Sunday, February 1, 2015

Senior Conference January 26-29, 2015

On Monday January 26th all the senior couples flew in from 8 island and 3 countries for a senior conference.  We spent three days having training meetings, devotionals, eating delicious food and took a couple of excursions together.  It was wonderful to sit and talk to these wonderful, amazing brothers and sisters and share their spirit and the joy of the gospel together.  One of the excursions was a trip by boat through the Caroni Swamp where the guide pointed out snakes, bats, owls, birds, and the scarlet Ibis.  We are sitting here waiting until dusk for the Scarlet Ibis to fly into an island where they come every night.  It was incredible to watch the 1000's of birds come in from every direction and fill the trees with red.  

 Here are some of the couples we met.  This is Elder and Sister Turner.  They live two weeks on Martinique, and speak French, and two weeks on St. Lucia speaking English.  They work with 10 missionaries on Martinique and 13 Missionaries on St. Lucia.
 This is Elder and Sister Moore.  They are over Humanitarian projects for the entire mission.  They work with countries training and placing wheelchairs (Richard knows all about that), building chicken coops with members, teaching sewing and placing sewing machines if people complete the 12 week training course, and placing neonatal units, putting together school kits, hygiene kits, newborn kits, and others that I can't remember what they are.  They travel all over the mission.  
 This is Elder and Sister Halverson.  They are the mission auditors and they came to Tobago to do our Audit on Friday.  We passed, thank goodness.  They are based in St. Vincent.  The incredible thing about them is that they are the oldest couple in the mission and this is their fifth mission. Wow!  They have served as auditors in New Zealand, Hong Kong, South Africa, Germany and now the West Indies.
 This is Elder and Sister Avondet.  They are the newest couple in the mission and are in Guyana in South America.  They are not in Georgetown but are in the interior or Guyana in the bush.  They had some really difficult experiences and tell some fun stories of frogs in the toilet, dodging cows, pigs, sheep, darting in the road.  We came home determined to say extra prayers for them.
 This is Brother and Sister Bevins.  Sister Bevins is the mission secretary and Brother Bevins is the financial secretary for the mission.  His job is extremely complicated with 8 different currencies and keeping them all straight and funding the mission.
 This is Elder and Sister Wang Sa....but that is not their entire name.  They shortened it to that because their name is really really long.   They are from Surinam and speak Dutch.  Sister WangSa speaks some English and told us of how her Grandmother was taken from the market in Indonesia as a 14 year old and brought as a slave to Surinam.  They are serving in their native country and are pioneers in the gospel.

 This is Elder and Sister Horne.  They are new to the mission and will now serve in St. Lucia so the Turners will not have to travel back and forth anymore.  Elder Horne will serve as the Branch President.
 All the Ladies.
 Brother and Sister Bateman serve in Trinidad.  He is the Branch President and they are over all the cars in the mission.  They were one of the first couples we met when we arrived on our mission.  We were delighted to find out they owned the gas station complex on 13th west and 7200 South.  We have bought gas there for years and now they have a big beautiful complex.  Sister Bateman is the mission home chef.  She is in charge of pretty much all the meals served there when new missionaries arrive and old ones leave.  She is an incredible cook.
 All the men!
 This satellite base was built by the Americans during the cold war to track the Russians.  As you can see everything rusts here.  Elder Goddard had to climb it, despite the rusted ladders.
 There he is way up high.....crazy.  

 Walking through the Bamboo Cathedral.  We hoped to see some screamer monkeys, but only heard them.

 Thursday, everyone flew out at different times.  While we waited we made necklaces out of sea glass, got haircuts, some went shopping at Price Mart, which is similar to Costco to get things they can't buy on their island and filled up extra suitcases to take home.  We sat and told stories and did a lot of laughing.   It was really rejuvenating.  Some of these people will go home before the next senior conference and others we will not see again because in July our mission will be split.
 Sister Poulson, the one cutting hair, told a funny story about going to the bathroom and standing up to find a big frog in the toilet.  We laughed a lot over that one.  Every day is an adventure.

I grew to love these amazing people in just a few days.  I thought I had pictures of every couple but got home with a few missing.  The Francoms who are over the Young Single Adults and all the travel,  the Poulsons who are in the Mission Presidency with the Mehrs and are in Guyana, the Monks in Grenada, The Thompsons who are in St. Marten and cover the medical needs and the Surujbhans that are in Guyana.  I am in awe!  We were all uplifted especially by President and Sister Mehr.  They are an incredible team.  President Mehr is a spiritual giant.  This picture was taken earlier but I wanted to have a picture of them.  What incredible people to learn from and serve with.  We are really blessed.

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