Good to hear from you all again. sounds like things are going well back home. don't worry mother about the package you sent, it will get here, it just can take quite some time, it all depends on traveling. When you send it to Jamaica they then put it in a pile of stuff for the Turks and then whenever president graff comes here or to the bahamas he carries that pile of stuff with him. If he comes here we get it, if he takes it to the bahamas then pres. ockey takes it to us when he comes to visit. So everything eventually gets to me, their is just no speed at all. It all depends on everyone's travel plans. thanks for the other email mom, it all worked out great, the photos didn't have any problem.
This week was good. We had a few baptisms and plenty of people at church. The island is very small, at some parts you can see the ocean on both sides of you due to the narrowness of the land. Hurricanes are about the same as in Jamaica, same threat level. not really worried about it at all. Most of the people we teach are from Haiti or other Caribbean islands who came here at one point to work and then all the work dried up and now they are all stuck here and they just live in these strangely built houses that are all connected and really small. Our elders Quorum president lives in a house that has about 60 square feet (really really small) and he has 2 room mates and they pay $300 a month to live there. The currency used is American Money, Turks doesn't bother to print their own money. so living conditions are fairly poor for the people here. everything is very very very expensive and I am quite unsure how all these unemployed people survive here.
Church yesterday was good. we had about 80 people at church, 10 tourists and then a bunch of members/investigators. I am once again in charge of the piano, the nice part though is that this branch actually has a good piano and not some really cheap keyboard like the last branch I was in had. This one has weighted keys and feels like a real piano so that is nice. Hymns are pretty funny and sound fairly terrible. when you have multiple languages all singing the same hymn it just sounds like everyone is making a ton of noise and not really singing any words. The worst part is that they all love to sing and sing as loud as they can and so it just becomes a huge mess of words and tones and what not haha. on Saturdays we have choir practice and I play the piano there to, thankfully everyone in the choir sings in english, those who don't speak english are taught how to pronounce all the words in the given song that way it sounds less hectic.
It sounds as if your exploration of Mars was quite good dad. I have always found it odd that they have all those little hiker guy pictures, but then again maybe it would be a good idea to plan a hike there. I suppose their are some good caves here, I have seen pictures but I haven't personally visited any of them yet. The Herberts sometimes take us out to some of those places on preparation day so I will make sure to get some good pictures.
The reason for the large amounts of men in the branch is that they all came here for work and all of their families live in other countries. Most of the men now have no job and no way to make money to return home so they are just living here indefinitely looking for more work. hopefully more comes soon, it is all random and based around the tourism industry. The branch has a lot of potential to produce some very good leaders. Our Branch president has been out of town (in Utah) and should be back today, I am excited to meet him as I am yet to meet him. He is from Argentina and supposedly speaks english not so well but spanish very well.
Conference is coming fast. I have been working with elder herbert here and there trying to figure out how we are going to get conference to work. We got permission from the church and access to the priesthood session (they don't stream it over the internet where everyone has access) so that is good and now we have been trying to figure out the whole language thing. we have to have it in multiple languages so that everyone can here it in their own tongue. We are probably just going to keep it really simple and use multiple laptops in different rooms of the church all playing conference in a different language. we are working on getting some projectors this week so that everyone doesn't have to try and see it on a tiny laptop screen. we currently only have one but we want one more, but the branch president should be able to help with that.
I will attach a few pictures here.
the other is of a group of members being transported to a baptism! we have the baptismal service first at the church and then we head down to the beach for the performance of the ordinance.
Well time is running short here. Things are going well. I am enjoying my new area. hopefully things continue to go over well. Hmm.... well that is about it. It sounds as though things back home are going well and hopefully this next week is great! March is nearly over, weird. Well I love you all! hopefully I answered all your questions haha there were a lot, if I didn't just repeat them again and I will get to them!
Elder B. Kent Talbert