Elders McCleod and Romney

Monday, March 25, 2013

reconnecting with friends

Good Morning!
I'm can't keep track of how many people come in and out of our house anymore! haha It's good to see that the McCreadie crew is doing well. I wonder if there is any relation to Elder McCreadie, a missionary that served here. Only reason I say that is because Elder McCreadie was super tall as well. How is their oldest boy doing? I remember the last time we saw them he as like 6'9'' and still growing and already having college scouts look at him when he was 16. Give them all a big hug for me!
That's great Gram is working in the temple- that's something I want to do when I become a seasoned veteran in the life category. I bet it's fun to see them more often.
Well as for this week, it was awesome! Sunday was fantastic, we had 3 investigators and 2 less active members come back to church. It's refreshing to see the fruits of your labours when Sunday comes around. We are teaching two 14 year old girls. We had a cool experience with service with them. They raise chickens to kill and sell to locals here in Santa and surrounding areas and every 3-6 weeks they have to kill and pluck them... guess who plucked their first chicken?? I did! It was... quite the experience. I will save you the gruesome details, but I now have first hand experience with the phrase "running around like a chicken with its head cut off". Thankfully I wasn't on head cutting duty, I was on pluck-the-feathers-off-the-smelly-chicken-boiled-in-scalding-hot-water duty. It was something; a great skill to slap on a resume back home. Anyways, we did that for about an hour and a half for the girl's mom who isn't a member.  Yesterday we watched the Restoration DVD with the girls and L (the one girls mother who is a member) and D (the other girls mother) came in and gave us some fried chicken from the chickens we plucked and sat down and listened to the last part of the lesson. We invited her to watch the DVD again with the girls and promised that if she prayed to know if it was true that Heavenly Father would answer her. I'm sure she watched the DVD because the girls were  SO excited to watch it again with he and explain everything that was going on. Great experience.
Also this week... I went back to Junction!! We did a trade off from Tuesday to Wednesday and I got to see everyone from Junction. The H's, N, M, R, the whole crew! The H's, I LOVE that family. I didn't realize how much I missed them until I came back. They are doing so well. J just turned 14 and was ordained a teacher, T just turned 12 and has the Aaronic priesthood, T is SUCH a cutie, she's already 10 now! And Momma H is so good, so solid in the gospel. She looked so so happy. She and D go visiting teaching, she's the 1st councilor in the Relief Society, or Young Women's... I can't remember... but she's doing spectacular. So good to see them. N, M and R are doing well also. Their getting big too! N is way taller than me now, M has been going to school this whole year, R is still the little butterball he was when I left, they are doing well. Junction, St. Elizabeth = my home in Jamaica.
This week will be full of driving. Headed to Kingston today for P-day (Elder Worley is headed back to Nassau tomorrow! Whoo hoo! I sent him with a bunch of letters for people.) , then tonight we will drive to Montego Bay to do a trade off and stay for District Meeting on Wednesday, and then drive back to Santa Cruz. About 8 hours driving in total. Good thing Elder Nugent and I are road warriors. We get along so well, I'm always blown away at how I always end up with awesome companions. I've learned so much from each of my companions. I know the Lord put me with each of them to learn something from them and apply it to my life. This may have been the only way the Lord could shape me into who he wanted me to be- by serving a mission in the Caribbean and with the select Elders I've served with.
We had the funeral this week as well. That was a good experience. It was in an Anglican church so there wasn't any hooting and hollering, pretty reverent. It was interesting to see another church service and how they do things. When we went to the grave site it started pouring rain. There must've been a memo on the collection plate saying, "Bring an umbrella, it's going to pour cats and dogs" because we missed the memo AND were the only one's standing in what felt like Noah's Flood part two without an umbrella. No worries still, the family was grateful for our help in the service and we were able to have some pretty good teaching moments at the small gathering at the house afterwords.
Well It's Elder Nugent's turn on the computer. I was thinking about it, do you think you could print off all my emails home and put them into a little book? I think that would be a cool little thing to have after my mission. I sure love you Mom!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Santa Cruz

Good Morning!

You guys sound like you had quite the week! New puppy proof scheming, Haley is taking Catie Couric's spot as journalist of the year, Summer is training to race Usain Bolt, and Mac is preparing to slay the ladies at the dances- all good things! My email today is going to have to be pretty short as I am uploading a bunch of pictures on this dinosaur computer!

So Santa Cruz! This week has been quite the journey to get here. First at foremost, transfer day was a hoot as always. Elder Taylor went home!! It was so strange saying goodbye to him, we shared some tears but he emailed me this morning and he's doing really well. So from Spanish Town we had so many missionaries that were coming back to our zone Elder Nugent (my new companion who is awesome, he's from Provo, his Grandpa was the first member of the church in Jamaica) he had to drive the mission bus and then I took the Ranger. Just about everything that could go wrong went wrong haha It turned out to be pretty comical. I missed our turn in the round about twice, got onto the highway 2000 and the first checkpoint I got in the wrong lane so we had to have all the cars behind us reverse so we could switch lanes, then the second checkpoint we couldn't find the highway card for like 5 minutes, then it started pouring rain so all our stuff got wet, we put a tarp over it in the rain, we reached Sav at about 10pm and stayed the night there. The next morning we drove out to Montego Bay, back to Sav to pick up the bus, then back to Santa Cruz. PLENTY driving! Driving in Jamaica was super weird. Right hand drive, left hand side, but I got the hang of it again pretty quick. We have some awesome missionaries in our zone, 3 brand new ones being trained and one who's in the second transfer of being trained. Pretty young but very vibrant. Awesome!

So Santa Cruz- it's a branch much like Junction. I guess the differences would be that Junction had a lot of priesthood and here in Santa there is maybe about 4 active Melchizedek priesthood holders. But church was fantastic. We had about 18 people there by the end of sacrament meeting, very friendly and loving of the missionaries. I love this side of the island, it's a very different feel than the east side. Not busy, not rushed, just a good farm town of Jamaica. I'm loving it here. We are teaching like 2 sincere persons, but there's a lot of potential for the branch here. I was called as the clerk again. Clerky duties (Nacho Libre voice). I like it. The branch president is awesome, gung ho about the gospel and been a member for years. My companion Elder Nugent is the man, like I said his Grandpa was the first member in Jamaica, his dad is Jamaican, so he's half Jamaica. I've been blessed with the greatest companions on my mission. Crazy to think that I'll probably only have one more after Elder Nugent! He could even be my last companion, crazy town. 

We had a pretty cool experience this week. We received a phone call from a great lady named C. She explained to us that her mother, Sis. S, had passed away and that she was a member of our church. She loved the missionaries so much that before she died she asked that the missionaries in Santa Cruz be pall bearers. We were touched by the invitation and gladly accepted. Last night we went to the home of C who was there with here sister and some cousins (C and here sister are daughters of the lady who passed) and all over the couch were old pictures of Bro. and Sis. S. Bro. S passed away about 10 years ago and was a very active member as well and had missionaries be two of his pall bearers also. Looking through the pictures of missionaries gone before us and the great example they were to these members makes me realize how special our time is here on the mission and that it has a much more lasting effect then I think somtimes we give credit. We had a great discussion about the plan of salvation and I shared my experience with Grandpa's passing. The veil is very thin between us and our loved ones and I'm so grateful for that. The funeral is Thursday at 2PM in a beautiful church tucked in a valley and in front of a mountain that looks like a picture out of the Sound of Music. 

Well I'm going to send all these pictures, they tell 1000 words. I love you Mom! Have a wonderful day! 

Elder Romney

Monday, March 11, 2013

Leaving Old Harbour already!


First thing- a 5 POUND CHEESECAKE??? (Mac's birthday "cake") Sweet mercy, the things I'd do for a five pound cheese cake. That reminds me this one time in Nassau, Sis. Smith made Elder Worley and I this FATTY strawberry cheese cake, it was huge. We ate the whole thing for breakfast....mmmmmmm... it was nice. Every morning in Old Harbour I have two pieces of toast with nothing on them and water for breakfast. Still tasty, still fulfills the purpose of breakfast, just not quite like strawberry cheese cake!

Mac is getting older and it's slightly freaking me out... and in every one of summer's emails she happily reminds me that in such and such months and so many days she's turning 16 and how she can date and wear eye liner... i better get into some decent shape so i can inflict fear into any boy that comes into our house. No one will take a pudgy wudgy returned missionary seriously... until I bring a Jamaican butt kicking with me! haha Thats sweet Shauna is engaged! I thought she would have better taste though... Duke? Come on Shauna, this is eternity we're talking about! :) Just kidding, that's so awesome. Where are they getting hitched? And where did he serve his mission?

Well this week was pretty up and pretty down at the same time. Elder Jones has been pretty sick this week, so Tuesday we didn't go out at all. First time my whole mission my comp and I didn't go out. He was good enough to go out Wednesday and Thursday, then Friday came and he was back in bed. I got a lot of reading done in my Book of Mormon though, that was nice. 105 pages in about two days collectivly. I was like Alma 8 and I reached Alma 53. It was so cool to read it like a regular book. The missionary chapters are so sweet! Alma and Amulek are boss missionaries! And Ammon, and Nephi and Lehi. They have so much faith, that's probably what I gathered the most out of my reading. Their faith was SO unshakable. Not only that, they acted on it without second guessing themselves. And how well they worked as companions, shooks, it was awesome. Then the war chapters, Moroni, still holding it down, I enjoyed the time to read. 

I can attest to the fact that Heavenly Father has a sense of humor also. Wednesday I requested a trade off in Maypen so after district meeting I just stayed and Elder Jones and Dally went back to OH. It was so cool to see a lot of people. Right as we walked into the church for District Meeting, S was cleaning the church. I said hello and she said hello, I could tell she didn't recognize me... so I say "You know who I am?" She's like "Ahhh, noooo, who are you?" She flipped out! "you don't even look the same!" I figured the classic response would be "Wow! Nice to see you! You got a new haircut and you've put on weight!" but it was mostly just the haircut comment! haha not to shabby. Anyways, I'm pretty sure when Heavenly Father saw that I was going to Maypen he wanted to make the trade off as authentic as possible. As in my bicylcle tire popped so we had to walk, and it poured cats and dogs all day- yep, back to the Maypen days for sure! It was a lot of fun, every where we went I had some story about me and Elder Nelson running through my head. I would send pic's but we are at an internet shop and true, I don't know what viruses are crawling on these computers so I better not plug anything in.

Saturday we got transfer calls! This week was a 7 week transfer instead of a 6 week to help stagger the influx of new missionaries throughout the world. I'm leaving Old Harbour! Such a short stay, I know! I'll be transfered to Santa Cruz- yep, back in a truck. Good thing my companion Elder Nugent is a dedicated worker out-er! I'm pretty excited. We are the Zone Leaders for the Mandeville zone, so Negril, Montego Bay, Sav, Junction, Hopeton, and Mandeville are in the zone. I'll get to go back and see my people in Sav and Junction! I heard Sis. J is preparing to go to the temple! Whoo hoo! I'm excited for that. There's a lot of driving, I think Mo Bay is like two hours away or something, it will be sweet though I'm looking forward to it.  

I can't believe Elder Taylor and McLeod are going home Thursday!! That is so strange. I'll still see Elder McLeod's mug around town though as Hopeton isn't to far from Santa Cruz. Life is moving fast! We are getting like 16 new missionaries this ransfer- so many! I'll be on the look out for Elder Harris. This is the first transfer day I've been to in almost a year and the last time I see Elder Taylor until we rendezvous again somewhere in Utah or Idaho! He's actually going back to Freeport in like a week with his whole family, that will be fun for them. 

Well that's about it for this week, pretty slow with my sick companiero. But this up coming week is going to be crazy town.  Back to the slow going, bushy side of Jamaica! I love you!! 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Where did my keys go? Where did my book go?

Good morning from another sunny day in Old Harbour!

Yes, Kingston was a gong show but all is well. I'm telling you, I wonder if Heavenly Father ever says, "Oh Elder Romney, you're such a klutz, but I'll bail you out of this one again." Twice this week that's happened. Monday we went to Kingston to play ball (which was fantastic, sunburns and the Baha Men, can't beat it.) I felt like such an old guy. All these young missionaries who have come out since I've been in Nassau, it was strange. We have some cool younger missionaries, some superstars. So anyway, Elder Taylor came and picked us up, got there, had a great time, get back to Old Harbour by like 5:00pm, and we are getting out of the truck and I'm looking for the keys... they were in my pocket... but now they're not in my pocket.. or the truck... great. So I call Elder Worley and ask him to go look for them back at the court, it's a good thing we are tight like unto a dish haha So he goes down to the court (which is in the GHETTO of Kingston) it's like 6:30, and there is 50 people on the court, sitting in the bleachers, playing soccer. So they start snooping around for the keys, asking people if they've seen them, getting chatted like crazy, and they are talking to this 18 year old kid and he's like "Nah, I haven't seen them". Then changes his story and whips out our keys and makes Elder Worley buy them off him! hahaha It wasn't much, just the change in the truck, but imagine how that looks to the people in the bleachers.\- two white guys in shirts and ties come into the court, walk out with a kid and give him money in exchange for something... like I said, good thing Elder Worley is a homie. He's never going to let me live that one down. When they brought them that night I gave him some of that hot chocolate and some candy as a token of appreciation haha It's a funny story but it is another tender mercy from the Lord. What are the chances that 8 hours later in the heart of Kingston we are able to get my keys back? Yep, pretty cool. 

The second story we were riding to drop our bicycles off at a members house then catch a taxi to go to another members house for dinner. Well I brought my guitar and hymnbook so we could play some songs and of course, we reach the first members house and my hymnbook isn't in my bag anymore. It wouldn't have been a big deal but that hymnbook was from Great Grandma Ruth and is special to me so... we turn around in the dark looking for it. Sure enough there it was aaaaallll the way back just outside our neighborhood. "Elder Romney, you're a klutz but, I love you." 

Don't forget about sweet sweet Highgate. Junction to Highgate to Old Harbour. Did I tellyou Highgate got closed lke 6 months ago? I don't know if I mentioned that, but it did. 

Old Harbour is fantastic. We are working with some great people right now. One of our investigators, S, now has a solid support system as that her sister just got baptized in Kingston two weeks ago. S's sister came by and saw S's Book of Mormon and said, "You're meeting with them too? I just got baptized!" Answer to our prayers- fellowship is so critical in keeping members active in Jamaica. We got to have a lesson with the both of them and her sister bore powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon. It was awesome. Yes, we are back to calling at gates- that's pretty weird but it's lost it's newness. Elder Jones is doing well. We are finding a good mesh. Being with a young missionary is so much different than being with an older one. Things are getting better though. The patios is pretty good, some people I have to listen pretty closly to hear what their saying, sometimes I just pull the classic head nod and "Yeah yeah" and hope they are saying something good haha It's definetly different that the Bahamas! My body is now accustomed to purfuse sweating and bicycle riding now. Is was actually really cold this morning, I was shivering and teeth chattering, the past two days have been a bit chilly. 

The picture of the Lee's is awesome! Cam is SO TALL! He's going to hit his head on the ceiling! Shucks. OH! Speaking of Lee's, we had a couple missionaries who's visa's were delayed so they spent a transfer serving in Spokane! One named Elder Egan served in the Shiloh Hills ward and met uncle James! When I said President Lee was my uncle he's like "Ahhh that's sweet. I met him once". The other served in CDA. It was fun to shoot the breeze about Spokanistan. 

Your approach to the drug committee is completely true. I would love to speak at one of those because the United State's drug problems don't even come close to the drug problem  here, and your right, there are hardly any families here and look what comes of that. The gospel way is always the best way. Speaking of that I had a serious realization Sunday. President Brown from the mission presidency came in and taught priesthood (he is going to be the new mission president by the way  come July 1st- he will do my exit interview) anyways, he taught about chastity and how everything starts with your thoughts and music plays a huge role in that- I've realized this already but it was heavy today that I have a lot of music to throw away. I don't even know if I want to sell it, just filth. I remember when Hans came home and threw away a bunch of his music and I was like "That would never be me" Yep... it's me. I feel like that's a reason why I was called to Jamaica, music is such a big part of life here. Eat it, breathe it, so my testimony of changing music i think helps some of the young men. I look and say "Shoot, I've been there! There's more to it guys! Swallow your pride and listen to something better." 

Well Momma, I think you're finding good balance between your workouts and stuff. Something good to ask ourselves is "What purpose am I trying to achieve?" Then we don't have to waste our time with doing things that don't go towards acheiving that goal. :) I love you!! Have a great week!

Elder Romney