Thursday, February 7, 2013

January 2013 Report to President Mehr

Dear President Mehr, 
Wow, can’t believe it is February 7th!   Here is our report for January.  We loved our senior missionary conference in Trinidad.  It was wonderful to meet all the other senior couples. We learned and were inspired by the talks and information presented.  It will help us to be better missionaries.   The visit out to see the scarlet ibis was especially a thrill, and it was so enjoyable to go for a nice boat ride with everyone. There was a peaceful feeling being together with the group, although we missed Sister Mehr.
The idea of starting our own English and Maths CXC preparation classes at the church in Guyana is very exciting to us.  Our great Guyana PEF Country Committee has a vision for being able to help the people here.  We spoke with President Gamiette, as you suggested, and he was very interested in holding the "Maths" and "English" classes right after seminary and institute.   He thinks it would help in getting more students out to seminary and institute if we made that a requirement for the CXC classes.  He called Brother Rappeley who wondered about the legality of having a public class in the church, and also whether private schools would complain about the Church teaching their own classes.  President Gamiette then called Elder Cornish and told him about his interest in the idea and also about those two concerns.  Elder Cornish met with the Area Presidency who decided that if the teachers are not being paid, and the students are not paying for the class that there is not a problem holding the classes in the church.  Elder Cornish wants us to turn it over to President Benn and the branch presidents to discuss and work out the details, so that it belongs to them and it’s not the missionaries running it.  That is our plan right now.  President Gamiette may come on the 17th of February when we have our next PEF Country Committee meeting.  He would also like to be there when the Priesthood discusses it.   
Planning and organizing the humanitarian program, the “Vision for All Project”, that is coming February 23rd has kept us very busy.  It is challenging to figure out how to serve the members and non-members.  Getting enough people out to the clinics and not too many is a fine line. Better having a few too many than not enough is our motto, although having a mob of needy people is not good.  We are planning what to do with all the people when they come to the clinics.  We have been making vouchers for the branch presidents to pass out and trying to get them to write down the names and phone numbers of those to whom they give vouchers.  We want to make the 5 eye doctors and the other 17 people they are bringing happy. Figuring out transportation for 22 people and their luggage with 5,000 pairs of glasses to and from the airport, to church, to the clinics etc. is challenging. They do not all come nor leave at the same time.  We are planning lunches for them on three days and figuring out how they will do their laundry.  There will be three clinics; one in Linden, two in Berbice, on Monday, February 25 and a three day clinic in Georgetown on the 26th, 27th, and 28th.  We are signing up volunteers to help and the missionaries to teach.  Plus we are building cardboard boxes with dividers to organize the 5,000 pair of glasses, and planning how to set up the exam rooms.  The Cooks are helping when they are around. We will be grateful when this project is over.
We are also helping the Cooks with another project.  They ordered a container of humanitarian kits, clothing and shoes from the SORT Center for the Guyana Council of Organizations for Persons with Disabilities.  The missionaries and YSA will help unload the container and sort the clothes and shoes.  Everything needs to be distributed out to 22 different groups.
We are keeping up with our monthly contacts to our PEF participants and sorting out all the little problems.   There are several who need to renew their loans, but are having problems meeting the PEF standards.  Three girls who were 150+ days behind in their payments have been making buck bead necklaces for Sister Beecher.  She is buying them to sell at home, only none of them have made it home yet.  The sister missionaries and visitors are buying many of them.  All three girls are caught up on their payments now, and are making more necklaces.  Two people got their new loans approved, but they have decided to wait for the CXC preparatory classes to start in the church. The best loan is no loan.
We are making progress with our piano students and are thrilled to have the six new keyboards from the Harmon Grant.  We need to quit teaching every new person who shows up.  We need to finish up with the ones we are working with and then start a new group.  We are also going to shut the door so all the primary kids and babies don’t come in.   A few students are making good progress.
We also finished training the Employment Specialists for all but two branches in Guyana when we finished the training of our 5 Berbice Employment Specialists on January 26th.    The training lasts about ten hours.  We LOVED training them using “The Career Workshop.”  We know such a powerful program will definitely help a person get a job. We hope that the branch presidents will have them tell about it in church and share how they can help the members.  We also hope they will teach these classes to members of their branches.
Being here in Guyana as missionaries is great.  We love our association with the other missionaries.  We were sad to see Treseders leave, and Summers will be right behind them.  It was fun to meet the Carters and Esplins, and we pray that they will be settled soon in Berbice. 
Oh, one more thing.  We attended the “World Interfaith Harmony Week” where President Pooran gave one of the talks at the National Cultural Center.  We set up a table and gave away pamphlets and Books of Mormon.  There were many other religions represented but we were proud of Pres. Pooran and felt that the Church was represented well.
Thank you President Mehr for all you do.  The zone conference was also great and the fireside for the youth.  Sorry this is so long.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Carters and Esplins arriving in Guyana. World Interfaith Harmony Week

The Carters and Esplins arriving in Guyana.  The Guyanese
flag flying.  The airport is called the Cheddi Jagan International

Just an interesting outfit I
wanted to capture.

A picture taken out the back window of the airport.

The only picture I got of them.  The Carters are,  going from left to right,  #'s 1 and 3,
the Esplins are #'s 5 & 6.
February 5, 2012

The International Airport in Guyana.
We had an exciting day today.  The Beutlers and we drove to Guyana's Cheddi Jagan International Airport to pick up our two new senior couples.  The Carters are from North Carolina and the Esplins are from Salt Lake City and St. George.  They will both be serving out in Berbice, a couple hours away from Georgetown.  The Carters will be in East Canje where the Treseders lived, and the Esplins will be in Bush Lot and are homeless for now.  Elder Esplin asked me if I knew any Ogdens from Richfield.  I said, "I am an Ogden from Richfield".  They have a Wayne Ogden and his family renting their home while they are gone.  I told him I was sure we were cousins and asked him to find out who his father and grandfather are.  They will be staying with the Carters while they look for a place to live.  Somehow the communication lines were down and we didn't find out until yesterday afternoon that they were coming today.  The Beutlers drove to Berbice with them to help them get settled.  We had taco soup together here at our place and then they were going to drive to Berbice.  They didn't end up leaving until three thirty, and then they stopped at Bush Lot to look at an apartment and see the church.  Those two newly arrived Elders had to drive from Georgetown, and get there in the dark.  What a wild time for their first day here.

Last Friday we found out when we went walking at 6:00 in the morning that we were invited to a religious meeting at the National Cultural Center at 8:00.  We heard that President Pooran, the counselor in the District Presidency was going to be a speaker.  We hurried and got ready, even faster than usual because the power was off and I didn't have to dry my hair:)  We hurried over there and hardly anyone was there (it started at 8:30), but people were setting up display tables in the large foyer.  Elder Beutler asked Pres. Pooran if we should set up a display and he said yes, so the Beutlers and Elder Beecher ran to gather pamphlets, Books of Mormon, our banner, etc.  We managed to get it all set up by the time the meeting finally started at 8:45.  It turned out to be a meeting of many different religions for the United Nations "World Interfaith Harmony Week".  It was very interesting to see all the Muslims, Hindus, Bai'hi, Mystics, Rastifarians, and others all dressed in their religious garbs.  About eight different religions offered prayers, and then others gave talks on harmony.  President Pooran gave a great talk about "love the Lord, thy God, and love thy neighbor as thyself".  He talked about service and how one of our leaders spoke of lifting the hands that hang down, and strengthening the feeble knees.  He talked about how all the people in Guyana get along even though they are many different religions.  He made us proud.  Then the Prime Minister, Samuel A.A. Hines gave a nice short talk and the Police Band played the Guyana National Anthem.    Then they ended that part of the meeting and invited everyone to look at the display tables and enjoy a snack.  They had packed styrofoam containers with fruit and others with cheese pastries, pineapple tarts, and sandwiches. Elder Beecher's pineapple tart did not have any pineapple or even pineapple syrup just the crust. We visited with some interesting people and looked at the displays.  People were quickly gathering up our pamphlets of The Plan of Salvation, The Restoration, The Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity, The Family, Tithing and Fast Offerings, and Books of Mormon.  We were happy that the Church was so well represented and felt that we made a very positive impression.  It was something that the members here could be proud of.

The Rastafarian Leader

President Pooran on the right.

Our display table and people checking out our pamphlets.

President Benn, our District President in front of the table and banner.

The Rastafarians don't believe in cutting their hair.

The Bai'hai

A sharp looking Rastafarian.

The Hindu group, I believe.

The one in white is a Muslim for sure, and the other men may be.
The muslim women wear scarves over their faces and only their eyes
show.  They wear long sleeves and are very modest and probably hot.

This lady sat just in front of us.
President Pooran said that she is
the most powerful woman in the