Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Space..The Final Frontier

Well Last weeks email was a bit early, this weeks is a bit late. This morning Elder and Sister Cheesman fed us waffles and bacon and other food! It was really good! And we had a lot of fun! Thanks for Alex's address, I need to respond to a letter but I can't really send it effectively until now. Don't worry dad that I didn't get your email, I had already thought something like that would happen when we had our email time a bit earlier, I still got to read it this week. The weather here has been nice. Early in the week we got some good storms and a lot of rain, but the hurricane missed us and so all is well.
On Monday Elder Rebeiro and I drove to Spanish town to help the zone leaders move from one house to the next. I learned that Elder Christensen, one of the zone leaders, went to provo high school when I was their, we had a good time and got a lot of furniture moved. We also watched part of "Mountain of the Lord" that church movie about the salt lake temple. That is a really good movie, the guy who plays brigham young makes me chuckle.
This week has been quite dull and lacking in excitement so This will be fairly dull but some other random things from the week: I spent half the week driving cars around and have now driven about half the cars in the mission, so now every car is adjusted to my seating preferences. I have also learned all the ridiculous security features on the cars. They are all a bit different. One of them took me a while to figure out. To turn on the car you have to have the seat belt on, the passenger light on and the door closed, then it will turn on, but the then you have to mess with the scroll wheel that controls the amount of air coming from the AC to turn off the last of the alarm. Each vehicle is different, some complex, others simple.
Yesterday we did bike transfers, that was good. Drove around the Triangle all day delivering bikes, took almost all day, didn't get home till nearly 9:30. On Thursday Elder Rebeiro and I went to Zone Leader council to inspect all the vehicles. That was interesting, I don't know what the thought process behind that one was?! Lets see, we need the vehicles inspected, how about we have those two elders who know how to run the office and operate computers, I think they would know enough about cars! We eventually figured it out, but the first vehicle took a while.
Wow, I have written but 3 paragraphs and I am out of things to say. This week has been the world championship for track and field. It has been pretty intense haha. On Sunday we were visiting a less active member, we were talking to them in the middle of the 100m with Usain Bolt and then he won, set the world record and the entire street erupted in cheering. It was interesting. I think I would have freaked out had I not known what was on the TV. If I was just walking down the road and everyone started cheering I would assume a revolution had begun and it would be a good time to leave the area. It has been pretty big here, it is everywhere on every TV, radio, etc. While we are teaching lessons we see groups of kids lining up and having races down the streets, people mention it everywhere.
We have been teaching a good amount of Less Actives. It has been amazing to see why people stop coming to church, normally some really dumb reason. On a complete tangent, but my mind just thought of this, our land lord has been talking to us and showed us his car that he keeps. It was cool, some old 1960 BMW. Our land lord is a really old white guy who use to be a race car driver, a very successful race car driver.
For Zone leader conference the elders in negril came out. It was cool to hear about Negril again. Sister Hylton is still doing amazing and gave a talk in sacrament meeting on Elder Hillam's last Sunday. She gave it on Temple Marriage, I guess she did a great job! I was very happy to hear about that! And Natalie is also doing very good, both of them are still coming to church every Sunday and doing well. I am glad that Negril was left better than when I got there.
So The new assistant, Elder Darling, has been a lot of fun to be around a bunch. He was in Sav when I was in Negril and he trained Elder sizemore so He has been around for a good amount of my mission. He is also a very clean person and cleaned our entire house, it has been nice to be in a cleaner place.
Ugh! I am just rambling on and on with anything that comes to my mind. A majority of the week was spent just driving around, not the most eventful thing to explain. On Sunday our branch president asked us 15 minutes before sacrament meeting started to give a talk. That was interesting, but worked out nicely. I am getting better at the piano again. I find the most difficult part is playing to others singing, especially since the members of our branch change tempo very rapidly. About every other line is either faster or slower then the last. They don't really sing to the piano tune, or tempo they will just keep singing how they think it is supposed to go and I just try to keep up with all the changes. I tried a few times to just play it how it was written but that didn't work so well, normally the singing and the playing were quite a bit off. The branch seems to struggle with singing haha.
I am running short on time. Sorry for the horribly dull email, nothing happened this week. I will try and think of something good for next week. I hope school is going great! I am moderately jealous. I am glad that Shea and CJ and doing great! I hope that they find joy in the work that they do. It is sad to hear about Erin Galbraith, my prayers go out to her and her family.
I love you all and look forward to hearing from you all next week! Do good in school, don't get lazy like I did!
-Elder B. Kent Talbert

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Red 4, Standing By

Well email time is really early today, just sort of how it worked out. So I haven't gotten an email from dad yet, but maybe that will show up as I type this. The week has been really crazy a lot of random things have happened. First off for the card reader/pictures mom, I can't really think of anything else I need right now. I have just about everything necessary. A new tie would be nice. I would say go for something colorful, not silk, moderately shiny, and looks good, but really any tie will do. Also, don't forget this one, will you get Alex's mtc address. I have his mission address, but he is in the mtc till October and I had something to send him, only I don't know what mailbox # he has, that would be marvelous! I am excited that CJ has left on his mission! He will love it! How long is he at the MTC? I assume a long time.
First event of the week, Sunday after church. Elder Tanner and I went to the mission home to get a bike for a missionary. The bikes are all in a giant pile underneath the back up water supply (a 900 gallon tank) so we are digging out the bike we need when all of a sudden the pile of bikes falls on the pvc pipe that connects to the water. The pipe breaks and all the back up water starts spewing all over the ground, so elder tanner and I are freaking out, so elder tanner holds the pipe together to slow the water and I go to find a way to stop it. The back up water pipe is built poorly, has no stop valves. In the end I took a bag and shoved it up the pipe, put a rock up the pipe to put pressure on the bag, put a large flat rock under that one to prevent it from falling out and then put the lower part of the pipe under the rock. In the end it all held itself together and the water had stopped. I wrapped it up with a lot of garbage bags to ensure it held itself together and left it. We went to dinner, soaked and then called someone to fix it. They fixed it on Monday and all was good. My contraption had held till Monday and the plumber man was able to put it all back together with minimal water loss.
Second interesting event of the week, Monday. On Monday we drove 2 hours to Mandeville to move furniture. We got to Mandeville and realized that we hadn't brought any of the keys to the house. The nearest place with keys was 2 hours away. So we climbed up the back wall to the balcony, the door was also locked, so we forced the windows opened, slid our hands inside and unlocked the door, opened it, and unfortunately their was a big iron grill acting as a secondary door, and it had giant padlocks. We looked in the house for extra keys through the windows, nothing. Elder Garcia, one of the assistants was with us and he went home on Friday, he some extra money so we went to the hardware store and bought a giant bolt cutter and new locks. Went back to the house, climbed the wall, opened the door, and destroyed the locks. We got inside and had a successful move, everything worked out and we locked everything back up and left. That was a lot of fun, we proved that the missionaries home was not safe if a burglar was carrying around bolt cutters and could climb walls and figure out how to open windows.
On Thursday we had transfers. So it was a crazy day for everyone except me. The assistants took all my companions to use as driving companions and I was left at the office to work, which I didn't mind, driving for 5 hours would have been really dull. While I was at the office we learned that a new area opening up needed a car and the only extra car we had the battery didn't work at all, even if you jumped it. So I went to work and took out the battery in the cheesman's car and put it into the other car. So the cheesmans couldn't go anywhere but now the missionaries had a working car! The next task was to get a battery, which was moderately easy except for that the old battery had holes in it that spewed liquids that probably weren't safe to touch, I don't know, I never touched them, it just made it a hassle to move the old battery. In the end it all worked out and everyone had batteries in their cars.
Tuesday Elder Vinas came and that was fun! Our water was out so we went to president graffs to shower and sister graff fed us breakfast, while we were eating breakfast he joined us, it was weird no one knew what to say. He was a really nice man and a good teacher. We had a huge conference with him and 50 missionaries (who afterwards all went to a little restaurant like panda express and overloaded the place) After the conference we had a meeting with him in the office. It was really enlightening and good. He has a cool accent and enjoys making jokes. Overall a really good experience.
Well I don't have to much time, some of my email time was lost talking to elder cheesman, but oh well, I got the biggest highlights in from the week. Elder Tanner left to Yallahs and now it is just elder rebeiro and I so that is fun. We are having a good time and our area is doing decent, we spent all day working in the office for the last week preparing for transfers and we have gotten a total of 2.5 hours of teaching time! It has been really unfortunate but we are hoping for some good teaching time today and tomorrow. I still haven't gotten an email from dad or Nathaniel, but I guess that will just mean double email next week from them! I got another thing of photos from you, thanks for that!
Enjoy school starting this week! I must admit that I am moderately jealous, I would love to be in school taking a math class haha, but I am still enjoying myself and loving my mission. Things are going well, I am in good health and I am now in the 5th transfer! Wow, time is flying buy, I am so busy with office work/teaching that I barely notice the passing of time, the weeks are just disappearing.
Well That is it for this week, enjoy life back home and I hope everything goes well. I will keep you all in my prayers.
-Love you all,
Elder B. Kent Talbert

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Firing Proton Torpedoes

Sounds like the last week has been fairly entertaining. To bad about your phone mother, haha. In the office we have a handful of extra phones for missionaries who get theirs stolen, run over, shredded, wet, etc. A card reader mother would be amazing! More or less no computer has any form of card reading equipment, only usb, so I just borrow other missionaries card readers and it all works out. But it would be nice to have my own, just make sure to open it, test it, and then just send me the card reader/cord. Don't keep it packaged or anything, just put it in a zip lock baggie so that it looks used. I don't need any fancy instruction booklet or any other random things that it would come with. On a side note I also learned that if on packages/envelopes you tape religious pictures (even if they are just small and printed off a computer) it is less likely that things will go missing in the mail.
I got the pictures you sent in the mail! They are great! Haha I enjoyed them. Well this week has been fairly repetitive. Not huge amounts have happened. Yesterday night we went and helped the Cheesmans move. They got a new place that is really close to our house! It is a nice place and we had a good time helping out. So I officially hit my 6 month mark this week and so We went out to eat at Pizza hut, it cost way more then I wanted to spend but it was worth it! It was also just fortunate that we had to go on a little road trip to deliver some things to different missionaries. One of the places we stopped was Spanish Town and we planned it with the elders there so that we got to eat lunch at pizza hut with Elder brown and Elder Sizemore. It was a lot of fun! Today we are having another big spending day (Ugh!) one of the Assistants who we live with has hit his 2 year mark (he extended his mission so he isn't leaving anytime soon) and so after email we plan on going to a nice restaurant and having a big lunch! It will be a lot of fun, even if it is a bit pricy (at least for a missionary)
I went on a trade off on Wednesday with the Zone Leaders. It was nice to have a lot of teaching time again. The house where the zone leaders live has 2 other missionaries, one of them goes home next week, but he is a lot like me so we had a good time talking in our free time. Next week is transfers. I don't think I will be leaving the office, I could, but I doubt it. But I will have to lose one of my 2 companions. Our mission is going even so everyone will have just one companion. It is going to be fun to see all the new missionaries come in on Tuesday. Being in the office I get to see the new group as they come to fill out a bunch of random paper work and what not.
Our area is still doing well. Their was a national holiday this week (independence day) and so a lot of people were out of town and we spent a lot of time just trying to find the investigators that we do have. But we did have some good lessons. Met a less active family who were baptized in Germany, lived their for a long time, moved to Nigeria, lived their for a long time, moved to Jamaica, lived here for a long time. They were fully active in Germany and Nigeria, but then they randomly went less active after being in Jamaica for a while. They just said they didn't like the church as much in Jamaica, so they decided to stop coming. I see where they are coming at, occasionally the church does seem a bit dysfunctional here, especially in the small branches, but none the less I just laugh at the oddities, it was a fairly dumb reason for not coming to church. They told us that tomorrow they will be at church!
I learned that our branch president is a return missionary! I never knew that! It was a long time ago. I thought our branch had 0 RM. Turns out it has 2, both the branch president and his wife served missions in Jamaica like 10 years ago.
This email seems fairly garbled, I don't think my words are flowing to easy, oh well. I am running out of things to say, the week has just been office work, preparing for President Vinas who arrives later today. Yesterday we went shopping for the first time at Mega Mart! It was a nice place. Sort of a mix between costco and walmart. Walmart in that everything is sold individually and they have everything, costco in that the building on the inside looks like costco and it is set up in the same way as costco. All I bought was a garbage can for our house, and Chocolate muffins! Haha they the big chocolate muffins like the ones at costco. The only difference is that they have a lot less chocolate chips in them.
I still have a decent amount of time left, (20 minutes) but I really don't know what else to type. It amazes me how fast the summer went by. Summer vacation back home is nearly over. It doesn't feel like it should be that close to being over! We didn't have water this morning so we went to the mission home and took showers/studied/washed laundry. The nice thing about doing laundry at the mission home is that they have a dryer and so your clothes come out soft! When you dry everything on a clothes line it just isn't the same.
The biggest problem I have with being in the office is that everything just gets all garbled in my head, I have no clue what happened when and so I don't remember what I mentioned last week and what happened this week. We are kept so busy in the office that we have no time to really think and time goes by even faster! I have a feeling that however long I am in the office will feel like the shortest time on my mission.
During my studies I have been reading the book of mormon again. It is going well. I am doing it a much slower way this time. I had an extra book of mormon that I had bought (just one of the blue paper back ones) and I just started at the start and have been marking in different colors things like references/names of Christ, attributes of Christ, words of Christ, The doctrine, references to the Holy Ghost, etc. It has been going really well, takes a lot longer but it is interesting to see how much the book of mormon really contains. Many pages are quite marked up.
Well now I really am running out of time. I hope that their has been something entertaining in this email. If there is ever anything you would rather have me email about then the random things that I remember from my week just ask and I will see what I can come up with.
That really is about it for the week. Enjoy this coming week. I will try to take a good photo or 2 and send them at some point. I love you all and hope things continue to go well!
-Elder B. Kent Talbert

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Operation Destruction

It is, yet again, good to hear from you all! This week has been quite entertaining! Thanks for all the pictures! I look forward to hard copies eventually! And thanks for the update on everyone back home mom, I appreciate that. It sounds like the physics convention thingy was great! I will have to attend someday in the future. I liked the pictures. Hopefully, if I have time, I will attach a picture today, I am borrowing an elders card reader so I can use my memory card here.
First off I guess I will go through the highlights of the week. We had 7 investigators at church! Which was amazing! Normally I am happy if we get 2! So that made the day great! And secondly we got to go to Boiler co. on Wednesday!! What is boiler co you may ask? Well it is a place we found that destroys paper. We had 91.8 Kg of old financial records that needed to be destroyed and it was going to take 100 yrs to destroy them with a paper shredder. So we looked into mass destruction and found Boiler co. it is owned by 2 American Chinese guys who are way cool, had a good chat with them. We showed up on Wednesday, put on masks and dumped 10 boxes of records into a giant shredder and our records were obliterated! It was awesome! The machine will destroy anything you give it, wood, paper, metal, cds. Everything gets mulched down to something a bit smaller than a penny, even if it starts out bigger than a stove. It was quite entertaining, it is a good thing I don't own a large industrial shredder, I would own very little for I would try just about everything I own to see if it can shred it.
Today is a national holiday and it took a while to find a place to email, hence why this is so slow. Our water has been out for the last few days, but president and sister graff were kind enough to let us come to their home and shower/use water. It is unfortunate to have no water, but oh well.
My companions have changed a bit, elder hill left to Spanish town and an elder Rebeiro came. He is a nice guy, and is a good teacher! I will miss elder hill, he was a great elder, but I am excited to work with someone new.
So in like 9 days a general authority, President Vinas, is coming to the island to take a tour of the mission with president graff, as part of that he (president vinas) wants to have a meeting with the office staff, (cheesmans, office elders) to see how things are going and where they can be improved. It will be really cool to have a meeting with only 6 people, one of them being a member of the seventy!
Teaching has been going great! I learned that Natalie, from Negril is getting baptized tomorrow! So that was amazing news! I am happy that one of the last investigators I taught there is entering into the waters of baptism! We currently have a girl named Abby that we are teaching, she is doing really well! 17 yrs old, almost 18, and loves the plan of salvation. She is quite intelligent and really wants to learn as much as she can.
A recent convert in our area, Bro. Dawson, has come teaching with us for about 4 hours a day for the last week! It is great to be able to help him get a better understanding of the gospel, and have him their to fellowship our investigators! He loves coming out with us and has been calling us during the day to tell us that we can come pick him up that night to teach with him.
I had to play the piano again on Sunday. It went well, the hardest part is that it is on a cheap keyboard with annoying keys that are a pain to play on and my fingers slip on the small keys and play to many at once. But I am getting better again. I am quite excited to keep playing and excited to eventually return home and play on a fully capable piano. I am quite thankful that mom made me keep at it in my youth and wish I hadn't gotten so lazy!
Found another nice thing about the office! Mail! I got a letter the fastest I have ever gotten it. Only 6 days from the day it was written to the day that I got it! That was quick! Normally I have been averaging about 11-15 days. Life goes well in the office, I have accomplished a lot, redid a ton of spread sheets and made them work a whole lot more efficiently. Excel has become a good friend of mine and now everyone has me making them their spread sheets haha, the only problem is when they ask me to do things that I have no clue how to do (which is a lot!) I saw elder sizemore again yesterday! That was a lot of fun! I really hope that I get another chance to be his companion out in the mission field. He is probably one of my favorite missionaries and a really good friend. He is doing well in Spanish town, accomplishing a lot!
Well I am running short on time and still want to get at least one picture. I brought my memory card with very few recent pictures on it. I just took a really good one yesterday, unfortunately it doesn't have me in it but it is a picture of my favorite non LDS church building (I don't agree with any of their teachings but they can build a decent looking building!) It is a New Testament Church of God, but I just call it the Star Trek church for obvious reasons! Enjoy! Haha hopefully it attaches correctly.
I am way excited for my friends to leave! I am glad their farewells went great! They will have wonderful missions! Well I am really running out of time so I love you all and hope that things are going great back home, enjoy Efy laura!
Elder B. Kent Talbert