Monday, April 27, 2015

Bike Issues Never End!!!!!!

Our jack fruit. So good, and huge!
This thing weighed like 15 pounds.
My huge head doesn't even compare

Elder Palmer doing some service. Digging a hole to hold up the fence
Hey mom

The week's been okay. Pretty slow, but we've been busy. Just not teaching, which is too bad. We have a ton of names we're working with but none of them are really that interested so we're going to start pulling a lot of plugs. Which is something I got really good at in Portmore unfortunately so I suppose this is just what I do. Got the weights, which are great! I'm trying to lose another 10 pounds before the end of May, because then I'll be a little less fat than I was before I went to the MTC. I definitely feel better when I get that exercise, I haven't been quite as tired, and I feel more productive in the mornings. I convinced Elder Palmer to get some too, like the great father I am!

I don't really view myself as the kind of person who gets stressed or upset. But my bicycle is going to be the cause of homicidal fit if it keeps behaving the way it is. I got it fixed again last week, so now it can't have kids... Just kidding, I thought I that was funny.. But I did get it fixed, and the guy said he was going to fix it and it would never come lose again, my center crank that is. Later that day it came loose, and now the gear teeth are eating away at my bike frame, so I performed some minor impromptu surgery at home and I'm taking it back to him today and telling him he broke my bicycle and I'll politely ask him to fix it for free. We'll see how that goes. Both tires have perpetual leaks now too so I bought one new tube and put it in, I'll have to get another new tube sometime this week for the other tire. It's an old bike so I'm not really surprised at that part. Then I hit a pot hole really hard one night racing home after a dinner appointment and my light flew off and exploded, so that's out of commission, and then my handle bars bent. I fixed the handles though. So I still need a new light. I'm good for money though, I just pulled some extra out today because I left my money at home, just in case i need to pay for my repairs. My bicycle...

I think a package is in the office, I'll probably get it on Wednesday and zone meeting.

The work was good, did some street contacting, had some good faith building experiences. Met some great families, which is awesome. Families are great. Didn't teach much this week, had some good impromptu lessons. This week was really hot though, I didn't like it, I've been damp all week long. I've never been more grateful for the fact that our house doesn't have warm water. Sometimes our water gets warm, and I hate it. Cold showers are the best.

We did find the coolest cook shop I've ever seen! They make tacos. Some guy who worked at Tony Romas in Florida and then got deported or something for domestic violence. But he's a fantastic cook! And he serves cake and ice cream! Which is awesome. That was definitely a high light, he's great. He's a homie too, he gives us a ton of food, and usually gives us a discount, probably because he knows we have money and we'll be back, but I respect the business ethic.

I saw Elder Koegler last week randomly in Kingston

We went to another church on Monday, called the Bethel church of something or other. It was fun. The music was awesome, we got two welcomes from the speakers with applause, and I really liked it. Didn't feel the spirit, but I definitely felt good! Great music, like going to a gospel concert. I didn't learn anything, and I don't feel any closer to Christ, and there was nothing presented that would teach me to come closer to Christ. But it was loud and exciting! I can definitely see why people like this stuff.

Broke up a fight between some idiot kids trying to kill each other with rocks. Felt good to be an adult.

Helped Bishop clean up his yard and burned a ton of crap in his yard.

Taught district meeting on the Book of Mormon, and it's importance for us in our work specifically, how we should be able to answer pretty much all questions using revelation and the Book of Mormon. Did some practicing on how to teach out of it, how to clearly show that it's main purpose and function is to bring people closer to Christ. All other things are secondary. I think Ezra Taft Benson said that. But it was good, I like the whole district leader thing, teaching lessons and stuff. I learn a lot, and I get a chance to try and help other missionaries, most of which are better or more experienced than I am. It's all good though.

That's pretty much my week, the transfers half over. I hope everything at home goes well this week! I should send some pictures today

Elder Zeck

Monday, April 20, 2015

Baptism, Bikes, Super District

I bought some weights. I figure I'll use them throughout my mission, Help me not get fat again, and I can sell them to some Elder at the end of my mission, and use that money to buy souvenirs or something. I actually think it's a great idea! Because I've been losing a lot of weight, and I figure if I'm exercising properly it'll help my energy levels come up, because I'm at a point where biking doesn't do much anymore, and I don't want to run...

No hair cut yet, hopefully today, or next week. I sweet talked some guy to do it for free, so we'll see how that goes. We're going to Kingston today so we'll see if I have time. I need it, my hair's getting long on the sides. I'll send pictures later.

Yeah, so one area was dissolved into other missionaries' areas. Not much really changed though. The super district is fun, I get to have my zone leaders in my district which is kinda cool, but it just means I teach 2-4 more Elders every week at district meeting and it also means I have to make more phone calls. But I like it.

The bike is fine but I need to replace the front gears now, they're pretty warped, which they have been for a long time, but they get progressively worse. Every time I switch gears they bend more, so I try not to switch gears very often. Otherwise, bike's good. I also have a tube that doesn't stop leaking, and I've patched it like, 7 times, so we will see about that one.

Halls got transferred to downtown Kingston. They're still in the office.

Kevon's baptism was this weekend! That was a pretty awesome experience. Not many people showed up which was pretty lame. But it was a really cool day. Had to come early to clean and set up. Brother Harrison performed the ordinance, Kevon asked Elder Palmer to give a talk on baptism, and Seejay, a youth in the ward, to give a talk on the Holy Ghost, they all did a great job. The spirit was 100 percent present, and I think Kevon had a pretty good time. We didn't have any baptismal suits at the church... Which I thought was ridiculous, luckily though, Brother Harrison had white pants and a white shirt, and I just let Kevon wear my white pants and shirt. It all went off really well! It's always good to plant seeds, but reaping every now and then is a nice change. He's already planning on serving a mission, and I think he's receiving the priesthood next week! He was confirmed in sacrament meeting yesterday, which he asked Elder Palmer and I to stand in. The ward mission leader did the confirming. It was funny though, because he's always eager to share the gospel, he really really wants to be a missionary. He actually found a girl he'd never seen at church the 3 months he's been coming, and started asking her how church was, and he was bearing testimony and answering questions. We just watched from afar, we were afraid to go over and interrupt. But yeah, that was just a really amazing experience.

We had another investigator at the service and when the baptism started happening, he pulled out his phone to take pictures. We kind of panicked and told him to stop. I thought it was funny anyway.

We chopped down trees with machetes for service again this week. This time though there was this random guy that came up to us and stared at us while we were chopping. it was pretty creepy. I asked him how he was doing, then I asked where he lived. He said he couldn't remember. Then I asked him his name, said he couldn't remember... So we named him Choppy and got pictures with him! I'll send those too. I was up in a tree at the time, but he just watched us without saying a word for like, a half hour.

Taught district meeting on the power and influence of the Holy Ghost and how we can better teach people how to recognize it. I thought it was pretty good. I learned a lot, so I call it a success.

Broke up a fight between a bunch of dumb kids. They were hucking big rocks at each other, and being a bunch of idiots. Felt good to be an adult there.

Other wise, this week was pretty good, it was really busy, although I feel like we didn't teach much. Had 6 meal appointments, which was nice. I've been eating pumpkin rice for days now because I made a big pot of it last week. I got pretty tired of it pretty quick though.

I'm still not sure on the details for Mother's Day. I just know it's on a Sunday, and church ends at 2:30. So we'll see how that goes.

Sounds like things are good at home though! Hope everything goes well. I actually have pics so I'll send that eventually.

Elder Zeck

This is me climbing a tree to cut sticks

This is me with Choppy. Random guy.

the baptism

Guy on the right is Seejay, gave a good talk on the Holy Ghost. He's serving a mission soon! Ever since he got called to teach primary I don't see him, but he's pretty cool

Monday, April 13, 2015

Last Six Weeks of Training - Spanish Town


I've received no packages as of yet.

I found a guy this week who would cut my hair for free. Never cut white man hair before, so.. I'm putting a lot of faith in this guy. His name is Wright, he also offered us mangoes off his tree, so I trust him. We were riding through this nicer ghetto part of our area and I saw him cutting hair and I just asked if he would. We'll see later today!

I was thinking about some things that you could send. Some contact solution, some compound W would be nice. I want a banana bread recipe, I want to make something for the families that feed us every week, we're going over on Saturday to help one of the families plant a garden. They feed us every Sunday, and it's totally worth the 15 minute up hill bike ride from our house! So that'll be fun. Hopefully this week too we're going to help our bishop paint his new house, and another church sister chop her yard. I just sharpened my machete so I'm glad I'll get to use it again! A recipe for like, snicker doodles would be cool too.

I'm going to the bike shop later today to get my bicycle fixed. i need to replace the front gears, the chain probably, maybe the centre axle, possibly a set of brakes, and a tire, so hopefully the guy will be a homie and continue to give us a good price for going to him all the time. Lots of punctures this week, but I think I finally fixed it!

Week was good though! Kevon's baptism is this Saturday, had a really good lesson on missions and temples with him, he's super excited to prepare for his mission. I'm nervous for him though, i shouldn't be. it's just my worst fear to baptize someone and then have them fall away, that'd be depressing. But Kevon is awesome, he'll be fine.. His interview was yesterday though and he's on his way!

We have another investigator we've been working with for a while, and we were actually going to drop him last week, because he simply was not acting or progressing in the slightest. Randomly last week, before conference, we get to the lesson and he says that he's on the 8th chapter of 1 Nephi, and he had questions! he's been reading pretty steadily since. There was a really cool moment in the last couple lessons as we talked about him praying and finding answers, and we asked if he had felt he had received an answer. He seemed pretty unsure, so we asked how he feels when he prays. He thought about it for a moment and said he often, after he reads, says a prayer asking for truth, and the past few times, he described his feeling like a tingling in his spine, and he would feel really calm and good after. We made it clear to him what that was, and I think that's helped strengthened him a lot. When I asked him why he reads the book of Mormon every day, I expected him to say to find some kind of truth, but instead, he said he was reading because he wanted it to give him the confidence to tell his 7th Day Church of God family that he had found something better. It was just a really powerful experience, I'm glad we didn't drop him.

I've often found that the moments where Faith is the most difficult to keep, is when the blessings are right around the corner. We're teaching a lady who's struggled finding work for 7 months, and she's pretty in debt with rent. She expressed that she had lost a lot of faith because she would pray, and God doesn't deliver. I immediately remembered the Story found in Ether 2 and 3, and we read it together. She really liked it, and i think it's going to be good for her. Essentially we talked about how the Brother of Jared needed to not only ask God for help, but he needed to ponder out the situation, and bring something to the table himself. So The Brother of Jared had to bring stones to the Lord to touch and make shine, we had a good discussion about how she could bring stones to the Lord, and how he could help her get out of her situation. it was great. Good lesson.

Our weeks are getting better. Easter demolished our numbers, but we're working with about 60 people right now, slowly weeding through, finding the 4 or 5 that are serious. hopefully big things will happen after I leave! I really want to set up this area to become something that Elder Palmer can work with when I leave. From the day I got here I felt that I was just here to rebuild, and I know I could've worked harder, something I'm still working on, but i can feel pretty good saying that the area is a lot better now than it was 12 weeks ago. We have 3 or 4 people who could be baptized before Elder Palmer leaves, and another 5 or so that could be baptized shortly after. it's all exciting!

Obama came to Jamaica this week, so that was a thing. people would yell at us and tell us our boss is in the country. Little do they know I'm from a much holier land.

Saw a bunch of Elders go home this week, that was cool. That'll never happen to me! one of them is Elder Prete, from Fort McLeod or something. 

I forgot my planner so I don't know what else to write. I cut my finger open, but it's healing pretty good. Stuff's good. I've lost like, 4 more pounds, so that's a thing.

Elder Zeck

MTC Buddies - Zeck, Kuehn, Maxwell
Spanish Town District

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Conference Weekend and Transfer News


Conference was great, nothing was really crazy revelation for me, but I thought Linda K Burton gave a good talk, and so did Anderson. I liked Elder Packer's too. I'm just looking forward to re-reading them when we get our Liahona or Ensign.

Yeah if it's church music, should be good, but I can't listen to things on computers in this country for some reason... So... I don't really know. Maybe on a CD? or something.

I'm fine for clothes, just white shirts and ties are always nice to have in excess. I haven't broken out the shirts you sent at Christmas yet though, I want to wait a few more months, I've lost like 15 pounds since I got Spanish Town and I'm shooting for 10 more in the next transfer so I'll back down to where I was when I got to Jamaica.

The drink crystals are good, Nutella is gone too fast, but I appreciate pretty much anything. The more Beef Jerky the better! And Contact lens solution. Send sheet music too if you feel so inclined. Being with musical missionaries who have guitars and stuff, sometimes it's fun to have something to experiment with. It also seems like I'm probably going to end up assisting with musical numbers for the rest of my mission. Especially once all the real talent is gone and they have to resort to me!

You should tell Haley that I want her to fly to Jamaica every month to cut my hair, because no one out here is capable of doing a good job on white people hair. At least no one I've met. I'll probably just get Elder Phippen to cut it. (Haley is our Hair Stylist)

No pics sorry, this computer's USB ports are taken up by the keyboard and the mouse, it's a really ghetto computer. What do you want pictures of exactly? I haven't really had anything worth taking pictures of lately, but maybe that's just because I'm living it.

This week was good though! Transfer calls were the other day. they're calling in someone else to finish Palmer's training and I'm going AP!

Just kidding.

I'm still here for a transfer so I can finish Palmer's training, I really hope I do one more transfer after that. But our district is staying the same. One of the area's in the other district is shutting down and being split up between other Elders, so their district is now being absorbed into mine, so I now I have to lead a super district. It's only 4 companionships I guess. Just means I have to do way more trade offs! But I like being a district leader. I would gladly train and be a district leader my whole mission! I fixed my tire but it's still leaking. We'll see if I can patch it again today. Didn't cook much this week. Tried some dumpling, it was easy. I don't like it though. Too doughy. I might do rice and peas tonight or something. I'm trying to lose a little more weight so I gotta be careful about the oily foods I cook and stuff. Probably just do white rice and mackerel for most the week.

The week has been good though! one of our investigators should be baptized on the 18th. He's been to church like, 8 or 9 weeks in a row, and he loves what he's found. We're really excited for him, he could even serve a mission while I'm still here! Which would be great. The closer it gets to his baptism though the more anxious I get. I just really hope he's ready. but I've got faith in him, he's got some good support from the ward. His dad doesn't like us. Thinks we're CIA collecting information, so that took some heart softening. Everyone thinks we're CIA though, so it doesn't really surprise me.

This week we've come to the point with a few people we teach where it's become frustrating. They aren't progressing, they claim they want to, but they don't back that up with any evidence of change, they don't come to church, or read. It's confusing and frustrating. Very frustrating. I feel like a parent trying to a raise a stupid kid that won't do what they ought to do. I feel like I'm teaching what I'm sure I would've been like if I were an investigator. If I've learned anything from my mission, it's how to raise a kid. Because I feel like a lot of the stuff I have to do out here directly applies. Except for like, the raising them part. Maybe I'm just better at dealing with people who frequently don't do what I ask. Love 'em though, always love 'em.

Cool, well hey, I hope everything back home is good! Anyone playing my guitars or the drums? Anything else going on with people? I'm at a point in my mission where when I think of going home I start to get sea sick...

Elder Zeck