Monday, December 20, 2010

They won't be back for the Sequel

Family,

So that is to bad about the tabernacle, really sad. But funny story with that. We were eating dinner at a restaurant with President Hendricks and he gets a phone call. Well we could tell from the way he was talking that it was something not good. So he hangs up and tells us the news, he had been told that the Provo Temple had burned down! haha so we thought that was terrible news and were stunned. So for about 10 minutes we discussed that and then he got another phone call correcting the mistake from temple to tabernacle. So that was sort of a relief...I guess? But that really is to bad, those pictures look terrible!

This week was good, not much really happened that was all that eventful. Our investigator Sashi is good to go on her baptism! She passed her interview with Pres. this week! So that is awesome! Pres. Hendricks was really impressed with her! Especially when he asked her about Joseph Smith and Thomas S Monson and then immediately she started telling him about her testimony of all the prophets and then listed to him all the prophets from Joseph Smith haha we had never taught her all of that but she had done that on her own. She is good, we are excited!

So I ordered new scriptures and they arrived, so that was great, but I had wanted them embossed but they sort of forgot to do it, although the receipt said that they were embossed. Well I didn't think to much of it, it is such a minor thing to really bother making a fuss about. We emailed church distribution anyways just to see if they wanted us to do something, I figured I would just keep them and not worry about it. Well they emailed back this week and said that they are going to send me a second set embossed for free! So now I have two sets of scriptures.....I figure I am just going to give one of them away, I really have no need for two sets, and I am from Utah and have a lot better access to scriptures than most of the members here.

Oh as for Christmas phone calls! haha I nearly forgot about that! I am not really sure what our plans are.....haha this week every single couple has asked Elder Allen and I if we want to come to their house to call our families and eat food..... so we are thinking we will go to a few houses and eat food and eventually call, it depends on how many other missionaries are around. Although my goal (and I think I will be successful) is 11 am Jamaica time (or 9 am Utah time). But if I am not on at 11 check again at 12 (well 10....), I think 12 will be the latest. 11 should be the time for me though, I have 15 computer options, now it is just a matter of being at one that isn't being used. The problem lies in that Elder Allen and I haven't committed to anything with the senior couples so all the other missionaries have, and have times figured out and now we are left to just find a time when no one is busy, but oh well, it will all work out.

It has been a fairly ordinary week. We have been getting all ready for the Christmas party this upcoming Friday, so that should be great fun! I think the missionaries will enjoy it! Yesterday we had Constant Spring's branch party, it was a lot of fun! They had so much food! I was worried that way too many people were going to show up and they wouldn't have enough food, but they planned well. It was nice, although the music could have been turned down a few notches, it was overly loud. I like Christmas music and all but when I have to yell to the person next to me so I can talk to them it is to loud.

I would attach some pictures....but Sister Flake took all my pictures for me this week and I haven't collected them from her camera yet! hopefully I will do that sometime later this week and I will have plenty for next week. Especially since next week I won't really have much to email about since we will have just spoken so I will just send lots of photos.

Last Saturday the branch had a YM/YW activity at the church all day, it was a game day, they played different sports and games and what not. Well we didn't have anything else to do for preparation day so we figured we would go and see if it was any fun. Played chess for 4 hours with Elder Allen and some other guy. It was a lot of fun, then I just played dominoes with the YW leaders and some little 6 year old kid, unfortunately the 6 year old destroyed me. It was good fun though.

Well things are going great, I look forward to talking to you all later this week. I am about out of time here. I hope this next week is great! enjoy the holidays and the cold weather! I love you all!

Elder B. Kent Talbert

Monday, December 13, 2010

I thought of a subject this morning...now I have forgotten it.

Family,

Well I am glad that this week was good. I am also glad that Sis. Herbert sent you those pictures, I have about 300 photos of that and I am glad that I don't have to sort through them and choose which ones to send this week. For the Christmas party each zone is supposed to do a skit, well we were invited to join the Kingston Zone in their skit so we are. They are doing some dance of some sort, Elder Allen and I already plan to stand in the back and mostly follow the dance but at the same time do sort of our own thing.....on a similar note this week the office has been making a video that is awesome! We are hoping to finish it today or Monday...I will mail you a copy of it once it is finished.





Well this week was good. Last Saturday we went to the wedding to play the piano, their were no members there except for us and the less-active man haha. It was a silly wedding, very stereotypical of what you would see on TV, I had a hard time taking it to seriously, Elder Allen and I kept laughing at all the foolishness, I am more thankful than ever before for temple marriages. The whole thing was just silly, I really don't ever want that.

So our scorpion is doing well, he likes to eat lizards we found. So now we try to catch lizards and feed them to him. For Christmas calls we can use skype once again. I don't know what time yet, I will let you know next week, but it will probably be in the morning, like 8 am Utah time or something around there, we will make final arrangements and let you know. It would be nice to know what your skype name is to make searching for it easier. We will be using something like Jamaica.Kingston.Mission or something like that. So that should be fun.

On Wednesday we went to the Kingston Zone meeting and then had a huge waffle Christmas party afterwards! It was great! I ate so many waffles! The Flakes and the Herberts put the whole thing together, so that made for a fun Wednesday! When we went to the meeting Elder Allen and I loaded up our truck with the mail and then after the waffle party we had to leave and we accidently drove away with the mail....haha too bad for Kingston Zone.

Sashi is doing excellent. She came to church on Sunday and seemed to like it, and she is still preparing to be baptized next Saturday! We are excited for that! She is a champion reader and will be a good addition to the branch. Akeilah is also doing excellent! She had all her school exams this week but even in the midst of all of that she still found time to come out and go teaching with the missionaries, she is an all-star!

On Tuesday we went up to Red Hills and did construction with Troys brother Teven. It was fun enough, we were building the foundation for a restaurant he is working on building. We spent most the time digging and then pouring cement. It made for a good afternoon.

Also I got new scriptures this week!!! Wahoo!! It is nice to finally have something to study out of that is mine! Unfortunately they don't have my name on them. I ordered them embossed and the receipt from church distribution says they were embossed with my name...but then it is nowhere to be found on the scriptures...but oh well, so it goes. They are nice! I am happy with them!

hmmm... seems like just a lot of little random things happened, nothing really all that exciting. The 1st presidency Christmas Devotional was excellent! Also during the Devotional we had an Earthquake! Yay! That made it more exciting! Most people didn't notice it at all thanks to how minor it was, but we noticed it and then we looked it up online and sure enough Kingston had been hit by some little earthquake! Pres. Monson's talk was really good, I liked it a lot.

Yesterday we had to do a little mini transfer, so I took a picture as we drove across some narrow bridge. Sort of a boring picture....but oh well haha. Sorry for the low quality, it was taken on my phone.

Thanks for getting that scholarship done mom, I think that is it for school. Overall things are going great here. I am healthy and well. Christmas is nearly here again, temperature is still great! Although it does get a bit nippy in the mornings...we normally wake up to about 22C. Sorry for the dry email this week haha. Well I hope this week is great! Enjoy the holidays! I love you all and look forward to next week!

Love
Elder B. Kent Talbert

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Anti Matter Defibulator?

Family,

Great to hear from you all again. I am glad that you got a hold of Todd. I can't really think of anything that I desperately need....ummm......nope, can't think of anything.... although if you are feeling really ambitious Crest Whitening strips would be great for my teeth. Thanks again for getting those contacts mom, I will need those. This week was good, nothing to exciting happened, nothing got stolen this week. :D

Steve the scorpion is doing well, we have now created a nice home for him and he sits in the mission office. We introduced him to Pres. Hendricks, and now most of the mission, he happily sits out in our front lobby now. Some offices have nice aquariums, we have scorpions! I am sort of curious to see how long we can keep him alive. so far so good. He is fairly large, about 2 1/2 inches long and 3/4 inch wide. One of the senior couples had their family visiting and their grandchildren loved Steve! They couldn't stop looking at him and asking me questions about him.

We have this nice investigator named Sashi, she is doing great! She should be baptized sometime before the month is over. She is a star reader and has great desires. So that has been fun to work with her. We have a few other investigators, none really worth mentioning yet. On Tuesday we went over to Sister Williams' house and painted it all up for her! It looks great...I think... We had a good time painting and the color choices were nice, green and orange!

Yesterday evening we were teaching a lesson and I got a phone call from some man I have never met, a Brother Wallace, some less-active member that doesn't ever come to church. Well he decided that he was getting married tomorrow and he had heard that I could play the piano so he called to see if I would be willing to come and play at his wedding haha, so today after we are done emailing and what not we are going to a wedding of someone we have never met, but maybe it will be a good opportunity to reactivate him. Hopefully he doesn't really have anything to intricate planned with the piano playing, I have no clue what songs he intends for me to play.

On Wednesday we had Zone Leader Council. It was excellent! The zone leaders we have these days are superb. Pres. Hendricks gave us a good long lesson on why the shepherds were the ones that the angels appeared to at the birth of Christ. It was really enlightening, a lot more indepth than I would have ever imagined, I always would have just assumed it had something to do with Christ being the good shepherd, but turns out I was wrong. Pres. Hendricks seems to know more about the gospel than any other person I have ever met, it is always so great to just sit down with him and ask him questions or to listen to him teach, it is always enlightening.

Well on Wednesday we went out to a place called Morant Bay with the Yallahs missionaries. It was nice, we had to go to the bank there and then we went to see a member that lived out there. So this member lives in the worst spot I have ever seen. To get to her house you have to walk through the Morant Bay dump...possibly the grossest place I have ever been, just piles and piles of filth, piles that are 20 feet tall! It was disgusting! I feel bad for this member having to walk through the dump every time she wants to go anywhere, and the area itself just smells bad, I couldn't live there, I would rather be homeless living in the city than behind that dump. It was a nice visit though, the member was really friendly, a very humble lady.

hmmm....what else happened this week. Things have been pretty standard. We have been working on transfers as of late, it is sort of odd to be planning out my final transfer, I can't believe how fast it is coming to an end, I am not even really sure that I want it to end. Things are going great here, Elder Allen and I are getting a lot accomplished, he is a pretty cool elder, I really like serving with him (although I am not a huge fan of his driving haha).

Well time is running short at this point. Sorry for no pictures today, I accidently left my camera at home. Anyways, things are going great! I am healthy and well! I am excited to get new scriptures! Hopefully they will be here in the next week or so, I really don't like studying out of random sets that I find here and there. Good luck this week in the cold, I am happy that we aren't having that sort of weather here, we are still at 31 C on average. I love you all and look forward to next week!

Love
Elder B. Kent Talbert

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A quote isn't the only thing missing this week.

Family,

First mom, before I forget! Don't put my Christmas package in the mail just yet!!! I need you to add one thing and their is an easier way to ship it! But I will explain that more fully in a few seconds.

So this week was amazingly great (except for one terrible misfortune)! well on Saturday evening when p-day was about to finish I was outside just standing when all of a sudden a car pulled up. Well turns out in the car was former Elder McGrath and his parents! They had come to visit Jamaica and came to see his old home. Well that was amazingly fun! We talked a bunch and then went out teaching. For the next few days Matthew McGrath and his parents came out with us to go teaching! It was great! On Sunday we set a new record of 15 people in our bus to come teaching with us! It was crazy, it was as though we were bringing the entire branch to someone's home. Well It was so much fun to see Matt again and catch up, his parents are so great! Well on Tuesday I was talking to Troy and it turns out that Todd Tanner is coming back December 19 with his family, I mentioned this to Sister McGrath and she mentioned how excellent it would be if they just brought my Christmas package with them, so she said she will call you this week (they had to return to Utah first). It sounds a lot easier and I know the Tanners would gladly do it.

Well Elder Allen and I have found some great people to teach, one in particular is a lady named Sashi. She is a very good reader and loves to read everything we leave her, she is super interested and I could see her getting baptized soon enough. She lives in a part called Kintyre, which is the same part that Akeilah lives. We have been up there everyday this week working around Akeilah's home. So now for the most unfortunate thing that happened this week (and possibly on my mission!) So while up in Kintyre we were out walking the streets with Akeilah and we came to this one part where Akeilah told us to go left but we asked why not straight, well she told us it was dangerous and someone had been shot just the other night. Well we scoffed at that and decided that we were going to go that way claiming that we missionaries don't really run into any trouble and we will be fine. Well she argued it for a while and then gave in haha. So we go down this ghetto road and just do our normal thing and we see this man on the other side of the road who starts chatting us (yelling pointlessness at us). We just ignored him as we always do with people like him. Well he apparently got really angry that we were ignoring him and next thing we know he is marching up to us and standing right next to us. So we stop and see what he wants and he is just going off with a whole ton of garbage, then we try to just leave again but he starts to threaten us (99.9% of all threatenings are just foolishness that they use to try and scare the missionaries). So yet again we just ignore him and finally he decides to get really serious (which surprised us greatly since this never happens), and he magically pulled out some handgun that he had in his pocket or somewhere and wanted us to give him everything we had on us, conveniently we didn't have much, so not wanting to get shot we handed over the few things we had on us: Elder Allen's Phone, Elder Allen's Camera, a little bit of money that we had, and then my scriptures!!! AHHH!!!!!!! I don't think he realized it was a Bible in my case but now it is all gone! So that was terrible. we got away just fine but now I don't have my scriptures! I lost everything that I had in my scriptures too! I had placed a lot of little mementos from my mission in there and now they are all gone and all my markings that I had made and everything!!!! Terrible thing to have happen! So Akeilah was right, I felt bad for not having listened haha but I guess we should just be happy that we are alright.

Besides that we had Thanksgiving at Pres. Hendricks home, it was good. I enjoyed the food and we had fun relating our adventure to everyone. This morning while I was taking a shower I found a giant scorpion in our shower!! Yay! That was exciting! We put him in a pot and named him Steve!

Hmm....what else.....seems like a lot has happened but I just can't remember it all. The McGraths were the most exciting part! We had a great time with them! Our teaching is going excellent, seems that we have been having a bit of a dry spell for a short time but now we are nearly over it! We have some excellent investigators that are great to work with.

Well I will attach a few pictures again (it has been way to long!) there are three, one of the bus crew,


one of Steve the scorpion,


and one of Akeilah and I the night we got attacked! Elder Allen and I decided that we were going to start taking a lot more photos, so hopefully that means I will actually attach more! haha



We have been going out with a lot of other missionaries this week and seeing how the mission itself is doing, we have a lot of really young missionaries that are still learning. It is sort of funny to see the teaching skills of a new missionary compared to that of an experienced missionary.

Well in other news that crazy event of this week with the gunman actually never happened (well most of it). When Akeilah told us to go to the left we did discuss it with her and decided it would be safest to go to the left and so we did. But I really did lose my scriptures! On Thursday we woke up and found that a burglar had broke into our home and had taken 5 things, Elder Allen's camera, Elder Allen's phone, my scriptures (DAH!!!), A chest of money we had (value less than $2000, so not much), and then randomly my contact lenses...??? Not sure what they are going to do with those. But that is what I need you to enter into the Christmas package. Do you still have my prescription mom? I don't have any right eye contacts! Which is to bad, I am good on the left eye but back when I had problems with my right eye I went through a lot of contacts. I will find my prescription if I have it and email that on Monday, and if you could just make sure that the Tanners get those that would be great! If you haven't heard from the McGraths by mid week look on Facebook for Todd Tanner, he is going to BYU right now and could easily meet you someplace and get the contacts at least! If that doesn't work then I guess oh well....I will just survive with glasses till I get home, but It would be ideal to get new contacts.

Well I am short on time now, but things are going great! I am sad that I don't have my scriptrues anymore, I would have rather he taken my camera, it is much more easily replaced. My BYU scholarship application needs to be finished, but it needs a handful of information on finances, but I sort of don't have time right now, so I will just do that next week. If you could email me my priesthood line of authority dad that would be great! I had mine in my scriptures...but now that is gone! I have a new set of scriptures already on the way (conveniently missionaries get discounts) Well things are well, I am safe and healthy. Thanksgiving was great! I love you all and look forward to next week!

Love
Elder B. Kent Talbert

The $2000 was in Jamaican money so it really is very little. It only equals about $23 American dollars

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I've been a missionary to long to remember quotes..........

Family,

Well sounds like things are going great back home. That is cool that a Jamaican moved into our ward back home. Where at in St. Cathrine is she from? This week has been busy, but it has been great! So the temperature has been dropping a little bit here, we are now getting near 75 on a cold day. The other day I was sitting at Wendy's eating a frosty, well they had the AC on and I was eating something already cold and I found myself shivering and being overall very cold. Well their was this man sitting near by that turned to me and asked if he could ask me a question, well I said yes of course. Well he asked me if I was from Utah (apparently he knows the Mormons), I told him I was and then he made some silly comment about how much colder it is in Utah and I was sitting their shivering at 75-80 degrees. haha it made me laugh that someone else noticed. I think I have started to get a little too use to the temperature here.

We had transfers this week, thankfully they were very easy transfers not too many changes around the mission. Well we got three new missionaries and sent home three missionaries so no change in the overall number of missionaries.Transfer morning we drove one of the new missionaries (Elder Snelson) out to Yallahs to his trainer Elder Huffaker. Well we drive in some huge rainstorm and eventually get there and we walk up and we see Elder Huffaker sitting in a wheelchair wearing some large pair of glasses, haha well he sort of talked in a silly accent and I got the idea of what he was trying to accomplish, so I just played along. We told Elder Snelson that we had forgot to mention that he has to push his companion everywhere and what not. It was pretty funny, poor Elder Snelson, well we left without ever telling him that his companion wasn't really wheelchair bound. I wonder when Elder Huffaker finally told him....perhaps he even let him push him around for a few hours haha.

Elder and Sister Cheesman went home this week also, it is sort of weird to be in the office without them, they were such a wonderful help around here. The Daniels are doing excellent they are great people, I just don't know them as well.

Well we had zone conferences off-island this week also. I am actually glad it is over now, it has been a huge stress. I have spent all of last week and the start of this week trying to get everything finalized with flight information and with immigration problems. It was hectic, I think some of those off-island missionaries are tired of hearing from me, seeing as how I was calling them every three hours to see if they had gotten the immigration papers that were needed (we got all the immigration papers 2 hours before we needed them....that was way too close haha). Anyways, it was great fun! We had an excellent conference and ate a lot of excellent food. It was also great to see all the missionaries that I really don't get to see thanks to their location. Pres. & Sis. Ockey made some amazing food for us while we stayed at their home. It was great! It is sort of fun to sit in every zone conference and listen to Pres. Hendricks, but I think now after hearing it so many times I could nearly give his part, it sort of changes every time but it always has the same elements and most of the same stories. At least it is embedded in my head now. I would attach some pictures but I sort of forgot my camera today....sorry I have been really lousy at that this past month or so.

Well between transfers and zone conferences that took most of the week, we just got back yesterday from zone conference. This week also Troy got an official job! Which is great! He works with a member, Miguel Hernandez, they work for a phone company and do something or other. It is great that he finally has a steady job that will pay him well enough. As part of transfers Elder Packard was transfered to the office, so that is fun. It is cool to have him around again.

On Sunday we had our primary program in the branch, it was excellent! The children did a great job! It was a lot of fun to play the piano with them.

hmm....what else happened, we finally found all the missing files on the computers! When we moved offices we magically lost a ton of files, we had this network drive that connected all the computers together and allowed us to save things anywhere, well unfortunately it was set up in such a way that it didn't like that we changed the IP addresses and once everything was rehooked up it was just missing. So we were out of luck on 20 GB of files. I have been searching for them for a few weeks now, it was very strange, I had searched all the computers in the network and couldn't find the files, my big question was when we saved a file, where was it being saved, somewhere there had to be a harddrive that everything was connected to. Well thankfully we found them this week in some bizarre hidden location. I extracted the files and recreated the network drive, hopefully in a way that it won't happen again, I tried to make it a lot more simple then it had been before.

Overall an excellent week. I liked being extra busy, unfortunately we got more or less no time to teach in our own area, but we did get to work with the missionaries and help them. Life is going great, it is scary to think how fast February is coming (this week I got my flight itinerary, sort of crazy to have seen so many flight itinerarys for missionaries going home and now one has my name on it). Well I hope this week is excellent for everyone, good luck with school and work. I love you all!

Elder B. Kent Talbert

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Set to Stun

Family,

Well another week has gone by. This week has been sort of crazy, it seems like we had a lot of down time, but also we had a lot of time where we had more to do than we had time. I spent about 90% of the week trying to figure out all the flight arrangements for transfers and for zone conferences. It has been a head ache. Unfortunately about half of the airlines in the Caribbean don't have web pages that allow you to reserve flights and so you have to do it via a really round about method involving phone conversations, emails and faxes. Unfortunately our fax machine has been down and all these airlines like you to pay via fax so that has been fun trying to figure out. Pres. Hendricks had to go to Cuba this week and that flight was a lot of fun to book too, I would call the number, get redirected to Cuba, they would tell me I had to talk to reservations in Florida so they would redirect me and we would just go back and fourth and back and fourth, after about 4 hours of that I finally got it all worked out haha, it was fun enough.

Also for transfers (which are this upcoming week) we needed to get a police report for a missionary for immigration reasons. So Elder Allen went with his companion and I took the elder who needed the report to the police records place. Well thankfully the big war thing from summer made everyones record invalid and so all of Jamaica is trying to get new records and so the lines are ridiculous. We stood in line from 9am until 3:40pm. It was pretty miserable, no AC, no chairs, no food, just standing for hours waiting for our number to be called. Previous attempts at this record getting have been a lot easier, normally it takes an hour or so, I had never seen such a line, so that sort of shot the entire day.

Thursday night we come home and our power was out again (we got the last power issue fixed). So I called the power company to report the outage and they informed us that we had been disconnected because we hadn't payed our bill! Thankfully our landlord got on top of it and payed the bill so we had power again last night.

In other exciting news, I don't remember if I mentioned this last week, but if not I will mention it again. So Troy has been very diligent as of late in paying his tithing, and this week he saw some major benefits from it! A friend of his bought a new vehicle and gave him their old one for free, so now he has a truck that works wonderfully and it was all free! Then to add more to it he has been waiting for an insurance claim for the longest time now and it finally came through! He got around $450,000.00 Jamaican Dollars! Now he has money and a car! He is very happy! Thankfully he is trying to use the money wisely and not just waste it all. Akeilah also has been diligent in paying her tithing and last week she was called in for a job interview and she got the job on the spot and now works as an accountant secretary! What awesomeness! It has been great to see their faith increase as they see the blessings of keeping the commandments.

Teaching has been going well enough, nothing to eventful. Sis. Williams, a lady we have been teaching for a while finally came to church on Sunday! That was great! She is doing well enough, but she is unwilling to pray, and that is killing us, if she won't pray she won't ever progress very far. Hopefully we will resolve that concern soon. We have tried and we haven't really gotten anywhere with it, but I think she is starting to understand...hopefully.

Well things are going well. Transfers are coming real fast. Elder Packard, my companion in T&C is coming to be an office elder, so that will be cool enough to have him in the house again, I did enjoy serving with him and it will be fun to talk to him once more. After transfers we have our off-island zone conferences, that should be a lot of fun! I am looking forward to it! Well time is running short, things are going good. I look forward to next week. Oh, before I forget, the package arrived with the cubes! Thank you very much mom! Thanks for the candy Nathaniel haha! I love you all and hope this next week is great!

Love

Elder B. Kent Talbert

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Perhaps a neuroscan is needed to determine this subject....

Family,

Well things are going good this week. Hurricane Tomas...or Tropical Storm Tomas....or Tropical Depression Tomas, or whatever that thing was did absolutely nothing. All of Kingston city was going crazy over this Tomas thing, everything was closed, schools were canceled, everyone went shopping for food supplies, etc. So Thursday rolls around (that was the day it was supposed to hit us) I had already decided that it would miss us, when my companion and I went shopping for food, just in case, he got all sorts of foods and I got microwave popcorn and cheesecake. Anyways, so Thursday rolls around and everything is closed at noon, the entire city of Kingston shuts down. Well we leave the office about 5 pm and decide to go get some dinner, well everywhere was closed, not a restaurant was open. It was really nice driving, everyone was at home so there was no traffic. Well eventually we found KFC, it was busy since it was the only place open, we got food and then it started to rain. We figured the storm had finally arrived! It rained really really really hard for about 10 minutes at most, then it stopped and that was then end of Tomas, we got maybe an inch of rain if we were lucky....probably a lot less....it was a goofy storm, plenty of local Jamaicans are frustrated with the weather people for making it out to be something huge and shutting down all businesses and schools. Troy and I have made it a habit now to ask people if their is anything we can do to help them recover from the storm, seems to make most people laugh.

In other exciting news the power at our house is out! Wahoo....unfortunately its not coming back on for a few days. The Office Elders had this weird flashlight thing that they bought from a street vendor. Well they wanted to charge it, so they plugged it in and it exploded. It also flipped the circuit breaker and power went out. The problem now is that our landlord died a few months back and we live in the same house as he did just in a different part, we can't get to his part and in his part is where the circuit breaker box is located. The house was recently sold and so it is confussing now to find the keys because we don't even know who owns the place, whoever it is they aren't living here yet. So we are out of power until we find someone who can get in. Hopefully it happens soon....that is Monday's project.

This week we had Zone Leader Council. It was really splendid. Talked a whole lot about obedience (seems to be the big thing with Pres. Hendricks these days) and ate a delicious dinner. It was good, we have some exceptional zone leaders right now. The next day we had another training session thingy. It went over well. Previously we have had it for three days and we have followed the lesson outlines that the church provided us with. This time we only had one day to do it and so we decided to spend the whole time focusing specifically on the role of the Holy Ghost, prayer, reading The Book of Mormon, and church attendance in conversion. It was excellent. I think Elder Allen and I did a good job with it. That took most of the day, lasted about 7 hours. Pres. Hendricks prepared lunch for us, It was good, everyone liked it a lot.

Things are at the office are looking organized, I think I finally almost have the computers working how they should. The only problem is we are missing a network drive and I can't find any of the files on any computer...which is really bad, but that is for Monday. Also spent a lot of time going through flight information. This next week on Wednesday we are going to Grand Cayman for Zone Conference, then on Friday president is going to Cuba, then the next week we are going to the Bahamas and the Turks, so that should be good. The new office is good enough, our office is a lot more annoying, all tile floors and a strange organization, but so it goes.

Teaching is going well enough. We have this old lady, Sis. Williams, she is doing good. Lessons are always really funny with her. Every single time we come she asks us the same question because she forgets that she has asked it before. Thankfully it only takes ten seconds to answer it anymore, we just tell her to remember the map and immediately she recalls the answer to the question. She is a good reader, but is pretty stubborn. None the less hopefully she makes it to church tomorrow. We have also been teaching Akeilah's family, the only inconvenient part about that is that they can only be seen on Sundays, so it is very slow going. They are good enough, they live way up in the hills in some crazy cement housing that looks really cool! It is like they just kept stacking houses on top of each other in these hills. We need more investigators so I think this next week we are going to make it a special effort to find new people who are prepared to receive us.

Things are going well though. This next week should be good. Monday I have a lot to do on my list, and Wednesday we get to fly out to Cayman so that should be good. Transfers are coming up fast, so we have been getting that all the way ready. I will not be transfered so nothing new there. It should be a good transfer though, I am looking forward to it, we have some good changes coming. Well I need to finish up here. Things are good, I am healthy and well. I hope that school and work goes excellent this next week for everyone, good luck with your play thingy Heather. I love you all!

Love
Elder B. Kent Talbert

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Everybody Remember Where We Parked

Family,

Sorry about accidently not sending the email to the normal address last week. I always send three copies, one to my home email, one to the gmail account and one to the juno account, just-in-case, last week I just failed to click the gmail account. But if it ever happens again just check the juno account, it should be their also. Things are going good. We have had a little bit of rain, but not much, Tropical Storm Richard has been blowing more west than east and so as such, it just missed us, all we got were some showers.

Probably the most exciting thing of this week was that we officially got all our new trucks. It is great! I love ours, so many nice features and great suspension (which helps a ton with all the pot holes and unleveled roads). It has been a lot of fun to drive a brand new vehicle with almost nothing on the odometer. Mitsubishi did an excellent job with these vehicles.

Also in other exciting news I got in my first car wreck this week! (Although it was not in the new trucks, but in the good old bus thankfully). On Tuesday night we had just finished a great night visiting the Ohara family trying to get their son to be baptized and we were on our way home. In the bus we had myself as the driver, my companion, Akeilah, Troy, and the Flakes. Well we drive Troy home and dropped him off, he lives at the top of a really long hill. So we begin our journey home down the hill and come to some random really long line of traffic that is just stopped. So accordingly we stop as well and join the long line of vehicles. Well we are just happily talking and sitting there when all of a sudden we here this big BANG and we rock forward a bit. haha we had gotten rear ended, the man behind us had decided not to stop (well what he really said was that his brakes didn't work). So we got out and waited for the cops, those in our bus had a good laugh at the whole situation. The police were really nice about it, it was really obvious whose fault it was and so it was a pretty quick thing for the cops. Our bus suffered minor damage, we barely moved, we didn't hit the car in front of us and we just had a destroyed bumper and some dents on the rear door. The other car suffered a lot more damage. It was a strange wreck to look at, we had taken so little damage and he had taken so much. Well no one was injured and so we just drove home and then the next day filled out all the paper work stuff. It was fun enough, I will attach a picture of the epicness.

Hmmm...what else happened. So the seminary students are working on some song that they are going to sing in sacrament meeting, so that has been good. I am the piano player for them. They are pretty good, just need to sing louder, with such a small group (7 seminary students).

Troy and Akeilah are doing well, they have both still been coming out with us almost on a daily basis. On Sunday we are going to go on an adventure to teach some of Akeilah's relatives up in the hills, so that should be productive. Teaching has been good enough. We don't really have any star investigators right now, but we do have a lot of good potential. Our problem seems to be that we can never seem to see anyone on a regular basis. All our investigators live busy lives and we are busy ourselves and so it seems like we are always chasing our investigators around, haha Oh well, so it goes sometimes.

Zone conferences are this week so we have been working on that this week. Still haven't quite finalized what I am supposed to be teaching, but I am working on that, I need to finish that on Monday. Dr. Kilgore, the area doctor man is coming to visit us to and do a little presentation thingy at our zone conferences, so that should be interesting enough. I am excited for zone conferences, they should be great.

Things are pretty normal around here. This next week we are moving to a new office. I don't know if I like the idea much. I think the new office will be nicer but it is a lot less conveniently located. It is right in the heart of New Kingston, which means way to much traffic all the time. I am not looking forward to it. Thankfully we will be a zone conferences all week which means we conveniently get to miss out on all the fun moving! haha What a good week to move.

Well life is good, I am doing excellent. Kingston is as great as ever. Oh, I just remembered, I have sort of a strange request for you mom. This week will you go and purchase two Rubik's cubes from the store (or wherever you can find them) and send them to me. You can just take money out of my account for this purchase/postage. Rubik's cubes are really hard to find in Jamaica (all the stores say they won't have anymore till at least Christmas) and this last week mine was shattered into pieces and the plastic broke and is now unfixable. The reason I want two is because I need to give one to Troy also, I have taught him how to solve it but he doesn't own one of his own. To save on package size if needed you can remove the cubes from whatever packaging they come with, I don't really need that. If you would do that this week mom I would greatly appreciate it! Thank you! Good luck this week with school and work. I hope it goes great! I will keep you all in my prayers. I love you all!

Love
Elder B. Kent Talbert

Friday, October 22, 2010

R'-D'-R-D

Family,

Well another week has gone by once again. Things are going well here in Jamaica. This week was nice. Last Saturday we had Zone Leader Council, hence why I emailed on Friday, it was very good. The zone leaders we have right now are great, definitely some of the very best missionaries we have in the mission right now. Pres. Hendricks gave a good lesson thingy on baptizing true converts; not just baptizing for high numbers, but baptizing people who will stick around and endure to the end. It was really good. Afterwards we had a waffle lunch prepared by some of the senior couples. It was good.

Other than that not a ton has happened...or at least nothing that seems to be standing out in my mind right now.... oh yeah, also last Saturday another senior couple was flying in and Pres. Hendricks was going to be out of town so it was out job to go pick them up. Well we were told the flight landed at 7:50 by multiple people (Sister Cheesman, Pres. Hendricks) so we thought that was just dandy and great, so we get ready to go at a time good enough to get us to the airport on time and we call the airport to see if the flight is running on schedule. Well they don't know of any 7:50 flight. Well I get on a computer and look up the flight and it turns out it was at 6:50 and not 7:50. So we were late and somewhere stranded at the airport in pouring rain was some senior couple haha. Well we got there and found them, they were still in good spirits even though they had to just sit at the airport and wait.

Akeilah has been coming out and teaching with us, which is a ton of fun. She does a good job with it too. She has also been teaching gospel principles at church on Sundays and is now chugging through the old testament. She is without a doubt the strongest convert from my mission. She is so young too, which is amazing, at 20 years old she knows where she wants to go in life and is making some very good decisions. I am always amazed at her and the progress she has made.

Well Troy and Akeilah both wanted to learn how to solve a Rubik's Cube so I have been working on that here and there, it is a very slow process since I don't really have all that much time to just teach someone how to solve a Rubik's Cube. Troy can solve half the cube and I think Akeilah can solve it all now, she said she can but I haven't actually seen it, sometime today she said she would show us that she could. Well we went on a Rubik's Cube hunt this week trying to find a place to buy them in Kingston. We went everywhere (not all together, we divided and conquered) Elder Allen and I finally succeeded at a toy store that I didn't even know existed. They even sold an official Rubik's brand cube and not some off brand that will fall apart. So that was sort of exciting.

Elder Allen has been learning to drive. This week he certainly has not improved. He can drive well enough, but his maneuvering is really terrible, and I am not really sure how to help him with it. None the less we haven't given up yet. The mission also got all new vehicles! We switched to Mitsubishi, the mission has mostly been driving Nissan and it is a failure, I really don't like Nissan, I will never purchase one, they have so many defects. Well anyways this week we got to go pick up the new vehicles. It was nice driving something that was brand new, and not only that but has no problems, no kilometers, nothing! It was great! Sort of frightening though to drive something that you really don't want to get scratched or anything at all. Troy loves Mitsubishi, it is his favorite car brand, and so he battled hard to get the mission to switch to Mitsubishi. Mostly we just trust his opinion since he is an auto mechanic and in the end we are now getting all Mitsubishi. We are also scraping all the cars and switching completely over to pick-up trucks, it is just so much easier to drive in Jamaica in a truck, too many potholes and other road hazards that cars don't handle well.

Well Pres. Hendricks gave a copy of The Book of Mormon to some lady and convinced her to read it. In a week she read the whole thing and now wants to know more. She is great! She is now getting all her family to listen to the missionaries. Pres. Hendricks turned her over to us to teach and work with. She is the mother of a member from Negril. So that is great. It always seems like Heavenly Father just blesses us with people to teach who are ready to hear the gospel. The missionaries just do stuff and God blesses them with people who are ready to accept, it seems like a large part of the baptisms we have, the person was already ready and the missionaries just were there, God just put us there at the right point in time.

Zone Conferences are coming up real fast, so we have been working on planning them. I am still unsure what I am supposed to be teaching. But we are working on that haha. So that is going well. We have also been working on trying to find ways that we can more effectively deliver the new training to the mission. So that is good enough.

Well life is going well, nothing to exciting going on. Teaching is excellent, we have some great people we are working with. yup, things are good. I hope that this next week is great, enjoy school. I love you all and look forward to next week.

Love
Elder B. Kent Talbert

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

No Subject

Family,

Well thanks to Zone Leader Council being tomorrow it was decided that we should just move our preparation day to today, Friday. This week was certainly less epic than last week. The weather has calmed down so not much going on there. Although yesterday we did get hit by a magnitude 4.5 earthquake so that was sort of exciting...although it was almost unnoticeable.

Conference was excellent, I really liked President Packers talk on moral law, it was really good. We had a decent turnout, thanks to the invention of the internet in Jamaica they no longer need them fancy satellites to view conference and as such all the branches were capable of just watching conference at their own branch buildings instead of coming to the buildings with satellites. On Friday night all the new missionaries flew in and it was decided that they would just watch it at the mission home so in between every session we would drive to the mission home and check on them and eat a meal. Elder and Sister Herbert also flew in and have been transfered to Jamaica so that was fun to see them at the mission home too.

On Sunday Elder McGrath, and Troy and I decided that we would wear our suits to conference! this is the first time I have worn my suit on my mission, so that was sort of exciting. I will attach a picture of that event, I like that picture a lot! Troy is looking really good with his vest and all that good stuff. Akeilah was also able to make it to all the sessions of conference so that was great! She is doing excellent, quite possibly the strongest convert I have had on my mission or will have on my mission.

Transfers happened on Monday. It was a crazy day, every single companionship was changing and we had 11 missionaries going home and as such we just seemed to be everywhere all day long. we got up early and drover halfway across the island to move missionaries around and after 6 hours of driving we went to the office and organized things there, then went to see Akeilah one last time for E. McGrath and then we went to the mission home to have the final devotional with the missionaries that were going home. It was a really nice devotional, Pres. Hendricks gave some great council to them that was wonderful to hear. My favorite part about being an Assistant is getting to be around President so much, he always has such great wisdom to share. Well It was sad to see E. McGrath go, we had had a good time serving together. E. Allen my new companion is a native Jamaican, he is the second ever Jamaican Assistant. He is cool. He is a hard worker and an excellent teacher, it will be interesting to serve with him for the next little while.

The rest of the week has been pretty dull. E. Allen doesn't have a drivers license and so him and Troy have been driving around the parking lot while he learns to drive and then the rest of the time he sits around in the office and studies the driving books so that he can pass the test. The goal is to have him with a license in 2 weeks. He is doing pretty good at it too. I have decided though that I could never teach drivers ed, it is way too frustrating. Well since he spends all his time working on that I have just been doing a lot of random little things around the office, unfortunately I have mostly done every random thing that I can think of, so I am not sure what I am going to do this upcoming week while E. Allen studies, I need to think up a random project that will be beneficial to the mission somehow.

So we have an over abundance of senior couples now, we have something like 10 senior couples! Which is great! most of them are located here in Kingston to, seems like we bump into senior couples left and right now. Pres. is trying to strengthen Kingston a lot to hopefully make it ready for a stake sometime soon. It is close, it just needs more people doing what they are supposed to be doing, we have enough members, we just don't have enough members that are living their lives in such a way that a stake could be run, we need more leadership. It has been fun though to have all these senior couples around. tomorrow we have to run to the airport and get another one that is arriving, so that should be fun enough.

Akeilah has all these friends that live near her that we have been working on teaching, it is going well enough, they are all very smart and excellent listeners, the hard part is getting them to act on what they know. A lot of social fears that we are having to work around. But still some excellent people that are fun to work with. It is always nice to have investigators that read and remember what they have learned. Akeilah is a great member missionary, she has really embraced the gospel and seems to want to share it with everyone. I am proud of her and the changes she has made and how she lives her life now.

Well I am not sure what else really happened this week. Pretty standard week. Transfers went over well, the mission is doing decent enough, but we could be doing a lot better than we are. I think though that a lot of good will happen this transfer. I hope things are going great back home, sorry to have sort of surprised you with this email. I am doing great, things are going well here. Have a good week, enjoy school and work. I love you all!

Elder Kent Talbert

Friday, October 1, 2010

Nicole

Family,

Well it is great to hear from you all again! Sounds like a fairly typical week back home, that is good. My week was good, very eventful, and very wet!!

So first off Akeilah got baptized on Sunday! It was great! She is such an amazing person! She has gone through so much to be baptized, she is an all star, didn't think I would ever meet someone like her on my mission, she is the definition of golden contact. The baptismal service went over very well and then she got to teach gospel principles class because the teacher wasn't there. Thankfully she knows a ton about the doctirnes of the church and did an excellent job with the lesson, one of the best lessons I have sat through.

The big news this week was Tropical Storm Nicole! I can positively say that it was the craziest thing that I have ever witnessed. All the Jamaicans are saying that this storm was worse than any hurricane that ever hit the island. It has been really really eventful and nuts! So on Sunday it starts to rain and it just pours and pours and pours, but we don't think anything of it, it is just a lot of rain. Monday it continues just all day and all night intense rain. Monday night we took Akeilah teaching with us and we drove across the bridge to her house and we were amazed at how a river had formed that did not previously exist the bridge just went over a ravine but their is never any water in it. Well Akeilah said that it can get a lot higher and even cover the bridge in a hurricane.

Well Tuesday it keeps raining and things are starting to look pretty wet, the roads are getting pretty ridiculous from all the water, but it still wasn't anything that anyone thought much of. Tuesday night we just hear thunder and lightening and rain all night long. Well we wake up Wednesday and drive Elder Dale to the airport because he was being transfered and the roads were flooded which was weird. While at the airport a huge storm came in and rain just started pouring down. So we run to the car and drive back to our house. The roads had flooded and were up to about 8 inches at the low parts. We were very lucky to get the car home, the water was very high and lots of other cars were getting washed away. so it is just pouring like crazy and everything is flooding so we call all the missionaries and tell them that they don't have to go out teaching if they don't want to. Troy Williams calls us and tells us to come and help him because his house is flooding and than Akeilah calls us and tells us it is impossible to get to her house and she doesn't know when she will see us again. Well this all sounded sort of silly but we drove to the office and got a big 4x4 truck to drive through it all and then began our way to Troys house. All the power in Kingston was out and so that meant no traffic lights. I think I like it better with out traffic lights, no organization everyone just goes and pushes their way through, no one waits for a turn like a four way stop, it is just a mad house. Well we get to Troy's house and it has about 18 inches of water and we get him and we go to see what had happened by Akeilah's house. Well we get to the bridge and it is gone! The river had not covered it but had successfully ripped it out and destroyed it. So it was impossible to drive. There is one other little foot bridge that leads to her house so we went to go evaluate it. the little river had turned into a river 60 feet across and 20 feet deep. we made our way to the foot bridge and saw a ton of damage the river had gotten so bad that it had ripped out the cliffs and all the houses on them, at least 25 houses have been destroyed and are nowhere to be found. Well the foot bridge is holding on but the river is slowly taking it out. We run across it and find akeilah, she is doing just fine and dandy, her house had flooded, but nothing bad. She said she didn't get any sleep because all night long people were running around and screaming as their homes fell into the river (which by the way was about 60 feet below) and as their family members fell with the houses and died.

Well we watched the cliffs fall apart in some big landslides and then we went to the Flake's house and ate dinner and told them of our little adventure. Well the rain started to pick up and then it came like nothing I have ever seen. We had to drive Troy home and so we had to master the storm. It was the most epic drive ever! At one point we were over a gully (this is a big gully, about 40 feet deep and 40 feet wide) the gully was really really full and starting to overflow and we were stuck on a bridge over the gully in traffic because no one was moving because water was so deep on the roads and I look out the window at the gully and then I see the entire gully all of a sudden explode!! It was nuts! giant 40 foot walls of brick just fell and made a huge wave of water. Well we get very worried that our little bridge is about to experience the same thing so we start honking like mad. Well we get off the bridge and try to get to Troys house. cars are breaking down left and right from to much water getting into there engines. Well the water begins to go over the hood of our truck thanks to its depth. well we get through the sea and make it to the bottom of troys giant hill. we stopped at the bottom and looked up and tried to decide if we should try it, no other cars were, everyone else gave up and turned around. the road was like a raging river. 8 inches of water was plowing down the hill with big rapids and giant rocks rolling down. we really needed to get troy home, his family was in danger and he needed to go save them, so we decided we had to master the hill. well 45 minutes later we made it up, I won't even attempt to explain it, it was the craziest ride I have ever been in.
well after that 2 missionaries had gotten stranded so we had to go and rescue them. so we drove to portmore at 9:30 at night, rain is just pouring down. the highway had gone from 4 lanes to 3 lanes because of flooding. we got the missionaries and took them home.

Well we got home and heard the rain all night long, it was pretty terrifying, we weren't worried about ourselves, but the more rain we got the more likely more people would die.

Thursday we get up and get ready, the entire mission is on lock down and not allowed to leave there homes, but we have to go and see some things to ensure that transfers are still possible thanks to road damage. our house was out of water and power. Well we went to troys home to get him, he was alive and well, his house had flooded really bad, he lives in something similar to a pit and he had about 3 feet of water in his house at the peak point. Thankfully for him his house has a god given draining system where a giant sink hole sucks all the water into it after a few hours and vanishes. so it was mostly gone by the time we got there. we get him and then we go check akeilah and them, it had gotten really bad, many more houses had vanished. we check all the roads from yallahs to linstead to make sure all the water was gone enough, I can't believe how much water we got, the rivers had raised a good 15-20 feet and bridges were out everywhere.

well I am getting tired of typing all this, especially since I don't think I am really doing it much justice. so will just give up explaining it all. I don't think that words will ever fully be able to describe the shear wonder and terror of this storm, Kingston was dominated. currently their are 15 reported deaths and 13 reports of people still missing, I think by the end of the week we will be a lot higher, to many houses have just vanished for the numbers to be so low. everyone is saying this is the worst storm they have seen, they said it has brought more rain than any hurricane. The members are doing great, the foot bridge survived thanks to a miracle, a huge landslide happened and diverted the river so that it stopped breaking away the foundation of the bridge, that was truely a blessing from god. most of the members are okay, a few lost their houses, we fear that maybe there are a few dead up in the mountains, but thanks to a landslide no one can get to them so we don't know.

Anyways, I will attach some pictures. We got over 400 pictures and I don't have time to go through them and pick really good ones, so here are what I could find rapidly. lots of damage, Jamaica is in a pretty big mess right now. but things with the missionaries are great, everyone is safe and most have water and power, we don't have water, but we do have power again! The waters are going away and things are returning to normal, hopefully we get conference tomorrow, if not we will just go up to where the damage is and help clear out the mess. oh, I want you to remember when you see the photos that the river in the pictures used to not exist, that was just a big empty space full of houses and a football field,
the bridge that is destroyed with water hitting it, that water use to not be there and the bridge use to be 20 feet below tall, that water is very deep!!! haha

Well things are good, this week was exciting! transfers are this monday. Elder Allen will be my new companion, I am excited to serve with him. It will be fun to help with the clean up of this mess that Jamaica is in. well I really need to go now. I love you all and look forward to hearing from you all next week!

love,
Elder B. Kent Talbert

Saturday, September 25, 2010

She doesn't get eaten by the eels at this time

Family,

Well this week has been good. It was nice to hear from everyone once again. Transfers are coming really fast, next week we begin a lot of the preliminary things that have to go on. That is crazy to think how fast this last transfer has gone by and that E. McGrath is going home in a week. It has been great serving with him, he is a wonderful missionary.

Well things have been pretty normal around here. On Wednesday we had to do a little emergency transfer due to an unfortunate situation. So we got to drive from Kingston to Negril and back in one day with multiple stops along the way. It was fun! We sat in our truck for 11 hours with our max break being 20 minutes for lunch. It is amazing how at the end of a day such as that how tired you can be. All we did was sit in a truck all day long, but for some reason you get home and you are completely exhausted. It was a nice drive though and everything is all good to go again with the missionaries.

For the last year their has been this strange problem with President's computer where it just won't connect to the internet. I tried to fix it when Pres. Graff was here and I had no success, and E. Tanner tried and E. Stevens tried and none of us ever had success. Most of the time we would try to fix it and then it would just magically just start working again and then go out again a month later. Well this week it happened to Pres. Hendricks. So once again I went at it. Thursday I called the area computer guru and him and I spent 2 hours on it and got nowhere and so then we called some Salt Lake computer shaman and did a little conference call with him to try and see what he could come up with. After another hour with no success we called it good for the day and the Salt Lake man was going to do some research on it, he had a guess that it had something to do with the firewall. Well after lunch I was thinking about it again by myself and decided to try and restart all the internet to the office so I went and did that and miraculously it worked! So that solved the problem...sort of, now another computer won't work with the internet. But it means that we found the source. the Salt Lake guy was worried that maybe our firewall that the church distributes was only set to have so many computers on it and we had too many, which seems to make sense from what has been happening. So now at any time at least one computer in the office has no internet until Salt Lake can figure out what exactly they want to do. So that was fun this week.

Akeilah is doing great! She is getting baptized tomorrow! She has now officially read the entire triple combination and is working on reading through the bible. She is amazing! I didn't think I would ever teach somebody like her during the course of my mission. She is going to help this branch out a ton! We have been working with her friend Anita who she brings to church from time to time. She is also doing good, she has read the first 10 chapters of The Book of Mormon and is progressing well, hopefully she will accept to be baptized here after general conference.

Oh yea, I just remembered. So on Sunday we got invited to go and teach a family of 3 by some members. So we drove way out yonder and taught this husband and wife and daughter. The daughter has been coming to church for a long time but the parents have always been against it, but the parents have no clue what the church teaches. so we went to sit with them and see what could be done. Well we had an excellent lesson! at the end the wife turned to her husband and said "We need to go to this church!" That is the sort of thing missionaries love to hear! They live conveniently next door to a family of 8 members of the church. So that was a great lesson! We are excited to keep working with them.

We had district conference this last week. It was great! we had over 600 people in attendance! The fun part was that the pianst didn't show up so I got to play the piano for everyone! So that is just fine and dandy except for the fact that I was playing for the district choir who had these songs and had practiced them all fancy like and I didn't really know how they wanted it all to be played and I didn't know I was going to play the piano until about 5 minutes before it all started. It was fun, in the end it seemed to turn out well. I am quite pleased that I really don't get nervous anymore when I have to sit down and play the piano, now I just wish I had more practice time, but oh well.

Their is a member, I have mentioned him before, Troy Williams. Well he comes to the office everyday and always helps out and works for the church and comes teaching with the missionaries. Well he lives way up in the hills and rides his bike down everyday (and then at the end of the day we drive him back up). The hill he rides down is frightening! Very steep and very windy with a few really bad needle point turns. Well his bike is one of them speed racing bikes and his bike also lacks a feature called brakes. So he just goes down this hill like a complete mad man. No one else does this, no other jamaican will do this, it is completely insane. Well we decided to film him doing this crazy stunt and so yesterday we went and did it. It was hard for us to keep up, he was cruising! The top speed we recorded was 50 mph! I am surprised he isn't dead from this. Anyways, it was cool, I will show you the video sometime, but it is impossible to send them over the internet with the church email system, so it will have to wait.

Woah! time is running short. Things are going well, next week I will be emailing on Friday thanks to general conference, so if you want to send me an email it needs to be Thursday night or I won't get it until a week later. I am getting really lazy at pictures....I promise that next week I will attach a picture or two!!! Happy birthday Nathaniel. Good luck at school and work this week. I love you all!

Elder B. Kent Talbert

Sunday, September 19, 2010

???

Family,

Well good to hear from you all again. That is too bad about Sister Rogers. Well before I forget, my shoes are doing excellent! So far I am still on the first pair and I am fairly positive that they will last to the end of my mission. Tony did well on his shoe recommendations. The chair I am sitting in right now is really uncomfortable, which is too bad.

So I didn't think I was going to have time to email you today, and that I was going to have to wait till Monday. But then we found a short bit of time here in the morning. this week was great. Not much too exciting happened, but still good.

Akeilah is still doing excellent, she has finished The Book of Mormon and is now on section 100 and something in the Doctrine and Covenants! She should be baptized this next week if everything works out like it should. She has also been bringing her friends to church so that is great too! The interesting thing about Akeilah is that she isn't all full of false doctrine. She didn't grow up going to church, in fact she didn't even grow up really believing in a God, as we believe it. Now that she knows the church is true and whatnot it makes it great to teach her because their isn't confusion from other doctrines that you have to try to resolve, it is all new to her and she just accepts it all.

Last preparation day we went and played soccer with these ghetto kids. It was a lot of fun. We played with these kids aging anywhere from 8-12. I think they were really surprised at how bad we all were at soccer, I think they expected us to be a a lot better. We might do it again here shortly.

Yesterday we went on an adventure to find an auto part for the bus that needs to be repaired, just some little window clip. Well we are driving down the road and we go down into this Gully and in front of us is some little Nissan, a van and then a giant semi hauling wood. Well to get out of the gully you have to go up a piece of hill that is about 30 feet and really really steep. So this semi starts to go up, gets about half way up and stalls. Well it starts to slide backwards onto the van. The van and that car start to try and get out of the way. It was quite funny to watch. In the end nobody was hit, the van and the car ended up just driving in circles around the gully waiting for the semi to figure itself out again. I love driving in this country, it seems like every time you go somewhere something ridiculous happens on the roads that just makes you roll your eyes and smile.

Hmm...what else happened. Sat in meetings with President a lot, we have been working on figuring transfers out. Spent a decent amount of time roaming through flights trying to find something that would work for President's schedule. Yet again I have become the mission travel agent. It is fun though, I enjoy it.

Elder Cheesman and President Hendricks had their birthdays this week. So we had a little office party for them. But we had planned this little party thing and then it turned out that their was a very small wedding going on at the office, so in the end it sort of became a mini birthday/wedding party. The cake and ice cream were really good. The Cheesmans go home soon, I hope their replacements are great. The Cheesmans have been a wonderful office couple.

This week I have thought a bit about how important it is to really have a vision of where your life is going, to have some goals about where you want to be in a year, in five years, in ten years. We have talked to a lot of people, particularly this week, that just have no idea where they want to go in life, and as such just do nothing. With no vision they have no drive. They will happily just get a job working at the gas station and never progress in life.

Today is district conference so we get to go to Spanish Town all day. It should be good. I look forward to what Pres. Hendricks has to say. They are close to a stake, very close, they really just need leadership at this point. they have enough members, now they need members who are paying their tithing and who can lead the church without the missions help. Hopefully the conference is good today and tomorrow.

Well, I wish I had more to say this week, things are fairly typical. Teaching is going well, E. Mcgrath and I are getting along excellent, I am glad that I got the opportunity to serve with him here before he goes home. Happy birthday Nathaniel, congratulations of receiving the priesthood! Sorry, no pictures again....I didn't think I was going to email today so I didn't bother to bring my camera with me today. Good luck this week with school and work. I love you all!

Love
Elder B. Kent Talbert

A thousand apologies, O Patient One

Letter from Sept 11
Family,

Well this week was good. First off I guess I will answer everyones question about the rebar. They were perfectly fine...well as fine as you can be after rebar goes through you. They were at the hospital for a few days and are now home, so all is well there thankfully. Now the problem is that the man that hit the truck keeps coming to the office asking when we are going to pay to repair his car. We keep telling him that we have turned it into the insurance and we just have to wait now. The unfortunate part is that he is convinced it is our fault because he had the right to drive like a crazy madman in the wrong lane because someone was dying in his car. Oh well, someday it will all be resolved, probably not while I am here, nothing goes particularly fast when it comes to insurance.

Nothing quite as crazy happened this week. On Monday we woke up and then right after we got up Pres. Hendricks called and told us about a group of missionaries that had decided to be dumb and go and get there own cell phones and do a ton of other disobedient junk. Pres. was about to fly out to a mission presidents seminar so we were left in charge of driving around the island to pick up all the contraband. It was fun. Drove around the island for 12 hours. It was a long day. We got lost at one point due to a poor turn an ended up somewhere in the middle of nowhere Jamaica. Well not really much more to say about that.

With our truck gone we have just been driving random vehicles. Pres. left his SUV for us to borrow, so we used that a lot. Our truck was all fixed up and we got it back last night! so that is great. We have probably made all the ghetto communities think that we are some rich white guys, we counted and found that throughout the last 2 weeks we have driven 5 different vehicles while out teaching.

Hmmm...wow, really not much happened this week. With Pres. gone we were just left to do random things. We worked a while on the mission history, that was fun enough. Every year the mission is supposed to send a mission history of the year into the area presidency, our job is to prepare it.

Seems like we were just stuck in traffic for a vast part of this week. School is back in session so the roads are congested. We ran a lot of erends and sat in a lot of traffic. Akeilah is doing great! She has been averaging about 20 chapters of The Book of Mormon a day, more than any investigator I have previously had. She is understanding it really well and is going to make an amazing member after her baptism. We are running out of things to teach her, but she is still set on being baptized on the 26th of September so we are just waiting at this point.

We went on a handful of exchanges with different missionaries. We went on splits with the Office Elders, so that was fun, got to go back to my old area and see some of my recent converts. Everyone is doing good. I am sure you remember the war from June, downtown Kingston was supposedly a pretty brutal place to be, but thankfully none of the members were really hurt.

The Office Elders decided that Elder Cheesman looks like Jack Nicholson, so to play a joke on him first they took a picture of Elder Cheesman and photo shopped it with Jack Nicholson's face. Then they hid 26 pictures of him around Elder Cheesman's office and now finally they made it so his computer quotes Jack Nicholson when he does certain things. It has been quite humorous.

Life is going well here. I wish I had more to really say about the week. Not much is really going on, just the same as always. Jamaica is great, I love the city of Kingston, definitely the best part of Jamaica. I am really terrible at attaching photos, perhaps I will next week...sorry! Today we are going to go play soccer in downtown, it should be fun, we will probably make horrible fools of ourselves for none of us can play soccer. Well I hope this next week is great for you all. Enjoy school and work! I love you all!

Love
Elder B. Kent Talbert

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Much to learn, you still have

Family,

Well another week has gone by excellent. Thanks for the emails, I am glad that everything went over well with your lessons on Sunday, I am glad to see that my information was of at least some use. In response to your question mom...hmm...I really don't know what I need at this point. I do like beef jerky (which can't really be found here), and I do like Rubik's Cubes and related materials, I could go with a pair or two or new socks, I really did like that brand of sock that you sent for my birthday, they are great! Black preferably if you do send them. Hmm.....I can't really think of much. I am sort of at the point where I have survived this long with what I have got and it doesn't have to last to much longer, especially by the time December roles around. But anything is great!

This week has been good. A lot of good things have happened. On Sunday we went out teaching after church, like normal, but we sort of have an unofficial task that we do on Sundays where we take a bunch of the Young Single Adults with us out teaching so that they can interact with each other and maybe even lead to dating. An issue in the church here is that many of the Young Single Adults just stay single forever. They don't really date much because no one around them is living proper standards and around each other they just don't really interact. In order for the church to grow it needs a 2nd generation, it can't eternally be 1st generation members. So on Sunday's we drive the Mission bus and load it with a lot of the YSA and go out teaching. It is a lot of fun. It is sort of funny to show up at an investigators house with 8-10 people but we make sure to visit a lot of our younger investigators and they find it great to have so many friends show up.

We had our three day training extravaganza this week! It was great! I am glad that I am finally up to speed on all this new training. It was funny trying to teach the missionaries on this new training that I myself hadn't really heard, I was fairly clueless on what I was teaching them, but none the less it went over well. With Pres. Hendricks and Elder McGraths help (both of which know the training very well) it all worked out great. Wednesday was a brutal day. We had training from 9am-3pm and then zone leader council from 3pm-8pm. Just sat in meetings all day. But it was really good for me, I now have a much better understanding of how the mission is doing and what is going on. I am excited to continue to help the missionaries implement this training into their teaching. The 3 day training was great, sort of chaotic outside of the training. When the missionaries weren't sitting in meetings we were trying to herd them around so that they weren't in Pres. Hendricks hair. It was good.

Well we used to drive this great truck around until tuesday when E. McGrath got in a wreck (not anywhere near his fault) and so now our truck is in a bad situation of immobility and we are left without. The wreck was probably one of the craziest days yet. So E. McGrath went to go get a garden hose with E. Dale, one of the Office Elders, I stayed at the office working of Pres. computer, which had gone crazy and I was trying to fix it. Well E. Mcgrath was pulling out of the parking lot some driver was flying through traffic, not even in the correct lane trying to get to the hospital because someone had fallen on a piece of rebar and it had impaled them, went through their back and out their front. Well this guy slams into E. Mcgrath and destroys both vehicles. E. McGrath and E. Dale came out without a single scratch. Well then E. Cheesman and E. Sheafermeyer go to see what happened (the wreck was within walking distance) well this giant storm starts to take place and they go outside and then lightening strikes E. Sheafermeyer and then the power went out. Well we called 911, turns out they were closed for the day (????) So we had to go find the police to get them to come. In the end everyone was perfectly okay and it was a great day. The funnest part part about it was when Pres. Hendricks walked in the office and we told him all this fun stuff! Right as he walked in we told him about the wreck, the lightening strike, the computer, the hurricane in Turks. It was fun. Now we are without a truck, so we drive the bus everywhere! It is a lot of fun. I was a bit nervous about driving such a massive vehicle around all the time, but now I find it quite fun.

Anyways, I just remembered that you asked about senior couples mom. We currently have 8 senior couples with 2 more on their way, although the Cheesmans finish about the same time that one of the 2 arriving arrives. The senior couples are a huge help. They do a lot of the work that the missionaries can't really get around to doing. Pres. has been putting many of them in the Kingston area to try and get this place ready for a stake.

Our investigator, Akeilah, is amazing! She is now in Alma chapter 31. She reads so much! Every time we show up she has read another chapter or two, or three, or fourteen. She is very smart. We were at a lesson with her this week and she asked us why when she started to read the book of Mosiah it changed from 1st person to 3rd person! haha, that if the first time anyone has asked that to me on my mission. She is going to be a very strong convert, she already understands the gospel better than a vast amount of the members here in Kingston. Without a doubt one of the most impressive investigators I have heard of our seen.

The Hurricane hit the Turks this week, but it mostly missed the island of Provo, just skimed it, and so as such not much happened, everyone is okay and doing well. They said that they just got a lot of rain and a lot of wind, but not really any damage, so that is good to hear. E. McGrath and I are in charge of watching the weather. One of our daily tasks is to make sure that no one is going to be destoryed by a hurricane unawares. Sis. Herbert did say though that Ruben gave a talk on sunday and that it was great! That was wonderful to hear! The branch is doing well there, hopefully someday I will get to see it again.

Overall things are going great, I look forward to this upcoming week. We have a lot of splits with missionaries planned, go out and see what the missionaries are doing and help them use the new training and whatnot. It is weird to think one year ago I was living in the same house, coming to the office everyday and now I am still doing it. haha, but it is nice, Kingston is my favorite city in Jamaica, so much craziness always going on. Well I hope this next week is great for you all, good luck at school. I love you all!

Love
Elder B. Kent Talbert

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Don't fail me again, Admiral

Family,

Well it hasn't really been to many days since I last emailed, but then again the last email was cut very short by an unexpected meeting. Life has been good. School has started once again in Jamaica, as it has back home, so that is good...although it doesn't really affect me. The chair I am sitting in now is really uncomfortable, so that is not so nice, but then again it will keep me awake.
So to answer a few questions. Hopefully I didn't forget to many of them. E. Tanner has been in the office as an assistant for eternity and his mission was finally over, so I replaced him. He is now back in Utah, which is too bad, he was a lot of fun. I am serving in a different branch in Kingston, their are 3 branches in Kingston. The Office Elders are in the Kingston branch whereas the Assistants are in the Constant Springs Branch. It isn't very effective with so few missionaries in the mission to put 4 missionaries who all teach for very little into the same branch, so instead they put the office elders in one branch along with a random companionship and then the assistants in another branch along with the zone leaders of Kingston. I get about as much teaching time as I did when I was an Office Elder, sometimes I might even get a bit less with a lot of the random things that we are in charge of doing. Elder Anderson's visit last week was good, it was largely about staying strong in the gospel even when life is really hard, sort of like it is for many of the members in T&C. It was good, I really and truely don't remember much of it, it was just something that happened a week and a half ago, I can mostly only remember the piano playing, but none the less it was good. I will attach a picture of that today

This week has been good. We haven't had a ton to do, but we have kept ourselves busy enough. the First Presidency about 2 months ago issued some new training for missionaries that I missed because of my location. Well next week we are having a big 3 day conference where we are training all the missionaries on this new material. The fun part about it is that E. Mcgrath and I are in charge of presenting the material, which is just fine and dandy except for that I don't know the material. We spent this week going through all the material and preparing for that this week, so that was fun enough. It wasn't really anything horribly new, but I do like the direction that the first presidency is trying to take missionary work. It is a larger focus on helping investigators learn how to receive personal revelation from prayer, scripture study and church attendance. the idea behind it all is to help create a stronger link between the investigator and our Heavenly Father then between the missionaries and the investigators, that way when the missionaries leave the converts don't leave the church with them, which seems to be a common problem. really good training and I look forward to going through it again this week.

We get about 4 hours of teaching a day, sort of varries on what is going on. We have some really great investigators right now. We have these couple, Jodi and Shabba that are living together but are not married, so we have been working on getting them married. Yesterday night they decided that they want to be married at the end of September so that is really great! They are really nice people. We also have this girl, Akeilah, she is one of the smartest investigators that I have ever met. She wants to get baptized, but wants to wait till the end of September, so we are going to run out of things to teach. She will probably have The Book of Mormon finished before she is baptized, she is plowing right though it. She is really cool, I enjoy going over and teaching her. There is this new senior couple, the Flakes, they just got here like 3 weeks ago. Well they are in our branch and we invited them to come out teaching with us from time to time, so this week they have come out with us twice! It has been really good. Especially with Jodi and Shabba. the Flakes are really able to help them see how marriage is a good thing. It is one thing to have two 20 year old single men telling a couple to get married and that it will be good for them, but it is better when a couple who has been married for 44 years tells how that has been a blessing in their lives. The Flakes have been great so far.
Alright, I am attaching 2 photos.
One is of the T&C branch at the fireside, some people are missing, but a majority of the people we got into the photo. I am in the back right by E. McGrath, the really tall people.

The Second is of me and Miguel and Yessenia, probably one of my favorite photos from my mission. I would send you something from here in Kingston, but I actually have been sort of lazy and haven't taken a single picture since I got back to Kingston. Oh yea, I don't remember if I mentioned this before, but I am living in the same house that I lived in when I was an Office Elder. It is nice, If I stay here till the end of my mission I will have lived in that house for 9/17 transfers of my mission, more than half!

Anyways, in response to your testimony questions dad. I don't really know when I knew I had a testimony before my mission. I just sort of always knew. It was pretty much either this church or no church. I don't really recall any particular time where I just gained a testimony like that. I think it just came from growing up in the church. I grew up in a home where the gospel was lived and as such I always saw the blessings of living the gospel. It was just sort of always there, I don't really have a very good answer to that question, sorry! I knew I needed to serve a mission because it was the right thing to do. I had been taught that I was growing up and I knew that it was important. ummm...hmmm...I wish I had a better response. My mission has influenced my testimony in that before my testimony was that of yea I know it is true and all and that is great. but now it is more of I know that it is true and as such I am going to do something about that. I have come to see more that the church is a church of action, just passively believing doesn't really get you anywhere in life, it requires service, it requires going out and magnifying your calling, it requires living the gospel all day everyday. That is probably the biggest influence in my testimony from my mission, I see the importance of actually acting on that which you know. My testimony has also been strengthened greatly as I have gone out and acted on that which I know. The more I live the gospel the more I can feel the spirit in my life and the stronger my testimony is. If I could go back in time I think the biggest thing I would change would be my study habits. I was a really lazy scripture studier before my mission. Sure I had read The Book of Mormon all the way through, but I really hadn't studied like I wish I would have, I wish I had known the scriptures a lot better before my mission, for two main reasons. First off because it helps a ton in missionary work to know your scriptures, and second the more I read the scriptures the more I learn and the more converted I become to living the gospel of Jesus Christ. If someone will take the time to read the scriptures everyday for a decent amount of time, and say their prayers and attended their sunday meetings, they will more likely than not be doing everything else correctly to. Well hopefully that was somewhat what you were looking for dad.

Things are going well here. I am running short on time. We have some great investigators. My companion is great, I love serving with E. McGrath. Things are a bit crazier and busier, but it is nice, I like not really having any down time, I like being up and everywhere. Pres. Hendricks is a great leader, I am excited to be around him a lot for these last few transfers of my mission. I hope that everything goes great this week, enjoy work and enjoy school! good luck. I love you all and look forward to next week!

Love
Elder B. Kent Talbert