Tuesday, April 22, 2014
I really needed your letters this week. Being able to hear from you all helped lift my spirit. I'll most likely be staying on St. Vincent for another transfer at least, but I might get a new companion. A few of the other missionaries got packages but it's probably better just to put money in the account. Thanks for doing that for me. I'm doing pretty well. We had an investigator that was supposed to be baptized this Saturday drop us. That was not very fun. However we still have a baptism this weekend on Sunday morning. His name is Yekini but also goes by Des. He is a thin dark 19 year old who lives in an area called Golden Vale. We met him probably 8 weeks ago and then we had a member lesson with him and he put a date down for his baptism. He has been to church 5 or 6 times and he comes on his own. He already knew most of the youth and is really close with the Smalls, a family in the branch. He could be a great Young Men's leader and he should be a great addition to the ward. He needs to read more of the Book of Mormon, but we'll work on that. We are starting to work more with the members now too. We really hadn't made much of an effort until we had that lesson with Sister Small and Des. It really showed me how much more effective missionary work can be if we build relationship's between members and investigators and then have lessons with them. We had another great lesson last night in a Family Home Evening. We recently found this family that lives a short walk north of us up by this place called the Hotel Alexandria. They have met with missionaries several times before so hopefully they will get baptized soon. The parents just need to get married first. We'll see how that goes, but anyway her brother is in the branch presidency in Kingstown and is very cool. His name is Brother Adams and his sister's name is Monique. We met at the church last night and taught them about the tree of life. It started off a little rocky because of some organizational problems, but once we got that figured out, everything else worked out very well. We had Monique, her 9 year old daughter Tawana, and her toddler son come. The rest of her family was busy that night. We also had the Adams and the Birds (senior couple) come. During the discussion, Monique talked about how she realized that life is full of distractions that they can keep us away from the iron rod and more importantly from eternal life. She also talked about how people in the church are so nice and happy. It was a great lesson and the spirit was felt that night. We're seeing her again on Thursday.
We went to an island called Bequia (pronounced Beckway) for P-day today. We went on a ferry and then we got to play with sea turtles and just have some relaxing time on the beach. As we were coming back on the ferry, I was thinking of the early pioneers coming across the ocean to be with the saints. I really love the song "Come, Come Ye Saints". I really love it now because it reminds me of home. Could you have your parents send me some family history stories please? I would love it if you could do that.
Love You All!
Hurrah for Israel!
Love, Elder Parker
Monday, April 14, 2014
We have currently 1 person lined up for baptism. She doesn't feel ready though and she won't consistently come to church. We did meet several people who we believe will be very progressive. I have noticed that we have a problem getting past a certain point as far as baptisms go. We can get contacts very easily, we can give lessons no problem but then I feel like we stop. I feel like I'm planning on people just being taught and never actually joining the church. I never thought that having the opportunities for success would be more difficult than having to deal with more apparent adversities. We have a lot of people we are teaching, but we just aren't getting them to baptism. Maybe it's because our main focus is to get them to believe in modern day prophets rather than to help them get baptized. I think that is our main problem right now. The field is definitely white, and ready to harvest.
There's so much that has happened in the past 2 weeks and I feel overwhelmed. My favorite talks were the ones about trucks. The one about jumping out of one was really good because so often as a missionary, I need to make sure that I show people love rather than just making sure that everyone knows who is more right. The other talk about the load is what gives us traction. Trials are for our benefit. I think that missionary work is like fly-fishing. This analogy should sum up the main problem that I'm facing and also the solution. We cast our lines out all over the place. We try out many different areas of the pond and streams. We get a lot of bites. So many people are willing to talk with us. The problem is that I don't think that we have been reeling in our lines fast enough to create that pull to bring people to baptism. We haven't been bold enough. If we reel to slowly, the hook (or the good seed in the parable of the sower) falls out of the fish’s mouth or the fish finds something else to fill its mouth. Boldness is what I need. This last week we met a man named Charles form Colombia, he's catholic. We haven't taught any Catholics here before so this was a little scary. At the beginning of our lesson with him we were being very soft and trying to not offend him. He was nice but we could tell that he lacked interest in hearing stuff he already knows. It wasn't until we introduced the Book of Mormon to him that he got very interested and explained to us that he has been looking for another book like the Bible to just talk about God. He's read many other books but they focus on trying to prove that certain religions are right. That showed me the importance of being bold. Charles quickly accepted the Book of Mormon and agreed to read it and pray about it. The other great thing is he seems like a guy that will keep his commitments. He is a big music producer here and is a good businessman. I love you all and really appreciate your prayers! I can tell that they are helping out a lot. Tell everybody I love them and have Gabby write me sometime please.
Hurrah for Israel!
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
The work is going well, except that while many of our investigators have agreed to baptism, they don't want to put a date to anything so it's making things rather difficult. I spoke about baptism in sacrament meeting yesterday. In third hour the topic was diabetes. That was not what I was expecting. Even so, one of our investigators, Doniesh, still had a great time. She is working on overcoming her smoking addiction and has made friends with Akelia, that member I talked about a few weeks ago. We also had one of our investigators who lives in Georgetown finally attend church up there. That was the last thing she needed to do before she can get a baptism date. Unfortunately, one of our investigators who has been attending church for the last few weeks was not there yesterday. I'm trying to soak in all the experiences I can. I didn’t really realize that I have been out for 2 months. It goes by too fast. What you said about loving the people the way the Savior would is something I have been trying to work on. The last thing I'll share is about a young man (16) named Tristen. He has only met with us in a formal lesson once. We gave him a Book of Mormon about 2 weeks back. This week, we ran into him while walking up a hill from Calliqua. when we sat down with him and started talking with him he shared with us how he knows the Book of Mormon is true. We asked him how and he said "I prayed about it, that's why I believe". That experience showed me the power of reading the Book of Mormon and praying. Also in Sunday school, Doniesh and Akelia both shared how they were experiencing a loss of hope in their lives until Elder Jacobson and I came along, because we shared the gospel with them. The power of the atonement is so amazing. Every day I get to see people changing their lives for the better.
I love you all very much! -Love, Seth