Monday, August 25, 2014

Zone Conference, Breadfruit, Cleaning the Apartment

Serious Selfie

Hey Mom!

I have tons left (sunscreen), I barely use any, and as you saw from the zone conference pics, I'm still very white. My arms are getting dark though. I'm gonna buy a new bike seat next month when I get more money. Yeah we have a chapel. It's got a really high fence around it, it's just a white building. I'll take a picture for you for next week if I remember. The other Elders are boys, and are human. I'll probably take pics this next week. Pdays, we clean, today was a deep cleaning day. We cleaned every room in our small apartment, we found huge colonies of ants and a couple dead roaches. I found dishes I didn't know existed, and we purged our fridge. There were things in there from a year ago, so it was about time we got rid of all that. So today was big cleaning. But some weeks we cook at members houses. We're making Bread Pudding at a members house next Monday, it's the most delicious thing I've ever had! Sometimes we watch Elder Johnson go fishing. Other than that we usually taxi into town instead of bike, and then we get lunch, email, shop, go home, and take a nap or study. Lots of laundry too. Depends on if we have water though. Yup, I see Sister Pitt all the time, she's almost done her mission, she serves here in Portmore ward as well. The sisters get a truck though. I also know now that I will be okay with any apartment I will ever get in Canada, which is kind of a blessing. I don't have high standards anymore. And yeah, we kill the roaches and sweep them out the door. The mouse however has not been found. 

Yeah I had a good chat with Sister and Elder Hall. They're really nice. We talked for a while and they said if I was ever in need of anything I could call them and they'd be my direct line to you guys! So that's cool, but they're really nice. And yeah, I'm working on the posture thing (I told him he needs to stand up straight). I feel good though. I feel like I've been out on a mission for months, but at the same time, it all flies by so quick that it only feels like a couple weeks. I past my one month mark from being home this week which is really cool! and next P day is my one month in Jamaica mark! I'm about half way through my first transfer too, so that's all really cool. And yeah I'm eating well. I drink a ton of water. I eat lots of peanut butter and guava jelly sandwiches on whole grain bread. Lots of broccoli and tomatoes and apples and stuff like that. Sometimes I make pancakes. The other night I fried up some breadfruit too, I'll send some pictures of that. That was really good!

That's cool! I wanted to read his notebooks (Jared is letting his mom read his literary work of art). I'll just have to wait. I hope they're good! and yeah Jordan wrote me, I've gotten letters from everyone now which is nice. I like having a little contact with home. I hope Jackson takes up the drums though. It's a ton of fun, and it's one of the coolest instruments there is in my opinion. And I think he could be really good at it! I'm sorry to hear you aren't feeling well though, I hope that passes over. It's like, 30 degrees at night, and that's when it's cool here. So yeah, 12 degrees doesn't sound too bad. At the same time, I don't miss the cold in the slightest. I love the heat!

I'm kind of jealous about Hawaii, but that'll be super fun for you guys too. I'm sure Dad will also like those couple weeks. Also tell Caileigh thanks for the present her and Devlan made for me when I left, I really like it, and let her know I've been using it! But cool, sounds like all is well at home! I have listened to the CD. I'm not exactly sure what I'm allowed to watch and listen to, but we have a dvd/CD player at the apartment so I listened to a little bit of the CD, it's pretty good. It's a nice change from the EFY music that's constantly playing.

I was thinking this past week, and I don't really like to live with regrets. I believe in owning up to everything you do. But after thinking about it, I do think I have one regret from before my mission, in my preparation. I wish I had some mission journals. I think I would have been so much more prepared if I had read the thoughts of people from when they were on their missions, and read their first moments and thoughts. So I don't know if this is possible, but maybe, if you ever send another package to me, if I could get one of dads old missionary journals if they're still kicking around. I understand if that's something you don't want to lose or anything in the mail, but if you think that's something I could get, I'd love to read. Or even like, Uncle Scott or Grandpa or anyone. I don't know, it's just a thought. I wish I did it before my mission.

I don't have a lot of stories from this week. It was the first sacrament meeting I didn't have to speak in which was nice.
We were teaching a lesson with an investigator named "H", and a few years back he was a university professor, not religious, but very very intelligent and well respected. He suffered a stroke, and now he is that same man, stuck inside the body of a very slow and broken man. He has a hard time processing his thoughts and then putting them into words, he's slow, and kind of deformed, especially in his face, and his ares are very dim. But he understands everything we say, he feels the spirit, and he's been able to come to church and he likes it. But he's still trying everything out for himself. The other day, at the end of our lesson, we talked about Faith and baptism: The Doctrine of Christ. I invited him to be baptized and he laughed and said he wasn't ready yet, and, with lots of pauses, obviously trying hard to articulate his thoughts, he said something like this. "I have a hard time making sense of things and putting thoughts together, and then saying it, but I was hoping you could help me do that. I want to say the closing prayer." And we helped him through the closing prayer, and it was just a really really humbling experience. The spirit was so strong. Humbling is the only way I can really describe it.

Also, a few days ago, same day, we had two lessons interrupted by naked children running around. That was kind of funny. The kids obviously didn't care. But other wise this week was pretty average. I've been praying for rain constantly, it's been a bad dry season for Portmore this year. Hopefully the rain comes soon, it's been raining more and more every day though. But yeah, same as usual. We get stood up a lot, and lessons fall through every day. We had a day where every single lesson fell through, and even their backups fell through. So that was unfortunate. The KFC here is better than Canadian KFC, I don't know why. I had ginger beer, it's weird here. A lot of ginger, it didn't have much flavor either. I'm learning to eat the bones of my chicken, 'cause that's what they do here. I don't like it yet, but I'm eating the softer bones. I've basically gotten to a point where I can understand the Patois, and I can pretty much interpret the accents now too. I can only blame my daily prayers for that, which is really nice. I've never had Dominos until this week, and I love Dominos pizza now!

We also have an investigator, "I", and she has a baptismal date, but then she told her mom, and her mom said that if she joins our racist cult she'll be kicked out of the house, so we're praying for her as well, because she still wants to join. But we don't want to tear the family apart.

Anyway, I'll send some pictures, I hope all is well! I dream of slurpees and chocolate milk some nights.
Good luck with the last weeks of summer!

Love,
Elder Zeck
Breadfruit
I'm frying Breadfruit because I'm a master chef
The most delicious I've ever eaten in my whole life other than taco in a bag and slurpee and a lot of other things

Elder and Sister Hall.  She was my YW leader 30 years ago.






Friday, August 22, 2014

Mid Week Photo Surprise

Hope she doesn't mind, but I know a couple serving in the Kingston Jamaica Mission.  She and her husband met James at Zone Conference this week and sent some pics to me.  I'm posting this one of James and his trainer, who I hear is awesome.

He's doing great, she says.

Pretty hot and humid.  These guys are glowing.  

Monday, August 18, 2014

One month down - second full week in Jamaica

The week went well! I did get a letter from Jared, and one from Jackson I think, but I haven't read it. I'm sure Jared will be fine though, at least he trusts me to come home in two years.Cool! I look forward to the package. And don't bother with gum, I really don't need it.

It's good to hear Jackson and Jared are getting along, and they're longboarding! Which is double awesome! I miss longboarding, my bike breaks down a lot more than my longboard ever did. And it's good to hear about Jordan speaking and being on the (State Youth) council, I really learned to love speaking in church. When I took a talk seriously and spent at least a few days preparing, not just the night before, I always learned a lot. I got in the habit a year ago I think, when I did my scripture study, I made a list of a bunch of topics I wanted to know better, like word of wisdom, or dating, or the priesthood, baptism, whatever. And then whenever I'd do a scripture study, I'd just study that one topic and try to fill up a page with notes and stuff, I use that book still on my mission when we need to whip up a lesson for a last second appointment, so that could be an idea for him if he's interested. My only advice for him, now that he's dating age, is as a first date, to read For Strength of Youth with the girl over ice cream. Chicks dig For Strength of Youth....... I was thinking about it the other day, I'm really disappointed I'll miss his graduation ceremony! I guess that's just how things go. But let him know that if he ever needs anything, to shoot me an email. I know I'm his dumb older brother that just bugged him and teased him for most of his life, but I want him to know that I'm still his older brother. If he ever needs ideas or advice or anything like that, he can just shoot me an email and I'll do that for him. I had some pretty wicked grad ideas that I never got to use, so when the time comes I can totally assist with that.

Yes I'm still using the packing cubes, and the shirts are whatever. I thought about rolling up my sleeves but I don't want to look like a tool. I'm a tool in the hands of God, I'm not just a regular old tool! I'll probably roll up my short sleeved shirts when I get home though. I've thought long and hard about that.

Just use my computer or give it to Jordan, I cleaned it up pretty well and I have a folder full of my stuff, so everything is out of the way for you! And yeah I saw Jared's picture. I really liked it! I wish I had the hard copy version.
Jared's picture


But cool, glad to hear everything at home is going okay! I remembered my camera, and I think my letter today will be shorter. This week hasn't been as eventful. The time is flying by even quicker though, which is neat! The only high point I can think of right now that is worth sharing is about a less active named "L".
I've never given a priesthood blessing before, and this week I gave four! Which is really cool. The first three was for a family, just blessings of comfort and counsel, those were nice. But then we were teaching this less active guy named "L", and my companion suggested we give him a blessing, and asked that I do it. I was nervous, I'd never done one before! So I stutter my way through it, and we leave. I was kind of embarrassed honestly, but I didn't say anything about it afterwards. On Wednesday we were on trades with the zone leaders so I taught in Kingston all evening, and I guess Elder Hunt and the other zone leader that replaced taught "L" that night, and he asked for another blessing because his leg felt so much better after the first one. They thought it was kind of funny because "L" wasn't much to talk about the gospel, or at all for that matter. They explained they couldn't give another priesthood blessing like the first one, and I guess he was pretty disappointed. It feels good to know that what I'm doing is starting to affect people's lives.

So I know you hate me and don't want me to send long letters (I told him to make this week's shorter so he'd have time to send some pictures), so I won't tell you all of my cool stories.
But I had guava fresh off the tree, that was really good.
Ate a lot of Turkey neck this week
Found a mouse living in our kitchen
We had water for two days straight, which is a record
Cut myself shaving for the first time since I left on my mission
My one month mark was a couple days ago.
We're teaching two people now who both have expressed their thanks to us, they truly believe that we have answered their prayers with the gospel of Jesus Christ, one of them already has a baptismal date and we're only two or three lessons in with both.

So yeah, lots of cool stuff! I'll send pictures in a bit.
Tell everyone I love them and stuff

Love,
Elder Zeck
James and his MTC Companion, Elder Kuehn saying good bye at the Jamaican Mission Home.
Who's the photobomber?

Elder Zeck with his trainer Elder Hunt with his trainer and his trainer.  James' lineage.

Reunion!!  Elders Zeck and Koegler

James and Michael pre-mission at Moroni's Quest summer 2013 - 13 months ago

The apartment - 4 missionaries, ants, cockroaches, periodic water - cold only, and apparently a mouse



Monday, August 11, 2014

Week 2

"I", the girl we met when my bike broke down, she came to church yesterday and has lots of questions, she's obviously been prepared for her meeting us, so that's really neat. And don't get me wrong, I love personal study, but for our companion and additional study I have to do this 12 week program booklet thing, and it's really boring because it's all stuff I already do. But I guess the Mission President has asked me to do it, so I should just do it, as boring as it is. Maybe I'll learn something. It's kinda nice being a minority, I stand out, so that gives me lots of opportunities to talk to people. I don't mind, I just go with the flow all the time. Not really too stressed or worried because I know I can do it.

Yeah, we have to pay for our internet time at some internet computer place thing. It's pretty cheap though. Yeah I get along with everyone really well. It's kind of like how my whole life goes, if someone hates me, they don't hate me enough to say it my face, so I think I'm doing alright. Yeah we're part of the stake, and we get 280 american each month, which is plenty. Elder Hunt's been out a year, he's good, he's taught me a lot. We're both kind of quiet people but we get along well.

But yeah, full week down! It's been like 9 days I think, and it feels good! I've acclimated pretty quick so I don't really sweat that much, and I don't feel dehydrated all day long anymore, which is really nice. I prayed for that a lot the first few days out. I do actually think I've started to lose some weight, but it's hard to tell, I gained a little in the MTC I think, probably due to the gallons of chocolate milk I drank over those two weeks, but I honestly don't see a big change from since I left home. We drink a lot of juice here at members houses, which has a lot of sugar in it so I watch out for that. But we eat lots of rice too. At home I mostly just dip bread in peanut butter, and I eat whole tomatoes a lot too. I drink a ton of water still. I think I'm doing pretty good. The running might help, but I hate it. 

That'd be cool to get a picture from Jared. I'll just add it to the collection! That's really cool Jackson is reading it in 30 days. I'm reading 10 pages a day, so it sounds like he'll finish it before I do! That's awesome though, I've come to know 3 Nephi chapter 11, and then Alma chapters 14 to 21, we use those all the time. He should really focus for those chapters I think. Ammon cutting off the arms is in there.

Speaking of shoes there's a lot of really cool shoes for cheap out here, so I'm thinking if you want to load up some money on my bank card, I'll pull it out and buy some cool souvenirs to take home, there's some sweet watches and rings too. I don't want to use my missionary funds, I'm trying to only use it for missionary purposes. It's a big no to use the missionary allowance for things other than your missionary work. My shoes are good though, my runners are holding up, but I only wear them when we run. I'm in the slip on dress shoes all the rest of the time. They're holding up really well too, although they're a little big. The other night I was riding along the side of the road on the way to an investigators house, and a truck drove beside me and almost hit me, so I swerved off a bit and my pedal bit the curb and knocked off my shoe. So I had to run out into traffic and pick it up. That was kinda fun though. I haven't actually been in an accident or anything yet which is nice. Some of the biking through the ditches and stuff is a lot like mountain biking, riding up and down dirt hills and stuff, I really enjoy it. My butt still hurts though.

I hope Jackson's alright, it's cool he was longboarding though! exciting that was his first emergency visit. Was he using my old one or the surf board one? My old one is way better, in case you ever wanted to sell it, it's a 300 dollar board, but I bought it for 100. So you could get away with selling it for a little more I think.

It's good to hear about everything though, it sounds like life is still going well! Is it weird not having four boys in the house? It just hit me a couple days ago that I'm gonna be gone for two years, and a lot is going to change. It's weird not being able to see all of you all the time. I really miss my Jordan Jared and Jackson, which is weird. The thing I miss the most was one of the smallest parts of my life before my mission, I didn't talk to them a whole lot or spend a lot of time with them, I was busy and I liked to do my own thing, but let them know that I miss them and I hope they are doing well, and that I'm excited to hear from them over the next couple years. Sometimes it almost doesn't feel real that I'm out here. But time is going by quicker and quicker. It's really hard for me to focus sometimes and not think of home, which I think is good, because that motivates me. The more lost in my work I get, the quicker time seems to go. I just love it though, and I wouldn't want to be doing anything else right now. But I'll still be looking forward to the day I see you all again. Tell Jordan to make sure he sets his availability to the beginning of August, that way there's a better chance that I'll see him before he leaves too if he chooses to serve a mission.

Week 2 has been good, still learning, I've gotten to know a good chunk of the ward, and I've met almost all of our investigators. We teach around 5 lessons a day. We plan to teach 8 or 9 some days but we get stood up and cancelled on frequently, and from the sounds of it, that's pretty normal for the whole mission. We usually find something to do though. We located a really cheap ice cream shop in a neighborhood called Southboro, so whenever something falls through we get ice cream and then just go street contacting. The kids are always asking us to do magic tricks for them, which is kind of weird, but I know some rubber band magic that I do for them when they ask. I still don't know the areas very well, it's not that it's big, it's just that a lot of houses aren't numbered and a lot of streets don't have signs, and a lot of people don't know their own address, so I just follow Elder Hunt. He's been in this area for three months so he knows his way around. I'll get it though. The bike is good, after that first day it's been fine. The seat is hard though. I've met a lot of other Canadian missionaries, and yeah Elder Groesbeck is sitting right next to me. We have a lot of good conversations about important subjects. I asked him this morning who he would baptize, if he could baptize anyone in history. We had a long discussion, he couldn't decide. I said Kanye West. He knew Elder Koegler really well though, and he has a picture of me with my long hair from Elder Koegler's farewell, which was kind of funny! I don't know why he has it though. Some areas of Portmore feel like a city, there's a megamart which is like a small costco, but it's pretty big I guess. Not a ton of bush where we are anyway. And I'm not really tanning or burning. I kinda burned my first day, but my arms are sorta tan, and my face is just really shiny now, which is annoying. I look like a 14 year old some days, especially because these white shirts are so baggy. But I'm not complaining. I'll check for contact solution today. My teaching pool is pretty big, we just get blown off 75 percent of the time so it's hard, especially when our backups fall through, and then our backup backups fall through. People are too laid back here for my liking, but at the same time, I quickly came to the realization that I don't need to be hard on myself for that out here. I just need to adjust to that kind of lifestyle. But we do teach a lot. I had some aki fruit, or whatever it's spelled. It's pretty gross. I had fried plantain, that was really good. I ate sugar cane this morning, also very good. I had turkey neck, which is mostly bone, but people out here eat the bones too, so that's good I guess. I gave a sister in our ward 600 dollars and she said she would buy and make me ox tail soup or something. Ox tail is pretty expensive high end meat apparently so I'm excited for that. We get two hours to email here which is really nice, because this email to you takes almost an hour, and then uploading pictures and writing the mission president would take a while too.

It's good to hear about Tyson. And it's nice that Jordan is still singing, not that I thought he would quit. His piano skills will come way in handy on a mission. I wish I could play. Elder Hunt has a ukulele, so I taught myself all the chords a couple nights ago and I learned how to play Be Still My Soul, I Need Thee Every Hour, and Lead Kindly Light. There's a lot of tone deaf people in the area I've noticed. Super nice people, but the ward choir couldn't keep a tune, which was kind of funny. I was in the ward choir though, so maybe it's my fault? But I doubt it. Something cool this week was that this sunday was the first ward conference for this ward in history, and I got to sing in the ward choir for it, and bear my testimony as a new missionary, so that was neat. The stake presidency came and everything, it was awesome. I'm just glad the power was back on this week, because last week the fans weren't working and it was a billion degrees in sacrament meeting. So yeah, that was good. The worst part of my week was probably... last night when the power went out in our apartment, so the fans turned off, and I woke up really sweaty. That was awful. I also find a lot of people out here let us teach them just so they can talk to someone and learn something different. Zero interest in their personal salvation or what we're saying, they've just never heard of the Mormon church and they think we're sweet young boys. That's really annoying. But we do have a handful of investigators that are moving along really well. "H" is being baptized this sunday which is really exciting! I think Elder Hunt is baptizing him though, which would make sense. Elder Johnson baptized a former Rasta guy on sunday, which was really cool. He wears a black and white checkered fedora and mirrored Aviator sun glasses to church every sunday, and he has wicked long dreads, but he's going to be a strong member.

I'm not sure what else to say. "G", a recent convert, feeds us like, 5 times a week. She just calls us to come over and she gives us a tupperware container of food and we take it home, so I'm never hungry, although I didn't buy enough food this week. I need more pancake mix. We have a rule set by the mission president that we can't have Ramen noodles or Kraft Dinner Mac and cheese more than once a month. Like I said before, I just eat a lot of tomatoes and grapenuts. Grape nuts are kind of gross though, but they're like.. healthy...

But yeah, my week has gone really well, as of today I think I only have 100 more P days left, which doesn't feel like that many in all honesty. I'm just taking it one day at a time though, and I know it's going to be a huge blessing in my life. I can't wait to come home, but at the same time I know it's going to be bitter sweet when the day comes. Tell everyone I love and miss them.

Kind of a funny story, last week at the megamart we doing our shopping, and I asked a guy where the sun screen was, and he didn't know. He acted like that was the weirdest question he's ever been asked! How white am I? I just don't get though, how the Nephites could be such a fair and delightsome people, and not once did they complain about sun burns and stuff. They didn't have sun screen. The Lamanites had the upper hand there.

As far as you sending me a care package or something, some other ideas would be more sun screen, aloe vera would be nice. A sharpie pen. Bike repair stuff would be great too! I bought some patches and glue, but if you could send some other tools or something that would be cool. A family picture would be nice too. I don't know, gum. Candy. Fruit drink crystals to make my water taste better. Nutella! Send me like 5 of them.

Cool, well, thanks for updating me on home life, I hope this email answers most of your questions. It's hard to think of what to write in a real letter when I say so much in here, so I"ll probably just start writing stuff down and after a couple months I'll mail you what I've written.

Let Jared know that by the time I get home I expect hard cover copies of his books, so he better get writing, because I think if he works hard he could do it in two years.

But yeah, I love and miss you all, I hope life isn't too awful without me. because I know it probably most definitely is

Love,
Elder Zeck

Monday, August 4, 2014

1st Area.....Portmore

So the trip down was good, we ended up sitting in the back of the plane for both our flights, which was kinda lame because that meant we were right next to the engines, which was loud. But the flights were fine, nothing exciting. I met a guy on the first flight that had a nephew serving here, I haven't met him yet. I ate a lot of plane pretzels. The country is pretty poor looking. There are houses that look like they're made of broken airplanes, it's a pretty impoverished place from the looks of it. But at the same time, it's all very colorful and pretty, lots of randomly painted houses, and lots of nature and bush all over the place. But it's good, I like it here. I didn't realize people drove on the other side of the road here, and I feel like everyone drives like maniacs. We stayed at Pres. Brown's house the first night, he lives in a really nice area of Kingston. Him and his wife made us food and it was all really good, he was really nice. My trainer is my district leader here in Portmore. This is supposed to be one of the hottest areas on the island. He's Elder Hunt, really cool guy, and he knows what he's doing which is nice. He knows the area really well, I'm just perpetually lost, but I follow him and I try not to get hit by cars and I'm good. He's from Bountiful Utah, I told him about Bountiful BC, he thought it was funny. I saw Michael at transfers! It was really weird, but cool at the same time. I gave him the gifts from his mom, and my toilet seat cover, it was just kind of surreal to see him. He told me he'd forgotten what white skin looked like, in reference to how white I am still. So that was cool and stuff. My apartment is pretty worn out looking. The bathroom isn't finished, and there's ants every where. No panes on the windows, and the bathroom looks kinda moldy too. The water runs randomly through out the day, this morning there was no water whatsoever. But it's nice, it's small, I guess it's more than some other people have. I make do, I'm glad I'm not picky, there's literally ants everywhere. You can't leave out food or ants will come and eat it. There's four of us, Elder Hunt and I, then Elder Groesebeck and Elder Johnson in the other room. No hot water. Laundry, we have a washer and we hang our clothes to dry, I'm gonna buy food in a bit. I'll probably just buy pancake mix and fruits, and some bread and peanut butter, I don't need to get fancy. I've been drinking like, 3 liters of water every day because it's so hot, we just drink the tap water, I feel fine. It tastes good when it's been refridgerated for a couple hours, straight out of the tap is pretty nasty though. We do our dishes with laundry detergent too, fun fact. Church was good, I don't remember anyone's names, but the people are nice enough, and they laughed at my joke about coming from Canada and being used to the snow. There's actually quite a few Jamaicans that have been to Toronto, or know someone who has lived in Toronto. It's a ward now. I think it became a ward a couple months ago. Probably 50 to 70 active members, lots of less actives though, we visit 8 or 9 of them. I've been teaching right off of transfers, our first day we taught 3 people and I'm getting to know our investigators pretty well too. 

That's good to hear about Jordan surviving, tell him that I say in that picture you sent he looks like Dan. I thought that was funny. but yeah, good he's not dead. and That's too bad for Gracie, good thing she's better too, it's probably because she's so fat. The house looks good, I kinda wish I was there to help, but at the same time, I'm okay being out here instead... As far as letters and packages, just send them to the mission home, that's the safest bet. And I don't really need anything, if you want to send toiletries like deoderant and stuff ,that would be useful. But I've got enough money that I'm pretty capable of taking care of myself. And you can send candy if you want, but like, real more or less healthy food would be nice too. I don't know what though, something non perishable. I'm trying not to eat too much sugary food out here, I don't want to get sick or anything so I'm trying to eat well. But at the same time, I'm constantly craving sugar. So you could mix it up and send candy and something else too if you want. I don't get to eat a lot of sugary stuff so maybe some candy would be nice, I'd just have to be smart with it. I don't really eat much, it's so hot and I drink so much water that I'm never that hungry. But I wouldn't mind getting a package!

I'm glad that you're feeling blessed that I'm out on a mission. I'm sure whatever it was was good. I'm looking for blessings constantly, I can already tell this is going to be a tough two years. Maybe I'll learn to love it. I love what I'm doing, but this place is so far out of my element. I don't see it flying by like people say it does. But I'm still excited to do everything I'm supposed to.
And alright, I'll tell you when weird stuff happens. So far nothing. Most people are friendly. One lady walked up to me and asked if she could have my bike, so I said no. I get called whitey a lot, I just smile and wave. But yeah, nothing crazy. I'm going to dread the day I have to drive though, it's nuts here. 

But yeah, the accents are different, it's going to take a long time for me to get used to, I'm slowly getting it. I have to pray for it every day though. I think it'll come eventually. I'm not worried about it.

I'm glad the letter got there, I'll try to mail another soon when I figure out how the postage system works here. I do miss him, I'd love to be home. But I'm glad i'm out here, 'cause out here is where I need to be.

Thanks for the words, that's a good scripture. (I sent him Deuteronomy 31:6)

Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee

 I'll try my best though! The way I see it, if I'm not tired, I'm not working hard enough. And I'm always tired, but it's in a good way. it might also be because we get up at 5:15 to go running and exercise, which kinda sucks. But I do it because it's good. I need to stay healthy, I don't want to get sick and have to lay around.

I think that, for the most part, answers all of your questions and points from your letter.

As far as my side, it's going really well. I teach all the time, I've committed two people to baptism, they've been taught for a while though. But I got to commit them which is kinda neat! We teach a lot, and I've street contacted two or three people too. So I'm getting used to the work fast. Time flies when we're teaching. It's the hours of biking around and studying that gets me. As a new missionary I have to do this 12 week program to adjust me to missionary life. It's the slowest hour every day, Just doing things that I already know and learned, I get why some people need them. But I'm not a fan. I'm not saying I'm already a great missionary, I've got tons to learn, but 3 to 4 hours of study every morning is really boring when I know I could be out teaching. The most frustrating part for me though is not knowing the area. There aren't address on every house and the road signs aren't always there, so I have no idea where we are, ever. I'm gonna need to pay really close attention to everything. My butt really hurts from biking, but I think it's getting better. My first full day here, my bike broke down on the way to an investigators house, which was stupid. Something happened to the back tire's axle, but it wouldn't budge, it wouldn't turn or anything. So Elder Hunt is on the phone with APs cause they called, and I"m trying to figure out this bike thing. So I figure, a prayer would be good. I pray that Heavenly Father would bless us and that the bike would move, and the wheel started to turn and I rode it for eight seconds. Then it stopped working again. So, defeated, we tried everything to fix it. We got directions to a bike repair guy. Let me paint this picture. It's blazing hot, I'm a white kid, new to the area, walking along the highway for 25 minutes with a bike on his shoulder, sweating like no tomorrow. I guess I could call that my first trial of the mission. It really wasn't that bad, but my shoulder is still bruised from carrying that bike all the way there. Then we spent 40 minutes waiting for this homeless looking guy to figure it out and fix it. He was really good though, and fixed it, so I'm gonna go back to him when it breaks down again. That was a cool story. The reason that was so awesome though, is not because I'm such a man and carried my stupid bike for a half hour. But it was at the bike shop. We're standing there, paying for the service and the new parts, and a girl walks up to us and starts talking to us. Her name is "I", and she's been learning about different religions and was interested in learning about the Mormon church. Long story short, we're teaching her on wednesday when she's off work! I guess the Lord works in his own way, but she'd seen missionaries before, she's just never spoken to them. She seems really interested and I taught her a little on the phone this morning, and then we made the appointment for wednesday. I really hope she's receptive to the message, she was really nice. She almost came to church on sunday too, but her parents wouldn't let her, so she's kind of meeting us behind their back. She's probably early twenties. So yeah, that was cool.

Other than that, lots of stray dogs, most of them are nice. One chased me for a block but I was too fast. We had a dinner appointment. Apparently, for like, fried chicken, which is delicious here, they eat the bones too. I didn't, I'm not about that life. But yeah, everything's good so far

Nothing too crazy to report. Just serving the Lord, one second at a time. It's going to be a long two years, and a hard two years, and I'm going to face some of the biggest trials of my life here. I already know that. But I really hope that I can just do my best for the next 23 months. I'll try anyways. 

That's all I can think of saying for the moment, it's only been four days. But all is well. I hope everything at home is going well too. Tell everyone that I love them and miss them. Even Jordan Jared and Jackson. I still have Jared's picture in my suit case, I'm trying really hard not to wrinkle it up, it still looks good. Well, I think that's it for this week!


Love,
Elder Z

MTC Life

I'm trying to figure out how to mail letters, do I need to put Canada on the letter too? I have one written but I have no idea how, and it's Pioneer day so everything is closed. Kind of a bummer... But yeah, I'm fine and stuff, MTC life is pretty awesome. I've felt the spirit more in the past than I have in my whole entire life, which is weird in a good way. All his mail stuff though is confusing, but I'll figure it out, I like letters better than emails anyway. The shuttle was cool, the lady driver was scary looking and wouldn't talk to me, so it was an awkward hour car ride. The flights were good, just read a lot. I'm considering myself the king of travel because I did all of it by myself. I hope you're done sobbing by now, I stopped a few hours ago, my tear ducts ran out I guess... How was your shopping trip with your new eldest son?

But as for travelling again, zero stress, everything is pretty straight forward. I'm a man mom, and Men do stuff. And I'm doing stuff constantly! All smooth. At one point the engine on the Lethbridge  to Calgary flight made a tearing metal sound and the guy next time had a small heart attack, and he stared at the wing the whole flight. He was really frightened I think, but I thought it was funny. I just went back to sleep. The travel office took a photocopy of my new passport, so I think it's all fine, but I guess I'll find out later this week, when everything isn't closed. it doesn't help that it's my only P day in the MTC and everything is closed. I've already organized all my travel stuff, don't worry! I'll probably be free of slurpees for another two years so you can drink lots for me! And that's good you've cleared through all my stuff. What's it like having so much more space and only having three kids? I'm sure Jared likes having his own room, even though he probably doesn't spend much time in it. How are all the brothers doing?

MTC is good, I've learned a lot about teaching by the spirit. I didn't realize how little doctrine we're learning in class, it's almost all how to teach effectively, which is good. That's what I needed. We have like, five hours of study a day, and like, six hours of class. I'm teaching two 'investigators.' One is Patty, we're teaching her as a whole district, so eight of us. She's  nice and stuff, her son died and she's old so she's looking for religion and we've answered a lot of questions about the spirit world and what sets our church apart and he plan of salvation. She's really nice. My companion and I are teaching an 'investigator' named Jeremy. He's 28 and single and he's working towards baptism. He has word of wisdom issues so we're helping him come to know how the book of mormon can help him out. it's weird teaching Jeremy though, because he's our teacher pretending to be an investigator he taught on his mission. So it was hard transitioning between those two mind sets, but I even come to love these investigators that aren't even real. I've experienced such love for everyone around me. All the missionaries, and even the people of Jamaica, and I haven't met them yet! But yeah MTC is good. Pday is until like, 5, and then I have to teach Jeremy again. and I'm drinking chocolate with every meal, I'm starting to feel kinda sick... So I'll be travelling from 4:30 in the morning to 9 pm on Jareds birthday, hopefully he has an okay birthday with out me, I'm sure he'll be fine haha. I still have his picture and I'm trying really hard to keep it nice and flat, and not crumpled.

Best part of the MTC is just the spirit. My companion is Elder Kuehn, he's really cool, I like him, he's a really funny nice kid. We're room mates with Elder Maxwell and Elder Hall, they're all from Utah areas. We're the only missionaries going to Jamaica, We've all come really close. The other missionaries in our district are going to Calgary Canada, so I answer a lot of questions about maple syrup and accents and weather and stuff. Elder Sorenson and Elder Adams, and then there is Sister Egbert, and Sister Dente. They're all really nice, so I guess be nice to them if they meet you. I've become good friends with everyone. We like calling the MTC our spiritual prison, it's cool, but it's not really fun. I love the atmosphere, but I just want to serve.


Elder Zeck and Elder Kuehn

Down time