There are some days when we think we haven't accomplished much and it makes us wonder what we are doing here. At the end of one day like that last week we sat down and made a list of things that had happened, or that we had done. It filled us with such gratitude to see the list was much longer than we had realized.
There is an older sister in the branch here who has been very sick. One of our other sisters took us to visit her last week and we have been able to go back a few times to see her. She is so very sweet! We talked about flowers one day, so I took her a couple the next day from our yard. She had said her favorite ones are white, but I didn't have any of them. Coming back into our yard in the car from meetings down in the valley the following day, I saw two women walking down the street towards the market with arms full of white flowers. I got out of the car as soon as we parked and headed after them, I was too late though and couldn't catch them. Coming back up towards the house I looked to the side and there was a neighbor with his fence open, and a yard surrounded in beautiful white lily-type flowers. He probably thought me very strange when I walked in to ask for a flower, but he so kindly got his machete and cut me one to take to our sweet sister.
The grandmother of our little seven year old that just started school last week, came to see us because the teacher said he is having problems. We went to the school with her to see the teacher – found out there are 52 first graders in the classroom! The other first grade has the same amount. My hat is off to the teachers here that try to work in such conditions! The teacher said they will be getting one more teacher this week and dividing the classes, that should help some. Our little one though is behind his classmates because he never went to the preschool, his family speaks Kekchi with very little Spanish, and with illiterate parents he has never learned any of the basics. We spoke with our landlady who has her grandchildren in the school. She and her husband are raising them, and she used to be a teacher. She and her young granddaughter will be tutoring him after school. We are hoping and praying that he is just behind and that it is not a learning disability.
We helped check and doctor one dog bite for one of our Latino Elders and baked cookies for two Elders who had received ingredients from home in packages. Yum, Brownies and Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. We got a few from each, but more fun was watching the Elders enjoy their treats.
We are very excited by the District training meetings we attended last Saturday with three of the Districts and a member of the Mission Presidency. We are now planning a training for the Presidencies of all the auxiliaries on the District level for the end of February. That means that the Districts that don't have Presidencies will hopefully get them called! The next step then is to have the District leaders help us train the leaders at the Branch Level in March. That will be followed up by visits by the District Auxiliary Presidencies to the Branches to help support and assist. We plan to go with each District at least once to help with the training.
The problems here for leaders are overwhelming. Some branches do not have enough people who know how to read. Some Branches don't have all of the materials, like the right books, but the leaders don't even realize they don't have them. The biggest problem though is probably that they have never seen how things like Primary, Young Women's and Relief Society should function. They are amazing in their dedication, their love, their testimony of the Savior and their desire to serve, now if we can just help them get the tools they need to be successful in their efforts.