Monday, December 30, 2013

Last week - #24 - in May Pen

...And if you want, we can jet to MONTEGO BAY...

Transfer calls came on Saturday. I will be headed off to the big city tourist capital of Jamaica, the beautiful Montego Bay. I am very excited to get there. I was hoping I would get to serve there. Right on the ocean. It should be amazing. I will tell you all about it when I get there. As far as I know, I will be getting picked up on Wednesday morning this week to go to transfers in Spanish Town, and then up to Mo Bay. I will be in a new area for the new year. It should be cool. 

This week has been awesome. On Christmas, we went over to Andrew's house and enjoyed a wonderful meal of roast fish stuffed with callallou and herbs, ackee and saltfish, rice and peas, roast breadfruit, and pasta with the fam and some other friends. The food was restaurant quality stuff. It was amazing. We had a fun night over there and did a little ukulele caroling while we were at it. No one really wanted to see us in the following days because of the holidays. Everyone is finally starting to get back in town, so things should pick up pretty soon here. 

I had the oppurtunity to speak in church this Sunday. I gave a good (well, in my opinion) talk on following the Savior, and tied it into missionary work. We had a lot of people at church for Christmas Sunday,  so that was cool. Goodbyes are hard. I said goodbye to all of my good friends here in May Pen. My convert, 8-year-old Sandre was crying as he told me goodbye. There are so many good people here. I am sad to go. 

I dont really have a lot else to say this week. We did have a good lesson with Andrew and his girlfriend and kids the other day. They are a great family, and I think they will be baptized eventually. The work in May Pen is slowly progressing, and I have to leave. That is about the way it is going everywhere though. It is a slow progression, but things are picking up. 

Enjoy your week!
Happy new years!

Elder Pullan

PS- Yes, you can get out my guitar dad. I am glad that all of the boys got ukuleles too. The principal on both is the same. Learn your basic chords, and you can do just about anything. I love having my ukulele. I jam on it almost every night for at least a half hour. It makes for a lot of fun. Good luck.

Me with Pauline, Crissy and baby Carry

Grand Market on Christmas Eve

Grand Market
The drawings I did on my ukelele this week.

Cooking up saltfish and ackee on Christmas day.
(The light is a light bulb that has been pulled from inside the house to give light outside.)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas! (for real)

Merry Christmas everyone!

First off, I would like to thank everyone for the gifts they sent me. The elders in my apartment have enjoyed eating all the christmas treats. The books, money, and cards I received were all very nice. I really enjoyed the christmas tree notes from everyone! 
Grandma and Grandpa Pullan, thanks for the treats and mini christmas tree. It really helped to put us in the Christmas spirit. 
Thanks for the treats Aaron and Melody and fam. 
Thanks for all the good dried food and the book grandma and grandpa molen!
Thanks fam, for all the treats, the wonderful chex mix, the exercise stuff, ties, and anything I am forgetting. It is all much appreciated and has made for a wonderful christmas. 
If it wasn't such a pain, and I had the funds, I would mail some gifts back, but I guess you will just have to wait another 18 months instead.

My story of the week:
The AP's picked us six May Pen elders up in the 14 man mission bus on Thursday to head to Mandeville for our christmas party. Upon reaching Hunts Pen, where two of the May Pen elders live, we found we had a flat tire. We whipped out the jack and spare tire and set everything up, only to find that our jack was broken. So what do 8 elders (two of which are half Samoan) do with a broken jack and a flat tire on a 14 man van? The answer was obvious. Lift the van. So that is exactly what we did. We lifted the van and got the tire changed. We didnt even lose that much time in doing it. Just another epic jamaican story for you. That is how we do it down here. Welcome to JA my friends.

Thanks for the email Rachel, Dad, and Lydia. Your poem is great dad! You are really talented when it comes to writing. My writing on the other hand... is going downhill quickly. I am going to be so dumb when I get back from jamaica. Oh well. Just another side effect of patois and jamaica.

Have you set up your own skype account? What is your skype username and email?
I will be on around 11 to 2. We will have to see. I will email you before, and we can figure it out.   I don't really have a ton to say this week. It can all wait until I can talk to you guys. I am looking forward to it! 

Merry Christmas everyone!

Bless Up,
Elder Pullan

Monday, December 16, 2013

Merry Christmas from Jamaica!

Hi Fam, 

Merry Christmas!

This week is pretty much christmas for us missionaries. We have parties, meal appointments and devotionals for pretty much the whole week. What little free time we have is already filled with service. (Chopping heavy bush with machetes. Yes. So cool!)  Christmas should be fun. Its not the same as american christmas. Its more an excuse to party and get drunk. We are going to have to go in early on Christmas Eve in order to avoid "grand market" in May Pen town. I have heard that grand market gets crazy. So that will be fun. Jamaican Christmas also includes a lot of rum cake and sorrel. Sorrel is a flower that you boil down, add sugar and ginger to the drink (and sometimes rum, we have to be careful) and then let it sit and chill for a couple days. It is really good. The ginger has a sharp taste that kind of burns your throat as it goes down. Good stuff. 

That is Christmas in JA for you. 

Make sure to enjoy your Christmas for me. Christmas day will consist of riding around and caroling to people with our ukes. Should be fun!

Cool story- On our way back from zone meeting in Mandeville, me and the 5 other missionaries in May Pen loaded up in our taxi bus with at least ten other jamaicans. We whipped out our hymn books and had a somewhat forced sing along of christmas songs for a good hour. Unfortunately, we did not get a whole lot of participation from the bus, but we enjoyed it.

This week has been fairly uneventful. Just more missionary work. Oh, I need your skype information for Christmas. We will either call or skype. We haven't figured out if we will be able to hunt down a web cam though, so I will let you know on next monday.

You should be getting an email with a link to our Jamaican christmas devotional, being broadcast straight from Spanish Town. The event will be this Saturday starting at 1:30. It will include singing and speakers. Elder Fowkes will be singing in it, and I will be watching it from the May Pen chapel with some investigators and the rest of the branch at the same time. (An important thing- When you get the link, do not go into it to see if it works, then close out. The email will come a little before the broadcast to try and prevent this. For some screwy reason, if you open the window, then close out, it will change the URL for everyone... I dont know what up with that. But the point is- open the link once. watch the concert. close out when it is over.) It should be a great devotional. It is the first time they are doing it here in Jamaica. It is a big event, and you are all welcome to tune in to it with me!

Enjoy christmas for me!
Take care everyone!

Love, Elder Pullan

Nathan- here is some Patois for you:

wagwaan- hello / whats up
wa't'gwaan- hello /whats up
a'ight- informal acknowledgement of another
w'appen (woppen)- whats happening / what happened?
m'day'ere- my day here / im here (response to wagwaan)
Bless / Bless up- bless ( in response to a greeting, or as a goodbye)
fi- to, for
me gwaan fi de- I am going there
wa una do?- what did you do
wa yadealwid?- what are you dealing with?/what are you doing/how are you?
una- you
whe'do / wa'ya'do- what did you do?
whitey- common racial slur. both derogative and not depending on how used.
tek cyare- take care!
One love.

Cute little JC- what a funny girl!
A Black Santa- there is a white one around the corner.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Week #21 - Getting hit by a car without a scratch

Hey everyone, 

I am glad Nathan enjoyed his birthday.  I was thinking about him this week.  As far as sending Christmas things for the family, I feel that it will be okay, but keep them small and cheap. There is a fine line between missionary work and families becoming dependent on missionaries. I think they will enjoy them though. 

Say hi to grandma Burris for me. I don't think I will get to see her again. So tell her I love her.

I got hit by a car about a week ago! It made for quite the experience. We were riding up into May Pen town on Tuesday when I  became aware of a silver car that was backing out into the road. The silver car stopped, so I did a quick head check and saw a black car that was coming up on me pretty fast. The silver car was stopped though, so I went to dodge around it. As I committed to this line of action, the silver car began to back out more. I quickly realized that with a car coming in the oncoming lane, there would not be room for all of us. I prepared to catch my handles on the silver car and do all that I could. The silver car backed into me pretty hard as the black car ran by me. I managed to pull a full on superman-dive to roll out on the asphalt. I stood up without a scratch on me. Not even on the palms of my hands. I grabbed my bike and dragged it off the road. The front rim had taco-ed, and the back one was shaky. The guys that backed into me were pretty cool. They apologized and helped me bend my rim back. I managed to get my bike to rasta man gary's to fix it up. He miraculously saved both of my rims and put it in pretty good working condition. My bike is indestructible! I love it. So that is my crazy story for the week. Just another one to add to my big bag of stories from Jamaica. Don't worry for me. Er ting good. My brakes are working just fine dad. Thanks for sending them.

As far as my Christmas package goes, a ukulele book would be awesome. Maybe with jack johnson? Just a thought.  :)

Oh, another story for you. I was on trade off with our ZL, Elder Burrell on wednesday. We were riding our bikes past a mother dog and two little ones. They were scurrying off the road. Elder Burrell said "I hit a dog once". You could just count the three seconds of silence that preceded the "Bang! Aroooooooo!" As the car that just passed us slammed one of the puppies. I said "Elder Burrell, you jynxed it! That one is your fault".  We both got quite the kick out of it. Of all the times to hit a dog. I have only seen one other dog get hit on my mission, so it is not that common an occurance. Hahaha. I hope you all enjoyed that one as much as I did. If you feel bad for the dog - don't. It is a jamaican mutt. I used to sort of care for dogs, but not these. I will never ever own a dog of my own. Not after Jamaica.

That is what I have for the week. It has been a pretty good one. Enjoy Christmas for me!
Bless and love,
Elder Pullan

Oh, Jamaica!

My favorite family!

The Ukelele Trio

Monday, December 2, 2013

Week #20 - A Trip to Kingston & a few more pictures

Hey Fam,

Thanksgiving sounded like a lot of fun! Good job attempting to have fun without me. You did a good job of it. Luckily for me though, I didn't have to put up with missing you guys because of the Thanksgiving season. It is simply non-existent here. Barely crossed my mind at all. I will take this oppurtunity to say thanks though. I love you guys. Thanks mom and dad, for raising me the way you did. For always being home and having a complete and loving family. Thanks for making sure I got to travel, learn, and have all the experiences I did. I am only now beginning to see how much I really have done. I have been all over. I have a ton of random knowledge from trips to different places. I have also been able to work on my art skills and pursue that career because of your support. Thanks brothers and sisters. Thanks for being there for me and spending so much time with me. I love you guys! Good luck!

My Thanksgiving was interesting.  I took a trip to Kingston on Thanksgiving day to get my chipped tooth fixed. Yes, it is the same tooth that grandpa took care of before spring break. It didn't last too long. I know. The lady in Kingston did a pretty good job with it though. Not quite as good as grandpa, but I can live with it. Kingston is a sweet city. I love it. It reminds me of ghetto California. Elder Pace and I shuttled into Kingston on a trade off. Our shuttle driver was bumping 90's rap and reggae the whole way in. I have to say, I enjoyed it.  Elder Pace and I had no idea where we were going the whole time. We started out in the downtown taxi park, and ran, shuttled and taxied around searching for the dentist office and a "music mart". After plenty of buses, asking directions, and a considerable amount of luck, we stumbled over both of them. They weren't too far from Halfway Tree. (“Uptown” meets “downtown” in the constantly entertaining and lively road junction that is Half-Way-Tree. -wikipedia)  I got my tooth fixed, and then Elder Pace and I went and bought ukuleles. I had been thinking about getting one for a while. I figured that if I was going to be here for two years, I may as well learn a useful skill. So, I will count it as my birthday/christmas/birthday/christmas present if thats ok with you. I pulled a ton of money off my card because I was told I would have to pay cash for the dentist appointment, and money for the ukulele.  After the appointment, the office elders, Elder Pace and I had some really good mexican food (jamaican standard at the only mexican restaurant in jamaica. It really wasn't that good. Enjoyable though.) We shuttled back to May Pen and have enjoyed the rest of the week. We sit in the apartment and jam on our ukuleles with every spare second. We have a lot of fun. 

That family in those pictures is getting baptized next week. The mom and the oldest girl are at least. I am excited for them. There were three baptisms in May Pen this week. Elder Packer got to baptize R (a former rasta with a head full of dreads ), and a lady named C and her daughter. They are in the other elders' area, but I taught them a few times on trade off. I was very happy for them. 

The rules of ghetto hopscotch: They are just the rules to real hopscotch. I didn't know there were actual rules to it, but it is a lot more purposeful with them. I am sure you can google them if you don't know them. It involves throwing and picking up tokens as you go. The thing that made it ghetto hopscotch is the fact that it was drawn on the dirt with a piece of charcoal in a compound surrounded by zinc fences. It was a lot of fun. 

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

And Happy Birthday Nathan! Have a good one! You are becoming a big mon!
Love, Daniel

Sunset over the river - the picture doesn't do it justice.

The fam again

Same fam - Anthony was going crazy with the camera for a bit.