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:)