As for my weekly update on Aldea, and the beautiful tribe of Embera-Quera. As of the recent storm, a few of their trees fell over and some others they were just chopping down. With all this extra wood, they are working on making more canoes. Apparently, it only takes about eight days with a regular old hatchet ax to carve a tree trunk into a full-sized canoe. I have been pushing them to name one after me, but with no success. Mario is firm in his decision to name the canoe, “Melvin el Barco.” I will keep trying, but he thinks it’s the funniest thing to call his canoe a cruise ship. All the local leaders of the different Embera-Quera tribes in Colon gathered together to have a meeting as of Saturday and Sunday so we were not able to talk to Juan. We asked a local family a little bit more about this tribe and they told us that they broke off from a bigger tribe a little more than 40 years ago and have been living here ever since. They honor free agency, freedom of religion, unity, and family. With the exception of their spouse, they are all family and blood relatives. It is really cool, many chose to live here due to the freedom and the family as well as their love for the peace and tranquility there. They live a simple and modest life and are very happy. Many times that we go there it is just so silent. You can hear the river running, the kids playing, and the crickets singing. They definitely are a reminder to me to look at all the blessings God has given us. There are a lot of small blessing that we don’t recognize. As Thomas S. Monson once directed us to find “Joy in our Journey.” I have found and will always be grateful for the many lessons I have learned from this simple quote.
Recently we have had many less actives coming back to church. Our ward is finally growing and it is great! Thank you, everyone, for your prayers, thank you, home teachers, for actually visiting members and thank you, Bishop Groves, for your above the bar effort!