Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sunday nite after YSA

If you have read the title you probably don't have to read any further.  Friday nite overnite to Saturday with 90 18 to 30 (and there were a few 30 pluses) and you surely have some idea where this might be going.

Let me say that we actually have been working with the YSA Conference Committee since the first part of June.  Our first meeting was in Spanish Town on a Sunday when there was a tropical downpour.  The roofs of the church buildings are metal and when it rains that sound is deafening and of course makes it impossible to communicate in any other language than sign.  We did get started with our plans in spite of having to shout at each other.  The man who was leading the committee and his wife were wonderful to work with and also the young people who were on the committee. 

Jack and I both approached the actual time with MUCH anxiety - that dreaded unknown.  After we fell into bed last nite we each confessed that we were profoundly grateful for the whole experience.  Not the least ingredient of our gratitude was the bald fact that WE DID IT.  With the Lord's help.

Here are some random observations on the experience - not necessarily in order:

These beautiful Jamaican youth are so cheerful and fun loving and at the same time very deeply spiritual.  We had an impromtu testimony meeting because our class leaders had not yet arrived.  The young man sitting next to me asked if they had just announced that we would have an opportunity to bear our testimonies.  I said yes.  He was visably agitated until after the conducting brother had expressed his testimony and then he almost tripped over me to be the first one up.

The attendees spent all of Saturday in Sunday dress - note the white satin shirt and tie and the orange satin shirt.  They love to DRESS and were very concerned about being able to iron their clothes.  We had to promise that we would bring our iron and ironing board.

After everyone was registered we had a brief welcome.  Whoever was conducting asked if there was a volunteer to lead the singing.  This young man lept onto the stage and gave the most dramatic song leading I have ever witnessed.  Later we were chatting and he told me that he had learned to conduct by watching the Motab Choir.   He conducted all the rest of the group singing except the last hymn.  He also recited an obviously funny poem for the talent show but neither one of us really understood - which goes for most of the rest of the numbers on the talent show. 

Neither Jack nor I have made great strides in learning to love most Jamaican food but Jamaican-girl's-boarding-school-cafeteria food certainly didn't put another notch in our belts.  Every meal except breakfast is the obligatory rice and peas (peas are actually red beans) and some kind of meat.  Ours was accompanied by a tablespoon of coleslaw.    The coleslaw is usually very good . No fruits, almost no vegetables. 

Nothing is funner than watching a bunch of Jamaican young adults dancing.  The energy is off the charts.

Elder Hugo Martinez, an Area Authority Seventy attended and couldn't have been funnier, more gracious or have delivered a better message.  We all loved him. 

Ditto for our wonderful mission president, President Hendricks and his darling wife.  He rarely stops teasing but so obviously adores her and she just takes it all in with the cutest smile and a roll of her eyes - and then she will tell us what really happened.  They are a great advertisement for happily-ever-after even when the road is sometimes bumpy.  And so completely down to earth.  We all could listen to Pres. Hendricks speak for hours - it's always a learning feast. 

Our rooms were actually better than we had anticipated.  We were expecting to be on bunkbeds in the dorms with cold gang showers but Jack & I and the Cheesmans had private rooms - I had a matress on the floor, Jack got the bed.  That was determined by who has to get up the most times in the nite.  He won hands down.  The water was still cold but that was OK because it served nicely to bring my body temp down to just above normal - maybe 102 degrees.  The floor was a green plaid contact paper over cement - not matched and very torn but if one has flip-flops it doesn't matter.  The worst maybe was the toilet seat that fell off the edge to one side or the other while the cover rested on your back.  Clean anything is not really a priority.

I suppose every supervised event needs a drama queen.  We had ours.

There was an avocado tree behing our suite.  We picked a couple - hope we won't be poisened for stealing avocados.

The Cheesmans advised us to look for the huge Banyon tree just before we exited the property of the school.  The low "wall " you see is actually the tree root doubling back on itself.  I love tree trunks and roots.

After a VERY busy week we are sooooo looking forward to a week of 99 account and housekeeping.

To our family - hope you have a wonderful week at Alturas.  We love you all.  Fran

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