Elders McCleod and Romney

Monday, February 25, 2013

first week in Old Harbour

Good Morning from sunny Old Harbour!
I haven't recieved the card yet. It may be in the mission office right now though, I will ask Elder Worley to check for me. Thank you so much for going through the fiasco for me! I can't imagine trying to activate a card with Jamaican cell phone service. Would have been crazy!
Old Harbour is so awesome. I really enjoy it here. My flights back were a bit of a gong show. My flight leaving Nassau was delayed 40 minutes, so I reached Miami about an hour late. That airport is huge as it is, so I was booking it through the terminal, up the stairs, on the skytrain, down the escalator, all the way to the back of the luggage claim (because we were switching planes, so passengers had to take their bags for the switch) only to find out that my bag didn't make it to the Miami Airport - awesome. I ask the lady what I should do and she says t file a lost luggage claim when I reached Kingston. Then she looked at my ticket and says "You better hurry, your plane leaves in 20 minutes - double awesome. So fatty Elder Romney takes off hauling through the airport, whiz through security and out to terminal D37. I rush up to the gate thinking that everyone has already boarded and I ask "Flight to Kingston?". Five people standing there working the desk kinda look at me, then look at the huge amount of people sitting in the waiting area, then back to me and tell me the plane hasn't started boarding yet - duh, I should've thought of that as I ran past hoards of Jamaicans waiting to go home. There wasn't a seat so I just plopped down on the floor with my guitar and backpack, slightly out of breathe and a good sweat going. I had about 5 minutes there and then the plane started boarding passengers. I said a quick prayer that as pretty much word for word like this "Father, I need my bag. Let it be in Kingston. In the the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." I instantly felt at peace with everything and I knew it would be there. Sure enough, it was sitting in the baggage area in Kingston. I don't know how Heavenly Father swung that one, but I'm very very grateful!
So anyways, Old Harbour. It's great. We are living in a different house than the ones the Elders were living in when I was being trained in Maypen- this one is much nicer. Clean, large, we have a washing machine :) No hot water (can't win then all), but I really like it. We bust open the windows and the breeze cools it down pretty well. It's on the edge of town, about a 10 minute ride from the church which is a rented upstairs space of a building which also has a hardware store and a cable station.
My companion's name is Elder Jones. He's a Jamaican from Ocho Rios. He's been a member for not even two years yet. He's a good guy, I enjoy serving with him. He's been on his mission for almost 5 months- this is the fist time I've served with a younger missionary (minus Elder Worley and Gayle who were only 6 weeks behind). I see a lot of my younger missionary self in Elder Jones. Missionary work here is going great. We had a stellar week, two investigators at church and four with a baptism date- awesome! We are back on bicycles. I've already got a wicked tan.
I've had some Nassau withdrawals but they are getting better- it was weird coming home for lunch after church sunday and eating top ramen and instant potatoes instead of lunch with the D's. Church was great, the branch here is sweet, I felt welcome. I've made friends with some of the youth here already, having homies makes an area that much better. Speaking of homies, there is a supermarket on wheels here- yeah, I didn't believe it either until he drove past. It's this guy who packs his car FULL of everything you need, candy, bread, ramen, snacks, juice, seriously anything and he drive around at about 9PM honking his horn and people come out at buy their groceries from him- it's awesome! Elder Jones needed a few things so we stopped him. Really nice guy, we call him Flex. I told him my name was Elder Romney and he says "Alright Ramen! Ya mon! A real ting dat! Lik de ramen noogle! Me na forget a name lik dat now mon." Elde Ramen it is I guess haha It was hilarious. I have a hard time understanding patios- it's coming back though. No more "Sak' Pase" or "Whatchu sayin' bui". Good mornings and hello how are you's only. Elder Hitchcock went to Kingston. Sounds like he loves it there. Elder Taylor goes home in 3 weeks- crazy!!
I loved the Christmas present! Thank you thank you thank you! Tuesday night Elder Worley, Elder Hefner and I stayed the night in the mission home and I opened it there. It really did feel like Christmas all over again! Between Elder Worley and I the pretzel M&M's lasted a matter of hours, and I've been living off the jerky because I've only got American cash and Jamaicans don't take it (a missionary wants to exchange Jamaican cash for it so that's being taken care of today). I forgot what it was like to wear a nice crisp new shirt haha and beautiful ties! I wore the blue and silver striped one to church yesterday. And I've had a cup of hot chocolate every morning since I go to Old Harbour, whether it's 90 degrees or not.
Thanks for the family update. It was funny, my last distrct meeting in Nassau, Elder Stuart (who is in Cayman) asked if I saw Amanda's baby. It's was fun to talk about our common family and shoot some Uncle Brett stories.
Sounds like things at home are cruising along. I can't believe Mac is a 10.5! Shucks, I've underestimated how much my sibs have grown up. Your Cub Scouts sound cute cute cute.
Well today is going to be awesome. P-day number one back in JA we are headed to Kingston to play ball! The Baha Men reunite haha I'm stoked, it's going to be a fun day. Elder Taylor just called and said he'd be here in 10 minutes. Whoo hoo!
I love you Mom! Keep your trunk packed also ;) Love you!!
Elder Romney

Monday, February 18, 2013

Leaving Nassau :(

Welcome welcome P-day morning!

SHANE IS HOME??? Shucks!! This is so crazy, I seriously thought he didn't get home for a little bit longer- he's home! Crazy town. He is super tan and looks way older. He's going to have to fight off the ladies with a stick. Or just put down the stick. They're both good.

Well it's finally happened. I'm leaving Nassau. My flight leaves here tomorrow night at 5:05pm. It was totally unexpected. Ok, that's not true, obviously it was expected to happen sometime, duh, it's a mission, you're going to leave the area's you come too, it just caught me off guard. We were at E's house and I got a text from Elder Worley saying "You're coming home!!" and as soon as I read it I started to choke up. I realize I'm not much of a cryer but it just hit me like a ton of bricks that I actually have to leave. It's such a strange feeling. Elder Gayle and I were talking about it, it's different that leaving an area in Jamaica- you're still in Jamaica, chances are you will serve around that area again, but leaving an off- island spot, this is it. I'm sad but I think more than sad I'm SO grateful for the past 8 and a half months. SO SO SO thankful, it's slightly ridiculous how much I love this place and the people here. But that's the name of the game and it's a good thing. Elder Gurr and Elder Gayle are going to tear this place up, the branch will take good care of them, things are going to be great.

Sunday was the final D dinner. I feel like a broken record saying how awesome the D's are, but it's so true. They are the greatest family I've met on my mission. I can't say enough about all of them. They love unconditionally, are rock solid in their testimonies, and just show plain love to us as missionaries. I feel like part of the family. I'm not sure they understand how much they've impacted my life, Bro. D especially. I've learned a lot from what he's said, what we've talked about, wisdom he's bestowed upon me but most of all I've learned from his example. He and Sis. D are wonderful. She's been literally like a mother the past 8 and a half months. Yesterday I cut M's hair after dinner. That boy has the purest heart I've ever come across. We talked about paleontology, faith, the priesthood, he was genuinely interested in what I want to do after my mission, we talked about his fears and how we can overcome them. About half way through the hair cut he asked if he could have a wash cloth. I handed him one and said he could wipe his face if there was hair on it. He said "No, it's not the hair. I'm wiping my tears. I'm really really going to miss you Elder Romney. You're a great friend." That experience is something I will cherish the rest of my life.  

Nassau has been wonderful. I feel like I was so young when I first got here. I hadn't been out a year yet, coming out of Highgate which was 6 weeks packed with learning experiences and life lessons. Now I've got 5 months left and I feel like I truly understand how things are supposed to be done. My relationship with Heavenly Father has never been this strong and I'm so pumped to make the next 5 months the best of my mission.

I'll be going to Old Harbour. It's in the same district as Maypen, my first area. That will be sweet to go back to where it all began. I don't expect people to recognize me from Maypen. If they did they would say "You've put on weight!" and "What's up with the goofy haircut??" haha I'm about the same size as I was in Maypen I guess, maybe they won't say the first comment but for sure the second.

Sister Evans called about the card. I pulled off that $30. I'm trying to put one of my suitcases inside the other with my stuff and have it be under 50 pounds to avoid the $40 fee for checking a second bag. I think I'll be able to do it. I stuffed my backpack full of some books and my running shoes and I'll put the couple t-shirts I have around my guitar. $40 fee my foot! 

That's awesome Mary is getting hitched! If she's dating the same guy, he is a roommate of Elder Kraus, a guy from our mission. He emailed me one day and said she was dating his roommate- good for her! That is so weird that my friends from high school are having kids- if you see Aaron tell him hello for me! 

Puppy?? Oh Mom, I knew it was only a matter of time before you succumbed to the pressure of the siblings haha That would be awesome. What breed? Chiwawa? :) No thank you! 

Elder Gayle had his first McDonalds soft serve this week! I've got the fella hooked- soft serve ice cream and ketchup on mac and cheese.

Have a fun day at the movies! I remember one time it was you, me and Haley and we were going to the Y. It was a dreary day and we were at the turn to either go left to the Y or right to the movies, and NONE of us wanted to workout that day so we went to the movies. I think we saw the little red riding hood scary edition or something. What made it special though was that I was with you two. :) Fun times! Have a great week, I love you! 

Elder Romney 

Monday, February 11, 2013

conversations and pictures

Good Morning! 

I think I must have short term memory loss or time is just smoking by- Amanda was pregnant? Jeffy is already in the MTC? I thought Malea got her call like last week?? I know you've told me all these things, I remember reading them but then when they happens it's like yikes, people are growing up! I was going to say that Malea will probably be in the same group as a set of missionaries going to Jamaica, our district in the MTC was us and then the Vegas- West mission as well. If she see's Elder's Ringer, Edwards, Norris, Godfrey, or Pulsiver, she needs to hail them up for me! I should email those guys. 

That cracks me up that Mac still falls asleep on short trips. From the house to the library you could always count on that little fella to be conked out by the time you reached Starr Rd. At least he's consistent. 

We had a good week this week- lots going on. Like I said last week we've been focusing on referral lessons with members, still on that run, it's been going well. I feel the members faith is being strengthened in knowing that there really are people being prepared. We've received a couple referrals and have a few people to teach so things are looking up. We went tracting with a member named F this week. He got home from his mission right when I got to Nassau, and 3 months later was married (I say atta boy to that one) so he's only been home for like 8 months and still has the missionary drive in him. We went and knocked doors out by his house on Saturday afternoon and it went well. Two conversations we had stuck out to me, not in anything that was said but just in the situation. There was a man who was cleaning the pine needles off his boat, the boat was pretty beat up, so we chatted about his boat for probably 10 minutes and I told him all about how Grandpa's boat and how there was always something to be fixed on a boat or car or in the house. We offered to help, he declined, but we were able to share our testimonies about Jesus Christ and the Restoration of His gospel. He didn't become a new investigator, but if you're talking to people just to fulfill a number you've got your priorities all mixed up. 

The second conversation was with a man up the street. He was sitting flat on the ground covered in oil with part of the engine sitting next to him. He said he was trying to loose a screw and it ended up falling in (what I think was) the oil pan. So he ended up having to take the whole thing out- cracked me up, reminded me of Saturday's in the garage and dropping a wrench of something into the engine and having to reach your hand all the way down and around parts to try and grab it. I sat on the ground across from him and we chatted about what he was working on and he being a mechanic. I told him about rebuilding the Ranger that summer after it was rolled and how my pop's was always working on the cars. He said "Well that's what happens when you by a Ford- Found On Road Dead" I guess that joke spans the globe. He's a super cool guy, been fixing cars his whole life, his kids are all grown up so it's just he and his wife at home now. Conversations flow so easily into the Gospel, "Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men." D&C 100:5. It's true! We are meeting with him this Saturday. 

We had our English class Tuesday night. Tuesday during the day I was pretty much a nervous wreck trying to figure out what to teach. I don't know why I got so uppity about it, but I did. I just had no direction in what to teach. I ended up printing some vocabulary and then we were going to learn how to properly ask a question. We had 30 people packed into the Relief Society room, after the opening prayer I reminded everyone that if you have a question or need something explained in creole you can because we have a member of the church here who can speak English and Creole.... psych. No one showed up from the branch, so that was quickly changed to "Yeah... ask it in English as best you can because me no palle creole." The class went surprisingly well though. People understood what was going on, things flowed well, it was good. And that's why we start with an opening prayer and ask for the Spirit haha

We also had our branch Valentines party which was awesome. We helped Sis. C out with the decorating and stuff- reminded me of decorating the house for birthdays with the streamers, twisting them over the railing to make it look fancy- it was fun. Things like that are what make good relationships between members and missionaries. To gain something you have to give something, and giving your time goes further than giving anything else. So that was sweet, I'll attach some pictures. Sis. Bcame, Bro. D was there, we invited all of Cariloha and Del Sol, it was fun. Kinda weird for a bit just standing there with Elder Gayle while this throwback 70's sappy love music was playing... don't get any idea's mister haha It made for some good jokes. We left early to go home but I think everyone had a great time. 

Elder Gayle is getting to know the area pretty well. I realize how patient Elder Worley was with me when I started driving out here. It's so much different driving a left hand car on the left hand side of the road- you feel like you're driving on the sidewalk. We're trying to bulk him up for beach season when he gets home- for a 125 pounder he eats like a horse! 

Dad's comment about spending money on his grand kids cracks me up. It's going to turn into "Dad, Grandpa always buys me what I want, why don't you always buy me what I want??" ".... because he's a grandpa and that's what grandpa's are supposed to do" haha 

I'm glad that package reached you safe. Those shirts are so soft huh! They are made out of Bamboo-cotton, pretty spiffy. We get a killer discount there to so it's silly not to snag a couple.  As I was doing chin ups this morning (and by chin ups I mean 2 chin ups... that's all I can get these days. Over hand grip though, none of this Nancy underhand stuff.) I thought about how true the scripture is in Alma 37 about small and simple things shall great things come to pass. True, True, and True again! 

I love you Mom! Have a fantastic week in the snow! :) 

Elder Romney 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Spiritual experiences are sweet

Bonjue! (Creole for good morning, not sure if that's how you spell it)

What a week indeed! When both those sisters asked if I wanted them to say hello for me, I thought that was so cool. Out of all the tourists they are the only two who've done that, they were very sweet ladies. It makes the world seem so small when I'm so far away! Being back in Nassau is wonderful. It felt like coming home, even though I was only away for 10 days, I didn't realize the impact that this place has had on me. Bahamians in Freeport don't like Nassau because its so busy, and Bahamians in Nassau don't like Freeport because it's so slow. I love both islands, very different feel's to both of them, but the hustle and bustle of Nassau is home to me. 

Elder Gayle! My new companion! He's Jamaican! From Junction branch! N, M, and R are his cousins and brother! He's awesome, we shoot stories about Junction and his family often. He's 24, loves to cook, and came prepared with a guitar to learn how to play :) It will be a great companionship! 

Believe it or not, I came up with that talk on my own. (The talk on movement vs. progression-see last week's letter) haha It cracks me up that you thought otherwise. I had no idea what to talk about and on Thursday during personal study I was thinking about what the Freeport Branch needed to hear and that's what came out on paper. Totally the Spirit, I won't take any credit for putting those truths together myself, I'm just glad that I was able to not hinder the message the Spirit needed to share. 

Speaking of the Holy Ghost, we had a couple cool experiences this week with it. Recently in my prayers I've been asking Heavenly Father to help me recognize the promptings of the Spirit more fully. This week I've learned that it really is quiet as a whisper and so easily missed. The past few day's I've been showing Elder Gayle around the island, introducing him to members, trying to better help him swallow everything here. We are focusing almost soley on seeking referrals with members. The mission has made a huge surge in this aspect of missionary work and we (as a mission) are seeing amazing results. So visiting members has been the focus as of lately. Friday we went and visited M and the girls, just had introductions and the girls asked Elder Gayle about 30,000 questions, it was great. Usually we wouldn't see them on back to back days just because they have things to do and a life outside of meeting with the missionaries. In my studies that morning I studied about true Christlike love and how important each one of us are to Heavenly Father. We created a lesson plan out of it and planned on teaching the second set of girls the lesson. We did, but then I felt like we needed to go see M again. I fought with the idea for just a second, thinking that she'd be at work, that she wouldn't want to have a lesson in the middle of the day because she was busy, but we went anyways, she was home and wanted to have a lesson, so we taught about how much Heavenly Father loves His children and the two great commandments are to love the Lord with all thy heart, and to love thy neighbor as thyself. After we finished the lesson she told us how she really needed to hear this because she was she was struggling with her job because this co-worker was trying to pressure her into doing foolish things. We talked about that a bit and she realized that that being mad at her coworker wouldn't be the right thing to do and that ignoring this person rather than leaving her job angry would be better for her and her family. All of that from a simple thought of "Go see M". Crazy.

Experience number two- Sunday night after the D's we didn't have any solid appointments so we went to check on Sis. S because she wasn't at church that day and we were going to have a referral lesson with her. When we got there she was getting her hair done (and it takes forever for Caribbean women to get their hair done) but she fed us a second dinner and we waited till she was finished so we could have this lesson. The first half of the lesson I felt wasn't very good, there were lots of distractions outside and the Spirit wasn't there. I said a silent prayer that things would calm down up the street so everyone could stay focused. By the end of the lesson, Sis. S had this shocked look on her face as we asked her to pray about people that she knows that are prepared to hear the gospel and then she said "You missionaries always seem to come at just the right time because this morning I had the thought of a man I want you to teach but I kept second guessing myself." Music to our ears! I'm grateful for the lessons Heavenly Father has taught me this week.

Ok, so I don't know a lick about the insides of any of those cars, but I've seen them all driving around Nassau and Freeport and by sheer looks alone, I'd go with either a Toyota Forerunner or the Nissan Pathfinder. Sister K in Freeport has a Pathfinder and that thing is SWEET! There, that's my shallow two cents about you're next car. Actually, I take that all back. 2013 white Range Rover. Go big or go home haha 

I'm so pumped Jaren is headed to New Jersey! That is so awesome. Will you call him today and get his mission email from him so I can email him? 

Those plans for the summer sound like fun! Don't forget you've got an extra set of hands to help with all those things come mid- July :) Did you say that Bro. Gilson is planning on adding onto his house? Tell him to wait until I get home and I'll give him a hand, me and ol' Gilson, like the olden days haha Finish up a good days work, flip on some Jimmy Hendrix and shoot stories back and forth just as fast as he's shooting the 8 ball into the corner pocket to kick my butt for the 15th straight game. 

Well I love you momma! It's nuts that it's February already. I bought two white shirts about a month ago and Elder Hitchcock sent me back to Nassau with one of his that's in good shape- When we shop for Mac and his mission we won't be buying Walmart shirts and shoes haha I Love you!! 

Elder Romney