January 20, 2013

Morning, Morning “Jamaican Hello”
Busy Busy week. It started on Monday with Mom saying we needed to do something to get rid of the extra weight we have gained. Then we went for our hill walk and met a man riding his bike up the hill. We talked about good and bad people and taking care of our bodies. We even talked a little about church and family. His name was Damith and he was a trainer for a local bicycle club. So he invited us to go on are ride with the club on Saturday. Before I knew it mom had agreed to go on the ride with them, not that I minded. I miss riding my bike. More about the ride later.
It will be too hard to go into a lot of detail so I will list most of our activities and explain some in more detail. Things we did: Met with the two other welfare Senior couples (PC and CES), went to Senior Family Home Evening, got some clothing for Members in Yallahs, Picked up some key boards for music lessons, planned for a week long visit from the Cullimores (our Project leaders form SLC), went to a Mission Zone conference, participated in online financial training, and did lots and lots of computer reports.
We also went to a little community called Caledonia, they were requesting some help finishing a Citizens learning center for their community. We picked up Mr.Norman Douglas in Bog Walk then he took us to Caledonia about eight miles on a little one lane paved road then when the pavement ran out, we drove another 3 miles on a 4 wheel drive (I even had to put it in 4 wheel drive to get up the road) road to Caledonia. Mom said I was having way too much fun. We attached some pictures of the town hall (Citizen’s Center ) and the proposed Citizens Learning center. Note the dirt road, it is new all the homes were built by carrying all the building materials on their heads 3 miles up a trail (now a 4 wheel drive road). There are about 500 people living in Caledonia. The area grows lots of fruits, oranges, bananas, pineapple, and coconuts. We included a picture of some coconut trees. I’ll bet not even Tallon or any of the grandkids could climb these trees. We also bought some bananas and they were really good. We ate the whole bunch in a couple of days.
Now back to bicycle ride it started at 5:15am. I was scared to death. The club took really good care of us and put us in the middle of the group to protect us. But it was pitch black with more huge pot holes than sand in the sea. When they would pass a pot hole they would yell “ pot hole”. I don’t know how they keep from going hoarse. We were riding older bikes, mine with no rear break. Both bikes with skinny seats with only part of the padding left. They took us on the short ride, only 30 miles through downtown traffic. Some how we survived and made it back to our starting point at 8:30. Neither mom or I could walk or sit for a while after the ride. Not because we were out of shape but because the bikes and our bodies were not made to be together for that long. All in all we enjoyed the ride and the company. They made us feel very welcome and we made some new friends. 
One of the other pictures is of the Yallahs Branch Church. If you look close you can see a lady sitting behind the grate in front of the building. That’s the piano (key board) player, there is no room inside the chapel for her so she has to sit on the porch outside. Elder Evans, one of our friends and another Senior Missionary, is the Branch President. A young Elder Missionary is his councilor. There was only one other active priesthood member in the Branch until that day when an older member was made a Priest and a young soon to be Missionary was made and Elder.
The last picture is another jungle or as they call it, the bush picture taken in the Blue Mountains.
Well that is all for this week. Know that we love and pray for you all everyday. You are always in our hearts. There was a comment made by our Mission Presidents wife; she said about the time they have been here in Jamaica that, “there are some friends who come and go and there are some who leave footprints on your heart. “ We feel like we have many of your ‘footprints’ on our hearts. I have been thinking of our little ‘comfort zones’, how so many of us don’t ever want to leave our little zones. When in reality, the larger the zone, the more that can fit in it, the more love you can give and receive. I’ve decided it is the Lords Plan for us to be always increasing our zone. When that occurs we grow and expand our spirituality. And that is his goal…the immortality and eternal life of man..
Love to all
Dad and Mom

January 13, 2013

Happy New Year
We have spent most of the week in Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic receiving Welfare and Humanitarian Training. One of the things we learned, which you probably already know, is the Church now has a Four Fold Purpose instead of Three. The fourth is Care for the Poor and Needy. It is a daunting task for two small town Utahans to have the responsibility of Caring for the Poor and Needy for the whole country of Jamaica. Of course we have lots of help from the Priesthood, Members and other Missionaries. We will be talking with Branch and District Presidents for their guidance and help. Nothing will be done without Priesthood direction. Brother Cornish 1st Counselor in the Area Presidency spoke to us and told us we are in the eleventh hour of the eleventh hour of the latter days. On a brighter note we got to go the Santa Domingo Temple while we were there which was really fun. They did a special session in English just for us, they speak Spanish. When they told us the session would be in English we were happy but when we found out we were the minority we felt bad to make the Dominicans all have to wear headsets.
When we got back we spoke in Sacrament meeting at a small branch in Yallahs (see picture). The members there were very good to us. On small girl (about 3) keep running up to us and giving us hugs. She sat on my lap and would pull out my name tag and Pencil and then put them back in my pocket just like our grandkids.
We did take part of the day and go on a picnic up on Blue Mountain with the other Senior Missionaries. It was fun and we took some pictures of the mountains.
This email is short because we are buried in work so far above our heads we have to jump just to see out. So back to work.
Love Elder and Sister Murdock
Megan Here (again) Apprently computers hate me, it won't let me load the pictures again. I'll have to put them on the the next post! :)

January 6, 2013

Dear Family and Friends
Well another week has come and was that for you?  Have you made any New Years Resolutions yet?  Ours was to work harder, faster, and more efficiently.  There is just so much to do and just 2 of us to do it for the whole country!  Anybody want to apply and come and help?  Just talk to Bishop Epling in our ward and your own Bishop in your ward.  “The Lord has need of willing men (and women) who wear the workers seal (a small black badge). Come help the good work move along. Put your Shoulder To The Wheel”!
Well we started out the week with finishing up all of the follow ups for the Food Initiative.  It is all in the computer and emailed to our Area Manager Benny Lilly!  That seemed like a major feat to get all the information gathered and put on a spreadsheet but it is done.  We are exploring different ways to help the priesthood take a larger role in these projects.  These are their members and it is important that they do more to help each other, serve each other, love each other.  We love those whom we serve.  We are trying to find a way to get them to take charge of the pick up and delivery of the animals and feed.  It is no small feat since many here do not drive or own a vehicle.  We met with Bro. Banhan who owns 2 hardware stores here to see if we could set up a network of group  pick up of supplies and deliveries.  It will be the next step for these members. 
We got a new set of Senior Missionaries that arrived yesterday. The Pearsons. They will be Member Leadership Support Missionaries.  We haven’t met them as yet.  It might be next weekend before we get the opportunity to do so.
We spent yesterday going to May Pen, Mandeville, Hopeton, Santa Cruz, Junction, and Treasure Beach.  We need to find a motel for when our Humanitarian Projects Supervisors the Cullimores, and our Assistant Area Manager Julio Cesar Acosta, come for a visit next month.  They want to go around and look at the projects and see for themselves how the members are doing with them.  When all the statistics were added up we have a 68% success rate.  Much higher than was expected at the beginning of the Initiative. When they were here last year they went to the project in the Spanish Town District.  Now they want to go to the Mandeville District and check out those sites.  It will be a busy week and we will have a lot of planning to do to get ready for them.  Just another week in Jamaica....
After we got the Food Initiative emailed to Benny we went for a ride to de-stress a little.  We headed for Yallahs thinking we would stop along the shoreline and walk along the beach for a while.  The beach there is pretty rocky...we were letting the waves go over our ankles...a big wave came....and Dad went down... It was a little  comical to see but then we discovered he sprained his right wrist.  He hasn’t been able to do anything with it for 3 days now.  We keep it wrapped, have put ice packs on it. and given him some ibuprofen.  It was pretty hard for him to drive yesterday so I “put my big girl panties on” and did a little driving. Scared Spitless to say the least!!!  I only drove on the 2000.  It is Jamaica’s version of a freeway.  Only about 40 kilometers going out and again coming back home.  It allowed Rex to rest his left arm.  That is the one he had to do all the driving with.  His right arm had to be elevated to keep it from throbbing.   While we were in Junction we had lunch with Elder and Sister Wright who are our CES Missionaries.  They are another great couple here.  We will be teaming up with them and visiting some of the Non District Branches later this month.  More on that later.  It is late and time for all good missionaries to be in bed.
The first picture is of the palms trees at Christmas time here in Jamaica. The next two pictures are of the jungle area of Santa Cruz.  The 4th picture is of the type of roads on the way to Treasure Beach.  The last section is pretty much pot holes. And the last picture is of the White Horse area.
One more final thought...a Big 1st Happy Birthday to Little Rex Aaron Murdock and Happy Anniversary to his Daddy and Mommy Aaron and Marci!!!
Love to all
Elder and Sister Murdock
Mom and Dad
Aunt and Uncle
Brother and Sister
you get my drift.....hahaha

Megan here, 
for some reason my computer won't let me upload the pictures this week. I'll try to get them up here next week!