Wednesday, December 31, 2008

We did it 2008 in 2008, actually it was 2012 baptisms!

Hurrah for Israel!

Monday, December 29, 2008

First Baptism on the Mission

Theresa called at 7:15 this morning and asked if her brother James could be baptized today on his birthday. When the missionaries asked who he would like to perform the baptism.
He said his Primary teacher Elder Ross.

The baptismal interview performed on the spot.

Baptism of James-Michael Walters by Elder Ross

Eva, Alicia, Theresa, James-Michael, Anderson, George, John-Mark December 29, 2008
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Friday, December 26, 2008

A Different Christmas Experience

We decided to go swimming at our favorite beach at Stone Haven Bay, since this will be a Christmas to remember for its uniqueness. Dad wanted to use his boogie board, since we haven't been to the beach for awhile. Of course, I don't really swim, so I sat on the beach and watched him and worked on my Tobago tan. You can barely see him swimming in the frothy sea. It was rougher than we had seen it and there were cross currents so he only rode a few waves in before deciding to just swim a little. The water is such a beautiful color and we never cease in our enjoyment of watching the waves crash on the rocks.

This is the beach the Gilleland's can walk to from their villa. It is a beautiful long beach. At the far end is where I captured the pictures of the fishermen. There is supposed to be a snorkling spot up against the cliffs. We have yet to check it out on a calm day.

We have been to a baptism in this spot when it was very calm. The baptism would have been hard to execute with the waves smashing on the rocks as they are doing.

We were invited to Christmas dinner by our landlord along with about 8-10 others. It started at 2:00; we left at 4:45 and heard them still going strong at 9:00 pm. The food was wonderful. Angelo is Italian and loves to cook. His son did some of the dinner as well. Sasha runs a pizza place in Bon Accord. We will have to find out the exact location. He made some awesome sour dough bread for the appetizers to be eaten with. One of the cooks from Chao's pizza in Scarborough, which has authentic Italian pizza was also in attendance. We were so full that we didn't eat the rest of the evening, even though we were up late.

Our favorite part of Christmas day was the video conference and the opportunity to talk to everyone. We didn't get to bed until 11:30 pm. ( We are 4 hours later than my mom and 3 hours later than the Utah, Ariz, and Colorado groups and only one hour different than the Virginia Ross's. It made our day to see all of you at once!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Zone Conference

Zone Conference was December 23. Elder Marshall and Elder Barton flew over Sunday night to Trinidad and we followed Monday afternoon. It was an awesome meeting. Sister Robison does a fantastic job of teaching. The spirit is always so strong in our meetings. We are still hoping for 2008 baptisms for the year 2008. Tobago may contribute one to the goal on Saturday. (We need about 90 more to make it, not counting the ones turned in this week)

Everything is quiet about stakehood in February. We aren't sure if a general authority is coming to create the stake or to be sure we can do it in June. We know Guyana has to wait a year. It is still a definite possibility.
Kevin Steeple is a gifted artist whom we met in Trinidad several months ago at a home evening. He designed and made Miss Venezuela's dress for the Miss Universe pageant this past year. The model in the picture is of one he did a few years ago for a Miss Universe
pageant. He was in the towers on 9-11 then lost his mother not too long after that. He joined the church in 2002. He goes out frequently with the Curepe branch elders.

Mission President Visit

President and his family attended our branch Wednesday night activity on December 17. It was a potluck, most of which was provided by us and the Robisons. Dad made chili that was a hit. He has made it before and will do it again for the President's visit in January. We had a turnout of 28 people, including all the Robison's and the missionaries.

President Robison brought his son and his family to Tobago for a brief vacation. He invited us and the missionaries to go to Argyle Falls with them. It started pouring on our hike in. We waited under a tree for a few minutes and decided we were already wet so we continued on. The elders hiked to the top while the rest of us waited at the bottom and played around in the water. There is a huge pool that had lots of swimmers and cliff jumpers utilizing it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Tender Mercies

Dad and David strolling down the beach .

President Robison was here for a fireside on Thanksgiving and mentioned his friends David and Ruth Jarvis and there was a possibility they might need a ride to church. They called on Saturday and we arranged to pick them up at 9:25 am. In the meantime, Elder Barton got very sick, but insisted on coming to church. We couldn't decided if we should make them stay home, except President Ramkissoon had called and said he couldn't get to church because of a land slide. Brother Estrado was still in Trinidad. George was teaching Primary and I was teaching seminary at 9:00 and speaking on FHE. We needed someone to teach the other 2 Sunday School classes so we decided we had better go pick them up for church. He dropped me off at 8:45 to get the church ready and teach seminary. He picked up the Jarivis couple then went to get the elders. Brother Jarvis helped set up. Sister Ramkissoon was a speaker and couldn't get there, so we asked the Jarvis's to speak and bear their testimony. We had an attendance of 19. My talk on FHE was heard by Sister Dookran who already does it each week. The couples for whom it was created were not in attendance.
George took the missionaries home while I cleaned up and Brother Jarvis took down the sacrament. We then took the Jarvis's to the Plantation Villas and came home and crashed.

The Jarvis's were unable to attend the Sunday the Green's were here, but they called us on Monday and invited us to a walk on the beach and lunch. We thouroughly enjoyed our visit with them.

Here is a fisher (pelican) waiting for lunch to appear.

We are like these fishermen trying to gather our catch. Some Sundays we are successful and others we are not. Sometimes we bring in a full net and other times it is almost empty. I felt like my net was empty after preparing a personalized lesson on FHE and not having those in attendance it was intended for. However, I was blessed in the preparation and felt the spirit as I prepared. I had only one student for part of the lesson time for seminary. Again, I grew from the preparation of the lesson.

These fishermen can be seen on the beach most days pulling in their catch.

Ruth and David Jarvis from Canada

Super Saturday

Elder and Sister Green came to Tobago to assist with a Super Saturday on December 6 for our 4 seminary students, Theresa, Linda, Stefan, and Janelle. But before the event, we took them to Stone Haven to our favorite beach. We looked for crabs (crawling on the rock) and watched little fish swim in the small pools of water in the rocks. We swam and played in the Caribbean Ocean.

We took a drive onto Arnos Vale and walked up to the lodge where they have tea each afternoon at 4:00 pm and feed the birds. We were there about 3:00 and took some pictures of the hummingbirds and bananaquits, which are in abundance. You have to be careful as they dive bomb right past your ears and you think you are being attacked for sure by the whirring of the wings. We saw the most beautiful green hummingbirds and so really dark ones with several iridescent colors.

Who could resist taking pictures of the beautiful flowers that bloom in the shade of the bamboo and other forest trees.

The beach was empty of people except one lone snorkeler. It was a beautiful calm day. It is just the beginning of the tourist season there and won't remain peaceful for long as the rooms are booked starting in a couple of weeks.

The evening was spent wandering through the Botanical Gardens that have been decorated for Christmas. There were lots of families viewing the beauty of the lights and lots of liming going on. We ran into a young man, Kevin, who worked on the cabinets in our apartment. He was headed back home to Guyana for a couple of months.

Our Super Saturday had a turnout of 2 seminary students, the elders, the Greens and us. We had a fun time playing games and eating pizza from Chaio's. The Green' did a awesome job of helping us learn our scripture mastery scriptures.

They attended church with us, which helped our numbers for fast Sunday reach 29. We missed the Jarvis couple (friends of President Robison) or we would have had 31. His back was bothering him. We took them to the airport Sunday evening and they plan a repeat in late February.

Coleman's visit Tobago

We met the Coleman's at the Tobago airport on Thursday, Dec 11 and headed out for bake and shark at Store Bay. Alas, they were out of shark. Next stop, Bonkers for lunch. We went to the Botanical Garden's to see the Christmas lights. It was a gorgeous evening with a big, beautiful full moon.

Snorkeling at Arnos Vale wasn't great because the waves were big and stirred the sand so much that the water was sandy and the bottom wasn't visible. It had been awesome the day before according to someone else who was disappointed in the rough water as well. Sister Coleman asked permission to take a dip in the pool before we left. We sipped fruit drinks by the pool while she indulged in a quick swim. We enjoyed the quiet, peaceful surrounding of the grounds and took lots of pictures of the flowers and trees.

We did go back to the Kiosks for bake and shark the next day, but it wasn't as good as Richard's at Maracus Bay. It is all in the bake; it needs to be light and airy. It was fun to walk around the Store Bay shops and walk by the swim beach and watch the people.

Our big night out for dinner was spent at Me Shell's since no one else starts serving dinner until 7 or 7:30 pm. We enjoyed the meal and the conversation.

We met the elders in Scarborough at Caio's famous Italian pizza place for lunch after the baptism. It has thin crust and isn't greasy like much of the pizza we usually consume. It was very good! Ham and pinneapple, of course.

The Coleman's attended church with us and were the speakers in sacrament meeting. They shared their wonderful conversion story that touches my heart each time I hear it. It is a perfect example of fellowshipping someone into the gospel.

We fed them lunch and whisked them off to the airport to return to Trinidad. They leave for home (Queen Creek, AZ) on Tuesday. They are a great couple who were a wonderful support to us as we learned the ropes in the mission office.

Baptism in the River

Elder and Sister Coleman had come for a visit before they leave for home on Tuesday. Brother Burris asked that Elder Coleman do the baptism, which thrilled him to end his mission with a baptism after spending several months in the mission office. They are hiking down to the river where the baptism will be held.

Grandpa was waiting for everyone to arrive and he was enjoying the beauty of the spot when James and John decided to join him. The three of them chatted, unaware we were watching!

The baptismal font

Brother Burris on the way to his baptism. He is going to be a strength to the branch.

Theresa, 16, was baptized in this same place in September. She is a seminary student. Anderson just turned 2 and Alicia Williams has been a member since January. She, too, was baptized in this same place, she is the mom of the family.

James, a friend, John, Alicia, Anderson, Brother Burris (father of Anderson), Theresa

December 13, 2008

Elder Barton, Elder Coleman, Brother Burris, Elder Marshall

Heading back to the car and visiting along the way.