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What Not to do in Jamaica by Sam Newey

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RM\'s After seeing some of the more recent reports of Jamaica, I realized anything I had to say about the country could be highly outdated. I decided to offer some words of advice to future JKM missionaries. After seeing some of the more recent reports of Jamaica, I realized anything I had to say about the country could be highly outdated. I decided to offer some words of advice to future JKM missionaries. This list is a little different; I would call it several things NOT to do on your mission. Too many individuals get caught up in the wrong things and easily lose focus on their calling's eternal significance. I would hope that following this advice would help you keep your focus and allow you to make your mission a success for you and the souls you come in contact with. #1- DON'T BE A TOURIST: A very wise trainer who noticed my tendency to linger too long at local shops told me "You've got two years here Elder." Don't waste your green enthusiasm by shopping for trinkets and gifts for your family or yourself. During the course of your mission you will amass bits and pieces of treasure that you will long remember. I moved to one area where the work was slow because one elder had spent his time writing down and memorizing the local Reggae music lyrics. When you get to your area, pay attention to your companion and learn the things he or she has learned by experience. You only have a very short time period to see people converted . . . don't waste the Lord's time by shopping for meaningless fluff. #2- DON'T BE AN AMERICAN: Every missionary who has served in a foreign country has asked, "What is wrong with this place?" You must remember that you are no longer in America and you cannot change the way your new country operates. Don't complain to others around and say "If this were America I would . . ." It is not America and you cannot change the way an entire culture operates. Take the time to learn the culture in which you are serving and the unique things which will make that country special to you. One day my companion and I were walking down the road and he said hello to a man sitting on a wall. The man replied "Big Up Yourself." My comp did not understand that the man was being friendly and shouted "Why should I?" Take the time to listen to people and understand why they have made their country the way it is. #3- DON'T BE A LOCAL : By this I mean don't be so intent on fitting in with and adapting to the local culture that you forget your purpose. You are a commissioned ambassador for Jesus Christ; you bear his name and represent his message. Don't waste his time by forcing yourself to fit in with the people, country or language. Learn the language but never use slang as it demeans the speaker and the message he or she represents. Some missionaries in Jamaica were so intent on using Patois that it would often offend those who were more educated and spoke proper English. Patois definitely has its place and can be a great icebreaker. In contrast, there were those missionaries who used the local slang and profanity in hostile retaliation to persecution. A display such as this will go a long way to thwart the effort of dozens of missionaries who have long prepared such an area for the gospel. Likewise, always maintain a professional and proper relationship with members of the opposite sex in your area; Satan is too eager to lure missionaries into sin. Do not allow yourself to become pre-occupied with fitting in and losing sight of your purpose on your mission. DON'T OVERLOOK YOUR OPPORTUNITY: By this I mean you should not be so busy being a good missionary that you don't take the time to enjoy the uniqueness and beauty of your land of service. Secondly, take the time to learn to love your people and your companion. More importantly take the time to learn and understand the gospel you represent. The greatest conversion you will experience on your mission will be your own. Take the time to enjoy and soak in the intimacy you will have with Jesus Christ; know him and learn to pattern your efforts after him. By doing this, you may remember the faces of those you love and taught but you will never forget what you KNOW. Additionally, you will not want to miss the opportunity to become familiar with church history particularly The Book of Mormon. Learn it, and allow it to convert you before you attempt to convert others to it. I think that if you follow the instructions I have given and study and pray hard, you can be the type of missionary the Lord expects you to be. I, myself, may not have always been a shining example on my mission but I had plenty of examples from which to draw good advice. God bless you, work hard and return with Honor. Article by Sam Newey samueln@powerquest.com Sam Served his mission in Jamaica in 1993-1995