Monday, March 30, 2009

Quantum Neutron Amplifier

It is always great to hear from the family! I love reading all you emails every week! So it is sweet that heather and Nathaniel got some game boy supplies and I am glad that Heather's play seems to be a good experience! So this week has been good! But first to go through some questions. The accent here isn't to is the language. Every word is strung together and so it is super hard to understand what they are saying. I am getting the hang of it but the first week I didn't understand much. To speak like a Jamaican you just have to remove 2 syllables from every 4 syllables. So for example "What is going on" becomes "Whgwon" I still have to occasionally ask my companion what people are saying, I don't always catch everything.
Congratulations father on being such a celebrity! Haha good to know I am related to someone famous! So for General Conference we stop all missionary work and drive for 2 hours to Montego Bay where we have a chapel with satellite. All the missionaries in our zone (16 missionaries) all stay in the same house Saturday night. So we go up in the morning, watch conference, eat, watch conference, eat, watch conference, eat, sleep in a really full house of missionaries, wake, watch conference, eat, watch conference, eat, drive, teach. I am excited! It sounds like a great party! And I am really excited to listen to the general authorities speak and get some great information!!!
So Laura in response to your question on the length of a lesson. It really all depends on the person but usually we give a lesson in about 30-40 minutes. We cover about half of the stuff from each lesson. So if we want to cover all of lesson 2 it can take 30 minutes if we do our short version or an hour if we do our long version. We ask massive amounts of questions and use 15-20 scriptures. So overall the lessons turn out very good. I like a lot of the scripture chains that my companion and I have been working on creating. It is one of the things we have been working really hard on is teaching more and more from the scriptures and less and less from our own words. So we normally explain where the scripture is coming from, what to look for, then read it, explain it, ask questions about it and the start the process over again. Our best lessons have been ones where our unity is really good and where we effectively use the scriptures.
Well last preparation day after I wrote my email we went to this small shopping mall for tourists. My favourite part about it was that every single shop was owned by a few guys from India, no nativie Jamaicans owned these shops. It was really quite entertaining to see it.
I do have quite a good story this week about the most epic conquest I have ever endeavoured upon. So Thursday night my companion and I came home at our regular time of 9 pm, we went out side to do our daily planning because their is no space inside. We were sitting on the balcony and all of a sudden it just starts pouring rain nonstop! We had cover but we were still getting splashed, so inside we went to finish our planning. Well in our home we are happily planning and I start to notice this dumb bug that is flying around our heads, so I swat it away and continue onward. We call our district leader to hold ourselves accountable for the day and while we are talking to him I start to notice like 4 of these bugs flying around us, so I take off my sandal and start to swat them out of the air and kill them. So my companion is talking to our district leader and I am chasing a few bugs around but then I look in the kitchen and then bathroom and to my horror their are close to 100-150 of these moth like bugs. So I quickly tell my companion that we are being invaded he looks in the kitchen and yells at the bugs our district leader asks us what is going on and we inform him that our house is being taken over by bugs (which turned out to be giant flying ants) we kill a few of them and then finish our planning. As soon as our planning is done my companion gets the broom and I get my sandals and we start to kill them. We kill tons of them, the floor was littered with these bug bodies. So we are trying to kill every single one, we close all our windows and doors but then small black ants start pouring into our house to eat the bodies of the big flying ants and a bunch of spiders start coming from everywhere. So now our house is full of insects and we are trying our hardest to kill them all. I get a can of bug spray and spray every hole around the doors and windows where bugs can get in. After about 45 minutes we killed all the bugs in our house. The floor was covered in dead bugs it was really gross but we felt quite accomplished. The bug spray works really well. We have had 0 bugs in our house since then. Well after we killed them all we had a victory dinner of ramen and bread and then went to bed. In the morning we got around to cleaning up all the bugs.
Well we met this guy out in the mountains where we were tracting. It was a cool area, lots of trees and little dirt trails, we were looking for any random house that might live out in the middle of nowhere. But we found this man named tim. He made Jewelry from turtle shells, wood (Jamaica has some really really cool wood that makes some really cool things! Strange woods that I have never heard of) and he makes jewelry from about anything else. It was really really nice, he showed it to us, he does an amazing job! Definitely the best I have seen in all of Jamaica. And the best part was that Tim was 100% blind, he couldn't see a thing but he was really good at making things with his hands. He was a really cool guy.
Well today I am finally going to fix my bike! I have been riding another missionaries bike for quite some time and finally need to get my rideable since transfers are coming up fast! So I had to ride my bike for 30 minutes to the email place and it was a long and terrible ride, the brakes rub always and the tires don't roll straight and the gears don't work. So it was a long ride but I made it! I will get it fixed soon!
To bad rob didn't get much of an email sent, I am always worried about that happening to. I hope that all is going well for him in Idaho! Maybe he is having more success than we are. E. Stevens and I haven't had the best of luck lately. We have very few good investigators. But we did find this girl named Latisha. She is really smart and asks some good questions (Like she asked if Elijah from the Bible was or did ever return) she has a good memory and can read well. The very best part about it is that she is married! (which is very rare for Jamaica, no one gets married in Jamaica, everyone just lives together) she is doing really well and we hope she keeps progressing. Her and her husband could be a good strength to the branch. The branch has very few young people mostly just old people and so a lot of young people when they visit don't like that and figure that we are just an old person church so it would be good to get some more young couples in the branch to try and dissolve that notion.
Well yesterday we had dinner at the mitchells, not so good! Haha we had just fasted for 24 hours and I was really hungry, I had had some really terrible bike rides especially Saturday night where we made a 20 minute ride in 10 minutes, we didn't want to be late in at night and have to call the president so we rode fast. It was really tiring and we were fasting so I was getting very hungry. Well we showed up at the Mitchells and sister Mitchell had prepared for us Rice and Peas (one of my favourite Jamaican foods! Peas=beans, I don't know why they call them peas) , Pickles (Bleh!), Potato Salad (very bleh!), and fish (never liked fish much) so we were starving and all I had to eat was food I don't like, and in Jamaica you never serve yourself, everyone prepares your plate for you so their is no choice. It was interesting, luckily the fish was really really good! Whatever she did to cook it made it excellent. We had this really good cherry slushie type drink so that is how I ate the potato salad, eat a bite, drink a lot, eat a bite, drink a lot. Hopefully that doesn't happen to often! I am getting more tolerable to fish but still hate potato salad!
I have been thinking of bikes a lot (because I am always on mine) so I know that dad has some sort of analogy with bikes and coasting but I don't remember it to well, I might have just come up with more or less the same thing but I have noticed that their are only a few choices on a bike, you are either pedalling to move forward either on level ground or up, or you are coasting, if you are coasting you are either slowing down on level ground or going down hill. I have been attempting to make some connection to the gospel with this in that we only have a few ways we can go, we can either be working hard to make our way up, going nowhere, or going downhill and as you progress downhill the speed constantly increases until you have lost any and all control. We can either be trying in life to keep gods commandments and trying to constantly work our way upward, we can just be living an idle life that is going no where, we aren't really doing bad but we aren't doing good either, or we can be doing wrong which constantly compounds on itself till you have lost control.
Thanks dad for your email, it was good. To link it back to last week, Jeremiah and Abinidi had similar experiences as one another in that they never saw the fruits of their labours, they taught the people and were killed, but abinidi converted alma unknowingly and a whole nation was converted, Jeremiah had his words recorded in a book of scripture that now the whole world has access to. So even when it appears that our efforts are in vain you never know what can happen, even if you don't ever see the fruits of your labours. I teach a lot of lessons that go nowhere to people but perhaps they will remember my words and someday come to receive the restored gospel in their lives
Well I am glad to hear that CJ is going to Bulgaria! That is sweet! He should learn to love the MTC food because it will be different out in the field but it will also be one of the best experiences of his life! I am excited for him!
I am running short on time but I hope all is going well, I love hearing from you all! Life goes well in Jamaica, I am improving rapidly, my personal study time has definitely become my favourite part of the day. Make sure to keep studying the scriptures daily! You can never learn enough! Thanks paula for sending letters to me so often! I love reading about life in Idaho!! Well I love you all and will write next week!!!! Keep up the good work Nathaniel, and don't worry to much about missing me, I will be back sooner than you know!
Love, Elder K Talbert
ps if you ever don't get an email from me either something went wrong or I accidently typed in your email address wrong check my gmail, I have been sending all my emails their also as a back up

Monday, March 23, 2009

Fish Heads


Well It is great to hear from all of you again! This week has been good! Not much has happened out of the ordinary but I will try and go through it all. So first off I will answer all your various questions. Mom I don’t know why I type mother, I have no logical explanation for you haha. So Nathaniel my favourite color is blue or red, it changes, the capital of Utah is Salt lake City and you were quoting monty python and the holy grail. Negril is a great place! It is on the far west side of the island, just in case you haven’t found it on the map yet mother. We live at the end of a road called west end road, it is still in negril but everyone just calls it West end because of how far out it is. West end road is a road that goes south and then sort of east on the shore. Nice bike ride but long and when the road is really busy it is terrible. The road is littered with resorts and other such things.

The food situation is annoying. Since we live 7 miles away it is to long of a bike ride to make just for lunch. So we eat breakfast at 7 then we ride out eat lunch at 1 and then we ride home and eat dinner at 10. So long break between dinner and lunch. For dinner we eat ramen noodles and for breakfast we eat really cheap cereal. It is sort of an on going joke in the mission to make fun of how poor the negril elders are. We are given about $200 US a month. $50 of that goes to Taxi fare, $10 to Email, $60 to lunch and $80 to dinner/breakfast. Since we are in a tourist zone everything is very expensive. The cheapest lunch we get is for $2 US. The ramen noodles are the same as the states in brand but cost about 50 cents so that adds up fast, cereal and milk are also expensive but oh well. We fast every Sunday because it is the only way we have enough money to eat the rest of the week. It is ridiculous but a lot of fun. The rest of the mission eats a lot better than we do but it is still good. The one thing we do have that makes our food situation better is The Mitchell family. They are a younger family who are quite prosperous and feed the missionaries every Sunday. They give us a huge meal! For lunch we eat at Jucci Patties everyday because it is cheap. So every meal is very repetitive except the mitchells. Jamaican food is fairly generic. Every meal consists of Stir fried vegetables, Rice, Beans, and chicken or fish. The chicken is really good! I love the chicken! The fish on the other hand is not so good. In Jamaica (or at least Negril) they eat every part of the fish, head, tail, body, bones. Nothing is left out, it is gross. Luckily everyone understands when the missionaries don’t eat the head/tail/bones. Ice cream tastes different but is still really good! Sister Mitchell gives the missionaries ice cream every Sunday for washing her dishes! so the Mitchells use to feed the missionaries 4 times a week but that took to much time. She told us yesterday that she has more time again and is going to start feeding us again 2 or 3 times a week. Which is great! that is definitely the best meal I get all week! and it is really the only authentic Jamaican food we get except for the rare occasion that we eat at an investigators home.

The temple here is the Dominican Republic Temple. They make 1 trip a year with the whole District. Missionaries never go but a lot of the members do. They save up money and make the trip. The same thing with General conference for the members in Negril. It is a 2 hour drive to watch conference so that will be fun! If you send me photos via email I can easily view them but I can’t print them off in Negril. I can just save them. In other areas I might be able to, I know that missionaries have managed to do it depending on where they are.

So dad it is funny that you mentioned Jeremiah and Abinidi. President Gingery recently gave a talk to the missionaries about both of those prophets. It was a really good talk. I have been meaning to read Jeremiah but haven’t gotten to it yet. I will one of these days! I am excited for CJ and Shea to get their mission calls!! So far I am loving my mission! Jamaica is a strange place but I love it! I have so much fun everyday! I am learning tons and at the same time having a lot of really good experiences and overall just enjoying life here.

So Robbie got my letter? That is good! Haha I wasn’t sure how long it would take. There should be one in the Mail also for Bishop that will arrive someday. So that is great! I hope that he manages to endure through his unmotivated companion. I am glad that my companion is really good and ready to go out and work hard all day everyday.

Well a lot of random stuff has happened this week I got to have ice cream from the creamy man (Ice Cream man) they are cooler here than in the states. It is just a guy who rides around on this modified bike and sells ice cream. When you buy it you pick your flavour he grabs a cone and scoops up lots of ice cream! It is sweet! On Tuesday Elder Stevens and I went and helped our investigator Linel cut trees. He needed a tree for something he was building so we took a hike into the Bush (Forest) and took some swords (imagine something similar to lord of the rings) and we chopped down trees. It was a lot of fun! I had never wielded a sword in order to cut down trees. They work really effectively!

I learned how to play Dominos (which is the only board game anyone plays in Negril, no one has heard of any other board game, it is odd) Dominos is interesting but gets boring really fast. I learned how to juggle also! (Such good skills I am gaining!) It was a lot of fun to learn how to do that with rocks!

So we have been teaching this guy named Jeremy (he is 20 years old) and he wants to get baptized! He is a really really good investigator. He is very intelligent and definitely ready. He understands everything perfectly! He said that when he was younger he use to listen to the missionaries who were teaching his neighbour but he never got taught. He prayed that the missionaries would find him and we did! Hopefully all continues to go well! He is doing some training in Montego Bay for a month so that stinks, we turned him over to the Montego Bay missionaries but we are still calling him from time to time to check up on him.

We have a lot of random investigators but none of them are going anywhere. We are trying to figure out how we can help them but so far it is just going no where haha we had this one lady who kept telling us that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God but that the church isn’t true. We tried explaining it to her but it didn’t work. Oh well.

We met another lady who was strange. We taught her the first lesson and later on (next visit) we asked her what she thought of Joseph Smith. She said “Well I’m not saying he’s not a prophet” and so we asked her what that meant and she just repeated herself. We asked her if thats a yes or a no but she just said the same thing. Finally she said “I believe in the Ten commandments” we agreed with her on that and gave up on it. She was going no where.

So I am slowly getting a hang of the language. It is more or less English just modified a little. Like the Power went out on Wednesday. In Negril they say The Current went out. I tried telling someone the power was out but they didn’t get it. I finally said the current went out and they understood what I was saying. Just lots of little things like that.

I still don’t understand cricket but I watched some kids play it. It was a silly game. I have no clue how they make kites so good but they do! My companion and I have been having a great time! We get along really well! He went to BYU before his mission and was studying Civil Engineering. He will be returning to BYU after his mission. He has been out about 8 months (so not to long yet). Overall I am very glad that I got put with Elder Stevens.

So I am running short on time (Ugh....) I still have a bunch of random stuff to include but oh well. I will see how much more I can get. So April is coming fast, next month I am going to budget really well and see if it is possible to eat better (I think it is, we can easily save some more money) I learned that if I need anything for my mission (scriptures, hymn book, journal, any other mission related item) I can purchase it from the office for super cheap 50% off or more! A missionary just bought a new leather set of scriptures, mini quad and super nice for only $12 US so really cheap! The missionaries get good discounts in Jamaica (don’t know if it is the same anywhere else).

I will have to take a picture of the power poles for you father, they are ridiculous. Every house has their own power line from their own pole. But all the poles are in one spot. It is the biggest mess of power poles and wires ever. The poles are falling over and the wires are tangled and garbage is everywhere. It is funny. I am surprised the power still works in everyones homes after seeing that.

So on a side note, I will probably be in Negril for at least 5 months if not more but if ever you don’t get an email from me on Monday it means that I got transferred to a Wednesday p-day zone. Part of the mission is on Monday and the other part is on Wednesday. So if you don’t get one on Monday look for it on Wednesday.

I am glad to hear that the temple dedication was good! I hope your play goes wonderfully heather!Look forward to hearing from you all soon! I left out a bunch of stuff but oh well, someday I can tell you guys all of it!

Love you All!!-Elder K. Talbert

Monday, March 16, 2009

Lazy Photon Emiter

It is great to hear from all of you again! Nathaniel you forgot to write me!!! I am glad to hear that all is well at home and that laura is the proud owner of an organ. Well the week has been good. A lot of really long and boring days but overall life is good in Jamaica. First off though I will answer a your questions mother: Ian is doing okay, He works as a scuba diver for tourists and works Sundays. We are hoping that his schedule will work out but who knows. The poverty is different than what I expected. It isn’t worse or better just different. People in Jamaica place their priorities in odd places. For the most part the clothing is nice. People are willing to pay for good clothing but then since they have used all their money they have nothing else. It always amazes me to see someone with a nice set of clothes on every single day but not have any light bulbs, or other random things. I am not noticing the poverty as much, it is starting to just become natural. Nothing really surprises me anymore in terms of how people live. Haha
So I have a lot of random stuff today. First off I have been observing the sporting habits of the Jamaicans. People in Jamaica like 3 sports: Cricket, kite flying, soccer, and running. That is it. Any other sport: basketball, tennis, baseball, etc is played by very very very few or none at all. Cricket is the big thing currently. The streets are always full of kids playing cricket. I don’t understand the game at all but it is interesting to watch. Kite flying is odd. Everyone loves to fly kites no matter what age. The kites here are really cheaply made but go ridiculously high. It is fun to look up and see these kites everywhere.
The dry season is nearing an end and humidity/rain are picking up very rapidly. I have also noticed that sunsets take place really fast here. At 6:30 it will be really bright and hot outside and by 7:00 it is so dark we have to use flashlights to see.
Well we had Zone conference this week! It was a lot of fun! President gingery came out and taught an excellent lesson and went over some stuff on the mission in general. The Turks islands are out of control! They are yet to send missionaries there, just a senior couple. But in the last 2 months the branch, which started out at 0 members now has 48 members! That is more than negril! And Negril has had missionaries in it for a long time! Next transfer they are going to start to send missionaries there to help it out. It is on fire! Averaging about 5 baptisms a week!I got to ride in a taxi on Friday. It was the size of dads car, and had 7 adults in it. Very long and terrible drive! Haha. Elder and sister warr (a senior couple) know the browns from next door! They bumped into me and asked me if I knew them! We had an ugly tie contest (of which I did really poorly, I didn’t really bring any ugly ties with me). The winner hasn’t been decided yet but each zone has a winner and now it goes up to vote across the entire mission. The winner gets dinner with the gingerys and President Gingerys tie! It is a very great prize! We are always hungry and broke so a huge dinner made by sister Gingery is an amazing prize! If you guys get around to sending me a package anytime soon the coveted items in the mission are: Ugly ties, American Candy, and Photos from home. Any photos that get sent in a package are then viewed by the entire zone during our get togethers once a week. It is a lot of fun! A lot of missionaries parents have come up with some cool ways to smuggle something into the country! Some have opened food and hidden it inside. Another mother bought a big book and cut a hole in a group of pages big enough to hide a digital camera in! It is fun to see what parents have thought up to get things into the country. I don’t need anything smuggled into the country but if I ever did you better come up with something really creative! Haha
I got a letter from Paula! It took exactly 11 days to get to me, Thanks for the letter! It is always good to hear from family and friends.
So this week we have been teaching a man and a women, Amanda and Linel. We have been teaching them for a while and they haven’t been progressing so we were going to drop them. So we did. But then on Tuesday I had the impression that we should stop and see how they were doing. Turns out they had done all their reading and were ready for more! They have made a complete turn around! They came to church and do all their reading. We taught them the word of wisdom and we ran into difficulties. Amanda agreed to it but Linel smoked and sold Ganja so we had a problem. He agreed to stop smoking ganja but he said he still needed the money from selling it. So we yet again began to despair with these 2. So after we kept stopping by and on Saturday Amanda was gone so it was just linel. We decided to teach him about following the prophets. During the lesson he stopped us, explained to us that he had decided that their was a prophet on earth, gave his testimony of Joseph Smith and told us that he had destroyed all his ganja. We were very surprised. We didn’t even have to ask him what he thought about joseph smith. He had told us his testimony before we had the chance to even get their. An amazing experience! They are some of our very best investigators. Our only problem is they are not married. They are engaged but they have a very very good friend who they promised could be at their wedding. He is in Alaska till next January. We are still working on that issue. Hopefully we can find a solution soon.
We have a boy named Jeremy that we are teaching. He has a baptism date and is really good! We are really hoping that all works out with him in the next few weeks! We will see. General conference could be a hinderance. Because we will be gone for 2 days, he will get no church and no lessons. We are going to see if he can come to general conference with us but it is a 2 hour drive and costs 600 J we don’t know if he will have the money to come with us or not!
I am glad to hear mother that you have enjoyed chapter 3 so much! It is a really good chapter! Most days I will chose one of the doctrines from a lesson, like “The Creation” from lesson 2 and then use 30 minutes of my personal study just studying that one doctrine. It is really effective to take it very very slowly and really study deep on every part. And like you said about keeping it simple, that is very true! One of the things that the missionaries are always emphasizing to one another is Remove all the fluff from the lessons, be direct and to the point. Simple lessons go a lot better!
We have this girl we are sort of teaching. By sort of I mean that she lives in Jamaica but is not from Jamaica. She moved to Jamaica to be with her husband. He then died and so now she is just in Jamaica. The problem she has is that she speaks and reads French... This is a problem, I don’t speak French! So she does understand some English but we have to go super slow and constantly check for understanding. We are half teaching her English and half teaching her the restoration. It is interesting. We are hoping to get a French book of mormon for her this week.
I encourage you all to keep studying out of preach my gospel, it is a very useful book and really explains a lot of simple doctrines. Personal study is definitely the best part of my day. I always look forward to sitting down and just reading for an hour.
Pat and Grandma: thank you for supporting me on my mission! It is a wonderful contribution you are making. It is greatly appreciated! Thanks to everyone else who is helping me! I am grateful for all the support I get on my mission, it is wonderful!
I am excited for the births of the various babies from my cousins! Make sure to keep me updated on all of that! Jim and Debbie must be excited to have grandchildren soon! I think that is about it for this week. I am out of time. Everything is great here! Keep up the emails I love to hear from all of you! Keep up the random jokes dad, it is good to get some good humor! Luckily my companion is very much like me. We have a great time everyday talking about random things like painting miniatures, rubiks cubes, food, etc. Feel free to ask any questions! It gives me somewhere to go with my email, other wise it is just completely scatter brained! keep praying for me and my investigators! Love you all!
Elder K. Talbert

Monday, March 9, 2009


Great to hear from all of you! I hope my emails are easily read, I have to type fast and without editing due to the limited time and the amount of stuff I always have to say!
This week went great! But first for a few random odds and ends. Joseph: The site I use to get stickers is or something like that, just go to and search for Cube Smith and it will be like the first link. The stickers are cheap, only like a dollar, but try and also buy a sticker remover, it will save you a ton of time and tribulation! I forgot to mention it in my email last week! I didn't remember until that evening that I failed to answer that question. If you practice enough and get good you will be highly respected on your mission! (at least in Jamaica)Speaking of rubiks cubes, their was this family we were teaching and their son brought me a cube that they had, they had no clue how to solve it and didn't know that I could solve it. Their kid was just showing me all his toys. I solved it and they were amazed! They said it had been mixed up for years! It was great! I had never seen anyone freak out so much because a rubiks cube was shown. Also father, could you send me the conversion for Km to Miles, I don't remember it perfectly so I have just been making estimates while in taxis. I like to sit in the taxi and determine how fast we are going, it keeps my mind of the road and the horrible driving! We have to taxi for 4 hours a week to get to district meeting and I like to sleep and do the math of our speed! Haha Well that was really about it for the odds and ends. Congratulations on all your achievements dad! I tell my companion about you all the time haha He thinks you are great! Said he might stop by the house some time after his mission. Same with Elder Sizemore, they both want to meet you! Haha Thanks for all the emails! It really is one of the highlights of the week to see how my family is doing and to tell all you about the great week I have had! Keep up the service heather! It is a lot of fun!
On Tuesday my companion and I went and did service and it was our most productive day! We taught 12 full lessons and mowed someone's lawn. We started our day with service and we were blessed because of it! The lawn we mowed was that of an elderly gentleman who lives down by the beach. He is the grounds keeper of one of the resorts. So we went to go and help him mow the lawn of the resort so that he didn't have to, he is to old for the size of the lawn! The lawn is about the size of a football field with trees everywhere. And all he has is a small gas powered push mower. So it took a while but it was good! This week I have eaten a ton of Jamaican fruit! I tried Jamaican Apples, which really are nothing like apples. They look and taste like Giant Pomegranate seeds, and they stain just as easily to. They were delicious. I ate a ton of other fruits, one of the members has a lawn full of fruit trees so he let us just go and eat. It was a lot of fun to try a bunch of random fruit.
On Wednesday my companion had to go to Kingston to get trained on how to be a trainer so I went to a city called Savana la mar to do exchanges. It was a nice city but not as good as Negril! But that evening my companion got back really late (9:45) to late for us to go home, we have to be home by nine or else we get in trouble! So since the next day was district meeting we decided to have a big slumber party in Sav with 4 other missionaries, including elder sizemore from the MTC. It was a lot of fun! We had a great time! In the morning 5 out of 6 of us got showers before the water and the power went out! Jamaica has a strange problem with that, water and power will just randomly go out at anytime. I only have hot water about 2 times a week. It is annoying but oh well! Well we all made it to our district meeting alive! It is an hour drive from sav to our meeting, so we took a bus! A bus in Jamaica is what they call a van. So we got in a van about the same size as the one you guys have. But in Jamaica there is no rule about seatbelts or anything and the driver wants to make money and the more people he has the more money he makes. So in a bus, the size of our van, we had exactly 21 people! For an hour I was in the most uncomfortable bus in the world, and it didn't help that our drive was through the mountains on the most unstraight road in Jamaica, we were all sore and sick by the time we got there! Haha
On a side note hurricane season is coming (june-november) and so we are starting to build up our food storage just in case. We already have a ton of water but we are lacking on the food. I would also like to suggest that you guys at home work on your food storage, not that it will effect me in anyway but I am beginning to see the purpose of having extra stores of food and water. You never know when you might not have any in Jamaica.So we have been trying to sort out investigators like mad! We have so many that we need to get rid of some! So we have been teaching and seeing how sincere people really are! We are down to only like 5 investigators these days so we have a lot of finding time! It is a lot of fun! Yesterday at church we had 4 white people in church! They were visiting Jamaica and came to church! They were really nice but it was weird to have white people other than the missionaries at church! At church I am getting good at answering random questions and reading! During Sunday school My companion and I sit in Gospel Principles and no one talks except the teacher and the missionaries. We try and get the others involved but they seem a bit timid. The ward really counts on the missionaries to participate and answer questions they deem as difficult! We have 7 priesthood holders in the branch, not counting the missionaries but it is good! Church is a lot of fun! I am getting good at singing hymns, haha. Every time we go and teach a lesson we start by singing a hymn and since the investigator doesn't know it my companion and I just end up singing a duet. We probably sing anywhere from 8-12 duets a day, it is a lot of fun. People always laugh at us but we like it!
We have been talking to this less active sister in the ward, sister Judith. She is probably my favorite member! Has a most strange method to everything she does! Very strong testimony just lazy when it comes to church. Luckily she has been there the last 2 weeks! So we were talking to her and recently she has been reading the bible backwards, (from the end to the front) which is weird but she does have some good insights. Anyways so we went and read a chapter with her, left her with a message and rode our bikes away! Well for the rest of the night she kept calling us and telling us these cool things she had learned from a verse she had read! It was really cool to see how into the scriptures she was.
Well my companion and I had a light bulb die, which was depressing, we are to poor to fix it! But I did learn my bike was free! One of the other elders, his 2 years was up so he gave me his bike for free, it was going to be to hard to get it back into the states! Well I need to fix my bike up, it is lacking a useful front wheel and has no lights (a requirement for the missionaries in Jamaica) so I need to get all that fixed at some point.
We meet some of the craziest people here in Jamaica! A lot of people are literally insane! But this one guy that we talked to was great! He was an older guy, has no job and just wanders the streets, a really weird guy. We went to teach him and he had a question for us, which is good, there is a lot of false doctrines in Negril and we are constantly battling this. His question for us was "do you think that jesus will come again?" and so I told him that the answer was yes, and here is what he said "I don't think he will, last time he came the people killed him and that was before guns, now if he comes everyone will shoot him" and this guy was 100% serious and very concerned about it, but we helped him find his answer, it was fun, he was a strange man.
People here have some of the weirdest and strangest beliefs and names! In one day we met people named: Delbert, Fireman, Super fly, Tony tuff the bomb maker, Phone science man! all these names are what they go but, so it is what we call them, sometimes it is hard not to laugh at people when they tell us their names! (like phone science man) We have had some good lessons this week but little success. We did have one guy though who is really good. His name is Ian. We left him with 3rd Nephi 11 to read. Most people won’t do our reading commitments so it is really hard. But he did read and we asked him how much. He said 5 verses, we rolled our eyes and asked him what he learned. He told us he learned the commandments (the first 5 verses of 3rd nephi 11 never mention the commandments) Everyone we talk to tells us that, whenever we leave them something they just say they read it and make up something. So we asked ian to show us what he read. Turned out that he had read! He had read 5 chapters, not 5 verses! It was great! He was able to remember everything when we quizzed him on it! Now we just have to hope he can make it to church next Sunday! He is a really cool guy one of my favorites!
We have also been working with a recent convert family who hasn't been able to come to church because they live far away, have no job or money and no way to get to church. They are a really good family but just struggle with things like money. So we have been trying to help the husband find a job. And we finally got him one! He is now a taxi driver! So he has a car which he can use for anything, and so he can get to church, and he has a way to make money! We have all been praying and fasting for him to get a job and we were finally blessed!
Overall it has been a good week! I am starting to run out of time so I will try and think of a few other highlights or things I wanted to mention! It hasn't rained much, it is the dry season of the year, but the wet season is almost here so it is starting to rain more and more!
If any of you are studying out of preach my gospel I would suggest chapter 3 and 6! They are my favorite! I have been doing a lot of in depth study of chapter 6 especially! My study journal will be huge by the time I get home! Well today has been a good day, I had hot water and water pressure which was nice! The wind is pretty bad here but oh well. It is weird to use a computer. The area I am in has more or less no technology except this random internet cafe. Most people have no idea how to use a computer and have never seen a lot of the technology we have in the states. The people here love American candy but have little access to it. Most people live fairly humble lives. Duct tape solves any problem (leak in the roof, hole in the wall, clothing) and a house can be built in one day! With no electricity and plumbing we watched a house get built super fast! There is no design plans just build a box and put metal sheets on the top for a ceiling. Every house is made of cinder blocks and scraps, but a lot of them look quite nice in the end!
Overall a good week! Keep up the good work at home and keep sending me emails! I love to hear from you all!!!
-Love Elder K Talbert

Monday, March 2, 2009

Finally in Jamaica!

Well I finally made it to Jamaica and have my first Preparation day so I can finally respond to all the emails. Luckily I get more email time out in the field than at the MTC I get an hour instead of 30 minutes. Well Thanks for all the emails I really enjoy reading them! first off let me go through some random bits of info/important things before I forget them. Firstly I sent you a letter on wednesday saying I arrived will arrive in like another week! In it I mentioned that I didn't want you to have to much money on my credit card in case it is stolen but then I learned the next day that Jamaicans don't steal credit cards, only cash. They are afraid that if they take cards that they will be tracked by the US government, so you can do whatever you want with how much money is on my card. secondly if you do want to mail me anything via snail will indeed be snail mail, it will take 7-10 days to reach Jamaica and then because of the area I am in it can take an additional 7 days to get to me. So up to 17 days. Patience is required with snail mail. I can recieve pictures in my email and I can send pictures...if these computers had card readers. We write emails at this british email cafe. Possibly one of the nicest buildings in the entire city that I serve in. I have access to email every week on monday so don't worry abotu not hearing from me. I will let you know if somethign happens where email will be unavaliable for a time. Okay I think I covered all the random info I had for you.

Well Jamaica is great! It is absolutely nothing like a resort. But I will get to that later. First I will explain my final week in the MTC.

Well I don't remember if I said this or not but when I was at the MTC I had difficulty with my flight plan. The problem was that our flight was scheduled to leave in 1899. so I had missed it by 110 years. luckily I was able to sort that out and leave on time. I had to pull an all nighter, and was up for close to 36 hours. Luckily when I arrived in Jamaica President Gingery let Elder Sizemore and I go to bed at 7 pm. We left the MTC at 9pm monday night and drove to the University mall. We than turned around due to some stranded missionaries at the Airport and went to the MTC again to get a bus. We got a bus and Elder Sizemore and I were the only missionaries on it. It was quite entertainging to ride on a bus with no one else on it. The bus was very comfortable. We got the the airport, checked in and then waited for 2 hours until our flight left. we then flew to atlanta then to florida where we waited for 3 more hours. In Florida some random guy walked up to us and told us how his boy was on a mission and then he bought us lunch. It was great! Finally we flew to Jamaica on a small uncomfortable plane.

We landed in the Kingston airport and got through customs really fast, they didn't really care what we were carrying into the country. I think they have dealt with the missionaries often enough that it went really fast. We went to get our luggage. The luggage conveyerbelt was kept braking down and then it would beep loudly and restart. I think it was manually run by goats that ran in a wheel in order to generate enough power to turn a crank which than turned the belt. It didn't work so well but eventually we got our luggage.

Met the Gingerys outside and drove to the mission home. The Drive was the most terrifying thing ever! The roads in Jamaica have 0 laws. There is no police that watch over traffic. Street signs/lights mean nothing, lines painted on the road mean nothing, speed limits mean nothing. It is just a giant mess with everyone trying to get to their destination in the fastest was possible. So we nearly got in like 4 or 5 different accidents. President Gingery said every missionary who gets a chance to drive (The Zone Leaders) has been in at least one accident. Luckily I don't have to get in a car very often, they are not a pleasent experience.

We ate dinner at the Gingerys, had interviews and then just enjoyed a peaceful evening. It was only Elder Sizemore and I. The Gingerys live in a super nice home. It is way comfortable and air conditioned! (a rare feature in Jamaica) The Gingerys are really nice and really funny. I enjoyed staying with them.

Well on Wednesday I got up and got to have my first day as a misisonary in Jamaica! I didn't know where I was going yet and wouldn't know till the evening but I got to just go and work with the Zone leaders in Kingston. In Kingston I went to a district meeting at the church. In kingston there is a fairly large branch with close to 300 members. The church there looks like ours except for one difference....the benches aren't bolted down. so everytime you move the pews move and so nothing is straight at all, they are just everywhere. District meeting was good and then we went for lunch. For lunch we went to one of the few Jamaican franchise restaurants called Jucci Patties. They are interesting... it is more of less a restaurant where they serve hot pockets. The menu is small but the food is good. The first thing I was told was to just eat it and not look inside it...what great words of comfort! The food looks like it is really really expensive (a beef patti costs $70) but that is because the inflation has gotten so bad here that for every one US doller you have 91 Jamaican dollers. We get to feel really rich by getting close to $20000 Jamaican dollers a month! (it doesn't go that far) Well after lunch I went out with an Elder Richardson to go tracting. In Jamaica you don't knock on doors. mostly because their are few functioning doors and everyones house in Kingston has a big iron fence around it. So we just walk up to the gate and then yell until someone comes out. Everyone is always home because most people are unemployed. This one lady that we met was a bit odd, we asked her to pray for us and she refused to pray until she found her fancy hat inside. and then this other lady refused to come to the gate because it was locked, we asked her if she could come and unlock it but said she couldn't because the gate to her veranda was also locked. So then we asked her what she would do if there was a fire and all the gates were unlocked. She didn't have an answer but was willing to listen to our message from 30 feet away. We had to yell through most of it. Well at the end of wednesday I got to see where I was going the next day and who my companion was going to be. I was told I would be going to a city on the far west side of the island (farthest point on the island from kingston) called Negril and that my first companion would be an Elder Stevens. I also had a 4-5 hour drive coming the next day.

Thursday: Today I spent almost all day driving. It was really boring. Luckily on the country roads there is limited traffic and so it was much safer and relaxing. After multiple stops we got to Negril (pronounce in 2 syllables, Ne prounouced as in the sound the N makes in None and then Gril as in a Grill where you would cook meat) Negril is right next to the ocean. The city of Negril is anything but a resort. It is a giant ghetto. There are no nice streets and no street signs. and the residential areas have 0 streets. just houses built randomly everywhere. Everyhouse is the same. a one room house with a bed in it built out of whatever the people can find. Since this doesn't really accomadate missionaries Elder Stevens and I (the only 2 in negril) are forced to live in a much nicer home 7 miles away. So every morning we hop on our bikes and bike for 7 miles down into town. Our house is nice. It has running water most of the time and 3 lightbulds! (most homes in Jamaica have 0 lightbulbs. When we teach at night we have to use our Cellphone to give us enough light to read our scriptures to our investigators) The bike ride isn't that nice. It is on a narrow road with a bunch of crazy drivers and our bikes are terrible. Our bikes cost about US $125 so a decent amount. But they are the worst bikes imaginable. They don't really work. Just imagine the worst bike you have ever seen, remove the brakes and remove any form of comfortable seat and that is what we are given. The missionaries have to go to the bike shop and purchase a complete set of replacement parts once they get there bike. It is interesting but a lot of fun!

Well I am going to give up organizing this email by day and just explain random things that have happened. The weather is really nice and Jamaica is a really cool place! I love the people! they are really accepting of the gospel, the only problem is that most have very little or no education so they can't read. Definitely a hinderence. And they don't understand very big words. even though there are 5 lessons in PMG we normally split it up in close to 20 lessons just to help them. Each lesson even though it covers very little takes about an hour. It is really interesting and a lot of work but I enjoy teaching the people of Jamaica! I ate at one of the local cook shops the other day. It was good except I learned that the people of Jamaica never remove chicken bones. So even though they mulched up the chicken it has lots of pieces of bone. The Jamaicans just eat the bones but Elder stevens and I eat it slowl spitting out the bones as we go. Luckily the Jamaicans dont' get offended by anything. Lessons are helped a ton because of that. We can aske anything and they won't lie. We are very very very blunt in our questions concerning various commandments. they always answer happily. The people of Jamaica have 2 different hair styles (at least the men do) really short hair or dreads. The really short hair accounts for about 90% of the population the other 10% has dreads and is crazy. Pretty much if they have dreads we don't talk to them, mostly because they are litterally crazy and no one knows what they are talking about. They just ramble on about strange things like this one guy was telling us how these beatles that live in Jamaica talk to him. Speaking of bugs...they are the only wildlife in Jamaica. In Jamaica you have birds, ants and beatles. and that is it. so very little wildlife. I am running out of time so I am going to rush through a couple of other random things! Our branch in kingston has about 20 members and the branch president is about 23 he is the only return missionary in the branch. The branch is really cool and great! one of the families feeds us dinner every sunday! they are slightly more wealthy and so they can accomadate missionaries. It was delicious! My companion is really cool. He went to BYU and I have since then taught him how to solve a rubiks cube. Rubiks cubes are a huge thing in this mission, along with really really really really ugly ties. Missionaries hold ugliest tie contests and if they win they get presidents tie It is interesting. I have already been given a rubiks cube and a tie by a missionary that is leaving. Every misisonary has a rubiks cube and they race at meetings. It is qutie entertaining. Overall Jamaica is wonderful! I am having a great time and loving it! I have so much more I would like to sit here and type but I am out of time and got a lot of other things to do before p-day is over! keep emailing me I love the emails and Wish I had time to respond to them more in full. I will try and answer any quesitons you mention in them but don't know if I will always remember them all haha.

Grandma & Grandpa. Thanks for the email about keeping a positive attitude, it is really important here in Jamaica where every single person has such extreme problems, it can get depressing really fast when you see the sort of poverty these people live in.

Siblings, sounds like you had a great little activity where you got to go and practice some missionary work! that is great! practice is one the most important things, the more we practice the better we will become. but it takes patience. We must have the Faith go out and do but then have patience in that God will eventually bless us with the talents and blessings that come from serving. I am happy to hear from all of you! keep working hard in school and take time to study the scriptures every day!!!!

I love you all and wish I could say more!!! Thanks for the support and keep me updated on whats going on! I am really busy here in Jamaica (29 different investigators) and I really got to run now!!! Next week I will have another hour to explain even more!! If nothing else in 2 years I can tell all of you all about it here! hope all is great back in Utah!!!!

Love- Elder Talbert