Saturday, July 25, 2009

*imagine cool star trek line here* (mind blank...)

Well first off before I forget, I got a letter from Paula that I need to answer a question from. Yes, we do wear helmets when we ride our bikes! It makes things even hotter, the worst is that due to the shape of the inside of the helmet it makes weird impressions in your hair that makes your head look like it has a big bump right down the middle. So if you are going for Klingon look then it works just fine! Haha. Sounds like the family reunion was great! Thanks for the photos! My week was good, but probably not quite so entertaining.
The office goes well. This email might not have a ton of content, there is only so much that goes on in the office. On Tuesday we had our Zone meeting and had interviews with President Graff. That was good! He is a really cool guy. Last Saturday after I emailed Elder and Sister cheesman, the office couple invited us over for dinner, they fed us taco soup! It was really good! We also got a flat tire that night and found a big nail right in our front tire.
On Sunday I got to go to my new branch! It was really good! We have a building that looks nice and there is a decent size branch. Sunday School was really good, brother moses (the teacher) really knows his stuff and does an excellent job. I got to play the piano in sacrament meeting! That was something! Haha, I haven't touched a piano in 6 months and all of a sudden, with 0 practice I was expected to play all the hymns they had previously chosen. Didn't go to bad at all, I expected a lot worse!
After church we had dinner at a members house with our entire zone! There are 3 branches in Kingston and 12 missionaries (small zone) the members like to feed all the missionaries at once so every Sunday we go to a different house and a member prepares a ton of food for everyone! It was really good! We had stewed peas and rice and some beef (the first time I have been fed beef by a member). It was really good.
President Graff this week put me in charge of all of his flights. So now I have to check airlines and purchase tickets and make sure he gets where he needs to at the right time. In 2 weeks President Graff and President Vinas (area Seventy) are going on a tour of the mission so I will get a lot of practice with this whole flight thing. I also this week got presidents new laptop up and running, and fixed a giant spread sheet that the mission has for The Fuel Reports on the vehicles. I never used Microsoft excel to much, I had a bit of practice but now everyone expects me to fix all their problems on excel, I have learned a ton about how to use that program this week! It has been quite interesting.
Well I met an elder Huffaker (I think that is how you spell it if I remember correctly). He is moderately new to the mission (2-3 months). He told me that he had read parts of the blog back home before his mission. That made me chuckle, but he is a way cool elder. I enjoyed my little chat with him as we dropped off a bike.
Hmm! I don't really want to make this just a log of events from my week, but that seems to be what is happening. Haha On Tuesday night elder tanner, hill and I went out teaching and while we were searching for a member a lady named Ann-marie just walked up to us asking us when church is. We told her and started to teach her. She is great! Way interested in the church! We are excited to keep teaching her! Recently we have gotten a ton of really good investigators! I am hoping to see all of them at church tomorrow! All the investigators that we have currently none of them have we actually found on our own! They have all been referrals or people that called us over to them and wanted to know who we were. It has been great! The lord has definitely been blessing us for the all the work we put into the office all day. Our few hours of proselyting have been most effective this last week!
I gave myself another hair cut this week. Turned out decent. I missed a spot that I found in the morning that needed to be fixed, and I think it is still slightly uneven, but oh well, at least it was free! Haha
Ugh..I am running out of things to say. Lately I have been studying a lot out of the book of mormon! It has been great! I have also been trying to use only the book of mormon in all of our teaching. President graff asked us to study only Preach my gospel and the book of mormon, but a lot of the missionaries have also been trying to only use the book of mormon for their teaching also. It has been going very well! You really can teach all the missionary lessons souly with that book. I love it!
Things go well here in Jamaica. I enjoy the position I am in. It would be nice to get more teaching done, but someone has to run the office, and I guess I am that person for the time being. You will have to tell me all about your conference dad! I will be excited to hear about it! Thanks again for the pictures, they were marvelous and I look forward to getting some hardcopies of them! I need to remember to take more pictures, I have been fairly lazy these last few weeks.
I hope that all goes well back home and that this upcoming week is great! Tell alex and shea congrats for me! I am excited that they finally get to head out on their missions! They will love them! I need to go, next week I will try and think of something more interesting, haha.
Love you all,
Elder B. Kent Talbert

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Office

Well I am glad that the week has gone well so far. And I am happy that you all managed to get your emails sent! My preparation day is Saturday but depending on how busy we are I email at a random time, we try for mornings but sometimes it doesn't occur until late afternoon. The Family reunion sounds like it will be a lot of fun! I will be excited to hear how it all went next week. Tell the Rusts that Elder Josh White says Hello. He is from vernal and had Richard as a seminary teacher.
This week has been hectic. Got to Kingston Monday evening and went out teaching with the assistants all night because my companions weren't around. Kingston is a whole new world. It is nothing like Negril. Negril was run down, 3rd world country; everyone lives in shacks, etc. Kingston is moderately more modern. We have a huge area that covers all the downtown sections of Kingston. It is weird to have stepped from an uneducated world into one with a decent amount of education. Most everyone here can read, write, etc. It is very different from what the first quarter of my mission has been like.
Well being in the office is crazy. What we do is everyday we get up, study (if we have time, which is almost every day), and then go out and run errands all day, we get the mail, make sure that all the cars are working properly, handle the insurance, any medical problems missionaries have, repair all the broken vehicles, get visas/passport stuff organized, etc. We spend a lot of time just driving around, traffic is fairly terrible and so it goes slowly, but driving is fairly easy, the hardest part is that you drive on the left side instead of the right. And as such all the missionaries initially have a problem of driving to close on the left. We have a nice truck; it is the best vehicle in the mission. Has a nice turbo and a ton of power, the only problem is that its turn radius sucks and so sometimes it is a pain to get around.
We also spend a good amount of time sitting in the office working on computers. The office couple always has a good amount of stuff for us to do. Lately I have been working on locating every bike in the mission, and compiling a list of all the landlords along with a good amount of info about each house. Work a lot on Microsoft excel, wish I knew how to use it a bit better than I do, but oh well.
I don't get much proselyting time in, we try to leave by 3pm, but like yesterday we got caught up in a bunch of stuff, and had to take a few missionaries to the doctor and so we didn't get done till 7:30. our entire day was pretty much shot. Well I don't know what else to really say about the office, it is very busy and we always have a ton to do.
The house I live in is funny. There is 0% privacy in the bathroom due to the construction of the house. For some reason the bath room is also the hall way, when you enter the house you enter into the main room, from their you can't leave the main room unless you go through the bath room, there are a total of 3 doors in the bathroom and it connects to every part of the house. Don't know that the designers were thinking. We live with the assistants at the top of a very large hill, we can see over all of Kingston. The house currently has 6 missionaries stuff in it, and 5 missionaries living in it. We have 0 space, everything is crowded.
I have 2 companions, but one of them I have only seen at nights, he has been with one of the assistants while the other assistant has been traveling around to all the islands with president Graff. Elder Tanner, the one that I have been working with is cool. He grew up in Massachusetts and later moved to Utah. He hasn't been in the office very long (3 weeks) so we have to figure out how to do most of our tasks, it is a pain and slows things down, but we are slowly getting the hang of everything. I am curious to see if I stay in the office at the end of this transfer. I like working in the office, it is nice, but I don't like how I get no missionary work done, at times it is hard to even imagine that I really am a missionary, we travel into the real world so often, and do things that don't resemble missionary work all day long. We deal singly with the physical needs of the mission.
Our area is nice, there are always people everywhere, you can stand in the same spot for 2 days and never meet the same person. We have some decent investigators. A family we have been teaching was doing well, but they are unsure if they will make it to church on Sunday, so that is a big problem. We have another investigator, Sis. Morgan, she is 14 yrs old and her mother is a member of the church, she is doing good, she wants to get baptized, just need to get her to come to church tomorrow! Our branch is still small...sort of, we get like 50 people at church weekly, but the branch has 350 people in it, 300 people are less active. We have a chapel so that is a decent advantage.
So random news, president monson, just shortened our Preparation day by and hour, now it is only 7 hours instead of 8 hours. Missionaries are finally in the turks and Caicos islands so that is sweet! I got to see elder sizemore again, he was in my zone..until Wednesday, then there was another transfer made, he became the Zone Leader of Spanish town! Haha he is the youngest zone leader in the mission, all the zone leaders are like 15-24 months out and he is only 5 months out. He was very surprised when he got the phone call, Wednesday afternoon. I get to see the senior couple for the office everyday, they are a lot of fun! Elder and sister Cheesman. They are from orem, Ut. Elder cheesman was a dentist down by harmens on 800 N for a long time. He is always telling great stories and does a lot of funny things! It is great to work around them everyday.
Hmmm! I am running out of things to really say. Yesterday I got to drive alone for the first time! My companion and I needed to transport 2 vehicles, so we drove in separate vehicles, it was weird to be without a companion - especially in a giant city where I don't have the slightest Idea where I am going. I just followed the truck. It went well. Haha
Studies have been going well, we are only allowed to use PMG and the book of mormon now, all other scriptures/books were banned, so that has been interesting. I don't really have any great spiritual insights to really share right now, I am running short on time and don't want to try and think of any haha.
I am jealous that half the family has seen harry potter! That is one movie I would love to see but will have to wait. The Grocery store we shop at is way different than the one in Negril! In Negril it was a little run down place that was lacking a lot of food and would randomly be out of things all the time. Now we have a giant grocery store that looks like a smiths or an Albertsons. Has everything all the time. Congrats on your Ap tests laura! that is great that you passed all of them! I am running low on things to say and my time is starting to run a bit low also. I still need to email President Graff. So I guess this will be it for the week. Tell the rest of the family hi and enjoy the family reunion!
Love, Elder B. Kent Talbert

Monday, July 13, 2009

It's A Trap!!!

Sounds like you have all had a good week! I am quite interested in your whole speaker thing dad, it sounds like you had a lot of hard work but also learned quite a bit of interesting things. Thanks for the complete description-I think I could go build one now. That is one thing I do look forward to in another 20 or so months-physics! Tunnel singing is cool, I have never been but I did know of it, a handful of my friends use to always go. Make sure to tell me how harry potter 6 is! To bad I will miss the opening show, oh well, not really going to ruin my life. Glad you liked those pictures! I had needed some pictures for some things I had been doing, but those were extra, so you got all the weird ones, but hopefully you enjoyed them.
A lot has happened this week! Huge Changes! I really don't remember the start of the week, it is just a blur now. Zone Conference was Friday, met president graff. He is really cool! And fairly young. He is very excited for the work and has some fairly impressive credentials (like turning a branch of 28 in the DR to a district with over 200 people in a few months). He gave a really good talk and mentioned how one thing that is changing is that he will transfer people a lot less, he wants missionaries to stay In their area for 6-10 months now. Well when it was all done he had interviews with the missionaries and then we went back to Negril-and that was when the fun began. We got home, got a call from the assistants informing us that our zone had collapsed, our leaders were released, 2 missionaries were sent home, an area was closed, and everything had fallen into chaos. So we went to bed wondering what in the world had happened, 8 missionaries had been moved and everything was a mess. The next morning we got ready and went out side when our phone rang, president Graff was on the phone and was calling Elder Hillam to be Zone leader, and that the Zone headquarters would be in Negril, so we weren't moving. E. Hillam was now the only district leader and the only Zone Leader in our zone (normally there are 2) and I was his young assistant. Well Sunday came and we spent all day driving around with the assistants moving missionaries around as they reorganized the zone and put different missionaries into different places. It was a lot of driving and we accomplished no teaching. The good thing was that since E. Hillam was zone leader we got a truck! No more bike riding In Negril! It was crazy all day long. Well we got home, and everything was calm again, got ready for bed, knelt down to pray and the phone rang again. It was presidents ring tone, so we stopped our prayer and answered. President Graff had changed his mind, he wanted Elder Hillam to have a companion instead of being the single zone leader. I was told that I would be leaving Negril in the morning! So When was I going to pack? It was night, and bed time, we have to be in bed by 10:30, no changes. So I went to bed and got up this morning and packed quickly. Now I am emailing in Negril, preparing to go to my New area. Another elder is coming to Negril to be with Elder Hillam to be his companion. I will be going all the way to Kingston, in the area that every missionary and senior couple has guessed I would go at some point in my mission-The Office! So now everyday I get up, study, go to the office and sit on a computer/run errands till 3pm at 3pm my companions and I (Elder Hill and Elder Tanner) go to our area and teach. Our area is Trenchtown-don't know if you have heard of it or listened to enough bob Marley to know about it (he has a song about it) but it is one of the biggest Ghettos in the Entire world. It will be interesting. I will be in a driving area, so that will be nice, and I live with the assistants (and they have a microwave!). well I don't really have anything else to say about that, I know little, and it was very very unexpected, even the assistants (who we had been with all day yesterday) were surprised. It will be a wild few days. The biggest change will be Preparation Day, it is now Saturday (fairly positive)-so you will have to change when you email me, because if you email me on Sunday I will have no emails to read this upcoming Saturday. Overall it has been an absolutely crazy weekend and a lot has changed (in our zone-the other zones were unaffected). And this is a very long paragraph!
So enough for the craziness, I would have liked to say good bye to people, but don't have anytime, I am just vanishing. Haha Well Natalie is still doing good, she came to church again and doesn't really have any major concerns, she is hesitant to accept a baptismal date and we don't know why. But hopefully this next week she will have a date of August 2nd. Joan is out of town for a few days but is still doing well, it will be a lot easier to teach her now that we have a truck. Where we taught her was about a 45-60 minute ride from our house. Negril is going to have a lot more teaching time with that vehicle.
Sis. Hylton is still doing amazing! We got her a member packet yesterday (bible, triple, gospel principles, hymn, etc.) It is cool how they just give all the recent converts all those books for free. She said the closing prayer in Sacrament meeting yesterday and loves church! It has been really amazing to see her progress, she is a solid member.
Umm! My mind is just blank on what happened this week, these past few days have just been over whelming, especially the news that I was leaving Negril and had 13 hours to prepare, 8 of which would be sleep, 2 would be study, and 1 would be email. I am curious to see how long I stay in the office, if it becomes my permanent area for a while or if it is just until they find me a new home. The office elders always are the first to get the tri-panionships and normally they remove the extra one as soon as they find a place for them to go. I have a feeling that I will be there for a while, the other 2 are good missionaries but one of them is a Native Jamaican and really has very little idea about how to operate a computer. It will be nice to be around President Graff a bunch, get to know him really well. In the office building there is the presidents office, the missionaries and the senior couple. Elder Sizemore will be surprised to see me again at District meeting on Wednesday. I am in a different branch than him but still the same zone. The branch will be big, won't have just 30 people anymore. Probably closer to 60-70. I don't really know any definites, but it is just the only thing on my mind so it is what I am typing about haha.
We visited a lot of Less Actives all week and had 5 at church! It was really nice to see the fruit of our labors! Church had 34 people yesterday! The most that I have seen! Well I am running short on time, hopefully everything made sense that I wrote, it was sort of everywhere. I need to email president real quick. Thanks for the emails and don't forget to write before Saturday, just in case. I need to write Alex back, but I think that will also wait till Saturday, don't think I will have any time today, my preparation day is mostly just my email time and a ton of driving time. That is cool that everyones farewells are happening! It's about time that more of my friends left! No one will be home when I get home. Life goes well, sort of crazy at the moment, but by next week, (or Saturday) I will be back into the swing of things. Enjoy the week and enjoy the family reunion! I hope it is a lot of fun-when is it exactly and what are you all doing? Well that is all I got for the day! Enjoy, and I love you all!
Elder B. Kent Talbert

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Photos From Kent

We got more pictures! The first one is just a random sign that Kent thought was funny. He says that there are many like this all over the place. He was hoping for Death Star plans, but it turns out all they were selling that day were plants.

The Mitchells that Kent writes about so much. They take good care of the missionaries in Negril. Thank you, Brother and Sister Mitchell.

Kent looks good with short hair. This might be the hair cut he did himself. L to R: Kent, Elder Sizemore (MTC comp), Elder Robinson, Elder Jones. Maybe its a Borg Cube in disguise.

Gold Fish

Well it is good to hear from you all again! Sounds like you had a good week and had a lot of fun! Congrats Nathaniel on getting debt free haha. I am glad you liked the photo, we just got a super good one yesterday with every active member of the branch, I don't have it yet but I should get it in an email one of these days and I will forward it on to you later on. It is a pain in the neck to attach photos to an email in Jamaica, the computers are slow and the email place charges extra money for putting your memory card into the computer (a whole extra dollar!) so that is really dumb, I don't know if I will get around to sending any other photos until I get to a new area.
The New mission president is here! So that is exciting! He hasn't changed to much yet but he has made it so that we just email him every week instead of writing him every week (like we did with president gingery) I haven't met him yet, my companion has though and said he is cool. My companion got to go to a meeting and meet him and I hung out in sav all day with other missionaries. The big thing that President Graff wants to focus on is reactivation work! Jamaica is far below average in active church members (11-12%) and has really terrible home teaching (0-1%) so he wants to change that! Now every week we have to get a list of 5 less actives and go and visit them and work on getting them back to church. It will be interesting and it looks like it will be a really good idea! I am excited for Friday (zone conference) where I will get to meet him and hear of all the changes that he is making to the mission. He is really big on teaching by the spirit and wants us to really focus on that.
Well I met Elder Wilson, the one from provo, I do know him. He was in a few of my classes in High School. But I don't know him very well, never talked to him much in High school. We had fun talking about all the various teachers we had, and that was cool.
Yesterday at church we had 3 investigators, 2 who are good and another who we are unsure about. One is named Natalie, she is about 24 and really good! She reads everything and is really interested, our only concern with her is that the church has no one, other than the missionaries and the branch president who is even close to her age so fellowship is going to be tricky. But she seemed to enjoy church yesterday! Our other investigator was given to us by two tourists on their honey moon. They are from utah and have been talking to some of the employees at the place they were staying. So we have been teaching a lady named Joan with them. It has been good and she came to church which was awesome! The Tourists (Espenosa) are really cool they have been a great help in teaching Joan and they gave us lots of food! It has been nice to have them around for the last week and a half.
Yesterday at church a brother Haughton came! He has been a less active whose entire family is active and comes every week. He on the other hand hadn't come in over 1.5 years. The missionaries have tried really hard to get him to come back, he was the first person ever baptized in Negril. Randomly he showed up yesterday and seemed to really enjoy it! He bore his testimony and I hope to see him again next week. Sis. Hylton got confirmed yesterday and she bore her testimony after the sacrament! It was really good! She is doing very well and is loving the church!
Well like I mentioned I was in sav this week, stayed there Wednesday and Thursday serving with Elder Knowlton, he has been out one less transfer than me and is really cool. We had a good time. The best thing that happened was during some of our tracting time. We were talking to this lady and I was looking at a group of trees because I thought I had seen something move. I noticed that the roof of the house next to us was moving in an odd manner. So we finished the lesson and went to check it out. We found about 20 guys all around the house (probably about 10feetX15feet) lifting it up and moving it! They were replacing the foundation by having a bunch of guys lift up the house and then quickly change out the foundation. It was funny, they weren't quite strong enough and kept dropping the house and shifting it from side to side. One of the oddest things I have ever seen.
I still have a while to type but I need to email my letter to president Graff and a Thank you letter to the Gingerys. So I think I am going to have to cut this short here so that I can get both of those done!
There should be a letter coming in the mail soon with a few random pictures that I had printed for various reasons that weren't used, not the greatest pictures but it was all I had haha.
That sounds like a really cool workshop you are going to this week dad! I wish I could go! But oh well, someday. You will have to tell me how it goes. Which professor is in charge of the workshop? On another side note what ever happened with the Large Hadron Collider? I knew they had intended to turn it back on in April but whether that ever happened I don't know! It would be great if you could update me on that!
Well I hope that all goes good at home! I am having a great time and am excited to look for some of the less actives on our list (and not so excited for the tracting that needs to be done this week)! Things go well in Jamaica. I love you all and look forward to next weeks emails! Enjoy Idaho and home!
Elder Kent Talbert