Four future missionaries received their mission calls this week! Six have had their interviews with the Mission President here and are finishing up or just waiting now on their Mission call, and there are a few more who are waiting on paperwork or interviews, while several others have recently received their calls and are just waiting to leave. Calls have come in for Bolivia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Southern Guatemala, Argentina, Mexico and more in the last few months. It is so exciting to watch these young people as they start the process, and the changes we see in their lives as they become committed to serving Heavenly Father
The Children's Songbook has been printed now in Q'eqchi', although we don't have copies of it here yet for everyone and are waiting with great hope for them. We have one copy and have been sharing it with the members. The Senahu District Choir, with about 120 members, is learning two of the new songs to use in District Conference. As we have gone to different Districts, Branches, and homes, members that see it only want to know how to get a copy. There is one small area in Seamay where we walk through and play with the children of about seven homes – all of them related in some way we think, anyway we sing and play with the children and go from house to house with them. We promised them that this coming week we will be teaching them one of the new songs in Q'eqchi' and they were all very excited!
We went to Chijolom on Sunday, it is one of our furthest areas, about an hour and a half by transport, then a 20 minute hike in to the church. The members there struggle, they do not currently have any of the “extra” programs like Primary, Youth, Relief Society, because the members supposedly won't accept the callings. One of the problems is illiteracy among the adults, a lack of understanding of how the Church works, a lack of understanding about what being a member of the church means and the need to serve as members. During the Sunday School meeting, that everyone sat through I tore out paper from my agenda and made little books for each of the kids, by folding and tearing – then I wrote little messages in each one for them. Telling them they are a loved child of Heavenly Father and the importance of living his commandments. I also tore out the little strings of paper dolls for some of the girls. I was so impressed with their reverence and patience as they sat quietly through two hours of meetings and wanted to leave them with some sort of personal message. We are working with the District, hoping that soon they will have all of the blessings on the Church. I was also called on during the meeting there to give a talk, I had focused at the house on doing the inspections so had not remembered the possibility, had not prepared for Primary because supposedly the District was only staying for Sacrament meeting, (should have known better, since all things here are subject to change) anyway I had no prepared message. I borrowed the Q'eqchi Book of Mormon from the girl sitting next to me and spoke on the importance of parents teaching in the home, by example, by using the scriptures and teaching children to pray and trust in the Lord. I gave the talk in Q'eqchi, because very few of the members in Chijolom understand Spanish, hoping the members understood, but not sure. When I talked to the Elders later this week and asked them they said they had and I was so grateful!
We have been doing interviews with President and Sister Curtiss, this week and also throwing in some housing inspections along the way as we passed through the Polochic and Chulac. Plan on finishing up the inspections this coming week. Sister Curtiss is concerned with the nutrition level of our missionaries that live up in the mountains and have limited access to foods to purchase, mainly just the basics except on Pday when they come down to shop. Since whatever they buy they have to take it back out on Transport they are also limited in their purchases.I'm going to try and develop some ideas this weekend for them and get it down on paper for how to improve their nutrition, things they can buy locally that they may not be thinking of, like pumpkin seed. Incaparina, is a corn drink that has protein and vitamins added to it that I am going to try and find more uses for. It is a lot like a corn flour and I have used it added tosoup to thicken it. I am going to try making crepes using it this weekend and thinking it may work in pancakes!
We have been asking each of our missionaries what their favorite verse is in The Book of Mormon and having them either read or quote it to us in English. Many had one memorized, the others are now working on memorizing their favorite. As they read their verse or verses to us it is a huge blessing to listen and feel the power of the Spirit in the Scriptures teaching us to pray, to be diligent to trust in the Lord and hearing the promises he gives us.