Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Goose Eggs

Well sounds like you have all had a very boring week! Haha but oh well, to bad you are still getting snow, we just get rain and more rain and then lots of heat. It is nice most of the time, occasionally it gets a bit hot for comfort. Well I had to get more money yesterday afternoon because on my bike ride to church my chain broke and exploded everywhere. Well at least my bike is slowly getting high quality parts. Just costs more than I would like. I have learned a lot about how every piece of a bike works now. After breaking more or less every part up to this point I have had a lot of time to figure it all out.
This week has been good. We had zone conference which was super good! Wednesday night we went in early and drove to Sav to sleep over. It was a lot of fun. In the morning we had a 4 hour bus ride to the conference. It was lousy. The road was so bumpy and horrible that we could do nothing but sit there, no reading, no sleeping, just head aches. The conference lasted 6 hours, we had an hour long lunch at the end and then returned to Sav for another night of sleep. I will get to the highlights of the conference a bit later.
Well McCloud (our Sabbath day man) has been lost. He just won't overcome that concern of his. He has read the book of mormon and knows everything about it now. But he just refuses to believe that the Sabbath could be anything other than Saturday. It was really dumb, and frustrating. We tried for a few days but finally decided it wasn't going anywhere, he just didn't want to change, the false doctrines have won again!
We have gotten water back into our kitchen, which is wonderful! We had to use the bathroom for all our water needs until yesterday when it was finally restored to the kitchen. We met a man who wanted to talk to us so we went over to him and he asked us if we were mormons, we answered yes he than said "so that means you just do good?" we answered again in the affirmative, he then proceeded to ask us for money because good people would give away their money. Well we asked him if he was a good person and he told us he was so we asked him for his money and in the end we gave him $100 and he gave us $100 it was really dumb yet made me laugh that he went through with it.
Church was good yesterday. My talk still came out moderately short but oh well. We still managed to fill up all the time. I still have the problem of speed talking. Well we have one good investigator named Mosely! Mosely is an elderly man with bad knees who happens to be super humble. It is great! He does all his reading, understands everything and has a testimony growing. We invited him to church and he came, it just so happens that he is related to about half of our branch! So he had excellent fellowshipping! We are hoping that things continue to go well with him! We have been teaching him with one of his cousins, Bro. Allen who is a member of the branch. Bro. Allen is probably one of my favorite members. He has more or less built the entire branch himself. One of the first to be baptized in Negril he has managed to get a lot of his relatives to join so most the branch is baptized because of him, he has done wonders for the branch and is really good at teaching, he is just so blunt about everything he says.
I have been thinking about other religions in the area and one of the most prominent beliefs is that when you get the holy ghost you are taken over! You fall to the ground and have some strange seizure like thing and you make a bunch of weird noise from you mouth. It is really dumb to see, when we visited the Pentecostal church the girl next to us got into the "spirt". Well I was thinking about that and if Christ promised this great gift of the Holy Ghost wouldn't you want to have it always? From what they believe I think it would be a problem if you got the spirt while driving, swimming, standing near a cliff, etc. That seems like an instant indication that there is a problem with their doctrine. They don't always want their version of the Holy Ghost with them, it could be deadly.
Well at zone conference sister Gingery and president gingery both spoke. First off President Gingery told us of his plans to run and hide in the mountains and live as a mountain missionary for the rest of his life, he doesn't want to leave Jamaica. But Sister Gingery did give an excellent lesson about serving god. She compared it to a football game. That in the Game of football you are facing the way you want to run and you run that direction attempting to score a goal. If the whole team was facing the wrong way it is going to be near impossible to win. We have to be facing towards god and trying to get to him, not just standing around. We can't face the world and still expect to make it to god. Our goals have to be towards God.
Well Heather I don't think my voice has really changed and I look mostly the same, my skin is a lot darker from being in the sun for 11 hours a day. We never have lessons inside peoples homes, always outside so from the moment we leave home we will be outside till we go home. Other than that not much has changed. My hair is still more or less the same because our barber worked on a cruise ship and learned how to cut white people hair. Most the barbers don't know how and make really weird haircuts for white people that look odd. So some of the missionaries have strange hair cuts but I got lucky.
On Saturday we met a man named Shola oyename he is from Nigeria. An elderly man and 100% blind. He is awesome! Have taught him a few times and all is going well. He likes to learn and has a strong desire to know about Joseph Smith and if he is a true prophet. The hardest part is his blindness. It is hard to leave him with many commitments since he can't see. But he is a really good man.
Well all goes well in Jamaica. I am enjoying myself. I am getting tired of the music here. All they listen to is Gospel Music and Dance Hall. Dance hall is just like retarded Rap music. And you hear it everywhere you go. Out side you will pass houses that have about 20-30 giant speakers playing music as loud as possible. You can hear dance hall music all day blasting on the streets. When we ride past you can't even hear yourself speak. It is really annoying to listen to this music. It is so poorly made. Anyone can make dance hall music and so everyone does and then they listen to it really loud.
Well I am running out of things to say! I haven't had all that much happen this week. I have been trying to make sure and write good journal entries so that I can remember everything for when I get home but since I don't carry my journal with me only the highlights stick out to me during email time. Robbie seems to be doing good. Sounds like transfers were good for him! So I was glad to hear that! Joseph I don't know if I have a good cube anymore for that. Are you using a color reader or a grayscale reader? Either way I think I changed most my cubes so they probably won't work. I don't know.
Church is good. We had 16 people their yesterday. Which is sort of pathetic! Haha in the Turks islands the church has only been their for about 3 months and they already have over 60 people attending church. The weird part about the turks is the ratio of men to women. In most of Jamaica it is almost all women with a handful of men. But in the turks they had 6 women at church last week and over 50 males. So it is really odd. Lots of priesthood in the branch which is good! This mission needs more priesthood holders! It is what is holding us back from forming a stake!
I am wasting a lot of time just staring at the screen here trying to figure out what to say but not much is coming to my mind. I will probably buy a new pair of scriptures just before I come home. My scriptures have already taken a good amount of use, after another 21 months they are going to be fairly damaged. But oh well, at least they will be well used by that point. Well luckily we went to another grocery store the other night because E. Stevens ran out of food and we found that they had multiple flavors of Ramen! So now we don't have to fret starving or getting bored of our ramen. We have added some variety to our life! So that is going well! Sister Gingery made the missionaries a super good dessert for zone conference so that was awesome! We got to eat some thing that was very tasty! Odd thing about Jamaicans is they don't like chocolate at all. They think it is gross. It is really weird.
I wish I had something interesting that I studied recently that I could share but nothing amazing. I have been reading through Jesus the chirst. That is a really good book! Tons of great info about Christ's life. I have enjoyed that book and find it interesting to read. Well I read through the parable in Matthew 25 about the Talents. I was thinking about it and callings in the church. In Jamaica there is a power hungry issue in the church. Lots of pride. But in parable all the master expects of his servants is to use what they are given. One person was given a lot so he had a lot of work to do, another not so much. But in the end they got the same reward. It doesn't matter what your calling is: Propeht, Bishop, Primary Teacher, Sunday school teacher, just as long as you magnify that calling you will receive the same reward.
I am running short on time, hopefully next week I will have a bit more to say! Haha well I hope all goes well and that the end of the school year is going great! Congratulations laura on your ACT score. Keep tyring you can still increase you score! Good luck with the snow and glad to hear that my dog is doing well!
I love you all, keep up the good work!
-Elder Kent Talbert

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Wet World of Jamaica

Good to hear from all of you yet again! Well this week has been good. But first for the usual bucket of bolts. Thanks for the info Laura, I actually was already caught up on Alex, he had mailed me and it had arrived the day after I emailed you about that. But thanks for the info on Ryan, that is exciting! I have been meaning to write him one of these days, preparation day just seems to disappear so I haven't had time, but maybe today I will find some time! Mom, if you do plan on sending a package I would suggest no lead bricks, it is quite expensive to send anything of weight. But there is a lady in PG who makes and sells mini preach my gospels for like $12. I don't know much about her except for a new missionary that just arrived bought one from her just before he came out. It would be great if you could get me one, I would love one for district meetings. So you might have to try the internet or something I don't know. Don't have much information. Mothers day is coming. Which means I will get to call home. So don't run off! I don't know what time yet, maybe next week I will have more information after zone conference. Also watch the mail (In like 2 or 3 weeks) eventually a letter will arrive.
Well zone conference is this week, but for some reason we are having a multi zone conference in Mandeville. So it is now a 3 hour drive there and back so I have to sleep over with the elders in Sav again on Wednesday. But it will be lots of fun! Sleep overs with other large groups of missionaries are the best!
Looks like you have had quite the snow storm! We have had super super wet rain storms they last about 20 minutes and soak everything. We have to carry all our scriptures in bags to keep them dry in the rain. It is ridiculous. The rainy season has officially hit! I am a Sabbath day expert! All the missionaries are. We have all received extensive information on it. There are a few scriptures in the New testament that point to the change of Sunday to honor the savior's resurrection and doctrine and covenants is blunt about it. All the missionaries have taken at least one day to study as much as they can about it to try and help people understand that it truly was changed. Most the time we just focus on their testimony of Joseph Smith but if that doesn't work we try really hard to explain via bible that it was changed. It sometimes works but most of the time it doesn't. As you said dad they just use it as an excuse. They know that what they are hearing is true but are just trying to find an excuse to continue to live the sinful life style which they have.
Well today I had to extract some more money for my bike. (at least I got my bike for free!) I was riding it yesterday and randomly the rim on the tire split in half so that was a problem that had to be fixed! Got that fixed this morning and finally am getting around to email.
This week has been good. Not to much exciting has happened but I will see what I can conjure up. My companion was taking a shower and a huge spider fell into the shower with him (giant spider!) so he finished his shower with the spider, got out, put on clothes, came and got me and we took pictures of the tub spider! It was quite entertaining. Our water at our house has been acting really weird. Only our shower has water, so we wash all our dishes in the tub and all our drinking water comes from the tub and tastes gross. We need to talk to our land lady if it doesn't fix itself soon!
At district meeting this week we got a bunch of book of mormons and took them home. I grabbed one the next day and found that it had an error. It was the only one in the batch but I kept it just for fun! The book had 50 pages that had been cut wrong and so they had a 1-2 inch margin at the top and were missing parts of the foot notes at the bottom. The paper was the wrong color. So that was exciting! (anything out of the ordinary becomes exciting)
We were talking to Mc. Cloud (our book of mormon scholar) and we wanted to go and visit him to teach him. So he informed us where his house was and that it was made entirely of zinc. We went to his house and sure enough (we thought he was joking) his house was 100% zinc plating. And nice and shiny, blinds you in mid day. The house sits a top a hill and looks like a giant oven. It was the oddest house I have ever seen. He hasn't really gone any where yet. But you can see the gears turning in his head as we try to explain why the Sabbath was changed. His spiritual side wants to believe but he is just letting his worldly knowledge get in the way. We are still trying.
We went to the Mitchells on Sunday for our usual dinner. But they weren't their. They had to go to another town for something so they had left us a note and a key. They had prepared dinner for us and left. So we unlocked their house, warmed up our food and ate dinner. It was really weird to have dinner at a members house with no members present. But the food was really good! Except for the veggie bites. Veggie bites are like the vegetable equivalent of hotdog. Mystery veggies all smashed together in a strange rubbery substance. My companion likes them but I wasn't a big fan.
We have had a good week for teaching. Got a few good investigators and a lot who are going no where. We have one girl named Monique, she is 17 and turns 18 in like 3 weeks. She wants to be baptized and doesn't have a law of chastity or a word of wisdom concern so that is great! We just need to get her to church! (which will be the hard part) getting people to come to church is super hard. People always make the dumbest excuses. They either had to cook, clean, or had no way to get their. It is really annoying but we are hopeful for her! Her mother is also being taught and is doing well, she just has a huge word of wisdom concern and smokes a ton, she wants to stop smoking but is having a hard time with it, so we are trying to help her overcome that so that she to can be baptized with her daughter.
I have to give a talk next Sunday, so I need to figure out how to give a long talk. I will have two 5 minute speakers and a hymn before me, then it is up to me to take up the next 20-30 minutes. Unfortunately I am skilled at giving longish talks in very short amounts of time. So we will see how that goes. Has to be on the priesthood, so it is a broad subject just need to get around to writing it tomorrow or the next day.
It is werid not being the youngest missionary in my zone anymore. But it is good at the same time! The new missionary seems to be doing well so that is good. District meeting is a lot of fun now, we have a very good district. I am excited for missionary splits this next week. I will be with E. Sizemore (from the MTC) for a day. So that will be a lot of fun to teach with him out in the field instead of just at the MTC
I am running out of things to say today! This week has been repetitive. We have spent all week finding or teaching the same investigators. So not much has happened.We met a man named Tngo. He is sweet, and yes his name is spelled that way, good luck pronouncing it. Tngo always yells at the missionaries when we ride past but we decided to stop and talk to him for once. Tngo always yells random things to the missionaries, he likes us a lot and yells what ever names he can think of at us in the time it takes us to ride our bikes past him, his usual yell is "Latter day saints, mormons, men of god, missionaries, elders" by then we have passed so that is the end of his thinking. Well we stopped and talked to him and turns out he is completely insane! It was a lot of fun. He asked us our names and then told us his was Elder Tngo. He is a local bum who just wanders the streets. Well we asked him how he knew the missionaries and he proceeded to yell "Because they always ride the bicycles!!!!" he then asked for a ride from our bicycles, we declined so he found entertainment playing with the kickstand to my bike. He was super crazy but he made us laugh.
We still haven't had any great success in Negril. But we are having a good time, we aren't really discouraged. We will eventually find those who are ready to listen to us if we look long enough. I like what you said dad about missionaries who drop investigators to fast. Sometimes I think we have that difficulty, my companion likes to find new ones so we don't always focus on those who we have found but oh well. We have a few that we are still focusing on.
Well I am on study overload! I want to finish D&C, N.T., O.T, and Jesus the Christ soon, but I think I am going to have to put one of them on hold, I can't keep jumping around so much! so I think I will be done with the old testament till I get some of the rest finished up. Their is so much I want to study that I can't seem to find enough time to do it all! I never have enough personal study time in the morning to get through all I want to read! I finished the book of mormon and pmg but I want to read those both again soon, luckily my companion and I use pmg a lot in companion study so I am in no rush to do that one again on my own. haha oh well, one of these days I will get through it all! I don't want to rush through it but at the same time I want to get through all of it!
Well I hope all is well at home, time is running short! This week has been good. How is my dog doing these days anyways? Hopefully you are all still taking her for a walk daily! Thanks for the pictures mom, good to see home every once in a while haha. Joseph I hope you are practicing your video game skills, I expect to come home and be destroyed by your 2 years of practice and my 2 years of no practice. You better start practicing now, especially games like rise of nations where you struggle haha. Good luck with the end of the school year, especially you laura with any AP tests you are studying for! Hope you trip was good dad! and I hope school continues to go well for you Dad and mom! All goes well in Jamaica!
Love you all!
-Elder Kent Talbert

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

April 14, 2009 (Stardate 2500.4 mark 2) :P

Well it is good to hear from you all again. Glad that Easter seems to have gone over well. So it sounds like Laura has had a fairly eventful week! I am very happy to hear that she is okay! Our Zone leaders had a truck that last week they completely obliterated when another guy ran a red light. The zone leaders were fine but their truck was in pieces and the other guy was in critical condition. Don't know what happened to him. They can't find him now. But either way I am happy to hear that you are safe and sound laura! I hope that any injuries aren't to lasting.
So dad we do get together with the other missionaries every Wednesday. We go to Montego Bay and meet with the whole zone. And then split up for district meetings. It is a lot of fun! It takes 4 hours of driving time but we always learn a ton and have a great time with the other missionaries. During zone conference and zone meeting the president and the AP's come out and join us which is always a lot of fun! Transfers come via phone the week before they happen. Then the zone leaders will drive you to your new area so the zone leaders get to do a ton of driving on transfer days.
Thanks for the information on the food mom and dad! It was helpful I will remember that! I have been eating moderately good. Unfortunately we have to have our week long food supply ready by the end of the month for hurricane season so their goes all my extra money but I am eating quite well! Thanks for the idea on tortillas and chili and eggs. I like it! I think I will try it one of these days!
A few other random things. Heather you may have them if you can find them. But if you ever get around to selling any of them and it turns out that they have any value than I call half of the profit! So I don't know what else is in the box with them but anything else in their that isn't related just put it somewhere for me. Laura will you also be kind enough to figure out any progress on Alex and his mission papers/call from Alyssa! Thanks
Well I think that is about it for randomness. I don't know if sister gingery told you or not but preparation day is Tuesday this week. Because Monday was a holiday. Easter is possibly the biggest holiday in Jamaica. They celebrate it from Friday to Monday. School, work, and anything else stops for the day. Everyone just sits around and does nothing. So Monday is the perfect time for the missionaries to come and teach since no one is doing anything! Easter was good. Just a regular day for the missionaries but everyone else seemed to like it! They have a weird tradition where on Friday no one cooks just eats bun and cheese. It was weird but we got free food so it was all good!
So this week we have had some good times! We found a man named Mc. Cloud. He had never heard of the church but had some how gotten a copy of the book of Mormon. He knew nothing about where the book of mormon came from or what it was but he had read the whole thing many times and knew the whole thing front to back. He could tell us every little detail about the book. It was the weirdest thing ever to meet someone who knew just as much if not more about the contents of the book of mormon than most the members in our branch. Unfortunately he has a 7th day concern. So don't know if we can overcome that one. There are 0/60 members of our branch that have ever had a 7th day concern. No missionary in Negril has managed to over come that concern yet. But we are still hopeful!
My bike was doing great until my companion and I accidently got in a crash when I stopped and he didn't see me stop so he smashed into me and flipped over his bike and my bike got its gears all smashed up. It was still ride worthy but the rear gears don't change anymore. Which is a problem in Negril since it is a giant hill! But oh well! I will hopefully fix it sometime today!
So this past week we keep meeting this lady named T. She keeps inviting us to her church and we keep inviting her to our church. Finally we said that we would come to hers if she would come to ours. So on Sunday, we felt obligated to go because we said we would and we didn't want to be like all of our investigators that never show up for church. So we went to the local Pentacostal church for about 20 minutes. It was really really really loud. I don't know how any one can learn a thing their. It was just super loud and everyone was singing and clapping and dancing - except for the missionaries who just sat their and stared in awe at this church. We couldn't believe that this is what people consider church to be. It has no purpose except to make as much noise as possible. Thankfully the power went out randomly so it got quiet again! It was an odd experience. I don't see how people can go their every Sunday, lose their hearing and learn absolutely nothing.
Well Last preparation day we ran out of cooking gas so we had to refill our gas. We live on the second floor of a house and the cooking gas is in a canister on a thin ledge out side the window. So we climbed out their and tried to get the canister disconnected. But the regulator was really crazy and we couldn't figure it out. We called every missionary who had previously been in Negril to ask them how they got it off. They all told us that they couldn't figure it out so they just cut the tube. But one of them told us not to cut the tube because the tube was getting short from every missionary cutting it off. Well we cut the tube In the end and carried it to the gas place about ¾ mile away. We got their and Collin the gas man laughed at us because he had seen the same thing with all the missionaries. They all show up at his place with a cut tube! Well after a while he managed to get it off. Turns out their was a strange piece of metal that had to be pushed in. but their was no indication that that was possible. So we got that all fixed and then once we got home I wrote up an instructional guide as to how to remove it for future missionaries!
Progress in Negril is going slowly but the work does move on! We have little success with people here for various reasons. The biggest being that there are over 20 different denominations in a very small area so everyone is always arguing about their religion with everyone they meet so when the missionaries show up they are so use to arguing with everyone that they just argue with us. We constantly have to battle the other missionaries. A few of the other faiths around here send out other missionaries that roam the streets also. So even though we never talk to them our investigators do. And unfortunately our message never sounds as good to people. Ours puts restrictions with the word of wisdom and law of chastity. But most of our investigators that decide to stop listening to us will just hide from us because they don't want to admit that they are rejecting the truth. The little kids tell us all the time that their parents are hiding from us. It would be nice if they would just tell us that they don't want to listen to us anymore. But they don't have an excuse for not listening to us except that they can't keep living their sinful life so they just hide from us and hope we don't find them!
Something interesting about the members that we do have. We stop by and see them from time to time and they are always reading! It is odd. But the members, when not working, are studying the scriptures or other gospel literatures. They spend all their time working and studying. It is interesting to see how dedicated they are to the gospel here. Those who are converted are normally really strong members.
Another interesting thing that has happened, a tragic story but oh well. My companion and I have witnessed the pride cycle take place in 6 weeks. So when I first got to Negril we were helping a man named Bro. Haynes find a job because he had no work for over 4 months and was really suffering. He was a member and had a good testimony and was a really cool guy who loved the gospel. Well we got him a job as a taxi man and he started working to get money. He began working tons and stopped coming to church in order to get more money. We could never find him and the few times we talked to him he was just concerned about money, he had stopped studying or praying or attending church and had become horribly prideful. It had only been 4 or 5 weeks but the change had been amazing. But then something or other happened, still not sure what, he lost his job, was humbled and is now back to square one. No job. It was interesting to see that happen so fast.
Mission is going wonderfully! Sometimes it would be nice to be back in the states with the comforts of home, like reliable power and water but oh well. It finally rained again yesterday! Which was good. It hadn't rained in a few weeks and was super hot. Everyone was thinking it was bit odd that there hadn't been any rain but it has returned again! So that is refreshing!
Well time is starting to run short! Hopefully all continues to go well at home and I hope that You don't get in any more car wrecks any time soon! Life goes well in Jamaica, I am enjoying myself and love to go out everyday and teach away! Got a letter from donette. Sounds like they are doing well! I hope that elko works out for them! I am surprised that april is already half over but its all good. I look forward to hearing from you all next week and hope that something in this email made some sense!
Love you all!
Elder Kent Talbert

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Hard Floors and Big Bugs

Well for starters a few loose ends that I should mention. I can get pictures via email but I have no way to get them off the computer yet, I can just view them. My companion, his parents are sending him a USB card reader so that way we can both use our pictures more effectively. I had to pull out like 35 dollars for bike repairs as you guessed. My bike is doing well, everything works on it so that is good enough for me. Well I think that is all the little things I had.
Well I got an email from Robbie! So that will be good! Eliminates the really slow mail. Sounds like he is doing well, even if he does have a really lazy companion. I am excited for Shea and CJ! I have having a wonderful mission so far and I hope that they do to! They will definitely get to see the world outside the states.
I am becoming an excellent budgeter. My companion is lacking in that skill but I am sure that it is possible to eat well even with our small budget. So far so good, I am eating pancakes for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and ramen for dinner with enough extra money to buy some extra food. On a side note what is the recipe you use for no-bake cookies? I have considered making something with chocolate other than chocolate pancakes. I am starting to tolerate fish more and more, I prefer chicken when it is served, but the fish works, when cooked right.
This week has been really good! We had Zone Meeting on Thursday which was really good, the Zone leaders did an excellent job teaching and it is always fun to see President and sister Gingery/the Assistants. I learned a good amount and had a lot of fun! So overall it was very good.
Conference was the highlight of the week by far! I loved conference! So Saturday we got up early and went to Mo-Bay where we went to the chapel. We had a total of 20 people in the chapel, 18 missionaries and 2 members. But oh well the talks were super good! In between sessions we ate food and did rubiks cubes. Priesthood session was slightly more populated, most of the district leaders showed up to watch it. But than came the sleep over! We went to the zone leaders home, which is huge! They had 7 beds, which wasn't enough for the 10 of us that were staying there so some had to sleep on the hard tile floor, including me. Which is not preferred in Jamaica due to the vast amount of insects that like to populate the floors. It was a long night with little sleep. I woke up with over 50 bug bites on my arms it was crazy how many were on me. But it was still a lot of fun! We had a great time! In the morning we played book of Mormon Golf, which I had never played before but was a lot of fun, it really tested your knowledge of the different chapters of the book of mormon. I won with a score of 9 (low score was winner) it was a lot of fun.
Sunday we watched conference again, this time their was a lot of members and then we ate food in between the sessions provided by our branch. Finished conference and rode back to Negril. It is weird to not have done any missionary work. I haven't taught a single lesson in over 60 hours. But that will change tonight!
So Conference was great! I learned a ton! The talks were amazing! My favorite talk was that of Elder Holland during Sunday morning and that of President Eyring during priesthood. I liked Elder Eyrings talk about helping to save others. The world is increasingly dangerous to the spiritual needs. Many have fallen to the temptations of the Devil and now need help in being rescued. As members of our church we have the means to help them, we just have to be willing to sacrifice of our own time and energies to help them. One of the main messages I got from conference, a lot of the General Authorities spoke on this, was the need to help others, that rough times are ahead in the world and that we will all need to help each other. Everyone is a child of God and deserves our assistance. It is not our job to judge who to help and who not to help. everyone needs our help both living and dead. Temple work was mentioned many times and was the topic of many different talks. All of it just seemed to relate back to charity and helping all receive to restored gospel. Our faith will be the biggest help in making it through the tuff times.
Well I didn't bring my notes with me to the computer place so I am lacking a lot of my insights but oh well. I loved conference and learned a lot! It was definitely the best part of the week!
Missionary work goes well. We have had little success. But we have a few good investigators. Nothing to great has happened this week in our daily teaching. We just seem to teach the restoration a billion times and get rejected by just about everyone. A lot of the people are really stubborn around here. In our small city of Jamaica we have exactly 15 different churches, which is a whole lot for the number of people. We constantly find people who just want to argue with us about some silly thing they believe. We are getting good at not arguing with them. It is hard to not prove them wrong, but it goes nowhere to prove them wrong so we just testify of the things we know and leave.
In elder Packers talk, I think, he talked a bit about learning from the past so that we are not doomed to repeat it. And that is so true. I see that everywhere here. In Christ's time the Jewish leaders were so concerned about the Law of Moses and enforcing it that they failed to understand the scriptures and see the big picture. They rejected Christ. The same thing is happening here. In Jamaica the people are so concerned with little doctrines and enforcing them, especially having Saturday as the Sabbath, everyone argues about that. But they have become so concerned about it and have churches devoted to teaching these random little doctrines that are so insignificant and meaningless. They have failed to understand the scriptures or see the big picture and they have rejected the restored gospel over and over again. It just amazes me how ignorant many of the people are here. They base their entire religious beliefs on one verse from the bible and when you read any other verse to them they don't believe you and believe that you are using some strange "Mormon edition of the bible"
Well the Mission goes well. I am having a wonderful time! Transfers are coming this Thursday but they don't really affect me. I am staying in Negril with Elder Stevens, which is fine. From all the other missionaries they say that west coast is the best part. Over in the triangle (Kingston, Spanish town, portmore) the violence is extreme and missionaries have a really hard time in those areas with safety. Our district here, which consists of 6 missionaries will be really fun next transfer! We will have my companion and I, Elder Sizemore (my MTC companion), his trainer, Elder Snyder (just released as Assistant, goes home in 3 months and is training in Sav for the last 3 months) and some new missionary! It will be a really good group.
So it amazes me how fast I have learned to tolerate the culture. I am completely use to climbing into a car and having 5 people in the back seat. It doesn't even phase me anymore. It is always weird to see white people now. When we meet random white people we frequently don't know what to say. We are so use to teaching the black culture that we stumble for words when faced with someone who is not of the culture.
Time seems to be speeding up faster and faster. I have already been out 2 months and the weeks just fly by. This transfer has just been a blur. I seem to learn something new everyday and hope that by the end of my mission I have learned a whole heap more! Well I hope all goes well! I love to hear from all of you! Thanks Grandma for the email, it was good! I liked both of the insights that you gave, Grandpas was good! I had never thought of those verses that way! I have been writing in my margines a bit more which is useful. It is always insightful to go back to a previous chapter that has been studied and see what I had thought before about little things. One of the ones that sticks out to me is in D&C 121 where is says "and let virtue garnish your thoughts unceasingly" A garnish is something used in cooking to Enhance the flavor of a food or make it look better. So we should let Virtue Enhance our thoughts always.
So I hope you have all enjoyed this weeks. I am out of time! And so I must go find some lunch! I hope that all goes great at home and I am excited to hear from you all next week! I hope that it all makes sense and that in my haste of writing I didn't mix up to much of what I had meant to say! I love you all and keep up the good work!
-Elder Kent Talbert