Sunday, 29 March 2015

Women's Broadcast from Salt Lake City!

On Saturday night my companion and I hosted the other  2 mission office sisters to watch the Women's Broadcast live from the Conference Center in Salt Lake City (at 8pm). What an inspiring meeting!

Getting Women's Broadcast set up in our apt - on the Francoms projector, with their speakers

Local fruit

Kymit or cayemite fruit, like a very big plum but with white squishy sections inside
This was a great week for local fruit! First I found cut slices of watermelon at our little local grocery...yummy.
We always seem to see the juiciest, most appealing fruit on fruitstands on the way to church on Sunday...but as part of keeping the Sabbath day holy, we don't buy anything that day.
But this week on our little jaunt to Trinidad Immigration on Thursday, we passed some great fruit stands in downtown in Port of Spain.
I bought mandarin oranges - the best I've ever tasted - and kymit (cayemite) which I was sorry to see was sold only in a "heap" (5 pieces). But they were a great conversation piece back at the mission office. when the young missionaries came in - some liked it, some didn't. (It wasn't my favorite).

Speaking of food - one missionary paid some money, then caught, killed and plucked his own chicken this week. (!!!) He said he was used to doing that at home. (No surprise, he isn't from North America).

Monday, 23 March 2015

New keyboards came this week!

Forgot to mention another highlight: my new keyboard came! as well as another one for my companion to learn on....courtesy of the Harman Music Grant at BYU-Provo.
I am so grateful!
This keyboard is longer than the old one here (ie, has more keys - altho I've haven't had time to count them yet) as well as an actual wire music stand to hold up music (no more coat hanger) - plus the keys on the lower end sound better.
The Harman Grant even paid T&T duties! so the cost to me is only....a commitment to do more music! (and that's a joy).

Look at this beauty (currently housed in the back study/pamphlet room at the mission office)

The days sometimes seem long here, but the weeks fly by...
Last week was a highlight, as Elder J. Devn Cornish of the Second Quorm of Seventy of our church, along with his lovely wife, visited Trinidad.
We had a small Family Home Evening at the mission home with them on Monday night; then a Zone Conference with all 75 local young missionaries most of the day Tuesday. (Both days' events included food that I didn't have to prepare, so that was an unexpected bonus!)
Both Sister and Elder Cornish spoke each time; and on Tuesday the Mission Pres. and his wife, Pres. and Sister Mehr, also spoke. (At lunchtime Elder Cornish ate quickly, first, and then while the missionaries ate, he answered questions, wow!)
I took lots of notes but felt like I was "drinking from a fire hose".
I think my favorite part was learning that prayer is a covenant. (see, "Scriptures", Doctrine and Covenants 98:2-3). We learn as children that a covenant, such as baptism into the church, is a two-way promise; and that God always keeps his promises.
In some way we don't understand as earthly beings, He can hear and answer all of His childrens' prayers. I know and believe that with all my heart. I have had marvellous experiences with my prayers being answered (and also some spectacular trials I would't have asked for!)

Then on Wed. it was back to "real life" - learning more of the "Simply Music" program, teaching piano lessons (some of which were cancelled due to personal or family illness) - delivering bikes to elders and getting groceries - attending a ward fireside Sat. night - going to Church early on Sunday, with special quiet time to ponder future music plans.

My only frustration with the SimplyMusic program, a playing-based (instead of the traditional "reading-based") music system, is that no "true doctrine" is taught through their music.
However, I realized one could learn the complete gospel of Jesus Christ through hymns and Primary children's songs and I was excited to begin outlining how that would look.

Bringing "new" ( to them) bikes to elders

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Tonight I took a walk around the neighborhood. The sunrise and sunset times are pretty even here, varying from about 6am - 6pm when I first came, to a half hour later now.
I am constantly amazed at the riot of color of flowers here; on this walk, I saw yellow, red, orange, purple (both dark and light), and coral. The lawns are cut with weed whippers, not mowers - and they are spongy to walk on, like the old favorite "moss hill" of my cousins' childhood at the Ghost River cabin.
Since we're usually not home much on Sundays, I didn't realize it's a big lawn-care day in our area. Tonight there are mounds of old palm fronds and garbage bags full of grass clippings on the boulevards ready to be picked up.
I love the flowers on top of this white tree just outside our apt

As I imagine all missionaries can attest, Sunday is a special day here...even better because today I started teaching Gospel Principles class. (Unlike the full-time missionaries, my companion and I are "hybrids"- we are considered Church Service missionaries but with West Indies MIssion assignments - so we can hold ward callings as well).
Yesterday I phoned ahead to 2 investigators and 1 new member and asked them to contribute parts of the Gospel Principles lesson. Only one of the investigators showed up; but she was great! I'll be sure to ask her to help again - I can tell she's an organized, on-track kind of person....(adding some yang to my yin...)
At the very end of class, two bishopric members came in to set me apart as the teacher, which they did by the authority of the priesthood, by laying on of hands, in front of the class. I had never seen it done quite that way before, but I found it inclusive (a teaching moment in itself!),  also efficient and quite touching - and me without any Kleenex, I should know better by now!
The new member I had invited unfortunately forgot about our ward time change (from 1pm to 11am - and I forgot to remind him) so he showed up late, but he was just in time to sing with us for choir practise. I was happy to see his cheery smile - he's a great guy; and the men's section appreciated his voice.
Last week we had Stake Conference with special speaker Elder Hugo Martinez of the Seventy. He said he and his wife are both converts to the church; and they got their start by being invited to sing in the ward choir. He described choir rehearsals as a unique experience. Ideally a ward choir should be warm and welcoming - I know ours is - and we laugh a lot during practises too.
Elder Martinez has quite a sense of humor, I discovered; he said now he's only asked to sing at funerals - so that the bereaved know there's something worse than death!
I don't usually eat at the front desk...this was just for photo purposes! :D

Lunch from the food court earlier this week, cheesy potatoes, yum!

Monday, 2 March 2015

The hibiscus tree out front continues to bloom abundantly, despite ( or because of?) constant picking... Reminds me of the song on lds. org youth music "You'll Never Run Out Of Love"

Nine new missionaries came into the mission last week - and about the same number went home - so the mission office was a hoppin' place for a while! On Thurs. I got to go out with the full-time sister missionaries again. They were hosting a newly arrived sister from the Marshall Islands who was headed for Grenada. We visited an investigator, then took her to the airport and saw her off to her adventure...before she left, she sang "I Am A Child Of God" for me in her native language. Very sweet and touching. I cried of course....she's about the age of my oldest granddaughter, who just had a birthday...
Out teaching with the sisters last week!