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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sunday, June 25, 2017

After being extremely busy the last two weeks, it was nice to have a little more time at home and in our office. We like being busy, but we don't like feeling behind on paperwork. We've said this before, but we continue to marvel at the diversity of responsibilities, experiences, and callings we've had in the past which prepared us in so many ways to serve in this calling. We each have our strengths and weaknesses, and so far we've worked in harmony. For example, I really don't like to call people on the phone; Buddy doesn't mind it at all. I'm pretty good at composing concise clear emails for follow-ups. I don't mind filling out forms and organizing presentations, while these are not really Buddy's favorite things to do.  We acknowledge the hand of the Lord in our work here in Jamaica. We know if we are doing our best, the Lord will continue to help us. We especially recognize the need for discernment and are grateful for inspiration we have and will continue to receive. 

We travelled to Santa Cruz last Sunday for the regular block of meetings and then to hold a kick off meeting with the group involved in the Member Welfare Project (MWP) there. We once again were grateful for the opportunity to bear our testimonies and worship with the faithful saints of this branch. We now have officially attended every ward or branch on the island at least once. 

Santa Cruz Branch Meetinghouse

This Member Welfare Project group consists of six families. Two families will be raising meat chickens, and four will be keeping bees. We are impressed by the organizational skills of the branch president's wife; she has been and will continue to be such an asset to this group. She works as a paralegal, and her administrative skills are top notch. Many times the load of paperwork the families have to manage in connection with these projects can be overwhelming, but we are confident she will assist others and keep them up-to-date. The record keeping is crucial to the success of these projects. 

We had read, especially in Renaissance literature, about the requirement to post the banns of marriage or intentions of married, but we'd never actually seen such a document until we saw this on the door of the office at the Santa Cruz Branch building. Evidently, it is still a very common practice around the world and was in the United States in colonial days. 

The marriage officer's certificate or Certificate of Banns requires the publication of Banns following the receipt of the notice from the parties or party of their intention to marry at morning or evening service. After this, the contents of the notice must be entered on paper which must be attached outside the principal door of the place of worship for seven days. Again, at the expiration of the seven days and there being no objection, the marriage officer's certificate is then issued by the priest, minister or pastor, who must be a marriage officer, authorising the solemnisation of the marriage.

Very interesting. This would certainly put some wedding chapels out of business in Las Vega - maybe not a bad idea. 

Jamaica Kingston Mission - Kingston, Mandeville, and Spanish Town Zones

A tri-zone conference was held on Tuesday for the Kingston, Mandeville, and Spanish Town Zones. Usually the zones meet individually, but because a family who was visiting from the U.S. was to give a special presentation, President Pearson wanted as many missionaries as possible to be there. The father of this family of five served here 1998-2000. The family comes back to Jamaica almost yearly to visit and do various activities with the members. We all were inspired by their testimonies shared through word and song. 

We enjoyed meeting the seven new missionaries who arrived just last week representing the United States, Canada, and South Africa. They are ready and eager to serve. After the family's presentation, lunch, and inspirational training in the afternoon by the zone and district leaders, we had the tender opportunity to hear final testimonies from the missionaries who will be leaving soon. [Sometimes missionaries leave mid-transfer usually due to college schedules. Interestingly, the South Africans always leave mid-transfer too. We're not sure why.] Many of the elders and sisters who just left or will be leaving this summer have been serving in demanding leadership positions throughout the mission. We know the Lord will "raise up" faithful replacements, and the work will proceed. It's grand to experience the orderly turnover of missionaries. We have been here long enough now to witness the growth that has taken place over their many months of service. We pray they will remain steadfast and immovable as they go back to their families and begin the next exciting chapter of their lives. 

Yallahs Branch Meetinghouse
We attended the Yallahs Branch today. We both were asked to speak in Sacrament Meeting, and this time we actually had a few days notice. We don't mind speaking on the spur of the moment, but it was nice to have a few days to prayerfully consider what the Lord would have us share. I based my talk on the principles taught in Elder Neil A. Maxwell's talk from General Conference in April 2000, entitled, "Content with the Things Allotted Unto Us." Elder Maxwell taught a powerful lesson on finding contentment and peace with whatever we are allotted in this life. In Alma 29:1-4, we read about Alma learning to be content with what the Lord had allotted to him. The same contentment awaits us if our own desires can be worked through and aligned with the will of the Lord.

"Life's necessary defining moments come within our allotments, and we make 'on the record' choices within these allotments. Our responses are what matter. Sufficient unto each life are the tests thereof!" Matthew 6:34. "

"What we could and have done within our allotted acreage, therefore, is known perfectly by the Master of the vineyard."

Buddy used the analogy of his flying career and his process to qualify for certification as an Airline Transport Pilot to teach about the blessing of qualifying for and faithfully remaining worthy to hold a temple recommend. Just as with the many months and years it took to earn his ATP, there are commandments to keep and lessons to learn before we can qualify for a temple recommend. It is the same process for the newest 12 year old Deacon or Beehive within the youth of the Church to the end of our earthly life. Even though Jamaica is not yet blessed to have a temple, he encouraged everyone to be worthy of and hold a current temple recommend. 

After the regular Sunday meetings, we met with the new branch presidency to discuss a potential Member Welfare Project after the regular meetings. One of our fine elders who will be returning home soon had been serving as the branch president and had completed some of the preliminary paperwork for the project. We presented some training so the new president could move on with the process. 
At zone conference, the mission president's wife invited us all to participate in a Book of Mormon Summer Reading Schedule. To build unity, not only will all missionaries in the Jamaica Kingston Mission be kneeling in our companionship morning prayers at the same time - 6:30 AM, but we also will be reading from the same chapters in the Book of Mormon each day from now until September. This is in addition to the reading and studying in other scriptures we all do each day. 


Until next week, all our love...

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