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