Friday 21 June 2013
Monday we had a PEF meeting where we had invited guests from an organization called Heart Trust to come and tell us about their program. They provide free and low cost training for people to help them get employment. They are located all over the island and a lot of our members seem to be somewhat acquainted with the organization and a few have even received training but it seems to me there could be a whole lot more who could benefit. I am not sure there is not some kind of stigma against it. We will learn more later.
Pres Hendricks and Pres Brown were involved in a meeting in another part of the island and it lasted much longer than they expected so they actually did not make it to the meeting so we rescheduled with them on Thursday. When we did meet with them there was something in the atmosphere that made it one of the less enjoyable meetings for me. There seemed to be some tension and miscommunications that did not really get resolved. I can’t imagine why! Pres Hendricks is feeling huge pressure to finish all he needs to and Pres Brown is feeling huge pressure trying to get his family and all his affairs in order to move and take over a huge responsibility. Things will calm down to a less stressful environment soon.
Bob won't be excited about this picture but I think it is cute because it shows the real Bob. He is running on the patio in our building. He runs up there because it is totally private and he can take off his shirt and get the sun. That is what I love about this picture. Notice the running area he is staying in. He will not even turn in the shade. I on the other hand keep my shirt on and stay in the shade.
Friday evening Latoya Williams, the assistant to the Facilities Manager who also works in the same building as the Mission Office invited us all to go to a choral concert at the University of The West Indies. Apparently this group has a reputation around the world as a very good choral group. The Pearsons decided not to go so there were only 6 of us so we could pick up the Evans and Murdocks on the way. I realized later that this was because neither of these men drive in the dark if they can help it. I don’t either if I can help it—it is horrible to try to see with lights shining in your eyes and knowing there are people who could be on the road at any time!
Anyway, it was an outstanding experience. We all loved the music and the rhythm and the energy of the performance. They sang many songs in perfect unison or harmony or syncopated and a couple with only one word or phrase repeated over and over. Their movements were simple but in total unison or perfectly synchronized. The first half was about an hour and a half long and it was pretty formal. The second half was a lot of different folk types of music from Jamaica and other islands.
Saturday Morning we had to pick up a couple people on our way to Spanish Town for another employment training workshop. Sister Moodie is trying to teach the other Employment Specialists how to teach the Career workshop. It was long and sort of tedious and I got tired and cranky. (I hope no one noticed however) We stopped with another car load on the way home and got pizza. That was fun to be with several young Jamaicans as they visited and talked together.
Sunday we had a nice day. We went to the Constant Spring Branch and Bob blessed the baby of one of our PEF participants that we (he mostly) have become quite close to. It was a very good Sacrament meeting with good speakers so all was good except that the baby cried all through the blessing so Bob didn’t feel he was able to concentrate on the spirit as much as he would have liked.
Sade, Miguel, and Morani on his blessing day.
I was not really looking forward to having Pres Brown’s 12 year old daughter stay with us while they go to Mission President’s training in SLC so I spent Monday and Tuesday sort of fussing about it. When she came on Wednesday after noon all my stresses went away. (Except for the fact that she has taken over my office and study room.) I have to use the living room which does not have air-conditioning for one thing and for another it is where the TV is and Bob likes to watch some TV some evenings—that means I have to be mobile. Two out of the two nights now I have fallen asleep before he comes to bed which is not good because that means we do not read or pray together before we go to sleep.
Today is the third day of the ten and we are going to take Gabbie (Gabrielle Brown) to Wendy’s for dinner and to a repeat of the concert we heard last weekend. We think she will really enjoy it.
Gabbie Brown--a nice mixture of her mom and dad. Darling girl.
We had Zone Conference today. We had forgotten about it and had taken Gabbie to school in our P-day clothes. So we had to hurry home to change and hurry to the church. I am so glad we did not miss it. As it was we had to leave a little early to pick Gabbie up from school. (She is taking final exams and only goes to school half days. –that is why she is not staying with a friend.) Anyway, Pres Hendricks got pretty red faced and red eyed as we sang “Called to Serve”. He remarked that that would be the last time he gets to sing that song with missionaries—“My missionaries.”
He gave an amazing talk about making the transition between leaders. He related how when Pres Kimball was the President of the Church and not well enough to fully function Pres Hinckley was really the only member of the First Presidency who was physically able to lead. Pres Benson was the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. When they would confer Pres Benson always deferred to Pres Hinckley as a member of the First Presidency even though he out ranked him in the Quorum of the Twelve. However, the minute Pres Kimball passed away Pres Hinckley turned to Pres Benson and said what would you like me to do President.--Because he now was the presiding officer. He then taught “If you want inspired leadership you have to follow the leader that the Lord inspires”. He pointed out that the real Leader is the Savior and He does things in order. He inspires and expects us to follow the designated and called leader.
President Hendricks then told his missionaries. Friday night when Pres Brown comes home, the minute his foot touches the ground you turn your back to me and your face to Pres Brown. Do not allow a single bump in the road as you make that transition. He then encouraged them to accelerate the work during the transition--do not let it slack at all or wait to be told what to do by Pres Brown.
This is Pres Hendricks and Pres Brown. They really do have a wonderful relationship.
He illustrated again using Moses and Joshua as an example. When The Lord instructed Moses to turn over the leadership to Joshua the Lord sustained him. He demonstrated this by stopping the flow of the flooding Jordan River the moment the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Covenant set their feet in the water. So they and the Children of Israel could cross to the other side on dry land—not muddy land but dry. The people were convinced but Joshua challenged them—who are you going to follow the gods of the Ammorites or the God of Israel? He didn’t say are you going to follow them or ME. He taught who the Real Leader is. The Prophet is only the designated earthly leader—who follows the true Leader--the Lord.
He said “As long as you don’t take your eye off the Master, you can “walk on water”—so to speak. This of course was referring to Peter walking on the water to the Master.
He taught an even more profound lesson a little later. He talked about being sanctified and how we have to return to the temple to really become sanctified—which means more than clean and pure but set apart for a Holy Purpose. Then he retold the story of Abraham being asked to sacrifice Isaac. He gave the background about when Abraham himself was almost made a human sacrifice. He explained how Isaac had to have cooperated in the sacrifice. And how Sarah also had to have been consulted and accepted the will of the Lord. And of course the Angel of the Lord stopped him before he actually killed his son that he loved so much. “The Lord did not want Abraham’s son, he wanted Abraham’s heart!” He needed to know how serious and devoted and humble and faithful Abraham (and Sarah) really was. Abraham proved himself.
Then he talked about how when we go to the temple there are altars there also where we symbolically make our own sacrifices. We have promised to give our all—but he “stops our hand” and requires only 10%. (for example). He encouraged us never to take anything off the altar—to always be willing to give our all--to prove our faithfulness to the Lord always. He said sometimes it is easier to “give” our life than to “live” our life for God. Daily living is the hardest part of living our covenants.
It is hard to get the full impact of what he taught but I hope these few notes will help me to remember what he taught—to remember what I have promised (covenanted) and never try (or allow myself) to take back anything.
I wish I could remember and apply all the wonderful things I have learned and felt in my life. I would be a much better person that is for sure!
We got a note today saying that our first Mission President, Alan Ahston has been called to be the President of the Provo Temple. It just reminded me of what Pres Hendricks was saying about how missions, companions, trainers, Mission Presidents will forever be an important part of our lives. He told about a 95 year old man who still calls him even though his father, who was this man’s Trainer, has been gone since 1990. He still feels connected to his Trainer through his Trainer’s son.
One final little note. The other day we were in the mission office. There is an entry which has a door to the President’s office and another one into Sister Evans’ office. I was talking to Sister Evans and Bob was sitting in the entry, Pres Hendricks door was open and he was working at his desk. All of a sudden I heard his big loud voice boom out “Elder Pugmire, Don’t you ever die! Do you hear me?”—I wonder how long we have to obey our mission president?—hopefully for a very long time after we get home!