Monday, May 31, 2010

Who's Scruffy Looking?


Well another week gone by. It was a good week. Sounds as if things back home are going good enough. That is to bad that so much snow keeps coming this late in the year haha,it is just hot here....always. 

For starters I guess I will tell you all about my bike and its pedal problem. Well when I first got here I was given this really terrible bike that was completely missing a pedal. There was no bike shop on the island and so we couldn't find a replacement. In the end I used a metal bolt and duct tape to make a pedal that worked alright. The problem with it was was that it was sticky and that it didn't rotate with my foot but rather stayed stationary with the crank shaft. so I was always having to lift up my right foot to keep things rolling smoothly. This was annoying, but I got used to it. Earlier this week I was just riding home one night (wednesday night) and out of no where my pedal just fell off. well I was stuck riding home with only one pedal (near impossible). I spent all night pondering about this situation and how I could resolve it in the morning with a better fix. Well in the morning I went outside and began examined my bike and I decided that I would remove the left pedal and put it where the right pedal was supposed to go. I figured whatever I did to fix it I would rather fix the left side which doesn't have gears in the way than the right side. In the house we had an extra pedal that we hadn't been able to get to work because it had been all stripped. Well I decided to try it in the left side (something that we hadn't tried before) and turns out the left side had a lot larger tolerance and so it just screwed in and worked. now I finally have two working pedals. 

Well after all the rain from last week we had a lot of standing water which resulted in a lot of mosquitos. It has been ridiculous how many mosquitos have been invading everywhere. you can barely step outside without having 6 or 7 mosquitos on your arms. I went outside one day to pump up my bike tires and about the time I had hooked up the pump I just abandoned it all and returned inside because of how many mosquitos had attacked.

We had 2 more baptisms this week. so that was good. One of them was a lady who has been a member for 12 years or so but her records couldn't be found so finally Elder Coleman just said to rebaptize her. The other was this lady we have been teaching for a little while. So that was all good. we probably have one more this week.

Elder Brough is getting transfered to spanish town in Jamaica. I don't know who my new companion is. Sometime later today I will find out. We aren't even sure when Elder Brough is flying out, we just know he is sometime this week. 

Hmmm... my brain just shut off and I forgot what I was going to say next. Ughh..... So Pres. Hendricks is officially here, but I have yet to hear anything from him haha. He is in Jamaica and hopefully doing well, other than that I don't know anything about him. 

Lessons with Reuben have been going well. He understands so well. I just wish we could over come his concern with his family. He would be an excellent member. He loves to read and to learn and that is the best type of recent convert, they are the ones that become leaders somewhere down the road. There are to many recent converts that don't read enough. They read a verse or two a day and don't take time to understand those verses and so they never fully grasp the gospel. 

Congratulations laura on graduating. Hopefully the bean museum was fun. I always did enjoy walking through that building. my favorite part has always been the basement where it is like they just got lazy and got tired of setting up the animals so all they have are all these bottled amphibians and birds just lying there. Maybe they were intentionally set up that way, to look like they were dead...seeing as how they are dead. Keep sending me the blog mom, I appreciate it.

wow, I don't have much more to say, fairly boring and typical week. I am excited to meet my new companion, who ever it is. I have probably met him before seeing as how this mission is very small. This week was good, I am doing excellent, healthy and good to go. This next week should be good. keep up the good work, enjoy summer vacation. I will send pictures next week. I love you all and look forward to next weeks emails! 

Elder Talbert

Saturday, May 29, 2010

He Doesn't Like You


Well good to hear from you all again. Sounds as if things are going pretty well back home. I liked the pictures that Debbie sent of her grandchildren, those were nice. 

It has been a very wet end to the week. Starting Thursday morning at 7 am it poured and poured and poured and poured and poured until 2 pm. Everything was flooded. The roads had a good 6 inches at least on them and the roof in the church was very leaky and so I spent some time trying to find all the leaks and catch them in buckets. We also learned that our door to our house is not water proof so we had tons of water in our house that we had to clean up haha. It made for a mostly pointless day, the rain kept everyone inside and nobody wanted to come out. It was pretty crazy rain, it just kept coming down nonstop. Well then on Friday the same thing happened, then on Saturday the same thing happened. everything was very wet and it seemed there was no escape. It was in every building and on every floor. Just a big mess, but it was entertaining. 

On Saturday we had our baptism! so that was good. It didn't rain until the afternoon on saturday so in the morning we didn't have a problem. The ocean was a bit colder than normal, but still pretty warm. The sand doesn't get to muddy, it is already really dense sand and all the rain does is make it denser and stick to everything. The baptismal service was nice, sort of rushed, but nice. Turns out that Danillo (the man being baptized) thought the baptism was at 8 and he had to be to work by 9 and we thought it was at 8:30 so by the time we showed up he was getting anxious. Then on sunday he was late to church because he hadn't had time to wash his clothes and so he had washed them before church and was waiting for them to dry (a tricky process when the sun is hidden by clouds).

Friday night we played volleyball on the beach. It was a successful activity. The sand was just wet, but not muddy so it worked out well. A good number of investigators showed up this time to play so that was good. They got to mingle with many of the members and they all loved it. 

Hmmm...what else... It has been a dull week. Thursday and Friday the rain prevented us from doing to much. and the earlier part of the week was typical of mission life.

 I am attaching a handful of random photos. The First is of a group of school children stranded on a bench at a bus stop in the rain. sorry it is slightly blurry, that wasn't because of the camera, that was just all the rain, it was like a big wall of rain just falling from above.

 The second is of a lizard I decided to photograph. He was hiding under my bike handle.

 Third is a picture of a flower at the church.

 Finally is a strange picture of me at volleyball on Friday. Hopefully they all work.

Pres. Hendricks is supposed to arrive tomorrow. But who knows now. Supposedly some big riot and gang violence has broken out and the air traffic has stopped. I don't really know anything about it, but it was expected. There has been a big drug lord guy that the USA has wanted for a good while now and everyone always assumed that Jamaica would break out in gang wars if anything happened to him. Pres. Hendricks will come for a few days to Jamaica and then sometime in June he goes back to Utah to the Mission presidents training seminar and will return in July. I don't think I will meet him till July. 

Well hopefully Laura's graduation goes over well. Congratulations. That is nice that summer is coming. hopefully it warms up there. With the banking stuff mom, just put whatever you think you won't need into a 1 yr thingy. That is cool that you started school again mom, good luck with that.

Teaching of Reuben has been going well. I have been reviewing the entire plan of salvation with him again. He is so interested in the church and loves to read the book of mormon and loves to learn as much as he possibly can. Now if he would just get baptized! whenever he does get baptized he will make an excellent member/teacher. He is catching on the english more and more and he understands the gospel pretty well. 

Well that is about it for this week. Things are going well. I guessed CJ's email correctly, so that was good to get an email from him this week. I am enjoying the mission. Hopefully school finishes up nicely for you all. I love you all!

Elder B. Kent Talbert

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

African or European?


Well it has been a good week, and it sounds as if things are going well back home. Always great to hear from everyone again. 

We didn't have our baptisms on saturday we decided to give them another week, we didn't think he was all the way ready. So now he is going to be baptized this week with the possibility of 2 others. We have 2 others who want to be baptized and it is now just a matter of figuring out whether they will be baptized this week or next week.  Overall they are doing very well. One is a man named Danyello (not sure on the spelling), anyways he wasn't really all that interested but a few of our members talked to him about baptism and whatnot and then he learned that after he was baptized he would get a certificate saying he was baptized and he thought that was the greatest thing in the world and now he really really really wants to be baptized, he was jumping up and down announcing to everyone that he was going to be baptized...he will be a very interesting member.

We have another investigator, Reuben. He is a good man, I have been teaching him now for about a month and he is so close to being baptized. He loves the book of mormon and spends a ton of time reading it, he is convinced that this church is true but he is very concerned about his family and how they will react and very concerned about going back to Haiti, once in haiti the nearest chapel is 23 miles from his home. Well haven't given up on him yet, he is so close, just need to help him with these last few concerns.

We had a handful of tourists here last sunday and they took us out to dinner last monday, it was really good! we went to some fancy restaurant and it was good fun. It is nice to get dinner every once in a while, the members are to poor to feed us so out main source of dinner appointments is tourists. Then on Saturday we met a mother and a Daughter who came here to celebrate her daughters graduation and they took us and the herberts out for dinner on saturday and then they came to the herberts house for dinner on sunday. It was a lot of fun and nice to eat good food.

I saw a church film this week called "Pioneers in Africa" very good, a worthwhile watch if you ever get your hands on it. it was quite interesting. Ummm...well that is all I have to say about that.

In Sunday school I have the reputation of being the biblical scholar. I am not quite sure how I got this reputation, but if ever a question arises, and there is a disagreement on the answer they ask me and whatever I say must be the truth. It is sort of ironic that I am considered the master on the bible, when I am yet to read the entire bible (150 pgs left!). Anyways so now the reason for mentioning all this. Yesterday at the end of the lesson the teacher was talking about how fascinating the lesson had been and how much she had learned. Well then the class asked if I had anymore to add to the lesson. We had been talking about Ruth and Naomi and Hannah and they had gotten distracted talking about Samuel for a good portion of the lesson and I had been sitting there thinking about how samuel sort of typifies christ. Well I then shared a few of my thoughts. and I guess I might as well share that here. Before samuel Israel was in a state of mostly confusion, they had been through random judges, and they were lacking a stable government. Well Samuel came onto the scene as a man who had his entire life dedicated to serving the lord. Eli and his sons, the priests, were rejected and Samuel became this great prophet who brought order to israel and established the kingdom with saul as king and later david. When Christ came it was a similar situation, israel was yet again in a state of disrepair. They had lost all right to government and had become a overly religious group with crazy rules and laws. Christ came, his life was dedicated to serving god. The leaders of the Jewish religion were rejected and Christ established his gospel and his kingdom although this time it was on more of a spiritual level, samuel had established a physical kingdom. umm....hmmm...I am not sure where I am going with any of this anymore. hopefully that at least made some sense, it makes sense in my head but I think it got sort of mixed up as I was attempting to put it into words haha.

This week I had a few minutes to sit down and practice the piano and I opened up to a random hymn, number 126. I had never heard it before. I really like it, it is an excellent hymn. 

This morning we woke up to no power. turns out the only power company on the island was having problems so the entire island was out of power. Very annoying. Thankfully it came back on after an hour or so. We were wondering what we were going to do for preparation day having no power, no internet, no washing. I sort of see the problem with an entire island dependent on one company. If anyone wanted to take over this country that would be the first thing to go for, that and the only tiny airport. I am frequently reminded of a pinky and the brain quote that comes to my mind almost everyday during planning. "what are we going to do today/tomorrow elder" "The same thing we do everyday, try to take over the world." unfortunately I haven't succeeded yet, but I feel that the power company would be an ideal way to start.

Time is running short. I will include some pictures next week after our baptisms are through. Hopefully these last few weeks of school are going great and they end well. Things are going good here. I love you all and look forward to hearing from you next week! 

-Elder B. Kent Talbert

Friday, May 14, 2010

He's Burning Faramir alive!


Well it was excellent to talk to you all yesterday, unfortunately I am now low on things to write in this email. I guess I will take the extra time I would be writing to attach pictures instead. This week was good. skype was an excellent idea, it is amazing how wonderful technology is these days. It sort of reminds me of Back to the Future II when Marty gets fired by his boss who is on a big screen in his house and sends some fax like thing to him. Sort of funny how the futuristic things in that movie are now not so futuristic. It was good to see Jim and Debbie and Josh and Grandma and Grandpa Talbert and my dog yesterday. hopefully Josh is going somewhere in life, I look forward to hanging out with him when I get home.

Well Our Meeting with the Colemans on Friday was a lot of fun. Elder Coleman gave an excellent presentation on establishing the church more fully and the organization of the church which was quite interesting. It was wonderful to see elder Tanner and Elder Sizemore again. We had a lot of fun talking and catching up on what has been going on every where. My new mission president will be President Hendrick. He has been set apart and will arrive someday, nobody has any clue when he is going to arrive in Jamaica. I am excited to meet him and hope he is great!

Our 2 baptisms this Saturday went very well, the ocean was nice. One of the Girls had her hair that refused to go under so she had to be baptized 3 different times. But they are doing well and glad to be members of the church. We have another baptism planned for this thursday, another man, named wisley or something like that. He is good and has been coming to church for a little while now. He is another Haitian. We have been attempting to teach people other than Haitians to build up the branch here with a bit firmer foundation, but not much success so far, so we just keep teaching all the Haitians who come to us, we don't go out and find Haitians they just come to us. 

I am attaching 3 pictures, one of part of the pirate caves, 

one of us on the beach friday night after dinner,  (L-R Elders Sizemore, Talbert, Brough, and Tanner)

 and lastly one of the sunset.

 Hope you enjoy all of them. 

It is nice to have an email system that I don't have to worry about picture size or anything. Thank goodness for google. On a similar note, every week I send my email to, yet I notice that everybody else emails me from a different email address. Would there be a better email address that I should be emailing weekly?

The Reliefsociety president yesterday brought thingys for mothers day and she also randomly made the missionaries a loaf of home made bread! I am excited to make sandwiches this week, so that was wonderful! Church was great. We had 7 tourists who all leave tuesday and who all wanted to feed us dinner monday night, so that was unfortunate that we had to deny people dinner appointments. I gave a talk yesterday on Repentance, I think it went over pretty well.

hmmm....what other random thoughts do I have that I didn't mention yesterday.... Teaching has been going good, we have a handful of really good investigators and a lot of potential. It is also amazing to see how much many members of the church have stepped up since the abduction of 9 of our members. Some of our main leaders were taken so someone had to replace them. Thankfully many members that had always just sort of stood on the sidelines began to do their duties and keep things running.

Is there anything you wish I added more of in my emails? I normally try to get a variety of everything, but occasionally I run into times like this with absolutely nothing to say. This has the potential to be the shortest email I have written on my mission.

I guess I will just end this email for now, I don't really have anything else to say. Random scripture chain that I was marking earlier this week: Moses 6:31, Moses 7:13, Ether 12:27. Well I hope that this week is great for everyone! I will have more to say next week! I am doing well, things are going well. I enjoy hearing from everyone and look forward to next weeks emails. good luck. I love you all!

Elder B. Kent Talbert

p.s. haha sorry it is so short! :D

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Ring is Mine!

Well great to hear from you all again this week! I am glad that the $5000 got to you and that Chad Called. He and his wife were really nice and fed us an excellent meal. A lot of craziness has happened this week so I actually have something to say! In response to your question mom about if I need anything, I can't think of much, I seem to have all the essentials, so anything is good.
Last monday we went to some alleged Pirate Caves, how they know pirates used them I don't know, but they were really cool! We had to climb down into them and whatnot. Very beautiful views from outside the caves and inside the caves.  The sand was very interesting in the caves, mostly just very tiny particles of coral and seasheeIs crushed from the ocean pounding on them over and over. We also saw lots of rock carvings from stranded people after shipwrecks. It was awesome! There was no one else out there, not really a high tourist spot so it was just us in the middle of nowhere. I got some excellent pictures. I would send some, but unfortunately sister Herberts computer is giving trouble (it won't finish booting up, it just sits at the apple logo eternally) and so I am using some less effective computer and as such I won't bother to attach any pictures this week, but I will be sure to send some next week. On a similar note with the faulty computer that throws a curveball into the skype thing. The Herberts are trying to get it fixed today, but we will see how that goes. For mothers day (this sunday) call at 5pm Utah time (we are 2 hours ahead here, so 7pm TCI time). Now I am going to give you the Herberts email address and our phone number, this week email the herberts and if there comptuer is working they will let you know and we can use skype but if they don't get it fixed call my phone number. Sister herbert still goes to an internet shop and emails and so if their comptuer isn't working she will let you know and if it is working she will let you know and give you all the skype info. Either way 5pm utah time. I look forward to it! You can probably email here today or tomorrow and just keep in touch until a definite desision is made on her computer.
Funny thing with that computer, I have inheirieted the knack from dad to fix things without any idea of what was done to fix it. Sis Herberts computer has been not working and so she brought it to me and after 10 minutes I had it working perfectly (no clue what I did) well we made a back up of important things just in case. Then 4 hours later it stopped working again and hasn't worked since, if I had more time I would like to mess around with it, but I don't, so other options are being attempted.
now for the madness of this week. Immigration problems have been getting worse. This week on Wednesday they swarmed an area (about 30 immigration officers) and they caught around 52 haitians. The bad part was that they got 9 members of church, and 2 of our very best translators. We were teaching 2 lessons, I was upstairs in the church teaching, and elder brough was downstairs teaching. My lesson finished and Gelin my translator walked downstairs and went to the branch presidents office. I went down about 3 minutes later, I saw all the immigration and went back up the stairs. 5 minutes later elder brough joined me and said that the guy he was teaching and our two translators saw immigration and had all gone into the bathroom and locked themselves in. So we just waited upstairs and eventually immigration arrived and told us that we had illegal immigrants downstairs and that they wanted us to open to doors. well we had keys and so we had to open all the doors, except we didn't have the bathroom key. They broke through the door and They caught our 2 translators and our investigator. and sent them back to Haiti.It was pretty crazy. now we don't have an elders quorum president and teaching has become a lot more difficult. It wasn't much fun either to unlock all the doors knowing what was behind the doors.
so that was crazy. But just when we thought it couldn't get any more nuts Pres. Ockey came to visit and informed us that Pres. Graff had been released..??? That was a huge surprise. Why, I don't know. Elder Coleman of the 70 is now running our mission with Elder Tanner and Elder Sizemore as his Assistants. We are getting a new mission president sometime at the end of this month or the start of the next month. I will definitely miss Pres. Graff, I have learned a ton from him and have become a very good teacher from the things that he has talked to me about. It is weird to think that he is gone (he is already home in Texas) and that I will have 3 mission presidents. Pres. Gingery for 5 months, Pres. Graff for 10 months, Elder Coleman for 1 month and some other guy for the remaining 8 months. They haven't told us who the next one will be but they did tell us that they have already made the call. I doubt I will ever know him all that well. We don't hear from the mission president out here very often only once every 2 or 3 months and by the time I return to Jamaica my mission will be nearly over. Well I wrote Pres. Graff a thankyou note and hope that he is doing good. It came as a huge surprise to us and everyone, I don't think anyone expected it, I highly doubt that even Pres. Graff expected it. This Friday Elder Coleman, Elder Sizemore and Elder Tanner are coming to visit us, so hopefully we will know more then, either way it will be a lot of fun to see Elder Sizemore and Elder Tanner, they a 2 of my favorite missionaries and I have served with both of them previously.
We have 2 investigators with a date that should be baptized this weekend so that is exciting! I am looking forward to that. We have a handful of other investigators that should be baptized this week or next week. We met some very nice people from Guana, Gyana, something like that, sounds like Guy-on-uh. They were interested and I am excited to meet with them again this week. I finished the book of psalms and have been working through proverbs, very good, I like the book of Proverbs a lot more than I liked psalms, I felt like after I had read the first 100 psalms they were getting repetative, very similar ideas in many of those psalms. I am hoping to finish the Old Testament here next week (not this week). I really like the Old Testament and look forward to reading from it again, perhaps at a slower rate, I have never read it through before so my main goal was just to read it and get an idea of what was in it at sort of a surface layer.
My diet has been very good as of late. this weekend I have been eating great. This morning for breakfast I had a bowl of multigrain cheerios followed by a few glasses of orange juice and a banana. For some reason it has just been on my mind a lot so I decided I should try and eat healthier. I figure poptarts aren't the healthiest breakfast, they are a lot less time consuming and easier to deal with, but there isn't much nutritional value, especially in those chocolate chip ones. (they only sell Cherry and chocolate chip ones here....).
 Ah! time is running short and at these internet cafes if you don't send your email in time the computer just shuts off and you lose everything. I had more to say but I guess it will just wait till sunday and next monday. Think of things for sunday to talk about. Things are going great dispite all the bizarre changes. I am having an excellent experience. hopefully this week is great, and hopefully the snow doesn't keep returning, we don't have any here... I love you all!! Take care.
Elder B. Kent Talbert