Elders McCleod and Romney

Monday, October 29, 2012

Surviving Hurricane Sandy!

Hey Momma!

Yes, the D family is pretty amazing. It really does feel like being back at our home. When we showed up Thursday afternoon, Sis. D says, "Well I don't want to be asking you all the time if you're hungry for the next two days; you know where everything is, just have at it whenever you like." It's true- we could tell you where everything in the kitchen goes, where all the goodies are; it's like an extension of our own home. They are awesome- I can't say enough about them. So down to earth, just great great people. You'e right, I think I'll be in touch with the D's for the rest of time. Bro. D smoked me (and S, and M, and Elder Worley) in Risk, much like Dad used to on a Sunday afternoon back home. A fun couple days indeed.

Hurricane Sandy slapped the Bahamas pretty hard. From the D's house we had a pretty good view of the real power of the storm. Ocean waves would smack against the retaining walls and crash 20 feet over them, spashing up on the road. The wind was so loud! There was some large damage done on the west side of the island, a retaining wall broke and an entire section of Bay Street was flooded . Flooding is such an issue here, the streets don't have adequate drainage systems so everything just sits on the road until it evaporates (which is pretty quick with the heat here). A couple huge palm trees were blown over around the D's house. It was crazy to see how powerful the elements can be. Uprooting a 50 foot tree? No big deal. The church held up well. The entry way was pretty flooded but we were able to clean it up and have regular church Sunday. Freeport was hit harder than we were. The Zone Leaders were telling us that at the entire airport was flooded and the little two passenger planes were blown against a fence and smashed together. Pretty bonkers. I can now say I survived a stage 2 hurricane! Take that Sandy!

The hurricane and preparing for it was pretty much the whole week. This week we are hoping to implement our flyer we made for member referrals. We brought it up in branch council yesterday and asked if it would be better to just pop in on members or call them in advance and we got mixed feelings about it. The thing is that if we call members, it gives them a change to dodge us, and if we just pop in we may never catch them. We got responses from "My door is always open to the missionaries" to "I don't want you to call or pop in." We aren't bent out of shape about it, it's going to be more of a task than anticipated (as all things are in missionary work) but we are excited. I don't know why it's taken us this long to make a push in incorporate the members. I feel bad for all the times the missionaries asked me if there was someone I knew that was ready for the gospel and all the times I shrugged them off; what goes around comes around kids! Things will be awesome this week.

We had dinner with the B's yesterday. Sis. B made her homemade lasagna (did I mention she is a full fledged New Jersey Italian?) It was delicious! It was a meatless lasagna but she served meatballs and spare ribs on the side. My belly was very happy after that meal. She's progressing well. There are so many things going on in her life right now that I'm not sure taking the lessons is a priority yet, which is ok. We have established a fantastic relatiohship with her. When we first started teaching her we could've either gone in and forced the lessons, forced a baptism date, and tried to just do things quickly... and we all know when you force things you horse things.I feel we've taken the right approach in not pushing her too much, but just enough to have her understand the big step this is. Those first few lessons we made such huge steps, and everytime we go over there we continue to make progress. The Spirit is working on her so hard. Sadly the adversary is doing the same thing but I suppose that's how it always is. She's doing well though, they are awesome.

I'm sad Grandpa Dan is gone. From over here that was quite unexpected, but Grandma Dottie is the happiest camper in the Spirit world right now. Grandpa Jenks will be teaching them the gospel very soon.

Transfer calls were this week! And ..... (drum roll)..... Elder Worley is staying at least another transfer! That will make 6 months with him. One fourth of my mission, spent with the same companion on our own island. Safe to say I will never spend this much time with any individual ever again. Good thing he's the man! I should be in Nassau for Christmas now. Halloween is this week! This time last year I was in Spanish Town with Elder Taylor... crazy how fast time is moving.

The farm is put to rest, eh? What are you filling your time with now? How's that new (I guess it's not new anymore) workout routine Randy had you doing going?

Well I'm off. I love you Mom! Christmas phone call in less than two months!

Elder Romney 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Zone Conference-lots of pictures!

The internet wasnt working at the church, so $12 later we are in a public library that looks exactly like a scene out of harry potter... there are big bookshelves with glass doors, stacks and stacks of newspapers ining the halls, and the building looks like a mini hogwarts. It smells like a mix between mold and the hospital- I imagine that is what hogwarts smells like as well. To bad I left my wand at home!

Yes I got all the pictures and they are fantastic! Thank you so much! Everything was in there. One of the CD's didn't work though, it had something like 250 files on it, for some reason it won't load the pictures- not a huge deal though because the other two CDs I got a HUGE laugh out of. I look like a child in the MTC! Elder Hitchcock looks like a starvation victim, and everyone else looks the same. It was cool to see pictures of Elder Layton. He's doing well, he and his wife were at conference, he's doing school up in Calgary. Miss that fella!
Well this week was not the week to be swinging out of the slump, but it was still an AWESOME week! We had our zone conference with Elder Zivic on Satuday but the whole shindig really started Thursday morning when Elder Taylor and Elder Hitchcock flew out. It was such an awesome day. We wanted to introduce them to everyone over here so we spent the day bouncing around Nassau seeing people and checking out the island. We saw J and C in the morning. C is so funny. She's 10 and was baptised by Elder Worley and Poulsen right before I got here, her whole family are members, but she has the biggest crush on Elder Worley. It's hilarious, he will ask her a question and she will literally forget to breathe. She just sits there and has her hand covering her face and just taking big breaths- she's a funny girl. We went and saw everyone at Cariloha and Del Sol (the store on Bay Street mangeded and run by members), cruised to a couple other stores that members work at, it was sweet. We really wanted them to meet Sis. B but we knew she was slamming at work at not going to be home. Bro. B and her own a HUGE condo complex on Paradise Island so we went over there and sure enough her car was out front and she had time to talk.  We got the grand tour of this place though- HOLY SMOKES! I'm sending pictures but they don't do this place justice.  It was really nice to see her though, she even said herself that we should swing by the building more often that it was a good stress reliever. The views off of this place are one in a million, the rooms themselves are things you see in magazines, it's incredible. From there we went and got soda's and fries and Johny Rockets and went and saw T. T is doing well. We need to tie his ties for him this week though- he keeps coming to church without a tie because we never remember to tie them for him. Pretty funny. It was so nice to catch up with Elder Taylor and Hitchcock. Even though we talk to them almost everyday and skype every week for District Meeting, nothing beats having the Baha Men staying in Nassau for 3 days and 2 nights!
Friday was hectic! We were late picking up Elder Zivic and President with their wives and the Assistants, then by the time we dropped them off at the hotel we took off to go to the church to make sure it was clean- traffic in Nassau is ridicoulous and it took us at hour to drive what usually takes us 10 minutes. By the time we reached the church it was time to turn around and drive back to the hotel to pick of President Hendricks and Elder Zivic. But we got to the church right on time with them so we could start our interviews. Being interviewed by a General Authority has got to be one of the coolest things that's happened to me in my life. Eder Zivic is the man. I was the first to be interviewed  and the Spirit was just so strong. He asked about you guys. I had my box and he loved looking at all the pictures. He says I look like Dad. It's cool to see a man who's got so many things on his plate to take time one on one with each missionary in our zone and talk with them. In Jamaica only 10 people were interviewed but since there are were only 4 of us at this zone conference we all got the opportunity. That night he hosted a fireside which was awesome. He talked about families and the way that the Lord has established they should be raised and what not. Really great. After that we drove them to the Hotel and they just kept one car and we took the other. Bro. D bought us all pizza and we went home only to find out that on the keys to the car we left with President are also the keys to the house. Oops! Thankfully our landlord was still awake and had spares.
Saturday was Zone Conference itself. It started at 8:30 and was really great. Elder Hitchcock played a sweet version of Come Thou Fount as a musical number. It never ceases to amaze me the Spirit that accomanies sacred music. I snatched the music from him and am going to try and learn it. President Hendricks asked me last week if I would prepare a musical number on the guitar (which was a bit of a shock). It was hilarious, when he asked last monday if I would play he says
"Elder Romney, can you play hymns on that guitar of yours?"
"Well of course I can Pres. What would you like me to play?"
"You play whatever you feel will invite the Spirit, you're the musician here. I don't want any of that rock and roll or rap stuff, I know guitar isn't your typical musical number for a church meeting but I feel it would be a nice touch on the Zone Conference."
President Hendricks is the man! I played and sang Nearer My God To Thee, I think it sounded pretty good.
The overall topic of Zone Conference was how we are going to reach out new Mission Standards of Excellence. My whole mission there hasn't been a mission goal for anything really but now President has implimented three standards to help us have a vision where to go. They aren't a quota to meet by any means. To illistrate, the Assistants had me stand up and told me to jump straight up. So I did. My earth shattering 3 inch vertical blew the minds of everyone in the room. Then Elder McReady (who's 6' 4'') put his hand above my head and told me to jump and touch his hand with my head. It caused me to jump a litle higher to reach the goal. They likened this to how we can be on our missions without goals and just be jumping. By setting a standard to reach we have something to looke at and jump up to. It was a good analogy. Elder Zivic talked about changing the mindset of our missionary work and our lives. He mentioned the man in the 1940's (who's name escapes me at the moment) who brokethe 4 minute mile when the mindset of science and the people was that it couldn't be done. It really opened my eyes to how much of an excuse I use that. "That's just how I think. That's my mindset" Even the word mindset is narrow minded. It implies that there is a set way of thinking and that it is unalterable. Even outside of missionary work in the real world, the mindset of people and society is set one way when really it doesn't have to be. At the D's yesterday he was telling us about a returned missionary who is a DJ in New York making $150,000 a night. In talking with Bro. B, that guy started out with a seat cover business in Los Angeles and became the very best at what he did, moved to construction and became the very best at what he did, and now this guy is worth millions and millions of dollars because he's continually lived the gospel and worked his can off in being the best at what he does. These people didn't succumb to the mindset of everyone else, and Elder Zivic's point was that we if we want to see these goals achieved we are going to have to throw out the notion that the Jamaica Kingston Mission doomed to a one generation church. To reach out goals we basically have to double everything we do. How many people we talk to, have at church, invite to be baptised and baptise. There is change in the air!
45 degrees???? YIKES! We've left the AC on two nights in a row and I literally wake up frozen and it was 62 in our house! I was SO COLD! I had to snatch the big thick quilt from the couch. I'm such a Nancy... I really do miss winter, I miss the snow and the skating and the hot chocolate when you're cold. I'm just going to have to bundle up like an eskimo when fall hits and when snow falls I'll walk around with an electric blanket all day. Do the have battery powered electric blankets?
I didn't even recognize T. Cox in that picture!! He's looking good. Thanks for sending that letter from Josh- he's going to do great on his mission. 
I've got a ton of pictures to load and not much time left so im going to end there and let the pictures do the talking. I love you momma! Have a fantastic week, you and me are putting on the rally caps this week and reporting how the farming/knocking went next week. Love you!
Elder Romney

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Bold and Plain


Sounds like you guys never stop being busy! I love hearing about what every one is up to during their week. Football, strolling strings, the latest happenings in the singles ward and DQ, farms, machine shops, you guys do it all. 

Yes, there were plenty of doors knocked this week. Wednesday alone we knocked out the rest of this area we've been knocking. It was good, had an entire array of conversations. The first door let us right in and we started talking and teaching, we have focused so hard on being as plain and bold in our speech as we can because we felt like no one was getting it. We are talking to a husband and wife and explaining that the authority of Jesus Christ was only given to the apostles, and when they died and Christ was crucified the authority was taken from the Earth and that the olny way to receive that authority is by the laying on of hands by someone holding the authority already just like Christ did. Then after explaining that there is only one prophet on the Earth at a time (because that's how God works) the man says " I believe everything that you are saying, but you are prophets!" and proceeded to tell us all about how he cast a devil out of his wife 20 years ago and how through the Holy Spirit we all receive the authority. After about 20 minutes we finally just bore testimony that the things we share are true and asked them to pray about it. It was good though, all we can do is invite. 

Another lady, this one was funny, we are talking to her fully grown son outside and she calls him inside. About 30 seconds later from inside the house by the window the lady says "I go to church, my pastor told me about you, I don't want what you have". We ask her if she's ever read the Book of Mormon or been to our church and she says "No I haven't and I'm not going to, actually you know what? I'm not even going to entertain this conversation" and just walks away. It sounds harsh, but it adds a little color to your door knocking and is better than setting a return appointment and then them not being there. We made a few return appointments this week, none of last weeks turned out. We're in a bit of a slump these days. As the saying goes "Put on your rally caps and hit yourself out of it"- swing swing swing!

We receive a couple referrals this week! That was a HUGE plus. We finally were able to meet with G- it's probably been three weeks since we've had a good sit down lesson with her. She is working SO much and whenever we head over there she has picked up another shift or her schedule changed and she's not there. But we finally were able to have a great lesson with her, and she mentioned that her daughter B was talking about coming out to church. She wants so bad to be sealed to them in the temple. Our other referral came yesterday from a member at church- we will check on her today and see how she's doing. We made some awesome handouts to help with seeking referrals from member. In the evenings we are going to visit members and get them pumped about missionary work and have them pray over a list of people they associate with who they feel is ready to hear the gospel message. We're hoping for the best!

This week is our conference. Elder Taylor and Hitchcock are coming out Thursday morning for a trade off, then Friday evening Elder Zivic and President Hendricks and their wives and the Assistants are flying in. Elder Zivic is having a fireside at the church and 7 Friday evening, then Saturday morning at 8 is our Zone Conference and they fly out to Cayman that afternoon. Pretty short trip for them but it will be great. I'm very excited to learn from President Hendricks (as always) and Elder Zivic as well. It's going to be a great week!

Speaking of beets, have you ever had beet root juice? It's pretty good, we would drink it on the rock every once in a while. You should trick the kiddies and make some, put it in the juice container, and watch them freak out with they taste it... and get it on video haha  

Sis. Powell is a sweet lady. I'll never forget all the service projects at their house followed by fudgesicles and soda. 

Well Momma, have a great week. Good luck with the harvest fair thursday- a 4 foot long zuchini always makes for a great display :) You're the best! I love you!!

Elder Romney 

Monday, October 8, 2012

snakes in the chapel?

Hey momma!

Conference weekend!! WHOO HOO! Holy SMOKES! That was probably the best General Conference I've ever heard! Every talk was just boom boom boom, I couldn't take notes fast enough. Mission at 18 and 19! WHAT??! Elder Worley and I about threw our bag of chex mix and chips at the projector screen when we heard that! Which would've been ok, we were the only ones in the building for the morning session of conference, but YIKES! How sweet is that????? What a blessing. That is SUCH a good idea. I would've loved to buzz out here after high school. Get home when you're 20? Yes yes yes! With as much notice as Mac has, he could save his money long before he turns 18. Dad does have a good point, I learned SO much that last year of working and has helped me in the mission field a lot. I guess it will just be up the the little nipper. That is so cool for Haley to be able to leave so much earlier! I would love to see her before she leaves, if she leaves. After Christmas would be a nice time to go for her if she goes. And Perrin and Jeffy, Tony, Shaun, all of them could be outta here before I got home! Boy oh boy, what a blessing. That announcement started off conference with such a bang, then Quinten L. Cook's talk right after put the nail in the coffin, I love conference. 

I think my favourite talk had to be Jeffrey R. Holland's talk. Hands down that was one of the best talks I've ever heard in my life. His talk was about the Apostles after Christ left. The apostles were only three years old in the gospel and now had the task of leading the church- I think about even the most solid convert, and after three years being put in the position to run the ENTIRE church?? That would be so overwhelming. In their time of extreme pressure and in being overwhelmed they went back to what they knew- fishing. As they fished and tirelessly caught nothing, Christ appears and says in effect "Children, cast your nets on the right side of the boat". They do, and who woulda thought, 153 fishes filled their breaking nets. They recognized it was the Saviour and went to shore to eat. The part that really got me was when Elder Holland made the connection to Christ asking Peter three times if he loved Him and Peter being asked if he knew Christ three times and denying Him. That is just so interesting. The part that really really got me was when he made the connection to what "Feed my Sheep" could mean in our day. In effect, he said to Peter (in effect)  "If you love me, then what are we doing at this same sea, on this same shore, with these same nets doing the same thing as when I first called you to the Apostleship. Didn't you learn anything those three years? Do you think as the Scribes do that my church has ended because of my death? I need disciples, Not fisherman! I need someone who is going to carry my church on, someone who is willing to make the sacrifice." Then to just hit the home run, he pulls the line (not a direct quote, but close enough) "Any returned missionary who's stood in the waters of baptism, raised their arm to the square and said the words Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, can never go home and be the same person. Those words change the life of your convert and most certainly should change the life of you the missionary." Nailed that one! Such a good talk. All of them were great. 

That's bad news about Grandpa Dan and Uncle Joe. Both of those are great great men. I've only met Uncle Joe a couple times when I was younger, but we was just a real nice guy. Grandpa Dan- I remember in 7th grade bringing him to the Veterans Day assembly, and in the library having all the Veterans bring some pictures and he brought his Purple Heart, listening to his stories about flying- I'm sure Grandma Dottie is just giddy on the other side to have him with her. That will be such a sweet reunion. Grandma Dottie not having Alzheimers anymore, Grandpa not being sick, he'll probably make his way over to Grandpa Jenks and give that big fella a hug, very cool to think about. 

Oh under the train tressle. I wasn't the biggest fan of that on the homefront. I haven't been under one in quite some time I think but it's safe to say that after going through some of the things I have out here, a whimpy train tressle won't make me feel uneasy whatsoever. Not saying I'm Mr. tough guy- there was a snake in the chapel the other day... thankfully we were notified after Bro. D and taken it back outside. Snakes... still not my best friends.

We had a cool blessing this week. We had a lot of office work to do this week and it seemed like we couldn't get any momentum going in our week. Friday our two appointments blew out as well as the recent convert we were going to see, so we went to our prime door knocking location and had another moment of not wanting to knock. But, learning from previous experiences, we prayed to get one return appointment out of the doors we knocked. We only had about 30 minutes, but we were wanting to get something done. First door we knock, a man answers and is very friendly, super interested, invited us in and we talked about about 20 minutes all about Joseph Smith and the restoration. We are seeing him tomorrow at 4:30. Prayer answered. I know that nothing is to great or to small to ask for as we recognize our answers and understand that they will come in Heavenly Fathers time. Not ours. 

Well that's about it over here, gearing up for a fantastic week of finding, and then next week we have Zone Conference with Elder Claudio D. Zivic of the Seventy coming out. Have a great week! I love you! 

Elder Romney

PS- Sis. S has been baking for us almost everyday (bless her heart! She's a fantastic cook) and this was the banana bread... I think Elder Worley was feeling a little silly that day. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Time is flying

Hey Momma,

Freezing temperatures?? Yikes... I guess it's about that time though, eh? Bro. D told us it was still 80 in Spokane and I couldn't believe it! I hope you can get all the tomatoes in before the cold- I remember one year we put a tarp over them in the garden and it frosted that night and ruined them all, walking out there that FREEZING morning. I'm going to be such a Nancy to the cold. 

I remember that day at Subway with Haley- I actually told that same story to Elder Worley this week as we passed a Nassau Subs. What was the worst, is that my nose was running so bad and I was out of napkins! I'm sure Haley was thinking "Why on earth do I let myself be seen in public with this guy??" That was a fun day. 

Well this week was much much better than last. In looking at our situation, the most important thing we could be doing right now is finding and trying to receive referrals from members. So that's what we did. We didn't get any referrals but we went finding everyday for a good chunk of time. Instead of knocking in places where we know missionaries have been before, we branched out and are focusing on one area. It's actually the area that C lives (the woman we met in Wendy's my first day in Nassau). We met up with her this week as well. We were driving down the east west highway and she was driving next to us. She rolled down her window and was so excited to see us haha Yelled out that her phone hasn't been working and that we should come by, so we did. She's doing well. No more progress Spiritually, but she's doing well. Anyways, so we've been knocking out in that area. It's fairly new, which made it a gong show to find in the first place because the map we have is 10 years old and for the life of us we cannot find another good map anywhere. There aren't any churches in the subdivision, ton's of houses to knock, it's a good spot. We've knocked about half of it. We had a number of return appointments made this week which was awesome. A couple people kept their appointments, a couple didn't but for good reasons, they weren't giving us the slip. We met a lady named V who seems quite interested, very down to earth. We knocked into a Jamaican! She's from St. Elizabeth, lived just outside of Santa Cruz, which is about 30 minutes from Junction. I love running into Jamaicans. We picked up on her accent immediately and asked her where she was from. She's been to church before but has a job that requires her to work on Sunday, but is open and willing to listen and ask for time off to come to church. We met a couple other people that we are seeing this week, something I have struggled with my whole mission is letting people know what our purpose is as missionaries. The first lesson we have with an investigator usually gets eaten up by questions and answers and teaching about the Book of Mormon and such. When this happens, these people don't understand the seriousness of our meetings, that this isn't just a Bible study and that we aren't two young fellas who are just trying to make friends. That's going to be this weeks focus is making sure that right off the bat people know what our purpose is. I think this way we won't have to deal with as many people who are more interested in us than the message of the Restoration.

A was at church! He came for Sacrament meeting, that was awesome. A man who sticks to his word- who would've thought. He's a great guy, he works nights now so we will be able to see him more often in the afternoon. He started the Book of Mormon already, hopefully will be coming out to conference either Saturday or Sunday, things are looking pretty good. 

CONFERENCE! AHH! Conference is the best two days for a missionary besides Christmas eve and Christmas. Watch conference, eat food. Watch more conference, eat more food. Crazy to think this time last year I was in Maypen with Elder Nelson and now I'm all the way out here and he's back home! Time flies, I seriously don't know where the last 4 months have gone. We had a dinner appointment with an awesome family named the D's yesterday. Sis. D is from Jamaica and always cooks us curry chicken. So good! Bro. D and us and F (a recently returned missionary) were shooting mission stories and we all agreed that conference is the greatest weekend ever. Bro. D served in Fresno and F served in the West Indies. F's mission sounds similar to ours, and Bro. D's is so much different! I guess that's the difference between a young church in a foreign mission and an established church in a stateside mission. 

I very well could be outta here before Christmas, so sending stuff to the mission office would be best for sure. I honestly don't need much. A couple ties, I would like a new white shirt or two. I'm down to 4 shirts and literally all the shirts at Solomon's are filthy and stained. I'm not sure how they can sell such filthy shirts. If I find a clean one I'll snatch it for sure. We have a washer and dryer here so having 4 shirts and 2 pairs of pants isn't a big deal, but I think the dryer has caused my white shirts to become shorter, not much to tuck in! When I discovered this I told Elder Worley I think I'm getting taller, so we measured.. nope, it's definitely the dryer. I'm gonna buy a new pair of pants at the end of October I think (try and drop a few pounds before a new pair of pants). There is a store here that have all sorts of sizes and nice pants for about $40. That's really all I need though is a couple more white shirts. When looking for white shirts, see if you can find any that are an athletic fit as opposed to a classic or regular fit. I would love a couple of those, they fit nicer. So yeah, a couple white shirts, pictures, couple ties, the same Canucks pull over sweatshirt that Dad has :) That thing is sweet! Don't send that though- it will get no use out here. What do you want for Christmas??? I've already picked out what I wanna get you and the fam but if there are any requests be sure to let me know! 

Well Momma, thanks again for the emails. I really really really really REALLY appreciate them. I love you!! The pictures attached are of me and the motley crew of girls we see once a week- Whitney, Rudolph, Nelly, and Minishka- that's my gang! And a sunset we hit last night- it was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. It's so interesting how just looking at a sunset and hearing the ocean can put you in a peaceful mood, fostering spiritual promptings. I would love to live by an ocean. In sacrament meeting, F (the returned missionary) was about to tell a story and he says " I want to tell this story, and really it goes for Elder Worley and Elder Romney, directly applying to their work now." He told the story of the man walking down the beach throwing the starfish one by one. An old man told him he couldn't save them all, you won't make any difference, to which the man waling the beach picked up a starfish and threw it into the ocean and said "I made a difference for that one". I choked up a bit thinking about Grandpa and how that was his favorite story, then taking those same thoughts to that sunset, I couldn't help but be overpowered by a feeling of peace and love. I know that Heavenly Father is aware of my circumstances and my prayers- that has been manifest to me many times on my mission. Our family members who've passed on are so much closer than we think and the deeper my testimony grows, the more I understand that. 

I love you! Have a fantastic week!

Elder Romney