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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.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Week of Janurary 19th-Jan 25th 2009

19 January 2009…..Monday
Sister Jones’ companion, Sister Lott, was transferred Saturday so she is without a companion right now. So, this morning I went with Dick to take her to the North Mission office. We came back and I had time for scripture study and Spanish. We went to the office and started on things waiting for our attention. Then a phone call came from our apartment building. The plumber needed to get into the Tilley’s apartment and they are in Peten for a week. They had left instructions that the plumber couldn’t go in unless Dick or I were there also. So we came back home and I worked on Spanish in our apartment and Dick sat in the Tilley’s apartment and made phone calls to specialists while the plumber did his job. Bill Blackburn sat there with Dick for about 30 minutes and they talked about some of the area meetings that we will soon be having.
Three hours later the plumber finished and we went back to the office. After several emails and phone calls this month, Dick was able to talk to Joane in Belize and I then typed in the PEF information on the website. We are still waiting for the two last specialist reports so I can finish it tomorrow. We got home just before 5 pm.

20 January 2009…..Tuesday
Sister Jones borrowed our car this morning to do some grocery shopping. When she brought the keys back she insisted that she would call a cab to go to the office so as not to interfere with our study time. She is not an interference. Dick made a phone call and finally got hold of our last specialist, so when we got to the office I was able to complete the report and email it to Reynaldo. One thing I have noticed: the more Spanish I learn, the worse my English spelling becomes. I’m not the only one who has the problem. Four of us worked on the word Melchizedek yesterday. Reynaldo needed it translated from Spanish (Melquisedec) and the Bawdens nor we could spell it in English. Even simple words are sometimes a problem.
Today was our monthly PEF Committee Meeting with Elder Clarke. It was done with a video Conference to Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. Elder Clarke is very “hands on” with PEF and has the great vision of it. Central America’s repayment for 2008 is 82% up to date. That is astounding! The rest of the world’s average (Mexico, South America, Philippines, Africa)is about 55%.
We got home before 4 pm and I lay on the couch and watched Glenn Beck and Fox News coverage of the inauguration. Then we heard President Bush speak in Midland, Texas. I am so grateful for him and his integrity. He has kept us safe since 9-11. I am grateful for his faith and his reliance upon the Almighty. I am honored to say I voted for him. Glenn Beck’s closing statement on his show today was to President Bush and he said: “job well done, thou good and faithful servant.” I am not excited about the new administration of President Obama because of his extreme liberalism, but I would never demean him. It is disgraceful the way the Left has treated Bush during his 8 years in office, and even today as he appeared at the inauguration. The Right will exhibit far more class because Obama is our president and we honor the office. I went on Heritage Foundation and sent an email of thanks to President Bush for his service. He will never see it but I feel good to know that I am among those who expressed appreciation for his sacrifice and service. I shed a few tears today with all that is going on.
We hit the jackpot with mail today….four pieces, all from Jill. She sent more Christmas cards from our friends and an anniversary card from her family for us.

21 January 2009….Wednesday
Today is our 48th wedding anniversary. Dick married a teenager and now he has a senior citizen. It was a good day for us. This morning the Blackburns came into our office and sang “Happy Anniversary” to us. Reynaldo and Claudia sent us an e-card. At noon we went to lunch with Blackburns to San Martín, a bread store. We have wanted to go there. They have a number of stores in the area. The aroma of bread when we walked in was incredible, like a baking day at home. I had chipotle tomato soup and a tuna sandwich. It was a pleasant atmosphere and we enjoyed the company of Bill and Adele a lot.
Sitting on my desk today when I got to the office was a plastic bag containing some of my summer clothes that I had stored at Kristen’s. She bagged them up, took them to work, and Robertson’s son picked them up and the family brought them back to Guatemala this week. I am happy to add a little variety to my wardrobe when the weather warms up. Today it never made it into the seventies and our low tonight is forecast to be 49 degrees! I still argue with the “Eternal Spring” thing.
As a result of the video conference with the Area Seventy that Dick and Bill attended last week, we have a few plans on our calendar. On February 7 and 8 we will be in Quetzaltenango and Retalhuleu, both in Guatemala about 4 hours west of here. We will probably go to El Salvador later in February and Nicaragua the first part of March. Dick is working on his plans for the meetings and we will put together a power point presentation. Today I emailed some of the specialists a list of those from their stake who took the class at Utatlan Stake Center last Saturday. I worked some more on my area history, mainly pulling pictures from my laptop and sending them to my computer at the office. Each time I do one it is like a new experience and I have to figure it out all over again.
We stopped at Paiz and did some grocery shopping and after dropping me and the groceries off at the apartment, Dick went to the cleaners. We had a nourishing dinner of hot fudge sundaes……the perfect anniversary celebration for me after a big lunch…..plus, I got to hear Rush’s voice….that was an anniversary gift for me. Sean Hannity interviewed him on Fox News. I haven’t heard his mellow, conservative tones since driving to Provo one morning in August.

22 January 2009…..Thursday
After I worked on Spanish this morning Dick took a look at me and asked what was wrong. I didn’t know that my perplexity over Present Irregular tenses was showing on my face. But then, it is called “tenses.” Now I know why. At the office Reynaldo asked how my Spanish was coming along. He is going to show me how to get the PEF applications ready to be submitted to SLC which will require some translating. I will start on it tomorrow.
It was a chilly 61 degrees at 11am this morning. Shortly after noon we left with Taylor’s to go to the temple. We thought we would do the 1 pm session, but found out when we got there that they don’t do a 1 pm session. However, President Martinez was at the desk and he said they would make some assignments and do a session for us to attend. A small temple will accommodate 4 senior missionaries. There ended up being 7 other patrons that joined us in the session. Dick and I were witness couple again and so I had to concentrate extra hard on the Spanish. I used the card in Spanish to go through the veil.
On the way home we stopped at Quizno’s for a late lunch…..that means I don’t cook dinner!! I had an hour nap after we got home and it felt good. Our granddaughters would appreciate what I learned today….Elder and Sister Taylor both graduated from East High School in SLC where the “High School Musical” movies were filmed. They graduated in 1955.

23 January 2009…..Friday
I emailed my kids Thursday and asked them to put the names of Felipe Alfaro and Marta Alfaro on their temple prayer roll. Felipe is a Belize student who is concerned about school and also repaying his loan. He is studying to be a medical technician and chemistry is a challenge. His mother, Marta, is in the hospital in Virginia for surgery and he is very worried about her. I was able to email him back today and tell him I had put their names on the Guatemala City Temple prayer roll and that their names were also on prayer rolls at the temples in Birmingham, Alabama; Atlanta, Georgia; Redlands, CA; Newport Beach, CA; and twice in Provo, UT.
I was supposed to start working on PEF applications and submit them to SLC online. This morning Reynaldo said there is a problem. They were all online and now they are not there…..not ours from Guatemala or Central America, not any of them throughout the world. The problem needs to be taken care of, fast, because school for our applicants starts in February.
At noon Dick went out to purchase lunch from the “red car.” Carolyn Taylor came into our office and asked if we wanted to go to lunch with them and Blackburns and then to the gift shop at the museum. Sure, we don’t turn down invitations. I went outside and got Dick out of the food line. We rode with Blackburns. We went to Los Cebellinos for Mexican food. I had tortilla soup and a humongous burrito. Then we went out to the university where the two museums are. We have tried to go two other times but the museums have been closed. The third time was a charm. We went to the Ixchel Museum.
It is a beautiful display of textiles and their history here in Guatemala. They do exquisite work and when I find the right thing in the right color, someday, I will buy it. It cost us 35 Quetz a piece (about $4) to get in. The museum gives me an even greater appreciation for the beautiful textiles here.

We left the museum in time for the rush hour traffic. We got back to the office a little after 5 pm. We shut down our computers, cleaned off our desks, and came home. We were going to have Blackburns and Tilleys for dinner tonight, but Tilleys called saying they wouldn’t be home from Coban till 9 pm. So, we changed dinner till tomorrow.
Another small world happening. Jill emailed. Her visiting teacher told her that she has a sister-in-law serving as a senior missionary in Guatemala. Well, that would be Hermana Jones who we adore. Her husband died two years ago and he worked for CES.

24 January 2009…..Saturday
Last night about 9 pm the Tilleys knocked on our door to tell us they were home from their travels. When they do that, my response is always, “the kids are home.” I like to worry about them, too, since I am a practiced worrier. This morning Dick was able to help Jim with a little “car” problem. When they were on the trip and backing out of a parking garage, the rear of the car encountered handle bars from a bike someone had left there. It put a dent in the back. Dick was able to get to it and pop most of it back into place. So much for the years he owned a body shop. It came in handy today in Guatemala.
I cleaned and did laundry….more than usual. I washed my bag of clothes that arrived from Utah this week, and I am very happy to have the additions to my wardrobe. Dick needed a prescription for Allegra and he wanted to go to the office and email the Power Point program he is working on plus a couple of other PEF things to our laptop. So he went to the office and then the pharmacy that is on the way home.
We had a ravioli dinner tonight with a choice of marinara sauce and/or pesto, the Italian green bean salad that Mother loves so much, and Paiz dinner rolls with Merrill’s cheese spread recipe (both found in the Cookbook section of the blog). The Tilleys, Blackburns, and Hermana Jones came for dinner. There is always good company to be found in this apartment building and we are grateful for these good people.

25 January 2009….Sunday
Last night when Blackburns came for dinner they brought a dozen roses. This morning Dick started the morning with a big time allergy attack, which for him means constant sneezing and congestion. We went with Tilleys to La Sabana Branch, which will be our branch when we are not meeting with specialists. It has been a cool day and a nap was an idea I couldn’t refuse. Just as we finished dinner Blackburns showed up at our door with two pieces of warm dessert. Thus, another good Sabbath.

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