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

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

week 16


This week reminded me of why I love being a missionary so much. It was the best way a man can start off his 19th year of life.  First I will tell a funny story:

So Tuesday Elder Smith and I were in companionship study and we are had to call another Elder to get a member's contact info. That's when Elder Smith noticed something crawling across his shoulder.  He instinctively freaked out and screamed very loud and high and flung it off.  A baby iguana had climbed up his chair up his back and was just resting on his shoulder.  We have been trying to catch iguanas for a long time but they are sooo fast.  So we cornered the sucker and after lots of screaming, and a couple tears we wrangled him.  We were very content with our catch as we sat back down to call the Elder. That is when we noticed just outside our door, yet another Iguana was laying nonchalantly! Elder Smith snuck past it with a bucket and I did my best hockey impersonation. I took a broom and smacked the sucker right into the bucket.  He was not too happy with us, but we got him! And then lightning struck for a third time.  A mama iguana must of had babies on our porch because another little guy was laying on our railing.  With some persuasive words I got it to jump into the bucket.  We quickly taught the lessons and converted them.  They actually liked us.  But seeing it is against mission rules we released them after a while, sad we had to let them go. It felt like the kids left the nest.

We had our first baptism this week!  His name is Smith Carrenan, and he is Haitian and 27 years old. 

 Here is his conversion story:

Elder Smith and I were headed to go meet with a guy named Peterson we had contacted earlier in the week.  We got there and Peterson could not meet with us then but his cousin Smith could talk for just a minute.  We had a very quick Book of Mormon lesson with Smith and then agreed to come back later in the week.  They were intrested but as they put it - "we just want to learn how your church works".  We came back later hoping it would be more than that..and seriously all they wanted to know was the organization of the church.  They asked about Apostles, the Quorum of the 70...just bizzare random questions. We left the second lesson just kind of rolling our eyes, as we didn't feel too hopeful about the whole thing. But, we set a return appointment and invited them to read and come to church.  

That Sunday was fast Sunday. And we were fasting with the particular reason of finding someone who would be ready for baptism.  We had 4 investigators in mind and as we rode our bikes to all their houses that morning, we had no luck with any of them! No one wanted to or would come to church.  I was sitting in Sacrament Meeting very frustrated and just confused.  I knew God was trying to tell me something but I didn't know what.  I sat there for a while with my face in my hands and finally I sat up and leaned back in the chair. I looked down the row behind me and there he was.  Smith looking right back at me smiling! It was like a ton of bricks falling on me- the answer to our fast was looking right at me.  

The next time we visited smith the whole lesson changed. He was so eager to learn more, and he loved it.  We worked with him all the way to his baptism but the more we taught him, the more we realized Smith was really teaching us.  He was so happy all the time and was always so eager to learn.  He was baptized on Saturday by a recent convert named Dorval. After the baptism, Smith asked a missionary to give him the Holy Ghost the next day. 

The morning of his confirmation Elder Smith looked at me and said that I would be giving the blessing. I have given one blessing my whole life in english in a tiny quite room in the MTC.  This was the confirmation of my first baptism in front of a congregation of 100 in french.  I don't think I have ever been so nervous in my life.  I went up to the front of the congregation, took a deep breath and opened my mouth and... I cant tell you what I said.  I can't remember it at all.  I remember starting and than sitting back down.  Afterwards Elder Smith told me that I had spoken flawless french and had told Smith everything he needed to know.  

I am very grateful that Heavenly Father brought us Smith and I feel privileged he let me be there to see his conversion.  I am thankful for the promise of trusting the lord enough to open my mouth and he will fill it with the words i need to say.  I feel privileged to tell everyone that Smith Carrenan is a new member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!


Elder Logan Robert Sackley

trained him and everything his name is rocco
Go Pats Go baby
pomme d'amour or the apple of love is in season and i probably eat 3 a day
baby iguanas

the shipments for the Book of Mormons came in!

Dorval is next to me he baptized smith he is a recent convert of 3 months and the man of the week is next to elder smith!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Week 15


Something about being 19 makes me feel old.  It kind of stinks because whenever I meet someone down here I make them guess my age and I always get a consistent answer of being 23-25. So when I tell them 18 they go crazy.  I guess 19 still is a jump but it just isn’t the same.  My last year being a teenager is going to be spent in complete service to the Lord and what’s better than that?  

My Birthday Celebration:

I was woken up to a nice hardy breakfast of eggs and brownies.  The brownies were from the Suriname trip from a few weeks back and they were so good.  After wolfing down some eggs and brownies the other elders came and picked up both Elder Smith and I and we headed into town.  There is a market every Saturday in downtown Cayenne and the youth of the church sell baked goods to raise money to go to the temple.  So we bought Tarts, Cake, some mango juice and other baked goods from them.  The elders all sang happy birthday to me in the van because it has air conditioning, and we didn’t want to leave it.
After they sang to me and wished me a happy birthday, they dropped us back off and it was time to work.  We worked all day and only stopped to get a drink of water and begin our fast at 1.  So we worked all day off of a healthy breakfast of brownie, cake, eggs, and tarts.  It was probably not such a good idea but what do you expect from two 19 year olds?  Anyhow, we worked until later at night, when the other set of elders had a baptism and we went to support the new convert.  Sister Mehr (The President’s wife) called me and wished me a happy birthday and the Assistants to the president called and sang me happy birthday.  The branch had a Halloween party since we as a church don’t really affiliate with all saints day.  Nothing is funnier than watching members jam out to an American song that they don’t understand any of the words to.  Overall, I don’t think that a missionary could have a better birthday.  The members all wished me a happy birthday and the sisters gave me a bundle of floops.  It was a good day to be a 19-year-old that’s for sure.  


Elder Logan Robert Sackley

My French hair cut in full effect (it has finally grown in to its potential)
birthday party! (with a home-made candle) 
All the languages I can speak...Not really...I try. 
the market
the market where we bought Saturday's breakfast
Elder Savage and I celebrating in the AC van
My Halloween Costume