Monday, November 23, 2015

November 15th, 2015

H A L L E L U J A H!

The bubble finally dissolved on Sunday afternoon from Dad's eye and we were on a plane the next morning headed from the Dominican Republic to Panama, then to Trinidad, and onto Suriname in ten short hours. We arrived just in time to take care of zone conferences with our missionaries there and then work with members and leaders the next day. We actually took a minute and found a little Dutch cafe that served pannekoeken and poffertjes for breakfast so Dad was in heaven. It really was delicious. Then we came back to the hotel and got caught up with emails until I went out teaching with the sister missionaries and Dad met with the members and leaders for temple recommends, PPI's, etc.

The next morning we were off to Guyana to repeat the same agenda in Georgetown for zone conferences. Yesterday, we drove out to the countryside in Guyana for more leadership meetings. Today, Dad set apart a twenty year old to serve as a branch president! It was really special.He has faith and loves the Lord, but some in the congregation think that a mere child has been called to be their judge in Israel. We are trying to give him the strength and support that he will need to perform the duties that he will have on his plate. Thankfully the Lord qualifies those He calls.

We got back to Georgetown before sunset so we wouldn't run over cows, pigs, horses or PEOPLE that are walking down the middle of the road. Our flight leaves at 6am tomorrow and arrives in Trinidad by 7:45 hopefully am. You never know in the Caribbean when you will depart and arrive for sure.

It has been so great to be with our missionaries again and we are really looking forward to going home for three whole days to take care of zone conferences in Trinidad. Then we head for the ABC islands to do the same there and return home for Thanksgiving week the following Monday night! Can't wait to have Marielle, Conner and McCrae come for TURKEY DAY!

Thank you for all your prayers and love,
Trini and Dad

Dutch Cafe
Always better with your eyes closed!
My favorite country house in Guyana
Primary Kids

Monday, November 9, 2015

November 7th, 2015

Dear family and friends,

We have now been in the Dominican Republic for almost two weeks. We came here originally to attend a mission president's conference for four days but ran into some unexpected difficulties. The night before we left for the trip, Dad was playing the piano and noticed that there was a circular shadow right in the center focal point of his eye. Being a migraine sufferer, he thought he'd better try to sleep it off but it was still there the next morning. When we arrived in Panama on the layover to the DR, he couldn't see much at all through his left eye. We landed in the DR at 1 in the morning and went to the hotel and were in bed by 3 am. The next morning we were able to go to the Santo Domingo Temple with all the other mission presidents and wives from the Caribbean. When we finished the session and were having lunch at the temple, Dad conferred with two members of the Area Presidency who are also doctors. They both had some connections with opthomologists in the city and we were able to be seen that day. Dad was diagnosed with a Vitreo Macular Adhesion. It required surgery and they happened to have a space available the next morning. After Dad consulted with friends of his in SLC at the Moran Eye Center, he felt like he could get it done here. We were very impressed with the doctor. He had attended Duke and Emery for his schooling and had begun an eye institute in Santo Domingo where he taught 12 residents a year. The surgery was textbook and we were very blessed to have been here in the DR because we would have never been able to get it done in Trinidad with the medical care there. Because they placed a bubble of air in the back of his eye, between the tissues for healing, we have had to wait until it dissipates before we can fly home due to pressure changes. So he has had dark glasses on and his head down for 12 days checking out everyone's shoes and trying to be patient.
We have definitely felt the prayers of family and missionaries alike. We have been staying in a senior apt on the temple grounds and the MTC campus. We have had 3 meals a day and LOVE rice, beans and meat! Everyone has been so kind.
These trials of faith have been a tender reminder of the fact that He knows us individually and by name.

We have been able to go to the temple three times and that has been a huge blessing. It has made us appreciate and feel the blessings of being an eternal family. We are very ready to get back to our missionaries as we have missed a transfer of 6 incoming missionaries but at least no outgoing. Somehow nothing has fallen completely apart, but it is really hard to do this job when you are in a different country. 

We actually got out of the apartment yesterday and were able to visit the tomb of Christopher Columbus and the oldest church in the Americas. We were taken by the MTC president and his wife. It was really nice to get some fresh humid air.We are praying for the bubble to burst asap so that we can be ready to go throughout the mission again for zone conferences which start on Tuesday. Please keep us in your prayers. We have definitely learned why PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE.

We love and appreciate all that you for us and each other.

We Love You...
Trini and Dad 

Dad still numb after surgery..therefore the funny grin
Columbus's tomb
Oldest church in the Americas
Flowers on a building I loved 
Santo Domingo Temple

October 28th, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

What a crazy week this has been. We were in Guyana for most of the week. We had zone meetings and interviews with our missionaries in Georgetown and then headed for Berbice to do the same. Dad called a 20 year-old to be the new branch president of a congregation called Rose Hall. Right now, Elder Avondette has been acting as branch president for almost a year. (Sr couple) If he continues to lead, then they are happy to follow.But if we can call a local priesthood holder they learn to govern themselves and understand how to run the organization of the church. That has probably been the most difficult part of this mission.The lack of training that the leadership of the church has, had leads to confusion and personal interpretation. Especially when you consider that there are literacy issues that inhibit understanding as well. Many simply can not read. One of the branch president's sent us an email regarding his tithing contributions for the branch that read : (now with many spelling corrections)

Dear President Egbert,
I had no priesthood to help with the tithing at church today. I knew that I could not count the money by myself without two witnesses, so my wife and my 11 year old son watched me. I hope that was ok president. I had them sign their names on the paper as witnesses. I don't know if that was right or wrong but I hope that Heavenly Father will understand and accept the offerings.

We both just cried to see how humble and concerned he was about making things right in the sight of God. It was just one of the many tender moments we experience every week.
After meetings and  interviews there, we left at night to travel back to Georgetown. When the sun goes down, there is NO LIGHT! For two and a half hours Dad had a white knuckle drive back to Georgetown trying to avoid late night impaired drivers with their brights on, animals crossing the road and people out walking on the road,who are as dark as night itself. We will never make that night drive again! It would be so easy to run over something or someone.

We have arrived back in Trinidad and are home for two days before we begin preparing to attend the annual mission president's conference in the Dominican Republic next week.We are excited to be able to attend the temple and meet with the other president's of the Caribbean Missions, the Area Presidency and Elder Christiansen of the Presidency of the Seventy. Remember, he was the one that was with Elder Holland when we were set apart. So it will be wonderful to see him again.

Can't believe it is HALLOWEEN! Have fun trick-or-treating. 
Love, Trini and Dad

Dear Kids and grandkids,
Just wanted to update you on Dad and Papa. I'm afraid that the emails I sent have not arrived. He was in surgery for about and hour. The surgeon came out and said that everything went perfect with the procedure. Thank you for your prayers. He has a  bandage on his eye until tomorrow morning when we go in for his post op appointment and has been trying to rest since we got back to the hotel face down...a little harder than it sounds. But can you imagine your Dad in one place or position for very long? We love you so much and certainly believe in the power of prayer. 
Thank you again,
Mom and Dad
Papa and Grammy

Thursday, October 22, 2015

October 22, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

Sorry to send our weekly email two days late. We know that you wait at home with baited breath to see what in the world we are up to. This week was spent in the ABC islands. We began in Curacao, which may be my favorite of the three. We walked along the sea dike and then took a ferry over to the other picturesque side of the harbor where there were market vendors selling fish, fruits, and veggies. Along the way, we saw iguanas and hermit crabs out for their morning walk as well. We spent the rest day with our two elders there. They enjoyed interviews with dad, lunch on us, and then we taught three lessons with them. One of the young men that we taught shared the story of his conversion. He said that he had fallen into a deep depression and wondered if God even knew who he was anymore because of his choices. He googled "How can I repent?" Up came Carlos chatted with some missionaries online and they asked if he would like to have some representatives come to his door and answer his questions. He said yes. Then the missionaries in SLC called the mission home and our mission secretary gave the referral to the missionaries in Curacao and they were at this door within two hours. He said that was a miracle. Six weeks later Dad was giving him a baptism interview. He's an amazing young man and can't wait for his baptism. Then we were off to Aruba where we had 4 elders to visit and interview as well as look for two new missionary apartments. By the time we checked out the available apartment choices, took the four of them to lunch and then interviewed we were out of time and back at the airport headed for Bonaire. That little desert island has my heart too. We began Sunday at church by singing the opening song in 4 languages...Dutch, Spanish, English and Papiamento...ALL AT THE SAME TIME! It made me cry to hear so many cultures represented and sung at the top of their lungs! Then Dad and I were asked to spontaneously speak. I had an interpreter and Dad needed an interpreter for the interpreter because he kept switching from English to Dutch to Spanish...and then he finished up with his testimony in Papiamento! His poor brain is just on overload!
Anyway, church was great. The people are so friendly and feel so blessed to have the gospel. We had dinner that afternoon with the senior couple on the island and then interviewed the trio of sisters serving there. Dad had temple recommend interviews at the church later that evening and I went with the sisters to teach. The next morning we took the senior couple to breakfast and then took a tour of part of the island we had never been to before. We saw dive locations, a flamingo sanctuary and lots of cactus! We hope that you have all had a great week. Thank you for the picture of the kids in their Halloween costumes, they looked awesome.  

We love you all!
Trini and Dad
Primary in Bonaire
 Look out for divers sign
 Dive site
 Flamingo sanctuary
 Dutch style apartments

Monday, October 12, 2015

October 12th, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

I'm sitting in bed...yes in bed, writing this email because we didn't go to bed until 3:45 this morning. We flew in late last night to Suriname and had tons to do before going to sleep. Emails to write to 50 + missionaries, emergencies to handle like a break-in, a melt down, a medical emergency etc. It just never stops. We thought that if we stayed up long enough we might catch up. But of course we woke up with plenty to do. When we got on the plane last night we sat right in front of a couple from Ogden that asked if we were misionaries. Dad said yes, I am a mission president in this area. He then asked "Do you know William and Verna Egbert?" Dad responded "Yes I do, they are my parents." They were Dr Matis and his wife who were on a vacation to check off more of the countries in the world that they had never been to. He was also Grandma Egbert's orthodontist and his wife, Nadine, was in a book club and knew and loved Grandma. It's a SMALL WORLD! They stayed at the Marriott with us and then we had breakfast together. They have served missions together and love to travel. She is a psychologist for the church and is busy still helping missionaries with different issues.

Saturday we went to a baptism in Point Fortin at the beach. Robert was a very prepared investigator that the sisters found and have been teaching for 6 weeks. The pictures that we have attached is worth a thousand words and I hope you can see the pure joy on their faces. Not a dry eye.Then we went to the confirmation of Isabel on Sunday in San Fernando. She is from Venezuela and speaks only Spanish. A returned missionary in the ward who spoke Spanish confirmed her. Dad and I were invited to speak since the meeting was running short and Dad bore a powerful testimony in Spanish to her of the special gift that she had just received. It was awesome to see the gift of tongues at work. It is hard to believe sometimes that we have only been here three and a half months. So many experiences that would already fill a book. We feel blessed to have this challenging opportunity and are trying to serve Him with all our heart, might, mind and strength. We could not do this without your love and prayers and want you to know we can feel your sustaining presence !

Tight hugs and tender kisses to you all!
Trini and Dad

October 5th, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

It's been another lazy week in the Caribbean...sipping a pina colada with our toes tickling the sand....NOT! We have been in Tobago for the last 3 days helping train  the branch president and enjoying conference weekend with the members and our missionaries. We had pretty good reception for the majority of the sessions and are hoping to fill in the blanks when we get back to Trinidad today. It was a great recharging of the spiritual batteries and as usual an incredible testimony builder. I love the people of this small branch and admire their faith and dedication amidst some pretty challenging circumstances. Most had to choose whether to attend the Saturday or the Sunday session due to the expense of travel from their homes etc. The picture this week is of Sister Cupid! I idolize her. She has been the Relief Society president for years and is the lady that runs the fishmarket by the beach. She is the #1 missionary for the island and practices everyday what she preaches. Her example is contagious and she is a Saint in my book. We only have 2 missionaries serving on the island right now and hope to get two more over here soon. Well, not much more to say other than how much we love and appreciate you all. Put what you learned in conference to the test. There were so many inspiring suggestions and council given. What a blessing to have a living prophet and to know that he speaks with God for the welfare of mankind. Have a wonderful week. we are getting ready to board our flight in just a minute. Glad that it only takes 20 minutes to get home to Trinidad!
Hugs and Kisses OXOXOXO  
Trini and Dad


Tobago sunrise
 Conference with the branch
 Sister Cupid
First banana harvest

Monday, September 28, 2015

September 28th, 2015

Hello Family and Friends,

How are all of you? We have been busy with mission transfers this week. Getting 6 new missionaries settled into their areas and sending 14 home. Due to the off balance of missionaries coming and going we had to close some areas of the mission until we can build up the missionary force. We have a greater surge of missionaries in the summer months and as school has started the numbers seem to dwindle a little. We had 2 English 2 Dutch and 2 Spanish speakers arrive. They were all excited to get to work.

After transfer week we headed down to Guyana for a multi branch conference in Berbice. It is like going back in time. Way out in the country about 2 hours from Georgetown the church has 6 small mission supported branches. We have  been training the leadership and setting apart priesthood members in their callings as well as Dad providing interviews for temple recommends they hope someday to use.They do speak English here so that is nice but trying to understand their English can be a trick. We just ask that they slow down.....kind of like understanding your Dad's English.

The people have nothing but their heart to give to the church and transportation keeps them from being able to come to church as often as they would like. They work all day at the market selling their vegetables, fruit or chickens etc to bring home about 8-10 US dollars. They are determined to be self-reliant and it is so admirable. Some work in the cane fields cutting sugar cane and some work in mining in the interior. The people are of East Indian, African, Muslim and Hindu backgrounds and all love God in one way or another. They are very genuine and happy but live at poverty level. We went to visit one family who gave us a drink and a cheese cracker as the rest of the family looked on. They are so giving of what little they have. We are truly spoiled with so many things. Please appreciate all the many blessings and privileged things of life that you have. We saw them cooking dinner over a fire and showering out of a bucket. But that is life in Guyana...very hard! The members are very kind and just are living day to day doing the best that they can to survive. It is very humbling. Their only way out is eduction so they try to help their children go to school but often need them to drop out to help with the family income when they are about 13. It is very sad but it is all they know. We are planning on teaching with the elders tonight before we leave Berbice tomorrow morning.

We just got back from teaching a family of 8 in a house the size of the dining room. There was no electricity so the mother brought in a small oil lamp that helped the 10 of us see well enough to read a few scriptures and explain the restoration. There are no words to explain how poor this family was. Most were on the floor and a few had a chair or part of a chair to sit on. The 11yr old, Eaton, knew every answer to the elders questions and was helping his little sisters understand the pamphlet. It was very humbling. As we said a prayer and left their little home I wondered what gives them hope for a better tomorrow. The only answer was the Savior Jesus Christ. 

We just traveled 2 hours back to Georgetown to visit a sister who is sick in the hospital and then we will meet the elders to take them to dinner.  We head for Trinidad tomorrow morning at 4 am and will get to be home until Friday when we head for Tobago.

We send our love and prayers and hope you and your families are doing well. 

Love you,
Trini and Dad

The animal and car road in Berbice
The backyard of our neighbor this weekend.... complete with shower and outhouse 
Most homes in Berbice resemble this one
The Berbice kids at church in their Sunday best

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

September 21st, 2015

Greetings from Aruba! 

Another busy week come and gone with church business in Curacao and Aruba and constant problems with phone and internet. We leave in the morning to head back to Trinidad. Our second transfer of 6 missionaries arrive tomorrow night and then we have 15 missionaries headed home on Thursday morning. So it will be out of the frying  pan and into the fire! Aruba is crawling with iguanas and they make sure that you know that they were here first.We spent Time in Curacao while Dad interviewed 14  members for their temple recommends (8 in Dutch 3 in Spanish and 3 in English) He speaks all three at the same time to me! The Branch President and his family in Aruba are coming to SLC for conference weekend. I wish you could meet them. They are so excited to see temple square and visit with the elders that were part of their conversion. They have two teenagers who are so beautiful and can't wait for their dream of seeing the temple "to come true." Dad and I attended the San Nicholas branch for church and were asked to share a few thoughts. We were then announced as the speakers for the meeting. Thank goodness for the cheat sheet in my purse! No air conditioning in the building......HOT!!! Remember the service we attended in the Dominican Republic? Last Thursday before we left for the islands we taught a family with our sister missionaries in Sangre Grande. We opened with the classic "In Our Lovely Deseret" now I can't get it out of my head. The members love that hymn. Hark,Hark, Hark! I guess you had to be there...Anyway the family had a pet parrot that insisted sitting on my shoulder during the lesson. The sisters talked about the importance of carrying our torch to the finish line...lit brightly as we endure to the end. The kids gave beautiful answers to the questions and didn't want us to leave. When it began to rain we huddled under a tin overhang on makeshift chairs continuing to spread the good word. It was a fun night filled with the spirit. It is amazing how the gospel blesses families all over the world with so much happiness. They are looking forward to being sealed in the temple for eternity.

Family lesson w Crackers...can you find him?
 Curacao waterfront buildings
 Aruba landscape---Desert Island

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

September 6th, 2015

Dear Family,

I feel like this week we have been in the eye of a tornado. Such an incredibly crazy week but somehow always protected by the Lord. Elder Martinez of the Second Quorum of the Seventy and his wife have been here with us for the past week. We have been to Suriname for conferences there with the missionaries and members and now we have just finished the 4 zone conferences here in Trinidad. They left yesterday to visit the Tobago branch for Sunday meetings with the members and we stayed in Trinidad to speak at Stake Conference. They will be back tomorrow morning and then we will leave for Guyana and the ABC islands for the same conferences there. It is always great to see the missionaries. They love to be spoiled with some cooking and hugs and I am happy to oblige. Dad is in his element too and we are trying to do our best. It has been wonderful to rub shoulders with a general authority. Elder Martinez and his wife have been a lot of fun to get to know.

It is has been interesting to learn more about the quorum of the seventies. Thought you might like to know that:
1--The first and second quorums are general authorities whose callings are full time.
2--The first quorum serves until they reach the age of 70 and then they are released as emeritus members
3--The second quorum serves 6 years in whatever areas of the world they are needed and then released
4---Quorums 3-8 serve for three years and live at home, are employed in their regular careers, and are basically weekend warriors who handle stake and regional issues for the church.
General elections take place tomorrow in Trinidad and we have been told it could get crazy. There are basically 2 parties but since the elections are only every 5 years things can get heated. The campaigning has been noisy with loud speakers and music but the votes are cast tomorrow and then supposedly the craziness starts. Those that are happy about change in government and those that aren't. We have ear plugs but that probably won't cut it as we heard that they will party/riot all night once the results are in. We will keep you posted. The music stopped at about 2 this morning. 

What are you doing for Labor Day? The pool is in its last month of operation before a long winter's nap. Hope you have had fun using it! We miss the hot dogs and the homemeade ice cream. I won't eat a hot dog in might have a dog in it! But I have found Haagen Das available and so I am at peace. We have found milk for $7 a half gallon...and we buy it anyway. When elders come and see chocolate milk in our frig it is gone in a heartbeat.
We are enjoying teaching with the missionaries and getting to know the members and investigators. Six of us were on the porch under a dim light teaching the restoration and we couldn't even see the scriptures to read them. I pulled out my phone and turned on the flashlight so the 11 year old could read. He was so excited to read and could pronounce everything so well. He brought the spirit to the lesson the minute he began reading. When we left he wanted to make sure that we were coming back soon. Dad gave him a bookmark for his scriptures and you would have thought that we gave him a $10 bill. The appreciation they have for such little things makes me feel so grateful for the countless things I have. Please know how blessed you are to have each other and the gospel. Family is so important and if we find an intact family in the Caribbean it is a rarity. So appreciate each other everyday!

We love you to pieces and can't wait to see you. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers. We will talk to you later.
Trini and Dad 

Mission home caterpillar  
Trinidad zone conference
 The Francom's Their farewell is in the Lindon 6th ward on Sept 20th
 Zone conference in Suriname

September 13th, 2015

Hola, Bon Dia, Mornin' Mornin', Goeden Dag, Hello....

We are back least our home away from home in Trinidad. It was a wonderful mission tour with Elder and Sister Martinez and we both headed out this morning from Guyana.  It was a constant race to be in one airport after another with sometimes only a sprint between connections. But we were determined to try to keep up with the schedule despite the Caribbean airlines laid back attitude with regards to timeliness. We are a bit tired but enjoyed seeing our missionaries again and the members as well as getting to know the Martinez's. She was a pediatrician, lawyer and entrpreneur and he was a family doctor, investor and now a general authority. Not a bad combo. They are so intelligent, spiritual and funny! Sister Martinez is probably all of 5 feet but what a firecracker of a personality. Dad and Elder Martinez were busy training the leaders interviewing and and of course we all spoke at every location through out the mission. The people and places are so interesting and diverse. Of course I have to try all the food. I've basically eaten my way through the mission, because you have to be polite and try everything. The children are beautiful and so friendly. I talked about the importance of Members and Missionaries working together. M&M a great I showed a package of M&M's.....and proclaimed the Member and Missionary duo as the sweetest teaching tool we have for our investigators. Chocolate wakes up everybody! Dad has been running a marathon between leaders, members and missionaries. But no one is better at checking off a list of to dos than Dad.

We hope that you are all doing well and that the kids are back enjoying school and friends and a busy weekly schedule. Thank you for taking good care of each other and filling in the blanks that we wish we were there to take care of. We feel very blessed to have so many THINGS. Things that we take for granted that really in the scheme of things don't matter. Most importantly we are grateful for all of you and appreciate your love, prayers and support. We love you so much and are so grateful for the opportunity we have to be a forever family. Many hugs and kisses headed your way!

Trini and Dad

Aruba Zone Conference --- Church sign in Papiamento 
 Aruba Hotel beach walk
 Future Guyana missionary Lushaun

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

August 31st, 2015

Dear Family, 
We enjoyed a busy first part of the week in Trinidad teaching with our missionaries there and then prepared to head for Suriname. We have been on a mission tour with Elder Hugo Martinez (Seventy) of the Caribbean Area Presidency since Friday. We flew into Suriname with the assistants on Thursday evening in time to grab a bite to eat and get to bed for zone conferences the next morning. We had workshops and interviews on Friday and then prepared for the Martinez's to share their message with us and meet the elders and sisters in the zone on Saturday. It has been a wonderful time of instruction and we have enjoyed getting to know them. Sister Martinez is a real firecracker. She is a no nonsense kind of woman who has been so helpful in sharing her expertise of understanding the Caribbean and the members as well as how to administrate my job description. I love her already. The Suriname Member District conferences have been going on since yesterday. We have had priesthood sessions, youth sessions and general sessions and today and we have been busy speaking. Dad and I spoke together at the pulpit. He translated for me and I had no idea what he was saying in-between, but we got a few laughs so at least we must have been entertaining. Dad has had interviews and other duties to take care of with Elder Martinez. Since the members speak Dutch, Dad has been in seventh heaven speaking about missionary work. I even included some Dutch in my talk this morning that I had to deliver on the subject The Sabbath Day. The members are incredible and so loving.The building had no air conditioning (I felt like the witch in The Wizard of Oz as she melts to the floor) so when the meeting was over we couldn't wait to get to the hotel to cool down for a minute before heading back to the youth fireside tonight. Tomorrow we leave at 3 in the morning to head for Trinidad for our Zone conferences there. We look forward to your emails and skyping.
We have included some pictures of Sports Day in Trinidad, Dad with the Elders at the Pizza parlor, and our zone conference photo etc.

Can't believe it's September!
Love, Trini and Dad