Saturday, 13 May 2017

In the Bush

Today we made our way farther into the Bush than we have ever been in an attempt to locate a man Raymond with the yard name "Pretty".  All we knew about the man was that he had approached our missionaries in Mandeville and requested a copy of the Book of Mormon.  When we left this morning all we knew was that he lived "out beyond Somerset" in a place called "Cooley Mountain.

On the way we passed by a Church which was conducting a funeral.  Funerals are very long in Jamaica.  There were dozens of cars aligned on both sides of the narrow road which could already only accommodate for single lane traffic.  At one point we were stopped by a taxi that was dropping off an elderly lady who required a wheel chair.  I had rolled down the window to be able to hear the man escorting us through the parked cars.  I stopped exactly by another elderly lady that was so beyond herself in grief that I was amazed that nobody in this relatively large crowd was coming to her aid.  Like most Jamaicans she made no effort to move from the street and all I could do was get an earful of wailing while waiting.

Finally we were able to push our way through and after a good drive made it to Somerset. The first set of directions got us on the right turn toward Cooley Mountain at least to the "fenced area".  The next set of directions got us to the left turn at the "square" which was really closer to a 170 degree turn.  We really passed up the road and got corrected by a very old lady carrying some kind of a load whom we could barely understand.

When we got to Cooley Mountain we pulled into a drive-way and talked to an older gentleman that was visiting his family from Philadelphia.  I know right!  We are miles out in the bush along a one way oil and chip and we meet this man who happens to be visiting and is leaving back for the states tomorrow.  They helped us call "Pretty" and being concerned for our safety elected to escort us to a "bush store" where we would meet a man named "Winston" and he could direct us from there to our destination.  Our escort reminded us several times that we were "in the bush" and to be careful who we spoke to.  When the lane to "Pretty's" home went to dirt he walked ahead of us to the entrance of Raymond's (Pretty) home and there stood this wonderful old man smiling from ear to ear welcoming us to his home.

He provided three old chairs for the ladies while he and I sat on the concrete railing of the porch.  We began our discussion but were interrupted by a man carrying a sack of yams obviously for Raymond and his family.  After he haggled the man down and only bought a partial sack full we were able to get back to the discussion.

Raymond expressed gratitude for the book that was allowing him to know even more about Jesus Christ and told us several times that the name of Jesus Christ was the only name under heaven whereby salvation comes unto the children of men.  We talked about the origins of the Book of Mormon, of the restoration of the gospel and the First Vision of Joseph Smith.  He read while being instructed from the Introduction to the Book of Mormon and then read to us from 3rd Nephi chapter 11 which records Savior's visit to the ancient inhabitants of the Americas after his Resurrection.  He surprised us by asking if we baptized and of course received an immediate invitation to be baptized once he had learned for himself of the truthfulness of our message.

We have been out in the bush before but not in such a vulnerable situation as we now found ourselves in.  However; we had been warmly welcomed at the store by "Winston" and the other bush Jamaicans and couldn't really identify any hint of threat or harm.  Nevertheless, I could not help but think that our family members would probably not be too thrilled if they could see us and I kept a close eye on the truck.  The mood was excellent and Jocelyn was especially excited about the experience.

On the way home we tried to video some of our travel but didn't have too much luck.  I figure most people won't believe us when we get home about some of our adventures here and we will probably just have to treasure them up in our own minds.  As we were traveling we met up with a truck and I had to get so far over on the road that I could sense that I only had half a tire over the roads edge and a steep incline.  I was glad that he passed and I could make the course correction in the right direction.

At so it is.  Another day in "wonderland" as I have come to call it and another adventure.  You literally have no way of knowing what is around the next corner!

Safe Travels
Look-a-more (Later)

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