San Pedro Sula East Mission
2013 - 2016

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Organizing and Preparing . . . it's What we Do!

Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;
~~  Doctrine & Covenants 88:119

Well . . .

We've been here in San Pedro Sula for two months now!  How the time has flown by!  We've discovered serving as mission president and wife is a life filled with one big event on top of another.  As soon as one task, event, job is accomplished, you get up and start once again upon the next big one to come!

(ok . . . I'm going to tell it like it is . . . but your reward for suffering through the many long paragraphs below . . . is a visual treat as I have many photographs to share that I haven't been able to post yet!)

We are still struggling to get organized in the mission.  As our mission was divided and became two new missions upon our arrival in the country . . . . we had to start from scratch.

Things such as: 

Organizing an office that runs smoothly and efficiently.  Unpacking boxes and boxes of  *stuff* {office supplies, pamphlets, baptism clothing, donated items, books of Mormon,  medications for missionaries, first aid supplies, garments . . .  (yes, garments . . . who sent us these and how can we possibly stock them in all the possible shapes and sizes for our missionaries!?) church DVD's, computer components, parts and cords} and finding a place to STORE all the *stuff* and still have room for everyone to accomplish their tasks in the office . . . which leads to . . . 

Finding and providing work stations for our office Elders/secretaries and Assistants!  They each have VITALLY important roles to play as we strive to have a mission that runs smoothly and safely.  As you can imagine . . . SAFETY is one of our top concerns here in Honduras! 

Interviewing all missionaries! Wonderful, simple yet this takes a great deal of time.

Helping our office elders/secretaries, who had been just recently brought into the office from the field, understand their important roles and tasks (which REALLY is a trick . . . because we didn't arrive with an understanding of all the in's and out's required to run a mission in a third world country, in a language vocabulary that is not our own, but that we are becoming increasingly skilled out of necessity :)

Creating new areas and living quarters for our arriving missionaries.  We are creating about 12-15 new areas each transfer currently.  The list is long which entails putting new areas together.  We take telephones/communication totally for granted back at home.  We have missionaries who have been here two weeks now and we still have no way to communicate with them in their individual apartments, when they are not meeting with zone or district leaders.  We are NOT happy about that and are striving to find a solution! 

Meeting and greeting and interviewing many new missionaries every six weeks! (So far our favorite activity!)

Managing the tremendous and heavy responsibility of the precious monetary funds needed to provide for the needs of all our missionaries as they serve as representatives of the Savior, in a wise and timely and safe manner.

Inspiring our missionaries as they work through both physical and spiritual challenges every day!

Organizing and providing health and medical care for 150 young men and women missionaries ages 18-25!  It sounds simple . . . but just to put that into perspective . . . we have about 37 missionaries at any given time that have a medical need of some sort, be it great or small.  Which means multiple MULTIPLE phone calls each day with doctors, dentists, missionaries and members, pharmacists . . . and treasure hunts to local FARMACIAS to encounter the Latin American equivalent of medications that we are used to treating health concerns with.

Visiting some of our sick missionaries and those with particular challenges!

Visiting missionary apartments to check for cleanliness and safety issues.  

Writing and translating talks for and participating in firesides, Stake and ward activities, Stake conferences and meetings . . . (oh the meetings . . . we thought we had experience with meetings . . . I'm going to quote Sister Mary Ellen Edmunds here but in our case . . . it totally applies!  :)

"We believe in meetings - all that have been scheduled, all that are now scheduled, and we believe that there will yet be scheduled many great and important meetings. We have endured many meetings and hope to to be able to endure all meetings. Indeed we may say that if there is a meeting, or anything that resembles a meeting, or anything that we might possibly turn into a meeting, we seek after these things."

Teaching and training new missionaries, their TRAINERS, the office staff, ZONE leaders, DISTRICT leaders, our Assistants . . . . (or are they training us?  We haven't really figured that out yet . . .)  

Not to mention educating and hopefully inspiring and working alongside of Bishops, District and Branch presidents, Stake Presidents and all the members of the Church here within our mission boundaries.

Overseeing and managing the ecclesiastical responsibilities to the Districts and Branches in our mission.

We don't have the luxury of any Senior Couples serving as missionaries to assist us in our labor here.  Our greatest and most treasured resources are our many young men and young women missionaries ages 18-25.  We are amazed at the things we have been able to accomplish with these wonderful young missionaries . . . all arriving with varying degrees of talents, abilities, language skills, education and experience in the gospel.  But as one is utilized as a member of the team that keeps the mission administration running smoothly, safely and as efficiently as possible . . . it takes their time away from their primary PURPOSE as a missionary . . . which is to - 

Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance,baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.

We haven't had the luxury of a mission nurse . . .  (although one is coming with our next transfer and we very much look forward to her arrival - and pray that she can learn the language quickly :)  it's a role I assume along with the other mixed bag of tricks we keep pulling out of our hats :)  {And  . . . I am an RN and I speak Spanish! I have to hand it to the many mission president wives who don't have a medical background and don't speak the language of the country they are serving in!!)

Many of our missionaries serve in areas up to six hours away from where we live and where the office is located.  

We are limited in our evening activities as it's not safe for us to be outside or on the roads in almost every part of our mission after about 6:30 pm.  

We have a few additional unique challenges  . . . we live 30 minutes outside of our mission boundaries and we share one car . . . and . . . it's not safe for nicely dressed North American women to walk alone almost anywhere or take a taxi alone almost anywhere.  Our LDS missionary attire and name tags are a blessing to us as the church is recognized and well respected throughout the country and we have a reputation for doing much good amongst the people.  Yet we also stand out vividly against the majority of people who suffer in poverty daily, a representative of one who has material possessions.

Just to reassure our parents of missionaries  . . .  our young missionaries are actually much safer than we are on the streets of the areas they serve in.  They are well looked after by their neighborhoods, ward members, bishops and little guards posted at the entrance to almost all the neighborhoods and businesses.  They are familiar with their areas and know the people there, the members, their neighbors, the businesses in the area.  (Even the neighborhood dogs know them and watch out for them, while they just bark at us!) 

These people still do not know us  - and are immediately suspicious of us when we arrive in a 4-wheel drive vehicle.  A vehicle necessary to navigate the frequently flooded streets and rivers, torrential downpours etc.  Vehicles which frequently in this country are associated with more dubious characters.  In many areas of our mission - we cannot drive into neighborhoods at all because of safety issues.  We are natural targets as they suspect we likely have cameras and cell phones, not to mention a vehicle.  The cameras we can leave at home, but we must travel with cell phones . . .We are all protected daily by the Lord and appreciate each one of your prayers for our missionaries as well.

That said, we frequently find ourselves out of necessity making trips into dangerous areas in the evening hours for required meetings, to visit and support missionaries or members in their activities. 

Our four office elders/secretaries and our two Assistants all share our only other mission vehicle.  It is constantly in motion to stock and set up new areas, provide transportation for training and meetings, transporting missionaries and luggage, deal with visa issues, distribute mail and packages . . . 

So you can see . . . it's kind of like swimming through jello each day to get anything done . . . but we love it . . . it's a different challenge every moment, we feel the blessings of our Heavenly Father in our life EVERY day!  Our prayers are answered everyday and we know of our Heavenly Father's great love for his missionaries!

**I can't say enough about how helpful the Senior Couple serving as missionaries in the San Pedro Sula West mission have been.  They have been willing to help in our transition in every way.  We appreciate their words of wisdom and advice.  Their experience has been so valuable.  We keep hoping other couples will be inspired by the experience they share on their missionary blog . . . . and will want to join us in our efforts here in the Honduras, San Pedro Sula East Mission . . .

You can find more information here and here . . . I think YOU could be inspired
to join us here in the 
Honduras San Pedro Sula East Mission!

And now . . . let's catch up on some photos . . .

Scenes from Utila
Sadly . . . we have had to pull our missionaries out of this area
just recently.  For many years the missionaries have served as the Branch
Presidents here without any real growth of the Church occurring.  We're hoping
someone will feel the need to step up and provide the priesthood leadership
so badly needed in this beautiful part of the world.
Utila 1

Utila 2

(heheheh - this does me my laugh :)


Scenes from Santa Rita
Sometimes in these small towns our missionaries enjoy more
spacious apartments.  The little yellow house is one of my favorites.

santa rita a

Everyone drinks water from this bags of purified water
available in every pulperia.

santa rita 2

These are incredible!


Scenes from Santiago!

Interesting that so many of these little homes have their
satellite dishes!


This little ward / branch is in a beautiful place!
You can't beat sharing the gospel and testimonies in the middle of a
beautiful garden, surrounded by fruit trees of every sort.

santiago 1

We stopped by to visit the elders apartment
and found it all tidy and very clean! 

santiago 2

Group hug!  ~~ Go team! ~~

Office 1


The colorful city of Progreso!

IMG_0748 rd

A visit to a few of the Hermana's apartment!
Now this is what a missionary apartment should look like :)

Sisters 1

sisters 2


Scenes from Tela!
Visiting the missionaries and members there for Sunday meetings.

tele 1


A few random photos . . .

misc 1

A visit to the Berlin Ward Conference - 
We so appreciate the Elders serving here and all their efforts!
It was an amazing conference!

berlin 1

berlin 2

We see skinny horses on the streets everyday!
I always hope someone somewhere is taking good care of them . . .

Whose walking Who?

Beautiful Honduras . . .


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Zone Conference . . . Mission Tour!

Just returned from 4 days visiting missionaries all over the San Pedro Sula East Mission!

We have many wonderful details to share but thought I'd share photos first of all.  It was an amazing and inspiring week . . .

And . . .

It was a whirlwind . . . .


La Ceiba Zone

Miramar Zone

Colon Zone

President Klein, Hna. Klein - Elder & Sister Ochoa, our Asistentes


Progreso Norte Zone
Progreso Sur Zone
So sorry!!  We're missing photos of Zones Satelite and La Lima this time around . . .
Our time got away from us and we didn't get our photos taken before we had to 
dash off for our next destination.

Zone conf 1

Hna. Martinez - the wife of President Klein's Mission Presidency
secretary helped us with the lunch in several of our zone conferences.
It was a lifesaver with our busy schedule to have someone cook us a yummy lunch
and bring it all prepared to serve.

zone conf 2
In La Ceiba - we were far from home . . .
But all the missionaries were pretty delighted to get Kentucky Fried Chicken for 
lunch during our conference there.

zone conf 3

zone conf 5

zone conf 7
Elder Ochoa, of the 2nd Quorum of the Seventy
 was our visiting General Authority.  What a blessing it was for the
San Pedro Sula East Mission
to have him and Sister Ochoa in our midst for the week.  
Elder Ochoa spent time greeting each missionary personally, shaking their hand,
visiting with them to find out more about them . . .
His message on faith that he shared throughout our conference
was a very welcome one.
Each one of us went away uplifted, encouraged and well fed spiritually.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Mission Inspiration!

Wanted to share some mini miracles . . .

We are so blessed to see the hand of the Lord in the work everyday . . .

In the life of a missionary it's incredible some of the mini miracles that come to pass as they are out there meeting, teaching and helping others to come to know our Savior Jesus Christ.

 Here's a few experiences we've gathered up this week.

 . . . this week we received a reference from a member, when we arrived at their home we found them all excitedly waiting for us, they shared questions with us and we clarified the doubts they were experiencing.  We taught and shared testimonies and the sister accepted the challenge to be baptized and we set another date to return.  When we returned the said they didn't want anything more to do with us, they appreciated our help and strength but not to come back again.  We began as a companionship to speak about the Book of Mormon and about the blessings we receive in the gospel with our families.  We felt the spirit there so strong, and the sister with her sons remained quiet and thoughtful and promised us she would read the Book of Mormon and we could come back to visit them anytime we wanted.   We were amazed because we know undoubtedly it was the Spirit which changed their hearts . . .

IMG_0769 rd

 . . . I had to do exchanges with another missionary this week as we were both sick.  We were so sick we couldn't go to lunch but we had only 2 instant soups in our apartment.  We blessed the food saying "Heavenly Father, we know this is not the best food we can make, but it's all we have, please according to our faith, bless us and make us feel better".  We ate, and 15 minutes later we discovered we feel better, not just better but awesome and ready to work! We thought, "how could this happen"?  We realized the power of faith and prayer! . . .

Recently baptized family - such a pleasure to meet them!

 . . . I know we are here to baptize, but not just for numbers but to bless the lives of the people here.  This week we went to visit a member who was baptized three years ago but hasn't been to church in a year.  At first she wanted nothing to do with us.  But we shared a small thought from the Liahona which we brought for her.  We listened to her express her concerns about being offended and wronged by others.  But we just listened and read the Book of Mormon with her. We laughed with her and realized that we really love her but we didn't think that our efforts were making any difference  to her or reaching her.   We hoped she would come to church Sunday but she didn't. Later the bishop showed us something really special . . . A tithing envelop with her name on it.  Saturday after our visit she stopped by his home and paid her tithing, saying she knew she needed to do it . . .

IMG_0819 rd

 . . . in our ward we are having fellowship nights where we read and share favorite passages from the Book of Mormon -  they are wonderful.  We invited a member who had not been to church for a very long time to participate and she offered to have the next evening in her home.  The Book of Mormon has much power to convert the people.  This member thanked us for inviting her and teaching her how we feel the Spirit bear witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon . . .


"Let them go two by two, and thus let them preach by the way in every congregation, baptizing by water, and the laying on of the hands by the water’s side."

"And let them journey from thence preaching the word by the way, saying none other things than that which the prophets and apostles have written, and that which is taught them by the Comforter through the prayer of faith".
~~ Doctrine & Covenants 52:9-10

Friday, August 9, 2013

Whew! Welcome to 35 New Missionaries!

Whew!  It's been an amazing week . . . filled with lots of blessings, miracles, bold missionaries and hard workers.  We are at a loss for words to describe the atmosphere we have experienced for the last four days.   We are so grateful for the safe arrival of all 35 new missionaries who will be serving in the Honduras San Pedro Sula East Mission.

We opened 12 new areas with this arrival of missionaries, secured, set up and furnished 12 new missionary apartments.  And now that they are all out working in their areas with their amazing new trainers . . . we are especially grateful for all the behind the scenes work that makes this missionary program function as well as it does.

We did have one little glitch in the plan - when two of our arrivals from the CCM in Guatamala were refused entrance into Honduras due to a visa problem.  It turns out the CCM didn't send them with the correct papers, and the airline failed to check their documents before letting them on the plane.  So much to our disappointment and frustration . . . after a very lengthy wait . . . these tired Elders were reboarded on the airline (at the airlines expense) and returned to the CCM in Guatamala.  ¡Qué triste!

But they are now here 2 days later . . . well fed and rested and just now arriving in their new areas with their new companions and trainers.  Whew!!

Just a little note about our missionaries . . .

We have missionaries from 12 different countries,  33 sister missionaries,  118 Elders - mostly from ages 18-25 years of age.  About 40% of our missionaries are from North America, the remaining 60% are from Latin America.  Several of our North American missionaries speak Spanish already as a secondary language.

Yes, they are an amazing bunch!

Enjoy this fun video our office staff created from their arrival and orientation.

Thought you might be interested in what the last week has looked like . . .

As an office staff . . .

We had meeting after meeting to make sure preparations to greet all the newly arriving missionaries were in place along with how we were going to feed and sleep overnight 35 new missionaries in preparation for our transfer meeting where they would meet their new companions and head off to their areas.

(Update - Transfer meetings were discontinued at the suggestion of our Area Presidency in Oct 2014, so now all incoming missionaries meet their trainers right away, receive training and an interview with President Klein, and in the afternoon are on the way to their areas with their trainers.  A much better way of doing things . . . )

We also had a day full of orientation to accomplish  - where we educate all new missionaries about immigration and visa issues, how the finances work and a little guidance on missionary budgeting, health and safety education.

And finally training on the first 12 weeks with their trainers.  It's a lot to take in for a new missionary who has just arrived in a foreign country and for the non native Spanish speakers - only understanding about 25% of what we're talking about.  We teach in English and in Spanish so as not to lose them along the way - this is IMPORTANT stuff :)

The missionaries arrived late Monday night from the MTC in Provo Utah.

arrivals 1


Tuesday morning the missionaries from the CCM in Guatemala arrived.

arrivals 2
Our Sister Training Leaders were on hand to greet all the arriving sisters as well!

Already sharing the mission vision - before even leaving the airport!


arrivals 4
(I was really not sure all those bags were going to fit in there!)

Tuesday midmorning - everyone was ready for a breakfast of baleadas, a traditional Honduras food -  orientation and an opportunity to go teach in the areas around the chapel.


orientation 1

We took a lunchtime break and had a meal prepared by one of the members here locally - of salsa  chicken, cheesy vegetables and rice pilaf.  Then it was out on the streets to contact and share testimonies of the gospel!  Meanwhile President Klein was completing his
interviews with THIRTY FIVE missionaries!  :)
Dinner was pizza and root beer floats - an unusual treat for the Latin American's. Many had never heard of root beer and had never had a root beer float before.  Almost all of them thought it was a pretty good treat!  Then if was back on the buses and off to their temporary houses to get some much desired sleep!

orientation 2

Wednesday morning - missionaries began arriving from all over the mission for a transfer meeting for all those receiving a new area assignment, or if they would be training one of our newly arrived missionaries.  You can tell they were all pretty excited to see one another and meet all the new arrivals.

Transfer meeting was followed by a training session for all the trainers (truly the most important leadership role in the mission!) and their new companions . . . the new missionaries!


We had the mom of one of our returning home missionaries join us for the week.

transfers 1

transfers 2
**I was so proud to see the Elders helping the sisters with their luggage!
Way to be Elders**

And then they were off . . .

Off to begin an 18-24 month experience that would change their life forever more, bless the lives of their families, their families to come . . . it's amazing to think of the great blessings that will come into their lives, the lessons they will teach, the people they will touch . . . the influence they will have as they invite and help others to come unto Christ.

It's amazing the experience they will gain in the next 18-24 months . . . as they learn to sacrifice their own time and talents in the service of our Heavenly Father.

the latecomers
(We were so happy when our "didn't have the right papers, had to return to Guatamala missionaries" arrived!  Sadly they missed out on meeting and greeting so many of their fellow missionaries, but we treated them to a nice dinner and a personal orientation and abbreviated training session over dinner before they headed to bed for some sleep and caught a bus the next day to meet their companions who by that time had returned to their areas)

Our Asistentes really took them under their wing and made them feel welcome!

 Here is also a first glimpse of our new Asistente . . . Elder J.  He was called to serve as one of our previous Asistentes returned to the mission field to . . .

“Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.”

 for his last change before returning to his home in Mexico next transfer in 6 weeks.  He is one of our best of the best . . . what a great example.  We expect great things from his zone during this last transfer period  :D

And the next day . . .

We had one more staff meeting . . .

To thank all our office elders and assistants who worked tirelessly and on little sleep to get everything prepared so the days would run smoothly . . . everyone would be fed, everyone would have a place to sleep and a furnished apartment.

(I made a deal with them and the President . . . if they could keep us on schedule for initial interviews with 35 new missionaries . . . we could have banana splits for an office treat to celebrate . . . and they managed to pull it off :)

And . . .

Happy Birthday - to Elder G!


Whew . . . and so it continues . . .

 photo s_03.jpg  photo s_04.jpg  photo s_05.jpg  photo s_06.jpg  photo s_10.jpg