November 16, 2011 - A Chance to Combine Missionary Work with a Visit From Children

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Brad Ruano, left, has been a great help to us here in Belize. He was hired out of Guatemala to be over all the physical facilities in this country. He has been able to make all kinds of improvements, which we appreciate. 

He has also been able to solve a major PEF problem for us with the bank. Students will finally be able to use their individual loan numbers when they make payments. Previously all Belize student payments went into one account. Consequently, many students were not getting credit for their payments. 

At right is Brother Arana, an aditor from Guatemala. He came to our home to go through our PEF records. He spoke Spanish, so we had some definite communication problems. 

This past week we had a very enjoyable visit from our third son, Jon, and his wife, Erika. We were glad to mix missionary work with some relaxing, too. 

Two of their cute little daughters, Ella and Jane, made us some pretty magnets to help hold up our refrigerator art. Also, a trivet. 

 We took Jon and Erika to Xunantunich, and they climbed to the top. This is a very tall pyramid. If you have sharp vision and look carefully at the upper right, you can see them waving.

We spent time exploring some of the ruins at Xunantunich that we hadn't seen previously.

While in Belize Jon and Erika got to try some of the local cusine--delicious powder buns. They are not too sweet and have a definite flavor of mace. They also tried rice and beans.

We visited the Belize Zoo for the first time. It is known as "the best little zoo in the world". The animals seemed very content in their tropical enclosures, which depicted their natural habitats. Many jaguars live in the jungles here.

Only animals that are indigenous to Belize are found at this zoo, and many of them, like this puma, are endangered. Did you know that the puma and the cougar (or mountain lion) are the same animal?

Many beautiful birds like this parrot (Scarlet Macaw) are found in Belize.

Hanging out

After the zoo we went to Cheers Restaurant for lunch. We ate semi-outdoors, and the rafters above us were filled with hanging tee shirts. Interesting decor.

Jon and Erika enjoyed going to San Pedro, which is on Ambergris Caye, for a couple of days.

Saturday afternoon Efrain, an investigator and professional tourist guide, agreed to take the four of us cave tubing. 
  Here we are crossing the shallows of the Caves Branch River. We hiked 30-40 minutes through beautiful rain forest (jungle to us) before getting down into the river in our tubes.  Then we floated through our first cave and then through more rain forest. The second cave was even more interesting. We ended up where we started out in the photo above. According to our Efrain, Belize is the only Central American country that has cave tubing. 

Since the caves were dark in most places, we wore headlamps.

Notice the thick vines found in the jungle. We saw and heard a variety of birds. We also saw a grey fox.

We enjoyed our Sunday meetings in Belize City Branch.

Erika and Jon got to meet lots of  members.Vernice took Erika right to her heart.

Beautiful children

Sunday afternoon we had a Skype SOY conference. That evening ten young adults joined us for a lesson about "Friends" and dessert. Elder and Sister Pattee will be teaching 3 different classes at SOY. The young adults helped critic one of them. They had some very good insights. 

Our young men (with help from some of the young adults) held a barbeque fund raiser for SOY Conference on Saturday. The day before and that morning we helped run errands and haul some of their food and equipment. The chicken was delicious.

We've had lots of PEF work this week, as many students will need tuition checks right away. 

 Sister Pattee was able to help Elder Avila take his International English language test (OPIc).  He passed with flying colors! He completes his mission soon. When he goes home and applies for work, the certificate may increase his opportunities of getting a good job. This is all part of Companionship Language Study--a program to encourage non-English speaking missionaries to learn English. 

November 8, 2011 - The Elders Move and District Conference

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

We started out the week with a lesson with an investigator in our home. Efrain is a tourist guide here in Belize City. He seems very receptive to the gospel and has been attending church.

The elders have been long overdue to move into a nicer, larger apartment. With 4 of them living together, they needed more room. Sometimes elders from out of town need to stay overnight, so an extra bathroom and bedroom will come in handy. Elder Pattee and others assisted in the move.

The new apartment has a nice modern kitchen and a large living room, ...

...and plenty of space for each elder to study. Some pictures Christ on the wall would be nice.

We had Belize City district conference this past weekend. President and Sister Cordon flew in from El Salvador on Friday. They always give us good counsel and training.

We had dinner with them at our house that evening. 

Saturday there were lots of meetings. We brought in lunch from Senior Coconut's for the district presidency and their wives. 

A few of their children came as well. The adults had the traditional Belizean rice and beans, but the children opted for hamburgers.

During the sisters' training session on Saturday, Sister Pattee taught about visiting teaching beginning with a skit called "Little Red Hen is Called to Be the Barnyard Relief Society President". Our special visitors were Sisters Little, Duck, Cow, Pig, Goat, Sheep, Dog, Cat, and Farmer Brown. When Sister Little (Red Hen) asked the sisters if they would help with visiting teaching, each one answered, "Not I".  But when Farmer Brown explained they would miss out on all the blessings, just like they did when Sister Little Red Hen made delicious wheat bread, they decided to give it a try. 
Sister Pattee was supposed to hold up cue cards, but everyone knew their parts well, even though we had never practiced. This was quite amazing, since the sisters were from 5 different branches.

 Sister Smith and her children made the animal cutouts for the "Little Red Hen" skit. 

Elder Pattee did priesthood training on "How to Do Interviews".

This photo was taken as soon as the Sunday session was over. It was good to see the chapel filled all the way to the back.

Pretty Girls

Handsome Boy


New Member Marvin

Are missionaries always hungry?

We enjoy seeing all the tropical plants that thrive here. They don't  grow outside in Utah. And they don't get this huge.

November 1, 2011 - A Fizzled Hurricane and Mini Soy at Camalote

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

People here were really worried about Hurricane Rina, because at one point she was headed straight for Belize City. But to our relief she went north and slowly fizzled. Missionaries had been evacuated from San Pedro Caye and from Corozal. 

Our first ever Belize Strength of Youth Conference (patterned after Especially for Youth) is coming up next month. On October 29 we had a practice run, called Mini SOY. We invited about 40 Young Adults to be our participants at Camalote.

Check-In time

The area around Camalote is quite beautiful. You can see both orange trees and banana trees behind Sister Pattee. 
Getting started.  Including counselors, advisors, and teachers, about 65 people were in attendance.

First the participants were divided into male groups and

 and female groups with a counselor over each group.

Then the groups were put into larger ones called companies. The companies had both males and females.  Most of the activities were done in companies. An entire week's agenda was condensed into just one day. 

The grounds at Camelote were spacious, but a bit wet in places.

Of course, the young adults enjoyed learning to line dance.

And the games were fun,  too.

Mini Soy also made time for scripture study.

Lunchtime was a favorite for everyone. A few of the advisors brought their children along for the day.

Lunch break also allowed time for a quick game of volleyball....

and visiting. Tashira and Jamaan enjoy hanging out.

Shari was one of our teachers. She taught about being well-groomed and dressing modestly.

Thirsty, anyone? Jaime demostrates a creative way to get a drink.

Everyone seemed to have a good time.  We felt our Mini Soy was a good success.  Now we feel more confident about doing the real thing for an entire week in December with the young men and young women.

We had assignments with Tuesday night Relief Society.  The sisters learned a new rendition of the hymn, "Home Can Be a Heaven on Earth".   

Maybe we will sing it in sacrament meeting sometime, if the branch president gives the okay. We appreciate the sister missionaries helping us with it.

Sister Pattee was a proctor for a Campionship Study exam this past week (OPIc) for a young elder from Cost Rica. Spanish-speaking missionaries are encouraged to learn English while they serve their missions. Unfortunately, there were internet problems, and the test had to be rescheduled for next week. 

We made two trips this week to Belmopan to get paperwork done in order to get new work permits. Hours of paperwork is required to get a permit, and it is only good for one year. Ours just expired, but we do have a 1 month extension.   We are keeping very busy with PEF and S&I.