Friday, November 6, 2015

Breathe God's Smile

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat!  Please put a penny in the old man's hat.  Maybe a song will do.  Hunting old files to find last year's music, I found files and files of letters to family.  Our counterpart in Colombia writes every week...wo is me!  Sincerely, I am sorry for forgetting about how good it feels to get constant letters.

Our mission president is writing them regularly, encouraging our elders and sisters to reach out, to reach up, and to reach goals.  They have, they are, and they did.  Our October was faith-filled and fabulous.  In working to make time to join our younger friends, to reach out and know our neighbors, during a walk in our neighborhood green space one Sunday afternoon, I met Gloria, from Guatemala, who lived for many years in California.  She too, loves the forested park where we greeted each other. She expressed to me why:  "This is where I can breathe God's smile!"  
So Cobán is where we are breathing God's smile. 

I have inclination to catch my sisters
These hermanas were new on our change before last--my favorite part was hearing a trainer bubble with joy when she got to train a sister from her home area.

 You could cut the "happy" like was thick and full--
trigo integral. 
Which is what has been a treat to make... on Mondays, when the building is full of missionaries.  It reminds them of home, and Latin missionaries are practicing to pronounce a hard "D" in "bread."                                  
              We also enjoy smiles from moms and families who                                are writing missionaries--
Light comes in eyes of friends we meet here, there, and everywhere...

 Special smiles are the inner "burbujas" or bubbles, you know, the tingling that accompanies music that we love.  Music is catchy!  So is the embrace that comes when we learn to play!
 Angel Caal weekly opens our chapel gate, and Cristian has already played for Sacrament Meeting.
  Some families like Chub Ac--Emerson, Edwin, Bryana, and Venus come in 4/4 time: 
 4 siblings sharing one keyboard 4 fun!!
 Sometimes students bring a parent, others come alone.
One night, late, we walked little Cristian home, and Elder Starkey got to practice math--one of his favorite pasttimes with the young people.  And English.  He makes them work. I get to encourage missionaries.  If you know Spanish already, you get to learn English.  Check out Monday language letters, and decide if there is an idea that could help you!

 Josselyn is our queen of practicing. An hour a day.  Rain or shine.  A family in the states has donated over 40 keyboards to students from this area.  Elder Starkey and his companion sometimes race to keep up.  
 Speaking of races and riding, the moto photo is not uncommon,
 nor is a tired missionary...but really, some kinds of tired are refreshing!
Here is Lulu after running a race..she is our right hand tour guide to Salamá, returned missionary, full of vim.  
And our Rabinal friends--I dare you not to catch the grin. 
 When Hermana Barbara Garcia returned to her home in San Jerónimo, 75 people awaited in her grandma Natividad's "little" house (that her 13 children had built for her.)  Barbara's brother Álvaro made a nearly hour long video celebrating her mission, with pictures, music, and rejoicing.
This is the way we hope to feel when we walk from a plane sometime in summer 2016 and again when we greet our true "mission leader" one day.  

In case you are in Primary, or somewhere near it..."If you chance to meet a frown..."

Do not let it stay!  Quickly turn it upside down!
And smile...
(Sorry, Maria, it was my only upside down picture. I had to add the cute half-moon eyes--and we have  to celebrate with a SMILE from afar for October/November birthdays!)
That frown away!
 (representation from the Elders!)
And another sister (or two...from the conferencia de hermanas)

            NEVER FEAR...we can smile in the face of hard things!

And happy gatherings...
A final word comes from our resident insectologist friend and his sweetheart: 

Thank you for sharing our garden, and thank you for joining us in breathing God's smile!
We love you!
Hermana and Elder Starkey