April 25, 2011 - It's Easter Time

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Along with the rest of the world, we celebrated Easter this week.  In Belize everything closes down from Thursday afternoon through the following Monday.  Schools and universities close for two weeks.  

We enjoy this picture hanging on our living room wall, "Lost No More", by Greg Olsen.
"He lives again our glorious King, where, oh death, is now thy sting?" 

"Where thy victory, O grave?"
We loved seeing this Flamboya Tree in the midst of the cemetery.  What a beautiful Easter Symbol!

Easter Dresses

Easter Flowers

Easter dinner with some of the missionaries
They enjoyed watching the video of the San Antonio missionaries singing the National Anthem at the Spur's Game.

We made another trip to San Pedro for the Branch, as they got a new branch president.

New San Pedro Branch President, Samuel Urbina
Elder Jackson and Elder Camacho will be acting as his counselors.

Sister Maria DeLeon is the wonderful Relief Society President of San Pedro Branch.

More San Pedro Branch members 


Lots of cute kids, here! 

We saw this critter in a flower box in the middle of San Pedro Town.

We think it is an iguana.

New eye glasses! (Sister Pattee standing by the sales clerk)

Sister Pattee couldn't get her broken glasses fixed, but was able to get new ones. 

Not all the things that broke down last week are fixed, yet.  We are still waiting on the mission van, and our computer works most of the time (but not always the internet).  We are happy for the things we have that do work!

April 18, 2011 - Is Our Belize Mission A Bed of Roses (or Tropical Flowers)?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

More beautiful bouganvilla

This is called a Flambouyant tree.  It is aptly named with its flaming orange blossoms. We see lots of them in bloom just now.  

There are many beautiful trees and flowers here, but lest you think our mission is all a bed of roses, we had a very rocky start to our week.  The mission van stopped just before the elders got to the airport to pick up President and Sister Lopez for multi-zone conference.  But, after checking the van out, the Toyota dealership tells us there is nothing wrong with it.  We travel over much of the country in that van, so it's a good thing we are due for a new one most any time now. 

We also had problems with our laptop computer--its battery died, and the internet went down, again.

Then, for no explainable reason, the side piece to Sister Pattee's eyeglasses broke off.  Her frames are made out of titanium, but can't be fixed.  We were glad to find there was a place called Belize Eye Center.  She was able to get an eye exam and order new glasses.  They were supposed to be ready the very next day, but that didn't happen.  Hopefully by next week.   

In spite of our problems, we had a very nice multi-zone conference.  

While President and Sister Lopez were here, we enjoyed dining with them and Elder and Sister Sandberg at the Stone Grill in Belize City.  Our food was brought to us on hot stones.  It continued cooking at our table and was very delicious.  There was also live music (but not too loud), and the sea breeze was refreshing.     

Sister Pattee is baking brownies for multi-zone conference.

Our missionaries from both Belize zones.

Notice the little guy on the front row.  He slipped in with us from off the street as we were arriving at the chapel.  He wanted to stay, but Elder Contrares finally talked him into going to school, which is where he was supposed to be.  He sure liked being with all the missionaries.  He is not a member, but someday maybe he will be.  He might even grow up to be a missionary!

Special musical number

Multi-zone conferences are always spiritually uplifting.  They are also a good time for visiting with all the missionaries.  We are greatful for our excellent mission leaders that inspire us and the young missionaries we work with.

Forever Family
There was an organized temple trip for members of the Belize City District this past week to The Guatemala City Temple.  The Rivas family, above, was sealed.  The oldest child, Elder John Rivas, is currently serving a mission in Guatemala and was able to join them, too.   

 Knowing families like this can be eternal, helps us realize that being  missionaries is wonderful, in spite of challenges we sometimes face.   

We continue to work with PEF (perpetual education fund),  S&I (seminary and institute), SYC (special youth conferences) , and whatever else needs doing.  We also spent time training branch leaders this week. 

April 12, 2011 - From Belize to Chetumal, Mexico

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

This past Wednesday we met Moses Santoya at the airport to give him his passport and visa, as he was leaving on his mission.  He will eventually be going to Canada, but until his long awaited Canadian visa arrives, he will go to the Guatemala MTC to learn more Spanish.  Everyone just assumes people here know Spanish, but English is the official language.  Moses knows some Spanish, but needs to be more fluent, as his mission in Canada is Spanish-speaking. 

We were very happy to meet his parents for the first time (they are not members), and to see Moses' friend, Carlos.  Carlos says he is interested in the Church.  We know he has met with the missionaries before, so we will try to get them together again.  

On Thursday we needed to make a trip to Corozal to attend institute.  We also needed to check missionary apartments in both Corozal and Orange Walk.  Since Corozal is only 20 minutes from the southern border of Mexico, we decided to venture across.

After showing passports, filling out paperwork, and paying money to the Belizean government, we hired a taxi.  Our driver was very helpful. 

He agreed to take us to Walmart (just opened recently) and wait for us.  It turned out to be quite a distance away, so we were glad he knew where he was going.

We were a little disappointed in the selection of goods, at the Chetamal Walmart, but in many ways it was like in the U.S.A.  It was geared, obviously, to Mexican tastes.  We were able to find a few of the things were needed.  The biggest surprise was Chetumal itself.  Very modern, clean, and well cared for.  Much like at home--quite different from Belize. 

We saw this grove of papya trees on our way to Mexico.

When we returned we did an apartment check for the elders in Corozal--Elder Heaps and Elder Tsaj.  Then we took them to dinner at Patty's Bistro. 
Elder Heaps and Elder Tsaj
 (A small Mayan ruin is in the background.  We hadn't realized there was a Mayan ruin in Corozal.)

We had just time enough to get to the Corozal chapel where Elder Pattee met with President Casteneda (branch president) and Sister Pattee attended institute.  The teacher, Sister Casteneda (branch president's daughter) did a wonderful job of teaching about putting God first in our lives.  A short training was given after the class. 

We stayed at Tony's Resort Inn.  Even though things are getting dry and dusty now, the bouganvilla seems to be especially pretty.

Tony's Inn is right on the Caribbean.  The water is aqua blue, but our camera didn't pick the color up well. 

Friday morning we headed for Orange Walk to do an apartment check for Elder Money and Elder Guiterrez.  We found out they will be moving right away.  Too many coachroaches for one thing.  

"Fresh coconuts, anyone?"

President Gomez (Orange Walk branch President) offered to let them rent from his family.  We all went to look at the apartment.  This is the backyard.  (The house behind them is not the apartment we were looking at.  It is just a house next door.) We all decided it would be a good move, but the elders will stay in the old apartment until the end of the month.   (A couple of days later, while the elders were sleeping, someone came into their apartment and stole a wallet, camera, and other valuables.  Consequently, the elders moved out to the new apartment the very next day.) 

As we left to drive back to Belize City, we saw lines of trucks loaded with sugar cane waiting to unload at the nearby sugar factory.  Orange Walk raises lots of sugar cane.

Priesthood Power.  Some of the young men from Cinderella and Belize City Branches.

We spent much time working on PEF and S&I this week.  And we are still trying to find the password to get us into the testing module of the Companionship Lanuguage Study program.  It got lost in the shuffle of missionaries coming and going.  Some of our Latino elders are ready to test their English skills.  They have been learning English while they have been on their missions.  If they can earn a certifcate, it will give them an edge in finding a job when they return home from their missions.  This is another program sponsered by the Church that has great potential to benefit  missionaries. 

April 5, 2011 - General Conference Week

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Our missionary work included making two different trips to Belmopan this past week.  It takes us about one hour to drive there.   

Belmopan is the capitol of Belize.  Belize City used to be the capitol, but too much damage was being done here by hurricanes, so the capital was moved to Belmopan, as it is much further inland.  The ironic thing is that last October, when Hurricane Richard landed, Belmopan had far greater storm damage than Belize City did. 
Police Headquarters at Belmopan

The first trip to Belmopan was to get a police record report for a missionary leaving tomorrow.  This is standard procedure for all missionaries.  The second trip was for a EFY planning meeting.  In Central America it will be called SYC (Special Youth Conference). 

Center of government offices at Belmopan City

The two trips put just enough mileage on the mission van that the odometer turned over 100,000 kilometers.  This is magic number, because it means we now qualify to get a new van. 

The missionaries here were very excited about it, so Elder Pattee let the zone leader, Elder Choc, have the privilege of driving while the odometer turned over.  

Road to Belmopan
We also made two trips to get loads of merchandise at two different warehouses in Belize City area.   It is a long process to pick up merchandise for the Church because of customs, and also because of the masses of paperwork.  It took 1 1/2 hours at an airport warehouse and 2 hours at the TACA (name of an airline) warehouse.  
Even though Elder Pattee took 4 missionaries with him to TACA, regulations made them stay on the other side of the fence, so Elder Pattee got lots of exercize loading the boxes all by himself while the missionaries watched.  Good thing he has strong muscles. 

This is about half of the boxes we picked up.  These contain books.

Our mission is starting a new policy of giving each new convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a copy of not only the Book of Mormon, but also a Bible, a Triple Combination, and a hymn book.  The branch president will hopefully present these at the baptism.  Thanks, Sister Sandberg, for this great idea.   

We enjoyed general conference this past weekend.  What a great blessing to have inspired leaders to counsel us.  Being far from home, we are also thankful for the modern technology that brought conference to us.

We had really great attendance for the Sunday morning session.  The following photos are of members from Belize City, Cinderella, and Orange Walk Branches visiting after conference.  Sorry our photos aren't quite up to "Ensign" quality. 


 Unlike Salt Lake City, we had sunny hot weather this past weekend with no snow storm to cool things off.  It's starting to get hot here.