Sunday, February 27, 2011

Random Photos continued -

It has been almost one month since we last blogged.  We are very much involved with our assignment working with seminary and institute teachers and interfacing with alot of saints here.  The Jamicans are a warm and friendly people who live in much more challenging circumstances than we do but they get by and for the most part are a very happy people.  There is no sense of urgency for getting to a meeting or starting it on time.  One of the challenges we have had is trying to understand the culture and not getting too frustrated with that tradition. An example:  last Friday we had scheduled a visit to a seminary and institute classs in one of the branches.  Seminary and Institute start at 6 pm.  The institute teacher has to come directly from work and gets there about 6:20 which is not bad compared to seminary.  The teacher for a 6 pm class arrived at 7:20 pm and her daughter who is a class member with her.  Three students then arrived at 7:41 and therefore did not get much of a lesson as 8 pm was the end of class. I haven't talked for quite a while about the "neighborhood" people but I still walk in the morning and have visits with many of them on a regular basis.  One of the men I was impressed with actually did take 3 or 4 discussions from the missionaries but it is about over. Ganga (Marijauna) is a big problem as many of them smoke it and are not willing to give it up. That is his problem.  Now the pictures: 

This pick up passed us and is traveling about 65 mph and the passengers seem unaffected about any safety concerns

Fran and I were invited to a seminary/institute social in the Junction branch and the children are always very friendly and oftentimes like to touch our skin to see how it feels due to our color

In the orange is Sister Green the Institute teacher

Below is Paul a convert of about 5 months and has attended institute for a long time and is now preparing for a mission.  His mother made fried chicken for the party

In the middle is Sister Osbourne of the Santa Cruz branch. She has been a seminary teacher there.

Next is President Lee the branch president in Montego Bay and his wife Sister Lee.  She teaches institute and works at one of the exclusive all inclusive resorts.  President Lee is a very flamboyant extrovert who is fun to talk with.  We visited last Friday evening and he shared with me his conversion story (again).  He claims he was the best rum drinker on the island with bottles per day and found himself in jail one Friday evening. He said that if you are arrested on the weekend you have to wait until Wed before you can get a hearing and make bail to get out.  Conditions in the jail were deplorable and he could only turn to the Lord for help.  He made a commitment that if the Lord would get him out he would quite drinking and devote the rest of his life to him.  No sooner had he made that commitment than a guard came to the cell and called his name and released him. Truly a miracle in Jamaica.  He is a jeweler by trade and the next week a Senior Missionary couple came into his shop to have an arm put on their watch.  Of course with their badges he could see they were missionaries and they asked how much they owed him he told them nothing. However, they insisted on paying him and gave him $20.00 American and a Book of Mormon and invited him to church on Sunday. He had now not had any rum and after talking with them decided to go to church and see what it was all about.  It was fast and testimony meeting and he said it was the best meeting he had been in in his life.  After church he went home and took all the "girlie pictures" down and had the missionaries come and teach them.  He gained a testimony and wanted to be baptized but he and Carol were not married so they got married and he was baptized.  Everyone that knew him said it would not last....even his wife. She said surely he would not be a changed man overnight and she was not baptized with him because of that. After 6 months she realized he was serious and got baptized. They have been to the temple and they have now been in the church since 1991 some 20 years. He gets real excited when he gets telling his story and he said you know what?  I had nothing when I joined this church, only a black and white tv.  Now I own my home, have a car (about 30% of Jamaicans own cars) and it is all because of tithing. I pay my tithing and the Lord has blessed and blessed me.

We were in Savannah la Mar (Sav) last Thrursday evening to visit and present our in service lesson. This little girl took a liking to me which suprised me.  It was fun but made me miss our grandchildren.

Monthly we go to Sav on a Thursday and to Montego Bay (Mo Bay) on Friday. Since it is a 2 hour drive to Sav we go on to Negril for an overnight stay.  Negril is a resort town with 7 miles of beach and just down from the place we stay is it is not all work as we have eaten there several time. So this picture is "hanging out in margaritaville"

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Thanks Brewers for your visit....random photos of the fun

January 20th a great day. Our dear friends Stan and Diane Brewer arrived at Montego Bay and we picked them up for a great 8 day reunion. We had a great time together and will cherish the memories of it.

We started out by spending the first two nights at Rondel Village in Negril.  As you can see the beach (7 miles in length) is quite nice.  To those of you who have visited Carmel the bay penisula remids us of that scene also.

TheBrewers in our palacious living room in Williamsfield, Manchester, Jamaica

This photo is at the Brick Oven Pizza place we have referenced in past posts.  Below,  this gentleman, Mr. Forrester introduced himself as the owner.  We had a nice visit with him while our pizza was baking.  He was not short on self confidence explaining that not only did he own the guest house but was also the largest sweet potato producer on the island with some 80,000 lbs annually.

On Monday January 24th a memorial service was held for Elder Walker in Spanish Town.  (Elder Walker was with 7 other Elders on a P Day activity when while stopped in traffic the police were chasing car thieves and gun fire erupted with a bullet entering the van through the rear window striking and killing Elder Walker.  An indeed sad experience for all.  Our hearts and prayers go out to his sister as their mother had just been buried 10 days prior to this event) 

After the memorial service we drove on into Kingston and had lunch at Gauchos, one of our regular places to eat while in Kingston.   The food is good and we are well known there.   In addition to Stan and Diane Brewer we had the sisters with us who are assigned to our Mandeville Branch. On the left is Sister Wilkinson from Morgan, Utah and on the right Sister Payne from Mesa, Arizona.  We love them and have them to dinner at our apartment nearly every Sunday.  They are indeed hard working dedicated missionaries and are making a difference in the branch.  While in Kingston we dropped by the mission office to show it to the Brewers.  The mission recently purchased this property and moved into it.  It is a great improvement from the location and environment they were in before.

Next on to Treasure Beach for Pizza and relaxation.  We have posted Jack Sprats on the blog previously.  We love to go there, sit under the tree on the edge of the beach and enjoy our pizza and the serenity around.  I think Fran (Sister Andersen) and the Brewers were shell shopping when I took the shot below.

On the way we stopped in at the Junction chapel to use the restroom. I did not understand brother Powell when he said someone was in the restroom so I opend the door and his granddaughter was in there.  I quickly closed the door and after she came out she promptly adivsed me that I should not be opening the door when someone was in there.  Her picture is below. She is a beautiful child which indicative of so many Jamaicans  Her name is Tiamoy.

On January 26th we then returned to Rondel Village for two more nights,  We did try a new restaurant the first evening Margaritaville (Jimmy's Buffets song comes to mind) but is not a bar for missionaries to hang out in but rather a restaurant on the beach.  Fran and I walked up the beach in the afternoon to look at the menu and to find out about eating out on the beach that evening. We asked for a menu and after discussing our desires to return in the evening I asked the waitress her name.  Rose Marie.  When we returned that evening and asked for her to serve us you would have thought we were part of her long lost family.  She was very attentive to our needs and I think quite suprised that we had actually returned and asked for her. All in all it was a good experience.

On Friday we drove to Montego Bay to take the Brewers back to the airport.  We were sad to see them go home but very thankful for their coming and spending time with us.  We are thankful that we are serving a CES/PEF mission as we were able to schedule our duties on both sides of the visit allowing us full time to enjoy our friends.

We miss all of you and want you to know that even though Jamaica is not an easy mission we are enjoying our service here.  Last Sunday in church the realization came that we are going to leave someday and return home.  We will always cherish our memories of these saints and neighbors.  They do not have it easy like we do at home but never the less they have wonderful hearts and are a very friendly and caring people.  Jack.