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