June 30, 2014

This week close friends and fellow Missionaries completed their mission and went home to Texas.   We will miss them. By now Elder and Sister Mortensen are safely home with their children and grandchildren. They have been a marvelous example of missionaries acting faithfully…just doing whatever was asked of them with a smile…
 We did drag them on one last trip to the West end of Jamaica.  We stayed in Negril where this picture was taken.   Sat by the Sea and told stories one last time.  Of course the real reason for the trip was too gather more information for a Food Initiative project we have been working on with the Savanna la Mar Branch.  The project if approved will include 13 family broiler chicken projects and 6 family layer chicken projects.   Sorry no pictures of the people in Sav. Maybe we will remember to take some pictures on our next trip.
 As Humanitarian Missionaries we have been working with the Salvation Army and the church on a wheelchair program and a chicken coop for the School for the Blind. The eggs from the chickens will be used in the school’s cafeteria to feed the students.  Most of the students live and eat at the school. Some of them will help take care of the chickens. Major Lyons who is over the School for the Blind has been promoted to Divisional Commander and is moving to Montego Bay.  We have been working with Major Lyons on these projects and have come to know him and many of the good people at the School.  Any way they gave Major Lyons a big going away party and they invited us.
 Some of the students from the School for the Blind danced and played their tambourines.  If you think it is tough to perform in front of a lot of people.  Think how these girls must have felt.  Most of the girls could not see and held each other’s hands as they were led to the stage.
 Miss Burke, Major Lyons Secretary, is another person we worked with and became friends with at the Salvation Army.  She always hugs Sister Murdock whenever we go there. Being the Secretary for the Schol for the Blind she pretty much runs the place. What a talented lady she is.
Anyway that was pretty much it, without mentioning the three full days of computer work.  Trying to get more projects set up and ready. Those three days we were without a vehicle as well. The mission sold our truck and our new truck was not ready until Wednesday this week. Funny thing is the new truck is identical to the old truck (but new and without dents or scratches). The only thing different is the color; it’s silver.
I can’t end the e-mail without telling you a story.  It took place in the Kingston Branch in the Gospel Principles class.  The teacher was a young girl 20 something, a convert to the church, and the only member of her family.  When she reads her scriptures her family makes fun or her and teases her.  It got so bad that at first she would hide somewhere and read her scriptures where no one would see her.  Then the spirit asked her if she was ashamed of her religion.  NO she told herself, so she started to read her scriptures on the front porch where everyone could see.  Her family started to make fun of her again and tease her but she tried to ignore them, smile, and kept studying.  The whole family seemed to make fun of her when she read the scriptures or when she went to church.  Her mother would really make fun of her about going to church.  But she just kept coming.  One day a week before this past Sunday; she became really sick and could not even get up off the floor.  She had walked to church every Sunday since she was baptized and never missed a Sunday.  She was so sick she was afraid she would miss church so she prayed and forced herself to get up early and get ready to go to church.  All the while her Mother made fun of her again.  Then last Sunday her Mother gave her a new skirt to wear to church.  She cried when she told this story and said she was going to keep the skirt forever because her Mother bought it for her to go to church in. Her mother is starting to realize that her daughter is really serious about keeping her baptismal covenants. She is talking about going on a mission as soon as she is eligible. She has not been a member for a year yet.
 Just keep going to Church…keep following the commandments…you may be persecuted or made fun of, but do not be ashamed or embarrassed of your membership in the Lords Church. His blessings are waiting for you when you willingly submit your will to His.
We had another Tender Mercy this past week.  My hearing aids stopped working. They had gotten damp from humidity and sweat and stopped working last Sunday. We didn’t realize what the problem was for a while but after a few phone calls it was thought that nothing could be done to repair them. We were just about to order a new pair, have them programmed to mom’s hearing loss and sent here when we tried them one more time…they are back to working again!! It would have been a major expense to deal with but Heavenly Father blessed us… again… Of course we made it a matter of prayer but just didn’t see another way besides buying another set and she depends on them so much. These hearing aids are about 5 years old and will need to be replaced but we were hoping to get home before that happened so we wouldn’t have to deal with customs fees which are very high for anything electronic. The good Lord willing they will keep on functioning until we get home and can see her hearing specialist.