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