Sunday, June 30, 2013

Seniors do have fun!

Dear family and friends,

Just so you know, senior couples do have fun on their missions.  Last Monday morning we ran away with the Cooks and the Esplins for a retreat to the rain forest.  We were transported from our home in Georgetown on a one hour bus trip to the shore of the Demerara river.  From there we entered the Kukurana river, and went the rest of the way by boat to a resort called "Arrowpoint".

We took a short stop at an Indian villiage where all the Amerindian children who live on the river go to school.  There were several homes, a school and, of course, a shop to buy Indian baskets, fans, and jewelry.  We were strongly encouraged before we left to bring some money with us to shop there, since that is how the women earn money for the needs of the families.
Inline image 2
Arrowpoint was just a quiet clean resort with only accommodations for up to 32 people, 8 cabins with 4 beds in each cabin.  We had 8 people there waiting on us by taking us on walks, bike rides and boat trips.  There were canoes and kayaks available for our use twenty four hours a day.  The river is called black water because the water is darkened by the leaves that are always in it.  It is actually very clean water compared to the other rivers in Guyana.

The first day there, our guide told us not to venture into the forest alone because we could get lost and there are jaguars in the forest.  We were pretty obedient the first night, but on the second day we took a bike ride to discover a plane crash.  The guide told us that the pilot who was killed in the crash was the first pilot to discover the Jim Jones community after he poisoned them all. 
Inline image 3
On our bike ride, Elder Cook took off in head of us and went a different way. The guide took off looking for him, and while he was gone, I took off and did a little exploring on my own.  Unfortunately, I wasn't back when the guide came back so he came looking for me, too.  He was pretty disgusted with us by the end of that day. ln the evening, I told him that if he thought we were disobedient, he ought to meet our children.  He didn't think that was very funny!  
Inline image 4
The best part of the trip was getting in the kayaks and paddling around in the smooth quiet water in the jungle.  It was so peaceful and quiet.  We loved it.  I couldn't help thinking what a blast our 24 grandchildren would have running around in that resort and playing in the black waters of the river.   

Did I mention, that all of our meals were cooked by the staff and we didn't even have to wash a dish.  It sounds like heaven, but after two and half days we were tired of doing nothing and were ready to go home.
Inline image 5
The trip home was a little scary.  Our boat had a problem and sputtered out of power after 20 minutes, so the crew at Arrowpoint brought us the covered boat for the rest of the trip.  We were really thankful to be in a covered boat when we reentered the Demerara river.  The river was really rough with waves high enough to have overturned the first boat we were on, and we would have lost our luggage and been soaked.  It was good to get back on shore.  Even our guide was scared about the roughness of the water.

The rest of the week, we played catch up at the office, paying rent checks, cell phone bills, and moving one set of elders into a different apartment, closer to the area where they serve.  In was nothing short of a miracle that we were able to move the elders and clean the apartment in 4 hours.
I've included a few pictures to prove that we really did play a little.  Love to all of you
Elder and Sister Beutler

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Loved hearing about the Reunion

Dear Family,

We have enjoyed hearing about the reunion and all the activities you have been involved in this week. Becky, thanks for sharing the news about your newest baby boy.  We loved the picture with everyone's shoes.  We hope that you all find the things that you think were left at our home last week.

This week has not been very structured for us.  We helped find elders a new apartment, went to a funeral where Dad spoke to a family of Amerindians about the plan of salvation, we helped organize and carry out a YSA activity, and we went to a Lions Club dinner where one of our good friends was installed as the new president.  His daughter was the reigning Miss India World last year.  She attended and she was beautiful.

At one point the Lions club members stood up and sang their Lions club song which was to the tune of "The Bear Went Over the Mountain.  Here are the words.

I'd rather belong to the Lions, I'd rather belong to the Lions,
I'd rather belong to the Lions, than any club I know.

Than any club I know, than any club I know,
I'd rather belong to the Lions, I'd rather belong to the Lions,
I'd rather belong to the Lions, than any club I know.

The club members sang the Guyana national anthem also and I think that we should for sure learn the words to that song.  They sing it often and it is beautiful.  It would be nice to be able to sing along.

Our YSA activity had a leadership theme.  We played games which included a treasure hunt and a blind mans kick-ball activity.  Dad tried to referee the game but since no one had ever played kick ball before, they didn't obey the rules.  Still, I think they enjoyed running around and mingling with each other.  

We look forward to the world wide leadership training meeting in a half hour, so I will close for now and we will hear from you all later tonight.  Love Mom and Dad

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day

Dear Family,

It seems strange to be celebrating Father's Day by driving to Linden and attending church there.  We are not really well acquainted with the branch there and we only go there once a month and see different faces each time we go.  The Relief Society President gave each of the fathers a beautiful ceramic mug.  Dad also received a new wallet.  I don't know why she singled him out for that gift, since he was the only one there to receive the wallet.  Anyway, it reminded me of the song we sang at the baptism yesterday,  

There's surely somewhere a lowly place in earths harvest fields so wide,
Where I may labor through life's short day for Jesus, the Crucified.

I felt like I was in that lowly place as we celebrated Father's Day so far away from all of you children and grandchildren. We miss you and would have loved spending the weekend with all of you, but hopefully, we will be able to influence some of the people in some of the branches to work toward making their own families eternal as they prepare to go to the temple and make covenants there.

It has been a good week.  We had Family Awareness Week.  We spent three days at exhibits in the city where we gave out church literature about family issues.  The Elders talked to people on the street and invited them into the room to learn more. We did find some really good families and individuals there.  

Yesterday was the best day.  We went with members from three different branches and cleaned the walls, floors, and cabinets of a three story building which was a home for men who needed extra care.  One of the residents there was a man who was the mayor of Georgetown in the 1980's. He had diabetes and had one leg amputated below the knee.  He was very intelligent and gracious to us.   '
Later in the day we attended and provided music for three baptisms, two in the Georgetown branch and one in the Demerara branch.
It was really good to serve along side of the members and also to be able to support the new members at their baptisms.  It gives me hope that Guyana is going to continue to grow in faithfulness to the gospel.

We enjoyed visiting with you children yesterday at the reunion.  We hope that you made it safely back to your homes.  To all of our brothers and brother-in-laws, Happy Father's Day.  Keep the Faith!

This is your dad and I need to wish all a happy Father's day. I have said it before but I'll say it again. One of the saddest days of my life was when I realized our time for having children in this life was over. What a blessing children and now grandchildren are!  Thank you for letting me share our lives as your dad and grand dad. 

After church, we visited the Narine family down on the river. They live in a small raised home and have few material things. They wash their clothes in the river and hang them on the line to dry. They swim and bathe in the river everyday. The children paddled their boat about a mile up the river to attend church. To me it was a peaceful enjoyable visit. The children are members but the parents haven't made that commitment yet. Perhaps they will be someday if they only could see the great blessing an eternal family would bring to them. Hopefully we can influence them to make the commitment to each other and the Lord and become an eternal family.

In closing I want to give thanks to a wonderful Father in Heaven who loves us so much that He prepared the Plan of Salvation that we can become like Him and go back to live with Him. Let us always give thanks to Him. And let us always live clean lives that we may be worthy to return to His presence.

Happy Father's Day
 Love,  Mom and Dad (Elder and Sister Beutler)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Transfer Week

Dear Family,  Wow this has been a really hectic transfer week. all 10 companionships have new companions.  We had five elders leave the country, and 4 new ones come in.  We also had two mini missionaries, which are young men who are not yet old enough for a regular mission replace two of the full-time missionaries.  The young missionaries serve for only 6 weeks and then return to their families.
Besides moving the missionaries to their new apartments, we had two sets of missionaries who are moving into totally new apartments.  The old apartments were needing to be renovated because of not being up to standard.  

Our mission president really feels that the Guyana apartments are way below standard.  He would like to see them all in new apartments but good apartments are really hard to find without paying dearly for them.  We did find one for $400 a month that is really in good shape.  I hope that the young elders will take good care of it.

Yesterday, the Church sponsored Family Awareness Week.  We had a program yesterday to introduce the events of the week.  There were several dignitaries from other religions.  We had the leader of  the opposition party speak and also the Mayor of Georgetown.  

I really enjoyed the mayor's talk.  He was adamant that we as a church need to stand up and condemn leaders in the government when they break the law in relation to their immoral private conduct, and not just ignore it  It was interesting to note that he has two children living in the United States who are members of the church. 

His talk reminded me of the time when President Clinton was condemned for his adulterous behavior when he was the President of the United States.  It is pretty common for the leaders here to have the same kind of problems and nobody really thinks much about it.

This coming week we are going to be involved in three exhibitions about the family, a health fair, two service projects and two firesides.  One of the firesides is entitled "marriage and family, real life experiences" and the other is "preparing for marriage".  It is going to be a busy week.  

Dear children and grandchildren, as you meet together for the Beutler family reunion, please know how much we love all of you and would love to be there.  Maybe we can skype and see all of you together during the weekend. Please continue to love and enjoy each other and have a wonderful reunion.  Love, Mom and Dad

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Summer is here and we are still in the middle of the rainy season

Dear family and friends,

It has been raining sheets every day for the past 4 weeks and they, the Guyanese, tell us that the whole month of June is more of the same.  We don't mind it at all.  The rain keeps things a bit cooler.  It only reached 80 degrees yesterday, so we didn't have to run the air conditioner that much during the day time.

We really enjoyed hearing about the end of school activities, especially the track championships and seeing the pictures that Melissa sent of graduation.  It was fun to look out into the audience and see some familiar faces of our friends at West Side.  May has always been reward month for us as we see and hear about the accomplishments of the children.

Things have been a little bit different for us this month.  Our mission president asked us to visit four branches instead of just the Georgetown branch, so that we could spend more time training leaders who were new in the church and didn't understand their leadership responsibilities completely, yet.

It has been a little overwhelming to spread our so much.  I no longer get to lead the music in Primary, and Melvin is not teaching the young men anymore, so we are missing being with the young people. 

Most of the branches seem to be doing fairly well with leadership, but one branch, the Linden Branch is really struggling.  The leaders don't seem to understand that they need to be there on Sunday in order for the classes to be taught and to meet the needs of the people.  The Relief Society President just quit coming because so was angry about something and so her counselors try to pick up the pieces and lead without her.  

We had a similar experience here in Georgetown last September, but the Branch President called a new Relief Society President quickly and things moved forward as usual.

The other thing which has been a really challenge is missionary apartments.  We had a couple of them which are in really bad shape and we have been looking for several weeks to find new ones to move into.  We saw some real dumpy places that people wanted to rent out. Finally, yesterday, we found one for double what we had been spending but it is immaculate and the landlord is really good at taking care of the house and yard.  Hopefully, the Mission Finance Department will approve the rent increase from 200 to 400 US for the place.

This week is transfer week, so we will be moving missionaries around for two days.  I remember that at one time, Carolyn and Wayne counted the number of tranfers they had before the end of their mission.  I counted ours today, and we have only five more transfers after this one this week.  Time is starting to speed by for us.  

We have become more involved with young single adults during the past 6 weeks and are helping them organize one major activity and one fireside each month.  We found out by looking on the district records, that there are over 900 young single adults in our district of six branches.  We could easily form a stake out here with the number of members on record, but with only about a 10 percent retention rate,  they are still struggling branches instead of wards.  

The key is to get these young single adults to marry and raise families in the gospel, instead of just living with each other and making no family commitments.  Hopefully, that will be the case in 20 years after a whole generation of people have been members here.

Well, enough of my ramblings.  We love hearing from you all.  Keep the faith and have a wonderful summer.  Love, Elder and Sister Beutler