October 20, 2013

Dear Family and Friends
This week has been filled with a little fun and blessings.  We had our Senior Missionary FHE with Pres. Brown ad family.  It was our turn to give the lessons.  I gave a lesson for the Brown children and Dad for the adults in the group.  As you can see by the pictures, we talked about putting on the Armor of God.  Dad and I spent all morning last Saturday making the armor out of cardboard, duct tape, tin foil, poster paper and string. Oh yes it came complete with a bamboo ‘Sword of the Spirit’ that dad made up special. Jonathan (age 11) helped his little brother Jared (age4) put on the ‘armor’.  We planned it this way because you just cannot get Jared to hold still.  Even taking the pictures, it was difficult to get a good one because he is so active. He reminds me of our Talon, he is always on the go but a wonderful little boy.  I would talk a little, ask questions, but each time dad reached inside the bag to pull a new piece of the armor out, Jared got so excited he started jumping up and down so it was hard to get him to stand still long enough to put it on.  I didn’t do so good with the lesson but it didn’t seem to matter to the children.  Dad got off easy with his lesson (as usual). It was the last Monday with the Wrights.  They will be going home after a wonderfully successful mission to Idaho Falls Monday the 21st.  We will be privileged to take them to the airport.  They will spend their last night here with us at our apartment.  We have been putting the spare room to good use lately.  Just hoping we get some new seniors here soon. When we came to Jamaica we were the eighth senior couple. Soon we will be down to four.  We do have one couple coming in December so that is good news.

Brown Family Home Evening

The Helmet was the final piece of armor to put on.  He was so exited!!

Public Affairs Meeting
This next picture is of our new Public Affairs Committee. They are a power packed trio. Combined they have a Bachelor’s Degree with 12 years’ experience working in community development, and 2 Masters degrees, one in Law and the other in Media.  These women are so dedicated and motivated to move the work of the church forward in the eyes of the public here.  They are out to clear up any misconceptions about the church, and to create  social media pages and an official Jamaican Church web site so the community will know what the church does and how we are helping the people of Jamaica, members and non-members alike.  It will be wonderful!  They are starting out by getting the International Day of Service publicized with what each branch is accomplishing in the community and then Pres. Brown wants to have a Christmas Program for less actives and non-members.   The only way an active member can attend is to be either in the program, which is by invitation only, or to bring less active or non-member friends.  We are really trying to stress member missionary activity here.  Pres. Brown is so excited about this and the Public Affairs Committee is really working to get this publicized early enough.  We are hoping for about 700 to be in attendance.  They will also help with our projects to get them into the local newspapers and on the web site too.  We are excited to be able to work with them.

 This Donkey Cart passed while we were stopped to put a tarp over some wheelchairs that we had just picked up.  It wasn’t raining when we got them but we could see it was right in front of us.  We got the job done just before the rain started to come down.  I seem to love these carts.  This was the third one we saw that day but the only time I was on the right side of the road.  He even slowed down so I could get his picture. He had already emptied his cart of produce. This donkey is bigger than the others.  I feel so bad whenever I see the little one pulling a heavy load for the fruit and vegetable vendors alongside the road to Spanish Town.

 Delivering Wheelchairs

us to come.  His story is a sad one.  He and his little brother were visiting cousins and were left at the cousin’s house for a little while.  He was 12 years old.  He saw that the electrical wires were sparking and knew that he had to get out of the house.  He went to the back of the house to get his little brother and by the time they got to the only door out of the house, the fire had already started and the door was shocking him when he tried to open it.  He couldn’t get the slats out of the only window in the room they were in. They were trapped in the house. Panic set in and Perry got his little brother and they crawled under the bed and then piled books and box’s around them thinking that would stop the fire. They curled up into a ball and Perry tried to protect his little brother from the fire.  Perry woke up in the hospital after being in a coma for three months.  His first question was about where his little brother was. It seems he remembered everything until he blacked out.  His little brother died in the fire and Perry was badly burned.  He is now 17 years old and the scars will be his for life.  The ones you see on his legs are not as bad as the ones you can read in his expression.  He still cries for the loss of his only brother.  He has never known any love from his father, his little brother was killed in the fire, and his mother died last year.  He now lives with his only living family member, a very elderly grandmother in this small part of a house. This is his front door; it is only a curtain to keep out the weather and other dangers from hurting him and his grandmother.  His grandmother had found this chair that he is sitting in now.  We ended up taking the chair we brought back with us.  The chair he is in is a fairly nice one, and there are many more that have been waiting that can use the one we had brought, so we will keep it for another recipient.  I think of all the stories we have seen, this one really broke my heart.
On the blessing side of the week; we found out that one of our projects has been approved.  It has been a long process but our Prospective Missionary project with Singram Medical Services was approved Friday night.  We called the Grahams Saturday morning to let them know.  They were so excited.  We did a project for them to get some medical equipment for their medical practice, and in exchange, they will do the medical exams and tests for our prospective Jamaican missionaries. It is a win win situation!
Kingston Branch Elders Quorum Project

I think we mentioned last week about the roof that the Kingston Elders wanted to do for one of their members.  He calls himself ‘One eyed Bennett’. Funny because he has both eyes! The missionaries say he has been a member for 14 years, but he will say that he was baptized when he was 5 years old and he is in his fifties now.  He is an interesting kind of guy. Each Sunday that we attend the Kingston Branch he is sitting along the side of the chapel building all alone, listing to his music before coming into church.  Anyway we went Saturday to pick up 5 sheets of 12 ft. Zinc (corrugated tin), for his roof.  That is as all the width of his new house.  The elder’s quorum will put the roof up on his new place Monday.  Monday here is a holiday.   It is Hero’s Day so all the business will be closed and the perfect time for a wonderful service project.  We are so proud of this group; they got all the money and/or roofing supplies from the members of the quorum and they are doing all the labor too.  It may sound like a simple thing to do at home, but here it is a great feat. This is Bro Graham holding down the sheets of tin so we wouldn’t lose them in transport.  Sister (Dr. Sinclair) Graham is standing next to the truck with dad smiling.
Our hearts were saddened by the news of Elder Chaston’s heart attack.  We are so thankful they were able to get help so quickly…what a blessing…our prayers go out for him, Sister Chaston, the Chaston family and the Doctors and nurses who will be involved with his case.
Take care and know that you all are in our thoughts and prayers daily
Mom and Dad…E/S Murdock