Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Celebrations, Miracles and Thoughts on Canlun

Eating the fresh orange I just cut open and staring out the door this morning at the mountain on the other side, I was grateful for being in Paradise another day!  We are so blessed with little daily miracles.  Monday evening the Elders asked if we could help them get a little refrigerator up to their area in Seritquiche, about a half hour drive up the mountain, of course we said yes.  We went to get gas and the gas station was out, plus there was a storm over the mountains.  We postponed taking it up till Tuesday morning, they also said they wanted to work up in a village (Sachaj)  about another 45 minutes to an hour drive further up in the mountains.  We said we would take them up as far as we could, We can't get the whole way in to Sachaj in our car, roads are too rough, but that way we also planned on meeting with and working with some of the members up in that area.
We took family group sheets with us on Tuesday to hopefully give to some of the members there and help them get started.  When we got to San Francisco, as far as we were going, there was a Young Adult brother there from Senahu waiting on some of his friends to work at the school.  The sister I wanted to talk to had her store open, right next to where we had parked, so I went to talk to her.  The problem is that she only speaks Kekchi, my Kekchi wasn't near good enough to communicate everything.  My little miracle, (Or huge)  the Brother from Senahu translated for me and she is going to start filling her forms out and hopefully help the Branch also to get started.  That is exciting! 
 Last night we were going to visit one family and walking down the trail we aw on the side  a Sister with a few of her children around her, I had never stopped at her home before, but there she was and her little three year old was holding a battered copy of the Book of Mormon.  We stopped and talked with them.  Later we needed to go back up and run a quick errand, and she met us again on the trail. She told us that we needed to go to the home next to hers, there was a brother there that was sick.  Such love and compassion, it was for her neighbor that she was concerned.  We went to the home she pointed out and it was some members we had never visited before, but the grandparents had just come to live with them because the Grandfather is very ill. l We noticed there were no pictures up in the home, so we will go back again tomorrow and sing with them and take them a couple of pictures of the Savior.  We would have never known to go, if we had not been told by the neighbor.  
Monday morning Mountain Elders showed up on our doorstep one of them with part of his care package from his mom.  In it was the making for his favorite cookies, his Mom had sent it for his Birthday.  This is really impressive, because the shipping is very high to get here, plus it takes a while for it to arrive and it was here before his birthday!  We made his cookies and he had all the other Elders up Monday evening for helping eat them.  They were awesome!!!
Last weekend was the Independence Day celebration here.  Races, People going to other towns and then running back with their torches, parades, fireworks, Activities in the branches, National Anthem and flag raising.  It was wonderful to see their love for their liberty and their country.  The street and both sides of it around the municipal building completely full as people came to sing the National Anthem and watch the flag raised and lowered each day.

There are two rivers to cross on the way to Canlun (sometimes spelled K'anlun)  on the way there the Branch President called to let us know that it had been raining in the valley and the rivers might be up.  For any freeway driving Americans, the crossings are without the benefit of Bridges, but we were able to maneuver across both rivers, and several mud holes that were almost as deep as the rivers.  We met at the Chapel with the Branch President and the Full time missionaries, although still early morning it was starting to get hot.  After having prayer we split up to go visit some inactive members of the Branch.   Making the visits we walked across another river, with the help of a foot bridge.  The women were washing their clothes in this river, perhaps an interesting note is that the women washing their clothes and walking back from the river had also washed their tops, but made sure they had on their Corte skirts.
Most all of the homes in Canlun are made of upright sticks about the size of a shovel handle with larger poles on the corners and at the doorways, many of the homes leaning in different directions.  The roofs are made with large leaf thatching or tin, the floors are dirt. Outside one home I helped an elderly brother taking the dried corn of the cobs in his basket.  I speak almost no Kekchi, and he speaks no English, but the corn comes off the cob the same in both languages.  Later sitting in his home I noticed the ants crawling around my feet, then a duck came in to enjoy a few bits of corn that had been dropped on the floor.  In the homes we visited we sang hymns, prayed, testified and invited them to come back to church.  Humble surroundings and limited food, yet the people here seem very happy,  Such a pleasure to work with them!

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