It has been so good to get so many letters and emails from all of you back home. We enjoyed reading about the family and the community activities. It was interesting to hear about all the missionary calls, and weddings, and missionaries returning from their missions during the past year.
This week has been quite a spiritually uplifting one for Elder Beutler and I. We had a couple's conference in Trinidad from Wednesday to Saturday morning. When we landed in Trinidad, we realized quickly that Trinidad is not a 3rd world country like Guyana. The airport was clean and modern. The faucets in the bathrooms were actually the right size for the sinks, and the stall doors closed properly. The roads reminded us of the freeway from Pocatello to Boise, except for alot more cars. We were put up at the Courtyard Marriot hotel and it was as nice as any in the United States. That is not why we enjoyed the conference so much, however. It was meeting all of the senior couples and learning of their experiences that made it worthwhile. In Guyana, we presently have 4 senior couples serving and we see them often, but for many of these couples in the West Indies mission, they are to only ones on the Islands. Of course, there are young elders and sisters with them.
They often serve as branch presidents and some of them have to learn a language. For instance, in St. Martins, Elder Wright is the branch president in a Dutch-French speaking branch. Elder Wright went on a mission to France as a young man, but his wife did not, so she tries to communicate with the members as well as possible.
Anyway, we enjoyed hearing of the sacrifices and challenges that they are having, and it helped and strengthened us in our resolve to serve with more commitment for the next 12 months. Can you believe, that we have been here for over 6 months already.
Our mission president, President Mehr, gave us lots of counsel and the two things that stuck out to us were that we need to listen to the spirit as we make decisions and that we need to train our replacements. Personally to us that means helping prepare people to play the piano, so that they will continue to have music in their branches after we have gone, and to train priesthood leaders to be able to lead, especially the youth of the church. We have some great young people here, but the temptations are great also. It is one country where they are really a small minority who stay true to the gospel and to their wives and families. If they could just learn to be true to each other and committed to their families, it would turn the whole future of the nation around.
Amy, We pray for you every day, also Deborah and Jared. We are so proud of the way you are living your lives and thankful that all of you children are close to each other and raising your children in love and righteousness. Your strength gives us strength also.
I also enjoyed the couples conference immensely. It was the first direction we have received from our Mission President thus far. We arrived in Guyana the day before President Mehr. We come straight from the Dominican Republic and didn't stop at the mission home in Trinidad. Our call specified we were to be leader and member support missionaries. We were ask to come early to pick up where the PEF(Perpetual Education Fund) missionaries left off. When we arrived the mission office couple who were local missionaries said we needed to learn the office duties because they had been released for two weeks from their mission and not replaced. Willing to do what was most needed we learned the office duties while trying to carry on the PEF work. It was quite a frustrating time for us. Two month into the work the Beechers came to do PEF and Church Employment services which lifted quite a load. But we never really received any direction from our President on how we could best help the work move froward. President was new and learning just we were. So it was very refreshing to sit at his feet and hear of his desires for the mission and how we as couples fit into the plan to help the work move forward.
He was asked by President Monson to quantify what the mission would focus on the show positive growth. He presented two principles for us to teach to insure appositive growth.
1. Encourage the members to keep their covenants with the Lord so He can bless them temporally and spiritually.
2. Teach the members how to minister by councils.
I 100% agree with the President. We, the Church, needs to be very careful about how we present ourselves. We are not a deep pocketed Church were one can join to get material gain. But a Church of true doctrine where can come and learn the ways of the Lord and qualify for His riches blessing which He desires to shower upon all those who love Him and show it through obeying His commandments.
Worthy Melchizedek Priesthood holders are quite sparse. It is hard to find three worthy men for the Branch Presidencies let along the Elders Quorum Presidencies. and it is hard to find a branch president to hold an effective Branch Presidency meeting and delegate responsibilities let along how to run a branch council. Home teaching is very limited. the members expects the Branch President to handle most all their needs.
It was good to get some good direction from President Mehr. I came back to Guyana with a fresh resolve to put all my heart, might, mind, and strength into this wonderful work of the Lord.
I trust all is well with you in your various responsibilities. We certainly enjoy hearing from you and draw strength from your letters. May the Lord's choices blessing attend you this coming year.
Elder and Sister Beutler