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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sunday, March 26, 2017

 Rafting on the Rio Grande

As promised here are the details and some pictures from the river rafting trip we took this week. We had such a grand time lazily floating down the Rio Grande River on the north coast just west of Port Antonio with most of the other senior missionaries. The weather was perfect; it was warm, but there were fluffy clouds to periodically provide some shade. 

We began our day by meeting the other missionaries at the end point of the rafting adventure - which is right on the ocean. We purchased our tickets and then took a 30 minute taxi ride up river to the beginning point. Our taxi driver shared a little bit of the history of the area. Errol Flynn, the legendary swashbuckling movie star, who made Port Antonio his home, introduced the idea of rafting as an attraction. Prior to this, the rafts were used to transport produce, especially bananas, from the interior of the island. Torrential rains rushing down from the Blue Mountains feed the river. The taxi driver showed us a water depth indicator which went as high as 20 meters, and this was pretty far up on the bank.

We met our raft captain named Richards - a 69 year old who has been doing this for over 20 years, boarded our comfortable bamboo raft (we even had cup holders made out of bamboo), and started out on a beautiful, relaxing trip on the river in what we consider the most scenic part of the island. We were told the captains of the rafts start out by being the ones to bring the rafts back up river - a really difficult job - they pole back up just like they would going down river, but of course they're going against the current. After they've become more experienced they are allowed to captain the rafts. There are many captains, so they are on a waiting list and only get to do this when their number comes back up to the top of the list - about 2-3 times a week. It is a good source of income for them. Our taxi driver also works as a captain. He said that rafting is his gym!

Below is a map of the location of the river and the part we were on. You can see how lush the vegetation is in this part of the island. 

Left to right: 
Elder & Sister Brown from Illinois [Member and Leader Support (MLS) Missionaries], Sister Dennis from Jamaica [Self-Reliance/Pathway Missionary], Elder and Sister Chandler from upstate Washington, [Church Educational System (CES) Missionaries], Us, Elder and Sister Gotfredson from Utah [also MLS Missionaries].  President and Sister Pearson weren't able to join us, but they've taken this trip multiple times since this is their second mission here. 

The Browns - so you can see the full raft. 
Their captain was 77 and has been doing this for 60 years!

Taking a raft back up river. 

About mid-way, we stopped for lunch at Melanie's - a riverside restaurant for the rafters run by an amazing cook. She lives on the other side of the mountain, and she carries ALL of her equipment and the food here every day by herself. Another man sells drinks, so together they raft across the river to this place. She offers jerk chicken, red snapper (pictured below), and crayfish. Buddy had pre-ordered the crayfish and was disappointed to find they were finished (as they say here, which means she was all out.) Evidently, these craydads run about a pound - more like a small lobster. 

The ladies' and gents' room.

Too soon, we arrived back at the ocean and came to the end of this amazing trip. We'll definitely be doing this again! One of the workers said we should come back in the summer when the water is more calm. We told him we loved white-water rafting and had enjoyed the few little riffles. 

I've tried to insert a few videos; I hope they'll play for you. 


We hope spring has arrived at your house. Here in Jamaica there are only slight changes in the seasons. Compared to the heat when we arrived in August, the somewhat cooler weather especially in the evenings since December has been wonderful. The days are becoming warmer and the nights are not as cool, so summer is on its way, but we'll continue to enjoy the little bit cooler weather while we can. We were told last summer was exceptional hot; we hope that's the case, and that perhaps this summer won't be quite so hot. 
We celebrated Buddy's birthday by having a lovely dinner at a nice restaurant here in Kingston. It is a favorite place of ours, and all of the church visitors we host always put a trip to South Avenue Grill on the itinerary. It is an outdoor restaurant with great ambiance. One of the waitresses, Rita, has become a dear friend who always greets the women with hugs.

Happy 66th!

We were excited to receive the go ahead from our Area Welfare Manager to continue to the submission phase for one of our potential projects. We're now in the process of entering everything into the online system. We have another project ready to propose and hope we'll be able to get both underway very soon. 

Transfers took place this week; it's always an exciting time. I believe six of our wonderful missionaries left this time. One Jamaican elder has been waiting since we arrived in August to go to the Netherlands and was finally able to go begin his mission there. The rest returned honorably to their families. It's fun to receive pictures of their homecomings and to now keep in touch through Facebook. We welcomed five new missionaries - 3 sisters and 2 elders - hailing from Utah, Idaho, Hawaii, and Arizona. This week is Zone Conferences, so we'll get to be rejuvenated by the youthful energy and enthusiasm always present in any gathering of missionaries. 



I hope all the sisters reading this were able to watch the General Women's Session broadcast Saturday evening. If not, I encourage you to do so as soon as you can. I was inspired and uplifted by all the talks, and I particularly loved Sister Linda K. Burton's message. She shed a whole new light on the idea of being a certain woman as she expounded on the importance of this adjective when we consider the many meanings of the word certain - e.g. unquestionable, beyond doubt, sure, definite, unchallenged, etc. This truly is an incredible way to describe many women in the Bible. 
In just the following two examples, we can gain great insight if we think of certain in the way Sister Burton explained.
Luke 10:38
Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
Luke 24:22
Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre;

We are looking forward to hearing messages of inspiration and guidance from the First Presidency, members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and other General Authorities and General Officer of the Church during the upcoming sessions of General Conference. 

Click link below for live viewing time and options...

Until next week...all our love.


  1. The women's broadcasts was awesome. I loved Elder Eryings talk especially the part on charity. The rafting looks like it was a blast. So glad you get to go to zone conference. I have so many great memories from those! Love you guys thanks for posting as always!

  2. Wow sounds like an eventful and wonderful week. I particularly liked the picture of Buddy in the yellow speedo poling up the river. 😆 I always enjoyed general conference on the mission. It was always a big recharge of my batteries. We miss you both. Have a good week.