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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Arima Branch

We've had an interesting couple of weeks.  The Lord has really blessed us and we're so thankful to be out on this Mission.  A new Senior Couple arrived last Saturday, the Rays. They will be taking over the Brown's calling as Auditor.  They are from Arizona and are a really sweet couple.  This is their third Mission.  We go walking with them each morning and it's been delightful getting to know them.  They are in their mid 70's and I have a hard time keeping up with them, especially Elder Ray.

We took one of the Sister Missionaries to the hospital on Thursday.  She was diagnosed with Dengue Fever.  It is rampant here in Trinidad and caused by a mosquito bite.  She is in a lot of pain and has a fever.  She also had an ear infection along with the Dengue.  They have to keep checking her blood every few days to make sure her platelets are not too low.  It is a virus and there isn't anything that can treat it only over-the-counter drugs to relieve the symptoms.  It takes one to three weeks to get over it.  The symptoms will be body aches, itchy rash, fever, nausea, painful skin and exhaustion.  There have been several Elders in Trinidad and Barbados that have come down with it.  President and Sister Mehr want all the Missionary apartments to have an air conditioner in their bedroom so they can keep their windows closed to keep the mosquitoes out.  That has been one of our assignments to figure out the best solution for air conditioners. We feel that we have done quite a bit to make the Missionaries more comfortable in their apartments while we have been out.

Another part of our Mission is to work with the Arima Branch.  I have come to love the wonderful people in this Branch.  I work with the Primary and they have given me the job to do the music.  This has been neglected as there aren't any musicians in this Branch.  The children really enjoy singing time and are learning the songs quickly.  When I first started, they didn't have a Children's Songbook.  On my last trip to the States, I brought one back and donated it to the Primary.  We all have to sing acapella as there isn't a keyboard or a piano in the Primary room.  I also play the keyboard for Sacrament Meeting.  Music is an important part of the Gospel and I'm glad that I can contribute in a small way.

We're hoping for good news about our Visas to Suriname this week.  A member of the Church in Suriname has been visiting the Foreign office to check on our Visas.  They told him this last week that they should have good news this coming Thursday.  So, maybe we may be leaving for Suriname soon.  They are really trying hard to get us to Suriname as they really need help there.  But as Elder Gubler said, it doesn't matter where we serve.

Again, I'm so thankful to be out on this Mission.  I've had so many answers to prayer and know that God hears and answers our prayers.  We love all of you and hope all is well with our Family and Friends at home.  Tot later!

Branch President Francique

Relief Society President, Sister Boodram

Two of our wonderful Deacons


End of Church

Monday, July 15, 2013

Still waiting for Visas!

Tomorrow will be our three month mark.  Time has certainly gone by quickly.  Much has happened the past couple of weeks.  I have had to deal with problems with two of my front teeth that I had crowns replaced back in December.  I went through two emergency root canals, one during our stay at the MTC, I flew back to have a root canal redone, and finally I had to fly back again to have Apicoectomy surgery done on both teeth.  I am finally free of pain and feel confident that we can fulfill this mission.  Elder Gubler has been wonderful and a real trooper by staying here alone for three weeks during that time.   It has been a sacrifice with the expense of airline tickets and Dental procedures.  My two teeth should be made of gold as much money as we've spent on them.   With the power of the Priesthood and many prayers and fasting on my behalf, the Lord has truly blessed us.  We both wanted to fulfill this mission and took these sacrifices to be able to do this.  The medical and dental care is arcade and unsafe at the best over here.  One does not want to get sick or injured here, if you do you'll be on a flight to the United States.  My children have been very giving and supportive in letting me stay in their homes and driving me around during this time. 

These past couple of weeks have been busy opening up new apartments.  President Mehr felt inspired to open up two new areas to Missionaries.  One area was a small village which already had a small congregation of investigators and members.  It was difficult finding an apartment as there were no advertisements in the newspaper for that area.  Elder Gubler went to the Post Office to inquire about an apartment, but was received very rudely by the gal who worked there.  He felt inspired to take his badge off at a small store and was warmly received and helped in locating an apartment.  The apartment is large and furnished and at a good price and will accommodate church meetings.  President Mehr wanted the apartment to be a meeting place for members and investigators.  Elder Gubler and I both felt it was a miracle that we found an apartment at all in this area as it was the only one available.  The Lord really blesses His Missionaries.  This village is called Matura and the missionaries will cover the Northeast area of the Island.

Elder Gubler also opened up an apartment while I was away in another town called Valencia.  He had a stove, refrigerator, washing machine, and all the necessary supplies delivered and set up.  He was very busy while I was away.  This area also has a small congregation of members and investigators that President Mehr wanted a place where they could meet. 

While I was away on one of my dental procedures, Elder Gubler and the rest of the Senior Couples went on an excursion to the Northeast tip of the Island.  This is an area where Leatherback Sea Turtles come up on the beach to nest.  These are very large turtles, 6 ft. long from head to tail.  They are best viewed at night.  He was amazed at these large creatures and said they looked like dinosaurs as they walked from the ocean to the beach at night.  He was also able to see little baby hatchlings as they made their way to the ocean.  He has never seen this species of turtle in all the ocean dives he has made.  They spent the night and on the way up to his room, Elder Gubler said the stairs were covered with frogs.  I wished I could have been there.

We are still waiting for our Visas to Suriname.  Elder Vanderbeek and President Linder, a Senior Missionary and a member of the District Presidency in Suriname, went and visited the President of Suriname last week.  They asked him for help in getting these visas as there are five missionaries and us that have been waiting.  He expressed concern and offered to help.  So, we'll see what happens.  Elder and Sister Vanderbeek are a Senior Couple in Suriname right now.  Elder Vanderbeek is from Holland and emigrated to the United States.  We are anxious to get over there and help them out.

Elder Gubler is doing great with his Dutch.  I am so far behind as it has been hard to concentrate with all the problems I have been having with my teeth.  I am setting a goal to take up the Dutch and hit it hard starting tomorrow.  However, I can pray and bare my testimony.

We had a special meeting with President and Sister Mehr and all the other Senior Couples via the internet on Thursday.  President Mehr called all the Senior Couples as Humanitarian Missionaries.  We will be trained on how to locate and start Humanitarian projects for the Mission.  President Mehr feels that this will be good Public Relations in getting these countries to lighten their restrictions on Missionaries coming into their country.  I felt he was inspired to do this and am looking forward to help out with Humanitarian needs.  The Humanitarian couple that are currently in the Mission are leaving this month and there is not a replacement.

On a sad note, Elder and Sister Brown finished their mission and returned home a couple of weeks ago.  They really helped us when we first came out and were truly an inspiration to the whole mission.  Elder Brown was the auditor for the mission and traveled to the branches and wards of the whole mission and audited their financial records.  They are from Virginia.

I'm so thankful for  the Lord's blessings and the healing power of the Priesthood.  I'm so thankful that I can finish this mission and I'm looking forward to what lies ahead.

At the Hummingbird encounter

Elder & Sister Brown's farewell lunch, they are
the couple in the front middle.

On the way to Turtle Beach


Dinner at Turtle Beach, unfortunately I wasn't there.

Baby hatchling

Leatherback Turtle