Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Nevis LDS Twig

Green Gecko
LDS church units are called wards and stakes.  In congregations not large enough to be a ward, usually in the missions but sometimes in the stakes, the smaller units are called branches.  That is always true when the units are part of a mission or district but not a stake.  When there are very small groups of LDS members who cannot get to the regular meetings of the branches, a family group can be started.  It is under the direction of the branch president and his presiding officer, but it is separate in where it meets and often in the meeting format.  Sacrament meeting is always the main focus of any basic unit of the Church.  That is why we meet in the first place.  Everything grows outward from that important meeting because that is when we partake of the blessed emblems of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the bread and water (our approved substitute for wine in these latter days) that follow the pattern Jesus set at the Last Supper on the night when he was taken by wicked people, tried in an illegal mockery of a trial, and sentenced to die by crucifixion the next day.  It is the most sacred, most remembered, host glorious act of love ever carried out in the history of the universe.

Well, we are on the little island of Nevis, the smaller of the two "sister isles" of the St Kitts and Nevis Federation.  The inconvenience and expense of traveling to St Kitts by ferry for the weekly Sunday meetings has led to establishing a small dependent branch here, really a part of the St Kitts Branch of the Puerto Rico San Juan Mission.  Some months ago the church rented an apartment in Charlestown where the local Saints can have a place to meet together each Sunday to share fellowship, sing and pray together, and especially to partake of the sacrament.  Usually someone came over from St Kitts to meet with the few members on Nevis, mainly women.  Since the end of June, Gaye and I have been living in that apartment with the assignment to find the members here and bring them together.  I don't know if we meet in our apartment or if we are living in the chapel.

It has been an interesting experience to be here.  The island is very small with about 7000 total inhabitants.  The road around the island is about 17 miles long.  Charlestown, the main city, is about 1500 inhabitants, although it has pretty much everything that is needed for a reasonably comfortable life.  We drive the nice 2011 turbo-diesel Toyota Hilux 4-door, 4WD truck.

The biggest blessing to us has been to work with the Allen family here.  They have been members for many years but have been in various stages of activity and inactivity in church programs.  We are working with them and they have really come alive.  Br Allen is almost ready to be ordained an elder.  Sister Allen had been to the temple for herself and she is excited as we work with her and Br Allen to get ready to go to the temple in Dominican Republic, perhaps even this year.  Their 21-year old son Evanson is also preparing for ordination to the Melchizedek Priesthood and a temple trip, in preparation for serving a mission.  Their faith is amazing and a strong testimony to us of the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to bring joy and meaning into the lives of all who will live the way of life we are instructed to live.  Some look at those instructions as restrictions.  I am totally convinced that those commandments are guidelines of safety and instruction that will get us safely home.  They remind me of the chains placed along the trail to Angels Landing in Zion NP in southern Utah.  Keep your hand on the chain and you will be safe.  Try to do it on your own and there might be some unfortunate things happen.

So we are growing in testimony and faith because of the beautiful examples of the sweet people we have been sent here to work with.  I am not sure who is benefitting the most.  I am certain, however, of the love our God has for each of us.  We serve such an awesome God!  I just want to stand up and shout Hallelujah! all day long. Time is hurrying past each day and there is so much to do.

We have found another family with two pre-teens who are starting to take the piano lessons.  They have not been baptized but their parents are members, so this is a good start to building the relationship that needs to exist as we invite them to come in and participate in the glorious supper provided by the Lord for his obedient children.  That is the way to happiness.  Is there no other way?  There is no other way.

Life is good.  The little coqui frogs sing up a storm each night.  At least that is what Gaye says.  I can't hear them.  That is something I need to get fixed when I get home, if I can.  There is a constant ringing in my ears at the same frequency as the frogs and crickets and birds, so I really can't distinguish the ever-present noise from the night sounds.  Oh well, my blood pressure is still 120/80.  Cant' have it all.

Here are a few photos of Nevis.  Next time I will have more people photos.

A foot path through the vegetation.

The vines cover everything

Old Sugar Factory

Moody Mt Nevis

Precious from Nigeria

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