Thursday, June 12, 2014

Puerto Rico

Great Lunch

Tuesday this week was a special day for our missionaries here in Caguas. As we are preparing to return home from our mission we have found that our cupboards are not empty. Our apartment will probably be closed after we leave for home next week, so to help us reduce our food supply Sister MB went to work.

Using her great cooking skills she prepared a scrumptious lunch for the six missionaries serving in the Caguas Ward – four sisters and two elders. After their district meeting was concluded she served up spaghetti, corn, bread and a very nice green salad. They ate it all and still had room for a Pistachio dessert.

During the meal they were asked to share with us their feelings about the importance of their missionary service. What a treat it was for us to listen to them and feel the  spirit they carry. As servants of the Lord they are working hard to share the gospel message with the residents of this beautiful valley and are seeing success.

What a blessing it is for us to be able to serve with them. We love all of our missionaries.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Puerto Rico

Changes and More

Last week was sad because two of our fabulous “Senior” couples finished their mission and left us. We will really miss them! We were already sad because our wonderful mission president had to be released early because of some family health problems. President and Sister Smartt will be sorely missed by all the missionaries in the Puerto Rico San Juan mission. On a happier note, we are privileged to have Elder and Sister Zwick come to guide our mission until the new “permanent” mission president comes in July.

A few days ago we had an “All Mission” conference. President Zwick told us that soon there would be 90,000 missionaries serving in the world. Wow! He reminded us of the importance of humility and unity in all we do in “hastening  the work”. He stressed unity between companions, members, and investigators. He said that we need a culture of obedience in our mission, we need to serve with exactness and teach by our example. The people of Puerto Rico are praying for a temple of their own, with unity and hard work between members and the missionaries, that goal can be accomplished.

Sister Garcia in our Cagaus ward asked Sister MB to come and help the third graders at her school make greeting cards and especially a Mother’s Day card. The students at Escuela Elemental Pedro Millan Rivera were very enthusiastic and a lot of fun! We took two “young” sister missionaries along to help and it was just a great experience for all!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Puerto Rico

Fun Things
Creating Cards

We have a wonderful new YW President here in our Caguas ward who just returned from her mission to Mexico 3 months ago.  She asked if Sister MB had any fun ideas. One suggested idea was making greeting cards that the girls could give out to members of the ward. The girls enjoyed the activity and you will notice in the photo that a couple of Sister Missionaries even joined in. They were all very creative with the cards and really enjoyed the evening. Also, the girls tried out their English skills and Sister MB tried out her Spanish. It was a fun evening.

After the Test
Part of our assignment here in Puerto Rico is to oversee the Companionship English Language Study Program. Two weeks ago we had a wonderful Elder from Guatemala who needed to take the Language Proficiency test before his departure from the mission. He was assigned in the city of Adjuntas but needed to take the test at the chapel (with high speed internet) in the city of Utuado. Last week we went up to transport him and his companion to the Utuado chapel. We were happy to do it, the only problem there is an extremely curving, winding, narrow road in between cities.  We made it, just a little dizzy when we got there! Good thing Elder NB was NOT dizzy when he was driving! Elder Delcompare did an excellent job on his test, he scored an “Advanced” score on the certificate we gave him. Gotta love those Elders!

Standing above the Dish
We were able to visit the Arecibo Observatory which is built into the mountains south of Arecibo, PR and is 1,000 feet in diameter. It is a radio telescope that has been in operation since 1963 and has made a number of important discoveries. The observatory has also been a couple of movies including a James Bond 007, the movie Contact and Species. It is a very impressive piece of engineering.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Puerto Rico

Holidays on the Island

Thanksgiving Day, 2013, was great. We spent the day at a missionary zone conference attended by President J. Devn Cornish of the Caribbean Area Presidency, and President and Sister Smartt. We received great counsel and words of wisdom that inspired us to become better missionaries. MB added some little turkeys to the luncheon.

Our Christmas Holidays were made so special by the fun visit of Elder Costley’s sister, Kevon and her husband Brent Miller. They were so much fun! We did lots of traveling including the Island of Vieques . We were able to attend church there and enjoyed visiting with the four elders assigned to that island. We finished up their visit with a trip to “Old San Juan”. We love you Kevon and Brent!

Elder and Sister Costley and the four “young” Elder and Sister missionaries in our Caguas Ward were asked to share a talent at the ward Christmas party. NB got to work with the scissors and we all did the silhouette puppet show to the song “Mary’s Boy Child”. It turned out great.  We so enjoyed the dinner and visiting with the ward members – in English.  Our Spanish is still very limited. MB contributed the little “Reindeer” cupcakes.

Each “Zone” in our mission was invited to Pres. Smartt’s home for a lovely Christmas luncheon of good old American food. We had a great visit with the president and his family for a couple hours – a Christmas treat.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Puerto Rico

Good-by Song
Hello Puerto Rico

Good-bye to Tortola – we bid a fond farewell to you from the bottom of our hearts. We have spent five months on this beautiful island helping the members and the branch leadership. They helped us in return with their love and strong testimonies of the gospel. There are so many choice families here and we will miss them so much! They are just about ready to send their 7th missionary out, that is just a fabulous record for a small island branch.

Good-by Poem
The night before we left we were called over to the chapel for a mysterious meeting. SURPRISE!  They threw a very sweet going away party for us. It was so fun to see everyone for the last time. There was lots to eat and a little program of appreciation. They had the Primary children sing to us and all our piano students played a piece. The Seminary students had all made cards and two of them read a poem they had written for us. Needless to say that our hearts were really touched with their love and kindness.

We have been transferred to Puerto Rico – assigned to the office but will see very little of it. The elders and sisters of our mission live in about sixty (60) apartments throughout the island and the first thing we have been asked to do is visit and inspect each one, each month. Yes, a big task – the island is 110 miles long by 40 miles wide - but we like to drive, see new places, and love meeting all the wonderful missionaries!

We live in the town of Caguas, PR, which is south of San Juan (depending on traffic) 20 minutes to an hour. Fortunately, we do not have to drive to San Juan very often and if we do, we leave early to try to miss some of the rush hour traffic to make sure we arrive on time.

The second thing we are to do is check and report the status of the Companion Language Study for the missionaries who are learning English as a second language. Page 128 in Preach My Gospel states that every missionary (wherever they are serving in the world) should learn English. This formal program helps the Latin missionaries learn English with the help of their English speaking companion during their daily study time. We are encouraging all of them to take advantage of this time – it will make a big difference in their lives when they return home.

We look forward to being with each missionary on Puerto Rico on a regular basis and are thankful for this new challenge.

Monday, November 4, 2013



Cupcake Walk
The Young Men and Young Women of the Tortola Branch were looking for a service project – it was suggested that they throw a Halloween Party for the primary-age children. With a lot of planning and hard work by MB it was a FABULOUS Halloween party in a country that doesn’t celebrate Halloween!! Everyone loves a good party, right?
Magic Tricks
The YM/YW manned the cupcake walk, face painting, magic tricks, decorate your own paper jack-o-lantern, Halloween memory game, skeleton scavenger hunt, and some other misc. games like musical chairs. The sister missionaries did a “mummy” wrap game using TP that was a lot of fun. The evening drew to a close with a presentation from a little drama group composed of half members and half non-members directed by a member of the branch. They presented “Little Red Riding Hood” with a Halloween twist. The play was great and concluded the evening’s activities.
Zip Zap
We had 51 people in attendance including adults and they had a great time. Every child received a “Trick or Treat” bag to take home which included goodies and (of course) fake Dracula fangs and a spider ring. We noticed that the adults on hand had just as much fun as the children in fact; one almost won the musical chairs. We love these fabulous members of the Tortola Branch.

Musical Chairs

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Primary Program

Sunday, October 20th, the Tortola Branch primary children presented the sacrament meeting presentation entitled “I am a Child of God”. It was a delightful program and we believe that these children are the most darling ever! Sister Costley has been assisting by teaching them the songs for the program over the past few months and they have done a great job learning them. One hurdle to overcome is that their attendance at church is kind of sketchy, here one week and not the next (not their fault but their parents). On the day of the program four “new” children came for the first time but they just joined in and seemed to enjoy being in the program! One of their favorite songs and the one they sang the best was “If the Savior Stood Beside Me” which they sang with gusto. It brought tears to our eyes as we thought – here is the future of this sweet Branch – a second generation of strong and beautiful sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. The future will be in good hands.

The church picture we use that shows the Savior and his love and care for children is perfect for the Caribbean because the children in the picture are all different races. It has been so fun and a special privilege to teach the little children here and to tell them how much their Heavenly Father loves them and wants each of them to return to him some day.