Who are we?

We are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We are currently serving in the mission field of The Church
for a period of three years. This blog represents our own opinions and experiences for these three years. And does not represent or speak
for the doctrine or opinions of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

All Our Hermanas . . .

Specialized Training . . .
(You can view the large photos of all the photos used in this post by clicking the 
slideshow in the right sidebar)

Every third month we have an opportunity to do some specialized training of our choice with the missionaries.  Earlier this year we did specialized training in each zone meeting about using all the missionary tools to accomplish the missionary purpose . . . . We identified 10 tools that are important for each missionary.

Missionary Tools:

1.  Scriptures
2.  Preach my Gospel
3.  Missionary Handbook
4.  Missionary Agenda
5.  The First 12 Weeks
6.  Adjusting to Missionary Life
7.  Area Books (Carpeta del area)
8.  Retention Report (First 12 Weeks of an Investigator)
9.  Language Study
10. Personal Goals

We also had invited the Area Medical Authority to visit the mission, and did health and wellness presentations in the areas.

From July 21, 2014

Our most recent specialized training  . . .

was a wonderful event for all the sisters in the mission.  We held two training sessions for sisters, one on each side of the mission to minimize travel for the sisters to attend.

The role of sister missionaries has changed dramatically over the last two years from what it once was.  There are more and more sisters that are dedicating their 18 months of service to the Lord than ever before in the history of the Church.  The large increase in sister missionaries can be attributed to President Monson's landmark announcement made in October General Conference on Saturday, Oct 6, 2012.

"As we have prayerfully pondered the age at which young men may begin their missionary service, we have also given consideration to the age at which a young woman might serve. Today I am pleased to announce that able, worthy young women who have the desire to serve may be recommended for missionary service beginning at age 19, instead of age 21."
-- President Thomas S. Monson

Immediately the ranks of sister missionaries began to swell . . . and with this increase in numbers of both sisters and elders came some additional changes to the well established missionary programs of the Church.  Each mission across the world would now form a Missionary Leadership Council which would meet monthly.  Council members would include the Mission President and Wife, the Assistants to the President, the Zone leaders, and the Sister Training Leaders.  A new leadership position for sister missionaries!

Elder David Evans from the Church's missionary department put it well . . .

"We are very excited about the new mission leadership council and this role for sister missionaries,” said Elder David F. Evans, executive director of the Missionary Department. “It will be a blessing to both missions and missionaries throughout the world, and better employ the remarkable faith, talents and abilities of all missionaries." 

From July 21, 2014
From July 21, 2014
From July 21, 2014
From July 21, 2014

Sister Missionaries in a Leadership Role . . .

This new leadership role for sisters give them responsibility for training and welfare of the sister missionaries that are assigned to their care.  The Sister Training Leaders continue to go out and teach in their assigned areas, but each sister in the mission has an opportunity to train with, and learn from a more experienced sister missionary once each transfer cycle.  They help them with questions and concerns they might have, and also help them in their adjustment to the missionary lifestyle.

Meanwhile . . .  Back at the Ranch . . .

We were talking about our specialized training . . . AND just recently our specialized training was to gather the sister missionaries together in two different areas of the mission to do training more specific for their needs and challenges . . .

Our focus was centered around the theme of President Eyring's General Conference address from October 2008.  "Our Hearts Knit as One  -  The Saints can accomplish any purpose of the Lord when fully united in righteousness".

From July 21, 2014
From July 21, 2014
From July 21, 2014

Our Hearts Knit as One . . .

Truly it is a great miracle of missionary work that missionaries from many many different circumstances and countries of the world can come united together to do Heavenly Father's work.  The prophets have always called for unity, and with changing worldly circumstances and worldly teachings surrounding the Saints more and more each day, it's important to be united in our efforts no matter where we serve in the church or leader in our homes with our families.  We know that greater joy and peace come into our lives when we experience unity as described in 3 Nephi 28:10.  The importance of revelation and humility as characteristics which lead to unity were discussed.  Seeking revelation to know the will of our Heavenly Father, and being peacemakers who can calm situations before the Spirit is lost are so important.

Much wise council from prior missionaries was shared concerning increasing companionship unity.

1.  People listen to you much better when you love them.  Matthew 22:30-39
2.  Find common ground.
3.  There is a blessing for you in each companionship, you need to find it.
4.  Be sure you are not harboring any negative feelings or thoughts.
5.  Listen, Listen Listen . . .
6.  Support your companion if anyone ever says anything bad about them.  Stand up for them.
7.  Learn not to participate in mission gossip.
8.  Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.
9.  How does the Lord see your companion?  Pray to see her the same way.
10. This is real life, now is the time to learn patience, love and tolerance, the ability to get along no matter how different you are.
11. Put yourself in their shoes, try to see things from their point of view.
12. This is the time to learn how to handle human relationships.

From July 21, 2014
From July 21, 2014

Everyone  had a chance to participate . . .

Each companionship of Sister Trainer Leaders had an area to focus on and present to help the sisters enjoy increased blessings of health and unity that would bless their missionary service.  One pair prepared a presentation on the blessings of exercise in the mission and being obedient to the missionary schedule for exercise to maximize health blessings here in the mission.  Another partnership created a cooking demonstration involving several sisters to help us all learn to prepare healthy foods with a limited kitchen.  The third set of Sister Training Leaders spoke on how living modestly in language, behavior and appearance can help us radiate the light of the Savior in our Missionary Work.

Each presentation was well done I'm sure each sister came away with new notes, ideas and motivation to be a better sister, a better companion, a better missionary and follower of the Savior.

From July 21, 2014
From July 21, 2014
From July 21, 2014

Blessing of the Increased Missionary Force . . .

I am convinced that the increased service of sister missionaries throughout the world is an important inspired direction from our Heavenly Father.  I am imagining the increased strength of the mother's in Zion, who will be raising families, teaching children, becoming leaders in the wards and branches throughout the Church.  What an amazing work they will accomplish for good through out the world as this incredible influence begins to be felt and permeate countries across the world for good.  Truly a positive and glorious sign of the times to come.  When the challenges of the world will be more ever present . . . and the mother's of Zion will be prepared.

When President Klein and I look at each sister missionary we see a beautiful daughter of our Heavenly Father.  Each one has different talents and abilities.  Each one is so needed here in our mission, to share their important message of hope that we are all sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father.  We know each one has a specific purpose and calling to our mission.  They will see great and marvelous things come to pass in their lifetimes that will be direct results of their missionary service.

Especially, as they continue to serve . . .

with their hearts . . .

Knit as One.

From July 21, 2014
From July 21, 2014

Recipes from the Conference:

Day one recipes - 

Menu - Boiled Rolled Chicken Breast with Salad and Potatos

Chicken Breast meat
Salt & pepper
Chicken seasoning

Wash all the vegetables with with purified water and a few drops of Clorox.  Thinly slice the chicken breast, slice the carrots thinly the long ways.  Wrap the chicken slices around the carrot slices.  Season with salt, pepper and chicken seasoning.  Boil over medium heat until chicken is done through, approximate 8-10 minutes. 

Wash the potatoes well with purified water.  Microwave in microwave for 2 minutes.  Turn over and microwave for 2 more minutes.  Turn and microwave for two more minutes.  Let stand for 5 minutes while you fix the salad.  Season with margarine, salt and pepper. 

Two Potatoes
Oil or margarine 

Wash all the vegetables well with purified water.  Slice the vegetables below, season with lime juice and garlic seasoning, toss all together.

Garlic seasoning

From July 21, 2014
From July 21, 2014
From July 21, 2014

Day Two Recipes - 

Menu - Seasoned Ground Beef and Vegetables on a Tortilla with Guacamole

1/2 pound of ground beef 
2 green peppers
1 tomato
1 small onion (diced and divided in two)
Garlic seasoning.

Wash all vegetables well with purified water and a few drops of Clorox.  Chop peppers, tomato and onion.  Brown ground beef in a pan.  Add the green peppers, one tomato, and half of the diced onion. Continue to cook on medium heat until vegetables are tender.  Season with garlic.

Prepare salad from lettuce and the two chili peppers finely diced.  Squeeze lime over lettuce and peppers and mix.  Season with garlic seasoning.

Small head of lettuce
2 chili peppers
1 lime

Make guacamole from the avocados and tomato and chili pepper.  Dice tomato finely with the chili pepper.  Smash the avocado and stir into the diced tomatoes and chili pepper.  

2 avacados
1 tomato
chili pepper

Corn tortillas

Spread the avocado on the corn tortillas.  Top with a little of the meat mixture.  Top with the lettuce salad mix.  Enjoy!

From July 21, 2014
From July 21, 2014

Friday, July 11, 2014

If you had $10 . . . what would you do?

If you had an extra $10 a month . . .

What would you do?
Go to lunch with a friend, pay someone to wash your car, buy dessert for the weekend BBQ,  buy popcorn and drinks at the movie house . . .

We all do that every day, don't we?

But here's an idea for you . . .

The following is going to hurt your heart.

Yes, that's right . . .

you better stop right here if you aren't prepared for a little heartache.

Watching the following video just about destroys me  . . .  I can barely make it through without just breaking down into a puddle . . .

Take a minute and take a look . . .

Our Beloved Children from Liahona Children's Foundation on Vimeo.

(These are my photos and do not represent the Church, or the Liahona Children's foundation in any way . . . but my own personal photos I've collected along the way here in Honduras)

My Thoughts for Missionary Families and Others . . .

Many many members of the Church have served missions in developing countries of the world.  Many families have members now serving in developing counties.  Many many families hear about the heartache, the challenges of these members of the Church, and others,  through the reports of their missionaries.  Many wonder what they could possibly do to help when they are so far away . . . .

Well,  I have some information for you -

Malnutrition is a serious problem throughout the developing world.  It literally stares us in the face daily in our missionary work here in Honduras.  And it pulls at my heart strings daily.  Many severely malnourished children suffer lifelong cognitive and physical defects, leading to increased levels of poverty and decreased potential earning power.  Which in turn become a vicious cycle in the next generations.

Because of the success of the Church's (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) missionary program in bringing many people into the gospel in developing countries, it is not unusual to find severely malnourished children among the Latter-day Saints in these countries.  Honduras certainly being one of the most humble countries that is an example of malnourishment amongst it's very youngest members of the Church.

Someone Should do Something Right?

The Liahona Childrens' Foundation was created about six years ago to address malnutrition among Latter-day Saint children worldwide.  It is a federally recognized 501 (c) 3, non-profit organization, independent of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Although it is administered by faithful Latter-day Saint members, and is funded by members of the Church in the United States and other countries.

Malnutrition is a hidden condition and not easily detected, but through weights and measures based on Standard Growth charts set by the World Health Organization, the Foundations volunteer screeners can accurately identify children in need of nourishment assistance.  Re-screenings later on show that the children receiving the supplements show significant progress in a short amount of time.

Branches, wards and Stakes all over the world are currently in need of supplemental health to provide nourishment to severely malnourished children in their units.  The cost of preventing such cognitive and physical problems related to malnutrition is surprisingly reasonable . . . less than $100 a year to provide the supplemental nutrients needed to feed the brain and body during this critical period of growth and development.

The incredible returns . . .
from such a minimal investment are amazing.  You can see in the video the hope, and peace and joy that these families experience at the physical assistance for their little ones, but in turn they have the opportunity to become healthy, contributing members of the Church in their areas, branches, wards and stakes, contributing many times over the initial amount needed to provide such nourishment.

I am only suggesting . . .
that if you are searching for means to make a difference in the life of many of the members of the Church throughout the wide wide world . . . you consider taking a look at this organization and see if it is something that you can support.

I can share my own thoughts with you with every bit of energy that I possess, that the situations you see in this video, and the other videos available on their website occur everyday of the week in many homes and families throughout the world, and certainly it is widespread throughout Honduras where we are serving.

The Liahona Children's Foundation is beginning screenings this week in Honduras,  to begin to supplement and help children and families, members of the Church and their friends.  Their mission is to nourish the potential of children to lead healthy and productive lives.

Also - You can read more at this magazine article linked below:

It is so easy to donate.
(click here!)
You can make a single contribution, you can make an ongoing contribution.
You can write a check, pay with paypal, use a credit card.

If you feel this is an organization you can support, why not take just a moment
and make a contribution.  Truly . . . it's easy and only takes moment.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Cast not Away Therefore Your Confidence!

A Life of Missionary Service . . .

(Sharing recent photos from our multi-zone conferences and transfer day in June)

(STL's teaching an English lesson at Multi-zone Conference)

There are so many analogies, signs and symbols to be found in the life of missionary service . . .

Each day is replete with lessons, challenges, experiences to be passed through, another day to rise after falling the day before . . .

A analogy that we speak of frequently with the missionaries relates to the challenges they pass through as they adapt to the life of a missionary and give up all their worldly pleasures and previous pass-times for a period to serve our Heavenly Father.  Which gives them great empathy and understanding for their investigators as they too are passing through many challenge moments as they come to know and love the gospel of the Savior, Jesus Christ.  A lifestyle that requires giving up many of their worldly pleasures and pass-times for something better that will come as they embrace and begin to live the teachings of the Savior.

(Photos of the Assistants teaching from the Missionary Manual, the importance of exact obedience!  The Zone leaders prepared lessons on planning from PME, and the missionaries had a chance to practice teaching lesson 5, the Laws and Ordinances of the Gospel.  Then I threw a baptism photo in there just because I like it so much :)

Another is the the lifestyle of a missionary models "real life" in adulthood for the missionary once he or she returns to home and family at the end of their missionary service.  The challenges and difficulties that they face and overcome each day prepare them for real life in the years ahead as they become mother's and fathers in Zion, raising children, making decisions, setting and achieving goals.

It is not any surprise therefore . . .

That missionary life should model the current going's on of the world all around . . .

We see increasing conflict in the world all around us . . . the wisdom and knowledge of man begins to compete with increasing strength daily with the wisdom and knowledge given to us from our Father in Heaven.  And as people and cultures everywhere begin to adopt and conform more and more to the desires of the world and of man, it becomes harder and harder to discern where the knowledge that comes from the Light of Christ ends, and the knowledge and experience of man begins.

(Elder Cortez, one of our assistants is in his final transfer before he concludes his mission in just a few weeks!)

Many are finding themselves confused about gospel truths in an ever more tumultuous and changing world.

This can be both a blessing and a challenge for missionaries.

No one encounters this on a more frequent basis than the missionaries.  They are faced daily with questions from the men, women and children that they are teaching.  This is good, because as missionaries we have many of the answers!

We have answers to questions about the purpose of our life here on earth.

We have answers to the questions about who God is and how we came to be here on the earth.

We have answers to questions about what will happen to us when we die and leave our mortal bodies behind for a time.

We have answers to questions about Mormon temples and the importance of families.

And much much more . . .

Nevertheless . . .

(Enjoying a delicious lunch together before we reconvene for a practice
session from PME)

We do not have answers to all the questions . . .

For God has much that he has not yet revealed.

And so, we have opportunity as missionaries to teach gospel principles . . .

First, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  And a witness that it is the Savior, even Jesus Christ who directs the church today, through the mouthpiece of his prophets and apostles currently present on the earth.

Faith in the doctrine of Christ, which is -
 “The fundamental principles of ourreligion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning JesusChrist, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, andascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religionare only appendages to it.”-- Joseph Smith

(So many wonderful musical numbers and choirs!)

And Joseph Smith's testimony is that -

 He lives, “for [he] saw him, even on the right hand of God; and [he] heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father” -- D&C 76:22,23 

Seeking a witness of the Truth - 

And we appeal to all to seek through prayer and study of the scriptures their own witness of the doctrine of Christ, the Atonement, and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  We appeal to all to accept this doctrine, follow the example of the Savior, repent and be baptized, receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and then throughout your life follow the laws and covenants of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

And sure . . .

It will be tough.

(At the end of the day . . . it's time to say goodbye)

It will be tough.  

"It will be tough  - before you join the church, while you are trying to join the church,   and after you have joined . . . that is the way it has always been . . . but don't draw back . . . don't panic and retreat . . . don't lose your confidence!  Don't forget how you once felt . . . Don't distrust the experience that you had!" -- Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

It's pretty safe to say that every missionary and every investigator has experienced exactly these emotions.   Teaching appointments fail, investigators lack interest, precious gifts of the Book of Mormon are refused, baptismal dates fall . . . The adversary is forever present.  And seems to attack at the exact moment that the most good is about to be accomplished!  Cast not away your confidence!

There will be more and more opposition to be found in all that we try to accomplish as we move closer and closer to the return of the Savior to the earth again.   Be prepared . . . Cast not away your confidence!  Missionaries will experience opposition in their teaching.  Investigators will experience opposition in their seeking.  In real life . . . we might experience opposition in gaining an education, in raising home and family, in marriage, in church callings and careers.  Cast not away your confidence!

(Arriving for Transfer day!)

Standing firm in the Witness of Truth - 

Once you have received that witness stand firm!  "I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you, and which shall dwell in your  heart" (D&C 8:2,3) 

When we go to the Lord seeking answers to questions, with "real intent", we can receive this witness through revelation, the combination of intellect and spirit, to our minds and to our hearts.  A witness that the adversary cannot duplicate.

Expect that your faith will be tested, expect that you may experience fear, the adversary will tempt you and will try you (and your investigators!)  . . . but cast not away your confidence!  The Lord shall fight for you!  With the spirit and witness of revelation, go forward without fear. When your Heavenly Father has blessed you with a witness of the spirit, he will provide a way that you can accomplish all that he desires for you.

(an scene from the blue waters of Telemar, Garifuna village)

(An Hermana departing from our mission district - President Klein
had the opportunity to set her apart before she left.)

 "Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.
 For ye have need of patiencethat, after ye have done the will of God, ye mightreceive the promise."  -- Hebrews 10:35,36

And remember . . . we have the promise . . .

 "And whoso receiveth you, there will be also, for will gobefore your face. will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up." -- D&C 84:88

(Here a some of the most recent zone photos, taken right before transfers - I'm missing a few still
but will include the ones we have)

(Zone - Miramar)

(Zone - Tocoa)

(Zone - La Ceiba)

(Zone - Olanchito)

(Zone - Santa Rita)

(Zone - Progreso Norte)

(Zone - Progreso Sur)