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