"Did you hear that noise? That boom? That was my mind blowing." - Marshall Flinkman, ALIAS
Greetings Family, Friends, and Fans --
This will be my last e-mail from Jamaica for a while. I got the phone call this morning that I am being transferred, along with Sister Smith ... TO NASSAU in the BAHAMAS! We were sure we weren't going to get transferred, let alone off island since sisters, not even Jamaican sisters, have never served in the Bahamas before. I could get used to this groundbreaking thing. We leave Wednesday morning flying out of MoBay Airport. The adventure continues! I know God trusts me on this mission. It is a privilege to serve off island -- apparently a lot of Elders are jealous because you have to really work up to it and we're leaving so soon. I don't know what we did to deserve it. They said we lit a dead area on fire and they're really proud of us. I'm looking forward to the next leg of this amazing race! (Can you believe only 16 months left? Yikes!)
I will be sad to be leaving Lucea however. Karl was confirmed, got the gift of the Holy Ghost and ordained a Priest in the Aaronic Priesthood on Sunday. It will be hard not to continue on to see his growth. Not to mention we've been teaching Eddie Grant - the most AMAZING and hilarious guy who also is an amazing cook - and he has a baptism date for June 9th and we won't get to be here. That's a tid bit heartbreaking, and we just don't know the future of the Lucea Branch. It is hard to leave, always wondering what could have been if you stayed ... but that is the nature of the beast, I suppose. We have received loads of free mangos, tis the season, from various people and they are absolutely delicious. This sweet lady who is 120 years old if she's a day had us come to her house at 7am to get some. She shouted in her pajamas from her room "Life in Jamaica is hard ... but it is SWEET!" Amen lady. Amen.
Okay okay other news. I saw someone eat saltfish for the first time which was totally disgusting. They shoved an entire fish head in their mouth! That's just wrong. But I ate callaloo and breadfruit and both are totally delicious.We've been frying plantains and eating them with fried eggs for breakfast ... also delicious. Peanut and pumpkin flavored stuff is here a plenty ... also delicious. Oh and porridge and oats for breakfast? Yum. We painted a house for an investigator Marlon ... that was fun and I got paint all over my clothes. I love how when we teach here kids just gather around us and love to listen and sing. Random neighborhood kids come and join in the lessons with the whiteys and sing "I am a Child of God" with us. It reminds me of when Christ came and all the children came to Him. Kids can recognize light, I think. Speaking of Christlike, we climbed to the top of this mountain after it had finished raining for five hours straight. It was a mudslide. It was hand over hand, in my jumper no less, just to visit with this lady who got mad at us because we didn't give her any food. Then she started speaking in "tongues" and almost fell off her bed. That was a priceless experience. I felt like Indiana Jones. The coolest thing, and most Christlike thing I could even imagine, was when we got down off the mountain and I was covered in mud and carrying my shoes that were filled with mud and too heavy to wear, these strangers called us over and a lady washed my feet while her husband washed my shoes. We didn't even know them. It blew me away.
Bro. McLean in our branch -- I'm really gonna miss him. He has such a strong testimony of the priesthood and his calling and of the gospel. I'll miss Andrea, the atheist we were teaching who isn't really an atheist. I'll miss Sis. Chen-Sang, a return missionary who served in Atlanta in 2001 who is really struggling right now and needs a good support system. I'll miss Jennifer, who I can barely understand and who asked to have our clothes when we left. I'll miss Maris, who is the nicest lady and reminded me so much of my sisters I just wanted to stay around her forever. I'll miss Peter who always offers us food, and apparently grew up with Dudus Coke and Bob Marley. I'll miss Ernesto, an inactive member from the DR who we just met and his girlfriend Novlett who believes in the trinity despite all the evidence pointing to the contrary. I'll miss the people who refuse to listen to us, and the people who chat us from across the street. Ahhh Lucea. Nothin' like it.
I'm struggling with burnout at times. I feel so tired all of the time from the intense heat or intense rain. We climb the craziest hills (I get to drive when we get to Nassau) and the days are long, but the weeks fly by. I JUST WANNA BE AN AMAZING MISSIONARY! A consecrated one. A Dan-Jones-Missionary. I've been thinking a lot about "the errand of angels" -- no not that cheesy movie no one saw about sister missionaries -- but the actual term as in 'as sisters in zion'. I'm trying to figure out what that really means, and how I can apply that in my mission. I've noticed my usual sources of spiritual strength are in short supply out here (ie books, videos, music, movies, the temple, church, friends, family, etc). All the things and people and places that lift me up and inspire me are not at my fingertips. That forces me to really rely on my personal relationship with the Savior, my personal study skills, see how weak they are and learn to strengthen them and utilize them.
I've started keeping a dream journal cause I have the most random dreams out here. I've also loved watching THE RESTORATION dvd. Aside from the fact that I can't figure out if the guy transcribing when Joseph translates is Kirby Heyborne or not, and aside from the fact that the older Joseph looks exactly like Josh Johnson and it trips me out ... I love watching it! I love how it shows Joseph coming out of the sacred grove, and the look on his face. I had never really thought about the immediate aftermath of the first vision. That's such a cool thought!
Anyway, moving on now. Stay tuned, this jazz is just beginning. Wish me luck, keep me in your prayers and all of that. I love you all. Keep Lucea in your prayers as well as Nassau!
I miss my guitar!
*** SISTER PAYNE SAYS THAT SHE PLUGS IN EVERYTHING NORMALLY, JUST LIKE IN THE STATES.