Dear Family and Friends,
As our grandson serving his mission in Tahiti says, the days go by like weeks, but the weeks go by like days. Things are flying by, we are coming up on 4 months here.
The sad news this week is a change in the use of church cars from the Area Office car pool. We used to be able to check them out for personal use, but no more. So it is more walking or public transport. O well, we can take a taxi to a SupeRama market 3 miles away for 30 pesos which is about $2 US!
Michelle is teaching some of the sister missionaries Spanish classes here. Her class approach is to get Spanish and English speakers together and have them work as companions to learn the other language. Well, they asked her to start a class on Wednesday night for the local sisters in our ward who want to learn English. Then some men started to come and today in Church they announced everyone who wants to learn English can come to her class! It is really growing!
She gave a great talk in church today about helping family and others come closer to Christ. She prepared and prepared and fasted and it was great. As a visitor said, “She knocked it out of the park”. The visitor was a Cluff who had spent the summers in the Mormon Colonies when he was young and could name Michelle’s brothers and sisters and said he knew Dr. Hatch very well. On a regular basis we meet people with a Colony connect.
I said in an earlier post that part of my job is to help control the time that the various committees take when they come in to make their monthly presentations. Here for interest is a picture of the balls I use. I put up the green when they start, and then yellow, and red. It continues to work really well. The presentations used to always go over. Now many end early.
When the general authorities get back from general conference we will have what is called an Area Council where in the area presidency will train the 19 Area Seventies. (Some will change but I can’t tell you who until it is announced). We will go and stay overnight with them and we take a box with us that has manual, paper, etc. and a satellite phone. This is in case of a major disaster and we lose electricity, phone and cell phone service, then the leaders in Salt Lake and Mexico could still communicate. Part of our job is to charge the phone battery. So just to learn I took it up on the roof and made a phone call.
I am impressed how often the Area Presidency communicates with the leaders in SLC. Almost everyday on the phone. And then we have video conferences often.
I told you a taxis is not expensive. I try to get flowers for our apartment and Michelle often. About $3.50 for a dozen red roses. Pretty nice.
It is fun to have the local missionaries over. In this picture on the left is Elder Goodrich who is from the same area where our son Jonathan, wife Sharon, and family live.
Don't the missionaries look great! I mean the two on the side!!!
The normal eating schedule here is a very light breakfast. Then about 9 a larger breakfast or brunch. They bring various things into the area office and many of the workers go there and eat. Then about 2 is the main meal of the day. Then they eat something light in the evening.
So the Elder ate the main meal with us at 2:00. We have had the sisters over also. The Elders eat a LOT more. It is always so inspiring to be with the young missionaries.
Check out these men working on some overhead wires. Earlier several of them just held the ladder while he climbed up.
Then once he was up there they just left the ladder leaning on the wires.
We really love hearing from home. So much is going on in the lives of our children and grandchildren that it is hard to keep up.
Our grandson Spencer Sandberg lives in Lindon, Utah, and recently participated in a “spirit” day at school. At the end they would choose one young man as “Mr. Viking”. He attends Pleasant Grove High School and their mascot is a Viking.
They had to make a poster, do a dance taught by the drill team, dress in a spirit outfit and answer questions, and then end in formal dress. Here are some pictures. (Excuse me while I brag a little)
At the end the announcement was made – and the winner of Mr. Viking who will soon be taking his talents to Russia – Spencer Sandberg. He will leave this summer for his mission in Russia.
So I hope the following will be a bit of a spiritual thought.
There are MANY blessing and opportunities in our callings. We see and hear amazing things.
Every week in Salt Lake City they have a 70’s meeting. This is conducted by the 7 presidents and all the Seventies in SLC are invited to attend. It is recorded and the Seventies outside of SLC can watch it later. We usually watch it during AP meeting. WOW! The presentations are great.
This last week there was a presentation about the Church growth in Japan and how when the mission opened in about 1900 with Heber J. Grant they had very little success and the mission was finally closed. Very interesting. Then the full Presiding Bishopic talk about the world wide emphasis on spiritual and temporal self-reliance and how there are now 1000’s of self-reliance centers in the world, outside of the US and Canada. The goal is to have a self-reliance center in every stake where people can get training on how to find a job, how to get a loan to go to school, or how to start your own business. Many people here in Mexico have their own small businesses.
What has inspired me in the last couple of meetings is they have talked about self-reliance and helping others.
One of the Seventy who we knew in Guatemala is now in Salt Lake City and they asked him to tell about being willing to help others. He said when he was a child someone came to his father and asked for money to help with his problem. His father said, "I have no money to help, but here, take my dining room table and sell it to help solve your problem." The now Seventy said they sat on their couch and ate their meals on their laps for several months.
He also told of a man in the ward who made money by spreading refried beans on bread and selling it. If that man was not able to sell all his bread with beans on it, his father would buy it all at the end of the day. He, the Seventy, said he remembers eating bread with cheese every day for a month.
We knew the now Seventy and father when we were in Guatemala. That made it extra special for me. But it did make me really think – what am I willing to do to help others????
And finally they showed a video about the life of Elder Sitati, a Seventy from Kenya. He was emphasizing the importance of working to be self-reliant and the importance of education. As he talked about his life they had people in the video acting it out.
When he arrived at the school he went in to talk to the director. He stool straight like a soldier. The video showed an older white man with a mustache. He said he had never spoken to white man before but the white man had kindly eyes which helped him to say that he wanted to attend his school. All the director said was, "We will see."
He was accepted to the school and Elder Sitati said he thought he should try to be a good student, and he became the best in his class, and that allowed him to get into a good high school and go to a national university.
While at the university he met his wife and also the missionaries and joined the Church.
Now he is a general authority.
WOW, I was inspired. Of course not all of us will do what he did. But each of us can see something that will make our lives and the lives of others better.
So my message is, let’s get going, let’s make our lives and the lives of others better. We can do it.
Elder Sandberg - Dad - Grandpa