Monday, April 28, 2014

Gone Fishing.....last days on La Reunion

I wanted to put these pics in from Elder Wynn's fishing trip on La Reunion.
Today, for my last P-day on La Réunion, we spent the day at the Chion-Hock family's with Matthieu, St Denis' priest-age young man. We fished in the morning, grilled up the fish to go with our lunch, and then did a little hiking on their land in the afternoon. What a perfect last Monday in La Réunion! The down side about my fishing efforts was that none of the fish I caught were big enough to keep. The upside was that my companion and Matthieu caught seven between the two of them.

TRANSFER: Island hop to Mauritius...."I feel like I moved to India".

This is Elder Wynn's new area for the next month. Go to Google images, Mauritius, for more pics of this island.
I safely made it to Mauritius! It turns out Mauritius isn't really like La Réunion at all, so I have lots of learning and adjusting to do, but Elder Choi and I are having a blast so far and the work is going pretty well. I think I will start by listing facts and answers to your questions about Mauritius and my leaving La Réunion, rather than trying to fit all of my thoughts into paragraphs, which would take too long. My companion is Elder Choi, you are all familiar with Elder Choi. He's from Korea. Elder Zimmerman's companion on La Réunion, and the new Zone Leader is Elder Wiberg. The senior couple here is Elder and Sister Conrad, they're a great couple and we had the opportunity to teach with them twice this week, which was a lot of fun. Sister Conrad also made us lunch one day, and since Mauritians don't eat a lot of beef, because of their religion, it's as cheap as chicken and we had filet mignon. We drive on the British side of the road. I'm still adjusting. Driving itself is not too hard, but my brain switched directions, so when Elder Choi tells me to turn left, I often turn right. I also feel like I'm driving in India, because the roads are small. There are two branches and one group over here. During my stay, I will attend the Flacq group once, the Phoenix branch twice, and the Rose Hill branch once. We attended Flacq this last weekend. There were 21 people in assistance, 4 investigators, and most of church was in Mauritian Créole. The créole here is completely different. I understand pretty well, but I have a real hard time responding for now. The people also speak a lot more créole than the people do in La Réunion. In La Réunion, most people speak good French, some people and areas not as well as others, but just about everyone understands French well. La Réunion's créole is also much closer to actual French than most other Créoles. Here in Mauritius, créole is definitely their first language, and then most people speak understandable French and English, but we try to speak Créole as much as we can with the Mauritians. It's been really cool to come over and see Elder Choi speaking another language that he didn't speak four months ago. Here's a few comparisons of Créole Réunionais and Créole Mauricien: R: Komo i lé? M: Ki manière? E: How are you? R: Mi sa va légliz M: Mo pé all légliz E: I'm going to church R: Oussa mi guiyn trouve un boutik? M: Kotsa mo kapav trouvé ène tobagie? E: Where can I find a store? There are little stores on most corners called tobagies, and among the people we taught this week were people named Pooja, Deepa, and Divya. I feel like I moved to India. Anyway, I'm having a lot of fun and am learning new things. The members I have met so far have been very nice, it's a little sad to think that my stay here will be so short. Living conditions are good, we live in a house and have a guava tree in our yard. We don't, however, drink the water without filtering it first. I didn't get sick, but I did drink the water at the Phoenix chapel my first day here and my throat burned for a while afterward. It is weird, and a little unreal, to not be in La Réunion, and I do miss it already, luckily, I'll get to go back one more time before I really say goodbye. I love you all and hope you have a great week! Elder Wynn

Happy Easter

District Easter Dinner
Dear Family, This has been a good week, and we especially had a good weekend. We have been BUSY with getting transfers ready and preparing several visas for missionaries who will be leaving La Réunion in the future. We announced transfers last night and most people will be moving or getting new companions Wednesday. My plane will take off at 7 am on Wednesday morning for Mauritius. Leaving La Réunion is a scary thought in some ways, but I'm excited for the new opportunities in Mauritius. We had a really great East dinner with our district at the Madsen's last night, and I had a lot of fun. Every once in a while, it feels great to go somewhere that feels like a family dinner at Grandma's house to eat some food prepared by an american mom. Dinner was great, I'll send you a picture. Today, for my last P-day on La Réunion, we spent the day at the Chion-Hock family's with Matthieu, St Denis' priest-age young man. We fished in the morning, grilled up the fish to go with our lunch, and then did a little hiking on their land in the afternoon. What a perfect last Monday in La Réunion! The down side about my fishing efforts was that none of the fish I caught were big enough to keep. The upside was that my companion and Matthieu caught seven between the two of them. Everything was closed today because it's the day after Easter, so we weren't able to do our shopping or a number of the other things we generally do on P-day to prepare ourselves for the week. We'll have to squeeze those things into our busy schedule tomorrow. The apartment and the car did, however, get cleaned today. I'm looking forward to working over in Mauritius, and I know that the opportunity will definitely push me during the weeks that I am there. I found out last night that Mauritius watched General Conference already, we haven't watched it yet in La Réunion, so I'm not sure how I am going to see conference. I'll figure something out though. I did, however, see the Church's Because of Him video and was very impressed. I had better go, I love you all and am so greatful for all that the Savior did and does for us. It is because of Him that we can be together forever, that we can overcome our weaknesses, and look forward to a bright future after this life. I love Him. And I love all of you. Have a great week! CD, Elder Wynn

Dear Family...

It sounds like a pretty huge week back at home! I look forward to hearing more about it all in the weeks and months to come. Mom, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Camille, welcome home. And congratulations to Jesse and Sarah. I'm looking forward to all the weddings this summer. I'm not exactly sure what else to say, but I'm glad that the Lord is blessing my family and friends and that so many people are so happy. We had a pretty good week here in the Indian Ocean. Every Thursday, the missionaries in St Denis do a free English class at the church. The last several weeks, due to increased advertising, have produced lots of new English students and this past Thursday there were nine non-members and five members that came to English class. It's getting so big that we spent about an hour after this week's class going over improving our organization and class technique with the sisters so that we will be able to respond to increasing numbers at English class. I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned English class in my emails, but I have taught a weekly English class in three out of four of my areas. The classes are better attended in some areas than others; St Denis' class is by far the biggest. At the beginning of my mission, it didn't take long for me to learn to love teaching English, and it is one of the highlights that I look forward to every week. Teaching French-speakers has also helped me a lot with my French. We also had a really fun branch activity for the commemoration of the restoration of the church. The branch dinner brought out almost all of the active members, one or two less-actives, and there were even two non-members that came with member friends. One of the dishes served was a Civet de Canard, which is one of my favorite plates here in La Réunion. Our young men's president killed three ducks for the occasion, and I ate one of the duck feet (I have now eaten pig, chicken, and duck feet.) This upcoming week should be pretty busy, which is always a positive thing. I know that Heavenly Father hears our prayers, and that He and His son heard and answered the prayer of Joseph Smith. I know that They restored the Church of Jesus Christ through Joseph Smith, that this church is the church that we belong to. I love you all, and wish you all the best this week! Carpe Diem. Love, Elder Wynn

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Island Paradise of La Reunion, France, Take a photo journey....breathtaking!

The missionaries of La Reunion, France

Happy Birthday to Elder Wynn! 21 years old!!!

This was a pretty eventful weekend. I wish a happy 184th birthday to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It was also my 21st birthday this week, and I still don't think I've come to terms with the fact that I'm 21, but I imagine reality will hit someday. You mentioned the that the Church is in the process of finishing all announced temples, which, when they are all finished, will make 170 temples worldwide and that there are currently 142 functioning temples. I looked back on how many temples there were the year I was born, and found that there were only 45. In the not-too-distant future, there will have been 100 temple dedications during my lifetime. Other interesting, but less important things that have happened in my lifetime: the creation of Youtube, the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, Google, Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, (I'm trying to think of a non-technological discovery or invention, but am drawing a blank) and lots of other world-changing things. This is all pretty incredible to me. Mom, I think you must have been praying for me to have a good birthday, because I was very, very blessed this year and I had a birthday that I will never forget. Here are the highlights: When I walked out of the shower-room in my towell in the morning, the other elders in my apartment threw a water balloon and confetti and sang For He's a Jolly Good Fellow to me. For some reason, we started singing that song on elder's birthdays in our apartments a few months ago and the tradition has stuck. After that the morning went by pretty normally. Elder Zimmerman and I contacted in an area called Le Chaudron (the cauldron) and were able to have a couple productive conversations. We got back to the apartment for lunch at about the same time as the Ste Marie elders. Elder Wiberg went into the bathroom and Elder Peck told me he'd left something in the car and asked if I could walk out with him to get it while his companion was in the bathroom. I said okay and followed him out to their car, on the way down the hill to the car, I hear someone accross the street starting to sing Joyeux Anniversaire. I looked across the street, and saw the Lucette Gonthier and her two girls on the street corner across from our apartment with some sort of birthday picnic set up for me. Sister Gonthier is a member in Ste Marie, and was one of those people that really took care of us elders while I was there. She didn't forget my birthday, and she came all the way to our apartment to have lunch with us on the street corner. I was very touched. The afternoon wasn't anything too out of the ordinary, we did our weekly planning and language study. At six-thirty, we went to branch council and at seven we arrived at the Gonthier's (Fabrice and Nathalie, Lucette Gonthier's brother-in-law and sister-in-law) for dinner. I have been working with Fabrice now for going on eleven months. He's our financial rep on the island, so we see him often for administrative purposes such as cars, visas, apartments, etc. He's a great guy, and a hard worker, and I am thankful to be serving in his branch now, because I get to see him in non-business situations occasionally. He and Nathalie served us an excellent dinner, and remembered my favorite cheese and served it as an apetizer. It was really a great evening. After dinner, Fabrice pulled out a cake that he had picked for me and they also had some very generous gifts. I really was not expecting this at all, and was very touched by all the kindness on my birthday. In the car on the way home, I told Elder Zimmerman how I couldn't get over how nice the Gonthiers had been to me on my birthday and how I felt like my heart was going to grow a size like the Grinch's. I really was very, very suprised and touched by all of this. We got home, and while I was sitting there glowing, Elder Wiberg told me that he and Elder Peck had another birthday present for me. He then went to tell me that two of the potential investigators that Elder Hammond, Elder Choi, and myself found during the last two weeks that we were in Ste Marie (we really only saw them once and never taught them, but I will never forget the contact) had started reading the Book of Mormon over the last little while and that earlier that day, they set baptismal dates for the two of them. Apparently Elder Wiberg and Elder Peck had taught the mother of this family once or twice and had left her with a Book of Mormon. The teen-age daughter found the book and has been reading it ever since. On the 5th, the mother couldn't be there for the lesson, but that teen-age daughter and her brother were there and they learned about the Restoration. Their response to the baptismal invitation was "Absolutely!", and the asked to be baptized as soon as possible. I won't try too hard to describe all of my thoughts about the day, but it was a birthday that I will never, ever forget. At the end of the day, I " cast [myself] upon [my] bed, being overcome with the Spirit and the things which [I] had seen [and felt]. (1 Nephi 1:7) All of this to say that I had a great birthday, and that I know God loves me. Thank you for all of your love and support! I wish you all a wonderful week! Elder Wynn