Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Puerto Rico

Good-by Song
Hello Puerto Rico

Good-bye to Tortola – we bid a fond farewell to you from the bottom of our hearts. We have spent five months on this beautiful island helping the members and the branch leadership. They helped us in return with their love and strong testimonies of the gospel. There are so many choice families here and we will miss them so much! They are just about ready to send their 7th missionary out, that is just a fabulous record for a small island branch.

Good-by Poem
The night before we left we were called over to the chapel for a mysterious meeting. SURPRISE!  They threw a very sweet going away party for us. It was so fun to see everyone for the last time. There was lots to eat and a little program of appreciation. They had the Primary children sing to us and all our piano students played a piece. The Seminary students had all made cards and two of them read a poem they had written for us. Needless to say that our hearts were really touched with their love and kindness.

We have been transferred to Puerto Rico – assigned to the office but will see very little of it. The elders and sisters of our mission live in about sixty (60) apartments throughout the island and the first thing we have been asked to do is visit and inspect each one, each month. Yes, a big task – the island is 110 miles long by 40 miles wide - but we like to drive, see new places, and love meeting all the wonderful missionaries!

We live in the town of Caguas, PR, which is south of San Juan (depending on traffic) 20 minutes to an hour. Fortunately, we do not have to drive to San Juan very often and if we do, we leave early to try to miss some of the rush hour traffic to make sure we arrive on time.

The second thing we are to do is check and report the status of the Companion Language Study for the missionaries who are learning English as a second language. Page 128 in Preach My Gospel states that every missionary (wherever they are serving in the world) should learn English. This formal program helps the Latin missionaries learn English with the help of their English speaking companion during their daily study time. We are encouraging all of them to take advantage of this time – it will make a big difference in their lives when they return home.

We look forward to being with each missionary on Puerto Rico on a regular basis and are thankful for this new challenge.

Monday, November 4, 2013



Cupcake Walk
The Young Men and Young Women of the Tortola Branch were looking for a service project – it was suggested that they throw a Halloween Party for the primary-age children. With a lot of planning and hard work by MB it was a FABULOUS Halloween party in a country that doesn’t celebrate Halloween!! Everyone loves a good party, right?
Magic Tricks
The YM/YW manned the cupcake walk, face painting, magic tricks, decorate your own paper jack-o-lantern, Halloween memory game, skeleton scavenger hunt, and some other misc. games like musical chairs. The sister missionaries did a “mummy” wrap game using TP that was a lot of fun. The evening drew to a close with a presentation from a little drama group composed of half members and half non-members directed by a member of the branch. They presented “Little Red Riding Hood” with a Halloween twist. The play was great and concluded the evening’s activities.
Zip Zap
We had 51 people in attendance including adults and they had a great time. Every child received a “Trick or Treat” bag to take home which included goodies and (of course) fake Dracula fangs and a spider ring. We noticed that the adults on hand had just as much fun as the children in fact; one almost won the musical chairs. We love these fabulous members of the Tortola Branch.

Musical Chairs

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Primary Program

Sunday, October 20th, the Tortola Branch primary children presented the sacrament meeting presentation entitled “I am a Child of God”. It was a delightful program and we believe that these children are the most darling ever! Sister Costley has been assisting by teaching them the songs for the program over the past few months and they have done a great job learning them. One hurdle to overcome is that their attendance at church is kind of sketchy, here one week and not the next (not their fault but their parents). On the day of the program four “new” children came for the first time but they just joined in and seemed to enjoy being in the program! One of their favorite songs and the one they sang the best was “If the Savior Stood Beside Me” which they sang with gusto. It brought tears to our eyes as we thought – here is the future of this sweet Branch – a second generation of strong and beautiful sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. The future will be in good hands.

The church picture we use that shows the Savior and his love and care for children is perfect for the Caribbean because the children in the picture are all different races. It has been so fun and a special privilege to teach the little children here and to tell them how much their Heavenly Father loves them and wants each of them to return to him some day.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


Safe Harbor

June 2013
You may remember the first picture from our apartment’s view here in Tortola of Sir Francis Drake Channel and other BVI islands. To the right is a safe harbor that can be seen on the right hand side of the picture – it is called Paraquita Bay. This is a harbor used only during the hurricane season to keep the fleets of sail boats out of harm’s way when the serious winds and rain come. The series of pictures show, over time, how the number of boats increase as the hurricane season approaches.

July 2013
Most of these boats are used in the charter fleets and there are a bunch – we do not know how many charter companies there are but it is said that Tortola is the sailing capital of the Caribbean. As the summer gets hotter and the threat of bad weather increases, the charter services move their boats into our harbor. It is fun to watch from our balcony as they have to negotiate a shallow, narrow entry point into the bay. Some of the sail boats have to wait until a competent sailor is available to bring them through the shallows.

August 2013
After the threat of bad weather has passed, the boats sail back to their original docks and are prepared for the sailing season which starts in November.

It is fun to live with a “safe harbor” nearby. It is ever so much more special to have the gospel of Jesus Christ as the safe harbor of our lives. It has been a privilege to teach the Plan of Salvation to our investigators here in Tortola. We are so blessed to have the gospel; it is truly our “safe harbor”.
September 2013


Hastening the Work

Last Saturday, September 28th, was a wonderful day. Our Tortola Branch was blessed with two baptisms. On the beautiful sparkling white sand at Long Bay Beach, 35 members of the Tortola Branch arose early to be there at 7:00 A.M. They came to witness the baptism of Selena, age 9 and also Chela, a beautiful young woman who is originally from Haiti. These lovely daughters of our Heavenly Father were baptized in the warm turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. Two stalwart sisters from our branch gave the talks on baptism and the influence of the Holy Ghost in our lives. Our mission president, Pres. Smartt happened to be in town and that made the experience even more special.

On Sunday, Sept. 29th, our 2 newest members were confirmed. We had 50 people in attendance which makes twice this month that our attendance has been in the 50’s. We are thrilled because it had been in the 30’s this past summer. Things are looking up for Tortola and we are happy to be a small part of the work of our Heavenly Father.

Friday, August 2, 2013


Missionary Transfer

Hello from the beautiful island of Tortola, BVI. It has been really hot here and humid of course! Tropical storm ‘Dorius’ came through this week which upped the humidity a lot! It rained a lot more than usual but didn’t do any wind damage. We passed ‘Dorius’ on over to Puerto Rico with our greetings.

After 2 months here, we have adjusted to life on this island. As we have said before, it is a very VERTICAL island with a lot of our members living “High on a Mountain Top”! Also, basically it is just a hugh rock so nothing much grows here in the way of produce. We really miss the Saturday “Farmers Market” on St. Kitts where we could buy almost any fresh produce. I could even make my Zucchini Chowder there!

We wanted to send a photo of our fabulous Tortola “keyboard” students. Because school is out, we teach keyboard lessons during the day and then every evening (because most people work) we are visiting less-active members and investigators. Not everyone is always thrilled to see us but we always tell them how much they are missed and how much they are needed! Only Tortola and one other island does not have their own chapel, we really need to increase attendance so that they can get the chapel they deserve!!

Two weeks ago we lost our set of Elders and for the first time ever, two Sister missionaries arrived on our island. One is the trainer, Sister Parker, and the second is a BRAND NEW missionary, Sister Calderon from El Salvador. Sister Calderon doesn’t speak much English, which is hard on an English speaking island, but she is really coming along. She is so sweet and humble, she has a strong testimony and really seems to love the work. Both have been members for only two years. They come to our apartment every Monday morning to read their weekly emails and do their laundry. Tuesday mornings we have a “District” meeting together. Not a huge district (4) but a great district none the less!

Friday, June 28, 2013


Driving on the Island 

We have been in Tortola now for a couple weeks and have found the island has some very steep and narrow roads with beautiful views of the Atlantic and Caribbean Sea. You can imagine that there is little flat ground here and what there is, is occupied by buildings. The main city, Road Town, has some very nice buildings – the government buildings all look good.

Driving here, like all of the little islands in the Puerto Rico San Juan Mission, is on the left side of the road – like in England. However, unlike St Kitts where our car – a Toyota, Rav 4 had right hand steering, our car here – a Suzuki, Grand Vitara has left hand steering (like the USA). This has led to some interesting moments for MB who sits closest to center of the road – she has to tell me to ‘move over’ and it is usually said with some urgency!

This past week, on Saturday, we celebrated our 46th wedding anniversary – we had a special dinner on the waterfront. On Sunday, after our Tortola Meetings, we boarded the ferry to travel to the island of Virgin Gorda. Pictured in the photo with us are the young Elders and the new Tortola Branch President, Pres. Lyerly and his wife Toni. They live on Virgin Gorda. We held a second sacrament meeting for the members living there.

We are continuing our member and leader support roles here on Tortola and have found and talked to some members who have not been to church for quite a while. They are very friendly toward us and have invited us back for more discussion.

The branch is having a send-off party this weekend for the recently released branch president who is returning to Hawaii – he has been in a leadership role for about 14 years here so he will be sorely missed!  We are grateful to have been able to work with him for these two weeks before he departs for his home there. He has helped prepare missionaries to serve from this small branch – he has four in the field now with two more going out by September and another waiting for his call. Seven full time missionaries from a branch of about 110 – WOW! What great work.

Friday, June 21, 2013


We are on the move and have been transferred from St Kitts, West Indies to the island of Tortola, British Virgin Islands.  We are out near the east end of the island in another apartment that has a fabulous view of the Caribbean Sea – check it out.

Tortola has a population of about 25,000 and a church membership of about 120.Tortola doesn’t have its own chapel, the branch uses a rented building in the main part of Road Town. We are on the island with a set of young elders – one of which we served with on St Kitts. The Tortola Branch has sent out four missionaries of their own with two others soon to serve in NY and the Dominican Republic. A seventh missionary is waiting for his call. WOW! All from this small branch. We have a number of dedicated families here that love the gospel and have sent their children into the world to share it.

Our apartment is one of six in the building that is set up on a hill and overlooks a safe harbor (during hurricane season) called Paraquita Bay. The best view is of Sir Francis Drake Channel – this is where the cruise ships maneuver as they are coming into the main port of Road Town. Across the channel is a view of Peter Island – a private island where we wish some of you would come and stay for a week and we would slip over to visit – check it out at

MB had started teaching piano keyboard lessons on St Kitts and continues to do so here. The YM/YW are pretty good at it. They also lead the music on Sunday. They are a joy to work with. It was really hard to leave the sweet branch members on St. Kitts but we know we will grow to love and appreciate the members here on Tortola.
Picture of the main port city of Road Town, Tortola from the hills above.

Monday, May 20, 2013

St Kitts

The past couple weeks have been special for us. We have had the opportunity to have family visit us here on St. Kitts and we have enjoyed their company. You must remember that our social life here is mainly between us and the two young elders on the island.

Our daughter Melissa and son-in-law, Brady stopped by St. Kitts on their way home from the Dominican Republic (they spent a w
eek there) the end of April. We say on their way home even though they spent the entire day trying to get here from there. We were able to show them a few places on the island – Brimstone Fort and Shipwreck Bay with its monkeys and beautiful beach. They were also able to shop for tourist stuff at Zante pier – pirate items sell well.

They were here for only a couple days but we were able to do some snorkeling while at Shipwreck. There is a small reef along the beach and the fish and starfish are neat to see.

After spending only a couple days with us (sadly) they left with full suit cases to make their way back home to Utah. It was so great to be with them.

This last week, Chad and Sheryl (brother and sister-in-law) came to visit and take some R&R. Chad is a bishop and needed some time to relax – no phone service here – it was great for him. Arrived Monday afternoon and left very early Saturday morning. They stayed with us and at the Marriott for a couple days. Visiting the pier and snorkeling at Shipwreck was on our agenda. Elder Costley really enjoys the home-made cheese burgers at Shipwreck – what a treat and the best on the island. Some branch members had suggested we take Chad & Sheryl to “Reggae Beach” on Friday night for Lobster Fest. You have to make reservations well in advance – which we did. It was indeed a feast and a wonderful way to end a visit.

Both sets of visitors were introduced to a few members of our branch and spent time visiting with them. We were so happy to have them visit us here – what a blessing for our branch members to meet other members of the true church.

There is an on-going open invitation for you to visit us anytime!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Dominican Republic

Temple Trip


On Wednesday, April 10th we flew to Puerto Rico. We were picked up at the airport by one of the San Juan couple missionaries and taken to the mission office. Of course we checked our mailbox first and found some mail and 2 boxes of goodies from our daughters. Aah – missionaries love to receive mail and packages!! We ran some errands in San Juan (have we mentioned that everyone speaks Spanish there)? Ha Ha! We stayed over-night with Elder and Sister Pietz again, they are so good to us!

Early Thursday morning, Elder Pietz drove the large mission van packed with senior couple missionaries to the airport for our trip to the Santa Domingo temple in the Dominican Republic. The flight took about an hour and then a pre-arranged driver drove all of us and our luggage to the temple “patron” housing on the temple lot, about a 30 minute drive. The Santa Domingo Temple was absolutely gorgeous! The temple grounds were so beautiful and well manicured. There was a cute lady standing by the door as all the senior couples got out of the van and she said, ”Oh, mucho misioneros!”

At the temple, we were so happy to meet up with the beautiful Persaud family from St. Kitts that we have been privileged to teach the temple preparation classes and help them to come to the temple. The next day, Bro. and Sister Persaud were sealed to each other first and then Theodore (11) and Tiffany (15) were brought in and sealed to them. It filled our hearts with joy to witness this event and they were so happy they were just shining. Our suggestion to our children, in an email, was to enjoy your temples that are close at hand because people here have to save up for years to be able to go because the airfare is so expensive. This temple trip will be one of the high-lights of our mission. We are so thankful that we were able to go.

Friday, April 19, 2013

St Kitts

YW 'New Beginnings'

The St. Kitts Young Women enjoyed a great evening on Tuesday, April 2nd.presenting “Once Upon a Time, a Night of New Beginnings”.  Before the evening began, the girls (and guests who desired) each created a royal crown. Sister Kristin Larsen, the YW President started the evening off with a talk about the importance of each woman to her Heavenly Father. This was followed by a very clever power point presentation entitled “Snow White and the Seven Values”. The girls were each featured as a YW value. Sister Costley gave a talk on the importance of the Personal Progress program. A special part of the night was the video of Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf entitled “Your Once Upon a Time Story”. The girls sang “Happily Ever After” as a closing song. After the closing prayer, yummy refreshments were enjoyed by all.

It was really a lovely evening. St. Kitts has wonderful Young Women and great leaders!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

From St Kitts

Easter Sunday

We had a lovely Easter Sunday here on St. Kitts.  We stopped to pick up Bro. Hodge from the Cardin “nursing home”.  Bro. Hodge is blind and enjoys it when Elder Costley reads to him from the Book of Mormon. It was Fast Sunday and Elder Costley asked him if he wanted to bear his testimony, he said yes and that he wanted to sing a song. He did a very good job and a few of the members even joined in the chorus.

In the evening, the R.S. sisters had organized an Easter musical fireside entitled, “He is Risen”. All the organizations presented musical numbers. The YW sang two songs. The R.S. chorus sang “All Creatures of Our God and King”, the Priesthood chorus sang “Redeemer of Israel”. Sister Avery Young (the Branch Seminary teacher) and I sang “If the Savior Stood Beside Me”. Bro. Hodge sang another great song, “Were You There”, and the evening finished up with several other solos and duets. It was a very spiritual and wonderful Easter Sunday. The St. Kitts branch loves to sing!

“For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads”    (D&C 25:12).

Friday, March 29, 2013

From Nevis

Senior Sister on Nevis

Two weeks ago we were asked to support a mission action that stationed two senior sisters (they were serving on the island of Antigua) to our neighboring island of Nevis. The saints that live there are a dependent group and part of our St Kitts Branch with no full time missionaries. The sisters (one from SLC and the other from Layton) were being sent to assist in preparing a branch sister who was called to serve a mission to Trinidad, West Indies.

Our job was to pick them up from the Nevis airport (very small), get them settled into the mission apartment with groceries and then introduce them to a few of the members. We stayed one night because of their late arrival and ferry schedule then made them acquainted with the members and the area. Then we departed leaving behind the mission pickup truck that the young St. Kitts elders usually drive so that the sisters would have transportation.

The two sister missionaries went right to work in the community teaching and making contacts – following up with a list of contacts from the area book that the elders had left for them. They were very busy for two weeks helping the members, speaking in their church service and supporting the members in any way they could. They have been companions for a few months so they know how to work together. Unfortunately, the sister they were sent to assist had some complication with her work and was not able to depart on her mission as planned.

This past Wednesday we took the ferry back to Nevis and were able to deliver the sisters to the airport for their return flight to Antigua. They have left follow-up work for us as we are on Nevis at least once a month. What a privilege to know Sister Miller (left) and Sister Stoddard. Sister Miller is returning home in April, she will be greatly missed.

From St Kitts

Here in St. Kitts we just love a young couple from Idaho (the Larsens). Bro. Larsen is going to Ross – a really good veterinary school on the island. Three other members of the branch are here from the states studying at the same school. They all have major callings in the branch – what a great help they are. Brother Larsen is the Branch Mission Leader and is also a counselor in the Elders Quorum while Sister Larsen is the YW President.

We were chatting with Sister Larsen about the YW and how we love the girls. She asked if MB could do an activity with the girls that would help them develop new skills. MB went into her memory bank and recalled a cute little “mini scrapbook” that the Kaysville girls made at girl’s camp last summer. She was able to find the brown paper lunch bags at a fabric store (go figure?). Note: there was also a canned ham there J - WOW! She also found some ribbon and even some ric -rack at another fabric store. All the little things came together. There is no scrapbook paper to be found here so the next best thing – we used some cute wrapping paper for the outside cover. Before leaving home MB stuffed some flowers, brads and other things into her suitcase for just such an occasion.

The girls were very creative and had a good time spending over two hours making their scrapbooks. The leaders enjoyed making theirs as much as the girls. They may be a small group but they are just VERY excellent young women! It was really fun for MB to get to know them all better.  In the photo, Sis. Larsen is standing next to MB in the back and the two little YW are the younger sisters of one of the girls.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

From St Kitts

Family Fun Night
Our assignment is to work with members and leaders in the St Kitts branch which includes two islands – St Kitts and Nevis. They are a sovereign nation with a population of about 70,000.

We are visiting member to help and encourage them in their callings and assist when requested. A couple weeks ago the branch held a family fun activity night conducted by the branch presidency. We attended and it turned out to be fun for even us old birds. One of the games we played was -  Do You Love Your Neighbor ? The person who is ‘IT’ stands in the center of the circle with everyone seated and he/she asks a person the question ‘Do You Love Your Neighbor’? The seated person answers yes or no. If yes then the ‘IT’ person asks another seated person. If the answer is no then the ‘IT’ asks what don’t you love? Then they answer that they don’t love something (black shoes, short pants, T-shirts, etc). Anyone having the stated item has to change seats and the new ‘IT’ person is the last one standing. The game can get really crazy at times.

Another game we played was the cookie game where you place a cookie on your forehead and move it to your mouth by moving your face. We saw some real character faces during this game – the children loved eating the cookies even if they had trouble moving them. The adults where more successful in completing the task of moving the cookie to their mouth and eating them.

We were able to get to know more of the members better during this “Family Fun Night”. We are looking forward to another one next month.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

From St Kitts

Monkey Business
We had a fun excursion out to an area called Ship Wreck Bay, on the Caribbean side of the island. The local business owner feeds a troop of monkeys at about 5 p.m. every afternoon. We have seen a few monkeys in our neighborhood (no, we don’t mean us) and at church but only from a distance, not very close.

We wanted to check out this special event so off we drove over a mountain and down to the beach at Ship Wreck Bay. As we approached the area they had not started to feed them yet and the monkeys were quite active. The younger ones where ripping around in the trees and bushes jumping and chasing each other up and down and around. They were very entertaining and fun to watch.

When the feeding started a gentlemen was tossing peanuts out on the ground and the monkeys got busy cracking them and stuffing the peanuts into their cheek pouches. They stored them there until they had time to go back to the resting place and eat. It was very intriguing to watch them at work and to see who was the real boss of the feeding grounds.

Not only were there monkeys about but also several mongooses were also visible, feeding on a tray of prepared vegetables. Mongoose do not like peanuts and monkeys do not like vegetables – each has its own meal. It was fun to watch these animals in a near natural setting.

The monkeys are green vervet monkeys (chlorocebus sabaeus) and were imported during the slave trading days of St. Kitts/Nevis. The green vervet refers to their slightly greenish, light brown coats.

From St Kitts

Branch Baptism
The weekend of February 23, 24th was very up-lifting because we were able to meet with and then witness the baptism of a wonderful young lady. The elders had been teaching her for some time before we arrived on St. Kitts and she had found out for herself that the church was true and decided to be baptized.

The mission presidency was not able to meet with her for a baptism interview so Elder Costley was asked to conduct the interview. Tonisha knows a lot about the gospel and where she is going in life. She passed the interview questions with flying colors – what a lovely young lady.

The baptism was performed at our branch building on Saturday morning by a young man who is a priest in the branch. Three missionaries were in attendance because Elder Turbo is now our zone leader and he came back for the baptism (and some other business matters). Quite a few branch members were in attendance to give their support to Tonisha. It is wonderful to see the branch growing, one soul at a time.
Tonisha’s confirmation was held in sacrament meeting on Sunday morning and was performed by a member of the branch presidency. A special blessing was given to her with good direction and promises made to our newest member of the branch.

Friday, February 22, 2013

From St Kitts

Branch Conference and other stuff

We have had a great weekend.  It was the St. Kitts Branch Conference. The entire mission presidency visited from Puerto Rico. On Saturday we split up with members of the mission presidency and the branch leaders and went out to visit members and less-active members of the branch. Many visits were very positive  and it was great to meet members we hadn’t met before.  Many of the members visited did attend our Sunday meetings.

Part of the St Kitts Branch is located on the neighboring island of Nevis which is an hour ferry ride from the church. During the branch council meeting early Sunday the mission president found out the ferry from Nevis would be late bring four members to the chapel. He suggested that the meeting schedule be changed – moving sacrament meeting to the third hour from the first so the Nevis members could join us – the council approved. Our sacrament meeting was very special with almost 90 in attendance.

Also this week we had a special event – Sister Costley celebrated her birthday. However, she had invited the young missionaries to a special Chinese dinner that day – so it was a fun celebration with just a little bit of work involved. The dinner was delicious and we all loved it. Some brethren from the branch joined us later for cake and ice cream with both English and Spanish versions of Happy Birthday sung – A fun evening. The missionaries delivered a bowl of star fruit – good stuff.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

From Puerto Rico

Mission Conference

We were called last week to a special senior missionary Island Conference in Puerto Rico followed by a whole mission conference with an apostle of the Lord. We arrived in PR Thursday afternoon, while most of the 7 "island" couples arrived late Thursday or early Friday. We all met Friday from 1:00 to 5:00 in our island couple’s conference which also included the young zone leaders for the islands. You gotta love those young elders! Everyone had been fasting Friday in preparation for Elder Neil L. Anderson's arrival on Saturday. It was a great meeting and fun for us to meet the other couples. We broke the fast with a big pizza, salad, cookies and root beer float meal. We all enjoyed it but the young elders devoured it with glee! They matched most seniors up with an office couple to stay with which was great because we just loved our hosts – Elder and Sister Pietz. Their job is transportation (cars and bikes) and some housing, etc. Probably all the mission couples in the world are really working overtime these days!! They were very hospitable and lots of fun to get to know.

Saturday was our missionary meeting with Elder Anderson. All the missionaries from the whole Puerto Rico San Juan Mission were there and he shook every hand! He was accompanied by his wife Kathy, and Elder Rasband and his wife. They all spoke and they were wonderful! Elder Anderson speaks 5 languages and he wanted to speak in Spanish so they had to hurry and bust out some earphone translation for us gringos. What a humble and sweet man! It was a great meeting! Afterwards, the Pietz wanted us to see some of Puerto Rico so they took us on a 4 hour drive down to the bottom of Puerto Rico to the city of Ponce and back through the mountains. On the way down the mountains were plush green (almost jungle) vegetation and then by Ponce it is arid and dry like a desert. There is a fabulous bakery in Ponce, we stopped for fresh warm bread and treats. Sister Pietz bought some bread for our Mission President – he is from there and loves it. On the way home we stopped in a neat little city called Barceloneta and had dinner at "Chili’s". Chili’s has saved us on both of our missions!! Later we took the bread over to the mission home. We hadn't seen it yet, it was very lovely. Our mission president and his wife are young (40) they have 3 adorable children. So it was a great (and long) day.

Sunday we were up early again for Stake Conference with Elder Anderson. Again, a wonderful meeting, and again he shook everyone's hand that wanted to meet him. WOW! Can you imagine how tired they must get? We flew home Monday afternoon but they had us going through Antigua (2 hr. layover) and then on to St. Kitts. Did we mention that every island couple wanted to go to Wal-Mart? Ha ha, shopping is kind of limited on the islands (and expensive). We all had to get our Wal-Mart fix!! Today and every Tuesday we have a 3 1/2 hour district/zone meeting (that is long for me!) but we talked today about how we can implement everything we learned from Elder Anderson into our teachings and lives to benefit others. This is something that we really want to strive to do.

Let me tell you something funny that happened Tuesday. First of all, it has been raining a lot but it cleared up and the sun came out. We had some business to attend to after our district meeting so we each bought a large ham/cheese croissant that the Elders had told us about and we shared a can of Diet Coke. We went to a park bench in the downtown square. I only ate half of mine and I wrapped it back up intending to have it for dinner, we drank at least half of our coke. A man who looked he was living on the streets came up to us (never happened before) and after a greeting he said "I need something to eat". So of course we gave him the sandwich and then he said "I need a soda". So we gave him the coke! We were leaving anyway but it cracked us up about the soda!! Glad he didn't need dessert :-)

Thursday, January 31, 2013

From St Kitts

Friends Visit

We are back in St Kitts after our journey to Nevis and had a wonderful surprise. We have some friends (we really share them with the Cottles) that have arrived for a one week vacation. The cute Greens arrived on Saturday. They are staying at the beautiful Marriott Royal Garden Hotel (not far from where we live). Their room overlooks the beach with a great view. The island of St. Kitts has the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Caribbean Sea on the other. They love to play golf and the golf course looks really good from where we live – but we do not actually know for sure.

We were able to spend a few fun hours with them on Tuesday, showing them what we have learned so far which wasn’t too much because we have only been here less than two weeks. We took them to see the beach and some wild monkeys nearby but only found the beach – the monkeys did not show themselves. (I don’t think the Greens believed us about the monkeys). It was a nice sunny day so we drove around town. Two cruise ships were in port so it was a little busy with lots of people walking the streets.

We have a nursing school and a veterinary college near town (and two medical schools on the other side of the island), so we toured that area and some of the local housing – houses here are painted very vivid colors. We stopped at our house for a visit and then we had lunch at the local Subway sandwich shop and said our good-byes. It was just a wonderful surprise, thank you Greens for coming! Sorry the Cottles could not make it. It was a great visit even without playing any pickleball.

Monday, January 28, 2013

From Nevis

Adventure to Nevis

Our Branch President, Pres. G., asked us to go over to Nevis to spend a few days, check on the members there and talk in sacrament meeting. On Saturday we took the car ferry over. It was quite an adventure to see how many cars, one truck, one motorcycle, and pedestrians they could get on the ferry. We counted 14 vehicles. They were wedged in like sardines. The trip lasted about 30 minutes. When the ferry docks everyone zips off in a matter of minutes and then there is a line of vehicles waiting to drive on and take the ferry back to St. Kitts.

There is a senior missionary apartment on Nevis and that is where we stayed. It is not occupied by any missionaries right now so the group Sunday services are held there. The second counselor in the St. Kitts/Nevis branch is going to medical school on Nevis so he conducted our meeting on Sunday. He and his wife are fabulous. There were 9 members present, including us. It was such a sweet and tender meeting, we just loved it. While we were there we checked on some families for Pres. G. and looked up some investigators that the young elders had previously taught. There will be a senior couple coming in Feb. so we will update them on the members there and I’m sure they will build up the branch tremendously.  It was a great trip!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

From St Kitts

Our Elders on St Kitts
We have settled in a bit now and are working with two of the Lord’s finest elders here on St.  Kitts. We will call them Elder Turbo(from Calif.) and Elder T(from Colorado) for privacy reasons. Elder Turbo is our district leader and we report our missionary activities to him.

This last Sunday we attended a meeting that was broadcast from SLC to all the stakes in the Caribbean and to our branch. We were instructed to build our families and to improve ourselves before the Lord and to shun pornography. Families are the essential building block in all the world. We also had two meetings in the afternoon with our mission president who was visiting from Puerto Rico. He instructed the leadership of the branch in the importance of reactivation and retaining new members.

We had our district meeting on Monday morning at the church and then in the evening continued teaching a less- active sister, her non-member children and niece. They are making a little progress each time we meet with them.

Tuesday morning early we were at the church again to hold a zone meeting via Skype with all the island  missionaries:  St. Thomas, St. Croix, Tortola, Antigua, Dominica, St. Kits and Nevis. We met the senior couple (they are from St. Croix) and senior sisters (from Layton and SLC) on Antigua – they are in our district under Elder Turbo.

We are getting acquainted with the members and loving them. The above photo is Elder Turbo and Elder T in front of the chapel. The chapel and the islands of St. Kitts/Nevis were dedicated for missionary work in 2004 by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

From St Kitts

A Room with a View
We arrived Thursday in St. Kitts Nevis. St. Kitts (St. Christopher) is named after Christopher Columbus who first claimed the island for Spain. Nevis is a nearby island and the two of them make up their own country. The total population of both is about 70,000. They have their own currency which is EC (Eastern Caribbean Dollar). You travel to Nevis by ferry. There are members of the church on Nevis but they meet there in their own little group meetings – dependent on the branch in St. Kitts. We have been told that we might spend a week there occasionally.

Friday after we unpacked our bags, we jumped in the car, filled it up with expensive gas and spent 1 ½ hours driving around the whole island. We only missed one turn and ended up in some farmer’s yard on this adventure. We backtracked a bit then made it back to our apartment without another problem.

On St. Kitts there is just one set of young elders and one senior couple (us!) On Friday they took us around to visit four families comprised of investigators or less actives that they are going to pass on to us to teach. We have appointments with all four next week.

We feel so lucky to be living on this tropical island and in this beautiful apartment with a view of the ocean out our front door.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

From Puerto Rico

What a difference a day makes!
The Costleys have arrived in Puerto Rico! What a treat after the winter blasts of Utah. It is around 85° in the daytime, dipping to 75° at night – the natives think it is COLD!  We think it is great. Check the pictures – what a difference a day makes!
Monday was a long day flying from SLC through Dallas to Puerto Rico – the transfer in Dallas was made in the nick of time and the plane was full. We were the last ones to get on the plane and had trouble finding a place for both our carry-on bags inside the cabin.

We arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico after 7 p.m. and met our supervising couple at the airport. We saw the lights of the city but not much of the city itself on our drive to their home for the night.

Today we met Pres. Alvarado, our mission president, what a nice man. We look forward to serving with him. He has assigned us to start our mission on the island of St. Kitts – WOW! We will fly there on Thursday.
We are happy that we arrived safely and we are looking forward to begin our mission on St. Kitts.

Friday, January 11, 2013

From MTC

Farewell to the MTC

 We have had a great week of training at the MTC. The total group of senior missionaries going through this week is 81 – 40 couples and a single sister. The majority of the group are assigned as ‘Member, Leader Support’ like us with Office and Temple couples making up the next biggest group. We are all going to the far corners of the world.

Our training has consisted of understanding ‘Preach My Gospel’ and how to use it in our assignments. Our trainers are excellent returned missionaries and they have made the experience fun. We have had the opportunity to roll play teaching situations with investigators – just a little bit stressful – if you know what I mean. But all in all we have been well trained.

What a great time to be with the young missionaries for our morning and evening meals. They are so kind to us and they carry a great spirit. There is a ton of them and they look so young (compared to us!)

We are so grateful for an excellent MTC experience, what a great start to our mission! The above photo is of our small district and our excellent trainer. We are going to Hungry, Finland, Chile and Puerto Rico and have different assignments once we arrive.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

From MTC

First Day at MTC

January 8, 2013 

We arrived on a cold, cold day and found that the senior missionary classes had been moved from the MTC to the stake center next door. This is due the influx of all the new missionaries – they call it the missionary tsunami.

We and a lot of senior missionaries are being housed at the Marriot hotel in downtown Provo. The rooms are very nice, but we are rarely there!

The training is moving very fast and has changed considerably since we were here four years ago. It is exciting and we love it!

You can see from the photo where we are going next week.