Thursday, December 30, 2010

year's end

Last posting for 2010 and a recap of our Christmas week-end seems in order.  The mission party on the 24th really was fun.  (For those of you have been concerned about which skirt I wore - white linen won out.)
We arrived a little before 10 am and there was already a crowd.  The Herbert's were busily making popcorn and putting it in large plastic cups and setting out bowls of candy.  These were for watching a couple of movies with.  Several other Sr. sisters were helping get the meat hot and ready for our Mexican Haystacks lunch and the younger mishes were all chatting and rehearsing their skits. 

Before we got started officially a woman wandered in off the street and wanted food.  Poor Sis. Hendricks was just undone because it is so hard to say no, but she was untirely unsure we actually had enough to feed the missionaries and she knew if she fed this lady she would have half of Kingston sitting down with us. 

We started with a carol and Bro. Herbert reading T'was the Night Before Christmas and then Pres. H. talked about the history of that poem.  Let me interject here that when I was a little girl every Saturday my mother would shampoo my hair and then roll it in curlers (in those days rather primitive contraptions).  In the curler box was a newspaper clipping of that wonderful poem and she would recite it to me while I got curled.

After that we watched the old Grinch Who Stole Christmas and Mr. Kreuger's Christmas with the aforementioned treats.  Sometime before the movies a couple of elders serenaded us on their guitars.

After lunch we had skits which were really very creative.  One Maori group did the squating, clipped chanting and that was a huge hit.  One group gave us the "actual version" of what happened Christmas Eve.  Mary was one of the native Jamaican elders as was baby Jesus also.  One of the "blind" shepherds exclaimed, "see, I KNEW  he was black"  Herod was a too cool dude with sunglasses and a cell phone ordering "hit men" when he realized the wise men had dissed him.

The Sr.s did a version of The Twelve Days of Christmas written by Elder Schaefermeyer.  Part is as follows:
On the first daily visit my Elders taught to me
A life with no ganja or tea.
On the second daily visit my Elders taught to me
two year missions...
On the third daily visit my Elders taught to me
Three Nephites...
On the fourth daily visit my Elders taught to me
On the fifth daily visit my Elders taught to me
Five golden plates, four standard works, three hours of church...
On the sixth daily visit my Elders taught to me
Sex not til marriage...
On the seventh daily visit my Elders taught to me
Seventh day's no sabbath, six days to labor...............two meals to fast and a life without ganja or tea.
On the eighth daily visit my Elders taught to me
Eight's when you're baptized............six days to labor, No golden calves........
On the ninth daily visit my Elders taught to me
Nine is when Church starts (spoken in a dramatic voice) "It;s really 10:00 but we tell them it's 9:00 so they'll be there on time"........Seven steps to repent................for-ty day flood, three realms in heaven.......
On the tenth daily visit my Elders taught to me
Ten percent tithing, Nine is when Church starts (spoken) "Unless you're in a building that has two branches", eight special witnesses.........
On the Eleventh daily visit my Elders taught to me
Eleven's not a quorum, still ten commandments, Nine is when Church starts (spoken) "It will probably start ten minutes late anyway."......
On the twelfth daily visit my Elders taught to me
Twelve year old times forgiven..............And a life with no ganja or tea

After the skits Pres. Hendricks was "inspired" to bring us all back to the importance and solemnity of the celebration and spoke to us about the spiritual reality of Christmas.  It was beautiful. 

We then had ice cream, cookies and presents.  Pres. & Sis. Hendricks gave everyone a T-shirt with a stylized picture of an ox and a paper with it's symbolism in Israel (a favorite topic of his).  The mail was distributed and we had to part.

Christmas day we fixed a good dinner - for those of you who don't know Jack made his first batch of rolls and his famous twice--baked potatoes.  The sister missionaries came for dinner and long talks with their families.

Sunday I gave three piano lessons after church and on Boxing Day (Monday) we got permission to take the sisters down to Treasure Beach for pizza.  That was a real party.  There were a lot of people just enjoying the holiday, eating,, playing soccer on the grass, music blaring.

OK, SORRY about that laborious description.  I have just one more thing .  I HAVE HAD IT WITH LIZARDS.  Last Sunday night Jack typed and printed our weekly report.  I took it, stuck it in the three hole punch, gave it a good hard whack, pulled it out and a tiny lizard was sitting there on the paper as if by  magic.   I live in fear of the next sighting.

Sorry I did not include these picture where they belong but Jack was asleep and I was , obviously, on a roll.

Happy New Year to you all.  We love you so much.  Frannie

This week's Signs of the Times.Right now there are a lot of signs for All White New Year's parties.  That is not what I thought it was.  It just means everyone wears white.  Ricardo Mullings and Allison were obviously amused at my assumption.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Dearest Family and Friends,

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and we will be thinking of all of you.  We will be celebrating with all of the missionaries here on the island.  We will drive into Kingston to the Constant Spring (that is singular, NOT plural as almost everyone calls it) Branch for fun and food.  Sister Hendricks has been alsolutely adament that there be no basketball, hoping to prove to the elders that it is possible to celebrate something, however significant, without a basketball in one's hands.  She loves basketball as much as the next guy (girl) except maybe the elders. 

Our feelings have been tender not so much because it is Christmas but because we do miss you and are so grateful for all you do for us.  And Jack has had a discouraging couple of weeks questioning our effectiveness.  I, of course, know we are turning Jamaica on it's ear as evidenced by the piano lesson photo on his last post.  That was a volunteer thing for me but I was rather dreading it;  what the heck do I know about teaching piano?  It is so much fun and I have at least two other men who want to start next Sunday.
Five Browns look out for the Mandeville Branch piano ensemble.

Christmas Day the sister missionaries (we have two on the island and we are lucky enough to have them here in Mandeville for awhile) will be here to call their families and have dinner with us.  And I hope to be able to inform you on my next post that Elder Andersen successfully  made and baked Parkerhouse rolls for our feast.  He has wanted to make/bake bread for years and will now pull that rabbit out of the hat/oven.

This photo was taken at Strawberry Hill, the sight of one of the old Great Houses, and is now a hotel/ restaurant.  Spectacularly beautiful and that was a lovely day.

We have both admitted that it is a real blessing that it just
does't seem like Christmas; therefore, we aren't thinking
 about Christmas and missing Christmas.  House cleaning
and baking and running into Kingston on a Friday are just
things you do in December.  What is wierd is trying to
decide between a white linen or a cotton print skirt to
weat to the party.  I've about decided on the white linen.

Along with the picture of us I also wanted to include a
couple of signs of the times which I hope to make a regular
feature of in this irregular blog.

There is a second installment  to this if I can get Jack to stop when we pass it.  We don't know if anyone does actually get caught but would you want that Meter Monster  breathing down your back?
Evidently ther has been some confusion.

Despite my levity, I do want you all to know that I am so grateful for our Saviorl, Jesus Christ and his miraculous birth, his mission to this earth and his willing, selfless sacrifice for all of us.  I am committed to consecrating this time of service to him hoping, at the end, to feel that I know him and have helped others to have a desire to know him. 

Please pray for these beautiful people, especially those stalwart members of the church who have such a desire for the church to be strong for their posterity and are carrying heavy burdens to make that a reality.

We love you and miss you and pray for you.  Frannie

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's beginning to look alot like Christmas....NOT

With sunshine and mid 80's and little in the way of homes lit up it really doesn't seem like Christmas.  Last Sunday we had the Morrison boys share the season in dress and I have included a picture of them.
  (you can click on the pictures to enlarge)

 When I started taking pictures all the children wanted to get into the act so here I have included a couple more pictures of the beautiful children

 About 3 weeks ago we had a change in the District Presidency and after a recent Dist Pres Mtg we took a picture of them.  L-R Bro Morgan a district counselor (high council), Pres Powell 1st counselor Pres Morrison new Dist Pres, Pres Hosang 2nd counselor and Bro Topy Exec Sec.  Not all have it easy in the church.  Bro Topy's wife belongs and is active in another church but he has a solid testimony and is very faithful. He say's baptized a Mormon, living a Mormon and will die a Mormon.

Next we have our resident piano teacher Sister Andersen.  Brother Johnson is on his 2nd lesson and Bro Baily is looking on and has asked to be added to the list of students along with Hopeton Haughton.

We were in Negril last Friday to visit an institute class and spent the night.  Of course on Saturday morning we were able to spend time on the beach and swim.  On the way home we stopped at the Brick Oven Pizza stop (described on an earlier blog) and Fran took this picture just inside the gate.The flowers are spectactular this time of year.

Christmas eve will find us in Kingston for a luncheon with all the missionaries on the island and then on Christmas day we have invited the Sister Wilkinson and Sister Payne who are serving in our branch to come to dinner and use our vonage phone to tallk with their families.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL - we miss you and love you.

Elder/Sister Andersen  ..... Jack and Fran

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Prep

Well, PHEW!!  I finally have the Christmas decorations up and I will tell you the saga of how we got there.  The young man on the left is John-John who is a wood carver at the craft market in Ocho Rios and famous amongst the missionaries here in Jamaica.  If you want something carved you call him (everyone has his phone number) and order whatever it is you want.  Well - with a catch.  He needs a $2,000JD deposit.  We really didn't want to buy before we saw but  - what can you do. 

He was there and we were here (a several hour drive) so we called the Smiths (Senior couple in Ochie) and asked Elder Smith if they could possibly go over and make our down payment.  He advised me he didn't think that was necessary so I agreed to take his council.  Sister Smith called back immediately saying "Men don't understand shopping".  The deposit was made and we were committed.  Turns out we loved the nativity set we had ordered so he wrapped it in newspaper and put it in a black plastic bag (what else) and we were on our way.

This charming man has nothing to do with our Christmas
decorations but he was peeling coconuts across from John-John and was more than happy to pose for me. 
It actually took me quite awhile to get this just right but as you can see below it turned out nicely with the addition of the Christmas tree Susan sent.  Our other preparations/aactivities have been rather pedestrian compared to the arranging of the nativity. 

Our seminary and institute classes in our branch planned a party for last Friday night and after much drama the organizers were unable to get any funds for a dinner so we volunteered to furnish dessert.  So I made a LOT of cookies and we got ice cream to go with it.  The party was deemed a success by those who attended.

I also made enough cookies to take for the Sr. couple FHE on Monday night but the real hit will be Jack's chocolate cake.  His reputation has already spread among those who care about such things. 

There are others who are planning Christmas dos.  Our Relief Society president, Sis. Heath, has been quite excited about the dinner she is going to fix for the branch adults.  It was originally supposed to be just for RS but it was so close to the Priesthood dinner that they have decided to combine.  She is going to fix fish and this morning she told us she would like to make a potato salad if she can find sweet potatoes.  The sister conducting (this was after the OH, OP, PH, Theme) said the farmer by her had sweet potatoes to dig.  Sister Heath informed her that they had to be Big because she bakes them for potato salad, she doesn't cook them .  Sister Tomlin thought they were quite big and drew the size on the board.  Sister Heath said if they wern't big enough she would have to take them back.  This also included a discussion on the price and whether it would be better to get them from the farmer or in the market.  Unfortunately, we will be in Negril that night because I really would love to sample that salad.

Sister Heath graciously invited us for Christmas dinner but we had already invited the sisters so they can call their families on our Vonnage line. 

Well, it doesn't feel much like Christmas but we celebrate the wonderful occasion with all of you in our hearts and memories.

I was going to end this blog with some more pictures but the whole process takes more energy and patience than I have in store.  Next time which I hope will be sooner than so later.

Love you all.  Fran