August 31, 2014

Departing shots
Well our mission is all but over.  We definitely have mixed feelings…as hard as it was to leave our loved one at home it is hard to leave those we have come to love here.  It has been a wonderful experience and one that we will not ever forget. We took Elder and Sister Whitehead out to the Yallahs Branch so they could see where the chicken projects were. Below is Sister Sheika Bogle. She and her mother have a project and they are doing well. Sheika is planning on a mission soon so we are extra excited to hear from her in the future.
 Below Elder and Sister Whitehead are visiting Bro. Lofters at his home with his laying hen project. Bro. Lofters may have been telling Elder Whitehead his secret recipe for getting the hens to lay more eggs. He also has a few broiler hens he is raising. His recipe also works on fattening them up so he gets paid more for his broiler meat. He is a pretty shy man, but he really talked up a storm when we visited him. We told him we were going home and he said “No! Mi ti yuh fet tagedr. Ya no go ome!” He will also have a place in our hearts.  He is a kind and gentle man.
 Bro. White is pictured below just outside of the chapel at the Yallahs Branch. He is one of the newer members there. He has his ‘locks’ all tucked up and behind his head under his bandanna  He is a wonderful addition and will be a great help to the branch here. He has taken a special liking to dad and his eyes just lit up when dad asked to have his picture taken with him.
 We had one last meeting with Salvation Army’s Major Lyons and Captain Mitchell. We introduced the Whiteheads to them and Captain Mitchell remembered them from their previous mission to Jamaica in 2010-2012. They will be wonderful in taking over for us and completing the projects we have started. Salvation Army has been one of our best partners. They have very similar ideals when it comes to our respective welfare programs.  It has been an honor and a privilege to work with these men. The Whiteheads will finish working out the details of the Clothing and Wheelchair projects that have been started. We are ever so thankful for their listening to the Holy Spirits promptings so these and other programs can continue going forward.
 Humanitarian Projects with Whiteheads

Next we talked to them about the container and the Emergency supplies to be used in the event of a national emergency. The Church tries to be of assistance to all persons during national disasters. It is comforting to know that we can be of help to all those who are struggling when an emergency comes.
 Saying good bye to the Island

We are almost ready to come home.  We will be flying back to Utah on Tuesday and down to Monroe Thursday, blessing Victor and Megan’s baby Wesley on Sunday…life goes forward. There are still a few things to tidy up here at the apartment, and the packing to finish tomorrow.  We will miss this warm climate, the beautiful people, and the Caribbean Sea, but it is time for the next adventure in our lives...after seeing our children and the grandchildren of course!!
Love to all

Mom and Dad
Elder and Sister Murdock
P.S. Our hearts and prayers go out to our daughter in law Marci and her family at this time.  The accidental and tragic death of her younger brother has been a shock. We are so thankful for the gospel to carry us through hard times like these. He was dearly loved and will be missed by all those who knew him. Thank you Heavenly Father for the Sealing Blessings that bind their family together…

August 24, 2014

One of the last projects we have been working on is to purchase supplies for 1100 school kits.  Priesthood leaders will organize members and take kits into worthy organizations like orphanages and schools with needy children who cannot afford the basics of life and school expenses.
 Elder Tuala (on the left) and Elder Martin are loading the supplies into our truck.
 We have had projects like this where Branch’s took hygiene kits into infirmaries, hospitals, schools and shut-in’s.  We have attached one of the reports from the Hopeton Branch Trinity Basic School project.  It is written in their own words, read it, you’ll like it.
We also participated in the Kingston Jamaica Zone Conference.  Sister Murdock and Sister Hall prepared lunch for the Missionaries.
 Elder (Seventy, General Authority and Caribbean Area President) Cornish presided over and spoke at the meeting.  He took time to shake everyone’s hand and then took about an hour to answer their questions.  It is wonderful to learn from a servant of the Lord.
We had to take a picture of the beautiful Sister Missionaries too.  They add so much love and kindness to the Mission.
A while back we told you this story.
The Kingston Branch is within the new Kingston Jamaica Stake boundaries.  The Branch did not qualify to become a Ward so they remain a Branch.  During the Branch combined Priesthood and Relief Society meeting the Branch President made a list of things they needed in order to become a Ward.  One of the main things they need is three more worthy Tithing Paying Melchezidic Priesthood holders.  They talked about having the Missionaries baptize some good men that could become priesthood holders.  They talked about reactivating in-active members through home and visiting teaching. 
Then a Young man stood up and introduced himself as a return Missionary who had been excommunicated, but had been trying to come back to church.  He tried coming to church a few times but each time no one spoke to him or encouraged him to come back.  With tears in his eyes he said I know the gospel is true and I want to come back but I need to know I have friends here someone to talk to.  Overcome with emotion he sat down.  Another young man stood up introduced himself as a return Missionary who also had been excommunicated from the church.  He bore his testimony and expressed his desire to become a better man and be re-baptized a member of the church.  He also told a similar story about not feeling welcome at church and asked the members for friendship and home teachers.  We know of one other young man from this branch with an almost identical story only he has been attending church faithfully and often volunteers for service projects and offers help where ever he can. 
Isn’t it interesting, the Branch needs three more Melchezidic Priesthood and three young men with Mission experience stand up and say “here am I pick me I’m going to need some help but I am willing to try”.  The road ahead of these three men will not be easy but with help it can be done.  We will be praying for them.
I spoke to Elder Cornish about this experience and he asked me to check up on these young men and make sure they do not fall through the cracks.   As a follow up we attended the Kingston Branch church meeting today.  The young man #1 who was attending church is still attending church with his family and has become a great strength to the Branch supporting and participating in almost all the service project and activities.  One of the other young men #2 has been attending church every Sunday with his daughter and along with the other young man supports and participates in the service projects and activities.  Today he told a story about promising the Young Men and Young Women that they would go on an activity before school started.  The week they were to go was a difficult time for him as his family was without money and could not even buy supplies for the baby.  He wanted to keep his promise but did not see how it could be done. He prayed for help then he called young man #1 and ask if he knew how they could take the Youth on their promised activity.  While talking on the phone his wife over heard the conversation and went to the kitchen and made meat patties for the outing.  In his words they received spiritual blessing soon another member came up with gas money and young man #1 drove his car and the Youth to the activity.  Everyone had a good time and the promise was kept.  The Youth speaker in Sacrament meeting was one of the Young Men who participated in the activity and he bore his testimony of the spiritual blessings received that allowed them to go on their activity and spirit of love and friendship that all the youth experience.  Both of these young men are taking steps to being baptized.
This week we have been busy cleaning and getting the apartment ready for the next Senior Missionary Couple who will be replacing us, the Whiteheads. Today they are on the road to Salt Lake from their Idaho home. They will fly out early tomorrow morning and we will pick them up from the Norman Manley Kingston Airport tomorrow night. What a great couple they are. We have had the privilege of following in their footsteps and now they will continue in ours as the work of the Lord moves forward.
 If there is anyone of you who is reading this missive, and feels the spirit prompting you to consider a mission; we urge you to act upon that prompting. The world has need of willing men and women who will wear the workers seal. Those with faith to put their footsteps in the Lords pathway, to be of assistance to others who are struggling to find their way.  The work is hard, but the blessings come daily.  Ask any Returned Missionary young or senior, they will testify of the many instances where the Spirit has guided them in the tasks they were asked to perform. They have grown in faith, testimony, and knowledge. Their hearts have been changed to be more loving and patient. It is a decision none of the regret.  Does that make us or them perfect? No, but it makes us more aware of our thoughts and actions, more aware of our complacency. It helps us see the path we want to take more clearly. The closer we align our will with our Heavenly Father’s will the happier we become as individuals, families, cities, states and a nation.
May the Lord bless you all…
See you soon
Mom and Dad
Elder and Sister Murdock

August 17, 2014

Wah Gwan in Jamaica
Our week started of great with Family Home Evening at President Brown’s home with the Senior Missionaries.  Then it got sad as we had to say good bye to some really good friends.  Yes this great adventure is coming to an end.   Time has gone by all too fast.  Try as we may to slow down time it just keeps dragging us kicking and screaming ever closer to the end.  Only thoughts of seeing our family again brighten our days.
 During the week we visited with President Pearson and Sister Pearson.    President Pearson formally, Elder Pearson is now second Councilor in the Mission Presidency. Their apartment is on the SEA and we took a couple of hours to go Snorkeling.  Look I found a little mermaid.  Mom here…Dad has such an imagination We did have a great time. We actually were able to take the whole day to recharge our batteries. We went to the Luminous Waters by Falmouth for the evening. It is a magical place where the waters glow at night when you make waves. We took a boat ride out in the bay and some people got out of the boat and went swimming and made the water glow all around them. If you put your cupped hand in the water and lifted it out it looked like you had a handful of stars. There are only three places in the world with these bio phosphorescence (wrong spelling) properties in the water. There has to be just the right mixture of salt water, fresh water, temperature and other scientific stuff that I can’t remember. It was a little like Mickey Mouse in Fantasia waving his magic wand and the fireworks appeared.  We didn’t have all the colors, just yellow, but it looked like a glow stick was spilled in the sea. It was awesome. We tried and tried to take pictured but none of them turned out.
 How many fish can you find?  Their well camouflaged so you may have zoom in on the picture.
 Back at the apartment we cleaned and cleaned to get ready for Elder and Sister Whitehead. And we are not done yet! They will be taking our place and are arriving August 25 and we still have lots of cleaning and Humanitarian work to do before they get here.

Our week ended with Sunday meeting in Ocho Rios Branch. I can’t remember this young man’s name but he was baptized earlier this year. He is a great young man with a growing testimony. These pictures were taken after church. The members like to stay around and visit for a while. Today someone brought a fruit cake to share so the members got a little snack before they returned home after church.
 This is Sister Rampasard and Sister McClean . Sister Rampasard lives in New. Jersey and comes back home to Jamaica for a visit several times a year. Sister McClean is the Relief Society President and also the Chorister for sacrament meeting. She is planning on attending the Temple in September. She is a great lady.
 This is Tracy and Rohan Francis. They are a great couple. They were baptized about 4 months ago. He is the Young Men’s President and she teaches Relief Society. They are such a great example of love and dedication to the gospel.
Our hearts were saddened this week with the unexpected death of Ed Munger, mom’s brother in law. He will be missed by our family. Uncle Ed was an extremely talented man. He was a great artist working with oil paints, wood or whatever medium he could find. There was nothing he couldn’t do if he decided he wanted to try it. He couldn’t sing but he could play the harmonica or the bagpipes so well you would cry with emotion at hearing him play. He had a tender heart and a special love for his wife Jan, their children Jerry and Marie, and of course the grandchildren were the joy of his heart. He will be missed so much. How incredibly thankful we are to have the temple blessing that bind and seal our families together forever…Such tender mercies the Lord gives us to have been given the opportunity to be sealed together.  If you have not taken advantage of the Temple blessings the Lord is offering, we implore you to make yourselves ready and go. Do what is necessary to put your lives in compliance with God’s will, and do it. Our lives do not end with our death. It goes on and if we want that same association we have in our families here on earth to continue, we must do as He asks us. I can’t imagine life without each of my family members here or after we die. I want you all to be with us…together forever. Of course just being sealed is not the end either. We must continue faithful throughout our lives.

Take care our family and friends. ..we will be seeing you all soon…
Mom and dad
Elder and Sister Murdock

August 10, 2014

Dear Family and Friends
We had a baby shower for Sister Anderson “Tracy”
Well actually it was just us and them, but we had fun! We had them come over for dinner and gave them a “tub full of baby girl goodies”. Their baby is due in October. Tracy and Rondall have become really good friends. Whenever she calls us we always ask her if she is taking good care of ‘our’ granddaughter…she laughs and promises us she is doing her best! We have worked with Tracy off and on for our whole mission. She is the Wheelchair Monitor for the church here in Jamaica. It is her job to make sure all of the policy and procedures for handing out the wheelchairs are followed. She checks on 22 different organizations with approximately 70 Wheelchair Assessors. It is a big job and she does it so well.
 We spent most of this week with Elder Acosta who is our Area Welfare Manager and an Area Seventy.
Salvation Army Captain Mitchel is in the Center of the Picture, Elder Acosta is on the Right, Javar is on the Left. Elder Acosta is a great man. Captain Mitchell has been another great friend. He does just about the same as we do as Humanitarian Missionaries only with the Salvation army…and not so much paperwork!! Hahaha Captain Mitchel and his wife are wonderful people. Javar is one of the grounds men at the Salvation Army compound where this chicken coop is located in the Havendale area of Kingston. We did a project with them to build this coop. It is at their School for the Blind (the only blind school in the Caribbean). It will help provide eggs for the student population that lives on campus here.
 Then we visited some of the Yalllahs Branch Chicken projects, really called Short Term Member Projects, which we really hope will provide long term support to the families involved.  This is Brother Lofters and Elder Acosta. Brother Lofters has been a member and knows how to live in Jamaica. He will be able to live and survive where we would starve to death!  And do it with a smile. He is a wonderful example of living with simplicity and love. He is not real sure how old he is but he thinks he is about 75. Brother Lofters has laying hens.
 This picture is of Sister Bogle, she is planning on going on a Mission soon. She has broiler chickens and is expanding her project to include laying hens. She teaches the youth each Sunday. The young men and young women meet together as there is only a few of them. She has a wonderful knowledge and understanding of the gospel and will make a great missionary.
 Then we visited Sister Pendergast. She also has broiler chickens. She is the Relief Society President. She is a real character. She is short, shy, and a little dynamo with a quick wit and a huge heart. If anyone needs anything in the branch they can call Sister ‘Prendie” she will figure out a way to help.
 Below is a picture of Dad Elder Acosta and, front left, Leonard Williams, then there is Elder Beckford and you can see just the head of his companion Elder Havili. Elder Beckford is also the Branch President. He has been out on his mission for 6 months now and has been Branch President for 3 of those months.  “Train up a child when he is young….” seems to work well here. Leonard and his son George have broiler chickens and they are really being helped by this project as are all of the Yallahs Branch project members. Elder Acosta was very happy with what he saw in these projects.
 We also visited F.I.S.H.
F.I.S.H. (Foundation for International Self Help) is a nonprofit organization that has an Optical, Medical and Dental Clinic at their site. In the picture below is Elder Acosta with Anton Thompson, who is the Executive Director at F.I.S.H. We are doing a Vision Project that will include them (but is mostly with Kingston Public Hospital), and we are working on a Dental project. They have a mandate to help the poor and the needy. They provide a real service to those who could not go to a regular private dentist for any dental problems.
Elder Acosta spent two days here talking about Fast Offerings to the Stake Presidency, the Mandeville District Presidency, and Mission President Brown. He also said he came to say goodbye to us. His schedule is very hectic and he would not get another chance to see us before we leave and come home.
Well another week completed…we pray it was done in a way that the Lord would be pleased with our efforts.  What a blessing it is to be here and serve a mission. You never know what you can do, or what blessings the Lord has for you, unless you take that first step into the dark and walk by faith. As your faith increases so does your vision of what you really can do with the Lords help. So you take another step and are blessed again to see farther, more clearly, your faith increases again and you take another step. It is not always easy, but boy is it worth it!
Take care dear family and friends
Till we meet again
Mom and Dad,
Elder/Sister Murdock
P.S. A huge THANK-YOU to Travis and Lorraine Hollingshead for taking such good care of our home while we have been gone. Our daughter Lori and Megan have been at the house getting our things moved back in and said the house was super clean and in great condition…you guys are awesome!! Would love to see you after we get back!

August 3, 2014

This week it was transfer week.  It is always a busy time.  In the picture below we had to move some trainer elders from Spanish Town into Kingston for the night. We also had Pres. Pearson (2nd Counselor in the Mission Presidency) Elder Phippen, Elder Bateman (he is also the Negril Branch President), Sister Pearson, Dad, Elder Creager and Elder Hunt.  These Young Elders are great missionaries and will make excellent trainers for the new Missionaries who came on Island Wednesday. Elder and Sister Pearson spent the night with us as they needed to bring in the Negril and Sav Elders for transfers and needed to wait and return to Negril and Sav with the newly assigned Elders.  The young Elders were all starving…as always…so we fed them while they were waiting for their next ride to the ZL’s apartment where they were sleeping that night.
 Foyer of Spanish Town building over flowing with luggage and bikes

I couldn't get all the luggage, bikes, and supplies in one shot so here is a picture of some of the things the elders have that need to be moved with each transfer.  It is a wonderful time when they get together and renew old friendships and make new ones.  You never see a frown or a look of concern when the elders are given new companions. They all bring a marvelous and willing spirit to go and do what the Lord wants them to do. Sometimes the new Elders look a little overwhelmed but when they meet their new companion it all comes together for them and they have the strength to move forward. The Lord really blesses his missionaries.

 After the Transfer meeting we found the Elders we were to transport and showed them which truck was ours and they started to gather all the suitcases and bikes and supplies together and began to load everything in the back of the truck. Elder Zeck from Alberta Canada is on the left with the bike.  He is brand new and full of fire for the missionary work.  He was telling us of all the training and splits he went on with the Elders at home before he got his mission call.  It is so wonderful to have the missionaries arrive with the skills and knowledge they need when they start their missions.  It helps them so much to be prepared when they receive their calls. The learning and adjusting comes so much faster and they are so much happier when they know what to expect. Even Pres. Brown came out to make sure all the trucks were loaded and his ‘Sons and daughters’ get off to the right start.
 Our assignment was to take these wonderful young men out to Portmore to their new assignment.  All were fed again and were in high spirits when we left them. 
Today we took Anthony Clarke, who is our Property Manager at the apartment to church with us.  He enjoyed the meetings and seemed excited about the church. When we went to Sunday School he leaned over said that he did not want them to ask him anything.  So I talked to the instructor and he agreed not to ask Anthony any questions.  As the lesson progressed Anthony was suddenly raising his hand asking questions and answering questions.  We took him to the Constant Spring Ward as that is the ward that he lives in. Anthony was introduced to the Ward Mission Leader, Bishop, and Pres. Brown was there too, (Jonathon his son was ordained a Deacon today).  Keep Anthony in your prayers.  He has met with the Missionaries twice now and we are hopping he will continue to listen to the lessons and gain his own testimony. The Missionaries have been teaching Anthony in our apartment and it is fun to be a part of the experience.

This past week our daughter Katie and her husband Robert celebrated their 16th wedding anniversary, and our son Victor and his wife Megan celebrated their 4thanniversary.  We wanted to wish them all a Happy Anniversary. We love you and are so happy for your day of celebration.

May the good Lord bless and keep you all
Mom and Dad
E/S Murdock

July 29, 2014

Health Fair
This week we have been working with Sister Langley and her Stake Committee on the 2nd Annual Health Fair sponsored by the Church branches/wards in Kingston. Sister Langley is a marvelous lady and gives so much of her time and talents to serving the members here.
 School kits
Another project we have been working on is the School Kits.  We are getting quotations and pro formas (bids) for the supplies and will have a service project, probably with the youth in the Stake, to put them together. We will work with Sister Langley with this one too. The picture below is with Dad and Mr. Palmer who works at Campbell Office Supply. We will get a quotation from another business as well and see who will be able to get us what we need at the right price.  These school kits will be given out to the lower income school students who truly have a need for them.  It is amazing what we have noticed in the schools here in Jamaica. The teachers really strive to teach the students who have minimal supplies or no supplies. They are heroes in our book. All schools have tuition here and the students are required to have at least 2 school uniforms each. They need to supply all their own paper, pencils, and composition books. The teacher will have access to a teaching manual and she will photocopy the assignments for the students. They are very ingenious in getting what they need for the least amount of money, insuring that it goes to serve the most students.
You can see the samples of merchandise behind the glass display box’s. You seldom go and pick up what you want. You give them an order and they will fill it and bring it out to you.  Each business must guard their merchandise to prevent theft.  Larger grocery stores are the exception but they will inspect your receipt against what is in your cart.
 Feeding the Elders
It has been a while since we have fed the Elders so we invited them over for dinner. Standing at the back and moving clockwise we have Elder Henderson, Elder Martin, Elder Dawkins and then Elder Campbell…Man can these Elders eat!!! Gotta love it when the pot is empty when they are done eating.  They are marvelous Elders and we love them all.
 On our walk with Halls we saw cactus on the roof
As we go for our walks along the beach Dad noticed the roof of this abandoned building...there is barrel cactus and other cactus growing up there.  I guess the wind has blown enough sand up there to support life.  We are in a serious drought here too. We have been told that Kingston has a 30 day supply of water. If it does not rain soon we will have to buy water from other parts of the island.  Not a cheap venture but it is beginning to look like it is in our future. We have been reminding all the Missionaries to make sure their emergency water supply is filled so they will have what they need. We are encouraging at least a 3 day (72 hr) emergency supply. Also enough food for 3 days too.  Our apartment complex was without water last week. for 3 ½ days. When it came back on it came out of the spigot brown. Even now we are to cut back on all water usage. Needless to say we are praying for rain!Teaching Anthony
 Teaching Anthony
Anthony is our Property Manager here at the apartment building. We, meaning all the missionaries who live and have lived here) have been talking to him about the gospel.  He finally decided to have the missionaries come and visit with him.  Mortensen’s tried this before but he chickened out and was not available but he has been to 2 discussions this week! As with all new people in a teaching pool he is still testing the waters.  Anthony is in our prayers too. In the picture below you see starting from the left side. Bro. and Sister Chin, members from the Constant Spring Ward. They were just converted to the gospel in April. He is now 2nd Counselor in the Bishopric, then Elders Ruesch and Williams, Anthony and Mom.
 The Chins helped with the discussion and are a great couple who really embraced the gospel. We don’t often get to share missionary discussions like this so this has been a real treat! In the picture below you can see the Chin’s better. What a great family they are.
Well…it is official our release date is September 2nd, 35 days from today…no I’m not trunky…really I’m not…yeah right!!! We now know that the Whiteheads will be returning to Jamaica to replace us as Humanitarian Missionaries and we are so excited!!! They are the couple we replaced so they have a great knowledge of the island and the humanitarian work.  I cried when they left just a few days after we got here, we felt so alone, and I will probably cry when they land back on the island!! Yeah I’m like that…but we were so new and everything was so foreign and they were so comfortable with everything. Now we are where they were when they completed their mission here. The Lord really knows how to grow and stretch a person. Anyway they will arrive on Aug 25th…even move back into the same apartment they had before they left! Talk about a Deja vu moment!
Well that is all for now. Know that we love and appreciate all of you for your love and support of us. The Lord lives. He is aware of each of us and our struggles and triumphs. Remember to thank him in all things.
Mom and Dad
E/S Murdock

July 20, 2014

Dear Family and Friends
The week started with Family Home Evening with the Senior Missionaries, President Brown, and his family at the Mission Home.  The Halls showed some videos on how faith protects us.
 President Brown and the kids watching the film.

The rest of the week went Kind of slow.  Sister Murdock had a head cold and was under the weather so we stayed in the apartment most of the time while we did some computer work, house cleaning, reading, and generally tried to keep busy.  We also received some reports back about Branches who did Humanitarian Hygiene kit distribution and service projects. Here is the Yallahs Branch.
Yallahs Branch President Ranold Randy Beckford
The Yallahs Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has come together as a family and we went out in the community of Yallahs on Thursday June 19, 2014 at approximately 11:00 am we all went out in the communities and we visit the elderly and the needy and prior to the serve project we had come together and we did separate the hygiene kits so more people could receive kits and it was a success and the persons who receive these kits were very happy to receive them and they were very happy to see the church in action (Mormon Helping Hands) it was a really great experience and I think it had a great impact on the community and most of all it had a great impact on the members as they came together to accomplish one goal it was truly a success and we were all grateful to be a part of it and it also show these people that Heavenly father is still mindful of them no matter who they are where they are from.

Thank you for the opportunity to do this Service Project.

 Finally we had cabin fever so bad we could not stand being in the apartment anymore so jumped in the truck and went to Spanish Town to pick up some Hygiene Kits that we will take to the Santa Cruz Branch next week.   On the way we saw the man who carries 55 gallon drums on his head.  We have seen him several times but were never able to get his picture.  How many drums does he have anyway?
Anyway mom is feeling better now so we should be back on track this coming week. We are thankful that we have a Father in Heaven who watches over us.  Thank you for your love and prayers, they mean the world and more to us.  Take care and love each other.
Dad and Mom