Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas in the Carribean

Hey guys! I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas and that it was full of family, food, and fun. Plus the Savior... because, ya know... He's the whole reason we celebrate Christmas :) 
We started our Christmas celebrating off on Wednesday at district meeting. After the usual missionary stuff, we read the Christmas story, watched Mr. Krueger's Christmas, and ate donuts and popcorn. It was almost like being at home for our Christmas Eve program... minus the family. Plus the singing sounded a little bit better this year :) Haha. 
We got jerk chicken from a little old man on the side of the road for Christmas Eve dinner... yummy yummy yummy. I may have to make that a new tradition for Christmas Eve at home. Although I don't actually know how to jerk so that could be a problem. 
Christmas day was amazing! We had a breakfast appointment with the district, and then we went and skyped. It was so good to see everyone's faces and talk to you guys! Ahhhh I missed that :) But anywho after skyping, we went caroling as a district. We visited a few less active members and a few people that for whatever reason can't leave their houses. There was one visit that will forever stick in my brain. I'll admit, I wasn't in the best mood when we got to their house. It was like 90 degrees, we'd been walking for about an hour, and I was just kind of missing Christmas at home. But then we got to this house with this old couple that can't really leave. They're both in wheelchairs, she's almost blind and pretty much completely deaf, and he can't really move around much. They literally were doing nothing for Christmas, and I've never seen faces light up so quickly as theirs did when we started singing Christmas carols on their porch. They invited us in and we had a little visit with them in which I learned a ton of lessons. 
1. Eternal marriage is amazing. Even though this couple can barely take care of themselves, they still sacrifice to help the other person every day. They've been married for over 50 years, and he was still talking about his wife like they're newlyweds. You guys, the gospel is true! Why else would people work so hard to make a marriage work?
2. Serving others is the key to true happiness. As we sang songs and shared scriptures and the elders gave her a blessing, I completely forgot all the things I'd been worried about five minutes before. I was just overwhelmed with the Savior's love for these people and I realized that this is why we're here! Because He isn't here in person right now, so it's up to us to share His love with all of His children! 
3. Even though I spent this Christmas in a different country with a completely different culture surrounded by people i really don't know, I realized that the spirit of Christmas felt the same that it does at home. We were still celebrating the birth of the same Savior that I had come to know and love over all of those years in Colorado. And that Savior loves all of these people here in Jamaica, and they love Him! Which means Christmas still felt like Christmas after all.
So basically that is the story of how I learned that I need to not be as selfish and focus on just helping others! Which I suppose is something I keep learning over and over again, and I'll probably keep learning it until I've mastered the concept :) Thank heavens missions give you so many chances to grow and improve... I've really come to know over the last few weeks how far I have to go :) 
Ummmm other things that we did this week... 
We had like 5,000 meal appointments (that's only a slight exaggeration), and some of them were back to back. And Jamaicans give you a ton of food, which meant there were times when I literally could not eat anymore but my plate still looked very full. At times like that, I developed a huge appreciation for elders' stomachs. I would just slip them some of my food when the people weren't looking and they took care of it for me :) haha. 
We walked A LOT in the blazing sun this week trying to find less active members and new investigators... we found a few new people that seem to have a lot of potential so that's good! 
In all, this week and the last few weeks overall have been really hard. I'm learning so much about the gospel and the value of hard work and obedience though. I find so much comfort and strength in the Book of Mormon and the Bible every day... I love those books. Ya'll should definitely read them sometime. Like today :) And every day :) They're true! 
Anyways. I'm sorry this email was so rambling-y. (Is that a word? Probs not.) But I just had a lot to tell ya'll! 
Okay so I love you all and I hope you have a wonderful week! Enjoy your New Year's! 
Sister Oman 
Our shadows walking in the blazing hot sun... notice the lack of people available for us to talk to haha. 

Christmas Morning Packages

Christmas Morning Breakfast!

Christmas morning breakfast: breadfruit, spice bread, fried dumpling, and ackee and bacon! Yummy yummy :) 

Jamaican Door


The elders in our district. 

This is what Christmas looks like in Jamaica.  Very green!

We asked one of the elders to take our picture... he yelled something about hipsters and started taking a bunch of weird pictures. So this is the best one we have. Haha. Oh well.

The town Christmas tree! It's HUGE! And very fake haha. But it was still lovely :) 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

O Holy Night

Merry Christmas everyone!!! I hope you all have the best Christmas you've ever had :) 
This week we spent a lot of time getting in the Christmas spirit... by sharing the gift of Jesus Christ with everyone we met! We've been participating in the church wide He is the Gift initiative... handing out at least ten pass along cards every day and inviting people to learn more about our message! We've been so blessed for our efforts. We find so many amazing people to work with, and I'm so excited to see what happens with all of them as we go along! 
I had a couple of pretty awesome experiences this week as a result of the initiative. First of all, one morning all of our appointments fell through so we decided to walk a community near one of the member's houses to see if we could build up a new teaching pool. We talked to this one lady who wasn't really interested, but then later on in the morning we circled back by her yard on the way to our truck and she called out to us and introduced us to her friend. Her friend seemed way interested.. but the cool part was the part where we were explaining our message to her. I was testifying of the message of the Restoration and it was the most powerful contacting experience I've ever had. I don't think a single thought that came to my head was my own... pure inspiration. I don't know if she felt anything special, but I've never felt the Spirit so strong outside of the temple before in my life. It was amazing... there's something special about her, I can tell. And I can't wait to keep working with her! 
Another experience I had this week was that same morning. We were walking down this street, and all of the sudden I felt the strongest prompting to go down a little lane off the side of the road. We started to walk down, and I had another insanely strong prompting to go up to this house... so we walked up to the veranda, and there was a guy sitting on the porch. We talked to him for a little bit, but he wasn't interested so we left him with a pass along card and went on our way. It was one of those times when you wonder why you were prompted to do something because it doesn't seem like you saw any results. But I know that I was prompted for a reason and who knows? Somehow, sometime down the line the guy could be baptized. Only time will tell. 
We did service this week! Everyone paints their houses every year at Christmas time, so we got to spend a lot of time in paint clothes painting houses :) I love painting! 
We had our ward Christmas party on Saturday and it was a blast! Tons of funny skits and songs and delicious food galore! I love Christmas in Jamaica :) 
Sunday was Sister Walker's birthday, so we had church and then a delicious meal appointment courtesy of one of our investigators. Then we broke every rule in the book by picking up the elders in our truck and leaving our area. Hahahah just kidding we had permission to drive them and we had to drive to Spanish Town for the Stake Christmas Cantata! (Like a Christmas concert thing.) It was a mini road trip. We rocked out to Christmas music, got super lost and ended up in a really sketch part of town, and eventually got to the church twenty minutes after the program was supposed to start. Luckily, nothing starts on time here so we didn't miss anything haha :) 
This week is Christmas! I'm so excited :) Serving a mission at Christmas time is amazing because I'm so much more focused on the Savior than I was at home. This Christmas I've really just been thinking about how much the gift of the Savior means to me! I'm so grateful that Heavenly Father loves us enough to send His Son to die for all of us! Let's all make sure we take time to remember the gift of Jesus Christ this Christmas. (And check out the video at!) 
I love you all! Have a very Merry Christmas :) 
Sister Oman 

Sister Walker and I

The Beach by our house!

The sign says Merry Christmas, you can't really see it though haha. But this is the beach by our house! 

These pictures turned out dark, but I was trying to show you how close we are to Kingston in Portmore... those mountains with houses on them are a suburb of Kingston.

And these kids are my favorites :) They make me laugh all the time... aren't they adorable? 

These two little boys are my new best friends :) 

Sister Walker and Patrick with our Christmas chalkboard

The elders and members singing at the Christmas Party

The ward Christmas party

Sister Walker's Birthday Dinner


Our truck was packed with Missionaries on the way to Spanish Town last night! (We weren't being disobedient I promise... we had permission :) 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Lesson learned while driving a standard!

 Hey everybody! This week was hands down the most challenging week I've ever had on my mission. But looking back... I can see that I've learned so much this week, and I know it will get better from here.
Monday the STL's came to Portmore to give me a driving lesson. I was under the assumption that this would be the first of many lessons... but apparently President Brown had a different idea. So, after about 45 minutes of instruction, the STL's left with the automatic car we'd been driving since I got here, and left us with a big ol' truck. A big ol' standard truck that is. Getting used to a new area, a new companion, etc. is difficult enough... but add a car you really don't know how to drive to the equation and you've got yourself one hard week mapped out. 
So... I guess at the beginning of the week I had been focusing on how hard it was to drive the truck. Like I'd been looking at it like it was really just a physical trial. But then we had zone conference on Thursday, and one of the speakers talked about how there are no temporal laws, only spiritual ones... and that kind of hit home. I guess in a moment of personal revelation from the greatest Heavenly Father ever, I learned that I shouldn't been viewing this as a physical trial... I should be looking for spiritual lessons that I've learned from the experience. So let me share a few of the lessons that I'm in the process of learning :) 
1. Trust in the Lord... at all times
As I'm driving, I really don't know where I'm going half the time and neither does my companion because she's only been here for a transfer and Portmore is rather large. Plus there's a ton of traffic. So it can be pretty scary. But I've learned more than ever this week to just trust in the Lord and know that if we're doing the right thing, everything will work out the way it should. 
2. Don't be prideful! 
Every time I start to think "Wow, I haven't killed this truck in a long time! I'm getting pretty good at this," the truck dies. I've realized that it only runs when I acknowledge that I could never have learned so fast if it wasn't for the Lord's help. So I'm being humbled... a lot. 
3. Have faith in the power of the priesthood
Monday after the STL's left, we had a family home evening with some members in the ward. I killed the car about 7,000 times on the way to said FHE. It was very frustrating and I was about ready to quit. But then a wonderful tender mercy happened. The elders were at FHE! So I asked Elder Koegler for a blessing, and I didn't kill the car once on the way home. I just love the priesthood.

Okay so that's some stuff I learned this week. In other news...
Tuesday we had like a trade-off sort of thing but it wasn't really a trade off all day. The STL's had MLC, and they're in a trio so they brought Sister Thompson here to Portmore to be with us for the day while the two STL's were in their meeting. It was so fun because Sister Thompson used to serve here, so she knew where a bunch of people lived that we didn't know about, so we were able to meet a ton of new people! Plus we did service in the morning which involved free lunch and decorating a Christmas tree. Christmas service is the best kind of service :) 
Thursday we had a road trip! We drove to Kingston for Zone Conference/Zone Christmas Party! It was only mildly terrifying in the truck haha but the zone conference was amazing! Elder Martinez (the one that spoke in spanish at general conference in October), was there, and his remarks were just absolutely inspiring. Plus I got to see all the elders i was in the MTC with, and a bunch of people I served with off island, so that was really fun! We got to have a delicious little Christmas dinner, we had an awesome musical program, and then we got all of our Christmas packages! President Brown decided at the end that I would need to drive back my entire district to Portmore since the elders had too many packages to take on the bus... So we crammed six people and 12 kabillion Christmas presents into the truck and made the drive back to Portmore. We only stalled like five times the whole way! It was a new record haha. 
Other things that happened this week include a funeral for a member of the ward that I never met (I love the Plan of Salvation!), and weekly planning with four people because the STL's came to our planning session this week. 
This week was so hard, but I'm learning to rely on the Lord more and more. And I'm realizing that he really does hear and answer prayers, no matter how silly or trivial those prayers may be at times. I've been taking so much comfort in the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants section 101:
Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God. 
As I learn to be still and recognize that God is there, I know that we'll start to see improvements here in Portmore. I'm so grateful for the chance I have to serve here in Jamaica! 
I love you all. Merry Christmas! One more week!!!! 
Sister Oman 


We put up Christmas trees for service projects.

See what side of the car the steering wheel is on!!

This little girl decided my head was a comfy place for a rest

Sister Walker and I at the Christmas Party

Christmas party! All the sisters in our zone and Spanish Town zone, 

Sister Wilkinson and I at Zone Conference

They call these moths bats here because they're so big and I accidentally killed one the other day haha,

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Livin in Jamaica!

Teachin the rastas the Plan of Salvation... Livin in the reggae nation but it ain't no vacation. Serving the Lord on an island in the sea... the winds and the waves I hope you're thinking of me. 


Hey guys! So I hope you all had a wonderful week! This week was so packed full of adventures for me that I don't even know where to start. Traveling to Jamaica turned out to be full of adventure times! 

Monday was my last p-day in Nassau, so of course we had to spend it on Paradise Island at the beach. We had some slushies, played a whole lot of games of signs, and had a very good night. Then the rest of the week through Thursday morning was full of goodbyes and apple pies.(Haha that rhymed.) 

But seriously. Sister Reid made me an apple pie to say goodbye and it was ahhh-mazing. Best (and only) apple pie I've had on my mission! 

And secondly. I thought leaving home and saying goodbye was hard but it was nothing compared to how hard leaving Nassau was. At least when I said goodbye to all of you at home, I was pretty sure I would see you again. Saying goodbye to the people I've come to love over the last seven months in Nassau and not knowing when I would see them again broke my heart over and over again. Many, many tears were shed (not in front of people of course haha). I have to go back one day. Hopefully very soon. Those people are like family to me now. I didn't know it was possible to love people that much. Man. 

But anyways, Thursday was my flight to Jamaica! I flew by myself... the first time I've been completely alone in almost eight months and it was WEIRD. I didn't know what to do with myself! So I slept and taught a few people about the gospel :) Haha. The flight itself went really well... and then I got to customs in Jamaica. They wouldn't let me in the country because apparently my visa had expired when I was away. So... they asked me to come with them and locked me in one of those little interrogation rooms/holding rooms you see on the movies. Metal desk, one way mirror, and all. They asked me a bunch of questions, and then I asked if I could call someone. So I called Sister Wilkinson (she was the only one I knew that was picking me up haha), and she came in. They made her stay with me for a long time, and then the AP's came and helped sort everything out. So long story short, after about three hours I was finally released to come into Jamaica. 

Our very first stop was at Tastee for my first patty! Holy moly those things are heavenly. I'm in love. It's a pastry kind of thing with a delicious filling... I don't even know how to describe it it's just so good. 

But anyways, then we headed to my new house in Portmore! It's adorable. AND PINK! Hallelujah I love pink houses. Haha. 

I've spent the last few days meeting all the members and everyone in my new area... I love them all already, and I'm so excited to get to know them better! Yesterday we had ward council before church, and I was just astounded at how many strong leaders and members we have in this ward! I'm so excited to serve here... the Lord has truly blessed this area, and I see so much potential here! Now it's just up to us to work and work and work until we find those who are prepared to receive our message :) 

We went on splits with members yesterday after church to visit less actives... that's the first time I've ever done a split on my mission, and it was after only being in the area for three days! Luckily the places we went were really close to the church so it wasn't too hard to find haha. But I just loved it! The members here are so willing to work with us and help us out... I just can't get over how awesome it is haha. 

We watched the Christmas devotional last night at the church, and it was so good as usual :) We have our zone Christmas party this Thursday, the ward party next Saturday, and a stake Christmas concert next Sunday... it's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! I'm excited for the next few weeks for sure :) 

In other news... I have to learn how to drive stick over the next few weeks! Anddd the wheel is on the opposite side of the car than what I've ever driven. So we'll see how all of this goes... any prayers would be appreciated! 

I think that's about it for this week! I love you and miss you all! Thank you for everything you do for me and all the missionaries worldwide! You guys are the greatest. 


Sister Oman 
Last P-Day in Nassau.  I'm going to miss those beaches!

Sitting in a hole on the beach in Nassau.

The view out my window on the airplane

Tastee.  Yummy! Yummy!

Patty and coco bread! yummy yummy yummy! 

Our house! That's the truck I'll be learning to drive over the next few weeks. 

More pics of our house.

My new companion, Sister Walker

We decorated our house for Christmas!

Please note the fact that there are MOUNTAINS here. I'm in love!

Look at what side the steering wheel is on! That took a while to get used to haha