Sunday, July 28, 2013

West Indies conversion testimonies

Is there anyone else who would like to join us?
Elder Payne, Elder Mecham, Elder Jensen, and Elder Anderson

Following the ‘Vision for All’ project in Guyana, missionaries were in charge of delivering eyeglasses, hoping to find people who were also interested in the gospel.  We delivered one pair of eyeglasses to Jean Zephyr; a kind elderly lady who was devoted to the church she’s been attending for 31 years.  Before we presented her glasses or taught a lesson, we asked “is there anyone else who would like to join us?”  Jean then invited her daughter Elizabeth to join us.
We taught the Restoration and invited them to read the tract and pray to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet.  We also taught them about the fruits of the Spirit, which is how they would recognize if our message was true.
Jean didn’t seem interested, but we thought we should follow up at least once.  To our surprise, Elizabeth had had a wonderful experience.  Throughout the day after our first lesson, the word “longsuffering” seemed to play over and over in her mind, and she wanted to learn more.  She continued to progress, kept commitments, came to General Conference, shared the gospel with her family, came to church every week, and was baptized on May 11.  She began to share her faith with her mother, who struggled to leave her old church because of great pressure from her pastor and friends.
Church members and the branch council helped to fellowship Jean and make her feel welcome in the church.  She also sought her own answer from God.  One day when she was praying she heard the words, “Jean, if it wasn’t true, I would have told you.”
On June 8th, Jean Zephyr was baptized.  Through the example of her daughter, Elizabeth, the help of the members, and her own answer from god, she was able to find the only true church on earth – all from a simple question:  “Is there anyone else who would like to join us?”

We Would Have Passed Right by Him
Elder McClain, Elder Mecham, Elder Stewart, and Elder Giddings

One day while traveling by bus in St. Vincent, we couldn't recall where our next appointment was.  Elder Mecham thought it was in one area and I thought it was in the next.  To be safe, we decided to get off the bus and then just walk if we were wrong.  When we got off the bus, we realized we would need to walk quite a long distance.  So we trudged along, somewhat bitter that we had gotten off too early.
As we were talking, a man yelled out to us, and we stopped to talk with him.  His name was Aaron, and he explained that he had met with Elder Jensen and Elder Anderson in Barbados, but had to leave before being baptized.  He had just returned to St. Vincent and was trying to contact the missionaries.  He was discouraged when he could not get through to them.  He shared his testimony of the restored gospel and we could feel that the spirit had truly manifested to him that the gospel is true and he knew it.

He had been told there was a branch in Kingstown and Calliqua, but both were pretty far from his home.  We were so happy to tell him that we had just started a group in Georgetown, and that we could help him be baptized.  We offered to walk him to the church right then, and he accepted.  He continued to express his gratitude to the Lord for helping him find the missionaries and the church.  Little did he know that we would have passed right by him if we hadn’t gotten off the bus too early.
When we told him church started at nine o’clock, he smiled and said “Add me to the roll, I will be there on Sunday”.    We set a time to see him that week and he referred us to his entire family.  He practically sprinted home to tell his family and friends the news.  Aaron is still excited and so grateful for the blessing of this group being opened in Georgetown.  He is progressing toward baptism along with his family members

Another conversion story

A few nights ago, Sister Linton and I went to dinner with some friends we made in Trinidad that were in Tobago for a vacation.  During the night the husband talked about their conversion story.  

He said that years ago he worked for a company that had him traveling from city to city in Trinidad and he kept seeing two young men in white shirts and ties.  He said that they stood out by their dress and being the only white people in the city.  He went on to say that he couldn't understand how they could move from city to city walking faster than he could make the same trip driving.

He told his wife about the young men that could instantly transport themselves from city to city.  She thought it was remarkable and that they needed to visit with them.  

After meeting with the missionaries they came to understand that the two missionaries he saw were not the same two but additional companionships in each town he was visiting.  

Shortly after he and his wife were baptized

Two roosting egrets on saturday morning's walk

 This evening's sunset

Friday, July 19, 2013

Letters from home

Sarah Pinnock, our oldest granddaughter, is in the Provo MTC preparing for her mission call to the Argentina Bahia Blanca Mission

Our dear Pinnock family with their favorite pets


All is well.... In fact I'm great!!!!  I'm loving every second at the MTC and the only thing I wish I could change are all the Ys I see.... GO UTES!  I hope that made Josh smile!  I can eat regular guy food again which is suuuuuch a nice thang but surprisingly I'm not really feeling sugar these days (except for those brownies you made Mom)!   I LOVE LOVE LOVE my district and companions!!!!   Hermana Fries from California and Hermana Tokalogi (pronounced tOk-a-long-E) from Hawaii are two of the funniest, chillest, most spiritual, hard working girls!  Last night I was trying to sleep and I rolled over, opened my eyes and Hermana T was crawling on the ground trying to scare me.  I immediately went into kung fu panda mode and karate chopped her followed by some sweet body slams.  It was the funniest thing... that's the last time either of them will try and sneak up on me.  Guess my fighting skills came in handy, eheh?????  What I love most about us is we work hard and we still have tons of fun!  We've had one mock investigator and trying to teach has been interesting to say the least.  I've spoken what I think is spanish but I'm mostly playing charades.  I'm learning a lot here!!!  We have tons of study time which surprised me but heaven knows I need it.  The Elders in our district are literally hilarious!!!   Mi companions call them the six dwarfs!  There's sleepy, doc, happy, bashful, sneezy/stinky (he is always farting.... I think he has intestinal issues) and dopey.  I don't think a group of humans has ever made me laugh this hard.  David I took your advise and sticky noted our whole room with my district.  One of the Elders is from Australia named Elder Watts so whenever we see him we shout in an Australian accent  "Elda Wattz"!!!  I have seen Gracie J and Elli O hardly at all.  They are on the complete other side of the campus with all the Asians and I'm with all the espanol speakers/wanna be speakers.

Wednesday was literally the funniest day of my life.... never stopped laughing.... like ever these Elders are hilarious.  They remind me of all of Joshy's friends but yesterday was by far the most spiritual.  I made a goal to read the whole New Testament in morning personal studies and I love it!  This is for Joshy - read Matthew Chapter 10.  It's Christ talking to his apostles about missionary work and it totally inspired me!  After being blown away that morning my companions discussed what we should talk about for our new upcoming "investigator".  She is a mother from Chile and her boyfriend goes away to work.  We decided to talk about family and so we all got busy working on finding scriptures for her.  I was looking up scripts from the topical guide that had family references but nothing came so I looked up mothers (mom this is for you).  I first found the Army of Helaman which set the tone but after I looked up John 19.  This chapter talks the crucifixion of Christ.  What I loved about is that the very last thing that Christ did was take care of his mother.  He didn't give up his spirit until he took care of her.  Christ had such a love for women that no one at the time had!  Mom this is me saying I love you!!  Sibils this is me saying GO HUG mom right now because when I read this it was all I wanted to do!  She takes such good care of us it's ridiculous.  When my companions talked about what we had all found it was funny that all our scriptures followed the same line.  It's interesting because even though we were only working with a mock investigator the spirit still lead us to what we should teach.  

Ok, last but not least, my great experience yesterday was in our class when we took turns reading the Book of Mormon in our district.  I started with personal prayers like we do with everything but our teacher (Hermana Plowman= best person) told us to think of a question.  I asked what I could do to speak better and in 1 Nephi chapter one (aka the chapter that ever Mormon has ever read one zillion times) verse 2 (the verse that I've read a million times and never cared a hoot about) I got my answer... to speak in the language of my father or should I say my Heavenly Father or should I say the spirit.... BANG DEAD.  As we kept on reading we stopped and talked about Laman and Lemuel vs. Nephi and Sam.  If you think about it Laman and Lemuel were just a couple of kids that didn't have a good relationship with their dad like a bunch of people we all know.... after all they did do what their father asked eventually.  They went in the wilderness, they went to get the plates, they went on the boat, but I want you think about the real difference.... Their attitudes.  Laman and Lemuel sacrificed while Nephi and Sam consecrated.  It made me think of what I am sacrificing and what I'm consecrating.  Some rules here don't make the most sense and some things are hard to give up like singing a song that's been stuck in your head all week (aka Dan in Real Life sound track).  But I know that the attitude of consecrating makes the whole difference.  This made me think of you Dad!  You don't just make sacrifices but you do it with all you've got!!  I love that about you!  Joshy, when you get out here I hope you think about what you are consecrating instead of what you are sacrificing!  I can't wait to see you!

The people here are amazing but the work is better.  Mi Proposito es invitar a las personal a ver Cristu!  Best thang!!

A few thing for the fam!  Davido I want pics of the art and also info on ladies.... even though I'm on the mission I'm still a girl.... even though I wear velcro shoes now but whatever.... Anyway tell me if there is anyone and remember you have to wait a year and a half because I had a vision you weren't allowed to get married until two Christmases...This isn't me it's the visiOWN.  Ya you know.  Baby girl I would give you advise but I know you’re probably keeping the fam together.

Love you all tons!!!!!  Thanks for all the packages!  I loved the shoes and the mangos!!!!  Oh and tell Grandma P a letter is on the way for her. I’m probably missing something but oh well!

XO me

The Lord is hastening his work!

Hello My People!
Sounds like Joshy, Steve, and Rachel's farewells went great!  Haha look at us... going out into the world, preaching the good word... dang!!
This has been a great week!!!  Really, though, I love it out here.  The MTC is full of the cheese.  People all sharing their emotions and smiling and stuff.  I now get to talk about my feelings and listen to other people over-share about their's.  You know you are in the MTC when you make a goal to make people cry, when your room inspection paper has a scripture reference, when every wall is covered in velcro and when you shout “elder!” and you get about a million people looking back at you.  There is some construction going on outside the MTC grounds right now and they say they are fixing the road but I say it's an electric fence to keep all the humans in... just kidding I know that it's not a prison in here... most of the time.
I was looking at some church art the other day and some guy had a ponytail in the picture so I said, “dang that guy has a nice pony tail".... Little did I know a member of the branch presidency was right behind me.  He came up and was like "let me see" then before he left he whispered, "I used to have a pony tail".  It was so funny!!!  Then he said "Don't tell anyone".... oops.
Well, for the devotional this last Tuesday my companions and I decided to try soprano... again.  It was a mistake.  Little did we know that we sat in the high seprano section on accident and were told to hit a high G..... Instead of singing I just opened my mouth really big and opened my eyes really wide.  What was cool about sitting in the first soprano section was that I had the best view of all the missionaries.  It really is insane.  And to think there are 14 other MTCs that's crazy!!!!!   I've seen a lot of Joshy’s friends including Robby Neff.  I saw Micheal Dellenbach too!!!  Crazy!  This last devotional Ronald G. Hinkley spoke.  My favorite quote is "Stir up the gift of God which is in thee"... nailed it.
So, I will be getting my reassignment this next week!!! Crazy!  The only human that has gotten their VISA to Argentina is the Aussie in our district.  So we all placed bets on where we are going.  I’m guessing Texas, Arizona, Temple Square and Nauvoo.... How cool would it be if I went to Nauvoo mother dear?  The chances are half of us are going to Idaho so ya.  I decided that I like potatoes so if that's where I'm called that's where I want to be.  Way to go IDAHO!
OK, time for spiritual stuff.  I'm learning so much!  Heavenly Father takes such great care of his missionaries!  Like the other day my companion prayed for a taste of home and she legit found a huge box of diet coke in the share box.  Apparently she loves that stuff!  I've seen all the people in my district grow so much it's awesome.  They are the biggest blessing in my life!!!!  In Alma chapter 60 Moroni is chewing out Pahoran for not acting.  In verse seven it says, “Can you sit upon your thrones in a state of thoughtless stupor, while your enemies are spreading the work of death around you?"  Our enemy is the adversary aka Satan aka the devil aka the man in the red PJs holding a trident.  He is working hard so we need to work harder.  Something that I've learned in the New Testiment is that Christ was not politically correct, he wasn't always smiling and he didn't hold back, but he was perfect!  Sometimes the greatest act of love is to come down hard and stand for what you believe.  What we are teaching is true love!  The love to stand up for what's right!  We can't lean upon our own understanding.  We have to trust in Heavenly Father!  He knows things.  I'm sending a challenge home go watch 'Dare To Be Mormon’ online on Mormon Messages.... and read chapter 60 in Alma... do it... it's a good one.
Out here it isn't easy or always fun but I love it!  I love the work, I love my Heavenly Father and I love my Savior Jesus Christ!
XO Hermana Pinnock
P.S.  I heard that Hostess made a come back!  This kid in my district bought a box planning to sell it for a bunch of the dinero haha!!!   Now he's just got a box of twinkies chillin' in his basement!

Sarah and companion sisters

Monday, July 15, 2013

Another week in Paradise

Dramatic sunrises over the Plantations start our mornings.

Pair of pelicans on a crocodile snout-rock cantilever formed by the ocean waves crashing under it.

We saw our favorite camin staring at us as we crossed above it on a bridge.  Perhaps he was thinking of breakfast.

Twice each week we go with the Elders and then the  Sisters to participate in visiting the members or teaching new investigators.  We look forward to the four days spent with them.

I tried once to drive up the concrete drive and spun out at the curve in front of Nettie.  Backing back down was a chore and nobody wanted to be in the car with me when I did - extremely steep.

Now I park at the foot of the drive and we walk up the pathway.

Looking back at our car.  It's a lot steeper than it looks in the photograph.

A few hundred feet more and we are at the top

Ann lives in the pink house with her daughters, Jewel and Deliha.  She has one boarder, Leon, from Jamaica.   He's a very gentle young man and refers to Ann as mom.  They have had two discussions and we hope to see them baptized on August 10th

One of several very large caterpillars in the tree behind Ann's house.  It is longer than my hand.  Probably about eight inches long

To celebrate my birthday, Nettie arranged for a 
glass-bottom boat trip at Pigeon Point.  I snorkeled in the coral reef and saw some spectacular fish and corals.

The waters are crystal clear and about 80 degrees. 

Yes, senior missionaries are allowed to swim!

Kathleen e-mailed a picture of this cake.  She said "Brittin made it for your birthday".  What a beauty - I wish we could have been there to enjoy it with them.  Grandma and Grandpa love Brittin, London and JoJo!

Insult of insults - Kathleen gave our cat Golden a "lion cut" to keep him cool in St George.

Then JoJo threw him in the swimming pool to cool off - I hope he survives the Smith Family "love".

 Who would have guessed these beautiful kids would have been so tough on my poor kitty cat.

Back to Missionary Work!

Preparing for the baptismal service of Phillip Heath and waiting for the Missionaries to change.  Phillip likes to go by the first name of Michiel.


Elder George and Michiel coming back from the change room (trees behind the rocks).

Sister Campbell, Michiel & Sister Schindler

A spectacular beach for a baptism.

Sisters George, Schindler, and Campbell, Michiel, Elders Petersen and Mello.

Into the Caribbean for the baptism of Phillip Heath (Michiel).  Elder Linton on the left, Brother Trevor George center front, Phillip behind him and Elder Petersen on the right.  I baptized Phillip and Brother George and Elder Petersen were witnesses.  


A bit of instruction.

When Phillip came out of the water he was laughing - a pleasant, joyful child-like laugh.

This blog was posted on Sunday after Phillip was confirmed.  This six-foot brick mason broke down and cried during the confirmation and we were all deeply touched.

We made another trip through the jungle to visit Sister Dookran.

We love going up the trail through the jungle to Sister Dookran's home.  She is a humble, devoted sister with little worldly means but rich in the gospel and filled with joy

Her garden of bodey beans.  
They are about 20 inches long and you snap them and cook them like string beans.

Her house on the hill.

With the kitchen sink outside of the window.

Sister Dookran's great grandson - Adesh Kissoon

A beautiful boy with chocolate eyes and silken curls.  I keep telling his mother that we want to take him back to Utah when we go home.

We discovered two additional granddaughters of Sister Dookran's - Madona and Amanda.  Both girls live in the mountains (jungle) and take care of their invalid father. 

A really big tree - Elder Linton at the base.  The tree is a living garden for host plants of all types - did I say I love trees?

While writing this blog, Matthew sent me a picture of his plate of food at Joshua's farewell social at Laura's home.  We miss our kids - we also miss the great food.

Beautiful missionaries at the MTC.  Our granddaughter Sarah on the left is headed for Argentina and Grace her best friend and cousin leaves for Bankock Thailand. 
Josh will join them Wednesday.

A butterfly we've seen once or twice on our walks.
Found it on the internet - named 
The Postman

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The beaches of Tobago & Trinidad

Walking the beaches of Tobago & Trinidad

This morning's sunrise was magical.  I almost expected to hear a crescendo of music as the rays broke through the clouds

What a spectacular greeting

We start our walks early in the morning before the sun comes up.  The shore is lined with coconut palms.  I normally bring home one or two coconuts with each walk and then cut them open on the back lawn with a machete.  In Tobago they call it a cutlas

The coconuts are delicious and we enjoy them daily.  I first cut the husk off the bottom of the shell and then with one whack of the cutlas, take off the shell end.  I drink the milk and with a few more whacks I halve it and break out the white meat.

We usually end up at the water's edge around 6:30 am.  If the tide is out we walk the beach.  If it is high we walk the paths in the grass above the beaches.  When the wind is high we can hear the waves crashing on the beach all night long - it is very soothing

Catching the sun come up over the Atlantic

The island of Tobago has the Atlantic Ocean (pictured) on the east side and the Caribbean on the west side.  We live on the Atlantic side and with constant winds there are a lot of waves.  The waves aren't large enough for good surfboarding but it's ideal for windsurfing.  

This windsurfer was from California.  It took him a half hour to blow up his kite.  He waited for the wind to pick up and off he went flying across the water 

We were fascinated with his aerobatics.   He would fly above the waves ten or fifteen feet and do spin or flip tricks before hitting the water again

After he was finished he came back to the beach and had a cigarette - really!

Wormwood patterns that I loved photographing

Many varieties of colors & textures

Each one is an art piece

With the prevailing winds coming from the East over millions of square miles of ocean, a lot of debris comes ashore.  The many varieties of wormwood could have come from an African coast or somewhere on the European Coast

This morning I discovered this whale bone vertebrae and couldn't believe my eyes.  The opening for the spinal cord was probably eight inches in diameter 

This log had probably been on the ocean for months as evidenced by all of the barnacles that were on it

These small creatures with hard sharp shells become a problem when they cling to sea-going vessels

Driftwood and barnacle sculpture on the beach

A few days of fresh water rain and the barnacles were slowly giving way to moss 

On this day, the beach was covered with blue/purple 
jellyfish - they were beautiful.  I found them on the internet and learned they are a poisonous "Man O' War" 

The next day some were still there and I couldn't resist stepping on one and it popped - like a cellophane bag


Beautiful cellophane sculptures

One morning a lady we met on the beach was gathering this seaweed.  She said how wonderful it was as a skin cleanser - who knows - she did have beautiful skin

By the time we walk the length of the available beach, the sun is up


And everyone comes out to play

Two young boys playing catch me if you can - and showing off a bit for their picture

Handsome but irritating Southern Lapwing bird.  They cry out warnings when we come near them.  Too close and they begin a coordinated attack of diving at us and turning at the last moment.  

A sports team - probably soccer or football was doing drills in the resistance of the waste deep water

What a place to work out.  The water is just under 80 degrees, day and night

Do an about-face from the ocean to the jungle edge - the mystery in it's depth is intriguing

Interesting composition in reflections on this fresh water inlet

Looking back at the Southern tip of Tobago Island 


Lost fishermen's nets washed ashore

With consistent easterly winds and millions of square miles of open ocean, a lot of debris accumulates on the shore lines

We flew over to Trinidad to meet with the other senior couples and the mission president and his wife to spend a night in a beach house.  We had dinner together and then went out for a few hours of watching the giant leatherback turtles come in to lay their eggs.  That night there were thirty or so turtles moving in and out of the water - we could just make them out in the moonlight - several times we were surprised by them as they lumbered up behind us

When one of the turtles was laying, the guide let us put our cameras in close to take a photograph of her egg nest pocket in the sand

She laid about fifty eggs.  The small ones are just filled with air and during the incubation of the fertile eggs the small ones dissolve and leave pockets of air to aid the babies in their dig to the surface 

This little guy was caught going the wrong way up the road as we went back to our rooms

The guide carried him back to the beach and sent him in the direction of the ocean

This beach is on the Northern tip of Trinidad where the Caribbean and the Atlantic come together

A boy and his little sister wanted to show us some of the non-fertile turtle eggs they had picked up on the beach that morning

Their older sister wanted her picture taken also.  They asked us for "snacks" which we didn't have so I gave them several of the Trinidad-Tobago dollars I had on me.  They are worth about sixteen cents each 

The West Indies many islands in
contrasts of beauty, wealth and poverty