We have, this month, had some rather extraordinary experiences. On the 10th we gave our PEF Fireside to the senior couples that meet for Family Home Evening (that, actually, was NOT extraordinary) but it gave the others to know that we do more than just drive between Mandeville and Kingston. That day the Schaefermeyers, Flakes, Herberts and us drove down to Port Royal, found a water taxi - a very old boat with a skilled driver -and motored out into the bay to a tiny island called Lime Cay.
We had a wonderful day playing in the water, snorkeling, picnicing and just visiting and having fun. By the time our boatman came back for us there was a fair wind blowing causing 4 - 6 foot swells. He was very skilled but we did softly sing "Master, the Tempest Is Raging" . I loved every minute. I wish the Keep Lime Cay clean sign had been posted right next to the old , rusty refrigerator/boat floating on the edge of the beach.
A couple of days later the Schaifermeyers came to stay with us and invited us to go out with them to the Junction area to inspect several locations where people had applied to have a Food Initiative project. Let me quickly explain the Food Initiative. The Church always (until now) partners with other agencies (Salvation Army, Catholic Services, Food For the Poor, etc) to do humanitarian services. This project in Jamaica has been designed to help and encourage people to provide for themselves. They can choose between raising gardens (up to a quarter acre), pigs, chickens, goats or bees. They must have the space necessary, take a government training course for their particular project, agree to help others with their projects when needed and learn how to make their project self-sustaining. It is a huge undertaking, but could reap huge rewards for those who participate and, in the end, for millions of people around the world if it is successful. One does not have to be a church member to participate and the church furnished whatever is needed to get started except the land.
We were honored to go and met some very nice people who are anxious to get started. We also met a lovely donkey and some hours old baby goats. At one point I had the feeling that we might be the first white people to have gone to that particular location. Some of the roads were just trails but Elder S. is a fearless navigator. It is an amazing undertaking and we are thrilled to be watching it unfold. Jack was soooo hoping to be able to build some chicken coops, but our involvement will be (we think) more of doing some checking and encouraging. Whatever the Schaifermeyers ask us to do.
The last amazing event was the visit of our friends, Diane and Stan Brewer. On our way to the airport in Montego Bay our supervisor, Bro. Brown, called to confer with Jack and started the conversation by apologizing for interrupting our "vacation". He is a darling and he and our boss in the DR encourage us to take time to experience the island with whoever comes to visit us. We had several relaxing days on the beach in Negril with beautiful sunsets, a trip down to Treasure Beach for pizza and a little shell gathering, a trip into Spanish Town for the memorial service for Elder Walker and then into Kingston for lunch with Kevin Brown and the sister missionaries. We are grateful for their wonderful friendship and the lift we got from having them here.
Just a word about Elder Walker. I think I can safely say that as a group - the Jamaican missionaries - we were shocked and so sad about his death, but feel that was Heavenly Father's plan for him. He was an obedient and effective missionary and well loved and respected by all who knew him. He was the first person from the Sav Branch to go all the way from primary to missionary. President Hendricks said he was sure Elder Walker was as surprized as everyone else at this new assignment but also pleased.
President and Sister Hendricks have been the leaders we needed at a time such as this and we are so grateful. We are grateful for our testimonies and for your love.