Yesterday we traveled to Salama. The roads are beautiful in that there are trees lining them and the hill sides are green and occasionally you see the beautiful women dressed in their beautifully colored cloths. I always think about the Book of Mormon and the descriptions of "the land Bountiful." Surly this land with its many flowers, waterfalls, rivers, trees, plants, birds and wild life could be called such.
We arrived in Salama, a little town with a Catholic Cathedral that has an alter inplated with 18K gold. Green and lush, up high in the mountains. It has a small chapel that has quite a bit a land around it, where you can see that the church is thinking ahead to build on to the existing building to fit more people. We spoke with the caretakers and they told us that the building is already too small, that the priesthood have to hold their meetings outside. We had a short meeting with the Elders and one pair of Sisters. I spoke to them about companionships and The President spoke to them about having the Spirit to be with them and their purpose. The Assistants Elder Hatch and Elder Burnham also spoke as well as their Zone leader Elder Cozzins. We then interviewed each missionary. I did it in the chapel, just pulling one missionary aside and the President was in one of the classrooms for his interviews. I am trying to learn something personal about each missionary so I can call them by name and truly say that "I know them". We have been so impressed with out missionaries. They work so hard each and every day. We pray for our missionaries and ask you to do likewise.
After our interviews I went to visit the living quarters of the missionaries in Salama. It is interesting to see the faces of the Elders when they hear me say, "Lets go see where you live Elder." I have really been impressed. I am not saying that the rooms would make it to the cover of Better Homes and Gardens, but they do not have cloths on the floor and everything is in the right place. I check for food and bath facilities. Their beds are made and they have a clean study area.
We drove the Hermanas to their village which was about 1/2 hour away from Salama in a city called Jeronimo. It was even smaller than Salama, but we have a chapel there. The President had a meeting with the priesthood there so I went out to do proselytizing with the hermanas. We went to visit one of the families they were working with.
We returned to Guatemala at midnight. This weeks commemoration of Pioneer Day reminds us that we are not the only ones who have had to sacrifice for the kingdom. Many have, and many more will. Today we have a stake conference and a missionary activity in another stake that we will attend, so I must hurry and go, but I wanted you to know how my heart swells with humility and gratitude for the experience of being here and most of all for the confidence the Lord has placed in both of us, that we are capable of doing this great work. Pray for us, for we truly need your prayers every minute of every day.