Thursday, July 22, 2010

Water Water everywhere except in the tap!!!

On Wednesday we had a zone conference in Savannah la Mar that started at 10 am and lasted until 3:30 pm. It was a very good meeting with President Hendricks and Sister Hendricks speaking and introducing a new approach in teaching "the doctrine of Christ".  It was a long meeting and concluded with a testimony meeting of the departing Elders of which there were 5.  Met Elder Trumpet who just arrived. His home is Toronto, Canada so we asked him if he knew Elders Marlow and Diehl and he gor excited to know they are from our home ward.  It was a fun connection.  Now to water.

On Tuesday afternoon we came home and no water.  Fran was upset and left a message on the landlady's cell phone, then went over to her apartment and no response.  We needed to shower at 6 am Wed in order to drive to the conference some 2 hours away.  Finally she came over and announced that no one in the neighborhood had water.  It seems as though when there is an exceptional amount of rain that the water company cannot treat the water fast enough so they turn it off.  We both had plans of how we would get clean the next morning and foutunately the water was on and we got our showers.

We arrived at the chapel in Sav and you guessed it.  No water. 5 1/2 hr meeting and no water. Well we were very apprehensive about whether or not we would have water when we returned home.  Right- no water. Dishes are piling up and we have a PEF fireside scheduled for Thursday afternoon so are hopeful we will have water then.  I came home from my walk at 8 am and we had water so I took advantage and showered. Then we got the dishes done and Fran decided (unfortunately) to do some other house work before she showered. 

We have been counseled to have water storage because we are in  the hurricane season.  We have several gallon jugs full as well as a 5 gallon jug for drinking.  Today we started using it.  Fran in the shower and Jack with the open bottle (cold) pouring it on her head as directed.  Actually it is a proven fact that one can take a whole shower with washing one's hair and rinsing out the creame rinse, soap and rinse on 2 gallons of cold water.  This is really a green beret mission and Jamaica. 

We do not know what tomorrow will bring but we hope and pray for WATER.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Neighborhood update

As you know I walk 5 mornings per week and have met 23 regulars in along the route I take.  Last Monday I ran into (I call of them  brother) brother Casey again he is one of the school teachers and he said he would come by next week so we can talk. I had put a copy of an article from the April 2006 Ensign in my pocket in case I ran into Brother Burton as I wanted to give it to him.  The title is "Your Book is a True Book" by Ann Cue. (Who ever reads this blog entry I would suggest you go to and get a copy as it is my favorite article on the Book of Mormon) So I gave the article to Brother Casey and I'm anxious to talk with him again.  Then while coming home a gentleman was waiting at our place and I introduced myself and asked his name and he told me we had met the week before did I not remember him? When he told me where he lived then I remembered his name was Chambers and he said yes James Chambers. He was out for his walk so I told him we should walk together someday.  Well on Wednesday morning I was suprised as he was waiting in front of his home to walk. We had a good visit and he is another retired school teacher a widower with two children that preceded his wife in death.  He also has a  Book of Mormon from a set of Sr missionaries that were her a few years ago. With him discussing the loss of his wife it naturally led into a plan of salvation discussion.  Sister Andersen and I were then leaving for Montego Bay on Thrusday morning so I told him I would not be out again until Monday.  I was a little disappointed this morning as he was not out but know he will join me again.  I also told him we needed to get Brother Burton to join us. He is the Methodist Minister and also has a Book of Mormon.  As mentioned in an earlier blog Sister Andersen had prayed that I might meet some home owners who were well educated that could be leaders and since that morning we now have met 4 school teachers, one school administrator and one man who owns a construction company. We are just friendshiping them and getting in some gospel discussion as we can.  Also a couple weeks ago we were in Kingston for meetings three different days so I was not out walking.  The first morning back on the beat I ran into the two ladies I have given Book of Mormon's to and told them I had been in Kingston so right away they ask what I had brought them (not an uncommon request to us especially the children) so I told them I had not purchased a gift but it they would tell me when they have completed reading the Book of Mormon I would them bring them a gift.  Perhaps they will or perhaps they won't but I thought it might be a good motivator.  Another thought just crossed my mind and that was an experience in the grocery store in Mandeville.  As Fran and I approached the dairy case a clerk was there stocking a shelf and I said "how are you?" and she responded with the typical Jamaican answer "oh I'm alright" and I said how about when I ask you you say MAGNIFICIENT. So we tried it and she answered Magnificient so I asked her again and she said MAGNIFICIENT and I said now how do you feel and she lighted up and and said "that lifts you" which I thought was interesting and fun. Well Fran is out doing the dishes so I must close and go dry and put them away so til next time enjoy your environment - whether you know it or not your environment is wonderful
Jack. We miss all of you.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fran Overcomes Writer's Block

Curious about the pretentious title?  That's because I just had this whole post almost done and lost it because it did not yet have a title.

As must be evident I have had a serious case of writer's block.  I have heard that the best remedy for that condition is to just start writing something, anything - good, bad or nonsense.  I couldn't even do nonsense.  I'm now convinced that the remedy is to actually do something worth writing about.  Here was our solution:

Several weeks ago we had arranged to meet the BP (branch president) of the MoBay (Montego Bay) Branch but because of Jack's hearing handicap and Pres. Lee's very Jamaican speech there was a formidable communication gap and we literally left him standing at the altar - actually church.  Jack apologized profusely but we felt we wanted to make every effort to meet him and make amends.  Because we had PEF Firesides scheduled in somewhat nearby Negril and Savannah-La-Mar (Sav) on Thurs. and Fri. nites we decided to make one grand round of the whole thing.  One whole really darn good experience. 

Pres. Lee is a very tall, handsome, natty Jamaican with his counselor Pres. Grant, a much quieter man in every way.  Pres. Grant was the BP when Pres. Lee joined the church twenty years ago and has been his mentor ever since.  They have served as pres/counselor to each other (it goes back and forth as to who is pres.) for most of those twenty years.  Either branch or district.  Pres. Lee told us he used to be the #1  rum drinker in MoBay but now is the #1 Christian.  They chose to go to a Chinese restaurant which neither one had been to before but after our meal Pres. Lee exhuberantly exclaimed that we had done very well there and that that was where he was going to bring his wife and the Grants for his wedding anniversary.  He just so enthusiastically loves the gospel, Bro. Grant, life, the church, dominoes, good food and almost everything in his path.  That was a wonderful experience - thank you Pres.s Lee and Grant.

Thurs. nite we gave a PEFF in Negril.  Negril is probably the best kept, most tourist savvy town on the island.  They boast a 7 mile white sands beach and that is very nice, very colorful.  We stayed at CocoLaPalm which had been recommended by former Sr. missionaries.  The grounds were quite nice and it was right on the beach but lest you get any false ideas remember we ARE in Jamaica and on a MISSIONARY budget. 

Friday afternoon I was in the pool when a young man came out to the pool, looked it over for a couple of minutes, saw that the deepest part was about five feet and I heard him say to himself "that's not bad."  He left and was back in a few minutes with a young woman and they got into the pool.  She seemed rather tentative but he was soon splashing around in a , loosly defined, swim.  He then asked me if I knew how to swim, I told him yes.  He asked me if what he had been doing was swimming.  I said yes and then asked him if he would like me to show him some "other" strokes.  He was very eager to learn.  I demonstrated several strokes but when I did a back stroke he told me he wouldn't be able to do that because he didn't know how to float.  I tried every way I could think of to teach him how to float but it just wouldn't come.  As soon as I would pull my hands out from beneath him he would go down like a rock - he simply couldn't relax.

We met up with them on the beach again Saturday morning and talked for a long time.  He and his wife were celebrating their first wedding anniversary.  They both teach high school, (they look like they are IN high school) and live in Mandeville.  We hope to be able to bring you more news of them from time to time.  He is going to try to find a book on Caribbean History for me    - that is the subject he teaches.  She teaches math in a different school.  Very likeable, sharp, easy to talk to young adults.  We fell in love with them.

Our PEFF in Sav Friday nite was just delightful.  The Sav Branch has an activity every Friday nite and we were it.  There were branch leaders, a young man waiting for his mission call., little children running everywhere, young couples, some actual potential PEF candidates, etc.  After our presentation several of the men retired to a corner of the parking lot under a light to play dominoes.  The women stayed in the chapel and talked and the kids ran around intoxicated with the freedom of being out probably later than usual.

Saturday morning we walked on the beach, talked with our new friends and then checked out and drove out to a restaurant/hotel on the west end called the Rock House.  Very good/spicy jerk chicken sandwich anda spectacular view of the ocean.

Somewhere between Sav and home (now I"m really getting technical) is a fruit stand where we had stopped once before for watermelon.  (We were actually having a lively discussion as to whether that was the same stand - I, Fran, won that one.)  As soon as we got out of the car the young man who runs the stand came running, exclaiming that this WAS the truth - he had been thinking about us and the spirit had told him that we were coming.  He was practically jumping up and down and repeating "that's the truth".  We, of course, were exhilarated with such a welcome.  We chatted and took a picture or two.  Our first picture with he and Jack is back on our 11 June post and this is an update.  We promised him we will stop whenever we are out that way.

I just want to add a couple of things - first if you knew what we had been through to get this entry posted you wouldn't wonder that I had writer's block but to end on a positive note here are a few images from this weekend.  The first is a scene from the bridge over the Negril River just as you are entering the town.  The white things are not flowers (which is what I originally thought, but some exotic white birds.)  The second is a funny man on who was just dancing his way down the beach and the third, a very nice woman who was selling fresh fruit from the tray on her head.  We didn't buy anything, but she wished us to have a very fine day and we did.  Thank you for reading.  Fran

Saturday, July 3, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things..NOT

Security is a must for Jamaicans.  These pictures reflect life as it is. You need a key to unlock the lock on the gate every time you leave or arrive home. Get out of the car, unlock the gate, pull into the carport, go close the gate, head for the apartment door, reach thru and open the lock, pull down the security pin, open the gate, enter the porch, close the gates, lock the gates, enter the house. I have included pictures of the front gates on the porch as well as the addtional locked gate to get into the entrance stairs. In addition all windows have bars on them on the inside, We have the fan in the master bedroom tied to them with a belt so we can get outside air in at night. Then there is the cochroach population which we spray for on a regular basis to assist in its removal from the planet. Just wanted to give a flavor for life in Jamaica. At night in addition to the fan in the window we also have the ceiling fan going and still the total covering consists of a sheet part of the time. Today is our second month anniversary of arriving in Jamaica.  All is well. Hope everyone who reads this has a great 4th of July weekend.