Monday, December 28, 2015
Alright... are you ready for this one. I have a lot of Christmas and stuff from the past week but we are going to start with yesterday. First off let me say…I like dogs. They are one of my favorite things in the world and if I see a dog I am going to pet it. So Sunday at about 5pm, our appointment fell through so we went contacting and the first house we went to had a huge backyard and three dogs. Usually dogs bark and then when you go to pet them they lick your hand and then you can pet them. Well this one dog in particular was not going to just lick my hand, so to cut to the chase I stuck out my hand and the dog bit my hand. It’s not bad, it’s just about three inches long. I will send a picture next week. Luckily Barbados has been Rabies free for 100 years. It hurt pretty good but all I could do was laugh because it was the stupidest thing ever but I am fine I promise. I just laugh every time I look at my hand.
But now to the cool stuff. Christmas... Christmas morning the Assistants made me and Elder Mykilyski Breakfast and that was super awesome. Then we went to a Christmas service that was being held at the church and it was very interesting because of all the false doctrine that is said but don’t worry, we fixed it. They just made these skits for the service and they were just so weird because they had ballerinas in them and it was just so weird. Bajans...
After that we went to the Mission office to skype and do stupid stuff to pass the time. We played finger football for like 3 hours and it was just getting so insane, all the different ways to play the game and how serious we were getting. Then when it was my turn to skype. I honestly had no idea what to do. I just didn’t know what to say or what I was supposed to do. Don’t get me wrong, it was really awesome but I just would have been satisfied just sitting there and watching my family open presents and stuff and pretending like I wasn’t even there just because being around or seeing family is just the best thing ever.
After Skype we went to the Mission Presidents home to eat dinner and it was just so awesome being at a family dinner. We had these Christmas poppers and these crowns came out of them and we all put them on and wore them, just to be funny. Also it was super amazing to spend Christmas dinner with our President and his family and be able to get to laugh and not really have to worry about being in super missionary mode but just be relaxed and have fun. Then we watched a movie and the movie we watched was "El Dorado the city of gold” cartoon. It was really funny because I don’t know normal funny anymore, I just know missionary funny. It made me laugh so much and sitting with Elder Cox and Elder Pape made it just a little bit funnier. And then we went home and Christmas was over.
Now something really cool…on Christmas Eve we went Christmas caroling to all the people in my area and especially to a widow whose name is Martha. We just baptized her a little bit ago but just seeing the smile on her face and how she came outside and sang with us was just a super cool experience. She said it was the best Christmas she had in a long time just because of the ten minutes we came to her house and sang to her.
It just shows that time in this world is really important but if we can take just a little bit of time out of our super busy lives, we can makes someone’s day and make them so much happier and even if it just makes them smile, Isn’t that worth it! It is Christmas season and if we try to be more like Christ year around, we can have that love that comes from Christmas all the time.
My hand is starting to hurt typing because of the dog bite so I’m going to have to go... just kidding it doesn’t hurt.
I’m so happy to hear from all of you and it makes me so happy to hear that everyone is safe and happy. I love you all so much and I Wish you a great 2016!
Love Elder Fokken
Monday, December 21, 2015
Alright, so this week was a really tiring week. Since Elder Miller left on his flight Wednesday morning, I went on a trade off with an Elder from Tonga and he ate all my food but it was still good. Then since Elder Broadbent went home on Thursday, I was with Elder Cox and we had airport runs all morning from 1 in the morning to 7 am because of all the transfers. It was a really long morning but I got to take a little nap when I got home and then we had to go back to the airport to pick up my new companion at about 11am. He is Elder Mykolyski. He is a real awesome guy. He’s from South Jordan Utah. Real close to me back home. He is coming from Grenada and he says that Barbados is a lot different than Grenada but he says he likes it so hopefully I am doing a good job with being his host.
Thursday night the Assistants that are replacing Elder Cox and Elder Broadbent got in and they are Elder Pape and Elder Stewart-Johnson and they are both jacked. They have really just set the tone for morning workout every morning, if I’m not doing like double of what I usually do, I feel like I am doing nothing. It has been really awesome having them here with us. They are both spiritual giants and I can tell they really love being missionaries. I hope I can grow like them towards the end of my mission.
Saturday we had our district Christmas party and it was good. During it there was a musical performance by these two men from the Oistins branch. Mot my branch, I am in the Christ Church Branch. They were so good! I did not know that someone could be that good at singing here in the Caribbean (other than Rihanna of course) but it just felt like home hearing such beautiful voices singing. All the missionaries had their cameras out. It was just really the best Christmas party I have been to in a long time.
Then on Sunday I got to go out proselyting with Elder Pape. Elder Pape is the biggest missionary I have seen in my life and he is is just the coolest guy. We both act a lot alike while are in the apartment (like just big goof balls, you know) but I like it and when we go out proselyting we both teach in a similar way so we are able to really harness the spirit and really just grow our own testimonies a while teaching. It is just so amazing. After the first lesson we taught to a man he said to me, “I can count on my fingers how many times I have felt the spirit that strong in a lesson." Just to know that I got the opportunity to be a part of that, I was just so happy. The lesson didn’t even go that well but just getting to bear testimony with such boldness is such a great feeling there is nothing like it.
Well Christmas is coming up this week and there is nothing more exciting than getting to see my family. I am so excited and Love everyone so very much. If you haven’t watched the Savior is Born video on LDS.org, go watch it because i have watched it a bunch and it is always amazing. Have an amazing Christmas and I think about every single one of you every day, I PROMISE! I love you sooo much!
Love Elder Fokken
Monday, December 14, 2015
OKAY. So this week we got our transfer calls. Miller is going to St. Lucia for the next six weeks at least. My man, Elder Platt, is also going to St. Lucia. I’m going to miss him a lot but that’s okay, I will live. I am staying in the area and my new companion is Elder Mykalowski. Ya so he and I definitely going to screw up these Bajans with our names. It’s funny that probably twice a day a local will look at my name and just smile and pat me on the chest like, "haha no thank you". I just laugh with them. I become the guy with the crazy last name but with my new companion, that will be him now.
This week we had the Baptism of the girl named Maria. It was so amazing. Elder Miller perform the baptism and I confirm her a member of the church on Sunday. That was my first ever blessing that I have ever given and it was a very unique experience. It is something I hope to do again and again to help people. After the confirmation was done, she looked at me and Elder Miller and then booked it back to her sea. I was like, well the burning power of the Holy Ghost shot her back to the seat.
A funny story. Elder Miller and I were watching a Mormon message video in our apartment and we have a chandelier that has a bulb that hasn’t worked for a couple weeks. We were watching and the speaker said the words “Jesus Christ” and the bulb just out of nowhere turned on. We both look at each other and said, “The church is true!” and just started laughing, oh but it really is though.
As I have tried to really immerse myself in this culture, there are few things that I will never do in this culture. While I have been here, we have probably lost about three investigators because of me. In this culture, it is acceptable to beat your wife or slap her and be very disrespectful. The first time I saw it during one of our lessons, I didn’t do anything because I was scared. But after that, I couldn’t watch it anymore. I yelled at one man to stop it. Another time I said something that made the guy feel stupid but I just can’t watch it anymore. Over these 6 weeks, I have gained such a greater appreciation for my sisters, my mother, and every single woman that I come in contact with. This place is just so disrespectful to woman and it is just so hard for me to see it. I love my mom and my sisters so much. I wouldn’t want anything like that to happen to them and I know nothing like that is happening to them so I have to do something here to help the women here. It just makes me so sad.
Here is something that helps me. The scripture of 1 timothy 4 12-16 helped me come on a mission but the reason that I have stayed on a mission are because of Mathew, Mark, Luke and John and the scriptures within those books that share the experience that Jesus had while Atoning for our sins. He cried out to his Father and said that he didn’t want to do it but he knew he needed to because it was Heavenly Fathers will. He wanted to do it for us and for his Father. I know that he knows what I feel every day while I am on my mission and I know that he felt the pains of the people and of the women here that get beat and demoralized every single day of their lives. I know that as I become closer to Christ and follow his example, I can help these people. I will be able to show them where to go when things get hard. I love these people way too much to let them go through this suffering. I am on a mission and I will do what Heavenly Father asks of me. BE NOT AFRAID ONLY BELIEVE!
This week coming up will be an interesting week with everything that will be going on. I miss baseball more than ever and I’m sure Elder Miller has gotten tired of me telling him all these stories about me and my second family and the many great memories I have with them. I hope I get a chance to play or at least be around baseball when I get home.
I am safe and I haven’t even come close to pooping my pants so I think I might be okay. I LOVE you all so very much. I pray for you every single day. I am so excited for Christmas and can’t wait to see my family.
Love Elder Fokken
P.S. Elder Miller got a mini ping pong set for Christmas... Watch Out Forest Gump!!!
This is our Gospel Principles/Bible Study Class
Monday, December 7, 2015
OH MAN! It is getting down to the wire to my first mission transfers. I’m interested to see if I’ll be staying in Barbados or going somewhere else and to so see who will be leaving and staying but it’s going to be great no matter what happens! (Dave- Basically about every month or so, a mission has “Transfers”. That’s where the Mission President moves missionaries around the mission. You will get a call one night saying “pack your bags, you are going to a new area tomorrow”. As you can imagine, transfers are anxious time for missionaries.)
So this week was a short one since my last email but still full of events. On Saturday we baptized Martha and it was amazing. She was so funny. Just smiling and telling everyone how she thought this skinny guy who was going to baptize her wa not be able to get her up out of the water and drown her. (Not me, I’m not skinny anymore) She is just so amazing. She was just telling me over and over and over how she was so excited and that she has changed so much. Seeing the before and after of this woman is incredible. This gospel has to be true to change someone like that from what she was before to what she is now. And then Sunday rolls around and she walks into our little chapel with her arms held high waving and showing off so that everyone knew that she was baptized. It was just too funny to see that and how she just was telling everyone how she was baptized. I hope that’s what Kacie did Sunday!
What it's all about!
After our baptism, we had an investigator that we have been working with for a while come up and say she was ready to be baptized next week so this week we have another baptism for a young lady named Maria. She is also awesome, we love seeing her because she is really funny and always gives us something to drink. My new favorite drink is a drink called Mauby. It is a very interesting drink. It goes from being really sweet to super bitter out of nowhere. Sorry back on track, so ya, we have another baptism this week and we are super exited for her. It’s going to be awesome again.
Today, for our Pday, me and some other missionaries found a golf course and went out and hit some balls on the driving range. It was so much fun watching a guy from Australia play golf but he is a really good sport and tried his best and laughed it off. That’s Elder Kuru. He is an awesome guy. The last ball I hit I pulled back and swung and I hit the ball perfect and was going straight and then I see this other thing flying about half as far as it and I look down and the club broke! I couldn’t believe it. The people said that they knew it was an accident and that I didn’t have to pay for it so everything was okay. Also I got some new t-shirts that have bob Marley on them so now I am really becoming a local. It also says CHEESE ON BREAD on it so that’s even better.
Something really cool that happened this week was that I was reading in Mosiah, in the book of Mormon and it talks about how we are all beggars. It’s interesting to look back on my life and see how I have looked at people begging on the side of the street and said, “well they did that to themselves and they deserve the path they are going down." But then we turn around and ask heavenly father to help us and beg him for forgiveness and a second chance a third chance, but we can’t help that one person. It just gives me a better perspective that if we are begging to Heavenly Father to help us and we turn around and can’t help the beggar than we are like the servant in the parable told by Jesus.
That doesn’t mean that you have to go start looking for crackheads and such to give money too but just think of that and it will help you look at people in whole different way I can promise you that.
I love this gospel so much! It brings me comfort and it brings me so much joy. Every day, at least one of the many prayers I say, I ask Heavenly Father to help me through this and to keep me strong and I remember that my family will be blessed and many other lives will be blessed as I am out here. If anyone ever is questioning whether or not this church is true or even if Heavenly Father still loves and helps his children, I challenge you to walk around with the missionaries for one day and see if you able to do it without his help and his strength.
This guy Jehile was surprised that we were able to do this for two years but I told him, "Heavenly Father has not forgotten us, all we need to do is not forget him." Love everyone please. Everyone needs it. I’m not perfect and I know that, but Heavenly Father can help us get as close as possible in this life. I love Lexy!
Love with every fiber of my body
And one more picture of me and one of our Barbados neighbors.
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
This week has been a long one with Thanksgiving and Independence Day in Barbados! But it was also a great week for so many reasons. Surprisingly, we had all traditional food on Thanksgiving because a family that is from America fed all the missionaries. I ATE SO MUCH it would scare people but it really wouldn’t be a surprise because of all the weight I have been gained. Most of it is muscle which is super awesome. I have gained ten pounds and I eat like a cow. It frustrates Elder Miller because I eat all our food!
Barbados Independence day wasn’t too special. We had an activity with about 40 people, half missionaries and half members of the church. It was interesting to get some Bajan cooking like Coucou and Mac Pie but it was still food so I ate it all!!!
Also this week Elder Martinez of the Seventy came to Barbados for a church conference and spoke to us missionaries too. It was awesome! He talked about so many things but just getting to hear his testimony that he has of the Savior was great. It just gives you such a sense of peace and comfort. That’s what the gospel does, it gives you a peace and comfort we all want but for some reason, we try to find it in other places but nothing will work as well as the gospel.
We also have a baptism for a lady named Martha. She is my most favorite person in the world. I get in trouble because I just sit and gaf (talk) with her forever because she is just so funny. She reminds me a lot of Grandma! She is 80 years old and is getting baptized on the 5th of December, just like my cousin Kacie! I will tell Martha that she is getting baptized the same day as Kacie and she will think that’s awesome! We are so excited for her! She is amazing. She calls us all the time to ask us what she needs to do. She is so excited to become a member of this amazing church because she said it makes her fake eye and her barely working eye work better and also because it brings her that same peace I was talking about earlier. You will get to see pictures of her next week.
I just found out I am an uncle! I am so excited, I was tearing up sitting in the Library because I was sad that I don’t get to see her but I know she is awesome! I also was tearing up because I know that she is a daughter of God and Heavenly Father has a plan for her. We go out and teach this plan to people and it just reminds me of one thing. This little girl is a miracle and there are going to be many miracles in her lifetime, but the one miracle that I hope she will always hold dear is that Jesus Christ died for HER! FOR HER, personally. He died for all of us personally and it gives me that sense of hope for myself and also for that baby girl that everything will work out. I already love that little girl so much I can’t wait to see her on Christmas!
I got my Christmas package this week and there were so many awesome things! We already broke the whoopee cushion but we also set up a finger football tournament and its pretty intense! We leave our goal post up all day! Also the tree and the tiny nativity set are set up in our front room. It’s getting really Trunky (homesick) in my apartment. We are all really excited to be able to call home on Christmas!
Oh shoot, I almost forgot! In Zone Conference the other day, all the missionaries in Barbados got together so we could have a little training and to be able to talk about our areas personally. Apparently our Zone Leaders assign talks to two missionaries to talk during the conference and they never told me that I was one of them! When my name was called to go up and speak, I almost pooped! (At least he would have been able to check off “Pooped my pants”) But it came to show me the power of the spirit and speaking by the spirit and why having the Holy Ghost with you all the time is so important. I got up there and just talked about things I had never thought about and how when Jesus spoke with authority and how the people were so inspired and touched by his words (Mathew 7:29). And how Jesus Christ taught with love and he spoke with love in his voice. Scribes memorized and taught but Jesus Christ used the spirit and taught with love. SO to you all, if you go about whatever you are doing with love, it can really change how people perceive you and listen to you and just love you back. Jesus Christ is the greatest teacher of all time and I just hope to learn a thing or two from him.
Well another week has gone by, I just started realizing how much I miss baseball and sports but I am also starting to realize how amazing this experience is. Even with all the homesickness, disappointment and everything, and as hard as it is, it all gets better with the love of my Heavenly Father and the comfort from the Holy Ghost when I am teaching someone about Jesus Christ. I miss everyone soooo much but I’m not coming home any time soon because Heavenly Father needs me here and I will do anything to feel his love always!
Love you all so very much Elder(Uncle) Fokken
Monday, November 23, 2015
This past week went by very fast week. Both some cool stuff and a lot of really awesome spiritual experiences too.
Barbados is great but it has some crappy things too. Like how you cannot even go to bathroom without sweating the entire time! It is frustrating but you can’t do much about it.
Tuesday I went on a Missionary exchange with Elder Platt, he is our District leader. He is so funny. I went to his area and I have to say, I have never laughed so hard. He tells people that he is 50 years old and from china and they believe him. We ended up going to family that he teaches and when we got there the women was telling us how they haven't eaten and how they were starving today. Elder Platt and I, without telling her, went to the store and got her some groceries so she could make some food. We left them on her curtain step and then knocked and ran. It left me with such a great feeling. I love that part of missionary work!
We have been teaching this man named Gladstone for a while now. Elder Miller and I gave him the lesson on baptism and got him to commit to being baptized and then two seconds later his friend Michael shows up and we started teaching him too. It was so cool to see the confidence in Gladstone who wasn't even a member of the church, already wanting to do missionary work because he knows the great amount of joy that comes from Jesus Christ and his Gospel.
At church yesterday we talked about going to church and the importance of it. Church is something that we go on a regular basis. If we let things become as though it is just something we do because that’s what we are supposed to do, then that's when we are no longer able to improve ourselves in church. If we frequently speak in a manner that is inappropriate or we dress in a way that's inappropriate, it becomes something that becomes normal. It’s sad that in our world today, we can do so many bad things that Heavenly Father is disappointing in but we see them as normal. So this next week have an abnormal week. See the things that have become frequently acceptable and be different. Church is there to make us grow and if we go expecting to have the same thing happen every time or go to socialize because that's normal, then you are digging yourself in hole that is hard to get out of. Just ask me. It took me to go on a mission to see that I was a missing the boat. I have guilt but through Jesus Christ, our Older Brother, who sacrificed his life and suffered for us, we can get through it!
Elder Miller and I were walking down the street and a little monkey runs up to us and jumps on me. It was so cool! Then a little girl, about 6 years old, runs up and tells us we were stealing her pet! I was like, THAT'S YOUR PET!!!! I wanted to take it home with me. She said he loves popcorn and is name is Cesar. He is probably my best friend now. He is awesome!
Also when I was out with Elder Broadbent. I learned a lesson of why I shouldn't be sticking my hand over every gate to pet dogs because I was reaching over to pet a dog and I hit an Electric wire and shocked me. It wasn't anything too bad it just made me jump and then laugh like crazy. It made Elder Broadbent day and he made fun of me the rest of the day!
Overall, this week are really great!
I love you all and May the odds be ever in your favor (that's for you SAM)
Jerhi, the monkey picture is for you.
Monday, November 16, 2015
First off, Parker asked us to post a link to a short video that has helped him a lot so far on his mission. It is directed towards missionaries but it might help anyone that might be having a hard time or just asking “why is life hard?”.
Link: Salvation was never easy
Hi everyone. This week has been very interesting. There are a lot of people on this island that are kind of crazy. We were just walking to the library today to do our emails and a man jumps out of nowhere and starts karate chopping the air and then stared at me and Elder Miller. It scared the crap out of Elder Miller but I couldn’t help laugh. Raymond, the crazy guy I mentioned last week, gave me my Biblical name. It’s David who defeated Goliath. He says I am here to defeat the big guys who cannot be defeated otherwise! Raymond believes that he is the master of all the missionaries and he commands us to go and teach his word!
So more on a serious note, there is a lady that we teach, her name is Martha. She is about 70 years old and is going to get baptized December 5. She loves telling us that nothing is holding her back. The cool thing is that when we first started meeting with her, she was cussing like crazy and was like super insane. Now she is like the sweetest old lady I have ever met. She has a little shop that she sells snacks and drinks out of and even though alcohol is a main income to her, she said that because of the things that she has learned, she wants to stop selling it. She says, “The Lord will provide a way.”
Last week, at a service project, we cleared out a forest area. We were all really confused why because it was in the middle of nowhere. After a while, we started to haul away everything and we see a 10 by 10 shack. We find out an old man is living there. It was literally the worst conditions I have ever seen and yet he was still surviving somehow. Barbados really isn’t to gross or anything, it’s just that people really don’t care about self-hygiene or self-care. Anyway, 4 hours later, we were able to make his home livable and kind of safe. It was insane.
Today for our PDay, our Zone of about 20 missionaries went and played some sports on the beach. Some missionaries went and played volleyball and futbol(soccer) and the men went over and played Rugby with some locals. I love rugby! Especially when playing with men form Australia, Kenya, Samoa, and a football stud from Utah. Everyone calls us crazy but I just love just running around having fun like that. Elder Miller thinks I’m crazy but it’s was a blast.
Food here is not that great. It was great that we did have a meal with a family in our ward Tuesday. They are the Spalding’s. Brother Spalding works for the embassy as a Police man, he is awesome. It was good to talk to people who spoke English not Bajan. Just so you know family, I have not pooped my pants yet but maybe soon. (Dave: We where told by someone who served there that every missionary poops their pants at least once from eating the food so we always joked with Parker saying we are going to have a "Parker pooped his pants pool")
It is really interesting what a mission does to you. I look in the mirror every day and some days I see a man and some days I see a boy but every day I see someone who wants to do good. I am working really hard to be a good missionary. I’m definitely not the best missionary but being led by the spirit, I know that I can at least make some people’s lives better.
P.S. Cricket is a dumb sport. I throw it so flippin hard and the freaking cricket guys just lay there bat in front of the wickets or whatever it is so you can’t get them out. Coming here I thought I would like cricket but I’ll stick with rugby.
I Love you all so much.
Love Elder Fokken
Love Elder Fokken
Thursday, November 12, 2015
Got an unexpected surprise today. A Good man in Barbados was out with Elder Fokken and his companion, Elder Miller who's first name is Parker too, knocking on doors today. He posted a couple pictures on Facebook for us to see. Thank you Brother Taylor!
Monday, November 9, 2015
So I arrived here in Barbados on Monday, 11/2. We stayed in a hotel until Wednesday when we got put with our trainer. My trainer is Elder Miller. He is from Fillmore UT. He played baseball like me but he is a Utah Utes fan so that makes things awkward. I will stay here in Barbados for my first transfer at least. My area is called Voxhall. The humidity here kills and the only place that has AC is in our room in the apartment so we are sweating all the time.
This first week has been interesting. We go out knocking on doors but don’t actually knock, we yell "good day INSIDE!!!" to let people to know were there. They have doors to knock on but I guess it’s just the way it’s done. There is a crazy guy in our area, his name is Raymond. He thinks he is Jesus Christ and that we are his servants and such. He gives us names of Bible people. The people here definitely talk super crazy and I’m already saying things like they do. Like they don’t say the "th" it’s just "t" so you say “tat” for “that” etc.... And they say CHEESE ON BREAD!!! I like that one.
We have a lot of investigators and I have been getting a lot better at teaching lessons. We do have a baptism this week which is super exciting. We also have an investigator named Gladstone (yes his first name) and he watches American football so that’s how me and Elder Miller found out who is winning and losing and pretty much the jist of what’s going on in sports.
You could get hit by a car every day because people are crazy drivers but we know how to handle it. It’s kind of fun actually when people fly by yelling at us. The hardest thing for me so far is there is no such thing as dinner here. By the time we get back to our apartment at 9pm, I am starving!
I got all the packages at the MTC and I am so thankful for all of them. It was awesome to get them!
I get homesick ever day but I read this scriptures about others being away from their family and it helps.
It’s hard here but I get better every day. I live with the assistants to the president so I have a lot of really good examples already.
I am working hard and miss everyone. I promise to get you some picture next week!
Monday, November 2, 2015
Monday, October 26, 2015
I leave for Barbados next Sunday, late at night, so this is the only P-day that I have and I don't have a lot of time. My companion is Elder Johnson. We get along great. We share so many experiences and learn from each other. We were called as the Zone Leaders so we are feeling a lot of pressure but we are loving it. The Elders before us helped us a lot but were are still having to learning on our own. We have met most of the elders that are going to our mission and they are all awesome. We only have 3 sisters going to our mission with us and we only know one of them, Sister Call. She is amazing and we love her so much. I don't have very much time today because Elder Johnson and I are teaching an investigator tonight and got caught up in planning. Just want you all to know I am doing great and I miss everyone. Even now, nobody would be able to recognizer me because of the amount of change I have gone through already. Send packages please, I'm feeling lonely. Just kidding, Love you.
Love Elder Fokken