The mission welcomed Elder and Sister Wright to our ranks this week. We all went to our favorite Chinese Restaurant and had a great time. The Wright's are currently from Idaho Falls, but have lived in Europe and other places. They will be the CES couple and cover the whole island - teaching PEF workshops and giving Seminary and Institute firesides...they are really great and we've had a good time getting to know them. They will stay in our old apartment in Junction - we get to go down there with them and show them around.
Today the Senior Couples took a nice trip to YS Falls...we have talked about how much fun it is until they all wanted to see it ... and several of them have family coming so they really wanted to experience it to be able to know how to bring their family when the time comes. We had a great time - here is the Isaac chaise lounge picture! Sister Smith trying to swing from a rope! All of the senior couples in front of one of the seven falls. Elder Whitehead was the first to get wet - but we all did eventually. Here we are on the Jitney ride up the road to the Falls. Fun, Fun, day!
We found some pretty flowers we haven't seen before - almost like stacked tulips!! so pretty. Here are some cards a friend of Sister Larsen's made for her ...she opened the package in the office so I could see them. The Office Elders do an awful lot of running errands for the office - so I made them some 'turtle' cupcakes - they really liked them.
This afternoon in the office we had a visit from the Vacianna family from Ocho Rios. Bro. Vacianna is the branch president now and his children Reignbeau and Skye are some of my favorite people on the whole island! .. and his wife is great also. Here are the kids - making the Mission Secretary very happy. Reignbeau said: "I want you to come back." We had lots of fun in Primary - she is just four and finished all the work in preschool - will go to Kindergarten next fall - she'll be five in October. Love these kids!
Saturday morning Sister Henry, the Relief Society President in Ocho Rios came to Kingston with her daughter. She was coming to get her Patriarchal Blessing and we got to see her at the Patriarch's house for a few minutes. It is nice to have the chance for the Jamaican saints to get their blessings...Casanna - the daughter graduated from BYU Idaho last year and is a returned Jamaican Missionary... sure love these sisters!
Last Wednesday we had mission wide transfers ... all the missionaries who are moving meet at the Spanish Town Chapel - meet their new companion and then travel back to their areas of the island. The AP's and the Office Elders help out since they both drive pick up trucks and can haul suitcases and bicycles. This last Wednesday when they got back to the office they had a box from the Saints in Junction for the Smiths! Yay! just look at all the fresh veggies and watermelon - all tasted yummy and we were touched that Brother Gayle would do that for us...he makes a living selling fruits and vegetables - so his giving so many to us was really a sacrifice and we love him for it! Marcus sent a short note with it - he is learning so much - now can write and read pretty good for just a year or two of learning.
When we first started working in the Mission Office - my office chair was a little tilted - the back was broken. Dad traded me with his chair and that was better. Then he figured out how to tie the old back on so it could be used. Then the Area Auditor came to Jamaica from the Dominican Republic and told him to buy a new chair! Here is the old one, Elder Smith putting together a new one and then the new one in his office. I thought we were saving the mission money but I guess appearance are something to consider also!
When we went to Ocho Rios with Polly and Chris we visited our wood carving friend - John-John. He was carving on some wood and Polly mentioned that her favorite wooden spoon from Peru had just broken - John-John offered to make her a new one - so she ordered and paid for two of them. Last Saturday we picked them up and they are pretty big! Dad laid a 12 inch ruler near so you can see how big they are! They will stir any pot!!
This week in the Mission Office we received a letter via DHL from the Cayman Islands - it was a work permit so now an elder can travel over there and work. The envelope it came in said: In Her Majesty's Service - made me feel a little like a Harry Potter movie!! Then the next day we got two from the Jamaican government that are similar - apparently you don't have to pay postage on these special envelopes!
Our nice landlady really liked Polly and Chris - they did a day of service for her and she couldn't believe it ..that they would pay her to stay in the apartment and then work for her for free! Here she is giving them a goodbye hug - and said they could come back for a week with no charge! All of us at the Kingston Airport - it was such a great time to have them here...July will bring the Hardy Family - yay!!
Devon House and park are right in the middle of Kingston - and so peaceful and green. The man who built it was the first Jamaican millionaire - his father was a German of Jewish descent - Steibel, and his mother a Jamaican. He was adventuring and got shipwrecked off the coast of South America - he eventually made tons of money in the mining industry down there and came home and built this mansion - beautiful grounds and outbuildings restored and used for a bakery, ice cream shoppe and craft stores. The house wasn't open for tours but we had a good time on the grounds and getting ice cream.
It was so good to visit Junction and introduce Polly and Chris to some of the people we love there! Here we are at Sister Ellington's chicken coop - the one we built the day Sadie Fairbanks was born. Also Williams with Marcus - he is 15 now and we had been helping him read better since last October - he was baptized last week and has worked hard on his reading and actually read scriptures in Sunday School, the missionaries told us - yay for Marcus! Brother Gayle gave us a yummy watermelon - so did Sister Ellington - we shared with the missionaries. Brother Gayle is enlarging his house - adding a bedroom and bathroom - big job! Brother Lloyd was busy with the pick when we were there. It will be nice to come back and see the progress on such a big undertaking.
After YS Falls we headed to Black River Crocodile Safari - we had another good time there. Here are Chris and Polly on the boat - a bigger than usual croc in the water near the boat - standing by the boat and then looking out to the ocean. Black River empties right into the Caribbean Ocean - no bay or harbor.
On Tuesday we drove to YS Falls and had a great time - here are Polly and Chris in the same lounge chair that Isaac and Olivia and Sadie were in - also wading in the pool. The weather was good and the falls pretty amazing - All four of us enjoying the beauty of the place.