Visiting Cayo District Conference - February 18-21, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

We drove up to San Ignacio with President Lopez (our mission president that lives in San Salvador) and his wife for Cayo district conference.  He had been doing missionary training in Belize City earlier in the week.  We stayed at Martha's Guesthouse for the 3 nights we were there.

President and sister Lopez in front of San Igancio chapel in Cayo District

Sister Pattee at Martha's Guest House

We had been asked to present a fireside about our mission in Ukraine.  Friday evening we spent just over an hour using power point to show some of our photos.  We didn't want it to be a travel log, so we focused on the Ukrainian people (especially the members of the Church) and our experiences there.  Four of the photos we used are shown below.
Field of sunflowers in Ukraine (taken from open door of bus.)

Ukraine is now independent from Soviet rule.  Just as their fields of sunflowers lift their faces to the sun, the people can once again lift their faces to the light.  They are free to worship as they wish.  LDS missionaries have been in Ukraine since 1992.   Presently there are between 10-11 thousand members of the Church there. 

In our area of the mission there were no chapels, thus no baptismal fonts.  Most people were baptized in a river.  (Jesus was also baptized in a river.) This was a favorite spot near Golovach.  When we arrived for Natalya's baptism service, there were hundreds of little frogs making a huge noise like the quacking of ducks.  But when it was time for her baptism, all nature was silent, even the frogs.

Rooslan got baptized in March.  The water was cold, and the ground was muddy.  After his well-attended baptism, the members found that our bus was stuck in the mud.  The men pushed and shoved, put sticks and rocks under the wheels, but with no successs.  After about 20 minutes of trying, the elders quorum president, Alexsei, said, "I think it is time to pray."  

After the prayer the bus came right out of the mud.  We are never using all our strength until we ask our Heavenly Father to help us.

Kiev, Ukraine Temple

Toward the end of the fireside we showed pictures of several ornate Russian Othodox temples.  Then we showed a picture of the Kiev Temple that was dedicated in August of last year.  This temple will bless the entire country of Ukraine and all other countries in its district.  It is is the only LDS temple in Eastern Europe.  We concluded with a 6 minute video of the youth cultural event that was held the night before the dedication.  It included footage of President Monson, President Uchtdorf, and other dignitaries.  It provided the perfect ending.  The fireside seemed to be well received, and it was a nice trip down memory lane for us.  We appreciated all the technical support Elder Sandberg provided. 

On Saturday in Cayo, we went in small groups to visit new or less active members.  We went with one of the branch counselors, Ephraim Medina.  We visited Brother Cerrano, the Ifield family, and the McCoy family.  We felt good  about our experiences in their homes, which were very humble.

The Infield Family.  The father was not at home, but at work.

In the afternoon we had both a priesthood leadership training and a women leadership training.   Both of us were trainers in our separate meetings.  Elder Pattee trained on home teaching and Sister Pattee trained on teaching.  "When we teach the gospel, we help provide the bread of life and the living water that Christ taught about while he was on the earth."   The Lopezes and Sandbergs also trained.

The sisters' training session

Saturday evening in the adult meeting, Sister Pattee gave a talk about "Be Ye Doers of the Word and Not Hearers Only.  Once again the Sandbergs and the Lopezes gave inspiring talks. 

The next morning we both spoke at the first Sunday session of conference, which was in Spanish.  We each had a translater at our side.  Elder Pattee talked about fasting.  He got the biggest laugh of the day when he started out his talk speaking in Russian.  He said (I will spell it phonetically.), "Zdrastvweetya, menya zavhoot Staraeshena Pattee.  Kak vas delah?"  Then he gestured to his translater to interpret it.  The translater had a surprised look on his face, and of course had no idea of what was just said.  

After lunch at the Sandberg's home, we returned to the chapel for an English session of conference.  Everyone gave the same talks.  Including both sessions of Sunday conference, there were about 500 in attendance, which was a record breaker. 

Visit to Cahal Pech - February 21, 2011

Moday morning we found time for some diversion and went to Cahal Pech, which is an archaelogical site.  It was very close by.  When we arrived  we found the the 14 young missionaries that serve in the area also there, as it was their preparation day.  President Lopez was a bit upset with them, because they are supposed to do their studies first thing Monday morning.  They had obviously neglected this, as it was only 9 am.  After giving them a reprimand, he allowed them to go ahead with the "treasure hunt" they had planned.   We all enjoyed the site very much.

Four sisters serve in the Cayo District.  President Lopez recently moved the sisters to the Cayo District during the last transfer.  Now only elders are serving in the Belize District.

Ancient Myan pyramids

We had fun exploring and got some much needed exercize.

The time line for these ruins fits right in with the Book of Mormon.

Elder Pattee at one of the arches

 We climbed through many of them.

All the sister missionaries serving in Belize: R. Sisters Munos, Maroquinn, Agueta, Stout, (Sister Lopez, visiting from San Salvador).  Back: Sisters Sandberg and Pattee.

Some of our Cayo District elders

President Lopez, Elder Pattee, Elder Sandberg

We ended our Cahal Pech outing with lunch at a local eatery with the missionaries.

It was a wonderful trip, but it was good to be heading home to Belize City.  After dropping President and Sister Lopez off at the airport, we arrived home about 4:00.   

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