Week 2 - Jack speaking. I think I had better clarify my comment of 4 months going on 9 days. President Bekker said he was asked if we were a "Green Beret" couple or not and he answered them in the affirmative. Rest asured the Lord through his servants has called us to such a mission. I was feeling a great deal of shock in the extreme change of our lifestyle. I will not elaborate but rest assured that you just do not head out in an eveing for fast food or dinner. It's possible but not convenient. One night this week we dined on an apple and a small bag of potato chips and a bottle of water. Enough of that. As far as being a missionary the week was quite wonderful until today (Sunday) I thought my GPS was programed for the branch building but Fran and I wound up at the Bank. Oh well I did have the branch presidents phone but tried Zen Navigation for one hour before giving up and calling him. I now know the way to the church. I had been to that building twice before but today was my first time driving on my own.
Now the fun part. On Wednesday evening we traveled about 20 miles to the Junction Branch for a Branch Bonfire. This was a party for all branch members and the pictures posted are at the bonfire. We had about 55 in attendance which included several neighborhood children who were not members of the church and for the most part only saw a party and joined in. President Collins (branch president) met us at a Shell service station to show us the way. He greeted us with some Jamaican apples as a gift and wanted us to meet one of the single mom members that is struggling with her 14 yr old daughter and he is very concerned about his youth. We want to get her enrolled in seminary and since she was at school we made an appoint to meet with her next Sunday. Then we drove to the bonfire sight. When we arrived the children just surrounded us not only physically but with love. In fact they wrote on our car in its dirty condition "We love you". They are really full of life. President Collins called the meeting to order and after an opening song and prayer each of the Branch Presidency bore their testimonies. One of his counselors Bro. Powell bore a very sweet and strong testimony of the gospel and I did not find out until later that he was baptized 5 months ago. A very impresive well educated brother. In the whole branch there was only one car as most people do not own cars. They rely extensively on taxi's that are always darting about the island and will pack in as many on each trip as they can. The lack of transportation is a major problem with church activity. Fran & I were also asked to bear our testimonies and Elder Shafermeyer. Hot dogs and punch were served then we broke out the marshmallows, graham crackers and hersey bars for Smores. Fran & I had packaged 89 zip lock bags with the crackers and candy in them and all the members had sticks to roast the marshmallows on. It was a ZOO with the children coming back and coming back and coming back for more. I tried to make sure everyone got at least one and hopefully that did happen. Oh I forgot, after the testimonies we played show and tell for scripture stories. We were by an unfinished house and Sister Shafermeyer went up on the top of the wall and shouted repentance playing the role of Samuel the Lamanite and that was my favorite one. At home I think we make things very complicated to have an activity but the simplicity of this activity had a very strong spirit of God's love for all of us His children and I know all of those in attendance felt that love and His spirit. It was a wonderful evening and experience. There are alot of challenges but we are dealing with them. Love to all. Jack. a.k.a. Elder Andersen.