Sunday, June 17, 2018

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day!  Although both of our fathers have completed their earthly missions, they will continue being our fathers through eternity, which gives Elder Magnusson and I great peace. 

 I am thankful that Elder Magnusson is the father of our children AND my eternal companion.  
Enjoy this father's day video produced by our church. We are grateful for the reminder that we have a loving Heavenly Father who cares for each one of us.
You can also see the video by clicking here
We were in Spanish Lookout this week checking out the location for our church's youth camps to be held in August. The Mennonites established and maintain a lovely community park and huge pavilion where the youth will set up their tents (out of the rain!)
We are familiar with Golden Corral restaurant in Utah. Didn't know we'd see one right here in Spanish Lookout, Cayo District as we drove home from checking out the camp.  It's even a buffet like the one in Utah.
Early this week, our mission president conducted training for the missionary leaders originating from El Salvador and transmitted to us in Belize City. This technology truly is an invention to further the Lord's work in these latter days.
I came across this map on the church's lds.org youth website. It reminds us that Christ's message, missionaries, and ministry is the same worldwide.  In the Church's 2017 Statistical Report, it was reported that there are 421 mission worldwide. We are honored to be serving in the El Salvador/San Salvador West/Belize Mission in the Central American and the Caribbean region.  
I found on this Wikipedia website the following list of how many missions there are in each region of the world:
    31  in Africa
    22 in Aisa
    35 in Brazil
     7 in Canada
    26 in Central America and the Caribbean
    43 in Europe and Russia
    34 in Mexico
    18 in Oceania
    22 in the Philippines
    59 in South America
  125 in the United States

Wikipedia also mentioned:  On February 1, 2018, the LDS Church announced boundary changes that will close 19 missions and open up 5 new missions, effective July 1, 2018. This will make 407 missions of the church.

A highlight of our week was when Elder and Sister Flake and their daughter's family joined us for lunch after they flew in from the States on Friday. We were so happy to meet their family and we know their grandchildren will have a memorable time with their grandparents this week.
Our loving Father in Heaven has beautified His earth--and especially His Belize--in ways we've never seen before! 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Planes, Pioneers, and Foundations

Today we needed to arrive in San Pedro at an earlier time than the water taxi could get us there.  There were only four seats in this small plane. It's just a 20 minute flight compared to our usual hour and a half boat ride. 
(Left) Leaving Belize City on this clear Sunday morning, ... (right) arriving in San Pedro. 

The San Pedro Branch Presidency. Front left to right: Albert Lammey, 1st counselor, President Henry Williams, 2nd counselor Pablo Valerio, clerk Frank Ross
It's always fun to visit Primary. The missionaries talked about baptism and joined in the coloring activity.
Elders Lukow and Richardson (left) serve faithfully in Orange Walk. Newly called zone leader Elder Reyes (right) joins Elder Eves in strengthening the work in Belize City.
Missionaries arrived in Belize in 1980. Soon thereafter, Olegario and Irene Leiva were baptized. They found the land for the chapel in Orange Walk, and assisted in its construction. Several of their children and grandchildren have served full-time missions. These Belizean church pioneers continue to find joy in doing temple work.
Wallace Belgrave, a retired builder in Belize City, is another pioneer of the church. He is shoring up his house built in the 1930's with a cement block foundation. In like manner, the restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the solid foundation for peaceable living and true happiness in our lives.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Another Week in the Mission

Special visitors from Guatemala came this week to conduct training with Belize church leaders. Elder and Sister McLemore also joined the Belize City missionaries for their weekly district meeting.
As happens each Wednesday, we counseled together in district meeting,  joined by the sisters via Skype from Corozal.  The missionaries' maturity in leadership, and understanding of teaching principles always impress us.  
Later, the McLemores, Brother Dávila also from Guatemala, and Frank and Natalie Ross from San Pedro island joined us for lunch.
The young men and young women youth leaders who are planning their respective camps this year gathered and practiced some of the activities they will lead at camp. 
I talked to two of the young men who attended the meeting.  As I asked their names, they told me George and Ivan.  I immediately thought of the wonderful men in Elder Magnusson's life: his father - George Magnusson and his grandfather - Ivan Magnusson.  I asked each of the boys how they got their names.  George (upper right) said he was named after his grandfather who died on the day he was born.  
Ivan (bottom left) said he was named after a family friend.  Elder Magnusson is pictured with this grandparents,  Ivan and Cula. (bottom right)

Speaking of names, we know that as we are baptized (like the young boy who was baptized this week below), we literally take upon ourselves the name of Christ.
 "I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives."  Mosiah 5:8  

On Friday night we enjoyed watching the "Be One" Celebration.  My favorite part of the evening was watching the Bonner Family sing a Medley of Primary songs.  
You can also see the video by clicking here 
Perhaps what we enjoy the most is meeting new friends. Ismael from Corozal, has been a member of the church for many years and loves to sail.
Leaving Ismael's house, we thought of how Jesus said He would separate the sheep from the goats.  We steered clear of the goat!  See Matthew 25:31-33 

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Missionaries prepare a floor; Prophets prepare the earth.

Elder Magnusson and I are now expert Marley layers.  What is Marley flooring, you ask? Let me tell you.  It's a flexible, vinyl floor that is laid down ontop of an existing concrete or a wood floor.   Marley is a common flooring seen in many Belize homes. 
As we visit with people, one of the messages we enjoy sharing is how the restored gospel of Jesus Christ can bring peace to our lives.  We know there is a prophet on the earth today to guide us through these turbulent times we are living in.  

Jeffery R. Holland, a member of the Twelve Apostles, talked about the blessings of having a prophet on the earth today.  Here is a short clip from one of his General Conference talks on the subject.  

You can see the whole talk by clicking here 
There is again a living prophet on the earth speaking in the name of the Lord. And how we need such guidance! Our times are turbulent and difficult. We see wars internationally and distress domestically.  Neighbors all around us face personal heartaches and family sorrows. Legions know fear and troubles of a hundred kinds...Come, listen to a prophet's voice and hear the word of God....

I testify of this reaching, rescuing, merciful Jesus, that this is His redeeming Church based on His redeeming love, and that, as those in the Book of Mormon declared, “there came prophets among the people, who were sent from the Lord to speak it. … Yea, there came prophets in the land again.”

So, what does the living prophet of God say today? Tune in for yourself next Sunday, June 3, at 6:00 p.m. on lds.org as President Russell M. Nelson and his wife Wendy speak live to the youth of the world. 
As we visit,  I especially love interacting with the children we come in contact with.  This young boy was excited to show me his missing tooth.  I was happy to hear him tell me that the tooth fairy does, indeed,  come to Belize.  
After hearing a lot of ruckus outside of our bedroom window, we saw that our windowsill was to be the nesting place for the beautiful yellow-breasted kiskadees bird.  When I went on this website to learn more about the kiskadees bird, I found out that these birds...are very active, social birds that are comfortable around humans. One of their favorite places to nest is at the downspouts of rain gutters. How about nesting on windowsills right above our bed?  Sorry Kiskadees bird, we don't want to be that social.  I was sad as we removed the beginnings of her new nest.  
I couldn't resist taking this picture of our kitchen countertop.  We do enjoy the flavorful fruits that are abundant in Belize.
I'll let this image speak for itself... 
Pictured at the bottom of this beautiful Belizean sky, is the marque to the Belize Healthcare Partners building.  On occasion, missionaries need medical attention, which was the case this past week for a couple of our missionaries.  We are grateful to have this resource available when we need it.  

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Called to Serve

On Saturday, the elders quorum and missionaries  gathered at a member couple's house to build a septic tank. These have to be above-ground structures due to the high water table in Belize City. Elder Magnusson's grandfather was a plasterer, so he's seen these tools used, and fortunately he had some good tutors during the project. 
Last Sunday, on Mother's Day, we had the missionaries who are serving in Belize City over for dinner.  After dinner they used our computers to talk to their moms and families.  Mother's Day and Christmas are occasions when the young missionaries are able to talk to their families in person.  Every Monday they write and receive emails from family and friends.  
Notice the missionaries' big smiles.
Has it been 6 weeks already?  Yes!  Once again we had our country-wide zone conference.  These are all the wonderful missionaries who are serving in the country of Belize.  
When President Adams is in town for zone conference, he interviews each missionary.  Our house was a staging area for a few missionaries as they came into  town from Orange Walk and San Pedro for their interviews and conference.  They enjoyed a home cooked meal and I enjoyed fixing it for them.  Because of the distance the sisters have to travel from Corozal, they stay with us the night before zone conference.  
The missionaries start zone conference off right after their two-hour bus ride  from Cayo with breakfast from Sister Flake. The three senior sister missionaries get a surprise Mother's Day gift bag from Sister Adams!
The elders finish off the conference singing a rousing rendition of the missionary anthem "Called to Serve".

Today I was called to serve during Primary in Orange Walk Branch.  I love being with the primary children. We reviewed the song, "If the Savior Stood Beside Me".
Our friend served us today, treating us to coconut water and coconut meat from his tree.
As we teach those we come in contact with, we enjoy teaching the simple truths that are taught in this video:

You can also see the video by clicking here

Thank you Breaking Belize News for the weather update.  Please pass the water.  

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to our angel mothers! 
Can you guess whose mother is who's?

...AND I am grateful for my children who call me Mother, or Ma for short.  I love them dearly and am thankful for their support while we are on our mission.  
On Saturday, to celebrate Mother's Day, the Belize City Branch Young Women treated the mothers to  pedicures, manicures, and makeup make-overs.  And did we feel pampered!  
Afterwards, the Young Men, Young Women,  and fathers served dinner to the mothers.  (Notice the fruit sticks and the cream cheese filled chocolate cake)  Delicious!  
Earlier in the week we had occasion to visit the island town of San Pedro. It's an hour and a half ride by water taxi.  We like to ride on the top where it's open and breezy.  
We met up with the Elders at the San Pedro chapel located about a 20-minute walk from the water taxi.  
The San Pedro chapel is simple, functional, and a source of pride for the local members.

We joined with the elders and sisters in district meeting via Skype as we connected with them in Belize City and Orange Walk. 
The condition of missionaries' shoes is always an amazement because they are walking all day and evening, in all road and weather conditions.  They are illustrative of the Lord's declaration to Isaiah "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him (and her) that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace...that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!"  

We enjoyed visiting with Manuel and Elsa Velasquez, originally from Honduras.  They live in a beautiful home in San Pedro with an immaculate yard, no doubt because Manuel is a retired gardener. 
Back in Belize City we visited with Silbert and Jennifer Gordon.  They just returned from being temple missionaries in the Guatemala City Temple, the first senior missionary couple to serve from Belize. 
Silbert is a master wood craftsman, having made all the mahogany furniture in their home.

In a few weeks we will have one year left on our mission. We've learned much. We've learned that the Lord is in charge of His work, that missionaries can be led to whom to see, what to say, how to help, and even--when it matters--when to arrive to see someone. 

We've learned that senior couples just draw on their life's experiences and add greatly to the preparation and enthusiasm of the young missionaries. We've learned that angels are round about us, protecting us, likely when we don't even know it.

We've observed that those members of the church who exercise faith to keep the commandments and live their covenants are blessed with sufficient for their needs, and can live comfortable lives even in surrounding, challenging economic circumstances. 

We've learned as a couple to depend even more on each other's gifts and talents.

We've come to see the Book of Mormon in a greater light, that it is the instrument that brings all people to Jesus Christ. It invites the Spirit into our lives as we study it daily.

Again, why are we on this mission?  To share the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ. Enjoy this new short video our church produced explaining what we believe.

To end this week's post, I will share this picture I took one day as we were leaving a roadside eatery.   I hope we didn't eat his sister for lunch!

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Laboring in the Lord's Vineyard

Last  Monday we accompanied the sisters serving in Corozal to the Altun Ha ruins.  It was their first time seeing our favorite ruins.  They were impressed with the majestic sites.  
They enjoyed taking lots of pictures--including this one.  (unbeknown to us).
It’s not enough to climb up the ruins… sometimes we have to climb to get into the front yard of someone’s house!  Actually it’s due to road and sidewalk construction in this part of town. On this particular visit we thought of the message of one of our beloved hymns: When thorns are strewn along my path, and foes my feet ensnare, My Savior to my aid will come, If sought in secret prayer.
A men's choir from BYU-Idaho performs this message from the hymn "Secret Prayer"

You can view the whole hymn by clicking here
As we visit people, many times they don't have a specific address.  To get to their house we are given instructions like this: (actual directions)  ...you go past the next roundabout.  Then as you pass 3 speed bumps, you'll see a yellow house on the left.  Take that road to the left. My house is the second house on the right, with 3 cars in the yard.  It is the pinkish cement house.  I snapped this picture as we were taking "that road to the left"  We did find the house after having to call the brother only once.  (we turned at the wrong yellow house the first time).We had a wonderful visit with this faithful member who catches the 5:30 a.m. bus to make it to church by 8:00 a.m.
 It was great to see so much family support for this young boy's baptism this past week.
Zone leaders' training is held monthly by way of Skype with El Salvador. It's nice to break for lunch with our Zone leaders and senior missionaries!
Ministering to others in the Savior's way is a wonderful opportunity members of the church have. As senior missionaries serving in Belize we are honored to be able to train our leaders and other brothers and sisters on how we organize ourselves to minister effectively.
"…May we labor side by side with the Lord of the vineyard, giving the God and Father of us all a helping hand with His staggering task of answering prayers, providing comfort, drying tears, and strengthening feeble knees."  Elder Jeffery R. Holland

"Our message to the world is simple and sincere: we invite all of God’s children on both sides of the veil to come unto their Savior, receive the blessings of the holy temple, have enduring joy, and qualify for eternal life." President Russell M. Nelson

When the family gets together it's nice to get pictures from home.  My brother Douglas was in Utah to attend his son-in-law's graduation.  My brothers Craig, Douglas, and Russell gathered at Craig's house along with their wives, some of our children, and some of our nieces and nephews...  
I can't end a post without a picture of the beautiful Belizean clouds.  This is the scene from a morning sunrise on one of our walks last week.