Monday, January 24, 2011

(No Subject)


Well good to hear from everyone again. This week was certainly different. As you all know Elder Walker was shot and killed last Monday. I won't bother to write up the whole story but I'll at least give you a quick idea of what happened. Last Monday we had a multi-zone preparation day in Spanish Town where we played football. After we were done we all got in the mission bus. we drove to the Spanish Town bus park, we got out and grabbed a next bus to May Pen. The mission bus then worked its way out of Spanish Town where it was caught in a gun fight and Elder Walker was hit and killed. We get back to May Pen and emailed and finish up our preparation day. We had just walked in our door back home when the phone rang and it was a member asking if it was true that Elder Walker had been killed. We told them no, we had just seen him about an hour and a half before and he was just fine. Well about 5 minutes later we got another call from someone else asking the same thing. Well this was odd, so we called the Assistants, and it turns out that it was true! Elder Walker really had died. Well that was crazy news that was horribly unexpected. Elder Walker was a good missionary, about to finish too. He was in the same group as me so we have served our whole missions together. It was pretty shocking.

Today, a week later we had a memorial service for him. The family wanted to do the funeral and since they are not members of the church it meant it was going to be some chaotic pentecostal funeral. Pres. Hendricks had originally intended for the mission to go, but when the family took over the funeral plans we switched and held a memorial service instead. It was really good! Elder Coleman of the 70 was there, and we filled the chapel and most the overflow. The missionaries did one nice special musical number. Overall it was excellent and I think everyone in attendance felt of the spirit there.

So that has been the talk of the week, everywhere we go people ask us about it. If you want a bit more detail on the whole event here is a blog from a senior couple who was there for most of it and wrote up a report thing on it. pretty good account. The news paper had a good account too, but I didn't get a hold of a copy of it.

Well other than that nothing exciting has happened that I can recall. My mind has sort of blanked here and I can't think of what else to write. ughh......seems like something happened that is worth typing.....hmmm.... oh so funny thing. Elder Ostrin is still learning to teach well and so often in lessons he doesn't say much and I end up teaching most the lesson, which is fine with me, I like teaching. My favorite part is that if I teach an investigator about The Book of Mormon I can expect that the next investigator we go to and teach about The Book of Mormon I will hear the same thing I taught to the last investigator about The Book of Mormon, only it will be from the mouth of my companion. He often repeats what I said in a lesson in our next lesson. It makes me laugh, not the most effective, but he learning. Every investigator is different and needs to hear different things, but oh well, he is learning. It is fun to hear what I said again though. He is getting there.

We have some nice investigators these days. Jezel is doing awesome. I am not sure how to spell her name, I actually think it is Gisselle. But oh well. She is reading steadily and will make a great member. We have a next boy named Rashane. He is 18 and has an older sister who is a member, that is how we found him. He is doing good; reading a ton and considering baptism. He is a good potential future missionary, if he gets baptized I see him serving a mission in a year or two. Just yesterday we were talking about him serving a mission haha, he wasn't really against the idea at all.

The branch here has not had a piano player for a long time; and it is apparent. They have sung the hymns with no piano for so long that they have sort of made up their own tempos and notes. It is hard to play with them for they don't hold the notes for the right lengths, they either hold it for to long or way to short. It is hard to keep up with them, seems like I am always ahead or behind, and if I try to get them to do it right they don't follow me, they just keep singing whether they are with the piano or not. haha, it is good though.

I am wasting a lot of my email time just staring at the screen, I just keep spacing on what happened this week. Seems like everything just revolved around E. Walker and his death, it is all we have talked about this week and now I can't think of anything else.... I was challenged to read D&C 76 everyday this week. So I did. It was really excellent, I really like vs 40-42, very good simple definition of what the gospel is, what the message we go out everyday to share. That Christ has atoned for our sins and there is hope that we might enter into the Kingdom of God.

We ate lunch right before we came over here to email. The food was overly hot and I burned the top of my mouth, sort of annoying.

Well I really can't think of anything else to say. The week was good, I am glad that the E. Walker thing is now closed. He was a good Elder and the mission will miss him. This upcoming week should be good. So I hope things are going well back home. Hope you all have a great week.

Elder B. Kent Talbert

Monday, January 17, 2011

QWERTY Keyboards Disrupting the Space-Time Continuum Again


Well somehow I have very little time today, it has been a crazy day thanks to some Zone P-Day that took up way to much of our time and left us with no time to do anything else today, but oh well, so it goes. Sounds like things are going well back home. This week was good, lots of random little things happened, but it was great! On a quick side note you should try to update my blog more rapidly! I have got a few emails lately saying I am slow at updating it haha.

So Zone Conference was this week! That was certainly the highlight! Bussed into Kingston and had our conference at the Constant Spring Chapel. It was great being back in Kingston! I love that city!! Well the conference was excellent, they talked a lot about obedience and a lot about getting investigators to church, it was superb. The best part of it though was that when it was finished we had to wait for Pres. Hendricks, he was supposed to drive us back to May Pen, so we had to wait for an hour and a half and during that time I got to talk to Sis. Flake for a while and get updates on everything going on in Kingston. Sounds like things are going well, Akeilah is still doing awesome!!!!! Well then I got to talk to E. Allen for around 45 minutes, that was great to catch up with him. When I first started serving with him I had my doubts on how much I was really going to like serving with him, but since then he has become one of my all time favorite companions! We had a lot of fun just talking and reminiscing on all the fun we had in Kingston. I am very thankful that I got to serve with Elder Allen, I learned a lot while serving with him.

On Friday my companion and I were waiting on an investigator to show up that we were supposed to teach and there was 2 other guys their also just playing dominoes. So I asked if we could join. It was excellent! I crushed everyone! I won 6/7 rounds, it was a lot of fun. I have found that it is now one of my favorite games these days. So that was good. Our investigator never showed up so in the end it seemed like we just waisted our time...but than again it was not intentional, we thought they were coming, they told us they were coming.

Sunday we had some Caribbean conference thingy broadcast from Salt Lake. It was good. Elder Oaks gave an excellent talk. The intermediate hymn was a struggle. They announced #3 and everyone just assumed that they would display the words on the screen. Well they Spanish. That sort of threw everyone off and by the time everyone found the right page and started singing they didn't think to catch up so we were way behind the music. Pretty much sounded terrible, I gave up and just figured I couldn't really make it any worse so I spent the last 2 verses trying to sing in Spanish.

For some strange reason I have become horribly addicted to rice as of late. I find myself cooking rice for every meal these days. Lunch and dinner have become just seasoned rice, or rice and peas, or rice and beans, or rice and something. It is just so cheap and yet at the same time so delicious.

So back in December, before Christmas, Elder Allen and I and Elder Caplin and Pres. Hendricks went out to eat as a final lunch with E. Caplin as his mission finished. Well while we were eating this lady walked up to us and said hi and said she knew the missionaries and that her mom was a member. Now here in May Pen I have met her again, her mother is a member who we visit often enough. Well we have been teaching her, name is Jezel, she is very interested! She should be baptized here hopefully before I leave, it would be nice to have one final baptism before the mission finishes for me. She is great, a good listener and willing to learn! She is a good reader and understands the gospel really well. She will be one of my better converts from my mission, although I don't think it is physically possible to ever find someone who will ever top Akeilah lol.

Today we had a multi zone pday where we played american football. It was fun enough. I played for the first half but at half time I quit and became the photographer for the rest of the game. I think I would rather be the photographer than run around left and right in the hot sun chasing some ball everywhere it goes. It was good enough. The only thing I don't like about zone preparation days is that it takes so much time, especially if you have to travel an hour by bus to get there.

My companion is doing well enough. He is a good talker, he likes to talk in lessons, which is better than most new missionaries. He is energetic. He is also ultra stereotypical Provo, Utah mormon guy haha, he sort of drives me bonkers when he gets to talking to much about all sorts of foolishness. Nonetheless he is a good elder and will hopefully enjoy his mission.

Lately at meals it has become an unspoken competion between E. Lee and I on who can clean off their plate the best. It all came about because E. Ostirn always leaves so much randomness on his plate, rice everywhere and bits of vegetables and not well cleaned bones, so E. lee and I have been cleaning our plates to perfection. I have never really been a bone eater my whole life, but lately I find myself eating my chicken bones more and more just to have nothing left on my plate so that I don't lose to E. Lee haha, I don't think I will continue the habit after my mission, Anyways, I don't think they cook the bones long enough in the States to really be eatable.

Well that is about it for the week. Missionary work goes on, life is good. I am doing well. I can't believe that their are only 3 weeks left in my mission, almost unbelievable. I have been a missionary for so long that to think that I will be home in 3 weeks seems like it is false. I will certainly miss my mission here, I love this country and I love teaching the gospel. I hope everything goes great back home this week, enjoy work and school. I love you all!

Elder Bradford K. Talbert

Friday, January 14, 2011

Yodeling Turtles hewing on Rusty Nails


Well this week was good. First before I forget dad, are you still having trouble with the printing thing? I don't know how well it works but you might want to try Google Print, it is a service through Google Chrome that might enable you to do what you want there, sort of a way to half network things together. I haven't really messed around with it though, at the office we already had everything pretty much working when I was looking into networking our printers. Anyways, good to hear from everyone, sounds like things are going pretty good back home.

This week nothing to exciting happened, pretty generic. But I will try to at least make this somewhat interesting. We are still on foot, we finally got me a bike and I tuned it up and have it working great, but Elder Ostrin got a bike that keeps breaking on him and so he is constantly fixing it and it is causing a lot of trouble! haha on Saturday we had to walk for an hour and a half to get home, we had ridden way out to this next part of town and the way back is all down hill very easy very nice, but he hit a pothole destroyed his wheel and so we had to walk it.....that was a long walk, sort of a huge waste of time, but oh well. My shoes do not like all this walking, after 2 years of wearing the same pair they are ready to give up the ghost. Today we hope to finally get his bike in working condition, that will speed things up a lot, I am tired of all this walking, it wastes so much time and their is only so much to talk about.

We have some good investigators these days. Been working with this one lady named Gisselle, she is good enough, very interested, her mother is a member and is a huge help. She is probably our best investigator, other than that we have a few others that are reading and doing alright, just need them to do things like come to church! We have spent a lot of time searching for new investigators with little success, hopefully it improves this week, but it hasn't been too bad, we have still got plenty accomplished.

Every night after we plan, Elder Lee (a next missionary in our home, and a native Jamaican) and I play Dominoes until bed time. It has been fun enough, last night we got Elder Ostrin to play with us, I crushed them both! I never quite realized how entertaining that game was until the last few weeks. So that makes for a fun evening every day.

Wow....I am really just baffled at what to say, nothing happened this week that seems really worth mentioning. Studies have been good, I have been working my way through The Book of Mormon and The Doctrine and Covenants again, so that has been amusing. I read through 1st Nephi chapter 2 on Tuesday....or perhaps Monday, I don't recall. Anyways, I was reminded of a thought I had had previously when I read it in verse 14 and 15. Verse 15 is the classic "and my father dwelt in a tent" but in verse 14 we read about how Lehi sort of lectures his sons and he confounds them and he has great spiritual power. Well the interesting thing to note is that it doesn't really matter what position we are in in life as long as we are doing what the Lord commands. Lehi is living in a tent out in the middle of nowhere with more or less nothing, and yet he still has great spiritual power. His humble circumstances do not change his position with God.

As I type this email my feet are being eaten by mosquitoes, it is unfortunate, I knew I should have worn jeans today, but oh well, so it goes I guess. We have a tradition in our house here that on Monday we play Book of Mormon Golf, today was great, I dominated! Got nearly every chapter on my first guess, I felt bad for the other team...they lost miserably.

Hmmm...what else to ramble about....E. Ostrin seems to be doing well enough, he is terrified of traffic and is always jumping out the way of vehicles that would not have hit him had he just remained where he was, it makes me laugh. He also has one of the most forgetful memories I have ever seen, haha, it is fun though, it always makes me laugh when he calls someone the wrong name, or walks the wrong way, or any other number of things.

Happy Birthday Dad! I am sorry that I sort of failed at sending a card, I thought about it, and well..... I guess it never really happened....opps, none the less I hope it was great!

So we found another girl who is named Akeilah, she is pretty cool, although not as entertaining to talk to...partially because she is only 3 years old, we have been teaching her mother, but none the less Akeilah is pretty cool, always running in circles and causing mayhem in the lessons. Her mother is good enough, although I am unsure how interested she really is.

At church I got to teach gospel principles, It was on the millennium. Conveniently we had that lesson in Kingston like 4 weeks ago, so I essentially just duplicated that lesson because it was really good. It went over well, I think the class learned something...hopefully. It is a much quieter class than we had in Kingston, not a whole lot of talking, just me monologuing, no one really feels inclined to comment, but there were a few good discussions. It is always so much more difficult to teach when the class just sits their and listens, it is sort of a pain to have to monologue for 45 minutes.

Well I guess that was the week. I am doing well, nothing really all that new. Life is good, this week should be excellent, especially since we will have bikes! I hope this next week is great for everyone! Enjoy school, enjoy work! I love you all!

-Elder B. Kent Talbert

I am out of new Subject Headings these days.....


Well this week was good enough. It was fun talking to everyone on Christmas. So I haven't emailed for just over 2 weeks now. So I guess that should mean I have a lot to say!

Christmas day was awesome! After talking to everyone we went back over to the Sheafermeyers home and talked to Pres. Hendricks and some other senior couples for a bit, it was fun. Went home and E. Allen took a nap and I did something....I don't even remember what it was anymore that I did...oh well. At around 3 pm we went over to Akeilah's home and had a ton of fun! Played dominoes and forks (sort of like spoons...only with forks). It was great! I am a fairly terrible dominoes player, sort of just got destroyed over and over. Akeilah is crazy good at dominoes and just annihilated us over and over. Got dinner from her mother also, it was splendid! Great food! It was a lot of fun! Last year Christmas was good, but this one was certainly a whole lot better! I loved it! I certainly would not complain if every Christmas was like this!

Well Sunday church was good. Nothing spectacular or out of the ordinary, I enjoyed it a lot. Priesthood was as silly as normal, and gospel principles was great! Yesterday at church I was reminded of how much better of a teacher Akeilah is than most teachers, May Pen's gospel principles class could use some was pretty pathetic. Anyways, back to a week ago. Elder and Sister Flake took us teaching with them. It was so much fun! Troy and Akeilah came with us and we all got smashed in the back of the Flakes truck. We went and visited a family in the branch and they performed a little Christmas program for us. It was cute! Over all it was a awesome day! I had a great time, it was a lot of fun to have one last epic journey with Akeilah and Troy.

Well Monday and Tuesday were good, last days in the office, so I finished up everything there and tried to get E. Allen and E. Stone ready for my departure. This is the first time since June 2009 that the office has not had E. Tanner or I in it, I sort of wonder how it will all work out, their were a lot of things that we were the only 2 that really knew how to do it effectively. On Tuesday night we had a farewell dinner at the Flakes home, it was great. Said good bye to Akeilah and Troy. I will miss both of them a ton!!! Troy has been of so much aid to me for the last year and Akeilah has become one of my best friends ever. I am excited to talk to them again though.

Wednesday was transfers. Got up early and went to the mission home to meet with the new missionaries. I was assigned and I am serving with one Elder Ostrin from California. He is cool enough, definitely a new missionary. He is pretty opinionated on how missionary work should be done, it makes me laugh, a lot of his opinions are definitely not from experience. He is very energetic about the work though, so that is good, he is a hard worker.

May Pen branch is nice. We don't have a car, or a bike, so we walk everywhere. It is fairly less-effective, but hopefully I get a bike soon. On Friday for new years we weren't allowed to go out teaching after 6 so we just got to do nothing. I played dominoes with some members for a few hours and then just went home and went to bed. It was fun, I am starting to see the strategy in dominoes, although I still sort of fail at it haha. My goal is to at least get good enough to give Akeilah a run for her money and not get destroyed so easily.

Nothing too eventful at the end of the week, just out finding lots of new people to teach, we didn't really have an investigator pool when we got here so we have got to do lots of finding. It is good though. The work goes on well enough. Sunday was good, the branch has no piano player so once again I was left to play. The piano in this branch is pretty worn out, has a strange hum to it and the keys are hard to push, you have to push hard on the keys to get them to make a noise, makes for a lot of errors and really loud playing. It is good though, I am glad that I get to play still.

Pres. Hendricks came and joined us at church, he gave an excellent lesson in Priesthood/Reliefsociety on murder, and also on The Law of Chastity. It was interesting, I learned a lot from it and I think the rest of the branch did too. Seems like everyone liked it.

Now that I am in May Pen I am stuck using internet cafe computers, I despise these things. Seems like the keyboard always has problems, I am constantly having to go back and edit typos that came about from sticky and broken keys. The internet runs pretty slow on the one that I am using, sort of annoying. haha oh well, only 5 more preparation days and then I am free of internet cafes and their less-effectiveness.

Our house has 4 missionaries in it, Elder Lee, Kraus, and Ostrin (plus myself). Elder Lee and I go home the same time, so that is cool. E. Kraus is really into Physics so that is fun, we have had some good discussions. We also have a keyboard at our house so at nights I get time to practice the keyboard a bit, nothing like a piano with those flimsy plastic keys, but it is better than nothing.

Well overall things are going good. I definitely miss Kingston! Especially Akeilah, I hope she is doing well. Here are two pictures that I have. Unfortunately you probably won't get any more photos for the rest of my mission. I sort of donated my card reader to the office and now I have no way to use my memory card. The photos I am sending today are on a CD that I had made in the office. The first is at the church on Sunday the 26th, Troy and Akeilah, sort of a cheesy grin on my part.

The Second really needs to be cropped, but it is of us with the Flakes by some Chrstimas lights. good enough.

Well that is about it for the week. I hope this next week is great for everyone. Have a great new year! I love you all and look forward to next Monday!

Oh yea, one more thing, my scriptures arrived! So now I have scriptures again, they got here Wednesday, so that is great!

Elder B. Kent Talbert