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!”