Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Lead, Kindly Light

Hey everyone!
This week was the fastest week ever! How is this transfer already half way over? It's flown by so fast!! 
Monday we got to go to Cabbage Beach on Paradise Island. (aka the most beautiful beach in the world on the most fun island in the world.) It was a blast!! That night we went out teaching, since p-day ends at 6:00. It was Michelle's birthday, and she's Jamaican, so we floured her! (Basically Jamaicans pour flour over each other's heads to celebrate big events. It doesn't really make sense but it's fun so I've decided to roll with it.) 
Tuesday we started to go out teaching, but about halfway through the day we all felt insanely sick. So the teaching had to slow down a little, but we got everything done thanks to the help of Heavenly Father! 
Wednesday morning, we went to district meeting (which is mostly like our nightly house scripture study since our district consists of the four sisters that live in my house), and we all started to feel really sick again. Sister Rampersad was super sick, and we were worried about her, so we took her to the doctor. Turns out our filters on our faucets weren't working, and we'd all been drinking contaminated water for a few days. But after we took some medicine and rested, we were mostly okay. The Lord really does look after his missionaries... the doctor told us that we should have been in bed unable to move based on the amount of bacteria that was in our bodies! I'm so grateful to be blessed with such good health. 
Thursday morning, Sister Rampersad was feeling sicker than the rest of us still, so we had to do a trade-off. Basically that meant I had to lead my area after being in the field for two and a half weeks. The good news is, we only got lost once. The bad news is, we were so lost we were about forty five minutes late to our appointment. I'm pretty sure I have no sense of direction unless I have some form of mountain range to help guide me. Oops. The best thing that happened on Thursday was that both Arthur Jr and Northell committed to baptismal dates within the next two weeks! I really hope and pray they continue to progress... their testimonies are astounding!! 
Friday was my month mark! I've been a missionary for over a month now! How is that even possible... It feels like I've been here for like three days. Sister Rampersad got everyone cupcakes to celebrate because she's the best trainer in the world :) We had a mini party in the car before we separated for the day. Friday after superplanning, we had an actual scheduled trade-off, which meant I led my area AGAIN. Sister Wilkinson and I were going to Arthur Jr's house when we realized we were dying of hunger, and there was a friendly looking rasta man on the side of the road selling peanuts. So we pulled up beside him and asked if we could trade him a Book of Mormon for two bags of peanuts. He got super excited and took the book and started reading. Long story short... we have a new investigator, but I never got my peanuts haha. Friday night was fun night at the church. Bahamians sure know how to play basketball! All of the sisters played against the primary kids, and we got our tails whooped. We're going to start working on our skills in the mornings for exercise time so we don't get beaten by ten year olds again. 
Saturday was a normal proselyting day... with a weird dinner consisting of waffles covered in fried chicken and syrup. It sounds disgusting, but it tasted delicious! I couldn't eat more than a few bites though because I thought my heart would stop haha. 
Sunday, ALL OF OUR INVESTIGATORS CAME TO CHURCH!!! And we got three new investigators because our members rock and they share the gospel like none other! HALLELUJAH THE CHURCH IS TRUE! Haha we got so excited, Sister Rampersad and I ran outside and jumped up and down for a few minutes between Sacrament and Sunday school. Then after church, we went to go eat at a member's home for lunch, but we had a flat tire. Boo. We tried to change it by ourselves, but our spare was flat too. Five amazing branch members, a friendly tire shop owner, and a broken sabbath day later, we were finally able to change our tire! So after we finished repenting for breaking the sabbath (haha), we got to go eat lunch and teach a bunch of people! We're working on reactivating the Taylor family. They have a little girl named Arden (she's like four), and she's pretty much fallen in love with me. She follows me around and she even tried to sneak in the trunk of our car so I would take her home with me. Goodness gracious I love that little girl so much! She's the cutest thing you ever did see. Sunday was Ramp's eight month mark, so she and I drove to Paradise Island to watch the sunset. It was GORGEOUS and a perfect way to end the Sabbath!! 
Other things that happened this week: 
Since people here speak a combination of French, Creole, and English, I've been working on learning French and Creole. (Even though this is an English speaking mission haha.) I can bear my testimony like half way in Creole, and I'm figuring out how to teach lessons with a combination of French, Creole, English and sign language I make up on the spot :) I think it's working... maybe. Haha :) 
We've been ducking the police all week because we have no brake lights and our windshield is cracked. The office won't pay for them to be fixed because we're getting new cars this week (woohoo!). But we still got pulled over twice. But they took pity on us because we're confused foreigners and we didn't even get a warning! It's a miracle I tell ya. 
We got a branch mission leader! Brother Smith is amazing and his wife is like our grandma here! She's such a sweet lady, and he's such a cool guy! They take really good care of us :) 
This week, I've really been paying attention to the tender mercies of the Lord. One that especially stuck out to me happened Tuesday night as we were driving home. It had been a long day of proselyting, especially since we were so sick and it was almost 100 degrees and insanely humid. I was just worn out and I said a little prayer in my head asking Heavenly Father for some comfort. After I finished my prayer, the song on the stereo changed to "Lead, Kindly Light." I heard, "Lead, kindly light amid the encircling gloom. The night is dark, and I am far from home. Lead thou me on." As I listened to the words, I was overcome with a feeling of peace and an awareness that Heavenly Father cares for me. I am doing His work, and He isn't going to leave me or anyone else alone. He knows each and every one of us better than we know ourselves, and all he wants is for us to be happy. He will guide us if we do our best to follow him. I know that as we all continue to learn and grow and do our very best to keep the commandments and come closer to Christ, we will be blessed in more ways than we can count. 
Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us all so much! I love this gospel, and sharing such a happy message with these people every day is helping me find more peace and joy than I could have ever hoped for! 
The church is true. I love you all! 
Sister Oman

Flouring Michelle for her birthday! I love that lady!! 

One Month on My Mission!!
Paradise Island
Cabbage Beach
Flat Tire Help is Here!!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Eating fish is fun to do, fun to do to do to do!

Hey everyone! 
This week was one of the hardest weeks of my life, but it was also one of the best weeks! Funny how that works sometimes, isn't it?
Monday we were supposed to go to the beach but it's hurricane season and there was a massive rainstorm/windstorm all afternoon, so we had to stay inside. We just studied a lot instead, and then went to an awesome British family's house for FHE that night. 
Tuesday was awesome! Tuesdays are full proselyting days, so we study for a few hours in the morning and then spend all day out teaching. Sister Rampersad was sick, so we had trade-offs for the day. I went with Sister Collier to teach for the morning, and then Sister Rampersad and I taught a few lessons that evening. Tuesday evening, I had just finished my prayer and was getting ready to climb into bed when I saw something move in my pillowcase. I looked a little closer and realized there was a lizard tail poking out of my pillow. Naturally, I screamed and jumped on a chair. Ramp ran in and asked what was going on and when I told her, she jumped on a chair and starting screaming too. Then I ran out of the room to grab a broom, and Sister Wilkinson grabbed a can of roach spray. Sister Collier grabbed the mop, and pretty soon we were all screaming and chasing a lizard out of our house with a broom, a mop, and a can of bug spray. In our pajamas. I think our neighbors think we're certifiably insane now but that's okay. The next morning I went outside to apologize to the lizard. He's living outside of our door now, and we named him Bill. Bill and I have grown to be great friends. So that's good. 
Wednesday, we found out that since the Dinkleman family is moving, Ramp and I are going to be in charge of all the church's immigration stuff for the entire island of Nassau while we're here. So we spent most of the afternoon in various government offices learning how to work the system. The Bahamian government loves us now, so that's good. But the most important thing that happened Wednesday is that we had a dinner appointment with Lisa and Andrew (Andrew's getting baptized in two weeks... woohoo!) But they fed us fish and I was like oh no I can't eat fish I'm going to throw up in an investigator's house. So I prayed really really hard before I bit into it and holy moly it was the best food I've ever had!! I officially LOVE FISH. I don't know why because it tasted the same as all the other fish I've ever had but I really loved it this time. Heavenly Father is aware of us and all of our little needs, no matter how small they are. I know that and I'm going to call this my fish miracle for the rest of my life. 
Thursday we taught Arthur Jr. and I just love that little boy! He's the one that was living with the guy I contacted in the airport. He's progressing so well, and he just has to come to church one more time and he can be baptized! I've never met a thirteen year old as knowledgeable of the gospel as he is, and I've sure never met one with as strong of a desire to learn as he has. He's pretty amazing! Thursday night we had fish again at another member's home... and SURPRISE! I loved it again! Woohoo! 
I also killed six cockroaches in our kitchen on Thursday... Those things are nasty and HUGE here. Gross. 
Friday was hard, but a really good learning experience. I'd been feeling all week like I just wasn't learning as much as I should, and I was having a really hard time understanding what I should be teaching. So all of our lessons on Friday were one's I was supposed to be leading, but I was just feeling like I didn't know what to say at all the entire morning. So during a meeting Sister Rampersad had that afternoon, I read my Book of Mormon and prayed and then for the rest of the lessons I had a lot more confidence... So I guess I learned that when I don't focus on my studies as well as I should, it's more than just me that suffers! It's all of the people I'm teaching as well. 
Saturday was zone conferences! Our zone is a bit weird because we're the off island zone. We have districts on Turks & Caicos, Freeport, Grand Cayman, and Nassau. (All islands in the Bahamas. Ish.) But anyways, because we're so scattered, we have to fly to have zone conferences. So the elder's from Freeport flew in, and the AP's and President and Sister Brown flew in. The rest of the districts just skyped in with us. We talked a lot about having a full desire for the work, and why that's so important. President Brown is the most inspired man I've ever met. Holy moly when he teaches it's like no one wants to even breathe because they don't want to miss a single word he says. I love it. But anyways, we had a role play to practice teaching and I got really discouraged again (similar to Friday.) So then I just went home and started praying and praying and praying asking how I can improve my teaching. Even though I've only been on a mission a month, I still feel like I can be better than I have been. So I prayed all day Sunday, and then that night I met with President Brown to talk for a few minutes. I asked him for a blessing, and what he said answered my prayers exactly. 
I know have a firm testimony of the priesthood and especially priesthood blessings. I obviously knew before that the priesthood was true, but I guess I'd never had like a super powerful confirmation I guess? If that makes sense. But after that blessing and the things that were said in it, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God acts through his priesthood holders to lead and guide this church. I know that He is ALWAYS listening to us, and that even when we pray for the most trivial things, he'll answer us. Heavenly Father loves each and every one of us so much, and he will answer our prayers. The priesthood authority is the power of God given to man to lead and guide His children on earth. 
OHMYGOODNESS AND GUESS WHAT!!! So President Holland is coming to Jamaica to establish the first stake in a few weeks (yay for the growing church!!) But anyways, we were bummed we couldn't meet him all the way out here in Nassau. So we were talking to President Brown yesterday, and he said that he'll have Holland SKYPE US! I GET TO SKYPE WITH AN APOSTLE!!! Ahhhhh I've never been so excited for anything ever! Two weeks couldn't go fast enough!
I love this gospel so much! I wish I could spend the rest of my life on a mission, but I guess a year and a half will have to do for now. 

I love you all! Have wonderful weeks! 
Sister Oman
The road to our house. There's jungle-y kind of stuff everywhere! It's like one second you're in the city, and the next you're in the middle of a forest. 

The Block Behind our House

Sister Rampersad, my trainer and I!

I started driving on the left side of the road!  Wow!

Zone Conference

We live in a pink house, pink house, pink house! And I love it!! 

They call me the roach killer :) 

Friday, May 16, 2014

I'm a Sista!

Hello from the beautiful island of Nassau, Bahamas!
Yeah you read that right... Bahamas!!! Whatttt I'm in the best mission in the world.
We live in a pink house with red and green carpet and yellow tile. I guess it's time I realized i'm in the Carribean :)
Kay first off.... MTC wrap up!
Saturday, Sunday, and Monday are all kind of a blur of packing, class, laughter, goodbyes, and one fantastic blessing from Elder Shumway! (Thanks Elder!!)
Tuesday we woke up at 3:15 in the morning to catch our flight! Three flights later and we were in Kingston, Jamaica! (At 10:00 at night haha). We spent the night in the mission home, and woke up bright and early to go to transfers in Spanish Town. I found our I'd be serving in Nassau, and Sister Mouritsen is in Grand Cayman, so we ended up staying in Kingston one more night with the Sister Training leaders. We woke up bright and early (again) to go to the airport (again). One flight and two new investigators later (yay for sitting between two non members!), I was in Nassau! I met my trainer, Sister Rampersad, and the other two sisters we live with... Sisters Collier and Wilkonson. They're all great and I love them sooooo much!
We spend every morning studying since I'm in training (I have to do extra studies every day), and then we go out and teach all afternoon! Right now we're lacking in the investigator department since they all got baptized haha. But we're working on finding new ones!
Friday we had a mother's day party at the church. We had sooooo much food and it was delicious!! It's like mostly rice and beans and chicken and stuff but it's dang good rice and beans and chicken so that's cool :)
Saturday we taught all day, and then went to a baptism of one of the other sister's investigators and a baby shower! It was super fun!
Sunday I showed up to church, got asked to give a talk, and then was asked to teach relief society.... So welcome to the mission field sister oman! Hahaha. It's okay I love it. We spent most of the afternoon skyping (ahhh it was so good to talk to you family! I love you!), and then in the afternoon we went to see one of the people I met in the airport!! We went planning to get one new investigator, and we got three! Yay for families and yay for the gospel! They are super eager to learn. We're meeting with them again tonight.
Today we're going to the beach after we email... What's up bahamas?
People here are amazing! I love them... there's a crazy big wealth distribution on the island so there's super poor third world areas and super massive fancy beach houses too. We spend most of our time in a ghetto-ish area called Rockcrusher. Most of the people there know us, and they call me Sister Whitey haha (Cuz I'm so white. And they're not. I guess.. haha.) They speak a mixture of Creole, French, and broken english with terrible grammar. So I'm working on learning Creole and French! Right now we bring a translator with us to lessons but I hope to be able to do it on my own eventually.
My companion is amazing!! She's from trinidad and she's such a spaz but I am too so it's perfect :)
I've been proposed to twice since I got here... I guess the men really like white skin? I don't know haha I just laugh it off :)
The culture here is crazy different! We just kind of wander around houses yelling our investigators' names until they come out... there's no doors and people just kind of wander in and out of houses. But it's amazing!!
I've killed like six GIANT cockroaches and creepy centipede things since I got here... I'm pretty much a boss. Just kidding. But everyone calls me cavewoman oman since I like camping. I don't get it, but whatever :)
The members are amazing, the island is amazing, my investigators are amazing, and this work is amazing!
Even though I'm exhausted and sweaty and sore and sunburned and bug bitten all day every day, I've never been happier in my life.
The church is true like the book is blue!
I love this gospel and I love all of you! (Haha that was a mini poem:)
Love you all!! Hugs and kisses!!
Here's my new mailing address.  I love to hear from all of you!
Sister Samantha Oman
PO Box SS6360

Nassau, Bahamas

Sister Oman 

Here are some MTC Pics...Bahamas pictures coming next week!
Sister Oman and Sister Mouitsen

Saturday, May 3, 2014

It doesn't snow in Jamaica!!

Hey everyone!
I loved getting all your emails and letters this week... Thanks so much! I'm sorry I don't have time to respond to everyone individually. I have so much to say in this email, and I don't have much time... so sorry if it doesn't make any sense. Haha.
This last week was one of the best, most difficult weeks of my entire life. I love the MTC!
Saturday we had our first gym time... ahh so fun! I was so glad to have a break from sitting all day.
I also was kind of having a rough day on Saturday... so I asked Elder Larson for a blessing and it was amazing! Definitely what I needed.
Sunday was seriously one of the best days of my life. Sister McConkie (first counselor in the young women's general presidency) came to teach in relief society... and I loved what she said! "So many of us fall to doubts when they are mere shadows in comparison to the light of the gospel." LOVE IT!
We got to go on a walk around temple grounds... it was beautiful! I love the temple. That night, we had our devotional. Stephen B. Allen talked, and it was so cool! he talked about how the fate of generations relies on my knowledge that I can do this through the strength of the Lord. I'd never thought about it like that... It really made me want to work harder!!
Monday we started teaching our first TRC investigator. Her name is rachel and she's just the cutest little thing in the entire world. I love her so much... And we committed her to baptism!! So that was super duper exciting. :)
It snowed on Tuesday! What. The. Heck. It was so cold, and all sister mouritsen and I have for clothes are like summer clothes for Jamaica so we basically froze our poor little toes off all day. But its okay... because D. Todd Christofferson came to talk to us!! He talked about trust, and how we need to both trust God and live so he can trust us too. I love what he said about missions: we were indebted to God when we left, and we'll be even deeper in debt when we get back. AHHH so true. My new goal for my mission came from his talk... I want to be able to say that the Lord approves of ME, my MISSION, and my SERVICE.
Wednesday we met the new district in our zone... ahh i love them all so much!! They're so awesome!
Wednesday was also kind of a hard day for me... I was feeling like my progression and learning had kind of stopped and we had a rough lesson with an investigator, so I was feeling pretty down and alone. But then i remembered what Holland said
 about the Lord... "He is there. He does love us. And when we weep, he and the angels of heaven weep with us." Definitely a blessing to have that brought to my remembrance right when I needed it!! We also went to the TRC that night and read the Book of Mormon with Rachel... it was so powerful, and it made me so happy to be a member of this church!!
Thursday was in field orientation. Basically we went to one room ALL DAY and learned how to work with members and fill out different types of paperwork and stuff. It was actually way more fun than it sounds! haha! Last night, Sister Mouritsen was sick, so we missed our TRC... but Brother Dopp got to work one on one with me and i feel like it improved my teaching so much! I'm really trying to focus on teaching people, and not just reciting the lessons... it's been a challenge!
I feel like my understanding of the Book of Mormon has gone up like fifty kabillion times since I've been here. I LOVE THAT BOOK!! You should all especially read 2 Nephi 31. IT IS AMAZING!
today we got to go to the temple because it's our pday... there is no better way to start off your friday than in the temple!!
Sister Jeppson and I are like best friends now too... we might live together after our missions. She's going to idaho too :) We have nightly powwows on the couch outside our room and just laugh and laugh and laugh. Last night's powwow included chips and salsa (thanks mom!) and we laughed so hard the salsa came out of our noses. OUCH! (Too much information? sorry :)
Sorry I haven't replied to all of everyone's dear elders and letters!!! I LOVE HEARING FROM YOU PEOPLE!! I've just been ridiculously busy :) Hopefully I can catch up today!
Thanks holly and tom for the candy, and tell Addie I loved her picture and card! So cute :)
Grandma KC- thanks for the package! It was perfect!!
Momma and Daddy--- ahhh you guys are the best! The stuff you've sent me is seriously exactly what I needed and I just love you! (Mom... the elders in my zone love you so much for sending those cookies. They loved them!!)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TANNER!!!!!! I know it's late... sorry!
I love you all!!! I'll try to send pics but it might not work again.
The CHURCH IS TRUE!!!!!!!!!!
Being a missionary is the best thing I've ever done with my life.
Love you bunches! Sorry if this made no sense :)

Sister Oman