Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mission experiences

Jack writing.  It's been a while since I have shared any Jamaican experiences.  We tend to share some of the travel experiences around the island so I thought it was time to share some of the interactions with the saints here  and a little spiritual perspective.  We absolutely love the brothers and sisters who with many challeges are faithful in  living the gospel and share genuine concern about each other. We are enjoying our mission and know we have been blessed greatly as we serve. President Hinkley announced the Perpetual Education Fund in April conference 2001 and I remember distinctly that meeting.  Little did I know or realize that the day would come some nine years later that Fran and I would have the opportunity to share that vision with those who without the fund would not be able to "break the cycle of poverty they have been in for so long".  Last Wednesday we met with Nigel Lee. He is a recently returned missionary, native Jamaican, who joined the church and then had to learn to read and write at a sufficent level to go on his mission.  He was released a couple months ago and is very discouraged at his prospect for the future. We presented the PEF fireside to him and his response was one of  now having some hope that perhaps he can progress with his dreams. 

Elder Lee prior to completing his mission
We are now working with him to proceed with the loan to complete his high school then apply for mechanic training.  This is just a glimpse into the programs of the church to help our less advantaged brothers and sisters in what we call thrid world countires.

Once per month we attend Family Home Evening at the mission home with all  senior missionary couples that live within a reasonable distance.  Last Monday we had a pot luck meal as Elder/Sister Herbert were going home to Alaska having completed their mission.  President Hendricks shared much from the scriptures then we held a testimony meeting open to all after the Herberts time. It was a very spiritual meeting and something we needed as when we arrived at the FHE we were coming off a couple weeks of discouragement but when the spirit speaks...we should always listen.  We came away realizing that we had responded to the prophets request for more senior missionaries and with that peace and satisfaction we found ourselves rededicated to contnue to contribute all we can for the remaining seven months.

Below right to left: President & Sister Hendricks then Elder & Sister Herbert then sister Russell

Yesterday (Sat Mar 19th) we attended the Relief Society Anniversary (yes I said RS but  the priesthood was invited to attend).  I have included a few pictures of the event.  The meeting was announced for several weeks in Sacrament meeting and other meetings as starting at 10 am.  We arrived and there were a few sisters setting up displays and then a few people would show up now and then and at approximately 12:15 it formally got started...ya problem...Jamaica.   After the meeting I took the branch president and his counselor to visit two members in their home.  I enjoyed that experience as with our assignment we seldom visit members in their home.  One of the homes the wife is active but her husband is not.  The branch president talked for a few minutes then I was quite suprised when he said "Brother....what is your problem?" I could just see that direct approach working at you would probably be excused immediately.

Sister Williams with some of her handiwork

 Sister Andersen - she is the one in the yellow
Sister Bailey and Johnson. Sis Johnson teaches Institute.

 Sister missionaries. right to left. Sister Everette from North Carolina, sister Payne from Mesa, Arizona and Sister Wilkinson from Morgan, Utah. Vaughn White a returned missionary from our branch on the right and Anthony an investigator on the left.

Today Fran was giving piano lessons after church and I went outside and sat on the cement base to the flag pole and was reading while waited..  It is up a hill about 75 feet behind the chapel and one of the investigators the sister missionaries are teaching wandered up the hill and I could tell he wanted to talk.He is 18 years old and very sincere in his search for the truth.  During our conversation he said his is getting it and  is learning the truthfulness and shared with me that he has one thing in his favor and that is his mother is willing to support him if it makes him happy. He shared that he does not have a father in the home and when I asked about the last time he saw his father he said they tell me I was four years old.  It is sad that so many children are raised with only one parent but that is a long Jamaican cultural issue.

Jamaica is not an easy mission but we are happy to be here serving.  We have been blessed for our efforts and our family has been blessed at home.  We have missed the birth of a precious grand child (Carter Sekikawa)  the baptism of Eliza Randle and all birthdays but we knew that when we came and would do it again for the opportunity to accept the call from our prophet and serve the Lord here.

Sometimes we find it necessary to drive to Treasure Beach (one hour drive in Jamaica but the 16 miles would be about 14 min at home) for Pizza.  Last Wednesday we found it convenient to do so. We really enjoy our time there relaxing and eating in the wonderful Jamaica out of doors.  I took this picture to document Sister Andersen's new hairdo.  The picture below is our view as we dine.

We miss all of you and love you and will resume civilian life in October.

The End

Saturday, March 5, 2011


I must add one more conversation to the last post which was several hours ago.  We have just come from the baptism of 10 year old Chemieka.  You could tell as she was going into the water that she was freightened and as soon as she was standing next to Pres. Powell she started to cry. Nobody could reassure her.  One of the sister missionaries started to go but Sister Powell said to her "No, don't go".  First her mother went back but that didn't seem to help.  Next Sister Powell went and Chemieka went back into the water.

After the meeting I said to Chemieka, "I understand your fear.  When I was baptized I worried so much about going under the water but I didn't tell anyone".  Sister Powell overheard me and then pulled me aside.  "I played a little trick on her.  I went back and said to her, ' you love Presiden Powell.  If he let you drown while you were under the water the police would come and take him away and shoot him' - and off she went into the water'."  Whatever it takes, I guess.


random conversations, etc.

This blog is proudly brought to you by Pepsi - unofficial owner and sponsor of Jamaica.
Some are hard to see but by clicking on the picture you can enlarge it.

There is a whole wealth of these all over the island.  Every parish has it's "Welcome to (insert parish of your choice here) .  Yesterday several of the senior sisters went down to the Kingston Craft Market.  On the way was a double size sign  with the rotating slats but I didn't have my camera.  It was in Old Kingston (read -
 site of the Dudas War) and nobody was willing to go back so I could get a picture.

Just a quick insert here of a couple other missed pics.  Last Saturday early morning coming down from MoBay a small group of women washing their cloths in the river.  I so hope we can catch that photo op another time.  The other was today on the way home from Kingston (in Porus - my favorite) we passed a man on my side of the car (he was extremely close).  I saw that he didn't have a shirt on (nothing unusual) but as soon as we were past Jack said "That guy was completey naked".  I asked him (Jack) to turn around but he wouldn't.

Now on to a random conversation which I got second hand so this is to the best of my rememberance.
Our two local elders went into a cook shop.

Elder M:  Do you have Coke here:
Cook shop lady:  Yes...but we call it Pepsi.
Elder M.  Well, which is it Coke or Pepsi.
Csl: They're both the same.  It's Coke - we just call it Pepsi.
EM:  They're not the same Coke is Coke and Pepsi is Pepsi.
Csl.  Ours is Coke but we call it Pepsi.

The next random conversation took place when I was trying to explain time signatures for music to three of my piano students.  I was not at all sure anybody actually understood so I said "If, at any point, you don't completely understand something here stop me and I will try to think of a better way to explain it".  Very softly Sister T. said, "Why don't you explain the better way first?".  Bless her heart.  I don't know why.

Jack stopped to talk to Caspian Burton on his walk one day last week.  He asked  Brother Burton (the Methodist Minister) if he had read the Book of Mormon he had received from the previous senior missionary couple (Elder/Sister Striebel)  He man replied in his melodic Jamaican voice  "No, it has such a flimsy cover.  It's hard to handle it when it has such a flimsy cover.  It would be nice if it had a nice hard cover and was bigger print. Jack:  Well, we give these away so that is why we have the soft covers. He said "well it is such a flimsy cover and it would be nice to have a hard cover if it wouldn't be too much of a drain on the church's resources.  Yesterday we were in Kingston at the Mission office and were able to pick up a hard cover albeit it has small print but we will be presenting it to him this week. That

Our weather is very nearly perfect but it's been very dry so we really should be praying for rain.  We did have a little bit yesterday.  We actually have loved our last two or three trips to the beach and hope we get one or two more before it gets hot. That was designed to create a likkle (Jamspeak) envy.  Did it work?

We've had dinner (I should say feasts) twice in members homes.  They treat us so graciously and the food really is delicious.  We both have had curry goat - a specialy here - and I quite enjoyed it.  Too many bones for Jack.

I also have another first to report.  I DROVE part of the way between Negril and MoBay and, most importantly, all the way through Lucea which is crowded with people on very narrow streets.  Jack was shouting instructions and praying at the same time.  I felt it was good for him to have the perspective from my side of the car.

We miss you all so much.  We have our own time markers and play head games to make the time left seem less.  Which is not to say that we are not enjoying even when we are not sure we are affecting or effecting, I'm not sure (I'm not actually sure either one of those is a valid choice ).  We love you and thank Heavenly Father for each one of you who have touched our lives.  As my grandmother used to say - so long.