Tuesday, May 28, 2013

There is a REAL beach in Trinidad/ Guyana follow-up

THE BEACH in Trinidad with new Senior Couples / Guyana YSA Activity and Follow-up  / A very Resourceful Woman!
 On the road to Maracas Bay, some local favorite treats!
 No, I didn't try them.
 These either!
 I loved this sign at the beach!  Seriously!
Nice, huh? We had a fun outing!  The best was when three lifeguards were trying to out-swim Sister Ray and she left them in the dust while we were all laughing hysterically on the beach!  She never even knew they were trying to stop her going out so far!  Hardly anyone local knows how to swim, so when they see someone swimming, they get nervous.
 Back in Guyana, we went over the Demerara (brown) river again for our YSA activity and follow-up meetings. 

We stopped in Guyana at Royal Castle Chicken for lunch. I had to let you see the receipt,  $2,540 dollars for a couple pieces of chicken, two salads, 1 fry and a water.  Funny money - just where we are headed in the US!  200 Guyanese dollars = 1 dollar US
 We were all drowned rats!  Soaked to the skin!  This was an hour before the water party activity.  So we thought we had prepared for ANY eventuality!  However, when we got there for the water party, the building had NO water and NO electricity!!  So, yeah, nothing to hook the hoses to for the water slide, nothing to fill the rest of the balloons, (luckily we spent the day before filling most of them) and after calling two priesthood leaders to come, and waiting....waiting...waiting....the back-up generator would not start.  We set up the (principle -straight and narrow path) slip and slide and the water balloon capture the flag (principle-We are in a war between good and evil) and by the time they were set up, we were all drenched from the deluge rainstorm.  By the time, we got to the slip and slide, one of the young adults kept pouring water on the slide that they were getting from somewhere????  I decided it was best not to ask since there are some seriously scary trenches everywhere! The activity was given a resounding A+ from the YSA committee members, despite the rain and complications.  The Caribbean pace pervades everything in the WIM! It is a great mission to learn patience!  We were at a meeting once waiting for a video transmission from church headquarters and the whole chapel just sat there in reverent silence for over forty-five minutes.  That would NEVER happen in the US.  The chapel would be empty!
 Lunch was first on the docket.
    Elder Beecher getting into the Ice breakers:  Group Dance and Zip Zap Zop 
 These people know how to dance!
Elder Monson, "the piranha," waiting to grab away safety rafts while the youth are crossing the river.
 Water balloon Capture the Flag
 Straight and narrow path water slide
 Cheering on those who chose the straight and narrow!
 These guys slid 45 feet plus an additional 5 feet off the slide!  Detergent squirted helped the lack of water!
We traveled down Sister D'Olivera's street
There were families out in front of their house playing Dominoes
 A neighborhood grocer
Sister D'Olivera in front of the home where she grew up. Her father built this home.  She is in charge of the YSA center in LaGrange and is also the Primary President.

When we awakened the day of the activity, it was pouring rain!  We heard from sister D’Olivera that she had too many items for the YSA activity to carry with her while traveling and would we pick her up.  (Remember, “travel” means that they are taking a bus.)  We were happy to pick up her and two of her children.  On the way to the activity, she made three deliveries.  One was a plastic sack full of eggs.  I inquired about the eggs and she told me that she has an egg and chicken, duck meat business she runs from her home.  When she joined the church four and a half years ago, she was taught to be self-reliant and at that time a humanitarian aid project in Guyana provided her first chicken coop. 
 Here she is pictured with her son, Steve, in front of the home her Father built.  It is now rented out to provide income for the family.  She has three sons.  Her oldest son returns from his mission in one week.   When we took her home, I told her we would love to see her business and she kindly told us her conversion story and shared the story of her business. In her words,  "Four and a half years ago there was a family that joined the church on my street.  I used to see the missionaries come down the street and I would look at them; such handsome, clean young men and think, "I want my sons to look like that someday!"  The missionaries began living upstairs in my neighbors home, and they introduced me to them.  They taught my family, all four of us together, and I felt a desire to be  an eternal family.  When I read the Proclamation, I knew that families could be together and I wanted that more than anything.  I read the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants and I felt the Spirit confirm in my heart the church is true.  One day I thought about the way the world was going, and I knew this was the direction I wanted my family to go so my sons would grow up clean and strong and good.  We all joined the church, except my youngest, who was too young at the time and from that day to this, we have not missed going to Sacrament meeting and trying to live the Gospel.  The church taught me to be self-reliant and told me they would buy our first chicken coop.  We all worked together and now we can support the needs of our family through my business and my husband's carpentry.  When my son went on his mission, we saved so our family could go to the temple.  When I looked in the mirrors and saw generations of my family going on forever, I knew families are important.  I thanked God the church came into my life." 
 The majority of the food the family eats is raised against the fence on either side of the homes.  Find the bananas here?
 This is bread fruit
  The second home behind her childhood home.  Her mother died, and her father remarried and lives here with his new wife. 
Her home is the last in the rectangle piece of land, one behind the other.  Her husband built it.
 The side fence with more growing foods
Cooking herbs and vegetables all fertilized with the chicken and duck manure from her business
At the other side of her house she has a tray which is outside drying her herbs
 Directly behind her house, is a series of coops.  The first of these the church provided for her in a humanitarian aid project.  She grew her business until she now produces several hundred eggs a day and sells them all.  She also sells duck and chicken meat.  These are the meat chickens, which grow to ten pounds and then are sold.
 New baby layers
"Do not look at those people!  Listen to your mother!" 
 This is another duck in the laying process
New chicks
Full grown laying chickens
The chickens are put into the metal shape at the top with their neck and head through the bottom.  The head is sliced off and the blood drains into the bucket.
This is the chicken feather plucking machine.  The feathers all come out down the metal spout.
This is the inside.  It is electric and when the bottom spins the chicken is thrown against the sides and the feathers are all torn off.
It is turned on and spinning on the bottom in this picture.
After the feathers are all gone, the meat is cut up here
It is weighed on the scale and sold by the pound.  Here is one of her egg trays and papayas from her trees.
This is her outdoor stove to cook on.
A shot of the inside of her freezer with duck and chicken ready to sell.
Bread fruit
The next day we went back to the branch for church, walked in and the branch President asked us to be the speakers!  Elder Beecher had asked me to play the piano in two Sacrament meetings and lead the primary.  There was STILL no electricity or water.  So the music was acappella and leading the Primary music was singing with them.  Later, we went to the youth Sunday School class.  Wonderful youth bearing testimony!
Though dark clouds are frequently over the members in Guyana, some, like Sister D'Olivera have the tenacity and resourcefulness to improve their situation by small and simple means to bless their families and truly inspire usWe were so impressed by her!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

This amazing week in Trinidad!

Sooooo many wonderful things have happened in the past week!  Major changes and the kingdom growing among the youth!
Doctor Kimball and his wife from the US came to Trinidad on a five-hour lay-over.  We picked them up at the airport and took them up the side of the mountain to a monastery.  This beautiful overlook was along the way.  We then went to a nice Chinese buffet for lunch before taking them back to the airport!  We were so impressed with this couple. As a Dr. he is not on a full-time mission as we are, but rather on-call for an 18-month period of time.  During his designated mission time, he is called up on a crises relief basis in areas all over the world serving there for a couple of weeks at a time, and returning to his home until the next desperate need. They are in their 40's and have been on three missions and have taken their children on many of these trips.  He was here for the neonatal resuscitation program starting in Grenada.  . He shared about his experiences in Haiti for three weeks.  There were so many Doctors there performing multiple hundreds of amputations around the clock to save people's lives with crushed appendages.    They have four children and are such good people!  What an inspiration to freely share talents to save and help people all over the world!
The view above Trinidad by the Monastery.
 On the way back down,  we had to stop and take a picture of this sign for our son, Jordan!  Man, was it windy!  We were kind of shocked to find a street sign at all!  They are pretty rare. 
 Another termite house.  I still don't want to eat a termite, though I hear they taste like carrots!
 The church at the top of the mountain!  The candles lit for prayers!
 Not a cathedral in Europe, but a nice location!
 Meet the Gublers!  They are our neighbors, temporarily.  They are learning Dutch and going to Suriname as soon as they get their Visas........which is who knows when???  They took over the apartment assignment for us!  Wonderful people!  We are sad they will be leaving!  They are laughing because they came over and said they wanted to take a picture of us for their blog.  My ipad was sitting on our table and I said, well, I want to take a picture of you for my blog!!  So while he was taking our picture, I was taking his!! 
 We had a farewell lunch at TGI Fridays in Chaguanas. I hate this part about missions!  You grow to love other missionaries and then they leave.  Elder and Sister Linton left to go to Tobago and Elder and Sister Lindorf went home.  Now we have two new senior missionary couples; the Gublers and the Reeses.  The Reeses just got here last night and will be in San Fernando which will be a huge boost for the South.....The Gublers will be a powerful force for good in Suriname!

 This picture was taken at night and my ipad has no flash, but I had to include it.  We had two youth baptisms this week.  Mary is on the right and has only been a member for two months.  She is the young woman I spoke with at youth conference.  She has been such a courageous example, the only member in her family. Her best friend, Purdy was baptized.  Her story is amazing, too.  She has been attending church since February, attending seminary and devouring the Book of Mormon. She came up to the Sisters at church and told them she wanted to be baptized.  She is one of the elect of God. She has sought for and been drawn to the Spirit since she was first introduced to it.  Her Father does not provide for the family, is a drunk and physically abuses his children and wife.  Her mother provides and cares for the family.  They live in a house that has been "started" for years.  It is bricks laid on top of each other with openings for windows and doors with cloth over them; no furniture whatsoever with a dirt floor.  Sister Herrick and Sister Jewell taught her the first time standing in a completely empty room.  The next time, Purdy rented two lawn chairs with her own money for them to sit on.  The third visit, the sisters sat on beer barrels.  Purdy's mother, a Christian, fully supported her daughter in her desire to join the church.  However, they were all terrified about her Father finding out.  Sister Herrick said that one time they were teaching Purdy, and he walked into the house, drunk and enraged.  She said Purdy started shaking, looking down at the floor and Sister Herrick whispered to her, "Don't worry, Purdy.  The Spirit is here, and you will be safe."  He stopped, glared at them all, turned and abruptly left.   We feel so honored and humbled to know and love her.  Her baptism was an unforgettable occasion.  I wish every young women in the United States could just spend a half hour with both of these young women to feel of their noble spirits and believing hearts, willing to make any sacrifice to have the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ in their lives.
 Elder Ward and Purdy before her baptism.
Sister Herrick, Purdy and Sister Jewell........ We love them all!..........  We love our mission!
So thankful to know and love Purdy!
 The church in the West Indies desperately needs Priesthood leaders.  The day after Purdy's baptism, Anil was baptized.  I don't know if it was because it was two young people in a row, but it was an incredible experience for us.  The intimacy and personal commitment to Jesus Christ embodied in the symbolic death of the old person, (buried under the water) and birth of the new person in Christ (raised out of the water again) was poignantly emotional for me as these two young people covenanted to always remember Christ, keep his commandments, and take His name upon them.  This picture shows Anil, some church members, and his family that came to support him.  His brother did not look very happy about it, but they were there which was nice. 
 There were two sets of Elders because Anil has been preparing for quite awhile and the original missionaries that taught him received permission to return to the area for his baptism.  There is so much pressure in this culture for men to drink and do so many destructive things that for a young man to live a godly life is a huge change and a step off the broad path that the vast majority of young men travel.  Anil is a courageous and good young man.  We were so happy to be a part of his baptism, too.
 President Rupa, the second counselor in the Stake Presidency, performed the baptism.
 It was a beautiful day!
 I had to take a picture of this lovely restaurant named after my mother!  We didn't try the food!
 For Mother's Day, we had Sisters Herrick and Jewel, Sisters Gossard and Taylor, and Elders Grange and Hatch over to skype their mothers and have dinner with us.  I got to skype all my kids too, for a little bit, after they all left. 
Sisters Taylor and Gossard insisted we try the BEST doubles stand!  We've tried two others. They love them!  All the missionaries do!  Yeah.....we are done trying doubles for the remainder of our mission!  We officially are NOT impressed.  They are slimy tortillas with smashed chick peas and sauce all over them.  Nah - we are not fans!  This stand is legendary and ALWAYS has about 20 people in line.  We don't get it!