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Guatemala City, Guatemala
We have been called as missionaries with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to serve with the Perpetual Education Fund in the Central America Area. We are living in Guatemala City, Guatemala and we work at the area office. Our assignment is to visit with the Stake PEF Specialists in all seven countries, to train and assist them in this inspired program.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Week of December 29nd, 2008-Janurary 4th, 2009

29 December 2008…..Monday
I woke up feeling pretty good. I definitely feel like I’ve been riding a horse, though. We took a little time at home today. I did the laundry that I didn’t get finished on Saturday and spent some good time with the Book of Mormon. I loved the relaxed, un-hurried morning. We got to the office about 11am. We had an appointment with a stake specialist set up for 4 pm so we knew it would be late when we left the office. I was totally frustrated today because I took my computer to the office but had no internet connection to my computer while there. I had emails I wanted to answer and I knew it would be a quiet, slow day.
We got mail! Pouch mail comes on Monday and we got five cards/letters. Now I have a picture of all four Joyner girls hanging on my picture window at the office. We have Joyners, Bendixens, and McGarys. Now we need pictures from the rest of our family. Our specialist was not able to keep the appointment but said he would come tomorrow. We were home by five and enjoyed a quiet evening
Yesterday there was a family at Church. The mother and little daughters were in native dress. After Church Rexene asked them when they had joined the Church. The answer was that they have not been baptized because they are not married. They have been attending Church for 4 years. They aren’t married because he is still married to someone else but they have no idea where the wife is or even if she is alive. The young missionaries told us that they family is totally active and full tithe payers.

30 December 2008…..Tuesday

I awoke this morning with my neck, shoulder, arm and elbow aching. I know it is because of the walking stick I used with every step I took up the volcano. I even have a “burn” on the back of my neck where the strap of my bag hung for hours while I hiked and rode the horse, sort of like a rope burn.
This morning we took our time leaving the apartment. We went to PriceSmart and bought large baking potatoes for our dinner New Year’s Eve. We took the groceries home and then went to the office. Claudia and Kelvin were there but otherwise our area of the office was very quiet. Hermana Rowley and Hermana Jones came in to get some papers signed. They work in the Guate City North Mission office and they are in the process of moving into another office in the same building. They don’t even have phone or internet connections. They sat and visited with us for awhile. We gave them the keys to our car and told them to use it, just be back for us after our 4 pm appointment. They brought the car back after 4 pm.
Our appointment with the specialist from La Esperanza Stake went very well. He is a bright young man of 26 with a wife and child. He has a great job and he is doing a lot in his stake to help with the education process. He also serves as stake clerk. We got home just before 6 pm. Today is Dana’s 47th birthday and that is the last of the 2008 birthdays.

31 December 2008…..Wednesday
The office is closed today and tomorrow. We love not setting an alarm. We are grateful for the comforts of our apartment, our home. I found some gray capri sweatpants at PriceSmart yesterday and I am glad to have something to put on while I clean instead of the good pants I brought with me. I would love to have one of my denim dresses with me for after we get home in the evening, too. Instead, all 3 of them are in our storage unit in Lancaster.
At 6 pm we had our New Year’s Eve dinner up on the roof. I soaked 25 large baking potatoes in bleach water, cut them in half and wrapped them in foil. Rexene and the Hermanas each took a third of them and I did the rest. We couldn’t have fit any more in our dinky ovens. We also boiled a lot of chicken and then they grilled it with barbecue sauce for a few minutes. We had almost 40 people and everyone brought food. The guys on duty at the apartment were invited up, too. We had so much food we could have fed another 40 people. It was getting very chilly and my sweatshirt wasn’t enough, so I came down to our apartment to put on another sweater. I decided to check email while I was here. I was so excited when I saw the email from Jeff telling us that Ava Lee Crosby was born today, weighing 7 lbs. 3 oz. She wasn’t due until the end of January. We saw Kelsey on Skype Christmas Day and she was big and looked like she was ready to deliver. We are so grateful baby Ava is safely here and she and Kelsey are doing well. It is very interesting to have our children become grandparents. Time marches on and the generational torch is passed.
The fireworks have started in Guatemala City to bring in the New Year.

1 January 2009…..Thursday

Happy New Year! 2009 already and it seems like yesterday that we were waiting for the new millennium to arrive. Time surely does move on wings of lightening, as the hymn says. We saw in the New Year last night, watching fireworks out of our bedroom window. It isn’t small backyard fireworks that the people set off here, but the up in the air, loud ones, just like Jet Hawk Stadium on the 4th of July. As I crawled in bed, Dick called Jacob. He wanted to call us at midnight California time. I doubt I would have heard a 2 am phone call. Anyway, we knew he was joking so we called him. I got out of bed long enough to tell all three boys happy new year.
There were a few football games on TV, including the Rose Bowl, so Dick is a happy man. Not quite as many games available here in Guate as at home, though. It felt like any other New Year’s Day at home. I did three Spanish lessons and laid down for awhile. I have been without energy all day. That is usually how I feel on the first day of the year. We called Roselofs and Baumgardners this evening. It felt like old times in Santa Maria.

2 January 2009…..Friday
We didn’t go into the office today as no one in our area of the office would be there. I was able to find cream at PriceSmart a couple of weeks ago and I needed to finish using it, so today I made clam chowder and truffles. We invited Tilleys, Hermana Jones and Hermana Rowley. Hermana Rowley returns to San Diego on Tuesday. After dinner we went with Tilleys to the Christensens apartment because they have satellite and would be able to receive the Sugar Bowl. The University of Utah was playing and that is a big deal to a lot our missionary friends. Dick loves all ballgames and was glad to go. We all took goodies so I took the truffles.

3 January 2009…..Saturday

Today is Robert’s birthday and so the 2009 birthdays begin. We met the Tilleys and Las Hermanas (Jones, Rowley, Thibault and Sinclair) in the garage and we drove out to Antigua. Dick and I have wanted to do a tour with a guide who knows all about the place so we were excited to know the sisters had arranged a tour. We got there before 9 am, parked the two cars, and then walked to the town square. The tour began at 9:30. We thought the Q150 a piece was a little pricy, but it ended up being well worth it. Our guide was American but came to Antigua when she was 14 because her dad worked for Sunset magazine. She has stayed and that has been 40 years. We had a 3 hour walking tour and we greatly enjoyed all the information that she gave us. The city was the capital of Guatemala but was destroyed in 1773 by an earthquake. Some of the ruins remain and are preserved. Most of the buildings there were built after the quake and many of them are 200 years old.

The tour ended at the Casa Santo Domingo hotel where part of the grounds are ruins of a church. There are several museums there also. We went to the restaurant and had a delicious lunch in a lovely setting. After lingering over lunch, we walked down the street, into stores, and then down the market street. I bought two key chains of parrots to use as Christmas tree decorations, and 4 beaded ornaments. I looked everywhere for a table runner or table cloth but didn’t see the size or colors I wanted. Guatemala is famous for textiles so I feel sure I will find something in the next 19 months. The other thing I really want is some jade earrings. Jade is a sacred stone to the Mayan and it is beautifully handcrafted here.
We got home after 6 pm and we are tired. Except for lunch, we walked for eight hours. It is so funny to walk and talk to people. Because of our name tags, members of the Church will always talk to us. Dick talked to a Canadian member of the Church on the street corner. One mother and daughter were from Newhall. In a small store Hermana Jones encountered someone who had traveled with her and her husband when he was with CES (she is a widow now). I talked to one group of Americans who were from Pennsylvania and upstate New York. Hearing someone speak English is always an opening to a conversation. Even in our guided tour of a place where they were making jade jewelry, the Guatemalan knew about the Church, because he was telling the whole group that our Church had a book about Jaredites who left the Tower of Babel and came to Central America. He thought we were all from Utah, but today, none of us were. Anyway, it is always interesting to be out among the people.

4 January 2009…..Sunday
Today Scott is 34! It seems like yesterday he was born. Today we returned to La Sabana Branch for our church meetings. I understood some of Gospel Doctrine class again. I think a lot of that is the teacher who speaks clearly, not fast with words slurred together. I also comprehended more of Relief Society than usual. I will love the day when I don’t have such a struggle understanding what people are saying.
Today was break-the-fast at President Baldwin’s home. I was assigned dessert and I made cherry crisp with a dry cake mix and butter on top. It turned out well, especially with whipped cream for the top.

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