Monday 28 January
Last week was a relatively quiet week. The first week of the month is our busy week for making phone calls though we make a number of calls almost every day just to keep up on a number of different things for our PEF participants. We talk to them about the type of payment plan they are on, about paying off their loan for a 10% discount, about job information, we even did a resume for one of our participants this week via email. So we keep pretty busy in general though some times are obviously much busier than others. I also spend time on the computer at a website the program has where I can print up reports that give us lots of different information we can use to better help our participants. Bob is working on a data base with notes about our participants so he can know them better when he talks to them. I am trying to get pictures of them for him to include. This is hard as they are spread over the whole island.
Anyway, we had a little time last week. On Tuesday we took Sister Sandra Moodie to lunch. She is the Employment Specialist for Spanish Town 1st Branch and probably for the District and possibly even the island. She seems to be the only one who really knows about employment in Jamaica and she is well known by the Employment people in the Area. Anyway, she works at the Money Museum at the Bank of Jamaica—the national bank, down on the water in Kingston. The museum was quite interesting. It is small but has a lot of interesting information about the history of money in Jamaica and around the world. Then we had lunch and talked about our Jobs seminars which she has been to a couple of times. She seems to think what we are doing is good and the right thing for the people here at this time. We are not sure the Area people agree but we have confidence in her opinion.
This is Sister Moodie on the left. The couple is the Broomfields. She is in the District Primary Presidency and he is a District Clerk. They are all from Spanish Town 1st Branch.
Wednesday we had an appointment with Dr Law to tighten Bob’s braces so we did a little shopping while we were out. Thursday evening all the senior missionaries met at a fish restaurant run by some people some of the missionaries met when we went up to Holy Well. They went earlier and recommended it but I doubt we will go again as the service was very slow even for Jamaica and I don’t think many people were really impressed with their meal. It was fun to see everyone even though we did not get to visit much because it was also noisy. A funny thing happened as we left though. I parked the car right up next to the front door but when we came out there was no room to move it so the valet pulled it out for me—out into the street going the wrong direction. When I told him it was facing the wrong direction he said “I’ll stop traffic for you” so he stepped out into the street while I made a big U turn and got going in the right direction. That is Jamaica—no one even thought about honking. It is all okay.
Friday we went to Institute class again. We really enjoy this even though we are a little obvious in the group. No one seems to mind having us there. Pres Brown is the teacher and he really is good. We are studying the New Testament. These young people really are amazing. They have very deep insights and they really do not seem to be very shy about sharing their feelings. Pres Brown really tries to get them to feel what is being taught and I think he does a good job. This week we learned about the apostles who had first let the Savior down and then when He returned and they learned who He was and what they were supposed to do they became very strong and even capable of many miracles similar to what He had preformed. Then Pres Brown got us to think about the modern Apostles and how they are like those of old. It was a very good and important lesson for all of us.
Saturday we got up early and drove to Negril—the farthest point of the island from us. (Negril is where we ran our 10K in December.) I was not really looking forward to the drive as the roads are bad and difficult to drive but it was not all that bad. I think many of the pot holes had been repaired. That does not help the narrow windy roads but it was a little better. Like Bob said you have to be extremely aware and conscious of many different things at all times as you drive on these roads. Pot holes, curves, goats alongside the road, pedestrians, walking and riding bicycles , oncoming traffic, (cars who may be passing and need part of your lane), cars trying to pass you—even when you are trying to pass the car in front of you, etc etc. At the same time the country is so beautiful and the sights so interesting you want to see as much of that as you can also.
Anyway we arrived in time to meet the missionaries in the middle of town about 15 minutes before we had planned to. We had called them telling them we would be there and that Sister Hendricks had asked us to inspect their apartment. So we met them but one of them had a flat on his bike so we had to basically follow them as they walked along the street to their apartment. I would pull over and wait for them to get a ways ahead then I would drive up to the next place where I could pull over. It worked. We took them to lunch at Ricks, which is a nice restaurant on the water. We went there before—they have divers to entertain the diners. The Elders enjoyed it as did we. They are good young men. Elder Christensen is the trainer and Elder Barber (and is our first 18 year old) got here on Tuesday. They are both from Utah though at first I thought Elder Christensen may have been Jamaican.
Elder Barber and Elder Christensen. Good missionaries working hard and having a wonderful experience. They love Negril!
Their apartment was in very good condition under the circumstances. The walls, floor, appliances, sinks, etc were so stained they could not have gotten them any cleaner but I was impressed. I sure would not have liked living in that apartment or that neighborhood however! They showed us where the Church was and we dropped them off and went to our hotel—the Travel Beach Resort.
They made a mistake and gave us a double bed. I am so grateful someone else came in and did not want their room with two beds so we could trade--Bob fell right to sleep that night but I was awake almost every hour throughout the whole night. When we arrived we changed into our swim suits and went to the pool. I really did not want to go into the ocean and have to deal with the sand again so we sat by the pool and read for a couple of hours. Bob got in the pool but did not really swim. Then we walked down the beach for a while. We had dinner at the restaurant there at the hotel. It was right on the water and very beautiful. The music was not bad during dinner though a little loud. But after dinner it got really loud and then they had some karaoke or something going on all night. Jamaicans like their music loud and then to really broadcast it to the next town they use huge loud speakers. O my goodness it can be loud! I laid awake most of the night worrying if I was going to be able to stay awake driving home the next day.
The beach for the hotel. The dining area is on the right hand side of the picture. Beautiful!
We loved going to the Negril Branch. We drove up the driveway not knowing where to park as it was obvious a family lived below the Church. As it turned out there must be several families living in the same building. There was a woman doing her laundry by hand at the bottom of the stairs up to the chapel. I asked if I could take her picture and promised I would not post it on face book-- I hope I am not breaking my promise by posting it in my blog. We met Pres Henry before the meeting and were able to visit with him for a minute.
We are very fortunate to have washers. This woman knows about washers but she is not unhappy with what she has. She told about a friend of hers who makes sure she gets her Bluing soap every time she comes back to Jamaica. I am going to try it out on my whites.
This is President Douglas Henry. A really dedicated man. His wife works in Miami and has been gone for 2 years. The rest of his family is in Kingston but he stays in Negril largely to keep the Branch going. He worries it may be closed because there are so few active members.
Pres Henry in his office. I took this mainly because of the curtain.
The facility actually is very nice for a meeting place. It must have been a large 4 bedroom apartment. There was a large area with windows and a small patio at one end and a sink and counter top at the other. There were two smaller rooms on each side. One for Primary, one for Priesthood, One for Youth (I think) and one for the Branch President’s office, (RS met in the Chapel). There may have been 15 people there—with at least two investigators. We did not go to Sunday School as we were meeting with one of our PEF participants during that time but in Relief Society we had three members and a tourist, and me. It was a wonderful meeting—very good discussion and a sweet spirit of sisterhood. I don’t know how many men were in Priesthood meeting but the tourist taught the lesson (It was his second week there) and there was another tourist there as well plus Bob. I hope we will be able to return to visit that branch again it has a very warm spirit about it.
This is the building where the Negril Branch meets upstairs. You can see the Church sign in the middle window on the top.
This is the Chapel and I suspect the Cultural hall as well. You can see through the doorway on the left someone in one of the other rooms. We sang to a CD but they really sang out! I think there were about 15 in attendance.
Our jobs seminar went well. We had about seven participants including the branch president and then a couple of Older Gentlemen (Bob gave me a warning about using that term as they were both probably younger than he by a few years.) Anyway, I think they only came out of curiosity. But while Bob taught I typed up the mini resumes and then before they left we printed them on card stock and cut them on the paper cutter we brought and they went on their way with a hand full of mini resumes to help them in their networking to find jobs. We felt pretty good about how it went—though I must say I was dripping again because of the stress as well as the heat.
Some of the Branch members:
Maurice Smith. His hair is braided up in a little knot on the top of his head.
Renee Aurthurs--very shy but enjoyed having her picture taken.
Sister White who has spent a lot of time in Massachusetts--and you can hear it in her accent. But she has come home permanently to Negril.
Nashell Haughton one of our PEF participants. She works as a receptionist and doctor's assistant now but wants to be a registered nurse or a midwife.
Thankfully the trip home was uneventful. I was able to stay awake—it would have been impossible to fall asleep on such roads and having to be so super-alert at every moment. I was concerned about coming home in the dark but it didn’t get really dark until we were back on pretty familiar roads. We did have to stop to try to take a picture of the moon. As we were coming up one of the main streets the full moon was sitting in a bed of clouds right in front of us. It really was spectacular but I could not stop for a picture there so we had to chase it a little until I was able to pull over and get a shot. It was not as beautiful but it turned out kind of interesting anyway.
We had soup for supper and went to bed very early and slept a long time thankfully!