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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, November 8, 2009

Journal - Week of November 2 - 8

Guatemala City Temple

2 November 2009…..Monday
This has been some day! This morning at 7:30 we went to Bawdens empty apartment and moved the missionary furniture. We got their couch, desk , TV and bed. It looks like the bed will be very comfortable. Tonight we will find out. Then, about noon Dick was able to talk to Nancy, the apartment manager. He told her we now have Bawden’s missionary furniture and that we no longer need our furnishings which were included in our rent payment. So, our rent was reduced. We inherited pans, old and worn from years of use by senior missionaries, more glasses, plates, bowls, and a little more silverware. Tilleys have an extra kitchen table and chairs in their second bedroom so we now have it. It is identical to our old set. It was a day of a lot of work and still more to do to get everything organized and a lot of shopping to do tomorrow.

When two of the apartment employees came to remove the furniture, Sarah Thibault Skyped us from Maryland. They got to see her and talk to her. It was really cute to see how excited they were to see her.

3 November 2009…..Tuesday
I went to bed last night very achy. I am happy to report that the new bed is wonderful. Now we have one bed instead of two, but the old ones were very bad and one was quite small. A good bed will make a difference in the way I feel when I get up every morning. Since I also got Bawdens scales I was able to weigh this morning….119 pounds…a gain of nine pounds since I was sick. I haven’t been able to weigh for a couple of months but I knew by the fit of my clothes that I was finally gaining some of those lost pounds.

Elder and Sister Curtiss are now at the desks formerly occupied by the Bawdens. We will enjoy serving with them. She is a native Guatemalan and he met her when he was serving in the Peace Corp as a young man. They joined the Church after they married. They have moved here from Florida and are building a home and this is where they will live out their retirement.

I finished the loan report for October and updated some of the participant files for Belize. Dick and I went to Cemaco and bought a microwave, toaster, comforter, trash cans, mop, broom, dust pan, bathroom rug, a colander and a few other items that we needed to replace.

Tonight Dick went to the Young Men’s meeting since he is now a counselor to the 18 year old YM president. Jim is assisting in the activities and that way Dick isn’t out alone at night. I made brownies for them to take and they bought sodas.

4 November 2009…..Wednesday
I finally have the Priesthood Report and that kept me busy for hours. I got it broken down by all the 98 stakes in Central America. Hopefully, tomorrow Claudia will have the letter to attach for each stake president and then I can get them emailed. I updated my PEF report for the Belize participants.

We worked on reorganizing the closet to accommodate the lack of a nightstand with a little storage space. The temperature was 61 degrees when we got up and the high today was 70 degrees. The covers feel good at night.

5 November 2009…..Thursday
We awoke to light rain. We had a high today of 64 degrees and we had fairly consistent but light rain. It is amazing. Last year the rain literally stopped the last day of October. This is good as the country is in dire need of rain to water their crops. The internet was down at the office which prevented ALL the work that I had to do. When I finally had internet access I still didn’t have the letters and report information to do my two biggest jobs.

This evening Taylors gave us an extra table from their apartment that works great for our TV. That freed up our arrangements so we now have a night stand on each side of the bed

As I was reading Alma 46 this morning, in English and then Spanish, I again thought of how valiant Captain Moroni was with his “title of liberty ….in memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children.” How important it is that we stand for righteousness! It is so easy to picture the righteous, and the unrighteous, who inhabited this land centuries ago. It was mentioned recently that surely Lehi is in attendance at the temple as he watches over his posterity who have accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ and embraced the covenants that seals them together as families. The work of the church in these last days is a wondrous thing to behold.

In the closing verses of Alma 46 it speaks of fevers in the land ….but, “because of the excellent qualities of the many plants and roots which God had prepared to remove the cause of diseases, to which men were subject by the nature of the climate----.” It causes me to think of the “fevers” and the heavy duty antibiotics used to cure the disease and make us well, yet I have always believed that whatever we need to cure us will be found naturally upon the earth. I do have a great appreciation for the man-made medications that aid in healing our bodies.

6 November 2009…..Friday
Today is Dallen’s 16th birthday! We now have three 16 year olds driving the streets in WA, PA, and UT. Claudia wasn’t at the office this morning but Reynaldo got a letter drafted for me to attach to the Priesthood Report for the 98 stake presidents so I got that major job finished. Dick wrote up a letter in Spanish for me to email to the stake specialists for their monthly report. It was good to get some things done. Later, we left with Tilleys for Chinese food. Dick and Jim went back to the office after bringing Rexene and me home. It is overcast, drizzly and cool today. My sweats feel very good.

Curtiss’ offered us a small table to use until we go home. It was made by Elder Curtiss’ father. It is very nice and has a drawer which is so handy for stashing things.

7 November 2009…..Saturday
There was light rain, still, when we got up. I was tempted to turn on my little heater. Once I got busy I warmed up. Dick went to the office to get some work done. There are always applications waiting for him on his computer. I finally got our desk and bookcases organized. Having the drawer space in the desk is a huge help. We haven’t been able to find our Lancaster Stake directory for a couple of months. It is amazing to me that after all the reorganizing, it still is missing. There are not many places in our little apartment for anything to hide.

I started a book today, one that was inherited from other senior missionaries: Peace, Happiness, and Joy by Richard G. Scott. At 4 pm there was a baptism for Brother Salazar. He has hopes that his wife and daughters will also be baptized soon. I was asked to say the closing prayer. There were small chairs set up near the font for the young children to sit so they could see him baptized. The baptism was held at one of the chapels in the stake since our little branch/house does not have a baptismal font.

I know someday our little Sabana Branch will have a beautiful chapel to meet in. Afterward I was talking to two elders that I had not met before. One was from Logan, UT….Elder Hardy. The other, Elder Montague, was from Escondido, CA. My first question was, did he know Lew and Sandi Stratton. Yes. My next question: was he related to Montagues in Santa Maria. Yes, Glen is his dad’s uncle.

Well, I finally did it. I turned on the little space heater for a few minutes. With the few days of overcast and almost constant drizzle, we feel a chill in the air. Our towels are not dry 24 hours after we use them, even though they are hung over chairs and not folded over towel bars (we only have one towel bar…on the shower door). This should not be a problem for long, because the rain should come to a complete halt for the next five months.

8 November 2009…..Sunday
We drove our car to Church today and I took pictures along the way. This is a beautiful country and I would love to capture it with my little digital camera. The broad avenues with grassy parks, trees and flowers in the median are often overshadowed by the traffic and the buses blowing out black smoke. Sometimes you can’t even see the back of the bus through all the smoke. Sunday mornings are the exception. By the time we come home from church one side of the avenue is closed to traffic and hundreds of people are walking, riding bikes, running, walking dogs, skating….all family activities. Christmas lights are now strung across the streets and the huge Christmas tree at the Obelisco is just about complete.
Las Americas Avenida....we live a block from this beautiful avenue
La Reforma Avenida
driving past an open market before it gets busy
a beautiful wide throughfare just before we turn off to the church

The whole two hours of Primary was taken up with practice for the presentation in Sacrament Meeting at the end of the month. Adele and I rode home with Tilleys as Dick and Bill both had families to visit for home teaching. Tonight we are going to Tilleys for pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust.

I tried to take a nap this afternoon but my mind was buzzing with music. I thought of a Janice Kapp Perry song from “It’s a Miracle”………entitled, “Imagine Me.” The first words are, “imagine me, a missionary.” It is sung by a young boy. Well I am an “old” woman or should I say a “senior” woman. Those words go through my head….”imagine me a missionary!” Since 1979 when Mother and Daddy left home to serve as missionaries in the Mississippi Jackson Mission, I have known that we, too, would serve a mission….for 30 years I have known that. I also knew that most likely we would serve in a Spanish speaking country. But, here I am, in Guatemala, having a myriad of experiences, and each time thinking that I would never have imagined, when I was a young girl, that I would actually live in a foreign country and see the things I have seen and do the things I have done. Imagine me!! I see how callings to serve, in a variety of areas, have prepared me for this grand opportunity to devote two years of my life. Are there sacrifices? Oh yes! Are they worth it? Definitely! This is another time that I think of that beautiful quote: “I never said it would be easy. I said it would be worth it!” So true of much of life’s experiences.

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