Wednesday, December 17, 2014

week #2 -Kingston

Hey Fam,

This week has been an interesting one.  Mission Christmas happened this week and I would like to thank you all for the presents.  It has made for an awesome Chrismas!  I have been enjoying a plethora of candy and treats ever since Thursday.  So, Thank you all for the treats.  I am enjoying them.  The homemade cookies are wonderful, and I have been rocking my new gym shorts every night since.  Thanks guys.  Merry Christmas!

So, this week...  This week started with a couple of Family nights on Monday night. We shared a message about Jesus Christ and His purpose in coming to the earth. We wrapped up and with me having a draw-off with one of the family members while the teenage son played guitar. He is incredible at guitar, so it was fun to hear. We will be seeing the same family tonight!

On Tuesday, the Mo-Bay (Montego Bay elders) were in Kingston for some meetings, so they spent the morning going around with us.  Elder McGregor and I went on splits with them. We walked around, talking to people for most of the time, so it was good.  We have been doing a lot of that lately because we are whitewashing (trying to find investigators). 

Wednesday, Elder McGregor caught a ride with one of the Kingston Zone Leaders to go to his uncle's funeral.  I spent half the day with the other Kingston Zone Leader, Elder Adams. We had no solid appointments that day, so we walked around and talked to people. It gets rough sometimes. 

Thursday was Zone Conference and mission Christmas. Elder Martinez of the Seventy was there. We got to hear from him. He is an amazing teacher. He teaches with such simplicity. We talked a lot about setting goals for the new year, enjoying the present and doing better in the future, and helping others come into the gospel so that they can feel included and welcome. After Zone Conference ended, we had a wonderful Christmas program. A lot of the Elders and Sisters in our the Kingston and Spanish Town zones (the zones in attendance) played instruments and sang songs. The talent displayed was incredible. I don't know how we got such great talent in such a small mission. We then went to another room and had a Christmas meal of rice and peas, chicken, ham, macaroni salad, and dessert of ice cream and cake. The meal was prepared by a few of the members. After that, we cleared up, and President Brown put on his Christmas hat and began to hand out presents. The office couple had wrapped every single package that came in, so we all enjoyed unwrapping our gifts and reading letters. When things wrapped up, us elders from Boulevard rode to the Bishop's house and had a meeting with him discussing the ward. 

Friday was a long day. We super-planned for the week in the morning, and then headed out in the afternoon.  We had solid appointments planned for every hour, and EVERY SINGLE ONE FELL THROUGH.  So it was another day of riding around and talking to people. 
The ward had its Christmas party on Saturday, and we were invited to attend.  We elders played soccer in the falling rain in our proselyting clothes (suit and tie) with some Jamaicans for over an hour.  It was a lot of fun, but I wrecked my pair of shoes… Don't worry, it is one of the older ones. I think I will make it through the rest of my mission. 

Sunday was good. We were actually able to see some people. That was a relief. 
Last night, we pulled all of the mattresses into the same room of the house and had a sleep over. Our house consists of me, Elder McGregor, Elder Guereirro, and Elder Davidsen. Elder G and I had a great time telling stories while the other two passed out.  Haha.  It was great.

I am hoping that this week is a little more productive than the last, but things are improving. I can't complain. The only thing I can do is work hard and be patient. Things are going to take off soon. 

I am glad that you enjoyed the Christmas carols.  I thought you would. 

The things that we put on our Who is Jesus Christ Wall in Linstead was anything related to Him.  Nothing too picky.  We had everything from His purpose, to deep doctrine of how the atonement works, to the origins of His Name-Titles, to instances that show his character. We had it all organized around a lot of different pictures of Him, each one relating to a different topic, like; the atonement, the priesthood, His miracles, His character, etc. 
Anything you can find about Jesus Christ that isnt common knowledge that really doesnt deserve to be stated went on the wall. 

I would make a nice statement for you on Christlike attributes, but I fear that time is running short. Just remember Matt. 5:48, and John 14:8-10 ( If you have seen me you have seen the Father. I think that is the right reference.) Christ shows us and provides for us the way back to the Father. He is the only way. Our goal should be to become as He and our Father is. Perfect. 

I love you all. I hope that you are having a great Christmas season! Please, take some time to focus on the past year and pick out what you are going to do better in the next. Focus on Christ. He is our Heavenly Father's greatest gift to us. In Him lies eternal life. He is the Gift.  I know this to be true. 

Love, Elder Pullan

Elder Packer- I love this guy!


Missionary Christmas!

Me & Elder McGregor with our new haircuts

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

week #1 - Kingston

Hello everyone!

Kingston.  There is so much to say and so little time.  Oh well.  I will do my best. 
So, Kingston.  Kingston is divided into two sections.  There is the Uptown and the Downtown.  The Downtown is the on the south side of the island. That is where the hardest ghettos are.  I don't know if you have heard the names, but places like Trench Town and Tivoli Gardens are all in downtown.  They are not in my area (unfortunately), but I will get to go on trade offs there!  I live in the uptown.  The further north you go in Kingston, the nicer things get.  Most of the nice places here, you probably would not recognize as nice if you went around with me.  It takes a couple of months here in JA in order to see things the way we see them.  That is why I don't try to explain things too hard to understand to you all.  You can't understand.  It can't be explained.  Only experienced.  I live a little ways off Dunrobin Blvd in upper Kingston.  My area covers places like Pembroke Hall, Maverly (pronouced Marvely), 3 oaks, and Glendale.  I have a lot of decent residential and a little bit of ghetto in my area. 

Kinston has a very different feel to it from the rest of the island.  It has a city feel to it.  It is almost like America.  Sort of.  People here work during the days, and when they come in at night, they lock themselves away in their houses.  Life here feels a little faster moving than other areas of JA.  People have things to do, and a result, less time to talk.  This makes missionary work hard.  People don't talk as much here.  We have been working hard though.  We have to put a lot of focus on our members and the things we already have in order to expand.  We are taking over the area from the sisters that used to serve here.  They were able to show us around a bit and help us to get a feel for the area on Wednesday and Thursday.  I really love Kingston.  I don't know what it is, but I feel a special connection with the city.  I feel like I already know some of the people I have met here… 

I have a couple experiences to share from the week.  One was one of those "how did I ever end up here?" moments.  Sometimes, on the mission, you stop to take in your surroundings, and it hits you.  How did I ever end up here?  I had one of those moments while in Maverly the other day.  The people in the commmunity were having an urban soccer competition.  There were huge tower speakers set up, a dj, and a lot of people out to watch.  There I stood.  I am sure one of the only Americans to witness something like that in years.  Haha.  I love those moments where you realize you could really have this experience no other way.  It is such a great opportunity to be here. 

I had another great experience on Sunday . I think it is the best thing I have ever done...
So a member family in my area recently had a baby.  The baby was born three months premature.  He lived only four days.  He passed away yesterday.  Saturday night, right at the end of the night, we had gone over to help the family move into a new house.  We went back after church on Sunday (once we heard about the death). We saw upon our arrival that there were a lot of other ward members already there.  We were able to share a thought from the scriptures, then we were asked to administer a blessing by the priesthood authority.   The Priesthood is the power of God, manifest through man.  He allows men in the church to hold the authority to use his power to help others.  The power is not ours.     It is all Gods.  I was voice for the blessing of the mother.  I have never been so strongly lead by the spirit.  The words simply came to me as I talked.  I was able to say exactly what the Lord wanted me to say.  Some things I remember from the blessing is that the passing of her child is God's will, and I also gave a blessing of strength so that this trial can bring their family closer together rather than tear them apart.  The spirit was so strong.  I am grateful that I was able to be an instrument in God's hands to bless His children . That is what  is all about.  That is what makes this whole mission thing worth it. It was amazing.  It just builds my testimony of the fact that this is true. 

My companion, Elder McGregor, is great. I don't have my camera cord, so pictures are going to have to wait. Sorry. Next week. 

I love you all. Take care of yourselves!
Love, Elder Pullan

Monday, December 1, 2014

week #29 - Linstead (and a transfer!)

Hey fam!

Happy Thanksgiving!  My week has been really good. It is weird to be on my last week in Linstead.  I have been here to for so long and made so many good friends.  I am going to miss them.  I am getting transferred to Boulevard, Kingston.  I will be opening up a new area there with Elder McGregor.  I am really excited to get started.  It is such a privilege to be able to open up a new area.  Not many missionaries get that opportunity.  Elder McGregor is Jamaican, so I am going to be the ONLY white guy.  That will be a little different.  I am really looking forward to it.  I have not yet had the opportunity to serve with a Jamaican companion.  I have heard he is really cool.  He was serving with Elder Biddulph in Negril for the past few transfers. 

Transfers will be on Wednesday.  I am excited to go and get on to something new.  It should be interesting. 

I had the opportunity to teach in Zone Meeting last week.  My lesson went really well.  The whole thing was lead by the spirit, so it was really powerful.  Everyone was able to learn a lot.  I started off by calling up three missionaries and asking them about the "Standards of Excellence".  I asked them if they were keeping them.  The answer was "no" in every case. (The Standards of Excellence are mission goals we all want to achieve, but they are pretty lofty).  I then asked them if they were doing their best.  The answer was "yes".  I then had Elder Jernigan walk over and slap a "NOT ENOUGH" sign on their chest and announced to everyone that "their best was not enough."  I slapped one on my own chest and let everyone know that our best is not enough.  Then we moved into talking about the enabling power of the atonement, and how we can be enough.  I was able to teach well.  The spirit was strong. It went really well.  I am grateful that we were all able to learn from it.

I got the Thanksgiving package!  Thanks mom.  We really enjoyed it.
For Thanksgiving, we made our own dinner of fried chicken, instant potatoes and stuffing, and cake.  It was really good.  I made the fried chicken myself.  It was a success.  I was happy.  We all wore our thanksgiving hats you sent.  I am running out of time, but I will send pix next week.

I hope you are all well. Enjoy the snow for me. I am jealous. 
I love you all!
Love, E. Pullan

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

week #28 -Linstead

Hey fam!

My week has been great.  Elder Jernigan and I have been working really hard.  I don't have too much longer in Linstead, but I am doing what I can.  I won't know where I am going until Saturday though, so I will let you know when I find out.

This week, Elder Jernigan and I set up a Bible study at a local school.  We invited a bunch of the community members and church members and studied the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them.  It was pretty good.  There is always room for improvement, but who am I to complain for the first time?

I have been asked to teach 15 minutes on the enabling power of the atonement in Zone Meeting  this next wednesday.  I am really looking forward to it.  Elder Bednar gave a great talk on the subject called "the atonement and our journey through mortality" if you want to study it.
I will give you all the rundown though.  When Jesus was on the earth, he suffered and died for our sins.  Every one knows that.  Jesus also suffered all of our pains, sicknesses and infirmities (Alma 7:11).  According to President David O. McKay, "the purpose of the gospel is to make bad men good and good men better, and to change human nature."

So we each need to go from bad to good (through repentance) and good to better. We know the atonement helps us to go from bad to good. What assistance do we have to get from good to better?  

We find this principle in Mosiah 3:19. We are told that we must overcome the natural man, AND become a saint through the atonement of Jesus Christ.

There are two parts to this process. Everyone seems to be familiar with the cleansing power of the atonement, that overcomes the effects of sin.  This is called the Redeeming Power.  There is a power available for us for the other side too though!
To help you see it- this is the process of life,

              I                                   I
Redeeming Power         Enabling Power
   (Repentance)                   (Grace)

The Enabling Power of the atonement comes because Christ suffered all of our pains and sicknesses and infirmities, not just the punishment for our sins. It is the power that helps good men and women become better. 

We are able to access this power as we humble ourselves before God and pray for his help.  When we seek his help humbly, and then do all we can to change our situation, this power kicks in to make us more than we can be on our own.  This Enabling Power is also known as grace.  This is the power that enables us to do things beyond our natural ability.  This is the power that helps us to endure through rough times and fulfill all of our callings. 

I hope I have done an ok job at explaining it.  My thoughts are still a little scattered, but I hope that you can understand. If you don't, reading Elder David A. Bednar's talk should clarify!
I know that it is true though.  Understanding this power will bring a whole new level of Heavenly help and progression into our lives.  I would encourage you all to do some study on it. 
There is my sermon for the day.  I hope you all get it.  There may be some slight information gaps (stuff I know and you probably should to understand), but I don't have any more time to go and fix them. You know how that goes. 

Oh well. This week was great. I am doing good.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Tell the extended fam hi for me.
Love, Elder Pullan

Me and Moomy
one of my favorites...


Monday, November 17, 2014

week #27 - Linstead

Hey Fam!

I have been here in Linstead for a VERY long time.  Transfer calls will be on the 29th of November, so that is when I will find out.  There is a 99% chance I will be going.  I am excited to see where.
I have really enjoyed serving with Elder Jernigan.  He has helped me to focus some of my ambition and progress the work a lot better.  My training him was no mistake.  I will be sad to leave the companionship in a few weeks time. 

Last Monday evening, we went over to Sis. Rattigan's home for family night.  Upon arriving, we found that Tuesday was "Hat Day" at the school they go to.  We immediately offered our services and spent the next while cutting and gluing with the kids.  It was a lot of fun.  The hats were a success.  I will send a picture. 

At our house, we have started a wall on which we tape facts related to the question, "Who is Jesus Christ?".  We have really enjoyed beginning to compile facts on every aspect of His character.  He taught beautifully.  His teachings are far deeper than any philosopher or man that has ever lived. He clearly states time after time that He is the Son of God.  Jesus Christ was no mere historical figure.  His birth has been the central figure by which we judge our years.  Jesus was either who he claimed to be, or the most wicked man that has ever lived, leading away millions into a false religion.  The only way to know these spiritual truths for ourselves is through reading, pondering, praying to our Father in heaven and asking him, and through doing His will so that you can see the blessings that come.  Answers will come by the Holy Ghost.  The Holy Ghost will come most times as feelings in our hearts and thoughts and impressions in our mind.  They are subtle, but powerful.  Pay attention to them.  Learn to recognize them.  As you do you will find that you cannot be misled. 

I love my Savior, Jesus Christ.  He has helped me to become the man I am today.  I am so grateful for the support and love I receive from my Heavenly Father each day.  I know it is true. 
Remember- "This is life eternal, to know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent" (John 17:3).  The better you understand our brother, Jesus Christ, the better you will understand our Father.  The better you understand the both of them, the better you will understand your purpose in life.  I would encourage you all to give it a study.  I know that it will help you all to build your faith.

As for the rest of the week, the other missionaries had a baptism on Sunday.  It was great to see. The man that got baptized' name is Alexis.  He was a little nervous before it, but felt great afterward.  He looked so happy.  It was cool to see. 

I don't think anything else happened this week of note.  I have been really busy.  Working hard.  I am doing well though. 

Nathan- When you tell someone you are going to call them here, you say "mi a link ya." 
Lydia- They don't celebrate halloween or thanksgiving here.  It is kind of depressing, but good at the same time, because you don't even think about them. 
Dad- Usane Bolt actually was not that tall. He seemed about as tall as me. He was a lot smaller than I thought he would be. 

I love you all!
Love, Elder Pullan

Monday, November 10, 2014

week #26 -Linstead

Hello Fam!

This week was really good.  We did not find a whole lot of what some might call success, but we were able to teach some good lessons, have the spirit with us, and uplift those around us.  I call that success. 

Nelly's funeral was on Saturday.  It took place at a Baptist church down on church road.  It was a very interesting experience.  The church had an electric organ, a decent choir, a groovy organist who never stopped bobbing his head the whole service, and a very loud pastor.  It was cool to see the way that some people worship.  I was able to see some of the "good feelings" that these people liked during the service, but one thing was missing.  The spirit.  The spirit was not present in the service.  It lacked that quiet warm peace you feel as the sacrament is passed.  It lacked the teaching-learning environment that we all need so much.  I sat through the pastor's sermon as he yelled about two verses from Revelations and managed not to learn a single thing.  This pastor managed to spend twenty minutes on two verses and repeat himself over and over using different verbage.  It was ridiculous. Nothing gained.  Nothing learned.  That is why everyone needs the fullness of the gospel. People seek light and truth, and many times they end up somewhere where they can feel small bits of it (like in the baptist church), but never find the joy and depth that Christ's true church has.  I know that our church is true.  Not just from growing in it, but from praying, asking God, gaining my own answers, and of course, having it all backed by experience.  I know that keeping God's commandments brings happiness.  I hope that all will take the time to figure it out for themselves.  Nothing can bring more happiness.

Another story of the week- Elder Jernigan and I went over to Sis. Rattigan's house. Her mother was there. I am pretty good friends with her mom. Her mom is a sweet old lady who loves to talk to us, and is always funny to talk to.  I call her "moomy".  I talked to moomy for a bit, then she looked me in the eye and said "I wish that I was younger so that you could marry me".  I turned and began to laugh.  I really didn't know what to say.  I ended up going with, "I guess its not going to work out moomy".  Haha.  I love moony.  I have met so many great people here.

That is my week for you.  I love you all.  I am doing great. 

Take care,
Elder Pullan

Monday, November 3, 2014

week #25 -Linstead

Hello everyone! 

Not too much happened this week. We spent the week teaching investigators, seeing members, and attending Zone Meeting in Spanish Town.  We discussed how to invite people to church so that they will feel comfortable with coming.  It was really good.  Attending church is one of the keys to people finding out that it its true for themselves, so it is extremely important that we get them there.  One thing that really helps is to explain everything that happens at church to them so that they aren't apprehensive or surprised by anything, and also accompanying them there so that they have a friend.  Their conversion to the gospel is purely spiritual, but they still need to feel comfortable, loved, and welcomed at church.  That is the way it should be.  So make sure you are reaching out to those you may not know at church and looking to help them.  There is so much good that we can do in this world, and we may not always see the results of the good we do.  The gratitude of the receiver and the blessings we get remain though.

So, you know how everyone joked about me teaching Usane Bolt on my mission before I left?  I didn't get to teach him this week, but I did get to shake his hand.  On Sunday, we were out in Dee Side teaching some people.  Dee Side is close to some of the huge Tru-juice orange fields.  We heard that the family that owns Tru-Juice was "racing", and that Usane Bolt was there.  We walked to our next appointment along the interval so the we could see the race.  It turned out the they had built a temporary track through the orange fields and were racing their ATV's around it for fun.  

As we walked past, a girl we know called out to us and asked if we wanted to go and meet the family. (I would attempt to spell the family's name, but I have only heard jamaicans say it, so I have no idea how it is spelled).  I assumed she had a connection with the family, so we began to walk towards the house with her.  We quickly found out that she had absolutely no connection with the family, but was hoping that we could talk to them because we are white.  We decided not to pass up a good finding opportunity and continued on towards the house.  We walked up the driveway and were able to talk with the guy who set up the course for a bit.  Afterwards, we walked up and introduced ourselves to the family.  We talked about their ATV's a bit and the mother immediately offered to let us ride, and showed she was serious by saying "Get them some helmets".  That's right.  I had.  To pass up.  A ride on a high powered ATV.  Along a private course through an orange field.  With the sons of one of the wealthiest families in JA. And maybe Usane Bolt… NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Auuuuuuuuuuuuugh.  It still pains me.  Mission rules.
We did get to talk a bit more with the mother about the business until she got a call. Conversation ended so we decided to get out of their hair. Afterall, it wasn't really a public event they were hosting. We walked up and shook the hands of the brothers, and Usane Bolt before we left. Then we went to our meal appointment.

The Richards family fed us some good turkey neck, rice and peas to break our fast on. It made the whole day a bit better since once again, none of our investigators came to church.
Thats my week for you. I love it here. No better place than JA.

I love you all. Tek cyare.
Love, Elder Pullan

PS- nice costumes Nathan and Lydia!  You look great. Happy Halloween!
Matthew- I need a pic of the suit of armor!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

week #24 - Linstead

Hello Everyone!

My week-
This week we got a new elder in the house. His name is Elder Johnson. He is brand new, fresh out of my beloved United States. Elder Johnson is from Texas and is a pretty cool guy. 
Elder Jernigan and I have been working hard. We don't have too many stories from the week. We were able to teach a lot of good lessons, but most of our top investigators were sick (again) for church. None of them made it. We did have a less-active member that I have been working with for 6 months -and others have been working with for a good year before that- come to church. She is finally getting active again and I am so glad for that. You can see that light coming back into her life. She is so much happier now. 

Other than that, Elder Jernigan and I have been putting a lot of focus on working with our members lately.  In the last General Conference, we were told that the full time missionaries' duty is to help our members do missionary work.  We have begun to build up our friendships with our members again so that we can help fulfill their own potential and bring others unto Christ.  It has been a lot of fun.  We have some members that just need a little pick me up and reminder of those little things that are so necessary to an enduring conversion.  The biggest thing people seem to struggle with is daily scripture study. I know that there is power in the scriptures and much to be learned and applied to our lives as we study them. I also know that the more we seek, the more the Lord will help us to understand them. 

I have been doing a short study of the first book of Nephi the past few days. The goal of the study is to go through and find everything Lehi and Nephi do in order to  gain the Lord's guidance and direction. In each and every case they act before they receive further direction.  It is cool to see how neglecting even one righteous action could have deprived them of the next step for a time.  Our Heavenly Father loves us and wants to help us, but many times can't, simply because we are not obeying and seeking.  We have to do our part. Dad- I was reminded of this when you mentioned Daniel.  Consistent righteous decisions lead to the Lord directing our lives for good.  I would encourage you all to always study the scriptures with some sort of question in mind so that you can get more out of it.  It makes a big difference for me. 

We went searching a less active that a member told us about the other day. She supposedly lived somewhere on the railroad tracks. We hiked back into the scheme on the tracks and asked around.  We managed to find a lady with the same first name, but not the one we were looking for.  As we talked to the lady, she informed us that we should probably go because of curfew.  I sort of chuckled.  She wanted us to go cause it was getting dark.  We did decide to head out to the highway, so we were good.  I managed to put two and two together a bit later.  I saw a vehicle full of soldiers sitting in the middle of the scheme earlier that day.  I am glad that we didn't go back down in because there was a legitimate curfew on the area.  Just another instance of the Lord's protection.

I love you all.
Have a great week.
Love, Elder Pullan

Here is an excerpt from Elder Jernigan's letter (Daniel's companion) this week.  I clarifies a little of what Daniel wrote about in his last paragraph.  "Speaking of military, we went searching for a less active.  Just to give you a picture of how this looks, please keep in mind that most Jamaicans have a nick name, and the nick name is not the one in church records.  So picture us two white guys with bikes wading through bush asking each person we see about if they know this lady, using a name they have never heard.   Then at one point a lady told us that we need to go because its about to be curfew. We didn't think much of it because we had another appointment to get to.

TURNS OUT, two people had been shot in that area just a few days earlier, something to do with drug trades, and the military has put down a curfew where they can arrest poeple who are out too late, and too late means past 6:00.  So yeah, military. We are very safe about these things, we don't go anywhere without a prayer, and anywhere dangerous after night."

Monday, October 20, 2014

week #23 -Linstead

Hey Family,

This week has been average.  Everyone seems pretty worried about me.  I am ok.  Unu nah worry.  Haha.  Everything is good now. 

This week was transfers.  I will be staying in Linstead for another transfer to finish training Elder Jernigan.  Elder Biddulph is going to be going to Negril (Which is too bad because he has only been here for two transfers and I love him... but let the Lord's will be done), and Elder Kemp will be training a new missionary.  I have been here in Linstead for a very long time, but I am feeling fine with staying.  Its' nice to have an actual home for a while.

This week included a lot of teaching and a couple of rainstorms.  We did not get any of our investigators to church, but there are a couple that honestly intended to go.  I hope that some of them are going to get baptized soon here.  There are so many great blessings that come from simply promising our Heavenly Father to follow him and then doing our best.  I don't see why more people don't do it.  Finding out for themselves isn't too complicated, but I guess it might be the lifestyle change.  It will only bring happiness though.  I know that for myself. 

I love the gospel.  I love teaching it to others.  This work is hard and demanding, but I have been enjoying it.  There is no more important work than this. 

Your trip to Zion sounded like a lot of fun.  Was it fall break or something?  I have done Angels Landing before, but not with you guys.  It is a great hike.  I wish I could have been there!

Nice scratches on your face Nathan! I bet you are really good at scootering. Be careful though.

Keep up the good work everyone.  I love you all!
Love, Elder Pullan

The crew:
L-R (elder Kemp, elder Jernigan, elder Biddulph, yours truly)
My latest art work (bad lighting) titled "Linstead Jamaica"

better lighting

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

week #22 -Linstead

My week. Was crazy. Here it is for you . Read on.

Our week was kicked off with our top investigator, Nelly, dying in our arms on Tuesday. Nelly was a 60 year old lady in poor health that we had been teaching. She was progressing towards her baptismal date and was actually going to make it. I was in a tripanionship with Elder Jernigan and Elder Biddulph because Elder Kemp was at the District Leader training in Kingston. We offered to give Nelly a blessing when we heard she was sick. When we gave her the blessing, she was not looking very good. Her breathing was heavy and she was cold. We left and started to talk with a former investigator next door, when we saw Nelly's sister and a taxi-man trying to move Nelly into a taxi to take her to the Hospital. Nelly's legs gave out and she dropped to the floor. We ran over to try and help only to hear the taxi driver say "Oh, she's dead." Elder Jernigan is CPR certified and he knows a lot about this stuff, so we rolled her over and began to give her chest compressions while Elder Biddulph called an ambulance.  (According to Elder Jernigan, giving mouth to mouth is not safe or recommended unless you have a breathing apparatus).  The emergency number (119) didn't answer so we called the local police.  They said that they would send someone.  Elder Biddulph managed to flag down some cops on the road who were able to come up and take Nelly away (the ambulance and the cops we called for never did show. I would hate to be deathly ill in Jamaica).  We gave her compressions to try to keep her alive until the cops came, but I think whatever good we did only lasted for about five minutes.  By the time the cops showed, she was long gone. 

That is the first event of the week for you.  I can't say that I wasn't a little traumatized for a day or two, but I'm ok now.  I felt a little depressed for about two days after, but I worked hard and worked through it.  Elder Jernigan is doing ok too. 

Elder Jernigan got Chikengunya - a crazy disease that is rampant in the Carribean now (don't worry, its not fatal)-  later in the week.  I spent all saturday inside with him.  I pretty much drew all day long.  I love days like those.  He stayed home with Elder Biddulph on Sunday.  He is doing better now though.

I managed to get bit by a dog last night too.  Elder Kemp and I went to the Hospital and I spent the whole evening tying down a tetanus shot for myself.  Public Health Care here is slow and terrible.  I ended up waiting three hours for a shot and a bandaid.  Getting the shot and the wound cleaned only took something under two minutes.  The bite is not bad and I am ok.

It seems like when crazy things happen, they are always packed close together in the same week.  I would prefer that they were a little more spread out to be honest.  It would keep things more interesting that way.

None of our investigators came to church this Sunday because everyone is sick.  We have a few good investigators, but I think that we are going to have to make some changes and drop some people this week, then see what we can do with our members down on Church Road and in Jew Pen. We will see how it goes.

That is my week for you.  I don't want any of you to worry though.  I am ok.  I am doing great.  I am not too traumatized.  The dog bite was small.  There is nothing to worry about.
I am happy and doing well.  This week has been a little out of the ordinary, but I can't complain.  

I love you all.
I hope you are doing well.
Keep up the good work.
Seriously mom. Don't worry about me. I am ok. 

Love, Elder Pullan

Monday, October 6, 2014

week #21 -Linstead

Hey fam!

So picture this- Elder Biddulph had an ingrown toenail that he got fixed in Kingston a few days back. He had to go to Kingston for a follow up on it on Saturday. We didn't want him and his companion to go, because that would leave their investigators all alone, plus conference starts at 11 here, so we would not be able to make it back in time. So I went with him. We taxied down to Spanish Town and from there to Halfway Tree early in the morning. He got his check up and then we watched the morning session at the Constant Spring chapel in Kingston. We had lunch and made it back to Spanish Town in time for the afternoon session, and spent the Priesthood session in Linstead. It was pretty crazy! Haha. We were all over the place. We got to talk with some other missionaries along the way too, so that was fun.

Conference was great. I love to hear the words of the prophet. The prophet and the apostles are able to teach the necessities of the gospel and apply them to these days with such simplicity.  I know that they are called of God.  They speak with authority and power.  I love that there was a lot of influence on how to gain a testimony in the conference. Every member of the church needs to gain their own testimony of truth. Religion is absolute truth, just like math. It is not opinion. It is not debatable. It is true. But how do we find out the truth of things that we can't see in front of our faces? Just because we can't see it does not make it not true. In order to find truth of this kind, we have to ask God. In order to do this, we need to know what we are asking about. We need to put forth the effort to study the word, ponder, and then ask God with sincerity about the truth of it. I love that it was pointed out that there is one other requirement. In John 7:17? It says that if we want to know if the word is of God, we have to DO it.  We must live his commandments and then look for the blessings that come into our lives from living them.  This will build faith.  It will also guarantee us an answer from our Heavenly Father.  If any of you don't have a testimony of the truth right now, you need one. So get one.  This world is too hard to live off of the light of others.  We need to be valiant, and it took me far too long to gain a testimony for myself, which lead me into trouble at times.

None of our investigators made it to conference this week. That was a little disappointing.  I do know that a few of them were sick, but I have not followed up with all them yet.  I am sad that they missed such a great opportunity to hear a prophet of God.  We will keep trying though.  Everyone comes at their own pace.  Hopefully they will come though.

I did paint that design on the guitar mom. I also got the guy we are teaching up the street put a lacquer on it, so it is official. I love playing my guitar!

It has been a good week. I am doing well. I hope you all are good too! Tell Mariel congratulations for me. 

Stay strong I love you all!
Likkle mo' m' frenz. 
Love, Elder Pullan

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 
Lydia- Daniell did not get baptized yet. Hopefully soon. 
Nathan- When people ask you "wagwaan", you seh to im seh "m'daya". That is the basis of patois. M'daya mon.
Thanks for the scriptures rache. Those are some great ones. They are very encouraging. I love you guys!
Love, Elder Pullan

The following photos are from Elder Jernigan's letter:
The District - Daniel is on the far right.

Elder Jernigan with a banana spider! What a guy!

Monday, September 29, 2014

week #20 -Linstead

Hello fam!

This week has been great.  Elder Jernigan and I have been working really hard.  We are working with a lot of good people who will hopefully make the choice to continue to progress towards our Heavenly Father through baptism, and partake of the wonderful blessings that come from it. 

We did a couple of cool things this week.  One was our family home evening with Mark and his family.  Mark's wife was not able to make it, but everything went great.  We discussed Eph. 6:8-15? with them and talked about putting on the whole armor of God.  I had drawn a picture of a man, and each piece of armor mentioned.  We had the kids color the man and the armor, and then the glue each piece of armor on to him.  The kids really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, they were not able to make it to church on account of a funeral.  They went to the Nine Night on Saturday night and stayed up literally all night there.  That is a very jamaican tradition. They said that they will come this next week though.

Another cool thing this week- We watched the restoration movie with a couple in our area. We were able to watch the whole thing with them and their little girl. We explained as we watched and they were able to understand it pretty well.  They loved the movie, and we committed them to pray to know if Joseph Smith is a true prophet or not.  They committed to do so. 

It is awesome to see how the spirit works on people.  Like I said last week, the spirit is ever present in this work.  It is there to testify of the truth of the things we say.  People feel it, so they listen to us.  It has also helped me to learn so much in the past few months.  I really feel like I am growing in a way that could not be accomplished elsewhere.

Nathan- I have seen a few small snakes here, and a lot of big frogs.  The campout you had sounded like a lot of fun.

Congrats on the ordination to a priest, Matthew!

Is everyone excited for General Conference this next week?  I am really excited for it.  It is going to be awesome to hear the prophets advice for us in these days. I know that we have a prophet of God on the earth in these days, and that Thomas S. Monson is the Lord's chosen prophet. He speaks with a convincing power and authority that cannot come any other way. I love to listen to his words. I would encourage you all to write down some questions you  have, and then listen for the answers as you watch conference. I can promise you that the spirit will help you to pick out the answer that your Heavenly Father has for you!

I love you guys! Enjoy the week. Stay safe! 
Love, Elder Pullan

me & elder Jernigan
the guitar

the FHE lesson - putting on the whole armor of God

mornings in Linstead (photo courtesy of Elder Jernigan)

teaching a family (photo courtesy of Elder Kemp)

Welcome to Jamaica, Elder Jernigan!
(photo courtesy of Elder Jernigan)

Monday, September 22, 2014

week #19 - Linstead

Hey family-

My trainee did get here this week.  Thanks for all the prayers!  Elder Jernigan arrived in Linstead on Wednesday night.  He is in the same boat I was in when I went on my mission.  He graduated from high school, then left as soon as possible.  He has bright orange hair and is from AZ.  I have had a great time with him so far.  He is really smart, he knows his stuff a LOT better than I did when I got out, and he is already a great teacher.  It's like he is already trained.   I think that I am going to learn more from him than he will from me.  

This week has been really good.  We have been working really hard in our area.   We have a lot of investigators, and we have been able to teach a lot of people in the past few days.  In fact, I am surprised at how many lessons we have been able to teach.  Not a stale moment yet.

Our investigators are doing really well.  Daniell did not make it to church on sunday, and I don't know why. The last few lessons we had, she seemed to be doing a lot better.  We will see her again later in the week and check.  I think that she is going to make it.   We have been seeing signs of repentance in a few other of our investigators too.  

It is cool to see someone feel the spirit for the first time.  We might not be as concious of it because it is always with us, but there are a lot of people who have never felt it before. When they feel it, they can tell there is something to these things.  They become willing to do whatever you ask them to because they can feel that it is something good.  Missionaries spend a lot of time fretting over whether we have the spirit or not, but I am beginning to realize that as long as you are doing what you should, it is always with us.  The Lord is intimately involved in the work we do, because it is His work. I hope that I will be able to help some people change their lives with the time I have left.

It sounds like you are all doing well. The temple dedication sounded great. Rachel's apartment looks REALLY nice. How did she tie that down?

Matthew is looking like a stud at prom. How did he get to looking so old?
I am glad Grandma's party went so well. I really love her.

Take care guys. 
I love you all!
Love, Elder Pullan

Monday, September 15, 2014

week #18 - Linstead

Hello Everyone,

Sorry to disappoint, but my trainee is still in the states.  His Visa has not cleared yet, so I am still waiting.  I am currently in a tripanionship with Elders Biddulph and Kemp.  I love the both of them, but I still am not a big fan of this whole tripanionship thing.  It has been really hard to try to juggle two areas at once.  We have found varying levels of effectiveness over the past week.  I really hope that my trainee gets through.  If he does not in the next few days, he will probably visa-wait for a transfer in the states, and I will stay in a tri for the next six weeks.  Wish me luck.

I was able to give a talk in church on Sunday.  We had been asked to do it for next week, but Friday night we received a phone call and the news that it would actually be this Sunday.  I prepared on Saturday, decided I didn't like what I prepared, and rewrote the whole thing on Sunday morning.  I spoke about conversion.  I compared conversion to a screw.  With each application of the Gospel of Christ (faith, repentance, baptism/sacrament, Holy Ghost, Enduring to the end), the screw turns.  Over a lifetime of consistent effort, this screw will eventually be driven so deep that it cannot be removed, except by our own rebellion.  I felt like I did a really good job.  I just hope that some people were able to learn and grow from it.

Daniell is a little shaky right now. She went to her "other church" today. Pray that she might be able to get an answer to her prayers. I really hope she makes it.

All is well.  Don't get sick anymore lydia.  That's no good.
Mom- Happy Birthday. I hope you had a great one.  Thanks for being such a great mother to me.  I didnt realize how great a mother you are until I got to see how most other people live.  I could not be the person I am today without you.  Thanks mom.  I love you.
Take care this week fam.
Love, Elder Pullan

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Hi Nathan-  Here is some more Patois for you:

Wat'gwaan mi ghetto yute?
Do mi haffi write unu inna di straight patois? Mi nah no if unu is gwaan fi undastand di 'ole ting. Gud luck m' yute. 

Mi have taught menny menny peeple ere in Jamaica. Mi luv it ere. Mi 'ope unu get fi serve ere or somewhere else wid lizzawds too. 

It sounds like you had a great time in Seattle Nathan!   The lake sounds like fun.  How is school going for you?


Monday, September 8, 2014

week #17 - Linstead

Hello everyone!

Transfer calls were yesterday!  Big news!  I will be training a brand new missionary!  I am very excited to meet him.  I will not even know which one I am training until the transfer meeting on Tuesday.  Elder Runyan will be flying home on Thursday.  His family moved from Utah to North Carolina a few weeks back, so he will be flying "home" to there, then returning home for school a few weeks later.  I am really going to miss him.  I have had a great companionship with Elder Runyan. 

Elder Runyan bore his testimony in church yesterday. He talked a little bit about all he has learned and how we have been sent here for a reason. As he talked, I felt the spirit bare witness to me that one of the reasons I have been sent here is to train whoever it is I am training.  I am excited to meet him.  I am so grateful to my trainer for all the help he gave me, so I am looking forward to returning the favor. 

This week has been good.  We actually have a few people that are going to get baptized!  One is named Daniell.  Daniell is an awesome bright teenage girl.  She is already living the commandments, keeps all her commitments, and is committed to follow the example that Jesus Christ has set for us and be baptized on Oct. 5th if she continues to prepare well for that date.  It will be totally up to her whether she makes it or not, but I know that if she continues to do the things that we invite her to do, she will be able to know for herself that these things are true by that date. 

I was studying the promises the Lord gives us for being baptized this morning.  One great place that they are mentioned is in Mosiah 4:11-12.  The thing that stood out to me is that we are promised that we will "Always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God."  Can we ask for anything more?  I challenge you to look for these blessings in your life. I know that I have seen them in my own. I have never been happier.

I am no longer district leader. That position was passed to elder Kemp so that I can focus on my trainee.  I am excited for this next week.

I love you all. I know that the gospel is true. Stick to it and you will find happiness. 
Love, Elder Pullan

The District

Beautiful Jamaica