January 7, 2015

West Indies Mission

Free resources about the West Indies Mission:

The West Indies Mission was renamed the Barbados Bridgetown Mission in 2015.  It was also split to create the Trinidad Port of Spain Mission.

West Indies Mission Address

Here’s a recent address for the West Indies Mission. We try to keep this information up to date, but it’s a good idea to check the address with several sources, including your mission packet or the mission office.

West Indies Mission
PO Bag 543
Valsayn
Trinidad
Trinidad and Tobago

Phone Number: 1-868-663-2130
Mission President: President Daniel S. Mehr II

West Indies Mission Map

Here’s a link to the mission map for the West Indies Mission (LDS). To access the official, up-to-date LDS.org map for the West Indies Mission:

  1. Log into your LDS account here.
  2. Click here.

Videos with West Indies RMs

Here are in-depth YouTube video interviews with returned missionaries from the West Indies Mission.  We interview hundreds of returned missionaries each year, so check back regularly to see new RM interviews.

mission interview  mission interview  mission interview  mission interview  mission interview  mission interview

Videos about the West Indies

Here are LDS-friendly educational videos about West Indies. We scoured YouTube to find the best quality videos about West Indies, that are free from inappropriate music, immodesty and profanity.

history  food  nature  mission calls  time lapses  lds church

West Indies Missionary Blogs

Here’s a list of LDS missionary blogs for the West Indies Mission. This list includes the missionary’s name, URL and when their blog was updated.

*Send your missionary a gift (mission-specific shirts, ties, Christmas stockings/ornaments, pillowcases, etc.)

Elder & Sister Clawson theclawsonchronicles.com 2016
Elder Cole Cooper eldercolecooper.blogspot.com 2016
Elder Calvin Carpenter calvincarpenterwestindies.blogspot.com 2016
Elder Logan Sackley logansackley.blogspot.com 2016
Elder Hayden Dorrance haydenwim.blogspot.com 2016
Elder Kyle Schroeder elderkyleschroedermission.blogspot.com 2015
Sister Hannah Feltis hannahfeltis.blogspot.com 2015
Sister Jackie Miller jackiehudsonmiller.blogspot.com 2015
Elder Dustin Peterson elderdustinpeterson.blogspot.com 2015
Elder Randon Smith eldersmithwestindies.blogspot.com 2015
Elder Seth Parker elderparkerwestindies.blogspot.com 2015
Elder Aaron Hill elderhillwestindies.blogspot.com 2015
Elder Aaron Fraley caribbeancalling.blogspot.com 2015
Elder Braden Call proselytinginparadise.blogspot.com 2015
Elder Kyle Brown elderkylejospehbrown.blogspot.com 2015
Sister Kenna Riley missionsite.net/sisterriley 2015
Elder Taylor Dayton elderdayton.blogspot.com 2015
Sister Sarah Munafo missionsite.net/sistersarahmunafo 2015
Elder Taylor Ehlert taylorehlert.com 2015
Elder Jake Lewis jakelewiswestindies.blogspot.com 2015
Sister Alyssa Worthington missionsite.net/sisteralyssaworthington 2015
Sister Katelyn Crompton katelyncrompton.blogspot.com 2014
Sister Lauren Christiansen laurenferrrnchristiansen.blogspot.com 2014
Sister Katrina Hawkes sistahawkesonamission.blogspot.com 2014
Sister Abby Eyre soeurabby.blogspot.com 2014
Elder & Sister Poulson poulsonmission.blogspot.com 2014
Sister Emily ourjoyfulnest.com 2014
Sister Jasmine Shirts sisterjasmineshirtswestindiesmission.blogspot.com 2014
Sister Brianna Wilson missionsite.net/sisterbriannawilson 2014
Sister Aimee Edmonds missionsite.net/sisteraimeeedmonds 2014
Elder & Sister Linton lintonsinparadise.blogspot.com 2014
Elder & Sister Beecher beecherinthewim.blogspot.com 2014
Elder & Sister Gubler thegublermission.blogspot.com 2014
Elder & Sister Monson nanaandpapasjourney.blogspot.com 2014
Elder Skyler Hale elderhalewestindies.blogspot.com 2014
Elder Jed Hazlett jedinthewestindies.blogspot.com 2014
Elder & Sister Beutler carolandmel.blogspot.com 2013
Elder & Sister Bird bkbirdmission.blogspot.com 2013
Elder Bradley Wilson bdwinthewestindies.blogspot.com 2013
Sister Rachel Brisson brissononamission.blogspot.com 2013
Elder Brady Shepherd missionsite.net/elderbradyshepherd 2013
Elder William Pedersen missionsite.net/elderwilliampedersen 2013
Elder David Payne missionsite.net/elderdavidpayne 2013
Elder Austin Jones missionsite.net/elderaustinmckayjones 2013
Sister Lizzi Sims sisterlizzisimsmission.blogspot.com 2012
Elder Tate Tullis missionsite.net/eldertullis 2012
Elder Austin Jones missionsite.net/elderaustinjones 2011
Elder Phillip Helms missionsite.net/elderhelms 2011
Elder Alexander Thompson missionsite.net/elderalexanderthompson 2011
Elder Thomas Whitlock missionsite.net/elderthomaswhitlock 2011
Unknown sites.google.com/site/missionwi 2011
Elder Nathan Morris natemorrismission.blogspot.com 2011
Elder Sonny Hill eldersonnyhill.blogspot.com 2010
Elder Jeffrey Vernes eldervernes.blogspot.com 2010
Elder Reid Robison westindiesrm.blogspot.com 2010
President & Sister Robison westindiesmission.blogspot.com 2009

West Indies Mission Groups

Here are West Indies Mission Groups- for LDS missionary moms, returned missionaries, mission presidents and other alumni of the mission.

  1. West Indies / Barbados Bridgetown / Trinidad Port of Spain (LDS) Group (862 members)
  2. West Indies Mission Robison 2006-09 Group (294 members)
  3. “Sunshine in Our Souls” West Indies Group (227 members)
  4. West Indies RMs 2012-15 Daniel S. Mehr Group (146 members)
  5. West Indies Mission Moms (LDS) Group (65 members)
  6. Mission West Indies 1984-1988 Facebook Group (12 members)
  7. West Indies- President Mason, Van Noy Group (8 members)
  8. European RM’s West Indies and Suriname Group (1 member)
  9. West Indies Mission Provo/SLC Area RMs Group (1 member)

West Indies Mission T-Shirts

Here are T-shirts for the West Indies Mission!

Shirt designs include West Indies Mission logo/emblem shirts and Called to Serve shirts. The shirts make great gifts for pre-missionaries, returned missionaries and missionaries currently serving. LDS Mission shirts come in all sizes: Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large, up to 4XL.  The mission designs are printed on white shirts and are shipped to you.

*Simply click on a shirt design to view the details and submit an order. The designs on mission t-shirts may also be printed on other LDS mission gifts, including: West Indies missionary aprons, Christmas stockings, ties, pillow cases, teddy bears and Christmas ornaments.

*Click here to browse West Indies Mission gifts

west-indies-mission-t-shirt-1 west-indies-mission-t-shirt-2 west-indies-mission-t-shirt-3

West Indies Mission Presidents

Here’s a list of current and past Mission Presidents of the West Indies Mission.

  1. 2015, renamed Barbados Bridgetown Mission
  2. 2012-2015, Daniel S. Mehr II
  3. 2009-2012, Claude R. Gamiette
  4. 2006-2009, Reid A. Robison (Listen to an interview with the Robisons)
  5. 2003-2006, Hendrik Dorenbosch
  6. 2000-2003, M. Don Van Noy
  7. 1997-2000, Kenneth Mason
  8. 1994-1997, Roy R. Valantine
  9. 1991-1994, Eldon L. Wood

West Indies LDS Statistics (2015)

  • Church Membership: 5,575 (Guyana), 1,430 (Suriname), 303 (Saint Lucia), 260 (Sint Maarten), 3,328 (Trinidad and Tobago), 376 (Grenada), 908 (Barbados)
  • Missions: 1 (Trinidad and Tobago)
  • Temples: 0
  • Congregations: 13 (Guyana), 6 (Suriname), 2 (Saint Lucia), 1 (Sint Maarten), 10 (Trinidad and Tobago), 1 (Grenada), 3 (Barbados)
  • Family History Centers: 1 (Guyana), 1 (Suriname), 1 (Trinidad and Tobago), 1 (Barbados)

Helpful Articles about the West Indies

Coming soon..

West Indies Missionary Survey

Here are survey responses from West Indies RMs, to give you a snapshot into what it’s like to live in the mission.

*Click here to take a survey to help pre-missionaries going to your mission.

When did you serve?

  • June 2014-Dec 2015 (Jenny)
  • 2013-2014 (Carissa)
  • 2012-2014 (Jean)
  • 2011-2013 (David)
  • 2010-2012 (Lance)
  • 2009-2011 (Philip)
  • 2009-2011 (Trevor)
  • 2009-2011 (Von)
  • 2006-2008 (Brycen)
  • 1990-1992 (Neldon)
  • 2004-2006 (Derek)
  • 2003-2005 (Noel)
  • 2000 -2002 (David)
  • 1997-1998 (Weldon & Carmen)
  • 1995-1997 (Jared)
  • 1987-1989 (Dennis)
  • 1984 (Dan)
  • 2014-2015 (Sarah)
  • 1990-1992 (Steve)
  • 1985-1987 (Donald)
  • 1998-2000 (Wayne)
  • 1983-1984 (Michael)

What areas did you serve in?

  • Oistins (Barbados), West Tobago, Chaguanas, San Fernando, Couva (Trinidad). (Jenny)
  • Uitkijk, Munder, Wanica, Blauwgrond, Berbice, Diamond, Georgetown. (Lance)
  • Barbados, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, St. Martin and St. Lucia. (Jean)
  • Princes Town, T&T, San Fernando, T&T, Port of Spain, T&T, Diego Martin, T&T, Arima, T&T, D’Abade, T&T, Georgetown, Guyana, New Amsterdam, Guyana, Grove, Guyana, Georgetown, St. Vincent. (David)
  • Many. (Philip)
  • Capesterre, Basse-Terre, and Abymes in Guadeloupe; Fort-de-France Martinique; and Kourou, Matoury, and Cayenne in French Guiana. (Trevor)
  • Le Moule, Guadeloupe. Capesterre, Guadeloupe. Fort de France, Martinique. French side of Saint Martin. (Von)
  • Rosignol, Guyana (3 months), East Canje, Guyana (6 weeks), Trinite, Martinique (8 months), Kourou, French Guiana (6 weeks), Cayenne, Grench Guiana (4 months), and Fort-de-France, Martinique for the remainder of my mission. (Brycen)
  • St. Kitts, Trinidad, Barbados, Guyana. (Noel)
  • Trinidad, Guyana, Barbados. (Jared)
  • Kingstown St Vincent, Berbice Guyana, all Boys Town Guyana, couva Trinidad, Marabella Trinidad. (David)
  • St. Vincent, Barbados, St. Kitts, Antigua. (Dennis)
  • Montego Bay. (Dan)
  • Arima, Trinidad; Tobago; Les Abymes, Guadeloupe; Goyave, Guadeloupe; Ducos, Martinique. (Sarah)
  • Started in Barbados…Think I hit every area in Trinidad at least 2 times. (Steve)
  • Point-A-Pitre, Basse-Terre, Christ’s Church Barbados, Cayenne Baduel and Kourou. (Wayne)
  • Several in PR, St Michael’s in Barbados and surrounding areas, all over Antigua and St Vincent. (Michael)

What were some favorite foods?

  • Doubles, fried palori, saheena, fried flying fish, all roti and curry, any street food. (Jenny)
  • Doubles, gyros, cook up. (Carissa)
  • Roti, Nasi, Bruine bonen, Bami, Cassava bread. (Lance)
  • Fish was served quite often on most islands, was great and included very spicy food, such as rice and chicken. Staple food was mainly rice and chicken or lintel soup with spaghetti. (Jean)
  • Doubles Aloo Pie with Cheese Peanut Punch (Drink) Ketchup (It’s different there and they put it on everything like pizza!) Grapefruit Schwepps (Drink) Peanut Snaps (Snack). (David)
  • Doubles, curry chicken, roti, Dahl, curry goat, curry duck, pigtail soup, blood
  • sausage, and all of the fruit. (Philip)
  • Bokit, accras de morue, agoulou, chaudeau, street coconut ice cream. (Trevor)
  • Bokits, Roti, Doubles. (Von)
  • Pineapple, avocados, mangoes, banane pese, grilled red fish, ginnups! (Brycen)
  • Roti, Roti, Roti. (Neldon)
  • Bbq chicken and chips (fries), chicken curry and roti, doubles. (Derek)
  • Doubles, curry & roti, fried flying fish, shark & bake. (Noel)
  • Roti. Dal Puri. Macaroni Bake. Shark Bake. Peanut Milk. (Jared)
  • Curried chicken potatoes and Buss up shut. Aloo pie. Doubles. Tamarind balls. Pelau. Sada roti. Ital from the rastas. (David)
  • THE FRESH PINEAPPLE AND GRAPEFRUIT…..you could eat all you wanted and never get canker. GRAPEFRUIT POP..delicious…wish I had tried it earlier! I thought it would be like Squirt. They don’t use nearly as much carbonation in their pop, or caffeine in their cola drinks there. (Weldon & Carmen)
  • Roti, flying fish, macaroni pie. (Dennis)
  • Curried goat, rice cooked in coconut milk. (Dan)
  • Curry. Doubles. Roti. Baguettes. Quiche. Colombo. (Sarah)
  • I loved all types of food, favorites, Roti, doubles, sahina, khurma, etc.. favorite beverages, guava-pineapple juice, soursop, mauby, sorrel, peanut punch, red solo. (Steve)
  • Roti, Coconut Water and Jelly, Arraroot, Banana’s, Sweet potato, Mangos, Tam Tams, Mutton, Bakes. (Donald)
  • The Roti, monkey stew over rice, and the Caiman was my favorite. (Wayne)
  • Roti with that super hot yellow pepper sauce, roasted corn off the street carts, fresh giant avocados, plantains, and the yummy curry stew that our Branch president made for us form time to time. Oh then there are all the local fruit flavored sodas. Do they still make those? (Michael)

What was a funny experience?

  • The first time I had a double we ordered no pepper, but our orders were mixed up and we got heavy pepper on one and none on the other. We ate both and the pepper was really hot, but I handled it well. My companion wasn’t a fan and on the drive home she touched her eye and her hand still had pepper on it. She couldn’t see out of one eye and we laughed the whole way home. (Carissa)
  • Meeting with an investigator only to find out he was gay and had a massive crush on my companion. Finding a giant dead anaconda on the side of the road and taking a picture of my name tag in its coiled tail just to send home in an email. (Lance)
  • First, there were many. But one I can share is, New Year’s Eve in Suriname. It was a war zone with fireworks. No fatalities of coarse, but the amount of fireworks used during New Year’s Eve had turned the beautiful evening night sky into a misty fog that one could barely see through all through the entire city and close suburbs. The day after all one could smell is sulfuric smoke and fireworks in general! (Jean)
  • In most of the West Indies Mission, public transportation are maxis (buses). On each maxi there is a driver and a conductor. The conductor is in charge of opening and closing the door for people and he takes care of the money. They also shout each upcoming stop for people on the buss to know what’s next and they often lean out the window shouting at people on the street saying their final destination so people know which way the maxi is headed. Some maxis don’t have conductors and each time that would happen I would pretend to be the conductor. I loved the reactions people had when they saw a white boy in a shirt and tie leaning out of a maxi shouting where it was going and opening and closing the door. I made sure people knew I wasn’t really a conductor and that all the money should go to the driver. It was always really fun. (David)
  • I slipped off of a bridge in Guyana while crossing a trench and was chest deep in mud. (Philip)
  • One time in a hike to see a waterfall, I fell down a muddy mountainside. I caught a pigeon on the street as part of a street contact. I got run over by some people rollerblading in the city center. Got chased down by a judge woman who proceeded to kiss my cheek. (Trevor)
  • Tracting always brought us into homes of very funny, unique people. We once saw a lady sleeping on top of an old refrigerator in her yard. (Von)
  • Too many to name! Funny story, I suppose, is…I rarely got fed by the families on my mission. My first 6 months it was against mission rules at the time to not eat with the members. The few times I ate with the members was mainly with one woman who was very sweet and generous to the missionaries (on Martinique she was/is the missionaries mom away from home). On Christmas day, we had one appointment with one family on one side of the island, and we had an appointment after that lunch to be with her and eat with her. Little did we know that they both made soooo much food. Too much, even. Because I didn’t want to be rude, and knowing I would have another 5 course meal to eat, I forced myself to throw up to appease everyone. (Brycen)
  • The shower in Grenada would give you a great shock if you tried to change the water temperature with the water running. You learned to check the water temp first before jumping in……electricity and water don’t mix. (Neldon)
  • Jumping over a trench (big ditch of nasty water – they are all over in Guyana) and then watching my companion not quite make it- he was wet from his knee down the rest of the night. (Derek)
  • Some guys in a rough neighborhood came up to us saying stuff and we just started rapping primary songs including “Popcorn Popping”. They went nuts. (Noel)
  • Almost getting kicked by a naked guy with a KFC bucket on his head. (Jared)
  • When I was studying this discussions and I ran into two parked cars and a scooter all on the same street in a row. (David)
  • We forgot our key at Zone Conference and couldn’t get into our apartment, where the Mission President was staying and waiting to interview the elders. We had to go to a member’s and get a hack saw to cut the lock. A man had been begging at the other couple’s apartment and telling them stories of why he needed money. He came to our place to do the same, not realizing we knew each other! He was at our place when they drove up and he took off running. When we compared stories, he hadn’t even lied to tell the same lie to both couples…after that, it was no more handouts…do like the elders and give them a cup of rice in a zip lock bag! The new Assistants to the President were being taken to the airport…one elder realized he had left his passport in the apartment where he had been staying, so we had to turn around and go back and put him on a later flight. He was mortified. Being older, we could laugh about it…these things happen we told him. But, he said, you don’t know what else I did. I lost my toothbrush at one conference, left something else behind at another place! Sorry…but that made us laugh harder. He had his trials on that trip! (Weldon & Carmen)
  • Found our maid stuck in a fruit tree and she could not get down. She was very embarrassed because it was our tree and she thought she would get in trouble, but had to call out to us because she was stuck. (Dan)
  • An ex-famous singer kept running into us on the streets and would sing to us in public very loudly. (Sarah)
  • Tore my pants at the Branch baptism, and later the Christmas party in San Fernando. Had NO time to travel back to the apartment, to change.. walked around with a towel covering the tear for about six hours. (Steve)
  • Getting stuck on a beach on Antigua in the mission car. (Donald)
  • I played Santa Claus one Christmas and wore this nasty old Santa suit and beard despite all the heat. Every adult and kid in what seemed like miles around decided to show up and all including the adults had to sit on my lap for pictures! In St Vincent at that time the island was still getting on its feet and had yet started tourism and cruise ships. There were no chain stores or resorts. In some parts of the island we were the only white people some of the villagers had ever seen. We never knew when we would have running water, electricity or food to buy in the time store. We would have to go shopping several times a week and hope thay had something to buy. To make up for food we could purchase we went fishing several times a week and also could walk off into the jungle and pick fruit that grew wild nearby. Despite the difficulties at the time getting food sometimes they had an ice cream factory in town that made the best ice cream flavors I’ve ever had in my life anywhere I have traveled in the world. I miss that great ice cream! An investigator in Barbados made me a shirt in a local style as a gift with material that had relating maps of the island, and icons of things that represented the island. It never fit but I still have it all these years later. (Michael)

What was a crazy experience?

  • We were walking home one evening from an apartment, and we were probably a mile from our house. It was dark, and even though we were walking on the main road, there were bars we had to pass. We passed one and some guy called out to us and was like sisters! We ignored him and kept moving, to be safe. 5 minutes later a car pulls next to us and it’s the same guy yelling sisters!! Help, at this point we were a little nervous and kept walking faster but the guy got out and started walking after us. We were pretty scared, but then he yells “I’m an member!” And that was an relief, and we talked to him and turns out he hadn’t been to church In a while, but was willing to meet with us! We got to re-teach him some lessons and it was a cool/weird way to find one of God’s lost children, I don’t think we would’ve found him otherwise! (Jenny)
  • Off road bike racing through jungle trails in Uitkijk. Preparing and eating roadkill iguana with some of the members (who used my pocket knife to clean it). Piranha fishing in Uitkijk. (Lance)
  • I was detained in a French airport for about a day and a half for not having the required papers to enter the island. The French authorities were very strict and I was kept in a very small room that had fit but a small bed, 3-4 chairs and thankfully a light in to see. Sleeping in and being kept in this small room was quite a memorable experience on my mission. No showers, no change of clothes nothing. I was fed and they still respected me as a person and missionary but it was really memorable experience for me. (Jean)
  • One night while walking home in St. Vincent, my companion and I heard a woman screaming up the road from our apartment. It was dark and we couldn’t tell what was happening. We ran towards the scream hoping to find everything was okay. She and her brother had just been attacked and robbed by a man with a cutlass. The man was still beating the brother as the woman shrieked for help. My companion and I shouted at him and after he glanced at us he took off the other direction. We called the police and the man ended up being alright but had a huge lash on the back of his head. (Sorry, this story is a bit gruesome.) (David)
  • I spun out of control in St. Lucia on a rainy night while driving from Castries to Vieux Fort. I ended up spinning 2 times and crashing into a parked bus. (Philip)
  • I actually can’t think of any. I dealt with some angry people who were usually drunk and would threaten is in some way. It I never felt uncomfortable  or in danger. (Trevor)
  • Ma and my companion were a few blocks from home one night when a car turned the corner up the road from us. I turned to him and said, “did you just get a bad feeling like we should run?” He immediately said yes and we ran through some back roads to get home. I’ll never know why I got that prompting but it was undeniable and I’m glad I listened. (Von)
  • Two missionaries in my district got lost on an active volcano for over three days, but through prayer, fasting, and inspiration we were able to locate them safe and sound. It was a faith promoting story, but it was very worrisome and full of anxiety as I was overseeing their missionary work. It became Church news as well as international news (French new, Utah news, etc.). We were even in the newspaper! (Brycen)
  • Hiking down into the caldera of La Soufriere volcano on St Vincent. (Neldon)
  • A group of teens tried to take my companion ‘s camera. We took it back from them and pushed the ringleader over and walked away and they didn’t follow us. Also once saw a random stabbing outside of a community center. (Derek)
  • Got robbed in Guyana. (Noel)
  • Riding bikes on streets of Guyana, I pretty much got hit or hit a car every day. (Jared)
  • I had a Cutlass held up to me and my companion in the botanical gardens in Georgetown Guyana. Same area same companion I had a knife to my throat. Both times I escaped with all of my belongings and my life.  (David)
  • We were lost at first, so I told my husband to follow a taxi…which got us into a LONG LINE OF TAXIs!!! One of the drivers was good to come and help us get out of the traffic. Just be humble and don’t be afraid to say you need help, and they will bend over backwards to help you. (Weldon & Carmen)
  • Robbed on St Vincent. (Dennis)
  • Riots, we were locked down for ten days in our homes and apartments. Not able to go out because of the danger. Very boring. Only so many letters one can write. (Dan)
  • We got followed home a few time by a drunk guy. (Sarah)
  • I was sleeping on New Year’s Eve, had a companion who thought it would be fun at midnight, to run across through room, yelling Happy New Year, jumped and landed on my chest with his backside, broke my bed, 3 ribs and separated my sternum from the rib heads.. couldn’t hardly breathe for a week, never had them checked till I got home 4 months later.. now 25 years later I still have problems with the ribs popping out of place if I twist weird. (Steve)
  • Lots of black people, very few whites. (Donald)
  • When a neighbor of the Church threatened us with a gun after English class. (Wayne)
  • In one island, my backpack was stolen which included my well worn and marked up scriptures and several personal items. I have never felt more violated not on the things but at the loss of my scriptures! It took months for my family to get a replacement set sent to me. Who steals scriptures from missionaries? If it was dangerous we were mostly oblivious to it. We did get stuck in our apartment during a week long tropical storm that was more boring than scary. And we did get lost a few times as we were the first Elders in our our area and there were no members around us. We drove to a bus stop, hoped the private bus was on time, took that for an hour then walked for an hour to get the the house that was serving as the Chapel at the time. More than once everything did not work out and we walked the who way which took most of the day. (Michael)

What was a spiritual experience?

  • I remember it was one of my first lessons I really was able to teach on the mission. I remember the day being super hot and we were teaching this lady and her kids were making some noise when we got there. As we were teaching, I remember the feeling in the room changing and the spirit was there so strong. Her kids had quieted down and the words we were saying were definitely given to us by the spirit according to her understanding. We were teaching the restoration, and sometimes it’s hard for people to understand, but that day the spirit was able to testify to her simply and she understood perfectly. I remember her praying afterwards and thanking god for Joseph Smith and for the Book of Mormon. It was an amazing experience to me and really showed me that the spirit was the true teacher, and that he can change and touch the hearts of those we were teaching. (Jenny)
  • I had a wonderful sacrament meeting in one area where I felt the spirit more strongly than I ever had before. It was really special. (Carissa)
  • Seeing a testimony develop in an investigator family in Munder. Finding a small spot of trees in the jungle and praying for guidance. Following a prompting to pray for an investigator on the side of the road. (Lance)
  • Yet again there were many. One I may point out is the process I went through learning how to teach, talk and testify of the gospel in the language of the people. Being able to learn a language and finally being able to testify with authority and power really brought spiritual miracle skills for me personally, not only for the people I taught. (Jean)
  • My companion and I were sitting at the church building after all our appointments fell through. We were feeling a bit discouraged but quickly prayed we would find someone to teach soon. As we were leaving the church we received a call from the assistants. They said they had just received a referral from Salt Lake City. We immediately called the man and he was astounded at how quickly missionaries located in his area got in contact with him. The whole process took about 5-10 minutes. He asked if we could come to his home and bring him a copy of the Book of Mormon. We were there in a few minutes and began teaching him. Three weeks later he was baptized. Our prayer was answered so quickly and we were able to change this man’s life. He was able to refer us to many other friends and family members who were later baptized. (David)
  • I met a brother in Lindon Guyana while contacting. He asked for us to pray with him and also asked for a blessing. My companion and I did as he asked, the brother exclaimed that he could feel the spirit and knee right away that my companion and I were messengers from God and he wanted to learn more about the church. He was baptized shortly after. (Philip)
  • Anytime you get to see an investigator you worked with enter the waters of baptism is an incredibly humbling and powerful experience. (Trevor)
  • I hold these sacred and consider them personal, that I only rarely divulge. But, I had many, many spiritual experience while on the mission. (Brycen)
  • Every day was a spiritual experience if you looked for one. (Neldon)
  • Praying with a Muslim teenager for his first vocal prayer. He asked about whether what we had been teaching his friend was true and about whether Joseph Smith is a prophet. The whole room filled with the spirit and I felt as if the place were vibrating. The teen didn’t want to leave his knees when he ended because he said he felt so good he didn’t want the moment to leave him. That’s the Power of the Holy Ghost. (Derek)
  • Hard to pick just one but President Hinckley stopped in St. Kitts and dedicated the chapel. There were only four missionaries, including myself serving on the island at the time and only one branch of about 40 members. He promised us success and within 6 weeks both companionships baptized young married couples. (Noel)
  • Traveling 25 miles on a bike to meet a person that requested info about the church, they requested, we worked to get there, it was a neat experience to see faith working. (Jared)
  • Not dying after having a knife to my throat. (David)
  • A sister’s two daughters ( ages 14 & 16) had joined the church some time back, but this sister couldn’t because she wasn’t legally married. We were teaching her the discussions again and the girls’ father came home and said they should get married…it was an answer to prayer and now she could be baptized. (Weldon & Carmen)
  • Many. (Dennis)
  • First person we baptized in Montego Bay, was Esau Joshua Vernon. He had seen visions and was waiting for the church. The Lord had prepared him to be the first Priesthood holder on that side of the Island. He read the Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, Jesus the Christ, Thirteen Articles of Faith, all in three weeks. Four weeks after we meet him he was a member of the church, twelve months later he was a missionary called to serve in Jamaica. (Dan)
  • A lady we taught was just praying to change her life and find God and we showed up within that same half hour. (Sarah)
  • Teaching Amelia (Cita) Lalbaharry, we knew she was ready to be baptized, she even told us the date to do it. The Spirit was so strong we knew she felt it. As missionaries, we decided to make her wait till she could be baptized with her grandfather thinking it would make it a more special occasion. The day she requested came and went, as we wanted her to wait. Two days later, her family went to the beach for a holiday, some of the children were caught in a riptide, Cita, and a family member both drowned being heroes, saving the little children. Our golden contact Cita was gone without getting baptized… I always had regrets for making her wait. It wasn’t till 23 years later, when I met her aunt in Salt Lake City, that I learned of the special experiences that were felt in the temple, when her work had been done! (Steve)
  • There were so many. With my companions times of service with them and serving each other, with our wonderful two Branch Presidents (brothers who each were Branch Presidents of the only two branches at the time in Barbados). So many amazing teaching experiences with investigators. Often you could just tell when the spirit took over and was doing the teaching, speaking to their hearts! Although we experienced few baptisms in those early days of the mission we knew we were breaking ground, making friends for the Church and preparing people for future missionaries to come in and finish what we started. The people were always so giving, humble and knew their Bibles! It was a privilege to be there and learn from the wonderful people we met. (Michael)

What are some interesting facts about the West Indies Mission?

  • There are 7 different countries and currencies. Tons of religions coexist in each country. (Carissa)
  • Most culturally and politically diverse mission in the world. At the time I served, there were 3 (official) languages and several more dialects, 10 countries, 12 currencies, mainland and islands, and of course many many different kinds of foods. (Lance)
  • My mission consisted of 11 different countries. These consists of Barbados’s, Trinidad and Tobago, St Lucia, St Vincent, St martin, Guadeloupe, Martinique and one other island I can’t remember the name of and 3 countries in South America consisting of Guyana, Suriname and French Guyana. This adds to the mission not only being diverse culture wise but area wise as well. I’m pretty confident it is also the most humid mission in the world. (Jean)
  • The West Indies Mission (at the time I was there) had 12 different countries, three different languages (spoken by missionaries), and seven different currencies. (David)
  • When I served, there were 12 countries, 7 currencies, and 3 languages. (Philip)
  • Interesting facts: we had, at the time, 11 countries, 7 currencies, and many languages including: English, Dutch, French, various creoles, and other indigenous languages that missionaries attempted to learn to a small degree. There are Muslims, Hindus, various Christian denominations, Catholics, and Rastas. On the French side there are many agnostics and atheists. So, there are many different religions that a missionary encounters and teaches. (Brycen)
  • I once heard that one of the opening scenes of Gilligan’s Island was filmed on Antigua, and I have a picture from a bluff that looks close, but never could confirm the rumor. (Neldon)
  • When I served, there were 15 countries in the mission covering three languages. Several districts covered multiple islands. Most islands have their own local dialect, often a variant of English or French. You will keep a plane ticket to your home country in your apartment everywhere you serve. There were also no sister missionaries in the mission until the last 5-7 years. The first stake was organized in the mission in 2008. (Derek)
  • At the time there were 13 countries and 3 languages in the mission. About 100 elders and no sisters. Many islands only had one or two companionships on the whole island. (Noel)
  • Visited the poorest country in South America. Half East Indian, Half African American population. Serve in multiple countries and cultures. (Jared)
  • There were no sister missionaries in the West Indies Mission when I was out. (David)
  • It’s hard for people to come up with enough money to get married, so many times they will live together, have their family and never be married. They are devoted to each other, just poor. It’s a challenge for them to rake up enough money to marry so they can be baptized. People can live in an area and never get more than 10 miles from their home. It’s a big thing to drive up the coast or go to another part of the country. -When we went to leave the country, they asked for a fee, for baggage being over…which we didn’t think it was. I had only a little Guyanese money and he wanted United States money. He accepted what we had and let us go (again, making us believe he was just trying to get a few dollars in cash from us, he wouldn’t take a Visa.) To get ready for Christmas, people clean their home, sometimes paint…to welcome the Savior. (Weldon & Carmen)
  • Was dedicated when I was there by Marvin J Ashton. (Dennis)
  • Only 90 members at the time in Jamaica. Victor Nuggent was the church leader, what an awesome man! We taught the United States military investigators in Cuba. In June of 1985, they arrested all the missionary Elders on the island and put them in jail. (Visa reasons). We had no sister missionaries, unless it was a older couple. (Dan)
  • The people were so fun! Very friendly to missionaries and everyone loves giving you mangoes! (Sarah)
  • When I first got to Sangre’ Grande, there were 6 members in the Branch, and a couple investigators. Some of which were, Kennick Suepaul, my first appointment in the area, and Indra, Randy, and Richard Ramoutar, who fed me my first meal. (Steve)
  • When the mission first started four of were called from Puerto Rico, a few from a French mission for Haiti and the Mission home and office was located outside the mission in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. My first companion and I served in St Vincent first and we were there 4 months before seeing anyone from the Church, a General Authority that came down to check on us as the new Mission president was still serving in another mission so we did not have one. Traveling by boat and sea planes to get from one island to another. Circling the air strip in St. Vincent while farmers herded the goats and some sheep off the air strip so we could land. Serving in the Mission office in Florida before it moved to Barbados and arranging the pick-up, visa, and transport of the many new missionaries flowing into the mission that at the beginning included Haiti, the Bahamas, all the West Indies dow to Trinidad and over to Cuba. Everything but PR and Dominican Republic. So we were really spread out. We made up the rules as we went. nearly everything we learned in the MTC and the white handbook did not apply. I never wore a suit my whole mission after the MTC. I wore hiking boots more than dress shoes as our service projects often took us off road and into rural places. When living in St. Vincent we lived in a shack that neither of us could stand up in, that only occasionally had running water. It was owned by a member whose job was to design collectible stamps for the nation to export to collectors. We lived with a lot of lizards, giant spiders, and a goat. In Barbados we learned to play cricket and how to drive on the wrong side of the road! (Michael)

What was the weather like?

  • Always over 90 degrees with humidity everyday. I literally brought no long sleeves with me, and it worked for me! I always had my hair up too! Sometimes when you are serving by the coast it can get windy often, so it is important that you have skirts that don’t fly up easily. (Jenny)
  • Hot and humid or wet and humid depending on the time of year. (Carissa)
  • Hot and humid (and sometimes rainy) all year round except for a week or two in January where it dropped down to a chilly 70 degrees and people caught a cold. (Lance)
  • It was really, really warm and humid. The only time you were basically not sweating was when you were in the shower. Shower times were definitely a blessing in disguise. (Jean)
  • Lots of sun, lots of rain, and always humid. (David)
  • Depended on the country. Islands get nice coastal breezes besides sun and rain. Guyana was sun and lots of rain. Trinidad was a mix between the islands and Guyana depending on the area. (Philip)
  • Always around 85° rain or shine in the islands. It was perfect. It got REALLY hot and humid in French Guiana during certain parts of the year. (Trevor)
  • 80 degrees every single day for two years. 100% humidity and rains a lot. (Von)
  • Pretty great most of the time. Very humid and hot. The rainy seasons can be rough which doesn’t last forever, though it seems like that sometimes. (Brycen)
  • Hot and muggy. (Neldon)
  • High 80’s almost all day every day. You will get a rainy season in most countries. But generally humid. 11-13 hours of light a day. (David)
  • Tropical but always with a nice ocean breeze. (Noel)
  • Always warm, enjoyable, rainy, and hot. (Jared)
  • It didn’t rain as much as I would have thought. You get used to the Heat. Great weather on the small Islands! (David)
  • We came during a dry time, so perhaps didn’t see as much rain as most do. Humidity is just fine when you have a fan in your apartment. Sun block is good if you are out in the sun a lot and have trouble with sunburn. (Weldon & Carmen)
  • Beautiful. (Dennis)
  • 85 degrees year round. I was in one of the most beautiful spots on the island… six months rain, six months dry. (Dan)
  • Always hot and humid. Sometimes a chill rain. (Sarah)
  • Hot & humid, even when it would storm, a couple hours later it would be sunny. (Steve)
  • 85 degrees year round. (Donald)
  • It was either nice, hot and sunny, or it was hot and rainy. (Wayne)
  • They say you acclimate but I never really did. I was always hot, sweaty and uncomfortable. Unless we were closer to the coastal areas. When I transferred to the mission home in Florida it was hard to get used to air conditioning and A/C in cars. I guess i did get used to it and did not realize it. In some islands it seemed to rain every day. in Barbados I seem to recall wet and dry seasons. (Michael)

Any things you really like about the area/people?

  • The majority of people were friendly and willing to let you into their homes. Most people had a background of Christ somehow in their lives so it was fun to work off those foundations. The other main population of people especially in Trinidad are Hindu or Muslim, and they also are pretty open and fun to teach as well. (Jenny)
  • Everything. The people are wonderful and so humble and you can’t complain about being surrounded by the beach. (Carissa)
  • It reminded me of home in Houston. There were a lot of different cultures to learn and befriend. The weather was amazing. The food was delicious. It was tropical and not cold. There was a lot of international travel. I didn’t have to deal with snow. (Lance)
  • Everything. If I could point out a single thing from the many, it would be the love majority of the people have for the gospel of Jesus Christ. (Jean)
  • I loved the Caribbean accent. It varies from island to island but it is contagious and I always tried to sound like the locals and use local terminology and lingo. (David)
  • A majority of the people are very humble and love the missionaries. (Philip)
  • They are so open and friendly. I always made friends, every day. It was so easy to get to know people because they were so welcoming and kind. (Trevor)
  • People there have such bold personalities. They love to laugh, debate, party, and eat together. It’s a breathtaking landscape everywhere you go. (Von)
  • Some of the nicest, and humblest people on earth. It’s beautiful and like heaven on Earth. (Brycen)
  • I loved the humility of the people and how the members really tried to live the gospel. (Neldon)
  • Many would invite you right into their homes to talk or to eat, regardless of whether they were interested in your message. They are very kind and friendly. They love to have a good time and communities often feel like extended families. (Derek)
  • Beautiful scenery. Humble people who are laid back and never in a rush. (Noel)
  • Humble, likeable people, I love them. (Jared)
  • The people are so nice and charitable. If we were ever hungry we could just start knocking on doors in the Indian communities and would most likely get fed. (David)
  • They were humble. If you are poor, Guyana is a good place to live…you don’t need a lot of shelter or fancy stuff to live there. They are always excited to have you in their homes and want to help you any way they can. (Weldon & Carmen)
  • Friendly. Great accents. (Dennis)
  • Warm loving people, great food, awesome weather. Relaxed environment. (Dan)
  • Their friendliness. Loud personalities. Great cooking skills. (Sarah)
  • I loved the people…I found that as I lost myself in the service of others, I never worried about home, always made great friends, was blessed to have and feel the love of our Savior often.. As a side note, because of the service we helped give to some of the orphanages, and knowing the plight of some of the children in that situation, my wife and I went back 2 years later and adopted our oldest son from Sangre’ Grande. (Steve)
  • Food, care-free attitude, weather, beaches, best bananas ever on St. Vincent. (Donald)
  • I suppose everyone says this about wherever they serve mission but I was just in love with the people. The openness, the kindness, the willingness to listen. To be taught and to teach. Most people seemed to have much of the bible memorized and they could get to scriptures faster than we could or they would just quote the verse we wanted to talk about. Everyone wanted to feed us, even people who clearly could barely afford to feed themselves, that was always so humbling. I have always gravitated to beaches, ocean and tropical settings. The West Indies mission was like going home to me. I had a hard time leaving at the end of my mission and could have easily returned. After 35 years my wife and I were able to come back to the area as tourists on a cruise. Unfortunately we only had a few hours in Barbados so I did not get to look for people I knew or find the Church. I hope I don’t have to wait another 35 years to come back. Even after all this time I still feel connected to the people an pay attention to the islands in the news. I’m so happy to learn of the mission splitting repeatedly as the Church grows. Every time I come across someone from any of the Caribbean I have to go talk to them and learn where they are from. I miss all the wonderful people very much! (Michael)

Any packing/clothing advice?

  • Most people are concerned with what you can buy down in the Caribbean. They did have some things they were missing, but in terms of necessities, they had everything available to buy (including feminine hygiene products, which was my major concern). Don’t waste space in your suitcase coming with things you could buy here, plus you only get one suitcase coming, so be sure to leave room for things when you are coming back. (Jenny)
  • Pack light, easy to care for clothing. Lots of apartments don’t have dryers. Pack shoes that do well with rain. (Carissa)
  • Don’t invest money into a suit! You’ll never wear it and it will most likely get mildew/moth damage. Ecco shoe soles will disintegrate. Wait until you are down there to buy lots of garments. The church has a third world discount program and they are pennies on the dollar. Expect that most of your white shirts will have a brownish or orange tint by the end of your mission. (Lance)
  • Pack light, not weight wise, but material wise. No need to bring a snow coat or something extreme. I can recall that I only got cold maybe twice my mission. And it was maybe like 22 degrees Celsius. Specifically speaking to Elders now, try to pack a variation of different color slacks, not just black, mosquitoes are apparently attracted to this color and will drain your blood if you only wear black 😂 . Brown or chinos are great as they decrease or stop mosquito attacks on a daily basis. I testify of this. (Jean)
  • You’re often wet either from rain or sweat from walking around in the heat and humidity. Have a handkerchief to wipe your face and have enough white shirts to always don a clean one. (David)
  • Anything moisture wicking is a must. Pack light because you have very limited weight on transfers. Only take necessary books and clothes and don’t plan on bringing back tons of souvenirs. It is often best to mail those things home. My family was super poor so I just did without souvenirs. Really, my planners, journals, and pictures have been the best souvenir I could have. (Trevor)
  • Pick a shoe with thick, strong outer soles. I didn’t and I ended up going through 4 pairs of shoes. (Von)
  • Nothing that comes to mind other than mosquito repellent. (Brycen)
  • Leave that suit-coat at home and only take one long sleeved white shirt. (Neldon)
  • Get your white shirts a little big around the neck to allow some breathing room. Don’t plan on bringing them home after two years of was washing in the local water. You will want good, but not heavy, shoes. I preferred pants that were looser on the lower legs to keep me cooler. Thinner materials are obviously best. Sweat rags? (Derek)
  • Comfortable shoes. Short-sleeved shirts. (Noel)
  • Pack light, no suits. (Jared)
  • Take minimal suit pants as they make better pants down there than you can find here. Invest in a good pair of shoes. Don’t take an umbrella, they have better ones down there. (David)
  • Breathable, loose clothing, no nylons, comfortable shoes to walk in and that will go thru rainy days. (Weldon & Carmen)
  • Short sleeve shirts. Breathable stuff. (Dennis)
  • No long sleeve shirts, no suits. Cotton garments breath, those that wore other materials had them sticking to them because of sweat. (Dan)
  • Light weight skirts and light colored shirts for sister missionaries! Bring fruit snacks because they don’t have any. (Sarah)
  • Clothes fit better in the suitcase if you roll them up tight…wear light cotton if possible. Leave the suit home…I only wore mine 3 times in the 2 years. When you are there, look for the wacky looking tie that we as missionaries turned inside out and signed, before it was passed down to new missionaries. Last I had heard 11 years after I was there, it was still being passed around. Keep it going.. if not start a new one. (Steve)
  • Loose fitting clothes. (Donald)
  • Keep it simple. You will want room for the stuff you pick up while there and you may want to leave some items with those staying behind afterwards. (Wayne)
  • I don’t know if things have changed and the instructions are better than they were when I went. Nearly everything I was told I needed was wrong. Sometimes it’s hard to buy lighter breathable clothing that is good to wear in warm humid climates if your coming from someplace that is cold or snowy. Go online and buy your clothing from places that specialize tropical humid conditions. When I served it was before cell phones, iPads, the internet or email. So we had to bring that light blue air mail paper with us to write home. Maybe that is no longer needed. I would make sure you have a good small tough camera. Not a fancy DSL. There are pocket cameras called tough cameras from Panasonic, Olympus and a few others than are dust proof, water proof, can be dropped and take a lot of abuse. You’ll want to talk a lot of pictures of the friends you make and the places you will go. Try and save up some money if possible to buy supplies locally. Don’t try and bring everything. For us buying an electric fan was a big deal, and we had to have money to buy a bike when we arrived in PR. Then I never used it again in the West Indies mission. We walked or used the bus in Barbados, we had a car in St Vincent but still mostly walked. Leave extra room in your luggage to back things you will collect as you transfer around your mission. I ended up shipping some stuff home because I had collected a number of things, some gifts, some bought, that I wanted to take back home. I don’t regret a single cent of what little I did spend on things that reminded me of the people and places I fell in love with. (Michael)

What blessings did you receive from serving a mission?

  • I wouldn’t be where I am today without my mission. I’m currently going to school. I have a great job and I’m doing better in school now than I ever have. (Carissa)
  • Learned a language, met lots of amazing people, gained confidence and understanding of the scriptures, my family overcame immense trials. (Lance)
  • Some are personal which I won’t share, but one I do share is the knowledge I have of the love Christ has for us his brothers and sisters and also the Love and eternal truth of God our Father and His eternal plan of happiness he has put in place for us. (Jean)
  • I think the biggest lesson I learned was the fact that I can do hard things. It was definitely the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in a place I knew nothing about. Since I was able to serve a two-year mission, I can do almost anything. Especially with the Lord on my side. (David)
  • The most prominent blessing I have noticed so far is continual trust in the Lord for my well being despite the trials that are before me. (Philip)
  • I have seen a strength and hope in my own life because of my mission experiences. It made me appreciate and love my family so much more – not just my immediate family but my whole extended family. Seeing the sacrifice of the members to go to the temple and appreciate the things so easily accessible in Utah has made me more grateful for those blessings. It made me more empathetic and understanding of people who are different and have different experiences and points of view than me. But the biggest is my testimony of God’s love. That testimony has blessed me and people around me nearly every day since my mission. (Trevor)
  • Solidified my testimony, gave me a moral compass for the rest of my life, was closer to the Lord than any other time. (Von)
  • Time will tell what blessings I received. My best friends were a result of my serving a mission, my testimony grew, and my family will be blessed for serving the Lord. (Brycen)
  • I learned that serving others without thinking about oneself is the best gift that can be received. (Neldon)
  • A love of travel. I have since lived internationally and the ability to love and experience other cultures changed my life. I am more open minded and interested in other ways of life than much of my family and friends. Most importantly, it strengthened my testimony of Jesus Christ and helped me experience some incredible things that I can never deny or forget. The Lord definitely has a plan for each of His children. (Derek)
  • Everything good that has happened in my life since is a direct result of the decision I made to serve. (Noel)
  • Learned the gospel, learn to love everyone, saw the Lord’s hand in peoples lives. (Jared)
  • Too many to count. (David)
  • It was the 1st of 5 missions we eventually served. We met so many dear people, learned that the Lord is in charge and knows what experiences and hardships we need. (Weldon & Carmen)
  • Too many. (Dennis)
  • Out of many one, people. The Lord’s kingdom will have all kinds of people in it. Last 31 years have been the best years of my life, because I served in Jamaica. I gained insight to real values. (Dan)
  • The blessing of knowing what loving others around you really feels like. Gift of tongues. Definitely a much stronger testimony of the atonement of Jesus Christ. (Sarah)
  • Eternal friends, and an eternal family. (Steve)
  • Met my wife down there. (Donald)
  • This is a hard one. The list could be very long but also highly private and personal. My testimony was tested and proven. Strengthened and solidified. I was able to witness the spirit testify to people, through me, through companions and directly to investigators. I saw miracles that could not be defined as anything else but a miracle. I saw people healed of deadly diseases. I also knew of blessings my family at home received because of my service and my leaving for a mission was a hardship on my family with 5 younger brothers and sisters, a Mom struggling with drug abuse and depression and no father. I was the acting father when I left and some people were mad at me for leaving my family to serve a mission while others encouraged me to go. God confirmed to me that I was doing what I was supposed to do and my family would be cared for while I was gone. And they were. (Michael)

What are some skills you gained?

  • Opening my mouth and getting out of my comfort zone- if I followed the Spirit and got out of my comfort zone and pushed myself miracles happened and I usually learned amazing things from those experiences. (Jenny)
  • Cooking, sewing, and memorizing. I also learned how to use a cutlass. (Carissa)
  • The ability to cook. Speaking Dutch and Sranan Tongo. How to fix any part of a bike (and often with the worst of tools and parts). (Lance)
  • Language skills are on top of the list. As an Afrikaner from South Africa, my native langue is Afrikaans. I was blessed to teach and preach the gospel however in English, Dutch and French. These languages have enriched my mind and has aided in me developing many skills, both spiritually and temporally. (Jean)
  • I learned how to speak to people and always be ready to bare my testimony. It was easy as a missionary because I stood out and often people would ask what I was doing there. Back in America I blend in easier and have to remember to share my testimony but I know I can do it and that it can help others and myself by sharing it. (David)
  • I learned to plan and prepare a discussion that is to be presented to others in such a manner that the message is understood clearly. I also learned to discern the thoughts of those I taught, which helped in answering questions, concerns, and doubts. (Philip)
  • Approaching strangers. I was very shy and awkward before my mission. I still am, but I have learned how to cope with it and overcome those feelings of fear and self-doubt. I learned how to love more deeply, especially those who are difficult to love. I learned a new language. I learned invaluable leadership skills. I gained a greater empathy. I learned what it means to rely on the Lord. I learned how to study effectively. (Trevor)
  • I learned how to whistle really loud. It helps when you are street contacting and your companion gets separated from you. (Von)
  • Listening. That is probably the best and most useful thing that I use on a daily basis. My testimony also grew while a missionary. (Brycen)
  • I learned how to study effectively and take notes on everything. (Neldon)
  • Independence. I often was serving on a small island with a tiny or small branch and just four Elders. We had to take care of ourselves and work hard. However, due to the heat and difficulty of the work, we learned to work smarter than harder. The ability to have fun when things are hard and to make the work fun is something that has blessed my professional career. I learned to cook new foods, learn new tongues, and love other people more genuinely. (Derek)
  • Speaking to people, teaching, planning, setting goals, working hard. (Noel)
  • Public speaking, perseverance, organization, social skills. (Jared)
  • To talk to people. I was pretty shy beforehand. (David)
  • Teaching the gospel, knowing you can do anything that is required of you. We may have been nervous if we had been given a list of everything we would be doing, but taking one day at a time, it was great. These people have the simple faith we all need to develop. (Weldon & Carmen)
  • Speaking to groups, sales. (Dennis)
  • Cooking, speaking clearly so other could understand. (Dan)
  • Speaking French. Paying bills. Taking care of a car. Being thrifty about buying groceries. Daily habit of scripture study. Better and more deeper prayers. (Sarah)
  • Cooking! Still using some of the talents today that I learned in Trinidad. (Steve)
  • Negotiation ability. (Donald)
  • Leadership skills, financial skills and health skills. (Wayne)
  • Confidence, research, tenacity, independence, a stronger testimony. I was already self reliant, a decent cook and I could sew and take care of myself. I was surprised when I had companions that did not know how to feed themselves, do laundry, or manage their funds. I think more people need to learn to care for themselves away from home and Mom and Dad before coming on a mission. (Michael)

What do you wish you knew/did at the beginning of your mission?

  • I think the biggest thing is to serve with love. Love is what opens the hearts of the people to receive your message and to act upon your message. As they feel your sincere love, they will be prompted by the Spirit to listen to you and change their lives for the better. (Jenny)
  • That culture shock is a real thing, and my mission is nothing like the United States. (Carissa)
  • I wish I had read the Book Of Mormon again from cover to cover. I wish I had met more often with priesthood leaders in preparation for guidance and counsel. I wish I knew that Church Education System (who runs the MTC) limits caffeine availability at all their institutions. (Lance)
  • I would change nothing 🙂. (Jean)
  • I wish I was able to overcome the language barrier much sooner. (Philip)
  • It’s okay to not be perfect. It’s okay to be scared or self-conscious. It’s okay to not know everything. It’s okay to feel inadequate. If you feel those things, turn to God. He will help and your relationship with Him will grow more than you can imagine. I wish I knew how emotionally taxing it can be to love someone so much and see them choose to reject the gospel – something that has brought so much joy in my life. I wish I would have known that missionaries aren’t perfect and some choose to make very bad decisions. I thought all missionaries were perfect and I had a hard time at first when dealing with disobedient or apathetic missionaries. I wish I would have understood how much love God would let me feel and how joyful and sorrowful that could make me. I wish I would have known how to study more effectively. I wish I would have known better how the spirit speaks to me. I wish I would have just jumped in without dear of making mistakes. (Trevor)
  • I wish I knew French. (Brycen)
  • I wish I would have had better study habits. (Neldon)
  • Missionaries have long days, even on Sundays. Be prepared to be buying your own food and know how to plan a menu and budget for things weeks at a time. Also prepare yourself to be living with someone else and be open about the good and bad things you experience. You will be surprised at how caring and understanding your companion can be. (Derek)
  • Focus on the present because time flies. (Noel)
  • Relax and enjoy the process. (Jared)
  • I wish I was better at communicating. (David)
  • I would have bought a microwave and a crockpot at the beginning of our mission. More cotton skirts. Thicker socks (thin ones allow mosquitoes to bite thru) for my husband. (Weldon & Carmen)
  • Stop taking so many pictures. (Dan)
  • Memorized more scriptures. Had no reservation for talking with everyone! So many people are waiting for the gospel and others don’t know they are waiting until they find you! (Sarah)
  • I kept a journal, was not the best at it, wish now I had recorded more names, photos, spiritual experience, even struggles and trials. I did keep some receipts, programs, planners and memorable items. My advice, do your best to write in your journal daily, who you met, what you taught, how you felt, what you ate for the day, there is always something to say. (Steve)
  • How young I really was! (Donald)
  • I had one bad companion in PR that walked away from his mission at the same time I was called out of PR to help open the West Indies mission. I wish my testimony and my knowledge of people and psychology was as strong as it is today. His behavior and problems were more than I was prepared for and I was no help to him. And I was not equip to deal with someone wo unhappy and filled with hate. He was hard to serve with and the greatest trail of my mission. I’ve always been one to be able to roll with changes well and without great issue. For the most part I can deal with change and unknown situations. Still I can say my mission taught me to be better at it and to be ready for change and be flexible. I also had to learn that people are members of the church and not the Church. That companions are imperfect and have their own problems and history which has nothing to do with your own testimony, happiness, or the truthfulness of the Gospel. I had a hard time separating leaders as individuals from the Church itself. Its taken me a long time to realize its the Church doctrine and principles that are true and we as people truly are feeble, pron to sin, error, and imperfection. And we often make bad decisions even if we are called to be leaders. Understanding this protects you from getting confused or misjudging the Church when leaders make imperfect choices or do not all set perfect examples. (Michael)

Any advice/testimony for pre-missionaries called to West Indies?

  • Serve, serve, serve. There are so many service opportunities. It’s a great way to show people you care about them. You can and will make a difference. Your mission is what you make it. (Carissa)
  • I know that the Lord has a choice mission, and mission experience prepared for those who are called to the WIN. He has special wonders, beauties, and challenges reserved for this area. Meet regularly with priesthood leaders leading up to your departure and get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Learn to love the idea of living 4-5 degrees north of the equator. The sooner Utahns and other Yankees get over the weather, the sooner they can get to work. (Lance)
  • Remember why you’re on mission. If you don’t, the heat, humidity and cramps will remind you. If you came for some other reason other than serving Christ and our brothers and sisters, you have come for the wrong reasons. But, if you’ve come for the right one, eternity is yours for the taking. (Jean)
  • Work hard but don’t forget to have fun. Two years goes by way too fast and it’s easy to regret days you didn’t work as hard as you could or days you didn’t enjoy. There will be tough days where you feel like you are not accomplishing your purpose and you’re not having any fun. Find ways to fix that within yourself, your companionship and what ever area you’re in on your mission. (David)
  • Study the book of Mormon consistently. (Philip)
  • The sooner you can forget yourself and your fears and your reservations, the sooner you will be a more effective tool in the Lord’s hands to build His Kingdom. I know that missions are hard, especially when things at home aren’t going well, but they are so rewarding. I know that God wants you there and He has prepared people that you need to touch. I know that it is the best mission in the world. You will meet people you will love in a way you never thought possible. I know that this gospel is Christ’s. I know this church is Christ’s. I know that He will not let you fail as long as you try your best and give it everything you can. I know he will be there with you every step of the way and lift you and carry you when you think you can’t go anymore. The atonement is real and it’s for everyone. No one is so far gone that they are outside the reach of the atonement. I know you will change lives and you will be changed in a way t hat’s indescribable but so beautiful. (Trevor)
  • Please study the gospel! Please read the Book of Mormon and try to develop a testimony of it. It is our unique message to the world. It is the crux of many peoples’ testimonies of the Church, of Joseph Smith, of the Priesthood. Please work hard, be as obedient as possible. And lastly, do not talk negatively about your companion to others, don’t talk bad or be critical of your leaders, especially your mission president, and also be cheerful in your interaction with others. (Brycen)
  • Prepare for the best mission on the earth. (Neldon)
  • Read the Book of Mormon as much as possible. Practice listening to other people and understanding what they are trying to get out of life. Say more meaningful prayers. Study the doctrines of the gospel and understand why you are asked to serve a mission. Purpose is key. (Derek)
  • Our Father in Heaven has made great promises to His children upon the isles of the sea. Do right by them. (Noel)
  • Learn to listen intently, the people speak fast and your learning as you go. (Jared)
  • Best mission on Earth! (David)
  • You will worry you are not doing enough, or the right things, or making any lasting impression on the people, but you will, in your own way. Remember to just do your best every day. That is all the Lord requires. It’s hard to see what you are accomplishing as you live your mission. It’s only after you are home, that you will see what you did. Keep a good journal of your thoughts and feelings and experiences. (Weldon & Carmen)
  • Work hard. (Dennis)
  • It’s awesome. (Dan)
  • Give up all of yourself in the service of God. Have no reservations. Having no reservations to do all that God expects of you allows God to have no reservations blessing you second to second. (Sarah)
  • Lose yourself in the service of others, including your companions. Don’t worry if have a companion you struggle with, love them, and serve them with all your heart, might, mind and strength. The Lord will help strengthen you. (Steve)
  • Many of you have been coddled too much in life, life is going to get a lot more interesting for you soon! (Donald)
  • You can never study too much. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Have fun, enjoy your mission. Your success and happiness is totally and only in your own hands. For me the rules in the white book are suggested guidelines. Its impossible to write one little book that covers every situation across every mission in the world. Look to your mission president and councilors to add guidance and direction to the foundations. realize that people are not the same everywhere. Cultures are not the same, there are many ways to do the same things and the way you learned from wherever your from is just one possible way. People everywhere have something to teach you and your not better than anyone no matter where your from or who your family is. (Michael)

What was a funny language mistake?

  • At a birthday party, a member tried in vain to compliment my language ability in Dutch. She apparently tried three times to tell me (in Dutch) that my language skills had improved. After the third failed attempt, and in front of the entire household, she said (in perfect English) “Your Dutch is BAD.” (Lance)
  • Learning to pray in French was an adventure. My companion Elder Wade, from Michigan, was already a fluent Spanish speaking Elder. He had learnt French at the MTC and on mission. He taught me very well in a very short period of time. Praying, however I would always much up these two words, “amour” and “mort” the latter being “death” and the former “love”. In my prayers as I started out I would pronounce the word love as death and say something along the lines like this “bless this home with many blessings, most of which is death” (<—- it should be love of coarse). (Jean)
  • The very first person I spoke to on my mission was a member of the church and she simply introduced herself but, although it was English, I had no idea what she said and just looked at my companion and shrugged my shoulders. I felt so bad. (David)
  • I once told a lady she has a nice a** instead of saying “Thank you very much.” (I had a lot of companions accidentally say some very vulgar things, so I won’t include them here.) My companion once accidentally said that Jesus killed himself for our sins. (Trevor)
  • Most language mistakes are too inappropriate to share but do bring a lot of laughs at the time. (Von)
  • I left the Mission Training Center not even knowing how to say “you’re welcome”. I remember when I got to the mission field where I first could use my language, I went to a restaurant and said, “je un sandwich” which means “I a sandwich” The guy figured out what I was saying. (Brycen)
  • I would say when they asked how I was, “I am fine”. They would say, “You are not fine, you are fat!” Meaning not the lean person fine means to them. We were going to get a local driver’s license and had to come back to get it. The man asked, “are you here to uplift?” my husband thought he was referring to our assignment as missionaries! (Weldon & Carmen)
  • I was English-speaking but the accent there was thick. When I came home my family didn’t understand many of my expressions. (Noel)
  • When I got off the plane in St.Vincent, my first area, I couldn’t understand a word that the Customs officer was saying. I ended up just giving him all of my papers and eventually let me into the country. It took me about three weeks to be able to understand the natives. I was English speaking in a supposedly English-speaking country 🙂 (David)
  • I thought a guy was saying that he was miserable so I asked “oh no! But why?” ..turns out he was really saying “Musulman” which means “Muslim” in French. (Sarah)
  • God did not talk with Moses “fece a fece,” but Face a face (French language mistake). (Wayne)
  • Really, try everything for the first 4-6 months seemed to be wrong. I at least was able to provide a lot of laughs for the locals in PR when I was trying to learn Spanish. I also learned than many locals in various islands speak a version of English that is slower for you but listen when they talk to each other and the speed and local jargon made English seem totally foreign to me sometimes. (Michael)