Monday, December 29, 2014

week 23


Maybe I should start doing something witty in French or start with a phrase.  I'll work on it.  Wow this week was a party.  I mean it's always a party in French Guiana but it was really just a big long party all week.

Lundi, (Monday), we had the missionary celebration and we made deserts and a Christmas dinner.  And than watched the movie Frozen because lots of missionaries have not seen it yet.  Needless to say they loved it and the songs have been stuck in everyone's heads.  

Mardi (Tuesday) was a regular day at work and in the evening the branch president's wife had a birthday party so we went to their house and had cake and ice cream!

Mecredi (Wednesday) was Christmas Eve and we went and taught some lessons earlier in the day and than went to a Christmas party in the sister's area.  After that, we had a HUGE French Christmas feast at a family in our branch's house.  One of the foods we ate was blood sausage, which was...interesting.  You just suck the guts out of it like an otter pop.  Sounds nasty but it was not too bad. Then all the missionaries slept over at the zone leader's apartment.

Christmas we woke up with probably more excitement then most kids do because believe it or not santa found us in French Guiana! We unwrapped presents and then visited some new converts.  We went to the Branch President's house for food and skyping home.  Skyping home was to this day, still the weirdest experience of my mission.  I love you guys lots but man it was weird!  Then Elder Smith and I went around our area singing songs and visting less actvies and recent converts. Afterwards, we followed up by another member party at night.  

Something that I have really noticed about Christmas is the increase of love that you see around you.  We always highlight that Christ's birth is smothered by presents and Santa.  Instead we can focus on the increase in love that you can feel.  It is true that it is easy to forgot the true meaning.  But we can all feel the increase of love and that comes directly from our Savior.  In the "He is the Gift" video it says He is the Christ... He is Christmas.  

We now have a whole year until Christmas but the increase of love the spirit is there for us all year.  I love that.  Never stop searching for where Jesus is because he is everywhere you just have to look.

I won't be back on emailing until Wednesday next week.  This weekend were traveling to Suriname for zone conference!

Love you lots and Happy New Year,

Elder Logan Robert Sackley

nom nom nom elder smith is a master chef
Merry Christmas West Indian style
The Family Dabreu with all the naked children
Me and my favorite guy Lois Fabio... No one really knows where he came from he doesnt speak any french so i free style spanish with him.  Hes the biggest goofball probably top 3 favorite people i have met
christmas eve table at the family litampha
just in the christmas spirit!
blood sausage not half bad you squeeze it out of the skin
Me and my guy elder Maux 
nom nom nom
Drinks all around!
Christmas for the missionaries! 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

week 22

Joyeux noel!

I have started to realize I write these blog letters with all these thoughts in my head thinking I am going to throw together a master piece.  What comes out is just a vomit of words so I am going to try to do better.

This week was great! We had some of the best missionary work ever in Cayenne this week and it was amazing.  The ward christmas party was last friday and it was for sure a party.  The missionaries did a skit and it was the classic head through the curtain with the other persons arms through the curtain just harrassing the person's face.  First round was make a sandwhich and eat it as fast as you can. It was a race between the missionaries.  Unfortunately, I drew the unlucky card between me and Elder Smith.  Problem is he quickly made the sandwhich squished it into a ball and shoved it all into my mouth.  Agh it was awful, but a good laugh.

We sang songs in French and the missionaries sang some English songs too which the branch really liked.  Then Pere noel came which (as you can see from the picture below) was just a priest with a shaving cream beard. It was a really fun night i dont think i have laughed or sang so loud in my whole life.

With the spirit of the christmas season, we have a time to reflect on past years; Past gifts we have recieved, or things we have done.  In honor of that I am going to list off 5 gifts that I have recieved over the years (not necessarily christmas gifts) that have stuck with me forever.  

Garrett-  Life sucked in a house full of 2 older sisters always shoving me into dresses and making me play with dolls.  I know you can't remember the day but i still do where you first came home and i took you and put you in my bed with me for our first sleepover.  Ever since than you have been a great brother and gift.

Mallory- It is not every day that you have to leave on a mission.  Sitting down in a classroom with other people speaking French and having no idea how you can do this is rough.  Opening your scriptures and finding pictures with notes from your older sister does make it possible.  Thank you for that.

Madison- Though 17 years old I had still not quite found my standing with the church or the Book of Mormon.  seeing one of your idols go on a mission and leave you with the challenge to read the Book of Mormon before you return fixed that for me.  I cant thank you enough for that.

Mom- i dont know if you remember this but I do. You were talking to me about Joesph Smith and that was his calling to restore the church. We talked about how God gives us talents or a calling in this life. I remember sitting there thinking and than asking you what did he give me?  From that day forward you have helped me find what God gave me. And i thank you for that.

Pops-  Last Christmas Madison and I talked for a while about you and then Christmas morning when you read us your list my whole prespective and world sortve flipped.  Everyday of my life you were giving so much and i never could see that.  You have always been a great example to me and im sorry for not always seeing that.

I wish you all a merry christmas and a Joyeux Noel,

Elder Sackley

Pere Noel or just a priest with shaving cream on his face preparing for a boxing match you be the judge
Joyeux Noel!
Morning P day studies at the beach

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

week 21

Wow this week was nuts!

District conference is over skype here because the district consist of Guyana, Martinique, Guadeloupe, and St Martin.  Saturday night was a fireside and the mission president, President Mehr was speaking at it.  He stands up, looks at the web cam and says Guyana you have a right to know the mission is splitting.  The West Indies mission will no longer exist in July of 2015.  There will now be the Trinidad port of Spain mission which is Trinidad and Tobago, English Guyana, and Suriname.  Then the Barbados mission which is all the islands already in the mission and French Guiana.  The change really has no effect on me since all the French side stays together but none the less...  The West Indies mission call is now going extinct!

Now a horror story for your week: 

Right now is the rainy season here in Guyana.  Friday it was dumping rain like I have never seen before and without any sign of stopping.  Even with all the rain, we threw on our big jackets and headed out the door.  During a lesson that day, I noticed all these bugs flying around.  I thought it was just our investigators house. But when we left the real horror was revealed...  When it rains for a long period of time it causes the termites here to evolve. I am not sure of the science behind it, but the locals explain the horror that way. The termites grow wings.  And take flight.  No exaggeration MILLIONS.  So as I was looking into the sky, it literally looked like it was snowing flies... It was awful.  I rode my bike with my mouth shut and head down.  If i looked up i would get a face full of bugs.  So yes, the apocalypse is coming because the bugs rule the sky.  And than just as quickly as they appeared they all die.  Weirdest thing I have ever seen.

A spiritual moment: 

A little over a month ago i started reading Jesus the Christ.  If you have not read this book I would reccomend it to anyone...LDS or not LDS because it is amazing. The more and more I have learned about the Savior's life the more and more I realize I have no understanding at all about Him.  

The Christmas devotional given last Sunday was also very good. I loved D. Todd Christophersons talk on how Jesus Christ gave up his Godship to be born into the most humble of circumstances, and then to be spat upon and beaten and ultimately killed by the people He came to save.  Something I never understood was that being born of an earthly mother (or a mortal mother) He was subject to all earthly pain.  His Heavenly Father kept him immortal, yet he chose to give it up to feel what we feel and more. His body physcially endured a 40 day fast - the only thing that kept him alive was the fact he was a God.  When he took on the pain and afflictions of the world and he physically endured all of that. The only reason He survived was because of his being the Son of God.  It was not until he laid down his own life that he was able to be killed.  I dont think I will ever be able to comprehend the type of love the Savior has for us.  I don't think I will ever understand the depths of the sacrifice he made for us either, but I can try and begin by expressing my thanks.  What a wonderful time of the year this is - I love it! Please remember what the first gift was and do all you can to share, use, and be thankful for it.

Even though Christmas is around the corner i have a sunburn...

Elder Logan Robert Sackley

my new friend

its monsoon season in cayenne good thing i get to rock this bad boy
happy birthday to my favorite Estfhany (Her name is the French version of Stephanie!) 

Happy happy birthday
District Conference Via Skype

take a nice zoom in and you will see the metropolitan man in his natural habitat.  A speedo

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

week 20


Everyone keeps emailing me asking what it feels like to be celebrating December and Christmas down here in the islands.  I tell you what: its blazing hot and the only thing that reminds me it is December is the occassional christmas lights on someone's house.  But really though.  It has started to rain a lot more because the rain season is beginning but the rain does not quench the heat one bit.  It feels very bizarre it's already Christmas time, as all I am feeling is endless summer. This whole paragraph sounds like I am complaining but I rather enjoy the sun.  

With this time of the year the first presidency sent out a new video called "He is the gift". They asked us to share it with family and friends, so I am doing so with all of you: 

I have been thinking about this video a lot.  He is the gift.  This time of the year is crazy  and it can feel as if everything is centered around gifts.  The whole purpose behind this season however, is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  But yes, like many of can attest to it can sometimes be swallowed up in the rush and excitment of the newest phone or xbox.  But have any of us really stopped and thought what Christ would want for Christmas?  I dont think He would care for the iphone 6 or a new pair of skiis.  I think the best thing we can give Jesus is using the gift He gave us.  The Atonement not only gives us the ability to be forgiven but to be perfected.

Now I am not going to tell you what that should mean to you but what it means to me. Missionaries are not perfect people -we make mistakes and we have flaws. So I have decided this christmas I am going to give away my negativity.  Life is tough but its supposed to be.  We came here for the tough times! So why should I be negative when they come? I will start to appreciate the tough times and embrace them with positivity. We were given this life as a gift and I am going to treat it like one starting now. I will be taking every step with gratitude towards my Savior and what He did for me.  

The other gift I want to give Him is sharing the gift he gave to me.  As missionaries, we talk with everyone... or at least we try too.  We share the gift as much as we can.  But one of my biggest regrets was not doing that when I was home. Yes, I love these people here but I did not grow up with them and I have not known them for a super long time.  My challenge to you is to share the gift in whatever way you can with those around you. It doesn't have to be something huge or something grand.  But I

know that you will not regret giving someone a gift that will last forever.  

Still way too hot to be december,

Elder Logan Robert Sackley 

Like i said its hard to get member lessons you have to be creative out here

This is Mike Mastey he was baptized in the spring.  He is now a ward missionary and works with us all the time.  He also speaks fluent portugese french spanish and english.  Mike you da mvp

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

week 19


What a joke! I have a nice fresh sun burn that disagrees with that. I'm starting to see that it doesn't make a difference what time of the year it is, its just going to be hot here.  Last Saturday was transfer calls: the verdict is.... The dream team will be staying together for another transfer in Cayenne! Pretty sweet because I really like it here and I like Elder Smith a lot.  

Today marks the end of my "trainee" title.  These two transfers really have blown by pretty fast, which is weird... when I look back in time everything just kinda feels like it mixes together, and all my memories swirl into a big blur.  But I for sure have learned a lot. Transfer two (transfers are every 6 weeks) was excellent.  We set a goal beginning of our first transfer together to to baptize three people.  We ended up with zero people in that first transfer, and it was our own fault.  Transfer two was a lot about redemption and making up for where we fell short.  We set the same goal again for three baptisms in the second transfer and worked hard all transfer for it and ended up accomplishing it.

I think thats what I love most about the gospel in general.  It was not given to us by our Heavenly Father so that we can be perfect or to get it right the first time.  We have it to continually strive to be better and when we fall short, we must pick ourselves right back up and try harder and get it the next time.  I always loved the quote "it doesnt matter how many times you fall down, all that matters is how many times you get back up".  We got knocked down a bunch this transfer but we kept getting back up and moving forward, putting our trust in the Lord. 

I am very excited for a third transfer in Cayenne. I know it will be tough and I am sure we will get knocked down a lot but I can't wait to get back up and keep moving forward.

Elder Logan Robert Sackley

Bannanes pese for the thanksgiving night fiest
we made an apple pie on thanksgiving!!
me and the man the myth the legend: Frere Bady. Frere Bady he is always sick or tired or both.  The most clothes he wears outside of church is a towel or a sheet.
Elder Lever is leaving for Guadelope. I love this guy and hope i can serve with him again

Monday, November 24, 2014

week 18

hello one and all!

This week was really quite swell. We went over to a less active member's house and did some service for her than made some Roti.  It was delicious and maybe it was mostly because the chicken we ate had been killed that morning. I'm still a little sad that I was unfortunately not there to see it die.  Afterwards we found some little peppers on a bush outside her house.  Word to the wise: never try tiny sketchy south american peppers... it was SO HOT! yeah that was definitely a mistake. 

We celebrated Thanksgiving today because no one really celebrates it here..since well, it isn't America...  That being the case, we did the best we could and had a Brazilian thanksgiving consisting of all you can eat buffet. It was delicious.  Not quite the same as back home but after eating I got the same food baby as I do normally.

I thought I'd share today a little background on my area here in Guyana.  This place use to be on fire with missionary work. Years ago there were 3 branches here and so much missionary work going on, they made a new district just out of our little area. The details are still blurry on exactly what happened, but ultimately the church collapsed and people moved away, leaders went inactive, and now we have one branch left in Cayenne.  For years Guyana was seen as the pit of the mission.  No one could baptize here and nothing could be done.  This year the Lord has been hastening the work and the missionaries are trying to keep up!  This week we recieved a list of 400 less active members of the church or inactive members.  (The ruins of what this place once was). Starting tonight we are initiating operation...well i dont know what to call it i dont have anything catchy yet... but for now I'll call it operation "rebuild Guyana!"  Our first plan obviously is to start with all the inactive and help them back to the church to make this place what it once was. I am very excited...I dont think there is anything more special than helping someone find their way again. Operation rebuild is a go.

Pray for us, 
Elder Logan Robert Sackley

just me and the boys
clapping roti: it's an english guyanese dish but it comes from india
I think i read something about these bad boys in like 1st grade pretty sure hes dangerous thats why i picked him up
south american peppers are a no go
Elder Belnap and I 
thanksgiving brazil style nom nom nom

Monday, November 17, 2014

week 17

Today I only am going to focus on one story because its a dang good one.

the conversion of NELMA and ESTHEFANY:

My first full day in Guyane Elder Smith told me we were going to go to a womens house named nelma who was planning on getting baptized the next day.  When we arrived she came downstairs and told us not only that she could not talk to us, but also that she was not getting baptized the next day. (What?!) The next week we set out to find what had stopped her.  Long story short, we taught probably 6 lessons over the span of the next 2 weeks with no progress...and in some cases maybe even a step back.  On an exchange one night Elder Lever and I went over and had a very simple lesson with her.  We decided to slam on the breaks on our trying to get her to be baptized, and instead we focused our lesson on the Book of Mormon.  At the end of the lesson she decided she was going to re start reading the Book of Mormon and really search for an answer as to whether or not it was true.  

The next couple weeks Elder Smith and I began to see a night and day change.  Nelma was loving the book of mormon and had started to read 10-15 pages in between appointments.  There was a physcial change in her; she was a happier person, her prayers were an open dialogue between her and her Heavenly Father.  Everytime she prayed it was rare for her to finish the prayer with dry eyes.  She loved the Book of Mormon and she loved the gospel of Christ.  We set a new baptismal date for the 18th of October and it was all smiles and rainbows until October 16th.  We went over the baptismal interview questions with Nelma and as we were, we found she had a problem in the past that needed to be discussed with one of our leaders in Guadelope before she would be able to be baptized.  After scrambling for a couple hours we got him on the phone and they had an interview.  Afterwards Nelma handed us the phone and to our utter disappointment, the leader told us the following:

Nelma was worthy and ready for baptism.  The problem was Nelma, being a single mom with no money or job was staying at a recent converts house who just so happened to be an old ex boyfriend.  He had remodled his house to the specifications of the Branch President so that Nelma could stay there and they could still be considered living separate. (They were no longer together as a couple, the member was simply just helping her out.)  The leader in Guadelope decided she needed to move out before she could be baptized.  I remember getting home that night and just passing out on my bed.  It was very discouraging for us and Nelma.  

Not willinging to accept defeat, our search was on to find Nelma a new place to live, as well as a job.  We searched and searched with Nelma as she looked for jobs and places to live.  Having confidence in the Lord we set a baptismal date for the 15th of November.  November 1st rolled around and Nelma told us she was going to get baptized in two weeks with or without a job.  That attitude quickly shifted.

At the start of this week me and Elder Smith decided that Nelma could and was going to get baptized this saturday.  We went over tuesday and she told us she could move out (!) ... by December 20th.  We both decided that the day was too far away. So we then decided to fast Wednesday to Thursday (24 hours) so she could find a place to live and a job.  Wednesday morning as we were planning the lesson for Nelma, we realized we wanted confirmation that this promise that she could be baptized the 15th was from Up TOP and not just us saying it.  We said a prayer and than it was silent for probably 30 minutes.  Both I and Elder Smith were searching through the scriptures having personal prayers or just thinking before we finally looked at each other and agreed she could do it.

We rode our bikes over to her home, and decided we were going to go in full of faith, showing no signs of doubt that Nelma could indeed be baptized on Saturday.  We believed it was going to happen and we needed her to as well.  We walked in and it was clear something great was just out of reach: when teaching a lesson, it is important that it is quiet so that the Spirit may be felt, and the investigator may fully concentrate on the lesson. When we walked in however, this was not what we found. There were kids cry-screaming, brazilian tv at full volume, and everything just felt like chaos. It was not the environment ideal for teaching faith in. Feeling the opposition, we realized without a doubt that a miracle was bound to occur.  

Sister D'Abreu, a member of the branch was there with us as well. She had been with us for most of our lessons teaching Nelma and she was going to fast with us.  We went outside in the back and had Nelma pray to start the fast.  After the prayer, we went back inside completely confident all would go well. We told Nelma that we knew if she moved out even with no job, all would go well.  Right away Nelma began shaking her head and saying "no no no no" even Souer D'Abreu looked at us and asked how on earth we could demand such things knowing Nelma had no money.  Looking back at the situation now,  it would have been very easy to cower away and doubt the confirmation we had had that morning. 

Instead of doing so however, we pressed forward knowing and trusting the anwser was there. After the lesson, Souer D'Abreu stopped us and asked us if she could talk to us outside.  We walked out with her as she began to give us the miracle "hey uhm is it allowed if she moves in with us?"  It was like a lightning bolt from above.  The anwser to everything was sitting right next to us!  We had talked countless times about her moving and Souer D'Abreu had never shown any real sign that she could help.  Elder Smith looked at me and then back to the sweet sister and restated her question again "....yes, can she?"  and than Souer D'Abreu started jumping up and down exclaiming "Nelma is going to get baptized!!!"

It's very easy in life when the walls are coming down to think what am I doing?  Why am I here?  Where is God?  Often times when the storm is raging and everything looks dark, we forget that if there was no opposition, there would be no good.  I dont think it was chance that Nelma's house was so crazy that day.  Everything looked so dark and hopeless as we began the fast, and it would have been very easy to ask where is god? or what are we doing?  Its important to remember instead that as opposition arrises it means there is something great just beyond it. You have to just trust that God is there and push through.

Love, Elder Logan Robert Sackley

baptism! Nelma is next to me, and her daughter Eshefany is the little one

one of the downsides of not having a car is we cant pick up members and drive them to appointments.... or can we?
yak yak yak gosh i hate spiders tried killing him turns us there pretty fast