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. 

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