Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

Dear Family,

We started the week observing a wake and going to a funeral for the son-in-law of our friends and new converts, Paul and Carla Ramsaywalk.  The funeral was different that anything we had ever been to before.  We did a short Christian program, then the Muslem leader talked for about 15 minutes, then several friends of the deceased walked by and sprayed perfume on the body, then the Muslem woman sang songs and the immediate female members of the family began weeping and wailing before the casket was closed.  

We went on to the cemetery and they opened that casket again and prayed over it before finally putting it in a tomb. There was a pretty dark feeling there because many of the Muslem men had been drinking and they were not very reverent.  It made us so grateful for the gospel and the knowledge which we have about life and death and the resurrection. 

This week we had celebrations in Guyana on three different days.  On Wednesday, the hindus have a celebration called Pahgwah, which is a celebration to welcome Spring.  The people go to the park with colored flour and throw it on each other.  The colors are to chase away the winter  gray. 

 Then, on Friday, Good  Friday, there is the Christian celebration.  I believe that the people who are Christians go to church that day.  Then instead of celebrating Easter on Sunday, they celebrate it on Monday, so that they can have another excuse to take off work.  

Traditionally, here, the people fly kites on the sea wall on Monday.  There are literally thousands of kites flown that day.  It will be fun to see.  We actually received a kite free, at the grocery store this week.  
To top of the week, on Friday the young adults performed their play, "The Wickedest Man in the Book of Mormon"  It was really fun and I think that the young people in the district became better friends by working together to produce the play.

Yesterday, we headed to Linden again to move mission furniture out of the house where the couple missionaries lived.  We currently don't have any missionaries serving there, so we closed up that apartment.  President Goodluck, the counselor in the mission presidency here, asked us to go to Linden a couple of times a month to help out with the branch and train the new Branch Presidency there.  That will be a real challenge to make that trip on Sunday.  We will have to get up and go by 7:00 in the morning because it is a 1 1/2 hour drive to church.  We won't be back until at least  2:00 in the afternoon.  I will have to tell the Primary sisters that I can't help regularly with Primary music like I have been in the past.

Dad has been helping with the young men, but lately, not so much, because the Branch Presidency has been going in to teach.  We were told that our main objective here is to train our replacements.  I guess that we need to let the leaders do the teaching more and more.

It was fun to skype with you this week-end.  It sounds like the Easter hot dog roast and hike was lots of fun.  We were so sorry to hear that Elias broke his leg this morning.  What a bad way to spend Easter Sunday.  Aneesa and Aaron,  we wish that we could be there to help out.  We are so thankful that you have Mary and Shawn there close by at times like that.

Amy,  we enjoy all of your letters and pray that your are finding joy in your associations with the people in Pohnpei.  Did you know that Samuel will be 7 and Mary is going to be 35 in two days.  Happy birthday to you, Samuel and Mary.  Also, Uncle Garth, Ione, and Ivan will have their birthdays this week also.  If you get a chance to email any of  them happy birthday, they would enjoy that.

Time to close now.  Love from Mom and Dad

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Blessings Come in Bundles and Baptisms

Dear Family and Friends,

This was the week that was supposed to be a fairly quiet one, but it did not turn out that way.  We started out the week working on the new iMOS program where we were learning how to turn in receipts and checks directly into the Church finance system.  That took much longer than was anticipated so we worked on it again a second and third day to get it right.  

On top of that, we were informed by the AmeriJet shipping company that we had some packages for the church to pick up.  We went there to get them and found 6 more shipments of packages for the church.  Some of them had been there since October of 2010.  The manager complained that he had never been able to contact anyone to pick them up.  This was really frustrating to us because the company wanted to charge a humungus storage fee for packages which we did not even know existed.

On Friday, Elder Beutler took our district President, Elder Benn, with him to pick up the packages. Some of them were Books of Mormon, some of them were class manuals and supplies, some of them were temple clothing and some of them were for the physical facilities of the various branches, such as things like a music stand and metal carts, etc.  They did not try to pick up the physical facilities packages because they didn't have authority to do that.

On the other items, the company decided that the paperwork had to be redone because some of it said "The Corporation of the Presiding Bishopric" and some said "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-Saints.  After waiting all day long for the people to rewrite the paperwork,  they wanted to close up  shop and have them come back on Monday.  That is when Elder Beutler got really stubborn and refused to leave until the packages had been given to them.  The company finally did give them their packages but it was a very bad day for them.

Other aspects of the week were wonderful.  On Wednesday we went to Linden with the elders to interview Brother Featherstone for baptism and then again on Saturday morning we went back and Elder Beutler was able to perform the baptism.  He is a very special man.  He is 69 years old, very intelligent and strong spiritually.  He works as a dorm father with 37 young men, ages 12 to 17, who live in the dorm night and day during the school year and go home for spring and summer break when school is not in session.  The boys love him.  Some of them cried when they had to go home for spring break, because they have a bad home life and felt safer to stay with him in the dorm. Brother Featherstone also takes care of a daughter who has a blind daughter in his home.

Brother Featherstone has been studying the church for several years and says that he wanted to be a member because he feels that the Book of Mormon is true and that the members really know how to "take care of their flock". He was a Seventh Day Adventist for many years, but found out that the female prophet of that church had plagerised 85 % of the prophecies which she wrote in her book of scripture.and he has been looking for a true prophet ever since.

One other thing which happened this week was that the daughter of the first man Elder Beutler baptized lost her husband in a bus wreck.  She had listened to the gospel and was interested in joining the church, but her husband had little interest and was abusive to her so they had not been together for several months.  We went to visit them just now and they asked us to attend the wake tonight, tomorrow night, and Tuesday afternoon, and speak a few words and sing some hymns with the people there. The husband's family are Muslems but they were happy to let the Ramsaywalks talk about their beliefs during the wake.  Elder Beutler plans to teach the plan of salvation.  What an opportunity for us to share with them our hope of the resurrection after death!

We want all of you to know this Easter week, that we are so grateful for Jesus Christ and the atonement and has resurrection which makes it possible for us to live again with him and our loved ones,  There is nothing like a mission away from family to help us appreciate what a great reunion it will be when we leave this earthly home and return to our heavenly home.  

We love you all and hope that you are happy and doing the things that you should.  Love, Elder and Sister Beutler

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Transfer Week

Dear Family,
This has been a fun week for us.  We sent 4 elders to other places and received 4 new ones.  Two of them are from Guyana, one from Cary Idaho,(and yes, he knows the Dilworth family) and the last one if from Mexico City, Mexico.  We didn't make all of the changes on Wednesday, though. We took two to the airport on Monday, picked up two and sent two on Wednesday, and picked up the last two on Thursday.  

For fun, we are helping the young adults in the district put on a play about the wickedest men in the Book of Mormon.  There is a jury and a judge and 4 criminals.  The jury decides who is the wickedest between Laman and Lemuel, King Noah, and Amaliciah.  They each sing a song bragging about their wickedness, trying to convince the jury that they are indeed the wickedest.  My responsibility was to write music for them to sing to.  Laman and Lemuel's song is from the music from Oliver, "You've got to Pick a Pocket or Two".  King Noah sings to the tune of "If I Were a Rich Man", and Amaliciah sings to the music of "Bad" by Michael Jackson.  At the end, they all sing together in the finale from the music of "Mary's Little Boy Child".  

For a challenge this week, the mission financial secretary in Trinidad is teaching Elder Beutler and I to send in our own financial reports to iMOS, so that he doesn't need to do it for us.  He is also having the couple in Barbados to the same thing.  The couples on the other Islands don't have as much to do finance-wise so they still turn it in to the main office.  It is a real challenge to do it, but like anything new that you do on a computer, once you learn it, you can save a lot of time later on.

We are expecting a somewhat quiet week at the office this week.  It never really turns out that way, but it is nice to think about, anyway.  We love and miss all of you.  Love, Mom and Dad

PS Amy congratulations on being an official Pohnpein missionary with your nametags and all.  We love your letters.  To everyone else, thanks from writing to us and to Amy as often as you do.  Aneesa, I loved the book boat video.  I can't believe that you have so many children's books.

Also, In case you haven't heard, Andrew and Ansley are expecting a new baby in July!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Life is not slowing down here

Dear family,

After the vision project, I expected a somewhat normal week, but no, that did not happen.  We did our office work all day on Monday, and half of Tuesday, then went to Lindon (1 1/2 hours drive) to help the missionaries teach Brother Featherstone on Tuesday afternoon, then back to Georgetown for piano lessons.  Then on Wednesday at 4;30 AM we headed to Surname with three elders to renew their visas.  That was a long, long day.  Then on Thursday and Friday we played catch-up at the office.  Friday evening, we helped the Beechers direct a play practice with the young single adults in our district for three hours.  Finally on Saturday, we went to a baptism and then back to Lindon to teach Brother Featherstone again. Needless to say, we are exhausted.  

This coming week is transfer week, so it will be busy again.  I don't know why, but the elders are leaving on three different days this time, instead of the usual Wednesday with everyone.  I usually plan some kind of a meal for them and I don't know exactly how to work it this time.  On Monday, atleast, we will be taking the two elders at noon so we will just pick up some food for them on the way to the airport.

We wondered if Jacob had made his decision for sure to take the job on Salt Lake City.  We are so excited that they will be close.  It will be a challenging time to find a place to live that will work for them.  

One thing I did not mention was that we met three men from mainland China who attended church with us today.  They also have a cousin, a young woman here who wants to listen to the missionaries, so they are going to start taking the lessons on Tuesday.  They are really nice people, but they struggle with the language somewhat. The young woman speaks the best English and interprets for them.

Well, I don't have much else to tell you, except that we love all of you and pray for your success in all of your endeavors.  Love,  Mom and Dad

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Vision Clinic

Dear family and friends,

This week has just been so hectic for us.  We had 5 eye doctors from the Utah area come here and sponsor a free eye clinic and give out glasses to those who needed them.  The doctors have been planning this for several months.  They have had several young men in their areas do Eagle Scout projects where they collected eye glasses, both new and used and cleaned and sorted them with the eye strength written on the package for each set.  These young men were able to collect about 5000 pairs of glasses.

We were told that the doctors would be able to examine about 125 people each day.  They worked for 4 days in Guyana.  They ended up doing exams for almost 2000 people in those four days.  That was a miracle in and of itself.  They each worked from 8 til 5 and only took 1 half hour break for a lunch.  It was really a pleasure to work with them.  Our duties consisted of directing people, scribing for the doctors, sorting the glasses in boxes and delivering glasses to the people in Lindon and Berbice who lived a couple hours away from the center where the glasses were distributed.  We went to Berbice twice (a two hour drive one way) and to Linden once, (a 1.5 hour drive one way) besides doing all of the other things.  Needless to say, we were tired yesterday.

The missionaries were able to get many referrals from this project, as people who were not members heard about the clinic and wanted to participate. I always worry about referrals from these kinds of projects, however, because the people sometimes are interested in the church only because of what the church will give them.  One woman asked me as she was leaving if we were going to have a free dental clinic, also.  

We also went to Linden yesterday with two elders to teach a Mr. Featherstone.  He has asked to be baptized and has never had the lessons, yet.  He has been investigating the church for atleast 2 years. There are no missionaries there, only a branch with local leadership and he needs to hear all 5 lessons before he can be baptized.  He is the administrator for a secondary school there and has been an active seventh day adventist but because they don't believe that people have souls, he left that church.  He studies the Book of Mormon and feels strongly that it is true and he believes that Joseph Smith really was a prophet.  It will be great to teach him.

We did not hear yet how the Boys Basketball team did at State Tournaments, or is this the week that they play?  Let us know.  Also, Ivan and Garth, how are you doing? We haven't heard anything for a while.  Thanks to Blaine for his letters, and Rob and Brenda for updating us regularly.  Carolyn and Wayne, We are also nearing the half-way point in our mission and it is flying by quickly as I am sure that yours and Fullers is.  

Have a great week!  Love from Elder and Sister Beutler