Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Noah's Flood

Well It is great to hear from all of you again! I am happy for the Cannons! I had been just wondering earlier this week if Diane had had the baby yet! Well that is exciting and the pictures are good! Thanks for the info dad on the Priesthood, I hadn't really found to much of a direct answer yet. I had come to the same sort of conclusion only it was a bit more vague and not fully formed yet. Mom I do have a copy of the conference issue of the ensign, the missionaries get the ensign monthly so that is good, but thanks for thinking of me! I am enjoying go through the talks again, it was a very good conference. I would like you to send me a copy of ugh..I am not even sure what to call it, my priesthood lineage? Like that I got the priesthood from my father, who got it from so and so who got it from so and so, etc. Does that make sense or am I just making things confusing? Well either way I would like that! What address do you send things to? I think the P.O. box works the best but they are all good.
Well for the random things this week, I get a preparation day!!! I haven't had one in 3 weeks, just email time. I hope that I get around to getting some pictures printed and I can fix my bike! The list of problems is growing rapidly so I will have to withdraw some money today to get it all fixed up and ready to ride everyday in safety again. The Deck looks nice dad! Looks like it will be quite large! School is more or less over for you all so enjoy the summer vacation! I don't know when school gets out here. Good to know that the virus is gone! Sounds like it was a pain in the neck to get rid of. Mom you did successfully shrink the photos down, thanks that works much better I like it!
So my new companion is an Elder Hillam. He is really good! But first for my crazy week. So after I emailed last week I went to Mo-bay and worked with E.Nelson, a native Jamaican, till Wednesday. It was a lot of fun. Very different being in the city and not in the rural lands. Everything is so close and dirty and smelly in the city but it was good. I enjoyed my week. I slept at the zone leaders house and saved a lot of money/time, had no travel time and I just lived off of the Zone Leaders food so I didn't have to buy my own! Then on Thursday I got up early and went to Sav and worked with E. Sizemore all day. It was a lot of fun! We rode our bikes for about 45 minutes to his area and then it began to rain! and it rained and rained and rained and rained, for 4 hours it rained in the hardest rainstorm I have ever seen. We were soaked and my daily planner was completely destroyed. The streets had about 1.5 feet of water in them that we were trudging through. My feet were completely submerged in the water everytime I would petal downward. It was crazy! I have never seen so much water in the streets, it was like a giant flood. Something random about the culture, Jamaicans hate the rain, they won't go out in it. If it rains they won't go to school, or work, or church or anything, rain=sit at home and do nothing till it stops. It is a really dumb trait of the culture, probably the most annoying, I love the people here and the culture is great, but I can't stand their fear of rain, it is just a lame excuse to do nothing. On Sunday it rained and so as such it meant that no one came to church! We had 8 members and 2 missionaries who were willing to endure the rain and come to church. I have never seen such a small sacrament meeting! But I did get to bless the sacrament which was good I hadn't done that either. I also got to sit around after church and help with Tithing which was interesting yet dull.
Thursday evening I finally got picked up from sav, I was still very wet and cold but oh well. I got to meet my new companion and head back to Negril! E. Hillam is a veteran missionary. Less than 3 months to go before he heads home. He is from Washington, just as E. Stevens was, and he is great! He has been Zone leader for a very long time, longest out of any missionary in Jamaica, one year, and as such he knows every rule and regulation to exactness. It is really nice, he really knows his gospel to. I think the best thing I have learned from him so far was to bring enthusiasm into the lessons. To Often the missionaries are enthusiastic for the work that they are doing and for their investigators but have a hard time helping the investigators feel the same way. He is good at that and I have begun applying it to my teaching. It is interesting to go out
everyday. I am the master of Negril in terms of the town but E. Hillam knows how to teach much better than I do. But during this next transfer I hope to learn a lot from him and his ability to teach.
I have been eating better, my companion believes in riding home everyday for lunch which saves us money. We don't eat out much so I get a lot more variety which is nice! Last night I had my first piece of Jerk Chicken which was amazing! From what he says it sounds like that is the most popular food in Jamaica it is just hard to get in Negril, the tourist area sort of kills it for some strange reason. In the City you can get it everywhere and for really cheap. It was very good, I liked it a bunch and will have to eat it again! Tastes like grilled chicken that is super spicy. Very good.
On Sunday it was the Mitchells sons 2nd birthday so we had a party at church. The 10 people that were there had an ice cream and cake party after church was over. It was really good. I had a ton of ice cream and a good amount of cake. The cake was good but sis Mitchell had one of those cakes with like an inch of the nasty frosting all around it. Unfortunately I ended up with 2 corner pieces which meant I got extra extra frosting.
This week I have been spending all my free time reading Jesus the Christ. That truly is an amazing book. I would have never received so many insights into the New Testament as James E Talmage manages to get. I will hopefully finish it this week and then I think I will start on the Book of Mormon again. I had to purchase a new Preach my Gospel, mine just keeps getting wetter and wetter and is crumbling apart. But it was cheap, only like $3.00
This week we have been teaching this lady named Sis. Hylton. She is very good! Has had a rough life and was in need of something that would bring her peace in her life. She had had an especially hard week. But things are calming down with her and the missionaries arrived just in time. We have been helping her with a bunch of yard work that she needed help with and been teaching her after words. She is doing well. She has been reading everything we leave her and more. She read the first part of the Book of Mormon, all the testimonies, introduction, 1st Nephi. We are hopeful that she will gain a good testimony. Just needs to pray to know for sure!
I have enjoyed this last week, yesterday (Monday) we didn't get a preparation day due to a holiday so that was a bummer but oh well still got to it today! We didn't have the best success yesterday, all our appointments blew us out and we met a crazy old guy who was very raciest and wouldn't listen to our message because the little pamphlet that the missionaries give out has a picture of Christ on it and Christ is white in the picture. It was annoying, he had a bit to much pride.
Well time is running short, hopefully this has been of interest! I left my notebook at home so I forgot what I had wanted to include in my email. I have just been writing down whatever comes to mind. I am doing well and enjoying my New companion. Hopefully we begin to see some good success in Negril, it needs it badly! The branch could use something exciting to happen, maybe it will spark their interest in Missionary work again!
Well I hope that the last week of school goes great and I hope that you have a great day! Thanks for that story Laura, I liked it a lot!
I love you all and look forward to next week!
Elder B. Kent Talbert

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Rod of Moses

Things go well! The computer got a Virus? That sounds horrible, probably should have avoided that one. Wonder how it got there. Well this week has been good. I don't have to many nuts and bolts to begin the day with. Jordan Eatough got a letter to me and he is going to the Dominican Republic which is awesome! I am working on writing a letter with advice about what to bring and what not to bring. Bishop wants my favorite scripture? Well that is difficult, I have a lot that I like, but I guess if I have to choose one at this moment I would Choose D&C 131:6 "It is impossible to be saved in Ignorance" short and sweet and to the point. This week I have had limited bike problems, nothing broken yet! Few flats but that is about it. Congratulations laura on making it into your camp thingy!!!
Well Firstly Transfers have come! I will be staying In Negril with someone, I don't know the name yet, haven't been told. E. Stevens will be going to the Bahamas, which will be interesting. We were told on Saturday that he would be going on Monday, normally transfers are on thrusdays so you have all p-day to prepare, but instead we got about 36 hours most of which was teaching. So he has been going through all his stuff trying to get his bags under the weight limit! It has been crazy, It will be sad to see him go, we have developed a really good friendship, but we will meet again. Yet again P-day has been ruined due to something random, today after emails we have to go meet the Assistants and head to Mo-Bay, I will be staying with the Zone leaders until Thursday when transfers officially take place. It is annoying to have to see Negril abandoned for 4 days, who knows what will happen to our investigators in that amount of time. I did get a ton of stuff from it all, elder stevens gave me everything that wasn't going to fit, so that was fun. Like Christmas! only all I got was ties, sunscreen, paper, pens, food, other misssionary supplies
This week has been good. I don't know how long this email will be, my companion and I are working on getting some photos transferred between our memory cards so that is distracting, but I will try to get as much as possible in here.
This week we met a man named Bongo. He wanted to question us so we went and talked to him. He asked us if we knew where the rod of Moses was, we informed him that we didn't know, then he asked us about it's power. He told us that it was the most powerful rod ever and gave moses all his power. He told us that, now this is a direct quote, think about this statistic carfully "95% of the people who followed moses, some of them went to Africa" so your saying that 5% definitely didn't go to Africa, but out of the other 95% some of them went to Africa? Well he went on to explain that is only logical that since they took the rod of moses into Africa that it came to Jamaica and that is why Jamaica is so well protected against Hurricanes. It was fairly ridiculous, he told us he didn't know where in Jamaica the rod was being hidden, but it was somewhere!
We have done a lot of finding this week, our investigators have been dropping like flies, but we have found some really good people which we are excited for! We are hopeful that many of them will begin to progress shortly!
Church yesterday was really good. After it was over we took a bunch of pictures for E. Stevens so that was a lot of fun getting pictures with many of the members. We went to a man named Bro. Haughton who is a wood carver. He has been making something for e. stevens. He is an amazing wood worker! Reminds me of Grandpa Talbert! He uses some really cool woods that I have never heard of and really knows how to work the wood. Definitely the best I have met in Jamaica, a lot of wood carvers are around but many are fairly lousy, bro. Haughton is Pro.
On Wednesday it rained super hard. I might as well have taken a shower. I had about 8 oz of water in my shoe that got poured in from the top, the shoes stay perfectly dry..unless 100% submerged in which case water comes in from the top. Everything was wet. I had 13 bom on me and they all took heavy water damage. I have never seen such a storm! We took refuge at the mitchells and managed to teach 0 lessons the whole day, it was terrible. We just stood in the mitchells kitchen and ate food that she fed us while we dried off. It was a lot of fun to be in the rain, if we hadn't had scriptures on us we wouldn't have stopped at the Mitchells.
I have had a good week, I am running a bit short on time, the pictures are taking to much time! AH! But oh well, not much has happened this week of note, just taught a lot of lessons. We haven't had much of interest happen. In my personal studies I have been reading through the New Testament which has been really good. There are a lot of really good scriptures in there which I have enjoyed reading and using in my lessons. It just amazes me how no one believes in the priesthood anymore, in Jamaica it has just become anyone can do anything, churches don't claim to have any authority, they just do whatever. Yet in the new testament it is so obvious that their was a priesthood. "having a form of godliness, yet they deny the power thereof"
Well I am about done, I wish I could have said more, but I figure a picture is worth a thousand words so I had to get them! Haha. I am glad that all is going well at home! Hopefully Josh manages to find an apartment with limited costs! I have definitely learned how cheaply a person can live if they are just willing to sacrifice a lot of the random stuff that we feel is needed. Food and rent is about all you really need money for, maybe gas if you don't want to ride a bike. I hope the deck goes well! I am excited to see it done! Thanks for the emails yet again, they are always the best, next week I will make sure to have an extra good email since this one was a bit short! Time is flying by! May is already past half over, it amazes me how it is just disappearing, one day the month begins the next day it is gone. It will be great to have all my friends leave on their missions! I am having a great experience and hope they do to!
Thanks for everything and I hope the computer is fixed soon so that I can hear from all of you again! I love you and wish you well with the end of the school year!!!
-Elder Kent Talbert

Nuts and Bolts of the Week (from May 11)

Well it was great to hear from you yesterday! I had a great time! The phone call was wonderful! Sorry for the short end, I had to go and do all the typical Sunday night things! Well happy mothers day again mom! Don't remember if I said that yesterday night or not! The yard is looking good Dad. Looks like you have been working really hard. I am excited to see it in a few years and what it looks like then and I am excited that it is getting done now and not while I am around!
Well first for the typical random things. Sending a package to me is free for me. I double checked and it doesn't cost me anything to receive it. I don't know if you want to send me a new memory card or not. I don't know what to do with that. I have 2 memory cards already and they can still hold plenty. I don't know if eventually I will want a new one or if I will just want to put everything on to a CD and clear a card. Undecided. A lot of the missionaries just keep getting more and more cards because it removes a lot of the complications. But I don't know yet! At the moment I still got memory space and all is well there. I don't know where my rubiks cube book is Joseph, packed away somewhere, you can try and use the internet, their are a lot of good instructions there. search on google for "Rubiks 4x4 how to solve" For the people that read my blog they won't get a ton today, I told most everything during my phone call!
Today is Preparation day, as usual, but today is the most frustrating preparation day of them all. I have a problem with my front bike tire that needs to be fixed before tomorrow, I need to do laundry, I need to shop for food, my companion needs to get some pictures printed, We need to return the phone that we borrowed from the mitchells, and not a single bit of that will be done! The Zone leaders refuse to let us not attend their dumb zone preparation day which will cost my companion and I a total of $30 US to attend and 4-5 hours of driving time. We will get nothing done today, just spend a lot of money for a potentially really dumb activity that will only last like 2 hours max. The zone leaders have more or less ruined the Negril elders preparation day, we are the only ones in the zone that have to taxi for a long time and spend a ton of money doing so. But oh well, we will get food sometime, the bike is going to be the biggest problem. It needs to be in super good working condition for a bike ride we have to make tomorrow morning to a neighboring town to teach someone that lives there. Don't know what we are going to do with that problem. We will probably just end up being late to our appointment tomorrow, I don't really see how we can get their on time.
Well this past week went good. We taught a lot of lessons. Averaged about 9 lessons a day. We haven't had the best success in our investigators but we are trying hard. Yesterday at church we had one investigator which was awesome! We haven't had one for a while. Her name is Melissa. Her and her sister both came. They are daughters of one of our active members. We have been teaching Melissa for about a week and it is going really well. Her and her sister are really smart and are doing good. They won't accept a baptismal date yet, we don't know why, that is our goal for this week. We need to figure out what is going on with them. But overall they are doing well I am excited to see how they progress.
On Saturday we went to teach a young man named Demoy. He is pretty cool. He was busy playing football (soccer) with his friends. So E. Stevens and I joined in. I was never very good at soccer, and even worse in a white shirt and tie, but It was entertaining. It rained during the whole game so water was everywhere and mud was everywhere but oh well. We will eventually get it out of our shirts.
This week coming up is Zone Meeting, so that will be great! Once a week we get together with our district for district meeting and twice a transfer we get together with the whole zone and president Gingery. It will be really good. It is always a lot of fun. It just means that I will get no sleep. In order to get there on time my companion and I have to get up really early get ready, and taxi to the meeting. But it will be good, and we will get mail which is great! Anytime someone from the mission comes from Kingston they bring mail with them which is always really exciting! That is one of the reasons why mail can take so long. It takes about 2 weeks to get to Kingston and from their it just waits in the mission office until someone comes out to our side of the island, which can be random. So it is always exciting when you know that someone is coming from Kingston.
So question for you dad, or mom if either of you know the answer. In Old Testament times the priesthood was confined to the tribe of Levi if I am correct (I could be mistaken on that fact) if that is the case then how did the Nephites and the Lamanites get the priesthood? They must have had it in one way or another but I don't know where. Obviously after Christ visited them they had it but before then, Did Lehi just happen to have it? Was he given it from a translated being (Moses or others)? I haven't found an answer yet, might not be an answer. Doesn't matter all that much as long as you know the book of mormon is true, just a curiosity that I noticed while doing a quick little study on the priesthood.
People in Jamaica love the book of Psalms, proverbs and revelation. Those are the three books anyone reads. But they do know the stories of the New Testament. Frequently we will begin telling people about Joseph Smith and learn that they think we are talking of Joseph, husband of Mary mother of Christ. They always find it amazing to learn that we knew his last name because they always thought it didn't mention his last name in the bible. It is always fun trying to explain that there is more than one person named Joseph who was of importance.
Another random story, we met a man who we tried to talk to but he just went into the dumb thing of that he doesn't want to believe the Book of Mormon could be possible. Then to make it even dumber he went on to explain how he only uses the old Testament because is an "old school guy" I think he was just very confused. I don't know if he realizes that the New Testament has all the information about Christ that he knew. A lot of people are confused with the New and Old testaments here. We have run into a lot of people who think that they are both complete bibles just different translations. They don't realize that the bible is 2 separate parts not one.
Well a bit of random Sabbath information. We always get told by people that there is no way that the Sabbath could change, that god wouldn't do that. But recently while reading I thought of the story of Abraham. Cain killed Abel and was punished, so obviously the commandment to not kill has been around since the start of man. Abraham was commanded by god to sacrifice his Son, but that would be contradictory to the commandment already given. And there are plenty of places in the Old Testament where the Propehts have destroyed the wicked (Elijah killing the 450 priests of baal, Nephi and Laban). But that would contradict the law. So either Elijah, Moses, Abraham, Nephi have sinned or nearly sinned by killing or god allowed the wicked to die so that his work could move on. So if god allowed this to happen which was opposite the given commandment why couldn't he move the Sabbath to sunday?
Well I am running short on time, hopefully their was something of interest in the email. I hope all goes well at home! Thanks for the emails and especially the phone conversation yesterday, it was the best part of my mission! Haha well dad you can send me any parables you got, I like pondering on them. Maybe next week I will go into my bike part parable that I have been working on these past few weeks. School year is nearly done for you all and I hope that it goes great! Don't let the stress get to you to much! I am glad that Alex has gotten his mission call! When does he leave?
I love you all, keep up the good work!
Elder Kent Talbert

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Short Week

Well first off I guess I will go through mothers day. Sister Gingery should have sent you an email about it. Here is how it goes. You actually get to call me (because that way the mission doesn't have to pay for the phone bill!) Since Elder Stevens parents don't get home till sort of late our appointed time is around 6:30 Jamaican time, or about 5:30 US time. So call at 5:30 and we will tell you if we are ready yet, if not we will just tell you to call back in like 10 or 15 minutes. Then we have around an hour to talk. So That will be all good!
Thanks for the money mom for postage/pictures. I don't have to pay a fee to get a package, you get to pay the fee when you give it to the post office (or so I hear) so don't worry about that. Pictures are probably one of the best things to get in a package! Don't worry yourself over the mini PMG I can easily survive without it Haha. Thanks for the pictures this week in the emails, looks like you have been doing a lot of work on the yard, and my dog looks good! Laura hopefully had a good time at prom, it sounds like she had a fun experience! On a side note, it would be nice mom if you could somehow reduce how large the picture files are. Dad's pictures were only like 200 kb but yours were 2-4mb. It still loads fast but I don't know how much my mail box can hold so I don't want it to overload and not get any mail one week! Stamps are currently $60 Jamaican but I don't know how much US that is, the exchange rate is mostly unknown to the missionaries, I think it is around 85:1 currently but I really don't know. I will work on printing off some pictures with the money you gave me and mail them to you. We have been taking some good ones!
Well thanks for all the letters! I am glad to know that my mail arrived at home and that you enjoyed it. It was sort of a last minute Idea one preparation day. I am happy to hear that you are doing well in School Laura! I hope that your AP test goes well this week! Your email dad was quite entertaining to read and made me laugh, it was good!
As normal my bike has had more difficulties. I think they gave me the bike with all the problems, it is costing way to much! But this week a part of the De-Railer broke and I need to fix it today, so that will be a bit more money gone. It has a problem where it always pedals, if the wheels move the pedals have to move. Makes it really annoying, no coasting allowed. It is interesting. Even when I want to brake I have to keep pedaling, so it is counter productive. I have to brake harder than I am pedaling to prevent the chain from falling apart. I have learned an important lesson about being compelled to do something. When you are compelled to do something it is possible but not enjoyable. We can't be forced to do something and find pleasure in it. I have dreaded every minute on my bike because of this pedal problem. As missionaries we can only invite people to come to Christ but we can't make them, for one thing it would probably just make them frustrated and they wouldn't find enjoyment in it at all. But when we have the choice then can we be happy.
This week has been good! Yesterday at church we had 12 visitors, so nearly double the branch. We had a family visiting from salt lake, their sun was a former missionary in Jamaica and had come to visit. It was a lot of fun! It made church even better! We had decent discussions in class and testimony meeting was really good! It was weird to have a lot of white people in church again. We also had 2 people visiting from England and they were really cool! Had a sweet accent.
Lately we have been working in an area of Negril called "Good Hope" which means we have a super long bike ride every day, it is out even farther than anywhere else we go. I am riding close to 30 miles a day on my bike between good hope and the other places we visit.
Today is officially my 3 month mark! (May 4th) and my 90th day mark! Cool how that worked out like that. I am amazed at how fast this last week has gone by, it just disappeared. Well Mosely isn't doing so well. He has a strong desire to keep the commandments, and he is really good, but he lives with a partner and they aren't married yet. Unfortunately she is a very stubborn lady and refuses to get married until her children in Canada find time to come and visit for a wedding. Mosely can't very well move out because he has very bad knees and no way to make money so he is dependent on her. We can't really move forward with mosely until he gets married. Hopefully he will keep coming to church until that day. He is hoping that it will be in August. Maybe I will still be in Negril, that is only 2 transfers away.
It is interesting to me to look at how little people are willing to sacrifice. We normally have 0 investigators at church because church goes through lunch time and they won't sacrifice their food for church. The people around here won't sacrifice for anything. The easy way out is always the one chosen. Almost no one is married, because that involves sacrificing their supposed freedom, and no body likes to deal with their issues, they would rather just take large amounts of drugs till they forget their problems. It has been frustrating to see so many of our investigators fall in to this trap of selfishness. But oh well, we are going to try a new direction with our lessons this week to try and encourage our investigators better. Hopefully it works!
Well success has been limited in Negril, we don't really have anyone progressing currently but oh well. We will keep trying! We are managing to use almost all our time effectively. This week we taught 40 lessons which is a ton for how much bike riding we have to do in between houses. We were hoping to have a really good amount at sacrament meeting but that didn't work out so well.
My companion and I have been talking about how much you learn and grow on your mission. We decided that it comes down to that we were completely removed from our regular life. Left our homes, friends and families and left to fend for ourselves. If we relate it to a house it is like before our mission we had a home but the foundation was built upon worldly things. Then you leave on a mission, get thrown into a crazy environment and your entire home is obliterated. Rapidly the home is rebuilt only this time only upon the gospel. We are required to learn as fast as possible or else we will be left without a home and feel completely lost.
Well Jamaica goes well. I have gotten use to the food here and now I am working on learning how to make it. A lot of the native food is super good! I especially love Curry Chicken and rice+peas. The curry here is different than that in other countries. It is called Jamaican Curry and it isn̢۪t really like anything I have had before but it is really good! I think it would be better if it was made with boneless chicken so that you didn't have to pick out all the fragments of bone while chewing.
I have to get a haircut this week. Next week we are having an annoying zone preparation day which means I have to spend a ton of money on taxi fare and have 0 free time. It will be dumb. We only get 8 hours of preparation day and I will end up spending 4 in a taxi that is so cramped and bumpy that you can't do anyting inside the taxi other than sleep. But oh well. I just have to do everything this week that would have been done next week, including a haircut. President Gingery is coming out in a week and a half so we have to look our best for when he does inspections.
I am running short on time, but I hope you all have a good week! I don't know how good next weeks email will be due to talking to you on Sunday. But make sure to think of anything you all want to tell me/ask me for Sunday. That will be great!
I am doing very well! I love to hear from all of you every week! Good luck with the 4x4 Jospeh! If you need help somewhere in the piece of luggage I left at home is a book on rubiks cubes I think. It has good instructions! Better than the internet. I hope all goes well this week! Enjoy the last few weeks of school and keep up the good work! Thanks for the pictures again mom and dad, I do enjoy seeing things going on at home every once in a while! Well I am out of time! I love you all!
Elder Kent Talbert