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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 1, 2009

Journal - Week of October 26 - November 1

26 October 2009…..Monday

After a busy morning at the office the afternoon was slow. Dick brought me home and I did some things to prepare us for our two days with the returning missionaries. I also submitted the memory book for Bawdens to Shutterfly and started a new photo book for us. Family Home Evening was at the Taylors. After our lesson on composers of LDS hymns, we put together first aid kits for our cars. They cost Q50. They were well planned, just what you would expect coming from the Taylors (doctor). Kim and Dick left early to go to the bus station and pick up a young sister missionary who is serving in El Salvador. She will be having a cornea transplant here in Guatemala City. They took her to the Durans (he is the DTA….director of temporal affairs for the Central America Area)….where she will stay till she is fully recuperated. It was after ten when Dick got home.

Mail today ….from my cousin Raelene. Yes, an envelope to open is something exciting in the mission field.

27 October 2009…..Tuesday

Dick left at 7 am to take care of a few items at the office. I finished packing and we left at 9:30 am for the Casa de Huéspedes to await the arrival of our returning missionaries. Our favorite room was not available because the temple president, President and Sister Martinez, were staying in the room. They are concluding their mission and will return to SLC next week so the home for the temple president is being refurbished for their replacement. We have two sisters and five elders in our group. Tomkinsons stopped by the Casa to see two of the elders who came from Honduras where they served the first half of their mission. Suzanne walked with me over to the distribution center and I purchased garments for Alejandra Guzmán from our branch. She enters the CCM tomorrow and will be serving her mission in Honduras. She is the oldest of 13 children. She lives in a home with dirt floors and I wonder what the adjustment will be for her as she serves as a missionary.

At noon we left for the Employment Center….nine of us plus our driver squeezed into one van. It started to rain just before we arrived and rained for quite awhile. The rainy season is about to end and we have not had a lot of rain this year. After our opening song, prayer, and scripture, we went to the restaurant down the hall for lunch. It tasted a little better than usual…I had crumbled ground beef cooked with veggies, rice (always), and green bean and squash salad with a citrus dressing. I spent the afternoon reading my Spanish Book of Mormon and the Church News. At 4 pm I had access to the internet.

Our late afternoon food was a McFlurry. It tasted pretty good. An hour later Dominoes delivered pizza. At 7 pm we returned to the Casa. The new mattresses on the bunk beds are very good and we were both very tired.

28 October 2009…..Wednesday

We were up at 5:30 and ready to leave for the Employment Center at 7 am. It was a relief to see the small bus instead of the van we had yesterday. No squeezing today. As soon as we arrived we had our song, prayer, and scripture, and then went to the restaurant. The “tipico” breakfast they serve is probably my favorite Guatemalan food. Well, not the scrambled eggs, but I like the black beans (refried), and the platanos (fried plantains). The juice was a mixture of mostly watermelon.

Class began with Brother Chen, one of the Institute directors. Patty took over about 10 am. The Employment Center is closed to the public today because the employees are setting up for the job fair at the Montufar chapel. With most of the employees gone I was able to be on the internet early. Today I got the photo book for President and Sister Martinez almost finished. At lunch we were back at the restaurant. I had meatballs which were very tender. The only way to get tender beef here is to order ground beef. The salad was sliced cucumbers with the seed removed and a dressing. At home salad always seems to include lettuce. Here it is any type of vegetable served cold or room temperature with a dressing of some kind, even if it is just a squeeze of lime. Dick bought ice cream for all the missionaries after lunch. We all had something similar to a drumstick. I had a napkin wrapped around mine and every time I took a bite of the cone I wondered if I had bitten into a piece of the napkin. No, I hadn’t. But it pretty much describes the taste and texture of the cone. Every time we buy an ice cream bar at the restaurant I tell Dick to remind me next time that I don’t want any. They are pretty tasteless and the ice cream is not creamy but very icy.

There were a lot of people from Nicaragua at the Casa and the temple these last two days.

We didn’t get into the 5 pm session at the temple because it was full, but they started a session for us about 40 minutes later. We were witnesses again. It is always enjoyable afterward to watch the reunion of missionaries and families. After everyone left we had one young man from Quetzaltenango spending one more night. We ate chicken sandwiches that Patty had sent with us this afternoon.

29 October 2009…..Thursday

This morning our last missionary was picked up by family before 10 am and so we headed home. At noon we went to Applebee’s for lunch with the welfare group from the office to say farewell to Bawdens and to welcome the Curtisses. There were 17 of us there.

Now I know why their lunch “hour” is so long when the employees go to lunch….they play games. There was a version of “gossip” going around the table and somewhere, probably with the few gringos with limited Spanish, the message would change. I haven’t played “gossip” since I was a teenager. They are all great people and it is good to socialize with the employees. Dick brought me home and then went to the office for a couple of hours.

It started to rain hard just as Dick got home. I doubt the rain lasted three minutes. Jim brought over some soda Dick likes that they found in Quetzaltenango.

30 October 2009…..Friday

My lower back has been giving me problems. I could hardly get out of bed this morning. When we got to the office Carolyn tried a brace on me but I think it was made for the tiny Guatemalans. Kim gave me some Advil and that actually seemed to help. We went with Blackburns to the Job Fair sponsored by the Employment Center. This year they had permission to actually sell their goods instead of just displaying them. I bought four painted Christmas tree ornaments and HLJ (CTR..Choose the Right) earrings. Dick bought a “tree of life” ring that will be made for him and delivered to the office. We ate on the patio of Montufar chapel….tortillas, chorizo, black beans and guacamole.

For dinner Jim called Pizza Hut. Tomkinsons and we chipped in and after eating we played dominoes. Such a lively group!

31 October 2009…..Saturday

Happy Halloween! This “holiday” is not observed by the people of Central America. This morning we all had “ghosts”….white paper cut outs with black eyes, at our doorstep. Tomkinsons left each of us with a Halloween container of Hershey kisses. Later there were muffins and a special card. I didn’t have to see the culprit who left the card. One look at it and I knew it was from Tilleys. I made pumpkin muffins this morning and distributed them throughout the building. Dick left to get a haircut. Bawdens leave for home early in the morning so they are packed. Sorting through the things in their apartment is a job. Some furniture/stuff belongs to Victoria Suites (our apartment building). Some belongs to the church (welfare department). Some they have purchased. I inherited the hand mixer, a rolling pin, some more measuring cups, some skirt hangers and their bathroom scales. On Monday we will bring their bed into our apartment. They claim it is a very good mattress so I am excited about a better mattress. We will also inherit the desk. These pieces of furniture are for welfare missionaries, which we and Tomkinsons are, so therefore Tomkinsons will store the remainder in their three bedroom apartment. I have turned down extra dishes, etc., because our one bedroom doesn’t have the kitchen space or the storage space.

We had a lot of thunder this evening. I thought it would just pass by us but we ended getting some rain for awhile. Bill Blackburn made decorated sugar cookies…pumpkins that sort of look like clowns…tasty. We said our final goodbyes to Bawdens. Tonight was movie night at Tomkinsons.

1 November 2009…..Sunday

Bulletin: Primary went very well today. One of the counselors was there for the first time in three months. She has thirteen children and at least four were in Primary today. She seemed to have a calming effect. The children were far from calm most of the time, but nevertheless, we all felt really good about it. Singing time went very well with great visual aids by Adele. Rexene is truly one that keeps everything going. Our Primary Sacrament Meeting program is later this month and we have high hopes for the children. Dick was sustained as counselor to the Young Men’s president and set apart after our meetings.

Today was “Break the Fast” at the Baldwins. I made a tamale pie. We took some pictures of the group, though we did it in two shifts to get everyone in.

President and Sister Martinez go home this week. After everyone left I had a temple recommend interview with President Baldwin. He asked me if I wanted the interview in Spanish or English. Of course, I chose English. My new recommend is in Spanish and states that I am a “missionera.” A missionary’s recommend only requires two signatures….mine and the mission president’s signature.

Clocks changed in the States today. We are no longer the same time as our kids in Utah. Now we are the same time as Cyndy is Pensacola.

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