Sunday, September 27, 2009

Music, and beautiful beaches

Hi, it's me. Yes, it is September 28th.. Weird! I am bien surprised... Time flies, eh? Today me and Elder Green decided to watch the sunrise.. So we woke up at 4:30 AM and walked out to a nice little spot under a coconut tree and at about 5:45 it rose. It was marvellous. Then we decided, why not continue our tour? So we walked basically all around the bottom of the peninsula of Noumea and saw all the beaches. Well, we walked along Anse Vata and Baie des Citrons.. Which are amazingly beautiful beaches. We stopped by a little bakery and bought some french pastries (which are amazing, by the way..) and stopped by our dear Zone Leaders' appartment and shared them with them, along with some fish and more bread that they had. (they're tahitian.. I guess they eat fish and mashed potatoes for breakfast) Then we trekked out and did more beach tours and moseyed our way home by 11. It wasn't a super long walk, but we stopped to rest and take pictures every 20 min or so. We have some cool pictures of us under coconut trees and such. ( BTW, I looked these places up on Google Earth, and wow, they are beautiful beaches! )

Other than that, this week we saw Soane and Vaea a few times, and Elder Mautz asked Soane when he's getting baptized and he said "bientot"- soon. They know what they have to do, and they're hopefully going to get married and then baptized. I think they're completely ready to get baptized-- besides that they live together unmarried. But I have noticed a huge change in them. Soane was a huge drinker and has stopped completely. Vaea used to be really meloncoly and sad all the time and actually cried during one of our lessons-- and now she seems happy all the time. The kids seem so much happier. We printed out a copy of that little picture we took of them (I think I sent it to you) and us and they put it in a little frame next to their TV. :)( That picture is the one above) They love us a lot and we love them back. I'm happy to be the instrument by which the Lord could bring them His Gospel. They'll make a wonderful addition to the Magenta branch.... Sooner than later I hope. Marriages are tricky in anywhere french... Especially since neither of them are from NC- but they're both French citizens so I hope it will go smoothly.

We had a fireside in which we sang and spoke about Jesus Christ. The spirit was strong and Soane and Vaea were there- it doesn't seem like soemething they'd be amazingly impressed by... i kept looking at them and they didn't seem to be paying attention-- but afterwards they were both really really happy and said they loved it. Sister Swapp sang and she has an amazing voice. It really made the program.

We had a practice for a fireside that we'll be singing in in October and for the Christmas program with the district .. sometime in Christmas time. And everyone keeps telling me that I sing really well.. I hate drawing attention to myself cuz then people will ask me to sing solos and stuff- but they keep asking me to sing louder. Blah. Elder Mautz keeps telling me every time he hears me that I sing amazingly and that I need to take voice lessons and stuff when I get home. i'll think about it. I wouldn't mind singing in church every once in a while. Maybe I can sing something in French. :D

We went to this concert thing at the Catholic Cathedral in Centre Ville on Saturday. These kids of 7-14 in age sang gregorian and latin and stuff.. And it was AMAZING! I was so impressed and entertained. It was really calm and cool music. I hope they come back again some time. They're all New Caledonian kids too.

So on saturdays they are doing this rock concert thing in Centre Ville that local bands can come and play for everyone.. Kind of like a battle of the bands. Sometimes we're in the area to contact people.. And sometimes take a short peek at the music. :) While they were setting up we were taking a lunch break and sitting on this bench and this guy pulls up who was part of the set up crew..... His windows were down and he was playing loud music. There was this rad music playing with a cool bass sound and I was like woah, what's that? That's cool sounding.. Then the words came in and I realized it was MUSE!!! He was playing the new MUSE CD!!! . I heard about 10 seconds of a song I don't know.. But those 10 seconds were some of the best of my life. That little clip keeps playing over and over in my head. We went over and talked to the dude and asked him if that was the new muse cd. he said yes and he loves muse. He said they come to play in Australia sometimes and he always goes. He said that there are lots of people who like muse in NC. Go figure. I was happy though.

Well that's about all that happened this week. Cool beaches, and muse.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Family ties and the Gospel

this is Collin's hat that I knitted for him... here's his latest email:
Not a lot has happened since the last time I talked to you-- 3 days ago. We did service for a less active member- she moved and so we moved all her stuff. Their family is sad- and it made me so very thankful for mine. We talked to the mom lady the other day- she owns a tahitian pearl shop, so she's decently loaded. She has nice cars, nice apartment, etc.. And the money really got to her head. We were talking to her the other day and she said she's currently going through a divorce and it's hard.. She said the reason she's getting divorced is cuz her husband wasn't a worthy priesthood holder and that the reason she doesn't go to church was because she didn't want the members to call her by her husband's last name. Well, turns out she's really more of the reason for the divorce- because she's having an affair.. She has 3 little daughters- 16 yrs old, 14ish and 3. And it's really really tearing apart the family. The 16 year old is amazingly strong, and has a ridiculously amazing testimony. Even though no one else in her family is really active and stuff, she really does her best. I really admire her- especially since she's only 16 years old. You can tell that the divorce and the affair is really affecting her though. All this garbage made me realize two things- number 1. i'm really blessed. She was talking to us the other day and said me and Elder Green are really blessed. And we're like yeah yeah.. And she's like no, are your parents sealed in the temple? How far away do you live from a temple? Do you get to go to conference in the conference center? How far do you live from the prophet? She said she's going through a lot of trials in her life.. And we could do nothing but say we're sorry and to keep doing the best she can. But it really made me think.... I am blessed!! My family is together and we love each other.. We are practicing members of the true church- and we are enormously blessed because of it. How great is that? I love you guys. But then the other thing I learned-- number 2: Her family situation sucks- her parents don't care, and actually complain about taking her to church and seminary. But she is there every week without fail. Her family doesn't pray or read scriptures together- and yet she does. We can be strong wherever we are- and we should never make excuses about our situation... We always have the choice ourselves to be good and to keep the commandments, or not. Let us not make excuses for our situations- but let us be strong and create zion in the midst of babylon.

Other than that, we had a lesson with Soane and Vaea and a member named Frere Tuahiva (kind of-- his name is actually like 20 syllables, so he goes by a nick-last name.) He's great, and he helped us a lot. One really cool thing about being a missionary-- is that I know I'm not like amazing necessarily-- I don't have any magical powers and I don't know anything about anyone's problems or their lives.. Sometimes I have to pretend to know stuff about how to solve problems- but really all I can do is rely on the Lord. I don't know anything about how to fix Soane or Vaea's problems- but we do the best we can to teach them how to fix their own problems.. And it works! The last lesson I told you about- Vaea was having a really crappy time and we tried to help her the best we could.. she was looking for us to help her fix her problems. But the best answers we had were prayer, scriptures, and repentence. She didn't seem to like that answer because it sounded to vague- or so I gathered. But then the next time we came over with Frere Tuahiva- they were both doing SO much better. That was the first time I've seen her smile in a long time. She was happy- and participated in the lesson. Soane was doing good too. They said that they talked out their problems with each other and with the Lord. And even though I couldn't solve their problems- He can. And will. And did. They're doing better and going great. The kids are still awesome.
Frere Tuahiva helped a lot- he shared his experiences about how the gospel ahs really helped his family and that he is happy. I saw a huge contrast- you could tell that the rich lady isn't super happy, and nor are her kids. But then Frere Tuahiva just has an average manual labor job, a smallish dumpy house, and a so so car. But he's so happy- all the time. His family is happy. They love each other. Money really doesn't buy happiness--- we really need to realize that happiness comes from the Lord and His gospel. Reminds me of that quote from CS Lewis from general conference- can't remember who said it- but CSL said that life is a neverending struggle of man trying to find something other than God to make him happy.
Also during the lesson, Tiro, the little kid, drew us a picture.. it was so cute. he drew me and elder Green and the church- and he wrote (in funny kid-bad spelling) You are the best missionaries in the world and you teach us! I'll have to make a copy of it and send it to you.. It's hanging up on our fridge at home.

So that's about all that's happened since we last met.

I'm glad this primary thing is getting off the ground.. I'm glad Sister Gaya was so gung ho to do it.. I haven't had to do anything.. ha ha. If there's anything I can do though, I'd be happy to do it.

I'm excited for the package. Thanks a million!

Well, thanks for everything, I love you a lot. I'll see you later!
elder winget

Friday, September 11, 2009

"Obama made this sandwich" - and other adventures

A few nights ago we were hungry and tired and every single dish in our house was dirty- literally.. We just stopped washing dishes and dug all the random little ones out of the cracks to put our food in - instead of washing them. So we had a giant pile of dishes in the sink.. And didn't feel like washing them to make dinner. So we broke down and paid 40 bucks for a pizza. On our way home we met this crazy homeless drunk man that we call "Indian people" - he likes to speak in extremely broken french and a few months ago told us a story about indian people--- ?? pointing to the sky and stomping on the ground and saying how bush, kennedy and clinton were bad but obama is good--- and saying indian people over and over and over. I think. We didn't understand very much- but for that we call him indian people. Anyway, this night we were carrying home a pizza-- and we ran into HIM. Right outside our house. He starts saying things in extremely broken english/french and we eventually hear (over and over and over and over) that is name is Jake. Then he asks us to wash his clothes- and talks about obama and how bush is bad- and that his sister is a member and lives at our church. Then he tells us about random crap and then asks us for the PIZZA. I was like ah.... uh... Hold on. So we ran up to the house, and instead of giving him our 40 dollar pizza, we made him and his friend a sandwich, some crackers, and an apple. So we brought it down to him and he's like HEY did this sandwich come from AMERICA!? And we're like no, we made it.. And he's like OH this apple is AMERICAN! And we're like, no, we actually just bought it down the street at Geant. And he's like WOAH this comes from AMERICA!? And he wouldn't accept it because he was so confused... and I was like YES. OBAMA MADE THIS SANDWICH. And he was SO grateful to Obama. HE ate the sandwich and kept saying BUSH NO GOOD OBAMA GOOD. And I'm like well, good luck. So we went back in our house. Bad news- A bunch of hostile bums know where we live and want to use our washing machine- Jake is fine, but the other bums are scary. We're slightly scared. Oh well.

So, this internet place we're at was CLOSED on Monday, so we had to wait until we had a spare minute and so that's why we're writing you on THURSDAy. Sorry it's so late.. But it's worth it, right?

So lately the word has got out that I know a thing or two about computers- and everyone has been asking me for help. It's pretty sweet- I typed up a business paper and made some graphs for someone today while the other elders and sisters in my district painted her house. That's what we did for service today.. That was fun. I love messing around on the computer. It was interesting- I was typing all this junk in french and had no idea what it all meant. I tihnk they're designing a car.

We talked to some interesting people this week- We were knocking doors late at night (for New Caledonia- 6:30 pm) and we saw this lady getting into her car- she had a Vanuatu flag in her window- so we decided to talk to her (Vanuatu people are always nice.) Turns out she was jamming out in her car to some silly Pentocostal Christan Rock in English- and was really interested in talking to us. She actually suggested that we come talk to her.. So we were excited to take her number down and set a Rendezvous with her. So Elder Green says what's your number? And gets his planner and pen ready- and she says 80... And then.. closes her eyes.... and starts swaying back and forth. I thought maybe she couldn't remember her phone number.. Maybe it's a new phone? But then I looked closer.. She was ROCKING OUT to the music!!! Right in the middle of telling us her phone number!! We were dumbfounded.. And just kept staring at her. Remember that Seinfeld episode that Elaine's boyfriend has like "his song"- and won't talk while it's playing? It was exactly like that- so like 50-60 seconds later, my companion finally says, um.. good song! And she's like OH! It's so good! I'll make a rendezvous with you and I will make you a copy of the CDs! Oh it's amazing.. I love music in English! I hate music in French.. I don't speak english, but the miracle is when I'm listening to Worship music, I understand! And we're like um, okay. So, what's that phone number..?? So she gives it to us.. We've tried calling her since and haven't found her yet. We'll see.

Second interesting person- we were walking down the street, once again pretty late at night (about 7) and this woman passes by- we said bonsoir and almost kept walking- but then we felt like we needed to talk to her.. So we did. She said she has had a really hard life- her husband mistreats her, and she's looking for a church who really worships the Savior. She said she has gone to other churches, and they don't seem to be serious- they woship the Lord with their words- but don't do anything. She believes in God and prays every day that her life will get better- and she says she cries a lot. She lives in a squatt and doesn't have a very good job- her husband drinks a lot and it's getting hard. We started talking to her about the restoration- it sounded like Exactly what Jesus Christ said when he appeared to Joseph Smith (translating in my mind from french- won't be exact) They approach me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me--- We talked to her about the Gospel and how Jesus Christ has extended the invitation that he will lighten our burdens if we come unto Him.. She was really really touched and shed a few tears. We gave her a Restoration pamphlet and invited her to church.. She said she probably couldn't come to church because of her husband.. But was nevertheless very very happy to talk to us. We left her with a prayer and went on our way. We got her phone number-- and today tried to call her. Elder Green talked to.. her husband. Who was a complete jerk and wouldn't let us talk to her. He just insulted us over and over and yelled and wouldn't tell us anything..He left us with an ultimatum- if we ever want to talk to his wife again, why don't we just pray about it and that Holy Ghost of ours will lead us to her. We're going to take him up on the offer.

We taught Frere Katrawa again- his wife is studying to be a teacher- and was in Ouvea at the time on a student teaching thing. He had lots of questions- we didn't get to teach him what we had planned.. It was completely improv. But we came to the conclusion together that he needs to pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true. He said his wife had prayed about it- and kept feeling this weird happy warm feeling.. But she wasn't sure if it was an answer. We're like AHH!! That's the answer! So we talked to her about it.. she said she's scared of change. I don't blame her. She's a member of a very strongly protestant family. I hope they realize the importance of all this.. I think they know it's true- but are scared to admit it.

We had Zone Conference this Tuesday. Me and elder green were asked to do a roleplay on street contacting- since we do it the most. We represented the people to be contacted- and some poor unsuspecting missionaries from Dumbea were our victim missionaries. We bascially just did what people do here- ask us about stupid things in america (DO YOU KNOW SNOOP DOG!? What does we will we will wattuu(rockyou) mean? How do you say smoke pot in english? Do you live in New york? Are you cowboys? Does your tie cost 300 dollars?) whistle and wave at every one of their friends at the most inconvienient part (everyone knows evvveryone - it's an island.. and when you see someone you know, you are partially obligated to whistle relaly loud and wave at them obnoxiously. even if it's in the middle of a missionary's testimony) and just basically were obnoxious. It was really fun and just about every single missionary came up to us after and were like HA HA HA that was so funny when you said.. whatever. But really we just acted out real life. Silly.

Also we had interviews with pres- once again he brought up that thing that I need to be a district leader or zone leader or something and I said aw that sounds hard. We'll see if I get called in the months that follow.

Soane and Vaea are doing.. good? bad? They want to get married and baptized at some point- we casually talked about it without sounding too pushing. They said they want to. Vaea is going through some hard times.. She says she's praying and praying and doesn't feel like God is forgiving her of her sins- we did an activity that we put all the books on Soane's outstretched arms and remove them with each step of the repentance process. She says she feels like the books are all on her right now.. and it's hard. We'll do the best we can to help them. They come to church most every week, they read the scriptures, and (this is a new update) drumroll... Started having family prayer and scripture study EVERY NIGHT!!!! I'm So happy that they finally took us up on that offer.. :) The kids are doing so well! They're about 8 and 7 and they LOVE primary SO much.. As soon as the prayer is over in sacrament meeting I turn my head and they disappear- ran off to primary! No one has to show them where to go. They love it so much. Tiro (the 8 year old little boy) has been praying and reading scriptures. They love it. Sometimes it feels like their family is progressing really well.. And sometimes digressing. The best part is though, they're seeing blessings and it's really cool to think that it's me and my companion who extended the invitation to accept the gospel into their lives-- I know it's not me that is blessing them, but it's cool to think that the Lord is working through me. I love it.

That's about all that happened with us this week.. We'll try to write on monday again-- we'll have to rework our pday norm- they've changed their operating hours. But whatever.

Thanks for the package, whenever you can send it. Don't stress, I'm fine.. but I'd love a package. That's funny you saw that faux de fafa movie-- I love love love those guys.. they're so stupidly funny. Ha ha! That's so cool you met Frere Luke-- he wasn't my teacher but he was elder green's teacher- and he subbed for us a bunch of times. I'm glad he remembered me- it's been more than a year since I seen him.

Ironically I just started getting a bunch of letters- I guess they were already in the mail. Hopefully I'll get more though.. I think I'm doing pretty good though, for being over the hump and still getting some. So I'm happy.

That's so RAD that you met sister Gaya! I'm glad this primary thing is working out for you-- Hopefully this can continue even after I get home-- then i can do some of the translating and stuff. That would be cool if this just keeps going and going for years and becomes a church legend. Ha ha.

Don't forget to send me a shirt or two if you send me a package.. :)
Thanks for everything! Thanks for the email. I love you a lot and I miss you tons. I'll see you soon.. Time goes by quick eh? I'll be home before we know it. Keep being good and keeping the commandments- I know you'll see miracles.
elder winget

Sunday, September 6, 2009

the Meeting of the Primary Presidents

Today was a very exciting day for me! This is Linda Gaya, who is the Primary president in the Noumea 2nd branch, in the ward where Collin is currently serving. And this is how we came to meet:

Back last fall when I was called to be Primary president, I had this ambitious idea to have our Primary be pen pals with the Primary children in the areas where our ward had missionaries serving. I quickly learned that this would be an almost impossible undertaking, since missionaries are very busy and generally don't have time to visit Primary and set up things like that. I nearly gave up on that idea, until a few weeks ago Collin was talking to Sister Gaya and he mentioned my pen pal idea and how cool it would be if something could work out. Well, she surprised us all by telling him she used to live in Orem and would be going there for a visit soon! We exchanged emails and and today she came to Primary and spoke to the children. She had the children in her branch write their testimonies on the backs of postcards. The writing is in french, but my secretary is french and can translate for us! Sister Gaya speaks perfect English and french, so it was no problem getting to know her and having her answer the kids questions about living in New Caledonia. Then in a few weeks she will be going back, and we will have our Primary kids write postcards for them. And you can be sure that I will have something special for her to hand deliver to my favorite missionary :D It is amazing how this all worked out!
This has really been a fun day!

By the way, thanks for reading this blog. When you get the time, please send a letter to Collin :) He would love it!
I'm trying to figure out how to put up his address in the sidebar of the blog. Be patient with me, I hope to get it solved soon!

More run-ins with drunk guys, and a special message

this is a picture of Collin surfing on a trash can overlooking Noumea on a very windy day

Here's excerpts from last week's email - Collin has Zone Conference this week, so I will be surprised if he emails us today. Sometimes the elders can email their families on a different day of the week if they have Zone Conference or something, so if he sends us anything later I will post it.
Collin has a message for his friends and family at the end of his email, so be sure to read it!
Yeah so I do have Adobe Photoshop- because of the USB flash drive you sent me. I actually use it a lot- just for resizing pictures and stuff. It works great. I have missed messing around in photoshop for a while-- So I decided to do it this time. Anyway, I'm fine now - I did use the medecine you sent with me- I had one theraflu left from last time I was sick and I used it and I felt decently well.

this week was fine- I forgot to tell you about one thing we did last week for service. We do service every Thursday- and this week we couldn't find anything to do so we just found this empty lot where lots of homeless people sleep and picked up all the garbage. We got everything that was visible- there was still much much more hiding in the bushes. I wouldn't be surprised if we picked up 2000+ beer cans.. And lots of other junk. The pile we made after having cleaned up the whole thing was about 6 feet tall and 15 feet long and 5 feet wide. It was HUGE - and a very small lot. As we were dumping off the last load and about to go home this dude comes up to us and starts complaining about white people- What are you guys doing!? What, so America has to come over here and give KANAKYs a lesson about cleaning up!? More like WE'll teach YOU a lesson! We don't need your lessons.. And i'm like dude, this was dirty, we have to see it 3 times a week and it smells and looks horrible so we just wanted to serve you. Stop complaining and let us go home. And he starts going off on us- The color of the skin doesn't matter! Stop being racist! I'm black and you're white but we bleed the same blood! And i'm like well.. I never said otherwise! And he just keeps complaining. Then this other dude- stoned and drunk off his mind comes up to us and says HEY are you going to pull some weeds while you're at it?? And i'm like... no. We don't have time. We just wokred for about 4 hours just on the garbage. BUt you can do it!!! And he said well.. I dont' have any gloves like you have. And I'm like look, if I give you these gloves, will you clean up and pull weeds and keep this place clean? And his eyes get all big and he nods his head excitedly. So I hand him my nice leather gloves.. Thinking he wouldn't do a thing with them. But he ACTUALLY STARTS PULLING WEEDS!!!! LOL! So he makes a huge pile of weeds and actually starts cleaning and we went home. We came back about a week later and it's already as bad as before. Oh well, we tried.

Then this saturday we were involved in "Projet Mont Dore Propre" - project clean mont dore- a city next to Noumea. We woke up and went straight to the chapel.. They gave us a cool T-shirt and we picked up garbage all around Mont Dore. It was great publicity for the church- we had about 50ish members show up and almost no one else showed up. We did a great job too. They took our picture and it will be in the newspaper. Tragically, I missed the picture-- but they took another one and they're going to try to get it in the local news section of the Liahona. I picked up 6 or 7 bags of trash- and we separated it to be recycled. Cool! Lots of garbage pick up.

Later this week my companion and I were talking to people in the Place des Cocotiers- the little park in the middle of town- and this dude waves us over. Just a little black guy. We start talking to him and he's really nice... He said he has been to prison lots of times because of "aggressing people" -- and I said woah, are you going to aggress us?? Ha ha, no of course not! So we kept talking about the gospel and stuff and then we asked him what he does for a living. And he's like well, I just ask people for their spare change! And we're like well... Do you want to change that? And he's like no, it's fine.. It's a good job. Adn we're like well, maybe you should work? Wouldn't that be better? And we get into an argument about how US - the white people- stole his land and ruined everything and that blah blah blah.. and I'm like well.. you can still go back to the tribu and work your land if you want! (he kept complaining about how me- the white people - paved everything so he can't work the ground and plant plants) and he gets all mad and starts saying that we don't know anything and us the white people ruined the whole world and blah blah blah and that i don't even know how to work the earth! And i'm like well-- I have a garden chez moi- and he's like yeah well you stole that land from the indians! and you stole the land in Australia from the Aboriginal people! And you stole the land from the Tahitians! And he goes on and on about how we kill people and I'm like dude, I've never killed anyone in my life.. I didn't do any of that stuff.. I'm probably not even related to any of these people. We're just here to serve and teach the gospel and stuff. And he just gets way mad and punches elder green- And I'm like woah.. Let's just go. cuz elder green wanted to hit him back really bad- and I'm like its not worth it.. Peace dude. So this dude just starts YELLING in the middle of town over and over and over- silly guy.

Mostly these days what we need is more investigators- this week we're going to work hard to find some new ones. I hope it works!

Well that's about everything that happened in this past week.. I wrote a couple letters- I've officially replied to EVERY letter I've ever gotten- so could you put up a notice on my blog? Something like -
ATTENTION EVERYONE- I want some mail- send me some. This is a call to repentance. If you have been thinking about sending me a letter recently- do it! I have officially replied to every letter I have recieved as of September 1st. If you haven't gotten a letter from me in a while- that's cuz either
1. You haven't sent me one - I dont' have time to write people who don't write back!!!
2. It's in the mail and is coming to you soon.
3. I never got your letter in the mail- and so you'll have to send me a new one.
Do it!

Okay that's all. .i love you a lot and I hope you have a great week.

elder winget