Tuesday, June 10, 2014

week #4 - Linstead

Hello everyone,

My leg-  is about back to normal. I will have some splotchy scars that will fade, but that is it.   I was on an antibiotic pill + ointment. I am done with it now.  My leg does not hurt anymore and the swelling has gone down.   It takes time to get to kingston, so unless something acts up, I probably will not get a follow-up appointment.   As far as I can tell, it is back to normal.  Thanks for worrying.

The new stake includes; Constant Springs Kingston, Boulevard Kingston, Spanish Town 1, Spanish Town 2, Port More, and Linstead. Old Harbor is included in the stake, but will remain a branch until it gets a lot bigger.

At the first stake conference in jamaica, president brown addressed everyone for the last time as the priesthood leader of Jamaica. He gave us a list of six things that we each need to do with the coming of the stake. They were:
-Open your homes. Share the gospel in your home with your friends.
-Open your mouths. Share the gospel.
-Open your hearts. Love others unconditionally, whether they accept the gospel or not.
-Open the doors of the chapel. Make the chapel have a presence in the community. Hold activities often, and invite others.
-Open the doors of the temple. All worthy members 12 and up must have a temple reccomend, even though there is not temple in JA.
-Open your wallets. He said "I know of no other principle that will change the lives of those here." Pay your tithing and fast offerings and you will be blessed. 

Elder Holland was amazing. He told us a story about his childhood. He talked about how his father was a drinker and a smoker, and how his bishop, elders quorum pres., and sunday school pres. came by to call him to teach his son Jeff's class. This was a turning point in his fathers life. His father gave up the smoking and drinking that day, and only months later, was called the the bishopric. He died a faithful man. He told the congregation that we don't know who we are saving. Through the acts of his bishop and two others, him and the rest of his family were brought back into the gospel. It has influenced countless others. The lord is working on everyone in their own way. We have no right to judge or deny them the gospel. God loves ALL his children, and ALL will hear the gospel.

The next day, the stake was organized. Elder Cornish talked about how we bind Satan through personal righteousness. Elder Holland followed by explaining sustaining our leaders, and then invoking a blessing on all that were present. It was an incredibly powerful experience. 

After the conference, the thirty missionaries that got to attend gathered in a back room. Elder Holland took a few precious minutes to meet with us. We all had the chance to introduce ourselves and where we are from. Elder Cornish bore a powerful testimony of the truth of the gospel. He said "Don't think that we are not aware of scientific advancements, shift in culture and politics.  We are intelligent men with reason, and we have not been fooled. The Gospel is true. The Book of Mormon is undoubtedly the word of God...". Elder Holland then took a couple of minutes to tell us never, never to leave the church. For a return missionary to leave the church is to disgrace the good name that missionaries have. It is to go against all that everyone knows, loves, and respects about those who have taken this chance to serve the lord. To leave makes us absolute hypocrites. He said that a return missionary leaving the church is one of the few major tragedies in the church. He bore his testimony of the gospel, then shook each of our hands as we left the room. It has been an amazing week. I am so glad that I got to participate in such an incredible event. 

The stake conference was amazing. It was powerful and spirit filled. I was able to meet some of the pioneers of the church in Jamaica, like Victor Nugent, Amos Chin, and Bro. Nugents friend whose name I can't remember. This is a day none of them expected to see. It was great to see them there. This stake has been a long time coming. I also got to meet some return missionaries that served here in the 90's and came back for the stake. The congregation was huge both nights. Us missionaries stood in back for both sessions. It was rough on the legs, but totally worth it.

It sounds like everyone is doing well. Good job on the basketball camp lydia. 
Do you love baseball nathan?
You got an interview dad. That is a good start!

I am doing great. I love you all.
Love, Daniel.

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