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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 29, 2009

Journal - Week of November 23 - 29


23 November 2009…..Monday
I worked on the loan report today and got it current. When Dick got to a good stopping point he suggested we go to Paiz. I haven’t been in the store for a number of weeks. Dick has gone at times to get milk or a few items but there were some things I needed to get for Thanksgiving dinner. We came home and unloaded the groceries into the apartment grocery cart that is so handy to put in the elevator and bring into our apartment to unload. Dick went back to the office. We found out after he got back home that Tilleys were on the road home from Las Colinas camp where EFY is being held. We told them dinner would be ready when they got here. I made cornbread, Sandi’s rice cooked in coconut milk, and then I fried popcorn shrimp. We ate about 7 pm. It was good to visit and hear about their busy seven days as security for two film crews from Salt Lake.

Last week Rexene asked one of the 13 Guzman children what was different at home since Alejandra went on her mission. The reply was, “there are not as many people in the bed.”

24 November 2009…..Tuesday

Today Cameron is 11. Jeff’s family is traveling in New York so it will be a memorable birthday for Cameron. At the office today we had two Skype calls from Elder and Sister Dunford in Belize. She had some PEF funding questions for Dick. They are flying to Guatemala tomorrow and we will pick them up at the airport.

Before Dick and Jim left for their Young Men’s meeting Rexene came to the door with some pizza from Pizza Hut. She knew Dick wouldn’t take the time to eat before leaving at 5 pm. The activity for their evening with the boys was making “no bake cookies” and then eating them. Tilleys had a baby granddaughter born this afternoon. It’s hard for grandmas to be so far away when little ones arrive. I got tired of trying to get my hair a little longer so I pulled out the scissors and cut my bangs and the sides, then Rexene came over and trimmed the back.

25 November 2009…..Wednesday
We left at our usual time this morning but drove to the airport. We waited, standing outside for almost an hour and a half, for Elder and Sister Dunford to arrive. They had a direct flight from Belize. They were the only passengers on a plane that would seat about 100. When they questioned if the flight would be cancelled they were told that they had to get the plane back to Guatemala anyway. It was good to see them again. We took them to the office and they got to see where we work. They will spend a day or two with us at the office before they fly back to Belize. Sister Clarke came and picked them up. They were neighbors of the Clarkes when they all lived in Virginia.

When my office work was done Dick brought me home and then went back to the office. The day before Thanksgiving used to be a huge cooking day for me. Today I started about 2 pm and made pie crusts that I will fill with lemon tomorrow. Then I made pecan pies. They look great. I am concerned about the interior. My little oven can be cantankerous. I made pumpkin crisp and put it in the fridge. I will bake it tomorrow.

26 November 2009…..Thursday
HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! Dick left for the office at 7 am. I was in the kitchen all morning. I made the lemon pie filling, two cherry pies, and baked the pumpkin crisp. I had the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on TV. Jeff‘s family is staying in a hotel overlooking the parade before they head to Alison’s in PA for Thanksgiving dinner.

At 1:10 pm I had everything out of the oven. I was reading the Book of Mormon, Alma 60, in Spanish. Then the room started rocking and rolling. The Christmas tree was moving and the drinking water was sloshing around in the bottle. Just when I thought the quake was over there was a jolt and harder shaking. It just seemed fitting as I read the words about what was happening here in 62 B.C. This chapter is also a warning for 2009 A.D. We found out later it was a 5.9 quake off the coastline at the border of Guatemala and El Salvador. Dick rocked and rolled with the quake at the office. He completed the 17 applications on his computer this morning and took the exceptions upstairs for Elder Clarke to sign. When he got back to his computer there were 70 more applications waiting for him. There will probably be more when he turns on his computer tomorrow morning.

At 2:15 pm Dick went to the Casa de Huespedes and picked up the Dunfords. Jim went with him so he could ride back to dinner with President and Sister Mask, the new temple president, and show them the way to the Clarkes. Rexene drove me and the food over to the Clarke’s. We had an enjoyable dinner at 3 pm on the Clarke’s patio……turkey with all the trimmings.
There were ample desserts. After we got back from dinner we went across the hall to the Tomkinsons and played dominoes. Suzanne gave me and Rexene a gift to open. It was the new Christmas CD by Hilary Weeks. It was autographed. When we questioned how she got them autographed she told us that Hilary is her cousin.

We had Skype calls from Alison and Jeff’s families who are all together in Pennsylvania. Mark’s family Skyped us and then Scott’s family was on Skype. We called Kristen, Cyndy, and Jill. We had no success in talking with Dennis and family.

27 November 2009…..Friday
Today is 75 years since Mother and Daddy got married on November 27, 1934. Today is a joyful time on the other side of the veil since they are now together again. Jill and family drove over to the cemetery and put flowers on the gravesite and then sent us pictures. It was a tender experience for her. Dick went to the office before 7 am. I had my usual day after Thanksgiving breakfast of a thin slice of cherry pie and a thin slice of pecan pie.

Tilleys took me with them before 10 am and we drove to the office to pick up Dick and meet Blackburns and Taylors. We drove out to Antigua to the Jade Factory and bought two Utchi’s, the glyph that says “and it came to pass.” Then we drove through the narrow streets to the adjoining town of Jocotenango to the wood factory. I bought a few more pieces of wood fruit and a butterfly shaped puzzle box. Then we drove to Chimaltenango and had lunch at Burger King. A short distance up the road is the Las Colinas camp that the church owns. This whole week they have been holding EFY (Especially for Youth). I think there have been 8 different locations this year that are out of the U.S. for the first time ever. This is the only one to be held in Latin America. There were several people there from Honduras and El Salvador to see how it is done and they plan on holding EFY in those countries. This year only 5 Guatemalan stakes were invited to attend…just over 600 young people. Next year there will be two separate EFY’s held here for 12 different stakes. (There are 39 stakes in Guatemala.) Elder Cordon, one of the Area Seventy, went to Provo with a few others earlier this year for training. One of the Provo staff has been here for the week. It has been a huge success. We walked around and then sat and watched all 600 youth and their counselors (our local young adults) form a giant e-f-y and then they were all photographed from ladder sections tied to a tree….. at least 30 feet off the ground.

The grounds of the camp are extensive and beautiful. The sun was warm, the air was cool and windy. The biggest problem at EFY is the cold nights.

The hour drive back to the office to pick up our cars was heavy traffic. After we got in our car and headed south there were very few cars on the road. I think they were lighting the tree at the Obelisco so all the people were headed there by the office for the festivities. Later, Blackburns, Taylors, Tilleys, Johnsons, Tomkinsons and their friends from AZ came over and we ate leftover pie. Tomkinsons friends are going home tomorrow. They were here for a week. He is Wayne’s partner in their dental practice in Casa Grande so they were helping them with some of the first patients at the dental clinic. The clinic is only for full time missionaries, those preparing for missions, and for the orphans of Guatemala. It is free of charge. Today was a very good day and so uplifting to be around the young people and see the blessing of EFY infuse the lives of the young people in Guatemala.

28 November 2009…...Saturday
Today was also a good day. Dick went to the office early to whittle down the stack of waiting applications on the internet. He needs to get them all finished and sent to SLC for approval next week at their meeting. I did my Saturday cleaning/laundry routine. At noon I left with Tilleys and others to go to Mexico Lindo for a late celebration of Rexene’s birthday. Dick met us there. He was very happy about all that he has accomplished this week. Our meal was very good. After we got home we went to Taylors. First we practiced a song that we wrote as a group as we were sitting in the cold wind at EFY. We will sing it Monday night at the farewell dinner for Elder and Sister King and for the Walkers who have been here a few years with the American Embassy. It is written to the tune of “We Three Kings.” Then we talked about Christmas plans like dinner on Christmas Eve, breakfast at our apartment Christmas morning, a visit to an orphanage in the afternoon, ending with the CCM (MTC) on Christmas Night to present a program to all the young missionaries waiting to go out to their assignments. The guys left at 4 pm to go to the Clarke’s apartment to watch the BYU/University of Utah game. The majority of the senior missionaries graduated from BYU or the U. So it is somewhat of a rivalry.

29 November 2009…..Sunday
Today was our Primary program and it was an absolute success. For sharing time we took the children outside and they were treated to gorgeous chocolate cupcakes that Rexene had made plus drinks and snacks.

Then we played a beanbag game about the prophets. For the last 15 minutes we went back inside for a coloring activity. I rode home with Tilleys while Dick stayed for a meeting with the Young Mens president.

The month is drawing to an end. We can’t imagine where the time goes. Life is good in the mission field. All of us seniors serve in different areas of expertise but we all have one thing in common…..strong and abiding testimonies of the gospel of Jesus Christ and faith in the great plan of salvation. I can’t imagine serving anywhere else or at any other time or we would not know these wonderful people who are so much a part of our life. This time of thanksgiving is not just a day, or a month, but a lifetime of gratitude to our loving Heavenly Father for blessings to innumerable to count.

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