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Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Presidents Eyring, Monson, and Uchtdorf
187th Annual General Conference of 
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

We are so grateful we were able to watch General Conference over the Internet and were excited to hear the announcement of 5 new temples: Brasilia, Brazil; the greater Manilla, Philippines area; Nairobi, Kenya; Pocatello, Idaho; and Saratoga Springs, Utah. 

All of the talks were inspiring and uplifting as they always are. We are very grateful for the righteous example of all the Church leaders and their willingness to share their testimonies of the Savior and His atoning sacrifice on behalf of all of God's children. President Eyring's talk Saturday morning especially left an impression upon me. He said through "the providence of God" we have received the gospel and the eternal ordinances for ourselves so that we can now provide the way for our ancestors to also receive these blessings. I turned to Buddy and said I would love to serve a Family History mission which actually could mean serving from home. An ordinance worker we knew at the Portland Temple had this opportunity. 



For the fourth consecutive Easter season, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is encouraging Mormons and others around the world to share hopeful messages about Jesus Christ. This year's focus comes from the Bible's teaching that Christ is the Prince of Peace. 

As with previous years' messages, this year's messaging initiative coincides with Holy Week - from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, April 9-16 - and includes three invitations:
1. Come to Christ.
2. Learn principles of peace from the Prince of Peace.
3. Share ways to find peace through the Savior. 

On Tuesday, we attended a combined Zone Conference for the Kingston and the Spain Zones. (The Spain Zone is what they call the Spanish Town area districts.) We always enjoy going to these meetings. President Pearson invited the missionaries to share examples of miracles they've had. We heard some amazing testimonies of faith and the resulting miracles. We particularly noticed how each missionary concluded their contribution with the principle they had learned. For example, one elder shared that their investigator was afraid to tell her mother that she was investigating the church, so the elders did a role play with her. (I used to do this with our kiddos. We'd think of all the possible scenarios when they were afraid about some situation - we'd  practice - you say; then they'll say; then you'll say ...remember?) The young girl gained the confidence to speak with her mother and was baptized last Sunday. Principle: The Lord opens the way for all to keep the commandments. 

We had special visitors at the Zone Conferences. Two men from Utah and Idaho who served missions here back in the 90s brought their 12 year old sons to visit Jamaica. They were here for a week sharing their experiences and the sights of Jamaica with their sons. They both spoke at the zone conferences. One of the men works for LDS Family Services. One of the main things he does is counsel with returned and prospective missionaries. He helps in the adjustment to being back and in the preparations for missions. He was a very engaging speaker. Much of what he said also had application to our role as senior missionaries. The other man is an entrepreneur with several businesses. His emotions were so tender as he spoke of life-changing experiences he had here which helped shape who he is today. Both men talked about the changes that are made before, during, and after serving a mission. Buddy and I reflected on a beautiful piece of advice our Jeff shared with us when we began our mission - To not resist the changes the Lord will make in us. We have seen this already. The speakers both spoke of the importance of keeping a journal and recommended returned missionaries - no matter how long they've been home - go back and read their mission journals to remember some of the sweet, precious feelings they had when serving.

We also attended part of the Zone Conference the next day in Montego Bay for the Mandeville, North Coast, and Bahamas Zones. The off-island zones always join in by Skype. We were in Montego Bay to help the branch in the process of creating an emergency preparedness and response plan. After the conference, the visitors followed us up the mountainous road to West Haven Children's Home. They had contacted us back in January asking if there was somewhere they could do some service. After introductions, we left them there to interact with some of the children. 

Instant friends. 


Spring fed pool close to Salt River 
outside of Freetown, Jamaica

We had one of the best experiences of our mission - at least so far - on Friday morning. We drove to Old Harbour to pick up the sister missionaries and then out into the country to meet the elders outside of Freetown to witness the baptism of a fine young man we've known for a few weeks. The elders told us the baptism was to be near the Salt River, but we certainly didn't expect the location to be this beautiful. We walked down a steep bank to reach this gorgeous clear water pool. We are very excited for this young man and all those he will influence through his righteous example. 

"Yes, we'll gather at the river, The beautiful, the beautiful river;"

Heather shared a poignant comment when 
I shared this picture with her in an email. 
"I love how the water is rippling! It's so symbolic! 
It makes me think about how our covenants are eternal
and they go on and on, but it all starts with baptism."

I (Buddy) would like to add an entry from my journal:

"This morning we drove to Old Harbour to meet with the missionaries and a young man who was to be baptized. We picked up the sister missionaries to convey them to the baptismal site. We drove to what turned out to be a small spring fed pool in the country. This was a beautiful spot for a baptism. The water flowed from under a rock formation at the base of a hillside. It was clear and beautifully calming. Our little group of 10 sang hymns and had a talk on baptism. Young Brother Bryan was baptized by Elder Menlove. The simplicity of the service and baptism was wonderful. This was the best baptism that I have ever attended. Debbie and I were asked to bear our testimonies. We were grateful for the opportunity. This has been a day that I will never forget."

I am so glad that we are serving here in Jamaica. The love that we have for the people grows as we serve them and serve our Savior, Jesus Christ. Thank you all for your support and prayers on our behalf.

All our love...


  1. Thank you for sharing your testimonies each week with us. I love to hear you experiences as it reminds me of Chile. Many times I am unable to attend church (or listen to conference) like today, and reading your testimonies refills my testimony tank and fills me with the spirit. Thank you for serving. Thank you for leading. Thank you for your examples. Thank you for sharing.

    1. And thank you for taking the time to comment; we know how busy you are.

  2. Such an incredible time you are having. I loved General Conference even through the rowdiness of the kidos it was wonderful so many talks on the roles and importantance of the Holy Ghost just what I needed to hear! Thank you for sharing each week. I love both.

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