Saturday, October 27, 2012

Four Months in Guyana

Dear Family and Friends,
It's been four months yesterday since we arrived in Guyana and so much has happened both here and at home.  We have had two new grandsons, Aaron and Aneesa had a baby boy in September and Esther and Robert had a baby boy just this past week.  Lois and Joel have arrived in the mission field in Kirtland Ohio, and Janet and Blake have a new home in Lewiston. There have been several births and deaths in the Dayton Ward, as well as the reorganization of the Primary Presidency.  We also love hearing about the successes of the West Side Football team, Cross Country team, and  Volleyball teams. Go West Side!  We also loved hearing about the flash mob that Mr. Packer and the student body participated in at the Malad vs West Side game.
Here in Guyana, we have had the experience of closing down 4 missionary apartments this past month, due to a government regulation that only 20 foreign missionaries could reside here at any given time.  For some reason, some of the officials in the government see the LDS church as a threat to them and so we are limited in that way.  In some ways this is a good thing because the Guyanese members are encouraging their own children to go on missions and so if they are called to Guyana, they can fill some of those spots where the missionaries are so badly needed.

Guyana is still so young in the Gospel.  There are many baptized members but not many active members.  Many have not learned how to stay committed so they come for a month or two and then seem to just drift away.  I think that is not too different that the other countries who are just beginning to build a strong membership.  Hopefully the few that stay active will raise a second generation of children who will be totally committed to helping the church to grow here.  When we go to district conference, we do see a strong nucleus of members there.

This past week, we started teaching piano lessons to another branch.  There were 5 people who came to learn.  Not one of them had had any experience at all with the keyboard, so it was really challenging to teach.  Of the five, there was one young man, a recently baptized member, who seemed to have a natural talent for understanding music.  I hope he will keep coming, since he will soon be old enough to serve a mission and he will be able to use his talent there as well as later in whatever branch he goes to.

We also went to visit some of the less active members that our branch president assigned us to home teach for the month. In Guyana, only the less active are visited or those with special needs, because of the lack of Priesthood leaders who are available to home teach. I think that this situation should only be temporary, because I have really felt the strength of good home teachers all of our lives, and I think that active members need those visits as much as the less active do.  I even told a couple of the Priesthood leaders my thoughts, but of course, this is a new concept and Priesthood is limited here.

Elder Beutler had an interesting experience this morning.  He and Elder Beecher went with one of the neighbors to the fishing wharf at 5:00 AM and bought a fresh 22 pound red snapper and brought it home to cut up and freeze.  We shared with the Beechers and ended up with two gallon size bags of fish to eat.  Now I just need to learn how to cook it Guyanese style with the right spices.  Which reminds me,  it is 6:00 pm and I am starving so I will end this letter now.  We love you and miss you all.  Thanks Edna for the cards from the DUP.  It was wonderful to hear from all of my dear friends.  Elder and Sister Beutler

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Another Week in Guyana

Dear Family,
This has been a good week for us.  We didn't have alot of office work to do after Wednesday, so we had some free time to visit some of the less active families and investigators.  Elder Beutler went on Friday evening to visit a family and together, today, we visited with three families in the branch.  They all have their challenges.  One family has a mother who goes into the interior (jungle) and cooks for the miners for several weeks at a time, until she gets malaria.  Then she returns to Georgetown and recuperates until she is well enough to go again.  She has been a widow for over 15 years and that is the way she provides for her children.  The youngest is in nursing school.  I hope those children appreciate the great sacrifice she is making so that they can be fed and clothed and educated.
I (Carol) was asked to speak in church this week about the blessings of having sacred music in the home.  I talked about the hymns we sang each morning during scripture time and the oppurtunities I've had to learn to sing parts in choir and what a blessing that has been to me.  It was really an easy subject to talk about, because I had so many good experiences with music.  I also quoted a talk that Pres.  Boyd K. Packer gave in 1973 called "Inspiring music, worthy thoughts" and recited the song, "Hum Your Favorite Tune" which was written as a result of that talk.

This week marks the 4th month since we left Idaho for our mission.  Time flies.  We have called Esther everyday this week to see if she is in labor with her baby.  She is probably getting really tired of all the attention, but it does ease the grandmother's mind to be able to skype.  We hope that all of you are doing well.  We look forward to Deborah and Jared's visit in a couple of weeks.
Amy, when is transfer day in your mission?  Ours is on Halloween.  If we send you a letter will you get it.  Do you think that you will be in Pohnpei for your whole mission?
Love from Mom and Dad

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The cultural shock is finally wearing off

Dear Family,
We so much enjoy your letters. It is fun to skype, but the letters are remembered better because we can go back and read them later.

This week we did our office work during the first 3 days of the week and then went to Suriname for the second day to renew our visas again.  The next time we need to leave the country will be in January, and the mission in Trinadad hosts a couple's conference the first week of January, so we will be able to go there to renew the visas.

Suriname is a fun place to visit.  It still has relations with Holland and the people there speak both English and Dutch.  The canals are kept clean and the streets are repaired regularly, so we feel like we have
gone back to Holland when we visit there.  Many of the tourists are Hollanders who have family  in Suriname.  We actually saw more Europeans there than we have in Georgetown, the whole time we have been here.

The reason that we said that the cultural shock is wearing off is that we are starting to pick up some of the customs and language of the Guyanese.  Dad has learned to drive around like a pro on the roads which are crowded with cars, taxis, horse carts, people, and a variety of animals such as cows, horses, goats, mules and tons of dogs.  This place is dog heaven.

We are also learning to say "just now" when someone asks us when we are coming.  "Just Now" means anything from right now to several hours from now to several days from now.  Sunday back means last Sunday, and Sunday next means next Sunday.  

One thing that I don't know if we will ever get used to is the numbers of beggars in Georgetown.  They are often very dirty and unhealthy looking.  It just gives me the creeps when they come to you asking for money.  There was not one beggar in the city of Nickerie in Suriname, but there are beggars on every street corner in Georgetown. We have been counseled as missionaries not to give them money, but it is sure hard to walk away.

Mary thanks for sharing the baby blessing and the deer hunt.  We were glad to hear that so many could get together for Isaac's blessing day.You did not say what church responsibilities Deborah had that kept her in SLC, so Deborah, write and let us know.  Hope everyone is doing well.

Amy, you were right when you said that there would be many more young women going on missions now.  We visited with three eighteen year old young women who are wanting to put in mission papers because they will soon be turning nineteen and want to go as soon as possible. We saw Elder Creech twice this week.  He is doing well. 
Love from Mom and Dad

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Conference Week End

Dear Family,

Wow, being on a mission sure makes you appreciate General Conference.  With the church only 20 years old here in Guyana, it seems like most of the leaders are still learning how to lead and are not prepared to teach others how to lead.  So when we hear the prophets speak, it is wonderful to hear some true doctrine and to get counsel on how to teach these young members.
How did you like President Monson's announcement that 18 year old young men and 19 year old young women could leave for their missions, if they have graduated from their secondary training of school.  We here in Guyana have seen  some of those elders return from their missions who left when they were 18.  In Guyana, the children finish school at age 16 or 17, so they were given permission to leave early on their missions. 

I also enjoyed listening to Elder Oaks talk about child abuse and the evils of people having children and not marrying each other.  That is a real problem here and his talk gave us a great reference to help explain to perspective members why marriage is so important if they want to become members and have celestial family units.

Now it is Sunday night and we had a great day once again listening to the conference speakers.  There were lots of the members of the district that came to the Georgetown district building to watch conference and it was good to see them.  It was kind of like Stake Conference for us.  

Amy, I wondered if you get to watch conference on the satellite station or what.  Becky says that they have the Salt Lake Stations on their TV so they could see it all at home.  Amy, if the girls can now go on missions at age 19, you will soon be the senior sister of your mission.  How would you have liked to do that two years ago? 

Well I will close now.  We have to go to Suriname again this week to renew our visas.  Have a good week all of you children and grandchildren. That  flash mob thing you did sounded so fun.  I hope that we can find a way to see it sometime.  
We love you,  
Mom and Dad.