Sunday, July 30, 2017

Belize Zone Conference

On Thursday, all the missionaries serving in Belize met for a Zone Conference to be trained by President and Sister Adams (front row, center), his assistants, and the zone leaders. 
The missionaries broke into groups and practiced some teaching methods.

This week we continued driving this 16 passenger, stick shift, van and survived!
As we left the airport after dropping off some missionaries returning to El Salvador, I snapped this picture of the Welcome to Belize sign with the beautiful Belizean clouds in the background.

Elder Magnusson and I continue to enjoy meeting and serving with the members and missionaries in Belize.  This Sunday I was able to go to Primary and help the children sing one of my favorite Primary songs, "I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus".  We watched the movie that is posted below and  discussed the different ways that we can all "be like Jesus".   How can you be like Jesus?

You can also see the video by clicking here.  

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Another Full Week in the Mission Field

Last Monday night we visited this couple from Belize City. It was great to hear firsthand their experience of being sealed in the temple the previously Saturday. 
We have the great privilege to attend the weekly missionary district meetings. This past training was on teaching by the Spirit.  See D&C 42:14 
As we drove up to our home the other day, we were greeted by our neighbor.  I was surprised by how big he was.

On Saturday morning Sister Adams, Sister Flake, and I stop by the local Belize City hospital to deliver newborn baby kits that were made by a group of Relief Society sisters from Guatemala.

I have been involved in making these newborn kits many times in the United States and didn't think much about the activity in the past. As we visited these new mothers in the hospital, my heart was touched as I saw first hand how they were gratefully received. An added blessing was being able to give a kit to a baby boy that was born on the same day as my own grandson (Renee and Dave's baby) in a Salt Lake City hospital far away from Belize.  It was a gift for me to see the Belizean baby and think of Renee and Dave's baby born on the same day, July 20, both weighing 8 lbs.
On Saturday the 14-18 year olds of from Belize gathered for the graduation from seminary exercises, followed by a dinner and dance. 150 youth attended from all over the country.  Eight youth arrived by boat and many other youth came by bus.

This is the hall decorated for the event by the Belize City youth before everyone arrived.
 A great BBQ chicken meal was had by all in attendance
President and Sister Adams (the El Salvador San Salvador/West Belize Mission President) attended and Pres. Adams spoke along with several other church leaders from the region.  All the speakers gave a wonderful messages to the youth.
It's inspiring to work with two other senior couples in Belize. Elder and Sister Adams (not to be confused with President and Sis. Adams) direct the seminaries and institutes for the country.

It was fun to watch the Adams lead out with a little swing dancing to inspire the youth to start dancing.

I enjoyed talking to this fellow seminary teacher who home school's her own 4 children in seminary.  Her youngest son is getting a head start as he sits in with his older brothers and sister.
Elder Magnusson did an excellent job driving the big 16 passenger stick shift van to help the San Pedro youth and leaders return to the boat taxi when the event was over.
Today we drove for  65 minutes  to visit the Orange Walk Branch and speak in their Sacrament meeting.  As we passed this river on the way, Elder Magnusson mentioned that the river looks right out of Disneyland's Jungle Cruise ride.
Sixteen years since his baptism, this faithful member serves in the branch presidency, and keeps his store closed on the Sabbath Day. He speaks boldly how he's been blessed by keeping God's commandments.  

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Our First Week in Belize

On Monday, after an early 6 a.m. flight from Salt Lake City, change of planes in Dallas, we were happy to make it to Belize!  
We were picked up from the airport by the two other senior missionary couples serving in Belize - Elder and Sister Flake, from Hobble Creek Canyon, UT, and Elder and Sister Adams, from Farmington, UT.  It was great to see their smiling faces as we emerged from Customs.  
On Tuesday, we attended a day-long training meeting, via Skype from El Salvador, with the zone leaders serving in Belize City and the sister training leaders serving in Belmopan.
On Thursday, we had attended a another meeting for district leaders, also via Skype.

Throughout the week we were able to tour much of the country of Belize to the north and west, seeing the chapels for the 12 branches, and meeting some of the missionaries and members, and enjoying beautiful countryside.

I learned that when you buy a whole chicken from the grocery store in Belize they mean the whole chicken, including the feet!
I was happy when I was able to cook my first home-cooked meal in Belize.  Anyone who knows me wouldn't be surprised to learn that it was......chicken and rice!  Note the bottled drinking water.
 This is our house in Belize City. We live on the upper story.
 Our mission vehicle is a diesel 4-door pickup truck.
We are thrilled to be here in Belize. The people are wonderful-- sweet, friendly, kind and very helpful.  At church today, we met Saints who have strong testimonies of the gospel of Jesus Christ, who address challenges in their lives with faith.  A group of Belizean Saints just returned last night from an 11-hour bus ride to the Mérida México Temple where a Belize City Branch couple was sealed.  

To learn more about our temples watch the video below.  To learn about temple sealings, watch the video from 7:21-9:40
You can also see the video by clicking here.   

Friday, July 14, 2017

Our Job for the Next Two Years.... "simply to lift and build others."

After our first day in Belize and being totally overwhelmed I could relate to Sister's Eubank's feelings with her new assignment as counselor in the General Relief Society presidency.
...“I remember the moment when I was called to serve as a counselor in the General Relief Society Presidency in addition to my job as head of LDS Charities. My head exploded. My brain shut down. The phrase that kept running through my head was 'How am I going to do that?’...

...“One day I was cleaning out a drawer and found this note from a Relief Society board meeting with Sister Julie Beck. It says: “‘When you are with people, remember they are each filled with troubles. … Bring comfort from the Spirit. Don’t bring new programs or duties. People need lifting.

“‘Remember to keep your own kingdom intact. This is your first stewardship—mother and father, brothers and sisters, children, husband, friends. These are eternal and they are given to you first.

“‘When you can’t give more, when you’ve gone beyond your ability to give, then sit still. Call on the Holy Ghost and angels to come to you. Be still and get full.’

“I knew this was the answer... I didn’t have to quote the handbook and dress up every day in pearls. My job in Relief Society was simply to lift and build others. My family was still my most important stewardship, and I had to make sure it didn’t fall by the wayside. And finally, if I was too tired and couldn’t see a way to juggle everything, I could call upon the Holy Ghost and angels to help me. The Lord would open a path or show me what not to do. He has done just that for me, as He will for all who seek His help.”—Sharon Eubank

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Our Week at the Missionary Training Center

Lisa dropped us off at the Missionary Training Center Monday morning

We were pointing to where we'll be serving in front of the MTC's world map

The view from the new MTC classroom building in Provo; notice the circle of flags. 
*"Hark, All Ye Nations"

This is the MTC choir that sang at our devotional July 4th.  Their rendition of the Battle Hymn of the Republic was stirring. Senior missionaries get front row seats.

We were paired with Elder and Sister Simpson for practice teaching, and enjoyed very much getting to know them. They're from Layton, UT, going to Baltimore, MD.  

This is our district. We spent our class time with these Elders and Sisters every day, and we got very close to each other. We are assigned to serve in different parts of the world. Our talented, young teacher is on the back row, third from the left. In total, about 110 senior missionaries were in training for five days with us. 

One evening we walked up memory lane, to the Provo Temple grounds where Scott proposed to me 40 years ago.  

I have sung "Called to Serve" many times throughout the years.  We were able to sing it two times in the MTC.  Once in our opening meeting with senior couples and then again with as a opening song in our devotional with all 2,000 missionaries.  It was very powerful and brought tears to my eyes both times to be able to sing it as a missionary.  
You can also see the video by clicking here.

*"Hark All Ye Nations" sung by another MTC group in 2013

You can also see the video by clicking here

At the MTC we didn't feel like we'd "died and gone to heaven", rather, that we were living and had gone to heaven for those five days!-- it was that inspiring. Truly the Lord is hastening His work, as seen in the vibrant faces of the 2,000 young missionaries who are in training there this month.  

Saturday, July 8, 2017