Monday, September 30, 2013

Rain, Cricket & New Friends

Hey fam-

It rained pretty hard this morning. We had to forgo lifting weights because of it. We have a one-month membership at a sweatshop about a mile from our house. We wake up, leave by six, pump weights for an hour, and then ride our bikes home in time to shower, eat, and be ready for studies by eight. I love getting out in the mornings. The mornings are cool and nice.

Did all the pix come through? I think I got them all to send. I figured out how to convert them to email size on the camera, so they shouldn't be too hard to send anymore. 

We have had a couple days of rain this week. It can be fun to go out and ride in the rain, but being wet all day isn't quite as nice. Our investigators are doing well. Gary (up in Canaan Heights) disappeared for a couple of days. We need to hunt him down again. He has word of wisdom problems, but he really does want to do the right thing. We have two kids (8 and 10 years old) that we are working towards baptism with. They all come from part member families who don't really see the importance of baptism at such a young age. They think that they should wait until they are old enough to make a bad decision and not really care about religion. It makes no sense to me. Jamaican culture really is foreign though. It has taken some pretty intense adjusting. 

Elder Barber and I got to play cricket with a 13 year old boy named Kenneth on Sunday. Cricket is actually a really fun game. It is easy to learn and would be really fun to play when I get back. We took turns bowling (pitching), catching, and batting. I'm actually not too bad at it. The goal is for the pitcher to knock the wicket over. The wicket sits right behind the batter. The batter wants to protect the wicket, and hit the ball far enough to get points, or run to the pitchers line and back to the wicket before the other team gets the ball and  knocks the wicket over. That explanation may seem confusing, but it is not as bad as it sounds. Our bat was an old 2x4 with some bent nails in it. Our wicket was a piece of sheet-metal leaned  up against a cinder block. We played for a while with Kenneth, another kid with a weird Jamaican name around his age, and a little girl around Lydia's age. She was pretty good at cricket. I think Lydia and her would be good friends. After Lydia learned to understand Patois that is. 

I am pretty good with the Patois now.  There are still some people I can't understand, but there are ones that Elder Barber (who has been out for eight months) can't understand either. 

We ran into a Rasta and his friend. The call themselves Lucky, and Eyeball. They gave us some good sugar cane to eat and showed us how to pit ackee so we can cook it. We are going to hike into Canaan Heights on Wednesday night and Lucky and Eyeball are going to show us how to make ackee and saltfish. It should be pretty fun. I am sure I will come back with a story to tell. You usually do in Canaan Heights. 

General conference and transfer calls are coming up on Saturday. I am really excited for conference. I hope that each of will pray and think of a question that they need answered this week. Then watch conference and it will be answered. It is one of many ways that we can recieve answers. I would encourage all of us to do it.

I guess I will know where I am going on Saturday too. I think I will be staying in May Pen, but Elder Barber will probably be leaving. I will let you guys know. 

Good luck! Keep me updated on everyone.
Thanks for the support and stay strong!

Elder Pullan

Canaan Heights - The most dangerous and ghetto area in our area

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Lightning Strikes, Chicken Foot Soup & A Baptism Date


First, my event of the week-

This last week, the coconut tree in our front yard got struck by lightning.  It was just another one of those "run downstairs and tell mama and papa P (our landlords that we live above) that their coconut tree just got struck by lightning and is now on fire" moments. You gotta love them. The tree was only about thirty feet from where I was sitting inside. The flash of light was blinding and the noise left my ears minorly shell shocked.  We tried to put the fire out but couldn't reach it because our water and power was out.  The power and water go out pretty frequently here.   We ended up just having to let the fire get rained out.   So that is my exciting experience of the week!

This week we were able to get a couple solid investigators that are now working towards baptism. One of our investigators can't read, so we hike up into the sketchiest place in our area every day to read the Book of Mormon with him. We met him through teaching a late night restoration lesson at a bar.   The next day when we were riding by, the bar owner told us that his friend wanted to talk to us.   We found him that day.   He told us that he is looking to turn over a new leaf and that he couldn't get our message off his mind all that night.   He has a good heart and a baptism date for the twelfth of October.  There is no greater calling than that of rescuing our brothers and sisters and assisting the Lord in his work. 

This week also included my first chicken foot soup. Mama P (our land lady downstairs) made it for us.   The chicken feet are rubbery.  They have hardly any meat on them.  If you're a real Jamaican, you eat the bone too.  The bone was interesting, but not too bad. Maybe we will have to get some chicken feet when I get home so you can give it a try for yourselves. 

We got a little bit of rain this week. Our biggest storm was the lightning storm I mentioned before.  I was home with Elder Packer that day because he was sick all week.  Elder Whitlock went out with Elder Barber that day so he could teach some.   Elder Packer is doing fine now.   He had a lot the same thing that I had two weeks before leaving, but less severe.  (A para-tonsilar infection).  They ended up spending ten hours at the hospital getting drugs that you could pick up at smiths for a couple bucks.  The med care here is free, but it would be for the best if I can avoid it.  I would not trust anyone in the hospitals to keep me alive if it came down to that.  So, as the Jamaicans say, pray for me.  The storm knocked our power and water out for a long time that day.  I spent most of the day drawing and studying.  There was quite a bit of lightning really close by.  It is amazing to see the power of a lightning bolt dropping from the sky. 

A conference ensign would be awesome mom. 

I love you guys. Enjoy your week and keep pressing forward. I am going to try and get a few pictures off with the time I have left.  

Elder Pullan

(note: no pictures came through today :(

Monday, September 16, 2013

The work progresses in May Pen...

Wagwaan Fam?

My week consisted of a couple of rainy days and a couple of promising investigators. We got two of our investigators to church this week! Its the first time we have gotten an investigator to church in weeks. We have found a lot of people that we are starting to teach, and we currently have two investigators who are working towards a baptismal date. The work is starting to pick up. The Lord labors with us in the vineyard, that is something that I cannot deny. I love the people here, and May Pen is sweet.

I also got to try Rastafarian food this week. Rastafarian food is all natural and really good. It consisted of rice, beans and soy, festival (a mini scone type thing), and some delicious peanut soup. One of the other missionary's investigator went with us and we sat on the steps and talked as we ate. 

This week also consisted of quite a bit of dodging traffic and close calls. I'm alive though. And its nothing to worry about. Here in Jamaica, you simply learn to swerve rather than brake. This is something I happen to be pretty good at. Since most bikes have terrible brakes in Jamaica (don't ask me why) swerving becomes a necessity. I have tried to fix my brakes, and no, nothing helps. It's just the low quality of the supplies they have here. Honestly, I can't complain. It adds a little spice to my day, and is just another crazy story to tell upon my return home.

Elder Barber and I went to some shady places this week, talked to some crazy people, and bashed with an absolutely insane man who insisted that we are CIA and that the only reason we aren't driving benzos (Mercedes Benz) is because we go to areas that are too rough for them. Not because we don't have any money. I also saw the biggest ganja spliff of my mission to date this week. Wow. Talk about destroying your body and blackening up (getting high). Some people just don't understand how terrible it is for you. I guess thats why I'm here though. I have to help those that don't get it to understand so that through the atonement of Jesus Christ, they can change their lives and come unto him. Likewise, we are all to do the same. Through the atonement, we can all be clean again and return to live with our Father in Heaven. Never forget this. Always strive to be better and to draw closer to him. As we "draw near unto him, he will draw near unto us". I love you guys. I will try to send a couple pix before time runs out.

Elder Pullan

Happy birthday mom! I love you and I appreciate all of your help and support. I love the fact that you were always home and that I lived in a home with two married parents that were strong in the gospel. I love you and can't thank you enough for everything you taught me. Enjoy your birthday!
Love, your son,
Elder Pullan

Monday, September 9, 2013

I love my mission...

Hey everyone-

I have some awesome pix to send you, but I don't know if I will be able to get them off today. I brought the wrong cord.  I am kind of running out of time. 

Elder Barber and I went for an adventure where we locked our bikes up at the top of Sunnyside and hiked through Canaan Heights. We taught a couple of lessons back there, and then ended up on a trail. We ran into the river, and after talking to a guy on the other side, jumped from rock to rock across it. That is what the pictures are of. The other side led us across the railroad track and to... Sister Nelsons! I had no idea it led there. Jamaica doesn't use addresses very well, and everything is confusing, so even though I know exactly where I'm going, I still can't lay out a map in my mind. 

We have a couple of solid investigators that I have high hopes for. This is also the first week that I have really loved. I love my mission and I think that I will be really sad to return home. 

I will see what I can do about the fruit situation mom. I bet we can hook up with some street vendors and be ok. It rained a couple times again this week. In fact, I am a little damp right now as I'm writing you. It's all good though. Just part of the mission. Nothing too big happened this week, but I am enjoying it.

There are soooo many crazy people in May Pen.  This week I learned that they put all the crazy people from bigger towns in a truck and drop them off here.  We run into all kinds of people here.  The best part is, you can talk to anyone and everyone.  Most people live on the street, so there is no end to crazy people talking to us and people thinking we are in the CIA.  For reals.  A pretty good amount of people think we are with the CIA.  It's pretty funny.

We got to listen to Elder Holland's CES devotional last night. It is ridiculous how excited I get over things like that now that I am out here. General Conference is going to be like Christmas! I am so excited! And Christmas is going to be kind of like General Conference. I'm not quite as excited for that. Elder Holland's talk was great. He talked a lot about the choices we can make in our lives in order to align ourselves with God's plan. Poor choices never lead to happiness. I have also learned a lot about the kingdoms of glory, God's comprehension of time, and our eternal potential. I encourage you all to study this a bit as it will solidify our goal of celestial glory in our minds. I have had some awesome study sessions. Studying is actually one of my favorite things to do now. Study and draw. I still do quite a bit of drawing. 

A bike light would be nice.

I love you guys!  I wish I had a little more time to write. 
Love, yo bredda,
Elder Pullan

How has school been for the kids? Has nathan adjusted to the full day yet? How does lydia like 4th grade? Is matthew enjoying high school? Is rachel settling in ok? And any news on dad's job? How are you doing mom? I love to hear from you guys. Good luck and stay strong. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

In which Daniel repairs a truck and eats sugar cane...

Ya alright? Tell Matthew and lydia happy birthday for me. It looked like they had a good one. This week was good. I had some beetroot carrot juice (which is really good), learned how to fix a dumptruck, weaved through heavy traffic in the dark, and cut and ate sugar cane with a machet. Our investigator was fixing his truck when we came over last time. So, naturally, we helped him remove his huge double tires, replace the tire, and repair the drive shaft. The sugar cane was really good too. You cut a piece off of the stock, peel the hard outside, and then chew the juice out of the stock and spit out the extra. It tastes like sugar water made with raw sugar. It is actually really good. 

This week has gone really slow. We have not had a whole lot of success, but that is all part of the work. We are doing our best and working hard, so there is not much more we can do. The new elder is Elder Packer. He replaced Elder Bateman, who headed off to train in the Kingston area. Elder Packer is an awesome elder from Magna UT. He is 19 and actually got his call only like a week after I got mine, but didnt leave till the end of august. I guess I just got lucky. I miss elder Bateman, but elder Packer is a great guy too. There just aren't any bad missionaries in Jamaica. Every single missionary I have met has been a good missionary. It really is an incredible testimony to the fact that the Lord is hastening his work here. Elder Packer  is a bigger, nice guy, with a friendly, optimistic personality. It is good to have him around because Elder Barber has a lot the same personality that I do. Not in a bad way, but we both just aren't the most optimistic people ever. But it has all been pretty good. 

The market is sweet, but fruit from the store tends to be expensive here. We generally don't buy from vendors because you dont know how long the food has been there, so we honestly dont get a lot of fruit or vegetables. When we do it is delicious though.  We don't get much money, and between bike costs, travel costs, eating out here and there because our home is so far from our area, and our normal food each week, we end up being pretty close to dirt poor. That's mission life though. And its not like were any different from anyone else here. Dirt poor. I am enjoying myself. 

The mission is the hardest thing I have ever done, but I can feel myself growing and becoming a better man with each step. I hope to be able to consecrate myself to the work as I go. The only way that we will be changed by the work we do in any calling is through consecration. Once we give up our own desires and turn to the lord, we open up the pathway for miracles to happen. A good example of this is President Brown. He has sold is house in Spanish Town. All of his stuff in in a members basement. He lives at the mission home, and has no idea where he will go at the end of the three years. He's not worried though. The Lord takes care of his own, and as we become one in Him, he takes care of us. So I encourage all of us to become consecrated in our callings. As we do this, miracles will  happen. I know that because of Pres. Brown's sacrifice, miracles will happen in Jamaica.

How is school going for the kids? How is Matthew doing with driving and XC? Is Rachel settling in ok? 
I love you guys. Stay strong, have fun, and good luck.

Bless and love,
Elder Pullan