December 17, 2010 Justin and Joslyn's Wedding Day. Claire's Baby Blessing.

Monday, December 27, 2010

We had a wonderful few days in Mesa, Arizona.  We were glad our mission president received permission for us to leave our mission field  to attend Justin and Joslyn's wedding. 
The morning of the wedding our family was invited to a delicious breakfast at the home of the bride, but Justin showed up in the wrong tux.  Luckily, Joslyn has a good sense of humor.  A couple of hours later the happy couple was married in the Mesa Temple.

Mr and Mrs Justin Pattee

The ceremony was beautiful.  All of our sons and their wives were in attendance.  What a special time to be in the temple together! 

Our family, except for Ryan and Emily's children, are shown here.  We missed you Jacob, Caleb, Rachel, and Anna. 

The weather outside was sunny, so we enjoyed taking photos on the beautiful temple grounds.  Lots of green grass, leafy green trees. (Some with of them loaded with lemon, oranges, and grapefruit.)

Lovely bride, handsome groom.

Happy couple

Happy parents

Wade and Monica Whiting with their family

Cutting the cake at the reception
This time Justin is wearing the correct tux.  

At the reception, I very much enjoyed visiting with two very special cousins that live in the Phoenix area.
Suzann (left) and Shirlene (right) were my childhood friends.
We will add 2 more photos about  reception guests to this blog hopefully tomorrow.  We also hope to add a photo of all those in attendance at the temple, (lots) when one becomes available. 

We appreciate the bride's family, especially Joslyn and her parents, Wade and Monica Whiting, for making all the wedding arrangements.   As missionaries serving in Belize, we were not much help. 
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In the afternoon our family met at the home of the bride's parents once again.  We gathered for the baby blessing of our youngest grandchild, Claire (2 months old).  Jon and Erika are the proud parents.  Both of Claire's grandfathers and all 5 or our sons participated, with Jon giving the blessing. (Clair's Grandma Paula was also in attendance).  Thank you Whitings for letting us use your lovely home.

Left to right:  David, Dennis Maroney, Elder Pattee, Jon holding Claire, Justin, Troy, and Ryan.

Can you tell that Claire's big sisters, Jane, 2, and Ella, 4, are very proud of her?

Sister Pattee enjoyed holding her newest grandchild.

December 12, 2010 A Busy Missionary Week

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Monday Elder Pattee went to check out a place to have EFY (especially for youth) in our area next year for all of Belize.  He took Paul Woods, a member, with him to find Camp Oakley. 

 The road was muddy and rough, and the facilities left a lot to be desired. 

These little cabanyas each had room for 4 people.

There were 10 cabanyas, but only 8 could be used.  There were two little lakes, one canoe, and lots of mosquitoes. The decision was made to look elsewhere. 

On Tuesday, we took a day off.  Even though we have preparation day on Monday, there is usually missionary work to do.  So we met Elder and Sister Sandberg, the only other senior missionary couple in the country, down where they serve in the Cayo District.  It very pretty there with rolling hills.  Things seemed so much greener and cleaner than where we serve. 

We crossed the Cahal River on a small cable ferry. (Cable pulled manually.)

We visited the pretty little town of San Ignacio where the Sandbergs live in a bright green house.  Their electricity and water were off (a common occurrence for them), so we went to a Mexican restaurant for lunch.   The food was good, but not much like Mexican food in the U.S.A. 

Since it is December, we saw several large poinsettia plants growing in the wild. These were growing in pots at the restaurant.  
The highlight of the day was going to the archeological site call Xunantunich (Sunantunich).  But to get there we had to ford another river—the Mopan—on another little ferry, very much like the one we had used that morning.   It was only half a mile from the ferry to the site.  I was surprised at how beautiful the site was.  

The largest temple pyramid was taller than the tallest at Lamanai. 

All four of us climbed to the very top.  Elder Pattee and I wished we hadn’t when it was time to climb back down.  Some of those stone steps were pretty steep.  OASHA would have been apalled at the lack of handrails.  We were glad to make it down safely. 

 The view at the top of the tallest temple was a stunning panorama of more ruins and beautiful green hills covered in vegetation.  We heard howler monkeys, but we did not see them.  I was surprised by their noises.  They sounded like tigers or lions growling.  I think they should have been called “growler” monkeys.  We also saw a good-sized iguana.

The rest of the week was spend working.  Brother Joaquin Flores flew in from El Salvador and gave training to Sandbergs and us regarding responsibilities for seminary, institute, and the Perpetual Education Fund.  Brother Flores didn't speak English real well.  When Sandbergs were with us, we did okay, because they could interpret the training for us.  But on Saturday they went back to Cayo.  We had a few challenges communicating that day.   We learned a lot.  If only we can remember it. 

We visited this Friday night seminary class with Brother Flores.  He is over all the PEF and S and I for El Salvador and Belize. 

  Christmas dinner for district leaders on Saturday.

Belize City Branch relief society activity - Making nativities.

I was impressed with how the sisters that participated made do with what they had.  They cut pictures out of their old issues of The Liahona magazines for Mary, Joseph, and the Christ child.  Some of the sisters used action-type figures for the shepherds and wisemen.  They dressed them in robes and headcoverings made from fabric scraps.
This Christmas parade passed by the chapel on Saturday while we were working on the nativities.

Of course Santa was in the parade, too.  And it was a nice warm evening, which seemed kind of strange to me. 

December 5, 2010

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Last Sunday evening a young 17-year-old member from Corozal named Jerry Flowers received severe head injuries in a hit-and-run accident.  He had been walking with two girls at the side of the road.  Fortunately the girls were not hurt.  Jerry was taken in an ambulance 2 hours south to a hospital here in Belize City.  His mother came with him.  The missionaries from Corozal, Sister Stout and Sister Aqueta, came down by bus the next morning.  They stayed with Jerry's mother all day and then stayed at our house that night.  Jerry had often gone with them to do missionary work.  The first night we met Jerry he was studying his scriptures by candlelight. 

We went to the hospital Monday morning and saw Jerry's mother.  The doctors had given her son a 50/50 chance of making it.  While we were there, a doctor took her aside and said that his chances had now fallen.  He had only a 7% chance.  Elder Pattee and Elder Choc were able to go into the ICU and give him a blessing.  Jerry died on Tuesday.  He was his mother's oldest child and only son.  He has 3 younger sisters.  We are all very saddened at his untimely death.  Even though he had been a member of the Church only 5 months, he was hoping to go on going on a mission.  His area of service will be diffierent that the one he had planned. 

On a happier note, we got several Perpetual Education Fund checks for our students this week.  Now they can all start school as planned. 

Also, we took Alwayne Cherrington and his family to the airport Wednesday.  Alwayne is the third missionary to leave from Belize City Branch since we came.  He is going to Guatemala and will need to learn Spanish.
Alwayne with his mother (trying not to cry) and sister, Nikita

It was a very rainy day.  After Alwayne's plane had left, and we went out to the van in the parking lot, we found that the back tire was flatter than a pancake.  It was one of the ones we had to have fixed before.  (We've had 3 flat tires on the mission van since we came arrived in September.)

The rain was coming down in sheets, so Alwayne's mom, Nikita, and I climbed into the van to stay dry. 
Elder Pattee and President Gordon got the spare out from underneath the van.  Then some Chinese guys insisted on helping.  They acted like they knew what they were doing, and told we 3 women  that we’d have to get out of the van.  When it started raining even harder, they sort of disappeared.  Elder Pattee thought they had left, so he and President Gordon went ahead and changed the tire getting very wet in the process.  After they were done, they opened up the back of the van and found the Chinese men inside nice and dry.   In the meantime, Nikita, her mom, and myself, were standing outside soaking wet. It was cold!

When we finally got in the van to go home, we found there were no heater, and no defroster.  (There were just dummy switches where the real ones should have been.)  We had to keep wiping off the windshield all the way home.  Elder Pattee had 2 new tires put on the van the next day. 

Well, the rain is gone, and we're back to sun and warm temperatures.  We know it is supposed to be the Christmas season, but do these photos make make you think of Christmas?

With temperatures in the 80's most days and flowers and greenery all around, somehow it just doesn't seem quite like the holiday season. 
So we turned on some Christmas music and watched a DVD of Sissel and the Tabernacle choir in a Christmas concert.  Luckily Elder Pattee found a few Christmas decorations hiding up in a closet.  

Now things are a bit more as the Christmas should be. 

We've been reading the Christmas story in Luke 2, and today at church in the Belize City branch, we heard many testimonies of Christ.  The relief society lesson was all about giving good gifts to Christ on his birthday, and we also planned the branch Christmas dinner.  Then we watched the First Presidency Christmas Devotional via satellite Sunday evening.  It seems that you can feel Christmas is in the air no matter where you live.
Feliz Navidad!