Thursday, April 29, 2010

There's Plenty for the Both of Us


Well another week gone by. It was a good week, excellent to hear from you all again. The Kitchen thingy looks really good, and so does the dog. I will be excited when I can finally see it all. This week we had another baptism, I will attach a picture here at the end. Today I had way to many emails and spent to much time reading, but I still have a good amount of time. 

Things go well here, transfers came...I think... We didn't hear anything out here so we have absolutely no idea what happened. But we can assume that Elder Brough and I will be serving together for at least one more transfer. 

Immigration has been out and about lots this week wrecking havoc. The Haitians are in a dismal situation. They pay tons of money to get here to illegal boat owners who lie to them and tell them that their are lots of jobs here and so they sell everything to get here. Then when they get here they have no job and nothing else. They are here illegally and have no way to go back to Haiti. Immigration likes to cause trouble by going out and picking up haitians and throwing them in Jail. The Government doesn't have enough money to send them back to Haiti so they are just left in Jail in the worst conditions possible, very inhumane. The Haitians live in tiny tiny houses, and have no water, no power, and no money. They just live in fear of immigration. They want to go back to Haiti but they have no way to go back to Haiti. They don't want to get picked up by immigration because the Jail is worse then just living in the bushes. Immigration is fairly corrupt and takes bribes or just takes things from the Haitians by force. Overall it is quite a terrible situation. President Graff and the Area Authorities have been trying to figure out if there is anything that can be done to help them. We have 2 members who currently live in the same house, about 30 square feet and a ceiling height of about 4 feet. not very comfortable.

Our Baptism this week was of a lady named Michal ang. She lives right behind the church and just showed up to church about 2 weeks ago. We have been teaching her ever since and all worked out nicely. We have about 4 more people who have good potential for baptism here in the coming weeks.
Our Jamaicans progress slowly, they are in good living conditions and most go to a church near the community, our church is pretty far away and so none of them came to church yesterday, but we will keep working, the Jamaicans are good to teach. 

On Friday we had activity night. We played various games but one of them was this game where we were in a circle and there was a piece of chalk that had to be passed around and a person in the middle had to guess where it was. Well it was an excellent game. The members thought it was great fun. Friday night Activity was a good success. this week they have planned a volleyball thingy on the beach so that should be interesting, I don't know if any of the Haitians have ever played volleyball.

I have been reading through the Old Testament this week. Read Kings-Esther. It reminds me a lot of the book of Helamen. Just wicked king followed by righteous king followed by wicked king, just an endless cycle until eventually they are just completely wiped out. A lot of those geneologies were pretty boring, I was determined to read every part so I had to read a lot of the geneologies out loud or else I would begin to just skim them. Not much to learn in those geneologies, other than diligence in record keeping. 

I figured you had skype dad, It seemed like something you would have. We will be able to skype on mothers day. I don't know the Herberts info yet but I will get that to you next week so you can test it all. I assume it will all work fine. I have no clue when mothers day is 2 weeks? well either way, next week I will email you everything and I will include the herbert's email just in case you can't get it to work for some strange reason.

Things are going well here. I don't really have much else to say. Today the Herberts are taking us to see some caves on the other side of the island, so that should be fun. I wish I had more to say. ugh....Well I can't really think of anything and time is running short. It is always amazing how fast email time can fly by. I hope this next week is great, enjoy the last few weeks of school. I love you all!

Elder Talbert

Saturday, April 24, 2010

I cannot jump the distance, you'll have to toss me


Well it has been another good week. good to hear from you all once again. I don't remember a Dale Felix dad, does he work at selerity now or use to? I know that their were a handful of employees that had quit shortly before I started working there. It would be excellent if you could send a conference ensign mom. I finally got your other package this week so that was good. thanks for the letters and candy! We are currently working on We Thank Thee of God for a Prophet with our singing group. It takes a while to get a song down, for the most part they don't speak english and since we try to do all our singing in english, sister herbert spends plenty of time going over the words trying to get them to pronounce them properly. I will let you know when that one is thrown online. 

This week went over well. Last monday afternoon pres. graff flew in and that was good. He had a meeting with us for 3 or 4 hours and just sort of discussed everything. It was very good. We miss a lot of things out here not being in Jamaica and what not so it was good to get caught up on everything. Pres. Graff told me that this last week they split the spanish town branch into 2 branches, reorganized the district and they are about to submit an application for the creation of a stake! hopefully that all works out! I would love to be in Jamaica when the first stake is finally organized. if they do get it organized it would be shortly before my mission is over or they will have to wait another year or two. nonetheless it is good to see that progress is finally being made!

Tuesday night we had a dinner appointment with some members, after we were done eating the 2 kids wanted to play connect four. so we played a few rounds, certainly not the most thrilling game ever created, but entertaining enough. I don't remember if I mentioned this before, probably, but oh well. They eat the exact same thing here that they eat in Jamaica. Just rice and chicken. They do eat a handful of Conch but I mostly try to avoid that (if you have ever seen those big fancy seashells that sometimes people make it to a horn of sorts, like a big snail shell...that is conch) They don't eat conch at all in Jamaica.

Well during pres. Graffs visit he wanted to see parts of the island, he has never had the opportunity to see the island. So the herberts drove him around and afterwords he gave us an area that he thought looked good for tracting that he wanted us to go do. Well we went over there. It was interesting. every house looked exactly the same and it reminded me of Arizona with how they landscaped, not many plants but lots of rocks. Well these houses had all sorts of people. we met Haitians, and American, and Belongers, and Europeans, and Caymonians, and Bahimians, and surprisingly a ton of Jamaicans. 60-70% of the community was Jamaican. We would always ask people where they were from and if they said jamaica we would ask them what part and they would always tell us that it was some small town that we had probably never heard of we would have them tell us anyways and then we would tell them that we had lived in Jamaica for a year. It was fun to talk about Jamaica haha and it worked really well, we had more luck with the Jamaicans then anyone else. We would start talking to them all about Jamaica and that would soften there hearts enough that by the time we mentioned the gospel they were willing to listen to us.

Yesterday in Church we had a new sunday school teacher (well sort of new, new for me, she was the normal one but had been on vacation). She had me read a verse and decided that she liked how well I could pronounce the words and how well I read so she then conveniently assigned me to read a group of 25 verses covering 2 pages. I think she had intended for the verses to be divided up among the class members but instead everyone was stuck listening to me read for a good 5-8 minutes. haha then she came to a next set of verses and had me read again, sunday school is going to be interesting if I have to read 2-3 pages a week. I am going to have to start going to the creole class just to give others the opportunity to read.

On a similar note of reading. I have been reading all about saul, and david and solomon this last week. Very interesting. The old Testament is quite intriguing and I am enjoying my read of it. I should hopefully finish it soon and then begin the new testament again. The Old Testament is a very worth while read. lots to learn in it.

Mothers day is coming, I haven't heard anything from pres. Graff about it yet, but I assume it will be the same as times past. do you have a skype account dad? It has grown in popularity just about everywhere. it is a program sort of like an online phone. you can talk between skype users for free and then call regular cell phones or landlines for free or for really cheep webcams are also easy to use with the program. just a 20 or 25 dollar fee a year. the cheesmans used it all the time to talk to family back home and the herberts do to. It is possible that the herberts skype account will be used as the phone service on mothers day. If you have a skype account great, if not don't worry about it.

Hmmm.....what else. Time is running short and I am not even sure if I have anything else to say. hopefully this email wasn't to short. We have been teaching this girl that should be baptized this week so that is great! hopefully things go good this week and you get all the water cleaned up. I'll keep you all in my prayers. good luck and I love you all!

Elder B. Kent Talbert 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Imagine Finding Nemo Quote Here


Well this week has been good. Always great to hear from you all. I still haven't gotten the package you sent mother, but than again nobody has come out here since you sent it. Pres. Graff is coming this week so if he remembered to grab the mail I should get it. My companion has been here for 5 months and will be here for at least one more. He has work permit problems in Jamaica so they have to renew it and as such they need a criminal record which they can only get from somewhere that he has resided for at least 6 months. so he has to be here for 6 months to get a criminal record and send it to jamaica. 

sounds as if spring break was nice. There has been an increase of tourists this last week and it was assumed that it was because of spring break. So on saturday the herberts wanted to film a group of men in the branch. We gathered everyone (like 6 people) and then quickly filmed it. Sis. Herbert put it on Youtube with my guidance and so you can watch it if you so desire (assuming it works, we never did test it). just copy and paste the link, I would just make it a url but since it didn't do it automatically I won't bother. We are singing Ye Elders of Israel. Sort of ironic that the one time you get to hear a recording of me playing the piano it is a song that I have been able to play for years that you have heard a billion times.

Hmmm....there was something that happened last tuesday that I intended to tell you about, but I don't remember what it was, that is to bad, hopefully I think of it soon.

On Saturday we went to this little restaurant called Saltmills and we ordered our food and just happily sat eating. In the restaurant there was this little blond boy running around the restaurant making a ton of noise. He just kept running in circles (they had this center kitchen with seating all around so they had the perfect circular restaurant to run around) well on one of his rounds he stopped right next to us, looked at my companions sandwich and said "What's that blue thing?" (referring to a toothpick in my companions sandwich). Well He spoke with the thickest british accent ever, and that made him awesome. Well next thing we know he decides we are his best friends and he sits down in our booth and talks to us and asks us all sorts of questions (he was 3 yeas old). It was quite entertaining, we kept trying to convince him to go back to his mother but nothing worked. His mother even came and checked on him at one point and then just left him with us again. he hung out with us for the remainder of our lunch hour (about 30 minutes). He was awesome.

The first baptism I had here was a kid named miguel. His parents and family are long time members from the DR. well his dad and him come to church every single sunday, but no one else ever came (mother or 3 sisters) well we have been having family home evening ever monday with them. Yesterday they all came to church! hopefully we will continue to see them! they are the sort of family that the branch needs, one that isn't going to leave and go back to haiti within the next 2 years. So that was excellent.

We found this lady that we have been teaching, her name is like mikala, or mikaja or something, still haven't figured it out. I normally have to ask them how to pronounce there name everyday for a week before I get the hang of it and remember it. Well we taught her and she is now preparing for baptism so that is great! It is nice that we have an investigator that isn't a male. It seems like that is all we see. We had some tourists at church yesterday who were asking me why there were so many men and no women haha.

When I came out on my mission I had 2 pairs of shoes, I still have 2 pairs of shoes. Well I have actually only worn one pair of shoes everyday, the other pair is still Brand new. It started with I was just going to wear out one pair of shoes until I had been out a year and then I would switch. But my pair that I wear still looks excellent and now I am determined to wear that pair every day of my mission just to see if they will last. you can tell that the sole has been fairly worn, but they are still doing pretty good. I am interested to see how long they last. I have found that what helps is polishing them nearly every day. I have a good reputation in the mission for having the shinyest shoes around. Well I also have found that on the soles if I spot a tiny crack I fill it in and seal it with super glue. It is easier to fix a tiny crack then wait till a large chunk breaks out like I have seen so many missionaries. Perhaps you can ponder that and come up with an analogy of some sort.

Well this past week was good things are going well. I still can't think of what I had wanted to tell you haha. I need to write it down or something. We are doing well here on our little island and look forward to pres. graff's visit today and tomorrow. It will be interesting to see what he does, we were told to not make plans so we have no clue what he wants to do. I will attach a picture next week. sorry if this is a bit short but I waisted a lot of my time trying to remember what I wanted to say, just stared at the screen haha. I hope this next week is great and that school goes well. I love you all!

E. B. Kent Talbert

Monday, April 5, 2010

Remember, Who You Are!


This week was good. Well before I forget I must rapidly answer questions. So The branch here is lacking on primary, young mens, and young womens. Their is 2 YW, 0 YM, and maybe about 8-14 primary age kids. most of the women are married to one of the members and so that is about the extent of our families. Our apartment is nice, 2 stories, hot water. The senior couple lives really far away from us. We just ride bikes everywhere. 

Conference was excellent. We completely missed priesthood session unfortunately. So everything worked great except that the priesthood session is broadcast over the internet differently then the other sessions. Well we got it to work on one computer and that one we put for the french because that is our biggest group of people. other than that we only needed english for the priesthood session but we just didn't watch it. The problem was that with how they broadcast the priesthood session it only works on a computer running windows. We had 1 pc and 2 macs. I could find no way to get it to work on a mac. everything I read made it sound like it wasn't possible and so in the end we just gave up and watched it in french. A lot less enlightening when you can't understand 100%. I must admit, the more I have used Apple computers the less and less I like them. I don't think I will ever purchase one.

The other 4 sessions were good and I enjoyed them. We had a great turn out! the herberts printed flyers and we took them around and passed them out. We had a lot of people come. So random information, Elder Vinas who spoke is over the caribbean. When I was in the office we had and office meeting/lunch with him. and elder Anderson of the seventy who spoke on saturday, is one of Elder vinas' councilors and he interviewed me last december. So that was fun to see them speak. there was a lot of mentioning of Haiti during conference, the members here liked that. Most of our members are from Haiti so they were really interested in all that stuff. I really liked Elder Chirstopherson's talk, and Elder Scott's talk. They were both very well done. We are hoping to find time here and there this week to slowly watch the priesthood session, so by next monday I will have seen that., I really don't know what else happened this week. Fairly typical and generic week. We have this couple that we have been teaching, Julian and Sophonie. They are good, they both have jobs and they both speak english moderately well. Lessons have been going great with them and hopefully they get baptized this week or next week. They live really close to the church so it is really easy for them to get there every sunday.

This week we were walking down the road and this man walked up to me and stopped me. The conversation went something like this.
Man: "can I ask you a question"
Me: "sure"
Man: "What do goats eat?"
Me: "ummm... I think anything"
Man: "what about all of that?" (pointing to a lot of bushes and trees
Me: "I think so, I think they eat anything that is green and grows"
Man: "what about this?" (grabs a branch of a tree)
Me: "probably, yea I think so"
Man: "I see that they don't seem to eat these" (pointing to some bushes)
Me : "oh, I think they will eat those, there are just a lot a bushes so maybe they haven't gotten to those ones yet"
Man: "so you think goats would eat this?" (grabs the branch again)
Me: "yea, I think they would"
Man: "alright, thank you" (pulls out a bag and breaks off branches stuffing them into the bag)
Me: "alright, good luck goat feeder man"

well we walked away, my companion thought it was funny. I didn't know I knew so much about goat care. perhaps I should start my own consultant business that specializes in goats. I seem to have a natural talent at it. 

There are no street lights here, only round-abouts. People don't really get the idea of them though and instead of going around try to go straight. This causes a huge problem since all the round-abouts are very fancily landscaped and have very large trees and rocks in them that people are constantly ramming their cars into. The problem is that the round-abouts are on roads with speed limits of 50-60 so people are going fast and then with no warning at all, all of a sudden there is a round-about in there face. The should probably put up some signs or something. haha

 Well I am attaching a picture. It is of me by a large painting. I am wearing my snazzy "Where's Waldo" sunglasses as my companion calls them haha. sort of a dull picture, but don't really have many from this past week of interest.

This email is sort of short, not much really happened this week. Just the same thing I do every week, Try to take over the world. I am glad that water has been found on the moon, that will definitely help the space men, good thing it is also already attached to a drinking fountain, that helps a ton. That is neat that Nathaniel will get to go and see the next priesthood session. Hopefully I do to! Great to hear from you all again. Hope that this week is good. Wish I had more to say! I will have to remember to look for things to write about next week!
I love you all!
Elder B. Kent Talbert

Why Do We Even Have This Lever?


Well another week gone by! Things are going great. First off I better answer questions before I forget them all. So the water in the ocean here is exceedingly warm, their are no waves either. about 200 feet off the coast is a coral reef barrier that stops any waves. the sand is very clean and very nice. over all the ideal beach, one of the top rated in the world! So we eat the same things that we eat in Jamaica, it must be a common caribbean thing. I am not very good at speaking the languages haha I am getting moderately good at figuring out what they are saying though, so that is good. I can understand I just can't communicate without a translator. I know a lot of random vocabulary I just can't put it into understandable sentences haha.

We had another baptism On saturday, Paul Renel Jean. It was very nice and he is a very good guy. We had been unsure if he would be baptized or not but on Thursday we finally figured out what was making him so hesitant about accepting a baptism date and we resolved the problem and committed him for baptism on saturday. One of the most rewarding parts of a mission is Fast and Testimony meeting when you see someone like Brother Jean, who you just helped get baptized, get up and bear his testimony. So that made church really good yesterday.

We had special visitors this week! Pres. & Sis. Ockey. Pres. Ockey is the 2nd councilor in the mission presidency. He is by far the wealthiest man I have ever met and probably ever will meet, hundreds of millions of dollars, possibly billions. The weird part is that he sort of got rich by accident, he taught high school and decided to build a home and people liked it and wanted to have him build them a home, so he did and now for the last 30-40 years he has just built homes and is now one of the top 50 home builders in the world. Anyways so they took us out to eat at some really nice restaurants and that was a lot of fun. I think my very favorite part about Pres. Ockey is that he looks and acts just like Uncle Jim, he even has his little reading glasses that he pulls out for everything. They came on friday and left this morning. It was nice to have them. They come and visit once a month, so that will be something to look forward to.

Wow...I don't have anything to say, haha this week has been fairly the same, nothing really to report or make mention of. We ride our bikes here, sort of, we live far from the church so we ride to the church, park our bikes and then walk. since we have to have a translator for most things and they don't have bikes we just walk around with them. We spend a lot of time at the church because everybody knows where it is and it is easy to just have translators and investigators just meet us there. 

General conference is this next weekend, I am excited for that! That will make the weekend very excellent. Our Branch President is back in town and so I finally got to meet him, he has a really thick spanish accent and is really nice. 

Sis. Herbert was telling us all about this fun bingo game she found for conference on the church web page and was amazed when I told her that I played that every conference growing up. The Herberts are really nice, they are from alaska and both taught elementary school. I don't remember if I already told you about them.

Well from the sound of your emails it sounds as if life at home is going well. Do you have any idea what sort of classes you are going to take yet laura? Church was good, sunday school is always weird, our teacher isn't so great at staying on topic, she sort of likes to just tell us her thoughts on life and it can get really boring. Pres. Ockey taught priesthood/reliefsociety. It was a good lesson, so that was good.

Santa Cruz is doing alright, I emailed elder tonks last week and asked him how things go. Still no baptisms, but one of the people we were teaching should hopefully be baptized in the next week or so. Things are slowly turning around he said. So that was great to hear.

Last night our phone decided to give us trouble. it turned off and when we turned it back on it wanted a security code that neither of us knew. well we were supposed to get a call to report our numbers for the week but our phone wasn't working. I spent the next 40 minutes trying everything I could think of. the security code could be anything from 0-99999999 so to many choices to try a systematic way. I just guessed anything that seemed like a logical default code and nothing worked. In the end I was talking to elder brough and not paying attention just pushing numbers at random and pushing okay and all of a sudden it worked! I had accidently typed it correct! what a miracle! well we called in our numbers late, but they didn't mind, they were just glad to hear from us. about 10 minutes after our numbers were reported my companion unplugged the phone charger, the phone turned off and then when we turned it on it wanted the security code again...which we still didn't know. So the phone just didn't work and we couldn't figure it out again. thankfully it worked just long enough to report our numbers. This morning we got it all fixed and I went and changed the security code to something really generic that anyone can guess in case it happens again. Weird phone problems and a very fortunate pushing of random buttons, what are the odds!

Well that is about the week. Life is great, I don't know what else to say. This new email system is great, It is nice that everyone has the same pattern for email addresses so I can just guess all my friends emails. I hope this next week goes wonderful, I will attach a picture next week. Enjoy conference and anything else that is going on. I love you all and look forward to next weeks emails!

Elder Talbert