August 10, 2014

Dear Family and Friends
We had a baby shower for Sister Anderson “Tracy”
Well actually it was just us and them, but we had fun! We had them come over for dinner and gave them a “tub full of baby girl goodies”. Their baby is due in October. Tracy and Rondall have become really good friends. Whenever she calls us we always ask her if she is taking good care of ‘our’ granddaughter…she laughs and promises us she is doing her best! We have worked with Tracy off and on for our whole mission. She is the Wheelchair Monitor for the church here in Jamaica. It is her job to make sure all of the policy and procedures for handing out the wheelchairs are followed. She checks on 22 different organizations with approximately 70 Wheelchair Assessors. It is a big job and she does it so well.
 We spent most of this week with Elder Acosta who is our Area Welfare Manager and an Area Seventy.
Salvation Army Captain Mitchel is in the Center of the Picture, Elder Acosta is on the Right, Javar is on the Left. Elder Acosta is a great man. Captain Mitchell has been another great friend. He does just about the same as we do as Humanitarian Missionaries only with the Salvation army…and not so much paperwork!! Hahaha Captain Mitchel and his wife are wonderful people. Javar is one of the grounds men at the Salvation Army compound where this chicken coop is located in the Havendale area of Kingston. We did a project with them to build this coop. It is at their School for the Blind (the only blind school in the Caribbean). It will help provide eggs for the student population that lives on campus here.
 Then we visited some of the Yalllahs Branch Chicken projects, really called Short Term Member Projects, which we really hope will provide long term support to the families involved.  This is Brother Lofters and Elder Acosta. Brother Lofters has been a member and knows how to live in Jamaica. He will be able to live and survive where we would starve to death!  And do it with a smile. He is a wonderful example of living with simplicity and love. He is not real sure how old he is but he thinks he is about 75. Brother Lofters has laying hens.
 This picture is of Sister Bogle, she is planning on going on a Mission soon. She has broiler chickens and is expanding her project to include laying hens. She teaches the youth each Sunday. The young men and young women meet together as there is only a few of them. She has a wonderful knowledge and understanding of the gospel and will make a great missionary.
 Then we visited Sister Pendergast. She also has broiler chickens. She is the Relief Society President. She is a real character. She is short, shy, and a little dynamo with a quick wit and a huge heart. If anyone needs anything in the branch they can call Sister ‘Prendie” she will figure out a way to help.
 Below is a picture of Dad Elder Acosta and, front left, Leonard Williams, then there is Elder Beckford and you can see just the head of his companion Elder Havili. Elder Beckford is also the Branch President. He has been out on his mission for 6 months now and has been Branch President for 3 of those months.  “Train up a child when he is young….” seems to work well here. Leonard and his son George have broiler chickens and they are really being helped by this project as are all of the Yallahs Branch project members. Elder Acosta was very happy with what he saw in these projects.
 We also visited F.I.S.H.
F.I.S.H. (Foundation for International Self Help) is a nonprofit organization that has an Optical, Medical and Dental Clinic at their site. In the picture below is Elder Acosta with Anton Thompson, who is the Executive Director at F.I.S.H. We are doing a Vision Project that will include them (but is mostly with Kingston Public Hospital), and we are working on a Dental project. They have a mandate to help the poor and the needy. They provide a real service to those who could not go to a regular private dentist for any dental problems.
Elder Acosta spent two days here talking about Fast Offerings to the Stake Presidency, the Mandeville District Presidency, and Mission President Brown. He also said he came to say goodbye to us. His schedule is very hectic and he would not get another chance to see us before we leave and come home.
Well another week completed…we pray it was done in a way that the Lord would be pleased with our efforts.  What a blessing it is to be here and serve a mission. You never know what you can do, or what blessings the Lord has for you, unless you take that first step into the dark and walk by faith. As your faith increases so does your vision of what you really can do with the Lords help. So you take another step and are blessed again to see farther, more clearly, your faith increases again and you take another step. It is not always easy, but boy is it worth it!
Take care dear family and friends
Till we meet again
Mom and Dad,
Elder/Sister Murdock
P.S. A huge THANK-YOU to Travis and Lorraine Hollingshead for taking such good care of our home while we have been gone. Our daughter Lori and Megan have been at the house getting our things moved back in and said the house was super clean and in great condition…you guys are awesome!! Would love to see you after we get back!