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Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Another month is almost gone. Unbelievable!

We had a very busy start to our week. Early Monday morning, we traveled to Montego Bay in our very full truck to prepare for the culmination and Handing Over Ceremony of the back-to-school kits project in partnership with the Child Development Agency of Jamaica. 

We had previously arranged with the elders and sisters serving in Montego Bay to help us assemble the 405 back-to-school kits. We can't begin to express our appreciation for their willingness to assist. It probably would've taken us until midnight if we had tried to do this ourselves. I think everyone had a great time working together and getting to know one another better. Our pizza lunch was yummy too!

By mid-afternoon we had finished assembling the kits and setting up for the next day's ceremony to be held in the chapel/cultural hall. This is another example of all those years of practice setting up for ward or stake activities and even wedding receptions coming in very handy making this a fairly simple task.

The Handing Over Ceremony was held the next afternoon. The Elders Quorum President, who is our right-hand man for anything in the Montego Bay area, and his sweet wife who serves as the Relief Society President, as well as one other sister from the branch came to help us put the finishing touches on everything and to serve the refreshments. The elders and sisters came back also. We were delighted to have them there to be part of this event and to be instrumental with one of our goals of bringing the Church out of obscurity. Several comments were made about their hospitality toward those arriving for the event and their contributions to the overall event. The sisters shared their beautiful voices singing "Count Your Many Blessings" as part of the program. This is a very familiar song to Jamaicans; we heard several softly singing along. 

Montego Bay elders and sisters faithfully representing the mission and their home states of Utah, Arizona, and California. 

 "Count Your Many Blessings"

We are always impressed by the articulate and expressive manner of the Jamaicans who speak at these events. We never hear the you knows or uhs that seem to pepper American speech. The MC and several representatives of the CDA shared fervent testimonies of gratitude and gave the glory to God for the blessings of humanitarian efforts such as this project.

The Team Leader for the Western Child Development Agency stated, “The LDS Charities’ impact of open love and commitment to the youth has cemented strong partnership from this day forward. To the LDS Charities, you are blessed, and we are grateful in every way for your support. Both our entities have a mission to transform and to make a difference in the lives of others.  The school supplies rendered will seek to transform lives beyond measure as an essential tool kit to platoon the children’s pathway to success.”

The Handing Over Ceremony is just that; we are handing over the goods or services provided by LDS Charities to the recipients. In this case, the 405 back-to-school kits were for the Child Development Agency (CDA) in Jamaica. The kits will be distributed to children in foster care in the four regions. Protecting children, transforming lives, and securing the future is the mantra of the CDA, and we welcomed a chance to support their cause. Each school kit consists of one tote bag, three composition books, four pencils, eight coloring pencils, one eraser, one pencil sharpener, one pair of scissors, and one ruler. 

Elder Stewart presents the kits to the CDA representative. 

 Definitely a colorful project. 

We are so grateful that we were able to help in some small way 
to bring smiles to some very special children in Jamaica. 

We love a statement made at a recent Handing Over Ceremony, "Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot escape the light." We bask in this light which we know is possible because of the power of the Light of Christ. 

After everything was cleaned up and the truck packed up, we headed out to do our part of the transfer logistics. The poor Assistants to the President and President Pearson were exceptionally challenged with this transfer because out of the 14 new missionaries who were supposed to arrive only 5 were able to actually come due to visa issues, and then to add to that, flights were delayed for those coming in and for those leaving. Luckily, all went as smoothly as possible.

We picked up two sisters who had traveled up to Montego Bay from Mandeville to drive one sister to Ocho Rios and the other sister to Portmore. We love seeing the interaction of these adorable, hard working young sisters and their immediate desire to work cooperatively in their new companionships.

              Representing Utah, Arizona, Utah, Utah, Utah, Jamaica, and Utah. 
(In case you've wondered, we were asked in the MTC to not include names on social media posts. I always have two versions of this type of photo; I add captions with names on one to be able remember all these special people.)


Wednesday, we went to Victoria Jubilee Maternity Hospital to meet with two doctors, the Senior Medical Officer, and a nurse in charge of training, to discuss the potential of LDS Charities partnering with them to offer some type of assistance with a Proposal for Development of Maternal and Fetal Medicine in Jamaica. From the proposal, "Indirect mortality, specifically deaths due to non-communicable diseases, is the main contributor to rising rates of maternal mortality locally. This proposal outlines a multifaceted programme aimed specifically at improving outcomes among women with chronic non-communicable diseases as as establishing a service of prenatal fetal diagnosis, surveillance and treatment." 

It was explained to us that there are no social services for those who are not able to pay for or do not have insurance for private prenatal care. We were able to tour the new prenatal clinic they are developing. 

The two OB/GYN doctors (one who is actually our neighbor and new friend) were on one of the Jamaica morning news shows the next morning discussing their performing the first intrauterine transfusion in Jamaica. It was a great interview, and we later told our neighbor how much we enjoyed watching it and asked for his autograph. 😉 Both he and his wife laughed. He did have on a Superman shirt, and I said, "See there? You know you're super!"

This is just the last minute or so of the interview. 
L to R: Dr. Campbell (our neighbor) and Dr. Kelly 

At the meeting we respectfully informed the committee that LDS Charities could not provide assistance with the very expensive larger items - e.g. ultrasound machines, but we may possibly be able to write a proposal for a smaller project to help with office equipment for the prenatal clinic and maybe even some of the less expensive diagnostic equipment. 

The Church has a Major Initiative, Maternal and Newborn Care, which originates with specialists at Church Headquarters in Salt Lake, and our Area Welfare Manager has had communication with them, but as of right now, this proposal doesn't seem to fall within the areas addressed by this initiative, but there still may be some common ground that can help fill this need for improved maternal and newborn care in Jamaica. 


On Saturday, we took a quick trip to and from Ocho Rios to pick up a sister who needed to come to Kingston for medical care. Fortunately, she is in a tri-companionship, so it worked out well for her to come stay with us for the weekend, and then other two sisters could continue their usual missionary activities. We'll start early Monday morning arranging for her to be seen by a doctor. The Pearsons are off island again - in Nassau - but will be home late Monday. I imagine Sister Pearson will then take the lead on this particular medical need which is always fine with me. 

Until next week...love to all.


  1. Sorry to read about the missionaries not being able to come to Jamaica because of visa problems. Do you know if they are being temporarily assigned in the states or are they just staying at the Provo MTC? Thanks for sharing your many adventures and experiences as well as the service you are providing to the people of Jamaica!

  2. You guys are doing so many amazing things it's incredible!!!! Love you!!