Monday, July 30, 2012

Life goes on in Guyana

Dear friends and family,
 It has been good to hear from many of you this week. Mayara, I hope that your Mom is doing alright with her surgery.  Amy, it was really fun to read your letter that Mary copied and put on the email. We were actually in the office with 4 elders when we read it so they all read it with us. They were a little jealous about the steak and potatoes that you ate at the MTC.
We have been trying to visit a few members of the church from different parts of the Georgetown area so that we would know the students who want to use Perpetual education loans and help them apply. We still don't know how to help them very well but it is good to meet them and their families, so we know who we are talking to when they call and ask for help.

We also took it upon ourselves to visit the Elders in one of the apartments because we were told that it was not fit to live in. We found that the electricity didn't work in the bathroom, the shower had to be turned of by opening the bathroom window and turning a knob outside, and there was a hole in the floor of the bedroom where rats came in on occasion. We talked to the landlord about fixing those things and don't intend to pay any rent until he fixes those things. The floor and walls are in okay shape however and so I think that they will be okay to live there after the repairs are done.

Becky, happy birthday on Wednesday. I hope you spend the day doing things you really enjoy. August 1st is a big holiday in Guyana. It is called immancipation day, the day when the black people in Guyana were freed from slavery from the British who lived in Guyana. I went shopping at the grocery store today and they took 7 % off the grocery bill to celebrate and also gave us a free t-shirt because we spent over 50 US dollars (2000 GUY dollars). Speaking of money, the exchange rate is 1 US dollar to 200 GUY dollars. So a quart of milk costs 400 dollars which is 2 dollars US. It takes a little getting used to, figuring out how much you are spending. We usually get 150 US dollars worth of money at the ATM to live on each week. That is 30,000 GYU dollars. That is a lot of bills!

So life goes on and we are learning lots of things. I have been studying my latest book "Microsoft Office 2007 for Dummies" this week and finding out how some of the commands work that I didn't know existed. Fun and games.
We love you all!

Mom and Dad

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Reply from Elder Cornish

Elder J. Devn Cornish is in the area presidency for the area which includes the West Indies mission.  Mom and Dad had some email communication with him when they were first learning how to run the Guyana mission office.  In his recent email, Dad accidentally included Elder Cornish's address among the family addresses.  Elder Cornish sent a gracious reply back to him (which was also sent to the entire family.) 

On Saturday, July 28th Elder Cornish wrote:

Dear Elder and Sis Beutler,

You can see how very much you are needed! We love you and are grateful for your services.

Elder J. Devn Cornish

Elder Cornish gave a super talk in a recent general conference which can be read here.  (Don't miss his humorous story about praying to find a quarter so that he could buy a piece of fried chicken.)

Letter From Dad

Saturday, July 28, 2012

I have had kind of a hard time not having time to actually teach the gospel. We ended up training to run the mission office here in Guyana. This is certainly a third world country when it comes to finances. We have to go stand in line to pick up bills, come to the office scan them to Trinadad(the mission head quarters), hand write the checks and go stand in line to pay them. I hope to speed up the process once I take completely over so I have time to work with people.

I have had to learn more computer skills because I don’t have Cole or Sherry [Dad's secretary and school computer expert, respectively] to guide me. I am learning slow but sure. We also are in the Perpetual Education area with the young adults. That also requires all computer use.

It’s good to be in the full time service of our Lord Jesus Christ. I just hope, Sister Beutler and I can become more productive than we are now.

God Bless you,
Elder Beutler

Saturday, July 21, 2012

These past 2 weeks we have been dealing with legal issues concerning the missionaries.  In Guyana, missionaries who are not native can only obtain a visa for 3 months.  Then they have to leave the country for a day or two and when they enter again they have their visa stamped for another 3 months.  When we arrived we only had ours stamped for one month.  So, in looking at the visas of the missionaries, including ourselves, we found that there were eight of them who needed to leave because their visas had expired.  Even though none of the couples visas had expired, they were due to expire in two weeks so 14 of us had to renew our visas.  This is time consuming and expensive because we went to Suriname, the dutch speaking country to the east of us.  We had to travel on a ferry to cross the wide river separating the two countries and then stay in a hotel overnight and return the next day. 
To further complicate things,  one of the elders was from Madagascar.  The Suriname embassy took three days deciding whether or not to allow him to get a Suriname visa so that he coud leave the country.  His name is Elder Andriamanantena and his country is Madagascar.  Most people here just laugh when he tells them where he is from and what his name is.  Apparantly there is a movie named Madagascar that they are familiar with.
Anyway,  We were told that there was no way he would be able to reenter Guyana but we took him anyway and had a prayer in our hearts that it would work out.  After we arrived in Suriname we visited th Guyana Consulate and they granted him a 6 month visa with the help of 80 US dollars.  We were truly blessed.  So all the elders are legal again and we are all safely back home again.
It was really fun to visit Suriname. They are more European in the building of their cities and they take pride in keeping things clean.  Our neighborhood here in Guyana is nice and clean but much of the city of Georgetown has a big problem with littering the streets. 
I started teaching a family of three girls and one boy how to play the piano this week.  I spent an hour in their home, teaching them the first lesson in the basic keyboard course that the church publishes.  They were given a keyboard by some missionaries a few years ago and none of them had learned to play it.  It was really fun.  The boy is named Aaron and he is only seven.  When I taught him, all the girls gathered around and wanted to help him hit the keys. The three year old girl  wanted to learn too, but she was too young. 
We are thinking of you and are prayers are with you and your families.  Amy, we will be thinking of you this weekend as you give your farewell talk and leave for the MTC on Wednesday.  What an adventure you will be having in the next six weeks.  

Love from Elder and Sister Beutler

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Dear family, 
We have been in the Carribean for 2 weeks now and are beginning to learn our responsibilities here.  We were trained to do the perpetual education fund and the employment center. We are also supposed to help with the young single adults.  Since we arrived, however, we have been learning the mission office duties for the country of Guyana.  The couple we are replacing there have been on their mission for 2 years and 3 months.  They are actually native to Guyana, the first native Guyana couple to serve a senior mission, Elder and Sister Benn.  He was called to be the district president a few months ago, so he has been doing the mission and the district for several months. 
As you can imagine, with our less than perfect computer skills, this has been a little overwhelming to be responsible for so many things which all require good computer skills.  The up side of it is that the Guyana area is not that large in church membership yet.  There are only 26 young people in the whole country who are doing PEF so far, and we have many people who can help.  There is an area committee called to help carry out the responsibilities on making sure that the young people get their loans and pay them back.
Yesterday, we received an email from Sister Rees, who is the Carribean area music chairman.  She wanted to know about the music skills in the Guyana area.  She asked us to find out what branches need keyboards and who can play.  If the other branches are anything like ours, we are really hurting.  We have one keyboard in the chapel and no one to play it.  The music director turns on some pre-recorded hymns for prelude, and then turns it off and leads the opening, sacrament, and closing hymns with no accompaniment for those.  I feel like that is something that we could really help with.  The music directors both did a good job of leading the music and I am sure that there are other young people who would have the ability to learn to play. 
It seems that couple missions are all about learning what the Lord wants you to do and teaching what you are good at. 
We love you all and appreciate our wonderful family. 
 Love from Elder and Sister Beutler