February 24, 2013

Hello Everyone
Wow lots of new changes are coming. Several of the Senior Missionaries here in Jamaica will be leaving soon. All of them will leave before we return home.
We have a New Mission President. President Brown is a Jamaican he has been over the Seminary and Institute Program here in Jamaica and he is a very Spiritual man. We love to hear him speak, he will be a good Mission President. He is the first Jamaican to be called as a Mission President. He will do this Island so much good. It seems the more a local culture takes the responsibility for the gospel, the more the gospel grows in that country. We are excited to see some of the changes.
With our humanitarian work, the church has given us some new direction that lets us help Members. This is very exciting. We can now address problems that have been screaming for attention. The new direction includes” Relieve suffering” and, “eliminate poverty”. Also “There should be no Poor among us”. It will be an extremely difficult task, impossible without the guidance from the Holy Ghost. We will be getting help from local Priesthood and a new committee to help us with the task. More about this later.
We got a whole day off!! No worries, no driving, just relax and have fun. The Senior Missionaries have decided to do a once a month “P Day” activity together. We are making a bucket list of things we want to do before we go home. So 14 of us pile into the mission van, and off we go. Usually there are 16 of us but we had one couple who could not attend this time. Saturday we went to Port Antonio and floated the Rio Grand River on Bamboo rafts. So here is the story.
Each raft made of bamboo (see picture bamboo raft), had a Captain (see picture Captain), with two people. We started at the Mediterranean Sea drove 45 min. up the mountain then floated for 2 ½ hours back down to the Sea. It was great fun. Along the way we passed through Beautiful Jungle land with Bamboo and all kinds of exotic plants and trees.
One of the first people me met along the way was a man with a Floating Bar (picture floating bar). He sold soda, water and cold beer from a Bamboo Raft. Another man waded out to sell us Coconuts. We saw two men washing a whole pile of dead chickens in the river. We also saw a women washing her cloths and drying them on the rocks while her daughter danced and sang on top of a nearby boulder.
There was a man (yes the person wearing a scarf on top of his head is a man, they wear a scarf or a towel to keep the sun off, it’s very hot here) leading his cow across the river. (See Picture cow crossing). We also saw a few men hunting fish with spear guns. One man had speared several.
We ran several small rapids and actually ran aground on one. We lost our Captain too! He fell overboard. Not to worry though it was shallow water. I have the video but don’t know how to send it. We have lots of videos that are fun to see so if anyone knows how we can send them let us know. The scenery was great (See picture Rio Grand) but no animals I really miss seeing deer, elk, coyotes and other critters the only two here are rats and mongoose.
We stopped at a shack along the river for lunch (see picture lunch time) there were so many of us they ran out of food so we shared one vegetarian lunch of rice and peas and vegetable called callalloo. It is like spinach.It was pretty good but not too filling!It was really a great day.We joked with the other couples that this was the ride down the river was smoothest ride they would get here sense the road are so bad.