Tuesday, November 27, 2012

November Report to President Mehr

Elder and Sister Beecher’s November 2012 Monthly Report
It has been a month of settling in and gaining focus.  We have enjoyed training regarding employment and self-reliance from Angel Negron from Puerto Rico and a visit from President and Sister Anderson - President of the Caribbean Area, President and Sister Mehr, and the assistants.  We have traveled much throughout Georgetown and are becoming more familiar with the roads and customs. It is difficult to travel on these narrow roads with few stop signs and clutter piled on and next to the roads.  The walkers and bicyclists are forced into the roads. They watch and dart, stroll, and lumber some with incredible adeptness. We have indeed had “angels on our fenders.”  One dark night coming from Berbice with Brother Negron and President Goodluck we were fortunate to swerve around a big semi-truck trailer parked in the middle of the lane - with no lights or reflectors on the back. Luckily no oncoming cars were extremely close.
We have met with many of our PEF students and succeeded in meeting the two sisters in Linden that we had not met previously. We have been able to resolve some of the dangling items we discovered. We know that there are many hard things that we cannot do to rescue and must allow the participants to work out.  Sister Beecher has been working on ideas of how to help the students do temporary jobs to add to their income. She has been searching for “buck beads” and was telling Elder and Sister Beutler and me about the latest information regarding the closest known location of where they grew, which was in Linden (two hours away) and then 60 miles further on dirt roads. She then turned her head and said, “Hey, are those buckbeads?” The buckbeads are growing along a road that we walk along to get to the sea wall where we walk once or twice a week. It was indeed manna from heaven. We took the buckbeads and other supplies to a couple of girls who are delinquent on their loans. We are trying to teach the concept of fishing and not just giving a fish.
We have helped some with Humanitarian Projects and met some influential people.  Since the Cooks are in Suriname and they have on-going projects they need “favors” and we try to oblige.  One project involved helping with the graduation ceremonies from an art therapy course for women who are affected by HIV or Aids and suffer from depression.  It was inspiring to hear how they have become more self-reliant from learning a skill of tie-dyeing and fabric painting. One woman said, “I came with nothing and I am leaving with something.” They were acting dignified, hopeful, grateful, and rewarded for what they had learned.  President Pooran gave an inspiring and motivating talk. 
President Sobers approached us last Sunday and said that he felt inspired that we should conduct a fireside for employers.  I seemed to be flooded with ideas, thoughts, and questions for the next hour. This is exactly what needs to happen so that we can convince employers to look at our people who have integrity, know how to give an honest day’s work, and are skilled. We are planning on presenting this to the PEF Country Committee of which President Sobers is the Committee Chairman.
President Benn and President Goodluck have agreed to a monthly planning meeting which we need desperately. President Benn at our last meeting assigned us to two wards over the river, LaGrange and Vreed-en-Hoop.  They meet in the same building.  They have no one to play the piano.  Branch President Bharat wants us to give piano lessons to the Young Single Adults. A father of four came up and asked if he could take lessons.  He is a construction worker with hands that have seen a lot of manual labor.  I taught him a simple three-note melody and he was thrilled. We are most likely going to teach group piano lessons on Sundays and Wednesday evenings.  We are getting a calendar more and more firmed up.  We have two groups of employment specialists ready to be trained and figuring out 12 hours of training with the Christmas Holidays is a bit tricky. The Demerara River Bridge (and the Berbice Bridge) closes for a couple of hours and it is at irregular times. This means we or members might get stuck on the wrong side of the river. We bought a little cooler today so we can be somewhat better prepared.
We are walking early in the mornings for about an hour.  My body complains loudly when we don’t exercise.  Staying hydrated is still a challenge. We drink a lot of water and some days it is not enough.  We are trying to eat right and need more protein.  Today we found a huge bottle of Bragg’s Amino Acids just like what we use at home.  Little by little we are making progress in most areas. We listen to conference talks as we do our stretching and strengthening exercises.  We are reading our scriptures and praying. Helping with the baptismal service of those three siblings in Linden was a highlight of the month. We helped cook a Thanksgiving feast for the Elders and then a couple of days later for the Senior Couples.  Every week except one (and the first couple of weeks) a Job Listing is prepared, sent out to the branches, and in some cases delivered. This project takes about 7 hours minimum.  A job web-site for Guyana will be forthcoming according to Brother Negron. It is being set up at present. This is a country with limited internet access, but even that is increasing. We went in to find some boxes for a Humanitarian project and the owner offered the boxes and then a donation. We told him a donation was possible, but we did not know how that was done. I complimented him on his generous offer and he replied, “What do we live for if we do not help others.” We love the Lord and are striving to be like him.  Every day is an adventure and never the same.

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