Monday, August 25, 2014

August 25, 2014

Well, where to start. This week was great and my vision continues to unfold and brighten each day! On Tuesday we went and saw a less active, she is awesome. We also taught a few of her friends that were there playing bingo. Her husband used to be the branch pres. As we were cleaning out our area book we found about 50 referrals from that family that hadn’t been baptized, but probably another 50 were baptized from this one family. The power of one is awesome. We look forward to working with this family more! 
Wednesday we had zone conference with Elder Cornish of the second quorum of the sevent., We had district leader council right before and he upped our standards of excellence with a new vision. If we are to baptize weekly, we will need more than 1 progressing each week, we need at least 4! Gosh, that guy is brilliantly led by the spirit. The meeting was very much about seeking after the one. Also on the missionary purpose, the doctrine of Christ and the process of true conversion. It was a great meeting. I forgot my notes so I can’t quote my favorite parts, but from it we were asked to prepare two talks in preparation for the meeting. I was certain I wouldn’t be called, but I am glad I did prepare something. I was asked to share my views on process of true conversion. I spoke on what we must "feel, know and understand" to be converted. I'm so thankful to have had President Brown as my mission president and the parents, brothers, family and friends that have been placed in my life to begin to accomplish this process in my life! I want to be like so many of you when I grow up! Conversion is the only path that is mine for the taking! That was the last part of the meeting focus. Are you converted and will you forever remain that way?! We had a question and answer session as well and gained some good insights there. It was a great meeting sorry I forgot my notes to share some insights, you will just have to trust me on that note!
After the meeting Elder Cornish had interviews with zone leaders and district leaders. It was sweet. He gave me some tips for the mission and for life after. We didnt get home til 10. 
Thursday we went to work calling formers, meeting with members and doing all we could to get at least 4 progressing and Elder Cornish was right, it can be done. Jamaica or any part of the world is no different. You can have many progressing, you can have great things happen in your life no matter your circumstances. It comes back to your perception, attitude and the amount of work you are willing to put in! We had 4 come to church this past Sunday and looking forward to seeing 4 more this week! 
The Ochi or Ocho Rios branch is very small. Many members have moved abroad. We had about 35 there for the Sacrament. The Sisters taught gospel principles and I taught priesthood class for the young men! I love Ochi, but there is work to be done. One thing I don’t like about Ochi is there is always tourists around and as cool as it is to be shouted out to by some white Mormons, it’s weird to see a lot of white people... haha! weird huh. But I love the mission work, it’s going great. Some days it feels like a dream, but I heard it once said, I think by the Osmond brothers, that earth life is like summer camp. It’s short and fun, but there are rules. Love you all -  enjoy your time back in school! Bless!

Elder Wilkerson

Monday, August 18, 2014

August 18, 2014

This week has been all over. I went on a trade off to Kingston with Elder Prete. It was great, lots of driving too. Shantel is getting baptized this week, and several moving along steadily! Hopefully I’ll get back before they get baptized, hopefully not before this transfer ends! Oh wait, did I say I am in Ochi now! Elder Egan went home early for school and with 3 weeks left in the transfer they thought it would be a great opportunity for me to train the next district leader and to friendship with those in my zone that live so far away. It’s been great so far even though I only have been here since 7 this morning! We cleaned the house and that’s why I am late emailing you.. sorry, it will be short! I’m now serving with Elder Hall and Elder Whitlock is in a tripanionship friendshipping with the 4 elders in Mobay! Pretty cool I must say even though I’m back pon a bike. 
Elder Cornish from the seventy is coming this Wednesday and I need to write 2 talks in preparation for it, but it should be a neat experience. He also may do interviews with the zone leaders, pros and cons I guess, haha. 
But this week was good I must report. Many spiritually uplifting meetings and everyone is doing really good. We are teaching people that love to read the Book of Mormon! So good. But I guess the cool experience or highlight this week would be an appointment with Elder Prete.  The guy we met at a huge place with lots of noise and music playing by the end of the lesson and probably a huge chunk of it we were so involved, all of us and the spirit was strong that we didn’t really hear anybody or the music playing. The spirit blocked it all out. It’s so cool to see what we can accomplish and even the little tender mercies or miracles per say when we are on the Lord’s errand. Thy will be done. I’m excited for the 3 weeks I get to learn here and grow where I am planted. Bless you all and a safe and successful school year to all that are starting once more! Love you!

Elder Wilkerson 

Monday, August 11, 2014

August 11, 2014

This week was so fabulous. I'm so thankful to serve with Elder Whitlock. We get along so well which has been nice to have someone else helping Me fulfil our duties. Don't get me wrong, I loved training, but it’s different and stretching me to be here in Montego Bay in a great opportunity to serve my fellow missionaries. 
This week I have felt the spirit stronger than I have in quite a while. We have been blessed with many people that would categorize as "Elect"! 
      Monday we got lots of things done, it feels very good to have a full day, nothing more terrible to feel when you’re idle. That evening we collected some of the home teachers and took them to our recent converts! Gosh, I really wish everyone could catch the drift of Home Teaching, it was powerful and so very important to their staying active. We are having a FHE with the same individuals tonight!
    Tuesday was interesting, we did service at a homeless shelter, took way longer than anticipated. After though we had some great lessons. We met with a lady named Maurica. The Elder before had left the family with a Book of Mormon, but hadn't been able to see much cuz the baby’s father was having lots of medical issues. Turns out he thinks we are a cult and doesn't want to meet with us. Maurica and her 11 year old daughter are Solid though! We show up and they are in 1 Nephi 16, read some D&C and Pearl of Great Price, on top of watched ALL the discs multiple times in the Doctrine and Covenants videos and have a testimony and a knowledge that the Book of Mormon and the prophet Joseph Smith is true! Built my faith soo much to hear an investigator willingly say that! Gosh it’s been awhile since I have seen Elect Faith! Only problem now is getting separate houses and then get some baptismal dates, but other than that; great!
That same evening boy can I tell you what... we were sooo late to our next appoint so what do we do?? Speed to the next appointment going 200 km/hr!!!  Of course not!!! We latter day saints are law abiding citizens, totally changed my heart watching a different elder on Constant Spring get a ticket, not that getting the ticket was scary but the words the officer used hurt. "Oh you are a Mormon, and a missionary for Jesus Christ and you drive like that?" yikes, we represent after baptism in covenant at all times, places that we are in. Yes, I've been guilty in the past but that was a heart change experience. Just something to consider.. but yes as we were going 50 kph and if lucky sometimes 80 kph we show up an hour late or so to our appointment. It was a good lesson, no doubt. But the experience before was another faith builder, Jeffrey R Holland once said "obedience is the first law of anything!" and any blessing that we obtain it is due to obedience to the law it was predicated (D&C 130:20-21). Prior to the lesson there was a man mating his dog with our investigators’ and if we had shown up at the time planned we would have missed him! Everything we shared with him rang a bell, clicked for him and he was searching for this he says. We have an appointment this week.
I’ll try to cut things short! Needless to say my faith has increased ten fold in the converting power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon, and the power of prayer!
    Wednesday we also met with a man named Crishnah. He is opening a 5 star restaurant. He was way busy but always makes time for us. And he told us " I don't know what it is, but I feel calm when I come and meet with you guys, and I yearn after that feeling." (married to a member that lives in the states.) Whoa! There it is again! Spirit power away! He also had a friend there that works at a successful law firm. We retaught him and taught her the restoration. The spirit was powerful and she has great desire to learn more. One of the favorite parts of meeting with her was at the end she said " I can’t come to church this Sunday, actually wait.. I can make time." Everyone always says a next time, but you could tell it was routine for her, but she felt something this time!
    Thursday we had Missionary Leadership Council. It was 7 hours in freezing a/c! but the things learned were great, another very edifying meeting! I got my driving privileges and drove the 5 hours home. Driving on the opposite side was harder than I thought it would be. I definitely put a little mud on the tires and ran it through a few bushes in the attempt to dodge semis, taxis, potholes, and even black men, on black  bikes, in a black night, on terrible roads! Great experience. I feel much better bout the driving now!
   Friday met a man named Kemar. He took it as a sign meeting us. He loves to read the bible and listen to talks from pastors and such. He downloaded just two weeks earlier the same picture that is on the front of our restoration pamphlet! He is super spiritual and in the middle of soon getting married! 
   Saturday we had a wedding to attend for our investigator marrying a less active! Great opportunity to find many high up family people. But one of the highlights this week or I guess doctrine stuck in my head is Eternal marriage. Also taught in priesthood class and Pres Brown gave some insights on marriage in our council for some reason. We are so blessed to have it the way we do in this church. The doctrine of the temple and togetherness for time and all eternity are beautiful. The ceremony was.. strange and learned a lot, but good experience.! 
I love serving the Lord! He is returning numerous blessings my way! So thankful for the atonement of our Brother Christ, so super to be able to change and do much better day to day! Serving a mission is the best use of time for anyone! No regrets, I wish I could extend or start over! Thank you for all your love and support and prayers to get through the rough and push on to help our brothers and sisters! Bless you all! Nuff love!

Elder WIlkerson

Elder Whitlock and I in the truck

Monday, August 4, 2014

August 4, 2014

I’ll try to answer your questions. I got 15 minutes to type. I’m learning to budget my time real well in this position along with everything else like finally money, travel miles, and more! 
How’s the work in MontegoBay? The work in Montego Bay is great! The members gave some powerful testimonies today. The branch is definitely smaller than the last, guess that’s why it’s a branch. We have close to 300 less actives in our area. We cover anything that is not capable to reasonably bike. Which is anything outta town! Nuff work and roads to learn.  But got some great members to work with. Their big focus is in reactivation, not missionary work.. some struggle there.

What are your days like now and what are your new responsibilities? The days are I would say more effective. We gotta plan well to stay in mileage limitation of 4000 KM. Other than transfers and other president assignments, the days are much of the same, but in a truck! In a/c! But as for transfers, going over the speed limit to get everyone picked up from their areas it took 10 hours. Then my elder got a ticket.. but so did the assistants on Wednesday, haha both for 5000$. But we made a resolve to go the speed limit and it took 13 to go back! Wow. But the Lord will provide a way to accomplish and we must obey the laws! #'s need to be reported by 10 at night. We have like 12 companionships in our zone? And then follow calls and planning through out the week for meeting and improvement of the work! Missionary leadership correlation meeting once a month. So another 1000 km easy. That is this Thursday.  Thankfully, I have been around the island a lot to help Elder Whitlock with directions, as he doesn't know too well!

 Do you still do regular missionary stuff or is it all just overseeing the other missionaries?  We don't do lots of overseeing.. we may have to fix problems but just like any other position or calling first minister 80% then maybe administering is needed 20%. But more serving, blessing, inspiring and encouraging than anything else! 

 Who's your new companion and what is he like? My new companion is Elder Whitlock  from Nephi. He is two transfers behind me but twice the missionary, very great example and dedicated to the work and who he is becoming. I’m excited to learn and work side by side with him! He is very humble, and reserved for the most part. But he knows when to stick his foot in and open his mouth! Great Elder!

  How are you liking the truck? The truck makes me so tired... whoosh! It’s nice on the spiritual side of it though. We’re able to listen to uplifting music, talks especially on the long trips!, opportunity to pray together privately often and of course a/c works well! Plus, it’s just fast and fuel is reimbursed even if it does take a big chunk of cash. Almost $10,000 to fuel up every 5-7 days! 

Well, sorry this is soo short. Hopefully I can fill you some details and some more spiritually enlightening details next week! I love you all so much, thanks for your encouragement and prayers. Hope you all have a blessed week!
Elder Whitlock

The church in Montego Bay