Mission Update - June/July, 2007

Conversion Stories

As a new feature to our mission update, we will include a conversion story from a brother or sister who joined the Church here.  We have come to love and appreciate the wonderful people who have become our friends, and so we have asked several of them to share their conversion story.  Since this is the June/July update, we will share the stories of Sisters Monpierre and Menardin along with their pictures. 

The Matriarchs

Sister Monpierre is the mother of our district president Claude Gamiette, who has become one of our closest friends. We found out later that Sister Monpierre received her patriarchal blessing in France from none other than Yvon Vincent, our friend of 45 years.  Sister Menardin is the grandmother of President Gamiette's wife Delphine.  Here are their pictures and their stories:

Sisters Monpierre and Menardin

Sr. Sister Marthe D. Menardin:  One year 12 friends and she took a religious pilgrimage to France.  She was very active in the Catholic Church.  They went to pray for her ill uncle.  She visited her nephew.  Her son had joined the Church.  He gave her a Book of Mormon to read on the way home to Guadeloupe.  She didnít read it.  Her son also gave her a music tape of religious music.  It gave her a peaceful feeling.  She tried to read the Book of Mormon again, but it had different words and no names from the Bible that she recognized.  Put it back on the shelf.  When she returned to France for her sonís wedding, she went to the LDS church for the first time.  Later on another trip, she needed an operation for her knees in France.  The night before, her son who was the Branch President by then, asked her if she would like a blessing.  She said that everything that is good comes from God, so she would like one.  There was another lady in her hospital room who died that night.  She said that if she had had a blessing, she would have lived.  She stayed with her son to recuperate, and the medical people just kept extending her stay for more medical exams.  She had her son take her to Mass on Saturday nights.  The son and his wife would then attend the LDS Church on Sundays.  One day, she decided that it was too much to ask them to take her, and she decided to go to Mass on Saturday night and then with them on Sunday.  It was the last time she ever attended Mass. 

Two sister missionaries met her and asked if she would like to know more.  She said to ask her son if it was OK to teach her at his house.  They were invited and taught her.  She also attended a talent show where they sang ďHow Great Thou ArtĒ, and it touched her heart.  She asked herself why she didnít feel that way in the Catholic Church. She was baptized in France shortly thereafter.  Before her baptism, she had a dream that she and a lot of other people were on a sinking ship.  She saw them all drown, except herself.  She also dreamed that she was in a forest full of fierce animals, and she fell down and was worried that the animals would get her.  Someone came to her and helped her get up.  She had another dream that a car she was riding in with other people, was hit and the windshield was shattered, and the thought came to her that if she died, all the others would be together in heaven and she wouldnít be with them.  During all this, the sisters continued to teach her. She told them that she wanted to be baptized on her sonís birthday the next Friday. 

When she returned to Guadeloupe, she asked to be released from all her Catholic Church responsibilities.

She has been active in the Church ever since.  She served two missions for the Church.

Sister George Monpierre (formerly Gamiette)    She joined in France.  She didnít know much about the church, but joined to please her husband.  Later, they separated and then divorced, so she came to Guadeloupe.  She was inactive for a time, but always held Family Home Evening.  The Church in Guadeloupe was growing, and the missionaries contacted her and helped reactivate her.  Her testimony grew slowly, line upon line.  She brought her son Claude into activity with her, and he served a full time mission in Florida as the first missionary from Guadeloupe.  He now works for CES and is the District President.  She too served a full time mission to France and is still active today.

 

Our Band of Brothers, plus one:

These are some of the Elders we have worked with, when we first got here.  The first two pictures are of the Elders who have been released and have returned home.  They are Elder Sabin, Raines and Brown, with Elder Malmrose. In the picture with Sister Malmrose in full meditation, the other Elders are Elder Hooson and Arbizo, our Zone Leaders.  Elder Hooson is from England and Elder Arbizo is from Arizona. 

The last picture is of three of our current Elders, Hansen, Tycksen and Lines, in the new van the mission just bought for our zone leaders.   

Band of Brothers returning home

Band of Brothers plus One

Elder Hooson with dessert

Elders Hooson and Raines

Elders Raines and Hooson

Elder Sabin

Elders Hansen, Tycksen, and Lines

French Zone Conference

 The last picture is of one of our zone meetings with our Elders paying close attention.  We have Elders from Canada, England, France, French Tahiti and of course the U.S.  They are learning wonderful skills on how to get along with people from other cultures and other countries and truly becoming a Band of Brothers going forth to preach of Christ to all the world.  Where in all the world could one find such great, young men who serve so unselfishly for 2 years of their lives.

 

DISTRICT CHORALE ACTIVITY

Our District not only includes the island of Guadeloupe, but the French islands of Martinique and St. Martin.  They were all invited to participate in a district chorale.  The theme was to be traditional music from Caribbean and cultural history.  The evening was very interesting both in costume and music.  Our branch did some Negro spirituals such as Ole Man River and Summertime.  There was a combined song with all the group singing a Creole song.  Sister Malmrose joined in and they helped her pronounce the Creole words.  It was a lot of fun for all.  What wonderful Saints and what a wonderful culture to learn about.

Pres. Amoussouga (MC)

Audience

Lamentin branch

Lamentin

Lamentin

Abymes branch

Moule branch

Basse-Terre branch

Martinique branch

Group

PEOPLE AND PLACES GUADELOUPE

The Bonbons are a family who were baptized a year ago.  They are super, and we enjoy getting to know them.  The next two pictures are of two sisters, Sister ďMaggieĒ a new convert and Sister Constant, a returned missionary who lives in this area.  Arenít they beautiful, what smiles! 

Bonbon family

Bro & Sister Constant

Sister Constant

Maggie

Happy girls

The next is a view of our chapel and the Relief Society room at Capesterre.  The view is from the window in the chapel. 

Capesterre interior

Relief Society room

View from chapel

Window view

The next picture shows what the seeds of palms looks like.  These fell out of the trees and then pop open and start another tree growing.  We have cattle everywhere.  Some are nice and plump, others look like this poor one.  They put most of their cattle on chains and drive a stake in the ground and then move them around to mow their grass.  No wonder the beef is so lean here.

Palm tree seeds

Skinny isn't beautiful

Shopping crowd

We shop at a shopping mall and we canít believe how busy it is, ALL THE Time!!  Even during the middle of the morning, the lines are full.  We canít figure out where everyone gets the money since it is soooo expensive to buy anything.  Doesnít seem to stop them.  Just look at how it looks at the food store.  There are rows and rows of checkers, always busy.  We miss Safeway and QFC.

MORE GUADELOUPE

 Here are a few views of what we see.  Some of the houses are very nice and the colors are bright and beautiful, as you can see.  We have lots of insects of all shapes and sizes.  The mosquitoes are very small, but still sting and the butterflies are very large, but donít sting.

Beautiful home

Another home

Seascape

Butterfly friend

Looking out

THE END

Elder Malmrose is looking toward Seattle, thinking of home.       We miss you all!!!             THE END.

 MARTINIQUE

One of the islands we visit is Martinique.  It is also French, and we have two branches there.  It is another beautiful tropical island with interesting flora, as you can see.

Fort de France

We stayed in a hotel which is managed by a member named Eva Jean-de-Dieu.  She has a wonderful conversion story and was so nice to us.  This is a picture of her and a young woman to whom she introduced the gospel, who also joined the church.  Every time we came back to our rooms, she insisted that she feed us in the hotel.  We attended church there and met more of the members.   The picture with the younger and older sister are mother and daughter.  Their brother/son serves in our mission.  The next is of Bro. Busher, who is the facilities person for the whole area.  The other brother is the Branch President.

Convert friends

Sister Doumbia & daughter

Brother Busher & Pdt Louis-Alexis

View from missionary apt

Flora

Our missionaries have this view from their balcony.

 Trinite

The other city on Martinique is Trinite.  We took Bro. Busher with us to visit them to access their facilities needs.  You can see how hard Elder Malmrose and Bro. Busher were working as they sat on the bed in our hotel room.  We canít be very far away from our laptops.  Isnít technology wonderful?

Brother Busher

Busher & Malmrose working

Sister Laquembe

Trinite branch entrance

Trinite chapel

Trinite pulpit

View from Trinite branch

The branch is held in the home of the Laquembes.  They are members who have served a full time mission in Haiti and now are serving back home as senior missionary couple.  She is a great cook and taught me how to make some traditional dishes in her kitchen.  The next three pictures are of their house and the last one is the view from their windows.  Another gorgeous sight.

 

More Guadeloupe:

There are two islands that are shaped like a butterfly attached in the middle of the wings.  One is Basse-erre and one is Grand Terre.  It is all considered Guadeloupe.  Each island is similar but the southern one is more tropical with the volcanic mountains and the northern one has more beautiful beaches.  Both are lovely.  The first picture is of the downtown area of the southern Basse-Terre.  Most of the time, the streets are teeming with shoppers except at noon, when they take the traditional 2 hour lunch.  This is one of those quiet times.

The flora is interesting.  There are many different kinds of fruit and nut trees.  This is a picture of  coconuts.  There are vendors on the streets that sell the coconut juice (milk) and others that sell sugar cane in baggies.  The Elders tell us that they chew on the cut canes and it is sweet.   Sounds like a lot of work to us.

We also have interesting creatures and I donít mean the street bums (there are a few, but not too many).  These are iguana that run around some of the areas.  They will only let you get so close, and then they take off.

Basse-Terre

Coconuts

Flora

More flora

Encore flora

Seascape

Iguana

Iguana don't follow

Robisons at hotel

Spices-Point-a-Pitre

Spice market

More spice

 Our mission president and his wife, The Robisons, come to visit every 6 weeks for zone conference.  They are a delightful couple.  Full of energy and fun to be with.  We try to do something with them when they visit.  This is a shadow picture of them at their hotel balcony and looking out to the water from the same spot.  We also went shopping at the local Spice Market.  An adventure in and of itself.  We can buy all sorts of different spices and real chocolate as well as bottle of Rum, which the island is famous for.  We didnít get any of those, but the chocolate is wonderful.

 GRAFFITI

Graffiti has become an art-form here.  If there is a concrete wall that isnít painted, it will be soon.  Can you believe what they do with spray paint.  Elder Malmrose was intrigued by it too.  We even have colorful chickens, that run loose all over the place.

Graffiti?

Artform

They admire her

More

So detailed

Friendly neighbor