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