December 29, 2013

Jamaica Holidays and Humanitarian Work
Well we have had a busy week and it has been a wonderful Christmas time. We have so appreciated the love and support that you all have given to us. We visited this week with President Blake who was branch president of the Savanna la Mar Branch on the Southwest part of the island. He is now the new Self Reliance Manager. Sisters Wege (Pronounced wig ee) and Sister Kinghorn are working with him assisting with the PEF program. We showed them our Self Reliance Project and they were very excited about the fact that it was in direct correlation with their work. The Sisters live in our building up stairs from us.  It is wonderful having them, the Mortensen’s, and the Evans so close. We had dinner with everyone but the Evans; they arrived in time for desert. Mom made Festivals and we rolled them in powdered sugar…oh man they were good! When dad added cinnamon to the mix it was really good…never thought of doing that before.

 We are starting the Yallahs Food (Chicken) Projects.  The members are in the training phase and we are waiting for the Vendors (stores where we buy the supplies from must be approved by the leaders in the Dominican Republic), to be approved so they can move into the building phase.  They are sure excited to be up and running after waiting for so long. Elder Stuart is the branch president for now.  He will hold this position until he goes home in June.  They are really striving to have a Jamaican ready for the position by then.  Elder Mathewson is his companion.  He sang a solo in our Christmas Devotional last Saturday.  He has a really great tenor voice.  Both are awesome missionaries.  This picture is taken at the Yallahs Branch.  This patio is where they hold priesthood class.  The breeze that blows through here is wonderful.

 The Wheelchair Training supplies are starting to come together.  Each organization 29 of them will receive a tool kit with all the tool needed to assemble the wheelchairs.  This shows a small amount of the supplies.  We forgot to take the picture when we had all of the items out, but it covered the whole top of the bed.  We can’t get all we need here so some will be brought from the States when the Trainers come in about 3 weeks.

 Christmas Day at the Murdock’s.  Our Lord and Savior’s birth has been a great celebration here in the mission field. We had a great dinner supplies by the senior missionaries in our apartment as we had six Elders come to make their calls home.  It was truly amazing watching these great young men melt down to little boys when they got to talk to their families.  Each was so excited you would think their fondest Christmas Wish came true.  I guess it did too.  It was so great to have them here and to be a part of it all. It took the whole afternoon to get all their calls done.  Their morning was taken up in District Meetings…yes on Christmas Day they were still missionaries first.  But the look of pure joy on their faces when they got to talk with mom and dad was our Christmas gift.  The missionaries starting from the felt are Sister Wege, Sister Kinghorn, Elder and Sister Mortensen, the tall one behind mom is Elder Carter, in front of dad is Elder Mathewson, then Elder Bateman, Elder Grosbeck with his knees bend and then Elders Howard and Stuart.  We had a house full and it was wonderful.

 Calling Home. You can tell by the look on their faces how excited they were to get to talk to mom and dad.

 Sharing Family Christmas with friends. They used our iPads and the Magic Jack phone (to set up the calls).  It took about 3 minutes before they were calling their companions over to meet their families.

 Sunday School in Yallahs. Today we went out to the Yallahs Branch to introduce the Senior Sisters to the members.  It will be the Sisters who will be conducting the financial part of the Food Project Training.  The people participating in the Food Projects must attend some basic training so they will be prepared to make a success of their individual projects.  There were about 50 people attending church today at Yallahs, and their building is very small, so some of the classes had to be held outside under the Mango Trees…yup life is hard here…

We continue on in our work and missionary life is good.  We are happy in our service to the Lord and pray we are doing what the Lord wants us to do.
It was wonderful being able to visit with our families on this special Christmas day.  We did have to wait our turn and recharge the batteries on the iPads but felt it was most important for the young missionaries to get their turns first…they only get to do this twice a year. It was so totally worth it.  Know that we love you all and pray for you daily.  You are always in our thoughts and prayers…
Mom and Dad
E/S Murdock

December 22, 2013

Christmas in Jamaica
All the Senior Missionaries joined in a Christmas Family Home Evening at the Mission Home.  Every one dressed up in Bible cloths and the Brown kids had lots of fun and Elder Evans told the Christmas story.
 At the Montego Bay during a Zone Conference President and Sister Brown put on a skit about Joseph and Mary not being able to find a place to stay.  Even though Joseph pleaded that his wife was going to have a baby.  One inn keeper had compassion and let them stay in the stable.
 At the Christmas Zone Conference President Brown would pick up a present and call out the Missionaries name to hand out presents.  Just like we did at home.
 When it comes to Christmas Missionaries are just little kids so they couldn’t wait until Christmas to open their presents.
 This is a Jamaican masquerade called Jonkonnu.  They dress up in costumes, the one on the right is Belly woman who dances making her belly move in time to the drums. The other two are pitchy patty or Paul Pry dressed in rags they shake the rags telling the crowd to make way. The scarier the costume the better. We were told they dance around driving/scaring away evil spirits so only good spirits will be left. Sister Medley, President Medley’s wife and one of the cooks for the Christmas dinner, said when she was a child she was afraid of them. They also stop traffic and ask for a small donation but it was worth it.
 Jamaica Christmas Choir practice Sister Murdock is on the front row just left of the pulpit.  The program was video recorded so we hope you got to see and listen. This is the first time Jamaica has ever put a program out on the internet. Pres. Ulett worked long and hard trying to get the right equipment and then learn how to make it work. We think they are going to record the program for us.
 Elder Cornish our Area Seventy came to speak to the Missionaries and at the Christmas Program.  He is a special witness for Christ. We talk about the gospel and about the growth of the Church in Jamaica. He was also here to see if Jamaica is ready for a Stake of Zion. The Mission is applying for a Stake in the Kingston Jamaica area. We are hoping this will happen before we go home.
We want to wish you all a very merry Christmas and hope that you will invite the Spirit of Christ in your homes all year round. Merry Christmas…
Mom and Dad
E/S Murdock

December 16, 2013

Dear Family and Friends
Merry Christmas!! It seems hard to believe that Christmas is so close!  As usual it has been a busy week.
Wow 4 new Senior Missionaries arrived here in Jamaica this week.  They are so welcome and needed, wish we had more.  Below are Sister Wege (wig ee) and Sister Kinghorn.  These are our Single Sister Missionaries who well be working in the PEF/Self Reliance Program.  Our new Self-Reliance Center has opened and we are so excited to have these sisters helping Pres. Blake.  Pres. Blake (Jamaican) is a counselor in the mission presidency as well as the Self Reliance Coordinator.  They will call two Jamaicans to serve as Service Missionaries to work in the center as well.  They will do primarily employment services. Sister Wege is from Louisiana and Sister Kinghorn is recently from Texas.  Both of these sisters have served missions before for they are experienced and ready to go.  Sister Wege even knows how to drive on the left side of the road since one of her previous missions was in London.
 They are in the same apartment as we are so we got to introduce them to Jamaica show them around town and get them something to eat.
 Elder and Sister Vance are also new to the Kingston Jamaica Mission.  We got to pick them up at the airport.  Then they stayed their first night at our apartment.  The next day they moved to their apartment in Junction where they will serve as Church Education System Missionaries.  Pres. Brown was off island so we got the privilege of helping them get acquainted with Jamaica just a little bit.
 They we played on the beach.  Dad labels all the pictures…at least he could have labeled us cute beach bums!!
We also headed out to clean the Vance’s apartment in Junction.  We knew that the Wrights had left it clean but it has been a few months since they went home and we wanted to go and dust and make sure everything was in readiness for them.
We attended the Food For the Poor 30th Anniversary Celebration.  Pres. and Sister Brown were supposed to attend this as representatives of the Church but He was unexpectedly called off island so dad and I attended.  It was a very nice event to thank all of their sponsors for the aid that they were given.  The Church was given a “little token of appreciation” for all of the donations that have been given to FFP.  We would have preferred to have had one of the local leaders there, but they could not attend so we went.  The International President and  CEO of FFP came up to us and introduced himself and personally took the time to say “Thank-you” to the Church for all their donations.
We started shopping (not dads’ favorite thing to do!) for supplies for the wheelchair training that will be happening next month.  We have most of them but need to purchase some tool kits.  It may present a problem with getting them at one place so we will most likely be going around to a lot of places to find what we need in the quantities we need.
Our Jamaican Christmas Devotional will be this next Saturday at 1:30 pm our time. That should make it 11:30 am in Utah. We are two hours ahead Utah so if you want to watch it will be streamed live at the link below.  When we did a test run there was about a 10 minute delay. So if it is not up exactly on time just be patient…soon come…not sure if you want to listen but here is the link… I am in the back row behind the podium trying to hide.  There will be ½ hour of Christmas hymns and then a Cantata followed by a talk by Elder Cornish of the Seventy.  If any of you can record this program please do.
We wanted to wish our daughter Lori and her husband Aaron a happy Wedding Anniversary this past week.  They are a wonderful couple and parents to their three little girls. What a blessing they are to our family.. .Well another week is about to begin so we had better prepare ourselves for another week of missionary service.  Remember we love you all and you are always in our thoughts and prayers…
Mom and Dad
E/S Murdock

December 8, 2013

Dear Family and Friends
Sunday we attended church in Ocho Rio with the Elder and Sister Evans where  President Lester is the Branch President.  In June the Senior Missionaries and Local Priesthood Brethren help him put a roof back on his home after a fire burnt it off.  Many of you may remember the story.   He has gone through some hard times and few weeks ago he has had some more trouble.  While working in his yard he fell and broke his knee cap.  He will not stay off his feet because he recently opened a cook shack at ST Ann’s Hospital.  He is the cook and can’t afford to live without the income from the cook shack so he walks down the mountain every day and catches a bus to work in his cook shack.  I tried to explain that as long as he is moving his leg and the broken knee cap it cannot heal but, he must do what he must do.
Here is a picture of President Lester’s home before repairs
 This is how it looks now
 Even the inside if finished

One of our humanitarian projects was to partner with Singram Medical.  The Church purchased some medical equipment and vaccine in exchange, some of our financially struggling Prospective missionaries are able to get a reduced cost medical exam and free vaccinations needed for their missions.
We needed a Ministry of Health inspection of Singram Medical so we can purchase Vaccine for prospective Missionaries.   Several Missionaries have been waiting for weeks to get vaccinated so they can turn in their Mission papers.  Nothing we did seemed to help speed up the process which we were told would be done 4 weeks ago.  Sunday night we knelt in prayer told Father in Heaven we had done all we could and it was not working, we needed his help.  Monday morning Singram Medical called to tell us the Ministry of Health had completed the inspection and everything went good.   Sometimes we think we are in charge when really we are not. Monday afternoon we went to the Ministry of Health and purchased Vaccine.  Monday morning one young Sister went into Singram Medical to get the physical exam for her Mission when she heard we were going to pick up the vaccine she waited in the office until late that afternoon when we returned with the vaccine.  This kind of wait is not uncommon, often Jamaicans using public health will go to the hospital and stand in line all day then come back and stand in line for 3 or 4 more days until they are able to see a Doctor.  Each time they need to see a Doctor the process starts over. 
Sunday while Sister Murdock was practicing for the Christmas Program I got the opportunity to talk to George Blackwood.  He has been a member of the church for 11 years.  He injured his legs and has been in a wheelchair for the 11 years.  He was low low, as he pointed to the floor.  He said it was like he was in a desert with no food and no water and everywhere he looked was just more desert.  Then the Missionaries came and gave him living water.  Now his life has changed.  He knows anything is possible through the power of the Priesthood, if he is living worthy, but he adds you must first do all you can or your prayers are for nothing.
He has prayed for strength in his legs.  Now, just recently, after 11 years in a church supplied wheelchair he can walk in a walker for short distances.  He stood and walked in to another room to show me he could do it.  As he stood he struggled; his legs and his whole body shook with the effort but he was grinning for ear to ear.  When he sat back down he slapped his legs and said they are getting stronger.  He comes to Church every Sunday in his wheelchair 4 to 5 kilometers away from his home.  Sometimes a friend will ride along with him on a bicycle.  He is happy and plans on getting stronger.
The rest of the week was spent preparing bids which are called a proformas here for material needed for the upcoming wheelchair training and for emergency kits.  Then we had to go shopping for all the items.  Aside from the fact that I do not like shopping this was not an easy task.  We found only a couple of wholesalers who carried sufficient quantities to supply what we needed.  We are making progress in getting the needed supplies though.  I think we are learning patience…slowly but we are learning…
We did get a bit of WONDERFUL news On Thanksgiving day.  Our Son Victor and his wife Megan are expecting their first baby in June next year!!! This will be # 11 for us and we are so happy for them.  We love you and we love our Mission.  Every day is a treat for us.  The Lord is watching over us.
Mom and Dad

December 1, 2013

Dear Family and Friends:
Well last Sunday we went to the Portmore branch. We always like going there; it is close to what a home ward is like.   They are pretty well staffed; they are working on improving their Home and Visiting Teaching.  They are a very friendly branch and very gospel literate well.
We also made a trip out to Food for the Poor (FFP) and inspected the latest order of Rough Rider wheelchairs that has arrived here in Kingston.  Currently all of our wheelchairs are shipped directly to FFP.   We have just set up the Salvation Army to be a Wheelchair Partner and are waiting for our first shipment to come into the Kingston Port.  It is due this week but you never know exactly when the ship will get here as the weather on the high seas influences their progress for the good or bad. The Rough Rider wheelchairs have just been redesigned so they can be fit more body types.  For example if you have a short upper body with long legs this chair can be adjusted to fit you better.  We can now raise or lower the wheels and lengthen the back rest, and the seat to better fit the individual.  They also come with inflatable tires and large solid front castors to enable the person to go over rough terrain.  They will be a big benefit to those here in Jamaica. Some assembly required.

We continue to get things ready for the upcoming Wheelchair Training the last week of January and the first week of February.  There is a lot to get ready for but we hopefully are on top of things.  We are getting the training booklets ready and ordering the shirts and putting together a bag with the supplies for the attendees. Plus working on the luncheon and refreshments for everyone attending and we have scoped out hotels the visiting SLC people will be staying at. And making sure the benches and foot blocks are constructed before the classes begin plus…..the list goes on but the work will move forward.
We had a wonderful (but missing all of you) Thanksgiving.  We had the Senior Couples at our apartment for dinner.  There are only 4 couples left here so we all fit in our living room area. We only had to move the couch out of the room to add the banquet table so we could sit everyone.  With everyone bringing various food dishes we had a fun and relaxing time. Jamaica does not celebrate Thanksgiving so we did not have the young Elders over until the next day when I was giving haircuts for them.  They got a turkey casserole for dinner.  It was the first (and probably only) turkey they will have here until next year…but then again it will be the same for us too.  The turkey was 10 pounds and cost $80.00 U.S. Everyone helps with the cost so it isn’t too much for any one couple.
 We also visited with Lori and Aaron and their little girls and with Victor and Megan.  Skyping with your family is great. We love and miss you all… We also celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary by taking the weekend off and going to Ocho Rios. We took the Office Couple, the Evans, with us. We visited the Green Grotto Cave which was one of the hide out places that the runaway slaves used.  It was a really interesting history of what the cave was used for…everything from Spanish Gold to a Night Club to fertilizer sales (Bat Guano).  Our guide was pretty funny and did voice imitations and played rhythms on a couple of the rocks that had a hollow drum sound.  It was pretty cool to play the rocks!  He told us that when he walked up to our group, (us and the Evans), he felt the Holy Ghost very strongly.  He commented on it sever times during the tour.  We took down his name and contact information and gave it to the Missionaries in Ocho Rios.  They will give him a call and set up an appointment to teach him.  His name is Chedd, he is a really nice young man.
 This pirate picture is at one of our favorite eating places at Columbus Park in Discovery Bay, along the North Shore Highway.
It seems like just yesterday we were married, and now our children are all grown with families of their own, it all went by so fast…what a wonderful experience it has been for us.  And now we are on to the next chapter of our lives and serving a mission…even this is more than half way over…
Our Sundays have gotten quite busy with my practicing with the Jamaican Devotional Choir.  They have practices from 4: pm – 7:30 pm.  Dad has been pretty good about it but will be very glad when it is over (3 more weeks), it is hard for him to sit that long…especially on a hard wooden bench!  I did convince them to put me on the back row…hurray for me!!
Well I guess that is all for this week. We hope you are all enjoying the Christmas season and sharing the Spirit of Christ all through the year…
Love Mom and Dad
E/S Murdock

November 24, 2013

Dear Family and Friends
Meeting with School for the Blind
Major Lyons is with the Salvation Army.  He is director of the School for the Blind.  It is the only school in the Caribbean for blind and visually impaired students.  Most schools here do not have the capacity to help students with any kind of disability but the School for the Blind is a facility that can house as well as teach their students.  They take in any visually impaired student and give them an education.  They also have ramps all over the campus to help the students.  We are doing a large layer chicken project with them.  In this picture dad and Major Lyons are going over the list of supplies that will be required to construct a coop for 200 chickens.  They will be able to provide all their egg needs for their cafeteria plus the two other schools they have in their Havendale compound. One is for poor children ages 3-6 and the other is for children who are deemed ‘ungovernable’ and have been taken away from their families, ages 7-18.  The 7-18 year olds are also housed at the compound in a building called the Nest Facility.  The little 3-6 year olds are still being cared for by their families in the area around the Havendale Compound.

We were asked to help with Missionaries transfers. The assignment really involve several different assignments over a three day period.  First we went to Ocho Rios to pick up two Elder and take them to the Missionary transfer meeting in Spanish Town.  We had to start early in the morning because the trip to Ochie and back was a four hour trip.  Then we attended a Four hour Transfer meeting which was really good.  At the Transfer Meeting, President Brown spoke along with Elder Anderson (our Area President and a Seventy).  He spoke with the spirit.  I learned something new (or at least a new way of looking at) about the Law of Consecration, He said all who have gone through the Temple do not own anything, we are stewards of all that we have, our possessions and even our time have been consecrated to the Lord.  We are expected to be good stewards of the things we have.  If the Bishop asked us to give one of our possessions to someone else in need we should do it; because we no longer own the things, they belong to the Lord.  I always knew there would be a time when we would be asked to live the United Order I guess I just never realized we had already committed all our possessions to the Lord. He also emphasized the use of our time.  That it is not ours to waste.  It belongs to the Lord.
 Then it was off to Negril another 5 hour drive to deliver Elders Peters and Lee to their new area.  Elder Lee was fresh out of the MTC.  He is a very quiet young Jamaican and any attempt to engage in conversation was answered in short usually one word replies. Since he was a Jamaican I told him he needed to guide me to Negril.  Along the way I took a wrong turn and told him he wasn’t doing his job as guide since let me take the wrong turn.  His reply was “Well, I am a Jamaican but I have not been everywhere”.  That broke the ice and we became friends.  Arriving in Negril ended a long, long but good day.

The next day we moved all four (two old and two new) Negril elders into a new apartment.  This took most of the day because we had to move everything: Fridge, furniture, beds, bicycles, and all their personal items to the new place.  Then we had to drive Savanna la-Mar to buy everything else they needed for the new place and back to the apartment.  Add another hour drive time… plus shopping time.  Elders live on a small budget and cannot afford to eat out so we treated them to lunch a Burger King. And believe us Elder know who to EAT!!

Zone Conference in Savanna la-Mar.
The conference started at 10am and lasted until 3pm.  I was worried about driving home in the dark so during the break I told Pres. Brown we were going to need to leave early, so I would not have to drive after dark.  We always try to be home before dark because most people drive with their lights on bright which make it hard to see all the pedestrians and bicyclists on the road.  Most Jamaican’s do not own a car and either walk or ride a bicycle to get where the need to go.  Anyway, Pres. Brown suggested we should stay and hear Elder Anderson’s talk.  We were glad we did.  He even had a question and answer session where Missionaries could ask any gospel question they had.  Not often you get to ask a special witness of Jesus Christ gospel questions.  What would you ask?  Yes we made it home without hitting any one although I think I hit every pot hole (yes he did!) between Savanna la-Mar and Kingston and believe me there are a lot of pot holes.
We delivered a wheelchair to a special young man in Santa Cruz (another 5 hour drive), he is a bright vibrant happy 17 year old. He is very ambitious. Being in a wheelchair will not stop him from achieving his goals.  He already is quite the businessman. He and his mother have a chicken coop project to help them out and he makes baked goods called Coconut Drops and Gizarda. Gizarda is a chocolate confection that they really like here (we haven’t tried one yet). He started selling them on the street corner and in one hour he was sold out.  He thought he made enough to last for 5 hours.  Now he has people baking and selling these on seven different corners.  All of his money goes to help his family repair their home, for his education and into a savings account.  Javani Parker is a very special sort of young man.  He sees his disability as an inconvenience rather than a huge stumbling block to stop his progress.  He would like to attend a university in the U.S. as a business major. With his quick mind and ingenuity we are sure he will succeed.  Oh, he is most proud of the ‘trouble he has with the females’.  He does seem to attract them everywhere he goes. Plus he is a member of the church!  No wonder he has such a positive outlook on life.

Elder Anderson and Pres. Brown spoke at a Couples Fireside Saturday night for all Member and Missionary couples.  Pres. Brown point blank said the Jamaican tradition of Fathers leaving the home and the tradition of the men being unfaithful and aggressive with their wife most stop and most stop now.  Elder Anderson spoke of how in the Economy of God Power comes to us by persuasion, long suffering, gentleness, and as they relate to family life.  When Elder Anderson was first called to our Area, he met with the Jamaican Ambassador and told him who he was and what he calling was.  Then he asked the Jamaican Ambassador if there was anything the Church could do to help the people of Jamaica.  The Ambassador said your faith believes in families don’t they?  Elder Anderson answered yes very much.  Then the Ambassador said “help my people understand the importance of the family”.  President Brown and Elder Anderson were trying to fulfill that request.
We had a couple of fun events in our family this week.  Our little Isabel Jan Miller turned 3 years old last Sunday. We got to Skype with her on Monday as she was already in bed by the time we returned home Sunday evening.  She is a special granddaughter and we love her very much.  Also we got a surprise phone call from her big sister Elizabeth Kate (age 7) a couple of days ago. She was so excited that she could call us all by herself.  It was fun to chat with her for a little while.  We are so appreciative of our family and all they do to love and support us.  Our friends as well.  We miss you all and love to get your phone calls and emails.  Facebook has allowed us to stay in contact with extended family, friends, Monroe 5th ward and Pleasant Grove ward members too. What a great time we are blessed to live in.
So many impressions from the Spirit this week.  The gospel is true; it is the only way back to our Heavenly Father.  It is the only way to experience true happiness and to have it always in your life.  Stay true to the faith, and know that we love you forever and always…
Mom and Dad
E/S Murdock

November 17, 2013

Dear Family and Friends
Sister Murdock is singing in the Churches Jamaican Christmas Devotional.  Jamaican’s and Missionaries from all over the Island are participating in the choir.  The program is open to the public on the hope we can let more people know more about the Church and help them understand that we believe in Christ and are Christian Church.  Members of the church can only come to the Christmas Program if they bring a non-member or less active member.  This Christmas Devotional will be streamed online on Dec. 21, 2013 at 12 pm (noon)-2 pm Utah time.  We will send the link when we know what it is. Sister Murdock is praying for a back row position for the performance!
 We got to deliver another wheelchair to a 16 year old young man.  He has had his disability since birth. So he has never gone to school and he is a very quiet and shy young man.  He was excited about his new chair so he can get out of the house and move around the neighborhood.  When we asked if he was going to go to school now that he had his new chair, he simply and quietly said no.  Talking to his mother she said because he has not been out of the house much he is too shy to be around all the other kids and there is no provision for a wheelchair at the schools. Hopefully he will get around a little more now that he has his new chair and make some new friends.
 This is the road leading up to his home.  All the scenery here in Jamaica is very pretty.
 We got approval to start the Food Initiative projects in Yallahs.  Ten Families are going to raise chickens.  8 Families are going to raise Broiler Chickens and 2 Families are going to raise Layer Chickens.  The all the families will build a chicken coop, get chickens (100 broilers or 40 layers) and enough feed to see them through the first little bit of the project.   It is the purpose of the program to help the families become more self-reliant.   The people in the picture are the Branch Leaders.  The young Missionary with the yellow tie it the Branch President.  His name is Elder Stuart and he is from Woodruff, UT.  They are going to form a committee with all the families that are going to participate in the program.  They decided to name the committee the Chicken Council Committee.
We are still working on the Wheelchair Training class that the Church will be doing here in January and February.  There will be three full trainings and one refresher course taught.  We will also have the Cullimore’s here in January checking on the other Food Initiative Projects that have been going on since 2010. So our January is already pretty booked up.  March will take us to the Dominican Republic for a week for our Area Humanitarian Training.  It seems the time is really moving so quickly now.
We admonish each of you to hold your testimonies sacred…Keep it alive and flourishing in your lives and actions. The Lord is truly hastening his time and there will be many temptations and excuses for not doing what you know is right.  Hold to the Rod dear family and friends.  The gospel is true…
Love Dad and Mom
Elder and Sister Murdock

November 12, 2013

Dear Family and Friends
I know you have heard a lot about the Singram Medical Project but it has been a lot of fun.  We have really enjoyed working with Doctor Graham and her husband on this project.  This is a good project where the Church partnered with SMS to purchase some needed medical supplies and vaccine. With the donation of these medical items SMS will become more self-reliant and better able to serve the poor and needy. The medical supplies will also help them assist with Community and Church sponsored Health Fairs, and they will help provide Prospective Missionaries with reduced cost medical exams and free vaccines.
It is expected that there will be 1580 helped through the Church Sponsored Health Fairs. Included in this number will be 680 members and 900 nonmembers with an additional 200 prospective missionaries being helped for a total of 1780 beneficiaries.

The Project started with two celebrations; Singram Medical’s open house for their new facility and the start of the Humanitarian Project.  Doctor Sinclair Graham is the lady in black cutting the ribbon.  The first Prospective Missionary had an appointment on the same day.

 Sister Murdock was the first patient in their new building.

Saint Anthony’s Soup Kitchen was another great project.
This is a picture of the leadership that put the project together.   Father Jim is a Catholic Pastor who started the kitchen.  It is run by the Roman Catholic Church in Negril.  The kitchen has been serving the community for three and a half years and for 3 ½ years the LDS missionaries have been helping prepare food and serving every Thursday.  It is a very well-run project that helps the community serving meals for school students in the morning then lunch for the wider community, they serve roughly 150 meals average.  Because of the devastating effects of poverty, some of the people that eat lunch at St Anthony’s it will be the only meal they get for the day.  This project is a joint effort in serving the community under the direction of the St. Anthony kitchen. We repainted the premises inside and outside and provided some tables and benches for the meals. St. Anthony’s kitchen volunteers are a great group of people and have close links with the community. Negril Branch and LDS Missionaries enjoy this relationship.  The service will make the church better known and show us in a positive light.  Making our presence better known in Negril can make the chances even better for the Branch to grow and flourish. More importantly:
“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto unto of the least of these by brethren, he have done it unto me” Mathew 25:40

 Many for the Branch, Catholic Church and community turned out to help with the work.

 There was even time to have fun.

 Everyone helped.

 Even old Missionaries helped.  It was just like old times working in my shop making saw dust.  Father Jim asked me why I was sweating. (Dad couldn’t wait to have some power tools and wood in his hands again!) Negril Branch is a very small branch and to see this many people turn out was great.

 We also got to deliver another wheelchair this past week up in Linstead.  It never ceases to amaze us how these people get around in what is left of their wheelchairs. Zephaniahs’ chair was so worn out that he had completely lost one of the front tires, even the wheel assembly was gone! The other front tire had been worn completely off down to the wheel but he still was using it.  He had replaced the back tires several times and the ones he had now were smooth as racing slicks. In order to move around he had to do wheelies all the time.  Not an easy thing to accomplish over rough terrain.  They can replace the back tires here with bicycle tires but there are no replacements for the front tires in Jamaica.  They have to wait until another shipment of chairs comes and pray there are enough extra spare parts.  The seat and back rest were worn through.  He had stuffed enough rags and plastic bags into the seat area that he could sit down on and tied straps across the back to hold it together so he could lean back in his chair.  He was so happy to have a working chair.  The rough terrain and humidity sure is hard on the wheelchairs. These people do the best they can in their circumstances.

We are also in high gear getting ready for the Wheelchair Trainings to be held the last week of January and the first week of February.  There is much to do for this.   We just found out that the shipment of wheelchairs for the trainings is now at sea headed towards Jamaica.  It will take about a month to arrive and then another month to get through customs.  It should work out just in time for the training! 
We hope you all are well and progressing in your testimonies.  We can see how Satan tries his best and never lets up…he is relentless in his efforts.  We need to remember that it is the Lord who is in charge.  It is the Lord who will prevail.  If we truly want to return back to live with him as families, there is a way provided for us.  We just have to remember why we are here.   This life is supposed to be a test, but we have been given all the answers in advance.  We need to study them and live them so the Lord can claim us as His own.  Hold to the Iron Rod, ‘twil safely guide us thru…’
Elder and Sister Murdock

November 3, 2013

Dear Family and Friends

Each morning this week we picked up the Brown kids and took them to school.

 Below, picking up the kids, Gabriele is on the far left then Jonathan then Jared running to go home.  Little Leah goes to another school.  While driving to and from school they would sing us ‘heritage songs’. These are songs that the Jamaicans sing about the old days.  They were really good and lots of fun.  Wish I had a recording to send you.  These children must take all their supplies with them to school, including their own water. You can see most carry a Coleman Water jug.  There are no drinking fountains in the schools.

 One of the branch members (Spanish Town 1st) got the Pearson’s some Duck Bread.  Of course when they went to pick it up they had to pay for the bread.  It was so big they shared with all the senior Missionaries (4 couples). This loaf of bread weighed about 5-6 pounds and is the size of a Thanksgiving Turkey platter! Our share of what was left was about the size of a normal loaf of bread which the young Missionaries ate the next day. It was really good bread. There are ducks on the pond.  How many ducks do you see on the bread?  We had the four Kingston missionaries over for dinner and haircuts this week.  Mom cut hair for 3 of them.  The other one just had his done 2-3 weeks ago.  Most of them get their heads almost shaved due to the heat.

 On the way to church we drove by Old Harbor Bay fishing Village.  You can see the fishing boats that they use.  Most do not have motors they just row them out into the Sea and back each day.  Fishing is not usually for a specific kid of fish just anything they can catch.  Usually they fish with nets.  Some Snorkel for Conch or fish with homemade spear guns.   Others trap Lobster.

 Old Harbor Bay Market is not just for fish they sell all kinds of food, vegetables and clothing.

 Old Harbor Branch is a good friendly Branch that works together and has lots of fun.  The steps behind the woman in orange, lead up to the church. These members just found out that they qualify to get their own building!! They are so happy. 

 Old Harbor Church is up stairs above the Hardware store. It has a bigger room for the chapel and three smaller class rooms.  Both adult Sunday School lessons were taught in the same room which makes it kind of noisy.  We had a great Priesthood lesson where we had to take a test about the Priesthood.  Our answers got a little animated (all in good humor) and the Relief Society had to come in and tell us to keep it down.  Mom was trying to teach a lesson on Preparing to go to the Temple and the sisters had a hard time hearing her.

We had three birthdays this past week. Elizabeth Kate Miller, our granddaughter turned 7, and our oldest son and his wife, Richard and Naloni also celebrated birthdays.  Out of courtesy I shouldn’t tell you how old they are…but Richard is getting really old and Naloni is still as young and beautiful as the day they married.  We love each them so much…and all of our family. Without their love and support we would not be able to serve this mission.  They mean more than anything this world has to offer to us.  We are so thankful for the temple blessings that bind us all together.
We love you all; let us know what is going on at home.
P.S.  If you want to have fun, go on a Mission…There is work enough to do ere the sun goes down…
Mom and Dad
Elder and Sister Murdock