Monday, March 31, 2014

week #13 - Montego Bay

Hi fam-

This week began with cake.  Elder Farb baked up that birthday cake you sent me and we had it for breakfast one morning.  Mmmmmm.  Delicious!  Thanks mom.

This week has been hot, as always.  We have taught a lot of good lessons and are working hard.

As a quick investigator update, J____ has fallen off the map for a short time, we are trying to meet up with her again.  B_____ got his head messed with by one of his friends from another religion, so he doesn't really want to see us anymore.  It is really unfortunate because he was doing so well.  Our rasta friend is coming along just fine.  He is a great guy, and he has been building his faith through keeping commitments!  We are very excited for him. He said he prayed and felt a sense of approval of the direction he is moving in.  He didn't make it to church because of a miscommunication between him and his member friend that he was going to come with, but he is going to make it for conference this next week.  

We have a new elder in the apartment.  Elder Christensen arrived here from Spanish Town
on Wednesday night.  He is a great elder.  We have enjoyed having him with us.  Elder Christensen and I have started running in the mornings.  On our first morning, I took us on a five mile jaunt that neither of us was quite prepared for.  We took it pretty fast, and having not run in nine months, as you can imagine, I am pretty sore.  I got some bad blisters too.  I am taking care of them though.  Don't worry.

We enjoyed a delicious meal at a member's house on tuesday.  Their house was incredible.  A wonderful Jamaican villa overlooking the ocean from up in the hills.  That is where the picture of the flower I am going to send came from.

Elder Hall and I were in a tri-panionship with Elder Farb on Wednesday while transfers where happening.  After teaching at the bottom of Crawford Gully, we wanted to get over to Westgate, on the other side of the gully.  We figured that there would be a trail cutting through. Not so.  We walked through the bottom of the gully, hiked over an area where bottles and trash were piled up to two or three feet deep, and then scrambled up the steep gully sides through the bush until we emerged on the road to Westgate.  It was nothing less than an adventure.  We found a glass trophy commemorating something to the hospital buried in the trash.  We picked it up and brought it home as a memorial to our adventure.  It should remain the house for a long time.

I am really excited for general conference this next week.  It is amazing that we have the opportunity to hear from prophets and apostles in our days.  It is truly the word of the Lord through his servants.  Make sure to take the opportunity to go, and listen to what the Lord has to say to us.  Take notes and get as much out of it as possible.  It really is just for us. 

Nathan-  great job skiing.  I am jealous of you.  Do your friends really not believe in Jamaica?  I bet they will after we show them the Flat Stanley pictures.  Make sure to remind me so I don't forget!

Jamaican words-
Unu   (oo-noo)   - you
Wagwaan   (wah-gwon)   - what is going on?
wa't'gwaan   (wah-teh-gwon)   - "                 "
w'appen    (wop'n)   - what's happening
yute   (yoot)   - youth. as in "my yute"
irie   (I-ree)   - cool
jah- God
oomon- (oo-mon) - woman
yes general, yes boss, yes chief, aight   (ah-ite)   - greetings

Make sure to open your mouth wide and breathe out more/use more as you speak. Your mouth with move a lot more than it will speaking English

A little more for you-

likkle more (likkle mo')- I will see you in a little bit / bye.
me belly bottom a bun (burn) me!- I'm hungry.
'toppynigh! (say it like its spelled.)- Stop the noise.
Me'a tomp ye 'ead- Im going to hit you.

Give it a go! Patois is the best!

Lydia-  Thanks for the email!  Great job with the spelling bee.  Don't feel bad that you got out.  We all make little mistakes.  Good job to you and Nathan with the play.  I bet you did great.  I am sorry I wasn't there for it.

Take care!  I love you all.
Bless up!
Love, Cho bredda
Elder Pullan

PS- By the way, J____  just called. We are set up to meet with her tomorrow at six. 
Wish us luck!

Gully Adventure!

The flowers I talked about.

Early morning birthday cake
I haven't really sent you any of the art I have done on my mission. There isn't much of it, but here is one of my pieces for you.  This is done with ink pens and markers.

Monday, March 24, 2014

week #12 -Montego Bay

Hey fam,
This week included a great zone conference taught by President Brown. He presented a lot on the Gospel of Christ and how we can teach towards true conversion. I already sent Rachel a long discourse on it.  Maybe I will just copy it here for you to read.

"The Gospel of Christ (found in 2 Ne. 31) is the path to our salvation.  It includes; faith, repentance, baptism/H.G., and enduring to the end. These are stepping stones. The first step is faith.  One must build faith.  Once faith has been sufficiently built, it will lead an individual to want to repent.  How do we build faith?  First one must understand what faith is, their divine potential (the godhead, and the why?) and how to know (what prayer is). Then we move into the faith building lessons (the restoration, the plan of salvation, and the gospel of christ). Strive to teach material in all cases to meet their needs.  Build faith first and do not move on to the next step, repentance, until one is showing signs of faith. Signs of faith? Faith leads to action. You can see people exercise their faith as they keep simple commitments like reading, praying, and coming to church."

This truly is inspired. The focus is now teaching what people need and truly converting them. The Lord has put forth the gospel of Christ for all of us.  Not just for new investigators. As we cycle through the gospel of Christ each day of our lives, we endure to the end. This means that after baptism we continue to; build our faith, repent, partake of the sacrament (rather than getting baptized/H.G. again) and endure to the end.  This will keep us holding fast to the iron rod. I would encourage you all to study it as a family. Read 2Ne. 31 for yourselves.

This week... Hmmm.... 
We ate more fried breadfruit. Breadfruit tastes like a sweet potato when it its ripe. To prepare it, you cook it on a fire or stove as shown in the picture, cut off the outside, and then eat it, or fry it. I do love breadfruit. 

I also climbed a coconut tree and picked myself a coconut a while ago. If you have seen a coconut tree, you will know that it is not an easy climb.  Climbing the coconut tree- I had to wrap my hands around the back to hold me on while I put my feet up by my chest to keep enough pressure to keep me on.  Then I walked up it in a sense.  Once you have the coconut, you hack it open with your machet and drink the juice, then cut it in half and scoop out the meat. Mmmmm. Fresh coconut. Welcome to paradise. 

We started teaching a rasta this week. Rastas are usually really hard to teach, but this one is the friend of one of our members. He is a nice humble guy, and he is very accepting. I am excited to continue teaching him. 

News wise, not a whole lot happened this week. Just the normal every day grind. I have been enjoying it though.

Transfer calls were saturday night. I will be staying a third transfer with Elder Hall. Elder Dawkins will be going to downtown kingston, and Elder Christensen will be coming to replace him. It should be another good transfer.
I hope all is well back home. I looks like you are all having fun!
Yes yes me breddren. 
Bless up.
Love, Daniel

PS- Tell matthew to go and get good at snowboarding so he can shred with me when I get home. I envy you. Cold weather and skiing sounds really nice. Enjoy it!

Monday, March 17, 2014

week #11 - Montego Bay

This week has been really good.  We had Branch Conference yesterday.  It was great.  I was able to learn a lot from each of the talks.  They focused a lot on self reliance, and President Allen had some good thoughts on the grace of God. He said "God does not step in and save us by grace after all we can do. I have found that he is there every step of the way. We cannot do anything without the help of his grace." 

We also found two very prepared investigators this week.  The first is Jodian.  We had met her before, but she didn't really want to talk to us. Some things happened in her life that made her want to change, and she thought of us. We received a call from her on Tuesday and she said she wanted to meet with us.  When we got there, she had read through both of the pamphlets that we had given her, taken notes on them, and answered all of the questions in the back.  She accepts everything we say and it all seems to connect for her as we teach. 

The second investigator is Benny.  Benny has been sincerely seeking truth for a long time. He has a bible that has been well loved and full of notes.  Benny wants to be baptized, but realizes it is a serious thing, so he has taken his time and is looking for truth.  He was very excited when we showed him the Book of Mormon.  He is going to start reading.  We hope to get his family involved soon also. 

Jennifer has been continuing to progress.  She is always very excited to meet with us, and excited about the gospel.  She is a wonderful lady.  June is in New York for a while. We are hoping that she keeps up the reading and praying so that she will still be strong when she gets back. 

This week, we cut through the canterbury gully to get to a road on the other side. I have been a lot of sketchy places on my mission, but that has been the second one that I have actually felt unsafe. I got proposed to by a chubby middle aged woman on our way through (not the first time that has happened. I think I am on count three... or four with that), and on our way in, a thug pretty much gave us permission to pass through.  Sketch.  Welcome to my ghetto life. 

We also got to spend some time teaching with Romario this week. It is always fun to go with him. He is one of my favorite people here for sure.

Nathan- more Patois.
Giving directions:
Up so, down so, round so, ere so, der so, straight round.
Simply add "gwaan" to the beginning of each of these phrases and direct people to their destination. Make it confusing though! Jamaicans aren't the best with directions.

I'm glad everything is good back home. Mom, I enjoyed the thought you sent from Pres. Uchtdorf and the thought from your talk dad. We can find nothing but blessings as we lose ourselves in the service of others and the service of the Lord. 

I love you guys,
Love, Elder Pullan.
At a member family's house for dinner

Jamaican Sunset

Roasting breadfruit at the apartment
An excerpt from "A Tale of Bird", Romario's (Bird's) book
North Banks Wicked City graffiti from the bottom of canterbury gully. In the storm drain.

Monday, March 10, 2014

week #10 - Montego Bay

This week has been rainy in Montego Bay.  We had a few days of being soaked to the bone, and trying to dodge the rain between appointments.  We seemed to do pretty well with it.  It would rain while we taught and then clear up as we ran to the next appointment.  This happened on multiple occasions. It was pretty cool!
We taught Stokley earlier this week.  Stokley's brother got shot about a week ago, so we have been doing our best to be there for him. We taught him a little about baptisms for the dead recently, and he took it well. On one of the rainy days, we taught Stokley. He lives at the bottom of a deep gully. The rain didn't let up, so we ended up running along the bottom of the gully jumping back and forth over the rushing stream at the bottom, and climbing up the muddy hills in heavy Jamaican rain. It was a lot of fun. 

Jennifer has been doing well. She is plowing through the Book of Mormon and loving it. She is a very humble, loving person. I am very excited for her. She is always so happy to see us. 

Elder Hall and I wrote a book for Romario over the past few weeks. Romario was supposed to go out teaching with us on multiple occasions, but he never answers his phone. He is terrible with it. So we made the book as a guilt trip for him so that he will start answering his phone. It is too long to send the whole thing, but I will send you a preview. 

Hmmm... nothing too monumental happened this week. Just more teaching.  More good lessons. More missionary work.

It sounds like you are doing well back home. I am glad that piano festival went good.  I am sure that everyone did great in their plays and  piano festival. I am sorry I missed them.

Nathan- more patois:
Dats- that's
Bwai- boy
cho- an expression of disappointment

Dad- You covered exactly what I would have had you talk about for starts - the fact that a mission is hard. I got out here and seemed like no one had been straight with me about their mission.  No one directly told me that it would in fact be hard, although that should have been assumed.   Maybe you could speak on charity next.   You will be ineffective in your work until you gain the love of Christ for the people you serve.  You have to care about them.  And, as I have found, different cultures and people are not always easy to love. It may be a good topic to look into.

I love you all,
Love Elder Pullan

Monday, March 3, 2014

week #9 -Montego Bay

(patois according to Google: means "that's 1/3 boy!")

This week was great. Mango season is coming up! They still aren't ripe in most places, but we did have some delicious fresh mangoes on friday. Here in Jamaica, you peel them with your teeth and simply hold it and eat. It can be a little messy, but it is undoubtedly the best way to eat a mango. 

We had a great lesson with our land lady, Jennifer this week. Jennifer has been reading parts of the Book of Mormon that we have assigned to her for months now. She has probably read more than half of it at this point. We had a great lesson where we told her that when she prays, if she wants answers, she needs to wait and listen. This was real news to her. Waiting for a short time during or after a prayer for an answer had never occurred to her. The spirit has really touched her, and she is now starting the Book of Mormon from front to back. She is the caretaker for the old woman that owns the house, so she is not allowed to leave, even to come to church. We are going to have to wait until the old woman's daughter gets back. When she is back, Jennifer will be able to come to church, and soon after get baptized. Jennifer is a little like our mom here. She cooks for us on occasion and is always looking out for us. So don't worry, I am well taken care of. 

Those pictures were from the front of our apartment inside the gate. Our apartment is actually a house, with several rooms for rent. We have a completely seperate section around the side of the house, and up a flight of stairs. Our apartment has 3 doors - a veranda gate, a second gate over the door, and then the door. Inside, we have a kitchen, living room, bedroom with two bunk beds, two baths, and Elder Hall and I's study room. It is small, but comfortable. Our apartment is great. Elder Dawkins and Farb are the other companionship in our apartment. Our household is fairly quiet, other than the sound of Elder Hall's guitar and my ukulele. Elder Hall is a funny kid from Alberta Canada. He enjoyed acting in plays and was in a band back home. Elder Dawkins was born in Jamaica, and raised in New York. Elder Farb is old (26!) and from California. We all work hard and love mo bay.

All is well here in Jamaica. We are still waiting  for June to get her confirmation to be baptized, but soon come. I have also been working on a children's storybook for Romario. It is designed to guilt trip him for being so flakey and never answering his phone. Elder Hall and I have enjoyed putting it together.

I hope all of the plays went well. Lydia and Nathan- you look great in your costumes! I wish I could have been there for the play!

Thanks for the help and advice mom and dad. I love you guys!

I got grandma and grandpa pullan's package this week! Thank you for the book and the twenty dollars. I will enjoy reading it and I will have to get myself a treat. I love you too.

Thanks all,
Till next week,
Elder Pullan.

oh... the zinc fences in canterbury- they are simply the fences for yards. There are houses inside each little compound, and a rats nest of passages in between.