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