Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sunday we went 30 minutes further up the mountain to attend church in Seritquiche, where the Branch President had asked us come and work with the Primary.  During Sacrament meeting we sat next to a sweet little girl, about 10 years old who shared our hymnbook with us and kept comparing her hand to mine.  It touched me uniquely when at one point she lifted my hand and arm up to her face to smell my skin.  Guess I must smell very different, not living in a house where the wood smoke permeates the world.
 We found out when Sacrament ended that he wanted us to do all of Primary.  Luckily we had prepared! There were 24 children in their primary, quite a large number for a small branch and we had a wonderful time working with them.  We filled out a nametag for each child and talked about how important it is to guard the integrity of who we are, by choosing the right.  They were excited by the name tags and of course singing time included Head Shoulders Knees and Toes in English which is always hilarious the faster it goes. I had one package of crayons with us and a package of notebook paper, luckily there are 24 crayons in a box!  We gave them each a crayon, then every few minutes we had them change crayons with each other, saying how Choosing the Right meant sharing.  They did fantastic, and then when we had each of them show what they had drawn it honestly surprised us how they just glowed as we called out their name, pointed out their work and clapped for each individually.
 After the meeting we spoke with the Branch President and discussed the importance of having a Primary President and a Teacher to work with the children on a weekly basis, that is when we hit with the PROBLEM.  What does a Branch do when they don't have enough people who can read to teach the classes?  We go back up this Saturday for a District Training meeting with them, to work with their Relief Society and hopefully to help them address the problem.  Maybe they have a few youth that have attended enough school to know how to read.  Monday morning we helped the District President work on a missionary file for a young man from the same branch, the 18 year old boy has completed the equivilent of the 7th grade in the USA.   Monday morning we also went to get the supply list for the 2 little boys up the mountain.  We are working so hard with the Mom and Grandmother to get them started in school this year.  Traditions that do not place emphasis on an education are hard to fight!
Tuesday morning we started doing Housing Inspections and working with the Elders along the way on their goals for English.  Some are doing fantastic, and some we challenged to improve.  We also stopped in a town called Tamahu as we came through, to see about trying to establish Missionaries there.  It is a love little town surrounded by 36 Aldeas,  has a beautiful central Park and concrete boulevards leading into it - which is very strange since the roads leading up to the boulevards are all dirt and gravel!  The people were very friendly, everyone smiling at us, many introducing themselves to us.  One lady where we ate lunch at her comedor later saw us enter the Municipal Building where we had been advised to ask about the availability of renting.  While we were sitting and waiting she came in and sat by us and  asked what we were doing there.  When we told her she explained we didn't want to go through the Municipal, because they would charge us more -she then offered to help us find a house, I think she knows everyone in the village,  took us to see one place, then introduced us to a family that has a house that might really work out well.   It was neat having someone that cared and wanted to help so much.  I had always liked the town when we were driving through, but walking around and having people smile and talk to us made me like it even more.

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