Sunday, February 24, 2013

Mashramani in Guyana

Dear Family,

This week we learned about the Guyanese holiday called Mashramani.  It is the celebration of Guyana becoming a republic. It is a little like Marti Gras in New Orleans.  There is a big parade and lots of picnicing and frolic in the streets.  

What we didn't expect was the all night music festivals.  They started on Friday night in a large congressional center about a kilometer from our neighborhood.  The  music was very very loud and they played it until 6:00 AM Saturday morning.  Then last night, they started it up again about 6 pm and went til about 3:00 am this morning.  I called it "music from hades".  We did not go near any of the celebrations but we saw some of the drunks walking home afterwards as we took our morning walk.  I am glad that we won't have to listen to that again next year!

During the earlier part of the week, we spent a day in Linden, closing out one of the apartments which the elders lived in and bringing furniture to Georgetown in a pick-up truck.  We really piled it on to get as much as we could.  Then on Friday, we went to Berbice to deliver the furniture to a new missionary couple, the ones who know the Stegelmeiers,  They are moving into an apartment where the missionaries used to live and it was unfurnished.  They did not have a driveway across the ditch, so the landlord built one for them.  He is also going to get screens on the windows so they can open them without having bugs and wasps come in.  They are brave to move into an apartment which was not already set up for couple missionaries.  I personally think that the should invest in a small air conditioning unit also.

Today, we went to the Demerara branch and Elder Beutler was able to confirm two children members of the Church.  We helped  teach them and their grandparents a couple of months ago.  Their mother has listened to the discussions, but has not yet decided to be baptized.  Its been a great opportunity to know this family.  The grandmother, who is probably 5 years younger that us is really a kindred spirit.  I hope, like all missionaries, that the members there will fellowship them and help them to be strong in their new faith.

It has been a good productive week and we are looking forward to another humanitarian project this week.  We will tell you about that one next week.  Love Melvin and Carol

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Week of Humanitarian Service

Dear family and friends,

This week has been a bit unusual for us because we spent a couple of days out of the office helping the humanitarian missionaries with their projects because they were in Suriname and could only be here for part of the week.  On Monday, with the help of about 50 members from the district, we unloaded a huge truck load of supplies for 22 different organizations that serve the handicapped people here in Guyana.  It consisted mostly of hygiene kits, school kits, quilts, clothing, and books for the deaf school.  When the last three boxes were unloaded, I noticed that  they were marked queen size quilts.  We opened one box because the sisters wanted to see what they looked like.  There was one green one that looked a lot like one I saw Sister Gaye Griffeth making last year, and there was a maroon one that looked familiar also.  They were beautiful quilts.  

Since the weather is so hot here, I wondered what the people here would do with a large quilt.  Just a few minutes before we left, one older sister whispered something to the other sister missionary about wanting to have one of those large quilts.  They were not  ours to give, so she asked the director over the handicapped organizations if she could have one.  The director said "yes." When the sister went over to get it, the director turned to us and said, "that is what these things are for, people in need".  I watched that sister pick out a beautiful quilt and she immediately left to  catch a bus to go home.  She was so excited.  It was like Christmas to her.  

I asked what she would do with it, and was told that the people use them as a cover for their beds or couches to brighten up their homes.  It was just fun to see!

Toward the end of the week, we went to Lindon to see the ending of a different humanitarian project which we thought was wonderful.  The church donated 50 sewing machines to the women there who were interested in learning to sew for themselves and their families. A retired Home economics teacher offered to teach them a 4 week course on sewing.  They learned to draw their own patterns and sew a dress, a shirt and a blouse.  We attended their graduation, where they were each given a sewing machine, an iron and a sewing kit.  The women were so proud to show off their new clothing and take their machines home.  Some of them did not have electricity in their homes, so they received treadle machines, which are only available to third world countries.  

We need to go home teaching in a few minutes so I have to close for now but know that we are busy and loving the service we are involved in. 
Love from Elder and Sister Beutler

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Another Week Full of Surprises

Dear children and grandchildren,

We decided last Sunday evening that we didn't have very much going on this week so we would take a trip to Linden to help the Summers close out a missionary apartment, since there were no missionaries there.  While we were looking at the furnishings which the church owned, we received a call from President Mehr, telling us that two new missionary couples, the Esplins and the Carters, were in Trinidad and we were supposed to pick them up Tuesday morning and take them to Berbice to their mission area.  We had known that they were coming, but we thought that it was in March.
We went into a state of shock, somewhat, because we had not arranged for an apartment in the area that the Espliins were being assigned to in Berbice.  We picked them up and took care of the necessary paperwork they needed to do for immigration, but didn't get to Berbice until Tuesday evening.  Fortunately the Carters apartment had two bedrooms and bathrooms, so the Esplins stayed there with the Carters that evening.  Elder Beutler and I stayed in a hotel so that we could help the Esplins find an apartment on Wednesday.

We spent the whole day with them and a couple of members looking for a place for them to rent.  There wasn't much of anything that would work for them, but they sent us on our way and they said that they could look on their own from there on.  I sure was concerned about leaving them like that and now here it is Sunday and they still aren't sure about where they are going to live, but they do have a few possibilities that might work.

We spent Thursday and Friday doing our office work and Dad spent much of Saturday doing service projects and having an Aaronic Priesthood training meeting with the members here.  Then today we attended the Garden Park Branch because the branch president wanted us to offer to teach piano in his branch, like we have in the Georgetown branch.  He announced that we would be teaching and if they were interested to let us know.  Lo and behold, we had fifteen people sign up for the class.  We have been teaching five or six from Georgetown and that takes a couple of hours.  I don't know how we can teach 15 in one night, but we will do what we can.

That about sums up our week.  We hope that all is well with you.  Happy Valentines day to all of you and Happy 22nd Birthday to Amy, this week.  Deborah, Jared, Jacob, and Aaron, we would love to skype you more often, but you haven't been on line much lately.  Let us know what is happening with you all.  Stay healthy and enjoy an early spring!  Esther said that the ground hog did not see his shadow this year!

We love you all.  Mom and Dad

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Interfaith Symposium

Dear Family and friends,
We were sitting down to dinner this afternoon and I thought to myself, "It is amazing how good food tastes when you have been fasting for 24 hours".  Seriously, we went to a wedding yesterday and we were sort of tempted to eat some of the refreshments, but we had already begun our fast and so we just went home and went hungry.  It has been a good fast Sunday and we have had some good service experiences this week.
Friday was an interesting day.  We were invited by President Pooran, who is the 2nd counselor in the district presidency to a symposium for the interfaith organization here in Georgetown.  They were organized 3 years ago try to promote harmony within the area among the various major religions of the country.  They invited the Prime Minister of Guyana to be the keynote speaker.  The program consisted of prayers from 5 people, each representing a different religion and 5 others gave thoughts about their beliefs.  Our President Pooran represented the Christian faith.  Then the UN representative spoke and finally the Prime Minister spoke.  

As I was listening to the speakers, I could not feel the spirit in any of their speeches or prayers.  It made me feel so grateful that we have such an abundance of knowledge and truth and especially that we have the Holy Ghost to guide us.  We just don't know what we have in the blessing of having prophets and apostles to guide us.  

The religions that were represented were the Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Universal Apostolic Mystical Council, Baha-i, and Rastafarian religions.

After the initial meeting, people were able to go the booths where they could read the materials that were available for them to learn more about the religion.  Dad and I actually brought home a copy of the Quran from the Muslim faith.

It was quite amazing to us that of the pamplets which we had on our booth, the Books of Mormon and the Restoration of the Gospel pamplets went really quickly.  It seems that the people who were there at the meeting felt a hunger for truth.  We sure hope that they read the materials, especially the Book of Mormon.  Even though we did not feel the spirit in what was spoken, we did feel that there were many honest sincere people there who were searching for the truth.

As I read over Uncle Blaine's letter a few minutes ago, I thought of the fruit trees and thought, with all of that cold weather in Cache Valley, there goes our peach trees.  I loved the picture he sent of the Valley covered in snow and the beautiful Logan Temple.  We sure miss the temple.

We pray for you Amy each day and hope that you are finding satifaction and success in your mission.  Love to all, Elder and Sister Beutler