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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Sunday, August 27, 2017

After two very busy weeks, we stayed home all week catching up on office work. We feel like we're back on top of things, although we have so many "irons in the fire" right now, it's hard to be sure. 

We had another terrible tragedy here in Jamaica involving another Church member. I don't believe we mentioned the other two. About 3 weeks ago, we had one of our dear friends in Montego Bay shot and killed in her yard. Another young man we hadn't had the chance to meet yet was also shot and killed in crossfire in a different city. And now this past week, a young boy was shot and killed while sleeping in his mother's arms in their home. His mother was seriously wounded in her arm. We are so saddened by these events and pray every day for peace in the world. Unfortunately, such shootings are not unusual occurrences here, and some people seem to accept them as just part of life. Of course, others are much more affected. 

We attended Mandeville District Conference today in May Pen which is where the young boy's family attends church. Along with many other wonderful speakers, President Pearson, the Mission President, gave the closing talk about forgiveness. It was one of the most amazing talks we've heard on this topic. He introduced the talk by saying he felt impressed to offer some words of comfort and peace. We know he was definitely inspired to share what he did.

Our prayers are for comfort only the Lord can provide for those who have been so affected by these horrific events, and we also pray for the members of the branches they attended. Many hearts are hurting. 

May Pen Branch Meetinghouse

We leave on the temple trip to Panama City, Panama tomorrow morning. We are excited to share this next week with about 35 faithful Jamaican saints who have sacrificed much to be able to take this trip. Another senior missionary couple, Elder and Sister Brown, is also going as well as a member of the Kingston Stake Presidency and his wife. The Browns went on the group trip last year, and the Medleys shepherd these groups every year, so we are depending on them for guidance. We will be staying on the temple complex which has housing for those traveling from long distances. 

In 2006, at the dedication of the Sacramento, California Temple, President Gordon B. Hinckley, President of the Church told a gathering of Saints that members can draw closer to the Savior Jesus Christ in these magnificent edifices than anywhere else in the world. We know this to be true, and we know that through Christ we can find the peace and hope that will sustain individuals and families in today's troubled world. 

Elder Elder Richard H. Winkel, Of the Seventy, in a talk entitled, "The Temple Is about Families" stated, "When you come to the temple you will love your family with a deeper love than you have ever felt before. The temple is about families. As my wife, Karen, and I have increased our temple service, our love for each other and for our children has increased. And it doesn’t stop there. It extends to parents, brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, forebears, and especially our grandchildren! This is the Spirit of Elijah, which is the spirit of family history work; and when inspired by the Holy Ghost, it prompts the turning of the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers. Because of the priesthood, husbands and wives are sealed together, children are sealed to their parents for eternity so the family is eternal and will not be separated at death." 

Malachi 4: 
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:
6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

Celestial Room - Panama City Temple
We, of course, do not take pictures inside any temple. 
This is a picture taken by Church photographers before the dedication of the temple. 
We plan to be serving in the temple every day Tuesday through Saturday. Since we have two years of experience serving as Ordinance Workers, we understand we will mostly likely be asked to serve in that capacity some of the time while we're there; that will be great. We've been asked to be the unofficial photographers during the trip, so we'll have plenty of pictures to share next week.  We also hope to be able to visit the Panama Canal one of the days when we've finished our work in the temple. 

We get home next Sunday evening fairly late. We are flying out of Kingston tomorrow, but we fly back into Montego Bay on Sunday and then will take a bus back to Kingston with the others who live here. I'm sure we'll be tired, but it will be a good tired.

Until next week...

All our love. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sunday, August 13, 2017

A post about all our wonderful activities of the past week will "soon come" as we say here in Jamaica. 

We leave early tomorrow morning for 5 days in the Dominican Republic for a welfare seminar. I may have some time to put a post together in the evenings. If not, it may have to be a post about two eventful weeks. 

Love to all...

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Sunday, August 6, 2017

What better to start off this week's post than with a weather report.

Not quite a "Blue Norther" like we used to call a cold snap in Texas, but it is certainly cooler than usual here this weekend. Earlier in the week, it was extremely hot, and when the humidity was figured in, it was well above 100 every day. 
Two days ago. 
You can see why the lower temperatures today are welcomed.

We'll enjoy the cooler weather we're experiencing at the moment and hope that it's not "batten down the hatches" in a few days. There are some bigger storms brewing out in the Atlantic; we'll see. We sure don't want to have the major flooding like back in May and June. A lot of people were affected by that and are still recovering. We hope and pray there won't be any tropical storms or hurricanes coming our way. 

It's so unusual for us to spend a full week in Kingston and two in a row was unheard of, but we did just that again this past week. We had several meetings and activities, but they were all in the Kingston area. With the heat, we were fine with staying close to home and being in either our air conditioned truck or apartment as much as possible. 

Major Initiative: Vision Project 2017

We are in preparation mode for a busy week ahead. We will welcome and host Dr. and Mrs. Hunsaker Tuesday through Saturday. Dr. Hunsaker is a vision specialist from Utah who is coming to provide training for some new vision equipment donated to Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) and University Hospital of West Indies (UHWI) both located here in Kingston. We were able to meet with the partnering doctors at KPH to make plans for the training and the Handing Over Ceremony, and we have been able to coordinate all the plans with UHWI by email. We always appreciate the gracious assistance we receive from the professionals involved with these projects.

This past week, we also continued our work on a smaller project in the Hamilton Gardens community in Portmore. We were able to purchase some much needed kitchen equipment for a small community school. Everything will be delivered this week. Pictures to follow. 

Since Independence Day falls on Sunday this year, tomorrow is a National Holiday. There is a Grand Gala at National Stadium today and tomorrow with parades and fireworks, but it's best for us to stay out of the way of the celebrating. The Jamaican people are very proud of their independence; as they should be. We certainly pray for prosperity and peace for Jamaica's future. 

 Jamaican Independence August 6, 1962
(We thought we'd share this historical video.)

As we begin our second year serving in Jamaica, we reflect on all the amazing and miraculous things we have been able to experience and be part of this past year.  

Buddy's thoughts:

The opportunity to serve as Senior Missionaries in a foreign country has really opened our eyes to how deeply our Father in Heaven, our Savior, Jesus Christ, and His church love all of His children. We are all precious to Him, and He is mindful of each of us. Our service to the Jamaican people has brought us into contact with poverty that is not understood by most Americans. But in their poverty, these wonderful brothers and sisters find joy in the things that matter the most. They are deeply religious, full of faith, and love their families. The struggles of life are just that, life. They give thanks each day for another day to be alive. When asked, "How are you doing today?" Jamaicans usually say, "All right, so far. I give thanks that I am alive; with life, anything is possible." 

As we go about our days, let us be thankful for our lives, our faith, and our families. There is so much we take for granted; so much of our energy is expended as we chase after things that don't really matter. We need to take time to hug those who are the most important, take time to express our gratitude for life to our Eternal Father, and take time to serve our brothers and sisters in whatever way is best. This certainly will make a difference in us and in those we serve.

Until next week, we love you all.......