Elders McCleod and Romney

Monday, April 22, 2013

Being the Elder in a dream, strong spiritual experiences

Good afternoon!
We just got back from Little Ochi- this fantastic seafood restaurant right on the beach in Alligator Pond, about 40 minutes away. The Spanish Town ZL's and two companionships from their zone came out and then us and the Junction Elders and Sisters. It was such a hoot! Jerk lion fish, the ocean, good company, and a soccer ball. Can't beat it. I've developed a love for soccer on my mission- weird I know, since soccer is banned at our house haha But I really enjoy it. I got a couple knock off jersey's to add to the appearal. Pretty sweet!
Henry cracks me up. Imagine if humans pee'd a little when they got excited to see a friend. Huggies would be the top company to invest in. Thank you so much for printing those emails! They are like a journal to me, yeah. Missionaries say that when you get with a companion you struggle with your journal becomes fantastic because you don't have much to talk about- well, I haven't experienced that yet so my journal suffers because of it. Big stuff will make it in there. I'm sure I'll regret it. So thanks for the little book of emails home!
Elder Nugent, yes, my companion for only another 2 days. I can't believe it's already transfers. He is going to be the next assistant with Elder Worley and a missionary named Elder Adamson will be my companion. I'm bummed Elder Nugent and I only spent one transfer together, he's an all star missionary and a great friend. Yes, his dad is Jamaican and his mom is from Utah. His grandpa, grandma and father were the first baptized in Jamaica.
This week was a roller coaster but we had some awesome experiences. We are teaching a lady named Y who is the sister in law of an investigator. We were getting to know her and explaining our purpose as missionaries, it went really well, she's an awesome woman who's come through a lot to be where she's at. At the end of the lesson she says "I knew you guys where going to come see me." We were like, "What? How?" She proceeded to explain how the night before our visit she dreamed that a white truck parked at the end of her hill and two white people in white shirts and ties came and taught her about Jesus Christ (Elder Nugent is considered white by Jamaicans). I've always heard stories about people having dreams that the missionaries would be sent to them but this is the first time I've been the missionary sent- it was a Spirit filled moment and she explained her dream. We have high hopes for Y. She's keeping her reading commitments and has a great little family.What a blessing.
The next experience from this week was the lesson with M, C and their family and it was emotions from both sides of the spectrum. Our lesson with them and their three kids was awesome! We taught about the restoration and how God answers prayers, they understood everything, very involved,  and tying everything into how their family can be eternal. it was actually quite outside so the Spirit was easy to recognize. At the end of the lesson we invited the whole family to kneel and have M offer a prayer asking if this is the path that Heavenly Father wants he and his family to take. We knelt down, all 7 of us on the concrete floor. M didn't understand that he was to pray aloud so he was praying in his head which was alright. We knelt for a good 5 minutes and I can honestly say that lesson was one of the most powerful outpourings of the Spirit I've felt during a prayer. I literally thought my bosom was going to go up in flames. I was certain everyone on the block could feel of that Spirit. Right as M got up from his prayer we sat in silence for a moment and asked him how he felt. His demeanor was almost angelic- a smile and just saying "I felt something, I felt something. I feel so good. I think I've almost got my answer." We were about to confirm that he did have his answer when C's phone rang and chaos ensued. At the exact moment when M and their family were going to commit to be baptized on May 18th, they received that call. In retrospect all I can think about is how when Moses saw the glorious vision of time and the whole earth and how Satan was their to immediately oppose that. SO FRUSTRATING! We haven't been able to get a hold of them since. Sunday morning we called and they confirmed that they would be at church. They weren't there. They are so ready for the gospel it makes me feel sick thinking about letting them slip away. BUT we will link back up with them and see where they are at. I'm not concerned. But it was a very Spiritual experience being in that lesson, I'm grateful for a Heavenly Father who allows us 20 year old young men to experience things like this.
This week is transfer week- out to Mo Bay and back Tuesday night, Spanish Town to Hopeton to Sav to Negril and back to Santa Cruz Wedneday. There is a mileage limit but no one has ever told us what it is so we just drive. With the zone being so spread out (half the island) and doing tradeoffs and district meetings in a different area each week, it's a lot of drive time. But the experience is sweet. I love working with other missionaries. It's a hoot. I'm really excited to serve with Elder Adamson. He's a stellar missionary and It's looking like he may be my last companion. Craziness.
I love you! Have a wonderful week!

Elder Romney
PS- I sent the driving paper thing through FedEx last wednesday so keep an eye out for it. Thanks!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Blessings of faith

Good morning!
Ya, good call on not forging the signature. I'm sure that Spokane County Jail gets pretty good phone reception though, you could use your 30 minutes of phone time to talk to me! haha I printed off the paper just now, I'll fill it out and send it. Problem is that I don't know where a FedEx is... I know there isn't one in Santa Cruz. I'll have to tell the zone to keep a look out for a FedEx in their area. It's super expensive to send stuff as well, so be prepared for like a $60 sending fee. When the office sends us stuff to the Bahamas, it's like $55 for sending one sheet of paper. Yeah, hosed again. But thank you for taking care of this for me. I realized it would expire pretty soon and was ready to just hand the keys to my companion but this way is better. Thank you!
Mark is home! That is so crazy! We got to email the last three weeks of his mission which was nice. I feel the same way too when I run into people here I haven't seen in a while. You should've seen the Mandeville fun day, I was handing out hugs and handshakes like it was my job. I like what you said about maybe that's what it's like in the celestial kingdom, seeing everyone again. That's what happened in my dream last night. EVERYONE from my mission was all congregated in a central location. Companions, members, investigators, converts, it was an awesome dream. When the alarm went off at 5:15, I had to let it go another 5 minutes to finish it up.
Linley is pregnant??? Since when?? Shooks, I feel like the I'm going to have to have a sit down and get to know the new cousins. Austin and Paisley won't have a clue who I am. You're right, every one's birthday this year is a milestone. That didn't even cross my mind. I feel the same way though, Mac and Summer to me are the same 12 and 14 year olds they were when I left. Henry sounds like a handful. The dogs here are crazy. But the way to make them stop barking is to pretend to grab a stone from the ground and they take off running like their tail is on fire. Or actually grab a stone and it's the same effect. Dogs are nothing to people here, but if you mess with someones goat you better run because you will have the owner chasing you down with a machete. That's a lesson young missionaries learn very quickly from their trainers here "DON'T mess with the goats."
Well this week was quite a great week. Monday we went out to Jack Sprat and kicked it on the beach. Jack Sprat is that sweet little pizza and seafood restauraunt on Treasure Beach outside of Junction. That was a lot of fun, we had half the zone there (Mandeville and Junction Sisters, Juntion Elders and Hopeton Elders). Today we are headed out to Negril for P-day with Sav Elders and Negril Elders then we will do splits with Negril, then tomorrow morning head back to Sav for a baptism interview. We drive so much here!
Wednesday we had Zone Meeting. We have Zone Meeting the week after Zone Leader Council every month. It went really well, It's usually lasts about 3 hours and Elder Nugent and I do most of the teaching. I love teaching in that kind of setting. I don't want to be a teacher at all as a profession, but teaching as a missionary is the best. We focused on how we as missionaries can learn from the Lord by improving our prayers, the importance of the Book of Mormon in extending invitations and then the doctrine of desire. Basically we just take what President Hendricks taught at ZLC and teach it to the zone. It's great. The Assistants came out to for it and then Elder Worley and I went back to Kingston and did a trade off. I love that guy, he and Elder Hitchcock, and Elder Taylor (who is doing very well on the homefront by the way). The Kingston ZL's and Assistants share a sweet house now so I got to see both Elder Hitchcock and Elder Gray. We didn't get to teach as much as we would've liked due to a meeting with the Branch President and our appointments dropping through and the drive time back to meet up with Elder Hefner and Nugent but it was a good trade off nonetheless. We had a family home evening with some members and we had the lesson- Elder Worley and I didn't miss a beat with our teaching together- just like the olden days! haha Good to see those guys again.
Sunday was quite the day. I will start this story by bearing my testimony that fasting is a truly powerful way to receive blessings God is willing and ready to grant us. I fasted for the purpose to strengthen my faith. I got what I asked for. We had planned a terrific day out after church, the highlight being the lesson we would have with C and M and their whole family (yes, I said a married couple with four kids and a car, can you say score?) Thursday's lesson with C and M was so great. We originally planned to explain that if they weren't going to act that we couldn't teach them, but M was home as well and so we taught both of them together- I felt prompted that we needed to talk about eternal families (which was something we had already planned on teaching but never had the chance to teach the, together). Elder Nugent finishes the opening prayer and says, without communicating anything to me "Tonight we wanted to talk about families". Can you say Spiritual prompting between companions who are on the same page? Check! It was awesome, great lesson, M was literally giddy about us coming back over to teach the whole family. So we planned that lesson for Sunday at 4. Before our Branch Presidency meeting The 1st councilor (and only councilor) suggested that we go to the hospital in Black River where a member's 7 year old son is and give him a blessing. He had a really bad asthma attack and had been in the hospital for 5 days. We felt really good about going so we called President Hendricks and got permission to go to Black River. There was a branch there but it's been closed for almost 20 years and to go there you need permission from the mission president. So we finish out meeting, do the tithing, hop in the truck and look at the gas gauge- less than 1/8th of a tank. Great. Our bad, should have filled up Saturday.  Oh this story gets better, so not only are we supposed to make the 60 kilometer round trip to Black River, but also the 50 kilometer round trip to Nain where a member had been planning on feeding us all week... on 1/8 of a tank? Yikes. I was praying in my head the whole way to Black River hoping that our gas would at least get us there and back to Santa Cruz. We had to cancel the lesson with Milton and Claudia. As soon as we got to Black River the glass light went on- great. We figured we'd have about 50 kilometers left until we were Found On Road Dead (we drive a Ford Ranger, get it?) We give the blessing, it went very well, then we start our journey back to Santa Cruz. By the time we reached Santa the needle was flat on E. We weren't about to buy gas so we just kept going. I honestly thought we would run out. I thought "There is NO way we can make it the almost 100 kilometers on empty. No possible way. Even if God wanted to help us He wouldn't because it was our own fault for not filling up." But we went on. The dinner appointment was wonderful, chicken, pork, rice and peas, then bread pudding and ice cream for dessert. Absolutely delicious. We finish up, get back in the truck, the needle is now hovering below the line. We took a different road than when we came and were able to coast much of the 25 km home. And sure enough, we pulled into our house without a problem and had enough gas to get to the station to fill up this morning. It may sound like a silly story, but I know that Heavenly Father was watching out for us. You don't just travel 100 km on empty. I feel like when I have had experiences where I've drawn closer to the Lord, many of them I have put myself in the pickle. He merciful and His grace is sufficient for all those who repent and come unto Him. I know that to be true.
C and M tie into all of this as well. M fabricates and welds burglar bars for peoples houses (everyone has bars over their windows, porches, and doors). We offered to drive them up to the house where he would install them, hence why we got up at 5:15 this morning so we could help him. He asked for our help yesterday but we explained that we should avoid doing our work on the Sabbath. So we drove them up this morning and in talking with them after, M says they were all watching the clock waiting for us to come. The whole family was there ready and waiting and when we called and had to cancel they were SO disappointed. We felt so bad, thankfully we are rescheduled for Tuesday evening. There is such a difference between those who are prepared and who are not yet prepared. M and family are anxiously awaiting for the Gospel and to come to church Sunday. There isn't any dragging involved, only encouragement. I know the Lord is preparing people for His gospel, especially now as He is hastening His work.
We gotta run, it's a two hour drive to Negril so we better hit the road. I love you! Have a fantastic week!
Elder Romney

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Jamaica Reunion!!!! Pics!

Good morning!
Conference was sweet! I really enjoyed it. We watched it here in Santa Cruz. I took a picture of the set up but forgot my camera this morning to sent it. Oops. I'd rock an Elder Holland foam finger. Crazy that this was my last general conference as a missionary! Ah! Where has the time gone? As always, we had plenty of GC snacks to go around- between Elder Nugent and I and a little bit of sharing we ate a 2 and a half pound back of butterscotch candies... and boy did we feel it this morning! haha The tradition of General Conference snacks had to go on though. I think my favorite talk was the one about how to have a happy marriage. I didn't bring my notes with me this morning, but if Jamaica (and the rest of the world) would adhere to that council, families would be so much happier everywhere. That is something that President Hendricks touched on in Zone Conference as well. He was talking about our relationships with our companions and that if you have the mindset of "My first priority is to make sure my companion (or in his case, spouse) is happy" and your companion/spouse has the same mindset you're marriage will last. That selflessness and then keeping the covenants you've made. Two ways to make a marriage last. I'm telling ya, a mission is the best marriage training haha
So this week was pretty crazy. Not in the sense that a lot of crazy things happened, more in the sense that just a lot happened. Monday we went to Mandeville where they were having a combined district fun day. I got to see members from Maypen, Old Harbour, and Spanish Town, and Junction! That was so sweet. I'd name drop but there was over 1000 people there and I can't even recall how many I was excited to see- so many. When Elder Nugent and I showed up, there were 15 buses parked outside the Mandeville church. I didn't even know we had that many members on this island! Anyways, we had to go to the bathroom SO bad, we drank a lot of water that morning, so we resolved to hit the bathroom first then mix and mingle- not EVEN close to happenin, which was fine. Before we even get to the gate of the church lot Elder Nugent has a member from Kingston who wants to give us something, so we head back to the car twice. Finally get to the gate and there is Khevar (formerly known as Elder McLeod) so we are chatting, and then J comes up we we start chatting, then Mama H, and then AT&T and J from Old Harbour came and then... you see the picture. and we had stepped in like 5 steps onto the property. I felt like a celebrity haha It was SO awesome to see everyone, they are all doing really well. After about 30 minutes we made it to the building to use the facilities, but it was a sweet p-day. After a couples hours we left, and then decided to come back just to honk as as went by. I should mention that there wasn't enough food to feed everyone so by the end of the day people were pretty cranky and hungry. Before I could even say bun n cheese I had this box of food in my hands and was literally running from people trying to snag it all and take it for themselves. It was insanity. I put the box down at the front, the district relief society president took over, and then Elder Nugent and I made a mad dash back to the truck haha It was pretty awesome.
Tuesday was Zone Conference in Sav. I love Zone Conference. It's so instructive and learning from President Hendricks is so sweet. I could listen to that guy teach all day. It was a very similar zone conference as we had back in July, about being the 4th missionary. Since we have so many new missionaries I think President wants to instill this attitude right from the get go. I've got a couple talks Mac needs to read right before he goes on his mission. The Assistants focused on the commitment pattern- Teach Doctrine, Invite/Commit, Promise Blessings, Bear Testimony, Follow Up- this is how a missionary teaches all day every day. As President says "Wake Up. Live the Commitment Pattern. Go to Bed. Repeat." The life of a missionary. It was very instructive and I was able to pick out places I can improve. I think my favorite was when President taught the doctrine of becoming, that we are agents of ourselves and through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can change our natures. I really liked that. When we say things like "That's just who I am" "That's just my nature", that's not true. That is implying we can't change. A man said to a jail worker who talk prisoners how to be better citizens "Why do you try? You know leopard can't change their spots." the jail worker said "I don't work with leopards, I work with men., and men change everyday." So true.
Wednesday we stayed in Sav and did spits with the Elders there. There is two companionships so we each went with one. They are some awesome missionaries. I was able to see the whole D family, K, R, K, N and the G's. They are all doing really well. Mama D is engaged! I'm so happy for her. S and A are growing up! A is already 10 and S is 15! AH! I'm getting old.
Thursday we drove into Kingston for a meeting with the Zone Leaders, Assistants, and President. More training! This was my favorite meeting out of any of them. 3 hours of one on one instruction from President Hendricks- fantastic. That went really well. We take what we learn from Zone Leader Council (ZLC) and then teach it in Zone Meeting the following Wednesday (this Wednesday). My favourite part was the doctrine of desire. I didn't think this was something you could teach, that desire was an attribute that has to just be acquired by someone personally. But that's not true. Desire is an eternal principle. My favourite quote was from Neil A. Maxwell. I don't remember it word for word, I forgot my notes, but it went something like 'what we desire most in this life is what we become and receive in the eternities', something like that. Basically we become what we desire, so if you're a missionary and desire to be somewhere else, well then that's what you will receive. You serve with all your might, mind and strength, but withhold your heart. If you with hold your heart and don't make this your desire, the Atonement can't change you because you won't let it. Powerful stuff.
Ok, so no more checklist of the days, Friday was a great day, we actually got to teach our investigators. We had two come to conference and I think they really enjoyed it. One man who is a friend of many members came out of the blue and we will be teaching him. He loved conferences. He's an older gentleman with a cane but he said that he planned on coming to our church today no matter what. He go out on the road and it started to rain a bit but he said no matter what he was coming today. He said he'd be coming back, we are visiting him Tuesday. Definitely a blessing.
Yes we have names for our zones. We have the Kingston Zone, Spanish Town Zone, Mandeville Zone (our zone) then the Bahamas Zone. The only one I haven't served in is Kingston. Within each zone there is a number of different areas. In our zone there is 7 areas and 21 missionaries (including us and our area). This is the biggest our mission has ever been and there is no sign of it stopping growth. Exciting!
Henry the dog! What a cutie. His nick name is blingpup. That's sweet you are bumping up your workouts. thinking about running 6 miles makes me quiver haha
Well I love you Mom! Have a great week! I'll send pictures later.
Elder Romney

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Easters! lots of pics

Happy Easters!
You guys saw that video? HA! That's awesome. Crazy what technology can do these days. That was at transfers, you're right. He wanted one final performance before he went home so we popped the tailgate of a truck and sang out little hearts out. We are headed to Mandeville for a District fun day today so I'll get to see him. Crazy that we wrote that song a year ago- time is still flying by... in the twinkling of an eye.... as i sit... ok, enough of that.
There is so much information packed into your email that it blows my mind. SO awesome about Haley and her mission papers. Maybe the Lord needs here here in Jamaica?? I'll start putting it in my prayers haha Just kidding, I think she's going to Missoula. :) Mary already got married? That's fantastic, are they living in Spokane? That's great the Lee's were sealed together, what a blessing. Does Tony know where he's going yet? I can't keep everyone's mission stuff straight. Who are the Daltons again?
Well it was a happy easters in deed. This started out with P-Day in Port Royal with the whole kingston and Spanish Town Zones playing capture the flag in this sweet run down fort, I'll send pictures. That was a hoot, after that we went back to the Assistants house and I gave Elder Worley and Elder Hitchcock a haircut. Dem a mi breddren! This week was Zone Conference off island so Elder Worley got to go back to Nassau! He actually called me when he was there and I got to talk E and M and M. E is doing really well, he's picked up a bunch of work which is awesome. He might even come work in Jamaica! That would be sweet. M is expecting her mission call any minute now and M is is doing really well also. We went to Montego Bay Tuesday to Wendesday to do a trade off with the Elders there. Two companionships are in Mo Bay now so I went with one and Elder Nugent went with the other. It went really well, we were able to do some good training. Elder Nugent and I went running Wednesday morning (as we have worked out every morning since I've been in Santa Cruz). Our original plan was to just run to the church and back which was only 2 kilometers. Well... many wrong turns and 30 minutes later we were SO lost. and it didn't help that the day before all we had eaten was peanuts. That was an adventure. When we were driving around Mo Bay with the other Elders and told them where we were running they said "You were all the way out here? How on Earth did you get that lost?" They underestimated my lack of directional skills. Good Friday is a holiday here as is today, Easter Monday, so everything has been closed but there are SO many people on the streets and SO many parties. Pretty sad when much of the population celebrates the ressurection of our Saviour by throwning super raw pool parties.
Church was awesome. We had almost 50 people there! We had chairs out on the veranda of the house we hold church in. The building used to be a doctors office. It was so great to see so many people there. Saturday night we were having a lesson with L, S, and T. L is S's mother and T is the neighbor. So we were teaching about the Plan of Salvation, great lesson, and we asked how their preperations for church were coming and they said they couldn't handle the walking anymore and couldn't come. It's about 10 kilometers one way from their house to the church and they walk it every Sunday hoping that along the road someone will stop to pick them up. They have so much faith, I've only been here for 3 weeks but I've seen changes in all of their lives and countenances. They are happy. But as we all get sometimes, they were pretty discouraged and the thought of having to walk in the Jamaican sun all the way to church again was unbearable. We offered to walk with them and they all shot up and said "yes! We will be leaving at 7." So Elder Nugent and I drove to their house at 7 Sunday morning, parked the truck and we all made the two hour long walk together. It's the first time an investigator has taken up our offer to walk and I'm so grateful they did. We sang songs, we played eye spy, we cheered each other on up the big hills, they are troopers. They were able to get fare to catch taxi home, there's always blessings from coming to church!
Taking the Sacrament is something I've been thinking about a lot lately. I knew it was important before my mission but it's not just important, it's essential to our salvation. If we do not take the Sacrament each week, we are not renewing our covenants. If we aren't renewing our covenants we are not worthy of Jesus Christ, D&C 98:14-15. So crucial! I wish everyone would take it to heart and take seriously the promises they've made to Heavenly Father.
This week will be quite the week. Mandeville today, Sav for Zone Conference and trade off Tuesday and Wednesday, Kingston for Zone Leader Council Thursday, Friday in Santa Cruz, then Saturday and Sunday General Conference! Whoo hoo! Going to be quite the week. I'm so excited for General Conference. It's my last one as a missionary... that feels strange to say. I get way more out of conference as a missioanry the I ever did back home. 
Well I love you mom! you're my favorite mom! ;) Have a great week, don't let Henry the beagle pee on the carpet. Love you!
Elder Romney