29 December 2008

Christmas was great!

Another excerpt from Jeff's e-mail.

This last week was very rewarding. We had 2 Baptisms on saturday. The two people that got baptized were really prepared to recieve the gospel. In total the mission baptized 59 people this week. This means that we only need 30 people before the year ends. We will be baptizing a girl on the 31st of December. She is the only person we are able to baptize this week, but I am excited that we can still contribute to our mission goal of 2008 baptisms in 2008. I am confident that we will reach it.

It was great to hear all of your voices and speak to you. I really enjoyed that. At the Evans we ate good food and watched Kung-Fu Panda. The movie was ok. I did not laugh as much as some of the other missionaries because I did not think that it was that funny, but it was ok. One of our recent converts gave us a Christmas present. They gave us each ties. It was a nice thing for them to do.

We are waiting for Transfer calls this week and I am excited to hear whether or not I am going to Suriname. I guess we'll find out soon enough.
Well, happy New Year everyone!
Love, Jeff

25 December 2008

Christmas phone call


It is Christmas and we will be calling our missionary today in Guyana. We have been looking forward to this call.

Merry Christmas from the Vernes Family.

Follow-up

It was a real treat to talk to our son on Christmas day. In the beginning we had difficulties getting connected but after many attempts, we were finally connected. Jeff is having the time of his life. He has been out now for 6 months and he loves the people in Guyana. There is a slight chance that he will be going to Suriname.

He is grateful for all your letters and looks forward to many more. Anyway, thank you all for your support. Enjoy the holidays.

The Vernes Family

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22 December 2008

Merry Christmas to all of you

Things went pretty well this week. We had a baptism and we are expecting two baptisms this coming week. The week was rough, but still rewarding. I can see the blessings of working hard and diligently. Our District was blessed with baptisms and we are all very very happy about that.

There are a few things that will be going on for Christmas. First off there will be a Christmas dinner at the Senior Missionaries' Homes for which we need to prepare a dessert. I am excited for that. The Senior Missionaries really take good care of us. Then we will be able to watch a movie. The movie needs to be on "the Approved Movies List" I do not know what we will be watching, yet. And last, but not least we will be able to talk to our families.

Playing the organ went well again. The Music Director of the cathedral liked the hymn book and told me again that I could come whenever I liked. I really like the people here. The other missionaries are saying that I will be going to Suriname next transfer. It is not official, but I do not know if I want to leave Guyana yet. I like it here so much and I have seen so much success out here. Not that I will not like Suriname, I am sure that it will be great, but I have mixed feelings toward it. We'll see what happens.

The mission is on its last stretch of getting 2008 in 2008 and we are all working hard to achieve that goal. Please include the mission in your prayers, we need them.

Merry Christmas.

Love,
Jeff

21 December 2008

Mary did you know?

video

Mary, did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?

Did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?

Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?

This child that youve delivered will soon deliver you.

Mary, did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?

Did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?

Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?

And when you kiss your little boy youve kissed the face of god

Mary, did you know?

The blind will see

The deaf will hearAnd the dead will live again

The lame will leap

The dumb will speak

The praises of the lamb

Mary, did you know that your baby boy is lord of all creation?

Did you know that your baby boy will one day rules the nations?

Did you know that your baby boy is heavens perfect lamb?

This sleeping child youre holding is the great

I am

15 December 2008

Singing in the rain


We had so much rain this last week. It was incredible. Part of the appartment was under water and we were fighting to get the water out. In the papers they announced that there could be a flood like in 2005 where the water would have come up to my waist. The senior missionaries just came by and asked us to prepare for it by keeping food storage. They told us to buy things like rice and flour and to always keep filtered water in bottles and things like that. We do not know when it could happen, but last time it was that bad it happened in january. That's when the rainy season should be over. Because of the rain, things go a little crazy over here. People are scared of the rain and so they do not come to church and things like that. It is a little frustrating sometimes.








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The Joy of Missionary Work


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The Joy of Missionary Work




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12 December 2008

I am looking forward to Christmas



This week was quite successful. December is coming to an end fast and we have so much work to do to meet our goal, but I think that if we work hard, we will be able to meet it. We have some really cool people to teach so I am excited to get them baptized.

There have been some changes in my companionship. Elder Olsen was transferred to a place called Allboystown. My new companion is Elder Mecham from Montana.  One of the reasons that I am now companions with Elder Mecham is this: he was called to the Dutch side of the mission but he needs some help with the language.  President Robison wants me to be his "personal language tutor". We might be going to Suriname at the same time. I don't know if I will want to leave Guyana so soon. I love it so much here and I will miss the people a lot. I am starting to write down the addresses of the people I baptized and taught, so I will be able to keep in touch with them, when I am over there and after my mission. The people here are just so amazing; yes, it is hard sometimes, but I love it.

Some of the members have been asking if we could eat with them for Christmas. I told them that we would need to ask for permission because we are not really allowed to eat with members, but one of the members owns a restaurant and wants to feed us on Christmas, so I think that we would be able to get the approval. I am so excited to be here in Guyana for Christmas. Things are very different over here than at home. We are planning some cool activities for Christmas. We want to do some singing and things like that. Then on the other hand we have Jehovah's Witnesses here that tell everyone that Christmas is bad and that we should not celebrate it, because it is not mentioned in the bible. We had quite the discussion with some of them the other day. The discussions did not accomplish anything, because they were not open to what we had to say. They knocked on our door and I think that they will not be coming back too soon. I was able to disprove everything that they said from my studies in the bible. The other missionaries were also talking with them and proving with scripture that they were wrong. They have been telling some of the investigators we have, "The Mormon Church is racial." I have started carrying pictures of the family around with me. I told the JW's to please stop doing this, because it was not true. I told them that my mother was black and that if they would tell other people that they were racial they would be offending me, my mother, two of the missionaries that live with us, and all of the members at church. They were taken back at that and they realized that they had to leave.

So all in all, everything is going well. We are seeing success as we work hard and we love the work. I am looking forward to Christmas.

Love,
Jeff

03 December 2008

This week has been great!


This week has been great. I am feeling a lot better. (Jeff had another virus again thanks to the a friendly Mosquito) We had a baptism last Saturday and we are working with the daughter of the person that was baptized. She is 21 and she only came to Church once, so we need to wait another week. We are also teaching some cool investigators and we are seeing quite some success. We only need a little over one hundred more people to meet the mission goal of 2008. I believe that we can do it. I am excited, too.

We were not able to write emails yesterday because the computers were down and we did not have the time to come back, so the Zone Leaders gave us permission to email this morning.

I played the Organ in the Catholic Cathedral which was great. I loved every minute of it. It was a big pipe organ and I played for about an hour and a half. When we were about to leave the person that is in charge of the music in the cathedral said that I could come back whenever I wanted, and that he would like a hymn book. I am going to give him a hymn book one of these days and then we might just spend some more time playing the organ. Elder Olsen plays the piano really well, so he likes going there, too.

I am reading the New Testament right now and I am learning so much. There are so many things that are written in the Bible that a lot of members of the church do not know about. I am loving ever page that I read. I read it every morning in Dutch. When there are words that I do not understand, I check the verse in English. It has worked pretty well so far. I am in Mark Chapter 9 right now. I also finished the Book of Mormon again and I have learned so many things that I am using in lessons to teach investigators.

For example: There was an investigator that came to church on Sunday. She did not like it, because there was no loud singing and clapping and all of that. When we met with her on Sunday she told us that she did not like it. I told her to read Moroni 7 and then to pray about the Book of Mormon and the Church. When we left the lesson we thought that we might have to stop teaching her. However, when we came back on Monday she had read the chapter and prayed. She told us that she felt differently about the church now. She told us that her attitude had changed because of that prayer. That showed me again that God does answer prayers and that he does want us to be happy. She will be getting baptized on the 13th of December.

I cannot believe that I have already been out for 5 months. I remember going to the MTC as if it were yesterday. Then I remember coming here as if it were yesterday. Time is going really fast and it only keeps n going faster.

We are having the raining season in Guyana. The rain is making work pretty hard. We have not bought umbrellas yet, so we need to do that this week. it rains really hard for quite some time. It will be like this for the entire month. When it rains everything just seems dead. We had to start sacrament meeting with just 5 people the other day. The people here just do not come out in the rain.

I know that this gospel is true. I love the work. I am looking forward to Christmas. I am excited to see how the people here in Guyana will celebrate Christmas. One of our investigators has already invited us to come and decorate the Tree with them. I love the people here and I love serving them.

I love all of you.

Jeff