This week has been pretty amazing. On Wednesday of last week I got to St. Maarten and met my new companion Sister Robinson. She is super awesome and has been on her mission for about 3 months. When I got on the island I was informed that there is a need for Spanish speaking missionaries here so....I get to learn Spanish. It has been good so far and I have already learned so much. We are teaching an investigator named Isabel who only spoke Spanish when she was first taught but as we teach her English she is teaching us Spanish during the lessons. It is an amazing experience. I have to work really hard to pick up Spanish or else I won't be able to understand when she speaks it to me.
We have been teaching a man names Brown for a little while now but we stopped teaching him last night because he isn't progressing. He is a Seventh Day Adventists and he is really set in what he believes so when we go over there he isn't able to accept the messages we try to leave with him. Such a good guy but he just isn't ready for our message yet. I know we met him for a reason because throughout the lessons we have had with him I have had to search the Bible and the Book of Mormon for answers to questions I myself had never thought of. He helped me to strengthen my testimony even further.
I have met so many amazing people since I arrived here. It has been such a blessing to get to know everyone so well already. I love everyone here so much! Many people have been prepared and are just waiting for us to reach out and share our message with them. On Friday Sister Robinson, me, and the three elders here with us had to opportunity to help out a man who was building a house. We helped him clean out and area and did many other things for him. He is a great guy and we hope to be able to share the gospel with him soon. On Saturday we all went to a pre-school and helped paint it. That was probably the highlight of my week. The owner of the pre-school was such a sweet lady. She had been praying to God asking him for help because she didn't think she could get everything done by today by herself and she had so much to do and the elders felt they needed to stop and ask her if she needed help with anything last week. She was so grateful for their willingness to help. So on Saturday we went out there and painted the school for her. We are going back this Saturday to help her out with anything else she might need. After we finished painting she expressed how grateful she was towards us and that the neighborhood would be 100 times more willing to let missionaries into their homes now because they saw that we actually cared about them and loved them all so much. She said that she felt that they asked her to help out for a reason. So that the people in their area could recognize that we were good people so that they could have an open mind to the gospel. It was such an amazing experience and I am looking forward to going back there.
The drivers are insane here!!!!! I literally feel like I am going to die at least 4 times a day in the car. There are no stop signs, lighted intersections, or crosswalks of any kind. It is kinda cool but sketchy at the same time because you have to be careful when you are crossing the street or driving.
And nobody really uses addresses here. It is pretty interesting. Directions can get confusing at times so I hope I can get to know the area quickly so I know where I am going. We were looking for a Spanish speaking investigator's (Steven) house the other night and we had to go to the French quarter. (We live on the Dutch quarter). We had no idea where we were going and were following directions written down by previous missionaries from this area that had been transferred to a different island. It was a journey. It took us a little bit, plus a phone call to one of the old missionaries, but eventually we found it.
Everyone here on St. Maarten is so kind. It is nicknamed the friendly island and they definitely hold up to that standard. Most people are very generous and will invite you to stay for dinner or lunch sometimes or just send you off with a banana if that is all they have. It is amazing. The people here have very little but they give so much. It amazes me.
It is definitely hot here but it is not as bad as I thought it would be. There is a nice breeze most of the time that feels really good and cools you down a bit. And luckily our apartment had air conditioning in it:)
Mosquitoes are not fun!!!! I got 24 mosquito bites just within two days of being here. Mainly because when we were teaching brown the second night I was here it was dark out and we forgot to put bug spray on. They aren't that bad during the day but if you walk outside at night you definitely want bug spray on. Otherwise you get eaten alive.
Church was definitely interesting yesterday. It is a lot different then back home. There are ceiling fans in the chapel, only synthesizers as pianos, the fridge got taken out today, the kitchen is also a classroom and where we have all of our district meetings, and the church is locked up like crazy at night. But you feel the spirit so strongly during church just like you would anywhere else.
This morning all of us missionaries here went to the ocean and walked out to different tiny islands. It was awesome and so gorgeous. We had to be careful where we walked so we didn't step on any black sea urchins (they were everywhere). It was weird having warm ocean water!! :)
It has been an amazing experience so far and I am looking forward to serving the people of St. Maarten as much as I can.
Love and miss you so much and hope everything is going well with you. Have a great week!
Love, Sister Breana Stewart