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.
Love from Elder and Sister Beutler