Monday, March 18, 2013

Smile boxes

We would also like to share a couple of smile boxes that Elder and Sister Cook, the Humanitarian missionaries in our mission created.

This one is called Butterfly Summer.

This one is about a sloth Elder Cook picked up and carried around.

Vision for All YouTube Video

Here is the YouTube video that Dr. Robison made of the Vision for All Project, and also a newspaper article that was in the Daily Herald>
YouTube - Videos from this email

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Vision for All

We had a great time with the Vision for All group.  Dr. Tuttle and wife Julie on the left,
Dr. and Sister Briggs, Tobin Prince and Evan Pressley.

Dr. Pugh and wife Lynda

President and Sister Robison

Dr. Cook and wife Julie
People waiting in the halls to see one of the five eye

Elder Beecher checking people in.

Dr. Gray (from Lehi) and his wife, Lisa, and daughter, Tiffany with all the Elders.

 People with their new glasses.

Bro. Granger, age 84, oldest member of the church in Guyana.

One of our favorite people, Bro. Jacob, with his new glasses.

Sweet lady with new glasses.
February, 2013  Vision for All

This week we have been going crazy trying to get ready for the Vision for All group - 22 of them from Utah.  We have been in the hot seat because so many appointment vouchers have been passed out by the branch presidents that the eye doctors got frustrated and told us that they could see about 40 of 200 out in the Berbice Area.  Our Humanitarian missionaries have been in Suriname, then they came back and we thought we would get help and they went to St. Vincent.  They came back and we thought we would get help and they went to Trinidad and we were left holding the bag.  We got suggestions from Pres. Pooran our Public Relations man.  He was going to be there and take care of crowd control.  We called all the branch presidents and explained the situation and sent them an email to read in church about how not everyone would be able to see the eye doctor and people will be turned away. We have been stressing over this situation all week, and trying to figure out what to do.  They were considering cancelling the clinics out there.  We pushed the send button on our email and two minutes later received an email saying that the eye doctors had figured out a way to see everyone.  We wished they would have told us.  So then another email and more phone calls telling them that the eye doctors will take care of it. 
The eye doctor group emailed last night and they missed their flight.  They should have gotten here last night at 9:30.  They paid extra and got on different flights and 16 arrived at 7:30 this morning and 3 others arrived at 7:00.  So last night we were trying to help them with the hotel, a travel agent, and a man in Trinidad to get them through customs.  So we were all emailing and calling for a few hours.  
We have been working with the Minister of Health to be able to get the 5,000 pair of glasses through customs.  We found out Friday afternoon that we needed to pick up Mr. Bart, a broker, and take him with us so he could arrange for the group to get through customs.  Elder Beecher had to pick him up yesterday afternoon to go pick up one fellow with a box of glasses, then this morning he picked up his son to help, and tomorrow two more groups will be arriving so Elder Beecher will have to pick him up again.  Because Elder Beecher's name is on the letter to the Minister of Health he has to go every time someone comes.  Elder Beecher made eight trips to the airport with Mr. Bart to pick up people and glasses.  They became great friends.
Today some of them are having a missionary reunion because President Robison, a former mission president here, is the leader of the group.  Then after the reunion is a fireside.
They are staying in a hotel downtown, so all the senior couples are their transportation.  
We have two clinics tomorrow in Berbice, one in Linden, and three and one half days here in Georgetown.  Tomorrow we willl be the only couple left in town, and then Elder Beecher has to leave in the afternoon for the airport.  It should be an interesting weeeeek.  (a long week).  Hopefully it will turn out great:)  But, if we have learned anything here it is that you need to be flexible.  Things normally don't go as planned.  

March 5, 2013
Dear President Mehr,
This month we have been the Humanitarian Substitutes.  The first project was to unload and sort a 40 foot container from the Sort Center in Salt Lake City which came to the Guyana Council for People with Disabilities.  We met Mr. Walcott, the chairman of the Council, and worked with him.  He had to find a place to unload the container because they had no room at Mud Flats where the container was delivered.  Mr. Walcott had part of it put in smaller empty containers at Mud Flats, and part of it delivered to his home.  We had it announced in the Georgetown branches that we needed members to come help unload and sort the shoes, clothes, school kits, hygiene kits, blankets, quilts, and books that came in the container.  We had 55 or so show up one day, and some members of the Council came to help as well.  We worked on the project for two days.  The second day, all the Georgetown Elders came to help plus maybe 40 sisters came back.  They really worked hard all day.  The next day we went to the Handing Over Ceremony, which was very nice.  We felt that the project was a great success.  We had so many there working together.
The second project was the Vision for All Project.  We have been working on this project for a couple months.  We worked with Mr. Hariram, our contact to the Minister of Health, who arranged to get the 6,000 plus pairs of glasses through customs.  The eye doctors needed boxes built to hold the glasses when they sorted them into various categories.  We found the perfect boxes and divided them into rows with cardboard strips.  We made appointment vouchers for the Branch Presidents to pass out to members, their families and friends.  We made arrangements to have Guyanese eye doctors come to help.  We planned with President Robison, and Dr. Pugh and his wife to have two clinics in Berbice, and one in Linden.  Then we had three and one half days of clinics in Georgetown.  We made sure that we had enough help for all the clinics.  We had all the missionaries, and many of the branch presidents and many members helping as well.  We gathered materials to cover the windows in the exam rooms, found eye charts, brought a crockpot full of salt to heat for the adjusting of the glasses. Getting food for the workers turned out well with Sister Meredith providing most of it and then we just supplemented with fruit and desserts.  Keeping water available for everyone was a constant job along with needing to run off more treatment forms.  We originally ran off about 700 and ended up running off another 1,300.  We ran out of paper…  We scrubbed down the washrooms and kitchen at Prashad Nagar, and arranged for transportation for 22 people to and from the airport, and to and from the church and many times dinner in the evenings.  Sister Beecher was there every morning by 7:15 to help pass out RX papers and help get the people in order.  Some mornings there were 50 people there by then.  Elder Beecher picked up the Broker (who helped the vision people get through customs) and made eight trips to the airport in seven days.  We stressed over having too many people for the eye doctors to handle.  We stressed out the branch presidents trying to cut down the number of people that had vouchers (some people photocopied extra vouchers).  Then much to everyone’s relief the eye doctors confided that they knew how to handle so many people.   We were grateful for Elder and Sister Cook who would stop in every now and then and help make decisions and assure us that everything would be OK.  Overall the project was a great success!  All the missionaries and members and vision crew worked together.  We served 2,000 people, members and many non-members, and gave out about 2,500 pairs of glasses.  The Elders now have three big suitcases of reading glasses to deliver to people who came, who only needed reading glasses.  They have their names, addresses, and phone numbers, and hopefully they will be able to share the Gospel as well.  We were amazed at all the work that the eye doctors went to getting all those glasses gathered and ready. 
There were many miracles along the way, finding the right glasses.  Dr. Gray gave his personal new glasses away on the last day to a man who had the same prescription and there was not a pair to be found.  We enjoyed our association with the members of the group very much.
We have been working on PEF and our piano lessons along the way.  We enjoyed the fireside where you and Dr. Robison and the eye doctors spoke and Sister Mehr sang. We have seen lots of car accidents happen and driven past after more accidents that had just happened. We are grateful for the angels on our fenders.  

Dr. Pugh's wife, Lynda in the red shirt,  Sister Robison in the gray skirt.

People waiting to be fitted.

Dr. Pugh could check one side of the chapel all at once.  He would
tell the people if you can read this without your glasses stay here.  If
you can't move to the middle so you can see the eye doctor.  People
who just need reading glasses will have them delivered by the missionaries.

More people waiting to be fitted.

Springtime in Guyana

Springtime in Guyana

Actually, it always felt like summer and there were always blossoms.

Some of our favorite blossoms were the water lilies.

It is hot in Guyana.  I noticed that today it is 88 degrees, and humid.  It is cooler than it was when we came.  We had many days in the upper nineties.  We are enjoying the "cooler" weather. One benefit of this climate is all the beautiful blossoms.  The trenches are still full of gorgeous big water lilies and the fruit are growing: pineapple, bananas, mangoes, papaya, and many, many more.

Bug bites

February 2013

Elder Beecher wanted to share this picture with you, so that you could commiserate with him.  He has had some type of critters attack his knees a few times.  We have been spraying our bed and it hasn't happened lately.  Luckily, those bugs haven't bothered Sister Beecher.

Humanitarian Substitutes

February 11, 2013
Elder and Sister Cook
Elder Val and Sister Marsha Cook are the Humanitarian Missionaries.  They were living in the apartment where we are, but when we came they were sent to Suriname to do some projects there.  However, they had started projects here in Guyana.  Because they are in and out of the country we have been helping them with their projects.  Our first project was to find members to help unload a 40 foot shipping container with school kits, hygiene kits, quilts, blankets, clothes, shoes, and sign language books for an organization called The Council of Persons with Disabilities.  We invited the Young Single Adults, and then the Branch Presidents announced it in church so that we could get members there to help.   There were eventually 8 or ten men helping to unload the container into a truck.
     They couldn't find a place to unload the container, so Mr. Rohaman consented to let us use his a spot on his Rohaman Park property.  His buildings are across the street from our Garden Park branch building.  It was a 30 foot by 30 foot place with a roof and a wall on each end.  Thirty or forty  sisters came to help, and eight people from the Council of Persons with Disabilities.
     We were instructed to unload the trucks and put everything in separate piles.  We ordered pizza and fed about 60 for lunch.  The sisters opened the big bundles of clothing from the sort center and separated it into mens, ladies, children, babies, and household items.  Most of them packed a little goodie bag to take home with things they wanted.  After three or four or five trips with the truck everything was unloaded.  We were happy to be done.  Then the leader of the Council group said when we come back tomorrow we can put everything in piles for each of the 25 groups in the Council.  My mouth dropped open because we could have done that during the day.  Our sisters would unload for a while and then sit and wait.  I finally told her that we would come back on Wednesday and bring the Elders and arrange it in piles for each group.  I told the sisters that we wouldn't need them to come back.
On Wednesday, our 10 Georgetown Elders came, and most of the sisters came back.  The council leader had invited them back.  We worked hard all day.  The Elders had to load a truck and take a bunch of the stuff to be stored at the Center for the Blind.  The Elders were throwing those boxes around in a chain line.  The sisters did that also, on the Monday.  We got everything put into 25 piles for the different groups.  The sisters turned out to be very useful because they had to put a little of every kind of clothing in one bag for each of the groups, and they packed another bag of goodies to take home. We ordered pizza again.  Because the place was not large enough we put down pallets with big pieces of plywood on them and piled the things on that.  Mr. Rohaman had his workers put up a tent.
Kendrick from LaGrange.

Natasha Algu

Sister Goodluck and Sister Chin and others.

Some of the wonderful sisters who helped.

Mark Cuehlo, who left on his mission this morning, Bro.
Crookshank, who has a gold mining operation, Elder Beecher, President
Reese from the Garden Park branch, Bro. Braithwaite, and Bro. Beharry.
Elder Gines, Elder McClain, Elder Mecham, Elder Anderson (in the back), Elder Reise,
Elder Babb, Elder Andreamanantena and Elder Wilson. Elder Nedd and Elder Giddings were gone unloading the truck.
     That night the rain poured down and some of the boxes got wet and the piles tipped over.  The next day the Cooks came and they had a Handing Over Ceremony where they invited the news and had speeches to celebrate the gift.  Mr. Walcott who is over the Council and rides a fancy red scooter type wheel chair came.  President Pooran from our District Presidency spoke among others.  There were about 20 students from a deaf school who came, and many of the disabled council members.  They were happy to receive all the items.  We were happy to hand it over to them.  We felt like it was a very successful project.  We had so many there and they all worked together.  We made some new friends on the Council and they came this past week to our Vision project.  We enjoyed being able to work together with everyone.