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?

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!

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.

Miss you all!

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.

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!