September 21, 2013

Letter from the Murdock’s
This week started with a missionary farewell dinner.  Monday we went to the China Express and had a fun/sad evening. Then on Tuesday morning Sister ‘P’ called and we just HAD to go on one more chocolate run to Devon House.  This of course included an ice cream cone too.  No wonder it’s hard to lose weight on a mission!  The Pugmire’s will be flying home Tuesday morning.  We will be privileged to take them to the airport.  They will be replaced by two Jamaican Service Missionaries.  It will be two single sisters, but not until December.
Later we drove to Negril to meet with Branch President Barker. He is a young missionary from England. He wanted to see if a Church Humanitarian project could help a local soup kitchen which prepares meals for the poor.  He wants the Branch to do a service project to paint the inside and the outside of the soup kitchen.  They serve about 130 meals a day here in this little shop.  This is the only counter and there is very little space to store their food.  Father Jim has rented the two shops that are connected to this one where they have some food in one and clothing in the other.  They do a great job of assisting the poor here.
Missionaries have been helping prepare meals at the kitchen every Thursday for 3 years.
 Miss Pearl is the volunteer worker in charge of the soup kitchen.  She loved her job and got Sister Murdock laughing and having fun.

 Father Jim was the Catholic Priest in charge of the kitchen.  He is doing everything he can to help the poor in the area.  Just across the street from the kitchen is a very poor section of town where people live in old shacks on captured land (government land where they live without permission).  Many have no jobs the only food they get is one meal a day from the soup kitchen.
 This is chicken foot soup.  Today the soup kitchen served chicken foot soup a piece of bread and a slice of cheese.  Yes the soup is made with real chicken feet and is the only meat and the main flavoring for the soup.  If you actually get a chicken foot in your cup of soup you’re considered lucky.  By the way it tastes good, almost like chicken noodle soup without the noodles.  Miss Pearl serves a variety of meals here.

While we were in Negril, I took some time (it was my birthday) and went snorkeling.  I experienced some new things in the sea that were a lot like the things I have experienced in the desert.  First the sea is not a good place to be during a lighting storm.  I even realized hiding under a cliff while swimming probably would not protect me from getting shocked if the lighting strikes the water near me,  just like standing under a lone tree in a lighting storm isn’t a good idea in the desert.  Fortunately I got out of the water as quick as I could. The thunder was crashing right on top of me, and then the lightening would come right after.  Second scraping your ankle on coral is a lot like scraping your ankle on lava rock.  Finally getting stung by a sea anemone is a lot like falling and putting your hand in a cactus, and just as hard to get out of your hands.
This is where I went snorkeling very pretty with lots of fish of every color; orange, blue, green, black red or a combination of these colors.  The mist you see in the picture is rain but if you’re in the water you’re already wet so who cares and it never gets cold.  I like to snorkeling only next time I will be more careful.
I love this job!  I get to do Humanitarian work that helps people who really need help, like the soup kitchen and all those who eat there, and once in a while I even get to go to the Beach.  What could be better than this?
We spent two days here, but were glad to get back to our little apartment.  It is a long ride out to Negril.  It takes about five hours to travel the distance going between 50 and 80 kilometers an hour.  You will have to figure the miles per hour speed when you get into your vehicle next time.  Our truck only shows KPH not MPH. 
The Mortensen’s brought us down a couple of cinnamon rolls tonight.  Sister Mortensen baked them for Elder Mortensen’s birthday.  It was nice to be included in their birthday celebration.  Our past Mission President T. Scott Hendricks had a birthday last week also, and we want to wish him all the best.  He is loved here in Jamaica by missionaries and Jamaicans alike.  We have been blessed to have been able to serve under two of the Lords finest men as our Mission Presidents.
We also picked up another nine wheelchairs from Food For The Poor.  The Mortensen’s helped deliver three of them this past Monday as Dad was not feeling good.  We will get a few more delivered next week as time permits. 
Saturday we were invited to talk at the Leadership Training Meeting for the Spanish Town District.  We were to talk in the Relief Society Training portion.  As usual dad was to speak last and there was no time left…again…so he didn’t get to give his talk.  I think the next time I will request that he goes first so he can finally give the talk!  This is getting to be a habit for him, (I personally think he plans it this way, but I’m getting on to his little plan!).
Dad enjoyed his time snorkeling for his birthday.  It sure won’t happen once we get back home so he took advantage of the day.  Me, I was reading and studying my talk for the training meeting, besides it was pouring down rain and thunder and lightning to boot; so I stayed on the balcony as the storm blew through.