.post img, .post img a{ position: relative; z-index: -100; }

Monday, December 4, 2017

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Transfers Week
Transfers are always an exciting time in the mission, and we love to help when we can.  The mission received 4 new precious sister missionaries representing Utah, Canada, England, and California. We also have 3 new valiant elders representing Canada (2) and Utah. One of the sisters served in the Washington Vancouver Mission while she was waiting for her visa. It was so fun to talk with her for a few minutes about Washington and Oregon. 

 We took this very happy, ready-to-work companionship to their home 
in the Boulevard Ward in Kingston.


We drove these darling current sisters to their new area in May Pen. 
One is from Jamaica; the other from Trinidad. 

In all the excitement of welcoming new missionaries, there is also the sad part of saying good-by to those  who are going home. 
We will miss these fine young men and women; we've grown so close to them and love them so much. The exiting missionaries always attend a two-day seminar (taught by senior missionaries) on adjusting to being home. They talk about spirituality, education, jobs, dating, and marriage. We would love to go listen in one of these times. 
These two sisters were here only 2 months before we came, so we have had many opportunities to really get to know them and serve with them. They are amazing, faithful sisters - going home to Utah and California. 

We spent several days working in our "office" this week with very little travel except for transfers. We were gearing up for the visit from the Caribbean Area Member Welfare Projects Technical Specialists who come from Canada usually twice a year. We look forward to this next week with them. We will take them around the island to visit the functioning projects and to meet with priesthood leaders and groups in the process of project proposals. 
Our office
On Sunday, we attended the Old Harbour Branch and as always enjoyed worshipping and learning with the saints in that branch. 

Sunday evening, we had a lovely dinner at the Mission Home as a farewell with Elder and Sister Brown. They leave Monday to return to their home in Illinois after diligently, lovingly serving in the Mission Office and as Member and Leader Support missionaries. Elder Brown also serve as the Second Counselor in the Mission Presidency, and Sister Brown served in the Mandeville District Relief Society Presidency. Elder and Sister Chandler, who served with the Seminary and Institute programs all over the island also left earlier in the week. Both couples leave holes in many hearts and organizations, but just as with the leaving of the young missionaries, the work goes on pretty seamlessly. We have 2 new senior couples arriving this month; one will serve in the Mission Office and the other will work with Seminary and Institute. We are excited to meet and serve with them. 

President Deans (from Jamaica) who has served as the First Counselor in the Mission Presidency and Elder and Sister Lindberg were also at the dinner. The change in the Mission Presidency counselors was announced in all the units this morning, so this evening was the official turning over of responsibilities. Buddy is the new First Counselor, and Elder Lindberg the new Second Counselor. Each They will have responsibilities for 5 units each, conducting interviews for temple recommends, new missionaries, and Patriarchal Blessings. Somethings are different outside of a stake. For example,  receiving a recommend for a Patriarchal Blessing requires two signatures - one from the Branch President an one from a member of the Mission Presidency. Buddy will work with the branches in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Port Antonio, May Pen, and Yallahs. 
President Deans, President Pearson, and President Brown
 President Stewart, President Pearson, and President Lindberg
It is such a blessing for us to be able to serve as couples in this wonderful work. We definitely have an advantage over the young missionaries; we got to choose our companions! 
"Well, that companionship inventory went well."

In our reading of the Book of Mormon this week, we read in Mormon 8:5 some of the most heart wrenching words in the whole book. Moroni has been given the charge for the keeping of the final records of the Nephites from his father, Mormon. He is the last man standing and states, "....for I am alone. My father has been slain in battle, and all my kinfolk, and I have not friends nor whither to go;  and how long the Lord will suffer that I may live I know not."

In our lives, we each have times, like Moroni, where we feel that we are alone. It is in those dark lonely times that we are most in need of reaching out to the Prince of Peace for solace. He who knows us perfectly and took upon Himself all of our sins, sadness, sicknesses, afflictions, and, yes, our times of loneliness, is there with outstretched arms to gather us in, enfold us in His perfect love, and heal us. Each of us pass through the refiner's fire to become purified. Let us not shrink from our trials, but use the experiences of our lives to increase our faith in Jesus Christ, who is mighty to save. While the hurt and anguish of the moment can be overwhelming, keep an eternal perspective and press forward with hope in the future and a better brighter day. 

Many of our problems will melt away if we get outside of ourselves and just serve others, especially those who are the closest to us and depend on us the most. We will love those we serve. As Jesus Christ set the perfect example as He served others, we too can become more like Him as we do good for those we love and who love us. 

President Monson has said, "May we ever watch over one another, assisting in times of need. Let us not be critical and judgmental, but let us be tolerant, ever emulating the Savior's example of loving kindness." As we love in the Savior's way, most of our troubles will melt away and we can have joy and peace in our lives.

Until next week, all of our love......

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Sunday, November 26, 2017

We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We spent part of the day with the other senior missionaries; something we always enjoy. We all met at the Chinese Gardens in Kingston and received a wonderful tour of the gardens. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable about this particular garden and the history of its creation. He also shared great information about some of the Chinese culture symbolized in the these types of gardens. 

 "The Harmonious Enjoyment Garden"
This was a gift to the people of Jamaica from the Chinese government in recognition of the 50th anniversary of Jamaica's independence and 40 years of diplomatic relationships between the two countries.   

Left to right: representing Washington, Utah, Florida, Jamaica, and Illinois

This courtyard represents a place an emperor would stand to speak to his people. The acoustics were quite interesting. A voice really carries when a person stands on this spot.  

Not only did our guide share a lot about the Chinese culture, but he also told us interesting details about the vast variety of trees found in the gardens. None of the trees are native to Jamaica but were gifts over the years from visiting foreign dignitaries. Before this Chinese Garden was created, the trees were part of the Hope Botanical Gardens since the time of Jamaica's independence in 1962. The Chinese designed and built the gardens around the trees. We only included a few of the trees. 

Our guide said the spikes of the bark seem to say, "Monkey, no climb on me." 
The seed pods can violently explode shooting seeds up to 200 feet away at 125mph. No wonder it is nicknamed the Dynamite Tree.

Leopard Tree
Sausage Tree  
the pods get very big and heavy - 
you wouldn't want one of these falling on your head

Cannonball Tree
another tree with potentially lethal fruit - the vines are part of the tree - 
the blossoms, thus the fruit, are on the vines

Row of Lions Entrance to the Gardens
(image from TripAdvisor)

Love these and what they symbolize

We then went to the Marriott hotel restaurant here in Kingston for our Thanksgiving lunch. Two of the senior missionary couples are going home over the next two weeks; this was also our farewell luncheon with them. We will miss them. We have two new couples coming in December - one will serve in the Mission Office in Kingston, and the other with work with Seminary & Institute and live in Mandeville. 

The Mandeville Branch put on quite an event Friday night to honor the two senior missionary couples who are leaving. They've both been living in Mandeville. We'd certainly live there too, if it weren't so far from all the services and resources we need here in Kingston. Mandeville is a small city up in the mountains; it is much prettier, cooler, and less crowded there. The Jamaicans put on quite a show for the entertainment portion of the evening. Unfortunately, we didn't catch all the jokes because we couldn't understand most of the Patois, but we could tell all the Jamaicans were having a great time. A few of the skits reminded us of YW Camp skits. The food was finally served about 9 PM. Buddy grabbed a some dinner - including Mannish Water (stewed goat head and intestines - yeah - gross!)*, and then we drove way back into the bush to Junction take an elder home. His companion had stayed in Junction with a member's family, and being the obedient missionary he is, he wasn't happy with his companion getting back home after their usual curfew. The elder we took home is leaving this week, too, so he had permission and wanted to stay for the full activity; we didn't blame him. I'm sure they worked things out by the next morning. 

 One of the cute little Mandeville Branch members 
in her traditional Jamaican attire. 
She's enjoying a piece of sugar cane. 

A storyteller with bongo accompaniment. 

We have no clue what this is about, 
but they are sure having a good time!

* We're just sure you want to add this recipe for Mannish Water to your favorite recipes!

Manish Water is a hearty Jamaican soup made with a goat’s head and feet. It is best cooked in a pressure cooker to soften the meat. It is often served as an appetizer at special parties and events in Jamaica. You will see Jamaicans drinking it out of a small white coffee cup at these events. It is believed to be an aphrodisiac, which may explain its name.
·       Chopped up goat head (burnt is best)
·       Goat feet (burnt is best)
·       Garlic, scallion, thyme, pimento seed, salt to taste
·       Whole green pepper, black pepper
·       1 pack Grace Chicken Noodle mix
·       3-6 green bananas
·       1 ½ lbs. Yam
·       3 small Irish Potato
·       Flour for dumpling
·       2 chochos (optional) [a kind of lentil]
·       2 Whole Scotch Bonnet Pepper
1.     Wash chopped goat head
2.     Put in a large pot (pressure cooker best) with enough water to cover the meat
3.     Add 3 teaspoons salt, 8-10 seeds of pimento and let cook and 5 crushed garlic cloves
4.     Cook on a medium/high stove till meat tender
5.     Add more water and also 1 pack Grace Chicken Noodle
6.     Peel and cut up potatoes and chochos and add
7.     Peel Green bananas (or cut off the top and bottom and slit in skin)
8.     Add Peel and add Yam when bananas almost cooked.
9.     When almost done black pepper, thyme, couple pimento seed, escallion, whole Scotch Bonnet Pepper (do not let it burst open) and let simmer
10.  Serve hot

We were away from Kingston Saturday through Monday for project work and to attend a branch conference. We first stopped in Santa Cruz to check on the progress of the Member Welfare Project. One of the participants is raising chickens to use in his cook shop. We had heard about his yummy food, so we gave it a try. Yes, indeed, we think his was the best fried chicken we've had in Jamaica. We then went out in the country (just outside of Santa Cruz) to see the new beehives of another participant in the project. It was getting to be evening, and we were amazed at the number of toads all around the hive area. Evidently, the toad like the bees. The hives need to be high enough off the ground so the toads can't get the bees. It was quite a sight to see. We're excited for both of these families and their progress toward self-reliance. 

On Sunday, we attended the Savanna-la-Mar Branch for branch conference. A new branch presidency was sustained. We know they will be very good leaders. We have worked closely with the previous branch president since we first got here. He has a new calling; we'll tell you more about that when all the changes actually take place. In earlier blog posts, we've mentioned the success we're seeing in the project in this branch. There is a great feeling in this branch - especially of the level of commitment of the members. They are great examples to us. 

While Buddy presented some training to the new branch presidency, I enjoyed being with the wives and children who were also waiting for their husbands/daddies. I had my computer out which always seems to act as a magnet. "Do you have any games?" I didn't have any action games like they wanted, Mario, etc., but I did download a color-by-number app for them. They were really sweet with one another taking turns coloring. I need to download some of the children's games or puzzles found on the church-related apps.

We stayed in Negril both nights. Before heading back to Kingston, we went to a nice shopping mall for tourists Sister Pearson told me about. I was excited to get a few early Christmas presents - Merry Christmas to me. We've started purchasing a few souvenirs here and there to take home. In the past, we would always say that we had plenty of time and would get things later, but now if we see something unique, we like to go ahead and buy it. Our time is flying by. 
Transfers are this week, and once again we get the fun opportunity to transport some of the elders and sisters to new areas. Quite a few of the old timers - some of the first missionaries we worked with when we  arrived -  are going home this transfer; we will certainly miss them. We're thankful for Facebook so we can stay in touch with those who leave. We love seeing their smiling faces in all their many new adventures - including pictures of temple weddings. 

We were so excited to get the approval for two more of the four projects we recently submitted, so we now have three new projects to get underway. We will be working with two hospitals and an association for the blind vision center. We hope to receive one more approval very soon. 

We love representing the Lord as we reach out to care for His children in need. We are humbled and feel very blessed to be doing this work here in Jamaica. We understand our replacements have already received their call. We anticipate being a little emotional when we turn all of this over to them in just 7 months.

Once again, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ by serving others this Christmas season. As we follow His example, we can help #LightTheWorld

We invite you to visit either of these websites for more information:

 25 Ways, 25 Days
The teachings of Jesus Christ show us a pattern of service for our lives. Apply these 25 teaching over the 25 days of Christmas to brighten the world around you. 

First Presidency Christmas Devotional

The First Presidency invites Church members and their friends to participate in the First Presidency’s Christmas devotional broadcast on Sunday, December 3, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. mountain standard time.
The program, originating from the Conference Center, will include Christmas messages by General Authorities and General Officers of the Church.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square will provide the music.
View live
The following options are available for viewing the devotional live:
Mormon Channel (website, YouTube, mobile app)
Local meetinghouses via Church satellite system
·       LDS.org home page
·       BYUtv
·       Mormon Channel (websiteYouTubemobile appRoku, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV)
·       Local meetinghouse via Church satellite system
Various other stations and Internet sites throughout the world will also carry the devotional. Check local program listings for availability in your area.

Until next week...all our love.