Saturday, April 9, 2011

More from Jamaica

Technology is wonderful.  We were able to attend General Conference (all sessions) via the internet and it was wonderful. We attended with the branch members at the chapel and took Marlin an investigator with us to the Sunday morning session.  The whole experience gives us great appreciation for the gospel and its universal application to those who will persue studying, praying and living its principles. We love the faithful Jamaican saints and share the bond the gospel and priesthood brings.  After the Sunday afternoon session  we were helping with the take down of equipment and window covers and after we completed that President Powell (a counselor in the district presidency) said  I have another job for you to which I replied "I hope it pays better than the last one" and he directed me to a class room with a sister from the ward who is struggling with personal challengs and said he would like me to assist in giving a blessing to her. I agreed and then he asked me to give the blessing.  All I can say is it was one of those special experiences and I was thankful for it. And it did pay well with a good feeling about the opportunity.

Fran and I have been busy with PEF firesides and inservice meetings.  Since our territory comprises of nearly 1/2 of Jamaica for CES and all of Jamaica for PEF I will share some of the pictures that will give you a flavor for this beautiful country. (as a note when we first came we saw primarily the poverty and run down building and very little in the way of beauty) Now after one year we view everything with different eyes. 

Our view while dining on Pizza

I have mentioned before that when we go to the Junction branch for engagements we usually schedule them for 3 pm which frees us up to drive to Jack Sprats at Treasure Beach for Pizza and a little relaxation. On a recent visit I was suprised to see this Jamaican.  If George Felt happens to see this blog - GO UTES! (click on the picture to enlarge)

On our way home from Montego Bay one Saturday morning we saw the laundry being done by these Jamaican ladies.

A sample of a local business woman in front of her store waiting for customers

On Tuesday March 1, 2011 we had scheduled a training session in Ocho Rios with Nigel Lee.  On our last trip (in Feb) we did not get out of Ochi until after 3 pm and encountered a construction road closure in the canyon about half way home from 4 pm - 7 pm.  We had not seen the sign (yes there really was one this time) on our way up so arrived at 4:20 with an option of taking a alternate route or waiting. We elected to take the alternate route to avoid driving after dark.  Our fuel gage was low but I thought surely there would be a gas station along the way.  We drove for a good hour up though the mountains (thank goodness we purchased a GPS and had it programmed when we got here) and eventually came down into Spanish Town.  I was very concerned as there was not even one business of any kind in the area we traveled.  Fortunately I know where we could get gas in Spanish Town so we were very happy to be there.  The next morning we found out that about the time we went through town there was two gangs and the police having a shoot out and two gang members were killed.  I am glad we did not know that at the time as personal safety is very desireable.  The shooting experience brings to mind a sermon we heard at a funeral 2 weeks ago. A sister in our branch had lost her mother who was a Seventh Day Adventist and our Branch President asked all who could attent the funeral do so to support Sister Bodly.  As part of the sermon the preacher said "When I was a boy I used to hunt birds and we could go anytime. Not so now, you  have to have a license to hunt birds. No longer can you hunt anytime but you have to have a license and it has to be in season. Now man...that is a different story, here you can shoot a man anytime but for a bird you must have a license.  That pretty much says it all.  As a side note the government is really trying to decrease the number of killings as it has been a problem for a long time giving Jamaica the number one murder capital in the world.  So you do not get alarmed know that we missionaries use the same kind of judgement you would use at home for personal safety and we do not feel unsafe here.  I have digressed a bit so now returning to our trip to Ochi.  We made arrangements to meet at the Chapel at 10:00 am which required us to leave at 7 am to make it on time.
Little did we know that part way there the road was closed due to a severe accident and all traffice was rerouted through the mountains on an alternate route.  As you will see from the following pictures this process was not well thought out as the alternate roads are approx 12 feet wide and in may places there are drop offs on one side and rocky embankments on the other which do not allow for trucks with their width to pass.

Plenty of volunteer traffic directors


The culprit

FREE AT LAST  with the trucks getting around each other we were finally able to proceed- 1 1/2 hours in this grid lock and we did arrive at 12:00 noon only 2 hours late.

There was a bright side however to this experience.  The following are pictures of Jamaica we would not have seen without this diversion.

Cane Fields

On our way home we came through Christiana just as school got out.

Some additinal random photos

Gentleman hauling his goods to market

A sample of colorful buildings in Jamaica.

When we came into this village Fran aske me to stop for this picture as it was a reminder of our trip with Josh back to his mission field in Wales.

I often encounter Melissa Brown walking to school in the mornings when I am out for my exercise.  I was suprised to find out she is 20 years old as I thought maybe 15 or so. As you can see she the cell phone is the bread of life for the young.

This week we went into the food court at our shopping center for lunch. Everything in Jamaica is very expensive except for food at the food court.  As you can see the food served is plentiful and with soup, our plate of food and drinks included the total cost is $10.00 US  for both of us, and it is good!

Enough for today.  We are enjoying ourselves and keeping busy.

Love you all and miss you all  - Jack.

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