During the past week we spent several evenings helping prepare our branch for its annual Christmas talent show. We had practices for it on Tuesday and Friday evening and then the actual show was last
night. It was interesting to note that it wasn't just the children and young people who participated, but there were lots of adults. They sang songs without any accompaniment and did skits and dances, too. One of my favorites was a skit from the song, "There's a hole in the bucket dear Liza, dear Liza. After play acting the entire song, Liza looked at the bucket carefully and said, "Henry, there isn't a hole it this bucket!"
Today is our 41st wedding anniversary. We have surely had an exciting 41 year adventure together. This most recent one certainly has stretched our talents and abilities to the limit, but we have been blessed so much to have help from heaven and a wonderful supportive family at home.
Christmas packages for the elders are beginning to arrive from their families. We will probably be spending many hours picking them up this week. We get letters directly in our mailboxes where we live so it is not a hassle to receive letters and cards. It is just the packages that take so much time. We were surprised last week when two packages arrived and they did not charge anything for customs. I wondered if it was because of Christmas. That was really nice for the Elder.
We also are sending an Elder home tomorrow to SLC. He has been a wonderful missionary. I am sure that for his family, having him come home the week before Christmas will be the best Christmas present ever. I asked him when he first arrived in Guyana how long it took him to get over being homesick when he came out on his mission. He simply said, "I still get homesick and I've been out 22 months." That made me feel a little better about my own bouts with homesickness.
Last week one of the Guyanese Elders was released from his mission. He also was probably one of the best young men I have met as a missionary. There hasn't been any called from Guyana recently, but there are several, including young sisters who are now putting in their papers to go. It will be interesting to see how many are called to serve in their homeland. We all keep praying that the government will lift their restriction on only allowing 20 foreign missionaries in the country, so that there will be enough to have a set of elders for every branch.
I would like to add a sentence or two. I feel like am adjusting to the fact that I am not a young full time proselyting missionary but have many other administrative responsibilities that take the majority of my time. I try to organize so I do have some time to proselyte. Most of the contacting I do is with people with whom I do mission business or people I meet while standing in lines waiting to pay bills or cash checks. Amy(Sister Beutler) I see a great need for missionaries to gain the confidence of branch leaders and members and work with family members who are not yet baptized. So the family as a whole can support one another and become strong members of the branch.
Here in Guyana the family unit as I remember as a child is basically non existent. Most all families are from two or three fathers and a goodly number have no father in the home. It is so important we teach the youth to stay morally clean and prepares to be a righteous father or mother in Zion. Strong Primaries, Young men, and Young women programs are vital to turning around the decayed society. Society can be turned around through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
I am so grateful to my parents who taught us by precept and example. What a great heritage to be blessed with and what a great heritage to carry on.
I truly enjoy missionary work. It is very rewarding to see people truly try to live the gospel. Some of our members have been tested by fire and passed the test. they are wonderful examples to me.
I miss all of you at home and wish you a merry, merry Christmas.
Elder and Sister Beutler
PS Ivan we continue to pray for you and hope that you make a good recovery from the surgery last week.