February 17, 2013

Today we went to the Hopeton Branch for church. This is a great branch, one of the best well rounded we have seen with 50 to 60 people in Sacrament Meeting. Unlike a lot of branches, there were families, lots of Priesthood, and lots of Primary kids. It seems strange that families would be unusual, but sadly they are here in Jamaica. Many fathers do not even know where all their children live. This Branch has done it right, that usually means they have a good Branch President, and they do. There was one older man (younger than me) who was just walking by the church and decided to come in. Of course he was a non-member, but he stayed for all three meetings. In Priesthood we talked about Gifts of the Spirit and some of the talk included Blessing the Sick. After meeting he asked if he could get a blessing. One of the young Missionaries gave a touching blessing and the man was so overcome it took several minutes before he could stand and shake every ones hands. There was also another young man that came in late and set by me he was dressed in street clothes. I thought he was a non-member so we talked a little then after Sacrament meeting all the members came up and hugged him and said how glad they were to see him again. I found him between meetings standing outside so I asked what his story was. He said he has been a member for a long time but he had fallen away and not been to church for a long time. He said he had quit coming because of disobedience, and this was his first Sunday back. The members welcomed him with so much love he said he would be back again. Keep this in mind next time you see a stranger or inactive member attending church, even if they smell like smoke, welcome them and love them, that’s really what they need and what they are looking for. One young sister introduced us to two of her friends we were just baptized in December. She has another friend that she is working on. This little branch knows how to share what they have in the gospel. They are not afraid to share what brings them the greatest joy in their lives. We were impressed to have padded folding chairs to sit on. Priesthood to conduct the meeting, pass the sacrament, and, teach the Gospel Doctrine class….plus toilet paper too!!! We are so easily impressed these days.
Most of our time was spent doing computer work on two unfinished projects. The Havendale project a computer lab for the Salvation Army that will be used by children 4 to 7 during the day, teenagers in the afternoon and then a senior group called the Golden Agers in the evening. This project is done and ready to submit as soon as we get a couple of details pinned down. LDS youth from the local branch will put on a fireside for the Golden Age seniors. The other project is the Dunrobin Primary school. They are adding a shipping container to the old reading library (also a shipping container) to expand the library. Our part of the project will be two computers for the library and 2 air conditioners. LDS Youth from the local branch will paint the container (new library) for a service project.
We have emergency supplies in a shipping container behind the Spanish Town Church. We have purchased generators to provide power to the church buildings during and emergency where the buildings will be used for emergency shelters. The container contains emergency medical supplies, enough to set up a small hospital type operation. There are hygiene kits, blankets, clothing, water bottle filters, tarps, chainsaws and other emergency supplies. We spent a few mornings collecting serial numbers and engraving equipment inside the trailer. By noon each day we were done; the temperature outside was in the mid to low 90’s the temperature inside the trailer was chicken roasting and above.
Life goes on here and we move forward. Each day we are blessed by the Lord. It is hard to describe how we feel about our mission…I guess you will just have to serve to find out for yourselves. We can truthfully say that, there is nothing like it on earth. We talk about the Temple being the Lords University…I think this is similar to that. There is nothing like dedicating yourself, your time, your talents, even learning what your talents are, till you actually do it. I understand more about my husbands and my son’s feelings about their missions now. This truly is a higher level of spiritual education.
The pictures are:
1 The Dancing girls…they were our competition at the Health Fair last week. We had some Sunday Music playing at the church for our Health Fair, while across the street, they had some Reggae and Dancing in the street going on at 4 times the volume we had.
2 This is the Spanish Town District President Medley and his sweet wife. They and their committee worked so hard to make the Health Fair a success.
3 Next is Sister Salmons Chicken Project. You see the Branch Presidents wife, Sister Richardson in the yellow tee shirt, Sister Murdock, Sister Cullimore, President Richardson, Elder Murdock, and Sister Salmon with the white hat on.
4 Us at the Terra Nova Hotel. This is where we have the visiting authorities stay here in Kingston. A pretty nice place.
5 Next is a group picture of us with President Hendricks and Sister Hendricks and Sister and Elder Cullimore. This was after a dinner at Goucho’s .
6. The last picture is of the stair well at the Tropics View Hotel. We spent 2 night here with the Cullimores. It reminded my of the stairs in the Harry Potter movies. It was great fun