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

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Beginnings of the Church in Guyana

I received an email from Sister Ord a few weeks ago. She goes to church in West Jordan Utah with the Hudsons who were the very first LDS missionaries to serve in Guyana. She took the time to meet with the Hudsons and write down their story. It is amazing! Thank you Sister Ord!

Memories of Selected Missionary Experiences in Guyana
Ruth and Ben Hudson
Told to Susan Ord; 6/26/09

Ben and Ruth Hudson received a telephone call from Elder Sackly, of the Church Missionary Committee, to serve as Church representatives in Guyana. The Hudsons had just served in Nigeria under President Sackly and hadn’t yet even arrived home from that mission when he called. He knew of their experience in setting up Branches in Nigeria and recommended them for immediate work in a new land. There was no mission yet established in Guyana and the area was under the auspices of the mission in Quito, Ecuador under President Didier.

They came to Guyana on 19 August 1988. They arrived at the Pegasus hotel, only to be turned away because their reservation was not found. After a fruitless search for a suitable place to stay in the city they returned to the hotel and sat in the lobby for several hours until a room was found where they could stay for a couple of days. Things went uphill from there as they were later able to stay at the Georgetown Club and then rented a small apartment.

One of first negotiations was to buy a car. After getting permission to buy a car, they had found a used one. The Church had to send the money for the car to Citibank in New York. The car company was notified that the money was available and they were able to pick it up. But, many times it was difficult to obtain gas. Brother Hudson remembers sitting in a gas line for up to 7 hrs. only to be told at the end that the power to the pumps was out.

The Hudsons couldn’t proselyte since the Church hadn’t been officially recognized by the country. However, they had been informed that there were 2 members of the Church in Guyana and went about tracking them down. One member was Majid Abdulla, who had been baptized in Canada. They made arrangements to hold a Sacrament meeting at the home of brother Abdulla’s mother in-law. They held this meeting underneath the home (home was on stilts). It was like an open garage, with a chicken coop and a couple of hammocks in it. As Brother Hudson stood up to begin the meeting, a terrible wind and rain storm came over and blew out the lights and scattered the papers. The rain made a very a loud racket on the galvanized roof. Bro. Hudson notes that they felt like the disruption may have been the influence of Satan who understood the importance of this event as the first Sacrament meeting ever held in Guyana under the direction of the Holy Priesthood. However, the rain subsided after a few minutes. They used crackers and one glass of water for the Sacrament. Shortly thereafter, they held meetings under Indra Sukhdeo’s house at Enterprise, Guyana.

They later rented a small building where they could hold meetings. Brother Hudson drew pictures of pews, a pulpit and a Sacrament table and found a local carpenter to make them. As persons were referred to them to teach the Gospel, the Branch began to grow. The Hudsons organized the Block meetings and led Sunday School, Relief Society, and Primary single handedly until others could be called to teach. Sister Hudson led the singing without any books or accompaniment. One Relief Society Homemaking event centered around teaching the sisters to knit. They used the straw from brooms as the knitting needles.

The small group of members fashioned a baptismal font on the cement patio of the building where they met. They used cinder blocks to build up the font and set up a tank for filling the font as well as a simple way to drain it.

The Hudsons have very fond memories of the wonderful people in this land. One member they remember well is Samuel Griffith who was blind. Soon after Brother Griffith was baptized, Bro. Hudson taught him the Sacrament prayer on the water and told him that he was counting on him to help at the next meeting. Brother Griffith memorized the prayer during the week with the help of his sister and assisted in administering the Sacrament the following Sunday. He became a very faithful and dedicated member of the Church.

The Hudsons loved the people of Guyana who were very good to them. They people were excited about the message of the Gospel. They had never heard it and were eager and excited for it. The Hudsons know that Heavenly Father wanted the people of Guyana to have the Gospel and feel very privileged to have served Him in the very beginnings of that work.

When the Hudsons arrived in Guyana as representatives of the Church, there were 2 known members living there. Eighteen months later, they had formed a Branch and had been instrumental in baptizing 49 people.

1 comment:

Dave and Tauna said...

What a great story thanks!