Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Week #20 - Happy Birthday to Me... My First Transfer!

What Up Fam!

Our explorer in the Blue Mountains above Yallahs
Sorry I am getting to you now, crazy fun day yesterday but long story short, Elder Stewart and I got lost in the Blue Mountains and didn't get back in time to email haha. I basically celebrated my birthday yesterday.

So just like we thought, I’m being transferred tomorrow!  Headed to Spanish Town.  My companion will be Elder Jackson, never met him, not sure what he looks like, I'm just told he is a goofball so I'm stoked!  After some shameless internet stalking, I found that Elder Jackson is from Pocatello, Idaho!!  Can’t wait for them to compare notes…  Anyway I'm kinda excited to be back in a ward (Spain 2nd Ward) that actually functions by itself haha. Although, Yallahs taught me a TON about accountability and being reliable and stuff.

Here’s the skinny on Spanish Town:  Referred to as Spain by the locals, it is the third largest city of Jamaica, with a population of over 160,000.  I was thrilled to see that it comes in as #7 on the “15 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in the World” list, but Cody’s response was, “Don't worry, I'm not in the ghetto part, I'm in the richer classier part of Spain town.”  Hmmmm…
The journey from Yallahs to Spanish Town

I got a package from Oberg (Cody’s scoutmaster and former YM President – you da best, Obergs!) a week ago and it was great! Starbursts, a Mountain Dew Kick Start, some socks and an awesome purple tie! Haven’t gotten your package yet but I’ll probs get it tomorrow. WHAT??? You mean that package I sent 28 days ago???  Gotta love the mail system in Jamaica!!  Also thanks for telling everyone and their dog to email me happy bday. I had 57 emails today...but it was great so thank you!!

Love and miss you guys as always!

Elder Graham

Jordan, me, Alwayne and Daquan (all the future missionaries)
Last day with new convert Tamara
In true "Cody" style, he gave her all kinds of grief about the posing and photo session!!
Elder Stewart
The Blue Mountains are way cool!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Week #19 - True Christians Cannot Live by Breadfruit Alone

Hey Fam!

This week was a little different than usual.

On Tuesday, I tried fried breadfruit for the first time. It tasted just like French fries. Super good!  I've also been making peanut butter and guava jam sandwiches which are delicious.

Wednesday was rough. These guys came and tore out our broken countertops. Two of us had to be home all day which wasn't cool. They came back Saturday and still didn't finish. Hopefully they finish tomorrow.

We went to Spanish Town for zone conference on Thursday. It was cool to see a lot of missionaries that I knew there. I'm starting to actually meet a ton of other missionaries so I don't have to be the outcast from Yallahs anymore.

Elder Stewart was sick all weekend so I went proselyting a little bit on Saturday with Elder Kuehn so he could get out of the house. As we were walking, we talked a lot about finding people. Finding has been one of my biggest challenges as a missionary so far. However, as we continued, I looked over to see some people struggling to start their car. My mind wasn't really thinking about finding a person to teach, but without thinking, I asked them if they needed some help. They were super appreciative of our help and even told us they wanted to visit our church because we resemble "true Christianity." It was a huge morale booster as the majority of the week prior to that was pretty slow. I was flattered to hear from someone that we as missionaries resemble true Christians. That experience let me know that we are doing our job!

Mom note:  A couple weeks ago I received this picture from Elder Fowkes’ mom – naturally Cody was asked to elaborate:  I was going uphill really slow and tried to hop off too quick and the bike tipped over, so I either had to hold on to the handle bars and tumble onto the bike, or let go and be tripped by my front tire and land gracefully on the ground instead. I chose option two in that crisis situation haha. Then I was tired and embarrassed, so when Fowkes got his camera out I was like "No wait wait wai.... ugh fine..." So yep…

Happy late Father's Day Dad! I know I'm a day late, but I got to speak in Sacrament Meeting yesterday and bigged you up big time haha now the whole Yallahs Branch knows that Elder Graham's dad is Superman!!

We sometimes hear songs on the radio of buses and taxis that play old songs like "Letters From Home" and "I've Been Watching You" and "Something to Be Proud Of" and stuff like that. It's cool to listen to those songs at this point in my life and think about them from a missionary perspective. Sometimes it makes me a little homesick, but that is always drowned out by the work that I'm doing right now. I definitely know for sure that it really is a marvelous work and a wonder!

That's about all the crazy stuff for this week. I'm excited for my birthday coming up next week!  Note:  Cody's 19th birthday is June 30 - send him a happy birthday email if you get a chance!  We mailed his package on June 2... it will be interesting to see when he actually receives it!

Miss you guys!


Elder Graham

Another good shot of the beach
The usual Jamaican diet:  Rice and peas with chicken

Monday, June 8, 2015

Week #17 - The Lord Rains Down Blessings Even on Minions

What up Fam!

This week went by way fast. They're going faster and faster, it's crazy.

The zone leaders came to do district leader training for Elder Davidsen on Wednesday and then we went on splits for a few hours. Elder Rammell and I cruised around Yallahs in the truck which was pretty great. Trucks are kind of hard to maneuver around Yallahs because we usually take dirt trails on bikes, so I really have to think about how to get to certain places with a vehicle.

We spent Thursday morning at a members yard replacing rotted fence posts. Her yard has some sketchy cement structures that were there before she got there.

She says she has no idea what they are/were, but it basically looks like a bunch of sacrificial altars haha super creepy. The rest of Thursday was rough. We had one appointment after another text us and cancel on us throughout the whole day. So we spent most of the day trying to find new people to teach. Nada. Kind of tough but I definitely appreciated even the mediocre Friday that we had right after haha.

Saturday night, we couldn't sleep because there was a huge party going on at the cement factory nearby. Our beds were vibrating because of the bass of the speakers over there. It was like 1:30am and Elder Kuehn and I couldn't take it anymore so we called the cops on them. I don't think the police did anything about it but it was comforting at least. And then a few minutes later, it started to rain hard, then the music stopped hahaha it was great.
We were just sitting in our hose laughing like evil little minions as if we had anything to do with them stopping the music. But it was pretty late and we were all way tired. We were just happy it was done so we could sleep.

School is out here so we are going to start taking the youth teaching with us a lot more often now. I'm super stoked for that because the youth here all have incredible testimonies and they are not afraid to share them with strangers. It makes me feel bad whenever the missionaries took me teaching back home, I didn't understand what my role was but I see now that having members at lessons makes it SO much better!

Anyway, I'm doing great still. I'm having a blast and a half and it's only getting better. As always, love and miss you guys!


Elder Graham

Cut up bananas and coconut - they are way good frozen!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Week #16 - Grateful for Miracles as Long as They Don't Pinch

Wagwan family!  Patois for “What’s going on”

This week has been great as always. 

We met a woman on Tuesday who has been a member for years but hasn't been to church in forever. She said that earlier in the day, she was going through some papers and found a picture of her at church with some people. "And then you guys show up and now I know that the whole day was a big sign from God that I need to start coming back." She obviously used some Patois but that's basically what she said haha super cool. Miracles happen way often out here! She said she wants to stop smoking and she wants to be at church every week from now on (she came on Sunday!).

We had zone meeting in Kingston on Wednesday which was pretty fun. The four Yallahs elders were the only ones who participated in role plays and stuff during the meeting so...We're awesome.

Thursday night, we got home and were starting to plan, and then Elder Stewart and Elder Kuehn came in with a camera, so I knew for sure they did something to me and they were waiting for a reaction. I spent like five minutes trying to discreetly figure it out but I didn't and nothing happened haha so finally Elder Stewart was like "This is stupid." and came and pulled a huge crab out of my crate full of books. That would have been hilarious but I'm glad I didn't stick my hand into the crate because, well, you know why.

On Friday, I went on a 3-hour trade-off with Elder Stewart so we could go see a certain less-active in my area.

I finished the Book of Mormon for the first time out here on Saturday! I'm going to read it once every 100 days from now on. That is what President Brown has asked us to do and I'm stoked!

That's basically it for this week. Not too much happened, but another great week in the books. Also I've almost been out for four months already. Is time flying or is time flying?!  As always, love and miss you all!


Elder Graham

Elder Kuehn's manly house calendar

Elder Fowkes throwback

Members of the branch are trying to teach the elders the Usain Bolt pose.
Cody's not quite up to speed...

Instruction on hand placement

Elder Graham, how did you get the girls
back home with this kind of game??


Wellllllll... kind of.