June 23, 2011 - Where Did the Time Go?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Three years can seem like a long time or a short time.  It all depends if you are looking at the front or back end.  For our mission President and his family, their time of service is all but over.  Our multi-zone conference this past week was the last time the Lopez family will be coming to Belize.  Next week President Lopez turns everything over to President Cordon, our new mission president. 

Time for going away gifts and goodbye wishes. We will miss President and Sister Lopez and their quality leadership.  We will also miss their fine family.  Oldest son, Alexandro (absent from the photo), is now serving as a missionary in American Fork, Utah.  And daughter, Crystal (next to President Lopez), will be going to BYU this fall.

Sister Kay from Cayo baked a special cake for the day.  She and the Cayo missionaries brought it on the bus from San Ignacio to Belize City.  This is at least a 3-hour ride.  It is amazing they were able to get it to its destination in one piece. 

The 2-layer cake was decorated with frosted cookies with all the missionaries names.  Also, notice the blue and red map of Belize on the top and the two flags representing El Salvador and Belize.

Ymmmm!  Our names have never tasted better.   

Lunch time.  Sister Kay, the cake baker, is seated at the right. 

Pablo (youngest child) is holding a carved wooden map of Belize, a gift from the senior couples.  President Lopez is holding a machete with all the missionaries names written on it.  (That's not blood.  It's red ink.)

President Lopez and his Belizian Army (These young warriors go out and save souls.)

The machete is representative of a phrase President Lopez often used with his missionaries when he felt they could do better.  It probably wouldn't translate with the same meaning into English.  But the missionaries heard it often and decided to give him a machete to remember them by.  President Lopez also has about 150 missionaries in his El Salvador army.    

Everyone wanted one more photo.

The Belize City Zone sang the primary song "When I Am Baptized" for Sister Lopez.  It is one of her favorites songs.  They sang it in English, then, in Spanish. 

Standing under the "Welcome to Belize" sign one last time.
"Vaya Con Dios, Los Lopez".  Thank you for your service.  You are much loved! 

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The zone leaders, Elder Molina and Elder Holbrook, came to our home and fixed us some Mexican food this week.  It was delicious.  It was a taste of home.  Mexican food is not readily available here.  Thanks Elders.

Brother Neil with Plantains (not ripe, yet).  These are not bananas.
Plantains look a lot like bananas, but they taste quite differently.  They are often peeled, sliced lengthwise, fried, and served with meals like we would serve a vegetable.  They taste best when they are fully ripe--not just yellow--but turning black.   
We visited Brother and Sister Neil at their home.  They showed us many of the trees in their yard, coconut, mango, soursop, banana, and plantain. 

Elder Pattee did lots and lots of temple recommend interviews this week, and Sister Pattee had lots of PEF work to do.  

June 20, 2011 - New Presidency for Orange Walk Branch

Monday, June 20, 2011

Our missionary work here in Belize has many facets.  Every week is varied. 

Some of the young women from Beize City Branch and two of their leaders came to our house for an activity last week.  They learned how to make French bread pizzas.  

This also helped them with their Personal Progress requirements.

Adalee had to leave just before we took this photo.  Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. 

Elder Pattee took a few moments at missionary zone meeting to teach the missionaries some ways they might improve baptism services.  Sister Pattee helped them learn a "missionary verse" to sing to "Because I Have Been Given Much" for multi-zone conference next week. 

We always try to do some visiting each week.  Brother Belgrave is a faithful member.  We took him some coconut cake.

We also visited Brother and Sister Munoz.  They are stalwarts in the community and district.

They showed us a soursop tree in their yard with fruit almost ready to eat.  The fruit looks spiney, but the little spikes are soft to the touch.  We are told that inside the spikey exterior is a very delicious fruit.  Kind of like people--sometimes when we need to get beyond the prickles to find the gentle heart.  

They also had a noni tree loaded with little noni fruits just developing.

And a double hybiscus for Sister Pattee
For our latest SOY meeting, Sister Canek came in from Guatemala City especially to help us.  She was one of the leaders during that country's SOY last year.  She was a young missionary here in Belize a couple of years ago and is full of enthusiasm.   

We met Rachel, a young woman from Provo (but now living elsewhere), at the airport.  We enjoyed visiting with her.  She had come to do volunteer work with a group building a new children's home.  Somehow her ride to Belmopan didn't show up, so we drove her there. 

We got to see the construction site of the King's Children's Home.   Work has been progressing very quickly.  But it has been very rainy lately, as it is now the rainy season.  Hopefully, they were able to get some work done. 

On Sunday we traveled to Orange Walk which is a 1 1/2 drive from Belize city.  Last week President Pattee drove up there and called a new branch president.  This week he, sustained them in sacrament meeting and also spoke.  Later, he and our district president, President Chi, set them apart.  President Nuevello (center) has not been a member very long.  His counselors are Brother Stamp and Garcia. 

The newly released branch president, Brother Gomez, and his little family seem very happy--even relieved at the change.  Right now Orange Walk is really struggling.  A few strong shoulders are carrying all the burdens.

This family does far more that its share to keep the branch going.  Sister Swift (second from left) has 9 children.  She is shown with 3 of them.  

Brother Leiva was the first missionary called from Belize.  He served in Honduras.   

Brother and Sister Leiva are his parents, and they were the first members of the Church in Orange Walk.

Sister Pattee taught these three Orange Walk young women on Sunday about how choices have consequences. 

We are spending quite a bit of time working with PEF participants getting renewal applications for  the upcoming school year done.  We are also working with a couple of new applicants. 

Another thing we do is leadership training.  Elder Pattee often does this, and this week Sister Pattee helped with some relief society training.   

June 15, 2011 - Fishers of Men

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

 Our grandson, Trevor is pretty proud of this huge rainbow trout he caught this week.   

He is turning out to be quite the fisherman.  Maybe one day he will use his talents to also become "a fisher of men".
We are grateful for the excellent missionaries ("fishers of men") that we work with each day. 

It was a busy week for transfers--the most we've ever had.  These 11 missionaries all got transfered to El Salvador.  It was happy-sad week.

 Thirteen missionaries got transfered here to Belize from El Salvador.  Lots of "goodbyes" to departing companions, and lots of "hellos" to new companions--

And lots of luggage--  

And more luggage!

Not to mention the luggage inside the van with the departing missionaries.

Transfer Day

Our new sisters love their new apartment.

Sister Clark and Sister Rodas just arrived and are the first sister missionaries assigned to Belize City in many years.  Here they are standing in the doorway of the apartment we've been working on for the past couple of weeks. 
The night before they were to come, the apartment had no water, even though the water company had promised service several days before.  It turned out that the water had been turned on, but the waterpipe had been damaged when the landlady had a load of dirt delivered recently.  It wasn't until 9 pm that 5 repairmen showed up, discovered the problem, cut out the damaged pipe, and fixed it.    

*     *     *     *     *
We also had a combination relief society activity with both the Belize City Branch and the Cinderella Branch.  These two branches meet in the same building.

Sisters Lozano and Belgrave are Relief Society Presidents of Cinderella and Belize City Branches, respectively.

Though many sisters spoke only Spanish or only English, we managed to communicate.

And had lots of fun playing games.  (Can anyone pick up a key with a noodle, string, and bent paperclip?)

And visiting.

Is it time to go home, yet? 
A typical Belize City street scene shot from the van window

This week Sister Pattee gave the lesson in relief society on "Courage to Live the Gospel" in the Belize City Branch.  We also attended that branch's correlation meeting.  During the week Elder Pattee did quite a bit of leadership training.  We also did PEF and gathered info for the end-of-the-month seminary and institute reports.

We will add some photos from a young women's activity held at our home in our next blog. 

This week Sister Pattee gave a talk in Belize City Branch sacrament meeting on studying and pondering the scriptures. 

June 7, 2011- Is There A Doctor In the House?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Four years of medical school are now over.

Congratulations Dr. Justin!

We are pleased to announce that we have now have a doctor in the family.  Justin's hard work paid off as he graduated from medical school this past week.  Because we are serving a mission out of the country, we were unable to attend.  We so wished we could be there, but Justin was in our thoughts and prayers. We are very proud of him and his accomplishment. 

We are grateful that all four of Justin's brothers were able to travel from out of state to be there to support him.  

And, of course, Justin's  lovely wife, Joslyn, and many of her family members were there.  But since we were not there, we didn't get to take photos of them.

It's hard to believe these two have been married for 6 months, already.  We are so glad we were able to make it to their wedding this past December. 

Next, off to Ohio for a 4-year internship in emergency-room medicine. 

*     *     *     *     *

We've had quite a bit of work to do with Perpetual Education Fund recently, as many loans have had to be renewed.  We are also working with a couple of participants applying for loans for the first time. 

This little guy is a bit young for a PEF loan, but he came with his parents as they checked on a loan for an older son.

We got a new lock installed on our front gate this week. 

We were surprised that it took all day and 3 men to do it.   

 Notice the headwear of this worker. When the weather is hot, people often wear a wet towel or cloth on their heads.  

Some of this past week we spent helping the elders get a new apartment ready for two sister missionaries.  We have not had sister missionaries in Belize City in many years.  They are being sent here from El Salvador to work especially with less active members.  They will be kept very busy.  

Here is the apartment with Elder Pattee and Elders Lunt and Perez helping deliver some beds. 

Putting things together

Sister Pattee discovered a house pet in the bathroom sink of the soon-to-be sisters' apartment.

We did some of the shopping for the furniture for the apartment at this Mennonite shop. 

The Mennonites make good furniture that is inexpensive.  The craftsmen only come to town on Tuesdays and Fridays.  Many of their wares are displayed outside on the sidewalk.  We also did lots of shopping for other items for the apartment at other places. 

We attended another SOY meeting (For the Strength of Youth).  This time in Belmopan.  Things seem to becoming together a bit more each time.  December 19 will be here before we know it.

This shot was taken on the way to Belmopan, which is one hour's drive southwest of Belize City.  (You can tell this photo was taken out of the van's window as we traveled down the highway.) 

The elders gave us lots of ripe bananas a few days ago, so Sister Pattee baked banana bread.

It was a good thing, because suddenly we needed refreshments  for a "last minute" young adult fireside at our house. 

What a nice group of young people!

The week was topped off with a baptism for Jamayl.  L to R: Alwayne, Ellsworth, and Jamayl. 

Also, Sister Pattee gave the lesson in Belize City Branch relief society on "Courage to Live the Gospel."  During discussions the sisters made some very insightful comments.