Monday, August 25, 2014

I'm So Blessed To Serve In JAMAICA!

Funniest thing that happened this week: President Brown speaking patios in our role play at zone conference... I didn't even know he could, but I guess he is Jamaican. He is just so dignified and eloquent, that I could never imagine it. (Nothing against patios, because I love it, but it was just so hilarious to listen to him). Also, this week we met a less active member. His family is active, but he decided to become a reggae artist. His stage name is Scorpion. He is soooo funny and sang us all of the songs he has written. They are all focused on "Jah," and reading Psalms and praying. He came to church a few weeks ago, but I never got to talk to him. 

So, yes, zone conference was this week. It was extremely good. AND, I can't believe it was my last zone conference for my mission. I'll have one or two more zone meetings, but zone conferences are all pau. (I have been trying to remember hawaiian pidgin english, but I keep getting it mixed up with the broken english here). It was fantastic. Elder Cornish of the 70 was there. He is awesome. The whole zone conference was focused on conversion and consecration. I learned so much that I can apply into the last two months of my mission and even when I go home.

The main thing that stuck out to me was, "Wickedness never was happiness, but neither is lukewarmness." That is so interesting. Yeah, maybe we are keeping the commandments, and outwardly "living" the Gospel, but perhaps we are not loving those around us, or we are not reading our scriptures, or perhaps we are not praying. When we are baptized, it is required that every part of us, including hair and clothing must go under the water. Likewise, in order for us to be received into the Celestial Kingdom, every part of us must be converted to the Gospel. We are required to give EVERYTHING to God. Not part of our heart, but our WHOLE heart. Yes, we may still have weaknesses, but Heavenly Father knows our weaknesses, and if we give him it all, on the sacrificial alter, he will make weak things become strong. I still have so much to change and do, but I need to stop thinking that all this progression will end after my mission. There is no end. There is always progression. Heavenly Father has not put a limit on our potential. The fight to change and be better isn't to the death, the fight is forever. To infinity and beyond!

Elder Cornish talked about how this work (the building of the Kingdom) is the most important thing in this life. He said it's more important than breathing. The worst thing that could happen if we stop breathing is that we die. But, if we cease to do the work of the Lord, there will be people who may only make it to the Terrestrial Glory. He explained that he (Elder Cornish) loves all the other churches. They make communities better, they help raise up good people, but they can never help others receive the HIGHEST kingdom. Elder Cornish went on about the urgency of our message and how it needs to reach every ear. 

I'm so blessed to serve in Jamaica. These people truly love Jesus. They would do anything to get closer to Him. That is why they dedicate themselves so religiously to their churches. Many times you will walk up to a person and ask, "How are you today?" and they always will say, "I'm just giving thanks to God!" or "I'm blessed." That never happens in America. You ask people how they are and it's usually, "I'm fine," or "I'm okay," but Jamaicans literally talk about God, all the time. If they find a 100 dollars on the road, they say that Father God has answered their prayers. When these people say they pray everyday, they are not lying. It has been ingrained in them since primary school. (Elementary). They worship God at school, they learn of the Bible. They have devotions during work. The members out here of our church are devoted. They have many challenges and they are persecuted a lot. They sometimes are scared to share the Gospel, but they live it the best they can. I have learned so much from Jamaicans. I truly love these beautiful people. 

The work is good. Struggling still. As always. haha, the struggles never cease. But I'm just working on being positive, working hard, and loving others. 

Sister Pitt

Sunrise In Jamaica!

Elder Pace Is The Funniest Elder Ever

I Read This Like A True Jamaican

Orane And Miles The Soon To Be Elders

Random Skinny Horse

Sister Marshabella From AFRICA

They Found A Cure!

This One Is For Cameron

True Words

Jamaican Mission August 2014

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

"I Can't Say I Didn't Try!"

Hey, guess what? If you're not making money, you're not making CENTS.
Get it? Sense, cents, yes, it's funny.

I met God this week. Yes, a man came up to us and proclaimed that he is God. He told me that he could read my past, present and future. He followed us down the street telling us to worship him. Another random story, a lady goes to a church near us called 'Power of Faith Ministries.' (I like to call it the great and spacious building.) Anyways, she started asking us about speaking in tongues. We explained our belief and gave some doctrinal evidence. All of a sudden she started muttering something very strange sounding. I asked, "Sorry, I couldn't hear you, what did you just say." She said, "I don't know, I was speaking in tongues, I just do that sometimes." Facepalm.

In Jamaica, when they sing happy birthday, after they sing the first "Happy birthday to you," part, they have an additional verse which is, "May the good Lord bless you," in the happy birthday tune. I like it. I’m going to bring home all the birthday traditions here. Flouring people and singing about the Lord blessing us.

I am so tired of random men calling me sweetheart and baby. I can’t wait till I can walk in public and not be noticed, at all. Attention is fine, but not unwanted awkward, “I love you and want to marry you AKA give me a green card,” attention. There are some that call us that, just because they say it all the time, but there are some ultra creepers. If only it was this easy to get a boyfriend in America… haha

I have found the new motto of my mission. It is, “I can’t say I didn’t try!” Every time we talk to someone on the street or at their house and they reject us, I walk away and say to Sister Lewis, “We can’t say we didn’t try.” 

Yesterday this was a man’s questions to us:
“Who is God? Why are there so many different religions? Where is Heaven? Who was Gods father? Is there a Heavenly Mother? Why are we here? What is faith? What is belief? How old is the earth? How old is the Bible? What about dinosaurs? Africa this, Africa that. Did life start in Ethiopia? Is Jesus black?”

We explained that we have the answers to his questions, and we would love to answer them in a better setting, (we were on the side of the road, and his friend was smoking a spliff). We also said that as he comes to church, he will learn. We told him that there are some questions we can’t answer, but as he learns more, he will learn for himself. I related it to math. If you don’t know addition and subtraction, you can’t do algerbra. If you don’t understand the basic concepts of the gospel, like faith and prayer, then you can’t understand why God has done certain things. He didn’t like it, and he wanted the answers now. Well honestly, I think he was like one of the scribes and Pharisees from the New Testament, because he just wanted to twist us in his words.  He basically said he never will come to church and nothing we say can help him. We walked away saying, “Welp, can’t say we didn’t try.” Ah, I think in life there comes a point where we all have our beliefs challenged. I think it happens so we can build a stronger testimony against the adversary.

This week was another trying week. Last week I said, “Well, it can’t get any worse.” And it did… Make sure you never say those kind of things out loud… haha It’s not getting any easier. It’s getting harder and harder. I found a hymn that perfectly describes how I am feeling. It is, “The Time is Far Spent.” (Hymn 266) It reads, “The time is far spent; there is little remaining, to publish glad tidings by sea and by land. Then hasten, ye heralds; go forward proclaiming: Repent, for the kingdom of heaven's at hand. Shrink not from your duty, however unpleasant, but follow the Savior, your pattern and friend. Our little afflictions, tho painful at present, Ere long, with the righteous, in glory will end. What, tho, if the favor of Ahman possessing, this world's bitter hate you are called to endure? The angels are waiting to crown you with blessings! Go forward, be faithful, the promise is sure. Be fixed in your purpose, for Satan will try you; the weight of your calling he perfectly knows. Your path may be thorny, but Jesus is nigh you; His arm is sufficient, tho demons oppose.”

So, yes, I have reflected again and again on those lyrics. It is exactly what I needed when I found it. So regardless of the difficulties, angels are waiting to crown me with blessings, if I am faithful. 

Love ya,
Sister Pitt

P.S. Jesus wasn't black or white. He was a Jew. People just don't get that for some reason.

Black Beard!

Hi There! I'm Sister Pitt

I Laugh Every Time I Pass This Sign

I Love Passing The Ocean!



Monday, August 11, 2014

I Love The Portmore Ward

Ah, I have to admit, this was a difficult week. Well, I have had worse, but I think it was tough on Sister Lewis, because of the lack of investigators, and this was probably her first really tough week of appointments falling through. I just told her that it happens all the time. You have good weeks. You have bad weeks. You have fantastic weeks. You have weeks that you feel as if all hell is breaking loose. But, it's all part of the experience. If we never had a bad week, would we really know if we were having a good week? Nope. 

The thing that makes Jamaica particularly frustrating is the amount of denominations that are here. It truly causes a lot of confusion. For example, we had this conversation with a lady who is planning to be baptized in the Seventh Day Adventist church. She was going on and on about things she doesn't like about SDA's. I was really perplexed by her comments. I asked her if she believed in the Seventh Day religion, and if it is sanctioned by God. She flat out said no. I wonder if they even have their "investigators" pray and ask God if they should be baptized. All I know is that many churches get money for baptisms. The more baptisms and members they get, the more money the pastor gets. Religion is all business in Jamaica.

That last paragraph wasn't supposed to be negative, it's just causes me to be overwhelmed sometimes. The great thing about Jamaica is the fact that everyone believes in God. All though there is the complete disregard to the commandments, many people still fear Him and worship Him. All I want to do is change that fear of God, to love of God. I think it would help people a lot more. When you love someone, you are more willing to do what they want you to do. But, if you only fear someone, it causes you to rebel at times. If we all instill a love of God and His Son, Jesus Christ, in our hearts, then we will never want to break a commandment. We will always want to do what is right. 

I love the Portmore ward. We had ward conference on Sunday and there were so many people there. The morning started with a baptism of a former rastafarian. He has dreads down to his knees. Many people holding positions in the stake came. None of our investigators came, but such is life. haha The spirit was strong at church. During sacrament they randomly called me up to bear my testimony. It was a great expirience. I love bearing my testimony to everyone. I want to share it with the whole world.

Our time here on Earth is extremely short. Just like a mission. We come, we perform our labors, and then we will return back to our heavenly home (or earthly home, if we are talking about missionary service). We have joy, we have sorrow. We strive to do what is right, and sometimes fall short. Heavenly Father premeditated that fact, and sent Jesus Christ to redeem us from our shortcomings. I have a deep love for my Savior. Not only has he freed me from the pains of sin, but he has given me the ability to change, to improve, to become like Him. As I have relied on the Saviors grace and mercy, I have become a better missionary. Not the best, obviously, but I have had a mighty change of heart towards my service. It has taken time, but I have seen the Atonement working within me. I only hope to be able to have others understand that change they can make, and the absolute happiness they can feel. I love this Gospel. I know God lives. I know Christ lives. I know this by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Love you all,
Sister Pitt

P.S. I've noticed my letters don't always give the best accounting of what I did during the week. But sometimes I really don't even remember. The days blend into one big blob of talking to people, trying to serve, teaching, studying, etc...

P.S.S. I just love fried chicken. Yum!

Happy Happy Joy Joy

First Frozen Yogurt In Over 16 Months!

Bob Doing What He Does Best
Hot Like Fire!

Ice Cream Mobile

Setting Up!

Surprise Party For Bishop Scarllett!

Us And Sister Anderson
Cutest Pregnant Lady!

Sister Coleman Brought This
For Me From Cayman!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Time Is Slipping Away....

So there we were, coming out of a lesson, when I decided to check the phone. Much to our suprise, there were 10 missed calls from Elder Daniels, (an AP). I called him back and he said, "Where are you sisters?" My reply was, "Um, proselyting..." Then he said, "Well, we have a birthday present for both of you! We are giving you a truck." Wait... What? Yes, the mission had a few extra vehicles, and they designated us to recieve one. Well, so now we have a vehicle. I am still kinda shocked about the whole thing. I will never forget those 6 weeks of walking... They were an adventure. I sometimes wonder if it was my test from God to see if I complained or how I handled the situation. Apparently I passed. haha Interestingly enough, the truck is the same exact truck I started my mission in. It still has a mark on it from when I ran into a fence. Shh, don't tell anyone...

I have been having some crazy dreams lately. I dreamed about Taco Bell. Oh, I decided to try cooking up something. I made some pretty darn good chili this week. Obviously not as good as moms, but after not having chili for over a year, it tasted fabulous. It finally rained here in Portmore. It's been months. Jamaica was expiriencing a bit of a drought. So many people were so excited when it rained. A lady gave us pineapple ginger drink. It was terrible. They put so much ginger in drinks that it just burns your throat on the way down. I almost gagged it all up. 

Missionary work has been pretty good. Well, it could always be better, but things are going well. An investigator of ours, Renne, is the daughter of an inactive member. When we first got to Portmore, I gave Sister Lewis a list of less actives that I found and told her to pray about it, and then mark who would be best to see, as guided by the spirit. She picked Rennes mother. Apparently they have not been visited in a very long time, I guess just scheduling conflicts and stuff. Well, we have been teaching her. She is about 19 years old, and very intelligent. She graduated from the top high school here in Jamaica, and has really great professional goals. We are trying to help her spiritually. Anyways, she came to church and at the end I asked her if she had any questions. She said, "So what do I have to do to become a member?" I kinda laughed, because we've talked about baptism with her, and I just said, "Well, you have to continue to meet with us and then be baptized." She was not opposed to it, so we are excited to continue to work with her. 

Another lady we have as an investigator is Cynthia. She is sweet. When we taught her the restoration, she was just smiling and nodding the whole time. We asked her how she felt, and she said, "I feel the spirit of God." I asked her what that feels like, she answered saying, "It is a warm feeling, and I feel happy." We invited her to be baptized and she agreed. She would not however agree to a date. She said she had to pray. Well, that is fine, but I'm internally freaking out because I have so little time left, and it would be nice to see something happen. Everyone can say, "Oh you are planting seeds," but seriously, after planting so many seeds, you just want to eat the apple or whatever. 

We are looking for men to teach. It is kinda difficult to find someone who is legitimate and not looking for a white wife AKA green card. One guy took a picture of sister Lewis and I, cropped Sister Lewis out, and has my face zoomed up as his background on his phone. Yeah, we avoid him like sin now. 

But, things are great still. Sister Lewis is just fantastic. She is so easy to talk to, well primarly because she just listens while I go on and on. She is a woman of little words, but she is learning quick. She has such amazing potential. I think being a trainer three times has taught me a lot. I find a lot of joy in seeing others progress and mature. Maybe God is preparing me for being a real mother, I don't know, but I have learned a lot. I guess just overall, I know I have become more patient and forgiving. Things that used to irritate me, don't anymore. I think I've grown up a lot... I AM NOT PERFECT. For example there are still people I have a hard time with, but at least now I understand the process of praying for charity and love. 

I love this Gospel. I can't believe it is August. Time is slipping away...

Love you,

Sister Caressa Ann Pitt