Honduras
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 :)

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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!

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Scenes from Santiago!

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

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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! 
~~Hurray~~

santiago 2


Group hug!  ~~ Go team! ~~

Office 1


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The colorful city of Progreso!

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

Sisters 1


sisters 2


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

tele 1


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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 . . .


Campo

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