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

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