Monday, March 21, 2016

#21 Sharing the Gospel is aaaaaamazing! (and a few pictures)

Okay so this week was pretty aaaaaamazing!  We had a lot of fun this week and a lot of progress and witnessing that the gospel is true and that Jesus Christ is truly the savior of the world with the people here on island.    Since Elder Page is still in Barbados for medical reasons, Elder Wilson is with Elder Gordon and I and we are covering two areas.  It’s rough but fun because we get to teach a lot of people.

We have this family that is really progressing.  Yesterday we gave them something called a Pathway to Baptism plan where we set out the steps and the things we need to do before they get baptized.  It helped us to see what was holding them back and what we can do to help them. They are super awesome, when we teach them they asked great questions and showed a great desire to learn and to grow. 

This week one of the lessons I learned was always following the spirit.  On Tuesday we were walking by this lady and I felt the prompting to turn around and to talk to this lady.   I stopped my companions and said we needed to go back, there was instant opposition from the adversary and he did not want us to go back and talk to this lady.  We overcame that challenge and when we went back, we were able to find out that she used to be taught by the missionaries and that right now in her life she has some really rough things going on and has needed some help.  We went back to see her yesterday and she explained that one of her really good friends has gone missing and she has been praying really hard for guidance.  We shared with her that as she trusts in the Lord and knows that it by his will, not our own, she will have peace.  And like Grandpa taught me, God is waiting to grant us our blessing as long as we pray for them to show him our desire and then he will help us. She expressed how grateful she was and how it helped so much.

This week coming up were hoping to baptize a young man whose name is Chris.  He is a really cool kid and has expressed to us how grateful he is and how the gospel has truly changed him for the better.  He isn’t sure who is going to baptize him but I might be the one doing it so that means I will get to go in the ocean this week but whether I do or not, the most important thing is,  we get to see this kid take an amazing step in our Heavenly Fathers Plan. 

We are also going to start teaching a man who is a St. Vincent soulka star.  He is really cool, he showed us his music video that is coming out.  His name is Clifford. He goes by a different name professionally that I don’t remember but he already has a lot of really good doctrine instilled in his mind.

Well I love you all and I leave you with a scripture - Revelations 22:21.  I’m going to make you go get your Bible and look it up because if I quoted it, it would be too easy.

Love Elder Fokken

Elder Gordon and I just before PDay Hike

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

#20 And we're off!

Alright, week one of my fourth transfer and it has been a great one.  My new companion, Elder Gordon is really awesome.  He came here on Tuesday and we realized that because we didn’t get much work done in our area recently, we need to pretty much visit each home in our area.  So we did a lot of walking around trying to set up appointments with new investigators and visiting old investigators.  We had great success.  We were able to teach some really amazing lessons.  It has been really great because Elder Gordon has been on his mission for 21 months and knows a lot.  I have been learning so many great ways to teach and to make it very simple to where anyone can understand.  It’s really great being able to learn from him.

Elder Gordon and I were able to get a family to church on Sunday.  The family members all live in different parts of the area but they all came together as a family and went to church.  It is the family of the kid named Junior who I mentioned before who I said is the next Ezekial Ansah. (Google Ezekial Ansah Story if you don’t know how he is.)   Anyway, it was really amazing to see them all at church and it was just super cool because we taught them after church and they are all so cool and involved and just want to learn more about what they can do to grow closer to Jesus Christ.

This week my buddy Elder Page had to go to Barbados for surgery on something that has been bugging him for a while but we were able to have a big final mini basketball game and it was tied at 19 and we play to twenty one.  He hit a three pointer in my face to win but we are definitely putting that hoop to good use.  It is our morning workout.

Elder Gordon cooked me some really good baked chicken this week and I made fettuccine so that was the best meal I have had in a really long time. 

Since Elder Page went to Barbados and won’t be back for a while, Elder Gordon and I are in a trio with Elder Wilson so we are now covering all of the whole eastern side of island.  It is really tough trying to find the time to get everything done but it is a fun struggle because we get to meet so many awesome people and get to teach a bunch of people but it’s still hard trying to split up the time. 

This week has been a really awesome.  One where I have been able to feel Gods love as I have pushed myself as a missionary to do the best I can with all of these people and to truly show that I love them through the small acts of kindness.  Small acts of kindness show Gods love in a great way because it’s like God giving us the little tender mercies we need.  Darcy Edwards told me a couple weeks ago to look for miracles in my life.   I have seen how a family that was really struggling, as we prayed and visited them a lot, were able to just show a great desire to do better and it has made me so happy.

I love you all so much

Love Elder Fokken 

Monday, March 7, 2016

#19 Staying in St. Vincent...New Companion on the way...

Alright, so this is the last week of the transfer and there was a lot of running around getting my Companion Elder Tupou ready to move to St. Lucia.   As for me, I will be staying in St. Vincent and my new Companion will be Elder Gordon who is from Jamaica.   I have served around him since I have been out in the field and he is a really awesome guy.   I am really excited to serve with him and to get a lot of work done in this area because there are so many amazing people here in this area.

As for this past week, nothing special really happened besides last Monday we missed the 4pm bus ride back so we got stuck in town.  We didn’t get home until Tuesday and sleeping in dirty clothes is not fun and really kills the nose.

So in the Caribbean there is something called “play names”.  It’s were the local give someone a nickname and that’s what you are called from then on.   There really weird like there is a guy named “kuku” and another named man “bud” so there really hard on the creative nature but as a missionary it is a dream to get a play name.   Last week I shared how they call me “fast balla”. That is only when go play cricket.  This last week I received the name “Billy”.  I’m really not sure why or anything but now wherever I go in our town people just call me Billy.  It’s probably my greatest accomplishment to get a play name so all the other missionaries are jealous.

I’m sorry for this week’s short letter.  My comp sleeps in most of the day so we are only out a few hours every day and when were out it’s hard to get him going.  So as soon as I get my new companion it should be back to good emails with interesting things going on and spiritual experiences and such. One positive thing about not getting out much is I did read the Book of Mormon in 42 days.   Pretty exciting but I hope I don’t ever have time to do that again on my mission.  However, I do understand the enabling power of the Atonement a lot more now.

I love you all and hope you’re doing well.
Love Elder Fokken

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

#18 Toilet paper, limes and form "Big White" in Barbados to "Fast Balla" in St. Vincent.

Alright so another boring week.  My Comp is still sick so we didn’t get to go out to much into my area but I was saved by Elder Page who is another Elder who I live with.  We went on two trade-offs.  One of them I went into his area to work and it was so awesome.  One of the best parts about going to someone else’s area is there is no pressure because these aren’t my investigators so I just get to relax and try to help them and not have to lead the discussion.  We met with this man whose name is Brother Warren.  He is awesome.   He has throat problems so he is hard to understand but he is so amazing because he just wants to serve others.  He told us all he wants to do is serve the people because it serves God at the same time.  We were like, “oh flip, is this King Benjamin speaking or Brother Warren”?  To you non Book of Mormon readers, King Benjamin is a profit who talk a lot about “when you are in the service of your fellow beings, you are only in the service of your God.”   After the discussion he gave us a half a roll of toilet paper that was shredded up, a bunch of limes and he tried giving us other things but we just accept the toilet paper and limes.  It was just so much fun spending time with him.

This week I got to play in a big game of cricket with these kids around my age.  It was so much fun.  There was like fifty people watching us play.   My new nickname in this town is “Fast Balla”.   It’s just the funniest thing because back home I definitely was not the “fast balla” guy. But it was just fun having fun building relationships with the locals.  Cricket is hard because the batter can stand in front of the wickets so they can get beaned all the time and it does not matter. If I wanted I could just keep giving kids bruises until they understand how to play a baseball style of cricket.

We had Zone Conference this week and that was interesting because we talked a lot about the Enabling power of Jesus Christs Atonement.  How everything that we go through in this life can be made right with his Atonement.   We just have to understand that and to apply it to our lives.   Every day that I leave the apartment, I see that without that amazing thing that he did for us, I would not be able to experience the immense amount of love that I have for these people.  There would be no chance for me to help them become better people.  It is the greatest thing anyone has ever done for us and words cannot comprehend how grateful I am.

Well this transfer is almost over and I’m not sure if I will be staying or going but I will be informing you all next week.

Love you all so much

Elder Fokken

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

#17 "Tongans for Diarrhea"...With Faith comes Work

So the subject for my letter is “Tongans for Diarrhea” which is what you get in the Caribbean and what I heard from my companion all week.   This week was a long one.  We didn’t really get too much of work done because yes my companion was sick and we stayed inside a lot.  I was able to do some tradeoffs with the other elders in out apartment so I could at least go teach some of our investigators but sadly, nothing super special happened this week which was a bummer.

That said, on Friday I was having a rough day and just doing a lot of hard thinking.  As I was taking on the phone with another Elder, we got a knock on the door.  It was the senior couple with a package for me.  It had two baseball gloves and a baseball, a football and a mini basketball hoop.  That was so awesome, it made my day.  Elder Page and I immediately went outside and played catch with the baseball and gloves.   Every day we do that now and we are slowly moving up to where I’m throwing as hard as I can and he is moving to where he can catch it most of the time.  

 I really wish I had more to say this week.  We had a less active at church yesterday and that was really amazing just because he is a really cool guy.  He is super athletic.  His family are all captains of different sports for the national team and he is just really good at all of them.  This week when we taught him, it seemed different that our normal lessons right from the start.  He got really involved and really showed us his spiritual side.  I was so amazed by this man’s testimony.  He said that he has never felt more loved by missionaries and that’s why he wants to start coming back to church and doing what’s right.  I tell him all the time that we need him and that he is just an amazing man.  He finally took to that to heart and said that he wants to make that step and get back to where he used to be and he is doing it.  We are excited to see him continue to grow and get stronger every day. 

This next story is not to put down others or to make it seem like we are any better but it was just kind of funny that the huge missionary group that was in St. Vincent last week that did a huge show left a bunch of trash and stuff everywhere.   We went and helped a few locals clean it up while all the visiting missionaries were out playing and swimming in the ocean.  They came and they taught the people and challenged them to come unto Jesus and after they do that, then they go away and there we are doing all the cleanup work.  We just went to help our people clean up but did use the opportunity to talk about how important it is to have faith but with faith also comes work.  We just hope we are setting a Christ like example and showing these people we truly care about them.  I thank those missionaries that came, they helped us in many ways further God works here in Georgetown. 

Well I’m sorry this letter stunk, it was just an uninteresting week.  I hope I can have a better one next week.

Love you all so muck

Elder Fokken

Monday, February 15, 2016

#16 Investigators, Volcano, Tongan Dancing...the Bus Ride.

Okay, well it is Week Three in St. Vincent.

So we have been teaching this 11 year old boy, his name is Jevvie.  He’s probably my best friend in all of St. Vincent.  He is a really cool little kid.  One day he came up to me and said “hey I want to get baptized” so we went and asked his mom if he could get baptized after being taught by the missionaries and she said yes.   We have taught him three times now and he is just the coolest kid.  He follows me around to all of our teaching appointments and he tells me all the time that when he gets older, he wants to be a missionary just like me.  It makes me so happy that I’m setting a good example for this little guy.  He always thief’s my tag and puts it on and it is just a cool experience to see that kids testimony grow and him being only 11 years old.

I didn’t put this in my letter last week but last Monday we climbed the volcano that is on the island and its name is La Soufre.  I think that’s how it’s spelled but it was a lot of fun.  Elder George and I were throwing rocks the whole time at random stuff and having throwing competitions and it was a lot of fun. As we were getting towards the top, it got really windy and it was kind of sketchy standing over this volcano with high powered winds blowing on you but it was still really cool.  I would have pictures but it stinks how bad these computers are here.  Then Elders George, Page and I ran down the volcano and that was super fun running down and dodging things and sliding on wet rocks and such. They both fell but I was lucky enough to not fall on the way down.

We had 6 investigators at church yesterday. The kid that I said was the next Ziggy Ansah came and that was really cool.  We got to talk to him a little bit more about the gospel and how everything in this life that he wants can be his because he has great desires.  He wants a family and a wife and that is hard to find in the Caribbean.  It makes me smile every time we talk about it.  He is just really cool.  Francena brought her grandson to church and that was cool and Jevvie brought one of his friends to church with him also so he is doing missionary work all the time!

On Saturday this huge missionary group from the states came and did a "religious show" for the people of Georgetown.  Since the whole town was there we went also.  It was actually really cool.  Their purpose as missionaries was just to show their love of Jesus and how we can to, so that was really cool.  The show was a Polynesian island dancing show which was really cool especially when your companion is from Tonga.  When the Tongan dancers got up to dance, half way through there dance my companion runs up there and starts dancing with them and now he is a celebrity in the town.  It was just the funniest thing see this missionary run up to the stage and just start rolling around on the stage in front of 500 people. The people said that they will put it on facebook so someone will have to tell me if it made it on there. The group is called island breeze. It was really cool though just sitting there at a religious show and having all of our investigators surrounding us asking us questions so the show was an answer to our prayers.

 On Friday we played cricket with a bunch of the youth in the town.  They said that im not allowed to bowl to them anymore because I throw to hard but it was still really cool because we were able to have some fun with the kids that come to church.

On the bus ride to Kingstown today, which is about a hour away from where we live, a lady got on the bus right after me and she was crying and just something was wrong with her.  She looked at me and saw that I had a tag that had Jesus Christ on my chest and she looked me in the eyes and I just saw this woman with fear and sadness in her eyes.  The White Handbook(missionary rules) says to not hug women but in that situation I thought in my mind when Jesus Christ was on this earth, what would he have done.   So I wrapped my arm around her and pulled her close to me and she fell asleep on me for the rest of the bus ride.  I share this because as I have grown closer to Jesus Christ, I have been able to experience what the pure love of Christ really is and how important it is in this life.  I looked at this woman with the eyes of Christ, not with my human eyes where I would have seen her as a stinky, homeless, drunk old lady but as a daughter of God who needs comfort.  That’s what I have been called as a missionary to do. We got off the bus and she looked so much better. Her name is Susan. Im here to help people and that’s what brings me the most happiness in my life and it can in anyone’s life. I challenge you to try to look from Jesus Christ perspective at least once this week so that you can share that pure love with someone.

I love you all so very much and happy Valentine’s Day.  Experience the greatest love story in Luke Chapter 22

Love Elder Fokken

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

#15 "Be more willing to do what God has waiting for me"

So this week was a really fast one but the days. when I was living them. felt really long but overall it was a good week.

This week we stayed inside all day for two days because of the intense rain and winds so just for safety we couldn’t leave.  It was rough sitting inside all day and trying to entertain ourselves.  I found a tennis ball and that did the trick, because I was working on my transitions for two hours and like Coach says, "It’s all about the transitions!"  I also read through all of Mosiah and such for those couple days and that was awesome to be able to just read and read and learn so many amazing things of how I can become a better disciple of Jesus Christ. 

This week we found a guy whose name is Ivis and he has a Backyard Ghetto Gym.  We are starting to go and work out every morning.  Ivis is just super cool because first he lets us in for free but really his life story is so amazing.  His life journey, where he has come from, etc…he is probably my biggest hero here in St. Vincent so far.  He just motivates me to do better every day.  I mentioned to him about playing baseball when I get home and this is what he said to me, “Fokken, don’t be stupid... You love something, do what it takes to be able to be at least close to it." So you could say that this week I have been missing baseball a little bit.

We are teaching this lady whose name is Francena.  She is super amazing.  She is already in 3 Nephi of the book of Mormon and she said she is going to be baptized when she finishes.   She is just super great and she lives about 20 feet from the ocean so it’s what I like to call “the Spirit and a view”. 

Well really nothing special. If you are wondering what I eat…I cook myself chicken most days.  I don’t eat anything really special here.  We do eat something called plum roses and those are pretty good. 

I am still having a lot of fun and I am learning so much from the people here in Georgetown.  It’s really cool seeing the people make so much out of so little.   Makes me be more humble and willing to do Gods will even more. That is my goal this week, to be more willing to do what God has waiting for me.

Love Elder Fokken

P.S. I have a little 5 year old Valentine and she is the cutest little thing ever.   Hopefully the problem uploading pictures on this computer will be fixed and I can send pictures next week.   

Monday, February 1, 2016

#14 Out in the Jungle

Okay, I’m going to try my best to write this email to the best of my ability because I am just so tired.   
So I arrived here in St. Vincent on Wednesday and my area is Georgetown.  It’s about an hour away from civilization.  We live in a house on a cliff that oversees the ocean so that is pretty amazing.  We have a lot of coconut trees around our house so we get our cutlasses and climb up them and get coconuts.  I only go up the smaller ones because I’m not to skilled just yet but since my companion is from Tonga, he goes up there and gets them down for me so he is the hunter and I’m the gatherer.   When we go out in the bush, I’m the one who hits the animals with my rocks so I am the hunter then.

The people here speak with what’s called a “Vincie” slang.   It’s where every word that ends with a “le” is pronounced with “lio” so like bible is biblio and people is peoplio so that is kind of cool.

Alright, so my new area is the bush like straight bush.  We have beautiful scenery everywhere but it is still super rundown so it’s weird.  My second day in our area we were trying to find some people and we asked this little girl where they lived and she said follow me.   We followed this ten year old girl through the jungle to this little hut and found these really amazing people.  This area has some really great people but the people here do not like white people at all.  I am just trying to be really good to the people so that they can see we just want good for them and hopefully we can gain their trust.

So ya, I have a machete with me about two days a week so we can get through the jungle.  It’s pretty sweet and the best part is there is really nothing out here that can kill me so I just truck through there swinging and going crazy on things.  I seriously do not even know what to email about because there were just so many things that went on this week and I can’t pinpoint on one thing to talk about. 

In our area we don’t even have a branch (official organized church group).  We have about 30 people that rely on us for guidance.  This past Sunday we had to cram every one of us into a little van and drive to the other branch 50 minutes away for branch conference.  It was pretty interesting hanging out the window to make room for everyone but it was a good breeze though.

Right now Elder Tupou and I are just trying to find people to teach.  The area doesn’t have a very good school program so it is really hard to find people that can read.   Also in St. Vincent they have something here called sunset rum.  It is 80% alcohol drink so most the people are drunk too.  It has been kind of rough in our area but we are just working really hard trying to find those people that are just waiting for us to meet them. 

We met this kid who’s name is Junior.  He is 6'4 and we played volleyball with him one day as a part of a contact.  He is really cool and pretty much jumps up over the net.  He is going to be the next Ziggy Ansah story.
Couple of cool & odd things:

I caught a Scorpion, his name is Randy.  Now I just need to find other little critters to fight him.

Our house is haunted and that is no joke.  Our power goes out every day and that makes the house being haunted just a little bit more fun.

Well I really wish there was more for me to write about this week because there has just been so much but it has just been a blur and I really just cannot think of anything else.  This week was just really tiring riding through the mountains on bikes every day for 6 hours so hopefully next Monday I will have something a little more entertaining for you.

Well I love you all so much.  I need you to keep doing what you’re doing and stay strong in what you have faith in and wait for more knowledge to come.

Love Elder Fokken

Monday, January 25, 2016

#13 Off to St. Vincent Island...Machete and all

Well, it is the end of transfer #2 and you know what that means…will I stay or will I go? Looks like I will go. I am being moved to and will be living and being a disciple of Jesus Christ on St. Vincent Island, Georgetown.  I am super excited.   I will be companions with Elder Tupou who is from Tonga.  He is a really awesome missionary and I am really excited to work with him.  I hear my area is the jungle and I pretty much carry around a machete with me so that will be really exciting.  (Good job president, give Elder Fokken a sharp object everyday)   I will live an hour from the main city so every Monday we have to travel an hour to get to email and buy groceries and such so I am super excited.  

Okay so this past week was an interesting... well normal but whatever. We have an investigator who is hiding from the cops so that is always fun teaching someone and then them having to go hide when they hear a knock at the door.   Honestly it is not that weird, it feels pretty normal to me.  He is actually a really amazing guy.   He has just been in Barbados for a little too long and he is waiting for his visa to come through. His house got lit on fire so that’s a good smell while teaching but he is just a great man, he is always doing his best to do the things that we ask him to do because we know it will help his life greatly!

Honestly though nothing special happened this week, we had a huge missionary broadcast on Wednesday and that helped me out a lot with my teaching and how I can feel the spirit and follow the spirit more abundantly in my teaching.  I received a lot of guidance that I needed for myself.

My favorite part about being a missionary is when I am teaching someone and I look into their eyes and tell them, "Heavenly Father loves you and I love you and we are all here for you no matter what.”  It is just the best feeling ever saying that to someone and actually meaning it and knowing that it is true.  Before I left on my mission I gave a talk about love and how I just need to love the people that I am teaching while I am out here.  I have realized that as I love these people more and more, I gain a higher lover for Jesus Christ and his Atonement and what he has done for me.   I can never show Jesus Christ fully how thankful I am for what he did for me but I am going to do my best because I love him so much.

I will be leaving to St Vincent on Wednesday so the next time you hear from me, I will be in the Vincentian land.  I am really excited and I love you all so much. 

Love Elder Fokken

Monday, January 18, 2016

#12 Performing first Baptism --- "Big White"

Well I never like starting these letters off negative but here we go… Elder Cox died this week (What you call it when a missionary goes home) and that was kind of sad.   I mean just seeing him have all of these “last time doing this” and “last time doing that” on his mission.  I could tell that he was really going to miss this place.  It just makes me want to get as much out of my mission as possible even though I know I am going to always wish I did more.   

Aright so today was P-Day and it was funny because all of the missionaries who play cricket in my zone have been challenging me to play cricket with them and since one of them leaves next week I figured I would play this week.  Well I feel kind of bad because these 3 missionary were talking a whole bunch of trash and in cricket you only get 7 bowls (or pitches).   I waited for my turn until those three guy were next to bat.   I went up there and pitched to them, well I only got to bowl 3 times because I hit the wickets on all three of them my first three tries so then the game was over and my team won 18-2.   Cricket is a weird game and definitely not a hard as baseball that’s for sure.

Also this week I got to go with elder Cox on his last day of being a missionary and the first guy we contacted that morning we ended up getting in his car and talking to him for a little bit and we gave him a Book of Mormon and it was just kind of funny. Also we talked to a lot of weird people and Elder Cox was just like “man I’m going to miss all of the crazy people here”.   I already know that I will too because I love getting sung random songs about Jesus Christ and about Mormon people while were walking through the ghetto and stuff.  Don’t worry, only about 30% of the people here are crazy.  There are sane people here too.

I really don’t have that much to talk about between last Monday and today except two more things so bare with me. 

I like sports so when possible I like to find time to play with kids and stuff.  On Friday there were a lot of youth play a huge football game in a field by our church.  We stopped and played with them.   It’s just crazy how good these kids are.   Because were bigger we push them around and such but it’s just crazy having these little kids just flying up and down the field kicking balls and doing crazy moves.  I feel really inadequate when I’m playing but it’s still fun.  They like it when I play because they can just say "Big White" and I know who that is.  We are going to try to get these kids to come to church some time because they are really cool kids.  They are kids and they don’t often live up to their word but we will keep trying. 

Alright, so now to the thing you have been waiting for. Verna was baptized this last Saturday and I got the privilege of doing the baptism.  It was a very unique experience because it is the first time I have ever done it and I was definitely nervous. When we stepped down into the font the spirit came over me and felt so comfortable down there.  I knew that I was going to do just fine and I wasn’t going to mess up.  It made it so much easier for me to see the spirit inside of Verna and to see her and the difference between before she went under water and when she came up. When she was about to go down, she was very nervous and really scared but as I comforted her and put her under and pulled her up she came up in tears and was crying and saying thank you.   It was just so amazing.  I almost gave her a hug but then I realized that I am not allowed to do that but it was just a really amazing experience to be able to do that for someone and to see how far she has come to being able to make this covenant with Heavenly Father.  I know that she will be blessed greatly for the choices she has made.

I love this place so much.  I know when it’s my time to go home I will not want to leave because even now when I think about having to leave this place, I just can’t believe that someday I actually have to leave this place.  I have never felt the spirit more strong than when I have been here. I love you all so much and good luck to Paloma Valley baseball!  I think the season is coming up soon. 4 Peat!

Love Elder Fokken


Monday, January 11, 2016

#11 Weird Barbados

Alright, I will try to make this one a short and long one at the same time because this email will consist of a lot of weird and disturbing things that make being a missionary in the Caribbean a very hard but rewarding thing to do. 

First I will start with the great thing that will be happening this week. We will be baptizing our investigator who’s name is Verna.  She is just a super sweet lady.  She used to have a lot of problems and struggles but seeing the gospel work within her heart and to see how Jesus Christ and his example has set for her and all of us has changed her life forever. We had her baptismal interview on Friday and hearing our district leader, Elder Kuru walk out of the interview saying without hesitation, "she is ready!" was just a great feeling in my heart and to think that I was a part of helping her get to the point that she is now and to see that nothing can stop her!  Her testimony has grown so much over the last little bit and it is just so beautiful to see. It grows my testimony to see how the simple actions of just showing someone love and showing them that we are hear for her always and that we will do anything that will help her to be happy in this life.

Now to some things that are really just weird.  So Elder Cox, Elder Pape and I were walking around finding people to teach and we start talking to this lady in a fairly rich area.  We are telling her about what we do and how we are out here for two years and we want to share a message about families and how it can help bless the family.   She just stop us and says, " okay! hold on just one second!" so she leaves and were just thinking okay, she is going to go get her husband so we can talk to them both or that she is going to go get some voodoo dolls to cast us away and were not really paying attention and we just hear this, " hehe...  Hello Elders!"  We look up and we see 3 girls like our age.  We, being the good missionaries, just freeze and stand there because we have no idea what to do. And we are just so confused and we literally have no idea what is going on.   So us being even better missionaries... we give them a book of Mormon because the gospel blesses families and well, there was no other way to get out of that situation without just running away, which we probably should have done. This isn’t the first time that someone has tried to set me up or anything or flirt with Elders because were White and American, even though we are weird and super poor they think were cool. But this experience was just so weird that it was unique in ways.

Contacting is just weird in general.   We can be thinking someone is a super amazing guy and that we will be able to teach him and then he will just turn crazy and start like running down the street after dogs or something.  It’s just a really weird.

Now finally, it has been Elder Cox's last week on his mission and leaves this Thursday. It has been really weird for me because of the relationship I have grown with Elder cox over these last couple months. He is great Missionary and has taught me a lot.  Something that he has really taught me just by his example is something that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I have learned that no matter what stage you come out on your mission or whatever stage you are in life, that if you have a desire to get better and to become a better person you can but you have to do something drastic, either change how you think about the people you are around or how you think about yourself.  Before I went on my mission and sometimes out here I think that I am not enough but I think about the things Elder Cox has taught me and I remember that I have to make a change.  I have change this because if I don’t, I will just go down and down and it will be harder. He has set a great example and I will cherish the time I have left with him. 

I love the Savior Jesus Christ and I know it is through him that I can make these changes and I will be the man I want to be!

Love Elder Fokken

Monday, January 4, 2016

#10 Old Years Day...Learning by Fire

It is always so weird starting these emails but here goes…

So this week was something called “Old Year’s Day”.  It’s basically like New Year’s Eve but with a ton of drinking and doing drugs all day.   It was a very interesting day because if we went to go and to talk to people in the streets, it was almost pointless because they had no idea what was going on because they were under the influence of something and totally out there mind. So doing actual missionary work on that day was really hard but oh well. We tried. 

This past week, now that I think about it, was a really boring week.  Well not boring but just normal (it is never boring here).  The assistants have been coming out with us a lot more than usual.  Like four or five times a week and since I am the only one that knows this area, I get to plan for everyone and try to figure out what 14 people need to be taught every day but as I pray for help and guidance from Heavenly Father, I know he will make sure that I know what to do when the time comes. I have been learning by fire but I guess that’s how it has been done most of my life, either in baseball always playing with kids older than me or if it is in school, taking classes that were too hard for me ( like calculus).  I like learning by fire and Heavenly Father has definitely done that for me here in Barbados.

Sometimes I get to be like a Junior companion to the Assistants.  Whenever a missionary is going home after their 2 years is over, they come out proselyting with me and Elder Mykolyski.  We get to see the end of mission trunkyness ( homesickness) every other week so we get to hear all about marriage and what they’re going to do when they get home.   I don’t even get homesick when everyone talks about home because it is just normal thing for me now.  Don’t get me wrong I miss home but I love being out here getting to serve the Lord every single day.  This is the place that when I have to leave in 2 years, I will definitely be sad to go.

Well I don’t have any really cool stories beside when a big Pitbull rolled out on the street and faced us down.  He was ready to come at us and since I already got bit by a dog, I was not going to let it happen again so I ran at that dog and stiff armed it and kept going thinking my companions where following me.  I turn around and Elder Mykolyski and Elder Malyon (he is form England and went home last week) were both just still standing there probably thinking I was crazy.   So I had to go back through the dog and get them.  I still didn’t get bit, I just pulled a couple Heisman trophy poses moves.

Since news travels fast, I have to say this... Alabama still stinks and I can’t believe they made to the championship game! 

Last but not least!  There is a lady named Verna who we will be baptizing in a couple weeks.   She is just an amazing lady. She is always wanting to do here best to please the Lord and it really sets that example for me to make sure that I am always doing my best to do what Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ want me to do.   Jesus Christ Saved us and we can show our thankfulness to him in our daily actions.   The things we do show our love for him.   I love Jesus Christ, my older brother, and I cannot explain how thankful I am for what he did for me.  I am his vessel and I will let him guide me.

I love you all sooo very much and I hope everything is going okay in the crazy states.

 Love Elder Fokken