20 July 2009…..Monday
Last week everyone at the office was issued ID’s to hang around our neck that must be scanned to get into the doors or the elevator from the parking garage. There are other places also that we can’t access without the ID. The Tilleys have been trying for almost 11 months to get some of the security issues taken care of but implementing everything has become a challenge.
The last two days I have weighed 110 pounds. That is not where I want to be four weeks into my recovery because the doctor has told me I will lose weight for two months. Today was an uncomfortable day with gas pains that are worse than any I have had.
I was finally able to start recording the loan payments today. That will keep me busy till the end of July. Tonight Family Home Evening was at the Anderson’s apartment. They taught a lesson about the temple, using the Conference address by Richard G. Scott. It was a good lesson, involved all of us, and it was over by 8 pm. Too often we spend up to two hours at FHE so this was very nice to not be gone so long.
21 July 2009…..Tuesday
This morning I worked on the loan entries for three hours. Dick met with Elder Abularach, Area Seventy, who is also over the Institute program in Central America. Institute plays a huge role in PEF. We closed up our computers at 12:30 pm and we left for my doctor’s appointment. Today has also been very uncomfortable for me. As the doctor started asking me questions about my symptoms he told me it was not the Typhoid. He said I have amoebas…..just what I never wanted….parasites. After bringing me home Dick went to the cleaners and Paiz for a few groceries and the pills the doctor prescribed. I took two this evening and will take two tomorrow and two on Thursday. He said that will clear up my newest condition. I don’t like knowing that I have critters crawling around even if they are minute.
On the brighter side, he said I can now have milk products, a little “grease,” and CHOCOLATE! The no-no’s are still chili and nuts. Now that I have my choices for food almost back to normal, I really don’t feel like eating. For dinner I had tomato soup but I did follow it with one piece of See’s chocolates that we brought back in June.
While Dick was shopping Rexene came in and visited, then Darlene came over and cut my hair, and Sarah wandered in for awhile. As Darlene has started packing to move out of the apartment she gave me two cardigan sweaters plus some Bath and Body Works products. There are no Bath and Body Works stores here but the Shell Station up on the corner has a shelf full.
22 July 2009…..Wednesday
Today my baby turns 33 years old. It seems like yesterday that Mark was born…..well, not really. I am feeling a little better today. Still some problems but not as intense. Hopefully, the last dose tomorrow will take all the discomfort away.
I worked on loans all day at the office. We did take about an hour break and drove over to the Employment Center to hug our girls goodbye. They are BYU interns and have been here for the last three months. Sarah Richardson flies out tomorrow for Ecuador to visit her mission that she left two years ago. She is very excited to be able to visit friends she made down there. Katherine Kinnison, who knows Kaitlin, has an appointment tomorrow at Huntington Beach, on the sand with a volley ball. She will spend a few weeks at home in Rancho Santa Margarita before returning to BYU. Such awesome girls.
Dick went to Wendy’s and bought dinner. I had a small cheeseburger and a small batido (shake). It all tasted pretty good to me. Dick went upstairs later to help clean a bunch of eye glasses that the Taylors will hand out. He came back with two pieces of pie. I needed to stay here at home as the medicine was working well on clearing my body of amoebas. We were able to wish Mark a happy birthday on Skype.
23 July 2009…..Thursday
Dick had some things to do for Gert today so he left early. I stayed home today so my last dosage of Amoebix can work on me here in the comfort of home. It has been an interesting blend from Typhoid Fever into parasites. Even after Typhoid has been taken care of by antibiotics it leaves the intestines in a threatened, rigid condition for up to two months and they can be in great danger of perforation from gas. Thus, the diet is very restricted and I was on an anti-gas medication before each meal for a month. Typhoid may be cured quickly but the resulting side effects and general tiredness linger. I am grateful for a doctor who recognized the difference of what was going on inside of me. We have had a young sister missionary in the hospital this week with Typhoid. She is the mission nurse in Central Mission.
This morning, home alone, was wonderful. I finished reading the Book of Mormon (English) and felt great testimony and gratitude for this sacred record that was written on plates and preserved and then later revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith. It has been an incredible experience reading the Book of Mormon here in Guatemala, to picture the Guatemalan faces on the people of the Book of Mormon. I always see our young native missionaries as the Armies of Helaman. I see this beautiful city, thought to be the ancient City of Nephi and I can picture the ancient people in these hills and trees. The Book of Mormon truly speaks to me with its great message of Jesus Christ as His doctrine is taught. I am so blessed to live in these last days when His gospel has been restored to the earth. I am so grateful for the faith of ALL my great grand-parents in accepting the gospel, leaving their homes in England, Denmark, or the eastern United States to immigrate to Utah in the 1800’s. My soul is full this morning.
I had a special treat tonight…..Rush Limbaugh was on Greta Van Susteran and I loved watching the interview. He always brings me hope in the midst of the political turmoil in my beloved home land. I look forward to the second part tomorrow night. It is a year today since we moved out of our home in Lancaster and began our travels to visit our family before entering the MTC.
24 July 2009…..Friday
Pioneer Day in Utah. We were there last year with Kristen, Scott and their families, enjoying dinner and fireworks. I always longed to be in Utah for the 24th. We will miss it next year, too, but not by much, as we will leave the mission field on July 25th 2010 and fly to Salt Lake.
I stayed home again today while my body completes the “de-bugging” process. It is quiet here in the apartment building. Tilleys, Andersons, Sister Thibault and Sister Barney are in Tikal. Bawdens are doing training in Quetzaltenango and Taylors left today for eye glass distribution in Quetzaltnenago. Blackburns leave tomorrow for a sightseeing trip with their daughter.
Dick brought eggplant home last time he went to the store. I breaded it and fried it to go with our spaghetti tonight. Later I had to pay the price for eating something fried. The doctor warned that it will take some time for my body to adjust after not having any “grease” for five weeks.
25 July 2009…..Saturday
Laundry and cleaning today. Dick went to Paiz for a few items so he can make onion/cheese bread and also to buy ice cream for tonight as we will have friends in for sundaes. My love to cook has abandoned me since I have been in Guatemala. I hope it returns some day.
When we left home last year we did not bring any CD’s because of space and weight, plus we didn’t think we would have a CD player. The few CD’s we traveled with were left at Kristen’s. When we got here we knew how much we needed the music so we bought a CD player. I found a good “Messiah” recording at Christmas time at Paiz. We bought a Tabernacle Choir CD at the Distribution Center, but their choices are pretty slim. When we went home for Mother’s funeral Kristen brought our CD’s for us. Jill and Robert also gave us a brand new one by the choir. The addition of just 4 CD’s has greatly enriched our environment and added variety.
I spent an hour on the internet chatting with Maren as she tried to teach me to put my journal on the blog. That part is pretty easy. Getting the pictures on is another story. We ran out of time so I will need further instruction. The Tilleys called to say they were in the Atlántico area and would be home in about 30 minutes. I made ganache for our hot fudge sundaes. Tilleys, Andersons, Sister Thibault and Sister Barney arrived home from their trip to Tikal. After putting their luggage in their apartments they all came in for dessert. What a great group of people! It was sure quiet while they were away. So now we will see how my system tolerates some ice cream and ganache.
26 July 2009…..Sunday
It was good to be in our little branch today. The branch president even welcomed me back from the pulpit. Between being in the states, illness, and visiting other stakes while we did training, I haven’t been in La Sabana Branch since May 31. Rexene has been helping out in Primary for about a month. The president and counselor in Primary were both sick so when we got to church Rexene was asked to do all of Primary. She handed me a note asking me to do the music time. There is no keyboard and they didn’t even have a CD player today so they could play the CD of Primary music. There are usually two Primary classes during the second hour, one for 8 and over and one for the younger ones. Today they all went in one class taught by Brother Mena, a very sweet young man. The last hour the children all came in for the rest of Primary. I was very much unprepared for that. First of all, language continues to be a huge barrier. Second, there were only ten children but I would rather handle fifty from a Primary at home. Three siblings continually wander, make noise, and don’t do what is asked, just generally disruptive. Two little children of the “tipico” or indigenous family (the family that can’t be baptized because they are not married and the ex-spouse cannot be located so there can be a divorce) were very precious and cooperative. Another older boy wanted to do his own thing and the rest did quite well. Brother Mena did a great job of tracking down the escapees and holding on to the disruptees. Our singing time was ok. I told them of my ancestors who were pioneers only to find out that they did not know the song about pioneer children who “walked, and walked, and walked, and walked.” They did love singing “How Firm a Foundation” which they are learning for the Primary Sacrament Program. When Rexene brought out the crayons, markers, colored pencils and paper the last ten minutes we had perfect order. Rather amazing. When we were done Rexene had worked up a major sweat and I had a headache….so what else is new?! I’m sure it would help if we met in a chapel, but we meet in a home and all the other organizations are in nearby rooms. I served in Primary for 20 years, from the time I was 16. Today I felt like this was my first time.
I rode home with Tilleys while Dick and his young home teaching companion went to visit three families. Darlene gave me some spices and things from her kitchen since they are moving out Thursday. I chatted with Maren more so I could learn to put the pictures on my blog and I finally got the blog posted.
Today the branch president said he had a “tecla” (keyboard) from the stake and he would bring it and would like me to play for Sacrament Meeting and Primary. When Jim went home teaching this afternoon with President Acevedo he brought the tecla to me. We got a table from the hermanas across the hall. It is the one Sister Jones used to use for her keyboard. It is perfect, sitting in our living room. It was fun tonight to sit there and to be able to play some hymns. I have a lot to learn about properly using the keyboard. I have missed my piano this last year. Being able to contribute with the music in the branch is an awesome blessing. They always sing acapella and it leaves much to be desired. This is one thing I can do that does not require great language skills and it will bring a beautiful atmosphere and more reverence to our meetings.
- Elder y Hermana Graff
- 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.