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Monday, October 24, 2016

Monday, October 24, 2016


The temporal highlight of this last week was enjoying this beautiful sunset on the beach at Negril, Jamaica. We were there for a night during a trip to check on a humanitarian project in nearby Savanna-La-Mar. Seeing sights like this is a definite benefit of serving here. On Sunday morning, we attended church in Sav-La-Mar. We love being able to meet and worship with the Jamaican saints all over the island. 




We've been here over 2 months, but this was our first taste of jerk chicken. It was quite tasty. It was served on top of what they called succotash (a bit different from what we thought succotash was). This was almost like refried beans but made with either garbanzo beans or hominy and corn.  It was very good, but oh, mon, extremely SPICY! Surprisingly this was much spicier than the chicken. The fried plantain garnish was delicious too.

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We were able to return to the May Pen Primary School this week for another meeting with the principal and other staff members to continue our discussion of a potential project there. Because the year is quickly coming to a close, this will most likely be proposed in 2017, but we still wanted to continue the information gathering now. After our meeting, we ventured out to stroll through the busy market place that is always on the streets around the school. It is filled with vendors selling everything from cabbage to shoes.  Quite the experience.



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The weather here now is pretty much the same every day. It's cooler in the mornings and evenings (only mid-80s instead of mid-90s) with thunderstorms every afternoon. Our drive back from Negril yesterday was quite the adventure. There was a torrential rainstorm, we were on windy, mountain roads, many of the "Sunday drivers" were NOT taking the weather and road conditions into consideration, and some of the pot holes were big enough to swallow our truck. I imagined cayman swimming in some of the deeper ones. It was pretty crazy. My neck and jaw always hurt after these trips. Buddy keeps telling me to relax; yeah, right!

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We received the sweetest letters from each member of Jeff's family this last week. Of course, we love picking up mail at the Mission Office, but as I shared with all the family in an email today, they may want to just email. Mail seems to be taking way too long - up to 2 weeks. I told them we'd love to receive emails, or scans of handwritten letters, drawings, pictures of preschool/school projects, essays, stories, etc. Can you tell I'm missing seeing these things? 


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I also wanted to relate to you one of our spiritual highlights of this last week. I have permission from our oldest son, Jeff, to include a portion of his letter. He was definitely inspired to share this with us at this time, and we wanted to share it with you. This was an experience from his mission.


I was in the office with President Galbraith and there was a group of missionaries who had finished their missions and were about to go home and there was also a whole group who had just arrived. It was unusual to see this because they usually came in and went out on the same flight, and they never got a chance to talk. But for some reason this time they were all in the mission office. One of these brand-new, fresh-from-the-MTC, green-as-can-be missionaries asked one of the veterans, 'What is the one bit of advice you would give to a new missionary?' I think he was expecting something along the lines, of 'Work hard, Elder,' or 'Don’t drink the milk,' or 'Study your Russian,' or something like that. But what the veteran elder said was very profound and it has stuck with me since.  He said, 'Elder, don’t resist the changes that the Lord will make within you.'

It caused me to think about my willingness to be molded and shaped and changed and the resistance that I would put up.

Two scriptures come to mind that encapsulate this thought:

Matthew 16:24-25
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

Mosiah 3:19
For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. 
[Interestingly, this was the foundational scripture for Jeff's "homecoming" talk in 1997 when he returned from his mission.]

This principle of submission, is what Elder Wright was talking about with this new missionary.  It’s what the Savior has said many times. It truly is the message of the invitation to “Come, follow me” …it is the mark of discipleship.

There is no better place to learn and to practice this than on a full-time mission.


Jeff went on to encourage us to get rid of distractions in our life and fully submit as there is no better place to do so. We feel very blessed to have received this wise and valuable counsel. Thank you, Jeff.



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I asked a young man who sat by us at church yesterday if they celebrated Halloween here. My new young friend replied, "No, but we sure do Christmas!" I admit I bought a bag of the bite-size chocolate candy bars at our Costco-like store. I'm divvying out only 2 or 3 pieces to myself every day. I don't even have to share; Buddy isn't a chocolate lover like me.

So until next week...






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