Sunday, November 24, 2013

Taking Care of the Missionaries

Dear family,

This was transfer week and most of the time, we were busy taking care of the missionaries.  On Monday, we spent all day inspecting apartments and finding out what needs they had.  One set of missionaries had a fridge that hasn't worked for the whole transfer, and we didn't even know it.  Besides that, their iron was broken and the microwave, and they even needed another fan for the apartment.  They were Guyanese missionaries and they just don't complain, just make do.
On Tuesday, we gave the missionaries a pizza party after their zone meeting, since it will be our last Transfer week before we go home.  

We took two elders to the airport and brought three new ones in on Wednesday and Friday.  We spent 5 hours at the airport on Wednesday, picking up church materials which had been sent through DHL global forwarding.  We did that once before and it is a real hassle getting it out of hock. We paid 250 dollars US to retrieve all of the goods.  

Then, yesterday, I spent the morning making rolls and pies for our Monday Thanksgiving day dinner with the elders.

We love our replacements, the Surujbands.  They spent Friday cleaning up the office.  They washed the rugs, curtains, windows and floors, besides moving things around to make the office easier to use.  They are going to be great with the missionaries, too.  l just hope they don't burn themselves out, trying to keep up at the office and at home.

I don't have much else to tell you, this week. We love you and hope that you all have a great Thanksgiving.  If you go to Idaho, Deborah and Jared, feel free to hang some Christmas lights in the yard.

Love, Mom

Mary, send our love to Bishop Atkinson as he goes in for heart surgery.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Baptisms and Ballgames

Dear family,

Yesterday was a great day.  We went to the Diamond branch to attend a baptism for O'Neil Welcome, a 12 year old boy who joined the church without the support of his family.  His mother attended church a few times, but not recently, and she didn't come to the baptism.  Those are the kind of baptisms which I wonder why they were performed.  Rarely does the child stay active because he has no family support.

After the Diamond baptism, we went to the Demerara branch to a baptism for two sisters.  Their father baptized them.  He has only been a member for 2 months and his wife is taking the lessons and says she will soon follow.  The couple is about Jacob and Abi's age and they have 4 daughters.  That is the kind of baptisms which I like to see, the whole family and a father who is worthy to do the baptizing.

Last night, we were tuned in to the West Side semi-final football game against Firth.  I was busy hemming some pants for a couple of the missionaries, but I did see the West Side boy run down the entire field to even up the score 18 to 18, and I did see the very last play in overtime when West Side scored their final touch-down. 

It was great to hear the announcer give the shout outs from people all over the country, (including ourselves).   It was a fun reminder of what a great group of people we have lived among for the past 33 years. I didn't get as much sewing done as I planned but it was worth it to enjoy some wholesome recreation with Dad.

Speaking of sewing, on Friday, the last piece of flannel was sewn up into a baby blanket.  I think that there were about 520 blankets sewn all together.  It was a fun project to get together with all six branches in the district and get them finished.  Now we just have to coordinate with the local Lion's club to get them assembled into newborn kits for new babies.

We are starting to get that panicky feeling about all the things that we will have to leave undone when we go.  Being attached to 4 branches, we are going to have a hard time saying goodbye to them all.  I kept hoping that some of them would get good music leaders in Primary and we have only seen that happen in two of the branches.  Maybe they will be called to district music callings and they can train others.

Becky, we hope that you are feeling better after last week's flu,  and Abi, we are hoping that you can go another week with your pregnancy. 

Amy, we are praying that you are having great experiences with your companion and your new area.  We will enjoy a conversation with you at Christmas, where we can see you on our home computer in Dayton,  Oh, I am starting sound trunky!

Love to all of you,  Mom and Dad

Sunday, November 10, 2013

We Expect That November Will Fly By

Dear Family,

It is only the 10th of November, but we are so busy that we expect the month to feel like a week.  We are in the middle of completing a humanitarian project with the members in the Georgetown district and the Bel-Air Lions club of Georgetown. 

They received a truck load of humanitarian supplies, including school kits, hygiene kits, clothes, shoes, and quilts to be distributed to the poor.  We are hemming 500 flannel baby blankets and putting together 500 newborn kits as the service project that goes along with it.

We expect to be helping women sew for the next 3 or 4 days and then organize a day when they can come together to put together the kits. It is one of those "this too shall pass" weeks.  

Aaron, I was so sad to read of the devastation in the Philippines.  It makes you wonder how those poor people will build their country back up.  We would really worry about the good members of the church and hope that they will pull together as branches and wards to help each other.

Congratulations on being the new mayor.  I was kind of sad to see that Mike Thompson didn't make it again as councilman.  I hope that you have a good group who are willing to work together to continue to improve the town.

Yesterday was a fun diversion from the usual Elder concerns.  We went with our branch president and his wife to a resort area about a 45 minute drive from Georgetown with 8 young men for a day of activity.  

The young men went swimming, played basketball, and had a short fireside, where we talked to them about showing respect for young women and staying morally clean so that they could be faithful husbands and fathers.  

It was a relaxing time for us and we enjoyed hearing the young men talk and mingle with each other.  We were happy to see that the older boys were good to the younger ones the whole day.

We are really relieved to see that the new service missionaries who we are training to take our place are learning well and doing their best to understand their new assignments.  They understand Guyana and how to deal with the problems which may come their way.

Abi, we hope that you are still doing alright with less that 5 weeks to go. We hope that you can make it until Thanksgiving. Becky write and tell us about Deborah's visit and what you all did. 

We enjoyed seeing the grandchildren in their Halloween costumes, and we enjoyed Samuel's pictures with the beautiful fall colors in the mountains.  I did not even get hay fever like I usually do when I go to the mountains to see the fall colors.

Esther,  I hope that you and Deborah are having a great time.  

Amy, let us know how the typhoon treated you in Pohnpei.  We did not read of any damage there.  We hope that is true.  

Love to all.  Mom and Dad

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Happy Birthday to Landon and Greetings to All

Dear children and grandchildren,

I just got off of the skype with Becky.  I had to see that chubby baby one more time and admire 7 year old Landon and see his birthday gifts.  We are really getting excited that we will be able to be with all of you for the Christmas holidays  Our only concern is that we might get sick, adjusting to the extreme weather change coming home at that time of the year.

This weekend, the Guyanese are celebrating a national holiday called Diwali.  It is a Hindu holiday which they also call the Festival of the Lights.  The people put lights around their homes and light firecrackers and fireworks.  We visited 4 families tonight and all the neighbors were outside enjoying the fireworks. Interestly enough, there were no dogs barking, like they usually do every night.  They are all hiding.  Dogs hate the loud noises of the firecrackers.

We have had a good week.  The training is going well with the Surujbhans.  They visited a couple of the elders Apartments this week.  One of them needed some fixing up and they have 5 of their own apartments which they rent to people so they know where the best places are to find things for the apartments.  They will be great with the elders.

We had a area day of service yesterday.  Every branch chose some type of community service.  Our Georgetown branch chose to work with the local Lion's club to clean up the main street on the east side of town.  There was a great turnout.  Between the branch members and the Lion's club there were probably 60 people wearing yellow vests, picking up garbage and cleaning up the street.  It looked really good after the work was done. 

The downside of this service project is that my hamstrings are so stiff and sore from all that bending down to pick up trash

We have one more service project to do with the Lions club this next couple of weeks.  We are going to hem 500 baby blankets and then make 500 newborn kits to give the the Georgetown public hospital.  There are several private hospitals in Georgetown, but this one is public, and it is free. 

 If anyone has any doubt about the benefits of socialized medicine, they need to visit the public hospital in Guyana.  Anyone who can afford a private hospital would never go to the public hospital.  You have to wait all day (literally) to see a doctor and the facilities are over crowded and run-down.  

Some of the women who go to the Georgetown public hospital to have their babies are so poor, that they have nothing to take them home in.  They will love the newborn kits, with the blanket, baby outfit, hat, diapers, pins and soap that goes with it.

We hope that all is well with you.  We are grateful that Deborah is at Becky's tonight helping out with the boys.  We wish we could be there to hold little Blake for a few minutes. 

Abi, hang in there for a few more weeks.  We pray for all of you and hope that you are happy.  Esther, we enjoyed the beautiful pictures of your halloween costumes. The children looked about as serious as we have ever seen them.

Love the All!  Mom and Dad