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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sunday, November 13, 2016

We weren't out and about much this week. Our time was filled with making and receiving phone calls and email correspondence with priesthood leaders around the island and with numerous people in the Area offices in the Dominican Republic. Debbie was under the weather Tuesday-Wednesday; she seems to be extra sensitive to some of the different foods, so we stayed in those days and accomplished quite a bit of necessary office work.

We're preparing for a visit from the Member Welfare Services missionaries for the Caribbean Area. They live in Canada and will be arriving in early December for a week’s worth of visiting around the island, specifically to meet with priesthood leaders to follow up on projects that are currently underway and to look for potential new projects. Their role differs from ours in that they provide guidance on church member welfare projects that are originated and overseen by the local priesthood leaders. Our efforts are to primarily focus on benefiting the non-members of local communities, and our projects are supervised by the Area Welfare Manager with us as the project managers. An example of a project that they will be checking on involves several member families in Savanna-la-Mar who are undertaking poultry production - specifically raising broilers to sell. The purpose of these types of projects is to help individuals and families become more self-reliant. Other examples of these projects involve gardening, and raising bees, pigs, or goats. 

Our role prior to and during our “off island” visitors’ stay is to provide logistical support. We are assisting with the scheduling of meetings with the local priesthood leaders all around Jamaica. So far we have set up meetings in Kingston, Portmore, Mandeville, Savanna-la-Mar, and Montego Bay, so it will be a busy week as we provide transportation and accompany our guests. We look forward to learning a lot about this arm of the church welfare system.

As we have made our way around the island, meeting with the members has led us to see that our role in humanitarian work is not well understood by most of the saints. As a result, we are preparing a presentation to educate the leadership and eventually, the general membership.

We did make one trip this week to Linstead to help with the acquisition of paint and associated supplies for the final touches on the basic school project there. This should be the last of the purchases for this project. Once the painting is completed, we will be ready for a closing ceremony to “hand over” the project to the community. A handing over ceremony is important in the Jamaican culture. It celebrates the completion of a project which provides for a better Jamaica. Even the smallest of endeavors is a cause for happiness. Celebrating success is a good thing.

We returned to Linstead today to attend church. As has been our experience in the past, we had a delightful time communing with the Jamaican saints. Three of the fine Jamaica Kingston Mission elders spoke today. One is headed home, and the other two are going to new areas. We so enjoy meeting and learning from these stalwart, faithful young men. This building is one constructed without air conditioning; however, we had a pleasant cross breeze that kept the chapel comfortable. Our meeting after church with the bishop was brief, so we set up an additional meeting in Kingston. He works at the Mission Office once a week, so we’ll meet with him there in a few weeks’ time. We continue to be impressed with the quality of the leadership that has developed in Jamaica.

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