Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Miracle of
The Work of Salvation

Four cousins getting ready to depart for Puerto Rico, Milan Italy, Milan Italy and Argentina.  Josh in the red tie and Sarah on the right are our grandchildren.  Rachel on the left and Stephen on the right also honor us by calling us grandma and grandpa.  Part of the army of young men and women going throughout the world to declare the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Below are some West Indies missionary experiences as well as four young adults from the Tobago Branch that are preparing to serve.

Elder Payne & Elder Dohrman

We received a referral to contact a man named Edward Young.  We called the number immediately and introduced ourselves.  The man who answered paused in disbelief:  “Hold on, give me fifteen seconds to breath.”  He explained that he had just tried to visit our church building, but found no one there, so he went home.  When he walked in the door, his phone rang, and it was the missionaries.

We met with Edward the next day.  He was very excited to see us and could not stop smiling.  He explained that he had grown up Catholic, but with all the confusion from many different churches, it had become difficult for him to believe in God at all.  He felt that if there was a God, why wouldn't He establish a church with new scriptures to make it clear how to get to heaven?

He was amazed to find every one of his questions answered in the Book of Mormon and the message of the Restoration.  “Would it be alright if I came to church this coming Sunday?” he asked.  He was thrilled to learn about the restored priesthood, committed to read the Book of Mormon, accepted an invitation to be baptized, and shyly offered a closing prayer.  In subsequent lessons, Nicole Garza (the recent convert who referred him) joined us via Skype from Texas and bore testimony that the Spirit can confirm the truth.  On Sunday, Edward Young Jr. came to church with his Book of Mormon in hand and a smile on his face.

He followed through with his commitment and was baptized on the twenty-third of March.  We know that the Lord is hastening his work and that Edward Young Jr. was prepared by the Lord to receive His gospel.

For the Beauty of the Earth

For the Joy of Human Love

Sister Linton and I have these four young adults in our home to teach each other in a mission preparation class.  We are using Preach My Gospel and the six of us team up in two's and make presentations on chapters every two weeks. From left to right they are Deston, Diana, Che and Nicholi.  We love having them in our home and see in them future leaders of the Tobago Church.

Yes, they love the food we enjoy with them after each class

The dinner they have enjoyed most - Sloppy Joe's or barbecue beef sandwiches.  Che, seated in the back, out-ate everyone.  Yes - he is the smallest.

Niccoli and Che below are valiant Priests preparing to serve 

There is beauty

All around

When there's Love at Home

Part of our wonderful family from left to right.  Jane, Josh, Sarah, Laura (our daughter), Jon and David.

West Indies missionaries at a baptism in Trinidad 

For the Beauty of the Earth

For the Beauty of the Skies

Exact Obedience Brings Miracles by Elder Tolman

Elder Hartshorn and I have been trying to be diligent and exactly obedient because we need miracles now more than ever.

One night last week, all of our appointments had fallen through.  It was 8:30 p.m., and we were close to our apartment.  We were both super tired and wanted to just call it a night.  We almost agreed to go in, but I had a feeling that I should honor my commitment to be obedient to all the rules.  So we slowly put one foot in front of the other and dragged ourselves back into town to talk to people, even though I was sure they were already drunk.  We went into town and of course people were yelling at us like they do at night.  I looked around to see if there were any places that I hadn't already been in that area.  I looked in front of me and just decided to walk over there.  Elder Hartshorn came too.  While walking past a bar I noticed a big piece of plywood that seemed to be a wall.  I looked through a hole and saw that there was actually a little house behind it.  I decided to call in.  Someone came out and we started explaining who we were and why we were there.  The lady invited us to pass behind the bar to her house.  She wasn't very interested, but we decided to use the 7-10 minutes we had left.  After a few minutes, her 40 year-old daughter came out and started listening intently.  She asked about the book of Mormon.  We explained it.  She asked for a copy and we gave it to her.  We left with a prayer and went home.  The next day we went and saw her.  She had read the introduction and 3 Nephi 11.  She prayed about it and told us that she knew it was true.  Her friends at work tried to tell her that the book was evil but she explained that she had read and prayed to know if was true.  Her name is Bernadette.  I believe that she is someone that we were lead to find who was already prepared to receive the gospel.  I am so thankful that we decided to keep going.  If we hadn't, I know I would never have gone finding right in that spot.

For the Joy of Human Love, Friends on Earth, and Friends 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A walk in the Lowlands of Tobago
Our home is in a large near sea level environment that is teeming with wildlife.  A lot of the property is open and landscaped beautifully.  It also has a large mangrove swamp with a complex boardwalk through it that reminds you of something out of the Hobbit.  Much of the property is dedicated to an 18 hole golf course which is beautifully groomed.  In and around the golf course is the natural environment of mangroves, lakes, tall grasses and forested environment.
We were required to move to a new home three weeks ago and we have been very limited on our ability to use the internet.  Our previous landlord was generous to let us go to his home to visit with our family and the branch office has the internet where I was able to conduct church business.  Since I haven't been able to blog but have been taking photographs in Tobago and Trinidad (we went there for a senior outing that lasted for a couple of days), I thought I would do three or four blogs over the next few days that would summarize the the last three weeks.

This first blog will highlight our experiences of walking in this remarkable environment.  We take a one to two hour walk  each morning and often a short walk in the evening.  We get up early so we can be out of the home by 5:30 or 6:00 - just as it's getting light.  We are usually able to start our "missionary day" by around 8:00.  We do try to go out with the missionaries four times a week but that doesn't always happen so we do get some evening walks in also.

Off we go!

Early morning light as the sun starts to come up over the Atlantic ocean just beyond the horizon.

Within 15 minutes we reach the beaches.  Lately it has been high tide and our walks on the beach have been limited.  The next blog will be beach walking.

I'm always amazed at the detail under foot.  These little mushrooms are perfect miniature umbrellas

This beautiful little flower was hiding in one of the waterways along the trail.  I've tried to identify it but so far haven't been able to find a name.  It is native to the underbrush and I've only seen it once or twice.

Closeup of an unidentified (by me) flower


With the weather always in the low to mid 80 degree and consistent rains, everything is very green.  This groundcover is typical and varied in plantlife.  If you look at the photograph below in the exact same place you will see a dark footprint shape in the middle of the frame.  I put my foot down and the leaves of this plant fold tight when they are touched and the footprint is the darker underside of the folded leaves exposed.

If you wait a couple of minutes the leaves open and you can't see where you've stepped.


This is one of the many birds we see every morning.  I've never been able to get a good picture of it and have taken this one off the internet.  It is a "Southern Lapwing" and if you get near it's nests, the male and female begin their attack dives with a very loud call.  They come straight at us and make a sharp turn about five feet from your face and it's startling.  Their about the size of a medium sized seagull and their aerobatic swift flight is very intimidating.  If you carry a stick they will make their diversion turn ten feet away but carry on their attack nevertheless.  Their nests are in the grasslands and the many trails take you through several mating pairs during a two hour walk.  We've learned to ignore them and they haven't hit us yet.

A gentle and beautiful little Dove.  They are very tame and we have one that comes up on our porch and almost, but not quite, eats out of our hand.  They have a beautiful soft cooing call in the afternoons and evenings.

This is an Anhinga.  I have always called it a snake bird because it swims underwater and sticks it's long slender neck out of the water when it tosses down a fish or comes up for air.  It is a large bird that startled us once when we were crossing over a small pond bridge and one swam underneath us.  It was about the size of a medium turkey and it swam very fast.  This picture also came off the internet - they are hard to get close to.

With the many ponds along the trails there are Caiman in most of them.  This is one that we came upon early in the morning while it was raining.  The pond is quite small and he was lying in the grass about 30 feet from us.  We took our pictures and quietly walked on.  I estimated it to be about 5 feet long.

This strange little guy will concentrate so hard on his prey that you can walk very close to it and it won't budge.  It must be some kind of crane or heron - I haven't identified it yet.  It looks like it's surfing through the undergrowth.

Telephoto shot.  When concentrating - he's motionless

This bird reminds me of a heron.  It is small and somewhat elusive

The beautiful trees edge the mangrove.  We've walked by 
the red one several times and we're always impressed by it's stark beauty

Another grove of beautiful trees in a manicured green

As night comes on, the toads come out. There are hundreds of them and many of them become casualties of night security vehicles on the roads and golf paths.

Flat as a pancake

Evening sunsets are spectacular

This very large moth flew into our home as we were enjoying the early evening.  It lit on the wall and didn't mind my taking it's picture.  It took a bit of work to get it safely outside though.

Friendly parrot that likes to say goodbye 

Tomorrow we will take a walk along the beach

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Dear friends, we have been without the internet for the past two weeks and it may be another week before we are able to blog again.  

We are having some wonderful experiences and hope to share them with you soon. 

The Lintons

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


We love visiting the various street markets and produce stands in Trinidad and Tobago.  The variety is wonderful and it appears most of the produce is home grown.






We never buy cut fruit and made sure we thoroughly washed what we buy.  They say our chances of avoiding parasites is slim however. 


The Mango is in season now and we are always receiving them from members who pick them off their trees - I've been eating one or two a day and they're one of my favorites!

The men that operate this small but plentiful store are friendly and always have a great variety of the freshest fruits and vegetables 


They look terrible but taste great




When I asked the clerk about this one he said "it's an acquired taste - very bitter and I don't think you would like it".









One of the best of all the fruits.  You only get a couple of spoons full with each fruit but it is wonderful and very aromatic.  I can't find it in Tobago - too bad!

Looks fairly normal.  Some of them are very black with a fungus-type growth on them but they are very good.





Watermelon is always in season and they have great varieties.  I have personally eaten several in the three months we have been here.  It's hard to get too much watermelon.



Passion fruit is about the size of a lemon and the sour sop is about the size of a small melon

Cut it in half and scoop out the insides - seeds and all and one half fills a spoon.  It is delicious

I liked the taste - very fibrous and it has a unique resin taste.  Nettie couldn't stand the flavor and only tasted it.  It is hard to find but I've enjoyed it a few times.  

I've thought I could live on just fruit but it does overwhelm you if you don't get other varieties of food.  I have enjoyed various fruits several times a day though and never grow tired of them.