Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Good Experience

I think one should write when something good happens instead of late Sunday evening when you are too tired.  Today at 4:00 pm we were to give our second PEF fireside. This time in the Junction Branch which is about 45 min from Mandeville.  We arrived at 3:50 just in time to get set up and then went directly onto Jamaican Time.  Fortunately just as we were leaving Fran said I need to go back and get my stitching just in case.....well at 4:30 the branch president and two members interested in just knowing about the program but not in the age group to qualify, were the only ones there.  Three members that are interested in the program and would like to persue additional education were the reason we were there.  Well at 4:;45 we went ahead with the opening song an prayer then like magic the first of the three walked in followed within 5 minutes by the other two.  What looked like a long trip and a presentation to interested but not qualifiied suddenly became the presentation we set out to give.  The three potential students are just exactly those that President Hinkley was talking about when he announced the PEF program.  It is such an honor for Fran and I to be part of that program and see somewhat the vision he had for the third world youth.  We came home elated to have made that presentation and  present the work book and dvd to get them started on the planning for success portion. Let's hope they take it to the next level as they are bright and just need a chance.

Yesterday we went into Kingston to meet personally Kent Rappleye who is the Area Director for Seminary and Institute. We had an excellent luncheon meeting and reviewed our assignment..Tomorrow and Thursday we will be traveling once again into Kingston for meetings so this week is going fast.  We love the emails, letters and phone calls.  Love to all.  Jack & Fran. ...written by Jack.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Jacques Famous Beauty Salon.

Almost forgot the most interesting activity of the week.  Believe it or not Fran (aka Sister Andersen) brought me a pair of sissors and said " I need you to trim the back of my hair"  Now would that have ever happened in Utah or even in my lifetime.......well it did.   All is well and if I must say so myself it looks good.

Some pictures of taken during the week

As mentioned in my last note I meet several neighbors on my walk.  I have included a picture of a scene I see every Mon, Wed & Friday.  It is of Dawn and Audrey walking to work.  Last Monday I did give Audrey her copy of the Book of Mormon.  Dawn is on the left.  

Last Monday morning in our prayers Fran prayed that I might meet some home owners who might be future priesthood holders and have leadership skills. Well on Monday I meet Caspian Burton a retired high school principal and Methodist Minister.  He has a Book of Mormon already and I quote "yes I have one of those, it is a lovely book, we use the King James Bible". I assured him that we also use the King James version of the Bible.  On Tuesday  as I completed my walk I had not seen as I call him Brother Burton so I went back as far as his house to see if he was out but to no avail.  However, on my way back home another gentleman came out to the street and I introduced myself to him.  His name is Mr. Casey an elememtary school teacher. We talked for about 10 min before he had to catch his taxi.  He also has a Book of Mormon and said we would talk later.  I hope we connect again.  He is from Trinidad Tabago.  On Wednesday I introduced myself to another home owner who was out planting shrubs in front of his fence.  I said I am Elder Andersen and he said I am Elder Heegan. I asked if he was Methodist or Presbyterian but he said Penecostal.  We chatted a few minutes then I  continuted on my walk and met Brother Burton again so we visited about 10 min.  On Thursday I met Mr. Bell who is a contractor in Cayman but has his home just up the hill from us. We had a nice visit and I am sure we will be connecting again.  It was nice to meet some more of the home owners.  The Jamaican people are very warm and friendly and easy to talk with.  

Almost everyday when I walk there is this dog wandering around the neighborhood.  She has been out nearly every day.  This day she had her pup with her for the first time and fortunately I had my camera so here is the picture.  . 

We had a busy week.  On Tuesday we went into Kingston to get our shopping done.  We go to PriceSmart which is a store like Costco.   We were close to the US Embasy that afternoon and did not know that the wanted  drug lord was on his way to turn himself in to be extradited to the USA.  The drug war seems to have basically  come to a conclusion and hopefully there will be no more killing. We are safe and have experienced no problems and Christopher Dudus is in New York with the Fed's looking after him.

I am still very busy reconciling the PEF account but am happy about the progress.  I now have received communications back from about 1/3 of the students and feel happy about that.  While most of them have email addresses many of them have to go  to an internet cafe to use a computer as they cannot afford one.

This all might be boring but it gives me a record of some of the experiences we are having. Oh yes how could I forget.  We found a good - yes a good hamburger in Mandeville at the Bird of Paradise Cafe.  We were there on Saturday and since our direct supervisor Kevin Brown from Kingston and his supervisor Kent Rappleye from the Dominican Republic will be here at our home tomorrow to visit with us we will venture in again for lunch.  Hires is it not but we are not complaining.

Thank goodness for Vonage.  We enjoy talking with many of you and if you want to chat our number is a local Salt Lake number 801-413-2953.. If you call us and we are home we will tell you we will call right back as ther is no charge for us to call out. We are on Central Time Zone. Utah plus one hour.

Enough for now.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday June 20th.

Yesterday was the actual 2 month anniversary for our mission.  I did write a very long entry only to discover I had made a mistake and it got deleted. I was too tired by then to write again so hopefully I will do it right this time.  We had a very busy week starting with YSA committe meeting in May Pen last Sunday. We scheduled our first PEF fireside for today so we have been busy in preparation for it.  We were able to get a power point presentation from church headquarters and a projector from CES in Kingston and it took me a while to get trained (thanks Elder Schaefermeyer - again!) on how to run it. Who said I was too old to learn?
On Wednesday the Schaefermeyers brought brother Bennie Lilly from the Dominican Republic to visit.  Brother Lilly's boss is Veronica Van Leeuwen sp? (married name I do not remember) husband.  We sent our greetings to Veronica.    We all had lunch at the Lucky Dragon - Chinese with them.

First Book of Mormon placed.  Fran & I have been walking around the neighborhood in the mornings. We live in a hilly area so it is up and down, up and down etc. which is good exercise.  (I now walk alone as Fran has gotten her new treadmill).  We always introduce oursleves to everyone we see and it is mostly workers in yards and homes.  I have written the names of all we meet so I can greet them properly when we meet again.  To date I have 19 names with only 5 of them home owners.  The Jamaicans are a very friendly warm people and have very melodic voices with a english accent.  This makes a bit of a problem for Fran and I as our hearing leaves a lot to be desired. However, we do the best we can.  On Thursday I stopped for a minute and talked with Dawn who we always see on her way to work.  I told her Christ had visited the America's after his resurrection and we had a record of that event in a book.  She immediatly asked if she could have one and so on Friday I presented it to her along with a note from Fran and a letter from me explaining what the book was and how it came about and referred her to Moaoni 10:4-5 and we shared our testimony of the Book of Mormon.  On Friday Audrey, another worker, was with her and when she saw the Book of Mormon said to Dawn "see I told you that church was Mormon". Of course Dawn said immediately  Audrey wants one too. ( do not know if it is beacuse "it's free" or not) so on Monday Audrey will get her copy.  Since I see them every day I will regualarly check on their progress in reading. Even thought we are not offically proselyting missionaries I pray every day that we can meet some families and introduce the gospel to potential preisthood holders and leaders.  They are so much needed in the branches here.
Elder and Sister Cheesman from Provo are serving as the mission office couple and we invited them to get out of Kingston for a night and come to Mandville  for dinner and stay overnight.  We had a wondeful time visiting with them.  They do a wondeful job at the office and will be sorely missed when they go  home. You must realize that we are very much isolated from other couples to socialize with so it was relly good to have them and also to visit with the Schaefermeyers when they come here.   When the Cheesmans arrived they brought MAIL.  Thanks to Anna Maria, Boyd & Doris, Rachael the sweetheart, Doug & Stacy with their pictures with the  rainbow and Marsha Rogers in the background and Fran received some original art from Max and Tatum Smith.  All of this brightened our day.  Thanks

Today is our first firesde presentation in May Pen and we will be presenting it in every branch in Jamaica between now and July 31st. The PEF program is everything President Hinkley envisioned when he announced it.  We are very happy to be part of introducing it to all who may qualify for its benefits.

Enough for now.  Time to leave for church. 

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Musings in no particular order - Fran

Wonderful purchase this week.  I have a new treadmill which is set up on the laundry porch.  This adorable little sprite who lives next door (2 yrs. old) stood outside the gate Saturday morning and just watched me running for most of the time I was on.  Her brother, David, came out and sat on the cement barrier you can see in the background and I provided the entertainment.  You can just imagine how boring life is here sometimes.  Shaday finally ramped up her courage and ventured almost inside the gate.  There are also two other children inside the "compound" - our landlord's children, Rohana 6 and Michael a year and a half.  Rohana is very precocious and Michael cries mostly.  He is terrified that I might look at him and runs screaming when he sees me with the camera.

This is David and Shaday, obviously standing in front of the corn patch.  Saturday I would have sworn we were in Kansas.  When the wind is rustling through the corn it sounds like a heavy rainstorm.  I must include Casey in this dialogue about the children.  She lives next door, is about 6 also but has been grounded for several days.  Nobody knows what for..  Will include pics of Rohana and Michael later.

A too short haircut is too short for a very long time.
Never encourage an elder to tell you the "complicated" story of his love life.
Beware of giving a ride home to anyone who admits they are "very bad with directions"
Amazing what emotions the simplest action will produce.   Yesterday afternoon the Schaefermeyers called and said they were on their way back to Kingston and would be in Mandeville about 5 - did we want to meet them for dinner.  OH YES.  We got home about 6:30 and just stood outside the gate saying good-by.  After they drove off I realized we were outside the gate after dusk and had the most euphoric feeling of freedom.  Never take for granted the simple act of walking about without fear.  AND, we are not fearful but have been counciled not to be out and about much after dark.  So we aren't/

When I was in the second grade our teacher read us a story about some Disney characters who were on a ship.  Something happened, probably a big wave, and the jam pot fell off the table and got jam all over Donald Duck's feathers.  The thought of him being all sticky actually made me cry.  Quadruple that sticky feeling and apply to your neck, elbow creases, knee creases, eyelid creases and just generally every other part of your body and you will have an idea of Jamaica living.  STICKY

LOVE the Jamaican people.  So friendly, humble, helpful, beautiful speech.

In our security briefing at the MTC one of the first things our instructor said was "YOU WILL NEVER ASSIMILATE.  DON'T FORGET THAT.  You may think you are with your peeps, but you're not".
Several days ago we were in the grocery store.  I saw a white woman and thought to myself, "what is SHE
doing here?"  I forgot.

This just came to me\
Evening breezes
cool our kneeses
and oh how that pleases. 
We love and miss you all.  Good night. 

Friday, June 11, 2010

Fran sans badge and Elder Andersen purchasing a watermelon & pineapple

We were driving to Sav La Mar for a Zone conference (about 2 hours away) and I got so tired of gas pedal, brake, gas pedal, brake, dodge pot hole, dodge pot hole, that when I saw a sub division leading down to the beach I took the road for a break.  Got a good picture of Fran before carrying on.   I had noticed the watermelon stand on our way up so stopped coming home and made a purchase.  A side note - the picture of Fran is about 3/4 mile from Sandals Whitehouse Resort.  We decided to stop in and check out the rates in case we wanted a weekend away.  An absolute steal at only $540.00 US per night.  Obviously it is outside our budget.

Weir's and Andersens at Lovers Leap

Brother Weir served as district president and prior to that was a on the district council (high council) and his assigned branch was in Montego Bay.  Church starts at 10 am and he resided in May Pen. Each Sunday he would leave home at 5 am take a taxi to Mandeville then a bus to Sav-La-Mar then another bus to Montego Bay arriving in time for his meetings. What a faithful brother. He and sister Weir joined the church in 1979 and have been stalwarts since.

Treasure Beach

Fran and the OLD guy are here on treasure beach just in front of Jack Sprat's restaurant.

This is a place far away from any of the tourist traffic and is mostly visited by local Jamaicans
The couple who own the restaurant are members of the church but not active participants at this time.

Lunch June 10th at Treasure Beach

On Thursday we needed to take a deposit to Hampton School in Melvern for the YSA conference to be held August 7th & 8th. Fran & I will be involved in helping with the conference.
Brother and Sister Treavor Weir accompanied us and suggested we have lunch at Jack Sprat's on the beach.

We sat outside and even though it was very hot a nice breeze was blowing off he water and we had a nice time.  Fran had shrimp in coconut milk and a taste of the Weir's conch soup.  As you would expect Klondike Jack had pizza as fish is not an item on his personal menu.

As you can see the ambience was ( I had down very nice, but Fran said no don't write very nice write something better)  so the setting was very romantic and exotic. - Frans words.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

First Fast Sunday in Mandeville Branch, Jamica

To those of you reading this who have the blessing of attending an air conditioned fully functioning ward be grateful.  We do have a small chapel in which to meet however, there is no airconditioning, only ceiling fans and electricity that surges from power to no power which makes the microphone come on and off at random. with that said,  it was a wonderful meeting.  A former branch president was there today and was invited up to share his testimony.  He has lost the lower half of his left leg. He talked about the struggles and opposition but expressed his gratitude to the Lord and his testimony of the gospel. It was very touching.  He was followed by brother Wilkinson who has only one arm.  He shared that he lost his arm just before his 12th birthday and what a struggle it has been and how he felt empthay for his brother without a leg.  He is a tall stately man and has such a wonderful happy spirit and radiated the love he has for his brothers and sisters in the gospel.  He introducted himself to me the first Sunday we attended the branch and was happy to tell me he is the Sunday School President.  It is very challenging for these brothers and sisters to even attend church.  Most have to pay a taxi service to  get them to and from and many are not employed and have very little money. Is spite of those challenges many remain strong in their testimony of the restored gospel.  Fran & I had to leave right after fast meeting and drive one hour and fifteen min. to Spanish Town to attend a committe meeting for YSA.  We will be very much involved with assisting in registration and some other arrangements for August 7th.  Once again the cost for each person is equal to $35.00 U.S . for an overnighter and meals but there are many who simply cannot come up with that much money for the activity.  These are institute age 18-30 year olds. We hope miracles happen and that many can and will attend. Tomorrow we head out at 7 am for Montego Bay to meet with the branch president then on to Lucea to meet Elder Russell who is serving as branch president then on to Negril to meet with that branch president and in those travels we are to connect with the branch president of Sav-La-Mar.  We are following up on  making sure seminary and institute teachers are in place for orientation in July. Unfortunately there is an emotional toll that goes with serving in an area of have nots. The church is only 30 years old in Jamaica and  we have some insight as to the challenges of the early  church.  We love the Jamaicans as they are a warm and friendly people and the children especially want to just be around you. We are hopeful to make some kind of a contribution for the future of the church in these branches.  We are fine and missing all of you.  Jack

The Bed

 Just read Fran's note and thought a picture would be appropriate.  Finally a good nights sleep.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

ode to a new mattress

In order to help you all fully apprciate the new I will try to describe the old.  Queen size, with a huge lump down the middle that felt like maybe a sewer pipe running the length of the bed.  I do relate now to those of you who, at some time or another, slept on the old hide-a-bed and never said a word until we were well rid of that piece of junk.  Actually, as a sofa it wasn't so bad.

OK, running the length of the bed again, only on the sides were two deep, uncrawlable-out-of valleys.  These were not just on the sides though; they were right on the brink.  The only thing to keep one from falling off the edge was the mattress piping. 

When the subject of beds had ever come up with friends or family who had served missions, Jack would always say, "If we don't have a good bed I'll buy one.  I'm not going to spend 18 months on a crummy bed."  Ours was worse than crummy.  I did forget to mention that it was as hard as the beds at Alturas before the foam pads. 

We had gone into a local furniture store, Courts, to look at a treadmill and just for fun went upstairs to see what they had in the way of mattresses.  There in shining splendor was a mattress at the amazingly low price of $21,000.00 JD.  I lay down on it and fell in love.  We couldn't quite believe the price was so low, assuming it must be another piece of junk.  We bought it anyway .  Our neighbor/landlady went along to help facilitate the purchase and delivery.  She informed us on the way home that we had purchased a much more expensive mattress that was on sale because we were getting the floor model because it was the only one left.  It is lovely.

I must tell that on the day of delivery I washed the sheets, of course, to give our new mattress a proper welcome.  Did the hangout, take down dance all day long.  But in the end I was triumphant.  Dry, clean sheets on our new, soft, bed.  Life is better and I go now to luxuriate.  Good night.  Appreciate your beds.

Love, Mom/Frannie

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

First Month in Jamaica

The picture that follows is in downtown Mandeville.  The foot traffic and the auto traffic and parking is all shared in the same space. When we go into town we have to weave through the people and it is a miracle no one gets hurt but the system seems to work.  Last Saturday and Sunday we had District Conference.  The Saturday afernoon session was held in the Mandeville Chapel. Total attendance 27, then on Sunday the second session of conference was held in May Pen which is about 30 min drive for us.  There was a nice turn out.   We had around 200 total.  No airconditioning, numerous ceiling fans blowing hot air around and all windows open.  Last time I attended church in those circumstances was when I was growing up in Thatcher, Utah and we didn't have airconditioning nor fans.  I survived then and we will survive now.  The Saints are wonderful and exteremely friendly.  It is a challenge for members to attend who live in the outlying branches.  The branch from Junction rented a bus but only 20 members could come due to costs. Most families had one or two but could not afford for all to come.  It is a shame because the spiritual food is missed by so many.
Fran & I will attend a planning meeting this Sunday for YSA which will occur in August.  Once again this is a challenge for the youth due to being able to afford to attend.  Many will just miss out.  I have been extremely busy working on a Perpetual Education Fund account for the application of student payments.  Fran has been extremely busy sorting, organizing and studying our manuals for the up coming Seminary/Institute Orientation in July.  Then in August we will have a full day training with the teachers.  We are working with the District President to get teachers for each branch called and ready.  Also we are waiting for the schedule from the District President to present the PEF firesides.  We are healthy (Fran makes me walk 5 days a week for 45 min or so) and happy and trying to make a contribution.  YOU'VE GOT MAIL... yes today we received our first letter from the ward and were thrilled.  Thanks a million to one of my favorite people - Rachel Felt. What a sweetheart to think of us. Life is good.  Love to all.  Jack.