Tuesday, November 30, 2010
We had a good meeting today with Sonja Garrick. We took the young elders to her house in the top of the mountains. She was happy to see us and had some good questions about Church on Sunday. The young elders attempted to teach her about the Plan of Salvation - but she had so many questions that we had to leave because they had another appointment and so Elder Smith and I are going back tomorrow and teach her some more.
Monday, November 29, 2010
When we were at the ocean in Highgate Dad noticed these volcanic rocks in the surf - he pointed out the 'brain coral' in the one picture, and the 'sponge coral' in the other one - sediment from the bottom thrust up with volcanic action, apparently - he is forever the amature geologist!
Yesterday was the Primary Program and our 6th Sunday in Ocho Rios. I had eight parts - pictures and scriptures for the children - but only three came, well four, but the 3 year old just cried and sat on her Mother's lap! One of the young boys got there early and was all alone - so I sat by him and asked his name - Devon Harris - I recognized it from the official rolls (several of the children aren't baptized and their names don't appear on the roll). Then I asked him if his mother and father were coming - he said: I don't have a mother. (Made me sad) - then I asked him how he got to Church and he said he walked! Found out later it is about 1 1/2 miles to his house on the outskirts of town!! What a sweetie - and he did several of the parts of the program for me. It turned out okay I guess - one nine year old girl was at the branch activity Friday evening and told me her memorized part several times - then didn't come on Sunday. The children are dependent on their parents to help get them there. But the best news of Sunday was Sonja came!! On Friday when we found her house and had a nice meeting - she mentioned that she wanted to come to church - like about 100 other Jamaicans have and NO ONE has ever shown up! But she did!! We have an appointment with the young elders to go to her house Tuesday at 2:00pm. Yeah! She is a really special person already and said she enjoyed all three hours of Church. One of the members came into Primary to help out and so I went to RS to sit by Sonja and help her understand what was going on. Even if she doesn't want to learn more about the church, I feel like I have a new friend and will continue to see her while I'm here.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Today was our first experience of having a baptism in the beautiful ocean. Marie Hetley, a 12 year old, in the Highgate Branch - was baptized by Elder Conder - from Lehi, Utah who has been on his mission 2 weeks! It was a beautiful day and she was so cute - her mother was very proud of her. She is a single mom with Maria and then a 6 year old son. The Russells car broke down so we took him with the baptismal clothes the 60 km to Highgate. Neat experience - she was a typical 12 year old and started swimming after she was baptized! I got to give her a towel as she came back to the beach. She will be confirmed tomorrow in Church - isn't she beautiful?
My most dedicated Seminary student - Jody-Ann Llewellyn - had a fundraiser at her all girls school. They sold lunch tickets for $300 Jamaican - 2.85 US. So I bought four for us and the Russells. She goes to school in Highgate - a town 60 KLM away - and that is where the Russells work - there and another town even further away - Port Antonio. It turned out that the Russells were working in Port Antonio on Friday so we asked the Elders stationed in Highgate if they wanted to join us - Yep they did! Funny thing - one of them Elder Ashton - has a friend serving in the San Fernando Mission in CA and we have had Elder Ball to dinner many times at our house! When he knew we would be coming to Jamaica he told us about Elder Ashton - they were both on the UVU track team before their missions. Here we are eating a delicious real Jamaican lunch!
Friday was a good missionary morning. Remember Sonja, the lady who saw the name of the Church on the door and came in to talk to us? We have called her three weeks in a row now and she has not be available for us to go see her. She had to work in Kingston, she was sick, she wasn't at home... She did say: I not forget you!" so we took that as she was still interested just really didn't have the time at the moment. We called her yesterday and she answered and said - sure, come on over and gave us directions to her house. We found it and had a nice conversation with her and a male friend. I told her I hoped we weren't being too pushy and she said she hoped we didn't think she was putting us off! Yeah - they want us to come back and talk some more. Usually when there is a man in the house when we come they leave - Mr. Geddes just stayed and asked some great questions and we felt really good talking to them both...so hope they will listen and learn and then make up their own minds.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Here is our Thanksgiving dinner in the Mission Home in Kingston - yummy food and good company. The office couple are the Daniels, and sitting with them are the Flakes, both came just before we did. The mission home has beautiful pictures on the walls and this one of the Salt Lake Temple is my favorite. Happy Thanksgiving to ALL!
Here are some of the interesting tree roots around our home - the really thick ones are right in our parking lot - the long in the air ones are in our driveway, the roots that look like dread locks are next to the sidewalk we walk on, and here is Elder Smith near the sign for our apartment complex - Columbus Heights!
More of the beautiful flowers here - the pink ones are shaded from light to dark - but the picture doesn't show it very well - the coral ones are just outside our door and really different - the orchids are in our mission presidents patio in Kingston.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Our North Coast Zone had an early Thanksgiving dinner - since all the senior couples will be in Kingston at the Mission Home on Thursday - Here is a picture of us with our Mission President and wife - All our children who served missions had a picture of them with their pres - so we did also! Next is the young elders in our zone - we just lost a set of sisters - one went to Mandeville and one to the Bahammahs! So we have all Elders - the Jamaican looking one is from Toronto Canada! Sister Russell and I shared the dinner preparation and we ate on the Russell's deck - over looking the ocean. It was yummy and we will enjoy another dinner in Kingston on Thursday! Happy Thanksgiving to ALL - we are so thankful for wonderful family and friends and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Here are more pictures of Jamaican Life - The Ocho Rios Post Office, Elder Smith and his order of fish! Eyeballs - fins and all! Here are the black and gray worms that I found coming out of the gap between the faucet and the wall... in the middle of my morning shower!!! Elder Smith rescued me and then got some caulk and and fixed the hole - yeah for hardware stores!! I wanted you to see his good work - and I'm back to taking showers without sharing them with a worm!
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Here are the famous banana spiders of Jamaica! they were all around Sister Henry's yard - the one big one was next to her house - there are two pictures of them between the trees around her yard - and then walking back to where we parked the trucks - those telephone lines above us had lots in them also. They are non aggressive and don't bite and their webs catch lots of bugs - so people like them - but not me!
On Saturday morning we had a branch service project at our RS Pres. house. She needed her yard 'chopped' - most don't have lawn mowers and the grass and weeds and bushes are so thick I don't think a mower would work. You take big machette knives and swing them to chop the green stuff down. Here are the young elders heading up the path to Sister Henry's house - right into the jungle! The man is Bro. Grant - 1st Counselor in the branch presidency - only counselor in the BP! He joined the church in Canada - Toronto - and has his endowments - pretty special for around here. Here are Elder Smith and Sister Smith with the long machettes - it was fun and tiring! The whole yard was in need of the trimming - and I asked our Elders Quorum President when it would need it again - he said in three weeks if it rains a lot. Sister Henry's roof needed patching also - it had been leaking and it rains so often here that is a real problem! The roof was tin and the men melted some tar and patched it - pretty neat. She has a daughter going to BYU - Idaho - this is her fourth year. She is going to do her student teaching in Las Vegas!! warmer than Rexburg. Then if she gets a job in Jamaica she doesn't pay back her scholarship - if she works in the states she has to pay it back. Glad the church helps these students get a college degree.
Friday, November 19, 2010
We went to Discovery Bay today - Christopher Columbus was looking for fresh water and sailed into the bay on his second voyage to the New World - 1494. There was no river and he called it a dry harbor - pretty though!! The aloe plant is laying on a 'strong box' - the planters would place their valuables in them and the bottom was filled with weights so it couldn't be stolen easily! The cross is noted for Barrett - sibling of Elizabeth Barrett who married Robert Browing - this Barrett was a plantation owner here. It was pretty interesting and in need of repairs as much of Jamaica is!!
Here are some examples of electrical wiring here - I am standing near a sidewalk light in our complex - open wires! Next is the back of our guard shed - tangle of wires, then along the sidewalk - they place elec. wires inside of PCB pipe - and then black tape the breaks! Last is a lamp post of a street light in the parking lot we use at the church...again open wires. Maybe an electrical contractor can be called on a mission here to help out!
Here are some of the interesting trees we have seen in Jamaica. The fruit is Ackee - a staple of the diet here - it is poisonous if you don't cook it before eating it! The tree roots that are open air - all down the rock, pretty cool. The Fiscus (sp) tree is on a neighbors porch - it has broken the pot and roots go over the side. Here is Elder Smith at the driveway entrance to our complex - pretty much like a jungle!