Our first week in St Martin has finished, and we are happy and tired (we can’t believe it’s only been a week, while at the same time, time flies when you’re having fun…).
We have attended a normal sacrament meeting (our first meeting was General Conference), and found the new Branch Leadership and all those in various callings to be doing a great job! Terri was asked to sing (it had been a long time since Terri sang in church, but after hearing her voice, it was the first request of the Branch President!), and chose something short and simple—there is a green hill far away. She also stepped-up to direct the music when the normal person came late. The room was not full to begin with, but by the end of the meeting the entire room was full. Considering the current work of the missionaries in teaching and reactivation, they will need to add an addition to the building very soon.
We have cleaned the church three times, so we are getting the hang of it now. It is a small building so it goes fast (especially when you have help).
We have also attended District Meeting with the missionaries twice. The last meeting was also the farewell for the Thompsons (they left for home right after the meeting), and they shared their testimonies one last time with the missionaries. Elder Horton, the District Leader, gave us instruction on the new missionary/member program they are using in the mission. It is one I have never heard of before (which is saying something for me…): they select two or three families to be a ‘group’ to work together to find and prepare people to be taught by the missionaries. A group leader is chosen to coordinate regular meetings (like once a month) to review any success the group has had and encourage them in their efforts. Members of the group also are used to fellowship investigators and new converts. As more groups are created, more success will follow. It will be interesting to see how well this works.
Terri and I also have had the opportunity to go out with the missionaries on a couple of their appointments. We got a chance to bear our testimonies and aid the missionaries in their work. I’m sure we will be doing that a lot in the next 18 months!
One day we received a call from the travel office about a missionary that needed help in transit. He was a new missionary traveling to the MTC in South Africa from St Kitts (and nearby island), and who would be stranded on St Martin for a day. We arranged to pick him up at the airport, had him stay overnight with the Zone Leaders in the French Quarter, and the next day took him back to the airport and made sure he made his flight. It was the first time for everything: first time leaving home, traveling on a plane, going to another country, etc. He was very happy to see a friendly face at the airport!
We attended our first Branch correlation meeting. It went well, I thought, but both the missionaries and the Branch leadership will improve over time.
Thanks to the efforts of Isaac and his connections in FedEx, the crew of the Amara is finally on their way home (that is the catamaran that is in St Martin for repairs).
If you go to their website:
you will see pictures of the branch and Terri and I!) Anyway, they had been waiting weeks for a part to come, via FedEx, and it seemed to be lost. Isaac found the package and it got here just a couple of days later—and they got the boat fixed and they are off!
Here are new pics of our apartment: