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