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

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