Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A New Assignment in St. Vincent

President Mehr asked us to watch over the missionaries in St. Vincent because the senior couple there had to go home for medical reasons.  We will divide our time with St. Vincent and Tobago at least until the end of June when the West Indies Mission gets split.  On July 1st St. Vincent will be in the Barbados Mission and Tobago will be in the Trinidad Port of Spain Mission.  We cannot serve in both missions so we will be called to one place.   Here are the 14 wonderful missionary faces that we see when we are in St. Vincent.  
 Sister Tongi from Tonga, Sister Training Leader, and Sister Jensen new missionary from Utah.
 Elder Cox from St. George and Elder Jackson, new missionary, from Cedar Hills Utah
 Elder Spencer and District Leader of Kingstown, Elder Sheen both from Canada
 Zone Leaders, Elder Strong from Park City Utah and Elder Hodgkinson from Layton Utah.
 Elder Lawenitotoka from Fiji and Elder Morrison from Jamaica
 Georgetown District Leader Elder Merrell from Vernal and Elder Ropati from Samoa.
Georgetown Elders Perez and Rumbaca from the Philippines  
St. Vincent has two branches, one in Kingstown and one in Calliagua and a small group farther around the island in Georgetown.  There are about 500 members on the island.

St. Vincent April 13-22

Getting familiar with the streets of downtown Kingstown, the capitol of St. Vincent.  We learned where to pay all the bills, pick up the mail, where DHL is and where to shop for missionary supplies.
 Many people make a living by selling fruit, or vegetables, or underwear, or flip-flops, or sun glasses, or brooms, or drinks, or whatever they have.  They come to the three main streets of the capitol and set-up and take down everyday selling whatever they can to survive.
 This is one of the nicest displays that we saw.  

 The electricity wattage in St. Vincent is 220, in order to charge or use our computers, curling irons, hair dryers etc. we hook them up to this converter (top left) that changes the current to 120.
 This is the view from our apartment balcony.  Beautiful!  We went snorkeling everyday right out our back door.  It is great exercise and no we are not on a vacation!
 Another view from our  kitchen window.  
 Street vendors selling handmade brooms.
 The public transportation system is individually owned vans like this.  Each one is decorated with fun things like the one above.

Richard's first assignment was to release President Young and his councilors of the Calliaqua Branch. President Young has served for 20 years so his release will be difficult for the whole branch.  The new branch President called is President Carter.  (pictured below)  President Carter is a young convert of only a year and a half.  
 View from the Calliaqua Branch Building.  The bay in the foreground is where they do the baptisms.
 Sister James and her foster daughter.  
 Some branch Priesthood leaders and missionaries with President Carter.  

 President Goddard with the new 2nd councilor Tony Jennings, Micron (who has read the entire Book of Mormon 8 times in the last year and is planning to go on a mission) and another long time member.

The missionaries with some investigators and some members.  It was great to attend a branch that is totally functioning on it's own without the help of the missionaries.  

Good-bye Brother and Sister Bateman

Good-bye to our new dear friends the Batemans.  You were some of the first people we met when we arrived in Trinidad.  Although we didn't get to see each other often, when we did meet it was always an adventure.  You are the most down to earth, hard working, fun couple.  When I grow up I want to cook like Sister Bateman.  Her meals are legendary.  There isn't a missionary in the mission that doesn't rave about Sister Bateman's cooking.   I agree with them.....Thanksgiving, Senior Conferences and zone conferences always included your delicious meals.   Here's to some memories we have had together. 
 Thanksgiving and singing at the Trinidad Mall.
 Senior Conference! 
 Making sea glass necklaces.

 Your visit to Tobago and our hike in the rain forest.
 Showing off my rain forest boots!  Don't you love the outfit?  
 Visit to Fort King George where Sister Bateman decided to climb on the cannon for a picture. 

 Who can forget your "bush chair" episode.  That was a video for American's Funniest Videos.  Too bad no one was recording when you fell through the bush and we all couldn't stop laughing.    
 Still laughing!
Meeting up with Elder Little, one of your former missionaries in Sando.
 Rain forest flower

 Who's that monkey swinging on the rain forest vines? 
 Seeing the bats at Arnos Vale.
 The famous tree in the center of the island of Tobago.  

 We hadn't noticed these spikes on the tree until Sister Bateman was cut by them.  

 Some beautiful views!

Visit to the Mangrove.
Brother and Sister Bateman, you will be missed!   God bless you 'til we meet again.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Tobago Wedding

Brother James wanted us to come his son's wedding on Sunday April 12th.  We headed to the wedding right after church knowing we would be late but hoping the wedding would be on Trini time.  Thankfully they were late.  We found our seats and a woman sitting right in front of us after she found out we had never been to a Tobago wedding directed us where to go to get the best pictures.  The only problem was she sent us the wrong way and I tried to get back to my seat thinking I would go down the center aisle only to find the wedding party was coming right toward me.  I quickly turned around to find I was looking at the video camera.  I'm sure the couple will see the video and wonder who that white lady was who ruined her wedding video.  Oops!  Boy, did we get a lot of stares when we came in.  We were the only white faces in the crowd of 100+.  I tried not to be noticed but we stuck out like a sore thumb.  Anyway, it was an interesting experience going to the wedding that lasted about three hours.  I thought American weddings were expensive.  There were probably 25 flower girls, bridesmaids, little grooms men, regular grooms men, a tiny bride and groom.  Everyone was decked out in beautiful dresses, fancy hairdos, rhinestone necklaces and make-up.  It was a huge production.  We found Sky James waiting to enter in the procession.  
 Daniel James.  We asked him where his parents were and he didn't know.  We found out later that they never made it to the wedding.  ???  I felt way under dressed for the occasion. 

 A little older bridesmaids.  
 More bridesmaids.

 More bridesmaids
 Mini bride and groom.
 Several flowers girls
 and finally the bride.
 Brother James's son Shirlon.

 The woman was the pastor of their church who led the congregation in a song about showering the bride and groom with blessings.  She had an incredible voice.  Then she gave a speech with all kinds of advice about how to have a successful marriage including going to Victoria's secret and whenever she said something she would always say something like do I have an amen to that.  Then the crowd would shout Amen.  Then the man married them.  During the vows when the bride was repeating the vows when he said for richer or poorer, the bride said, "For richer, not poorer." Wow, the preacher stopped and kind of chastised her and told her that if she said that their vows would not be valid and did she want to do that?  He then started the whole ceremony over again and the second time the bride said it correctly.
 A lot of the men had special symbols cut into their hair.  This is Daniel.  
 Outside the church when everyone is leaving to the reception in a long motorcade that took everyone halfway around the island.   It was kind of funny, the lady that was so helpful to us during the wedding got in our car with her kids after and we ended up taking them to the reception.   Really not sure how that all happened.  
 The reception was at this big school on the other side of the island.  We didn't go to that because we hadn't packed to go to St. Vincent the next day and didn't plan for the wedding to be that long.
 We found Brother James over at the reception place and he didn't say why he didn't make it to the wedding.
Weddings are really a grand affair!