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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Our missionary assignments continue to diversify. 
We are wearing many different hats these days. 

We began the week with a trip to Mandeville – about 2 hours one way – for a couple of reasons. We first completed a white glove (not really) inspection of the Mandeville sisters’ apartment. We love being with the young sisters whatever the occasion. They are such darling, hard-working missionaries, and they are very conscientious about and obedient to the mission guidelines for stewardship over their living quarters. There are four sisters in this particular location. It is inspiring to witness these young adults exhibit gratitude and kind behavior to one another.

We then went to the Super Farm Store in downtown Mandeville to meet with two members of the Mandeville Member Welfare Garden Project to purchase some more supplies. We stopped at the garden project property on the way out of Mandeville. The farmers hard work is paying off; the crops are thriving. It is exciting to see the success and progress toward self-reliance for these families.


Mandeville Member Welfare Garden Project - 5 acres

Labour Day in Jamaica

Jamaicans celebrate Labour Day each year by volunteering their time and energy towards the beautification of homes and communities across the island. It truly is a day of labor for about 50% of the population; the other 50% simply enjoy being off work or out of school. A friend was telling us that she remembers as a child everyone would be out working in the communities. People would spend all day sprucing up not only their own homes but also helping their neighbors to do the same. Everyone would work together to clean up their neighborhoods and surrounding areas. She said it was a time of national pride and hates to see the involvement dwindling.  

So for this Labour Day, we had a prearranged visit at a small community preschool in Portmore where a service project of painting, cleaning, organizing, and gardening was in progress. We are exploring the possibility of partnering with employees of a finance company here in Kingston who have somewhat adopted this little basic school. Here in Jamaica, almost all children 2-5 years old attend basic school. The schools are not funded by the government, yet there is involvement with the Ministry of Education as far as regulations. The principal of the school has been running this school for 26 years. She was explaining to us that if children come to school but perhaps tuition is not being paid, she cannot turn them away. The school is expected to feed the children breakfast and lunch. Many times they come to school hungry. If the school isn't receiving the payments from the families, other school funds have to be used to purchase food. LDS Charities does not provide consumables, but we may be able to propose a project to donate a few needed items to help supplement their budget.

We have to be discerning because we could spend all our time answering requests to assess the needs of these preschools, but of course, there are so many other types of needs. This one may work out since there is another organization interested in partnering with LDS Charities. 

We thought it'd be fun to share this photo. This is a a very common sight here in Jamaica in all the grocery stores. This was taken at Price Smart (same corporation as Costco). The Jamaicans love their sweeties - especially cakes, donuts, etc. We try to avoid those isles. 


On Saturday, we attended a baptism at the ocean. This was in Kingston out by one part of the harbor. Certainly not the prettiest of beaches by far - a lot of trash - but the Spirit was there, and this sacred ordinance was carried out beautifully. The young man who was baptized has many relatives who are already members of the Church. Two were there with him, and of course they very excited to witness this special event. This had been a long time in coming. The family and the young man were late getting to the place because of transportation issues. As missionaries, we are not allowed to transport people in our trucks, so the family took a bus to get as close to the place as they could and then walked the rest of the way - to and from - quite a distance. Such dedication. We got a bit sun and wind burned, but it was a wonderful way to spend the early hours of an afternoon. 


We were very busy the past five days handling the medical needs again for the mission while President and Sister Pearson were conducting Zone Conferences and missionary interviews in the Bahamas. 

Unfortunately, two elders have been diagnosed with very serious eye infections in the past three weeks. The second instance occurred this past week. Both of these situations progressed so rapidly - within two days. The ophthalmologists here recommended treatment in the states as soon as possible. It was crazy. 

Both cases advanced to the critical stage as the Pearsons were leaving, so we were the ones in place to work directly with the elders. Buddy was especially very involved in accompanying the elders to all their doctors' appointments and helping the elders through the preparations to leave. Buddy was in almost hourly contact by phone with President and Sister Pearson as they communicated and received direction from the missionary department in Salt Lake. With both elders, Buddy had the unwelcome task of telling them they were going home, but he did so with Christlike compassion. It all happened so quickly both times, but every step of the way clear explanations were given to the elders by the doctors, the Pearsons, and Buddy, and we witnessed the elders exercise faith and courage to accept the necessity of leaving. It was still hard. We were touched by the demonstrations of love and compassion by their respective companions and all the other missionaries involved in the whole whirlwind process as these two fine elders experienced not only physical but emotional pain. 

All of us are fervently praying for their speedy recoveries.

In addition, we were very busy with other types of medical needs from stomach aches to strange rashes to small injuries necessitating our spending a good deal of time giving good ol' motherly and fatherly advice, scheduling doctors' appointments, making follow up calls, and even accompanying a missionary to the emergency room at 1 AM Sunday morning. Thank goodness for mobile phones so we can stay in contact with Sister Pearson. We had more than the usual number of calls and texts back and forth during this off-island trip. We are grateful the Pearsons returned safely Monday evening, and at the moment everything seems to be under control. 


Doctrine and Covenants 18:15

Alma 29:9

A definite highlight of this past week was our being able to give a referral to the missionaries here in Kingston. We met a very nice lady and her 4-year-old daughter at the eye doctor while we were waiting with one of the elders. The little girl gravitated to me; that truly happens quite often. (Actually this was mentioned specifically when I was set apart as a full-time missionary.) She, her mother, and her grandmother had been waiting even longer than we had, and the little girl was getting very fidgety. She noticed me writing in my book of Sudoko puzzles and wanted to write numbers too.  After she tired of that, I shared pictures of our family with her - especially pointing out all the 4 year olds. She wanted to know the names of all 27 grandchildren. She even watched part of an episode of Sophia the First on my phone. Noticing our name tags, her mother asked the location of our church, and as the conversation progressed we were able to invite her to church and to get her contact information and her approval to share it with the missionaries. We told her we would be out of town attending a different ward this Sunday, but we would have some of the young missionaries contact her and warmly welcome her at church.

On Sunday, we enjoyed visiting the Ocho Rios Branch up on the north coast. We were beyond excited to receive a text message from the elders in the Constant Spring Ward telling us "our" investigator and her daughter were at church. Fortunately, our meetings ended in time for us to get back to Kingston to be at the church just as the ward was ending. Two wards meet in that building, and this was the later ward. We were able to talk with our new friend and her daughter. They had really enjoyed the meetings, and a time was arranged to meet with the missionaries for a lesson. We know the elders will be awesome in helping this woman and her daughter feel the love of the Savior. 

We had another encounter in Montego Bay on Monday leading to a referral, but we'll save that for the next post. 


We can't believe it's the end of the school year. We love hearing about all the summer plans of our children's families. It sounds like it's going to be a great summer. 

Summer has certainly arrived here, so we're grateful whenever there's a nice to breeze to keep the air moving. We have acclimated somewhat to the heat, but it can still feel terribly muggy especially after a rain shower. We sure appreciate our air conditioned apartment and truck. 


We are extremely busy, but we wouldn't have it any other way. Thank you for your prayers and support for us and for all the missionaries serving all over the world. 

All our love...

1 comment:

  1. Such an amazing time!! Love all the stories! Your wisdom and past experiences are sure being used! You both have been prepared for this time! Thank you for sharing! Love you!