March 3, 2013

Dear Family and Friends:
This week has found us working like crazy getting ready for some new Project Presentations. Dad has been developing a power point that we can use, that has been really helpful in explaining what will be expected when we start. The new Food Initiative will only include: Chickens, broiler and layer, and Gardens. They will be carried out by the Branch Presidency and a Welfare Specialist/Project Manager. They will be doing all the initial planning, building of the coops and the buying and delivery of the chickens. Hopefully this will cut down the amount of running around we do as missionaries. We are starting a new Food Initiative soon so we are taking our presentation to the Non District Branches as well as continuing with some new projects to be done in the District Branches. The District Branches have already been doing the projects in their areas so they just need to be informed of the changes for any projects going forward from now, but for the Non District Branches (6 in all), this is a new program. We had an Elder in the Portmore Branch, Rondell Anderson, draw up a new portable coop design and presented it to District President Medley and then to Mission President Hendricks. Both
approved it and then it was on to the Area Welfare Specialist who approved as well. We had the portable coop designed so that people who live on rented property could be able to take advantage of the new food initiative. It had been decided that only those who owned their property could continue to be a part of the projects, but with so many people not able to own their property, there had to be a way to help those who needed the help the most. We are hoping that the portable coops will be an answer to
prayer for them. Our first presentation was to the Spanish Town District Branch Presidents.
We spent today (Sunday March 3), in the Yallahs Branch. This was the 4th time we have gone to Yallahs. It is beginning to feel like home to us. Because we travel, we don't have an assigned branch to go to, so to get to be in one branch four times in 3 months is a treat for us. The Yallas branch struggles with Priesthood representation. Dad told them in January that he really wanted to do the projects with them but without Priesthood to administer the projects it probably was not possible. That was all he needed to say...Those good and faithful Relief Society sisters said not to worry, they would see that the priesthood would be there and would be able to administer the projects...and that they DID know how to use a hammer themselves! We have been hearing reports that they are living up to their word. They have been working with the priesthood in their branch ever since and now they have more priesthood members attending and returning to activity. It has been a miracle for them. When we went
there today they confirmed 2 new members, both will receive the priesthood soon. There has been a real missionary spirit here. The presentation in Yallahs went well. They have questions but the members are coming up with the solutions themselves, and so the work moves forward.
As many of you already know we will be getting a new Mission President in July. It will be Kevin Brown. He currently is heading the CES Program here in Jamaica. He is a most wonderfully gifted man and loved by all. We are so excited to be able to work with him. He is the First Jamaican to be called to such a high position. We see this as a giant step forward for the Island of Jamaica.
The pictures this week are of our meeting with the members of the Yallahs branch. The first picture is at the chapel during our presentation of the food initiative.
The next one is of the newly baptized members Brother’s Williams.They are father in the foreground and son in the background.They were confirmed today and will be ordained to the Priesthood next Sunday.They were baptized in the Mediterranean Sea. They were concerned about alligators…apparently there are some near to this area but they inhabit a swampy spot a few miles away.The swells were coming in hard and fast and just about took out Elder Barker who was the missionary was doing the baptizing!To hear him tell the story it got really exciting between the alligators and the ocean swells.All of them lived to tell the tale another day.Elder Barker is from England and speaks with a proper English accent and stands about 5 ft. 5in.His companion Elder Burrell is from Gunnison. Today is both of the Elders birthday.One of the members baked them a cake and brought it to church to give it to them…It being fast Sunday they dutifully waited to sample it till this evening.The last one is of the little Yallahs Chapel.Dad and I remain healthy and happy in our work. This month we have three family birthdays, a baptism, and a wedding that we will not be home for. Our hearts and love go to them on their special days and know that we will be there in spirit. We would love to be there with you but the Lord needs us here for now. When we do see you, you can expect a ton on hugs and many that you will wish we were gone on another mission!!! We were excited to hear of Jeff and Beverly Nielsen, Doug and Marsha, and Jean and Johnny Johnson's mission calls. It is so exciting to know our ward is sending out Senior Missionaries as well as the younger ones. Congratulations!! You're going to love working for the Lord!!They tell us the pay is not great but the benefits are out of thisworld!!