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

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