Wonderful to hear from you all again. Mom I have sent two envelopes with money in them, one with change and the other with bills. Hopefully they get to you this week, and hopefully they still have everything in them! I will work on the $5000, will be slightly tricky to get, the very hardest part though will be actually sending it home, I am unsure about just sending it in an envelope. I will think on it and come up with something. In answer to your other questions mom I have no idea! I didn't even know Christmas fell on our p-day. My guess is that our preparation day will move to Monday for that day. But I will do research and let you know. Same with the phone call, no one has heard anything about it so we will work on figuring that all out and getting you information by next Saturday!
This week has been quite uneventful, but I will see what I can muster up here. On Tuesday we probably had the most exciting day of all week. A general authority and a handful of area people from the DR came. That was interesting. Bro. Cordero, the Area fleet manager came to give me training on how to manage the mission fleet better. It was good, had like a 5 hour meeting but I learned a ton. Elder Brown was there at the start, but since he goes home next week he wasn't really interested so he went off and did other work. During the meeting bro. Cordero showed me some spreadsheets that he uses and explained how he wants them to be used. I also showed him one of my own spreadsheets. He liked it a lot (nifty sheet! Has a lot of conditional formatting and helps keep track of when things need to be done). The spreadsheet has been around since before I was in the office, but I have been working on it a lot, making needed changes and overall just making it work better. Now it is easy enough for anyone to use and works very nicely. Bro. Cordero liked it so much that as soon as I edit a few little things I am going to email it to him and he is going to have it used in the rest of the Caribbean! Haha.
It has been a frustrating week in terms of investigators. We just have no one that is going anywhere. This next week we are going to be finding a lot of new investigators to replace our mostly less effective investigator pool. Our only good investigator is Nigel and he is getting hard to see. The area where he lives (southside, downtown, Kingston) has broken out in a big gang war and so it is dangerous to go down there at certain times (don't worry, we are being safe!). Thankfully Nigel lives with members who can help him out. He can't really read at all, he can struggle through verses and eventually sound out all the words, but he rarely gets much meaning from them. Our reading assignments to him are normally only a few verses. He is a good man, just needs extra assistance, and that is where the members come in at this point. Hopefully he will be at church this Sunday assuming it is safe for them to all leave their homes. Haha
Unfortunately this week our power went out. Which wasn't to much of a big deal, sort of annoying at night time, but overall it wasn't to bad. The annoying part was after sleeping all night, with no fans, dying of heat, we wake up and find that our water had also gone out! So we had no power, and no water haha it was interesting. By the end of the day both were back on but it made for an unfortunate morning. The water has come back on, but has been unusually filthy. Thankfully we have our handy dandy water bottles! Now we will see if they really work or not! If we get sick then they don't work-but I think they work decently.
I don't remember if I mentioned this before but about 2 weeks ago E. Mcgrath and I went up to Bro. Williams house and we have been helping him to rebuild up his broken down car. It has been quite interesting I have learned a ton about how an engine works and what all the various pieces of a car are. It was a good educational experience. Also recently I was moving a washing machine from a missionaries house and they asked about an outlet in their house that wasn't working. So I fixed that right up too. Between bro. Williams and I we have become the handymen of the mission. It has been entertaining.
I have been studying a lot out of preach my gospel lately, I finished the book of mormon again last week and decided that I just wanted to really focus on preach my gospel for a little while. It has been really nice. Just by reading that book a lot it can really fire you up to do missionary work. Chapter 4 is one of my favorites along with chapter 6. On a quick side note, this week I was reading January's Liahona and I found a quote I liked a lot. "Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not." Thomas Henry Huxley.
My companion, as mentioned before, goes home this week, flies out on Thursday, so no matter what at transfer day I will get a new companion and I will still be in the office. They won't remove both office elders at the same time, that would be a terrible idea. I will be excited to see who my new companion is! I don't have the slightest idea who it will be. But most likely whoever it is will be my last companion in the office before I get transferred out. So they will have to know everything that is going on. I don't know if mail is getting faster or what, but lately Elder Rice and I have been able to send things to each other and have it reach fast. It only takes 5-7 days for a letter to go from Jamaica to Texas. So that has been good. I prefer that to the 3 week travel time that seems to take place all to often. I still haven't seen the package you sent, but it hasn't quite been long enough, I expect to see it either Tuesday or Friday of this next week.
Wow... this has been a slightly longer than usual email and I still have 25 minutes. I don't know what to say anymore. Happy birthday laura, I am glad that it was good. Weird to think that you are now 18. Still haven't received an email from dad, but hopefully I will in the next 25 minutes! I am still hopeful! And conveniently as I typed that last sentence I got an email from dad.
I am sad to hear about Helen. It is a good thing that we have temples! I hope that all goes well and that whatever happens turns out for the best. I liked the thoughts that susan had, they were nice. I don't really know what else to add to that.
I hope that everyone's week goes well. Things are going great for me. I will look into the Christmas questions mom. I love you all and pray for you always!
Elder B. Kent Talbert