Wednesday, September 23, 2009

September 21, 2009

Hello from Berbice!

Haha, this week was nuts. So! Transfers happened, but a problem arose. None of the scheduled mini missionaries were able to come this week. So for example, in the Canje Zone where I am, there are only me, Elder Noah (my companion for this past week), and Elder Duncan (Zone Leader) covering a HUGE area. It was a hassle. I was only able to work in Rose Hall 1-2 days. When we get some temporary mini missionaries, until the real mini missionaries get here, we will have 3 companionships in our zone. It's gonna be tough but exciting all the same.

These are answers to Dad's questions that he listed in his email:

As a district we meet weekly unless it's zone conference or zone meeting. It'll probably be a bunch of combined zone meetings though, because of lack of numbers. There are only 3 companionships working all of Berbice Zone too. So that makes 12 missionaries in 2 zones. Usually it's about 10-12 per zone. Exchanges happen once a transfer cycle (every 6 weeks). I will serve with everyone in my district; the zone leader serves with everyone in his zone. My district is really just the zone leaders and me.

So I really am not doing much. Elder Noah, my companion this past week, is from Delta, Utah. In Rose Hall, there is an organized branch that can run on its own but still needs missionaries to help with things like tithing. The Crabwood Creek branch, one of the ones that Noah is over, is not as organized and needs missionaries to teach classes and things. Skeldon, another area Noah is covering, is only a group and had 8 people at church. I was in Crabwood Creek and Skeldon this past weekend, so I got to see that. It was pretty rough. The senior couple for my branch was the Treseders, but they have to leave due to the Lock-Up situation. The only couple in Berbice will be the Lingrens in Canje.

I recieved the package on Tuesday!! Thanks so much for all of that! I am very happy with some of the ties. Haha, some of the missionaries are very jealous. The candy and drink mix was very welcome too. Mac and Cheese though can be found here. Don't need to send that from now on, thanks though! I don't know my new mailing address yet; will get it to you ASAP.

Each missionary get 270 US a transfer. Also, the senior companion gets about 200 US for travel to pay for taxi, bus and cars. In Berbice for long trips you take bus, short drops you just flag down a car that's goin along. Most are working taxis.

About the visa situation, not so sure about if it's fixed. All I know is that I should be getting a work permit soon that is either for 90 days or for 1 year. Not sure about the time. Pretty sure it's one year, so I'll be here for awhile. However there is a cap of foreign missionaries. Only 20!! That is not enough for Guyana. That's why they have been rushing to get local missionaries to serve full-time missions.

So basically this week was kinda wierd. Haha. When we got to Berbice on Thursday, there was a big meeting with President Hymas telling us what to expect and how to handle what was before us. It was an amazing lecture/talk. I learned a lot about diligence and complete obedience, setting an example for our mini missionaries. After, I went to the apartment, dropping off all my stuff and unpacking. A nice apartment, mosquito screens on the windows, keeping most mosquitos out. Lots of room, used to hold 4 missionaries. Big beds, full size. Anyway, I like the apartment. The landlord is our branch president, President Johnnie. He's a cool guy, energetic, very willing to work. That night when I got there he called the EQ President, Brother Garret, and he took us around to meet some members.

BTW, until this settles down I'm with Elder Noah. I should be getting Elder Moses, a mini missionary, to serve with me tommorrow. Elder Noah is a funny guy. Not a hard worker but once I get the mini missionary with me we can get to work. He's a cool guy and everything though. I like him.

We were in my area Thursday night and Friday, just seeing members and getting to know that area. Saturday and Sunday we were in Crabwood Creek and Skeldon, Elder Noah's area. Nice area, very rural so it was pretty neat to walk around. Ate some cane, mango, coconuts. It's sweet. Out here members just give you fruit all the time. It just grows on trees so they have a guy climb up a coconut tree and kick down some coconuts for us. It was fun.

Berbice is a crazy place. Haha about the language. It's just horribly broken down English. Replacing her with she and him with he. Like, "What's she name boss?" Or, "Whappin de?" It's pretty fun though. Hard to understand people, but it'll get easier.

My area's pretty interesting. Elder Jones, an assistant to the president right now, served here for about 6 months. He baptized 80 people. So many people have been baptized here, but the attendance at church is horrible. Almost all of the converts about a year ago when the area caught on fire don't go to church anymore. That makes my job pretty rough. Reactivation is now on the list of things for me to do here. I'm excited to get working though; I could do very well here. Just applying the principles President Gamiette wants us to apply and teaching and testifying of the Book of Mormon will be very important.

Also, what happened to BYU and UTAH? I expected as much from Utah State but not BYU and Utah. (Sorry Amy, they are just a horrilbe team!)

Anyways, I've written way to much. I love it here so far. There's no Pizza Hut or KFC but I'll get over it. I'm just glad I get to stay in Guyana, let alone Rose Hall. My area used to be an area where legends were born. No joke. So many amazing missionaries have been through here and baptized grips (lots of people).

Have fun at home. Let me know how things are!

Elder Morris

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sept 14, 2009

This week was crazy!!! Wednesday we had an AWESOME day. We found tons of new investigators, taught 8 lessons, and I dunno it was just a great day. It's always good when we work hard to complete the goals/promises we made to God every day. He really does provide.

We've been working way hard with Stacey's friend Latoya. She is reading, has prayed and recieved answers to her prayers and is ready for baptism. We did a couple power lessons, teaching a lot of information in a short amount of time. She accepted all of the commandments and everything!! Such a cool girl. She's about 25. Only problem is that we needed to teach her a few more things before baptism so we'll have to leave her for the next elders coming in to baptize.

The second half of this week wasn't very cool. The Evans told me I'd be staying in Guyana for sure a week ago so I wasn't worrying about anything. Wednesday night I find out I'm leaving. Sis. Bowen in our branch told me she had a ticket for me to leave. Thursday and Friday rumors are flying more and more. I kept hearing that I might be learning French and going to Guadeloupe or French Guiana. Friday and Saturday we waited all day for a phone call from President telling us we're being transferred. Saturday night we get the call. Elder Stebbing = Port of Spain, Trinidad. Elder Morris = Sangre Grande, Trinidad. Whoa!! I was stunned. I was fine with it and everything and was just relieved that I didn't have to learn French or anything. Sunday we are at church and I told President Pooran goodbye, he's in the district Presidency. He was like, "Nonsense!! You are not leaving Guyana!!!" He called President Gamiette and supposedly I had already been put on the list for people to receive work permits to stay in Guyana. So I couldn't even LEAVE Guyana because I was on the list. They changed everything around and now, I am going to Rose Hall, Berbice, Guyana. I will be a District Leader, training Elder Wilkins, a Guyanese Mini-missionary. Berbice is more of the country of Guyana. More insects, bigger insects, Caymans (Alligators) etc. It'll be SWEET!!! I'm very nervous to be teaching someone how to be a missionary but I'm going to work my hardest. Everything is going to be so different next transfer. Tons more missionaries will be on the islands, and a ton of people in Trinidad. Berbice is about an hour east of Georgetown, past the river. It'll be pretty exciting.

We met a lot of our members and recent converts the past few days, saying our goodbyes and collecting phone numbers and addresses. Don't be surprised if one calls the home phone. Haha!

Anyways it was a rollercoaster of a week. I'm blanking an area this next transfer. I go there on Thursday. I don't know anyone there or any investigators. I love Guyana and am blessed to be able to stay here!! It'll be pretty exciting.

Elder Morris

Attached are two clippings of us in the paper. Pretty funny.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

September 7, 2009

Things are interesting in Guyana. I won't waste much time talking about random people we talked to during the week. Basically this was all the rage/news in the mission. So! Yes I was detained this past week. Wednesday morning we got the call to go over to the CID (Criminal Investigation Department) Headquarters. We got there, not knowing what to expect, walked in and were told we couldn't leave. They had a list of 50 missionaries that are going to be kicked out. 13 have already left and so 37 will be kicked out.

What happened is that when we enter the country we get a 30 day stamp in our passports. The senior couple fills out tons of paperwork for an extension on our visas. For 20 years nothing has gone wrong until now they have gone through and denied all of them. So now all of a sudden we have "overstayed" our time even though we haven't done anything. In fact with all the law side of things, we are STILL legal here, but they're not listening. We weren't illegal here like lots think.

So, we were "asked" to come to headquarters. They sent cops to our apartment to pick us up the night before but we were out working so they didn't take us. They did, however, find Elder and Sister Evans. They were taken to lockup and stayed there overnight. We were at the place being assured by Nigel Hughes, the lawyer, that everything would be okay and we'd be out by 10am.

Then they came and said, alright, out by 12 pm. That time came and passed. Finally someone figured out that a few of us who came with their companions weren't on the list of those to be detained, including me. We were released and got to go and do missionary work. There were about 40 people there though.

We weren't in jail cells, btw, just in a big office. They finally got a Supreme Court order ordering us to be released. That was about 1 pm. We got word that President Jagdeo (Guyanese President) and Home Affairs had no intention of following that order (the law pretty much) and still kept us and said that we were being forced to leave tomorrow.

I was off doing missionary work with Elder Scott but the others were still there. They got Popeye's and Pizza Hut for lunch and dinner. Things cooled down a bit and now the ones on the list have 30 days to leave the country. We're still out doing missionary work, but about 35 missionaries, including senior couples, have to leave the country. Most will go to Trinidad and double up with other missionaries there.

So the 15 or so left, including me, will be able to stay here until they say otherwise. To deal with the situation, they are calling a ton of pre-missionary age young men and young women to serve mini missions here in their own country. So, next transfer I will probably be training a brand new Guyanese teenager missionary. WIERD but really a good opportunity!!!

Anyways, things are going well. I confirmed Raymond in church yesterday. Very neat experience. First time doing it! We might have a couple baptisms coming up later, but things are a bit slow right now. More news about that next week I guess.

I played Georgetown Risk with the Zone leaders yesterday night. I won big time!! Owned them all!!

Well I gotta go. Wish I could send some pictures. Have a good one!!

I AM SAFE and sound. Don't worry about me.

Elder Morris

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Elder Scott's Scottopoly

Two member kids on the church fence.

Baptism of Raymond Craig 8.30.09

August 31, 2009

Whappin' de? (What's

Ah...creolese is sweet! So, Sunday we had a baptism!! It was way good. Raymond Craig. As you can see, very short, fine (skinny), Indian guy. We have only been teaching him 2+ weeks but when they're ready, they're ready. It's sad. In Georgetown Zone for the past 4 weeks there have been 3 baptisms. 2 of them have been in our area. We were chatting with the Zone leaders and they don't know what to do. They're trying so hard to motivate everyone.

New converts night on Friday: Played lots of games, had a great spiritual message, and everyone but us got to enjoy lots of good food. That's one thing that's hard. Not eating the local food. The cookup looks so good! We couldn't even eat the hot dogs they had. Anyways it was a fun night.

Haha, last night we played Elder Scott's "Scottopoly!!" We slept over at the Zone leaders' again and played for a few hours. He re-did all of the chance and community chest cards to make it game changing. Like..."Advance to MayFair (Boardwalk) and take it!!" or "Put a hotel on any property" or "Give 1/2 of your properties to the loosing player." It was pretty fun actually, haha. Elder Stebbing won, but I came close.

This week was wierd. Had a couple way good days early, and had some bad days late; like we found 5 investigators on Wednesday, but none the rest of the week. Oh well. Any week with a baptism in it is a good week.

We're working with Keisha, Michelle's 15 year old daughter. See before, their family and all their friends went to the UCKG (Universal Church of the Kingdom of God), a Brazillian church. So she is a little hesitant about things, but has recieved answers to her prayers and is understanding things well. She just needs to come to church with her mother. She will probably be baptized in 2 or 3 weeks.

Our recent converts are great!! Stacy is the YSA rep for the branch and loves it. She helped organize YW camp as well and has been to church every week. She was baptized one month ago!!! She wants to go on a mission too. Sweet! The Salim family is doing okay. They need to come to church more. Hope everything will be okay with them. Michelle and Angela are doing well. Veneta is doing great too and is back in town for school.

Anyways, the week was pretty good. President Gamiette's new standards are rough but neccesary. He promises great success as we work on what he is telling us to do.

Pictures included are two member kids on the church fence, Scottopoly, and the baptism.

Much Love,
Elder Morris