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!