January 27, 2014

All is well in Jamaica
This week we worked from sunup to sundown visiting Jamaica Food initiative Projects.  I’ll give you a little introduction on the food projects.  Normally Church Humanitarian project are between the Church and Non-Government Organizations like, school, hospitals, orphanages, rest homes etc.  Three years ago and for the first time ever the Church started some food projects with members.  The first project included pigs, goats, bees, broiler chickens, layer chickens and gardens.  In 2012 it was determined that around 76% of the projects were still operating.  So now three years later in 2014 we are going back and checking to see how the projects are doing.  We will do the math later for now enjoy the pictures.
We got to go onto some of the back roads so Dad was pretty happy driving around in those areas. He felt right at home.  Some of our mission friends will recognize some of the people in the pictures from the Boulevard Branch. This first picture is of Tevin Wilsons back yard.  He has a broiler chicken project and his grandfather has a pig project.  Both of these are doing well.  His grandfather has six pigs some about ready to sell and others waiting for breeding. Tevin has his chickens about ready for butchering.  In the picture you can see the cinder block pens where the pigs call home.

 Just had to add this little cutie, he is Tevins 17 month old daughter. Such a honey

This next picture is of the Samuel Family garden.  They had just started replanting and had tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, some peppers and callaloo, (like our spinach). They were expanding their garden area.  Gardens here can grow all year round.  At some point they have to let the ground rest and replenish it with nutrients.  These people were using a composting method of food scraps, chicken manure, and ashes from their cooking fire to discourage slugs.
 Next is our famous ‘coop on the roof. It seemed that everyone does laundry on Tuesdays so we saw a lot of clothes hanging on the lines that day. Sister Davis is quite famous as the only one with a chicken coop on her roof.  She has just barely 15-16 inches between her house and her neighbors’ walls so it is a narrow climb up the steps to the roof.  She is a dear sweet lady and we love her. 

 The picture below is really interesting.  This is Sister Greens project. It was so well hidden you couldn't see where it is and we were actually very close to it.  Gotta love a country that is this lush and green.
 Next is Bro. and Sister Leroy Green. They are another wonderful family.  They faithfully serve in the church and try to help out when they can. Right now their coop is empty but they hope to be restarting their project soon.  He was out of work for a while but now has found a job. Sister Green was just released today from being the Relief Society President. Bro and Sister Green are in the center of the picture. The man on the far right is Bro. Bennett.  He is the Welfare Specialist for this branch and came with us to visit the projects. For those who know, Pres. Hamilton was just released as Branch president, now is a “District Man”.  When the stake is organized later this year he will be a High Councilman. Bro. Reid is now the Branch President. (Added info here. Pres. Singh has been released also and Bro. Bonilla is now the Branch President.)The other ‘pale couple’ in the pictures are the Cullimores. They are our Short Term Specialists from Church Headquarters.  Short term may be a misnomer. They have been doing this and the wheelchair program all over the world for 7 years now.
 his last picture is of some of the difficulties these people go through.  This lady is getting water from the local spigot.  She is lucky she doesn’t have to go too far from her home to fill her water jugs. We take for granted all the little conveniences we have at home.  The safe shelter, the running water, electricity at the flip of a switch, and the ease of shopping to fill our needs.  Most of us have a job, a car, families that love and care for us. Anything we think we Need, we can get when we want to. Jamaicans are very resourceful and better off than some in the world. And Americans are better off than any other country in the world.  Yes we have our problems but I am continually reminded as I look around just how blessed we truly are.
This week our Grandson Talon Larson turned 10 years old.  He is a bright and usually happy (and now a not so little) person.  We want to wish him a very happy birthday, we love you Monkey Man!!! On your birthday Grandpa and Grandma were climbing up and down all sorts of jungle trails.  We wish you were here to experience some of this.  You would love it here…
We were able to see Elder Martin, the missionary that was injured about two weeks ago.  He is a walking miracle.  He was at Devon House with his parents.  They are hoping to be able to take him home soon.  He will have another CAT scan Monday morning. His father says if all goes well they will take the fastest plane back home.  Elder Martin is determined to come back to Jamaica and finish his mission…that will be up to SLC and the Drs. back home. He is a marvelous young man.  We will miss him. Well we are up and at it early tomorrow so that is all for now.
We love you all and are so thankful for your continued prayers for us. It is hard to imagine how fast the time is going by now…
Love you tons and bunches
Mom and Dad
Elder and Sister Murdock