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