Thursday, April 18, 2013

KAME HA-ME HAAA!!!!! (Ask Brian)

Dear family,

Let me give you a bit of an overview of life in Jamiaca:

The weather here is awesome. True, it is darn hot and sometimes after I am in an air conditioned building and I come out the humidity seems thick but I am pretty used to it for the most part. I rains her almost every day. Today for P-day we played soccer in the pouring rain…it was awesome. The Jamaicans thought we were crazy. They have a phobia that rain will give you pneumonia. When the rain comes it comes like a shower. It can be pouring hard like ten feet away from you…kind of like The Truman Show when he’s on the beach. It is amazing.

Everything is so green here. And wet. It’s great. The poverty here is a downside. There are madmen on the street. They are harmless, homeless, and crazy. Along with the poverty is immorality which I hate. I would vent more about it if I had the time.

On Saturday we did service. I got to use a machete to cut down foliage around a school. They also use machetes to cut yard. You crouch down really low and start chopping. You hold a stick in front of your foot so you don’t chop yourself. It was hard but fulfilling. The sweat dripped off me like crazy. I felt like an islander. Breadfruit tastes like potatoes (sort of). We fried some up and they tasted like fries. I also had some passion fruit (very tasty) and papaya (tastes like carrots but has some nasty seeds). The pineapple here is to die for. I also had some ackee. It is a fruit that tastes likes eggs when cooked…but not as good…and if you don’t cook it right it can poison you so I won’t try that too much.

Elder Smith is from Calgary Alberta. He is darn cool. The more missionaries I get to know, the happier I am that he is my trainer. No problems there. We are trying to be obedient and work hard. Last week was full of cancelations and a little rough but we’re hoping for a good week (when I say rough I mean nothing to do except tracting, which can be very ineffective). Elder Smith says elders always get packages but we aren’t sure if it is DOL or UPS. You’ll have to see.

Spiritually I feel like I am growing. It is frustrating to have to learn so much while other missionaries are so wise, but my knowledge of the gospel and discussion are growing. It’s all a matter of time.

Yikes Sarah! My heart jumped when I read about the car accident but not as much as when I heard you’ve been on a first date. I hope you had fun. Don’t be a prune (I think I meant prude). Date and have fun, but don’t you dare get a boyfriend. Elder Smith has a sister going to BYU and we had a talk about how protective we are of our younger sisters. You better be good. I’ve already seen lives destroyed in Jamaica. People here fight and kill about things like boyfriends and girlfriends and silly things. Girls here in the church have to go to America to get a decent fellow for the most part…so date them all! As long as you date a variety, I’ll keep my heart locked up and have strong eyes. I can’t believe Brian is in junior high. That is wild. I hope the family has all watched Lord of the Rings. Not that that has anything to do with you Brian. Hang with your friends, stay away from any and all girls (dad, council him against immoral media of all kinds), keep Nintendo limited (play it definitely but keep it under control). I know an elder who is an addict. He can’t stop thinking Nintendo. He even brought his Gameboy on his mission. I know you aren’t like that Bud. Just polish up those sports. I may be rusty at tennis but I am getting a lot of basketball and soccer. And swinging that machete is going to give me a mean forehand hit. Bless.

MOM! I need addresses for the Romney’s, King’s, Jakey’s mission address, the Dayley’s, Bergstrom’s, Rick’s, Pace’s family, and you need to give me an extra $30.00 for tithing because I need my conscience clear and blessings with my budget here! All very important. Oh, I can probably get a watch and clock here so don’t worry about that. I do want an ab roller. Please send it to me. Then I can have a tough stomach to help my back support for my backpack. Anyhow, I hope I got everything down here.

One Love,

Elder King


P.S. I met this kid who is fourteen years old and he’s bigger than Ken Ward…like the size of Brother Kam. That is one big hombre.   

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

8/19/2002 – It’s Already Monday

Dear Family,

It was nice to hear from all of you. I don’t have time to write you all back today let alone just this letter. I’ll make it short. Jamaica is treating me wonderful. But before I tell you all about it let me say that mom, I got your Canada letter a day or two ago…I’m sure I will get the rest soon. They say mail here is slow but very reliable. Today I mailed you the negatives of some pictures. I would have sent the actual pictures but it costs more and I like to save money so I can buy Cinnamon Toast Crunch to go with my powdered milk. I’m trying to eat healthy though. I am starting to get a lot of fruit, so many different kinds of passion fruit, breadfruit, guineps, ackee, and much more. If you need explanations remind me and I’ll tell you more about the food another time. Let’s just say there is enough chicken to last me a while…its strange because chickens and goats roam around Linstead. Today I saw this goat wondering around the town among people and cars and markets and such. It struck me as darn funny.

I know how you feel dad about not knowing anything at the first of the mission. I have learned a ton already and the language is getting better. Here are some quick stories: We got cast out of a church we were invited to visit (a great story). This Rasta guy told us God was black and that he had dreadlocks, and we taught this guy name Alamo Black (this is the best story of the thousands I wish I could tell). We found him on the streets. He looked distressed and told us he was running from the law and a gang because he cut one of the gang members hands off with a machete. (We have machete’s that we use to carve coconuts—and kill rats if we see any.) We got together with Alamo at our place (which we admit was stupid) and after convincing him that we wouldn’t tell the police, we taught him a powerful first discussion. I finally have the first discussion memorized which feels great. Alamo wants to change his life and serve God. He was sincere and we committed him to baptism. Honestly, before that he confessed to have murdered seven people, was a coke addict, and lived with a girl (though that last was isn’t really uncommon in JamDown). For some reason it didn’t bother us that we had a murderer scheduled for baptism on Thursday…then we called President Angus…(silence)…”FORGET IT!” I guess murderers need to talk to the first presidency and serve their sentence according to the law. So we had to break it to this guy that he couldn’t be baptized unless he served a life sentence. We felt horrible. Luckily, the guy disappeared. Hopefully he was caught by the police and not the rival gang. I hope he serves his sentence and remembers the missionaries and the Spirit that he felt. The Lord used us for this Alamo Black, I have no doubt.

Hopefully that makes sense. I have to go. Thank you so much for the letters. I promise to write you some better replies next time. Sarah, did mom use my old gentile CDs to get you a CD you wanted? I hope so. I hope you had a happy birthday. Thanks again. As the Rastafarians would say: “Bless, one love, peace my brothers (and sis and mom!).” By the way, Rastafarian’s are guys with dreads who rarely cut their hair (kind of like Samson). Sanka off Cool Runnings is kind of a Rasta. Speaking of which I have seen a lot of push carts.

So much to tell, no time to tell it. I love my family and am very safe and happy, excited to be learning, teaching, and growing in the gospel, the only true gospel of Jesus Christ. Bless.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

8/12/2002 - “THIS IS ELDER KING!!!”

I’m just enjoying the happiness Preparation Day brings! I will always have access to email at my hotmail address so let’s use it. I’ll be online every Monday for an hour to read all your letters. And tell Seth and Jessica to write me too…well actually send me their address so I can add them to my list, then tell them to write me. I can only write family so don’t get to loose with my address. No need for added temptation.

So let’s talk about Jamaica and the caravan of Kings. I love it here. It was a definite culture shock but not too bad. And don’t worry about me getting any fatal bug bites…the missionaries here think it is all nonsense. I’m serving in a place called Linstead in the North Coast Zone. Before I was called I was scared I would get stuck in Kingston…which wouldn’t be bad except given the tour (including Bob Marley’s Trench town) and thought I would rather serve away from the city which is full of poverty and crime and not too pretty. The Lord heard my prayers which is both good and bad. The A.P. told me my area and said it was deep in the Bush (that’s what we call the less populated places in the tropics). He said it wasn’t the worst, but it was the worst assigned to the district.  After a sad goodbye to the elders I’d spent so much time with, I left President Angus and the mission home. He and his wife are awesome. She has a really quite voice, almost a whisper. President Angus says: “I’m deaf in one ear and can’t hear in the other.” They are an odd but powerful couple. When I had my interview with him I was sooo darned pumped. Then I entered the Bush…

It is sooo beautiful here. There is poverty and such but the mountains are so green and I feel like I’ve stepped on the island in Jurassic Park. And it is hot. Not as bad as I figured but it is definitely hot and humid. We played basketball for P-Day and the heat saps your energy so fast. I’ve never been so hot and sweated so much. My companion is a Canuck named Elder Jordan Smith. He is great. He is a nice guy, laid back, but a darn hard worker just overflowing with obedience. My prayers were answered, we should do well. I taught a first discussion and it went alright. We had a Book of Mormon stand where we did some street preaching…it was fun (truth be told it was really scary)…the biggest problem I am facing is memorizing the discussions and worse…I can’t understand a word they say. Even the English is tricky! The Patois seems impossible! What would you say to: “Eh tall bwoy, whagwon? Eh? Ye bockle slip out!” Translation: Hey tall boy (that is all I understood), what’s going on? Hey your bottle is falling out.” (my water bottle was falling out of my backpack.) It may not sound to hard but throw in an accent that is sooo different and I am one lost tall boy among a ton of Jamaicans. My companion assures me it will get better…I hope so…because it puts a barrier in front of people. I gave an eight minute talk in church on happiness through trials (because they have a ton of trials and most of them smile and smile). Speaking of which, the kids here are the cutest kids I’ve ever seen. I was afraid of coming home and loving black girls…I didn’t think I would fall to what the missionaries call the Coco Puff Theory. But I think already with the kids…so darn cute and funny and they love you and talk to you, etc. I’ve seen none cuter except likkle Lydia. The branch is small but there are plenty of strong members. One new member named Eurton is so on fire. He comes speaking in that loud Jamaican voice: “Me broders, me elders! Me cummin to visit me church of God. I stand to it. You stand to it. Let us find dose lost sheep. In de good lords name, amen!” This guy sounds a likkle (little) crazy, but he is planted firmly on the rock. They like loud music and I’m in chicken heaven…let’s see…write me soon. So far so good. Encouragement and updates from the home is needed. Oh, and if you can, send me my ab roller, a small digital alarm clock, a cheap watch, and prayers. With any luck I’ll get that stuff for Christmas (mail is reliable but slow) except the prayers: those I feel now.


Oh yeah, before I go, people say hello here in so many ways: “Alright!” “Yes!” “Good day!” “My brother!” “Peace!”

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Shiny White Shirts

Dear family,

It sounds like a bunch of good times over there! I'm glad. I'm proud of my little sister and cousin and Anthony, for their success in schooling. Mostly proud of princess Sarah. Way to be! I'm sure they'll have a grand time in old England. The European people I know here are very polite, unless you knock on their door wearing a shirt, tie, and tag. They can be so politely RUDE. I can't help but love the Caribbean people more sometimes. But truly, Englanders are great! I have some of their blood, don't I? Speaking of shirt, tie, and tag, THANK YOU for the wonderful package. Those two shirts, garments, beautiful tie, and tack were needed and appreciated. What a spoiled child I am. It is so hot here. I seem to step into people houses dripping in sweat. Those shiny white shirts, with the sun shining on them, may get us in a few doors. We taught over twenty discussions, and the work is going great. The real excitement comes from the Chins, I am excited about their progress. Satan never sleeps though, and he always seems to be harassing the best we've got. No matter, he can't stop the humble human heart that is tuned to God's truth. I feel such love for the Chins, Tomas, the members, etc. I have an ache in my heart, for I know that I have but one Sunday left in Cayman, next week are transfers, and I hear I have to go...If this wasn't God's work, I'd kick and scream and demand I stay for another six weeks, and still serve in Jamaica on an extension. But I suppose that if this wasn't God's work I wouldn't stick around to do it, would I? What a stress.

Mr. Chin is moving slow, and Mrs. Chin wants to know more so baptism hasn't been set. Tomas can't get work off to come to church, so he is moving slowly too. Other than that we have a vast group that we are just following up with, to see if they want to know more.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Gardening in JamDown

Dear family,

I'm so happy. First, we played basketball today and I met a lot of new missionaries I've never met before. Most guys I know really well have gone home. But I still know and am getting to know others, especially those in the zone. I have my work cut out for me. I feel like I've reentered the war. Our zone seems kind of rocky, our car is a disgrace, our house is a mess, and there has been some apostasy in the mission and some elders got sent home. Mostly for pride. Its going to be a challenge, but I'm really excited to do a good job. The happy stuff is this, a lot of the new missionaries I met told me about my old areas and people that talked about me. In Junction, a daughter and cousin were baptized. We taught the original family. I was also pleased to hear of old investigators that are still getting worked with and new converts who are still keeping the faith. In Portmore, Keasha, the girl I baptized, is engaged to another member. Also , Bro Grant is doing great. Its wonderful to be with some old missionary friends. I love these guys and the work. My companion is super buff and has a fun personality. He is full of sincerity and I know we'll serve well together. We have a greenie in the house. Its wonderful to watch him and remember the good old days. Tomorrow is zone leader council and I am excited to get further instruction and inspiration for my calling.
It sounds like things at home are cris. I am glad Sarah is having fun in England. I'm excited to swap stories with her. Good luck Brian in the scouting thing. It will probably be really cool. Thanks mom and dad for all the support. I met Elder Summer's family. They took us out for breakfast. She seemed really nice. Kind of reminded me of mi mum. Sure do love you and glad you had a fun time in Pinecrest. Oh, by the way, how much Greek blood do I have in me? Just curious (my comp want to know).

Life is just so good. I'm trying to push myself and hope I can continue faithfully in the work. I know there are some sinful weeds in my life that need pulling and some gospel flowers that need planting. I guess that is what it is all about.
Elder King

Monday, June 7, 2004

Zone Leader II: A King In Kingston

Dear family,

First, before I forget, taking a class about Shakespeare sounds pretty terrible. British Lit sounds better but they both sound extremely hard. Hopefully you can go with the first plan you sent me. Anyway, I'll just chill and hope you can get my future set up. If possible, I'd like a short day (or no day) on Fridays. Also, a piano class might be cool...I don't know if they do such things...don't worry about it.

I can't believe my time in Cayman is almost up. I leave on Wednesday. It is quite a shocker, and my heart aches to leave all the friends I've made. There is so much work to be done! Mrs, Chin came to church again. They are Caymanian but I see a hint of Chinese and American in them. We couldn't see them at all last week because they had family from Houston visiting but we are seeing them tonight. Tomas has been really busy with work too--as soon as things slow down he'll get baptized for sure. With transfers coming up, hints of disobedience in the ranks, and focuses shifting, I fell kind of 'out of the mission' and hope I can get back into the swing of things. I'll have to because I got a call from President Turner. He called me to be a zone leader for the Kingston Zone. He thanked me for my service in the past and hoped I do well for him now. I told him I'd do my best. I;m excited to lead (hopefully this time I can do it right) and work with the missionaries. it will really keep me going the last part of my mission. The down side is I won't be out in the bush and that I'll still be in a car (sigh). I was getting really excited to walk again...I've gained about 13 pounds here in Cayman and it looks like I may not be able to lose it as easily as I'd hoped. Now, it will just take pure discipline (sigh). My next companion will be Elder Schumacher . He's from Arizona. I know him a little. He's pretty strong and was into body building back home so he can probably help me get in shape.

Oh yeah, Sister Robinson bore her testimony on Sunday. It was awesome. She is doing so well. The branch is going great and I'm sad to leave these good members. But I must. I am excited to go back to Jamaica and be in Kingston (the thick of it all). I hope you all have a fun trip to California and Sarah in England. Crazy.

Elder King

Monday, May 31, 2004

“How Do You Pick Up the Threads of An Old Life?”

Dear Mom,

I have your letter before my eyes, and to tell you quite honestly, it scares me to death. I realize when I left for Jamaica I was majoring in English. I don't know if that is still for me. The only reason I went for it in the first place is because I love literature, reading, writing, etc. I have no idea what career opportunities it presents. I'm prayerfully hopeful that I get my future started on the right track. I guess they say to do what you love, so I'll stick with English (though I don't think teaching it is for me and I think becoming a novelist is far-fetched-- what else can I do with English that I'd be happy in? Anyhow, decision made, feels right, English it is. Book of Mormon sounds good. If some of the "brethren" get in on the tennis count me in: DEFINITLY.

As for science, I am fascinated by astronomy and this planet. Labeling organs and body fluids was never my cup of tea. Better go for the physical science, though I hope it is not a wicked deception by a manipulative mother! The outdoor class sounds really nice. Thumbs up! Yea, lets wait on the math, the very thought makes me wish the second coming will be tomorrow, though I'm extremely ill-prepared. Do they teach math in the Terrestrial Kingdom?

The required English course Literature Interpretation. sounds difficult but nice. Yes on that. As for the English emphasis...(drum roll)
Literature. (Personally I think creative writing sounds nice, but I gave it a prayer and fell the Lord told me literature. I hope I'm not just being weird. Also, please explain to me what this emphasis means in the grand scheme of things. I'll continue to give it thought and prater, but as for now, I feel that literature came to my mind while I prayed. Hopefully, I'm not an idiot that thinks too much. Please explain what this choice means to my collegiate future.

There you have it: the outline of my future. Be nice!! Hopefully things don't get lost in cyberspace.

I love you mom!
Elder King