Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Everybody Remember Where We Parked


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!

Elder B. Kent Talbert

Friday, October 22, 2010



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.

Elder B. Kent Talbert

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

No Subject


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



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!

Elder B. Kent Talbert