Sunday, June 30, 2013

Farewell to the Hendricks And Hastening the Lord's Work

Saturday 29 June 2013
We had a very pleasant week and half with Gabrielle Brown.  She was no trouble at all (except for my unavailable office space) and she was a pleasure to be around.  We took her to Wendy’s for dinner one evening and then again for lunch after school one day.  She says her parents don’t take them to fast food places very often but she said she enjoyed it.  We had to “take out” our lunch instead of “dining in” because she was concerned about her study time.  We also took her to the Choral concert at the University that I mentioned earlier.  She said she enjoyed it though she didn’t say much.  We enjoyed it just as much the second time as the first. We were going to take her with us when we went out to eat with the Hendricks for farewell dinner but her tummy was bothering her so she asked to stay home.  I was reluctant but figured she was pretty safe in our secure apartment.  She had a little problem on and off throughout the week I sure hope it was not all the snacks I supplied in her room which she consumed in private.

Last Saturday we took Gabby to Spanish Town where we attended the farewell for the Hendricks.  She was going from there to stay with her friend Amanda Lue (the Branch President’s daughter) so we never saw her till the end of the evening to say goodbye.  Sister Hendricks was not in attendance at this big event because she was in Miami with one of the APs who needed an emergency appendectomy while they were all traveling to some of the islands for Zone Conferences.  Thankfully the emergency occurred or at least was still manifesting itself while they were laying over in Miami or he would have had to have surgery in Jamaica or one of the other islands.  I guess Jamaica is actually okay but I sure would not want to do it.  Anyway Sister Hendricks and Elder Worley got an extra 3-4 days in Maimi.  She arrived home just before the dinner with the Senior Couples.

 Raia Richards and Pres Hendricks.  She is wearing a darling little dress made in the Jamaican plaid.

 A couple of acts by a couple of branches.

 A good crowd.  This is Pres Hendricks and Pres Medley, the Spanish Town District President.

The Jamaican Farwell for the Hendricks was really great!  It was very long because every branch in two districts (13 branches) did a skit/song—or three.  Two thirds of it was in Patois and the other third was difficult to hear but it really was a delightful evening.  The MC was the same woman who MCed the Women’s Conference a few months ago and she really is good.  She is very quick and funny; she mostly talked in Patois for the crowd but she really engaged Pres Hendricks who was sitting on the front row and got him involved.  He of course, is a really great sport and is not shy about making a fool of himself.  I know he was faking a lot because his hearing is worse than Bob’s but he can play along really well.  She got him to say ‘Yea Man’—after working on the proper accent—for almost everything she said which of course made him look silly most of the time.  She also picked on poor Elder Evans who is just the opposite of Pres Hendricks—He is totally uncomfortable with attention and being silly.  But he was a good sport too and everyone got a good laugh at his expense.  But Sister Raia Richards (one of our PEF participants) is a very talented MC.  (As a side note:  We visited her in the hospital on Thursday after the Saturday event because she had part of her colon removed because of rectal cancer.  You never would have known she had another thing on her mind when she was carrying on that Saturday.  She is hopeful everything will be okay after her surgery.)

  A couple more acts.

Sister Richards still harassing Elder Evans.

 The closing act.  After their dance under the black lights they turned around and on their backs it says: We  (Heart) U.  There is a young girl with white gloves in the middle after a little ballet type dancing and the two women on the sides are twirling white ribbons in the black light.

 This is President Piper, President of the Mandeville District who has just presented President Hendricks with several Jamaican gifts from all the people.  They ended this presentation with a big heart felt bear hug.  President Hendricks is very well loved by the Jamaican people.

On Sunday we did our last Job Seeker Seminar in Junction.  We thought it was going to be a very small group but it turned out to be about 10-15 in attendance and I made 10 mini resumes (bringing the total to about 350) so that was pretty good. We enjoyed doing these seminars and going to all the branches on the island but we are glad they are over.  The Wrights, who are assigned in Junction invited us to dinner and even encouraged us to E & R because we had to make it back to Spanish Town to first view the first ever Mission President’s Broadcast Seminar from SLC.  (Some saw the corner of Pres Brown but I missed it—but he was there along with several thousand young missionaries and 173 new Mission Presidents.)  And secondly we needed to pick up Gabby.  It really was a great seminar with lots of interesting use of media.  There is really a huge new emphasis on member missionary work and missionaries using social media to help invite others to come unto Christ.  It is an exciting time we live in.  There seems to be lots of energy among the Apostles and First Presidency and constant talk of the Lord hastening his work.  There is no doubt these are the latter days and God did promise he would hasten his work for the righteous’ sake.  I know from the Book of Mormon that the Church will never get really huge but it definitely is covering the earth already and as it grows it should be a huge benefit to those who embrace it with their whole hearts.  

Our missionary force here will be doubled before we leave.  One of the interesting changes in all missions is the Leadership Council instead of a Zone Leaders Conf  with the Mission President and his assistants and Zone Leaders.  The Leadership Council includes Sister missionary leaders because there are so many more sister missionaries serving now.  We have several more here now than we had when we arrived.  We also are getting lots of new Jamaican missionaries.  They mostly serve here in Jamaica but we do have one going to Alabama and another to Dominican Republic-Spanish speaking.  We have three of our PEF girls now with calls here in Jamaica.

Monday was sort of the three month marker for us—meaning we have three months left on our mission so we needed to contact SLC to make arrangements for our travel home.  I thought it would take a while and that is why they needed three months but we heard back in a couple of days and have our plans all set to fly to NYC for a few days and take the train to Baltimore for a few days before going on home by Oct 2.  We are looking forward to seeing our family members in the east which will save us a trip later.  We are also looking forward to seeing the rest of the family as soon as we can when we get home.

Monday evening is when we had dinner with the Hendricks’.  It was nice but not like when we said goodbye to the Larsens and everyone got to go around and say how they felt about them.  I think he may have preferred it this way though— for a big FBI type,he has actually been quite emotional about leaving.

Wednesday Bob had an appointment with Dr Law.  We were hoping he would get his braces off but that is now scheduled for next week.  He will go get the braces off, go directly to his dentist and get his teeth cleaned and then back to the orthodontist to get a permanent retainer and get fitted for his removable retainer.  This really has been a blessing to get this done with relatively little trouble while we have been here in Jamaica.  We really like Dr Law, his Orthodontist and her staff.

I was delighted when the Browns called Saturday and said they had taken the time to go meet Marie in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building while they were in SLC.  I was pretty sure they would be too busy for that.  I got a kick, but was not surprised, to learn that Pres Brown tried to recruit them for the Jamaica Mission as soon as they are through with their Family History Mission in SLC.  One month after we leave the Wrights leave and that will leave only 3 couples in all of Jamaica.  That is really serious. Senior Missionaries are so valuable to mission presidents and the local people.  I feel very sorry for Pres Brown.

Today we did the first of our new employment firesides.  The presentation went okay except the projector did not work well.  But we had a really bad turnout because of a last minute change the Branch president had to make at the request of Pres Brown.  We are hopeful about future firesides.  We think it is a very valuable message and another important step up the huge mountain which is called Unemployment in Jamaica!

I have mentioned recently how much I have been enjoying my scripture study.  I am re-reading the Book of Mormon again for the umpteenth time and the third time in Spanish.  I am reading very carefully this time and taking notes and looking at footnotes and other references and gaining many new insights.  Surprisingly, reading in Spanish also causes new insights because I have to read that so slowly.  I have always had a testimony that the Book of Mormon was true scripture translated and brought about by the power of God exactly as Joseph Smith declared.  But I have had that testimony strengthened lately.  I have heard a couple of times recently something I do not remember hearing specifically before.  A quote from Joseph Smith where he said “I have never told you I was perfect, but the revelations and doctrines I have taught are.”(Or something to that effect.)  That is a powerful testimony to me. 

 As I have been reading carefully this time I am even more convinced Joseph Smith could not have possibly written this book.  And neither could any other man.  Someone could have written a story like this but they never could have included all the obscure and vital details.  The greatest thing that convinces me is how I feel when I am studying.  I love it!  I feel excited, interested, and eager to learn more.  Sometimes I just feel the smile on my face and in my heart as my mind realizes the truth and wonder of something I have just read.
It is not just the Book of Mormon that is true either.  I have been studying about the nature of God and Jesus Christ.  Every once in a while I get a glimpse of Eternity.  I have seen some Hubble Space videos recently that just make my heart swell with the witness of the Holy Ghost that Eternity is real and we all are going to experience it—hopefully together.

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