Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Giant Sea Turtles

July 11, 2013

On the beach in Trinidad!
We had a mission teleconference in Trinidad while we were there.  All the senior missionaries were on their skypes in all 13 locations, except for those who were in the mission home in Trinidad, and President Mehr spoke to us all at once.  It was a very interesting conference.  D & C 88:73. "Behold I will hasten my work in its time."  
They are talking about splitting the mission.  If we could have more missionaries in Guyana they would probably do it.  In the mission we will have 50 more missionaries in the next three months.
President Mehr is having the senior missionaries work with the priesthood leaders to do humanitarian projects that build strategic relationships.  We are also planning a big celebration in 2015 to celebrate 25 years of the church in the West Indies. 
After this conference the Monsons took us to Grand Riviere                    to see the giant leatherback turtles come in to lay their eggs.  We drove along miles of beautiful beaches where the road was missing in places, which made it more exciting.  We drove for about three hours to a beach where we had a nice fish dinner and stayed in a little motel.  After dinner we walked a couple blocks down to the beach to wait for the guides to come and get us to go see the turtles.  This is the end of the season and only 30 turtles came in that night.  In the peak season 400 or 500 turtles may come in one night.  We had to wait until 9:00 or 9:30 for the first turtle to come.  You can't shine your flashlight because the light confuses the turtles, unless your light is red.  The turtles are huge.  One they measured was 11 feet from the end of its tail to the top of it's shell.  The turtles crawl up on the beach and find a spot where the sand is firm.  Then their back legs dig a very precise hole the shape of a giant upside down lightbulb.  Then the eggs start dropping into the hole.  The eggs are round and white and about the size of a small orange.  Some of the eggs are small and have no yolk and when they break it makes air holes so the hatchlings can breath when they hatch.  The mother turtle will lay between 80 and 120 eggs.  Then they come back in about 10 days and lay that many again and they do that 7 to 10 times each year.  They swim to the beach from way up north near England or Scandinavia.  We couldn't take pictures at night.  We got to see eight turtles crawl up on the beach to lay eggs that night and then we went back to the hotel.  We were up before 5:00 the next morning and down to the beach while it was still dark.  We hoped to catch a turtle still there.  There were no turtles on the beach, but as it got light dozens of vultures and a few dogs came to the beach to find eggs or hatchlings to eat.  Only a handful of hatchlings out of 1,000 survive.  We could see where the turtles had used their giant fins to camouflage where they had laid their eggs.  We hung around the beach for a couple hours and we saw a large leatherback that accidently swam into a river instead of into the ocean.   These turtles are really amazing.  We drove past miles of beautiful beaches on the way back.

The men carry around their bird cages.  They see whose bird can sing the best and gamble.  A bird can cost $3000 US.

Broken turtle egg shells on the beach.

Colorful houses

The beach at dusk.

The vultures show up to eat the hatchlings.

The turtles camouflage where they lay their eggs.

Elder Beecher with Elder Monson.

Sister Monson with a hatchling.

A hatchling trying to make it into the ocean.

A beautiful beach along the road.

We couldn't take pictures of the turtles at night, but this one accidently swam into a river instead of to the sea.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Hummingbirds in Trinidad

July 9, 2013
We stopped in Trinidad on our way back to Guyana.  We arrived at night on the ninth of July.  Elder and Sister Monson picked us up at the airport and we were privileged to stay in Elder Richard and Sister Hazie Brown's apartment.  They had just left to go home and the Ray's hadn't arrived yet.  The apartment was super nice.  We walked with the Monsons in the morning and then went to Arema to teach a Career Workshop.  There were 12 members there and it turned out very good.  The Career Workshop is so powerful.  It will bless people's lives.  That evening Sister Monson fed us and we played Wizard.  The next morning we walked and went to the mission office devotional.
We went to see the hummingbirds with Elder and Sister Gubler.  We met Sister Gubler previously at the airport in Houston.  She was on her way back to Trinidad after having her teeth worked on in Utah.  It was the second trip she had made home to the dentist. Uck.
The hummingbirds were a short drive out of the city of Valsayn.  A man named Theo lived up on a hill overlooking a misty green valley.  He has many hummingbird feeders and many hummingbirds come to visit.  He shared interesting facts including the fact that hummingbirds eat about two times their body weight in sugar every day.  Their heartbeats are very fast.  They can fly backwards, hover, and do acrobatics.  There are 17 varieties and he has seen 13 in his yard.  He also photographs the birds and sells his pictures.  Here are some of the hummingbirds we saw.

A beautiful plant and flowers.

A kiskadee.

It was a beautiful garden.  We enjoyed seeing the hummingbirds.  It was fun to be there with the Gublers.

Home for Ramsay and Jenn's Wedding!!!

July 20, 2013

Our trip home for Ramsay and Jenn's wedding was wonderful.  It was thrilling to see everyone and get big hugs.  We loved getting to know Scout and Porter who both turned one in April.  We were surprised at how much all our other grandchildren had grown.  Cayden, Kanyon, and Aly are all taller than Sister Beecher now.  We are so impressed by how talented and smart our grandchildren are.  It was fun to see all the kids and spouses.  It was great to see Jackie in her expecting condition.  Cayden won the 5k race in Richfield on the 4th of July.  We got to golf with mom and see how well both moms are doing.  It was super fun to get to know Jenn better at the bridal shower.
The 4th of July was great in Richfield and the wedding was absolutely fairy tail in Manti.  Ramsay and Jenn were so happy and it felt so good to be in the temple.
The wedding breakfast was a treat.  Bert's food was extra delicious and peoples comments about Ramsay and Jenn were enlightening.  It was interesting to know how he had been pursuing her.  Chad Neth's song, "Lady", was a heart stopper, and Ramsay's song to Jenn was just great.  He sang and danced and it was fun.  
The open house was uniquely Ramsay and Jenn.  Babaloo, the burrow was a hit.  The giant Jenga game was so fun.  There were so so many people - so many of Ramsay's old friends.  It was a little cool for shaved ice, but the treats were a hit and the wedding cakes were a Wow!  The pallet wall with all the pictures was amazing.  Each picture of Ramsay and Jenn was amazing.  The table decorations were great.  The most fun part of the evening was dancing in the rain.  There were a couple very LOUD and close cracking claps of thunder that announced the significant event and then the rain.  The D.J. cranked up the music and we danced for 15 min. or so until the rain stopped.  Then the yard filled up with friends.  
We believe that Ramsay and Jenn have a powerful potential for an amazing life together.  They complement each other in many ways.
We are so grateful for our wonderful and supportive family.  It was fantastic to see them and we know they have been blessed by our missionary service. 

Ramsay's song to Jenn.  What a great time:)