"Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever."
Alma 26:12


Leah's Mission Timeline

Leah's Mission Timeline

Monday, October 27, 2014

10/27/2014: Back to the Basics :)

Hello Family!

This week was fantastic! And crazy. I loved it! The work is definitely keeping us busy! :)

Monday (which was Heroes day here in Jamaica!), Sister Walker and I had to drive to Spanishtown for the training meeting for trainers, which was fantastic! President Brown really is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. It helped me to really understand better my role as a trainer. The Lord is trusting me with a brand new missionary and I have definitely been blessed to have her as my companion. :) She is the greatest!! Her name is Sister Garrett from Sacramento, California. I love her to death! We have grown really, really close and are definitely the best of friends :) We clicked right from the start.

So on Wednesday, Sister Walker and I drove to Spanishtown again.... for transfer meeting this time. I was so excited to finally find out who my companion would be! But I was sad that Sister Walker and I would be leaving each other after only 6 weeks together... That night Sister Garrett and I drove up to Parrytown to see some recent converts, Tajara, Rajaro, and Eli. I'm pretty sure I have talked about them. They are the ones that we have to hike all the way up a mountain to see. haha! Sister Garrett got a good taste of missionary work in Jamaica. ;) We had a great spiritual lesson with them though. Sister Garrett is still trying to get down understanding the patois and the accents haha. I guess I never really saw the progression I had made with being able to tell what they are saying until she came with wide eyes and blank looks. She was giving me confused looks all night long and then when we talked about the lesson after she understood what was going on more and what they said. haha! It was kinda funny. I really do LOVE Sister Garrett! She just has this great fire and enthusiasm for missionary work. :)

Thursday we had a cool experience. We met Kimoya at the church and the senior couple, Elder and Sister Hardy happened to be there. Well they were going to leave but we asked if they wanted to join us. Elder Hardy and to do some Branch business so Sister Hardy stayed. It was cool because we talked about the importance of church attendance and the sacrament and how she would need to make that sacrifice of money to come to church.  Sister Hardy happened to have watched this GREAT video about making sacrifices the other day and we were able to show it to Kimoya right then because sister Hardy has this cool high-tech thing called an iPad that we could watch it on! It REALLY brought the spirit in even stronger and we could tell the influence it made on Kimoya. Then sunday came and she was at church! It was THE MOST AMAZING thing! I LOVE his Gospel with all my heart! :) Gotta love the Spirit. :)

We have had a great week though. Training is amazing because I am going back to the basics and that is where we lay the foundation. Sister Garrett is SUCH a strong missionary. Haha. The people just love her! She is so good with people. :) Her Testimony is really strong and I know these next eleven weeks that we have together, hopefully longer, are just going to get better and better.

I love you all. Thanks for your emails and updates. Have a safe and blessed week!


Sister Mouritsen

Here is a portion of Sister Garrett's email on the same day describing her new companion and her initial impressions of Jamaica: 

"I am in Ocho Rios with Sister Mouritson.  We call it Ochi because that is how you say it in patios.  This is one of the "nicer" parts of the country because it is where the tourists go.  Everyone on the island loves Ochi.  So Sister Mouritson is amazing.  She is from Kaysville, UT and guess who was her YW president?  RHODELLE GRAHAM!!!  I was showing her my photo album this morning and she saw a picture that has Sierra and Kami in it and she freaks out and tells me that they are in her ward!  Such a small world.  I love my trainer so much.  She is seriously amazing.  She has taught me so much and is constantly teaching me.  We have such a tight companionship.  We are on the same page and we are in such unity.  I love it!   Funny story so the Monday before I got here was a holiday and so they couldn't go shopping.  So guess what I have had every morning since transfers?  Ricearoni broccli rice...  Disgusting.  It is good but not for breakfast every morning for a week.  But what can you do when you have nothing else in the apartment?  Other than that I love it here!   Ochi is a beautiful place.  We have a truck which is a good thing because our area is HUGE.  Some of the members live an hour and a half away.  Don't worry mom, Sister Mouritson likes to run and we go running everyday.  Sister Mouritson and I live in a house by ourselves which is great because we only have one bathroom.  So the roads here are INSANE.  The only road that is good is the highway.  Jamaica is such a poor country.  You should see some of the "houses" that are here...  Unbelievable.  Just thinking about what I have back home compared to what is here makes me realize how blessed I am.  Some of the things I have seen here are hard to even put into words. The two biggest problems here are ganja, aka weed (obviously) and the law of chastity.  The question isn't do you have any kids?  It's how many kids do you have?  We have recent converts with 14 kids with 14 different baby mamas.  Not exaggerating at all. There isn't really a concept of marriage and family.  There isn't a day that goes by that I don't smell weed.  People just smoke it on the street like its no big deal.  Basically the MTC was amazing but didn't prepare me for how I would be teaching lessons.  We teach lessons with rasta music blasting.  You can hardly walk anywhere without hearing that music.  People put boom boxes on top of their car.  Super ghetto like haha.  Or they have it in their houses.  It is so loud.  But even with the music blasting we can still have such spiritual lessons.  I love it!  I am understanding about 50% right now, which according to Sister Mouritson is really good.  Even though I can't understand a lot I love the language.  They mumble, speak fast and use words I have no idea what they are saying so my companion teaches most of the lessons and then when we get to the car I just look at her and she busts up laughing because she knows exactly what is going on in my head. 
So being a white person here I haven't ever felt so out of place. We get a lot of "HEY WHITIES".  Oh and we get hit on.  Daily.  I got pretty much proposed to the other day when we went to visit Brother McNish at his work.  This guy told me that he wanted to marry me and all this stuff.  Sister Mouritson told him he had to go to church."  

Monday, October 20, 2014

10/20/2014: Transfers - to be a trainer

Wha Gwan my Bredren and sisters? :)

It sounds like all is well in the States. Thank you for your emails! This week was great on my island in the sea. :) Man this transfer just flew by! I have already been in Jamaica for 6 weeks! Time flies. 

Well last Monday night we went up to visit some recent converts and an investigator and had a scary experience. So Sister Walker was sitting in the car on the passenger side and one of the recent converts, Tajara, was sitting in the driver seat, she is 12, and the doors were open and we were all talking and according to Tajara 'all of the sudden' the car starting moving down the hill that we were parked on! The car wasn't on either! Immediately I jumped in the car through the back right door behind the driver's seat and grabbed the emergency brake to stop the car! Sister Walker and Tajara didn't know what to do because they don't know about cars. It was terrifying! The car almost rolled back into a light pole! The rest of the night I was called Matrix. haha! There was a pretty fervent prayer said in my head to Heavenly Father that night. I'm just glad that nothing too serious happened. So that was exciting though.

We visited a less-active this week named Courtney Cohen who saw us at the church one day when we were teaching an investigator. He came and asked us if he could find out when his baptism date was because it was so long ago that he was baptized and he wanted to start coming back to church. Whoa. Sweet! So we gave him President Hardy's number. We were able to see him this week and talk to him. He is so strong and loves the spirit that is felt at church. He plays polo and goes to Germany for 3 months and then goes to Canada for a few months every year though. He just got back from Germany. He is strong and I love how the Lord helps people to remember the feelings that they felt when they get baptized. Those feelings are so unforgettable. 

We saw Romain last night and talked to him about keeping the Sabbath Day holy and how important it is to come to church and to take the sacrament. He is 18 and has a good job at a big hotel. His day off is on Fridays and we challenged him to keep the Sabbath day holy, which means he needs to ask his boss if he can change his day off to Sundays. He said that he was really scared to have to do that. He doesn't want something to happen like him losing his job. Heavenly Father wants him there at church though so I know that if he prays and really has that desire to change his life and be better and come to church that all will work out. Romain is great and I hope he gets the courage and has his faith tried. After all, that's how it grows stronger right? The book of Ether tells us that. :)

On Saturday we received our transfer calls and Sister Walker is getting transferred to Portmore. This news totally surprised us because she had actually only been here in Ocho Rios for 3 transfers. We thought she would be here until Christmas! But the Lord works in mysterious ways. Not true? And I don't know who my new companion is yet. I have been called to train a new missionary. This will be a whole new experience! I'm excited and scared and everything else in between but good thing we know that 'whom the Lord calls the Lord qualifies.' I'm praying that is fulfilled these next three months of training. Tonight Sister Walker and I have to be in Spanishtown for a training meeting and I get to go too. Then we will drive to Spanishtown again on Wednesday where I will meet my new companion. I can't wait!

I hope you all have a great week this week! Stay safe and keep being the good examples that you are! Even when you think no one is watching, someone is. I love you all so much! Thanks for all you do for me! 


Sister Mouritsen 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

10/13/2014: Livin' In Jamaica

Hi Family! :)

A couple weeks ago you asked me how many times I pray a day and I just realized that I didn't answer it. Well... I don't know honestly. Too many to count! At LEAST 8 between the time we get up and the time we leave the house in the morning. And I stop counting after that because it is so much haha. I love prayer. It just releases stress and everything else going on in my brain and my body :) That sounds weird..... 

Sister Walker actually got the Chikungunya virus this week... So she was down. Yes, all of my companions have been through the temple. All my companions so far have gone to the Dominican Republic MTC so when they got there they went through the temple for the first time. :) Cool right?? 

This week we went and visited a less active named Sister Notice who just moved into our area. She was offended in her branch that she was in and didn't want to come back. She has SUCH a strong testimony though. It amazes me when that happens... But as we were talking with her and getting to know her, her neighbor named Marcus came over and was listening to what we were saying and talking about the Gospel. He said that he had seen Elder's before and wondered what they were all about. He seemed really curious and it was such a cool experience to be able to meet him! He even wanted his own Book of Mormon because we were reading out of it with Sister Notice and he loved what it talked about in 2 Nephi 31, which is a fantastic chapter :)

On Wednesday we had District meeting and talked all about how we have seen the great changes of teaching lessons 4 and 5 before baptism as well as after. I love Preach My Gospel. period. Then sister Walker and I had to drive to Linstead to meet the sister training leaders.  One of them was going to come on splits with us and the other with the Linstead sisters. We had a great day and some great lessons. One lesson was with a former investigator Charmine from 2009. We shared the Restoration with her and it was powerful. Her baby daddy even ended up joining us and listening along with their 3 kids! I hope that they keep their commitments. haha. We'll see. It was powerful though. 

Other than that, Sister Walker was down with the Chikungunya and hasn't felt well. I hope that everything is going well for you all! I love you so much! Thanks for the emails! I really appreciate it! Have a safe and blessed week! :)


Sister Mouritsen

Monday, October 6, 2014

10/6/14: Another Week In Jamaica

Hi family!

Wow! I opened my email and there were like almost 50 emails! I have never felt so loved in my entire life. Jk. jk. haha. But really. Wow. It's so good to hear from everybody! We work so hard and get lost in the work during the week that Mondays are just a slap in the face with all the emails and info from people. I love it! Thank you so much for all of your emails and updates! I really, really, appreciate it! 

I guess you all want to hear about why I didn't email last week haha. I actually wasn't going to say anything about it but I guess I will now. So Friday I woke up really, super weak and I couldn't even exercise. I had no energy whatsoever. I just assumed it was because my body was tired and it was the end of the week. haha. What was I thinking....? So the Chikungunya has been raiding the island like crazy. It started on the East side especially in Kingston and moved West. We could see that by how the missionaries were catching it and what areas it was more populated in from people catching it. They were saying that you catch it in the air and then if a mosquito bites you, it can be transmitted to someone else so usually if one missionary caught it, it was pretty positive that their companion would get it. Haha. It attacks your joints to the point where you can barely move without being in TONS of pain, there is a massive rash that covers your body, you get a fever that is up in the 100s and just overall weakness and occasional dizziness and vomiting. There are different levels you can catch it at. Some people attract all of the symptoms, some don't. Anyway, Friday during studies I noticed some red spots appearing on my arms, I just thought, oh, it's nothing. Haha. Yeah. Right, nothing. By Friday night I had been getting heat flashes that felt hotter than Cayman, the red spots had gotten redder and bigger, I had gotten weaker as the day went on, my joints were in pain with just about every movement, especially in my hands, feet, and spine. I could barely drive us home. But thankfully, with a lot of prayer, we made it. haha! If only you could see the mountain we drive to get home! Before we drove home we were visiting a member who had picked up some pills for us earlier that day. Thank goodness. 
Then the vomiting came, you guys know how my body loves to do that... That made me not eat anything as well. The only thing I really ate was some porridge that Sister Walker fed me. The next morning, Saturday, I never left my bed because I was in too much pain. I'm gonna compare it to when Dad runs the Wasatch 100 and goes up to his bed and doesn't come back down for like a week. ;) Love ya dad hahaha! I'm totally exaggerating that you are up there for a week. It's like 6 days. ;) jk. Anyway! All throughout the day Sister Brown told Sister Walker on the phone that I had to take frequent 15-20 minute cold showers, (which is nothing new, I do that every morning anyway.) to keep the fever down. Luckily that really did help to keep the fever down for me. But with this virus all you can really do is wait it out. They say that the symptoms can last up to 2 weeks or 2 years. It just depends on the person. So Saturday I was out and Sunday as well. Monday we attempted to come out of the house because we needed to be able to survive the rest of the week haha. We got food at the grocery store and then I decided I couldn't handle driving anymore. It made me nauseous, (I don't know how to spell that...) and my joints couldn't take it. Elder and Sister Hardy the senior couple brought the Elder's along with them to come give me a Priesthood blessing. I just love those!!! Tuesday I felt better but still dizzy and really weak but we went out anyway. I can tell throughout the week that I get weak some mornings or dizzy other days. The symptoms definitely affect me occasionally but, that won't stop the work from progressing! I'm just glad that I am over the worst of it for now. haha! :)

On the spiritual side of things, we had a great lesson with Kimoya about the Book of Mormon and helping her understand it better for herself. She wasn't able to make it to conference this weekend though because she didn't have the fare for a taxi. :(

We had an AWESOME lesson with a less-active as well, Brother James. We brought Sister Llewellyn along with us and she really helped him out. He has been going through some things that are making him embarrassed to come back to church because he knows they are wrong. Sister Llewellyn is one that will tell it to ya straighter than straight. Trust me I know. He wasn't able to come to conference though because he was sick. Like everyone on the island.... We also heard that Ebola hit the island haha! There have been a few cases identified. Let's hope we don't get that one. It's worse! 

Man, conference was FANTASTIC! We went to the church which is just a room above the grocery store and set up an old tv to an iPad and we watched it live! I especially loved the talk in the Saturday morning session by Chi Hong Wong I think is his name. He spoke Cantonese. He talked about the people who helped get the man with palsy in to see the Savior through the roof to be healed and how they had to work together to get him there. He compared it to the ward council and working with missionaries and all that. Everyone has to work together. Also how the Savior said he was happy with 'THEIR' faith. Not just the man being healed. As you all know my most favorite speaker in the whole entire world is D. Todd Christofferson. Oh man! I loved how he talked about how we need to 'Go to work.. so that God has something to help us with'. I loved Jorg Klebingot and how he spoke about spiritual confidence. Also Carlos A. Godoy and how we need to evaluate if we are living up to the blessings in our patriarchal blessings. But that is just a few of the talks I loved. They were all WONDERFUL. JEEZ i love the Gospel! 

Well there is a little about how the passed couple weeks have been. I hope you all have a blessed and safe week! I love you all so much and pray for you daily!


Sister Mouritsen

Pictures between the Sunday sessions at General Conference in front of the store below the meeting house. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

9/29/14: "Chikungunya" virus

We did not receive a letter from Leah on Monday. I sent an email to the mission secretary, Sister Hall,  on Tuesday to ask if there was a holiday, service activity, or weather event that may have kept Leah from writing to us.  On Wednesday morning we received this reply:

Good morning, Brother Mouritsen –
I called Sister Mouritsen this morning, and she didn’t email on Monday because she and her companion have the chikungunya virus and are resting in their house.  She asked me to tell you not to worry; it is a mild case.  They are both going to be fine, and she will email you and tell you all about it next Monday.  Many of our missionaries are having an “experience” with chikungunya, but they are young healthy adults, and so it is no more than muscle and joint pain, some fever, and fatigue.  A combination of Tylenol, rest and then activity seems to help them recover.
Sister Mouritsen would have to drive from their place, down the mountain into Ochi to email, so it was probably the driving that was too much for her on Monday.
Please do not worry; she will be just fine.