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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Sunday, April 15, 2018

We are in our 21st month of serving in Jamaica and find we are busier than ever. We have so many irons in the fire, as the old adage goes, but we truly prefer it this way. Being busy means more needs of the wonderful people of Jamaican are being met. 


This past week we travelled to Montego Bay and then on to Lucea on the northwest coast to make  additional purchases in connection with the project at the Hanover Infirmary. We made a quick visit to the facility and were pleased to find a recently purchased stove delivered and ready to install. We know this will make a huge difference in the kitchen. 

Hanover Infirmary's new stove

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We were also had the opportunity to visit the Golden Age Home a large facility for the aged and disabled here in Kingston to interview seven recent wheelchair recipients.

Golden Age Home

Physical Therapy Clinic

This is one of the most rewarding aspects of the work we do. Our hearts are always touched as we get the chance to interact with amazing people who in the face of so many challenges exhibit such positive and grateful attitudes. 


  

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In addition to our humanitarian projects, another fun opportunity we have is inspecting missionaries' apartments. We only had the responsibility to inspect two apartments of sister missionaries up until now, but because there are so few senior missionary couples right now, we are doing the personal inspections of almost all 33 apartments during this transfer. We're tying all this travel in with attending the four Zone Conferences and our other tasks around the island. We learned very quickly the benefit of dove-tailing travel especially to cut down on time and distance. With President and Sister Pearson also nearing the end of their mission, there is need to make sure these inspections are completed before the four of us leave and the mission is placed in the loving, capable hands of the new mission presidency. We're also using these visits to update all the medical/first aid kits for all the companionships. It is a big undertaking, but we really enjoy visiting the missionaries' homes; it's going to be a great couple of weeks.

 We loved seeing one companionship 
keeps track of their investigators and goals.

Be it ever so humble...



...and creative.

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We were in Port Antonio on the northwest coast this past weekend for Buddy to do some extensive training of the branch president and the branch council. We fit in a couple of apartment inspections and had a couple of hours to go check out the Blue Lagoon. 

We took a short boat ride into this beautiful lagoon.




Monkey Island

We'd like to go back and spend a little more time in this gorgeous part of the island; that may or may not happen with time growing short. 


So in closing, this isn't a spiritual thought at all, well except maybe about the value of using ones God-given abilities...

Any fans of Shel Silverstein? 
                                             THE SILVER FISH

by Shel Silverstein 
While fishing in the blue lagoon
I caught a lovely silver fish,
And he spoke to me. "My boy," quoth he,
"Please set me free and I'll grant your wish...
A kingdom of wisdom? A palace of gold?
Or all the goodies your fancies can hold?"
So I said, "OK," and I threw him free,
And he swam away and he laughed at me
Whispering my foolish wish
Into a silent sea.
Today I caught that fish again,
That lovely prince of fishes,
And once again he offered me
If I would only set him free
Any one of a number of wonderful wishes...
He was delicious!
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Until next week...all our love. 



Sunday, April 8, 2018

Sunday, April 8, 2018



IT'S A GREAT DAY IN JAMAICA, YAH MON!!

Transfers week is always an exciting time for any mission. The remarkable elders who serve as Assistants to the President spend hours figuring out all the logistics to make sure all the transportation works as smoothly as possible to get a lot of people and a lot of luggage moved around and even off and on to the island. Though it's always hard to say good-by to missionaries who are headed home, we wish them well as they Return With Honor to their families and the next chapter in their lives. This transfer only three elders left. One returned to his family here in Jamaica, one to Utah, and the other to Idaho. They were amazing elders and definitely will be missed. 

The mission received five new elders and five new sisters representing Arizona, Idaho, Utah, Canada, Haiti, South Africa, and Trinidad. Two elders returned from serving off island, and then two elders and two sisters left for a new adventure serving in Freeport, Bahamas and Cayman.






We wish you could've heard Elder Willard's explanation 
of the nutritional value of doughnuts. 




Thank you for your prayers in behalf of missionaries all over the world. We truly do feel and see the blessings that come from your prayers. 

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One of our humanitarian opportunities this week was to purchase and deliver 384 mosquito nets to the Jamaica Red Cross. These nets will be used as a part of a special Zika Response and Preparedness Initiative. Representatives of the Jamaica Red Cross are traveling to various places such as community centers around the island offering classes and information about preventing the spread of the Zika virus. 




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We were excited to receive messages this week from our daughter, Carly, who lives in Stansbury Park, Utah, with pictures and video of the progress being made on their new home, AND she sent a video of the first day of digging for the foundation for Heather and Tom's new home. Their homes will be only a few blocks away from each other. My comment to both girls was, yep, I'm pretty sure I can see right where our room will be!


The Price's new home...
   
and the Wheeler's new dirt.

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Besides all the excitement and anticipation of new homes, a very special life-changing event occurred in the Jeff Stewart family this week. 



  


Our oldest grandson, Zach Stewart, received his mission call to serve in the Ghana Kumasi Mission. He will report to the Ghana Missionary Training Center in Accra on August 9th. We all are absolutely thrilled for him and for the people of Ghana he will serve. We're especially glad we'll get to see Zach before he leaves. He was thoughtful to put his availability date for after we'd get back. As he said right before opening the envelope, this truly is something he has waited and prepared for all his life, and we know he will be an amazing missionary.   When Zach was very little, we would often watch the movie Tarzan together. Hearing the song "You'll Be in My Heart" makes me think of those times with that sweet little boy and may even bring a tear or two to my eyes. Now here he is a grown man ready to serve and to be a powerful witness of Christ at all times and in all things and in all places. Zach, you have a very special place in our hearts. Good job, Renee and Jeff, for raising such a righteous young man!
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On Saturday, we finished our portion of helping with transfers by taking an elder to his new area in Hopeton by Mandeville. We then stopped by the Mandeville Meetinghouse where we found four of our faithful sister missionaries hard at work helping with the branch deep-cleaning project. 




We also had a chance to stop by to have a wonderful visit with our dear friend, Tracy. Tracy is one of the Jamaicans we went with to the Panama Temple last August. She has recently been called as the Mandeville Branch Relief Society President. Even though Tracy deals with multiple physical disabilities including blindness, she is an amazing example of self-reliance and fortitude. There's very little she can't or won't do for herself. We know she will fulfill this new calling with love and diligence, and we tell you, the sisters of the Mandeville Branch better buckle up and hang on because Tracy is so eager to serve and lead the sisters in the branch as they work together to  minister with Christ-like love and service to one another and to their community. 




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Someone shared the suggestion to listen or read all the General Conference talks President Russell M. Nelson has given since his call to become an Apostle in 1984. Today as we travelled to Montego Bay for church - a 3 hour drive one way - we took the opportunity to start listen to his  talks. We know doing this will be an enlightening experience. 

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Until next week...all our love.