San Pedro Sula East Mission
2013 - 2016

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Mission Experience & Photos

Time for an Update - 

Oh my goodness, it has been a LONG time since I have been able to compose a new blog post.   Every single day, week, and month is so filled to the brim . . . we are not sure if it's just us trying to finish everything up in the last few months of our mission, or if we're just getting older, with a lot less energy than we began 34 months ago!  Most likely both!

I have been working on Part II of a previous Post - 


It has been longer in coming together than I had hoped.  I have so many thoughts to share, and trying to get them all organized and presented in succinct blog post hasn't quite happened yet.  Yet, it is in the works and I do anticipate finishing it before too much longer.

In the meanwhile, I have many photos from the last several weeks in the San Pedro Sula East Mission to share, and some tender missionary experiences.  

There's no doubt President Klein and I are inspired daily by our missionaries, through their challenges and growth that we see occur on almost a daily basis. We are certainly so proud of them in all they are able to accomplish, and the many testimonies they share to bring other to a greater light and knowledge of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Just a little update on our lives to begin with - 

When we started this assignment, we left our 2 grandchildren behind.  When we return (last week of June), we´ll have 8 grandchildren! Our second son and his wife delivered their third boy in January,  Our youngest daughter, who was married here in the Tegucigalpa Temple near the beginning of our mission, welcomed a little boy in March and our other daughter and her husband are expecting a boy in July!  Of course, we miss being there to support each of them, but it will come soon enough.  We sold our “grandparent house”  just before we left for the mission, because our children were moving out of the Utah and did not appear to be returning, and it was just too big for two people.  We purchased our townhouse so that we would be able to more easily visit THEM, but even the best plans have a mind of their own.  Now, much to our delight, all of our grandchildren, with their parents, have returned to Utah!

What an amazing time it is to be working in the mission field, despite our many ups and downs, we feel very blessed to be part of this great work and to work alongside of the many young people of the Church.  We are impressed by how they are changed and strengthened during their service, it's amazing for us to watch this spiritual growth that takes place in their hearts.  We remark frequently that this is one of our favorite blessings of missionary service.  

(Glimpses from our last Zone Conferences and Mission Leader Council)

Harvesting Seeds - 

We are always planting gospel seeds everywhere we go.  It's all part of being a missionary.  Yet, we feel very fortunate in the last several months to see the 'fruit of the tree' actually being harvested!  We have seen two of our little faithful groups become actual branches of the Church the last couple months, in Morazon and Masica.  It was such a privilege to be with them and celebrate this great blessing.  These groups of people who are located far from any organized ward or stake have met faithfully, and had a priesthood member travel weekly to preside in their midst for many years.  They are beyond grateful to finally become an organized branch, and will someday soon have an actual meeting house to meet in, instead of someones garden or home.  (Although, seriously it doesn't get any better than attending Sacrament meeting beneath a Mango tree, with butterflies all around, and pollitos, little baby chicks, wandering around your feet)

We also were present recently as a new Stake was created in our mission.  The first one in 5 years in Honduras.  A wonderful blessing to be present when a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy came to preside, and organize two Stakes out of one.  A few weeks ago we attended a branch who has outgrown their building, they have about 175 in attendance weekly, up from 80 when we arrived almost three years ago.  They have just been approved to construct a new, larger building on the property.  

(Our Mission Leadership Council)

And in the next few months, our one Mission District in Olanchito, consisting of 6 branches in the far reaches of our mission will become a Stake also!  We have been doing training with all their leadership to help them understand this big transition that is coming and help them be better prepared to work together as a Stake.  What great blessings!!  We feel very humbled to be a part of this work at this time.  We know MANY have come before us, and planted seeds, and these seeds have been nourished and nourished for many years.  

Some Mission Happenings - 

Thought we would share a few stories from the last couple weeks.  This week it was truly humbling to see the many blessings we take for granted in our lives . . . for instance, running water.  This week Norm visited a family with the missionaries in the pouring rain.  We thought the rain was a little messy and inconvenient . . . but here they were all scurrying around with every container and bucket they could scrounge up in the house to collect the rain water that was coming off their roof.  They do not have access to water in their home.  So this was a great blessing for them. 

In March we welcomed a new group of 10 missionaries to the mission.  Two were returning from health problems.  Elder G. broke his leg playing soccer several months ago and is returning as well as Elder S., our missionary who fell 70 feet off a cliff (did we share that story?? It was a crazy one!) We knew he promised us 6 months ago that he would return when he completed his rehabilitation and physical therapy, but we seriously didn't believe it could possibly occur before we ourselves returned home from the mission field.  So just another miracle in his whole story of one dedicated missionary and the many miracles that have sustained him from the time he fell off the cliff, and now today returns to missionary service!!

One more cute story - We had a missionary and his companion in the hospital recently, and picked up the companion of the sick missionary to go get a bite to eat after spending all day patiently supporting the sick elder at the hospital all day.  As President Klein drove him past several food options available here in the big city of San Pedro Sula, he pointed out McDonalds.  He said he had a Big Mac 12 years ago, and always remembered how good it was!  Guess where they went for dinner!!

April has been an event filled month, President Klein's final interviews with all our missionaries.  Very bittersweet moments as the missionaries realize this is their last private time with us.  We will be doing teaching and training in May, and Zone conferences in June, but this is our last month of personal interviews with all the missionaries.  There have been quite a few tears this month . . .

(A visit to the Roatan branch and a fireside for the youth)

Tender Missionary Miracles and Mercies - 

"We had Hna. B and Hno. R baptism this month, they are both very special people. Hno. R always impresses me even though he has a learning disability with his desire to learn and study the gospel.  He told us he wanted to be baptized before we even had an opportunity to extend an invitation to him.  Sunday he was confirmed and bore a strong testimony during Sacrament meeting, there he was dressed in his white shirt and tie, even though he had to walk more than a half hour to get to Church" "Even though I can't go to the temple during my mission, I want to do all in my power to help our recent converts get to the temple soon and as often as they can.  I taught my first pastor this week and was terrified, while he said the first prayer I was praying in my heart to have the words to share what I know to be true, and I remembered that we were declaring the truth of the everlasting restored gospel and we could not be confounded by man . . . and all that fear just went away!"

The Power of Temple Blessings! 

"We struggled through the Semana Santa this week with many people away and traveling, but  we were happy to see that so many of our recent converts still very active in the Church and attending their meetings.  This makes us so happy!  It also makes us so happy to see that at least half of them have already received temple recommends and have visited the temple to do baptisms for the dead and are getting started in family search to do temple work for their families!" 

"Yesterday one of our recently baptized converts was confirmed, a young girl who is already getting started on her Personal Progress with the Young Women of the ward.  This weekend she is going to the temple for baptisms and is taking her mother who is not yet a member, but has noticed all the amazing changes taking place in the life of her daughter.  We feel that soon, she will also have a desire to become a member of the Church!"

(more zone conference)

(The Parable of the Oranges!!)

"Hello President Klein, this week we have seen many miracles in our missionary work.  We had 5 baptisms on Saturday.  This week our ward has a temple trip planned, we are working with our newly baptized members to help them be prepared to go and participate in the sacred baptism ordinances in the holy house of our Heavenly Father.  They all have a great desire to go and we are doing all in our power to help them be prepared!"

Power of the Book of Mormon - 

 "We had a great experience this week, we had three baptisms.  They were three young men who we met through a recent convert.  When we first arrived at their home, one of them pulled out an old Book of Mormon, he found it and was already reading it.  He read clear through 2nd Nephi without even understanding what the book was.  He was so ready to hear our message, and they all received our lesson with great interest. We also helped 5 of our recent converts find family names and they were able to take these to the temple this week when our ward had a temple trip.  It was a great week!"

"We want to tell you about one of our investigators, we were teaching lesson 3 (The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Atonement, Faith in Jesus Christ, repentance and baptism) and he had many good questions, but at the end of our lesson he told us he didn't agree with many of the principles we had taught. Then just as we were leaving, he saw the Book of Mormons we were carrying with us, and ask us if it would be possible for him to read it.  He said he had a copy previously, many years ago, but was never able to finish reading it.  He was very happy that we left a copy with him, and really we could see a complete change in his countenance as we began talking about the Book of Mormon.  The lesson ended well and we can testify strongly of the power of this great book!"

"We found a great couple, they are the parents of one of our recent converts.  The father had received a Book of Mormon about 20 years ago. And during this time, he has read it about 3 or 4 times, and he has highlighted many different parts, and made notes throughout the book.  It is one of the older style Book of Mormons because it is a little bigger in size, and the format is different.  Actually, I haven't seen one like it.  It was awesome to hear about and see this experience with the Book of Mormon!  Last week he came to church with his wife, and they felt very at home and welcomed.  I love to see how this fruit of that person who gave him a Book of Mormon more than 20 years ago, is now coming to fruition.  It just goes to show we never know what kind of an impact we will make and when it will happen."

"We are trying to work more with references because all our area is basically very strong in the two giant evangelical churches in our area.  But this week we received a reference from one of our recent converts and when we went to visit, one of them had an old beat up Book of Mormon that his mom had given him.  He had already begun reading it!  They are two brothers and when we asked them why they were reading the book they told us they didn't know why, but they just found the book and had an unexplainable desire to read it!  They came to Church with us this Sunday, and are already expressing a great desire to be baptized."

Power of the Holy Ghost - 

"I want to share an experience we had this week in one of our teaching lessons.  We were teaching J. and we also have recently begun to teach his grandmother who also lives in the home.  She is amazing, she told us that since we have been teaching in her house, her grandson has been very blessed. And now that we are teaching her also, she says "every time that you all share something with me, it fills my heart with a great joy".  We explained to her that this is the Holy Ghost she is feeling, and we know she already has a great to desire to continue learning more about the gospel."

"This week we had a wonderful experience, one of our recent converts came to listen to General Conference, then later received the ordinances of the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods, and we had the opportunity to spend time during these with his wife. And it made us so happy to see their progression in the gospel.  For the first time he was able to give a priesthood blessing to his wife, and this made her so happy.  We all were overcome with how wonderful this opportunity was and filled with the Spirit, and we are so happy that they can enjoy this great blessing. It makes me so happy to be a missionary and see what joy comes to those who find and practice the gospel in their lives."

( A visit to the Sonaguerra Branch)

Power of teaching and testifying - 

"This week we have found several people who have already been prepared by Heavenly Father and have a great desire to make changes in their lives.  Yesterday, we taught someone who went to all three sessions of Stake Conference with us, and he says he already feel much happier, fells more excited now that he is going to church meetings.  Before he just felt so alone.  We also found a couple who is well prepared to hear our message.  The husband has spent many years living in a way not becoming to gospel standards but now is excited to implement many changes and get his life in order. He wants to change so bad.  We invited them also to Stake Conference and they came.  President Cruz (the Stake President) talk was perfect for him, and he was right up front to hear it.  Members all around him, already know him, and are fellowshipping him.  This is how it is supposed to work."

"On Saturday night we visited a Garifuna family that we have taught a few times.  They are in their 30's with two small children.  They are married! Which is a miracle!  Since the first day we found them we have felt something special about them.  As we sat down in their living room, she told me something I didn't expect, she said, "Elders, I want you to know that my husband and I have decided we will go to church this week with you, but only if it doesn't rain."  That was a problem, because it had been pouring rain for 3 days straight.  Upon arriving at the house my companion and I prayed, absolutely begin g for a break in the rain to give them a chance to experience the church for the first time.  As I opened my eyes Sunday morning, I sprinted to the window and what did I see? Blue sky, the first blue sky for a week!  They came to church, and loved it!  Such an incredible blessing from a loving Father!"

The Power of Prayer - 

"We want to tell you about a great experience we had, we know a man of about 48 years old, who never in his life has said a prayer.  And for the first time ever in his life, this week he prayed with us!  We all felt the Spirit so strong, and he truly felt as if he was communicating for the first time ever with his Heavenly Father". 

"We found a new family to teach, a reference from a recent convert.  On our first visit, they opened the door and let us in.  It is a mom, a dad, and 5 small kids.  We taught them about the restoration of the gospel, and how it can bless their family, then the mom said the closing prayer.  All she said was, "Heavenly Father, thank thee for these messengers you sent to us.  Please bless my family".  And then she could barely talk because the Spirit was so strong and she was crying. When she said, "amen", we looked up and both the mom and dad were crying.  We all could feel the Spirit testifying to them that they are children of God, and He loves them, and he wants to bless their family.  It was incredible."

Power of the Priesthood - 

"This week we stopped by the house of a neighbor of one of our investigators. We found an elderly man there who was very sick and could hardly walk or talk.  But they invited us in to visit them, and while we were there, asked if we would give the man a blessing.  Other churches had been there before and prayed for him they explained to us.  But they trusted us, and we gave him a blessing and set an appointment to return another day.  We shouldn't have been surprised but we were so happy to see that already he was able to talk and walk so much better!  That they have no doubt that the priesthood authority has restored his health, and now he wants to hear all the lessons and get ready to be baptized.  He told us that immediately after we left he started to feel better.  We were surprised to find out that he was a pastor, and he had great knowledge of our doctrine already.  He has read the Pearl of Great Price, and understands much about our temples, and is so appreciative of the great miracle that has come into his life.   Now he is reading the Book of Mormon.  He told us that years ago, he and his sisters listened to the missionaries, but his mother wouldn't give permission for them to be baptized, this happened when he was 9 years old.  Now he is so happy to have a chance to begin again where he left off learning about the restored gospel.  He knows his Heavenly Father has a plan for him."

A Closing Note from Us - 

What an amazing time it is to be working in the mission field, despite our many ups and downs, we feel very blessed to be part of this great work and to work alongside of the many young people of the Church.  We are impressed by how they are changed and strengthened during their service, it's amazing for us to watch this spiritual growth that takes place in their hearts.  We remark frequently that this is one of our favorite blessings of missionary service. 

Many times we have likened the mission to the Starfish on the Beach story . . . and it has been overwhelming to see sooOOo many starfish on the beach.  But we realize truly, it is just one beach after another filled with starfish, all our Heavenly Father's children and creations.  When we remember that we are our Heavenly Father's hands it helps us keep all in it's proper perspective.  It takes many many hands to do our Heavenly Father's work, and we feel so blessed to be a part of His great work.  

Behold . . . the field is white . . . 
(D&C 4)

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