Elders McCleod and Romney

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

J's 20th bday!


It kinda creeps me out that I'm 20 too!! I taught Sunday school yesterday and the lesson was about King Noah Vs. King Benjamin and I was saying how I wanna raise boys like King Benjamin, not King Noah, so I had to open with "Im only 19 and don't have any kids as yet.. wait, I'm 20 now, can't get away with still being a teenager" haha My birthday was the craziest story ever and most triumphant indeed. Hear this: 

For this to make sense, you gotta understand the Jamaican wives tale about the mongoose. If you are driving your car and a mongoose comes out on the street and crosses all the way, you will have good luck for that day. If the mongoose comes out on the street and turns back, bad luck will follow. Elder McLeod lived by this in Junction and whenever a mongoose would come on the street we'd slam the brakes and yell and the mongoose to go across haha SO Saturday morning we are heading out to the church to help do a deep clean of the building and as we are driving there, not one, but TWO mongooses cross the street! Two of them! We are super stoked, wondering what our good fortune would be for that day. Get to the church, clean it up, it took forever because we washed all the chairs and everything... for only having 15 people come to church we have enough chairs to seat stake conference, but we got it done and head home. Haven't had any stroke of luck yet, Elder Baird bought some cough medicine and we didn't realize it was drowsy... so he knocked out for a couple minutes, not good luck, then we were asked to speak in church the next day, not good luck, things just weren't looking lucky. We get a call from a member and we go help her out. By this time its dinner and we head out to Port Maria (about a 15 minute drive) to grab some KFC for birthday dinner. We are about to order, litterally, im walking to the cash register, and we get a call. It's Elder Baird's landlord from Cayman. He's in Ochi and wants to take us out to dinner.... YES! GOOD LUCK! We bolt outta KFC and now are faced with the phone call to ask for permission to drive out to Ochi for dinner. We call Elder Kraus, the AP, no answer. We call our Zone Leaders, no answer. We are about to call Pres. and Elder Kraus calls us back. We tell wa gwaan and without even thinking twice he's like "Heck yeah, go have fun!" SECOND MONGOOSE!! :) So Saturday night we enjoyed a fancy dinner of jerk fish and chips, and jerk conch fish. It was SO good. When I get home, Pryors is gonna have to consider adding Jamaican jerk fish to the menu. That would be so good! It was an awesome birthday indeed :) I did get Grams package! I thought I emailed her saying thank you, but yes, I got both packages and Elder Baird and I are enjoying the tasty goods of both. 

Thats a bust you guys are all sick! Elder Baird has had a nasty cough since we got here too. 

Yes, we are busy beavers over here.This week was dedicated to getting to know everyone and where they lived, Elder Karchener came out and showed us where a bunch of people live which was awesome so we are getting the ball rolling. We made a spread sheet of the days and times of the week for every member to sign their name 3 times a week to come and share a message- its kinda sad because they all say they want the branch to stay open, but then are "too busy" to meet with us to help them. So we packed the list around yesterday and visited a few members and were pretty persistent about it. It's frustrating sometimes but we are getting along. We will have a little more structure to our days now which will be awesome. President Hendricks came out to church yesterday and pretty much layed down the law. If you don't change, the branch will be closed. Hopefully it lit a fire in the members to act and not be acted upon. Yes, Elder Baird and I were sent here to help save this branch, but it's like no one really believes it will be closed. It's been on the chopping block for about two years and gets saved, then goes down, then up, then down, so members have been hearing about this for quite sometime. If it wasn't for the Branch President asking for two more months, it would be closed already. President Hendricks is a boss! He just spit it straight and thats what the branch needed. We are gonna have to be pretty bold with people too, but thats how it goes! We're still having a lot of fun. 

The house looks so much different!! Seriously, I'm not gonna even recognize it when I get back. You guys are doing awesome! And the farm too! I remember when we were so excited about getting the fencing and putting it up, now you've got fancy sheds and fancy wheel chair runways for drag racing wheelchairs... at least thats what I would do in my wheel chair.  And I'm wicked jelous you got to go see Lindsey Buckingham!! What a show that must've been. Hope you guys bought a T-shirt! Can't go to a show without getting the shirt! 

Funny, your lesson mom,  was on the Anti-Nephi- Lehies... I prepared my talk about them too. Didn't end up giving it because Pres. spoke, which was fine by me, but it was all about how they kept their covenants and were blessed. It's a little known fact that 'anti' actually comes from the egyptian word 'enti'  meaning 'one of'. Yep, call me Cliff (Claven of Cheers), I can't take credit for that one though, Elder Baird told me. 

I can't believe haley is graduating... She will only have one year of school left when I get home! AHHH! STOP GROWING UP HALEY! haha Does that weird you and Dad out that you have a boy who's 20, a girl who's going to college, a girl who is learning to drive, and one who will soon be going to stake dances soon? Weirds me out a ton! :) The few people I've shown pictures too of you guys, they always think mom is my sister. When I tell them, noooo thats my momma, they flip and say "She looks so young!!" haha 

I can't wait to see pics of Jet and Daniel! Also, I am SOOO pumped they are naming him Jet. Seriously, thats a wish come true. "Don't mess with me, Jet Lee is my cousin" HA! Sounds good already. 

This week should be good. OH! Other big news. We are getting a gym membership! Yep, by the end of the month of June im gonna be a cut and lean human being. They have elipticals, tredmills, a bench press, and some other stuff. It's no YMCA, but good enough to build some muscle back. Im really excited for that. Now we can swap workout's again! Im gonna try doing a workout elder baird told me about. The first week you do 4 sets of 12 on all your lifts, to build strength back, then two weeks in a row you do 5 sets of 5 to bulk up, then 4 sets of 12 to finish the month. What do you think about that? Any momma knowledge behind that? I have one month to get as fit, trim, and slim and put the guns back on. Suggestions please :) We've lost weight walking again, always a blessing to be out of a car but to have one for coming to Ochi on P-days, because thats where we are again today haha It's such a cool little city! 

Well I love you! Tell everyone to get better for me, and give them a kiss! Unless they are sick, then just give them knuckles or something.

Love You!

Elder Romney

Monday, May 21, 2012

First week in Highgate and 20th bday on Saturday!


Oh my goodness you guys sound like you had so much fun!! Looks like nice enough weather for a half marathon too, eh? That's so awesome you guys did it. 

Highgate. Yes, there is plenty of work to be done but we haven't been sure where to start. We've called President Hendricks twice now to get a better understanding of our goal while we are here and we have a good grasp of it now. Basically we need to get everyone to live the gospel and help build their testimony so that if the branch does close, they will drive to Ocho Rios for church. 

We actually have a truck, Elder Randle hooked it up and Elder Baird (my companion) and Elder Kraus (the other assistant) asked Pres. if we could have the spare and he said no problem. We walk during the days though, limited miles plus we are trying to get in some sort of shape besides round. The past few days have been dedicated to finding where members and Less Actives live. Like a typical whitewash, we have been very, very lost for most of it. We got lost in the truck last week trying to find a member's house and when we told them the tiny little road we were on (you'll see the pics) the member's daughter flipped out because I guess thats where people get chopped up... came back safe and sound, though and now know where NOT to go! haha This parish is virtually violence free, I've never felt safer, which is good. We are keeping our heads up, it's defintely not hopeless. We've seen some drive in a few less actives so far to come back to church and that's awesome to see. Put your shoulder to the wheel push along! 

The branch is small. We had 17 people in sacrament meeting, Elder Baird was asked to teach sunday school two minutes before class started, and we don't know where the priesthood went the third hour because it was just us, our teacher, and one member. It was a very weird Sunday- much room for improvement but we can do it. Everyone in the branch has only been baptised for a couple years so there is much learning to do and we are up for it. We went through the branch directory and called every member and less active member in it to set up times to see them. We've got a few appointments now which will be nice. Elder Karchner (our Zone Leader) served here about a year ago and knows where everyone lives so the Zone Leaders are coming down Wednesday to show us around- a huge help!! With such a short time to do so much, we don't mind one bit asking for some help. That's something I'm getting better at... I'm not so hard headed as I was back home. Thank goodness, eh? :)

It's beautiful though!! The views are pretty incredible. I thought Junction was bush, no sir! Highgate takes it when it comes to bushiness. I'll send the pics. Nights are noisy with the sounds of crickets and bugs chirping away, its pretty legit. I feel like I'm in Jurrasic Park or something! We were driving out to see a less active and we had to stop and take pictures because it was just so jungley... I wanna see pictures of what Shane's area looks like and compare the absolute Amazon of Jamrock to the real thing!!

I got to see Elder Stuart (an uncle's cousin) on Wednesday!! It was pretty cool- I think we met when we were little kids, when Summer had a crush on Cowboy Jake haha When he said he was from Woodruff it all clicked. He's way cool, his trainer is Elder Montegomery, a cowboy from southern Idaho- they will get along just great. He's in Old Harbour so he will be doing trade off's in Maypen. Pretty sweet!!

Mummer is sick??? I hope she wasn't sick for her birthday! That would be no fun. My tummy is alright. MY diet hasn't been the best... need to start eating better. I killed a loaf of bread, and a jar of PB and J in 3 days, along with two cans of corned beef... but it will be getting better, promise! Good news though, I am styling nice new socks, spitting delicious seeds, all with pearly white teeth because I got my package!!! Thank you guys so much!! I love everything in it. I'm rocking my SICK nucks shirt right now walking around through Ochi. Seriously, you still take good care of me from all the way over there. Thank you :) We are in Ochi right now, came up to check it out with the zone leaders and oh my, Ochi is pretty sick. The North Coast Highway is what makes me giddy- perfect road all the way following the coast line from here out to MoBay. Motorcycle ride when I get off the mish anyone? I think so!!

Elder Baird and I get along great. He's the man- even at 1:30AM when we both got up to use the bathroom he cracked some joke saying "Fancy meeting you here". Hilarious. 

Hey when you have your half ironman, that will be the end of the transfer! You've got one transfer momma, you can do it! ;) 

Bishop Payne??? That's pretty cool! I guess ill be reporting to him then, thats so awesome. Thats quite the line up in the bishopric, probably kinda weird to not see Bishop J up there! 

That's crazy Malea danced with Elder Hoffman (now just Joseph)! haha That is a really small world. Nuts if he married someone we knew! 

Well I'm gonna send the picture in a bit. I love you guys and thanks again for the b-day package!! It totally made my week! Starting off Highgate with a fresh stash of seeds is just what Elder Baird and I needed :) 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

J's the only person I know who could be asked to record a mission song while on his mission!


Yes! I was SO nice to see you guys! I realized after what a blessing it was to have the internet work throughout the whole time so we could use the video. Remember it wasn't working at first? That was pretty cool. You guys all look great! Elder McLeod loves you guys and thinks you are the coolest family- I think so too ;)

We totally ran outta time to email yesterday, so we got permission to email today because... we were in the studio!! How sick is that? (Jackson and Elder McLeod wrote a song about their mission and the Mission President arranged for them to be able to record it so that all the missionaries in the mission could have it.)  In the studio layin' down some hot licks on your mission- never thought that sentence would come out of my mouth in the middle hot and sweaty Jamrock. It was so sweet. Hectic as usual though. When we got there, I had a string break, a peg break, and then half way through the recording the power went out- thankfully we were able to save the stuff we had layed down. I'm definetly gonna find a way to send it to you guys, if not through email I'll send a hard copy in the mail. We recorded from 12-5, and then I recorded some guitar for K (the producer) on a beat eh's making. It was awesome. Elder McLeod's first time in a real studio to record, he liked it. He was so wiped out after words haha I felt like an old man telling a kid a "Back in my day" story when I told him about the numerous 12 hour days we would spend in the studio with Jeff. Remember the time we drove out to Cataldo, ID and were there ALL day? Yes, I sure do. Instead of 7-11 hot dogs and DP in the studio, we had Bulla and Sugar buns with Grape Soda for the true Jamaican studio experience. I won't be a part of the final mixing process, kinda a bust, but K is good and knows wa gwaan. We should have a mastered copy by next week and everything is will be criss (thats patios for good).

Saying goodbye is so hard! Ah! Today we've been making the rounds, having people sign my journal. I keep telling people we will be back in the evening to say goodbye, like M and N and R, and the H's.Seems proper to say goodbye at the end of the day rather than the beginning. I already miss this place. Tomorrow makes two months to the day that we've been here, and what a two months it has been. I don't think I've made this many close friendships in such a short amount of time ever. BUT, I am happy to say that our converts truely have a testimony and didn't join the church because of me. That is probably my greatest fear out here is that someone will join the church because they think I'm funny or like that I play guitar or something, because I've seen it sooo much thus far on my mission and its hard trying to get those people to come back to church because they don't have a testimony at all. I'm so glad that those people we taught have solid testimonies and understand the truthfulness of the gospel. Like last night, we were at M and N's yard and someone was playing some dirty music on their phone. N didn't even think twice before telling the kid off about how he's not to listen to that music. How sick is that??? We asked N what he was like before his baptism, he's so funny. He gets this half serious look on his face, trying not to crack a smile and says "mi was dangerous." hahaha We laughed so hard about that, this 15 year old kid who's reminds me of me, saying he was dangerous. We asked M what N was like and he said the same thing. If anyone would cross N, he'd just beat the snot out of them. And now the kid wouldn't hurt a fly... unless that fly started bashing the church, then he's swat it till it turned into a butterfly. I love those boys!!

HIghgate will be new and exciting. It's an interesting area because our main focus isn't going to be teaching the gospel, its going to be building the church back up. It's been done before, Elder Condor and his trainer did it about a year and a half ago, it can be done again. I'm looking forward to the challenge. Definetly going to need divine help on this one. True I'm excited for the walking. Being in a car is nice and all, but this body needs to do some walking, and thats just what it'll do. One of these days this body is gonna walk all over.... Highgate. 

Oh my goodness! I've found my new favorite fruit! Mini bananas!! I'll send a picture of one, but seriously, these bananas are like three inches long and they taste like a strawberry-kiwi-banana shake!! It was amazing, I was slightly confused when I ate it at first, but it all makes sense now. I need to find me one of those tree's and pack it home with me. Think it will last? :) 

That would be awesome if you guys walked to church!! What a sight that will be. You should just spring it on the kiddo's, just have then get up like an hour early and don't tell them why, then tell them it's walking time! I think thats the coolest thing ever.

Those pictures of the tagged sheds makes me so mad. What a bunch of goons. Maybe I need to talk to you like your farm kids did about having compassion because that just makes me mad. Bringing them back to the farm is a great idea. Kill them with kindness- a recipe for ultimate destruction. You're gonna have to send pictures of the marathon! I realize how much I loved going to those with the fam. It was so much fun. Hopefully we will be able to do that when I get back pon de home front because I enjoyed watching you do your triathlons. 

Well I better start shrinking these pictures, its gonna take me a bit because there is so many of them, but you will like them. I love you!!

Elder Romney 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mother's Day=Skype call!

Wa gwaan family! :)

Yes, life is excellent. I am sitting in Sav La Mar email shop with the entire zone- we decided to do one more zone p-day before transfer calls Saturday. So far its been awesome, me and Elder McLeod got up at 4 this morning, and left with the sisters following us at 4:45, got to Santa Cruz by 5:30, picked up the Hopeton Elders there, then drove to Sav and got there at about 7ish. We went and saw the D fam!! I miss them so much! It was awesome to see them all again. I caught all the kiddo's right before they went to school, it was awesome. We went back there about a month ago but Sis. D had got hit by a falling tree branch right in the eye and was in the hospital. She is doing much better, the vision is coming back in her eye thankfully. R got his hair cut, he had this mop top fro since he was a kid and always had it cane rowed, now he's got the fresh line up and looks good. We stopped and saw K and R too, still goofy as ever but doing good too. I don't think either of them have started their papers- they need to hop on that, they would be such awesome missionaries. After we email we are headed out to the lovely beach of Negril! It's been a while since I've walked it, it will be a good refresher. 

Elder McLeod sees his family more often than we thought! haha Not on purpose, but they are all in the district and so we run into them from time to time. He actually handles it really well. I'm not sure how focused I would be if I saw you and pops once a month, but he's a champ. We will actually be spending Mothers Day at his house! President Hendricks is the man, I love that guy. He called Elder McLeod and said that he gives us permission to go to McCleod's house for Mothers Day and have dinner with the fam! Yep, gonna be sweet. So to get to your question, I will be skyping you around most likely 2:30- 3:00 your time. We gotta do clerky stuff after church then head over, eat din, and then ill be skyping you from their house. IM SO EXCITED :) Your mothers day gift has been delayed getting outta here because the sister that made it was sick for a week, but I'll be sending it out this week, so maybe consider it a happy beginning of June gift. I'm so excited to see you guys! I have some exciting news to tell you... but I wanna wait until I can tell you face to face.. just 5 more days :) 

The baptism Saturday went so well. We had it in Hopeton again, but this time even M and N and R's moms came up! They all taxied out to hopeton, which is a huge sacrifice for families out here because its about 800 J, so like almost $10 US, and for 5 of them, its a big deal. We were so stoked for that, it made the experience for the boys that much more enjoyable. That little area called Tryall has changed so much. It went from just Elder G and his dad being members, to now 3 more boys and between us and the sisters we are teaching pretty much the whole yard. Elder G is gonna have so much family in the church when he gets home! It will be good support, both for the boys and for him. Im glad Elder McLeod lives so close to them too, when he gets home he can keep them close and doin whats right. It's so hard out here to grow up. They are studs though. M prepared and passed the sacrament Sunday!! It was soooooooooo awesome! The whole time I was just thinkin about him passing it to some tiny branch on his mission, yep, M is the man. He was stoked to do it too. All the boys, M, N, R, and O, rockin' their white shirts and ties. It was like pullin teeth to get N to wear his, but we showed him how to tie a tie and look fresh, and he digs it now. I've reached a point where I just wanna give these boys everything I got. Ties, shirts, pants if they needed them, I realize how much that stuff doesn't matter. I wonder if thats what it's like to have kids, you just want them to have everything after they've worked so hard on changing. True, I don't have any pikney (this is patios for children) as yet, but these are like my lil bro's I guess. Anyways, its just cool to see them in church and its tough driving past them as they walk home the 7 miles back... we drove past the H's too, the whole of them walked all the way to and from church. From Sis. H to likkle T, their faith is somethin' else. Teachin' me a lot. 

Yep, this week was legit. We are awaiting trasnfer calls this Saturday, not sure whether we are gonna stick together one more or split. This week is gonna fly though. Sick P-day today, tomorrow we are helping with a service project in the morning, Wednesday is District meeting and baptism interviews for the family, Thursday is normal, Friday is gettin' ready for the 'tisms, saturday is the 'tisms and transfer calls, then boom, Sunday. GET TO TALK TO YOU! Time is smokin' by these days. 

Yes, life is good. (Lynette asked J if he stuck out so much with a Jamaican companion) Everyone asks for the tall dark one and the short white one, so I guess you could call that a novelty. That's so sweet you got the bikes out! I had a dream the other night that me and pops were racing... I won because I was riding my Aprillia 1000 :) When are the olympics anyways? I was thinkin about that yesterday, this place will be quite the sight. Either way, if Jamaica wins or loses, there will be riots in the streets and missionaries who will be enjoying the craziness of it all. 

That is so cool about you guys donating to the Temple Patron Fund. We had a lesson on that last week for 5th Sunday and it is just soooo simple. Give a little, gain the world. As an honorary Jamaican, I thank you for your support. We have been stressing the temple soooo much, I feel sometimes we are beating a dead horse about it. But same way, things are looking up. We had an awesome priesthood class yesterday, just very relaxed and open. We had a Less active member come back so everyone introduced themselves, their favorite food and favorite sport. Everyone said chicken and cricket.... then I stood up... HOCKEY AND BEEF. Everyone laughed and said "Cow? Mi yout ya ne fi eet di chickin bak!" Chicken back is delicious, won't lie, but Im hoping to get a nice juicy beefy cow-ee burger today at Margaritaville. You can take the man out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the man.. God Bless Beef. 

Well I love you!!! Remember, 2:30 to 3:00 your time!!! And true if it changes drastically, ill just call you and tell you on sunday ;) But it will be about that time. Have a great week!!! Nuff luv ova herso!

Elder Romney