Our purpose in going was to call a counselor and a secretary to serve in the branch presidency. So first off we went by the house of the branch president (who has served faithfully for 10 years) and picked him up, along with his wife (who serves as the primary president) and their four children, one of which is named Joseph Smith. The road to their house and from their house to the church was a very muddy road, dotted with turtles and cows. So in other words, quite an adventure!!
Here is the branch president and his family, along with the district president in our car. Very few people in the small towns have cars so we give a lot of rides. Normally, however, they would either pay for transportation (which is a great sacrifice for poor families) or ride bikes.
When we arrived at the "Casa de Oración" (a house used for "prayer") we found one person waiting there. An investigator. His wife had been baptized the day before and now he was taking the discussions. His wife told me later that the gospel was a great blessing in her life. She was on the verge of divorce when her neighbor invited her to come to church. She went, listened to the missionaries, and knew the church was true. Now her husband is taking the discussions and is a very changed man. It was such an honor to meet her. I am sure she will be a faithful member. (Before leaving, she promised to bring an inactive neighbor next week)
I had to laugh at the missionaries though. Apparently there are very few men in the branch who know how to tie a tie, and so they bring them to the missionaries each Sunday, who tie them for them. I thought Elder H's idea of having a tie tying class was a good one!
Here is a picture of the Relief Society. All the women were very kind and accepting of me, which I appreciated it. And sitting with them in their class was very humbling. I was impressed as they shared their challenges, (which were many) as well as strengthened each other.
The lady on the right was probably my favorite person in the room. She taught the Relief Society lesson and was very direct. Many were called to repentance (for very specific sins) and all of us were challenged to improve. I loved her!!
I also had to laugh at this. When the meeting was over, the oldest man in the room picked up the chairs!! (After a few minutes I asked a couple of the young boys to please help him.:-)
After the meeting while President Wagner was setting apart those with new callings, I went with the missionaries to check out their apartment for both safety and cleanliness. I was thrilled when I saw this jack fruit (Yaka) tree in their back yard!! I still have not had the chance to try it, but it was fun to see it close up.
Finally we returned the branch president to his home and headed home ourselves. But on the way we decided to surprise two additional elders with a quick visit to their little town.
All in all, it was a very fun day.
Next up . . . Mission Tour with Elder De Hoyos!!