We had the wonderful opportunity to meet and receive counsel from our Area president, Kevin R. Duncan, and his wife and the second counselor in the Sunday School General Presidency, Devin G. Durrant, and his wife. President Hintze and his wife were there, as well. Some may remember that President Durrant was an All-American basketball player for BYU in 1984 and was drafted to play for the Indiana Pacers and also played for the Phoenix Suns. He is 6ft. 7in. tall. As you can see from the picture above, we were dwarfed by him.
What a spiritual treat it was to be taught by these two great men and their wives. We had a fireside on Wednesday night for everyone in Belize. The branches in the outermost areas rented buses and brought the members from all over. There were over 460 people in attendance at the meeting. The Belize City building was full to overflowing.
They conducted a very different type of fireside than I have ever been part of. It was an amazing meeting, totally led by the Spirit. President Duncan talked to President Hintze on the plane coming over from El Salvador and told him that they were going to change things up a bit. They had been traveling around Central America visiting the stakes for about 2 weeks. President Duncan told President Hintze that they were going to teach by the spirit and he would let President Hintze and his wife know what to do during the meeting. So President Hintze didn't know what to expect.
President Duncan let President Durrant start off with his wife. They had a white board up in front and portable microphones that some elders would take to people in the congregation who wanted to ask a question or comment. Then they began teaching from the scriptures. They were demonstrating the way all teaching should be done, in the Lord's way. It was really powerful. Everyone in the room was involved. It wasn't just a sit down and listen to a speaker kind of meeting. So many people were touched by the message and felt that their own questions were answered in that meeting. The members that attended told us that they were truly inspired that night. All the presidents and their wives participated as they were moved to make comments. It was very spontaneous and Spirit driven. We all left uplifted.
The next morning was a special meeting for all the missionaries in Belize. Before the actual meeting, all the missionariy comapnionships had companionship study and planning sessions like they have every morning. President Duncan wanted to observe how they were doing with their daily planning. They all scattered to every nook and cranny in the church building to find a place to plan.
Then we had the meeting with all the presidents and their wives. It was also a spiritual feast. They presented what they call the "Willing and Brief" presentation. That is to just ask someone if they would be "willing to hear a brief presentation about"... you fill in the blank with something you may have been discussing like families or Jesus Christ and his mission on earth. It's easy to do and all of us have been able to ask that very question. It is not threatening and leaves it open for the person to say yes or no without feeling pressured. It's a great tool. If the person says yes, you get their contact information and, if you're not a missionary, you give it to the missionaries. They take it from there.
After the meeting with the missionaries we had arranged for a catered dinner for everyone. It was delicious!
Then we had time for pictures.
In the back row we have Gary and me, President Duncan and his wife, President Hintze and his wife, and President Durrant and his wife. These are the missionaries in the Corozal Zone. Front row left to right: Elders Grigg, Haynie, Paulson, Castro, Santillan, and Aguilar, Second row left to right: Sisters, Wood, Smith, Gramajo, Patterson, Hunter, McCullouch, and Call.
This is the Belize City Zone
Front l to r: Elders Kilifi, Goodman, Mikkelsen, Gonzalez, and Parkes 2nd row l to r: Elders Martineau, Mapusua, Fridal, Jones, Kapisi, Schappell, and Lee. Behind l to r: Elder Fonoimoana, Elder Coates, Elder Tague (Elder Mapusua is so big he almost completely hides Gary), Me, President Duncan, his wife, Sister Hintze, President Hintze, President Durrant and his wife.
Then we took a picture of all the sisters.
First row l to r: Sisters Hope, Wood, Smith, Nelson, Gramajo, and Keys. Second row l to r: Sisters Montes,Slater, Rodriguez, Jensen, Olalere, just behind Sister Olalere is Sister DeLeon, Perez, Hunter, Patterson, behind Sister Hunter are Sisters Call and McCullough. Third row l to r: Me, Sister Rinderknecht, Sister Mendenhall, Sister Duncan, Sister Hintze, and Sister Durrant.