Salutations Family, Friends, and Fans --
Yet again this will be a letter of a bunch of random thoughts because that is just the easiest way for me to express myself.
Happy 4th of July! Here Sis. Smith and I made hamburgers in a skillet, got some Lays and drank some Pepsi like real Americans. Bahamian independence day is the 10th, right around the corner so it is a week of celebration for sure! Lookin' forward to fireworks (hopefully).
We went to Paradise Island ... lifestyles of the rich and the famous. Whooooo. The rooms in the arch in the Atlantis range from $10,000 a night to $25,000. Isn't that madness? They have regular rooms of course and on special that are like $350 a night. It was cool to just be able to get out and see some tourist sights, especially after being in Lucea where you kinda think you're never gonna see anything like that ever again. It made me feel very ... humble walking by 8 million dollar yachts called "Serenity" and "Milk Money". But then you cross over the bridge and get back into the ghetto neighborhoods. So so interesting.
The Ockeys are ridiculously rich, by the way. I just thought I'd throw that out there.
We've been calling all the former investigators and following up with them. We really only have picked up three I think, out of calling like 75. Madness.
Melony rocks -- she has this LIGHT in her eyes when we visited with her for the first time since she's been baptized. It was like she was a person, plugged in to be brighter like a lamp. It was very exciting for us and we just love visiting with her. She's so rad - I'm stoked to have a friend like her.
I haven't had really any need to learn Creole yet (I mean, an urgent need) and we haven't really had any time to learn it. I'm still trying little by little.
Time flies. I've been in Nassau over a month already!
Time crawls. Yesterday felt like it would never end.
I have mini burnouts. Like a day where I'm like "I don't want to do anything today" ... but it lasts a day and I wake the next day ready to go. And Sis. Smith is so diligent she always keeps me on my best behavior :)
We have hilarious members in the branch. I'm not gonna bother explaining it because you really have to be there to see it to believe it. But know that I'm constantly laughing, every day, and especially Sunday. Except for yesterday - we had a horrible relief society meeting and all the sisters were being very catty and arguing. It is kinda the culture, but it made me really upset and I felt so flustered. I buried my head in my hands and just started praying. The lesson was about charity and love after all, and I felt nothing but contention. I know part of why I was called here was to be "an example of the believers" especially to the sisters here. It can just feel like a fruitless effort sometimes.
We got fed a whole-body fish the other day. BLECH! I'm glad they put it in a to-go box for us to bring home so I could eat some mac and cheese and Sis. Smith ate her fish and mine. I just couldn't do it man. Maybe one day, but right then and there I was like -- this isn't happening. I'm only so brave.
Your commitment for this week is to read "Sharing the Gospel with Confidence" by M. Russell Ballard, in this month's issue of the Liahona or you can find it on newsroom.lds.org. It was such a good article about not being defensive. Read it!
A mission is really preparation for the rest of your life. I have decided that is very true, and had many experiences confirming that to me lately. President Spencer W. Kimball said -- " Your mission is preparation. It is your school for eternity. You won't forget that, will you? This mission is not just a two-year stretch. This is the time when you cultivate the seeds of godhood so you can help other people on their way toward exaltation. How small are we who think of the mission as just being a stretch of time, some physical things to do, a little studying to do, some praying. This is the most purposeful thing, perhaps, you have ever done in your life and possibly the most purposeful thing some of you will ever do. It's up to you to let this be the prelude to your life, to let it be the beginning of a great and glorious life." This is JUST THE BEGINNING! =D
I want to take piano lessons when I get home. It is currently my greatest "when i get home" desire. I will continue songwriting. I love it so much!
NEVER GIVE UP! NEVER SURRENDER!
I'm learning how to budget out here, way more than in Jamaica -- since everything is so expensive here you really gotta watch it. And we pay for our own cell phone cards (they do it minute by minute here) so we've really gotta be smart with our money. At times it can be really tough but I'm learning frugality!
All the best,