|President's Personal Vehicle. : ^ )|
November 29, 2012
We met the YFTM at the church, drove to the ferry terminal, and rode the boat to Virgin Gorda, another island of the BVI and much smaller than Tortola. There was a family group over there until a couple of years ago. The missionaries were not getting much support from the members and then the group leader decided to step out on his wife and family. So the mission president (before President Alvarado arrived as mission president but while he was the Area Seventy) suddenly pulled out the missionaries and sold or gave all the Church things away and closed the group. The locals were not consulted or even warned. The Church was there one day and gone the next. I am sure there are two sides to the story, though.
|On the ferry|
That left some bitter feelings with the members. They are still in the Tortola branch, but now they must ride the ferry over here to attend Sunday meetings. It is $30 RT per person. That is prohibitive for the families there.
Our trip was to find as many of those members as we could and invite them to come to Tortola to church. If they will demonstrate a willingness to make the sacrifice, then we might be able to organize a group on VG again and come over monthly to have a sacrament meeting. We made connection with four of the families.
The former group leader has run off with another woman and left his wife and two young children to fend for themselves. He goes to Guyana, where they came from, but when he returns he stays in the same apartment with his wife and kids. It is awkward for her. If she leaves the marriage then she will not get any support because she abandoned the marriage, and he will not go ahead with a divorce. He just tells her to move on with it. She has a job teaching very young children at a church school there. I am sure it doesn’t pay enough to provide the stability the family needs. It is sad.
|Sail boats at Virgin Gorda|
We rented a car so we could get around, so we drove around the island just to see what is there. It is a beautiful place with gorgeous beaches and bays and reefs. Gaye loves to snorkel and she is already making plans to return after we get our hands on some snorkeling gear. we are accumulating stuff and we are already over the weight limit, so when something comes in something else needs to go out. Anyway, it is very similar to Tortola but much smaller.
We made a couple of appointments to return and visit some of the members, so we had some empty time to fill. We drove onto an beautifully maintained area that is part of an exclusive hotel. We found some shade and parked the car and got out for a few minutes. A maintenance truck drove past and the driver got out and started talking to the elders. It was one of the members we were trying to contact! What are the chances of that randomly happening? We had a good visit for several minutes until his boss drove past and told him to get to work. Anthony said he misses the Church very much. He has gone to other churches but they have nothing to offer him. He is still a member of The Church and knows that this is his church. I think he holds the Aaronic Priesthood. he was glad to see us and we exchanged email addresses so we can keep in touch with him better.
|Savannah Beach. We need to go snorkeling there.|
I did not bring a hat and my head is being exposed to more sunlight than it would like to have. I put sun screen on to prevent getting too burned and it seemed to help, but I am asking Kim to send me a couple of caps from home. We will be going to San Juan on December 15 for the annual mission Christmas gathering so we can pick things up there and bring them back with us. One in and one out, though.
A follow-up note on the piano lessons. Kryssie, the lovely 14-year-old daughter of President Kalama, has been practicing and is almost ready to play a hymn in sacrament meeting. The first one the lessons teach and have the students play is “There Is a Green Hill Far Away” because it is played without moving the hands around on the keyboard. She is really enthused, so we need to teach her and praise her and get her firmly into the program. If we do nothing else, this will have been worth coming to Tortola.