Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Lovely Saturday Outing

Monday 5 November 2012

It really does not seem like November—the sun is shining and it is really warm.  My mind is confused—but it is a pleasant confusion.  We went on a great outing on Saturday in short pants and short sleeves—nice..  We went with the Larsens to Old Harbour and out to a wonderful old castle called Colbert Castle a few miles out of Old Harbour.  It was built in 1654 by an Englishman to guard against the Spanish.  It is beautiful white block and red brick, with lots of arches and windows that you can see through from one side of the building to the other.  I took tons of pictures which I know would be a shock to anyone who knows how I like old buildings and especially arches and windows.  It is surprising that very few of the locals have ever been here—it is such a beautiful place and setting out in the country.


Looking out of the windowless cell

Rat Bats in the cell--Elder Larsen took this picture--but I was right behind him.  Yuk

There were two brothers working on the grounds when we arrived and one came to join us and walk with us—we are not sure why,  maybe to keep an eye on us or maybe just to be friendly.  I have forgotten their names now because Sis Larsen called them Beauty and the Beast because that is what their names sounded like—not what they looked like.  I got a pretty good picture of the cart they work with and like what we see in the smaller towns.  It is a flat bed with a steering wheel on a chest high rod.  A rope is wound around the rod and tied to the front wheels and as the rope winds around the rod it pulls the wheels one way or the other to steer the cart—very basic—and functional.  The tires are about 10 inches in diameter and have what looks like reused tire rubber stapled with huge staples to hold it around the wheel.  We have seen people carrying everything from stacks of cut wood to what looks like merchandise to sell on these great little carts.  I would love to make one.

We stopped in the narrow lane just away from the castle to eat some cheese and crackers. 

Larsens took us to a wonderful sort of family commune where they make gorgeous carvings out of iron wood.  Apparently the father started it some years ago and took in street kids and taught them how to carve until they went out on their own, some continuing the craft.  He apparently is quite famous and did marvelous work, but he has passed away now and his daughter(s) live there now and one of them and her “husband” are continuing father’s tradition.  There were at least three different young men there working on various projects.  Bob bought a beautiful bust of a young Jamaican woman showing her hair style.  I am not positive what the hair will look like as it was not finished.  They will call us when it is finished for us to go pick up.  The Larsens have one with the hair done in Chinese Bumps, which are just little bunches of twisted hair in about 2 inch squares all over the head.  Not a style I have seen in the US.

Sister Larsen and the daughter

                                                                       Elder Larsen and the husband

Our carving in progress

One of the artists at work

 We did not actually see this scene but Larsens told us about it as we passed by the chicken farm where they took these pictures.  Transporting live chickens in a taxi cab!!

                                              The thought of this just cracks me up!

On the way back to Kingston we stopped at Sister Clarke’s.  She is the RS President in the Boulevard Branch and takes keyboard lessons from Sister Larsen.  She always keeps her husband and son’s white shirts sparkling white and Sis Larsen asked her about it and Sis Clarke said she would do Elder Larsen’s shirts.  So we were dropping off the shirts.  The Clarkes live in Zinc Town.  We drove down an extremely rutted and torn up street that was wide enough for only the truck.  The pedestrians didn't hurry (they never do) but they did have to move aside a little to let the truck pass as the street was that narrow.  It is lined with every assortment of corrugated zinc you could possibly find.  Behind the wall of zinc is a small compound of homes also made of zinc.  We also drove past the community water source—I gather they have to carry it to their homes.  I also gather this is where Sis Clarke will get water for the laundry.  I took lots of pictures.  I did not want to be disrespectful but I want to remember and to be able to show others where some people live and are still happy and serving others.  (I neglected to mention that Sis Larsen called Sis Clarke on the way out of town but could not drop off the shirts then because Sis Clark was out doing service for someone in the branch.)

The little farmers market at the entrance.

The community water supply.

Narrow street.                                                    

Last week we started making what are called Priority Calls to the participants in the PEF program.  It is one of our major responsibilities but we have not felt ready to begin until now.  When we got started we found it is really sort of fun to be able to talk to the people and hear what they are doing.  It is sort of difficult to understand some of them on the phone but they are pretty patient when we ask them to repeat.  Someone said they have the same trouble understanding us but I am not sure that is true.    Most are trying and I suspect most are doing the best they can even when they have not made a payment in many months.  Many are still in school and unemployed; many are out of school and still unemployed.  Unemployment is a very big problem here.  There are many colleges and universities and many educated people but many of them are still unemployed.  That feels a little discouraging to me as I talk to some of the people and feel the hopelessness—I hope it is my hopelessness and not theirs!   

It is hard to talk to them when they are way behind in their payments and not have them thinking you are calling to harass them about their bill.  Most of the time I did not even mention their payments—but a lot of them bring it up.  I hope we can develop some relationships that will truly be helpful for some of these good people.

We are also trying to give some interested people some job seeking information and directing them to  We are being pressured to be employment missionaries which I sort of reject out of fear—not knowing what to do, and fearing there are not jobs to help people find!  But Bob is much more positive about employment than I am though we both want to really get our feet on the ground with PEF first.  The reality is however, we cannot be helpful to most of these people unless we help them with their job search.  I guess our goal is to help make them the best possible candidates when a job comes up.

On Monday we had our first PEF Council meeting with Pres Hendricks and Pres Brown and the Wrights, S & I missionaries working with PEF, working in Junction.  Before we even got started we had an amazing announcement:  Pres Brown has been called to serve as a mission President.  He does not have a place yet but he will begin in July—the same time Pres Hendricks leaves here.  Pres Kevin Brown is probably in his early 30s, he has 4 kids ages 12 to 1 ½, and works for the Church as an Institute Director and teacher.  He is an outstanding young man; we heard how great he is before we even got here.  It is exciting to be even a small part of his excitement as he accepts this call.  He told us he talked to Elder Bednar right after conference so he has known for a while.  Then on Monday before the meeting I think he talked with Pres Eyring and said he was really wonderful.  He said they talked on Skype and Pres Eyring kept them laughing most of the time.  –I think they may have been giddy.
Pres Kevin Brown
We had a good PEF Council meeting talking about communicating the new guidelines to Branch Presidents and our division of labor.  Then when we talked about a couple of new applicants Pres Hendricks and Pres Brown of course took the lead and it was interesting to see how well they know these people and their circumstances and watch them deliberate and even struggle with decisions.  This is not always easy when people are on the edge of doing what they should be doing and yet knowing their education and this loan may keep them alive not only physically but spiritually.

After dinner at the mission home President Hendricks told us a little about his Mission President’s Seminar which he attended in DR the first week after we arrived here.  I wish I could remember all he said but it was to the effect that all these things that are happening are happening in the Lord’s time.  And things are being hastened by the hand of the Lord.  He pointed out that neither Joseph nor did his brothers know what the future would bring when he was sold into Egypt.  Lehi did not know why he was brought to the promised land.  We do not know why the age for missionary service has been changed but all these things the Lord knew from the beginning.  He has known these young people who are going to be our next army of missionaries.  They have been prepared for this service from the beginning of eternity.  The Area President Elder Zvick pointed out that when he was a missionary there were like 12,000 missionaries and they considered themselves an army going forth in the world.  But look at that number now compared to the over 50,000 who now serve.  Pres Hendricks, and perhaps Elder Zvick, said there will come the time when we will look back at the 50,000 as if it were 12 by comparison.  I wish I could do his comments justice and especially I wish I could remember for myself but…  Suffice it to say, we are living in exciting times—in spite of worldwide turmoil.

We got keys for the Spanish Town chapel from Pres Uelett.  He is the other counselor in the Mission Presidency and he works at the Mission Office/Institute in Facilities Management.  (It is really a pretty small building but Pres Medley, the Spanish Town District President, who works with Finance also has an office in this building.)  So anyway we got the keys but needed to go to the church to learn how to set and disarm the alarm whenever we go there.  So we took our first out of Kingston excursion on our own.  We drove to Spanish Town.  It really was no big deal even though we did get off on some wrong road coming back into Kingston and wandered a little. I was not totally comfortable driving in the narrow pedestrian crowded streets of Spanish Town but we survived.  As a matter of fact no one even honked at me when I had to back up because I was headed down a one way street.  The man beside me made a turn around gesture but not in a rude way and at least a couple of cars had to wait for me but no one honked.  I do like the loose traffic rules here—they work.  And I think the key is lack of selfishness.

Spanish Town Chapel  (About 17 miles from Kingston)

Some nice Spanish Town street scenes

Insert:  Sister Brown (Pres Brown's secretary not wife)  added "bumps" to her locks.

  The Bumps I think are short for "China Bumps" which are tight twists of hair held with rubber bands and close to the head.  She just added them to the ends of her dread locks.  I think she added a little color also.  She is getting ready for a major hair style change after 3 years of locks.  I don't know if she is going to have them taken out or cut off.  Many women here wear extensions in their locks as well as very beautiful wigs--HOT I am sure.

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