Our Mission to Belize Comes to an End

Monday, April 2, 2012

We can hardly believe our 18-month mission to Belize is coming to an end. We were glad to pick up Elder and Sister Orr at the airport. It is so nice to have a senior couple to replace us. Sometimes there are not enough senior missionaries to go around. They are needed all over the world.

We had a week to work with Orrs, so they could be oriented to their mission duties. We were happy to see them come, but yet, it was bitter sweet thinking about ending our mission. We will miss the people here so much!
Elder and Sister Orr, our replacements, are standing at the left in between us at the airport parking lot.  It was nice that Elder (taking the photo) and Sister McLaughlin and Elder and Sister Davis could welcome them, too.  This will be the first time that there has been 3 senior couples serving in the country of Belize at the same time.
  Here Elder Pattee and Elder Orr are counseling Joseph, the Young Men's president. 

Sister Orr got right to work, too, helping President Chi with an on-line Perpetual Education Fund application.

Of course we took some time to show Orrs some of the beauties of Belize by visiting Altun Hua, the closest Mayan ruin site to Belize City.  It took us a little less than an hour to drive there.

This was our first visit to Altun Hua, too.

These two ladies work at our favorite little produce market. They only speak Spanish, but they have always been so nice to us. They were especially pleased whenever we would try out our limited Spanish on them.  During our last visit there, they insisted on taking photos. 

President Cordon came to town to give us our exit interview. He took us out to eat at a nice Chinese Restaurant. We could have flown down to El Salvador for the interview, but since he was going to be in country, we all decided it would be nice to do the interview in Belize. Then we could fly directly to the United States.  (We got to spend some time in El Salvador when we first arrived for our mission and also spent 5 days there for the San Salvador Temple dedication.  It is a beautiful country.)

During our last week, we went visiting to the Usher family.  The father was at work.  They live right on the river.
Good friends, Paul and Tenica, came for one last visit.

And Melanie insisted that we come for one last dinner at their beachfront home. Their dog, Trooper, loves to run in the sea. He tries to catch crabs and other sea life. 

This was a good time for Herb and Melanie to meet Elder and Sister Orr. Melanie fixed us a delicious "black" dinner.
The day before we left (Sunday), we attended the Belize City Branch for one last time. The primary children came into Relief Society to sing for Sister Pattee. They sang 3 of her favorite songs--Nephi's Courage, As a Child of God, and I Like to Look at Rainbows

After church the branch held a little get-together for us. The branch presented us with a notebook containing handwritten notes of appreciation. As a special keepsake, the Belize City Branch sisters presented Sister Pattee with a plate that had a photo of most of the sisters (including Sister Pattee). What a lovely and thoughtful gift. We will cherish both of this items.

That evening the Young Adults came over for one last time. Each one talked about what they would like to accomplish and do in the future. Some of them are Perpetual Education Fund particpants. They are each very dear to us, and we wish them well.

We spent the next day flying home.  Both of our flights were pretty much on time. We arrived home to "Welcome Home" signs.  Here we are with our granddaughter, Nicole. She is finishing up her second year at BYU. We were so glad to see her. 

Alexa and Daniel have taken good care of our home for 18 months. They prepared a large banner for us. They had their first baby--a boy--about a week after we got home. He was born the same day as our 14th grandchild (a girl). Two sweet new babies! 

It feels a bit strange to be back home. We miss not being full-time missionaries and enjoyed being representatives for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in Belize during the past 18 months. He has restored his Church once again to earth--The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

Heavenly Father places his children all over the world in lots of different cultures with different heritages.  Some cultural traditions are not aligned with Church teachings. But each one of us is a son or daughter of God. If we let that heritage be our guide and apply the principles of the gospel to our lives, we will have much peace and happiness. GOD BLESS THE PEOPLE OF BELIZE!

3-1-12 - Tying up Loose Ends

Friday, March 2, 2012

We are hurrying to get things done before we leave on March 12.  We can hardly believe our time as senior missionaries here in Belize is almost over.  Seems like we just arrived here a few months ago.  

This is probably our very last home evening with investigators.  We enjoyed having Greg and Ruth, with their children Arlin, and Rosalie in our home.  We talked about eternal families. 

Belize City Branch enjoyed a Saturday outing at Old Belize, a local swimming and picnicking area.

Branch President Gordon enjoyed having some time to relax and catch a quick nap--something he rarely has time for. 

Brother Belgrave enjoyed the sun, sand, and water.  He also braved the very tall water slide.

Later, some of us took a tour of the many artifacts of Old Belize.  One of them was a fire hearth pictured above.  Fire hearths were very popular for cooking.  Some people here still favor them for the smoked wood flavor given to the food cooked on them.

Cinderella Primary children enjoyed learning about choosing the right on Sunday. 

After Relief Society in Belize City Branch, the sisters gathered for a group photo.  Sister Pattee  presented the fourth Sunday lesson on Elder L. Tom Perry's conference talk, "Perfect Love Casteth out Fear".  These sisters will be dearly missed.

Elder Pattee, Sylvia, Adilee, and Olga enjoy some porch time after dinner on Sunday afternoon.

On Tuesday all the missionaries in Belize got to meet with President Falabella. (He is seated on the second row, 3rd in from the left.)  He is our area president and lives in Guatemala City.  This photo was taken one year ago, the last time he came.  (we weren't able to get a picture of him at Tuesday's meeting.) 

He talked to us about overcoming challenges with investigators.  Having the help of the Lord is the best solution.  Just as Nephi and his brothers were unable to get the brass plates on their first two tries, when they had the Lord's help, they were able to obtain them. 

Belize City Zone sang, "I Know that My Redeemer Lives"as a special number.

Always the missionaries enjoy seeing and visiting with each other after conferences.

We are getting all our Perpetual Education Fund files updated.  PEF gives great hope and promise to young members her in Belize that want to study and train for better jobs.  PEF enables them to get low interest loans for school. 

February 22, 2012 - Elder and Sister Sandberg Leave - New Senior Couples Arrive

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

It has been a time of changes. Elder and Sister Sandberg left Belize for home this past Monday. We will surely miss them. They have done much good here and have truly helped move the Lord's work forward.  They have often helped us in our missionary tasks. We look forward to seeing them in Utah.

Elder and Sister McLaughlin arrived about a week before the Sandbergs left, so that they had time to do some training with them.

Elder and Sister Davis arrived one week after Elder and Sister McLaughlin.  This will be the very first time Belize has had 3 senior couples all at the same time.  The Davises will live in Belmopan and will work with the Belmopan Branch and the Dangriga Branch.  Dangriga Branch is about 2 hours away from where they live.   
Sister Villatoro received a new companion--Sister Capra (left). We enjoyed having Melanie and her husband Herb come to dinner. The sisters joined us. We gave Melanie a picture of the Savior. 

Melanie and Herb own the Quality Water Store, which is where we met them. 
Sometimes we go for a walk down by the sea.  The Caribbean is just behind Elder Pattee.
We were very happy to attend the baptism of the Garcia Family.  They will be wonderful members. 
Congratulations Garcia Family!

Some of Sister Pattee's dearest Belizean friends--sisters from Belize City Branch.
The Belize City Branch had a fundraiser on Saturday. They sold turkey dinners for $8. The money will go toward a temple trip to Guatemala City Temple. Elder Pattee carved 2 turkeys, and Sister Pattee spooned rice and beans into Styrofoam containers.   

Beautiful girls!

Beautiful flowers!

This bougainvillea outside our window has both pink and white blossoms. The little blooms almost look like they are made of paper.

Our landlady loves plants and flowers. All of these photos are from her (our) yard. 

I will miss the beautiful foliage of Belize.   We have less than 3 weeks left here.

February 9, 2012 - A Final Trip to San Pedro

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Our time in our mission here in Belize is coming to a close. We have less than 5 weeks left. There is much to do and lots of loose ends to tie up.

We try to attend Tuesday zone meetings as often as we can. We took some of the time to help teach about ways to improve baptism services. We discussed about the talks to be assigned and proper baptism clothing. Elder Pattee suggested assigning young priesthood holders to be witnesses. 

After viewing a slide show presentation, Elder Zapeta taught the training lesson on "Unity Between Companions as They Teach". Then the elders role played to practice the concept.

This week the zone leaders brought the Meighan Family to Home Evening. We enjoyed having them in our home.

They are a wonderful little family. Brother Meighan is very musical.  He plays the trumpet and other instruments.  He also likes to sing. He and Elder Rabanales and Elder Sutton sang "Nearer They God to Thee" in 3-part harmony. Sister Pattee made cupcakes for our treat. They are always seem to be a hit. 

This past weekend we made our final visit to San Pedro Caye. Saturday afternoon we taught Elders Ortega and Gealta a seminary inservice lesson. They are the seminary and institute teachers for San Pedro. They are also President Urbina's counselors in the branch. They carry a heavy load. 

Then we did an apartment check for them. Afterwards we took them out to dinner at Carrumbas. We all had seafood, and it was delicious!

Next, we went to the chapel (rented building) to help clean it up for church the next morning. A man hired by the Church had been sanding all the outside railings, getting them ready to paint. The problem was that he opened up all the windows and doors, and most of the sawdust went inside. Thick blue dust was on everything. 

Hope Elder Gealta and Elder Pattee know which end of the broom to use. After some of us swept and dusted, the mopping began. 

Sister Lee owns a home on San Pedro and flies down from the States for visits 2 or 3 times each year.  She mopped the chapel area floor. 

Besides the missionaries and Sister Lee, two other sisters and their husbands came to help.  Soon we had the building ready for Sunday.

As Sunday morning dawned, I had hoped to take a photo of the sun rising up out of the sea, but a bank of clouds was low in the sky. This picture was taken from our hotel balcony. It was beautiful, anyway. 

For some reason San Pedro Branch did not receive any manuals for the 2012 year.  It takes a very long time for orders to come from Salt Lake City.  We gathered up what extras we could find in Belize City and took them with us.  Our hope was to at least have manuals for the teachers.  Unfortunately, we couldn't find a YW Manual 1 or a 2012 Outline for Primary Sharing Time, so we downloaded and copied a few of the lessons from the Church's website.     

Sister Pattee was asked by Sister Valaskis, Young Women leader (at left), to teach the San PedroYoung Women. We talked about Divine Potential and the joy of being a woman at every age.

Elder Pattee did several interviews. Since it was fast and testimony meeting, we both bore our testimonies.

Here are some of the local San Pedro branch members that were in attendance at Church. Lots of tourists came, too. There were probably about 60 people in attendance. 

We have tried to get the Church website address of the San Pedro church building changed to "on the beach, across from the water taxi" (there is no actual street address because it is not on a street). So far we haven't met with success. Many LDS tourists would love to come, but can't find the place. Some of them just happen to stumble onto it, or see the missionaries around town, and get directions. It has been a frustrating dilemma.

Some time this year the Church will build a chapel on San Pedro. It will be much better than a rented building and may actually have an address. 

We enjoyed visiting with the San Pedro members and will miss them and also the beauty of their Caribbean island.

Goodbye, San Pedro! (Taken from our water taxi as it pulled away.)