Monday, December 29, 2014

Post Christmas



hey mom!

yeah Skype was fun! it wasn't as weird as i thought it would be. Jackson's voice is way deeper, but he looks the same, so that's kinda funny. Every one's pretty much the same though it seems. I haven't sent those emails yet, I'm going to do it today hopefully. I had a lot of emails to send off last week and we didn't have as much time so I'm going to try and get them done today. yeah the shirts are nice, I haven't touched them. I gained some weight so I'm assuming they probably are snug right now, but I'm working on that part. now that Christmas is over I can stop praying for meal appointments, because the amount I get fed in Portmore is disgusting. But at the same time it's probably the best part of this area.

This week things are starting to pick up. We've got some hopefully solid investigators. We've dropped 10 or 12 the past couple weeks :( but hopefully the new year brings some new potential! Right now we're teaching some guys. We're teaching one guy who went to prison in New York and got deported. he's all tatt'd up and he wants to own a restaurant. He's been rejected by two churches and he's still searching, he's kinda iffy but when he has the time we get to have good discussions with him. He's way cool. We're working with this other guy who went to prison here in Jamaica for a while for some stuff that he didn't tell us. But now he's got 2 young sons and he's decided he doesn't want his kids to grow up like he did, and he's really humble. He loves his kids a lot, and we happened to bump into him on the street a week ago and now he wants him and his 2 sons to start attending our church. It's really cool how things like this happen.

The JW family we started teaching is less JW than we thought. They haven't been to church in 14 years, which is nice. The mother isn't interested but she said if her daughters are then that's fine, so hopefully her two daughters will come to church next Sunday! They said they would this Sunday but they backed out, sending us a text right before saying they weren't ready to make that kind of transition yet. But they want us to still come over and teach them. They're older brother is an atheist who's mad at God, which doesn't make any sense. But he's kinda cool. We had a very long discussion on the existence of dinosaurs last time we saw him. I think it makes him mad that we have answers for all his questions, be it polygamy, authority, church history, religious history, biblical proofs. He's been getting more and more contentious, but at the same time I kinda feel like he respects us.

Your favorite missionary in the Jamaica Kingston mission says hi.. thanks a lot mom...(I made a joke about Elder Koegler being my favorite because he sends good pictures)

but yeah, good stuff. we dropped Miss Johnson which was sad.

Some lady asked me to marry her the other day, and I said no. She started laughing and asked if I could just get her into America. I told her couldn't because I'm Canadian and got all excited and said that Canada would be way better! That was kinda funny.

Some lady on Sunday, sang a verse of some Catholic hymn or something. That was way weird and kinda uncomfortable. But, that's Jamaica for ya!

We Christmas carolled for some old peeps on Christmas day. They really liked it. They're so old they have to be in wheel chairs and when they walk i get really scared because their knees bend in weird directions and they're kinda crazy. But it felt good because they wish they could be at church and do fun things. But now they're old. I would hate to be an old Jamaican person.

That's about it. We taught double last weeks numbers for lessons which was awesome, most of them were over the weekend too. This next week should hopefully pick up. other than that, just a normal week. not much happened.

Stuff's still going good though. it's Christmas and I'm still way sweaty. How's my guitars and stuff doing? Does anyone touch the instruments?

Love,
Elder Zeck


Monday, December 15, 2014

Zone Christmas Conference and Presents and Flooding

hey mom!

my shift key isnt working on this computer so don't mind the lack of grammar in some instances. Christmas party was cool. Elder pace and i performed silent night, it was really awful, but i thought it was fun. there are times where we're giving out pass along cards for christmas and people ask us to sing them a carol, which i think is a weird thing to ask. we sang we wish you a merry christmas in the post office just this morning, and we made elder koegler sing angels we have heard on high by himself in the street last night.

everything here is good though, apartment life is good. it rained really hard this week and it ended up flooding our house. There were waterfalls coming down the walls in three or four spots in our apartment. luckily we all had bike issues and all ended up at the apartment right before it rained, so we could all work together start sweeping water out and making sure nothing got damaged. apparently its never happened before, but it sounds like some of the office missionaries weren't too happy to hear that. it pretty much demolished tuesday for teaching. This whole week was a pretty big blow out. We taught like, 7 lessons all week which is way stupid. we've also had a lot of drop lessons too because no one we're teaching has any desire whatsoever to find any truth. So we have just over 20 potential new investigators for this next week, hopefully we find some one good. We spent almost the whole week finding new people, we're just praying our efforts aren't in vain. so in all it's been a boring and unfulfilling week.

I got 7 packages at the party, which was a little embarrassing. sister hall said I may have had the most gifts out of both zones that were there. Which was cool, but i've been eating non stop candy since thursday and it's starting to make my body feel kinda weird. but all the gifts were nice! if you could thank the Stewarts for me for the package they sent me i'd appreciate that. it was really nice of them and i wasn't expecting it at all. But yeah, seven packages. i didn't open them because i knew i'd have to carry them all home after anyway. luckily president brown approved the sisters to drive us back to portmore with our gifts, which is usually against mission rules, but i guess today was an exception.

living with elder koegler is pretty cool, we talk a lot about home and about mission stuff. he hasn't changed at all, i don't think i've changed much either. the only difference is now we both have a better understanding of the gospel. we have lots of talks on different points of doctrines and church history and we read talks and stuff. it's all pretty cool.

i was thinking about what i would want in packages in the future if you felt so inclined to ever send me another one. and shirts and pants and ties seem like the best thing. other than that, maybe like... less sugary foods. i'm kind of done with candy, but i'm sure i'm only saying that because i had a whole bag of sour keys for breakfast this morning. So, just follow the spirit on that one. i don't really need anything that i cant get out here.

other stuff this week... i realized this week that if i just studied the gospel principles manual before my mission, i would've cleared up so many doctrinal questions i've had so far. i think it'd be good if you all started to go through that manual for family home evenings or something. There's a lot of stuff i've been learning that i never knew before from attending these gospel principles classes. But this sunday we were discussing the creation and the book asked how we can tell God loves us by his creations. And they were talking about plants and animals and how plants are pretty and they give us oxygen and they can smell nice and stuff. And under Sister Scarlett's breath (the bishops wife) she said, "and the ganja" and she quietly laughed to herself. i'm pretty sure i was the only one who heard though cause i was sitting close to the front. i thought that was pretty funny.

Bishop gave a really good talk on loving one another. he talked about how even him and his wife don't always get along, but they've been commanded to love each other, and they make things work. i think it's a message that most people don't realize. Christ straight up said to the Nephites that if we have hate in our hearts and if we don't love others, then he won't forgive our sins. i think it's a simple and over looked commandment.

i got a hair cut

had to spend like, 8000 dollars on new bike stuff and repairs, and i'm buying a new helmet this week because mine broke. just proving that my home funds are being used to make up for the crappy equipment the mission sells us.

i need a silver sharpie and multivitamins. that'd be way cool

Said hey to this rasta guy as he rode by and very slowly he turned to us and said, "black supremacy" and rode away. That was probably the highlight of my week.

but yeah, that's the week. it was alright. i still don't know the details of skyping, but it'll be good. we get max 45 minutes, i'll keep you posted on when we make our accounts and stuff, probably next monday.

hope stuffs going good at home! how's everyone doing? is everyone coming for christmas? How's the dogs? i met a really nice pitbull this week and i've decided that it was the best dog i've ever met in the whole world my whole life, so i want a pit bull when i get home. food for thought.

love

elder zeck


Christmas Loot!!!  Thanks everyone!!!!!

Monday, December 8, 2014

You Can't Keep a Secret From Your Mother.......



*****Mamadeb - I was waiting for confirmation this week that Elder Koegler, James' friend and fellow ward member/deacon, teacher,priest/young mens/ etc. was transferred to Portmore. I had my suspicions last week and I know my boy. He's going to withhold information just to make me mad*****


Thanks for the email mom!

Yeah the devotional was cool, we had to leave early because of the time change, it ended at 9:30 I think, which is when we had to be home. But the first bit was good. Kristopherson was a good talk.

You'll get pictures this week!

I think for the Skype we'll be able to set up Skype accounts, and then we just Skype home. There's two computers and six missionaries, so I don't know exactly how it's going to work, but I'll let you know when I set up my account and then I guess we'll go from there. There's a web cam at the church. It'll probably be in the morning our time, I don't know what that means for your time.

Hasn't rained much but it has picked up. We got to teach over 20 lessons this week! which has been a nice change. We've been in the 10s the past 4 weeks because of bike problems and such, but we're good now.

Christmas Party is on Thursday, and Elder Pace and I are singing Silent Night, and then on the 20th, I signed up Elder Pace and I to sing Away in A Manger for the Ward Christmas Party on the ukuleles! I'm really excited. I've missed performing and this will be a fun thing to do.

Other than that, we're looking at maybe 5 meal appointments for the Christmas season. Which is awesome! But we get fed almost every single day here in Portmore, so it's pretty normal. It's impossible for me to lose weight out here... I've been trying... Yesterday we were fed 4 times and only one of them was planned, but that's just how it goes. I guess it's not at all like that the rest of the island though.

But yeah, first Christmas! I'm really excited, but other than that, not much to report this week. Met a guy named Kerith Salmon (Carrot Salmon) Which was kinda funny. He's a seventh day but he's really interested in our church, so hopefully that has potential! We've been finding a lot of new investigators because we've had to drop like, 6 this past week. We hold onto some for too long, and we've figured if they don't have a desire to find the truth, then we need to find more effective ways to use our time. Well, I guess that's pretty much it this week, hope all's well!

Love,
Elder Zeck


******That was it. Nothing Else. Then the pictures came........*******



I thought this was funny because it's an infant school, but the motto is terrifying, and the picture is just a bunch of sad looking kids




She was way sick this day, and her jaw is really swollen, but she's smiling on the inside I'm sure. She wanted to take a picture with us in front of her tree, this is Grace! She feeds us like, 3 times a week and she's got a huge testimony. She usually smiles much nicer than this, but... Well, she's Grace.

Then he sent this........no comments......





Me: You boys are stinkers.


James: Love ya! He says hi.



Michael sent this one home.














Monday, December 1, 2014

American Thanksgiving = Fried Chicken + Rice + Peas

Hey mom!


Yeah I got the box, it was all good stuff! The patches don't really work but the rest of the bike stuff is great. But yeah, good job with the package. I've got lots of snacks now for when I'm bored and feeling like a fatty. Which is just how I like it. And I've bought a few cool little things. Probably all stuff you wouldn't approve of haha, but what are you going to do? I'm in Jamaica! But yeah, you'll probably notice the things in my pictures I send home if you look close enough. Just little things, I don't want to break the bank. It's all small stuff though so I'll just keep it here. Rice and peas is the best food in the world!


I get along with other missionaries. I've made a point of trying to do service for them as often as I can. Sometimes that's doing dishes, or making a meal or something. Small stuff. I've found that if I don't like someone very much, often through service, I learn to love them anyway. It softens hearts I guess. I've learned that charity is a little important in the grand scheme of things.


Sounds like the week has been good though! I hope All continues to go well. This week has been boring. Rain and bike problems pretty much killed every lesson we had. We had quite a few days where we didn't end up teaching anything, so we would go street contacting and we'd end up in a stupid conversation with someone. Hopefully this next week goes better. Elder Groesbeck is getting transferred to Port Antonio, I'll miss him, he was really cool. Sister Lewis is going to the Bahamas too. We got a district pic but my camera won't upload to this computer so you might have to wait a week for the pictures. But I took pics, and I even got a house picture for American Thanksgiving, we all bought rice and peas and fried chicken and ate it in our kitchen. It was pretty nice.


I printed off a ton of talks the other day at the church and I've found some pretty cool ones, but that's about all I've done for study. And I watched some conference from the 70s, which was also cool.


Cool


Tell everyone I say hi, and that I'm doing pretty good and that I'm not dead. Just kinda hungry


Love,
Elder Zeck



Elder Zeck and Elder Pace with Thanksgiving Dinner




Pre Transfer District Photo





Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Hopefully He Will Get One More Transfer in Portmore......

(I asked him if he had bought a messenger bag because of some pictures he sent. He's actually got his scripture bag on a strap and he uses that. I guess I should sent him a messenger bag......)

The backpack just made my back really sweaty and people would always ask why I had such a big backpack. The shoulder bag is easier I guess for now. Yeah I'm sad I'm out of Nutella, I can buy it here on random occasions but it's expensive. I'll probably buy it anyway though... I have enough money though. I always have enough money to last me the month. I only use home funds for bike repairs, and for cool souvenirs, which I buy maybe too frequently. However this month I may have gone over board and treated myself to too many expensive guilty pleasure kind of foods. I ate a lot of cheese cake, and I'll just leave it at that. I think I gained some weight, so I should probably start running again, I don't wanna be too fat. But I'm okay with being a little fat. I know a couple missionaries who budget money at the beginning of every month to buy chocolate muffins every week, which I think is smart! I really hope I get one more transfer in Portmore 'cause Elder Pace and I have worked out a genius meal plan for next month, and we'll end up with a few thousand left over. Funds carry over into the next month, but I usually just blow the left over money on expensive food at the end of the month. I have enough unopened oatmeal right now to feed me for a month, so I'm not concerned about starving anytime soon. I'm going to be taking some more money out today probably because we're going to Kingston on Wednesday, and I might do a little more shopping. I figure this could be the only time I'm close to Kingston so I may as well. But at the same time, I could also spend my whole mission close to Kingston, I don't really know. I went on a trade off with Elder Adams in Kingston, and I don't think I'd like being in a truck, I like the bikes. However A/C is beautiful.

We had a primary presentation this week too, which was kinda funny. The primary is tiny, so it was really quiet when they would sing.

This week's been good. Not much going on, it's raining more, which is kinda nice, other than the fact we have to keep our bikes in the house now, so our tiny place is perpetually dirty. I've learned to just accept it and live in my own filth, which sounds awful, but you get used to it.

Well, this week I finished the Book of Mormon again. That was good. I'm studying the commandments right now. I'm making a list of things that we've been commanded to do to attain exaltation, and a lot of them are really simple, and I never actually knew they were commandments. Baptism and Marriage are obvious ones, but then there were things like praying in families, I didn't know studying every day was a commandment. I thought it was a good suggestion. Family history work is also a commandment, so I guess there's something for me to work on someday.

Had a lot of people stand us up this week. We started teaching this 13 year old kid, and he obviously only wanted to meet with us because he wanted to get to know a couple white guys. I thought it was funny, the second we started teaching, he totally turned off and zoned out. And once the lesson was over, he wouldn't stop asking us about America, Football, and Fast and Furious movies. We're probably going to drop him soon. Nice kid though.

We met another guy this week named Sam, who yelled at us as we rode by saying "It's over 9000!" So I yelled back, "Wow, that's really high" and he said, "yeah, it is." We realized that was a Dragon Ball Z reference and rode back to ask him, and we ended up talking about religion and conspiracies, he seemed really intelligent and cool. We'll hopefully start teaching him soon.

We still don't have helmets of our own, because no shop in the parish sells them.

We found a place called Woody's that sells the best rice and peas and fried chicken that I've had so far, and Elder Pace said it's the second best he's ever had. I really hope I stay in Portmore, because I'd eat there all the time!

That's about it this week. Just plunking along. No one is accepting baptismal dates. We have a couple investigators living basically like Mormons, who just don't want to be baptized yet, which is frustrating, but we're praying for them. Stuff's good though. We got the Ensign magazine.  Jorg's talk is still my favorite.

I hope stuff's still good! I should probably figure out this whole Skype thing.

Love,
Elder Zeck

Monday, November 17, 2014

Rain!!

Hey Mom, good to hear from you! This week was pretty slow. We finally have helmets, sort of, so we're off foot now. We just use the other Elders helmets because Elder Groesbeck is a little under the weather, so we take their helmets. Hopefully we'll get helmets for ourselves this week. We've tried really hard to find some in town, but no one in this country wears helmets, so we had zero luck. I think I'll be getting that package on Wednesday,  the zone leaders told me that they'd bring it when they come to Portmore, so I'll let you know next week.

This week has been pretty good, lots of rain. It rained on Friday, and it rained more that one evening than I think it has in 4 months of being here, which is great. It ruined our night because no one wanted to see us, but we still biked around in the dumping rain for 6 hours trying to find people to teach. The week over all has started to pick up. It's not quite so slow anymore, and we're making good progress with a few of our investigators. Elder Pace and I had a long talk the other day about how we need to change our teaching styles, and we're probably going to be dropping more investigators this week. We teach a lot of great people who don't keep our commitments, and we can't do anything with them if they don't progress and strive to learn the truth. So we have to wait until our investigators have the faith to start keeping and following bigger things. We are probably going to need to drop 4 investigators this week, which is really sad. We have one investigator that's had a spiritual witness on the Book of Mormon, but she won't leave her church to come to ours, which is really really sad, because that means she's gained a small portion of the truth, and she isn't going to act on it. We're praying for her though. The way Elder Pace and I see it, we need to teach in a way where the people we see are not confused about why we are there, and what our message means, which means we're probably going to start being more bold. And it probably means we're going to lose some friends. But that's okay I guess. We just really want to find someone who is prepared for our message, and will actually listen. I'm sure it will come. We have some very promising potential investigators that we'll get to visit this week.

Another thought, Elder Pace and I have discussed a lot, is just the idea that conversion never stops. Just because we're human, and we're constantly learning, we should be constantly reevaluating ourselves, and making new goals to do better and stuff like that. So I'm sure I'll have lots of opportunities here on the mission to become converted further and further.

Other wise, boring week. I just finished the Nutella, sad day. And the treats I bought for my birthday are gone, so I should probably start working out again. I've decided my new favorite food in the world is rice and peas. Peas are basically just beans. But I've decided, well made rice and peas, are my new favorite food. Fried chicken with it is really good too. I'm gonna learn to make it!

I also realized the other day that before my mission, I kind of hated missionaries, fun fact! I obviously don't anymore, they're pretty cool. I guess I just never understood really what they were for, or why they were in my house. But cool, not much else this week. Pretty boring, just really rainy. Hope all is well at home though! I miss you all. I'm only 8 weeks from my mission being a quarter done, which is really weird to think about. I hope it doesn't go by any quicker.

Love,
Elder Zeck

Monday, November 10, 2014

It's His Birthday!!

No August box yet, just the hallow e'en one, which was still awesome. The cake looked really good. (We baked a birthday cake for him and ate it.) I think to celebrate today I'm going to get a milkshake from Burger King, and maybe some cinnamon buns and chocolate milk from the store. I've found a new favorite drink called peanut punch. It's really good! I also like Ginger Beer. The stuff here burns my throat pretty bad when I drink it too fast but I really like it. Sorry this is going to be a shorter email, I don't have much to say, and not much time either. Sounds like everyone is doing well though!

The new bike is good. How did you know I got one? I heard the last elder to have it got hit by a car, and then got a new bike while they fixed this one up. I have a feeling it will probably break and make me die, but that's okay. Transfers are every six weeks, so the next one is December 3. I wear one pair of shoes for proselyting, and I save the other pair for meetings so I never have to polish them. But I have used the polish, and it's pretty cool. I've never polished shoes before so I don't actually know if I do it right. I hopefully will never have to get a new bike again. I got it for 2200 which is way cheap. That's like, 14000 cheaper than the missionary bought it. The seat is okay, but I'll probably get a better one, because I don't want butt problems. Walking is fine though. Just one blister.

This week was pretty boring, walking a lot. There were quite a few days where everything fell through, and it was literally just walking for seven hours, trying to do things, and being unsuccessful. It's a good thing I like Elder Pace. But the week has been good. No real news with anyone. Fun fact though! Brother L, I've been teaching him since I got here, he's finally reactivated! He's a solid member now, he likes coming, we don't have to wake him up anymore, and he really likes his classes. He's quiet and doesn't really interact with anyone, but he really appreciates that we meet with him. He and I had kind of a cool moment this week where I gave him my watch. Which probably just sounds weird saying it like that. But a few weeks ago he made an off comment that he needed a wrist watch. Today I decided to give him my fish one that I got from Walmart. I bought a new one last week so it's cool, but I think it meant a lot to him, and he wore it to church on Sunday. Tender moments. Speaking of which, send me some watches! As cheap and tacky as you can find that would still be appropriate for missionary work! Anyway, I've got a lot of emails to reply to, love you all!

Love,
Elder Zeck

PS
Don't be an idiot and crash the car - To, Jordan
Especially not on New Years Eve

Monday, November 3, 2014

Picture and Stolen Bike

****This week's letter had mostly personal replies to my letter that I am not going to post.  What I can report is that he FINALLY got one of our care packages (his birthday one that I airmailed but not the one I sent surface in August).  He and his companion also had their bikes stolen so he needs to buy a new one.  

He needs some simple cooking recipes so if you have any, please email him.  james.zeck@myldsmail.net

*********mamadeb

This is the service project we did on Saturday for International Service Day. We painted some classrooms and a church. There are Jamaicans in this picture, so you can be sure I'm actually in Jamaica.


Monday, October 27, 2014

More Portmore, A New Companion, and Lots of Pictures

Then we found a sign. I guess there's a big problem here with people just dumping trash wherever they want.



First pics here are of James eating his first chicken foot soup.


Well, my new companion is Elder Pace, he's pretty cool. Red head, born in California, lived in Idaho, loves it there. He's been out the same time as Elder Hunt. We get along really well, and we teach together really well. He's a musician and he has a guitar and ukulele, and Elder Hunt left me his uke, so we hang out and talk when we have spare time before bed and stuff. It's all good. I'm leading the area which is kinda nice, the days go by shorter because I'm supposed to know everything about the area now so I lead and do all the cool stuff. Hopefully I don't get transferred anytime soon, but I guess we'll find out.

Yeah I'll miss Elder Hunt, but he'll have a good time in the Bahamas. I'll bet there's McDonalds there. I'll miss him though.

The other Elders are doing good. Elder Hall's trainer went home so now he's leading his area. Elder Maxwell just got a missionary from Edmonton, who was just a branch president in Negril. Elder Keuhn I hear is doing well but I haven't heard from him. He's in a different zone, in Santa Cruz.

No one else from our apartment got transferred, but Sister Pitt went home, so Sister Lewis got Sister Walker, a Jamaican sister, it looks like they're doing well too.

I feel fine, the chikungunye is still kinda in my joints. Some mornings my back and my thumbs hurt, and sometimes it hurts to walk, but it wasn't ever that bad. People make it sound way worse than it is, although it wasn't pleasant. I'm fine. I haven't been sick yet which is a bonus.

Basketball was just fun 'cause I got to hang out with other missionaries, I'm terrible at basketball so I basically just made sure I wasn't open the whole time we played, but I tried to look useful. I got a few shots though.

Life sounds good  for you all! I'm just tired all the time, and sometimes kinda bored. But I love it. It's starting to cool down now which is nice. I've been emailing Parker and it sounds like he's doing really well. I mailed him a letter a couple weeks ago actually. When the lady at the counter saw the letter she asked if Albania was in the States. Which I thought was really funny. I'm glad you still miss me though. I'm almost at 4 months though which is kinda crazy. It goes by really slow, and then when I look back it feels like it goes too fast. I don't know, I just try not to think about time too much. 

That's really funny (his brother's recent adventures with our car), I hope Jordan just doesn't do what I did and wreck the car. But good, those are good learning experiences. I hope he has many many more, and I mean that in a loving brother kinda way.

I heard you keep a blog of my emails. I'm pretty sure I specifically asked you not to, but I guess I can't really do anything about it. Do you just post all my letters? I guess that's okay.

As far as my life, it's pretty much the same. Oh, if you ever feel inclined to send stuff to me, Beef Jerky would be awesome, and if you ever send me new pants, I think if the crotch in the pants was higher, that'd be better, because I'm always really afraid the crotch in my pants will rip when I step on and off my bike. A button up shirt for just wearing around the house here would be cool too. Oh and new towels.

Well, Elder Groesbeck made bread, and it was actually really really good! So that was awesome. Hopefully he does it again.

I also found out that "I'm trying to be like Jesus" can be sung to the tune of the Harry Potter theme, or one of the themes anyways

Elder Hunt and I went to this Crusade thing, where these Pentecostals get together and play music and praise the Lord or whatever they're doing. And before they start, a prayer warrior comes and basically just yells at God for 10 minutes. It was pretty interesting to watch. But it was neat seeing how someone else shows their faith. I'm glad we don't do things like that, it was pretty annoying and loud.

We got stopped by a lady on the street and long story short, she works at a teachers college and she asked us to give a presentation about our religion to a class of students or something. I have a feeling it'll get passed off to the missionaries in Kingston, but that was kinda cool. It would be a really unique experience.

Someone  complimented me on my handwriting.

If you could send me some easy, missionary recipes, that would be awesome! Like, pancakes, or how to prepare meat, simple things but, things none the less. I'm getting tired of cereal and instant potatoes. Also, what can I do with flour? Elder hunt left me a lot. I also heard there's a movie coming out called Meet the Mormons? That sounds pretty cool, is it coming to theaters in Canada too?

I also ate oatmeal for the first time. and I made juice, but it turned out really nasty, so maybe I'll give up on that dream now while I'm ahead.

As far as my missionary work goes, still not a lot of progress. We have like, 15 investigators, but no one is progressing. which is discouraging but for a lot of people I don't know what else to do so I don't let it bother me. I wish I could take away their agency and make them do what we tell them, but then I'd be Satan! So I'll just keep working I guess. I'm getting along with everyone, and people like to feed us. The days are hot and busy and I'm just doing what I can. I'm just really tired, all of the time. Literally, all of the time. I don't why I'm so happy. I'm too tired to be happy, but some how it happens. We started running again, we do about 3 miles when we run, and we try to run 5 days a week, and we got a ghetto bench press, so I've been creative with that. Church is good. We've almost reactivated a less active guy which is exciting! He comes of his own free will now which is a bonus! we don't have to remind him every week. I had my first mango. I've become a pro at patching bike tires. Did I mention how tired I am? We started teaching a 12 year old boy the other day, and he has tons of questions and lots of potential so hopefully we can help him out. He seems really intelligent, and really open minded. When I was his age, I probably wouldn't have cared. But that's just how Jamaica is I guess. Religion is taught in schools from day 1, and there's a church on every street in the whole country. Definitely a different world.

Sorry, no cool stories this week really. Just Trying to do all I can before I have to come home.

Hope all is well and that everyone is having a good school year. Anyone going trick or treating?

Love,
Elder Zeck

Elder Groesbeck's Bread

This is Andrew, he fixes cars and he has a little garden in his yard. He's super cool and gave us free sugar cane. He's really excited to make this sorreal in wine this Christmas. We're teaching his friend right now.  Also note that that is the first picture I've sent home with a Jamaican in it, so for all you knew, I could've been somewhere else. And this is the guava juice I tried to make


This is the mango juice I then proceeded to fail at making
And this is my fried breadfruit with teriyaki sauce. I love breadfruit!
Portmore Missionaries before transfers


Monday, October 20, 2014

Too Busy to Write.......Again!!!!

No time again today! Super busy! Elder Hunt got transferred to the Bahamas tonight so we're running around doing stuff.
Love you all. I'll just email pics and stuff next week. Didn't read the email but I looked at the pics, and I'm totally not jealous. Cool. Love you all and whatever, next week I'll for sure have the full 2 hours to email so I'll fill you in the 3 weeks!

Love,
Elder Zeck!

This is me and Elder Hunt, this is our last day together. So we both wore our chains and took a picture. They were all awful pictures. But he got his chain off of Brother Lawrence ( I got it for him.) and then I bought my chain from the mall for cheap, and the necklace was made for me by a recent convert/Ex-Rastafarian guy named Michael. So yeah. That's Whatsup


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Too Busy to Write......

Hey, I'm good. 

We're having a multi-zone basketball tournament in Kingston today so I only have like, 5 minutes to email. But I'm healthy, Gunye is still kinda bothering me, but I think as of today it's on the down hill. We'll see I guess. But I'm good. Love you all. I'll send a good email next week I guess! I'm about to get creamed in street ball by a bunch of missionaries I've never met. 


Didn't have time to read any of the emails but I looked at the Hawaii pictures and it looks nice. Tell Jordan I like his pants in the pic, tell Jackson I like his hat and cast, and tell Jared I like his shorts. I can't remember the last time I saw Jared in shorts and a t shirt. I see he still has the hoodie though! 


Tell everyone I miss them and stuff. Jamaica is good, it's cooling down, I don't need to wear sun screen every day which is nice. 


We had an investigator at church for the first time this transfer and she brought her grand daughter, and they both enjoyed it. I'll have more to say about it next week. Also my scripture reference from last week, I meant John 21:17 I think, not 25.


Cool
Miss you all!

Love,
Elder Zeck

This is the photo I sent

Monday, October 6, 2014

Almost Back to Himself...still in Portmore

Thanks for all the packages and stuff, and that's cool for Jackson! Is this his first broken bone? Let him know I'm proud of him! Unless he's had one before that I don't remember. Then it's still pretty cool. I don't think Koegler's caught it (Chickungunya), I'm still feeling it. I wake up in the morning and I limp through the day until probably noon, and then my wrists and fingers are still pretty swollen, but it's all like, whatever. We still proselyted every day, didn't slow down for nothing. It was just long and painful. My knees only really hurt for a day while biking so I think I had it pretty good, but I've had it for like, 17 days now, which is just really annoying.

Yeah conference was really good. I did see Kieran! (Kieran was singing in the MTC choir for General Conference) Lucky duck. I thought that was so cool! My favorite session was the evening Saturday session, before priesthood. Tad Callister and that Jorg Klebingrat, or whatever his name was, gave really good talks. The Jorg guy probably gave my favorite talk of the whole conference. We ended up missing the first half of the morning Sunday session because we had to get an investigator there, and she's in a wheel chair and really old and she can't walk, so that was kinda difficult. I hear President Eyring gave a good talk that session so we'll have to watch it during lunch some time. But yeah, conference was good, I took some notes. There was some good stuff. I found quite a few talks were about caring for the poor and how we can help those people, and those talks were received really well with the ward here, just because of how they live. Holland gave a decent talk I think, I don't really remember. It was just a lot of church all weekend. But yeah, it was good.
I agree though with the language thing, I would've liked subtitles way better than some randoms voice over top, not as cool.

Other missionaries don't get a lot of packages. Usually just clean shirts and candy, and pictures and letters from people from home. Elder Hunt gets a lot of packages, but no one else gets a significant amount. I just really want that bike kit you sent! That'd be really useful. Thanks for sending stuff though, hopefully I get it. I forget my camera every week, so I remembered today, I have a few pics don't worry. It's just hard to take pictures because we're so busy, I don't really have time to stop and whip out my camera and get a good picture. And I don't want to look like a tourist while we're proselyting, it wouldn't look very good. I also don't have any way to carry my camera, it doesn't fit in my scripture case. Taking pictures isn't really part of being a missionary the way I see it, but when I remember I take a few. I'm not out here to see what the world has to offer me, I guess is why I don't take many pictures. But I'll try to take more for you guys.

Well isn't that sweet you still set me a spot at the table. I was thinking about it last night actually. Is it weird thinking you have a son being a missionary in a foreign country on some island in the ocean? Cause it's a weird feeling for me, being a missionary. It's hard for me to comprehend, the stuff that I'm doing, and the role that I'm playing in people's lives, and the changes that I'm making in my own life. A lot of my personal studies this week has revolved around a scripture I came across. I believe it's in Jacob 1:19. It talks about how Joseph and Jacob magnified their callings as prophets and teachers for the people, because they wanted to keep their garments unspotted from the blood of the people when they stand at the judgement bar of God. In Mosiah chapter 2, King Benjamin says the same thing in his address to the people, saying that he is giving this final address so that he can be spotless before God, and that the blood of the people will not be on his head. As a missionary, and I think as a priesthood holder, this applies to me too. It's kind of scary when I think about it, that the blood of all these people I meet and come across, is on my head if I don't do all I can to help them. And with that in mind, I have to do everything in my power, as a priesthood holder, to be worthy, and to be an influence in people's lives, so that I can also be spotless from the blood of the people I encounter. It's put the work I do in a new light for me. I have two years to serve the Lord, but I also have two years to do so to the best of my abilities. I'm set apart for a very specific work, and I think if I waste any of this time I've been given, it will be on my head. It probably sounds like I'm just being really scary and hard on myself, but I think it's a really cool and exciting calling and responsibility. Imagine if I decided not to serve a mission, and imagine all of the souls that wouldn't come to Christ because I didn't serve a mission, and imagine how heavy that burden would be, when I have to be accountable for those souls. Their blood would be on my garments. It's just been on my mind, I think it's cool. It's something I've been coming to understand more and more over this past week especially, as I've focused my studies on that and my purpose as a missionary. I guess that's what I've learned this week. Being a member of the church doesn't just mean trying to perfect ourselves and doing what we need to do to return to our Heavenly Father. I think God would also expect us to do all we can to help "feed his sheep." One of my favorite scriptures right now is John 21:25. And I don't think that just applies to the Apostles. It applies to everyone who loves Christ.

Well that's my two bits for the week. I'm feeling a lot better today, last Monday I was exhausted and I took a much needed nap that afternoon before we went back out to teach.

How do I make egg rolls? I want to expand my menu of meals. I'm getting bored of peanut butter sandwiches and eggs with nature valley bars crushed into them. Although the chocolate chip pancakes and the ice cream has been pretty awesome.

But this week was good for me, went by way fast. My second transfer is almost over! Which means I'm almost done being trained finally... But I haven't really felt like I've been being trained, I just feel like a missionary. I feel like I've been out forever, but it's only been like, 11 weeks. It's been really hot this week. I've eaten a lot of ice cream. We just got money so I bought a lot of soy milk, I'm gonna try that out. I'm feeling a lot better. We're slowly getting our teaching appointments back because everyone on the island has this Chikungunya thing. It's way dumb. and now people are complaining about Ebola coming to Jamaica, because it's in Texas or something, and apparently there's no cure, or something. I don't even know. But the work right now is slow, I'm hoping it picks up soon. We have a lot of investigators, but they're all in very preliminary faith stages, and not many are keeping commitments. I just wish I could tell them that what I'm saying is true, and they just miraculously have a spiritual experience that night when they read and pray! That'd be so easy! Ha ha, I guess not though. I love the work I'm doing and I'm loving everything else about this place. Except the mosquitoes. Cool. I miss and love you all, I hope all's good and stuff. I'm doing well. And I'm learning a lot.

Love,
Elder Zeck
Tasty Creations


The Kitchen







Before his first haircut

After his first haircut.  He didn't realize the barber left it long on top!

Monday, September 29, 2014

He Got the Gunya Virus

The past couple weeks have been pretty lame because of Chikungunya, because everyone is sick or pretending to be sick, so we only teach a couple lessons a day now, which is just frustrating, because it makes the days go really slow and boring. These past two weeks have felt like the MTC all over again, just boring and long. I got Chikungunya last Sunday, I think I forgot to mention that. But yeah, it isn't very fun. It's like having arthritis all over your body! I imagine that's how old people feel. I got a really bad headache and a high fever, and my mouth got all swollen so it hurt to eat, and my gums swelled up to the point where they would bleed, and then my hands and feet were swollen too, so my shoes were really tight and it hurt to bike. It was pretty awful to say the least. So I took some Advil and it helped, and then I learned that Aspirin and Advil make it worse, so I stopped taking the Advil and all the symptoms came back pretty quick and I'm finally getting over it now. It made for a really boring, and long, and uneventful week. But I'm fine now. I think it'll probably spread around the world like Swine Flu did, so if you hear about it in Canada, just take Tylenol. There's no antibiotic or vaccination for it yet, so they just prescribe painkillers. The ibuprofen in the Advil has a bad effect with it or something. I didn't really know. But yeah, that's basically my week. I didn't want to stop proselyting because we've had so few appointments lately any way, so I went out on my bike anyway. I probably should've rested but it was whatever. It wasn't as bad as I just made it sound I think. I'm still really tired all the time though, I hope that stops quick. Once this virus blows over hopefully the time starts to fly again, we're slowly getting back to the amount of teaching we had before.

Other than that, this week was pretty boring too. Nothing really happened. We had a couple good lessons with some new investigators, there's potential with them so I suppose we'll see what happens.

Tell Jackson I say congrats on the medal!

Something cool that happened, is I've started a craze in our apartment. We call our apartment the Gunye House because all 5 missionaries that have lived here since the Gunya virus has gotten it. Elder Ashby is just getting over it too. But anyway, more importantly, 97 percent of Jamaican males wear chains around their necks. So I ask everyone where they get their chains, it helps break the ice a little bit. I've been obsessing over chains kind of as a joke for a month now, but it's turned to real obsession. I've even acquired a real chain for Elder Hunt! I've been asking older members in our ward that I know pretty well, if they have old chains they don't wear anymore, and this one guy in our ward, Brother Lawrence, actually said yes! So Elder Hunt got his old silver chain, and it looks pretty fresh. My goal is to collect a chain from a member of every ward I serve in. I might be buying a chain off of Brother Malcolm this coming week, but I guess we'll see. So we talk about chains a lot in our down time. It's kind of funny. I don't have much else to say this week. I'm just tired maybe. Nothing really happened. I just got sick.

The week before I ate an entire large dominoes pizza by myself in one sitting, did i already tell you that?

Love,

Elder Zeck

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Short Letter/Slow Week/ Chikungunya :C

I told him I loved his tie idea from last week's letter) Yeah I thought the tie idea was good. We'll see. And that's really too bad about Robin Williams. I don't think I'll get over that. Genie is dead! I have like, 15 razors left maybe? I've been using them for a long time. That's really good to hear about Jared though! What kinda toque? Beanies are American mom.. And yeah, I haven't spent any of it yet (some extra money), but I'm preparing to spend it soon. We've been meaning to go to Kingston to shop a bit but we haven't had the time the last few P days. No worries on the package, I'm just really looking forward to the bike kit. That'll be way useful.
Well this week was pretty boring and slow. Everyone has Chikungunya, so we haven't been able to teach much. We taught like, 6 lessons the whole week, which was a huge bummer. Most of our days end up us biking around trying to find people and visiting members. We're preparing people for general conference. I've never been so excited for general conference before, I think it's gonna be awesome! I get to sit in the church for two days straight, and I'm excited for some reason.

So as far as spiritual stuff this week, it was pretty slow. Nothing really happened. However, I learned how to play dominoes, and I may have dominated against a bunch of Jamaicans. Which I'm personally, really proud of. This week I also helped our landlady plant some palm trees outside. She said I can come back to see them in 22 years, and I can bring my wife and we can stay in her house. I think she's serious too... So that might be a thing.
That's about it, I don't have a lot of time today because the internet shop lady never showed up, so we had to find a different one, and we don't really want to be out very long today. But I hope all is well. I'm doing good. Hopefully this next week is better.

Love,
Elder Zeck

Monday, September 15, 2014

One Transfer In......He's a Real Missionary Now!!

That's weird to think about snow, because it's still really really really really hot out here. Some of the sisters from my district in the MTC said it snowed where they were, I think Elder Adams from the MTC is in Medicine Hat right now which is kinda cool!

No package as of two days ago, but maybe it's at the mission office or something. And the bike seat is awesome! I'm patching the tires every few days it seems, but it's nothing too hard. My only big repair was on my first day when my back axle melted and the tire wouldn't spin, so I had to carry my bike on my shoulder for a half hour until we found a bike shop, but other than that the bike is fine.

Yeah Chikungunya or whatever sounds pretty terrible. A good chunk of the people we teach have had it, and our land lord and land lady had it, and my companion had it, and Elder Groesbeck had it. And a lot of people in our ward have had it. It doesn't sound fun, joint pain and rashes. It basically turns you into an old person, and old people just get really really sick. I haven't gotten it. I don't plan on getting it either. I've said from day one that I wasn't going to get it, and I think purely by my own free will, I have repelled all disease carrying mosquitoes. I think I'm good. I don't use repellent often truthfully, I probably should. Sister Brown said we should, I wore it to bed a couple nights, and some times after it rains I throw some on, but I don't use it very often.

As for running, we sometimes run up a mountain on Saturday mornings, but recent events have made it difficult to get out running. That and we're so tired that we need the sleep anyway, we usually just work out in the morning. I hate running so I'm not complaining either, but maybe soon we'll start back up. Depends on how the next  couple weeks go, but if we don't run anymore, I'll be just fine with that. Running in a million percent humidity at 5:30 in the morning is not rad.

Yeah I ate another chicken bone last night. I still don't like it.

No I can't buy Nutella here, but it's not a big deal, I can melt tootsie rolls or something if I get desperate. I found Aloe Vera Vaseline that is awesome, I've only used it once though, it's more for Elder  Groesbeck, he gets really bad burns a couple times a week. Shaving stuff is abundant, it's just expensive, but it's not something I can't afford, so that's fine. Except razors might  be nice in the next package. I've been using a dull razor for a couple weeks now, I'm afraid I'll run out. But it's fine. I got a postcard from Moser the other day which was awesome! He's traveling Europe with his family, but he didn't give me his email so I can't respond... I can't wait to see him and we can eat taco in a bag in two years!

I hope all that answers your emails. I'll try and recap my week as painlessly as possible.

Out here, Pear, is actually just big avocado, and they don't have real pears here. So.. That was disappointing. But the avocado (pear) is really good!

I made a no bake Oreo cake, and I've become the pancake king. I made vanilla cinnamon pancakes the other day for everyone. I think it's going to become my staple food of consumption. I don't make it often, but the pancakes I make are really good I think. It helps that the recipe is just mix and water, so I don't actually have to do anything.

I carried a full conversation with a taxi driver the other day, which is awesome, because I actually understood the whole conversation! Then he tried to get me to buy him gas for his car, to which I laughed and said no. He didn't think it was very funny. He then tried to get me to buy him a phone card so he could have credit on his phone. I laughed and said no again, he didn't thank that was funny either.

Rain has killed our FHE plans for 2 weeks in a row now. Rain pretty much destroys every plan we ever make. The second it starts to rain, people don't leave their house for anything.

I learned that if you smoke lizard tail, it'll turn you into a mad man, so I guess some drug dealers out here put lizard tail in their weed that they sell, and that's why there are so many mad men in Jamaica, I thought that was kinda cool.

A recent convert we have (from before me) was wearing a Rolling Stones shirt, I was going to ask her if she was a fan, but then I didn't, because she's obviously not. They've never heard of the Stones out here. Not in Portmore anyway.

There's a Sister H in our ward that has a hard time getting around, she's super awesome though, I love visiting with her, and so we chop her yard sometimes. And I get a lot of satisfaction out of riding around with a machete in my hands. People stare at me from their cars and houses, and yell at me, 'cause there's this dumb white kid biking around town with a sharp machete in his hand. It makes me feel like I'm part of the culture, I feel pretty cool.

There's this cook shop called Taste of Art, and I think they like me, 'cause they hook me up with extra meat whenever I go, which is awesome, so I'm going to milk that for as long as possible. The ladies there are really nice, and I think one of them is looking for a husband to take her to the States or Canada, so I guess we'll see where that goes! She keeps asking us to pray for her.

There's another recent convert named "F" (also before me) and she has a Genip tree in her backyard, and of course the one day I don't have my camera, she asks if we want to climb the tree and pick some Genip for ourselves. So I climb up the tree in my proselyting clothes and dress shoes and I'm up there picking the fruits off. Then they pass me a really dull machete and tell me to cut off this one limb of the tree, which was a really cool experience. I felt like I was in Jamaica! I chopped the limb down, and we realized there was no fruit on it... So that was a let down, but the Genip was really sweet and ripe, so the experience was totally worth it. I wish I had a picture, but unfortunately it was not meant to be. I was a decent way up the tree too!

Is it true Robin Williams hung himself? I've been told that by two other missionaries now, and it's distressing me... Is it true?

I got to cut open a coconut and drink the coconut water straight from the coconut! That was neat. It was really good too. The boxed coconut water in Canada is disgusting! I got some at Booster Juice once and I wanted to puke.

"I", that one investigator where her mom banned her from being a Mormon, she called us in secret a few days ago to see how everything was going. So that was nice, she still thinks about the church and misses it. She still really wants to be baptized too. Hopefully she does!

I made a killer egg in a basket the other day. The egg was fried in the bread, and then I put on cinnamon roll syrup and strawberry cream cheese. I know I'm a genius.

I patched a bike tire all by myself yesterday! That was exciting. But then I started riding and realized there was a second hole... Not exciting..

I also think I have the whole missionary diet down, because I just buy a ton of eggs, and then I buy Nature Valley bars, and I scramble the egg, and just crush up nature valley bar in it. I'm going to come home and not know what to do with myself when the fridge has more than bread, eggs, and peanut butter in it.

As far as teaching, this week was really slow, not a lot of appointments, lots of lessons fell through. We had one investigator at church which was cool! She's been coming to church for 4 weeks now and no one told us she wasn't a member, so we got to teaching her, and she really likes our church. She has a good friend who's a solid member. Also, Elder Johnson got transferred to Montego Bay, so we got a new Elder, Elder Ashby, he's pretty quiet. I think he was a farm kid. But he's really nice, and obedient, and I think he's a good missionary. Him and Elder Groesbeck will do really well together. I'm doing well though. I've gotten most the area down, and I don't really have any issues. There was a single day a week ago where I was feeling really gross and I didn't want to be awake, but after that day I've been doing just fine! I love being out here, which I say every week. It's weird to think that I've been away from home for two months as of tomorrow, and I'll be in Jamaica for two months in a couple weeks! My first transfer ended this past Wednesday, so I'm officially in transfer two! I've been focussing a lot on just trying to be open and happy all the time. I wasn't a totally solitary person at home, but I cherished my alone time. Out here, alone time is non existant, and I'm in a social situation for pretty much the entire day, so I get tired some days. But I've been pulling through, like I said. I have no issues out here. I think the next 22 months will fly by, so I just want to start trying my hardest now so I don't go home wishing I had done more. That's probably the thing I worry about the most, is not doing my best. But I'm sure I'll be fine.

I really look forward to the package! I've been writing a letter to you guys for a few weeks but I'm so busy I don't get much time to really sit down and write.

I think your question from before is what can't I buy. I can't find sunscreen, although I hear it exists. and that's about it, I have everything I need out here. However, if you want to send anything, send sun screen, razors, white shirts, and sweat rags would be nice too. I just have the one and I wash it every night. Then you know, food and candy. pancake mix, or syrups or powders of any kind. I'm down with whatever, I'm pretty good at making food last.

Well I'm glad to hear everything at home is going really well! I like reading the updates from home every week, this letter is the first one I write every monday, so it takes up about a half hour to get all the info down.

I love and miss you all!

Love,
Elder Zeck




James decided that he will leave these ties behind with the following note....