Dear Friends and Family,
As I attempt to tell you something about the time spent in Guyana, I am thankful for the kindnesses shown by you in so many different ways.
This will be difficult to write, because there is no way to verbalize what last week meant to me and how it has influenced my life. I will try to give you at least a glimpse of what occurred.
Our trip to and arrival in South America and on to Georgetown went smoothly with many thanks to Michael Cole and his excellent organizational skills. After a good night's rest we worshipped on Sunday morning with a group of Christians in Plaisance. The people were kind and friendly and made us feel welcomed. The song leader - a young man named Egbert - had an enthusiasm that was catching. He was at the site each day and became a friend. Another new friend is Derick, the local preacher. He is a single twenty-seven year-old with a lot of responsibility on his shoulders.
On Monday morning we were eager to get to the clinic after breakfast and after a morning devotional in which Larry Roper challenged us to use the short time we would be there to God's glory. He reminded us of the small amount of time in which Christ carried out his ministry, always looking to the Father for guidance and thus accomplishing much.
The studies began later than on other days because of the time needed to set up the clinic. The morning was slow-paced. I studied with several sweet older ladies and profited from sharing with them and they with me.
I studied with a 13-year old boy named Desmond. He was inquisitive and intelligent. He's eager to give his life to Christ but his mother thinks he is too young to make such an important commitment. We will be corresponding. He had one question that I had never been asked before-- Did I think it was okay to fly kites? I asked him why he wondered. He said his mother had told him it was wrong because doing so was showing disrespect to the spirits that return to God after one dies. I told him I know of no scriptural reason why one should not fly a kite, but I did know children are told to obey their parents, so he should do at this time what his mother had asked him to do.
Tuesday began with another devotional period when David Burns compared his receiving the Bible from his parents at high school graduation to our sharing that Bible with others to help them graduate from sin into salvation.
I studied with a 17 year-old girl named Ayesha who said she had not been serious about her relationship to God. She was confused about many things in life and wasn't ready to let God fully take over. She will have further study with the people who live there. Another young woman named Donna understood God's will for her but said she needed more time to learn before she would obey Him. I took both girls' addresses and plan to write to them.
On Wednesday morning before going out, Kim Wilson told of the time President John Adams helped to establish a standard of measurement in our country because of the confusion caused by not having a consistent guideline for everyone. He compared this to our spiritual standard of measurement - the Bible - and of our opportunities to share this standard with the people there. As on other mornings, this was a time of resolve and encouragement for the workers.
During the morning at Plaisance I talked with two women - one named Chelsea and the other Nicole. They will have further studies because they had little understanding of the Bible but had a genuine interest in what we discussed. I pray I will write to them as I said I would. The remainder of the day was spent studying mostly with Hindu or Muslim elderly ladies. Their response to everything was, over and over, "I pray to God. I pray to God." and "The eyes. The eyes." They were kind and respectful. I grew from having met them.
The eyes of the people in Guyana are very bad. Because of the proximity to the equator and the lack of sunglasses, many people have cataracts and other eye problems. Many in their twenties already have the glazed film over their eyes. We take so many small conveniences for granted. They were grateful for what we would consider easily accessible - glasses.
Wednesday night ended with a wonderful call to my room from Joyce Dunavin, one of the workers. She and her husband, Roy, had just received an e-mail from one daughter with a report that Robin, another daughter, had found at her medical check-up in Houston that a cancerous tumor in her stomach she had had since Fall was gone. Robin had begun treatment earlier and was told not to expect much in this first check-up. The doctors couldn't quite understand there being no sign of the tumor, but we praised God for the power of prayer. Robin was to have a bone marrow check while there. She will continue to need prayers in her behalf.
Roy and Joyce had had a burden lifted that showed in their countenance on Thursday morning when we met for breakfast and had a devotional led by Gary Brown as he encouraged us to retain our enthusiasm and purpose for why we were there.
That morning I went with the group going into the schools and helped at a kindergarten. There was time to study with a couple of people back at the clinic before we went out again to a primary school where I taught the Bible lesson twice. Each time, in a room of 100 or so children, there was a discipline and a respect as the students were eager to participate in the lesson. Before leaving the school, I visited with the Level 3 students and teachers. I took several pictures, got writing samples, and one teacher and I exchanged addresses planning to have pen pals among our children in the fall. The condition of the schools is poor but the behavior of the students and the structure of the teaching was good. I'm thankful for the opportunity to have gone with the school group. It was good to observe some of our young adults singing with and giving skits and puppet presentations for the children whose responses were wonderful as they were engrossed in it all. Upon returning to the clinic, there was time for several more studies.
Jeff Cohu encouraged us with final remarks before we went to the clinic on Friday for our last day with the people there. We were open only until11:00 but some good studies took place and many people were seen by the doctors. Throughout the week people had begun standing in line as early as 3:00 a.m. to see us, and we wanted to see as many as time would possibly allow.
Local Christians who had helped us daily were there to bid us 'God speed' with their sweet smiles and quiet spirits. (Each evening they say "Good night" to one another as a greeting just as we say "Hello." It takes a little getting used to.) I'll always remember Desiree, Ingrid, and Joyce who helped direct the people to where they needed to be. They and others impacted our lives in ways we would never be able to influence them. They are content with little and, yet, have much to give. We left them with a great amount of work to do. Please pray for them to have the desire and the strength to help and encourage the new Christians in their community.
Sunday morning before we left Grenada for the U.S., we met at 4:30 a.m. for Communion. As we remembered what Christ has done for us, I was thankful for what He continues to do for us through our experiences in our daily lives such as the week we had just completed.
... and to think that each worker has his/her own story to tell ...
This is only an inkling of what took place last week. I didn't even get into the stark contrast of a third-world country to the U.S., the evening worship periods, the opportunities to hold the precious 'little ones,' and the time spent with fellow workers.
I am thankful for dear friends ... lovely memories ... precious souls ... deep emotions ... a week of growing ... a loving God. May He bless you and keep you in His care.
See related Team Leader Report (June 3-11, 2000)
Read what Ted Edwards wrote about this Mission: Awesome!
Link to Guyana Missions Home Page