Sunday, March 31, 2013

Variety Week

Sunday 31 March 2013

Sunday 24 March we went to Old Harbour Branch for our PEF Fireside.  This is about an hour from Kingston so it was nice to be near home.  We got there quite early and called the local Elders to get us to the church.  It turned out to be an upstairs room over a hardware store.  But there is a sign hanging outside and the facility is quite adequate.  One of the Sacrament meeting speakers was a woman who must have had an assigned topic of Marriage because she sounded like she really did not want to address that topic and it became apparent that it was a sore subject for her.  I talked to her cousin afterward and learned that her husband had abandoned her not long ago.  I had some important (to me) thoughts as she was speaking that I may or may not include in this posting since they are pretty personal. 

 Here is the Old Harbour Church.

Okay, so I decided to put in my personal ruminations since this is sort of my journal as well as our blog.  As I have mentioned below regarding some other personal thoughts and confessions this week I hope my friends will be patient and accepting of my personal thoughts.

Marriage is the preparation for Godhood.
We learn to control ourselves and to live with and cooperate with a partner as a preparation for being a God who organizes worlds.
We work with a spouse and children to learn to govern as a God of a whole world

If God governed This world the way people act in the world how long would the world last?
If people acted the way God governs this world how long would the world last?

People who are unfaithful to a spouse are unfaithful to God who instituted marriage as a training for Godhood. How could a person who is unfaithful to a spouse be faithful to God or be faithful to the calling of a god? How could a person who violates the laws of chastity and morality as the laws of God be trusted to be faithful as a disciple of God?
How can a person who trifles with the power of God within him of procreation be expected to take seriously the powers of creation?  How could our Heavenly Father trust that person to govern in the Church let alone in his own world? 

For Sunday School they just turned some of the chairs around in the back of the room and arranged a few chairs in the front of the room in a semi circle—I realized later that these were arranged so the teacher who sat the whole time could rest her arms on the backs of the chairs next to her.  (I don’t know if this is why but it is what happened.)  So two classes were taking place in the same room—I didn’t think it would out but it actually worked and the teacher did a very good job.  She was very good about involving lots of people.  I heard later that she is a high school English teacher.

Relief Society was pretty good.  I tried to introduce the No Poor Among Us program but I did not feel I connected as in some of the other branches.  The class was pretty good even though the teacher did not show and we had to read and discuss the Ensign talk as we went along.  Our PEF presentation went very well also so it was another good day.

This is Alexia Pinnock.  We met her the first Sunday we were in Jamaica about 2 weeks before her marriage.  Her husband Vaughn had been a member of the Church for a year when they got married.  He is now a Councilor to the Branch President and will one day be a Branch President I am sure.  Alexia is the Relief Society President.  (Married less than 6 months.)

 Yes, these little dolls are triplets!  About 2 years old.  Mother was amazingly patient and calm the entire day.  Dad is not a member so was not there fortunately she has lots of support form others in the branch both men and women.  Pres Brown said there were triplet girls born in Spanish Town about the same time these little guys were born.

Tuesday I met with Carrie again.  I think she really just likes to talk to me but I think it is good for her so we will continue.  That evening we went to Linstead for another PEF fireside.  I don’t know when we will stop getting lost and making wrong turns.  It is a good thing we never get upset over it.  We took a wrong turn in Linstead and had the experience of a lifetime.  It was a one way street so no way to escape when I realized it and saw the street literally packed solid with taxis and masses of people.  I slowly pulled up behind a taxi as we crept through the packed street.   On both sides of us were tons of produce and articles for sale and many people buying and selling and eating and talking and moving through the street as if there were no cars around.  The speedometer on our car did not even register movement.  The taxi in front of us stopped several times and people packed in.  When his car was full he moved a little faster but not until.  I could feel people bump up against our car as we crept through the street and some walked in front with not even a notice of us.  I wish I had had a camera but I was so enthralled with the experience it did not even occur to me.  (I would not have taken pictures where people could see me do it.  I am very sensitive about offending people by making their lives which are very real and serious to them a novelty and curiosity to me.  4 months ago or maybe even 3 I would have been very nervous on that street as it was so crowded but I was not.  I really enjoyed the experience and the opportunity to see this teeming mass of life on the market street of Linstead, Jamaica.

 This is Carrie.  When I first met her I thought she was about 14.  She is actually 24.  Very sweet young woman. 

Our fireside went well but I was very self conscious and Bob said he didn’t know how I did it but I talked about the importance of repaying a loan you promised to pay, not for the sake of the fund, but for your own integrity etc.  One of the people who has not made a payment in about 7 years was sitting right in front of me and I am very sure I was making her very uncomfortable.  I felt bad but it really is an important thing for the people here to understand and really feel.  (In the meantime I am working to get this woman’s debt forgiven because it is not her fault she was not able to finish her program and she has not been employed since the school she was attending closed and the owners left the country with the money.)

This was a very thoughtful week.  As Bob said we had some real growth this week.  I wrote about my experience and so I am going to include it and hope my friends will be understanding and not judge me too harshly.

We have survived March. As a matter of fact it has flown by with 9 PEF firesides and 2 job seminars. It was hard at times and we were very tired a lot of times but it was still fun to be able to meet so many new people.  But as we finish one thing we take on something else as we have so many times in the past. We have been resisting really getting involved with employment beyond what we had created and we were comfortable with. I have been particularly resistant and I finally realized why--it is because I felt railroaded into something I was afraid of. I am beginning to recognize this trait in myself--when I feel pushed to do something I don't know how to do, my fear caused me to react in anger and resistance. I can be pretty unpleasant. But I have also realized as I have gone forward and started doing what I have to do, my fear starts to dissipate and I can even become very involved and energetic about that which I had previously resisted. 

I'm not particularly proud of this particular trait but as we are now entering another of these situations. I recognize my reaction and feel much more in control over my frustration and anger. When we first came to Jamaica we were told we would be doing employment as well as PEF.  Neither of us remembers who informed us of this or when we heard or how we heard it--as a matter of fact we are in conflict as to how it happened. But in our minds we were PEF missionaries and would do employment as we were able. But somehow our employment seeking seminars occurred  very early in our mission. As the Area people sort of started to push us more into doing it another way, we resisted.

Well yesterday we spent the entire day trying to learn how to use We have looked at it many times and tried halfheartedly to promote it with PEF participants but now we have accepted a mandate we actually received in the beginning but resisted and even ignored (I think because of what I was talking about earlier). We are trying to learn how it can be used here with people who are not looking for professional jobs. We have actually been given the assignment to make some suggestions about how it can be more useful for people with little or no education or training. When Elder Cornish was here we expressed our frustration about and he agreed and said he would look into it. Well that is where this assignment came from. (Good leadership skill--listen to the frustration, empathize with the person, offer support, follow-through, then assign that person the job of fixing it.) 

Bob and I are a lot alike in what I described but he is much better about finally taking the bull by the horns. As a matter of fact this is one of his great strengths. When he starts thinking about something and really working on it mentally he is in his element. I am like that to a certain degree but it is a real strength in Bob. So we are trying to learn about the thing we resisted so that we can help make it more usable for people like the 160+ we have encountered in our jobs seminars.  One of the things that is helping our attitudes is that there is now a couple called to be Education/Employment Specialists in the district and so they will be able to carry on and do much more than we can do after we are gone. It really would be wonderful to help bring about a change in that would be valuable for these job seekers here.

Friday we had another Sister Larsen Special.  She invited 7 of her keyboard students to bring their keyboards and they all played together in concert as she led them.  It really was good practice for them and they really had a good time doing it.  They want to do it again.  

These are some cute young people.  This was a day off school that they came to the church at 2:00 in the afternoon for this event. (not an easy task for some of them) Sabrina Singh, George Robinson, Shirlette Brown, Alexia Brown, Shequil Peart.

 Latoya Williams on the far end came a little later and then another young man came still later.  The audience was Elder Larsen, the Pearsons and the Pugmires and a couple of Peart boys. We sang as they played.

And on Saturday Sister Larsen taught the next phase of her quilting class which she did several months ago.  The women really do enjoy getting together and they are coming along on their projects but are not finished so they are going to try to squeeze in one more session before Larsens leave in June.

 Sister Murdock with the RS sisters.  She and I came to help Sister Larsen.

Today we went to Yallhas Branch. Elder Evans is the Branch President there so when we asked if we could come do our PEF Fireside there he invited us to speak in Sacrament meeting.  Yallhas is about an hour away from home so it was a pretty nice drive along the south eastern coast.  The branch is small and they meet in a nice little house and the room was full.  I noticed that the Elders were standing in the doorway because there were no seats left to sit.  Bob did a particularly good job with his talk.  He really spoke with authority and conviction that I am sure went to the hearts of many.  Mine was okay too so I think people were spiritually fed during the meeting.  The whole congregation watched a new video release from the Church on Priesthood Strengthening Families.  It was very good.

This is the little house that is the Church building in Yallhas.

This is Samuel.  I met him when I came out to get a picture of the building.

 Samuel wanted me to take a picture of him with his bike.

Our presentation was a Jobs Seminar as there was only one person interested in PEF.  I talked to her privately before our presentation.  While Bob was talking I was watching three, thirty something women in the corner and suddenly remembered a new directive we recently received and I just reviewed yesterday about the Church’s Women’s Endowment Fund being suspended and PEF replacing it for women over 30.  I don’t really know if I was inspired but I asked to talk to the three of them afterward and told them about the fund and suggested if they had ever had dreams of going to school or getting training for a specific career or job that they might consider PEF at this time.  I don’t know if any of them will follow through but a couple of them seemed a little interested.

There is no room inside the meeting room for the keyboard so they play from outside the window.  Sister Evans played for the meeting but this young woman is learning to play.  Her mother is supervising her.

This is the 16 year old key board player.  

This is all one family.  Older brother is leaving soon on a mission.

Sorry I cut off the top of the stack of braids on the top of his head.  Cute little guy.

This little guy was adorable.  He did have a vest on but mommy took off him without even disturbing him one bit.  I am sorry I did not get Daddy in the picture I had a nice visit with him and looked at pictures of his kids as well as the truck he drives on his phone.

This is Beverley Williams.  I asked her to tip her hat back so I could see her face but she never did take it off.


  1. Sister Pugmire,

    My name is Janine Creager and my son is Elder Adam Creager who is currently serving in Port Antonio with Elder Dawkins. I came across your blog while doing a search for Jamamican missionaries. I love reading about your experiences as it helps me understand the culture and people Elder Creager is working with. I especially liked your comments about the elders' clean and orderly house in your last post! Thanks for your service! It's good to know there are missionaries such as you and your husband there in Jamaica!


  2. As always, Tone, you sound busier and busier. Do you think you will get everything done you want to in your year? That picture of the triplets is adorable and the mother is beautiful. We're having good weather for Conference, so that is good. LOTS of people around.
    Loves to you and Bob