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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sunday, July 23, 2017

July 23, 2017 Our Mission Hump Day 

Today is the half way mark of our mission. The time is going by so fast - which is good and bad. Good because we miss our family and will love being back with them, but bad because we love Jamaica and there is much more for us to do here and so little time. 

As far as what we expect to happen this next year...we expect to continue our work right up to the end. We will do much more than last year because we know so much more about our responsibilities and how things work here in Jamaica. Looking back we had a pretty steep learning curve at first even though our predecessors were fantastic to prepare us as much as they could by email and Skype even before we went into the MTC. They have been great to help us all along the way if we had questions, but of course, until you actually do something it's all theory; the practical aspects of some of the things we do were a bit shaky at first. Now when someone asks us what we do we don't have a quick answer; our calling has so many facets. 

We were in Kingston all this past week. We had a Handing Over Ceremony for the project with the Jamaica Society for the Blind. This is a project we've been working on since last fall, and it was all finally completed just a couple of weeks ago. We loved working with the director and staff at the society. They taught us a great deal about the culture and needs of the blind here in Jamaica and universally.

Part of the Press Release:

Jamaica Society for the Blind Receives Donation from LDS Charities

LDS Charities, sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a leading provider of goods and services and proponent of giving aid to those in need has made a donation of seven (7) Perkins Braillers (Braille typewriters), twenty-nine (29) folding canes and nineteen (19) rigid canes, and partial funding for a Centrevue Fundus Camera to the Jamaica Society for the Blind in Kingston, Jamaica. This humanitarian contribution was for JMD $1,045,828.14 in equipment. The Braillers will re-establish a Brailler loan program for persons who wish to prepare materials in Braille to improve productivity and self-reliance; the canes provide increased mobility boosting confidence and self-reliance; and the fundus camera, a specialized low power microscope with an attached camera, is for diagnostic examinations at Jamaica Society for the Blind Vision Centre. All of these items will help further the cause of the society for the blind.

When asked about the support from LDS Charities Conrad Harris, Executive Director of the Jamaica Society for the Blind had this to say: “It has been a real pleasure working with LDS Charities. They have been very willing to sit with us and learn what our major needs are, and they have responded quickly once they find they are able to help. We are extremely pleased that the support they have provided will directly benefit the clients whom we serve.”

We feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to work with the inspiring people of the Jamaica Society for the Blind. Being able to facilitate this donation, to help the society fulfill its role in the community to help in the creation of more opportunities for the visually impaired, is one of the special projects we have been involved in during our time here in Jamaica,” stated Elder Richard and Sister Deborah Stewart, Welfare Services Missionaries of the Jamaica Kingston Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

A special Handing Over Ceremony was held Friday, July 21, 2017 at 10:00 AM at the Jamaica Society for the Blind Vision Center located at 111 ½ Old Hope Road, Kingston.

 Buddy and  Damon McLean, Chairman of the Board

 L to R Standing: Sandra Harris, Director of the Vision Centre & us
Seated: Conrad Harris, Director of JSB & Damon McLean, Chairman
The above was the only picture in the press release.

 Mr. Harris with the new fundus camera

 and with one of the Brailers and canes

Buddy presented a new folding cane to one of the society's clients. 
His old cane had been run over by a car.

Of course, there are so many other NGOs in need of assistance here in Jamaica, but we would love to work with these people again soon. 


We have one sister missionaries companionship here in Kingston. We've had the opportunity to interact with them quite often. They are so dear to us. Friday morning about 1:06 AM, we got a call from them. Of course, whenever the phone rings in the middle of the night, all kinds of things go through our heads - especially when we are on medical duty like we have been the past 10 days while the Pearsons were visiting other islands in the mission. The precious young sisters had been without power for at least 8 hours and were sweltering in their upstairs apartment. It was a very hot night with absolutely no breeze. They said they couldn't sleep because they were so hot. We told them we'd be right over. Buddy checked the circuit breaker, and then he checked the meter outside. Sure enough, the "red tag of shame" was on their meter. Somehow the office financial elder had overlooked the payment. Oops. He's new at this job, and even if he weren't, no one would be angry with him; these things happen. We had this same situation at our apartment a while back. We had the girls grab their things for the night and the next day and took them to our apartment. We have an extra room with a bed and an inflatable air mattress just for these instances. They slept peacefully all night - most assuredly the coolest they'd been their whole missions. They stayed and did their studying and planning while we went to the Handing Over Ceremony. We told them to enjoy a nice hot shower - they normally do not have hot water - and to help themselves to lunch. Their power was still not back on when it was time for them to go to a couple of teaching appointments. We picked them up later to take them home, and fortunately the power was back on. We were so glad we could help these little damsels in distress. We love the young elders and sisters so much. We think of when our children served missions and how we prayed they would have people taking care of them. It is a pleasure to pay back all the kindnesses they were shown in some way. 


Ocho Rios

Today, we drove to the north coast to Ocho Rios for church. It is an easy and beautiful drive up there since we can go on a tollway. We always enjoy worshipping with the Ocho Rios Branch saints. One of the elders who is leaving this week bore a fervent, touching testimony of his love for the people he has served and for his Savior. He tenderly expressed his love for Jamaica when he said, "I don't know if I'm going home or leaving home." We wish him well.  

The Sunday School lesson today was entitled, "Establish a House of God." As a class we had an amazing and inspirational discussion of the blessings of the temples. 
Santo Domingo Temple
We will have a chance to go here on during the week of 
August 14-18 while we're in the DR for Area welfare training 
with the other Welfare Services missionaries in the Caribbean. 

Panama City Temple
We are going here August 28 - September 2 
with about 40 other people from Jamaica. 

Many Jamaican saints save for years before they are able to afford the long trip to a temple, and then it is often the only time they will go. Our teacher today told of saving for years to be able to go and the extraordinary experiences she had. Others spoke of being so emotional when it was time to leave the temple and crying on the bus all the way back to the airport. My heart went out to them for their faith and courage to make sure they received the eternal ordinances for themselves and their loved ones living and deceased. 


We have a busy week ahead with among other things a project culmination and Handing Over Ceremony in Montego Bay. We'll write about that next Sunday. This week is also transfer week, and we are involved with some of the moving to and fro of the elders and sisters. There are 13 missionaries going home, and I believe, 15 new ones were expected, but at the last minute, 9 of those became visa waiters and will not arrive yet. It is an exciting time as new companionships are formed and new missionaries are welcomed to the island to start their joyful journey.

Until next week...

All our love. 


  1. That was so nice of you to help the sisters out!!! You guys have always been so full of love and charity towards the missionaries you guys are in the right place!! Have a great week!!

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