Monday, November 25, 2013

Week #19 - A Trip to Savannah La Mar

The trip to Savannah la Mar was incredible. We woke up at four o'clock so that we could be ready to catch our ride at five. At five am, the AP's and the mission bus roll up. It is our 15- man Jamaican bus. It makes for quite the spectacle when it is full of white guys (most of the time). We always get weird stares and even more frequent calls of "Whitey" and other various jamaican swear words yelled at us when we are in it. We slept for the first bit of the drive, but once we picked up Elder Creager in Santa Cruz, things got a little more lively. We enjoyed just chilling in the bus on the four hour drive to Savannah La Mar. I got to see the ocean for the first time since I arrived on the island. And wow!  Jamaica is an absolutely incredible place. Its almost like I am living on a vacationer's paradise or something. Well, I guess I am. 

The ride back happened to be pretty fun too. We got to pass the ocean as the sun was setting on it. Elder Famuii would slow the van down for pictures here and there, but most of the pix I got are a little shaky and blurred. It's all good though. I am sure I will get to spend a lot of time on the ocean before I head home. I have heard that the north coast highway is 100 times more amazing. I can't wait to serve up there. 

On Sunday, I went in a tri-companionship because Elder Fowkes had to go to Spanish Town for choir practice. Thats another story though. Elder Packer, Elder Pace (Elder Whitlock's replacement, he got transferred to Spanish Town on Wednesday) and I got to go to a belated birthday party for one of their investigators. We played ghetto hopscotch (which makes soooo much sense when you know the rules), ninja, black magic, and ate some delicious fresh cut cane from the back yard. I have to say, my life is pretty cool.

Elder Pace is a really funny elder. He came out at the same time I did. He just got transferred here from Montego Bay. So I am officially the oldest missionary in May Pen (I have been here the longest). I will be six months in by the time I get transferred! Time flies. 
I am also one  of the youngest missionaries. I still have not met a whole lot who are still 18. Just a cool fact. 

Good news! They are going to give us enough money to live well on as of next month. I will have to starve for the next week, but after that, we will be good! Inflation has continued to go up.  I have been able to see prices rise even in the time since I got here. But, we will now have a little more money to spend. I am excited to be able to eat a little better. 

I will be going to Kingston to fix up my chipped tooth on Thursday. That should be a fun trip. I have not spent much time in Kingston, but I remember it being a very cool city.

I realize that my English is probably degrading. Oh well. Bare with me. Patois can do that to you. 

Dad- You said something about "Swerving to stop" on my bicycle in your letter. To correct you, the theme here is "Don't stop". It keeps you on your toes. And even with the new brakes, you have to keep it up. Moving is safer than braking in some cases.

The brakes and cookies made it to me on Friday in sav la mar. I really enjoyed the snacks. The brakes work really well. Thanks for the support everyone. For the Christmas box- I could use some more tolnafate stuff. Treats are good. Don't spend too much on it. 

I love you guys! Take care!
Bless and love,
Elder Pullan
Elder Packer, me and my favorite fam
Elder Pace playing ghetto hopscotch

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Week #18 in May Pen

Hey fam,

I chopped a yard with my machete this week. That's right. I cut grass. And I own a machete. Kinda cool. Its a Jamaican ting mon. On Tuesday morning we woke up and the four of us prepared to go to miss D's to chop her yard. We rigged our machetes on our bikes in various ways with plastic bags and took off. When we got there, miss D was surprised. She didn't think that we were actually going to come. She was very touched and grateful as we chopped her yard. It took a lot of work in the hot sun. The sweat was literally running and dripping off me. That is what the humidity will do to you. After a couple of hours and blisters later, we looked at the chopped yard and were satisfied. We loaded back up with our machetes and rode home. 

I got to attend a zone conference in Mandeville last week. The drive to Mandeville is awesome. We weave through little mountain roads for over an hour to get there. Mandeville is a slightly bigger city with a very unique feel to it. I have found that every Jamaican city is totally different, but they are all definitely Jamaican. This week I will get to go to Sav (Savannah La Mar) for a combined conference with the north coast zone. Sav is right on the ocean, so I just might get to see the beach for the first time since I got here. It should be cool. 

We are working with a lot of members now. It takes a lot of work and patience, but we are going to start utilizing them. It will be a slow process, but as we make the shift, finding and missionary work will be done by members. Our job will and should be simply to help teach. 

I have had another enjoyable week here in Jamaica. 

Lydia- I never did get to meet with Lucky and Eyeball. That was on a day that Pres. Brown went out with us, so we had to readjust our schedule a little bit.  It worked out though. 

Nathan- Here is some patois:  "Wagwaan my ute, waayadeal wit? "
(What's up my youth?  What are you dealing with?  What are you doing?) Now you will know some Patois for when we come back to Jamaica.

Take care guys. I love you.
Bless and love,
Elder Pullan

Elder Fowkes, having been "floured" on his birthday.  (A little about the Jamaican tradition from the internet: Whether you are 9 or 99, no-one is immune the birthday tradition of Flouring. Loved ones buy bags of flour  and spend days devising cunning ways to liberally throw the stuff on you, the unsuspecting victim. It isn't uncommon for crafty relatives to top off your 'Flour Shower' with a liquid of some kind, resulting in you being covered in a sticky mess of floury goo. The nanosecond that the calendar lands on your big day, you'll spend the entire time figuring out this year's attack plan.)

A Jamaican girl, apparently celebrating her birthday on a different day.  
Daniel's "broken soccer ball hat" he made on P-day.

Elder Whitlock and Miss. D - cutting her lawn with machetes as service.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Week #17 May Pen

Hey fam-

Info on baptisms:  It is a boy and a girl. Not two boys. The boy, Sam, his grandmother is a strong member. His mother is not baptized, but comes to church here and there. The girl is his cousin. Her sister is a member, and has encouraged her to get baptized too. They are both a handful, but I am supposedly good with kids, so they like me. They are great kids, and they really desired to do what their heavenly father asks of them. They were both so happy after they were baptized. You could tell that they were feeling that same warmth and acceptance that I felt at my baptism. They are still a little crazy, but that's expected. They will learn more as time goes on. I met both of them through Sam's grandma. They live in the half of May Pen that got cut out of my area, but they still wanted me to baptize them. 

I've included a picture of  me, Sam and Valerie right before their baptism. That was an awesome experience. Valerie was scared to go all the way under the water when she got baptized. Really scared. I reassured her, and continued with the ordinance, baptizing her in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. As she came up out of the water, you could see the joy she felt. It was the same joy and acceptance that I felt from my heavenly father when I was baptized. She was so happy. I will never forget that moment. 

I may leave May Pen in about a week at transfers. We will have to wait and see. I love the play pen, but a change of scenery wouldn't be bad either. 

Nothing huge happened this week. More teaching. No investigators at church. We are trying hard though. They will get there. President Brown is now putting a big emphasis on finding and teaching through members.  Missionaries are simply there to help the members teach their friends. It is not our  job to find. We can't always be there for our converts, but if the missionaries are simply helping, the members will always be there as a support to their friends. Then we can all share in the wonderful gospel together. 

Christmas list- I would appreciate some jack johnson, mumford and sons, bryan adams, billy joel and some new ink pens. Music is an amazing thing. And I miss it so bad. I need something other than EFY songs to listen too. Of course there is dancehall music blasting all over the place here, but I can't say I'm a huge fan of that either.

I love and miss you guys. Take care,
Bless and love,
Elder Pullan

*Names of converts have been changed.  Daniel sent a great picture of him at the baptism, but we aren't supposed to post pictures of converts without their permission.  I could not crop the other people out of the picture.  I will email the picture to family members, but if you would like to see it please email me and I will forward the picture.  

This picture is of Elder Fowkes holding his bike seat. He rides with his seat really high because he is tall. His stem broke the other night, so he had to ride all the way from Juno standing up. We tied the seat to his bike frame with scandal bags to get it home. Its a jamaican ting mon.  (Wikipedia: Scandal bags are what Jamaicans call the polythene bags which supermarkets use to pack groceries. They are given that name because their translucent quality often allows people to discern what groceries they contain.) 
Our Risk game. Which I happen to be winning. Yes.  (This picture is in reference to his letter last week, in which Elder Fowkes was sick for several days and they found a Risk game in the apartment.)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Week #16 in May Pen -A Baptism!

Hey family-

The baptism this week was awesome.  It was an amazing experience to see these two young kids make that commitment to the Lord.  And to be able to be the one to baptize them.  Sandre ran up to me when he got to the church and gave me a big hug. He was yelling, "You're gonna baptize me!" and walked around with me until the service started.  Finally having some success is a huge strength to me, and I thank the Lord for it. 

This week has been slow. Between torrential rainstorms, finding the board game, Risk, in our apartment (yes), Elder Fowkes birthday (I got floured pretty bad on accident. Its not fun), and Elder Fowkes being sick, we had fun.

I got to draw for 10 hours while Elder Fowkes was sick.  I have another masterpeice in the works.  Yes! I really miss the days of drawing all day and friends all night. That is just another part of the work though. 

We have to drop Leonardo. He is reading the Book of Mormon, but he has not made it to church, and he does not have the desire to progress. That will be a sad lesson to have with him.  I am not looking forward to it. 

I bought some milk this week! It cost an arm and a leg, but it was soooo worth it. 

We got to go and help out at the Carribean day of service. We painted one of the wards in the infirmary here. The conditions there were terrible. I was just glad that I could help out. The ward looked very nice by the time we were done, and it was good to spend some time with some of our awesome ward members. 

Halloween sounded like fun. My halloween was rather uneventful... oh well. It looks like you all had a great time.

Lydia- We live in an apartment above Mama and Papa P's house. They are our landlords. They are great people.

Nathan- I would love a reggae cd for christmas. I get sick of  EFY music sometimes. Most of the time. All the time.

I love you guys. Keep up the good work everyone. Enjoy the cold and the snow for me!

Bless and love,
Elder Pullan