Tuesday, March 15, 2016

March 13th, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

It has been a hectic transfer week. The number of missionaries coming and going has changed daily as we were trying to decide whether or not the immigration department in Port of Spain would allow our missionaries to enter. We had had a traumatic immigration experience with our last senior couple, the Gertsch's. They were sent back to the US because they wanted more documentation.....so things were a bit stressful. They ended up coming a week later and are in Guyana waiting for their Overseas Missionary Permits to be granted.

We ended up receiving only 2 into Trindad and they are young women from Trinidad and Suriname who are visa waiters trying to get to their final mission destinations in the Netherlands and Canada. The other 2 missionaries who were Spanish speaking were sent directly to Aruba and Bonaire and we haven't met them officially yet. But at least they are safe and sound and hard at work. We had 3 outgoing missionaries and they will be missed. One was an assistant, Elder Sheen, and we had gotten very close to him. Dad also had to send his first missionary home and that was heartbreaking for all concerned. I hope we don't have to do that very often. 

Today Dad is at the hospital with one of our missionaries who flew up from Guyana this morning with a seizure disorder. They are going to be doing a CT scan and an EEG and then determine the best agenda for him. So, it is never boring around here!

We have a missionary from Micronesia that had not heard from his family in 7 months. We have tried to correspond with his Stake President for help but he is a fisherman and is gone during the week. We looked up the mission president for the area and it was John Zarbock who coached softball with Dad for so many years. Dad called him and asked if any of his missionaries would be able to go to his parents home and wait while a letter or two was written to their son. It just happened to be zone conference week and he would be seeing the missionaries from that area the next day. They were able to pick up 2 letters and President Zarbock scanned them and sent them to us within a day of being written. When Dad gave them to Elder Lorenzo he sobbed uncontrollably and fell into Dad's arms thanking him. It was very emotional witnessing it and confirmed the importance of family support when you are serving.

We had 3 baptisms in Trinidad this week. The services were great and the investigators that attended certainly felt the spirit. It was a great way to end a very busy week. Today we attended church where two of the new members were confirmed. After church we took Elder Perez to the neurologist to have his sleep deprivation test and then had him and the assistants over for lunch. It was not a day of rest, but we were grateful to partake of the sacrament and renew our covenants as we begin a new week.

We love you all,
Trini and Dad

Saturday, March 5, 2016

March 3rd, 2016

Dear family and friends,

It's been nice to be in Trinidad this past week. Dad and I spoke in Stake Conference in Port of Spain and were able to visit with Elder Martinez of the Seventy and the Area Presidency. It was a good turn out for conference and we enjoyed being home for longer than usual. On Tuesday, Sister Walsh from Suriname came into town for a medical evaluation. She has been with us all week as they are trying to figure out why she has not been able to keep anything down for the past 3 weeks. Not a great way to lose weight but it is working. I have been busy with her Dr appointments and making sure that she will be healthy enough to return on Saturday. We will be going to Tobago on Saturday, to see the elders and go to church. I love visiting that branch and it has been forever since we have been there. There is never a dull day on this mission.....but we are at least treading water in the sea of responsibility and enjoying the blessings of service to the Lord.

Hope you have a great week!
Trini and Dad

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

February 18th, 2016

Dear family and friends,

It has been a wonderful week of missionary work and family fun in Aruba. We wrapped up our zone conference for the ABC islands and then were able to spend 5 terrific days enjoying Cam and his family. We had way too much food, sun and water....but never enough hugs and kisses. It was great to be able to see things that we had heard about, but never had time to experience.
Saturday afternoon we met them at the hotel and enjoyed some pool/beach time, then dinner and bed. Everyone was tired. Sunday we attended church at the English speaking branch in San Nicholas about 40 minutes away. They enjoyed meeting the elders and the members were so kind and welcoming. Londyn went to Young Womens with two other girls and Dylan, Harper and Blakely went to Primary. They were listening to Papiamento, Spanish, and a little English too. Dad had leadership meetings and member interviews the rest of the day. On Monday  Dad and Cam went deep sea fishing early in the morning. They caught mahi mahi, tuna and grouper. The rest of the day, we stayed around the resort and went out for pizza that evening on the tourist strip by the hotels. Tuesday morning we were picked up by a tour bus and taken to DePalm island where there were water slides, trampolines, a zipline, snuba, snorkeling and children's beaches. We had a fun day together and then cleaned up and went out for dinner at a Dutch Pancake house. It may have been the favorite meal. Dylan had an entire 12" Dutch pancake (like a  crepe) with bananas and whip cream all to herself and licked the plate clean. Then walked around the plaza, enjoyed the entertainment and then headed back to watch a movie in bed. Wednesday we went snorkeling at Baby Beach, ate at Big Mama's and had to shower at some friends of ours in San Nicholas because there were no showers at the beach. We dined with our feet in the sand at a popular restaurant nearby and then stopped off for dessert at Cinnabon and Haagen Das. There was never a food shortage.Thursday was our last morning together. We had breakfast and then packed to leave for Trinidad. A picture, a few tears and on the road again. Thanks so much Cam and Tiff for coming to see us! 
We are in the airport right now in Curacao and since the internet is actually working for a minute, we decided to write a quick letter to all of you. We will be in Trinidad for a day and then off to Guyana for zone conferences there through Monday. You are always in our thoughts and prayers. 

Hope you have a referral for the missionaries this week!
Trini and Dad

February 8th, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

We have spent most of this week in Suriname, involved with our missionaries in zone conference and the members in their District Conference. Dad is in his element here being able to speak Dutch. He even turns to me and keeps speaking Dutch until I remind him "Ik Spreek geen Nederlandse".....I don't speak any Dutch! I can pick out some parts of general conversation, but the gift of tongues hasn't been mine to claim. I will admit that the gift of the spirit however, allows me to understand the most important truths I need to know.

We left Port of Spain at 4 am bound for Suriname, by way of Curacao. It was the only way to get to Suriname that week because of the Carnival celebrations going on in the Caribbean. So basically, we went from the furthest point of our mission to the other. In Curacao we had a 10 hour layover. While there, we met with the elders for interviews, took them to lunch and then Dad conducted temple recommend interviews, setting aparts and a PPI with the Branch President. We headed back to the airport and boarded our flight to Suriname at 8pm. After 21/2 hours we were ready to land and as we approached the runway with lights blazing, the plane immediately changed course and headed back up into the sky. After a second attempt, we were told that the pilot could not see the runway well enough to land due to fog. The airport was closed and we were re-routed to Guyana, where we spent the rest of the night in the airport on an itchy fiberglass seat with 100 other stranded passengers. After 8 sleepless hours we were able to leave for Suriname. We had gone 36 hours without sleep, so after we checked in we had a 2 hour nap and then started to work! 

We enjoyed being with our missionaries for zone conference on the Atonement and then the next 2 days were spent in leadership training, member district meetings, speaking several times, as well as Dad  finishing interviews with the missionaries. It was 3 - 12 hour days for us once we finally arrived. The assistants are with us and they were busy going on exchanges with the elders. I was able to go out with the sisters and check on two of our sisters who are ill with zika. We stopped by a bakery and had fresh oliebollen. It was so lekker! Remember when we cooked them on New Years one time? YUM! 

Today we had a minute this morning to drive around figuring out exactly where the churches are so that we don't have to have a missionary escort every time. They were celebrating Chinese New Year so everything was closed and my shopping spree hopes were dashed. But we got some great photos to share with you and hope you enjoy them. One is of a Jewish synagogue and Hindu mosque right next door to each other. Probably the only place in the world you would see this. I love how these cultures here are so tolerant of each other!
We head back home tomorrow for two days and then are off to take care of zone conferences in Aruba and be with Cam and Tiff and the girls. WE CAN'T WAIT! We need a minute to breathe and cuddle some grandchildren. We love and appreciate all of you and want you to know you are in our prayers!

Trini and Dad