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Monday, March 19, 2018

Sunday, March 18, 2018

We haven't quite gathered our thoughts to create a post for last week because we were "on the road" all weekend. Instead of a regular post, we thought we'd share this inspired proclamation to the world. 

“The Family: A Proclamation to the World'' remains "a clarion call to protect and strengthen families,'' according to Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who says it is also 'a stern warning in a world where declining values and misplaced priorities threaten to destroy society by undermining its basic unit" (“What Matters Most Is What Lasts Longest" Oct. 2005 General Conference)."

We are so grateful for this document and admonish all to read it, implement its principles, and be bold in sharing the doctrines taught, especially if you haven't read and studied it lately. 

We love the members of our eternal family and thank each and every one of them for their love and support while we are serving this wonderful mission. We miss them all very much, but we know, Families Are Forever.

Until next week...all our love.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Sunday, March 11, 2018

The long and short of last week...😉

We hated having to say good-bye to Vickie and Dan Overpeck at Montego Bay Airport on Saturday, but we had such a wonderful week with them all around the island. They have responsibilities back in New Mexico, and we have a lot we want and need to do here before July. As far as we know, this is the last visit from family until we leave. We'll be like  a couple of road runners these next 4 months. 

Meep Meep!

We were excited to be able to share several of the interesting attractions here in Jamaica. After staying the first night in Montego Bay, we took the beautiful drive around the west coast to Negril so Vickie and Dan could enjoy one of the very nice small resorts, the beach, and some of the sights in Negril. We personally stayed one night and then a few hours the next morning on Monday, so we too could have a few hours to bask in the warm Jamaica sun. 

        A cute little beach friend and a typical Jamaican woman selling her wares. 

While Vickie and Dan were enjoying Negril, we came back to Kingston to resume our responsibilities on a few of our current projects and office work. One of our accomplishments was to deliver 20 more cleaning kits to the emergency container. It is always a good feeling to be able to add to the preparations for whatever may happen. 


We drove back to Negril later in the week to then bring the Overpecks to Kingston for a few days. We took the scenic route, along the southern coast and stopped in Black River to go on the boat ride at Black River Safari to see the crocodiles. This was our 4th time to do this guided tour, but it's something we always enjoy. There are new wonders of nature to notice each time. You may need  to look closely, but there are crocs in some of these photos. 

Mangrove trees 

Their grandsons, Jonas and Asher, will be thrilled to see this photo!

On Thursday, we went to Fort Charles at Port Royal. Even though we've gone here multiple times, it's interesting each time as we hear and see new historical facts and artifacts. We've had the same tour guide every time; he makes the tour so much fun. 

Our tour guide and new friend, 
Buccaneer Jermonie.



After Port Royal, we had a wonderful lunch at one of the restaurants with excellent ambiance at Devon House. It is located in what used to be the carriage house of the mansion. And no trip to Devon House is complete until having some yummy Devon House ice cream. We only indulge in ice cream when we have visitors because of the cost - money and calories, so there's another reason we're sad they were our last visitors. 

Friday, we drove up and over the mountains toward the north coast through the Bog Walk gorge. 

This was Vickie and Dan's last chance to really experience the lush tropical jungles of the island. We then took the fascinating tour at Rose Hall Great House - definitely one of their favorite stops. 

We had a great dinner at the open air restaurant at Glistening Waters Friday evening. We were worried we wouldn't be able to go on the boat tour because it was pouring, but it stopped raining long enough for us to go out and be fascinated once again by the luminous lagoon. [In case you missed this in a previous post, here's the link to find out about this phenomenon: http://www.glisteningwaters.com/luminous-lagoon-tour/]

In our younger years when we lived close, the four of us used to play a lot of card games with Spades being one of our favorites and most competitive. We haven't lost our partnership knack...Vickie and I beat the "boys" unmercifully; in fact they conceded. 


We stayed at the Glistening Waters hotel for the night so we wouldn't have to drive all the way back to Kingston to then come right back to the North Coast the next day. 

We had enough time before going on into Montego Bay to take the drive to show vickie and Dan another great house (plantation house) not far from where we stayed in Falmouth. The drive up to the estate is an adventure, and the view from the top is amazing. Before we leave this summer, we definitely want to go on the tour.


We so enjoyed having the Overpecks here in Jamaica not only to show them some of the sights and the beauty of this island, but also to be able to share details about the rewarding work we do here.  They commented on the friendliness of the Jamaican people and like us hope the country can remain an island of peace and good will. 

It's back to our busy missionary schedule this week.  We're anxious to proceed with the four current projects and to develop the others we've researched for submission and hopefully approval. Additionally, we've been asked by the Area Welfare Manager to revisit emergency preparedness with all the units over the next few weeks. Elder will continue using his many years of experience in training leaders throughout the island. 

We attended the May Pen Branch today. Our dear friends, Elder and Sister Gotfredson return to Utah this week, so we wanted to be there for their last Sunday. They have diligently served as a Member Leader Support couple for 18 months. We love them and are so appreciative of their example of unconditional kindness and indefatigable service. We know the members of the May Pen Branch as well as countless other Jamaicans have had their lives touched for good by these two faithful servants of the Lord.

 Sister Gotfredson surrounded by her loving sisters 
of the May Pen Branch Relief Society
We love serving a mission. We testify that Jesus Christ is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. It may appear that we made and will continue to make sacrifices through our service as missionaries, but we know we are instantly blessed. Nothing we can ever do in the service of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and our earthly brothers and sisters is really ever a sacrifice.

Christ and Rich Young Ruler


Until next week...all our love.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Sunday, March 4, 2018

We welcomed more visitors to our lovely island. Vickie and Dan Overpeck from Albuquerque, New Mexico area, Debbie's sister and hubby arrived in Montego Bay on Saturday. We plan to share some of the beauty of Jamaica with them over this next week. We stayed at a nice bed & breakfast in Montego Bay with a gorgeous yard including all this vibrantly colored bougainvillea. 

On Sunday, we attended the Montego Bay Branch and had the fun coincidence of meeting some visitors from the tiny town of Shelley, Idaho where Blake's family now lives. Another it's a small world experience.  

Sunday evening found us all enjoying 
a beautiful sunset in Negril. 
This last week we attended two wonderful mission meetings. First, Mission Leadership Council (MLC) on Tuesday, and then Kingston Zone Conference on Friday. Both of these meetings were filled with powerful counseling together and enriching teaching and testimony building experiences. 

MLC is such an important meeting because of the profound impact this time of  counseling together has on the effectiveness of the mission leaders, the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders, who can then continue to train the missionaries of their zones. 

Elder M. Russell Ballard offered ...

"...among the leadership assignments in the mission, training is the one that requires the most trust from you and the blessing of the Lord.

“An effective leader serves others with love. Mission leaders who are friendly, effective, and hard working are able to inspire, train, counsel, and help the other missionaries to succeed.

At each MLC, President and Sister Pearson and the Assistants to the President have opportunities to train while involving all the other missionaries in attendance in the council format. Then at Zone Conferences, we witness the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders take what they've learned and experienced through MLC and once again counsel together with all the other missionaries to plan and prepare to fulfill their mission purpose: "...to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end (see Preach My Gospel [2004], 1).

We are excited to be a part of this great work and specifically here in the Jamaica Kingston Mission. 
As we say at most meetings...
"It's a great day in Jamaica. 
Yah Mon!"

One of our recent tasks is to add more cleaning and kitchen kits to the emergency container. Recently, on a P-day, we enlisted the help of some of our hard-working elders to assemble 20 cleaning kits. All of us working together got this done in half the time it would have taken the two of us old folks. We "rewarded" them with a good ol' home cooked pot roast lunch. They were so appreciative. Even though it's usually delicious, the missionaries do get a little tired of eating so much chicken here in Jamaica. 

We just finished another 3 months reading of the Book of Mormon and will start again tomorrow with "I, Nephi, being born of goodly parents..." (1Nephi 1:1). We echo the words of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. who said, "The Book of Mormon is the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” Correct in this statement refers to the correctness of the book because it contains the fulness of the gospel. Just as promised by President Russel M. Nelson in a recent General Conference talk, our study of the Book of Mormon does help us make better decisions and the windows of heaven do open to allow us to receive answers to our questions and direction to our lives. We can be immunized against the evils of the day. 
Until next week...all our love.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Another week of transfers activities has come and gone. The mission said good-bye to one elder and two sisters; they will be missed, but we know they're excited to be reunited with family - look at these smiling faces. 

The mission welcomed 3 new elders and 2 new sisters representing Meridian, CA; Mandeville, Jamaica; West Jordan, UT; New Castle, UT; and Wiggins, CO. We love watching the new missionaries meet their companions and witnessing the immediate respect and compassion for them by their trainers. 

 Already serving as pianist...
 ...and chorister

We enjoyed spending time on long drives even though on very bumpy, windy roads to pick up an elder who was returning home 

and to deliver a new arrival to his first area. 

Sunday found us in the Yallahs Branch. 

Our wonderful Self-Reliance senior sister missionaries spoke in Sacrament Meeting and also facilitated an informative third hour Self-Reliance devotional. These devotionals are designed to start members on the path to self-reliance by helping them understand the importance of self-reliance, assess their current level of self-reliance, determine the skills and income needed to become temporally self-reliant, and select the self-reliance group that will help them reach that goal. 
The sisters were great about using personal experiences with their own path to self-reliance. Sometimes it's difficult, though, for Jamaicans to relate to the struggles and trials American missionaries have gone through. First world countries' issues and developing countries' issues can be very dissimilar. The newly sustained Mandeville District President expressed this very well at a recent district conference. He said when he hears President Pearson or President Stewart say he's hungry, the thought is he probably only missed breakfast, but when many Jamaicans say they're hungry, they truly may not have eaten for a couple of days or their family has not been able to afford any meat for weeks. 

Even though mutual understanding can be a challenge, we strive to teach the foundational principles which are applicable to self-reliance in any country. 
As shown in many of our previous posts, the Member Welfare Project initiatives (chickens, bees, gardening, etc.) we coordinate here in Jamaica are exclusively designed to promote self-reliance. The success of these projects depends on the practical application of the concepts and principles learned in the variety of free self-reliance courses available to members and nonmembers alike.
There was definitely a focus on self-reliance in the Yallahs Branch as we also held the kick-off training meeting for the Member Welfare Project families. Coops are ready to now receive the chicks and equipment to assist these families who are striving to become self-reliant.

Recently the opportunity for welfare assistance with self-relianchas expanded beyond food production projects. This is still in the early stage, but we're definitely encouraged and excited to see this new development since food production is not everyone's forte. 

"The welfare principles of the Church are not simply good ideas; they are revealed truths from God—they are His way of helping the needy." Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf

"I am convinced there are thousands of ways for families to build self-reliance by working together in productive pursuits. Perhaps a good family home evening discussion could produce some ideas to help make your family unit more temporally self-reliant." Elder L. Tom Perry

Self-Reliance Principles
To receive the blessings of self-reliance, we must accept and live the principles of self-reliance, which include the following:
  1. Exercise Faith in Jesus Christ (D&C 104:15)
  2. Use Time Wisely (Alma 34:32)
  3. Be Obedient (D&C 130:20–21)
  4. Manage Money (D&C 104:78)
  5. Work: Take Responsibility (D&C 42:422 Nephi 2:16, 26)
  6. Solve Problems (Ether 2:18–19, 233:1, 4)
  7. Become One, Work Together (Moses 7:18D&C 104:15–17)
  8. Communicate: Petition and Listen (D&C 8:2)
  9. Persevere (Hebrews 12:1; D&C 58:4)
  10. Show Integrity (Mosiah 4:28Job 27:5Articles of Faith 1:13)
  11. Seek Learning and Education (D&C 88:118–119)
  12. Stay On Task, Receive Ordinances (D&C 84:20D&C 136:41 Nephi 18:2–3)
Until next week...all our love.