We have frozen this blog as a historical, yet informational view at what life is like in the West Indies Mission for all those called to serve. This blog was designed for the families and friends of those missionaries serving in the West Indies Mission from July 2006 to July 2009. Every six weeks, photos taken at zone conference as well as a new slide show including every person baptized were posted on the blog. All of the slide shows are also available on our You Tube channel. The current West Indies Mission blog can be found here. Posts on our missionary experience can be found here and earlier. And finally, if you are a returned missionary who served in the West Indies, there is a current blog for you. Click here or visit westindiesrm@blogspot.com

Friday, September 19, 2008

More Guyana greatness - Georgetown and Diamond

We had a challenge getting to the zone conference today. There is a beautiful big new air-conditioned building in Patentia and that was our target. Unfortunately the Demerara river stretches between Georgetown, where we were staying, and Patentia. It is traversed by a floating bridge that closes to allow boats through a few times per day.

Here is what the Demerara looks like. It, along with every other river I have seen in Guyana, has brown or black water - full of nutrients from the rain forest.
From Sept 08

For some reason, this morning the bridge was closed longer than usual so cars, trucks, buses, and vans jammed up waiting to cross. One intersection ended up in a big mess.

First you need to know that road rules in Guyana are minimal (except the assistants almost got a fine and a ticket while driving us this week - but that is a story for another blog post). The number of lanes of traffic can increase at any time according to need and nerve. I am convinced that the mission van expands and contracts as necessary. Today four lanes met four lanes in a two lane intersection and things just got stuck - and it took over an hour to unstick.

Here is what we saw as waited on our 'two lane' road:

in front
From Sept 08

out back
From Sept 08

We arrived about 20 minutes late to wonderful a sea of pressed white shirts, green ties (not sure why, but it looked great), shining faces...

and shiny shoes
From Sept 08

I am amazed that those shoes walk every day along roads and paths like these
From Sept 08

From Sept 08

From Sept 08

The assistants tried out a new activity to show how scary it can be for members to bring missionaries to their friends.

Here goes Elder White - learning to trust
From Sept 08

From Sept 08

From Sept 08

The assistants taught the missionaries to love, serve, and teach the members in order to develop a trusting relationship and challenged them to teach one of the lesson points from Preach my Gospel chapter three every time they visit a member.

It's a new experience having four assistants teaching all together
From Sept 08

President Robison told some fun church history stories (his specialty). Here is one about Parley P Pratt just after he was arrested for preaching:

In the morning the officer appeared and took me to breakfast; this over, we sat waiting in the inn for all things to be ready to conduct me to prison. In the meantime my fellow travellers came past on their journey, and called to see me. I told them in an undertone to pursue their journey and leave me to manage my own affairs, promising to overtake them soon. They did so.

After sitting awhile by the fire in charge of the officer, I requested to step out. I walked out into the public square accompanied by him. Said I, "Mr. Peabody, are you good at a race?" "No," said he, "but my big bull dog is, and he has been trained to assist me in my office these several years; he will take any man down at my bidding." "Well, Mr. Peabody, you compelled me to go a mile, I have gone with you two miles. You have given me an opportunity to preach, sing, and have also entertained me with lodging and breakfast. I must now go on my journey; if you are good at a race you can accompany me. I thank you for all your kindness—good day, sir."

I then started on my journey, while he stood amazed and not able to step one foot before the other. Seeing this, I halted, turned to him and again invited him to a race. He still stood amazed. I then renewed my exertions, and soon increased my speed to something like that of a deer. He did not awake from his astonishment sufficiently to start in pursuit till I had gained, perhaps, two hundred yards. I had already leaped a fence, and was making my way through a field to the forest on the right of the road. He now came hallooing after me, and shouting to his dog to seize me. The dog, being one of the largest I ever saw, came close on my footsteps with all his fury; the officer behind still in pursuit, clapping his hands and hallooing, "stu-boy, stu-boy—take him—watch—lay hold of him, I say—down with him," and pointing his finger in the direction I was running. The dog was fast overtaking me, and in the act of leaping upon me, when, quick as lightning, the thought struck me, to assist the officer, in sending the dog with all fury to the forest a little distance before me. I pointed my finger in that direction, clapped my hands, and shouted in imitation of the officer. The dog hastened past me with redoubled speed towards the forest; being urged by the officer and myself, and both of us running in the same direction.

Gaining the forest, I soon lost sight of the officer and dog, and have not seen them since. I took a back course, crossed the road, took round into the wilderness, on the left, and made the road again in time to cross a bridge over Vermilion River, where I was hailed by half a dozen men, who had been anxiously waiting our arrival to that part of the country, and who urged me very earnestly to stop and preach. I told them that I could not then do it, for an officer was on my track. I passed on six miles further, through mud and rain, and overtook the brethren, and preached the same evening to a crowded audience, among whom we were well entertained.

(from the Autobiography of Parley P Pratt, chapter 7)

The missionaries were challenged to keep a list of their favorite 'open your mouth' scriptures in preparation for zone conference - verses that teach that those who prepare will be given what then need to say 'in the very moment' it is needed. This message is found all through the scriptures. It was a powerful experience hearing so many words about the Lord's blessings to those who teach the Gospel.

Here are a few of President Robison's favorite finding scriptures:

Alma 16:14
Alma 22:1,4
Alma 26:28-29
D&C 19:37
D&C 63:58

We had a beautiful musical number thanks to Elders Youngyen, Richardson, Young, Clark, and Vernes
From Sept 08

From Sept 08

There's plenty of musical talent here!

During breaks elders Vernes and Olsen improvised duets on the only organ in the entire mission
From Sept 08

The elders loved it
From Sept 08

Both Georgetown and Diamond zones are doing incredible missionary work. The Georgetown District (includes both zones of missionaries) is in the process of qualifying for a stake. The rapid growth of the church in this area makes it likely that a Guyana stake will be formed soon.

What wonderful missionaries!

Diamond Zone
From Sept 08

Georgetown Zone
From Sept 08
Every one of them, including the couples, bore their testimonies today. Here are a few thoughts I recorded:

"I stand among living legends - among men who know what it takes."

"Someone taught me there are two kinds of missionaries - those who are passively busy and those who are actively engaged."

"I know that the spirit will tell us what to say."

"What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail (quoting another missionary)?"

"The first time I taught, I sat with my mouth hanging open - it was so different than the MTC. I didn't know what to say. I have learned that if we trust the spirit, it will tell us what to say."

"I guess I learned to not doubt the thoughts that come into my mind."

At the end of the day, President Robison went out teaching with brand new Elder Ali and his trainer Elder Youngyen. He was impressed.
From Sept 08

1 comment:

Charlene Clark said...

So, we haven't received our email yet today from Elder Clark -- not to worry, I'm sure it's just bogged up in the system (his sisters both got a short note); but what a joy it was to visit your blog and hear his singing voice. Thank you for the time and effort you put into the website and blog. It is a joy for us as parents to have this additional information.