Tuesday, November 7, 2017

August 28th, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

We thought you might like to see what our morning walk looks like when we visit the most rural part of our mission. Berbice, Guyana is a country district located about 2 hours outside of the capital of Georgetown. It has its own special and unique charm and I think you will see what we mean by the pictures that accompany this email. When we are in Berbice, we stay with our senior couple, the Peterson's, in their home, the Palmyra Palace. Every morning at 6 they take a neighborhood walk which borders a swampy grass savannah. This is a National Geographic walk for us every time. You never know what you may find and that makes every walk a surprise waiting to happen. 

Our walk begins on faulty asphalt that quickly becomes a dirt path. The homes are very humble and may appear to be deserted, even though they are over occupied by families and animals. The pigs and piglets are usually in the mud but today one as big as a car was out to get some sun. The Peterson's know many of their neighbors by name and enjoy greeting them and their animals every morning. They drop off treats to the elderly, buy bananas, pineapples and soursop from their neighbor who sells produce and share scraps of food with the malnourished dogs that follow them home.
Screech the monkey was out enjoying the morning sun with his owner and smiled for the camera. Dad was able to get some priceless photos of the children. They are beautiful, kind and happy. One little girl is ready to begin her modeling career as you can see in the picture "Water Girl."

On the way back we met up with the missionaries who were out for their morning exercise. Of course, our walk would not be complete without taking a picture of my favorite lilies growing in the trenches. We hope you enjoyed your walk through Berbice as much as we do. 

"All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small.
 All things wise and wonderful the Lord God made them all."

Love, Trini and Dad






One of the best reasons to visit this area of the mission is to be with missionaries and attend the baptisms of new members. Last weekend when we were there for Zone Conference, we were also able to attend 3 baptisms; Mike,
Bibi and her daughter Aiyeesha.

We met at the home of the branch president, President Narine. He is a sugar cane worker and his wife goes to market every week with their crop of shallots (green onions) to sell. Once everyone arrived, we held opening exercises under a tarp covered patio and then walked to the river for the baptism. Along the way we passed a garbage filled cemetery and then the path led to a beautiful and secluded spot for the baptisms. Aiyeesha went first and carefully entered from the river bank assisted by Brother Mohanlall who was performing the ordinance. After she was baptized her mother, Bibi, was baptized by Elder Straddeck. She is a tiny little woman with a spunky little personality. Bibi happened to be wearing a cute wig that floated to the top of the water as she was baptized. When she came out of the water, she smiled, grabbed her wig and in one swift motion was ready to go again. President Narine baptized Mike who was a little unsteady on his feet and somewhat frightened. He lovingly performed the baptism and then hugged and kissed his head when he came up out of the water.

There is no way to adequately describe the spirit that accompanies these events. It is the poorest and most humble of circumstances and reminds me of the Sermon on the Mount when the Savior said:

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth."

Love, Trini and Dad





Wednesday, August 23, 2017

August 22nd, 2017

Dear Family and Friends

We hope this email finds you all healthy and happy and enjoying the last few days of summer. That seems strange to say since it is always summer in this mission. In fact, this is the hottest time of the year for us.We were in Suriname for a week for Zone Conference with the missionaries and District Conference with the members. We had one extra day in the country waiting for a flight out and it happened to be the annual Amerindian celebration. This festival celebrates the indigenous peoples of Suriname (Arawaks) They leave their homes in the interior and come to Paramaribo to share their culture, crafts, and friendship. 

The festival is held in a palm tree park in the center of the city. They set up a grandstand for the entertainment, choose a festival queen and her attendants and set up kiosks selling food, medicine and crafts. It was very interesting. We saw the tribal doctor doing healing and blessings, enjoyed watching the children on the wooden merry-go-round, and listening to the music and singing.

Dad bought a small flute carved from a bone and I picked up one of their yarn ball headbands. Dad got some great pictures that we hope you enjoy too. It is always amazing how people with so little, celebrate all that life has given them. There are many lessons to be learned on this mission and that is certainly one of them. The people were kind enough to let us take their pictures and loved it when Dad showed them the finished product on his camera. 

It was a very busy but productive week and of course the highlight was being with the missionaries and members at our conferences. The conference was centered on the Atonement and how we can help the investigators and members understand the great blessings and power of this gift. The Atonement is central to the gospel and we are grateful to be able to to share our testimonies of His sacrifice and love for each of us.

Enjoy Back to School Week,

We Love You,
Trini and Dad





August 5th, 2017

McCrae

Here are pictures of a baby iguana that I caught today and of a giant avacado that was bigger than our bananas!

Papa and Grammy




July 30th, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Transfers just wrapped up and we have had almost one minute to catch our breath. We have humbly been reminded lately, how many blessings are ours because of the gospel. We are rich in so many ways, but have learned some very important lessons about humility and priorities in life. I am sure that we have mentioned Sister Antoinette Cupid before. She is a valiant woman from Tobago with a heart as big as the island she lives on. She owns a parcel of land by the river and built her own home in the quiet jungle. She has no electricity or running water and is the happiest most grateful woman  we've ever met. She looks like Aunt Jemima and is just as sweet. You may remember that she is the sister who has a small roadside fishing business. She hires young fisherman to catch the fish, then pays them for their work and sells fresh fish by the beach. About a month ago, someone stole the engine to her fishing boat and she was temporarily out of business. She said, "They must have been desperate and needed the engine more than I did!" When we were in Tobago last, we went with the elders to teach her a lesson. After driving on a rough, rut-filled road, we got out of the car and hiked down a steep hill passing dogs, chickens, cats and goats. When we arrived, she greeted us and we asked her to share her conversion story with us. 

She first learned about the gospel from her sister, who had migrated to the US and joined the church. When Sister Cupid found the church in Tobago, she was interested in getting a copy of the Book of Mormon. The missionaries gave her a book and she read everyday until the sun went down and then began reading again at sunrise. Her baptism was 3 weeks later, in the river she dammed up herself, by her home. She has now been a member for 12 years and has been serving as the Relief Society President for the past 5 years. 

She shared that she wants to go on a senior sister mission. In particular, she would like to serve an English speaking temple mission. She has been clearing the jungle hillside outside of her home with a machete, in order to plant staggered crops of corn. Her plan is to have a roadside corn stand and save the money she makes to fund her temple mission. 
The Sister Cupid's of this world are the "meek that will inherit the earth." We are grateful for her example and faith and pray that we may always remember what she has taught us about life. 

We love you and pray that you are finding joy in your journey!

Love,
Trini and Dad



July 2nd, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA! The longer we are away from the United States, the more we realize how blessed we are to have so many freedoms that we take for granted. As we have been entangled in government bureaucracy with immigration for almost 2 years, we have come to appreciate the timely manner in which America generally operates. At least you get a response to questions asked. You may not like the response all the time, but you usually get one.

We enjoyed having the missionaries over for a Fourth of July BBQ on the third of July. Hot dogs, potato salad, baked beans, and strawberry shortcake. I think they had a great time and perhaps got a taste of home as well. We were in Tobago this past weekend visiting our little branch there. Dad was hoping to interview and find a new branch president, since his family is moving to the states next week. It is always difficult when there are 5 Melchizedek priesthood holders and only one is worthy. The candidate is thinking about the challenge and hopefully will accept.

We leave tomorrow for Zone Conferences in Suriname, then the ABC's and then wrap up in Guyana. We pray the flights will cooperate as the schedule is tight. One of them goes through Miami again and so Dad is hoping that there is enough time to taxi to PF Chang's again. The crazy thing is that you spend more on a taxi to go there for lunch than your lunch costs. But what we do for Chang's Spicy Chicken and lettuce wraps.

It has been a humbling couple of weeks in Trinidad, with special baptisms and missionary experiences. We have had 2 baptisms of strong brothers who will be very helpful to priesthood ranks. Sadly, Dad has also had to inform an elder that his father has liver and kidney cancer and let one of our sister's know that her cousin was killed. These are some of the highs and lows that we experience in a given week. How grateful we are for the gospel that offers hope and light to the darkness of some of these events. 

Harper, we are so proud of your choice to become baptized last Saturday! Being 8 is great! We missed being there with you, but know how happy you made your Heavenly Father and Jesus. Now you have the Holy Ghost as your constant companion. What a great blessing! You are the newest member of the church in our family. Remember to listen to the still, small, voice.

One year to go on our mission....11 Fast Sundays to go. Yikes, that will go faster than we think. As excited as we are to count down, we also want to make sure that we have accomplished all th Lord needs us to do while we are here. It can be overwhelming to have so many more things you would like to see happen, but we know that with the Savior's help we can do all things.

Hope you are having a wonderful summer!

Love you all,
Trini and Dad

June 18th, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Weekly, missionaries throughout the world are encouraged to write their families and mission president's. Each Monday, on preparation day, I receive and read over 100 letters. As a guideline, I have asked our missionaries to write to me about the FACTS. Family, Area, Companion, Testimony and a Spiritual Experience. I would like to share one of my missionaries spiritual experiences with you. As a little background, the story takes place in one of most remote cities of our mission on the border of Guyana and Suriname, a city called Corriverton. 

Dear President Egbert,

This Sunday made my week great! My companion and I were sitting in church, waiting for the members to arrive, when we saw James, Kamala's neighbor, and his son-in-law crossing the road to church. We did not however, see Kamala. Kamala had severely sprained her ankle two days earlier and so my companion and I assumed she would not be attending church. 

Two minutes before church started, Kamala came limping through the front door of the church. With a look of exhaustion and sweat on her face, she looked at me and said, "I did it, I am here!" She then smiled and took her seat. I was touched and shocked! Kamala had limped over a mile to attend church. I asked her why she came. Her response was one of a true disciple. "I needed to pay my tithing and partake of the blessings of the sacrament." I then asked her why she didn't take a taxi. This response humbled me even more. With tears in her eyes she said, "If I had taken a taxi, I would not have had enough money to pay my tithing."

It took her over an hour to walk the dirt roads. One small painful step at a time. She knew God's commandments and had faith that he would open the windows of heaven and pour out blessings on her and her family.

I love this work President.

Your mom and I love to share these mission experiences with you. It reminds us of the spiritual letters we received from Cam, Nic, Jon and Marissa when they were serving. May we all continue to come closer to our Savior one step at a time. 

Love Dad and Trini

June 4th, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

We have been in Guyana and Suriname the past week holding Zone Conferences and leave tomorrow for Trinidad. While we were in Guyana we taught with some of our missionaries and then they introduced us to Brother Harry, who makes artifacts out of caiman and snake. We were able to hold a caiman and his pet anaconda which is only a few years old. He wanted to give Dad and I a gift because the Lord has blessed him with so much business from our missionaries. He made Dad an anaconda belt and finished a wallet for me. He would not let us pay him a dime. His Bible and Book of Mormon were sitting on his workbench and he reads from both daily, even though he has never joined the church. Brother Harry is a sweetheart and was very happy that we stopped by. The Guyanese are such a humble and Christlike people. We are better for knowing them.

Suriname was the next stop and it was a quick one. We got in at 2:30 am Friday morning and left Sunday morning. We prefer not to fly on Sunday, but it was the only flight that would get us back to Trinidad in time to head to Curacao on Tuesday! We are working hard in the service of the Lord and know that we are given extra health and strength to keep up this pace. Keep praying for Trinidad. We really hope that the few missionary permits we were able to receive, will be the start of a regular flow. We are grateful to be in your hearts and prayers.

Love,
Trini and Dad