From Victor Nugent: [Today we are concluding our "visit" to Jamaica, and will next move on to another island in the Caribbean. I received the following kind note from Victor Nugent , pioneer Church member in Jamaica. He is also the District President of the Kingston District]

Dear Dave,

I would just like to express my appreciation for the privilege of working with you on the LDS-Gems Jamaica History series. It has been a choice experience for me. The warm embers of fond memories have been rekindled, old associations have been renewed, and we have made many new friends. The response by e-mail has been astounding!

Best of all however, has been the realization that it is gratifying to pause and look back sometimes. The church has indeed grown significantly on this island, in accordance with the prophetic dedicatory prayer of Elder M. Russell Ballard in December of 1978, despite the continuing opposition, which has been engendered. In fact, we have seen that often, the greatest growth spurts occur during periods when opposition is most intense.

I recall that one day in 1979, when we were trying to get permits for just two missionaries to work on the island,a highly placed official in the Ministry of Labour, who was directly responsible for the processing of work permits for the missionaries, told me that as long as she was there, we would not be getting any more permits. I told her that the work is divine, Jesus Christ stands at the head of this Church, and ..."no unhallowed hand can stop the work."

Within six months, she was transferred from that position. Today, limits have been removed, and there are 125 full-time missionaries in Jamaica. So far, 83 Jamaicans have served full-time missions, either locally or abroad.

We have received tremendous help over the years from faithful, diligent missionary couples and other volunteers, who have served as leaders in the Branches, and used their knowledge of church government, their leadership skills, and their example of love and service to train and teach members and priesthood leaders. Among those who have rendered memorable service since the Schmeils and Palmers left, are the Striebel, Steele, Bird, Johns, Jensen, Henry, Haroldsen, de Berry, Morris, Smith, Beus, Neilsen, Petersen, Hill, Soffe, Tibbetts, Johnson and Tersey couples.

There is a great need for such couples to help with administration and training today, in Jamaica, and in other countries with a similar situation, as well.

The greatest challenge we face in Jamaica now, is with priesthood leadership. The challenge is to.."let every man learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all diligence." We know that the work will go forward gloriously, when we have more men with faith, and testimony, who will be willing and obedient, will keep commitments, honor the priesthood, and do their duty to God.

Jamaica is largely a matriarchal society, with over 80% of children born out of wedlock, and fractured families the norm. We have accepted the counsel of our living prophet, and are doing everything we can to try to build families here.

More and more, people in Jamaica are coming to realize that dysfunctional families create a dysfunctional society, and so The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been recognized and commended locally for its teachings and emphasis on family values. Truly, the answer to the ills of this nation, are to be found in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and his Church -- the Kingdom of God on earth.

We are grateful that we have the gospel on this beautiful island and that we are able to exercise our free agency here, and enjoy all the freedoms of a truly democratic society.

Thanks again for your help. And many thanks to all those LDS-GEMS subscribers who have helped to lift our spirits and inspire us to go forth with faith now.

Your brother,