Thursday, October 17, 2013

Leaning Into the Finish Line

Thursday 12 September 2013 

We got an email from Bro N asking us to meet him at the office so we got dressed and went down.  We have no idea what his agenda was or why he even wanted to talk to us but he said he was there to hire the new self-reliance manager for Jamaica.  After we talked for a minute or two he pulled out his computer and began giving us his power point presentation on the new self-reliance program.  We actually interrupted him several times making comments and suggestions and telling him that the program needs to be adapted to Jamaica and he did not hear a single thing we said; he was determined to give us the entire presentation. Even after we told him we only had 8 days left in Jamaica, he still continued to give us the whole program.  Even when we disagreed with him he continued.  We tried telling him what a good power point it was but that did not slow him down either.  He was absolutely oblivious to our comments, our attitudes, our concerns, our time or anything.  When he finally got to the end I took Bob by the hand and said we have to leave.  It had been two hours.  We had already told him we were in process of packing up etc.  I felt rude but there was absolutely no reason for him to insist on our viewing his whole presentation.  

Bro Alvarodo, the Area Self-Reliance Director, was to be there to interview as well but we never did see him or hear from him.  We found out later that he had been told we did not have time.  I fear, meaning we would not take the time rather than we were busy. Bob was a little hurt as he had offered our services in any way Bro Alvarado would need.

Friday Bob had his last orthodontist appointment (though he had to go back again to get the retainer glued better.) Saturday we drove to Old Harbour to do our last inspection of the Missionaries apartment.  We were very lucky in our inspection assignment—our missionaries were very neat and clean.  I can’t remember why we were late and in a hurry but we saw Sean on the street and he said he wanted to talk to us but we did not have time and I could not pull over so I told him we would catch him later.
Sunday we did our last employment fireside in Hopeton.  That is a nice branch and we had a nice time with them and the fireside went well.  It really is a good program and has been very well received.  That was the last of our long drives. 

Monday I told Bob I was through working and that I was going to spend this week packing.  Well I did, sort of.  We had dinner at the Chinese Restaurant with the senior missionaries and Sis Brown and that was very nice.  Everyone said good bye again.  Tuesday we spent more time trying to solve the phone problem for our CSMs.  We ended up buying a cheap phone and some minutes. We kicked ourselves that we had not thought of that earlier.  –Even that we had not thought about it for ourselves at the first of our mission so we both could have had a phone for those times when we were separated and I worried.  Then we packed up a few things and took them over to Paula’s –I was glad to be able to give some of our food and supplies we had purchased to her and Audrey. 

Even though I was a little paranoid about the packing it actually went very well so on Wednesday Bob asked me if I wanted to go to Devon House for lunch which of course I did.  I really love a Callaloo stuffed Curry Chicken dish there that I will never get at home.  We saw Sean on the street and he told us he wanted us to help him fix up a little farm or something so he wanted to talk to us about giving him some money.  Bob gave him quite a bit and we arranged to meet him on Friday so we could talk about his plan.

This is where we ate at Devon House, the Grogg Cafe which looks like is is set around the carriage house.

 This is the side front views of Devon House.  It is lovely;

Thursday Audrey invited us to dinner—we were to pick her up at 5:00 near her school and take her home for dinner.  Sister Brown also said that day would be best for them to go to lunch with us to Wendy’s.  We thought that would be fun for the kids.  They could not come until 3:00 so we thought that would work since Pres Brown had another appointment at 4:00—that would give us time to get to Audrey.  They were late, then he left in our car instead of the bus and she was to take us to the office to get our car.  We were getting very close.  By the time we got to the office we should have been leaving to get Autrey but we had to go home and get some things we were taking to her house and the cake I had baked.  We called her and said we would be late and then we really rushed—so much that I dropped the cake in the garage.  Amazingly it lit right-side up!  We were actually only a few minutes late but of course the traffic at that time of day was bad. We had a nice time with her for the rest of the evening.  I made mental notes of some of her cooking procedures.

 Jonathan and Jared Brown at Wendy's.  

In addition to the rush and confusion of meeting the Browns and getting to Audrey, Bob was also trying to arrange new interviews for the Self-Reliance manager.  It turned out that Bro N and Bro Alvarado did not find the right person last week so Bro Alvarado was sent back to finish up.  He emailed and asked Bob to arrange the interviews and talk to Pres Brown about who should be interviewed.  Bob called six people and made appointments for the next day.  The other thing he did was to coach each of them as he talked to them—telling them about the job and a little on how to present themselves.  He was totally fair with all the candidates.  He was talking to one of them in the car as we were driving to Audrey’s.  She told me later how impressed she was about how good he was at preparing the person he was talking to.  He finished up sitting in the car in front of Audrey’s while she was cooking dinner and visiting with me.

We had a visitor to our table while we were eating ice cream at the Devon House.  He was pretty brave coming so close to us and then he started showing off.

Friday Bro Alvarado asked us to come to his hotel and have breakfast with him and Bro Rapleyee who had come with him.  They asked us about our experience with Bro N the week before.  We told them about what had happened and we learned that he had been misinformed about our interest in helping Bro Alvarado.  It is unfortunate to have a negative experience with a church member with some authority but we were glad to get it straightened out and understand why Bro Alvarado did not contact us.  Bro Rapelyee was there because he knew us and he had talked to Bro Alvarado and was incredulous that he had not talked to the Pugmires about this project.  Meaning we probably knew as much or more about Self-reliance and the candidates as anyone in Jamaica.  Anyway, after breakfast I took them to the church to conduct their interviews.  Bob waited and acted as receptionist and I went home and did some cleaning and packing. I came back at the end and was there when Bro Rapelyee, who is over S & I in the Area, said this was the strongest pool of candidates he had ever interviewed in the Caribbean!  It didn't dawn on Bob until later but I knew it was because of the way he coached and prepared each candidate.

We drove the two of them to the office to meet with Pres Brown and then later back to the church for Institute class.  When we arrived back at the church Bro Alvarado asked if he could talk to us for a minute.  He asked what were the 2-3 most important things that should happen in Self-reliance in Jamaica and he took notes on what we said.  He also apologized again for the mix up the week before. He really could not have treated us better and with more respect.  It is too bad he had to lose respect for one of his managers in the process.

Saturday we met my friend Terry-Ann Dixon at the Jade Chinese restaurant for lunch.  It was very pleasant and I think she enjoyed it as well.  She lives in Port Antonio but comes to school in Kingston on Saturdays.  Sunday we went to both Boulevard and Constant Spring branches and were given the opportunity to bear our testimonies.  It was very nice and people were very kind to us and seemed very genuine about their love for us.

Monday the Senior Missionaries wanted to get together again for FHE.  We took our car to the office and dropped it off and rode with the Evans to Mortensens for a few minutes visit with them as we felt we had not really had much time to really get to know them.  They live next to Murdocks so then we just went down for dinner in a lovely gazebo off the parking lot.  Murdocks had arranged the dinner and the FHE.  It was really nice because even the Wrights took the 2 hour drive from Junction to town for the event.  What good people—fun to share with them and learn what we all feel about our missions and how different all our missions are.  We all concluded that every senior missionary couple created their own mission and determines their own success.  The Pearsons drove us back to our apartment and Murdocks picked us up at 7:00 Tues morning to go to the airport.  Camille our apartment day security person did the final clean up and took the food I left in the refrigerator.

The Wrights from Idaho Falls, Seminary and Institute/ PEF missionaries.

Pearsons from Utah, recruited by Pres Hendricks while vacationing in Negril last January.  Member/Leadership Support missionaries serving in Branch Presidency in Spanish Town 1 Branch.  Also helping with literacy and music.

 Murdocks from Utah, Humanitarian Missionaries.

Evans, Office Couple as well as Branch President of Yallahs Branch. Their third mission.

 Mortensens, from Lubbock, Texas.  MLS missionaries serving in Port Antonio and Boulevard Branches.  They were packing to leave their mission when the President told them the Lord wanted them so stay another year--so they did.

This is the end of a life changing experience.  I could have passed this by and never known what I missed but now that I know what I would have missed if I had not agreed to come on this mission I am very grateful we came.  We had many PEF participants tell us we had made a big difference for them.  Some said we had done more than anyone else before us—which is not much in some ways but it was about 10 years worth of people trying to do the job.  I know for sure Bob was the best possible person to come and solve some of the problems that had been perpetuating themselves in the program here.  And I also know he could not have done all he did if I had not been here to support, add in-put, back up with the technology, etc. so It is a really good feeling knowing we were a great team and that we really did accomplish a good work for many people.  It is also wonderful that we did a good job replacing ourselves with good people who will carry on for the PEF participants.  The influence and contribution of senior missions are huge—I mean really huge—not just for the people being served but for the mission as well.  But even more especially for the senior couple!  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true!  It is lead by inspired men –and women.  The gospel it supports is the source of true joy, peace and happiness in this life and hope, security, and peace here after.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Tying Up Loose Ends

Sunday 9 September 2013

I had better get some things written down before I forget them.  Sundays are pretty much spent doing our employment fireside. On the 25 of August we were at Constant Spring.  It was fun to be there as that is where we were originally assigned and so feel a little like home there even though we have only attended there half a dozen times.  Our fireside went well—they sure do work better having them in the third hour of the meeting block rather than expecting that people will stay after the block for another meeting.  The Branch Presidents have been very gracious in letting us do this.  I don’t feel too bad about it though because it is a good fireside and has real spiritual and inspirational elements in it.  

That Monday we went down to the car to get Bob to the eye doctor for a check back and discovered a car that would not start.  So we called the man Larsens always took the mission cars to and he actually made a house call and came and fixed it—after he had to go out and buy a battery leaving us pretty much stranded the whole day.  We worked on our training material for our replacements.

 We stopped by the office before leaving town and were able to visit a few minutes with these new missionaries who just arrived from the MTC in DR.  Sister Patchrina Hudson on the left was the RS president in the Junction Branch, Sherida Lafayette was in our branch and a live wire leader of the youth, especially in performing.  Sister Llewellyn taught RS the first time we visited Ocho Rios.  Sisters Hudson and Lafayette were assigned "off island" in Nassau--pretty exciting for girls who have not even been anywhere in Jamaica!  All three are 19 I think.

Thursday we drove to White House a town on the way to Savanna La Mar.  That is where the Girl’s Camp was held.  They invited us to speak at camp—I expected an outdoor situation with lots of mostly young girls.  I expected that they might have trouble hearing us.  I guess I expected what I was accustomed to at girl’s camp at home—and it wasn't anything like that!  They told us to call when we got to the shacks where they sold fish.  Well we didn't exactly recognize the right shacks but we called and Pres Blake tried to talk us in.  We had to turn around twice but finally they said someone would be on this certain road to meet us so we went back to the first place we tried and there was a young man sitting on a log—fortunately he recognized us!  So he took us to the “camp”—which was very confusing as we were in a residential area.  I was a little taken aback when we pulled into the yard of a good sized house and were met by several young men and lots of little children and a few young women.  There were actually more young women but some of them had to go back to Sav (about 20 rough miles away) to register for school.  So Sister Robinson rather unceremoniously gathered the remaining girls together in what was the front room of the house where they sat on the floor and brought us chairs to sit on (thankfully!) After a song they sang to us accompanied by recorded music and a prayer Sister Robinson turned to us and said “Okay you can go now.”  We talked to about 10 young women from ages 15-18 and three leaders (one of whom slept on the floor beside us and another two were in and out the whole time.)  We talked on their theme for this year:  “Stand in Holy Places”

After we spoke we answered a few questions.  Even in light of our more spiritual talks Sister Robinson sort of guided them to questions regarding employment.  One that generated quite a bit of discussion was about young women getting an education or being stay at home moms.  At least that was the discussion—I can’t remember the question.  Then one of the girls gave us a formal thank you speech and another girl with another rather formal speech presented us with a picture of all of them taken at the first of the week.  It was a very nice experience.  When we left we took three of the leaders back into Sav.  One was the Montego Bay Branch President’s wife.  She needed to catch the bus back home, the other two, a young man and a young woman needed to get to Western Union to get some money.  (I did not realize until later that this money was probably coming from family abroad—one of the biggest sources of national income for Jamaica.)

Girl's Camp, Sister Robinson, the YW President in on the far right.

These girls are from different Branches but Girl's Camp always brings girls together.

A group picture before we left girl's camp.

The picture they gave us.  We love it.

It was raining one of Jamaica’s quick down-pours as we drove a section of some of Jamaica’s worst roads.  But even as we drove I was glad we were taking these people and that they were not having to wait for a taxi or having to even ride in a taxi in these conditions—not that they aren't very used to it and were not even giving it a thought.

When we dropped them off at the bus station (where the other two were going to have to catch a taxi back to the camp) we drove on to Negril where we checked into a very nice hotel, The Grand Lido, for a couple of nights.  This was arranged by Sister Blake, a PEF participant and the wife of the Sav Branch President, who is the head of housekeeping at the hotel.  It is a beautiful old hotel and it was very nice to see Sister Blake again, and we were treated very well, but the first night our room turned into an old broken refrigerator.  The air conditioning was turned so low and we were still freezing, so we turned it up and eventually off because it was not getting any warmer.  It ended up raining in the evening so I am sure that added to it also, but our room eventually became WET.  The mirrors were totally fogged with condensation, the tile floors were slippery wet, and the walls were so wet that it made the roll of toilet tissue wet as it touched the wall.  It was miserable.  When we told them about it they were a little less friendly but very quick to move us into another room.  They implied that happened because we turned the AC off but I am not convinced—I think the AC unit was not working properly because we turn off our AC all the time in our apartment. 

The Grand Lido Hotel in Negril

Just after the rain storm.

This is a new look at missionary life!

 The Hobie Cat we took out and the bay we learned in.

Anyway we did not let this ruin our stay.  We did something Bob said he has always wanted to do and that was learn to sail a Hobie Cat—a small catamaran.  I have never before heard Bob say he wanted to learn to sail a Hobie Cat—just goes to show some of the secrets men keep from their wives!  A young man took us out into the bay for a few minutes then brought us back in and sent us out on our own.  We did pretty well though I was not the least confident and I did not feel Bob was either but we did not feel unsafe because the bay was pretty small and the waters pretty calm.  We really enjoyed it and looked forward to doing it again but were not able to the next day because of time.  

So while Rob and Andrea were getting married and their families were all enjoying their day, we were driving from Negril to Kingston across the North Highway.  We had a Fireside in Spanish Town the next day.
That Sunday was very busy.  We did our fireside in the Spanish Town 2 branch during their Priesthood and Relief Society time, then we met with Audrey Simpson and Paula Steele, our Church Service Missionaries taking over PEF, during Sunday School for the first branch; then we moved into the chapel and did our fireside again for the first branch.  If that wasn't enough we went home for a couple of hours to have dinner as it was Fast Sunday, and turned around and went back to meet with these two sisters again at Sister Simpson’s house.  We were very tired but also very impressed and happy about these two women.  They will be very good.  They pick up very quickly and they are not at all hesitant on the phone.
Monday Bob had a Dentist appointment and we went to the office where we told Pres Brown of our need for phones for our Church Service Missionaries.  He was a little less than gracious about telling us no and that we would have to talk to the new Self-Reliance Director for the Area.  We were hurt and a little upset by his manner so we spent the next few days trying to work that out.  But we now better understand the new direction of PEF/Self-Reliance.  We immediately contacted the Area Self-Reliance director and soon got authorization to buy one phone.  (We will need to get another asap.  Phones are a big deal here as people pre-pay for minutes/credits and they are very precious to them.  That is why they often text or call and ask us to call them back.)

Bob with Sister Paula Steele and Sister Audrey Simpson our new Church Service Missionaries for PEF. (The first CSMs in Jamaica I think)

In the meantime we drove back and forth to Spanish Town to further train and allow these women to make the necessary phone calls using our phone.  It is not terrible (about half an hour)—people here do it all the time—but I am not crazy about driving at night because there are so many pedestrians and I really do pray to get through this mission without killing one of them. 

Tuesday, we drove to Spanish Town to have lunch with one of our PEF Participants, Krishna, with whom I have established a nice relationship.  It was so fun to meet her, she has a very sweet personality and gentle manner.  After pizza (the only eating places we know in Spanish Town) we drove her home and she took us in to meet her mother and niece.  Mother has the same sweet gentle manner.  She has shared some of her struggles with me so this was a very special experience.

Thursday Bob had an orthodontist appointment and then we met with Pres Britton for a few minutes about some new PEF loan applications then we took off for Montego Bay for a planned vacation at the Rose Hall Resort.  We had a fireside scheduled in Savlamar that Sunday so we just took in a couple of days at Rose Hall before we go home.  This is a very nice all-inclusive place (we stayed here when Steve and Regina came in April).  Friday we went out on a Hobie Cat on much rougher water and a much bigger bay.  I think we were both a little nervous for the first few minutes then we settled into how things worked and really enjoyed it—they had to signal us to come in as we stayed out so long.  Then we went up and got a non-alcoholic pina colata and floated on inner tubes around their nice lazy “river”.  Then we got our Kindles and sat by the pool until a threatening rain storm sent us to our room where we just lazed around until it was time to eat again.  Saturday was a repeat of Friday.  We really enjoyed the Hobie Cat, the lazy river and water slide, and the lounge by the pool.  This time we did not let the rain send us inside, we just shared the umbrella of the life guard and stuck it out—it was not at all bad nor was it cold as other rainy situations you might find yourself in.  Instead of Jerk Chicken and Festival for lunch/snack this day we had French fries—we did not want to spoil our appetite for dinner.

This view from our room of the water and the golf course just about convinced Bob he was ready to go home!

This picture does not do this scene justice by any means.  This was from our window in the evening and it was really gorgeous!

We haven't seen many steel drums while in Jamaica but this evening made up for it.  This "orchestra" was great and boy could they dance while playing those drums!

We got a little rain and wind in the afternoon sitting by the pool but it was still beautiful!

 Rose Hall Resort, lovely!

It was a very nice couple of days vacation and we did accomplish a few things for work while we were there.  We had lots of opportunities to talk about the Church and what we are doing in Jamaica.  People are very interested in what we are doing and I think impressed with the Church as a result.

Sunday we got up a little early and drove a new road through the end of the island instead of around the end, as we have done in the past, to Savanna La Mar.  We really liked this new route.  It is quite similar to the road between Ocho Rios and Linstead which we really like.  This was our second to the last employment fireside.  Savlamar of course is filled with a lot of our favorite people so it was really fun to be there and see so many of them.  Sister Robinson, the YW President who invited us to Girl’s Camp and her husband who is a councilor in the branch presidency were the speakers.  It was a very good meeting.  Sunday School was also quite good.  Something new:  The teacher, in a very soft voice at the beginning of the class when I was not even sure everyone was ready to start, announced “there is no talking in my class unless you say it for the whole class.”—And there wasn't!!  I was astounded—this is not Jamaica! Interestingly though she did several other things very different from anything else we have seen here—or at home.  She started the class with a hymn, prayer, and scripture reading.  Then everyone in the class read in unison the purpose of the lesson which she had written on the chalk board.  Maybe this is the kind of discipline that is needed here.  (The reading was done “on two” which is how they begin singing when there is no keyboard or piano.  It means, without even a pitch, everyone starts singing after the count of 1, 2.  Surprisingly it doesn't take them long to come to the same (or similar) key for singing.)

Our fireside went really well.  We both were really keyed into the people present and to the Spirit.  The Branch President was not only there to listen but gave very supportive encouragement to the people after we finished.  Only one other branch president has been as supportive, which is a shame because the branch president is the key for making the concepts we are teaching work.  When we were saying goodbye to Sister Blake she asked if she could have a copy of our presentation to modify and use with her staff at the Grand Lido, where she is the head of housekeeping, as I mentioned earlier.

In addition it was very gratifying to receive a phone call on Monday morning from a man in that branch who called to ask if we could send a copy of our presentation to his wife.  Soon after sending it we received a thank you email from her saying she was considering quitting her job until she heard our presentation and now she not only feels better about her own job but wants to use the presentation to help her co-workers. 

Monday we spent quite a while getting the phone for our CSMs and then just before going to our PEF meeting I got a phone call from one of my PEF friends in Sav telling me about how her court appearance with the father of her children went.  He wanted proof that the children were his, which he got.  Fortunately he was very repentant and asked her forgiveness and told the judge he intended to provide child support.  So that turned out well for her and she called to tell me about that and her personal struggle with breaking up with another man she was briefly engaged to and hoped to be sealed to in the temple.  We were almost late for our PEF meeting but I could not—would not-- cut her off.

Our PEF meeting was shorter than usual which was good as we had to get to the mission home for dinner and FHE with the Browns.  After dinner the Pearsons taught a lesson for the children about Abinadi and Alma using popcorn to represent the 450 people who were baptized in the Waters of Mormon.  Everyone enjoyed the lesson—even the kids.  The “lesson” for the adults was a spotlight for Bob and me as they went around the room telling us goodbye and saying nice things to us.  Bob is greatly admired because of his age and all he still is very capable of doing. The only impression I have made is that I am the only senior sister who drives a car here.  O well I am glad I can be good at something.

I learned later that the popcorn people sprouted in the baptismal water after a couple of days so Johnathan planted them in a planter outside.  I hope some will come up.

Everyone was very interested to see what was going to become of those "people" and the dish of water.

Sister Pugmire and Gabrielle Brown, now age 13.

Yesterday we worked really hard trying to finish up some loose ends and then at 3:30 we picked up Sister Simpson from her work and drove to Sister Steele’s to get her and went to Sister Simpson’s and worked until about 7:30. When we got home around 9:00 I fried eggs for supper and even though we were very tired we worked until about 11:00 before dragging ourselves to bed.

I woke at 4:30 this morning worrying about all that needs to be done to prepare to leave so.  I finished this post because I am quite sure I will not have time to post again before leaving Jamaica.  So the plans are we will pick Sister Simpson up at 3:30 again today and work with her alone.  Then work with Sister Steele probably tomorrow because of new time constraints on her time.  (Her single-mother sister she lives with is going to NY to be a nanny and earn a little money, leaving Sister Steele here with her three kids.  This will really change things for Sister Steele’s ability to serve as a Church Service Missionary.) 

Bob just informed me we have to meet with someone we had not planned on—so plans have changed.  It is a good thing Senior Missionaries are flexible!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Finishing Strong

Saturday 24 August 2013

It seems like we have been very busy and yet we have done very little to write about.  We have actually spent a lot of time just sitting and working at our computers.  We are trying to get as many PEF participants squared away before we leave as possible.  We have been having some difficulty with the finance department—communication problems as well as technical and human error.  But hopefully those are starting to get cleared up as of the last couple of days.  We have gotten pretty discouraged at times but I think we are better now.  

We spent several hours last week training Audrey Simpson who will be a Church Service Missionary to work with PEF.  We are hoping we will have another Church Service Missionary because as we learned officially this week our replacements (two senior sisters) will not be here until Dec.  Sister Simpson is a woman we met shortly after our arrival.  I was impressed with her from the beginning.  She is very bright and obviously capable.  She is one of the really good teachers we have had here.  Anyway we spent a couple of intense hours then went to lunch and continued.  Then we took her to do her grocery shopping and dropped her at her house.  She has a darling little house she rents from a couple who are in the US.  It is always interesting to see people’s homes.  Anyway, I think she will be really good.  We were going to meet again today but can’t.  She said she has read the 9 page document we gave her and with what we told her she feels pretty confident.  We will have her listen in to some of our phone calls and then have her make the rest for September as we will be gone when October comes!

We have done three employment firesides since I wrote last, Portmore, Linstead, and Mandeville.  They actually go very well.  It is a good message and we are both well prepared and the PowerPoint presentation is pretty good.  I actually have used some of the pictures I have taken around the island as decorations for the slides so they look nice even though they may detract a little from the message.  We hurried from Linstead to Spanish Town so we could meet with Pres Britton and his branch planning committee for a program they are planning on self-reliance including the Heart Trust group.  But unfortunately they did not meet (and the program is still pending—much to Bob’s dismay).  We hope they will get it off the ground before we leave as this Heart organization has education and training for many different programs all over the island.  It is much needed for our unemployed and young members.

On the day we were in Mandeville we had to hurry from there to May Pen to meet with Latoya Watson, who is the district employment specialist.  We did some more training and gave her some materials.  It was good to meet with her—she is a very industrious and successful young single woman.

Last week at our PEF committee meeting, Elder Cornish from the Area Presidency was in attendance.  He had been working with Pres Brown so sat in on our meeting.  We seemed to dominate the meeting with issues we are concerned about and hope they get taken care of before we leave.  One was the difficulties we were having with the finance department.  Elder Cornish took a copy of the issues Bob had written out and said he would talk to them—which he did in the next few days.  It may have caused some hurt and hard feelings towards us but I think it helped the communication and to get some things moving.  Elder Cornish really likes Bob, I think because he can see his talents and he really gets things done and doesn't let his age slow him down a second.
Last week we also invited the Evans to go with us to lunch at the Grogg Restaurant at Devon House.  We had been the week before with the Murdocks so we were a little surprised when they also got out of the Evans’ car.  They liked it as well as we did I guess.  We had a nice time and a very pleasant lunch in beautiful surroundings.

Monday we had Family Home Evening with the Brown family again.  We had a nice dinner and then the Wrights taught a lesson to the children and then another to the adults.  They had a raw egg named Mister Egbert who wanted to know why the Brown family is so happy.  They put him in a jar of water and with each reason the children read from slips of paper Sis Wright had prepared stating why they are happy, they added a scoop of sugar to the water.  It took all the sugar they brought but eventually Mr Egbert floated to the top of the water.  The adults enjoyed the lesson as well as the kids.  But Pres and Sister Brown got the biggest kick out of it because of course as Mr Egbert started to float the kids got less involved with the questions and answers and more involved with getting the sugar into the water.  It got a little “Typical” before the end.

Their lesson for the adults was good also—the children had retired to the other room and Elder Wright asked each of us to describe what it was about our spouse that had made our marriage a success.  He started with the Browns which was probably a wise thing since they have only been married 14 years and some of the others were 30-50 years.  There really were no duplicates and it didn't seem to be difficult for anyone to do.  The interesting thing I thought of after Pres Brown thanked us for all we had said and what examples we are for him—was that they probably have never had much experience with older couples who have been married for many years and served in the Church for many years.  There just aren't any real examples of those things in Jamaica. And though he has worked with senior couples before and she has probably known many they probably have not known them well enough to learn the things that were discussed that evening.

I was obviously Leah Brown’s favorite that night.  She helped me set the table and then sat on my lap for a good part of the evening.  I should write the word “sat” to indicate something less than a quiet relaxed body in repose.  I purposely did not even take my iPad and she did not find the iPhone, but we used the arm cover on the chair to make things.  With a little effort I remembered how to make the two babies in the cradle that Mother used to make for the children out of a handkerchief—she was particularly fond of that one—though she did like the airplanes too.

Bob and I had to get our Temple Recommends renewed that evening also.  We were sitting in Sacrament meeting listening to a talk on Temples when I decided to look at mine.  To my shock I discovered it had expired!  Bob gave me a bad time till he looked at his own and discovered the same thing.  All is well now thankfully.

Bob got some more dental work done this week and has one more appointment.  He also had an eye issue we had to see a doctor about.  Thankfully that is cleared up now too but we have a follow up this week.
We were supposed to meet with Bro Alvarado, the Area Self Reliance Director and Bro Negron the Area Employment Director this morning after very short notice of one day.  But with no notice they got stranded in Trinidad and could not make it.  We heard from Sister Evans that they were stranded or we would have gone to an 8:00 meeting this morning that did not happen.  We were looking forward to meeting with Bro Alvarado but we may yet have that opportunity.