Monday, October 28, 2013


Well, this week hasn't been super eventful, but there were a few things that were super out of the ordinary. Now that I think about it, almost everything here is out of the ordinary, but I'm just so used it to now. Like drunk people threatening to beat us up; why not! Shirtless Haitian ladies walking around with their three naked children; that's not weird. It's actually surprising seeing people with all their teeth in now too (unless you're in the ghettos, then all of them have gold teeth, which just looks weird). This place is definitely a completely different culture for sure, but I'm just so used to it I guess it doesn't phase me anymore.

There was an intense rain here on Wednesday, which lasted for only about ten minutes. It just started really quickly, and we were walking on the street and had no time to run for cover, so we just kept going. My shirt pocket was filled with water by the end (like in Ace Ventura). Good times. I love Florida rain though. It's always so warm, and there's so much of it in such a small amount of time, but the sun comes out right after and you dry in about three minutes. 

On Friday, I went on exchanges with our district leader, Elder Comstock. He came to my area though, and he doesn't speak Creole, so I was in charge of every lesson and harvesting and all that in my area for the day. Holy chicken, I thought I was going to die! Good thing there's the gift of tongues though. I haven't really felt it too much since being here, but that's because I've been relying on my companion a ton. But now being alone with teaching four appointments and harvesting for two hours, I relying on it a ton, and somehow I knew exactly what to say, and I could actually understand what was being said back to me. The church is true, my dear friends, because I don't know how to speak Creole! It was such a cool experience though!!

I think I'm slowly going insane. Our apartment (which consists of two other Elders, Elder Wood and Elder Bailey) decided to become Hogwarts, so we each have our own house, and we have duels and do trivia to get points. What is happening to me? Elder Wood gets super into it, and has now dressed up as Hagrid, Dumbledore, and Voldemort. I took a picture of Hagrid, just for your enjoyment.

Besides going crazy, this week was okay teaching-wise. We spent a lot of time with Elta (Tatyana's mum) trying to teach her, but she's just not receptive at all, and it's gotten to the point where she just yells at us when we go over. She finally told us that she can't drive Tatyana to church anymore, and she doesn't want us to meet with her more than once a week. We're definitely going to keep praying, but Tatyana might have to wait another four years before she can be baptized without parental permission. We'll see what happens there though. On Saturday, we found four different Haitian families though, all of whom want to be baptized and all of whom are really committed. There's a lot of potential for baptisms these next couple of weeks, which is awesome!!

Well, I love you all. The church is true, and there's no way it can't be because there's no way that we could be out here, saying the things we say and doing the things we do without help from the spirit. And I'm pretty sure we should have been killed a good 50 times by now. The Lord protects his servants, that much is certain!! Have an awesome week!! And if you have any questions, just let me know and I'll try to include them with next week's email.

Lanmou, Elder Skidmore

p.s. The other picture is of me, my companion (the other short one), Elder Wood and Elder Bailey, then Reynaldo, a really cool Haitian member who comes out and teaches with us a lot. He's leaving on his mission tomorrow to Lousiana.

Monday, October 21, 2013


This week wasn't super eventful, but we did have a couple cool experiences. Elta is still against Tatyana getting baptized, but we went over and visited with her last night and, through lots of testimony and scripture sharing, got her to talk to Tatyana about why she wants to be baptized. She also committed to sincerely pray about the Book of Mormon, which she hasn't done before even though she's been reading it for a while. There's a lot of potential for change there now, which is awesome! Good things are coming, I tell you!!!

A miracle that happened this week was a few days ago during our harvest time. Before we went out searching, we prayed to have an opportunity where somebody would have a spiritual experience upon seeing us. We went along our harvesting and weren't really having a lot of success. Then we got to one door, and the Spirit told me very plainly that I needed to knock on the door. We did, and a man opened, took one look at us, and invited us in. We talked a bit and found out that he used to be a member, but fell away from the church. We also found out that he was a missionary too, and when he saw us on his porch, he saw himself back when he was a missionary. That's why he let us in. The Spirit was so incredibly strong with him! We got down his information after giving him a blessing, then invited him to come to church with us on Sunday. I know that the Lord led us to him that day, and I'm so glad for the opportunity we had to be a part of that experience with him.

Louis (I don't know if I've talked about him before, but he's really cool) was committed to be baptized this week, but then the night before he called it off because he wants God to send him and angel and tell him everything's true before he'll be baptized...we've got a lot of explaining to do. Or maybe he'll just have a dream where an angel appears to him. It's been known to happen with a surprisingly large amount of haitians. We shall see.
Marie got sick, so she was at the hospital on Sunday, so she and Jennifer couldn't get baptized yesterday, but they're still set for this week, so that's good. I'll let you know how that all happens.

Well, that's about it people wise. Now for some fun:)
First of all, we were walking back to the car on Tuesday night, and I suddenly got the desire to run, so for some reason I just started running, and Elder Van Wagenen started at the exact same time. We passed a bush, and I heard this weird grunting noise, so I looked back and there was some creepy old guy with a knife in one hand and a beer in his other hand just staring at me. So yeah, people here are insane...but we're definitely being protected out here.

Also, I had the...interesting opportunity to be fed by a Haitian again, only this time it was a super poor Haitian. We got fed goat feet (which has no meat, only stringy fat that tastes like the devil) and some part of a pig. She said what it was in Haitian, and I didn't understand what body part she said, so I asked Elder Van Wagenen and he just laughed. Maybe it's better not to know...but it definitely didn't taste the best. I'm surprised I haven't gotten sick yet. Most food we're fed here is crawling with bugs and has flies in it. True story. Blessing your food really does work.

Finally, I went on exchanges this week for a day with our district leader's companion. He's English speaking, but they find most of their success with super ghetto people, so that's where we were. Oh the ghettos, what a terrifying place. Here's my journal entry for that day, because I think it sums it up brilliantly. "Went to an English area with Elder Taylor. Biked 23 miles. Black ghetto people are crazy. One asked if he could have my shoes. White people are stupid, they never let us in. Seriously white people, just accept the gospel and have eternal life. Some people. Heard 3 gun shots on our bike ride home. Can't feel my legs."

Well, I love you all. This work is still super cool, even if the food and drunk people sometimes aren't. Have the best week ever!!!

Love Elder Skidmore

Monday, October 14, 2013


Day number 20 in this strange island, and I'm beginning to think I'll be stranded here for a while. The guardian they've assigned to watch over me seems to like making me pray and bear testimony often. The natives of this island are very shy at first, but suddenly spring into song and dance. It's quite odd.

Anyway, tis true, I've been out here 20 days now. I don't know if that's a long time or a short time, but I feel like I've lived here for a few years at least! I'm loving Florida though. The heat's starting to lessen, so I only sweat about 2 gallons a day now. The evil poisonous spiders of Satan seem to have lost interest in scaring me too, which is good. I haven't seen one for a good 6 days now. I do see plenty of huge lizards just hanging out in people's yards though. 

I guess I should tell you a bit more about life here. I'll start with the Haitian people. They're pretty much the coolest people in the world. We always start off talking in English, just in case they're really Jamaican. If you talk to a Jamaican in Creole, they get really offended. Trust me... So we start talking to them in English, and when we realize that they speak Creole, we launch into Creole. They respond in one of three ways. 1. They burst out laughing, spit flying through their missing teeth gaps. 2. They start speaking to us super fast in Creole and I get lost and confused. 3. They do this weird snapping thing with their hands which they always do when they get excited or when we tell a Haitian joke (called krik kraks). Oh Haitians, what fun people! I also found out that they love their natives songs and dances. I know one of the dances, where you bend over a bit, put both your hands into fists, then slowly rotate back and forth while shaking your head and moving your fists back and forth. doesn't make any sense, but they love it. The song that I'm trying to learn is called Ti Zwazo. I guess it's a bird that lives with a witch...Also weird. But Haitians get so entertained with it, so I want to learn. They're the most humble, loving people in the world.
I've also gotten fed a few Haitain meals now too. Haitian food is the best thing in the world! I don't know how to say any names of the foods, so for now just know that it's good, and it's not fish or goat brain (as far as I know). There's this old Haitian lady with a gray beard and plentiful chest hairs that loves to make us this drink called Corossal, which is amazing! It's some weird haitian fruit, and she makes a shake out of it.

The mission as a whole is really cool. President Anderson sends us an email every week with a spiritual thought and then goals for the week. This month's goal for our whole mission is 175 baptisms, which is a lot! Hopefully we'll be able to contribute a lot to that.

This week has been really good teaching-wise. We got a total of 12 new investigators this week, which is awesome! Of these 12, we've taught 7 of them 2 or more lessons, so they only really need 1-2 more lessons and a baptismal interview to qualify for baptism, as well as to attend church twice. We did get three of our investigators; Tatyana, Marie and her daughter Jennifer, to church yesterday though, which was great. We would have had more, but every single Haitian adult works on Sundays, so it's hard trying to get them to either ask their boss to have Sundays off or look for another job. That's definitely our biggest problem with Haitians. Well, that and the fact that most of them live with their girlfriends/boyfriends and "don't have the time or money to get married." Come on Haitian people!

So here's our update on Tatyana: She's still completely ready for baptism and really wants it, but we still need her mum's permission. However, every time we have an appointment with Elta (her mum), she always blows us off. We have another appointment today though, so we're hoping she'll actually listen to our message. Elta has gone to church once before, so really if we teach her everything she needs this week and she comes to church on Sunday, her and Tatyana could both be baptized Sunday afternoon! It's not looking very likely for this week, but it is possible!

A miracle that we had this week was with Marie and her daughter Jennifer. We found them while harvesting one day, and they both accepted baptism, but with a lot of hesitation. We've already taught them the Restoration (which they loved) and the plan of Salvation. Marie actually said that when I recounted the first vision story, she felt the words enter her heart, and that's why she let us come back to teach the Plan of Salvation! (Ten points to Skidmore) Just kidding, but I thought it was really cool. They both said that they really want to live in the Celestial Kingdom, and we said that they need to be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost in order to do this. They seem a lot more interested now, but said that they couldn't make it to church on Sunday because Marie had an appointment. However, Saturday night they called us and said that they got the appointment moved to next Sunday because they decided they really wanted to go to church this week. Nobody ever calls us to ask to come to church, so that was a big deal. They came for the whole thing yesterday and loved it! I'm so excited for these two. If they come again next week, then they can be baptized next Saturday, unless we can get the ward to do Sunday afternoon baptisms, which we're trying to!

There are a few more investigators we've got that are progressing well, but I don't really have time. They're names are Jean-Claude, Michelle, Nelcie, Pwoslin and Pwosler, Junior, Moise, and James. They're all awesome, though a lot of them struggle with getting work off, and a couple, like Jean-Claude, have some addictions they need to overcome. 

I love this work so much! I've never felt the Spirit as constantly and strongly as I do here, and I love it. I do miss home, and I pray about each family member and all my friends individually every night just because I don't want anything bad to happen while I'm gone. I hope you all know that I love you so much. I was talking with Gaerda at her house on Saturday (she's a former member, the country-club one I talked about a couple weeks ago) and she asked me why I would leave everything behind for 2 years. I said that I did love my family more than anything else in the world, and it's because of this that I left. Because I know that I can live with my family forever, I wanted to let as many other people as possible have the same blessing. 2 years away from my family so others can live with theirs forever. And that is the reason I'm out here! I can't wait to meet up with all the Haitian people I teach in heaven and rejoice with them because they are able to live with their families for eternity. 
Being out on my mission has really humbled me a lot. I wouldn't say I was ever really prideful about myself, because in all honesty I wasn't a big fan of myself ever. I always saw my flaws and kind of tore myself down every day. However, there were a few things that I did pride myself in, like my ability to learn, that I realized isn't as good as I thought it was. Not that it's bad, but I was at the point where I was starting to be prideful about it, and I needed to be brought down a bit. I definitely have been:) I've also learned to give myself a bit more credit though. I'm definitely still aware of my many flaws, but I know that the Lord can make all of those flaws strengths. I just need to give myself fully to this work and always to what He wants me to do.

I hope you all have an awesome week! I'll keep everyone in my prayers! Thank you so much for your love and support that gets me through everything!

Love, Elder Skidmore

p.s. letters take about 6-7 days to get to me, so if I don't reply to you at all, it's probably because I haven't gotten it yet. Just so you know:)

Monday, October 7, 2013


Yes, tis true, I have officially been on my mission 2 months today. That seems super weird to me, because it feels like I've been gone forever. This week has been pretty great! And I haven't been attacked by one of the infamous poisonous spiders, so life is good!

So Tatyana was a big focus of ours this week. If you don't remember, she's the 14 year old whose mum was against her getting baptized, but then we found out it was a mis-communication. Well, on Monday night we found out that the mis-communication was a mis-communication, so we spent a lot of the week trying to set up appointments with her mum so that we could teach her as well and she'd be alright with letting us baptize her daughter as well. The problem is that she is never available, which is why we never taught her with Tatyana. This Sunday we didn't have any baptisms because of Conference, so we've got this whole week to meet with her and help her realize that is the true church and the right thing for her. Some people just need to trust teenage boys in suits. Seriously:)

Apart from Tatyana, we didn't really have any investigators that we focused a lot on this week. We've been trying to teach everybody an equal amount, but those that seem more receptive we generally go to a bit more. We did meet a couple of cool people though. For example, we met a haitian mother, Suzie, and her daughter, Stacey, one day while we were walking to an appointment. We offered to leave with them a blessing, and Suzie immediately lit up and invited us into her house. We left the blessing, and she was close to tears. Apparently she is a member already, but hasn't gone to church for a good 30 years. Her daughter has never been a member, but Suzie said that a few years ago, she remembers Stacey asking if she could be baptized because she thought it was the right thing to do. So our goal is to re-activate Suzie and baptize Stacey. Poor Stacey is super shy, though. I mean incredibly shy. The whole half hour we were in their house, she looked at the floor and only said three words. I feel really bad for her. Before we give the blessing, we ask if there is anything they want us to ask God for. She said that she wants help being less socially awkward because she wants to have friends in school. My heart broke into two thousand pieces. This poor girl has no idea how amazing she is and how much the Lord loves her and wants her to be happy. I had to hold back tears when I gave the blessing. I've always felt so bad for people who don't feel good about themselves, but this was something else entirely. I've never felt this badly for somebody before, and I've never had the sincerest desire to help somebody than I do with her. I know for a fact that, if we do have the opportunity to go back and teach them, which we should, the gospel will bless both of their lives immensely. 

Another cool experience we had was last night after conference. We were walking back from Tatyana's house after nobody answered the door. When I walked past one of the doors, though, I had the weirdest desire to just stop and knock. My companion must have felt it to because he turned around and walked right back to the door. We knocked, and two 15 and 16 year old boys answered. They're both haitain, though they speak English really well. We ended up leaving the standard blessing, and I could tell that it really touched them. I'm excited for these two. After the blessing, we asked them if they would prepare to be baptized in three weeks, and they both said yes! Then, the 15 year old eagerly asked when we would be coming back next, so we'll be visiting them tonight and giving them the first lesson. I'm super excited for them both! I hope that the parents will be available when we go over tonight though, because it's always hard to teach only part of a family and then have the rest of the family be against it later on. Sad times, really!

Well, those are a couple of my cool experiences of the week. I've also realized that every time I pray and sincerely ask for the Spirit, it comes immediately, and it's always so strong. Being a missionary is so cool!! I can't wait to have our first baptism, hopefully this weekend. I just want to change these people's lives and help them realize how amazing they all are! I know for a fact that Heavenly Father loves everyone we see unconditionally, and I know that He is watched over me and leading me to people that are prepared. Though I do get a little discouraged at times because I don't think I can do it or I don't feel worthy enough to be telling people to make all these changes in their lives, I just remember that it's not even me who is teaching, it's always the Spirit. 

I love you all so much. Thanks for your continual support. I'm sorry, I would write more hand-written letters, but it takes 6-7 days to get there, so I figured emailing takes the same amount of time and it's more convenient. I'll probably start writing soon though, because letters are always great! Well, have fun in the land of the cold:)

Lanmou anpil, Eldè Skidmore