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

August 5th, 2017


Here are pictures of a baby iguana that I caught today and of a giant avacado that was bigger than our bananas!

Papa and Grammy

July 30th, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Transfers just wrapped up and we have had almost one minute to catch our breath. We have humbly been reminded lately, how many blessings are ours because of the gospel. We are rich in so many ways, but have learned some very important lessons about humility and priorities in life. I am sure that we have mentioned Sister Antoinette Cupid before. She is a valiant woman from Tobago with a heart as big as the island she lives on. She owns a parcel of land by the river and built her own home in the quiet jungle. She has no electricity or running water and is the happiest most grateful woman  we've ever met. She looks like Aunt Jemima and is just as sweet. You may remember that she is the sister who has a small roadside fishing business. She hires young fisherman to catch the fish, then pays them for their work and sells fresh fish by the beach. About a month ago, someone stole the engine to her fishing boat and she was temporarily out of business. She said, "They must have been desperate and needed the engine more than I did!" When we were in Tobago last, we went with the elders to teach her a lesson. After driving on a rough, rut-filled road, we got out of the car and hiked down a steep hill passing dogs, chickens, cats and goats. When we arrived, she greeted us and we asked her to share her conversion story with us. 

She first learned about the gospel from her sister, who had migrated to the US and joined the church. When Sister Cupid found the church in Tobago, she was interested in getting a copy of the Book of Mormon. The missionaries gave her a book and she read everyday until the sun went down and then began reading again at sunrise. Her baptism was 3 weeks later, in the river she dammed up herself, by her home. She has now been a member for 12 years and has been serving as the Relief Society President for the past 5 years. 

She shared that she wants to go on a senior sister mission. In particular, she would like to serve an English speaking temple mission. She has been clearing the jungle hillside outside of her home with a machete, in order to plant staggered crops of corn. Her plan is to have a roadside corn stand and save the money she makes to fund her temple mission. 
The Sister Cupid's of this world are the "meek that will inherit the earth." We are grateful for her example and faith and pray that we may always remember what she has taught us about life. 

We love you and pray that you are finding joy in your journey!

Trini and Dad

July 2nd, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA! The longer we are away from the United States, the more we realize how blessed we are to have so many freedoms that we take for granted. As we have been entangled in government bureaucracy with immigration for almost 2 years, we have come to appreciate the timely manner in which America generally operates. At least you get a response to questions asked. You may not like the response all the time, but you usually get one.

We enjoyed having the missionaries over for a Fourth of July BBQ on the third of July. Hot dogs, potato salad, baked beans, and strawberry shortcake. I think they had a great time and perhaps got a taste of home as well. We were in Tobago this past weekend visiting our little branch there. Dad was hoping to interview and find a new branch president, since his family is moving to the states next week. It is always difficult when there are 5 Melchizedek priesthood holders and only one is worthy. The candidate is thinking about the challenge and hopefully will accept.

We leave tomorrow for Zone Conferences in Suriname, then the ABC's and then wrap up in Guyana. We pray the flights will cooperate as the schedule is tight. One of them goes through Miami again and so Dad is hoping that there is enough time to taxi to PF Chang's again. The crazy thing is that you spend more on a taxi to go there for lunch than your lunch costs. But what we do for Chang's Spicy Chicken and lettuce wraps.

It has been a humbling couple of weeks in Trinidad, with special baptisms and missionary experiences. We have had 2 baptisms of strong brothers who will be very helpful to priesthood ranks. Sadly, Dad has also had to inform an elder that his father has liver and kidney cancer and let one of our sister's know that her cousin was killed. These are some of the highs and lows that we experience in a given week. How grateful we are for the gospel that offers hope and light to the darkness of some of these events. 

Harper, we are so proud of your choice to become baptized last Saturday! Being 8 is great! We missed being there with you, but know how happy you made your Heavenly Father and Jesus. Now you have the Holy Ghost as your constant companion. What a great blessing! You are the newest member of the church in our family. Remember to listen to the still, small, voice.

One year to go on our mission....11 Fast Sundays to go. Yikes, that will go faster than we think. As excited as we are to count down, we also want to make sure that we have accomplished all th Lord needs us to do while we are here. It can be overwhelming to have so many more things you would like to see happen, but we know that with the Savior's help we can do all things.

Hope you are having a wonderful summer!

Love you all,
Trini and Dad

June 18th, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Weekly, missionaries throughout the world are encouraged to write their families and mission president's. Each Monday, on preparation day, I receive and read over 100 letters. As a guideline, I have asked our missionaries to write to me about the FACTS. Family, Area, Companion, Testimony and a Spiritual Experience. I would like to share one of my missionaries spiritual experiences with you. As a little background, the story takes place in one of most remote cities of our mission on the border of Guyana and Suriname, a city called Corriverton. 

Dear President Egbert,

This Sunday made my week great! My companion and I were sitting in church, waiting for the members to arrive, when we saw James, Kamala's neighbor, and his son-in-law crossing the road to church. We did not however, see Kamala. Kamala had severely sprained her ankle two days earlier and so my companion and I assumed she would not be attending church. 

Two minutes before church started, Kamala came limping through the front door of the church. With a look of exhaustion and sweat on her face, she looked at me and said, "I did it, I am here!" She then smiled and took her seat. I was touched and shocked! Kamala had limped over a mile to attend church. I asked her why she came. Her response was one of a true disciple. "I needed to pay my tithing and partake of the blessings of the sacrament." I then asked her why she didn't take a taxi. This response humbled me even more. With tears in her eyes she said, "If I had taken a taxi, I would not have had enough money to pay my tithing."

It took her over an hour to walk the dirt roads. One small painful step at a time. She knew God's commandments and had faith that he would open the windows of heaven and pour out blessings on her and her family.

I love this work President.

Your mom and I love to share these mission experiences with you. It reminds us of the spiritual letters we received from Cam, Nic, Jon and Marissa when they were serving. May we all continue to come closer to our Savior one step at a time. 

Love Dad and Trini

June 4th, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

We have been in Guyana and Suriname the past week holding Zone Conferences and leave tomorrow for Trinidad. While we were in Guyana we taught with some of our missionaries and then they introduced us to Brother Harry, who makes artifacts out of caiman and snake. We were able to hold a caiman and his pet anaconda which is only a few years old. He wanted to give Dad and I a gift because the Lord has blessed him with so much business from our missionaries. He made Dad an anaconda belt and finished a wallet for me. He would not let us pay him a dime. His Bible and Book of Mormon were sitting on his workbench and he reads from both daily, even though he has never joined the church. Brother Harry is a sweetheart and was very happy that we stopped by. The Guyanese are such a humble and Christlike people. We are better for knowing them.

Suriname was the next stop and it was a quick one. We got in at 2:30 am Friday morning and left Sunday morning. We prefer not to fly on Sunday, but it was the only flight that would get us back to Trinidad in time to head to Curacao on Tuesday! We are working hard in the service of the Lord and know that we are given extra health and strength to keep up this pace. Keep praying for Trinidad. We really hope that the few missionary permits we were able to receive, will be the start of a regular flow. We are grateful to be in your hearts and prayers.

Trini and Dad

May 28th, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

We just finished hosting a Mission-Wide Leadership Conference in Trinidad. All of our zone leaders and sister training leaders attended the two day conference. Because it is so expensive to fly everyone to the Mission Home we can not do this as often as we would like to. It was great to watch the missionaries teach and learn from each other. What a privilege it is to serve with such amazing young adults. It was a food frenzy as I had to cook 7 meals in a row for 28 people. No one starved and we kept up with all the ripe mangoes! 

Our mission also experienced some very timely miracles. For over a year, we have not had a missionary permit granted for entry into Trinidad. We also had an association bond that was expiring, that held the names of eight missionaries. (Including us!) If the bond was not approved and renewed, these missionaries would need to leave Trinidad. Two days before the bond expired, it was approved. That same day, we found out that a handful of missionaries received their missionary permits to enter Trinidad. The missionaries that were approved, have been serving in Guyana and the ABC islands. We do not know exactly what this means for the future of missionary permits in Trinidad, but we do know that our mission received a miracle when we needed it. If no permits are received in the near future, they may still move the mission home and headquarters, but for the moment things are on hold to see what the next few weeks brings regarding approval of more missionary permits.

We are grateful for all your prayers regarding our immigration challenges and have been humbled by the Lord's hand in making sure that His work moves forward. We declare our witness of His love and concern for each of His children and the missionary work that takes place around the world. We are here to gather Israel and He is aware of of the people in Trinidad, Tobago, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Guyana and Suriname. May we all trust in His timing and acknowledge His assistance in our lives everyday.

"For if there be no faith among the children of men, God can do no miracle among them; wherefore he showed not himself until after their faith." Ether 12:12

We Love You,
Trini and Dad

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

May 19th, 2017

April 24th, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

We are behind on our weekly emails due to some new stumbling blocks placed in our path that we are still trying to sort out. Sadly, we do not have control over the situation, so worrying doesn't get us very far.
Who would dream that the immigration process could get worse? We have 2 association bonds that sponsor the names of our Trinidad missionaries and guarantee their financial stability. The one that we are on,
is up for renewal and if the government does not approve the renewal of the bond by May 24th, we too,will have to leave Trinidad along with 6 of our missionaries. This presents some issues like, where do we relocate
the mission home and office? What other area in the mission can facilitate the location, flight paths, and member strength that we need for a mission headquarters? Etc Etc Etc Guyana has also revised their
immigration requirements and so the one country in our mission that used to be easy to get missionaries into, has now tightened its entrance gates. It must be the last days! We are experiencing many challenges,
but are still blessed to have the work move forward. We have just had the first elder and sister from Trinidad called to serve in our mission. The Missionary Department of the church is mindful and the Lord is now
calling locals to fill the void. 

We have just finished hosting a senior couple conference in Trinidad and are so grateful for the amazing senior couples that help this mission move forward. Sadly, we will be losing half of them by June, with no
one to replace them in the pipeline. We have such a testimony and love for senior couples and the sacrifices that they make to serve. Missions can not run without them...especially ones that are spread out over
1500 miles! Spread the word that we would love to have any interested couples contact us, who are thinking of serving.

We have been in Guyana all week for Zone Conferences, the reorganization of two branch presidencies, the consolidation of two branches into one and the formation of the Berbice Guyana District! It was a very 
busy weekend of interviews for Dad with all available Melchiizedek priesthood candidates.A new district will strengthen the 6 mission dependent branches and allow a little more autonomy for them to learn how to 
operate the church in preparation to become a Stake someday. There were 205 Saints that showed up Sunday morning! They are very excited to see the church grow and have their own priesthood help to preside.
Dad will still do temple recommends and certain priesthood advancements, but there will now be a District President on the ground that Dad can work through. It was a very spiritual meeting and everyone seemed
to be excited about the changes. 

We just landed in Trinidad an hour ago and are busy getting ready to turn around and fly to the ABC islands tomorrow, to do the last of Zone Conferences and return to prepare for transfers. Never a dull moment!
It will feel good to get one night in Trinidad at the mission home as our days are looking numbered.Thank you for your letters, instagrams, emails, texts and most of all your love. They make our day!

We love you,
Trini and Dad

March 20th, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

It has been an inspiring week in the ABC islands. We have been back and forth to Aruba and Curacao twice in one week to finish Zone Conferences and then to attend the semi-annual ABC District Conference. I had the opportunity to re-organize a new branch presidency and spent an afternoon and evening with the District President interviewing fourteen potential candidates. After our decision had been confirmed by the Lord, we called the new branch president and his wife back to the church to extend the calling. We then encouraged him to choose two counselors, from those that had been interviewed earlier. Two days later, he gave us the name of his counselors.

His first counselor was a member from Venezuela who had come to Aruba to find a job. His intention was to secure a work visa so his family could join him as soon as possible. When I extended the calling, he became very emotional. He said that for the past two weeks, he had  felt as though the Lord had sent him to Aruba for "another reason". He had been inspired that he would receive a new calling and that if he accepted the calling, his family would be blessed. I felt impressed to have him read D&C 100:1-2.

"Your families are well; they are in my hands, and I will do with them as seemeth me good; for in me there is all power.
Therefore, follow me, and listen to the counsel that I shall give unto you."

I promised him that his family would have the opportunity to come to Aruba if he trusted in the Lord and accepted the calling. This was the same scripture that Elder Eyring read to Mom and me when he asked us if we would be willing to leave our family for three years to serve the Lord. 

His second counselor was a young man, who I had been working with for the past year, to be able to have him return to full fellowship in the church. His humble, repentant attitude had worked a mighty change of heart and he was now worthy to serve as the second counselor in the branch presidency. When we asked his wife if she would support him, she began to cry. She was so grateful to once again have a worthy priesthood holder who could bless their home and the homes of other families in the branch.

It was a choice experience to see the member’s faces as the releases and sustainings took place on Sunday during District Conference. We all felt confirmation that the Lord’s will had been done. The spirit of the conference was amazing and we grew to love the Saints even more in the ABC islands. We hope you had a wonderful week and realize the great blessings we have as members of the true church of Jesus Christ.

We love you,
Dad and Trini

February 27th, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Our journal is behind a week or two and we are on a plane back from Curacao after spending a week filled with church business and family fun. We began the trip by escorting three sisters to Curacao to begin assignments there. They were all from different countries and it was a small miracle that we were able to have them make it through the tightened immigration processes we face throughout the mission. After getting them situated, Dad and I headed to the hotel to prepare for meetings over the weekend.

Saturday morning we took the missionaries to breakfast at Denny’s. It was a “grand slam” for the missionaries. Later that afternoon, Cameron, Tiffany and the girls arrived and we had five wonderful days with them.

On Sunday, Dad and I spoke in church. Dad spoke in Papiamento, which is always a hit with the congregation and I had one of our missionaries translate.  Doug and Nancy Knight were on the island with business rewards and we were able to see them at Sacrament Meeting. It was a great reunion.

I took Cam and his family back to the hotel after the meetings and Dad stayed to meet with the branch president, interview our missionaries and conduct member needs. He got back in time to walk to the plaza for the Children’s Carnival Parade that evening.
On Monday, we stayed around the hotel and got acquainted with the beach and pool areas and all the waiters and waitresses in the restaurants. Piet is a special waiter who has become a good friend. He wears a vest covered in collector pins. The girls each brought him a pin for his vest and he was really touched. He has angel Moroni on his shoulder, the temple over his heart, a Snowbird pin on his chest and a just “Moosin’” around pin waiting for the right spot! He makes the dining room so much fun.

Tuesday we went to the aquarium and to Mambo Beach.  We got more than our share of sun, fun and food. When we got back to the van, the battery was dead and a very nice security guard gave us a jump and we were on our way. The next morning we were headed to the Ostrich farm and the girls had a crash course about this crazy bird and also took a ride on an ostrich. That evening Dad and I took Londyn and Dylan out teaching with our missionaries. They both did an excellent job as sister missionaries. Each had an opportunity to bear their testimony, read a scripture and say a prayer. It was a proud Papa and Grammy moment to watch these little sister missionaries in action.

Thursday morning Dad interviewed the elders and the rest of us made sure we kept eating and enjoying the last few hours of surf and sand. We headed back to Port of Spain late that afternoon and Cam and his family left before the crack of dawn the next morning.
It was a fun few days and we loved being able to have FAMILY around.

When we got to the airport, we met up with one of our sisters who was on a visa run out of the ABC islands. She was on our flight and since we got home at almost midnight she stayed at the mission home. After a one day stay we were back on a plane to Tobago for the weekend. We flew standby and arrived just in time to witness 9 year old Josiah’s baptism (at the beach where Bo was baptized) and then were able to go out teaching with the elders. Dad interviewed Brother Murray for baptism. He is 89 years young and quite a golden investigator. He has lived 2 doors from the church for many years and had never been contacted. He passed his baptism interview with flying colors and is ready for his March 11th baptism.

Every day brings many blessings and miracles.
Love, Trini and Dad

Saturday, February 11, 2017

February 5th, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been filled with challenges, as they all are, trying to run a mission and 116 missionaries before transfers. But somehow, the spirit makes you forget all the difficulties. We attended the baptism this week of 18 year old young woman named Angel. Just a little background. She was visiting her aunt one evening, who happened to have an appointment with the sisters. Out of curiosity, she sat in on the lesson and had a million questions. She had seen elders before in Port of Spain, but had never spoken to them and wondered about the church they represented. The area where the sisters were teaching had just recently been re-opened after being closed for two years. Angel's family lived in another area of Trinidad and they temporarily lost track of her. Dad opened up new area in Trinidad to missionary work and guess who they found? Angel !!! She knew it was not by chance and began to speak with the missionaries again. She became well acquainted with two sets of sisters over the last 41/2 months and was baptized Saturday and confirmed today.

Her baptism was performed by a member of the ward who had known her since she was 4 years old. Brother Ramatar was the bus driver for her school route and had always thought she was a special little girl. Imagine the joy he experienced when he saw her come to the church for the first time and they recognized each other. He paid her and her family a special tribute at the baptism. Her family is Muslim and they all came to support her at the baptism. Her six year old little sister, Fairee, stood during open testimonies at the conclusion of the baptism and said, "I was so excited to come to my sister's baptism today. I want my whole family to be baptized and love Jesus! The power of the spirit was undeniable as that little girl spoke from her heart and politely took a bow.

Angel and her little sister came to  church today. She was confirmed and then later in the meeting declared from the pulpit the truthfulness of the restored gospel, her love for her Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ and the gratitude she had for missionaries who would leave the comforts of home and family and come to Trinidad to teach her the truth. We left our home and family for days like these. We are grateful for wonderful new converts and pray for their continued conversion to the gospel, as we do for yours, and ours!

Trini and Dad

January 30th, 2017

January 26th, 2017