Shnikes momma, that sounds awful. Being sick I've decided is the worst thing that can happen to a human, besides having their femur cracked in half.... what if you were sick WHILE having a cracked femur? That's gotta be a level 10 ;) I'm glad you're feeling better though. I wish I could wrap my little mind around why or how our bodies can one day just be sick as dogs and the next be fit as a fiddle. That was always a bonus of being sick; dropping a few pounds- then you go and drink a glass of water and its all back, but for the moment it was nice. I DID NOT LIKE that part of my mission when I wasn't used to the food yet and anything I ate went straight through the ol' system. Third world countries don't have public bathrooms, and most people don't have water in the house so when it would hit, you'd better hope you can ride your bike to the church or home before mass chaos ensues.
This week was quite possibly the coolest week of my mission thus far and will be tough to beat in the future. It was soooooo sweet. All the festivities started Tuesday morning when we went and picked up Elder Taylor and Elder Hitchcock at the airport. I don't think there is a boat that takes people to each of the islands; Bahamas Air airline hits them all I believe for pretty cheap because you don't have to go through Miami. Leaving the Bahamas for another island or to the States is pretty common. I think a flight to Miami is like $70 so it's no biggy for people to jet their and back.
So we picked them up in the morning, it was so good to see them!! Elder Taylor is getting a little husky- but aren't we all- he's put on about 15 pounds since he left me in Sav. Elder Hitchcock is still the man, I would love to serve with that guy. Served with him in the MTC, served around him in Spanish Town, now just gotta get with that fella!! The drive is about 30 miles roundtrip from our house to the airport, we picked them up and went straight to the Atlantis breakfast buffet. Oh yes, it was tasty and fancy and wonderful. After that we gave them the royal tour of the place, showed them around downtown, they love Nassau. Freeport is much smaller as far as people and tourist stuff, they say it has a small town feel. Quite the opposite from Nassau. Elder Hitchcock was like a wide eyed kid in a candy store driving by all the big buildings and walking through the Rolex store and John Buell and fancy store we would never spend money at. We ran home and dropped off their stuff and Elder Taylor and I went to Ts' house so Elder Taylor could do a baptism interview, he nailed it of course- T is a stud! We went to dinner at the D's that night and that was a treat. Bro. D- I can't say enough about that guy and his family. Down to earth, hilarious, very very sarcastic humor- good guy. After dinner and giggles we headed out to the airport again to pick up President and Sister Hendricks, the Assistants and the Turks and Cacois Elders. With my fantastic directional skills and it being dark and never having drove to the airport, Elder Taylor and I got totally turned around and lost. Thankfully Turks flight came in later than Presidents so we just picked them up. Elder Nelson and Elder Stubbs came in and we drove home- SO good to see those guys. I've got the coolest mission family ever. We drove back, sang some kumbaiya's and had a fantastic time.
Zone Conference was in the morning and so we all drove out to the church- Elder Worley and a few Elders went to pick up President and then me and the others went to the church. Zone Conference was fantastic. The Assistants talked about the commitment pattern and how we can better help our investigators keep commitments. That is probably the biggest struggle in the Caribbean is getting people, members or investigators, to do what they say they are going to do. It's not like back home where you say you will do something and you do it because you said you would. People say they will do all sorts of stuff and there is no effort whatsoever in doing it. So that was really good, Elder Randle and Elder McCready are awesome assistants. President Hendricks laid it down as always. He started out by talking about Locking Our Heart. We've had 5 missionaries who have come back to Jamaica and taken back a girl to marry, one very recently so that's what stemmed him talking about that. Then something really cool happened. His whole topic was based off the talk that I read last week about there being 4 different kinds of missionaries. Yeah. Call it an answer to my prayers. It was such a good talk and President (as he always does) taught the principles so simply.
The gist of the talk was that the first two kinds of missionaries, 1 and 2, are disobedient, do what they want, and the first one gets sent home early, the second one finishes his mission but both don't reap the blessings of a mission and the work they would've done goes undone. They feel guilt and shame the rest of their life because they horsed their mission.
The third kind of missionary is obedient to the commandments and mission rules, teaches with the Spirit and enjoys its companionship, has outward success, brings people unto Christ, and is a successful missionary. The only thing he withholds is is heart. He works hard, but compares his success to other missionaries. There is always this constant struggle between what he wants to do and what the Lord whats him to do so he grins and bears it, bites the bullet for two years and does what the Lord asks but his desires weigh greater on him than the Lord's desires. He goes home unchanged by his mission and may fall back into the same patterns he had before he left making no spiritual growth.
The fourth is just like the third, obedient, works hard, enjoys the companionship of the Spirit, but unlike the third missionary he surrenders everything to the Saviour. Not just his bad desires but all desires. President Hendricks put it best when he said "You don't think I have a desire to go see my grand kids? Or to have Christmas with them? I would love to ride my horse everyday like I did before being your mission president. Those are great desires, but they are put on hold so I can do what the Lord desires. I want to do what the Lord wants to do." That's true. Changing the desire of your heart to match the Lords is what changes you. It shows Him "Look, I'm ready to have you change me." That's the outcome of the 4th missionary. He goes home changed by his mission. Pretty rad, eh? I loved Zone Conference. This is a principle I am going to apply- giving up my desires for the Lords. That doesn't mean all of a sudden we can't talk about home or about the band or about whatever, the whole drive back from Zone Conference President Hendricks and I were shooting the breeze about his horses and how he loves to hunt and the things he likes to do. I think some missionaries get the notion of changing your desires as "we can't talk about anything but missionary work". Not true. Change your desires and everything happens after that. Go team go! Zone Conference was awesome. President Hendricks is the man. Thursday morning after taking Turks back to the airport (our fourth trip) I had an interview with Pres. That guy is seriously the man. We had a great interview, drove them to the airport (our 5th trip there and back) and went on with the rest of our day. It was a great week!
And to cap it all off, T and J got baptized Sunday! It was so cool, those two are studs. President Ferdinand baptized J and Bro. Saint-Natus (pronouced San-a-toos) dunked T. A missionary who served here three years ago was back visiting on vacation with his wife, that was cool to meet him. He gave us a couple names of people to go see and teach, we are eating dinner with them tonight because they are staying with our "every other Monday" dinner appointment. This week was just so stinkin' good.
To answer your question about why we stop doing good things- I'm yet to find that answer myself so when I find out I'll let you know haha Seriously, that is what frustrates me the most out here is when the natural man kicks shows up.
I don't know why but whenever Elder Nelson and I get around each other, an unimaginable number of Dr. Peppers and Mt. Dews get drank, leaving both of us in a chubby dehydrated mess. So it goes, I guess its a tradition of a father and son.
I am so excited to see some of those pictures! Are you able to email them? I'd love to see what younger G-ma and grandpa look like. See if Grandpa was really the suave ladies man he always told me he was when I was little :)
The temple trip here went really well. Everyone got through and enjoyed it, How could you not enjoy it? It's the temple! I was half tempted to ask President Hendricks for permission to tag along... but knew the results of that query so refrained from such nonsensical speech.
I don't mind if you put a straight bar on the monster at all, it's not my bike haha That actually sounds like a good idea, gives you more of an aggressive riding position. Make sure to send pictures! Speaking of pictures, I hope those pics you sent get here too. I should've given you the PO box we use- everyone's mail in the church comes to the same PO box, hopefully they still get here! :) If I don't get them within a month you might have to resend them, or email them to me and I can slap them on my a sim card and we have a picture printer at the house. Thank you for sending them though, I looooooove pictures.
We're back on our health kick. Shedding the lb's gained over Zone Conference week.
We met a couple sweet people this week too. One lady President Hendricks actually referred to us (we consider that a referral straight from Heaven). She is the D's house keeper. She's from the Philippines and her whole family are members of the church over there, her brother is a bishop or branch president and she wants to read the Book of Mormon. Then we met a guy in Wendys (yes, another Wendy's investigator) who came up to us and said that he was taught by the missionaries for two years in Florida and his whole family had been baptized. He had to leave Florida right before his baptism. People are falling out of the sky and into our teaching pool. I'm not sure what we are doing to deserve these kinds of blessings, but whatever it is, I guess we will keep doing it. I think it's the Wendy's :)
I see the school thing both ways. Every missionary I've ever known out here has registered for school on his mission, its a phase Heavenly Father wants us to be in, but I see waiting until your two years is done as well. It goes back to the topic of desires. Right now my desires aren't to go to school, I want to be on my mission, I wouldn't be anywhere else. Planning for school isn't going to throw my mission into a funk and it would be a major bummer to have limited options in a large part of my life because of a simple lack of planning. I prayed and asked if now is the time to start thinking about school and the answer I received was a definite no, so we don't need to right now, but I do feel strongly that planning ahead is important. As time goes on I will fast and pray harder about it and see what the Lord wants, but now isn't the time to worry about school, that's how I feel.
Here are some pics of the weeks festivities! I'll be sending more that ill get from Elder Worley's camera in a bit, but have a great week! I love you!!!