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