|Gaye and Br Benjamin|
We had a visitor from St Kitts. Brother J Benjamin came to do an audit of the branch records. He stayed with us. What a delightful guy! Saturday night he was to arrive at 2150, which is quite late at night. We drove out to the airport and waited and waited for him to come through the doors where the customs and immigrations people are located. I got out of the car and sat on a bench for 10-15 minutes, then back in the car, then on the bench. After about 45 minutes it looked like everyone had come through. We had our uniforms on so he would be able to recognize us. I did not even know who I should be looking for. I sat on the bench for 5 minutes, then felt an urge to go to the doors and stand there for a while. Just then a lady emerged from inside the doors calling “Patterson, Patterson”. That is me. She beckoned me to follow her into the bowels of the customs building.
As I entered I saw a tall very dark man in a white shirt and tie with a big smile on his face. When someone comes to Tortola for the first time they need to have an address where they will be staying or they will not be allowed to enter. He had been given our address as East End, Maya Cove, but that was not enough to satisfy the officials. I use Parakeeta Bay, Denise Stoutt Apartment #3 as the address and it works very well. I will have to pass that on to the mission office for any future visitors. In any case, he said that he and the immigration officials had been trying to get in touch with us for the past 30 minutes. We had left the mission phone at the apartment and didn’t notice the absence until we got to the airport. Never again. Jason invited the customs officer to come to church. He might.
Br Benjamin was born and raised on St Kitts. He had contact with the Church when he was quite young when missionaries left a Book of Mormon with his family. None of them wanted it so he ended up with it. Some time after he and his wife got together they decided they needed a church they could both go to. He was Catholic, she was Baptist. They visited many churches and didn’t find what they wanted, so they decided to pray for guidance. Twenty minutes later the missionaries knocked on their door. They learned that the missionaries had been contacting on their street and had doors slammed in their faces all day so they went home discouraged. But they were prompted to return to the street and knock on a few more doors. Lives have been forever changed as a result. They were baptized about 9 years ago and have had their marriage sealed in the Santo Domingo temple. The family now has four daughters and two loving parents who are raising them in the power and admonition of the Gospel.
Jason’s first calling was as second counsellor in the branch presidency. He has been the BP twice and served in many other leadership roles in the church. He doesn’t care where he serves, he just serves with all his might. Jason was the BP when Steve and Hailie Haymore were on St Kitts attending vet school. Steve grew up in our ward in Twin Falls and was one of Spencer’s boyhood friends. Small world.
There are times when I meet a person who seems to be a kindred spirit. Br Benjamin is one of those kindred spirits. He is about 6 feet tall and very slender, in spite of having a prodigious appetite and capacity to consume food. His dark skin is the color of black walnut, and just as beautiful. Since we have met Jason, our lives will never be the same. I am finding that to be true more and more frequently. I have thought that in the next life the righteous will all be blessed with fair skin and straight brown or blond hair, the typical Aryan appearance. Now I have no idea how racial characteristics will fit in. Jesus was Jewish ethnically, not Caucasian. Oh well, just one more question to put on the shelf for answers later.
Flash: Jason can't fly out until Monday morning because his plane has mechanical problems. Good. We get to spend more time with him.
The weather has been amazing lately. We actually had rain one day last week with clouds sitting on the ridge behind the church. For the last three days there has been very little wind, just the usual gentle breeze from the east. The waves on the beaches on the south shore (that is the side we live on) have been very small and lazy. We drove over to the north side (that is the Atlantic side) to show Brother Benjamin the island and the waves were crashing with a mighty roar. The temperatures during the daytime are in the low 80 degree range. At night they are a very comfortable cooler mid-70’s. Oh yea, I forgot. That is where they have been since we got here. Still very little precipitation, so the vegetation is all quite brown and dormant. It will all change one of these days.
|Bougainvilla blossom drifts|