lucia for the end of my  mission, but President said he's not too sure how transfers are going to work so we'll just have to wait and see, I suppose. Elder Jones and I found some Christmas lights that we hung up in our apartment! We also have a little Christmas tree in our room. Haha. It's nice! That'll be so cool to see Shelley and Brandon and the kids for Christmas [Skype]! That's probably the last thing the kids wanna do on their Christmas Day is see their stinky uncle, but it'll be cool for me at least! Haha. And yes, we're getting down to the wire. Pretty amazing stuff! I didn't think I'd ever see the day when I have three months left, but here we are! Thanks for the support. I love you guys. Thanks for the Christmas wishes and I will see  you all very soon.Take care. ;). Love you! Bless up! One love."

The green thing is apparently breadfruit.

Rob with roasted breadfruit

Up a lime tree, harvesting

Zone Conference

Monday, December 5, 2016

Reggae Christmas Music

Rob with Michelangelo, the turtle.

I asked Rob this week if he was still listening to Reggae Christmas music. He had indicated he had heard a lot of it already this year. Here is his response, and a few more notes from his week in St. Vincent: "Haha. Yes, the Reggae Christmas music is still a-chimin'  -___- As for teaching, Omari is doing okay, still has a few things he needs to work on before committing to a date for baptism, but ya. LaVerne is progressing at about the same rate. haha. Not a whole lot going on there. We were in a lesson with her this week and Elder Jones wasn't feeling so good, so he took a sec and put his head down and almost passed out! :O Luckily, LaVerne's nephew had a car and was able to take us home, so Jones didn't have to walk all that way! Casey has caught the same flu that Jonesy has, so we haven't been able to see him this week. It's been a pretty down week. So Jones has been sick AND we got hit by a hurricane, which hasn't left much time for doing missionary work. We're hoping things kick up a little sooner here in Campden Park. I've been sending some pics to you today through the camera, so I hope it works out! Ya, being a district leader is going pretty well this time around, it does seem a LOT easier, mainly because I actually know what I'm talking about this time ;) That's too bad Jana's family is leaving already! Seems like they  just got there. Hope Jana got her Rodrigos fix. haha. Nana continues to be in my prayers. I'll try to think of some things Nana could maybe do on her off time too, and see what I can come up with. Hope everything continues to go well with Nana, and if there is anything I can do to help besides pray, let me know. I liked the idea of an "eye of faith," as in Ether 12:19. Moroni talks about seeing things with an eye of faith. Makes the struggles turn into learning experiences, right? Thanks for the camera. It is really good! I hope I get a chance to take a few more pictures! Love you guys, and looking forward to Skyping on Christmas!!"
 MOM NOTE: I was a little curious about Rob's apparent beard. For those who may be alarmed, the mission rules have not changed. Since he's been homebound, it would seem he has run out of razor blades. And his beard grows unusually quickly. Hopefully his companion will recover rapidly and Rob will look more like a missionary next week. Haha!

I asked Rob what exactly was going on in these pictures. He said Omari was helping them  make a home remedy for preventing colds. "It consists of Limecol (like an alcohol cleaner ting), grated nutmeg, and lard! You burn the alcohol which melts the lard and you rub it on your chest. It's a Vincy ting)." They also made bush tea to help with the cold. "It consists of he'd head and trumpet leaf? IDK.."