Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas
Normally we would be trying to decide which one of our Kids family’s we were going be with on Christmas morning. We will miss all of our family, and mostly we will miss watching our grand kids opening their presents. That’s the fun part of Christmas. Remember meeting at Grandma Murdock’s and having chili on Christmas day. We should start some new traditions of our own.
Well this is not going to become a tradition that will last but it is the best we can do for now. We had a meeting with the Branch President in Santa Cruz. Well Christmas in a town called Santa something. We did some Humanitarian training. Then we told him we had brought some supplies with us including some toys. Wow, his eyes lit up and he said “Toys”? There you go getting ahead of yourself again, nothing in Jamaica is what we expect. He said they have some young children in his branch and he wanted to start a nursery but they did not have any toys for the nursery. He said he had been praying for some way to get toys for the nursery. We went out to the truck and after I gave him some toys he skipped back into the church and sang “I have some toys, we have a nursery!” over and over again. I love this job.
Looks a little like the Star of David don’t you think? Santa Cruz is a six hour drive away so we stayed at Treasure Beach. A little beach mostly visited by locals. Our room was 50 yards from the beach. We had the beach all to ourselves so we swam and walked on the beach and took pictures. The first time we really got to relax since coming to Jamaica.
We hope that you take a moment to relax and ponder the meaning of Christmas. The ocean has a way of making time stand still for a while. Christmas here is very different. There is not the hustle and bustle of shopping, or advertising here. Most people shop for the day, not the week or month. Having enough to eat today is what they focus on. Members here cook meals for shut-ins or neighbors who are less fortunate than themselves. And that is saying something… Presents under the tree are a luxury most can’t afford. They forward the feeling of Christmas in how they spend their lives in service to their fellow man. May we all seek the Christ Child this Christmas Season.
No I don’t know what it is maybe you can tell me. We didn’t dare touch the spines… but we have seen the delicate shell on the beach, minus the spines of course.
Next we went to the Mission Christmas Party. All the missionaries were there except a few who were on other Islands. We had Christmas Pizza not Grandmas chili but different than what we expected. Poor pizza delivery man was on a motorcycle and had to make four trips.
After dinner President Hendricks handed out presents from home to the young Missionaries. Everyone got a present except one lone Elder. He was looking kind of sad. So I snuck up and told President Hendricks about the young man. They scrambled around and found a box from a far sighted parent of one of the Elders marked “Other Elders”. Inside was several extra presents for “just in case”. Our just in case got three presents. Father Heaven looks out for all his Missionaries.
Have a Merry Christmas
We love you 
Elder and Sister Murdock

December 14, 2012

Dear Family and Friends:
This week our letter is a little sooner than normal. We have planned a trip to Santa Cruz and will not be home till late Sunday night. We thought we should write early instead of late. This past week we have been busy with the Salvation Army. They are one of our Partner Organizations. Their Captain is Derrick Mitchell. He is a really great man who does a lot of work. I think we have talked about him before but he really is a wonderful Champion for the poor people here in Jamaica. We were able to help him with several of the care facilities he helps here.
We have also been back to Spanish Town several times doing inventory at the Container we have most of our Kits and things in. We now have a better knowledge of what is in there and how we will manage the supplies there. We are doing follow ups on the food projects the Schafermeyers and the Whiteheads started. Most of them are completed now but SLC needs a report on how they are doing. It was the first project of this type and size the church has done so they are anxious to see how they are developing. We are happy to report that more that what was initially thought are succeeding and growing. It will be a wonderful program to recommend to the church for further projects in other countries around the world.
We also had some work done on our truck. It was pretty overdue. There is a Senior Couple the Mission President has asked to take charge of keeping the mission fleet up and running smoothly. They are the Larsen’s, another great couple here. When they were asked to do the oil changes on the fleet they had 16 of the 20 vehicles well overdue for service. As of today Elder Larsen said that they have 12 done already. It won’t be long before they will have everyone back on schedule. He is the one who carves the nativities out of Coconut shells and another local wood for the people. They do Member Leadership Service here for the Kingston and Boulevard Branches. They are really busy. She also cuts hair for any of the missionaries who ask.
The pictures are of the University of the West Indies C.H.A.R.E.S Department. It stands for the Community Hospital Aids Research Education and Support. It is located in a small building at the back of the University of West Indies Campus. We helped with Christmas packages which were placed in black plastic bags so no one would know what was it them. So the patients would not peak. The black bags lessened the chance that someone would see what was in them and try to steel them from the patients while they were walking home. The Christmas bags(presents) included a bar of soap, hand towel, toothbrush, toothpaste, and comb which were provided by our Church. They also got a drink, can of meat, some rice, and some tea. This was likely the only thing they will get for Christmas. About sixty people came to the Christmas Party, men, women, and children with AIDS. The C.H.A.R.E.S Department also provided a lunch. We helped serve lunch, District President Medley got in on the tail end of the serving and he said it was vicious! He was teasing of course. Everyone was having a nice time. Everyone wanted more. I don’t think most of them got to eat a good meal very often. There was enough for everyone with some left over, Mom even eat chicken foot soup, with real chicken feet. She insists it was a chicken neck. They were so happy to be served a meal, get a small bag of groceries and a little gift for the children. We did not take pictures of the people there they really don’t want everyone to know they have AIDS. If other people know they have AIDS, they tend to stay away because they are afraid they might get it too.

The last two pictures are of a Doctor Bird (humming bird). That is the official Bird of Jamaica. They are pretty small, about the size of a regular humming bird and pretty rare. When we were taking this picture we were at the Constant Springs Chapel waiting for someone to meet us there. He was sitting in a tree on the property. One of the members came out of the church after finishing a piano lesson (taught by Sis. Larsen) and was surprised to see the small bird. They don’t see them very often. The last picture is of a “Poor Man’s Orchid”. It is the flower on the tree that the Doctor Bird was sitting in.

Monthly Stats

November Humanitarian Report

Elder and Sister Murdock

This was our first month in here in Jamaica.  We spent a lot of time researching past projects and studying Humanitarian guidelines to better understand our role here.  We have also spent a lot of time researching Continuing promise 2013 and what will be needed when the medical ship U.S.N.S. Comfort arrives here in Jamaica.

November’s accomplishments include:

Hurricane Sandy

Met with Assistant to the President missionaries and organized them to find out the status of the missionaries and members.  All missionaries were found to be safe.  Some of the member’s homes sustained minor damage to their roofs, or had trees down that needed to be cleaned up.

We distributed tarps, chain saws.

We met with District President Medley about replacing and updating the emergency supplies used in Hurricane Sandy.  He suggested we get more supplies to be stored around the island at the church buildings.  It was difficult to get to Spanish Town (where our emergency supplies are stored) after the hurricane due to the flooding and most of the damage was here in Kingston.

The final report on the effects of Hurricane Sandy in Jamaica was submitted to Benny Lilly Area Welfare Manager.

Priced emergency supplies needed to replace or update our emergency equipment.

President Hendricks was worried Bro. Graham blind member who lives alone is on the east end of the island and had some damage to his roof from Hurricane Sandy.  He asked us to check up on him.  We found him with the help of the Yallahs missionaries, Elders Campbell and Christensen.  Brother Graham was in good health but he had no food in the house.  When he had food he was cooking on a charcoal stove where he puts charcoal in the bottom, and a pan on top to cook all his meals. He has a propane cook stove but someone keeps stealing his propane. One time while he was in the house when he heard a noise and asked who was there, but they never answered. When he went to cook his dinner, the propane was gone. He has had other things stolen while he is in the house. Since he is blind he can’t identify anyone or even know they are stealing from him. He had some roof damage from Hurricane Sandy. He needs to have some new Zinc placed on his roof along with new trusses which will be expensive to fix. President Hendricks asked us to see if he would move to an area that is not so isolated, hopefully around family so they can look after him. We are all concerned that his home is not a safe place for him anymore. He has 10 children but only one is a member, he helps when he can but lives 3 hours away. Anyway since he is blind and knows his home and the area around it he can still do many things for himself.  If he moves, he will be helpless and so he wants to stay in his own home. He knows his neighbors and how to get around the neighborhood. He only has to walk a block to get his water and a couple of blocks the other way to get food. He was down to less than a gallon of water when we got there so we had young elders haul up 25 gallons of water for him. He is a special man. He is about 65 years old and can still do push ups. He can raise his whole body off the ground and clap his hands while doing them. He lives on $4000 Jamaican dollars a month, that’s about $45 US dollars. One of the Missionaries we had with us is from Jamaica and when I said I did not see how he could by enough food to live on for that much, he replied simply, if you stick to the basics rice and beans that’s enough. Every day this place makes me count my blessings.  President Hendricks and the Missionaries will continue to work with Brother Graham.

Continuing Promise 2013 USNS Comfort

Medical ship USNS Comfort Medical Ship will arrive in Jamaica in Aug 2013

We were assigned to be the Local Country Contact people for the US Navy and Jamaican Ministry of Health for this initiative.

Met with Navy Deputy Chief Christopher Charley-Sales about what our role is, and what he needs help with when the USNS Comfort comes into Kingston.  He strongly suggested we not met with the Ministry of Health.  He would make that contact himself. He said he is a “one man show” for CP 2013 and would very much appreciate our help with some of the administrative duties including helping organize the people in lines, taking information from the people etc.

We met with President Piper and Medley about medical opportunities for members through “Continuing Promise 2013”.  We emphasized that our members will not be given preferential treatment from LDS Medical specialists on ship.  The Ministry of Health will select who will have the surgeries done aboard ship.

Food Initiative

We met with the District Presidents Medley and Piper to discuss existing food projects and to see if there is interest in doing more.  If there is, they will be considered for next year.

We made a list of the new requirements for food projects in 2013, and handed out follow up reports to the District and all Branch Presidents in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the food projects.

We met with the Senior Missionaries to have them help the Priesthood follow up on the Food Initiative projects in their areas.  They would take the Welfare specialists or a Priesthood member with them who did not have transportation to visit all the projects in their areas.

We visited the Spanish Town 2nd Branch 5 acre farm garden project with the Branch President Britton to determine the status of the project.  It was determined that the project would be closed.  It was located too far from where the members lived and they couldn’t afford to get there to grow their crops. The container that housed the tools for the project had been sold due to the fact that it had been broken into and the tools that were stolen multiple times. 

We took Feed out to 2 projects in Spanish Town to Masters and LowenBeech to complete their projects. Both are Broiler Chickens. 

Humanitarian Kits

Distributed 25 school kits and 5 hygiene kits to Sister Langley.  For the Walker Home for Children and Single mothers.

Distributed 80 hygiene kits to University of the West Indies Hospital C.H.A.R.E.S (the Aids wing)

Distributed 108 school kits and 40 hygiene kits to Joyce Brownkerr at the Kitson Women and children Shelter They are located in St. Catharine’s Parish


We met with Tracy Meddows Anderson our wheelchair specialist and discussed the wheelchair program and what her needs or suggestions were for the program.   She suggested some changes to the Wheelchair Assessment form.  We needed to make a place to mark if the Wheelchair had solid or inflatable wheels and who was coming to pick up the chair and their phone numbers are. That way Food for the Poor would be able to know where the chair actually went.

We met with Food for the Poor, Susan Moore and her Staff.  FFP is our local partner and wheelchair distributor.  The status of the wheelchair initiative here in Jamaica was discussed.  There are some chairs that are unaccounted for and they will send us an update on them.  It was indicated that they were given to hospitals for their use.

An E-mailed was sent to Brother Spencer in Salt Lake requesting a change on the wheel chair assessment forms to include a solid tires option.

Priesthood Involvement

We started to meet with Priesthood leaders to Discuss Humanitarian needs in their areas.  We also presented a short training in the Humanitarian policies and processes and encouraged them to take a leadership role in humanitarian projects.  In November we met with:

District President Medley and District President Piper

Branch Presidents Britton in Spanish Town 2nd , President Evans in Yallahs, and President Clark in Mandeville. 


President Medley suggested a Dunrobin Basic school Project request for 25 chairs and 2 tables.  Project has been submitted and is pending approval.
Pres Medley gave us a Dunrobin Primary school project for a new computer class room with air conditioners and computers. The Primary school was advised that we do not build buildings but if they can provide the room we will be able to reconsider other aspects of the project.

Missionary Activities

Handed out 2 Books of Mormon

Gave 2 referrals to the Missionaries

Other Activities

Helped Sister Larsen with her quilting Class for the Boulevard Branch Relief Society Activity
Toured Salvation Army’s Havendale Complex.

December 9, 2012

Dear Family ad friends:
The week has come and gone by usual. It is hard to believe it is really December. Here in Jamaica it is still 85 decrees with 70% humidity. I now you are all jealous of our wonderful weather. We have been out and about in Jamaica this week with trips to Spanish Town, Hopeton, Mandeville, Old Harbour, and May Pen. We have been checking up on the Food Projects that were started by the Schafermeyers and Whiteheads who preceded us here on this beautiful Island. Most of the projects are up and running and they are a great blessing the families here. They are providing food and an income for them to improve their living standards. I guess it is true that you can’t imagine the poverty until you see it. Daily we are approached by beggars for money. We offer them some food instead of cash and have only had two people take the food we offered. Most want the money but we can’t give them any. We don’t want to sustain their Gonja (marijuana) habit or their drinking. We do try to help out the local street vendors though. They will walk up and down the lanes of traffic selling their wares. One man has been called “mini Wal-Mart”, he usually has an odd assortment of things to purchase. Anything from bug zappers that look like a tennis racket, to steering wheel covers. Mostly he sells phone cords you plug into your car lighter to recharge your cell phones. These people are very resourceful. They try very hard to make a living any way they can. Also we have the window washers to get you at the major intersections. When the light is red they run up and down the lanes and wash your windows. They usually reach back to the 6th or 7th car before the light turns green again. Even if you say no they will wash and then try to guilt you into paying them anyway. Most are pretty good if you tell them no. But some are persistent. We had one young man who washed our windows last Sunday on our way to Portmore to attend church at the branch there. I told him no and he still washed our windshield. He was really persistent so I rolled down the window and explained to him it was the Sabbath and I could not pay him on the Sabbath and he backed off. On our way back home from church we were again stopped at the same stoplight and he came up again. Only this time he remembered us and made the other window washers leave us alone, explaining it was the Sabbath and we could not pay them. He was so good at getting the others to leave us alone I told him next time we came by I would have him wash our windows and would gladly pay him. He was so happy. He saw our name badges and said he was glad for Jesus in his life. I said I was glad too.
At this time of year our thoughts turn to you, our family and friends....not in a lonesome or “wish we were home” sort of way, but in a way that sends true joy to our souls for the love and support we feel from you. We get only a few letters, but we feel of your love and support daily. We acknowledge the hand of the Lord in all we do. There is not a day that goes by that we don’t feel his influence in our lives. We are so cared for and blessed in all that we do. Right down to finding our way around the island, feeling safe to go places, feeling we should go a certain direction, safety on the roads, which projects to pursue with which people. The friendships we have made here so quickly with the other missionaries has been a great blessing too. They are such wonderful people. Some are on their 6th mission. One Senior Missionary couple ran a 10 K last Saturday. He is 85 years old and she is 73. They are an awesome example of what you can do even though once you put your mid to it. I guess we could be home with the rest of you but where is the challenge in that? The Lord needs Senior Missionaries. They have a wealth of experience in the church that the world is crying for. We urge you to “go and do the things the Lord Commands”...well you know the primary song so I will get off my soap box now. But it is not scary, nor is it hard. It just needs to be done by those who are willing. I’m not saying it is easy either. But nothing worth doing is ever easy. It is just worth doing. I testify to you that it is the right thing for us and I know if you make the choice to serve you will feel the same as we do. We would be no other place than where the good Lord has seen fit to send us. The members here are trying so hard to live the gospel. They are so humble and so thankful for all the gospel has brought into their lives.
Hope you enjoy the pictures we sent this week
Our Love to All
Elder and Sister Murdock
Vicky's Bar
Light house


Well it’s been another busy week in Jamaica here some of the highlights. We visited Havendale Basic school with children ages 3-6. They are requesting some computers from the Church. This a Salvation Army School and we are working with Captain Mitchell. He is a good man dedicated to helping others. His idea for the computers is to let the school children learn basic computer skills during the day, in the afternoon local teenagers well be allowed to use the computers for school work and job searches. Later in the evening a group of senior citizens who volunteer at the Salvation Army will learn Internet, email, and computer skills. Captain Mitchell works full time for the Salvation Army and like us is not paid for his work there. He is given a home at the Salvation Army’s Havendale Compound and a car but has to work a second job to provide for his young family. We took some picture at the school. One little boy was crying so mom kneeled down to help. The little guy just through his arms around mom and wouldn’t let go. This Mission is great fun!
Thursday was our anniversary so we called Elder and Sister Smith and drove up in the mountains for a hike and picnic. Lots a beautiful country, we even got into some pine trees. The hike was different. With plants everywhere we walked through some tunnels that were not dirt tunnels but tree-plant tunnels. You can look at the pictures. It was 70 degrees with a cool breeze but we were still sweating.
Saturday was a service project with a big group of young men and young woman from Spanish Town Branch’s 1 & 2. They helped us reorganize the humanitarian supplies that have been housed in a 30 foot container. They were a great group of kids and worked really had in a lot of heat. The supplies are kept in a metal box from an old diesel trailer; it was like a big oven.
Most of the time we had only one adult leader but did not really need them because the kids were so well behaved and willing to work. I had one of the Young Women’s class president take charge and she did a good job. When I asked her what she wanted for lunch she said she had never done anything like this before and wanted me to help her decide on lunch. Well I am not much help, I just told her she was in charge and I would do whatever she wanted. She turned out to be a real leader because she called all the kids together and made them decide what they wanted. At the end of our visit we were able to help him out with some of our kits to help his schools. He has the Basic school, a blind school, and an elderly home that he assists with. Also we gave him some of the Hygiene Kits to take to the prison. The prisoners are not even given basic soap, towel, clothes, or any of the things we consider “normal” for being housed in a prison. They only get one meal a day and have to make deals for anything extra. Even in the hospitals you must provide your own bedding and food.
We were all glad when the job was done and it was Pizza time.
P.S. The greeting at the top is not another of my misspellings I am just trying out some of my Jamaican. See if you can guess what it means email us with your guess’s and we let you know next week. And you could even write and send us news from home!

Love to all Elder and Sis. Murdock, Mom and Dad, Friends and Family

Thanksgiving 2012

This week was another active one. We went to the U.S. Embassy and meet with a Navy Officer and started making plans for the U.S.N.S Comfort a medical ship that will be coming to Jamaica and helping people with medical problems. This project is going to be lots of work over the next several months. No pictures here we were searched and they took all electronic things at the gate.
We visited the University of The West indies Hospital’s special ward for people with aids no one lives here it is a treatment and counseling center. The Church donated some Hygiene kits (soap, towel, tooth brush, tooth paste, comb). The kits are needed as many of these people are no longer welcome in their homes and have to make do the best they can. The Hygiene Kits will be given out at Christmas as Christmas presents. Think about this, if we spent all day we can’t even begin to count all of our blessing.
We visit a new Branch or Branches ever week this week we visited with Linstead, May Pen, and Mandeville. See if the kids can find them on a map. We had meetings with District President Piper (like our Stake President), and two Branch Presidents (like our Bishops). We picked up District President Piper in May Pen then he rode with us to Mandeville. He is a great young man when he returned home from his Jamaican Mission in 2005 they made him Branch President, Counselor to the District President , Branch President again, and now District President. He spent the rest of the day with us while we were meeting with the Branch President and Branch Welfare Specialist, He was interviewing and having PPI with Priesthood Brethren. I thought it kind of strange that he spent the whole day with us because I know how busy Branch Presidents are. So you know me, I asked. The answer was so simple I would never have guessed. President Piper did not have a car (many people here do not have cars) so when we offered to take him, he was excited for the opportunity. Amazingly middle class in Jamaica is defined as a person who has cell phone and a car and there only a few. Now that is not to say there are not many cars on the road! You have to remember there are over 1 million people here in Kingston. Most who buy a car can’t afford to put fuel in it, but they have one, and that makes them middle class. So I asked him how he can be a District President of such a large area without a car. He said many people have asked him the same question, a lot of times he rides his bike some times he takes a taxi but mostly the Lord provides. His faith is great!
School kids
Also we met a Bro Gomez from Columbia. He came to Jamaica to teach a Genealogy Class. He was surprised to learn that most people here do not know who their Grandparents are. We just accidentally ran into Bro Gomez while at the quilting class. He said he needed a ride to May Pen to teach there last Sunday. We were going there on our way to Mandeville so he went with us. After we dropped off Pres. Piper we brought Bro Gomez back to our apartment and fed him dinner. Then took him to his hotel. We had to get up at 4:30 this morning to take him to the airport for his flight back home. He had already been to Port a Rico, Dominican Republic and Brazil so he was glad to be heading home. He is a Faithful Brother.
We had Thanksgiving with the other Senior Couples. Everyone provided a dish so we had plenty and enough for everyone to take a plate home from the leftovers. It was great to spend time with them. Sister Murdock also helped Sister Larsen with a quilting class. Because not very many have sewing machines. We did a small wall hanging that they hand stitched together. It was unusual for her to see the older sisters just learning to thread a needle. We are so fortunate in all the little things we take for granted.

Ok picture time Basic School children, and Thanksgiving dinner at the Mission Office with the other Senior Missionaries

November 19, 2012

Well another week has come and gone. Tomorrow we will have been in Jamaica for 1 whole month! it seems hard to believe that time is moving along at its fast pace..
This week we had a family home evening with the other senior couples with the Mission President and his sweet wife. He had been to a Mission Presidents Seminar mid October and he reported on what they discussed there. He said that every speaker spoke of different things but the underling thought that was expressed was that “The Lord is Hastening his Work”(D&C 88:73). The time is growing short for our world. We are at a turning point now and we must rise up to the challenge the Lord gives us or be left behind (read all of D&C section 88 to get the full picture). It was not a frightening thing to hear but exciting! Every time we get to spend time with this great President, he inspires us to try harder, do better, be more than we are. He does it with scriptures and love. What a spiritual giant.
Big Gun
We also met with our Wheelchair Monitor in Spanish Town. Her name is Remounah Meddows-Anderson but her Pet Name is Tracy. Here if you don’t care for your name or someone thinks you look like a different name you can pick a “pet name”. Remounah’s pet name is Tracy. We took her with us and went to visit “Food for the Poor”. They are an organization we work with here to help distribute the wheelchairs we get shipped in for the disabled. She is a delightful young lady with an infectious smile and a wonderful laugh. She has worked with Food for the Poor (FFP) for several years now and helped us get acquainted with the people in charge there. It really helps make the transition between missionaries if you have someone who knows the people already introduce you to the “new set of missionaries”. We ended up going back to Spanish Town to get some hygiene and school kits to help out some of the health centers and shelters for the single mothers. We are also working on a project to get some tables and chairs at a Basic School here. The school is for children ages 2-5. It is mostly unemployed single moms who take their children there. The children were so adorable. One little one looked at me and said “your white!” I looked at her and said “your’re brown and it is a beautiful color!” She just smiled so big and started to giggle.
Fort Bow
The attached pictures are from our trip to Port Royal, the Fort there has two points the were made to look like a bow of a ship. When the enemy came in to the harbor they saw what looked like the bow of an other ship so they did not expect a Fort with a 120 cannons. Port Royal was a pirate city and they bragged that it was the wickedest city in the world. Then along came an earthquake that sank the city to the bottom of the sea. Now they are the wettest city in the world. The tilted house happened as part of the earthquake. Some of the cannon emplacements dropped 20’.
The Elders at Port Royal
Fort Layout
Us at Port Royal

Tilted House
Fisherman boat

November 11, 2012

Dear Family and Friends
Life is good here I Jamaica!! We have been busy as usual. We spent a lot of time on the computer and getting things organized the way we are used to doing things. There is so much to learn about how the church wants the forms filled out for our projects. We have been going through the past paper work to get a better understanding of this and to get a feel for what has been happening here. We have some pretty big shoes to fill. the Shafermeyers and the Whiteheads who preceded us were very active, organized and talented. They had a great love of the people here and the members remember them with great love. The Shafermeyers are now on another mission in SLC putting together a history of Humanitarian Missions efforts around the world. The Whiteheads just left Jamaica and I am sure they are missing life here but glad to be home at the same time. That is the way it is for missionaries. They all love where they are and love home too. I know we feel the same being here. I guess the bet of both worlds would be to have your family go with you on a mission!! A senior mission for sure is a fantastic thing! There are challenges but that is where you grow. Without growth you are not progressing towards your Father in Heaven...
We Have traveled some this week. We made a trip to Spanish Town. It is about 40 miles away but it takes an hour if there is light traffic. We visited a 5 acre farm project. It was a Branch project that is not functioning as well as they hoped for. There is still one Brother who is farming his section. It is planted with Sorrel and Ginger Root. Sorrel is a plant they make into a drink and spice it with the ginger root. It is pretty good tasting. The ginger gives it a real kick. They grow the plant, pick the blossom, boil it with some sugar and ginger. It is said to be beneficial to the heart. You see bill boards here advertising the Sorrel Drink.
We also went to the far Eastern end of the Island to visit a blind member there. We took several picture along the way, The Blue Mountains, The Elders and us with the blind member, the sea, a sugar cane field, and a water fall. The other picture is of the blind members stove he puts charcoal in the bottom and a pan on top to cook all his meals. ( I know not to good of an idea indoors but that is what he has). He has a propane cook stove but someone keeps stealing his gas one time while he was in the house, he ask who was their but they never answered. When he looked the gas was gone. He has had other things stolen while he is in the house. Since he is blind can’t identify anyone. He has had some roof damage from Hurricane Sandy. He will need to have some new Zinc placed on his roof along with new trusses. Of course the trusses he has are 1x1’s. They don’t have to worry about snow loads on their roofs here! Our Mission President Hendricks asked us to see if he would move to an area that is not so isolated hopefully around family so they can look after him. We are all concerned that his home not be a safe place for him anymore. He has 10 children but only one is a member. He helps when he can but lives 3 hours away. Anyway our member still wants to stay in his own home. He knows his neighbors and how to get around the neighborhood. He only has to walk a block to get his water and a couple of block the other way to get food. He was down to less then a gallon of water when we got there so we had young elders (we took with us from Yallahs) haul 25 gallons for him. He is a special man. he is about 65 years old and can still do push ups. He can raise his whole body off the ground and clap his hands while doing them. Challenge to all the young people!!! Can you do that?? He lives on $4000 Jamaican dollars a month ( that’s about $45 US dollars 1 US dollar = 89 Jamaica dollars). One of the Missionaries we had with us is from Jamaica and when I said I did not see how he could even by food for that much, he replied simply, if you stick to the basics rice and beans that’s enough. Every day this place makes me count my blessings.
As usual we are doing well. We are adjusting to the humidity. The heat is not so much the problem, but combined with the humidity it is not what we are used to. Dad is doing better than I am. I sit either by the air conditioner or by the fan. The Lord has blessed us many times with our lives here. We are so fortunate to have the gospel in our lives

cooking stove
Sea East of Morant Bay
Blue Mountain

Sugar Cane

November 4, 2012

We have been training with Bennie Lilly the Area Welfare Manager from Dominican Republic. He flew here and and has been training us everyday. We did pull him away from training to go to Spanish Town to deliver chicken feed called crumble. Crumble is fed to Broiler Chickens which are raised for food. These chickens are bred for meat and they have very large breast meat, so big the can not walk very good because they tip over. Look at the pictures and you can see what I mean. The chickens are part of a food project for member.s They are trained on how to build a chicken coop (many have never used tools before), they are also trained on how to raise the animals (feed and care for them), and how to market and manage their business. It sounds easy but it is a hard concept for them to save money so they can buy more chickens and more feed. They have so little money they want to use what they get from selling chickens to buy food for their family. Most have a good grasp of the project and are on their second or third batch of chickens (which they bought themselves) some have even expanded their pens so they can get and raise more animals.
Spanish Town is about one hour away from our Apartment. Naturally the GPS took us right down town through a street market that was so busy there was no room to even drive down the road. It was full of people buying and selling goods. Many Vendors put their goods (mostly fruit ) on a wooden cart that they push to the market. The carts are about 6 feet long and 3 feet wide with a steering wheel at the back so they can “steer” them down the roads. they are made of 2x4s frames with planks for the bottom bed. When they get to the market the carts become their store. All these carts are parked by the side of the road or in this case in the road so people can buy from the cart. We finally found a side road and were able to continue on to deliver feed to the members. Got to love the GPS! We were able to see a part of town that we wouldn’t have had we taken a more direct route.
The pictures marked Spanish Town Rowenbeech is in a very poor part of town. People live in zink ( corrigated steel ) homes with no electricity and no water but what they carry home. The members were so grateful for the Church’s help they must have thanked us many many times. He saved three jelly coconuts to give to us for helping. They were very proud of their coop and chickens and made sure we went back to see them and take pictures of the chickens. When we were done he went out into the road and stopped traffic so we could leave. Believe me that is no easy feat here. I could see him in the rear view mirror waving and telling us good by until I turned around the corner.
The other pictures marked are of Sister Masters, was a single older lady who was also proud of her chickens and coop. She will be ready to kill her chickens next week. She showed us the tree she would hang the chickens after they were killed. She has a business that will buy all the chickens she can supply.
We had Fast and Testimony meeting at the Constant Springs Branch. It was a wonderful meeting. Pres. Singh had to remind the people to keep their testimonies short and that he would touch them fs they went over 2 minutes. I thought it was pretty funny that he would say that but then the people started to get up. There wasn’t a single time when someone wasn’t waiting for someone else to finish so they could bear their testimony. These people are so sweet and their faith is so simple. Afterward when we were leaving we met Sister Davis. She called us earlier in the week and said that her neighbors who were not members had their house burn down taking the house next to it also. The houses belonged to a mother and her children. 12 people in all. I think the houses were about 12 feet square. Not much room by our standards. Anyway Sister Davis took them all into her house (also about the same size) with her family which consists of about 5 or 6 people. Sister Davis has a HUGE heart. She brought them to church today. She is quite the missionary! We were able to get them some clothing and emergency supplies to help in their crisis. The local Priesthood will take over now and help as best they can with the members helping/serving each other in that neighborhood.
What is wrong with the picture marked Spanish Town City fixing wires ( after hurricane Sandy ) ?
Next week we are on our own and have many new projects to start working on and many new people to meet.
 See you Next Week
Elder Murdock