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.