Monday, September 30, 2013


I don't really know where to start. I guess I'll start with, Kèt! It's so hot here! Every single time I step outside, I start sweating! I kid thee not, brothers and sisters. (good one, Elder Skidmore) But yes, it really is so incredibly humid here. We have to drink a gallon of water or more a day.

Apart from the heat, though, this place is so cool. My first area is Coconut Creek, and I'll be here for at least 12 weeks. There are palm trees everywhere, and it decides to torrential downpour a few times everyday, then just stops and the ground is dry again three minutes later. It's such a cool place! 

My companion's name is Elder Van Wagenen. He's from South Jordan, and he's been out for 10-ish months. He's really good at teaching lessons and making the investigators feel loved. At our apartment, he reminds me a lot of Elder Mullins (singing habits and all), which can be fun at times, but can also be lethal, like the gigantic poisonous spiders that like to hang from trees and look creepy and evil.

The areas we go to teach in are super ghetto. Most of them are little apartments with one or two rooms. Some of them are even as bad as India, with either barely anything in their homes, or a bunch of random things that they collect over time. They're always super dirty though. It's sad, but they're very humble people and love it when we come by. I am yet to try some of their infamous food though.

There are a few Haitians that are really well off, though. Well, actually, I've only met two families, but still! We went and ate with one of the families last night, and their really funny. Gaerma, the mum, is very country-club-y, if that makes any sense. They're a really cool family. They have a 16 year old son named Cliff, but he was born in Luxembourg after his mum moved from Haiti, so he doesn't speak much Creole. I mainly talk to him, because I don't speak much Creole either:) It is really hard talking to Creole people here. They always talk so fast and then just stare at me, so it usually takes a couple of seconds before I realize that they asked me a question. Then I wait for Elder Van Wagenen to tell me what they asked in English. 
Anyway, back to Cliff. So he's been a member his whole life, and his mum used to be a member but got ex-communicated for being in an adulterous relationship. Then she divorced and moved to Florida with Cliff and her boyfriend, Guillermo. Those two are about to get married, and we thought that that was why they weren't members yet, because they were living together but weren't married. We found out last night though that Gaerma still has some emotional blocks about the church because they ex-communicated her and not her husband without listening to her side of the story. It's all a very messy business if you ask me! But she had her testimony re-spark a few months ago and has been taking lessons from the missionaries since with Guillermo, who is new to the church. We want them both to be baptized so badly, but I don't know when it'll happen. I know she has faith. She even asked us for a priesthood blessing last night because her leg was hurting her really badly. (blessings are hard to give in Creole, in case you were wondering). Cliff's really strong in the church though. He even spent five hours with us one day, helping us teach.

Oh, almost forgot. So one cool thing we do out here instead of proselyting is called harvesting. It's where we go up to anybody we see or knock on doors, and we ask if we can leave blessings in their homes. After the blessings, we ask them right there if they will prepare for baptism. When I first heard that that is what we would be doing, I was super confused. What the heck, children. People don't just commit to baptism after five minutes. But we've been doing it for an hour every day, and it really does work. It's so crazy!!! That's actually how we've gotten most of our investigators. There are a lot of Christian people here who accept the blessing, but don't commit to anything because they say they don't need baptism again. That's our main problem out here. But we can still commit some people who have already been baptized to be baptized into our church, which is awesome!

My coolest experience here so far has probably been with Tatyana. She's a 14 year old Haitian girl, but she was raised here in Florida so she speaks English. On Thursday, she committed to be baptized on Sunday since she'd already gone to church once, so on Friday we came back and taught her everything else she needed to know that hadn't already been taught. She was so receptive and eager, and it's just so awesome that there are people like her who are just so ready. She wasn't baptized this Sunday because her mum told us she wanted us to stop meeting with her, and we need  parental permission for baptism. It was not a fun time. But we ran into her Sunday evening and she explained that she had talked to her mum, and her mum was totally okay with it now, so we're hoping that Tatyana will be baptized next Sunday. Her mum and step-dad have had one lesson before I was here, and they both seemed to like it, but haven't been home for another one since. We just teach Tatyana outside because we're not allowed to go into houses without parental permission either. It's pretty hard trying to teach when random little naked Haitian children we don't know try to stab us with plastic spoons, car horns go off every two seconds, and drunk men upstairs yell out random things in Haitian, but it seemed to work. The spirit is strong!!

That's about my week, to be honest. Just lots of harvesting, teaching people, and miracles. I love this work so much. It's the hardest thing I've ever done, my legs always hurt (we drive to central places and then usually walk around for an hour or two to find people), and I'm always just exhausted by the end of the day, but it's a good exhausted because it helps me know that I'm doing all I can! 

Well, I love you all so much. Please keep emailing or writing letters. I probably won't respond to too many letters simply because it takes a long time, but I'll definitely appreciate them A LOT! And I'll email you back even if I don't write. I love you guys! Don't forget me:) 

Avèk anpil lanmou, Eldè Skidmore


So...I guess I'm leaving tomorrow. I would be lying if I said i wasn't nervous, but I'm far more excited than I am nervous, so it's all good! This week has just been so incredible, and I learned so much I'm surprised my brain hasn't exploded.

So the rest of our district left us on Monday and Tuesday morning, so it was really quiet for us 5 Fort Lauderdalers that had an extra week. On Wednesday, the new Haitian Creole district came in, so it kind of livened up a bit more. However, now all our classes are directed towards them, so we just go to another room and study all day. At first I wasn't the biggest fan because I couldn't really concentrate on studying for 12 hours every day. On Thursday, though, I started reading the book of mormon again from the beginning. I just finished Alma last night, so I've read a good 380-ish pages in three days. I don't know why, but I've gotten so much more out of it this time, and it's hard for me to put it down, even when my brain is fried. My testimony of the Book of Mormon has never been stronger, and I can't wait to go and out and help other people gain their own testimony of it as well.

On Saturday, we had another TRC, but this time we were told that it was in English instead of Creole. I wasn't super excited for it, just because it wasn't in our language. However, right before we went in, we were informed that she was a non-member and this was her first lesson. Ever! So maybe I got a little nervous...
Anyway, we got in there and started off with get to know you type things and a prayer. Her name is Stephanie, she goes to BYU law school, and her friends have been pestering her to go and talk to the missionaries, and she finally gave in. The beginning of the lesson was kind of weird because I kept accidentally bringing up things like prophets which she had no idea about, and at one point we got into the whole Plan of Salvation thing, which is just a huge topic for us to cover all at once. The lesson kind of morphed into her asking us questions and us answering them and bearing testimony. We talked a lot about the Book of Mormon, which was fine by me! At the very end, I bore my testimony and asked her if she would commit to start reading the Book of Mormon. She said that many people had asked her to do that before, and she just hadn't been interested, but this time she felt different about it. She said that she knew that we truly believed everything that we had talked to her about, and because of the great feelings she got from us, she would start reading! I just about exploded! It was such an amazing experience. Maybe I even shed a good tear or two during a testimony. Am I ashamed? Well, maybe a little:) I walked out of that experience wanting to baptize everyone, though, which I haven't really felt like before. BAPTIZE ALL THE PEOPLE! So yes, that was definitely where I felt the spirit strongest since being here, and I'm so grateful that we were given the opportunity to do that. There's no way that this gospel isn't true. it's just not possible. And right now, I want more than anything else for other people to learn about the gospel and be able to live with Heavenly Father and their families in heaven forever! Two years away from my family so others can be with theirs forever. Not a bad deal.
Oh, I also got a blessing from one of my companions (by the way, I'm on companions 5 and 6 now, since we're in a trio). Anyway, I won't go into specifics of what he said, but I do know a few things now that I had no idea of before. Some hard things are going to happen while I'm out there. I'm going to be put into dangerous positions, but I will be protected and kept from harm no matter what happens out there. I know this for a fact, so don't worry about me if you hear of something bad. It was also mentioned quite a lot that I will be a very special tool in the hands of the Lord, and that I will be able to bring many souls unto Christ in a very unique and helpful way. I have no idea what this means, but I'm so excited to find out!

Well, I'm heading out tomorrow morning around 2:30 am. So long MTC, it's been fun and all. Thank you all for your letters, prayers, and love. It's helped me through a lot. I can't wait to get out there, realize I'm awful at this language, and teach as many people as I can with the knowledge that I do possess. Love you all so much!!

Monday, September 16, 2013


Well what would you know, we're already at the last week here, which is crazy. The rest of my district besides the five going to Fort Lauderdale left this morning at 3 am, so it's been a weird, quiet day and we're all pretty tired. Everyone was super excited to go though, and we had a great testimony meeting and devotional at the temple on Sunday. I'm going to miss them all so much, and it's weird that I've gotten so close to them, but I know that they're needed on their missions.

So another Elder ended up going home for emotional reasons, so I got paired with his companion, Elder Coulson. He's leaving early tomorrow morning though, so then I'll be back in my threesome. It's definitely been a weird stay here, companion wise, but I like Elder Coulson, so it hasn't been bad.

We've had a lot of culture/mission story lessons this week from the teachers, since everyone either left this morning or will leave tomorrow morning. I've learned a lot about the people of Haiti though, and I'm even more excited to go out and serve. A couple of the Elders, including Elder Mourigan, seemed super nervous to leave this morning, but I honestly don't feel worried. At least not yet, I guess I have another week. I've talked a lot with Elder Mourigan  this week, and I feel like we're really good friends. We talked for about three hours on Friday because he's been going through a hard time and wanted to talk to somebody about it. Anyway, we got super close, but he's gone now, and it's pretty sad. I just need to remember that we're all serving the Lord, so it shouldn't really be a sad thing.
Yesterday, we had a really cool last district meeting outside the temple where everyone bore their testimonies. It was so cool, and the spirit was amazingly strong. That night, we all got together, had some martinellis, did some Haitian dances that we were taught, and just kind of partied (as much as you can party in the MTC). This morning we all woke up at 3 to see the people going to Tampa and New York off, and it was super sad. The four going to Boston are leaving tomorrow morning at 4, so we'll be waking up early tomorrow morning too to say goodbye to them. The new Haitian speakers come in on Wednesday though, so we won't be alone for long. 
Spiritual experiences of the week: Obviously the testimony meeting and final goodbyes. Our sunday night movie was by Elder Bednar on doctrines, which was really cool. Sort of confusing, but it really makes me want to learn more. I felt the spirit a lot when the teachers were talking about their missionary experiences. You could tell how much they really cared, and it made me really excited to go out in just 7 days. Trying to help Elder Mourigan really helped a lot too. The spirit was just so strong every time we talked, and I felt so much love towards him. The only thing I wanted to do was help him, and I hope I did. I feel like that's how I'll feel with the Haitians, which will make teaching them so much easier.

I feel like I'm learning a whole lot here again, which is good because I've only got a week. It's weird to think that I'll actually be in Florida really soon, but I really am excited!

Sorry I don't have a lot of time to write today because we're moving buildings for our classroom. I guess the gist of this week is that I am learning a lot, feeling the spirit an insane amount, memorizing a new language still, and can't wait to go serve. Love you all so much. I promise I'll write you all next week.

Lanmou anpil, Elder Skidmore

Monday, September 9, 2013


Bonswa, tout moun! 

Well this week has been great! Last week was a pretty hard week for me, but I got put in a new companionship and tried to move forward and work my hardest all week. The rest of our district besides the five of us going to Fort Lauderdale are all heading out next Monday. The Fort Lauderdalers got held back a week so we can fly down there with the English speakers or something like that, so I won't be leaving here until the 24th. Anyway, everyone's starting to realize that there's more to the mission than the MTC, and we really do need to learn this language now so we can teach. It's been cool seeing everyone help each other out with learning lessons and the language and culture and what-have-you. It made me realize how much I'm really going to miss my district here though. I feel so close to so many of them, and it's going to be really sad saying goodbye.

So on Saturday, our companionship taught our investigator, Ruby. He's been having problems accepting that the Priesthood authority on the Earth is real, but we had our big breakthrough lesson and he is being baptized on Saturday! Even though we know he's not a real investigator, the spirit was so strong, and I felt so much love for him. I was so thrilled when he said that he would definitely be baptized next week. After we taught, our teacher brought in a tape recorder and played a tape of some of the Haitian he taught bearing their testimonies. It was the best thing ever. It was so cool to hear people bear testimonies on the gospel when they didn't even know about it a few weeks previous. I just keep getting more and more excited to actually serve people, even though it's very daunting. Things like this, though, always make me a lot more excited!

On Sunday, we had a devotional by Brother Heaton on the power of prayer, and I decided to try out sincerely praying and asking what the Lord expects of me. So this morning, at the end of a temple session, I was sitting in the celestial room and asked Heavenly Father what I wanted to do. I felt the spirit, but nothing really came to mind. I decided to ask him if the things I had in mind were things that he wanted me to do or if they would just be a waste of time. The feeling I got when I asked was immediate and almost overwhelming, and there's no way I can ever deny that it was the spirit telling me what I needed to do. It was such an amazing experience, and another reason why I really love it here at the MTC. 

After the devotional on Sunday night, we watched a video called The Testaments, which was about when Christ visited the Americas, and the events in the Americas before that. There were little clips throughout it of the Savior performing miracles and serving everyone, and I felt this overwhelming sense of love every time they came on. When it showed Christ in the garden and on the cross, I just started crying. It was the first time that I appreciated just how much the Savior did suffer for us, and how much he loves us. I know I can never fully comprehend what he did go through, but I do know that he only did it because he loves us and wants to give us the chance to live with our families and God forever, so why not take advantage of the Atonement everyday!

Well, that's my spirituality of the week. Hope you guys are all doing alright! I miss you all a lot, but I have work to do out here that can't wait. Please keep writing letters/emails, even though I can only answer once a week now at best. Love you all so much!!
Lanmou, Elde Skidmore


Bonjou, mwen petit timoun. Sak passe?! 

Hope you're all doing alright in the good old real world. Do people still smile in the outside world? I miss the smiles.

Just kidding, I'm still loving it here! The foods getting a bit old though, and I force myself to run 3 miles every day during gym so I don't get fat. Other than that, though, it's been a great week. Oh, we went back to the hospital though, and my companions on crutches and all that jazz, so we're a bit slow getting places...but hey, we're trying!

We've taught our two investigators every day last week, one each day. I feel like I'm really getting this language down, and I started using less and less notes. On Thursday, we had our first TRC (I'm pretty sure it stands for Training Resource Center). Basically, you go into this tiny room with 3 chairs, two for your companionship and one for an investigator. The investigators don't act as other people though, like our teachers have been acting as our investigators. They act as themselves, which was a little daunting because we weren't helping a "fake" person. We had about 30 minutes in the room with the investigator, and in that time we had to introduce ourselves, find out if the person was investigating the church, inactive, already a member, etc. and then teaching according to their needs. I decided not to take any notes in, probably because I'm going insane, so I was a little worried about how it was all going to happen. When we walked into the room and saw a Haitian woman sitting there, I got super worried because the Haitian people talk really fast, and I knew she'd point out all of my mistakes. We started out alright and found out that she was already a member and wanted to learn more about prayer. Luckily, a scripture popped into my head, so I had her read it to us. While I watched her read this scripture, I had an overwhelming feeling of love towards her,and all I wanted to do was help her feel as happy as possible. I almost got up and gave her a hug. Then we taught what I thought was a really fast lesson on the importance of prayer and how you can receive answers through the Holy Ghost. I swear it had only been five minutes, but then our teacher came into the room and told us we had gone over time, so we quickly finished the lesson and left. The investigator (her name is Rose) then wrote down how we did and such on a piece of paper. I felt like our Haitian during the lesson wasn't that good, so I wasn't expecting to get the results that we did. On the paper, she wrote that she felt an overwhelming feeling of love and the Spirit, and that because of the lesson, she was going to spend more time and focus on prayer everyday. It really was the best feeling ever reading that paper, and it got me super excited for teaching the Haitians in Florida! Can't wait for TRC next week!

Other than this experience and the hospital, this week has been fairly average. We were taught a few great lessons by Brother Nelson, other Brother Nelson, and Brother Hall. We also got both of our 'investigators' to come to church with us yesterday (even though they weren't physically there with us). Even though there are times when this language seems very overwhelming, I know that I can learn it with the help of the Spirit, and I can't wait until I'm fluent enough to talk to Haitians about anything, because right now I honestly want nothing more than to be able to help every Haitian person (and other people too) come unto Christ! 

Tomorrow, we're having another devotional, and since it's being broadcast to all the MTC's, that means that it's probably going to be another great speaker like Elder Richard G. Scott. I can't wait! 

Well, thank you all for your continual love and support! And thanks for the pictures and food:) I'll do my best to keep you all updated! I know I've already said this, but if anyone happens to come across a ducky tie from How I Met Your Mother, feel free to send it my way. You would be my hero forever!

Love you all so much! Thanks for being great examples for me and helping me get to this point in my life!

Love, Elder Skidmore