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

Monday, May 24, 2004

Cayman Makes You Forget!

Dear family,

You'll have to forgive the short email, but the computers have been such a hassle today. I've spent so much time trying to get this computer working. When I finally got the internet to work, I started having trouble with the LDS mail site. Please mail next weeks letters to both the LDS mail address and this hotmail address (just in case). It has been a roller coaster week. Things went well, yet poorly. One highlight was that Mrs. Chin visited church! I think she really enjoyed it. We are still working with them, Tomas, and a handful of less effective people. My companion is really gung-ho to get this area teaching 20 discussions to catch up with the rest of the mission. We stayed up a little late last night talking about motives, desire, effectiveness, etc. He really holds my admiration. He talks about giving up lunches and dinners (we already hardly ever take dinners) and going on splits to get more done, etc. He seems never satisfied. He's a work horse and sometimes I feel that he needs to love the people more and go through the motions less. Of course we talked about that and he knows that too. His heart is in the right place and I think mine is now too. I need to sacrifice more and strive to teach more people. One things I have noticed about Cayman is without much contact by the leaders to push you and follow up with you, the numbers go down. Nobody is apostate, at least not on my watch, but the mission focus is dimmer, and you just go about doing good. There is a good and bad side to it. I've been affected a little by the bad. I'm reminded of the movie HOOK, "Cayman (Neverland) makes you forget! Never forget!"

An inspirational story from my companion got my mind, and more importantly my heart, set straight. I have an increased desire to teach and we set the goal to teach  twenty discussions this week. My companion is a good guy and he and I think that with our combined methods of missionary work that maybe some good will come of it all! I think the important thing that I needed to remember is not to do what he or I think is right, but what the Lord knows is right. Elder Gillespie said it best, "we want missionaries who do it all well. We want capable, free-thinking, well-rounded missionaries who do it all. We want quality and quantity."

So to make a long story short, I'm going to sacrifice to get twenty. And I know I'm doing it for the right reason. Anyhow, I've spent my time blabbing about that! I'm happy, well fed, and tan, and I love the work. I'm having some amazing experiences. Congrats on graduation Sarah, good luck Brian. Hang in there, just another four years, ha ha. I'm glad Seth is okay. Now that everything is cool, I'll have a chuckle or two as I think of him flying over the handlebars. Mom and dad, don't pull any funny business and move! That's pretty crazy about the Lindley’s. Oh, I almost forgot. I remember as a boy you asked me if my massive tonsil in the back of my mouth ever bothered me and I said no. Well, it does now! I keep getting food stuck back there. Its pretty nasty and annoying. Anyhow, I have to go. One ingrown toe healed the other is still pretty rough.

Elder King

Monday, May 3, 2004

Goat Hair and Ashes

Dear family,

It's been a good week. My companion, Elder Jones from Liberty Utah, is a good missionary. He works hard and is strictly obedient. He came and kind of wanted to see some changes, getting rid of community service and tracting much more. At first I was annoyed and a little prideful. I had felt that we did too much community service and was ready to cut back, but I have grown to love all those kid in the after school club, and it frustrated me when he came in here and after two days wanted to take the reins, change the horses, paint the carriage, and travel down some new roads. After I got over my pride and gave it some thought and prayer, my heart was humbled, we talked about missionary work here, and we've made some changes, entirely for the better. I know I wasn't called on a mission to do service to the community, and though tracting is said to be less effective in Cayman we have taught a good number of first discussions from it and will increase it more. We will continue to work with members, even though my companion gets fidgety at the thought, though he agrees it can be effective. We cut down dramatically on the service, though one day a week we'll spend two hours, and it will count as our lunch at the after school club, so I can enjoy those little rascals and assist the organization that looks to us for help. We used to go twice a week for three hours a piece. It was a humbling thing to make all these changes in the way things have been going. My last companion and I did good work, but Elder Jones an I will do better work. Thanks to the promptings of the spirit, a wonderful sacrament service, and a couple of prayers, I've been able to recognize my folly, robe myself in a goat hair cloak and pour ashes on my head and body--a humbling weekend indeed.

A few more of the wonderful members of the branch in Cayman are departing. One to Utah, one to Honduras. But filling the spots is a new girl (also from Utah), and a member from Jamaica. The Lord is providing the way for this small branch to continue. I love it here. I'm struggling to stay focused and diligent. It hasn't anything to do with home’s beckoning call, as much as with the day-to-day diligence to to think not of myself but of others, to open my mouth, and to keep the rules and commandments to a “T”. Satan is a roaring lion, isn't he? When he's not tearing at me and my companion, he attacks the new members and investigators. I tell you the Prince of Lies doesn't sleep. As I learned in church, he'll get us by erosion, not explosion, a little bit at a time. Flirtation, fascination, fixation. In that order. I'm reminded of one of the prophets words, "If you cross the devils line one inch, you lose your ability to think clearly and are in the tempters power." What a stress! I'm thankful for out Savior, who suffered for us so that we can repent and find peace. I know that fasting and prayer are powerful ways of calling down the aid of heaven.