Thursday, November 30, 2017

November 27th, 2017

Dear Family and Friends

Today was our favorite Sacrament Meeting of the year...the Primary Program. Choose the Right was the theme and the children were very excited. We attended the Chaguanas branch in Trinidad, that has about 8 Primary children and all of them actually came. The Primary President was so happy. She had a few versions of the program ready in case the children didn't make it to church. They did a great job and certainly taught us all that:

" Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”     ---Matthew 18: 3-4

It made us miss seeing all of your Primary programs, but reinforced the blessing of children all over the world learning how the gospel helps them Choose the Right. We are working with young men and women who consistently share the importance of choosing the right as missionaries. Exact obedience brings miracles!
Keep choosing the right in all you do.

We love you...
Trini and dad

November 23rd, 2017

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! We are very grateful for each of you and our beautiful grandchildren. Please know how much we love and appreciate all you do for us and each other. Next year we will have turkey day together! 

" To express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven."  President Monson

We hope you have a wonderful day with your families.

We love you,
Trini and Dad

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

October 29th, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Last week we were able to attend the Mission Presidents Seminar in the Dominican Republic. It was wonderful to be with the other mission presidents and wives of the Caribbean. It was especially humbling to be able to meet and hear from the new mission president in Puerto Rico. As you may be aware, all of the missionaries were evacuated from that island, following the hurricane. Because of shortages with food, water and electricity there was no way to sustain the missionary force on the island.

As we had lunch with Elder and Sister Smart, the new Puerto Rico president and wife one day, it was very apparent that they are anxiously anticipating the return of their missionaries over the next few months. They said that when President Eyring came to tour the island and offer his support for the Saints, he promised them: "You will survive the physical hurricanes, but will you survive the spiritual hurricanes?" As their spirits were being tested and they were sleeping without air-conditioning, a hot shower and food and water in limited quanitites, Sister Smart said she took a moment to look up at the ceiling and realized how blessed she was to have a roof over her head. Our mission was very fortunate to have had no damage from the hurricanes, as they have been devastating other parts of the Caribbean. Thank you for your prayers!

We also wanted to share a story about some recent baptisms in Trinidad. About a month ago, Vanessa was baptized. Dad was able to do her baptismal interview and was very impressed with her knowledge and her conversion story. Following the baptismal interview, he wanted to demonstrate what she could expect with regard to protocol at her baptism. As he was demonstrating the proper procedure for the ordinance, the prayer that would be given and the things that she could expect to have happen at her baptismal service, her children, nieces and nephews looked on. After Dad did the baptism example for Vanessa, her children wanted him to show them too. Their baptisms were coming up and they wanted a turn. Dad demonstrated for Vanessa's 2 children and then their cousins excitedly said, "Can you show us too, we want to be baptized!" 

Vanessa was baptized that weekend and 3 weeks later her two children Jeremy and Mariella were baptized. She was asked to speak at her children's baptismal service and witnessed to all in attendance, "I have experienced the death of a sinful life, and the birth of a spiritual one. I have tasted the sweet peace of forgiveness!"
She did a wonderful job on her very first talk as a member of the church. She was very proud of her children and is looking forward to having them sealed to her someday.

I asked the sister missionaries why her husband did not attend the baptismal services. The sisters told me that her husband had been killed a little over a year ago, in an accident. Dad and I are so grateful to be part of these new converts lives. They have taught us so many valuable lessons about faith, despite unsurmountable personal challenges. 

Count your blessings!!

We love you,
Trini and Dad

October 9th, 2017

Dear Family and Friends

The longer we serve this mission, the more we realize that the Lord has His hand in all the little details of our lives. As the local young men and women recieve their mission calls we are directly involved with their paperwork and submission. Dad has to interview every one of them, to place his Stake President/Mission President remarks on their application. One of the young women, that has been serving from Suriname, we have been especially close to. Her family are strong active members in Paramaribo and when she was traveling to the Dominican Republic to the MTC, she stopped off in Trinidad, so Dad could teach her about the temple endowment and set her apart as a full time missionary. Her call was to the Belguim/Netherlands mission and of course that made the ties even stronger. She had even served with us in our mission for a transfer, waiting for her documents to enter the Netherlands.

One evening after she had arrived in the Netherlands, she was doing service in a care center for the elderly. She met a man who said "I am a member of your church." Sister Ibrahim asked him about his conversion and he said, "Do you know an Elder Egbert? He was the missionary who taught me the gospel." Sister Ibrahim went on to say that she thought she may know who his Elder Egbert was. She explained that he was a Mission President and she had served in his mission prior to coming to the Netherlands. She sent her parents a photo of her visit with him and when we were in Suriname, her father shared it with us. It was the man Dad had baptized over 40 years ago. 

We are grateful for tender experiences like this, that remind us of how much our Heavenly Father loves his children.

Trini and Dad

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

September 22nd, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

We left last week for the ABC islands to hold Zone Conferences with the missionaries and District Conferences with the members. When we finished our meeting schedule on the island of Aruba, we flew through Miami to return to Port of Spain.

Although it is nice to touch down in the USA, it makes for a very long way home to 2,736 miles and 7 hours of flight time. But we had to be home on Monday, to leave for Guyana on Tuesday and there were no flights to Port of Spain from the ABC's until Tuesday. So, no choice but to go through Miami. There was still a lot of clean up going on from Hurricane Irma, but the people of Miami were impressed at how much help they had received from other agencies in different states during the emergency. Our mission has been very blessed to have been out of the path of the hurricanes and for that we are extremely grateful.

We thought you might like a taste of what one 24 hour window looked like in our week. I began to write the craziness down, because I couldn't believe all the situations that presented themselves and for some reason I knew that someday it might become comic relief.

1. Left Aruba via Miami at 10 am
2. Had a 5 hour layover so we decided to take a taxi to TJ Maxx (My clothes are falling apart) and grab a bite of Amercian cuisine.
3. Our taxi driver was a member of "Team Jesus" but he missed the turnoff and added another 30 minutes to the trip.
4. When we returned to the airport, we were selected for TSA pre-check, which allowed us to go straight through security without all the ususal unpacking and de-shoeing. But as we went through the security arch, a bell went off that signaled we had been arbitrarily selected for a full pat down and carry on inspection.
5. Arrived in Port of Spain to a 1 1/2 hour immigration line. As we got in the line, we got a call that a missionary in Guyana had run away. He had no money, could not understand Guyanese English and had only been in Guyana 1 week.
6. When we made it through immigration, we picked up our luggage and my suitcase had been damaged.
7. We got to our car in long term parking, loaded the luggage and the car would not start. Dad canvased the parking lot at 11pm and found a car that was willing to help charge the battery.
8. Headed home and Dad began to make phone calls to church headquarters in SLC about our missing missionary.
9. I began washing because we were leaving the next day for Guyana. When I went to put the clothes in the dryer, I found that the spin cycle did not work. I began to wring the clothes out manually and get them ready to dry.
10. Heard at midnight that the missionary had returned and Dad began to call all the contacts with the good news. HALLELUJAH!
11. Wrote emails until 2 am and finished the laundry. Went to bed.
12. Woke up at 7. Dad was feeling like a scrambled egg and when he cracked open the egg, it was ROTTEN! The smell was nauseating. Nothing else in the house to eat!
13. We showered and Dad left for the mission office at 7:45 am. The car wouldn't start again, so the assistants had to bring him an extra mission car.
14. We began packing, and discovered that my hanging make-up bag was no where to be found! I had left it in the hotel in Aruba, with all of our toiletries inside. 
15. Made an emergency stop by the pharmacy on the way to the airport to grab some essentials. Found out that make-up inventory for a white caucasian female is hard to find on the shelves in the Caribbean. I wish my skin was some of the shades I had to choose from. Great practice for Halloween!
16. Reached the airport and checked in for our flight to Guyana at 10 am.

24 hours in review and we are not quite ready to laugh yet....but I'm sure someday we will.

The work is still moving forward!
Trini and Dad

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