Monday, July 4, 2016

Last Full Proselyting Week

But yeah, things are good. It was a good work. I felt the Spirit work through us and that's all that really matters. No one's getting baptized any time soon, and the pastor of the Evangelical church is kinda rubbing it in our faces that he's stealing our investigators, but I'll probably never get over it.......

So, at this moment not many people are progressing. But we're optimistic and faithful, so this week will be good.

Cool,

So I'll be in Kingston on Monday next week. Not sure if I"ll get to email. I probably will. I'll head to Kingston Monday for an "adjusting to returned missionary life" thingy. Then Tuesday I'll probably proselyte in my old area with Elders Anderson and Squire. Visit some friends and teach some people. Then Wednesday I'll probably hang out at the office all day and have my exit interview and eat food. Then Thursday I'll probably just cry all day and then get on a plane and fly out to the home land. Then on Friday I'm probably going to sleep for a few hours, eat some food, chill with the fam, and maybe try to go on a date and find some music students.

When I looked at my flight plans I literally blew chunks on the church computer. Whoops.
I'll figure it out. I hate airports.

But yeah, week's good, kinda rushed today, I'm blowing most my money at a fancy restaurant in MoBay because I'm finished up almost. This week's gonna be great, but it's incredibly hot. I haven't been dry in a long time... I'm sweating right now. Yup, we're working hard, trying to help people. We aren't really any one's priority, so we set up like, 10 lessons every single day, and most days all 10 forget or stand us up, so we end up scrambling to find and teach people. That was probably the hardest thing to adjust to for me, just having this incredible message, and no one likes us haha. Ah well.


Love,
Elder Zeck



Elder Zeck and Johansen - James says his companion is a Canadian now!!




Reuniting with a family from a previous area.




His new shirt. Not sure he can pull this look off.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Not Ready for the "When you get home" Emails

Hello!
You should tell Jordan that if he still has any of my clothes that I want them back....

I remember very clearly what it was like to purge and pack my stuff. Feels like yesterday honestly. So crazy to think it was like, 700 days ago.

That's exciting for Jordan! My comp has a brother who served in Leeds. There's also a huge music festival in Leeds that he should check out when he goes there! Oh wait, he can't!

Ugh, reading this email made me wanna puke... I don't know when the Dominican trip is anymore, so just scratch that for now.

Yeah, Japan and Disney sounds good, let's do it. In my brain I have this ideal where I get home and things just stay crazy busy forever and I never get to sleep and I'm just successful and ridiculously busy. But I think some fun/relax time would be good for me. I don't feel like I've taken a break since high school, so I'm down for some fun stuff.

Thinking about going to the temple is crazy too. I haven't been in 2 years, I don't know why I'm nervous to go back. Probably because I don't remember anything haha.... whoops... I'm really excited for that though. I just got my temple recommend renewed a couple weeks ago, it should last until I get home, and then Pres Brown said I should go for another interview when I get home for a full 2 year one, or however long they last. Mine's just a 3 month one I guess.

I had my final interview with president Brown this week. Kind of weird. He just bore testimony to me of the Book of Mormon as another Testament of Jesus Christ, and that it really is the only book in the world that can truly turn us to the Atonement. That's why the Brethren tell us to not just read the scriptures daily, but specifically the Book of Mormon, because it's a true book. But really, it's all on the Book of Mormon. The restoration would've been non-existent without a book like the BOM. But yeah, it was good. He wanted me to tell you he was grateful for you as my mother. He greatly appreciated the letter you sent him (?) and your support for me, and he knows that I'm coming home to a good family. He just thanked me for my hard work. But yeah, I love being a missionary. Thinking about being an RM makes me actually kinda sick sometimes. But I'm sure I'll get used to it. This Sunday I'm fasting for a good transition. Sorry if I'm weird for the rest of my life...

I've got a lot of plans for when I get home!

I have a phone right? I need to find a tailor who can make me some genuine black leather pants, and I also wanna get a new laptop. I nice one. Like, a really nice one that'll last forever. Do those exist? Is the Mac I used to use still free? Did dad get rid of all the weights in the garage?

Those are my questions... Anyway

This week was good. It was tough, but good. We fought tooth and nail to teach and we only had like 13 lessons all week which was brutal. But we made it. Monday was cool. But like, mission wide (almost) Pday to do a Departure devotional for President and Sister Brown. The singing went well actually I think! I hit the Fb with good form so it sounded nice and even, which was the fear. I usually have no range, and still don't, so I consider that a miracle. But it was great. Saw a lot of people.

Then the rest of the week was just proselyting. The computers here gave Elder Warren a virus on his camera so I'm probably not sending any pics this week. Maybe if I swing by the church I'll send one. if not, you don't have much longer to wait anyway.

But yeah, good week. One of our investigators got baptized in a different church because it was closer to his house...... I was pretty upset, but there wasn't much we could do. The church was literally across the street, and... I don't know. It was frustrating. We'd had so many intense and powerful experiences with him, and he just didn't get it. But if I've learned anything on my mission. The real test, is to see if my faith will diminish because of opposition. The true test, to tell between a good missionary, and a bad missionary, isn't about the amount of people they teach, or baptize. Although they will teach more and baptize more if they're faithful. But the real test is when they are "unsuccessful", and their reaction to it. Will they get discouraged and stop believing, or will they take it for what it is, and move on with even more faith than they had before.


Love,
Elder Zeck

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Big P-Day Plans

No I'm not on a mission. It's a vacation, remember?
I hated that comment in 2014, and it still echoes through my memory, still hate it. FUN FACT: We can't find the Jamaica Kingston Mission on LDS.org. - never have. So the joke was are you really going on a mission?

Happy Fathers day to dad BTW

Yeah, thanks for all the advice, but I think I'm old enough to know how to manage things myself, okay?...

Just kidding that's awful. Yeah I'm trying to take everything into perspective. I've seriously debated a double major in music and business. I heard BYU has a commercial music program that covers both, but, I haven't looked into anything yet, so no rush for me. I just want to start working. I have a real list of like, 30 ideas that I want to run with, it will really take shape when I get off the plane in less than a month D':

I'm going to come home and interview a bunch of people and ask them for advice and probably pay for their dinner so they like me and tell me their secrets. I wanna be comfortable, I don't want my wife to need to work, but I wouldn't stop her if she wanted to. I could survive in a one room apartment now for all I care. I just need a mattress and an outlet, and maybe a microwave. That sounds perfect to me! I've probably slept a dozen times on a bare tile floor without a fan here in Jamaica, and I've really just come to appreciate anything I can have. It's kinda fun.

But yeah, I don't know, I just want to be busy. You'll learn more as things unfold. I'm definitely sticking with music though, that's a must!

Yeah Elder Jarvis sings. He's pretty cool. He's a million times better than I am honestly. The sisters are driving us. It went from a little performance in Mandeville, to a half mission wide event in Spanish Town, so that's kinda cool. It's probably the biggest P-day activity in our mission history. But i can't really support that. Yeah, Sister Brown requested it I think? Not sure. It's a secret so he (Pres.Brown) doesn't know yet. Sister Smith, Fawson, and Elder Jarvis and I are singing Come Thou Fount. And Elder Jarvis and I are singing Rock of Ages. Should be not awful, hopefully.

I have a couple pictures to send but I'm short on time. It's not because I hate you, but because I want you to grow!!!
Just kidding\

But yeah, hope things are good. Things are great here! Sav is tough, and awesome. I explained it last week, but I swear everybody we teach receives a spiritual witness our message is true, but then can never come to church, so nobody progresses....

Love,
Elder Zeck

Monday, June 13, 2016

Working Despite .......

Sounds like things are crazy busy!

Sounds like an exciting week though. I feel the same when it comes to music. I've really started to pray and fast and ponder what my life should look like when I get home, and something that has really impressed me is music. Just a problem I have is it seems so unoriginal. Being a musician has been done before and it's hard for me to feel like I'm doing anything special when all I'm doing is what someone else has done and will do later. Although I know that's not what it's about, it's about blessing people who need it. So I've seriously debated running a music studio, kinda like Auntie Carla? Is she the one?

But yeah the work is going great. I've never had an area where I've felt so spiritually lead to so many people. I've never had a time on my mission where so many people have had powerful witnesses that this message is true as we've testified, but the opposition is horrible. It's like climbing a mountain face. Everyone keeps dropping off. I pray more, and I work harder. The other day I swear my legs were on fire, and I couldn't believe I made it through the day. Just always thinking one more contact, one more lesson. And I just collapsed at the end. I had the nicest cold shower in history after though. But for some reason we can't get people to progress. They just love the message, and the Holy Ghost is palpably present at times. But no movement. Some disconnect. It's not frustrating, it's just sad. Not depressing. I've gotten good at channeling it into motivation. Preach My Gospel says that success is measured by how often you feel the Holy Ghost testify through you that the message is true. I'm at a point where I feel that almost every lesson with Elder Johansen, and it's great. But it's just upsetting that it isn't a perfect world. anyway...

Yeah I'll put that into my five year plan. The Diane trip sounds good. Any other dates I should know about to incorporate into my plan. I need to balance everything. I'm going to talk to Sam about what it takes to get set at BYU as a piano tuner. So we'll see how it all goes out.

I was going to send a picture but I can't find my camera cord. I'm taking pics though don't worry.

I spoke in church on Sunday, I've been trying really hard to get this teaching by the Spirit thing down. So I took my topic, I studied it, came up with some good ideas. Prepared like 3 hours worth of material. Got up to the podium with just my quad, and started to speak, and I went way over my time on accident and made the concluding speaker shorten her talk... Whoops. But it was really cool, I'd never spoken like that before. That's basically how the scriptures tell us to teach, and I was surprised at how it went. I could really feel my words and thoughts being directed. I was upset when it was over so soon... But that was neat.

Other wise, some crazy guy told us he wanted to kill us the other day, and now we see him everywhere.

Love,
Elder Zeck

Monday, June 6, 2016

Sunglasses, Fedoras, Pepsi, and Chocolate

Today Jordan and I were on the road. We drove 5 hours north to a Visa Application Centre for a 10 minute appointment and then drove 5 hours home.
That sounds way fun, driving a lot. I learned to love driving here, because of our 4 hour cross island drives when I was in MoBay. Or transfer days when we'd be on the road from 3AM to 10PM. Good times. I'm excited to drive without kilometer limitations, but I'm not excited to have to pay for gas...


Our week was okay. We taught a lot and found a lot, but no one came to church. I used to get all worked up about how many lessons I taught and people I found and things I did, but honestly, if no one is at church it all just feels frustrating. Not a single person we invested in is going to get any blessings of this gospel because they aren't acting on it, and it makes me a little depressed. But we'll just have to work harder then.

It's rained a little. Most the damage to my shoes is on the inside, when I polish my shoes they look totally fine. But the insides are giving me blisters and such, so... I might buy insoles today or something. Not sure yet.

The mission just approved sunglasses and fedoras haha, that's exciting news too!
President kinda toured last week in zone conferences. He's doing good. He isn't trunky or anything. My last interview with him is the 21st.

But yeah, good week. Just way busy, we're always in the area, preparing souls and drinking Pepsi. We bought some Pepsi from a shop the other day while out with a member and he turned to us and said, "Oh, are we allowed to drink those now?" And I laughed and drank it all.  I also learned, fun fact, that a chocolate bar can contain more caffeine than a Coke. I imagined what would happen to church attendance and worthy temple goers if the prophet said no more chocolate.

Love,
Elder Zeck

Monday, May 30, 2016

One More Transfer Left

Hello!

Sounds like a fun busy week. Jordan's a stud, he looked great. I'm sure it was quite the weekend. Who was his date?

Little brother Jordan's high school graduation

That's way exciting he's an Elder now! The Melchizedek priesthood is an awesome advancement. There's a lot of power that comes with it. When he's endowed he will see the Lord's hand a little differently in his life. I wish I went to the temple more before my mission. I've only done like, 2 endowment sessions... So I really don't remember anything...

Well, I can basically already play all those instruments and things. I was more thinking about giving the lessons. Something, I don't know if this is a long term thing or just to get on my feet. But I've been thinking very seriously about starting out with a music studio of sorts. It would basically just be me teaching lessons, I'd do basic recordings, I'd create and type out curriculums and things. Kind of what I was doing with guitar back home, but broaden it more to suit other musical interests. I try not to think about it very much, but I do feel as I pray that I need to do music some how for the rest of my life. I really do believe that it's a gift that Heavenly Father has entrusted me with. So I want to do something with it. Give lessons. Record. Help music become a blessing in more people's lives. That and I did the math, I can make a lot of money! So that's why I asked. It'll keep me busy until Spring semester so I can save up money for school, wherever I end up going.
What do you think of the idea? I can't bother with taking lessons.

The running shoes.. They're for running..

Yeah the DR trip got moved to September anyway so it's all good.

But yeah, things are good here. Just moving along. Transfer calls were good. Nothing is changing here, so I'm excited to stay! We're working with lots of people still. Busy week with meetings and things. Helped out with some institute stuff. I think it'd be so fun to teach institute. CES always looked like a fun job.

Not much to report though other than just we've been working hard. Lots of finding, lots of teaching. Lots of awesome people we're working with. I hope things at home are still going well. I've officially only got like, 6 and a half weeks left. In hind sight, it's all gone by so quickly. I feel like I still have so much to learn! But we're getting there. It's been raining a lot so my shoes look like garbage all the time. They're a chore to clean every single day.

I'm still alive

Love,
Elder Zeck

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Lots of Appointments

Hello!

So yeah, it's Tuesday and it's raining a ton. I think we're going to go out to Negril anyway just for the fun of it. . Also gotta get a key copied.

Things are good.

That's great Jordan's graduating seminary, that's very important! He's going to be a great missionary. I can feel that. He just has to remember that serving a mission is like running a marathon. You can't walk, or sit down or run. Some missionaries will try to pace themselves so they don't burn out. But God commands us to sprint the entire distance, which seems impossible. And honestly, it is impossible! But God promises us that if we sprint as hard as we can the whole time, when we have no more energy left, we will realize that we aren't the one doing the work, and we realize he carries us through every single step. It's been a very real promise in my mission.

Sav's great. I've only taught more than 20 lessons in a week maybe 3 times on my mission, and this week we shattered my all time record with a big 30! The key, is the members finally trust us enough to work with us. And we received almost 10 referrals, we taught 30 lessons, met a ton of people, and ended the week with 20+ new investigators to work with. And the members have started to call us to ask when they can come teaching with us! This is the very thing we've been working for for 5 weeks now! It feels good to see fruits. We don't have time to take meals some days we are so busy, it's ridiculous. But it's good. We have a lot of people just asking us if they can be baptized.

We have had an issue recently though with people receiving spiritual witnesses that our message is true, and knowing they have to be baptized into our church, but then they see the repentance process and get frightened and we never see them again. It's heart breaking and frustrating. So we started over with some people, with a world of potential! So the work is great.

I'm well, although my shoes are impossible to keep clean. And I'm focused. I don't think about girls and stuff like some missionaries do haha. I'm starting to very vaguely recall how many weeks I've been out. And I was wondering if you could do me the biggest favor you've every done for me ever? Possibly even bigger than birthing me...

So I was hoping you could do some research for me and find some average costs for various forms of music lessons. Namely...
Guitar
Piano
Voice
Bass
Drums
Cello
Violin
Mandolin
Ukulele

Some of these may not have "average costs" because they're weird. But that'd be great. My 5 year plan will be greatly affected by the research you do here. If you don't want to though it's whatever. It's only a request formulated from sincere prayer and fasting, but it's whatever.

I also need to know what the odds are, even remotely, of coming on the temple trip here in Jamaica. I'd obviously just meet them in Panama, or DR, or where ever, but I gotta start putting dates on a calender. Also, how much is an average plane ticket to Scotland?

Also in preparation for my homecoming, I need some things...
- All black pair of Saucony running shoes. Just jet black.
- Motor cycle with a side car
- An agreement that if I feel so inclined my first 48 hours home can be spent sleeping
- Permission to go to Utah for October Conference, and also in the summer go to through the temple with a convert from Portmore.
- Taco in a bag

Love,
Elder Zeck

Monday, May 16, 2016

Just a Little Letter Today - 60 days left

I've added a couple of bits from my letter so that things make more sense........

Hello!

So we had Elder Davidson over for dinner this week.
That's good to hear you had him. What did you eat?
Yeah he was a good missionary. The Lord definitely trusted him. What's his life's plan now?

So yeah, the week was good though. Not much else to report. Just missionary work. Pulled some zinc roof off a house, killed a couple dozen wasps while we were at it. Did some member work and so forth. It's been very very hot lately.

Yeah, i pulled out the money. You can give me more money if you want, but I don't know why you would. I don't have a bicycle. I'd probably just use it to buy stuff to bring home.

Dad and I spoke in YSA today for High Council Sunday. It was fun. I haven't spoken in church in ages and I even left your dad lots of time for his talk. I spoke about changes and transitions in life and making decisions. Said we need to Trust in Heavenly Father, keep an eternal perspective, have faith, and be optimistic (or hopeful). While preparing for this talk I was reminded of your first letter from Jamaica and your description of being this really white sweaty guy who didn't understand anything that was being said and carrying your broken bike down the road. You said that it was going to be a long 24 months. When you look back now, can you believe that? 
Yeah I actually read through the journal entry for that day a little while back, and I kinda laughed. I always knew I would enjoy the mission. But back then it was more, "I hope I enjoy the mission" Now it's, "I know I enjoy the mission" So that was a fortunate adjustment. 

My shoes don't really look that trashed.... I'll send pictures next week.

Love,
Elder Zeck

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Final Mother's Day Skype!!



Our Skype on Mother's Day

Our week was good. Our companionship unity is getting way better, so our lessons are better. We've had very few bad lessons, meaning lessons where we don't feel the Holy Ghost. It's just hard in our area because it's a little more ghetto, there are a lot distractions. From drunk, obnoxious, Rastafarians, to loud vulgar music, to children and stray dogs. So that's the struggle right now. We had a few people on date for baptism but we realized on Friday that we weren't proselyting in our area ha ha... whoops... So we're back to square one again, which is fine, those people will still get baptized and that's what's important! They are the Lord's recent converts! Not Elder Zeck's recent converts.

But yeah, Skype was cool, good thing that was my first one. I might send some pics.


Elder Zeck and Elder Anderson in Kingston


Elder Zeck and Elder White in Sav


Happy the light jacket and umbrella came in handy.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Working Hard in Sav

Sav is great! Wonderful place. We're definitely seeing miracles every single day. Elder White has a really natural desire to be exactly obedient and hard working, and he really wants to just do the work, which I'm very very grateful for. He isn't going to let me die hard (not that I ever would). I'm working harder now than I ever have, because I know how to work more now than I did before. 

Yeah I took out some cash, I was going to buy a bike, but we have decided to probably just stick with walking for the last 12 weeks. Help me spend more time in the sun so I don't come home as white as I was when I came out. So if I don't buy the bike.... I might get a watch made out of wood...the walking is great though. We still teach almost 20 lessons a week, which was what I taught in Kingston with a truck, so I think we're doing some things right. 

Elder White is great though. He's a convert and the only member of the church in his family. He's got a great story, and I've already learned a lot from him.

I don't really know about my 5 year plan. He told me that I could start it after my last interview with him, which will be end of May early June... So I'll have like 3 weeks to do it... So we'll see

Yeah I get along with the other Elders pretty well. I've been blessed with good friendships my whole mission. I've been reflecting a lot on my mission and life, I've just been so humbled. I don't know what I've done to deserve everything I have been given. My mission hasn't been perfect. But I've finally started to become something that I'm proud of, and I know my Heavenly Father is proud too. I've gotten along with every missionary I've met, I've made great friends. I receive a lot more praise than I know I'm worth. Which is good! Because it guilts my pride into trying to be better.

I should be able to swing a 3:30 Skype time. I'm not sure where yet. I realized it was Mothers Day too only yesterday! I'm way excited!

Otherwise, good week. It went by quick, which seems to be the plague of my next couple transfers. We're working hard. I'm trying to be a good example. I'm by no means perfect, and it's obvious while training. But it's good. We're working with some wonderful families, we have set some high goals for ourselves as well. I'm almost done the Standard Works! Once I'm through Ezekiel I think I'm done!

Zone meeting was this week in Montego Bay. Trip down memory lane, however this time I wasn't the one teaching it! I haven't enjoyed the pleasure of receiving a zone meeting in a year. That was a funny thought. It's really nice just being a normal missionary again. I literally felt a burden lifted as I was on the bus to Sav. It's so nice.

But that's my life. Just praying, finding, planning, studying, and teaching!

Love,
Elder Zeck

Monday, April 25, 2016

Training, Walking, Hot Water.....Finally

Okey dokey

I haven't had a good donut since I left home, a few weeks ago

Transfers was great. Super hectic leading up to it, but now I'm here. We took a fancy bus, it was like, a 5 hour ride, but it was alright. Talked to this Methodist preacher lady on the bus who was really nice. She had some questions about how we got to Jamaica and how our church funds us. So that was a good conversation. She lives in a part of the island that missionaries can't go to right now, so that was too bad.

Yup I got Elder White! From Georgia. He's awesome. He's got a really natural desire to do the work, so he's always ready to get out the door and prepare people. I've learned a lot from him already, he's got a very natural motivation. We're going to get along pretty well.

Sav is awesome too. We would be on bikes, however mine got stolen in MoBay, and then returned in a useless state, so I dumped it at the APs house. We're just going to be on foot for the next couple transfers probably. Get some sun, and maybe mosquito bites and Zika. But I'm pretty sure I'm immune to Zika, so I'll be okay. So far so good. we get lost sometimes, but our area isn't too bad thankfully.

Yes we have hot water, which is great! Finish my mission in luxury.

So yeah, we're white washing which is interesting. We have a little bit of a teaching pool, but we've been doing a lot of ground work. We live in our area so it's really easy to just step outside and start talking to people. The church is only a 10 minute walk too, so there's a lot of perks. I prayed for this kind of experience to finish my mission, I'm grateful that God sees me fit to answer my prayers, and to see that my desires are his desires. I knew I'd be training Elder White almost a week before he got to the island. Maybe it was a good guess though..
But Sav will be wonderful.

I haven't taken any pics yet..

Yeah I'd LOVE to do the temple trip! But I'd probably just meet them there. I don't even know if I could come with them from Jamaica. I'd love to come to Jamaica too though. Rent a car, visit a few people. It'd be expensive though so I'm not really banking on any of that actually happening. It would be a neat experience if Jordan could come too. He could meet some people I taught and what my mission was like. But again, that's all fairly wishful. And a lot of people have specifically asked if they could meet my mother, so you'd have to come too.

So my life's been good. Leaving an area is awful. I feel like I broke up with a million girlfriends. But honestly, this was probably worse than breaking up with a million girlfriends. I'm going to miss the people in Kingston so much. I've never felt so involved and attached with an area before. They've all been good. But this is the first area where I really feel like people could remember me. I wasn't just another Elder. A lot of tear filled good byes accompanied my last 4 days in Kingston. It was awful... Elder Squire is going to have a ball baptizing them all though. I'm confident in all of them. It's the greatest feeling. Knowing that someone is making a covenant into a life that is far better than they've ever had before. I don't think there is any greater expression of love than leading someone to the waters of baptism. When I get home, I'm creating a savings fund for the sole purpose of being at the sealings and endowments of all the people I've met and had the privilege of working with. It's awesome!

Love,
Elder Zeck

Monday, April 18, 2016

Transfer Update: Training and White Washing in Savannah la Mar

Mamadeb: About 87 more days until we see this boy again. Sav is probably his last area.
Happy Birthday!!! I totally remembered..

Week was good. Lots of rain but not too bad. We still taught a ton people and did a lot of work. Good way to end my stay in Kingston. Lots of missionary work.

Yeah so I'm getting transferred to Sav to white wash train. It'll be pretty fun! I'm excited. It's the way I wanted to go so that's awesome.. I'm excited.

Not much to mention this week. Just did missionary work. I hate leaving an area. It's like breaking up with a million girlfriends. But it's probably way worse because these people actually care about me. Which is weird. I feel like Kingston has been my most successful area on my mission, purely because it's infinitely harder to leave here than it has been any other area. I've honestly been so upset all week long because I've known I was leaving. I've been telling everyone that Elder Anderson was leaving. It was so awful bearing my testimony in Sacrament meeting. Any way....

I don't really remember what happened this week. Lots of driving. Went to Port Antonio on Tuesday, Yallahs on Wednesday, Portmore on Thursday, Friday this morning again at 6AM, and Portmore again in about an hour. I have mixed feelings about leaving the zone leader position. I've been so blessed so far on my mission. Kingston has been the most sacred and life changing area I've had. I'm really tired so I can't really organize my thoughts.

I would love to come back to Jamaica though in July if that's even remotely possible.

Love,
Elder Zeck

Monday, April 11, 2016

Time in Kingston May Be Winding Down and Little Bro Got His Mission Call

Don't have long today. Elder Anderson and I organized a zone P-day thing up to Hollywell Blue Mountain to hike and stuff. Went way longer than we thought, but it was good. I think we're the first ever zone leaders to charter a bus and get 20 odd missionaries up a mountain. Did studies up there and then hiked around. Way fun! Glad we did it. It was freezing cold though. I was shivering the whole time. Probably like, 20 degrees or something.

My week was good though. Just missionary work. Lots of meetings, and driving to Portland to do baptismal interviews. It's all in my journal. You'll see it someday. I'll email pics in the future I think maybe.

Lots of miracles though! Teaching families! Lots of families!

I'm alive, and well.

I'll let you know by next Monday what my transfer call will be. I think I'm leaving unfortunately, which is really too bad. I'm just really worried I'm going to leave this area without a teaching pool, because we haven't proselyted much at all the past couple weeks and our area kinda started to wilt. We spent all weekend trying to fix it, and I think we made good progress. Being a missionary is awesome. It's so hard, but it's so rewarding. Every day is a different adventure.

The video was great! I'm going to email him next week when I have more time to talk about it. Super cool! So crazy. I guess the count down surprise is if I have to extend!! But we'll see.



If anyone tells Jordan that England is hard, I want him to remember that his brother said, "That's blasphemous and dumb".  Doctrine and Covenants 11:3 clearly states that the field is white, and it's ready for harvest. I'm going to email him some documents to study later. I'm getting upset just thinking about all the people that will say that to him............ "England's gonna be hard." "Won't baptize much there" Loads of garbage..... And he's going to hear it a lot. If he believes it, he'll hate his mission. If he doesn't believe it, then no matter what happens, he's going to come back a giant, baptisms or not. 'Cause that's faith. I think I need to step away from the computer for a second... I'm guilty of that though to some extent on my mission. Thank goodness for repentance.

Tell everyone I love 'em.

Love,
Elder Zeck

Monday, April 4, 2016

Lessons Learned

You should be getting a picture from Sister Dill.

Elder Zeck and Elder Anderson

Didn't really have time to look like a tourist and take pictures this week, too busy doing missionary work and stuck in a line at the police station with a bunch of Elders for trespassing onto a private basket ball court one night... Just kidding, it was for Visa stuff I think. But they wouldn't tell us what it was for. I take pictures but they're all boring and wouldn't make sense without me narrating.

Conference was good. Priesthood session and Saturday morning were my favorite. Lots of revelation received. Just a good weekend. Didn't get to proselyte much but I guess that happens. It starts at 7 for us actually so we still got home by 9.

I'm excited to hear about the call. If you send the video to Sister Brown in the office maybe I could watch it. My guesses are
1) Jamaica
2) Africa
3) France

So we'll see.
or California.

Week was good. Lots of lines and stuff. Not much progress. It doesn't feel like I've been in Kingston for 6 months almost. I could serve here forever. I love the people, and the places, and the proselyting.

Every day, I notice, I hit 9:00 and I'm done. Which is nice. I only ever have just enough energy to last me til nightly planning, and then I'm out of it. And I do it again, and again, and again. It's kind of ridiculous when you think about what we actually do as missionaries. But it's fun. I like it anyway. Yeah we're having fun. but holy cow, we're always tired. He (Elder Anderson) usually falls asleep on the tile floor of our kitchen every night, and I always wake up around 10:30 with my face on my journal. It's a healthy companionship.

But I'm doing my best! Still learning every day!

This week, should be mostly proselyting, and some driving. Doing some baptismal interviews around the island for our zone, which is great. Should be 6 or 7 zone wide this week which is wonderful!
Had Zone meeting this past week, I loved it! I love teaching them. 4 hours of gospel discussion. Talked a lot about how there's no excuses. Talked about some mission heresies like, "I don't have to change my personality" or "I can work hard and not be successful" Lies like that. I enjoy it every time!

The greatest lesson I've learned in Kingston is what it means to be a disciple of Christ. I've begun to understand what it means to truly become like Him, and devote your life to Him, and what that's going to be like when I come home. I've learned how the Spirit speaks to me, and I've learned by it a lot. Kingston has quite literally, and in a very cliche way, changed my life. It's been an interesting experience. What began as the most difficult area on my mission, is ending as the most sacred area. It's the first area where I actually feel like I've helped someone. And I've realized a lot here, that I had no clue of before. Every area I learn something new. I think this area I learned what I wish I knew at the very beginning. It's just been good. I don't think about home at all any more. But I do often ponder on how I can keep this up when I come home. I used to make fun of the weird missionaries for coming home and being weird, and we would joke about how long it would take to get them "normal" again. But I've just realized that the "weirdness" is probably a good thing. Too many people come home weird and then let the world get back in. Fitting the new you in your old life kinda thing. But that's so incredibly wrong! It's gotta be the new you in a new life. Elder Martinez of the 70 once came and made a comment along the lines, (or maybe it was Elder Cornish) "Perhaps the closest thing we can do to denying the Holy Ghost (unpardonable sin) is go less active after a full time mission" Which I think is incredibly true. I never thought I'd be so excited to put MoTab and Bednar talks on my iPod haha......... weird....

I've recently been thinking about the prophecies of the last days. I think the hardest part of the last days leading up to the millennium will not be the wars and plagues. But I think it will probably just be the fact that as Mormons, or perhaps Christians in general, we will end up being the odd man out every single time, in every single place. We will lose a lot of friends. It's going to be hard. The social aspect will be the hardest by far. I'm excited to go home and go to the temple. I feel like there's still a lot for me to learn there. I honestly don't remember a single part of the experience, I've only gone twice. I just remember how I felt, and it was pretty good.

Anyway

Things are good. Still exhausted as ever. I'm excited to hear about Jordan's call!

Love,
Elder Zeck

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Wonderful Experiences, Blessings, Not Going to Think About Home Yet

Hello!

1. You never answered my question about ingrown toe nails. Have you had issues?
No I have never had an ingrown toe nail on my mission. I've been lucky I suppose. My companion has a pretty nasty one right now.

2. Elder Jernigan's mom sent me a picture of K and L's wedding. You were in the picture.
Yeah the wedding was great!

3. You saw the "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" music in the box? Susan might be coming in July. I might get her to play it. I know you are busy, but even if you can learn a bit of it????????? Music IS spiritually rejuvenating.
Yeah I saw it and I skimmed through it. Looks easy enough, right? I actually don't know exactly where it is but I think it's in my crate or binder or something. Haven't had much time to look through it.

4. IMPORTANT!!!! ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO DEFER UNIVERSITY UNTIL JANUARY? I HAVE TO RETURN YOUR ADMISSION LETTER WITH A YES FOR SEPTEMBER OR A NO BY APRIL 4TH.
I'm not thinking about home or schooling at all until I am asked to prepare my five year plan, which won't happen until May probably. So... I don't really want to make any decisions with school. May as well just defer it then! I think I'll be able to make best use of my time.

5. Do you wear your retainer?
I look at my retainer most nights.

6. Diane is asking about your summer/fall plans. I know you have 24 months left, but can you give me some hints? Please? I know she has plans to take you somewhere. I think she wants to get her ducks in a row.
I don't plan on thinking about home plans for a couple months still. But the temple trip is a couple weeks after I think I get home, so it'd be cool to go wherever that temple trip is. Panama I think. I'll probably be working and figuring some things out.

But yeah, so this week was good. Taught some lessons. Did some street contacting. Made lots of phone calls. Ate some good food. Had some awesome experiences in lessons and watching investigators change their lives and keep commitments and things. Teaching families is the best. My razor's getting dull, so that's a struggle. I'm more exhausted than I've ever been. Had 3 baptisms this week! WHOOH! Pretty hectic. Had Sister M's on Wednesday and L and T on Friday. Both were wonderful. Great experiences for sure. The Lord is blessing us and our area quite a bit, it's a little ridiculous some days, but I mean that in the most humbling way possible. So I'm still going. I don't plan on being a dead missionary any time soon. Kinda weird that my last area will be made known to me in about 3 weeks. Time has been quite the phenomenon on the mission. I can honestly say that my mission has become the sacred experience that I've been praying for.

I suppose a quick thought.
At the beginning of my mission I would pray for crazy experiences. I wanted cool stories to tell. About 6 months ago, I decided that was the wrong view. I began praying for sacred experiences. Still cool stories, but some stories that I would hold very dear to my heart. Stories of changed lives, and experiences that leave powerful marks on my personal life. I can honestly say Kingston has been that sacred experience I've been wanting for. And it's been wonderful. With it came, trial and stress, and it still is trial and stress. But I know my purpose in life. I am coming to understand the true nature of our Heavenly Father. and I know that he's real. so there ya go.


Love,
Elder Zeck


I can't find the energy to pick up my bag from the floor, so no pictures. So sorry, haha... I'll send some.. I'll try to get more sleep next week and maybe I'll have the energy.

I hope you all know I love you. My emails are lame because my brain is fried on P-Days. You'll see my journal and stuff I guess. It's funny. I finally feel like I'm doing missionary work the right way, and it's the hardest way. but it's the most rewarding way. And I want to die sometimes, but that's only because I understand how nice that might be haha. Anyway, yeah. I'm tired. So don't be too mad that I don't write much of stories and things.

I've thought long and hard about putting in that retainer. sometimes I do actually. My teeth haven't moved much honestly.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Relentless Blessings





So yeah... I just decided I'll make an edited version of my missionary journal to appeal to the average reader, and I'll just tell you everything then. Week was good though. Probably the most tired I've ever been on my mission. Just a lot of praying and working. Sometimes I dream about doing missionary work, and I wake up exhausted and I just don't even know how I survive some days.
But with that said, Kingston has been more rewarding than any other area, and it's definitely the area that I've suffered the most in. Funny how the greater we learn to suffer, the greater joy we're able to feel, because that's how I feel every night. I'm praying for an extra 2 hours in the day so we can do all the things we need.
Everyone's doing great, lots of good stuff going on.

Should have 4 more baptisms this week. The Lord is blessing us relentlessly. It's very joyous and stressful.

Yeah I got the box, thanks so much!

Anyway, yeah, not much to report. Lots of good stuff. Just trying to survive, in the best way possible of course!

Can't think of much else to say.

Love,
Elder Zeck

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Greatest Challenges Often Reap the Greatest Blessings

Cool!

Thanks for the email. Keep me posted on the papers. Glad to hear Jordan's still singing. Does he still play piano?

Yup Sister D and D got baptized!!! Super awesome, such a cool experience. Stood in the confirmation circle for both, what a blessing.

The Lord is blessing us both relentlessly right now. I've had so many awesome experiences the past 18 weeks, it's hard to contain. I'm glad I keep a journal. Lots and lots of opportunities to grow and progress and help the people here. remember how I used to talk about how this is the hardest area of my mission? Funny that it's also the most rewarding!

Temple sounds fun. When there's no temple near by, God usually uses mountains and stuff. So this morning we got up way early and hiked blue mountain with the APs to study by this waterfall. Pretty great. Had a pretty powerful experience while studying. Then we met some guy and the assistants are gonna teach him. So good morning!

But yeah. Good week! Should have another baptism this Saturday, but we'll find out like on Friday. Things are great though! Just working through it!

The Zone is doing great. We're doing better, and we're continually getting better. We're at this point where when we aren't feeling the Holy Ghost in our work, we realize it very quickly, and we do everything we can to get it back. It's just very stressful, very taxing.

Anyway, I'll see about pictures maybe. I may have forgot the camera...

Love,
Elder Zeck

Monday, March 7, 2016

One More Transfer in Kingston

Hello!

So it's been a good week! It's awesome to get to be a missionary. I've learned a lot of really big lessons this week. Most of which you might see in my journals later because I don't really have time to expose all of my fun.

But G's baptism was great, and this coming Friday should be Sister D and D! They're all so excited, we're so excited for them too! It's been a privilege to work with them all.

So I get one more transfer in Kingston, it'll probably be my last. Time really has flown by. But I"ll be here. Lots of miracles are starting so we gotta make sure we're on top of those. Lots of good work to be done!

That's way exciting for Jordan! I'm anxious to hear where he ends up! Anywhere is cool. I think when we truly come to understand that God is incapable of giving a bad gift, we become much more grateful for the things He does give. Because it's always the best possible thing for us.

But yeah, good week. Got fed lunch by a lady who said she saw God. Had a good laugh. But she wasn't laughing.
Car battery died one morning so we had to fix it, thankfully it wasn't an issue.

Taking G out teaching is way fun!

MLC was this week. A bunch of us Zone Leaders got Burger King before, so that was fun. One of the other Elders told me to contact this one worker, so I did. That's pretty much the end of that story.

Church was wonderful, tons of people we're working with came, it was awesome!

Went to Port Antonio and got jerk from this place called Boston which I guess it supposed to be the best on the island. I believe it!

But yeah things are great!

Love,
Elder Zeck

Monday, February 29, 2016

Not much time today I don't think, lots of stuff to do!

This whole one hour email time isn't too convenient. It's not a problem, it just means everyone thinks I hate them now. But I don't! I just have more important things to do. I took pictures this week but I don't think I"ll have time to email them. You can see them if I come home!

G GOT BAPTIZED ON FRIDAY!!!! woooh. Yeah so that was cool. Super stoked for that one. Then his mom and brother are getting baptized in a couple weeks too if they can get through all the lessons in time. Which I think we will. So yeah, that's great! Took so many pictures.

Tell everyone I say happy birthday as well..

Investigators are great. We need more though.

Elections were last week, and then there was a recount and turns out the party that won wasn't actually supposed to win, so then people started doing dumb stuff and all the missionaries on the island had to stay home after church on Sunday. That was fun! But everyone's fine.

I'm almost done the Old Testament now. Then I'll be in my list of people I know that have read the Standard Works including : Bruce R McConkie, David A Bednar, dad? So I'll be up in the big leagues!

I think I'll be here for one more transfer and then I'll be out for my last 3 months in some random place. We'll see on Saturday though! I hope I train. I think that'd be great.

But yeah, that's about it. Great week. Not as good as we would've liked but it was good. Hope all's well and stuff!

Love,
Elder Zeck

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Work Is Picking Up in Kingston

Mamadeb's Note: Heavily edited again this week. Lots of personal, non-bloggy kind of stuff. Suffice it to say, we love our James and the ways he is growing and maturing on his mission. We are coming down to the last 5 months. 


Hello!

I guess this Zika thing is pretty bad. I'm immune so I'll probably be fine

Kingston really has been the hardest area for me so far, but I think it's only been hard because I've really learned what it means to be a missionary. I feel like every new area I "learn what it means to be a missionary" But I've never loved people so much as I have here, because anyone who really gets into the work, knows that if you don't love people, it will be discouraging, and impossible. That's been my greatest lesson.

Otherwise week was great. So busy! We have like, 6 people on date for baptism and like, 11 people coming to church. The Lord has blessed us so abundantly it's ridiculous! I've found the more of an effort I put on my obedience and diligence and prayers and studies, the more I see the Lord's hand in my life!

I really do have a testimony that as his children, he wants to give us all the blessings we have room for, and then some! But the only thing that really gets in the way is us. When we are proud, and stubborn, and disobedient. As I've made the effort to do everything I'm supposed to. Not just assuming that I am, but actually making a conscious effort to DO everything properly and exactly, that we've seen miracles. Since I've been with Elder Anderson we've maybe had 2 bad lessons, out of 40. And those were environmental and out of our control. Every night I think of what lessons I've learned that day, that I can use to teach someone else. To strengthen someone else's testimony. The experiences that I will use in talks, and in teaching moments, and the ones that people will remember. And I've had more the past 3 months than I think I've had my whole mission, and I think that's because of how hard this area has been. I've been really forced to work harder. It's always funny, talking of spiritual things. To most people this would seem very fictional or odd. It's powerful. I hope these experiences do not end with my service.

Anyway, enough stupid emotional stuff. I ate some Jamaican mexican food, that was good. I don't know, lots of protein shakes and toast. We're going to the gym and such. in a week I've gotten my warm up from .5k (sad I know) to 4.5k. So that's great. Tomorrow I plan on doing 5K in 28 minutes and I'll keep working faster from there.

Wrote lots this week but that's about it.

Hope everyone's good!


Love,
Elder Zeck

Monday, February 8, 2016

Pictures, Answers to Questions, and a Bit of News

1 Was there a Star Wars Darth Vader Christmas t-shirt in your Christmas box?
- Yes it was awesome! Where did you find it? I might need a new one.. I made a deal with Elder Johnson and he ended up with it



2 I was thinking I should start your application to UofL for the fall, just in case. Thoughts?

- Maybe, but I'm not sure yet. I might wait a semester before doing school, or maybe I'll only take a couple classes, I'll start figuring that out in a couple months. When does the semester start?

3 Can your Mission President interview you for a temple recommend?
- Yes

4 Can you live with the shirts you have or should I try to send you some? Are the 16" necks too big too?

- I'll be good

5 In the next box I am sending there is a bunch of candy, cookies, juice crystals, Nutella, and a bag for Kevon with two shirts (15.5" neck/long sleeve), two ties, and three pairs of socks. I'm just telling you in case customs helps themselves to any of the contents.

- Thank you! He'll love that. If you could send him a letter or something too, that'd be great!

6 Mailing packages is becoming a pain so this next one may be the last.

- I overstand


Here's a pic. Sister Dill got mad at me at church yesterday for not sending you pictures in a long time..

This is me and the trainee I spent like, 6 hours with. Boy I miss training!




Yo, you can't laugh at my hair. You have no idea how heartbreaking it was to have to get my haircut by a random civilian... I heard my heart break. I was so disappointed in myself.. I should've just left it long...

I miss Haley so much right now....(Our hair stylist)

I guess that's cool you wanna be part of my life.. I don't know. We wake up at 5 now to go to Express Fitness. I started running. I hate running outside, but I don't like treadmills, so I settled for treadmills. I run funny on them and it's making my feet hurt, but I ran for like 40 minutes. That'll be good for me I guess. then we get home shower, and stuff. Study. Teach. Find. Eat lunch. Teach. Find. Teach some more. Have meetings. Eat some more. Call district leaders and make sure they're doing what they're supposed and holding them accountable for their missionaries. Sleeping. Repeating. We're teaching some pretty great people right now actually! Lots of cool life changing experiences for them. I've been really lucky to be a part of it.

Had a neat experience at a district meeting in Kingston this week. We were talking about extending commitments with love. And just a thought came to my mind, that as missionaries we need a testimony that God loves his children. I think it's easy to say we believe he loves everyone, and we know He loves anyone because we have faith that He does. But I think it's also important for any Latter Day Saint person to really seek for a spiritual witness that God does love all his children. I had a neat experience like that a few months ago that's really changed how I view things and do things. But I feel like if we're going to tell people that Christ loves them, we need to feel it too.

That's exciting for Jordan! I'm excited to see where he goes and things.

Do you think Susan would give me piano and voice lessons if I came by to visit? Would she charge me?

I think I might be jealous that John and Mike are teaching seminary. I feel like teaching mission prep and seminary would be a dream. Or maybe it'd be really terrible.


but yeah, it's a good week.


Love,
Elder Zeck



"Grumpy" Elder Zeck




Elder Zeck and Elder Anderson, his new companion. Yes, I made fun of James' haircut

Monday, February 1, 2016

Same Area. New Companion.

Hello!

This week's been pretty good for us. Elder Anderson and I have hit the ground running. Of course Monday throughWednesday was mostly running around and preparing for the ever hectic season of transfers. The mission department has outlawed transfer meetings, so instead of everyone meeting in Spanish Town to then disperse and see the dead missionaries, we just basically get the call, and Monday to Thursday, we somehow by some logistic miracle end up in our area. Taking fancy buses and stuff. It was crazy busy, but I think it all went off well. Some people are pretty mad there's no transfer meeting, but that's their issue. I think it's pretty cool. I'm also glad I don't have to worry about for another few months. I really hope I'm in Kingston for the rest of my mission.

But that was crazy, then I got Elder Anderson! He's pretty cool. Spent the whole day on Thursday trying to help a trainee get a bike and get to Yallahs. Elder Pindor. His first night on the island I took him out tracting for an hour, it was a refreshing experience. Reminded me of how much I loved training. He's all wide eyed and ready to learn, and has no clue what the heck is going on around him. So that was cool. Got to teach him how to find. Something that took me a year to learn, he learned in 75 minutes. So booya

Otherwise, taught some lessons, had a decent week for a transfer week. The other day we were contacting and we ended up playing a board game with some Rastas on the side of the road and got a return appointment with them. Then we made some friends with some JWs who were proselyting too. I think I'm gonna get a New World Translation off them on Tuesday.

but yeah, I don't really know what to write about anymore. What's new after a year and a half of emails? Just the people I teach I guess. But even then. What do you even want to know about the mission anymore? emails are rough now. I think I'm getting Mexican food for lunch. It'll probably cost all of my money.

My shirts are getting pretty huge, but I can live with that.

How many dates am I up to yet? I decided that you will probably get the first one, so congratulations on that one.

Love,
Elder Zeck

Monday, January 25, 2016

Heavily Edited. Great letter, just quite personal.

Those books look good for now. I'll build up my nerdy library when I get back

I'm so excited to go back to the temple some day! Speaking of which I need to get my recommend renewed in the next couple months.

anyway.. Transfers. So I'm getting Elder Anderson, he's been out for like 5 months. I'm pretty excited. I was his zone leader in North Coast. so that'll be cool! Johnson's going to Negril. Jernigan's going to be the AP. all cool stuff.

So yeah, the week was good. I've used so much time on this email haha. But we're working with a family, and the husband needs to get divorced from a previous marriage and get married in order to get baptized. And they've been waiting forever for this to happen, and we've teaching them and really praying, and we all really felt strongly that the papers were going to go through this month. AND THEY DID!!!! The worst is over. There's going to be a little wait before they can get married, but man that was a miracle!

The Lord's also blessed us with a bunch of families to teach. Two of which have like, 9 people each! It's so much fun. And one of the mothers committed herself to baptism after the first lesson! Sooooo cool! Just wonderful people. I love this gospel and how it changes lives. I hope everything is good.

Jordan's grad pics look really good. The chocolate milk is ridiculous, but he's gonna be a man soon. I'm really proud of him. Hope all is well this week!

Love,
Elder Zeck


Monday, January 18, 2016

No Pictures and the Work Keeps Moving

With the one hour email thing, pictures are hard to justify. That and I really haven't taken many. I don't really have anything picture worthy right now. (I guess Mamadeb must give up on the picture thing)

Yeah, 18 months. Pretty nuts. I was eating lunch with Elder Kuehn (my MTC comp) the other day and we were talking about how long it's been and everything. I have definitely changed. I think in a lot of ways I'm still the same. But I just have a perspective now that I didn't have before the mission. A line particularly in my patriarchal blessing was something along the lines of, as I study the Book of Mormon, I will receive revelations of Eternity. And I've been pondering what exactly that means since Spanish Town. And I think I'm beginning to understand that. Eternity has become a very clear concept to me as I've learned and studied and taught. The amount of revelation I've received on my mission has been a pretty surreal experience and I've seen lots of blessings and promises fulfilled in ways that have been huge testimony builders. I think in a lot of ways I'm going to come home and be the same. I'm still going to wear capes and ponchos and stuff. I'll still probably think skateboarding is cool and I'll still want to buy a really expensive drum set. But I'm definitely not going to be the same as I was, at the same time. I don't know. There was a day where I, figuratively speaking, "looked in the mirror" and I really didn't recognize myself. But it's in a good way, if that makes.. I don't know. I'll stop talking about it before I turn into more of a weirdo! I can grow a beard now too!!!!!!! How cool is that. Not that I'll grow it out....

For the box you can just put in like.. pictures are good. Just give me money or something. I'm going to send home a package. I had to pull out money last week to help a missionary buy a bicycle so I'm down a bit on the funds. I don't know if I can afford the cost of sending it right now.

I think I'm staying this transfer. The only thing the APs will tell me about my transfer is that I'm gonna be "so pumped for your next companion". The tri's still good though. it makes the work a little more flexible

Will Bishop Pierson pass around a calendar? and it was 30 in 20 days actually. I'm a little more ambitious than that, Mom. (Dates with girls......We've been joking around about that.....)

But cool. Week's been good. There's a pretty unfortunate flu going around. I had for a day but then I got better. Elder Biddulph's been down and out. It was so bad and rampant in Spanish Town zone that they had to move their zone meeting because too many people couldn't travel. haha. Funny stuff. But I'm almost better. It's probably 'cause I drink too much soda.

This has been a pretty good week for teaching actually. Lots of really good stuff happening. we have a bunch of people working towards baptism! We're really excited for a lot of them! I think we should have a baptism this or next Sunday. depends on if we feel like he's ready.

I've been studying a lot this week about scripture study and why it's so important, and I was turned to the account of Jesus, after he fasted 40 days in the wilderness and Satan came and tempted him. I think it's interesting that all 3 times to combat the temptations, Jesus quoted scripture from Deuteronomy. And then even at one point Satan quoted a psalm to Jesus, and Jesus then quoted another scripture back. I think there's a lot of lessons from the story. But it just goes to show the importance of studying and knowing the scriptures. I realize simply reading the scriptures isn't nearly enough.

But yeah, I hope the week's good!


Love,
Elder Zeck

Monday, January 11, 2016

Continuing to Grow

Does dad own jeans?
We sent this one of his dad.  It's -33C with the windchill!!


Littlest brother Jackson

And wow Jackson's hair is long. And he looks old now.

This week was actually pretty good though! We picked up some new investigators, have some GREAT potential! Working with some awesome families. That's the best part. Families are great!
With the lack of a third companionship in our ward we did some rearranging of the boundaries so we lost some area and gained a ton more, so it should be interesting this coming week.. I thought our area was big already.
Went back to Portmore for a trade off, I love going back! Portmore is the best.

Had MLC this week, talked a lot about teach repentance properly. It's easy for us to teach it like a box on a checklist, and like, a one time thing preparing for baptism. But we're trying to look at it more as a gateway to the Atonement. Something that we can understand is essential and repeatable for our whole lives! We need to help those we teach understand that repentance doesn't stop at baptism. It needs to become part of the daily routine. But even then, too often we look at repentance as just being forgiven of our sin. We want the kind of daily repentance that pushes a person from good to better. Constantly changing! So that was good.

Talked a lot about the dignity of our calling as well. Too often missionaries come out thinking that they can still act like dumb teenagers. But they can't! We have to respect the dignity of our calling, the purposes and characters we work towards out here. It's something that I've thought about a lot. I feel like on my mission I've changed a lot. I've had to really work at being more dignified and reverent. I really hope it doesn't make me weird when I get home! But I'm definitely different, I see it every day. It's weird. But good right?

This feels kinda short today, but things are good! I'm healthy, I'm exhausted all of the time. I'm really excited for the next 6 months! It's going to be good! But it's probably also going to fly by, and that's kinda depressing... It's really hard to think about home (no offense) There's just so much to do


Love,
Elder Zeck

Stole this from a Missionary Mom.  Elder JimmyZ doesn't send home pictures too often so Mamadeb relies on other missionaries' cameras.  

Monday, January 4, 2016

Finding Investigators

Hey mom!

Yeah sure sign me up for the run I guess...(Mamadeb - I asked if he'd do a half marathon in October)

If I want to transfer from U of L to BYU is that a hassle? How terrible is switching schools for my education? are most school programs fairly compatible?

Jordan's the ward choir director?! That's hilarious!! That's going to be an interesting calling. Good luck to him. That's hilarious, I laughed out loud.

But yeah, so the week's been good. The Lord's blessed us with a few FAMILIES to teach! We were so excited. Whenever I call in a house and notice it's a family I get so excited and start kinda freaking out on the inside! We actually had like, 4 investigators at church this Sunday. A Bunch of really really great people. One of them we've been teaching for a week and church this Sunday was fantastic! The classes were like big discussions, the Spirit was there, and the visitors had a great time! It honestly might have been the best day of church on my whole mission to date, it was so good! I'm so excited for all these people. We were supposed to have 6 or 7 so we're going to follow up with them.

We sat down for a lesson this week at the S family's house and Elder Johnson felt a tickle on his elbow. Then some pain, and he had a couple ants on his arms biting him. Then he stood up and turned around and there were literally HUNDREDS of ants all over his body! And so we spent like 3 minutes brushing him off and he was bit up really bad after the lesson. He was covered in bites! I'll bet the family felt funny about that. But the lesson after went well. We committed them to baptism so that's a step.

Other wise things were good. Super tired, trying really hard to always be positive and excited about the work, even if it's 8:30 at night and I wanna sleep. Lots of good good things going on. I hope things are still good at home! I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be a disciple, and how true discipleship changes depending on the point in time. True disciples in the Old Testament, was different from New Testament, which is different from the Restoration days, which is different from even today. But in the end discipleship is really just being obedient to the laws that God has set for us. Some missionaries have a hard time living a rule in the missionary handbook concerning having males in our lessons with females, and they feel like denying someone a visit because there are no males around is not being a loving disciple. They're wrong! Being a disciple is doing what we're supposed to do. We need to be converted to God. I think some people struggle with loving their investigators more than they love God, which is a weird backwards way of looking at it. I hope I can come home and still be a disciple.

As far as info I need you to get I'll let you know, I'll probably start thinking about my future today or next month or something.

Just keep thinking of things I should do when I get home and stuff. I'll think of something. I think I get home the 8th? I'm really not sure. Start passing around the date calender. I'm sure I'll have nothing better to do than date...

Love,
Elder Zeck