Thursday, October 17, 2013

Leaning Into the Finish Line

Thursday 12 September 2013 

We got an email from Bro N asking us to meet him at the office so we got dressed and went down.  We have no idea what his agenda was or why he even wanted to talk to us but he said he was there to hire the new self-reliance manager for Jamaica.  After we talked for a minute or two he pulled out his computer and began giving us his power point presentation on the new self-reliance program.  We actually interrupted him several times making comments and suggestions and telling him that the program needs to be adapted to Jamaica and he did not hear a single thing we said; he was determined to give us the entire presentation. Even after we told him we only had 8 days left in Jamaica, he still continued to give us the whole program.  Even when we disagreed with him he continued.  We tried telling him what a good power point it was but that did not slow him down either.  He was absolutely oblivious to our comments, our attitudes, our concerns, our time or anything.  When he finally got to the end I took Bob by the hand and said we have to leave.  It had been two hours.  We had already told him we were in process of packing up etc.  I felt rude but there was absolutely no reason for him to insist on our viewing his whole presentation.  

Bro Alvarodo, the Area Self-Reliance Director, was to be there to interview as well but we never did see him or hear from him.  We found out later that he had been told we did not have time.  I fear, meaning we would not take the time rather than we were busy. Bob was a little hurt as he had offered our services in any way Bro Alvarado would need.

Friday Bob had his last orthodontist appointment (though he had to go back again to get the retainer glued better.) Saturday we drove to Old Harbour to do our last inspection of the Missionaries apartment.  We were very lucky in our inspection assignment—our missionaries were very neat and clean.  I can’t remember why we were late and in a hurry but we saw Sean on the street and he said he wanted to talk to us but we did not have time and I could not pull over so I told him we would catch him later.
Sunday we did our last employment fireside in Hopeton.  That is a nice branch and we had a nice time with them and the fireside went well.  It really is a good program and has been very well received.  That was the last of our long drives. 

Monday I told Bob I was through working and that I was going to spend this week packing.  Well I did, sort of.  We had dinner at the Chinese Restaurant with the senior missionaries and Sis Brown and that was very nice.  Everyone said good bye again.  Tuesday we spent more time trying to solve the phone problem for our CSMs.  We ended up buying a cheap phone and some minutes. We kicked ourselves that we had not thought of that earlier.  –Even that we had not thought about it for ourselves at the first of our mission so we both could have had a phone for those times when we were separated and I worried.  Then we packed up a few things and took them over to Paula’s –I was glad to be able to give some of our food and supplies we had purchased to her and Audrey. 

Even though I was a little paranoid about the packing it actually went very well so on Wednesday Bob asked me if I wanted to go to Devon House for lunch which of course I did.  I really love a Callaloo stuffed Curry Chicken dish there that I will never get at home.  We saw Sean on the street and he told us he wanted us to help him fix up a little farm or something so he wanted to talk to us about giving him some money.  Bob gave him quite a bit and we arranged to meet him on Friday so we could talk about his plan.

This is where we ate at Devon House, the Grogg Cafe which looks like is is set around the carriage house.

 This is the side front views of Devon House.  It is lovely;

Thursday Audrey invited us to dinner—we were to pick her up at 5:00 near her school and take her home for dinner.  Sister Brown also said that day would be best for them to go to lunch with us to Wendy’s.  We thought that would be fun for the kids.  They could not come until 3:00 so we thought that would work since Pres Brown had another appointment at 4:00—that would give us time to get to Audrey.  They were late, then he left in our car instead of the bus and she was to take us to the office to get our car.  We were getting very close.  By the time we got to the office we should have been leaving to get Autrey but we had to go home and get some things we were taking to her house and the cake I had baked.  We called her and said we would be late and then we really rushed—so much that I dropped the cake in the garage.  Amazingly it lit right-side up!  We were actually only a few minutes late but of course the traffic at that time of day was bad. We had a nice time with her for the rest of the evening.  I made mental notes of some of her cooking procedures.

 Jonathan and Jared Brown at Wendy's.  

In addition to the rush and confusion of meeting the Browns and getting to Audrey, Bob was also trying to arrange new interviews for the Self-Reliance manager.  It turned out that Bro N and Bro Alvarado did not find the right person last week so Bro Alvarado was sent back to finish up.  He emailed and asked Bob to arrange the interviews and talk to Pres Brown about who should be interviewed.  Bob called six people and made appointments for the next day.  The other thing he did was to coach each of them as he talked to them—telling them about the job and a little on how to present themselves.  He was totally fair with all the candidates.  He was talking to one of them in the car as we were driving to Audrey’s.  She told me later how impressed she was about how good he was at preparing the person he was talking to.  He finished up sitting in the car in front of Audrey’s while she was cooking dinner and visiting with me.

We had a visitor to our table while we were eating ice cream at the Devon House.  He was pretty brave coming so close to us and then he started showing off.

Friday Bro Alvarado asked us to come to his hotel and have breakfast with him and Bro Rapleyee who had come with him.  They asked us about our experience with Bro N the week before.  We told them about what had happened and we learned that he had been misinformed about our interest in helping Bro Alvarado.  It is unfortunate to have a negative experience with a church member with some authority but we were glad to get it straightened out and understand why Bro Alvarado did not contact us.  Bro Rapelyee was there because he knew us and he had talked to Bro Alvarado and was incredulous that he had not talked to the Pugmires about this project.  Meaning we probably knew as much or more about Self-reliance and the candidates as anyone in Jamaica.  Anyway, after breakfast I took them to the church to conduct their interviews.  Bob waited and acted as receptionist and I went home and did some cleaning and packing. I came back at the end and was there when Bro Rapelyee, who is over S & I in the Area, said this was the strongest pool of candidates he had ever interviewed in the Caribbean!  It didn't dawn on Bob until later but I knew it was because of the way he coached and prepared each candidate.

We drove the two of them to the office to meet with Pres Brown and then later back to the church for Institute class.  When we arrived back at the church Bro Alvarado asked if he could talk to us for a minute.  He asked what were the 2-3 most important things that should happen in Self-reliance in Jamaica and he took notes on what we said.  He also apologized again for the mix up the week before. He really could not have treated us better and with more respect.  It is too bad he had to lose respect for one of his managers in the process.

Saturday we met my friend Terry-Ann Dixon at the Jade Chinese restaurant for lunch.  It was very pleasant and I think she enjoyed it as well.  She lives in Port Antonio but comes to school in Kingston on Saturdays.  Sunday we went to both Boulevard and Constant Spring branches and were given the opportunity to bear our testimonies.  It was very nice and people were very kind to us and seemed very genuine about their love for us.

Monday the Senior Missionaries wanted to get together again for FHE.  We took our car to the office and dropped it off and rode with the Evans to Mortensens for a few minutes visit with them as we felt we had not really had much time to really get to know them.  They live next to Murdocks so then we just went down for dinner in a lovely gazebo off the parking lot.  Murdocks had arranged the dinner and the FHE.  It was really nice because even the Wrights took the 2 hour drive from Junction to town for the event.  What good people—fun to share with them and learn what we all feel about our missions and how different all our missions are.  We all concluded that every senior missionary couple created their own mission and determines their own success.  The Pearsons drove us back to our apartment and Murdocks picked us up at 7:00 Tues morning to go to the airport.  Camille our apartment day security person did the final clean up and took the food I left in the refrigerator.

The Wrights from Idaho Falls, Seminary and Institute/ PEF missionaries.

Pearsons from Utah, recruited by Pres Hendricks while vacationing in Negril last January.  Member/Leadership Support missionaries serving in Branch Presidency in Spanish Town 1 Branch.  Also helping with literacy and music.

 Murdocks from Utah, Humanitarian Missionaries.

Evans, Office Couple as well as Branch President of Yallahs Branch. Their third mission.

 Mortensens, from Lubbock, Texas.  MLS missionaries serving in Port Antonio and Boulevard Branches.  They were packing to leave their mission when the President told them the Lord wanted them so stay another year--so they did.

This is the end of a life changing experience.  I could have passed this by and never known what I missed but now that I know what I would have missed if I had not agreed to come on this mission I am very grateful we came.  We had many PEF participants tell us we had made a big difference for them.  Some said we had done more than anyone else before us—which is not much in some ways but it was about 10 years worth of people trying to do the job.  I know for sure Bob was the best possible person to come and solve some of the problems that had been perpetuating themselves in the program here.  And I also know he could not have done all he did if I had not been here to support, add in-put, back up with the technology, etc. so It is a really good feeling knowing we were a great team and that we really did accomplish a good work for many people.  It is also wonderful that we did a good job replacing ourselves with good people who will carry on for the PEF participants.  The influence and contribution of senior missions are huge—I mean really huge—not just for the people being served but for the mission as well.  But even more especially for the senior couple!  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true!  It is lead by inspired men –and women.  The gospel it supports is the source of true joy, peace and happiness in this life and hope, security, and peace here after.


  1. I agree about the Sr. missionaries. It sounds like you were very busy trying to get things tied up to leave. Glad you are home safely. Loves

  2. Hi, I have been trying to get in contact with current missionaries or the current mission presidents of this mission. I was wondering if you would be able to get me any email addresses that would be helpful. Thank you.