San Salvador El Salvador Temple/ Belize Mayan Temple

San Salvador El Salvador Temple/ Belize Mayan Temple

Monday, November 20, 2017

I Love to See the Temple

We were able to go to the Mérida Mexico Temple this weekend with 42 other members of the Belize District.  As I anticipated the trip, I thought about a General Conference talk given by Elder Holland  several years ago where he talked about members from the most southern town in Chile and their experience of attending the Santiago Chile Temple.  Elder Holland describes the location of the stake where this story takes place as the "Church’s southernmost stake anywhere on this planet".  Here is Elder Holland's  description of their experience taken from the April 2004 General Conference

The Punta Arenas Chile Stake is the Church’s southernmost stake anywhere on this planet, its outermost borders stretching toward Antarctica. Any stake farther south would have to be staffed by penguins. For the Punta Arenas Saints it is a 4,200-mile round-trip bus ride to the Santiago temple. For a husband and wife it can take up to 20 percent of an annual local income just for the transportation alone. Only 50 people can be accommodated on the bus, but for every excursion 250 others come out to hold a brief service with them the morning of their departure.
Pause for a minute and ask yourself when was the last time you stood on a cold, windswept parking lot adjacent to the Strait of Magellan just to sing with, pray for, and cheer on their way those who were going to the temple, hoping your savings would allow you to go next time? One hundred ten hours, 70 of those on dusty, bumpy, unfinished roads looping out through Argentina’s wild Patagonia. What does 110 hours on a bus feel like? I honestly don’t know, but I do know that some of us get nervous if we live more than 110 miles from a temple or if the services there take more than 110 minutes. While we are teaching the principle of tithing to, praying with, and building ever more temples for just such distant Latter-day Saints, perhaps the rest of us can do more to enjoy the blessings and wonder of the temple regularly when so many temples are increasingly within our reach.

Well, it turns out that we didn't spend 110 hours on a bus....our experience wasn't quite that long.  We did travel 650 miles round trip which took us 24 hours of traveling time. We left our house on Friday afternoon at 4:00 pm.  We returned home Saturday night at 10:00 pm.  That is 30 hours that we were gone.  During that 30 hours we were either on a bus (trying to sleep), going through immigration, transferring buses between Belize and Mexico, eating at a roadside diner at 2:00 a.m., buying ice cream from a street vendor in Mérida and, of course, we were 6 hours in the temple.  

The temple is the House of the Lord. In it we truly felt our Heavenly Father's love for us, His children. describes the temple as: "A quiet, holy place where we can seek answers to prayers, reflect on life and its priorities, and learn eternal truths about the purpose of our time here on earth."  

Elder and Sister Adams wrote a detailed description of what went on in a previous Belize District Mérida Temple trip on their blog, with additional photos.  You can read about their experience by clicking here.  

The top two pictures are of our group as we drove through Belize on a school bus to the border. The bottom picture is the bus we took from Chetumal, Mexico north to Mérida.

The next day we got up early to catch the water taxi, where we attended branch conference in the San Pedro Branch.  As we and a member family returned to the wharf after the Sunday service to catch the boat for home, we were greeted by this beautiful rainbow.  I looked at the rainbow as a beautiful ending to a wonderful weekend.
This is a picture of  the sunset that we saw from our boat ride home.  
On November 15th our church posted this video and commentary on    We are grateful to belong to a church that reaches out to aid others in their time of need.

You can also see the video by clicking here.  
In response to the generous help given following a series of recent unprecedented catastrophes, President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, expressed his gratitude. “In the midst of this suffering, people throughout the world have rallied to come to the aid of their brothers and sisters,” he said in representing the First Presidency.

Following a rash of hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, famine and mudslides, members and friends of the Church have responded by giving generously of their time and resources to provide relief in their communities and across the globe. Hundreds of thousands have lost their homes, their belongings and in some cases even their loved ones through the tragic effects of natural disasters and conflict...

Monday, November 13, 2017

Missionaries Arrive to the Hospital and to the Airport

Yesterday morning we were able to welcome into the world Magnusson grandbaby #5.   Janelle and Dave's newborn son-- a future missionary-- is doing well and we couldn't be more thrilled to welcome this new little one into our family!    
On transfer day, Elder Magnusson went to the airport to welcome five missionaries to Belize City arriving from El Salvador. The words of the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ to his apostles in Jerusalem came to mind, as recorded in the final verses of the book of Mark, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word..." 

And now, this scene-- missionaries walking daily on airport tarmacs around the world-- is a literal fulfillment of our resurrected Lord's teaching when he visited the Americas, as recorded in the Book of Mormon: "And then shall the work of the Father commence at that day; even when this gospel shall be preached among the remnant of this people...among all nations in preparing the way whereby his people may be gathered home."   (3 Nephi 21:26, 28) 

Elder Magnusson took this picture at the Belize Airport
when he picked up the missionaries on Monday morning.

On the way into town we stopped for this photo op.
On Saturday, we paused to remember our family  members who served in the military as we celebrated Veteran's Day.  (George Magnusson- U.S.N., Kiefer Harris-U.S.A.F. and Bryce Jeppson, U.S.M.C.) It was fun to hear about Lisa's school honoring the family members of students and staff who who have served.  The librarian collected the photos of the family members and made a beautiful Power Point with their pictures and music.  Lisa said it was neat to watch the middle schoolers applaud to each picture.  So, to all you veterans out there, remember the students at Butler Middle School are cheering you on!
 Yesterday, we joined the sister missionaries in teaching this family in Corozal. The lesson they needed came from the Book of Mormon in Lehi's vision of the tree of life and it's fruit (the love of God to us, which is Jesus Christ), and continually holding fast to the iron rod.
You can read Elder David Bednar's interpretation of Lehi's vision of the tree of life found in 1 Nephi 8 by clicking here.  

Another wonderful experience this past week was when we were able to show this film about the true story of the Italian pastor, Vincenzo di Francesca, and his finding a copy of the Book of Mormon in 1910, that had no cover nor title page.  His subsequent discovery of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was powerfully portrayed in this 1987 film. I remember being touched by the story when I first saw the movie.  I continue to be touched each time I watch it.  
You can also see the video by clicking  here and and going to 22:45

The story that follows is Brother di Francesca’s account of his remarkable conversion. It is taken from an article in the May 1968 Improvement Era, pages 4–7; from the Deseret News, Church Section, 28 February 1951, pages 12–13; and from a letter that Brother di Francesca wrote to Ortho R. Fairbanks. The letter, currently in the Church archives, is the only known account by the author in English of his forty-year struggle to join the Church.

By Vincenzo di Francesca

As I think back to the events in my life leading to a cold morning in New York City in February 1910, I cannot escape the feeling that God had been mindful of my existence. That morning the caretaker of the Italian chapel delivered a note to me from the pastor. He was ill in bed and wished me to come to his house, as he had important matters to discuss regarding the affairs of the parish.

As I walked down Broadway, the strong wind from the open sea moved the pages of a book lying on a barrel full of ashes. The form of the pages and the binding gave me the idea that it was a religious book. Curiosity pushed me to approach it. I picked it up and beat it against the barrel to knock off the ashes. It was printed in the English idiom, but when I looked to the frontispiece, I found it was torn away.

The fury of the wind turned the pages, and I hastily read Alma, Mosiah, Mormon, Moroni, Isaiah, Lamanites—except for Isaiah, all were names I had never before heard. I wrapped the book in a newspaper I had bought nearby and continued my walk toward the pastor’s house.

After a few words of comfort there, I took accord of what I should do for him. On the way home, I wondered who the people with the strange names might be. And who was this Isaiah? Was he the one in the Bible or some other Isaiah?

At home, I seated myself before the window, anxious to know what was printed in the book. As I turned the torn pages and read the words of Isaiah, I was convinced that it was a religious book that talked of things to come. But unknown was the name of the church that taught such doctrine, because the cover and frontispiece had been stripped off. The declaration of the witnesses gave me confidence that it was a true book.

I then bought twenty cents’ worth of denatured alcohol and some cotton at the neighborhood drugstore and began cleaning the pages. For several hours I read the remainder of the pages, which gave me light and knowledge and left me charmed to think of the source from which this fresh revelation had come. I read and reread, twice and twice again, and I found it fit to say that the book was a fifth gospel of the Redeemer.

At the end of the day, I locked the door of my room, knelt with the book in my hands, and read chapter ten of the book of Moroni. I prayed to God, the Eternal Father, in the name of his son, Jesus Christ, to tell me if the book were of God, if it were good and true, and if I should mix its words with the words of the four gospels in my preaching.

I felt my body become cold as the wind from the sea. Then my heart began to palpitate, and a feeling of gladness, as of finding something precious and extraordinary, bore consolation to my soul and left me with a joy that human language cannot find words to describe. I had received the assurance that God had answered my prayer and that the book was of greatest benefit to me and to all who would listen to its words.

I continued my services in the parish, but my preaching was tinged with the new words of the book. The members of my congregation were so interested that they became dissatisfied with my colleagues’ sermons. When members began leaving the chapel during their sermons and remained when I occupied the pulpit, my colleagues became angry with me.

The beginning of real discord began Christmas Eve, 1910. In my sermon that evening, I told the story of the birth and mission of Jesus Christ as given in my new book. When I had finished, some of my colleagues publicly contradicted all I had said. They denounced me and turned me over to the Committee of Censure for disciplinary action.

When I appeared before this committee, the members gave what they supposed to be fatherly advice. They counseled me to burn the book, which they said was of the devil, since it had caused so much trouble and had destroyed the harmony of the pastoral brothers. I replied, “I will not burn the book because of the fear of God. I have asked him if it were true, and my prayer was answered affirmatively and absolutely, which I feel again in my soul as I defend his cause now.” I felt then that the day would come when the book would be no more unknown to me and I would be able to enjoy the effects of the faith that led me to solemnly resist the Committee of Censure.

Not until 1914 was I once again brought before the council. The vice venerable spoke in a friendly tone, suggesting that the sharp words at the previous hearing may have provoked me, which was regrettable, since they all loved me. However, he said, I must remember that obedience is the rule and that I must burn the book.

I could not deny the words of the book nor burn it, since in so doing I would offend God. I said that I looked forward with joy to the time when the church to which the book belonged would be made known to me and I could become part of it. “Enough! Enough!” the vice venerable cried. He then read the decision, which was backed by the supreme synod three weeks later: I was to be stripped of my position as a pastor of the church and of every right and privilege I had previously enjoyed.

In November 1914, I was called into the Italian army and saw action in France. Once I related to some men in my company the story of the people of Ammon—how they had refused to shed the blood of their brothers and had buried their arms rather than be guilty of such great crimes. The chaplain reported me to the colonel, and the next day I was escorted to the colonel’s office. He asked me to tell him the story I had related. Then he asked how I had come into possession of the book. I received as punishment a ten-day sentence of bread and water, with the order that I was to speak no more of the book.

After the end of the war, I returned to New York, where I met an old friend, a pastor of my former church. He interceded for me with the synod, and I was finally admitted to the congregation as a lay member. As an experiment, it was agreed that I should accompany one of the pastors on a mission to New Zealand and Australia.

In Australia, we met some Italian immigrants who asked questions about the errors in some Bible translations. They were not satisfied with my companion’s answers. When they asked me about it, I once again told the story of Christ’s appearance to the people of America. When they asked me where I had learned such teachings, I told them of the book I had found. The story was sweet to them but bitter for my colleague. He reported me to the synod, and once again they cut me off from the church.

I returned to Italy shortly after. Then, in May 1930, while seeking in a French dictionary for some information, I suddenly saw the entry “Mormon.” I read the words carefully and found that a Mormon Church had been established in 1830 and that this church operated a university at Provo. I wrote to the university president, asking for information about the book and its missing pages. I received an answer two weeks later telling me that my letter had been passed on to the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

On June 16, 1930, President Heber J. Grant answered my letter and sent a copy of the Book of Mormon in Italian. He informed me that he would also give my request to Elder John A. Widtsoe, president of the European Mission, with headquarters in Liverpool. A few days later, Elder Widtsoe wrote to me, sending me a pamphlet that contained the story of the Prophet Joseph Smith, the gold plates, and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. At long last, I had learned the rest of the story of the torn book I had found on top of a barrel of ashes.

On June 5, 1932, Elder Widtsoe came to Naples to baptize me, but a revolution between the Fascists and anti-Fascists had broken out in Sicily, and the police at Palermo refused to let me leave the island. The following year, Elder Widtsoe asked me to translate the Joseph Smith pamphlet into Italian and to have 1,000 copies published. I took my translation to a printer, Joseph Gussio, who took the material to a Catholic bishop. The bishop ordered the printer to destroy the material. I brought suit against the printer, but all I received from the court was an order to him to return the original booklet.

When Elder Widtsoe was released as president of the mission in 1934, I started correspondence with Elder Joseph F. Merrill, who succeeded him. He arranged to send me the Millennial Star, which I received until 1940 when World War II interrupted the subscription.

In January 1937, Elder Richard R. Lyman, successor to President Merrill, wrote that he and Elder Hugh B. Brown would be in Rome on a certain day. I could meet them there and be baptized. However, the letter was delayed because of war conditions, and I did not receive it in time.

From 1940 until 1949, I was cut off from all news of the Church, but I remained a faithful follower and preached the gospel of the dispensation of the fulness of times. I had copies of the standard works, and I translated chapters into Italian and sent them to acquaintances with the greeting, “Good day. The morning breaks—Jehovah speaks!”

On February 13, 1949, I sent a letter to Elder Widtsoe at Church headquarters in Salt Lake City. Elder Widtsoe answered my letter October 3, 1950, explaining that he had been in Norway. I sent him a long letter in reply in which I asked him to help me to be quickly baptized, because I felt that I had proven myself to be a faithful son and servant of God, observing the laws and commandments of his kingdom. Elder Widtsoe asked President Samuel E. Bringhurst of the Swiss-Austrian Mission to go to Sicily to baptize me.

On January 18, 1951, President Bringhurst arrived on the island and baptized me at Imerese. Apparently, this was the first baptism performed in Sicily.

When I came up out of the water, I said, “I have prayed daily for many years for this moment.” As President Bringhurst and his wife left, I shook their hands tenderly and told them, “My dear Brother and Sister Bringhurst—you can hardly imagine how sweet those words brother and sister are to me. I say them with a feeling of affection and appreciation that I have never before experienced, for I know that you have led me through the door that will eventually bring me back to my Heavenly Father, if I am faithful.”

On April 28, 1956, I entered the temple at Bern [Switzerland] and received my endowment. At last, to be in the presence of my Heavenly Father! I felt that God’s promise had been fully fulfilled—the day had come indeed when the book would be no more unknown to me and I would be able to enjoy the effects of my faith.

This is a beautiful picture of the sunrise on our way to Corozal Sunday morning.   

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Starting our Fourth Month in the Mission

The highlight of the week was visiting with some families here in Belize City and teaching them about our temples.  Below is a short video that explains, "Temples are the houses of God on earth, holy places where we seek guidance and peace and become closer to our Father in Heaven."
You can also see the above video by clicking here.  

To see a more detailed video about temples that we showed our friends, click here . The video features Elder William Walker giving a tour of the temple while explaining why temples are important to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 

Children hold a very special place in our hearts and it was a pleasure to be involved with them several times this week.  On Thursday night we were able to attend a baptism for three young girls from Belize City.  It brought back happy memories for me as I was also baptized this week, 53 years ago.   You can see the girls are getting some words of wisdom from the Belize City branch president before they were baptized.
I wrote this on my Facebook wall about my memory of being baptized:  "Happy 53rd anniversary to me. I was baptized on this very day, October 31 - 53 years ago. I am so glad I was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My decision at age 8 has brought me a lifetime of peace and happiness."

On Wednesday night we attended a practice with the children of the Spanish branch as they prepare for their Sacrament meeting presentation to be held later this month.  They know their songs very well and sing them with conviction.
On Sunday we were able to visit the Primary in San Pedro.  Elder Magnusson enjoyed coloring pictures with the children about Heavenly Father's love for them after we sang "My Heavenly Father Loves Me".

You can also see the video by clicking here

On Sunday after attending church in San Pedro, it was a quick dash to the water taxi wharf in the rain for the one and a half hour boat ride home.
The time passed quickly as we talked to different passengers on the boat each way.  On the way over I was able to share a For the Strength of Youth Pamphlet to a father of teenagers.  He was excited that I offered to give the pamphlet to him so he could read it with his children.    

On the way back I talked to a woman who was the president of the disabled non-profit group for Belize. (Belize Assembly for Persons with Diverse Abilities)

This is a picture from their webpage
She was very excited when I told her about our church's humanitarian services that has helped people around the world by donating wheelchairs to communities in need.  Our church's humanitarian webpage states: 

20 million disabled people need wheelchairs but cannot obtain one. Humanitarian Services of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who operates LDS Charities, provides wheelchairs and walking aids to those in need who cannot afford one. The recipient’s mobility, employability, and independence are greatly increased.

Last year, Humanitarian Services provided wheelchairs to 55,000 people in 48 countries. They included 430 wheelchairs to Kazakhstan, 1,484 wheelchairs to Vietnam, and 330 wheelchairs to Madagascar.

I'm excited to contact LDS Charities to see if they can help our brothers and sisters here in Belize. I told the woman I didn't think it was by chance that we sat by each other.

These experiences that we are having here on the mission reminds me that our loving Heavenly Father is aware of all of  his children and it is an honor for us to be, at times, "His hands" to touch people's lives.
Here is another beautiful Belizean sunset from our front porch.  

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Belize Breaking News......

The Belize Breaking News of the week is the moderate temperature! This week has been in the low 70's and it rained hard first of the week.  We had a speck of actual coolness in the air as we went on a walk early Friday morning. It was funny to see the locals and school children standing at the bus stops wearing hoodies or sweaters, nearly all of them. And we were walking by them feeling like true freedom had arrived to Belize.  We've had windows open while we've slept this week. A church member told me that Belizeans are amazed at the tourists from the U.S. walking around in Nov and Dec in short sleeve shirts and shorts having a wonderful time, and they are bundled up in sweaters and jackets feeling cold in the 70 degree weather.
Were we really in a speedboat on the streets?  Nope, this was taken in our pickup truck as we navigated a flooded area on our way to Zone Conference.  
Speaking of Zone Conference, we had the opportunity to house the sister missionaries the night before our meeting.  It is always a pleasure to have them here.  They remind me of our own daughters and it was fun to make a home cooked meal for them.  We also had some friends from the branch over to join them for dinner.  
Also arriving in Belize City on Monday night was Elder Cordón and his wife along with Pres. and Sister Adams.  Elder Cordón (front row, right), a native of Guatemala, is a member of the Seventy, and counselor in the Central America Area Presidency.
Elder Cordón invited the church leaders of the Belize City area to dinner so we could share the strengths and challenges facing families in Belize.

Elder Cordon then told us that what will preserve families and the children now is everyone studying the Book of Mormon daily as families and individuals. It was a powerful, direct message over the dinner table.  Elder Cordón's direction--which actually is President's Monson's-- is that we need to be focused on studying the Book of Mormon daily as families and individuals.  This will preserve our faith in Jesus Christ as well as fortify our children. 

Tuesday morning was Zone Conference training with all the missionaries serving in the country of Belize.   
We were well taught by Elder Cordón, President Adams, and the mission assistants.  
On Saturday we attended the Seminary Super Saturday activity.  Seventy youth from all over Belize gathered together in Orange Walk.  The theme of the conference was: Put On The Armor Of Righteousness - Fortify Yourself Against The Adversary
The Youth found messages from the scriptures on being strong as they build "fortresses" and experienced an "attack" on their own "cardboard" fortress that they were defending.  
This week we have continued to visit with our investigators and teach them about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I have enjoyed reading and discussing the scriptures from the Bible and Book of Mormon with them.  President Hinkley promised that as we read The Book of Mormon, "...there will come into your lives and into your homes an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord, a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to His commandments, and a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God."  

Monday, October 23, 2017

Service in Action

Elder Magnusson accompanied the amazing Belize City priesthood quorum in action giving valuable service to an elderly member. His outdoor stairs had collapsed from age and weather. The six of us arrived thinking we'd just prop them up. Yet, with their creative skills as fishermen and builders, these faithful brothers re-built the stairs and landing with the timbers, posts and boards that were in the yard. And, this was done in the rain!
On Tuesday, we traveled to the island of San Pedro by water taxi for mission business.  It's an 1 1/2 hour boat ride to get there.   I enjoy watching the passengers on the boat.  There are workers that travel there who help with the tourist and construction industries that are deep in thought as they travel to the islands, while others are tourists excited to swim and snorkel in the beautiful tropical waters.   When we showed the pictures and video of our trip to our children, their response was "ah, you guys kind of stick out..."  Yep!

We have shown the video below to 3 families as we have visited this week.  The video talks about a Jamaican man who tells his experience of learning about and reading the Book of Mormon.  He recognized that the words in the Book of Mormon are Christ's teachings.  The families we visited could also relate to him because they have had similar experiences as they have been reading the Book of Mormon for the first time.
You can also see the video by clicking here.
Here are some quotes from the movie:

From Alma 40:11-12
"Behold it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirit of all men, as soon as they depart this mortal body, yea, the spirit of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life. And then shall it come to pass that the spirit of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all of their troubles and from all care and sorrow...."

When I read that, those words, I felt the Spirit. And if I can try to describe it, it was a feeling of peace. My mind was enlightened. I felt like it was true. Where I'm from in Jamaica, it's very superstitious place. It was very unpleasant thing to contemplate death. The scripture points out to me that it is a part of God's plan. There is a place prepared for people that die. And I'm happy that I was able to come to that knowledge, and I've got the Book of Mormon and that experience to thank for it.

From Alma 7:11-12:
"And he shall go forth suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind, and this that the word might be fulfilled which sayeth it will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death that he may loose the bands of death which binds his people. And he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people."

This verse of scripture is saying there that Jesus Christ has taken upon himself my sicknesses, my pains, my challenges, which puts him in a position to understand me better. When I read the scripture and it really touched me. I just felt like I wanted to be a good person. It left me with the feeling that I never want to do another bad thing for the rest of my life.

From Moroni 10:4-5
"And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that you would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if these things are not true. And if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent and faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things."

I came to a knowledge that the book is true I would say gradually. It came through little experiences here on that page, and a little experience there on that page, and always accompanied by the Holy Ghost. The way the Book of Mormon has changed me the most, it has filled me with the desire to become one in Jesus Christ. What the Book of Mormon does is it makes me want to share it with as many people I see on the street. I want this book to fill the world...

Monday, October 16, 2017

Third Month in Belize

Meet our crabby neighbor.  Often at night we see him and his other crabby friends on the street.  Unfortunately, sometimes they don't look when they cross the street and they will get run over by a car. Belize City was built on swampland...hence lots of crabby neighbors!  
These are our fun neighbors.  We have spent a couple of game nights together and look forward to many more.  Today we taught them how to play Yahtzee.
Tuesday we drove west to San Ignacio where Elder Magnusson needed to do some business that night.  Elder and Sister Flake live there and took us over the border to Melchor de Mencos, the town just inside Guatemala that’s part of our mission.   

This is a picture of us going through customs at the border.  Right above Sister Magnusson's head you can see the "Welcome to Guatemala"sign.
Elder Flake had arranged for a member to drive us around to see four member families. These visits were all in Spanish since we weren’t in Belize anymore. We had a taco lunch at the missionaries’ favorite spot, and went through the chapel that was dedicated a couple weeks before we arrived— a gorgeous meetinghouse the locals are proud of.

Back inside Belize, we stopped at the Xunantunich ruins, that sit atop a hill near the border, overlooking the whole area. Really an amazing thing to see these ruins and imagine what Mayan life was like here. After crossing over a river on a ferry, it was a mile walk to get there, all up hill, but worth it. 
On our hand-cranked ferry ride
Our beautiful view on the walk to Xunantunich.  
Here are a few pictures from the ruins.  The first picture is the expansive view from the top of the highest temple, named El Castillo. In the middle bottom picture you can see a little white speck, to the right of the middle.  That is Elder Magnusson standing on the very top of El Castillo.  

This past Sunday I was able to help with singing time with the children in our Spanish congregation.  The only thing is I don't speak Spanish. (I can understand a little bit of Spanish) Fortunately, the children can speak both Spanish and English.  They have learned the songs in Spanish that they are going to sing for the Sacrament meeting program in a couple of weeks and they just needed a review.  You can read about my experience by clicking onto our family blog here.  

The best news of all, it's getting cooler! It's getting to be around 79 degrees at night-- Break out the jackets! (Opps...we didn't bring any...)

Monday, October 9, 2017

Our Travels for this Past Week

On Saturday we traveled to the island of Caye Caulker via water taxi.  
Our purpose was to visit the 8 families who are members of our church that live on the island.  The mode of transportation on the island is either golf carts, bicycles, or walking.  The roads aren't paved and it is long distances between houses.
Elder Magnusson was intrigued by the golf cart fire truck for the island.  
On Sunday we visited the Sunday Service in Corozal.   We drove past the small ruin of Santa Rita that is located on the hill in town.  
We are coming to see that one of the main purposes of this mission is to visit people, one by one, as the Savior did and invite them to receive the blessing He has for them.
Elder Bendar wrote the words and Paul Cardall the music to the song, One by One, which often comes to my mind  as we do our visits.  Nathan Pacheco, Lyceum Philharmonic performs the  beautiful song in the video below.  The video portrays different ways we can reach out to others, one by one.   (note that the beginning of video has interference and will go away after the first 20 seconds)
You can also see the video and learn the backstory for the song by clicking here

I especially like the third verse:

One by one, one by one.
Christ looked around Him and saw their tears.
One by one, one by one.
In His compassion, He calmed their fears.
Jesus Christ healed each one brought forth unto Him.
Then He blessed each precious child and prayed for them.
The angels descended from heaven above,
Encircling those little ones; each felt His love.
One by one, one by one.
He intercedes for each daughter and son.
One by one, one by one.
Strength from His grace gives us pow’r to become,
One by one.

Our grandson was blessed on Sunday in Salt Lake City and we enjoyed receiving this picture after the Sunday service.  We were happy to hear of the aunts, uncles, cousins, and in-law family members who were able to be there.  

There is a pink eye epidemic going around Belize. Instead of handshakes, we're bumping elbows.