Sunday, April 28, 2013

Transfer Week

Dear family,

 Its seems like April has just flown by.  We have had a visit from Elder Cornish, the usual office work, transfer week, and now our mission president is here again for zone conference tomorrow. 

Dad and I just returned from a trip to Linden today to encourage the members there since they have no missionaries there at this time.  It is a long trip there and we come home pretty exhausted, but it is good to see the members.  They make you feel like angels from heaven.

We had an interesting experience with transfers this week.  A new elder came in on Friday all by himself from Trinidad.  His flight was supposed to arrive at 2:20 PM.  We received a call from him at 9:00 AM in the morning.  He was at the airport and had been waiting for us for a whole hour.  Dad drove out to get him.  

The thing that happened is that the AP's dropped him off at the airport with his papers and ticket.  Without even looking at his ticket, he went to the Carribean airlines instead of the Fiat airlines and boarded the plane going to Guyana.  I don't know why they let him on without a ticket.  When he arrived in Guyana, they made him pay $280 US before he could get off the airplane, because he hadn't paid for his ticket.  

The Fiat flight which he was supposed to get on was one that went first to Barbados and then to Guyana.   That is why we weren't expecting him until later in the day.  Anyway he did arrive safely, even if it did cost him dearly.  If he had just checked his itinerary  he would have saved himself some grief.

Rachel, thanks for sharing the pictures of the new kittens.  They are so pretty.  The mother cat looks like she is going to be a good mother.  

Aaron, thanks for sharing your Arizona experience, too.  That cactus was humungus.  Also, it was fun to see the house that Andrew and Aynsley are building.  They will be in the Clifton 1st ward when they move into that house.  

Amy,  congratulations on making it half way through your mission this week.  We are sure enjoying reading about your mission experiences. 

 Love to All of you,  Mom and Dad

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Immigration Issues

Dear Family,

On Monday evening, we went to a meeting where the President of Guyana and the Minister of Home Affairs addressed all the foreign people  about immigration issues.  Guyana is one of those places where they allow most anyone to come without a visa, but they can only stay for a month without getting an extended time work visa.  For the past 2 years no one in our church has been granted a work visa, so we basically keep going in and out of the country every 3 months to get our visas re-stamped.
The President alluded to the fact that these visas should not be taking years to get and if they were, we needed to go to Home Affairs to see what the problem is, so Dad and I decided to go there and find out what the problem is.  We were ushered into an open area where we were asked what we needed, but the woman helping us had no answers and did not want to take us to someone who could help us. It was a really fruitless time.  We came out of the meeting with no better understanding of what to do than we had when we went in.

Another problem which Dad has developed is with his right hand.  He has a tendon that seems to be developing scar tissue around it that is hard and tight.  We visited with a fellow missionary who is a retired physical therapist about it.  He said with no doubt that it was Dupuytren's Retraction or Disease.  It is a hereditary disease of the hands where this tissue grows around the tendons and eventually causes the fingers to tighten so that they cannot open up properly.  His suggestion was to massage it regularly to keep the tissue soft.  Aneesa, maybe you could talk to your dad about it and find out what he knows.   The therapist thinks that massaging is much better that surgery at this point, because the hand is not very bad, yet.

The rest of the week has been business as usual.  We pay the bills and take care of the missionaries.  One of our elders has a temp for a companion right now.  A temp is a young man who is not yet ready to serve a mission, so he comes and serves for a few weeks when we send a missionary home before transfer time.  Most of the temporary missionaries end up serving eventually on full-time missions.  Well, the temp here complained about having a bad toothache so Elder Beutler took him to the dentist.  The dentist said that he had 5 cavities and needed two root canals done.  He said that the root canals would cost 60000 GYD each, which is about 300 US dollars a piece.  We thought that was reasonable, but the mission won't pay for that since he is just a temp.  Today, one of the members who works in the medical area told us that the dentist was asking too much.  She said that a root canal in Guyana is only 25000 dollars, not 60000 dollars like he said.  He saw the American and over charged.  25000 dollars is only about 125 dollars US.  That is an unbelieveably cheap price for a root canal.  

The other thing that was annoying was that the dentist refused to show Elder Beutler the x-ray, so we don't know if he was really telling the truth about the problem.  Anyway, the temp goes home on Wednesday, transfer day, so we will have to let his parents decide what to do about his teeth problem.  Unfortunately, the dentists more often than not, just pull the teeth rather than fixing them, so we see a lot of people with missing teeth here.

Well, I think that right now you are having a party without me.  I was so happy to hear that so many of you were going to support Joelyn as she gave her mission report in Dayton.  I know that her parents were probably dying to be there themselves.  I remember when Josh Lowery gave his report in his ward, that Uncle Dave set up skype so that Sherry and Larry could listen to the report.  After that, Sherry was pretty anxious to come home and so the rest of the mission was a little hard for her.  

Please write and tell us about the day.  I know that Amy will want to hear about Joelyn's experiences too.  Love to all of you,  Mom and Dad

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A week of funerals, weddings, and missionary contacts

Dear family and friends,

Thank you for your letters of encouragement and news from your own homes.  We truly feel connected when you write and let us know what is happening back home with your families and with the community.  Wasn't conference great.  We were so fortunate to be able to hear all of the sessions this time around.

Besides the usual office work this week, we have had several opportunities to have personal contact with the members in the important events of their lives.  On Thursday afternoon, we attended a Christian funeral for the mother of several of the members in Vreed-en-Hoop.  That is the  smallest branch in our district.  The Mom died from the long term effects of diabetes.  She was only 58 years old.  She was the mother of one of our Guyanese elders who has only been on his mission for 4 1/2 weeks.  

She was the mother of 15 children, 10 of which are living, six from the current father and 4 from an earlier father.  Four of the younger children have joined the church and are active. The father of this second family never married the mother, yet he seemed to be devoted to his family.  I really have a hard time accepting this tradition of parents raising children here and not being committed enough to have a legal marriage.  

On the up-side of things,  we attended a wedding last evening for a mother and father of two children who have been interested in joining the church for several months but were not legally married, so they could not join.  They had a nice wedding and the whole branch in Demerara helped to prepare appetizers and a feast and even decorations for their wedding.  Their children who are 16 and 11 years old were really grateful to see their parents finally married to each other, and they are all looking forward to baptism soon.

We attended the marriage of another young couple from the Georgetown branch earlier during the day.  These two are planning a temple marriage soon, but in Guyana, you have to perform the legal marriage before you can have a temple one, and going to the temple is expensive here.  To go the the closest temple in Manaus, Brazil  costs about 350 dollars per person and about  24 hours of riding a bus one way.  To go to the next closest temple in the Dominican Republic is more like 1000 dollars each. The average income in Guyana is between 3 or 400 dollars a month US so it takes a long time to save up enough to go.

Anyway, Corliss and Vince, the couple getting married was Christopher Jordan and Christine Boston.  You may have met Christopher.  He has been a missionary and a member for several years.  Christine is a convert of 13 months and the same age as our Amy.  She talked about going on a mission for months, but when Christopher asked her to marry him, she accepted.  They dressed up in beautiful white and gold trimmed African wedding attire and it was a really fun wedding to attend. 

We spent Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening helping the missionaries teach our 29 year old friend, James(from mainland China) the first two lessons.  He is eager to learn about Christianity, but his English is limited and his knowledge of Jesus Christ is even more limited.  Elder Beutler spent most of his time just interpreting things which the elders said.  James is a positive and intelligent person who just wants to improve his life and fill the emptiness which he has had so far. It is really rewarding to teach him.

Yesterday, we talked to our granddaughter, Rachel, on skype and she told us that the daffodils were in bloom.  We keep forgetting about the 4 seasons, here, with our continual warm weather and blooming flowers.  We should take advantage of it and be more diligent in planting our little 8 x 16 foot garden.  The last harvest was eaten up by bugs, but Elder Beutler bought some malathion spray and hopefully, we will try one more time to raise some vegetables here.

We will close for now.  Keep the Faith,  Love,  Elder and Sister Beutler

Sunday, April 7, 2013

General Conference

Dear Family,

We thoroughly enjoyed General Conference this past week-end.  I remember that last fall, we saw very little of the Saturday session, because of power outages and internet problems, but this time, everything went smoothly and we were able to listen to all four sessions. 
We went to the church for three of the four sessions, so that we could visit with the members and there was a big crowd from the district.  It was a full house this morning and afternoon.  
The morning, we had an interesting conversation with a young Asian man who calls himself James.  He came to the church on his own this morning to hear about  the gospel.  The elders called us and told us to bring our Chinese Book of Mormon to conference.  We arrived a half hour before the session and Melvin taught him the Plan of Salvation lesson while we were waiting for the session to begin.

Last week, there was a young woman named Victoria who just showed up at church and said that she wanted to be baptized. She said that she had a brother in the United States who was a member.  So the elders are teaching her, too.  She said that her dad is Chinese.  She sat behind us and James and they struck up a conversation and exchanged phone numbers with each other.  It was a real coincidence that both have Chinese ancestry and both are interested in being taught without any referral or tracting on the part of the missionaries. 

James is from mainland China and is an electrical engineer working here in Guyana to build a hydro-power plant here to improve the electrical power in this area.  We are going with the elders tomorrow night to give him the first lesson.  

Blaine, congratulations on having a new grand-daughter. She is beautiful.  

Ione, thanks so much for the update on Garth.  We were so sorry to hear that he fell and hurt his knee. 

Rob and Brenda,  we hope that you are adjusting well to being in Cache Valley again.

Sheila and Dave, Happy Birthday in case we are not available on your birthdays this week.  

Love to all of you,  Melvin and Carol

PS-  Aaron and Aneesa, the joys of boys book arrived.  We have spent lots of time enjoying the pictures of all of you.  Thanks so much!