San Pedro Sula East Mission
2013 - 2016

Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Few Important Reminders . . .

Honduras in the News . . .

There has been a lot of news going on in relation to Honduras these days . . . . many people are doing searches about Honduras to find out more information or to try to understand what the current situation is like here . . . I've noticed many many hits on this blog . . . so I'm sure many of the blogs in the sidebar are getting more attention as well.

Which is a good thing right?

It's good if we are sharing appropriate messages with the intent to fulfill our missionary purpose to share a message of the Savior and of the Gospel.  If we are posting messages about the gospel, missionary experiences, and sharing testimonies of the Savior, and the good works accomplished by the missionaries . . .

It's a good thing!  

But it brings to mind a few points that I think we need to be aware of . . . 

(A few photos of our July Transfer arrivals!)

From July 31, 2014
From July 31, 2014
From July 31, 2014
(Our newly arrived Couple Serving as Missionaries!)

A Few Important Reminders . . .

We always need to use caution when posting about our young people, our precious missionaries, and also about their experiences and investigators.  Sometimes missionary letters written to homes and family need to be filtered or edited to make them more appropriate for widely broadcast social media.

Honduras has a turbulent environment that is not always friendly to everyone, and here in Honduras (as in many parts of the world) not everyone is to be trusted.  We need to be very careful in our online social media postings to protect not only the security, privacy and safety of our missionaries, but also the security, privacy and safety of their investigators.

Please be extra cautious to not include your missionaries email address in public posts.  Anyone who is close enough to your missionary to email them can certainly get that information from the family.  There have been instances of missionaries receiving inappropriate emails through their assigned missionary email address.

(Final Transfer - heading for home!  We'll miss you!)
From July 31, 2014
From July 31, 2014
From July 31, 2014
(after transfers we have new office elders and a new Assistant to the President, 6 new Zone Leaders
and one new Sister Training Leader)

Exercise Caution . . .

I would also advise caution in sharing exact locations where missionaries are currently serving and where they live.

Consider referring to your missionary as Elder or Sister so-and so, and avoid the use of their first names while blogging.

Please also be very careful about information that you share about the investigators.  Edit out names, or change the names, do not include locations, cities, zones, where the missionaries are serving.  Most investigators would not appreciate reading about their private and personal lives on widely broadcast social media.

(Everyone was on hand to welcome our Senior Couple!)
From July 31, 2014
From July 31, 2014

It is wonderful to share inspiring missionary experiences!  Much good is accomplished through sharing such inspiring stories.  Just be cautious not to identify, embarrass or attract unsafe attention to individuals and families living in this tumultuous climate.  We do not know who is reading each blog . . .  but I do know that this blog is attracting much more attention these days . . . and likely not all of it is of a positive nature.

And so we muct be cautious.

It is a great privilege for the Church of Jesus Christ to have missionaries serving in all of the countries here in Central America . . . we wouldn't want to do anything to jeopardize that privilege.  We need to be very careful about privacy violations by families of missionaries, both past and present.

From July 31, 2014
From July 31, 2014
From July 31, 2014

Blogs and social media have a great purpose in sharing the gospel.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has established their own media presence through popular sites such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.  Clearly there is an appropriate and positive use of such postings.

“Sharing the good news of the gospel is easier and the effects more far-reaching than ever before. . . . Perhaps the Lord’s encouragement to ‘open [your] mouths’ might today include ‘use your hands’ to blog and text message the gospel to all the world!” . . .
“With the blessings of modern technology, we can express gratitude and joy about God’s great plan for His children in a way that can be heard . . . around the world. Sometimes a single phrase of testimony can set events in motion that affect someone’s life for eternity.” — President Dieter F. Uchtdorf (Ensign, May 2011, “Waiting on the Road to Damascus.”)

From July 31, 2014
From July 31, 2014
From July 31, 2014
(Scenes from some recent baptisms)

A Few Important Reminders . . .

As we create and share content online that reflects gospel principles, we can help more and more people throughout the world come to a knowledge of our Savior and the restored gospel.

Sharing through social media will only continue to grow . . . but take great caution to always follow the Spirit's promptings so that you can share the good news in a spirit of charity.  Our testimonies can and do reach people around the world.  If we each take great care to focus on making our messages uplifting and inspiring, certainly we can "flood the earth" and accomplish the great purpose that modern technology was meant to accomplish.

I love this quote from Elder L. Tom Perry,

"Surely there could not be a more exciting time to be involved in the Lord’s work," Elder Perry said. "In a world where we can so easily share our testimonies, the kingdom of God will surely spread, like the stone in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, until it fills the whole world."

(We had an opportunity to do a fireside for members and missionaries on the Book of Mormon)
From July 31, 2014
From July 31, 2014

And from the General Handbook on Instructions:

"Members are encouraged to be examples of their faith at all times and in all places, including on the Internet. If they use blogs, social networks, and other Internet technologies, they are encouraged to strengthen others and help them become aware of that which is useful, good, and praiseworthy." 

This YouTube video is quite helpful is explaining the use of etiquette and caution in blogging missionary experiences!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Missionary Monster Cookie Bars

Hello all,

By popular demand . . .

Many of the missionaries want me to share the recipe for their interview treats this month!

Monster Cookies have always been a family favorite, usually made only for special occasions.  I was very fortunate to run across a good Monster Cookie Bar recipe that is much easier to make in mass for a special treat.

I was even more fortunate to be able to locate all the ingredients to make these delicious bars here in Honduras.  They were a bit outside of our usual budget  for missionary treats, so they probably won't get them again for a very long time . . .

But here is the recipe!  Hope you enjoy!

The only problem with making #monstercookiebars . . . Is they are very addicting for the maker . . . !!

Missionary Monster Cookie Bars

1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
3 eggs
2 tsp. baking soda
4 1/2 cups quick cooking oatmeal
1 package (12 oz.) chocolate chips
1 package (12 oz.) milk chocolate M&M’s
(I sometimes substitute white chocolate chips, and peanut M&M's, or any combo of the sweet yummy treats!)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars until smooth. Beat in the eggs and baking soda. Then ddd the peanut butter and beat until smooth.
3. Mix by hand the oatmeal, one cup at a time. Slowly add in the M&M’s and chocolate chips.
4. Spread mixture into a well greased 9 x 13-inch pan and bake for 15-20 minutes. Do not over bake! (They will taste better just a little on the soft side. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe from: Domesticated Duchess
Yield: about 20 bars

To really make these for a crowd:  I triple the recipe and then divide the final recipe in half and bake them in two - jellyroll size baking pans.  Since my mixer (fabulous as it is!) won't fit three complete batches, I add the ingredients until you reach the oatmeal, chocolate chips, and M'M stage.  I divide that mixture into two batches and add the oats and chocolate chips and M'M's to both batches separately.  Then it is already divided to go into the baking dishes.  I bake them for about 25 minutes, until they are set in the middle and slightly beginning to brown.  Cut into squares when cool.  They freeze very well so you can bake them in advance.  I get about 35-40 bars per dish, so the recipe tripled makes about 70-80 bars.  My servings are pretty generous missionary sized servings.

**** Note:  I calculated the ingredients required to make one-jelly roll pan, or approximately 35-40 bars, and they are as follows - 

1 1/2 sticks of butter softened
1 1/2 C sugar
1 1/2 C brown sugar
2 1/4 C peanut butter
5 eggs
3 t. baking soda
6 1/2 C raw oats
3 packages (12 oz) baking chips or any kind of M&M's.

Bake in a well greased jelly roll pan for 25 minutes.

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.

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