Sunday, June 28, 2009

"Quand on vit en Amerique, on marche avec le parapluie"

Well hello- this is elder winget. I'm having problems writing today because I'm halfway used to french and halfway used to english. But it's okay. I'll tell you what happened this week. So monday, you got my email, right? Yeah, we went to the beach and picked up lots of shells and starfish and stuff. Awesome. This week we got the most lessons that I've gotten so far in Vallee des Colons- 8 lessons. :) Not bad.. Nothing like the 18 I was getting in Paita, but good for now. We have some new amis- Gerome is doing really well- He asks really great questions and is progressing really well. He was at church the other day, and he says he's going to fast next week. :) it warms my heart. He asked us what a testimony is and wants one. We gave him a BOM, and he's already read 3 Nephi 11. I have no idea what his comprehension level is, but he seems excited about it, so I think he liked it. We went over and taught him how to tie a tie, and he remembered! He got ready all by himself and we walked to church. We talked to his mom and sister and niece and they all said they like us coming over because Gerome has changed already! I think it's amazing.. So we walked to church on Sunday and didn't it didn't it rain!! It POURED rain.. So we got out our flip flops, umbrellas and rain jackets... Then we walked. Apparently nobody in NC uses umbrellas.. He said we were sissies for using them. So I just used my rain jacket. I gave him one and he just swung it around and made up a little song.. Quand on vit en Amerique on marche avec le parapluie-- When we live in America, we walk with Umbrellas! It was silly.. He said it all with an americany accent- overaccenting the Rs. It was really silly. So we walked to church.. My shirt was completely dry thanks to rain jacket, but my pants were soaked through and through. My books and camera and stuff are all wrapped in plastic so those are fine, but then I look behind me and my pants were also COVERED in dirt and sand.. apparently my flip flops flipped it all up! Ha ha. So I was really wet and cold for church. But Gerome liked church, so it's worth it. He's doing really good. He left before the 3rd hour, but I can't blame him.. I don't want to stay for priesthood meeting either. But he's doing way good.
We also taught a little family named the Katrawas- They're just a small family, mom, dad, kid. The dad is - get this - a mix brazillian-lifouan! Random, eh? Sadly, he doesn't speak porkageez. (Collin's dad went to Brazil on his mission and speaks portugese) Apparently his dad was stationed in the military in French Guyana- Just north of Brazil- and they met and he took her back to Lifou. Anyway, so they were seeing the missionaries before, but for lots of random stuff, vacation, sickness, etc, it's been like 5 months since any missionaries have been over. But we finally got a rendezvous with them and they were there. They're way rad! It was a really cool lesson and I really strongly felt the spirit. I think they did too. At the beginning they said they really missed the missionaries and really want to get active in a church- they're protestant but not at all active. They said they're afraid to pray out loud- so we talked about prayer. It went really well. They are still really timid about praying and coming to church but I have a good feeling with them. They're going to do great. And what's better, they invited us for dinner this saturday. :D
We also saw a guy named Soane- He's got a drinking problem.. But he's really cool. He read our entire brochure and actually went through the questions on the back with his wife to check comprehension. I don't think he understands everything amazingly well, but he understands enough and he really likes it. On Wednesday he said that one day he wants to be baptized.. And that's just the 3rd lesson we've had with him. He's really great. I'm excited to teach him. We gave him a BOM.. Whenever I hand out a Livre de Mormon I am always happy and confident.. That book is a better missionary than I'll ever be.. If they just read it I'm always confident they'll have spiritual experiences. It's really a powerful book. :)
So this internet place is funny.. It's like a gaming.. place.. And we hear every single french swear word I know over and over.. Thankfully that means absolutely nothing to me, it just makes me laugh.
So other than that, not a whole lot has happened. I started writing letters to people.. I was about 16 letters behind on replies-- I hadn't written any letters for months. But I'm getting through the pile. Probably in 2 weeks I'll have replied to every letter I've recieved, so when I say the word could you post an annoucement? I want everyone to know I'm not ignoring them, just really lazy with writing. ( Consider this the announcement :) )

I'm glad you guys got to go to stake conference.. I really took for granted stuff like that. If there's one thing I've learned on my mission, it's not to take church stuff for granted. There are so many great things going on at church all the time, so many opporunities to feel the spirit and to grow.. I also took my family for granted. I need to spend more time with you guys. Let's hang out sometime, k? he he. Anyway, I encourage everyone to READ your scriptures and PRAY.. pay attention at church- we wouldn't believe how much work and thought go into the talks and programs.. They really are to help us. Don't take General Conference for granted- and the Ensign and New Era and Friend are amazing too. We always have stuff to do, but if we "Seek first the kingdom of God", He will help us make it work. We do have time to do all that Gospel stuff, and all the.. other stuff.

Some drunk guy stole a CLB ring from me.. He says he's giving it to his daughter. I hope he does. :P He just pulled it right off my finger and said give that to me! And I was like well.. Alright, sure. He said does that mean Warner Brothers? And I'm like no, it means Choisir le Bien! And he's like oh! I'll give that to my daughter. Ha ha.
I'm going to start teaching little kids more- They talk to us ALL the time.. there was this little girl that said she didn't know how to pray-- and we were in a super hurry so I said I'd teach her the next time we passed by. And then ironically our apointment fell through and we didn't see the little girl again. I should have taught her to pray. I'll do better next time. We gave some kids a Liahona the other day- they were bugging us at our house and we're like.. Here, take a church magazine. Maybe they'll read it. Who knows. :) I love little kids a ton-- I'm going to start doing more for them. I actually found a ton of CLB rings and Articles de Foi hanging out in our appartment-- I'll give them out.
Thanks for the pictures-- looks like you guys enjoyed your hike. :D I love you so much.. Have a great sunday!
Elder Winget

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Here's some of the email Collin sent to his dad:

Happy father's day!! I hope you have a wonderful day. I'm really happy that the little package got there on time.. I can't be there for your spesh day but I can send you a bunch of crap. I hope you like it.

I hope you have a wonderful father's day and eat lots of pie. I want pie.

I am realizing how this could be the best two years of my life.. Never again will I have the chance to serve the Lord 24/7. I am in a pretty normal country too ... So that's pretty cool. I have realized that really my mission isn't THAT hard.. I live in a 1st world tropical island that would cost prolly 2000 dollars a month to live in and I'll never get to live there again.. And on top of that, I'm on a mission. It's rad. I love it. I hope you find the cockroach. (he sent a dead cockroach in his package -and yes, we did find it! yuck!)

I love you lots and I hope you have many awesome fathers days to come.

Elder winget

And here's some of the email he sent to me:

Well hey guys!! I'm glad you got the silly little package.. I hope it's not too silly. Well this week was kind of interesting.. We got one of our amis to come to church- his name is Gerome. I think I may have mentioned him- he was a kid we met on the street carrying a planter full of marijuana. Anyway, we had a short lesson with him and asked him to come to church- and he said sure. So we show up at his house with a shirt and tie and find him asleep on his porch-- and it was freezing the night before-- and he slept there allll night! He was like waaay hung over.. and I didn't expect him to come with us.. too hung over. But then we woke him up and said hey, come! and he was like... alright! so we were late for church but he came. I was way proud. He also said a petit little prayer in our lesson.. first time ever! He looked great in his shirt and tie. It was awesome to see him there. He asked great questions during church, and said he liked it and wants to come back. I think he's wonderful. He's the same ami that gave my bag back with my camera and everything inside. Me and my companion have been realizing.. These aren't bad kids, just cuz they smoke and drink their lives away and graffiti anything that doesn't move - they just don't have anything better to do. After 7:30ish at night, the streets are deserted- not one store is open. So they have absolutely nothing fun to do. So they drink. This is a great kid- he doesn't steal, he does nice things for the community- and sure he drinks a bit, but it's a small problem compared to the real bad people that exist in other countries that kill people and stuff. There's like only 1 murder in this country like every 5 years. So that's rad.
We also taught a dude named Soane. Different Soane than the one we baptized in Païta. But he asked lots and lots of great questions- and we ended up staying at his house for 2 hours just answering questions and such. He really understood the idea of apostasy- the real problem around here. And he's like well, do you think a restoration is coming or not? And I'm like well, actually that's why we're here! At the beginning of the lesson he was like well, I really don't know why I let you guys in, I never let the JWs in.. Aren't you guys just like the Pentecostals? and we're like well, let us show you why we're different. And so he really understood the Apostasy and the reason for why we need a restoration. And we're like well actually the reason why we're different, is because we're not just another breakoff of the catholics, we actually have a prophet! He just ate it right up. He believed us and asked us if we couild come back. He's like well, I loved the lesson, but I'm not ready to just get into your church or anything.. Can you guys just like.. Come back and teach me more?! And I'm like well... yeah! That's what we do! And he's like well.. you can come over next saturday.. And I'm like well, sure but can we come over even sooner? And he's like well, how about twice this week? Is that too much? I mean, I don't want to bug you guys if you have other stuff to do.. And I'm like dude, you ARE what we do! We'll be there! I think he was really prepared to hear the Lord's restored gospel. I'm excited to teach him again.

So there's this family in our branch that was baptised last year- they are the most amazing family. they just sit around and read scriptures all day. They don't have a huge amount of support from the branch, but they just love the gospel so much that they can't be stopped! We eat with them every monday and they're absolutely awesome! I love them. I hope you get to meet them someday. I think it's really people like them that are the hope for New Caledonia. This place really needs some strong member families who won't jet at the first sign of trouble. So many people go inactive before even one year in the church.. It's really hard. But we're working hard, and we'll get this place into shape.
We did service at a blind center this last week- I'm not sure if I told you about it. They're really cool people. There is this one guy that had a brain tumor when he was younger so when they operated on it he lost a lot of his sight, and is now kind of handicapped. But he speaks surprisingly well in English, and we talk to him a lot. His name is Gilles. I'll send you some pictures of that dude some time.
So that's pretty much what happened this week. :)

I'm really glad that you're all being blessed.. I know I am too. I'm so happy to be the Lord's servant. I'm on the downhill, and I figure I could let myself get lazy.. But I don't want to regret it so I'm going to try to work as hard as I can for these last 10 months! That way you guys can all stay blessed and stuff.

Well I hope y'all have a wonderful week. I love you!

Elder winget

the Whistling Elders!

Hey everyone! We just got a package from Collin 2 days ago, including his memory card. I'll be putting up a new Picassa album hopefully on Monday. But here is a cool little video from his card that was taken last Christmas day. Elder Livingston is the one playing the ukelele - he made that himself with an old wooden bowl, some pieces of wood, thumbtacks, and some other stuff. We absolutely loved this video! There is more where that came from, but all in due time people...
Also, we got the latest email from Collin just a few minutes ago, so I'll get you that too in a separate post soon.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Sad Story... But with a Happy Ending :D

  Here is an excerpt from Collin's email from last week.  This is part one of the story. Then read his email from today - we're so glad things worked out so well! (the picture is unrelated)

This saturday we were walking by Geant- the grocery store we always shop at, and it was closed. Then we see all this weird stuff going on... We're like, woah, what's going on? Turns out they're striking.. it's very weird. We walked by the first time and didn't want to get involved-- just a bunch of drunk people standing by the doors listening to loud music... so then later we walk by and we're like... what are you guys doing? And they're like We're striking! And we're like.. do you even work here? And they're like... no, we're just supporting the workers from here. The boss isn't fair. or something. So we keep talking and they're like hey, you want some food? So they're doing this BBQ and.. They fed us!! I ate so much BBQ chicken and rice, I was so full. They were way nice, and weird. Usually strikers are like... violent, eh? Well, they weren't that day! So They told us over and over not to show any pictures to the police- and that if the media tells us that they're mean, not to believe them!! They're way nice. So I took lots of cool pictures...

Then later that day, we had a soccer activity and took some of our investigators- it was an activity for the Elders quorum and stuff- so we played a little bit and I brought a little bag just with my camera and planner and they key to the house, since I didn't have pockets. We played around for a while, and then when I came back.. My bag was gone!!! So, no more camera. That's pretty rad. I'm now cameraless. Fortunately I had copied most of my pictures on my other memory card, and I just sent it in the mail. But What kinda sucks is that.... I have no camera. Dang.
  Okay, now here's today's email  :D

I went to the store to check out how much a new camera was... There were some awesome cameras... But guess how much it would cost me.. No guess....... Okay, the cheapest decent looking camera would come out to be around 200 dollars, okay not horrible-- but a camera that I would actually like-- SIX HUNDRED! Which would end up being about 650 dollars... So I'm like... Yeah, not happening! So I was all bummed, not sure what to do... No money, and even if I did have any, it would just kill me to buy a camera that would cost 150 in america for 600 dollars.

So later that night.. We went to this investigator's house, and started talking, and he's like oh hey, I got something for you-- and I'm like oh cool, does he have my hymn book? (sooomeone has it..) and I'm like hmm, maybe not.. What does he have.... I'm thinking.. then I'm like OH he must have my SACK! And sure enough, he did!!!! Not to be racist or anything, but the stereotypical Kanak guy isn't very honest.. When we first met this dude he was carrying a planter full of marijuana... But he hadn't stolen anything! He was so great, this is the most different kanak guy I've ever met in this country. I'm actually really proud of this guy. I am really happy! I have my camera back!!!

I had to give a talk at church on sunday, and it was decent. I talked about la perseverance jusqu'à la fin.. endure to the end. It was a good idea (they said to talk about whatever) and what I prepared was actually pretty good, but I didn't deliver it very well. I'll be happy to give a talk in english one day.

Zone conference is tomorrow and I love it. They kind of wanted me to translate, but it's hard because I don't get to like... Get anything out of zone conference. I never realized how little of the talk I actually end up understanding when I'm just taking it in in French and spitting it out in English. I remember a few talks that I have no clue the subject... But I heard and said the entire thing. So I wanted someone else to do the translating for this conference. Maybe next time.

So we talked to some interesting people this week-- this one guy told us he believes in Jesus but he thinks he was a persian general who died at 120 of old age. (????) He's a sort of crazy guy. Almost too smart for his own good.. But then not THAT smart. Just weird.

Things are going fine with my companion and my area.. We do need to pick it up a little bit in some areas sometimes, but we'll get it. I'm starting to realize the beauty of this country... It really is amazing. The weather is perfect, the people are really nice, the food is good, and I'm happy to be a missionary. I love sharing the gospel. I hope I get to do more of it when I go home too. I want to keep the spirit with me and not just go home like some other missionaries and go back to "normal life". I want to be normal, but better. I want to go back to normal life, sure, but I want to be better. I think this mission stuff has changed me and I like it.

Well, we are pretty happy and proud of Elder Winget at our house  :)

p.s. I'm having problems with spacing and the size of the characters in this blog post, so if it turns out weird when I publish it... remember that I really don't know what I'm doing most of the time!  Collin's the computer expert, not me!