August 4, 2013

This week we were escorting the Area Medical Director Elder Walker and his wife, Sister Walker around to the various hospitals and medical facilities.  It seems that the Church has not updated our medical status since 2004 (?), so they came to Jamaica to see what facilities we have to help our missionaries, old and young.  It looks like you can get about any kind of medical care here.  Although I am sure for the big serious stuff they would still prefer to send you to the U.S.  But for routine care and maintenance, we are good to go.  We have Cardiac, pace makers, surgical, dental, OB GYNs (with the increase of the sister missionaries it was necessary to check these guys out too), Urology, hematology…..the list goes on. We had a good time taking the Walkers around.  We had another Senior Couple (the Pearson’s), take them out to Montego Bay and Ocho Rios at the end of the week as we had our Area Welfare Manager Julio Acosta fly in too.  We were up to our eyeballs in area authorities!!!  Lol j/k (mom says you will know that this means) we really love and appreciate those who serve over us an all the hard work they do. They are marvelous people.  Sister Walker and I hit it off quickly and were soon giggling in the back seat while Elder Murdock and Elder Walker were having a ‘serious discussion’… Seriously though, we got a lot of work done while they were here.
 Bro. Acosta came to hear a presentation we did on Building Self Reliance to the Spanish Town District Branch Presidencies.  We were not expecting his visit. But a visit form Julio is always welcome..  He is another marvelous servant of the Lord.  We have spent quite a bit of time working on the Building Self-Reliance and Eliminating Poverty presentation.    So we were excited to finally get it started.  It has drawn the attention of many of our Leaders and we really wanted to see the program get off to a good start.  As with all good projects the start is just that a start there is still lots and lots of work is left to do.
It was Zone Conference on Thursday so we took the Walkers with us and they got to enjoy that experience too.  It is always a blessing to sit among the young missionaries to feel the strength of their spirits, and to hear from Pres. Brown is always marvelous.  It was interesting to me how the change from President Hendricks to President Brown affected these young warriors of the Lord.  Pres. Hendricks was concerned that it would be hard for them to switch Presidents in the middle of their missions.  He gave some loving words and strong council about this to us before he left.  Pres. Hendricks was so loved by these young men and women…by us as Senior couples too. We all took his council to heart, but I thought that this was going to be really hard.  When Pres. Brown first spoke to us as Mission President in his first meeting with us as HIS missionaries, the switch was instantaneous. I have to admit that I was shocked at my own feelings as I cried when I knew the Hendricks were on the plane going home…but it was literally instantaneous!!  I am sure that President Hendricks was praying for us as well as Pres. Brown. And the Lord blessed each of us.  Each shepherd has their time and devotion from his flock and when it is time to change, you wonder and question who is it going to be; then you find out, and you still wonder.  But when the Mantle falls on their shoulders you realize they are now the new shepherd of the flock and you turn to them with love in your heart for guidance and council.  The Lord has blessed us all.
We attended church in the Portmore Branch today.  As it was Fast and Testimony meeting it was grand to hear how the little school children would get up and start quoting scripture on how they were blessed in taking their exams.  These exams are a very big deal here as the scores determine where you will be able to go to school.  If you score well on the exams you get into a higher class of schools. If not, you go to the mediocre class of schools.  In order to really get into the better schools you have to do well on your exams.  These children start these exams at the end of the 5th or 6th grade and they have to study about 4-5 hours a night for about a month to score high enough to get into the really good schools. 
We are working on a project with a member who runs a medical clinic.  Craig Graham and his wife, Dr. Kezea Sinclair-Graham.  They have moved from Spanish Town and now live in the Kingston Branch.  They have a little 4 year old boy named Joshua (I think).  They will help do the Jamaican Missionaries medical exams, blood work and Immunizations at a greatly reduced rate to help these faithful young Elders and Sister be able to serve a mission.  We are also trying to find a Dentist to help with the dental work that needs to be done too.  We are so pleased to be able to be of some assistance to them in their practice so they can help our missionaries.
Well the time is speeding up as we serve our mission.  It is hard to believe that 10 month have passed already.  We love our mission and we love the Lord.  His work will go forward and all will be as it should be.  Be strong and serve in your callings faithfully, attend the temple and continue to pray for us.  We can feel your love and prayers in our behalf.  We are so blessed to count you as our family and friends.  You are all marvelous children of our Heavenly Father.  He knows and loves each of you.  He waits for you to talk with him every day.  He yearns to bless you help you through your trials.  Trust him…
Love to you all
Mom and Dad
Elder and Sister Murdock
Grandma and Grandpa M