Saturday, September 25, 2010

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


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



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!

Elder B. Kent Talbert

A thousand apologies, O Patient One

Letter from Sept 11

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., 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!

Elder B. Kent Talbert

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Much to learn, you still have


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!

Elder B. Kent Talbert