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.