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Monday, June 18, 2018

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The righteous who walks in his integrity—blessed are his children after him! (Proverbs 20:7) 

Our family is eternally grateful for a righteous father who honors his wife, children, and the holy priesthood which he holds. 


We were able to accomplish so many things this last week including finishing two major projects and holding both Handing Over Ceremonies. 

The first project was a donation of several large kitchen appliances at the Jerusalem Children's Village in Spanish Town. The Jerusalem Children's Village is one of the several facilities across Jamaica that comprise the Mustard Seed Communities, with another 12 centers scattered among Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and Zimbabwe. Mustard Seed Communities began in 1978 in the impoverished community of Mona Common on the outskirts of Kingston, Jamaica, as a home for a handful of abandoned and disabled children. Today they serve over 600 children, young adults, and families who belong to the most vulnerable groups in Jamaican society. The populations of their homes include children and young adults with disabilities, children affected by HIV/AIDS, and teen mothers along with their babies. MSC Jamaica also manages a number of community outreach programs to combat poverty and provide education to local populations. This facility houses about 160 residents of varying ages, which includes those who are HIV positive and those with both physical and mental challenges. The property features a chapel, adoration rooms, an art center, a physiotherapy center, play therapy areas, classrooms, a clinic, as well as a five-acre farm. 

LDS Charities has had the privilege of partnering with this center for several projects over the years. One of note is a chicken project that was begun years ago which was the start of a very successful operation with now over 3000 chickens. The center strives to be self-sufficient by raising fish, chickens, goats. They also maintain a garden and have recently commenced a solar operation to provide power to the facility. ​

 Residents gathered to join in the celebration. 

President gave all the praise to the Lord and expressed gratitude to Jerusalem Children's Village for allowing us the opportunity to serve as instruments in the Lord's hands. 

The kitchen staff expressed their gratitude for new appliances and equipment. 

Everyone enjoyed the refreshments!

This beautiful young lady raised her voice in song; others joined right in. 

The other project was at the Hanover Parish Infirmary in Lucea on the west coast of the island. LDS Charities was able to provide commercial size washers and dryers, a solar water heater, a 1000 gallon water tank, a generator, an industrial stove, a refrigerator, microwave, fans, as well as large cooking pots, dishes, utensils, and cups. 

We were invited to attend the Hanover Parish Council meeting to officially hand-over the donation. We were presented with a lovely plaque recognizing LDS Charities for the generous gift which will improve the lives of so many. 

Our new friend, Winston, was quick to remind us we had expressed interest in purchasing one of his paintings. We were glad to support his small business venture. 
Unfortunately, after over a week of hospitalization, President Pearson's medical condition became such that plans were quickly made for them to leave Sunday - two weeks earlier than expected. Then on Saturday, it was decided they would be flown back to Utah by air ambulance because he needed to remain on IV for the duration of the trip. Everything was put into motion for this big change in plans, and they flew out Sunday afternoon. This was certainly not the way any of us thought their mission would conclude, but we are glad he is receiving the medical attention he needs and pray for his speedy recovery.

We were delighted to see President's smiling face on Facebook today as he's surrounded by loving family.

Kevin and Nadine Brown of Kingston, Jamaica have been called to serve as the interim Mission President and Companion of the Jamaica Kingston Mission until the new president and wife, President and Sister Parker, arrive on June 28th. The announcement was made by visiting Area Authority, Elder Jose Luis Alonso, First Counselor in the Caribbean Area Presidency, during the Jamaica Kingston Stake Conference on Saturday, June 16, 2018. President and Sister Brown served in this position for three years before the Pearsons, so it is a blessing to have them right here and ready to serve. President Brown serves as Bishop of the Boulevard Ward in Kingston and is thDirector of Seminaries and Institutes of Religion in the Caribbean. 

The mission seems to be carrying on as normally as possible. The missionaries are working hard continuing to lovingly invite, teach, and baptize. Baptisms took place around the island on Saturday and more are planned for next Saturday. The elders and sisters know that even in the face of such challenges, the Lord is in charge and His work goes on. We're so proud of them. 

The book is blue; the Church is true!


I've always been one to have several contingency plans in mind for most situations. This practice is coming in very handy right now as many adjustments are made in how our time is allotted during the final days of our missionary service; there are so many new, unexpected variables. We want to be available to assist President and Sister Brown as much as we can. I will continue as the main missionary health care coordinator until I can train one of the other sisters, and Buddy will continue with his many duties as the First Counselor to President Brown. Our replacements are still delayed because of waiting on their visas. We have a Plan B, well, and maybe even C, D, and E to make sure the transition goes smoothly. No matter what, the amazing humanitarian work of LDS Charities goes on. We have branches to visit, wheelchair interviews to conduct, projects to finish, final reports to enter online, and new projects to research for proposal, and next week is transfers and the arrival of the Parkers. Phew! We will be ready to put our feet up - but not for long. 

Thank you seems inadequate to express our gratitude for your prayers for God's blessings to be poured out upon all His missionaries around the world. We trust you will see the fruit of our labors and recognize our love of the Savior as we diligently strive in all the multiplicity of roles in building the Kingdom of God on earth.


Until next week...all our love.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Sunday, June 10, 2018

We begin this week's blog post by asking everyone to please include our mission president and his wife in your prayers. President Pearson was hospitalized on Friday after over a month of dealing with unexplained fever and other symptoms. Finally, he was able to undergo the appropriate tests to determine an accurate diagnosis and is now receiving the treatment he needs. The Pearsons are scheduled to finish their mission at the end of June, so we are all praying they'll be able to stay here in Jamaica and President will receive excellent care. They both are very calm and express feelings of gratitude that the diagnosis, though serious, has a positive prognosis.

The Lord truly sustains his servants. Even though President was getting weaker day by day, he was able to preside at all five final Zone Conferences and conduct interviews with the elders and sisters.

It was an extra blessing for all the off-island missionaries to fly in for their last conference with the Pearsons.  We also were so excited to get one more chance to see these elders and sisters before we leave.

Bahamas Zone
(representing Caymans; Turk & Caicos; 
Nassau and Freeport, Bahamas)



We attended church today at the Mandeville Branch. It was a true blessing to be able to partake of the Sacrament and hear inspiring talks from two sisters in the branch. As we attended our other meetings, my heart was especially touched as I witnessed the enthusiasm of the sisters in the branch as they participated in a wonderful lesson on unity in Relief Society. 

This branch's sisters are in extraordinarily competent hands as our dear friend, Tracy, serves as Relief Society President. If you haven't read about her in any previous blogs, Tracy had a brain aneurysm about ten years ago which left her paralyzed and blind. Multiple miracles have blessed her over the years so she has regained most of her ability to move and to walk although she is a little unsteady, but she is still blind. Even so, nothing thwarts her commitment to the Lord, His gospel, and to building up this branch is having a very positive effect on the sisters.  Tracy has an amazing mind and a heart of gold. She has so many great ideas to help these sisters fulfill the demanding roles of womanhood and is leading the way in ministering to the one.

 This sweet Jamaican mother's valiant son celebrated his 12th birthday yesterday 
and was ordained a Deacon today by his older brother. 

Saturday evening, we attended a baptism in the Constant Spring Ward here in Kingston. We always enjoy seeing the beaming faces of missionaries as they watch people they love enter the waters of baptism. These missionaries work so diligently day after day to teach their investigators and help prepare them to make and keep sacred covenants. They tirelessly engage in a labor of love to assist our Father in Heaven in His glorious work to "bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man". (Moses 1:9)

During President Pearson's course of treatment, we are doing everything we can to alleviate some of the pressure on both of them by handling all the missionaries' medical calls and many of the needs that arise within the branches of the mission. We are still awaiting the arrival of the new Welfare Services couple, Elder and Sister Arrington, and we're all praying for their visas to be approved any day allowing them to come to Jamaica very soon. We're hoping for even a short amount of time to train them while we're still here; if not, we have a plan B. 

We know the Lord is in charge, and we will continue to do all we can to keep things running smoothly and make the transition as seamless as possible. We appreciate your prayers and support.


Until next week...all our love. 

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Sunday, June 3, 2018

We had a wonderful week that included enjoying participating in the Kingston, Mandeville, and North Coast Zone Conferences. Every Zone Conference we have attended over the course of this mission was extremely enlightening and uplifting, and we continually have come away with renewed commitment to be better personally and to be more diligent in our missionary service. The enthusiasm of the young elders and sisters is contagious and gives us a boost to keep up the momentum. 

 Kingston Zone

Mandeville Zone

North Coast Zone

 Missionaries love to eat and socialize...


Mandeville Zone sisters - "It's a great day in Jamaica. Ya, Mon!"

This being our last time to attend Zone Conferences before we return home, we were invited to share our testimonies at the end of each conference. With emotion, we bore testimonies of our love for our Savior and our gratitude for the inspiration and divine guidance we have felt since joining the Church over forty years ago and during this mission. We know our lives have been richly blessed and will never be the same after the experiences we have had serving God's children here in Jamaica.  

On Friday, June 1, the Church held an event at the Conference Center on Temple Square that celebrated, through song, dance and the spoken word, the Church’s June 1978 revelation that extended the blessings of the priesthood and the temple to all of God's children everywhere in the world. The event was titled “Be One,” a reference to Latter-day Saint scripture where Jesus says, “Be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine” (D&C 38:27).

Mormon Newsroom

We highly recommend viewing the video of the moving celebration of a historic time in Church history. 

Here's the link to be able to watch the "Be One" program. You may want to skip ahead to the 58:20 mark of the video to get to the actual beginning of the event. 
We also want to share the link to an article in the recent April 2018, Ensign written by the man who has been called with his wife to serve as the new Jamaica Kingston Mission President and companion. Elder Parker is a convert to the Church and in this article shares a very powerful message about his experiences with racism and how we can all work toward being One in Christ. We look forward to meeting the Parkers when they arrive on June 28th. 

Elder Fred A. "Tony" Parker
Of the Seventy, North America Southeast America

"The Savior Heals Our Hurts"

From the "Soon Come" board in the Mission Office:

Our replacements, Elder and Sister Arrington, were scheduled to arrive last Friday after their two weeks in the Missionary Training Center, but unfortunately their visas to come to Jamaica are delayed, so they will wait back in their home city serving as Stake Missionaries. We all were disappointed. This is a fairly common occurrence for missionaries coming here, and many of our young elders and sisters serve in state-side missions for one to several months while visa waiting. We will continue our welfare work as usual and continue to pray for the Arringtons to be able to arrive as soon as possible. Our predecessors actually went home a month before we arrived in Jamaica and kindly gave us training through Skype sessions and phone calls. We were so grateful for their help, but it will be so advantageous if we can have some face-to-face training time.

We attended Church meetings in the Santa Cruz Branch today and loved being with these faithful saints in this small but quickly growing branch. Buddy, as President Stewart, presided and also had the very special opportunity to give a blessing to a baby in the branch. 

“Every member of the church of Christ having children is to bring them unto the elders before the church, who are to lay their hands upon them in the name of Jesus Christ, and bless them in his name” (D&C 20:70). 
Buddy had not performed this ordinance since blessing our own little Blake over 31 years ago. He has participated in many blessings including for most of our grandchildren, but this is the first time since Blake where he was actually voice for the blessing. He was delighted to be able to exercise the priesthood he righteously holds and honors.
Sweet little Ariya and her beautiful mother -
two more of our new eternal friends

And one more special event of last week...


Congratulations to our # 1 grandson, Zach Stewart, on his graduation from Layton High School. 
His next adventure: Ghana Kumasi Mission 
August 2018


Until next week...all our love. 

Monday, May 28, 2018

Sunday, May 27, 2018

In Jamaica, Labor Day is in May. Unlike in the U.S., neighborhoods and organizations involving many Jamaicans actually do labor in their communities to fix up and clean up. There are still many people who choose to use the day off for outdoor activities with family and friends much like in the U.S.  

We traveled to May Pen and Mandeville on Labor Day so Buddy could conduct several temple recommend interviews. About 40 Jamaican saints and some of the senior missionaries have a trip planned to the Panama Temple in July. We are so happy for them. 

This precious family of three generations will be sealed in the temple. The grandfather and father are deceased. I shared some pictures with them from our trip to the Panama Temple last August. They are so excited though a little nervous about taking their first plane trip. 

While in Mandeville, we stopped in to see our dear friend, Tracy, just in time for a Labor Day cookout.

We loved seeing Elder Shafer patiently instructing Tracy on the use of some new gadgets to help her function with her blindness. We commented on his kindness and compassion as he took the time to minister to her in this very practical way. 


With heavy hearts, we're in our last round of Zone Conferences. We attended one conference last week and will attend three more this next week

Spanish Town Zone Conference

We had a very special experience in the morning session as President and Sister Pearson shared an extraordinary video of an address Elder Jeffrey R. Holland gave at the Missionary Training Center in Provo in 2011. It is definitely one of the most inspirational messages for missionaries we have ever heard. 

 Everyone enjoyed the yummy taco salad and of course brownies for dessert.


Good down to the last crumb. 
Now, that's a sad elder. 

A few nature shots we thought we'd share.

The tree this banana bunch is growing on is actually in the neighboring yard, but the banana bunch is hanging over the wall of our apartment complex. Does that make the it fair game? Here in Jamaican these green bananas are usually served boiled. that may sound gross, but honestly, we thought the ones we ate tasted like artichoke heart - just needed some butter and salt. 

An interesting cactus we see all over the island. This Euphorbia Lactea has several common names including candelabra cactus. 

These gigantic French Peanut trees are also found all over the island. 
This gives you some perspective as to the 
enormity of these trees. 

The pods of the French Peanut tree 
- evidently some of the species of this tree have edible fruit. 


To further the objective of bringing the Church out of obscurity and of course to serve our fellowmen, the National Public Affairs Council participated in the Family Expo and Special Needs Resource Fair in Kingston on Saturday. A few of the council members manned a booth and offered a variety of free Church materials promoting family values and unity. It was a beautiful day, and the event was attended by 100s perhaps 1000s. 

This past Saturday was one of those days we missed being with family. Our oldest grandson, Zach Stewart, was ordained an Elder by his father, Jeff; and our 8 year old grandson, Jackson Price (Carly) was baptized and confirmed by his father, Kegan. We are so proud of these two precious grandchildren and are thankful for their good hearts. Heather and Tom were in Utah checking on the progress of their new home, so all the siblings were together except Emily. It won't be long before we'll ALL be together at least for a few days; we will treasure every moment. 

L-R: Josh, Ben, Jeff, Zach, Renee, Sam 

L-R: Tom, Heather, Collin, Kenna, Tamri, Mason, Ben, Zach, 
Sam, Jeff, Renee, Josh

Lucky Aunt "Gigi" snuggling with Oliver (Collin's baby boy) 
and Uncle Jeff with Lucy (Carly's baby girl)

L-R: front row: Tamri, Paislee, Jaidree, Kallie, Jackson 
2nd row: Megan w/Oliver, Kenna, Paidan, Liam, Collin, 
Madison, Sammy, Mason, Josh, Renee, Sam, (Ben)
3rd row: Chelsea, Faryn, Blake, Zach, Carly w/Lucy, 
Boston, Kegan, and Jeff

Jackson and Oliver

Besides attending the Zone Conferences this week, we will be sorting and organizing the Welfare Services materials in anticipation of the arrival of our replacements, Elder and Sister Arrington. They are in the MTC for their second week and were originally scheduled to arrive this Friday. Even though they were told to expect a delay in leaving the U.S., we're hopeful they'll arrive soon. 

With the development of this year's first tropical storm in the Atlantic, we're also double checking on preparedness for the upcoming hurricane season. Typically, Jamaica is more likely to have hurricane activity in September and October, so we're thinking we may personally escape any difficulties. 


 Until next week...all our love.