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