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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017

 Happy Easter from beautiful Jamaica. 
 These gorgeous palm trees and the crown of thorns shrubs 
are right here in our apartment complex. 
Add to these the songs of the birds during the day 
and the peeping of the tree frogs (peepers) at night - 
yep, this is a tropical paradise. 

We hope everyone has had a wonderful Easter weekend. We imagine some of you have another day off from school or work tomorrow - enjoy. 

Our Easter bun and cheese.

The spice bun or Easter bun and cheese is a traditional treat at Easter time here. Of course we wanted to know the origin of this tradition; Google says, 

   The Easter holiday in Jamaica is marked by the enjoyment and delight of Easter Bun and Cheese. With a history that dates back to ancient Babylon’s hot cross buns, the Jamaican version is dear to the childhood memories of many Jamaicans. In Babylonia, cross buns were offered to Ishtar, the pagan queen of heaven. Similar cakes were made by ancient Greeks to honor the Moon. The tradition of baked goods as offerings to deities made its way to England, where cross buns were made and consumed on Good Friday with the cross understood as a symbol of the crucifixion.
     When the British captured Jamaica, they brought the cross bun custom to the island. Over time, Jamaica made the original English cross bun its own by using molasses in the mix instead of honey. And in Jamaica, the bun is eaten with cheese, a combination that is now an integral part of the island’s cuisine. In the present day, the custom of eating hot cross buns on Good Friday has waned in Britain, but it is still prevalent in Jamaica, with Bun and Cheese a dish eaten chiefly during the Easter holiday.

We just finished a yummy ham dinner for our Easter feast, so we'll try our bun and cheese a little later. Thank you, Jamaican pigs for the delicious ham. (Jamaica does not allow importation of pork of any kind.)

Our only travel this week was over to Mandeville on Monday evening for Family Home Evening with some of the other senior missionaries. Everyone usually gathers here in Kingston at the Mission Home, but the President and Sister Pearson were just getting back after a weekend in Turks & Caicos. It's a 2 hour drive to Mandeville, and night time driving anywhere except on the tollways is a bit unnerving, but we were glad to take our turn to make the trip. We had a delicious potluck dinner and a great time visiting together. 

For the lesson, we attentively watched an inspiring talk given by Elder Bruce R. McConkie at the April 1985 General Conference in which he bears his final mortal testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. 

     Elder McConkie begins with, "I feel, and the Spirit seems to accord, that 
     the most important doctrine I can declare, and the most powerful testimony 
     I can bear, is of the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ."

     He ends with, "I am one of his witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel 
     the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my 
     tears. But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God’s 
     Almighty Son, that he is our Savior and Redeemer, and that salvation 
     comes in and through his atoning blood and in no other way."
Elder McConkie died less than two weeks later. We recalled hearing this talk when it was given in 1985 and feeling at the time Elder McConkie was saying good-bye and wanted to leave no doubt of his infinite testimony of the Savior. 

"I Believe in Christ" 
written by Elder Bruce R. McConkie

We were so excited to receive the approval of a recently submitted project for a basic school (preschool) here in Kingston. This developing school is one of the first we visited when we arrived, but at that time a project wasn't going to work out. The sweet, young principal of the school is working so hard to provide a pleasant and suitable learning experience for the little ones.


Another of our current responsibilities is working with Church headquarters specifically with a couple who serve as the Technical Specialists for the Wheelchair Initiative. We are the In-Country Coordinators, and as such we will facilitate the organization of a 4-day training in June for wheelchair fitters and assessors. 

There are an estimated 20 million people in the world who need a wheelchair but do not have one. The Church wheelchair initiative strives to improve mobility, health, and educational and economic opportunities for people with physical disabilities. We help local organizations improve the services they provide to the physically disabled and provide a wheelchair or walking aid appropriate to the individual’s need and circumstances. With the help of volunteer trainers, the Church seeks to strengthen the capability of local organizations to assess individual needs, select and fit an appropriate wheelchair or other mobility device, train the individual and caregiver, and provide support for repair and maintenance. The mobility devices we provide include wheelchairs for rough terrain, hospital wheelchairs, crutches, walkers, and canes. Since 2002, over 415,000 people have received one of these devices.

We look forward to all the new things we will learn and the many humanitarian experiences we will have with this project.

This week we completed our task from the Area to train and disseminate materials for the creation of Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response plans in all 25 Church units in the Jamaica Kingston mission boundaries, i.e., Jamaica, Caymans, Bahamas, and Turks & Caicos. We instructed the unit representatives on how to have their unit councils go through the process to identify possible disasters, gather critical information, outline assignments and procedures, identify emergency communication methods, and encourage member preparation.

All Church members are encouraged to have an emergency plan and to update it regularly, and the Church prepares for emergencies the same way by establishing and maintaining emergency plans in every branch, ward, stake, district, and mission.

We met with the mission leadership on Thursday to support the updating of the mission plan. It is comforting to see these plans being created or updated, especially as we approach another hurricane season. 


Until next week...our love to all. 


  1. That is one of my all-time favorite talks. I used it recently for a lesson in Teachers quorum. What a powerful testimony.

  2. The wheelchair project is neat I can't imagine the joy the people feel when they get a new wheelchair that fits their needs. Such a blessing. Have a great week we love you!!

  3. We had the privilege of being in the Tabernacle when Elder McConkie gave this talk and bore his final witnesses...we had no idea that he would soon be seeing the Lord of who he bore such a powerful testimony.