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.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

From Kaysville

A special day –
Set apart as missionaries

January 6, 2013

We had the privilege today of being set apart as missionaries in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Our Stake President, Kelly Johnson, came to our home this evening accompanied by our Bishop, Eric Sanderson, to perform the blessings. Our son Guy gave the opening prayer and gave a very thought provoking prayer that set the tone for the blessing. Our daughter Melissa, representing the family, made great comments, adding to the spirit. 
President Johnson set both of us apart as missionaries, giving us special blessings and promises, as we serve in the Puerto Rico San Juan Mission. We both feel the support of the Lord and love of our family as we depart for the MTC tomorrow.  We will receive one week of training before departing for Puerto Rico. We are excited.