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!