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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, October 25, 2009

Journal - Week of October 19 - 25

19 October 2009…..Monday
Last night I wrapped plastic “silverware” in napkins and tied it with strips of banana leaf. Other than breakage problems when I tried to tie them, I finally succeeded with tying 60 sets. Adele came down and helped me finish the last fifteen.

This morning Dick went to the office. A little later Rexene drove me, Adele, and Kathy to Price Smart to make purchases for the food we are cooking for the luau tonight, the farewell dinner for Bawdens, Martinez (temple president), and Williams (temple missionaries). I was assigned to make Lau Lau with spinach, chicken, bacon, onions, and coconut milk. In between the cooking I worked on my Shutterfly photo book and got it up to date with pictures from our trip to Lake Atitl├ín and the eyeglass clinic. I still have to fine tune it but I have completed 100 pages since April 1st and so the book will be my second photo book since the beginning of our mission. I will put tonight’s pictures in my next photo book.

Our evening was wonderful. At 5 pm we drove over to the Clarke’s apartment complex where our dinner was held on the patio. A group of us got all the tables prepared with centerpieces of banana leaves, flowers, and tops of pineapples. We had a great array of food. We all did well making dishes from recipes we have never tried before. Adele and Bill worked hard to get the recipes written up from their favorite Hawaiian dishes. They lived there for 20 years. Dessert was vanilla ice cream that we put on top of fresh pineapple chunks and then sprinkled with chopped macadamia nuts. Elder Clarke spoke kind, but deserved words about the departing missionaries and each of them also spoke. At the conclusion of the program Marilyn danced two Hawaiian dances. She is excellent, very graceful, and a lovely dancer, which was a great expression of the sweet spirit she is. I will miss her a lot.



It was cold and windy on the patio during the luau. Even with my heaviest cardigan. When we got home before 9 pm the temperature was 59 degrees. This is the coldest it has been in many, many months.

20 October 2009…..Tuesday
When I checked the weather this morning at 7:30 am it was 59 degrees again, but warmed up into the mid seventies. Today is Guatemala Revolution Day and the office is closed. Dick did go to the office because people are here from SLC preparing to shoot videos about PEF. Dick is part of the video. His great chance to be an actor! I spent hours getting the memory photo book made for Bawdens. It is almost finished. This afternoon Dick, Jim and Bill left for a barbecue for priesthood holders at La Sabana Branch. This morning there was a thank you note at our door from Blackburns, thanking us for the help with the farewell dinner.

21 October 2009…..Wednesday
Back to the office today and to the waiting loan report. I now have it up to date through the 20th. We went upstairs to the 5th floor conference room where they are filming the video. I stayed for awhile and watched the procedure. Dick stayed two hours. Then we all had lunch together, Chinese food. The guy from SLC doing the sound did a number of church films, including both temple films. Rex Allen, who did a lot of our training the two days we were in Salt Lake in August 2008, is here. Brother Coombs is also here. He and his wife were the PEF missionaries here in Guatemala City and left the year before we came.

Dean was at the door this evening with a thank you note for the farewell dinner and a gift…..a pretty candle.

22 October 2009…..Thursday
We took Adele to the office with us this morning as Bill is spending many hours with an auditor from Salt Lake. Our area of the office continues to be quiet with the filming going on upstairs. I finished all my available work and Dick brought me home at noon. I was able to practice the keyboard for Sacrament Meeting and Primary. Also, some prelude music. Suzanne Tomkinson gave me a prelude book of hymns and Primary songs that are strung together with bridges so the prelude music can be one continuous chain without stopping between hymns. She was a music major at BYU. There are four of us with keyboards in this building and three of us play for our individual branches each Sunday. The others play far beyond my abilities.

I made chicken noodle soup with dumplings out of the leftover chicken broth from Monday’s cooking. We had peaches with cottage cheese, too. I don’t think we have had cottage cheese since we came here, but Price Smart had some when I was there Monday so I bought it. It is almost impossible to find here.

23 October 2009…..Friday
The office got back to normal this morning. The SLC people who were doing some film making for PEF left the office about 9 am to film a little of the Guatemala countryside. Tomorrow they fly to Peru to repeat the same routine next week. The filming from Guatemala and Peru will be edited into the final product.

We told Bawdens we wanted to take them to dinner before they leave. We decided to do lunch and do it today. Dean had mentioned a place we need to go before they go home so this seemed the perfect opportunity. They needed to take a new TV, DVD player, and other things to the new dental clinic so we went there first. Traffic was heavy and then we had to detour for construction so it took us an hour to get there. It looks fantastic! We saw it in May when work was underway and Dick saw it when they were pouring the cement roof. The Alberts did wonderful work for the five months they were here. Charlie was in charge of construction and Judy’s mosaics are awesome.


The orphanage
Dean and Marilyn Bawden
The clinic is on the grounds of a girl’s orphanage. The old building was furnished by the orphanage but the entire dental clinic was built and paid for by the Church. Dean was able to get donations to totally pay for the five dental chairs and the other equipment. It is all the best available. The Tomkinsons will run the clinic. Another dentist couple have submitted their papers to serve a full time mission at the clinic. Various dentists will come from the states for a week or two and donate their services. The dental work will be free to missionaries, old and young, and take care of all the young people leaving on missions. They will also serve all the children in the local orphanages. The Church is incredible. It is one thing to speak of charity and another thing to act on those beliefs. I witness the great good going on in this little corner of the world but I know it is being repeated all over the world for all of God’s children.

We went to lunch in Zone 1, the old down town area. Not the safest of areas. We ate at the Panamericano Hotel which must have been something fifty years ago. We had a most enjoyable lunch. They served the best hot, fresh corn tortillas I have had. Maybe it’s because they served them with butter. Tonight was movie night at Tomkinsons.

24 October 2009…..Saturday
I cleaned and Dick went to the office for a couple of hours. When he got a home a group of us went to a Mexican restaurant none of us had been to before. It was okay but I wish I had ordered off the menu instead of having the buffet like everyone else. I am not crazy about buffets. There were fourteen of us. When we got home I started doing the final touches on Bawden’s memory book. I finished it and will order it next week. Then I worked on our photo book. Don’t know what I would do without Shutterfly. Ours has 100 pages, the most pages I can put in it. I started editing a few things and even deleted a couple of pages and then added some more pictures. Long story short, I was at the computer over four hours. But, ours is done and all I have to do is to recheck all my pages and wait for a good sale so I can submit it to be printed. I will start our next photo book with pictures I have taken this week.

Dick has cinnamon raison bread in the bread machine. It smells delicious. After our big lunch the perfect meal will be warm bread in about thirty minutes.

25 October 2009…..Sunday
Today was interesting at church. We had no electrical power. So no lights and no keyboard. We continue to pack the house we meet in. I hope our branch will soon have approval for a chapel. Primary was a challenge, again. Between Adele and Rexene there are more visual aids and activities than the children have ever had. We are trying to prepare them for the Primary Sacrament Meeting program next month. Kathy Anderson wrote a program for her branch and we will use it in our branch.

During Sunday School President Acevedo spoke with Dick and called him to be a counselor in the Young Men’s presidency. The president of YM is 18 and needs some help. Later he called Jim to work with YM, too. So the two of them will be going to Mutual on Tuesdays. I came home with Tilleys as Dick had one more home teaching appointment.

I turned on my computer when I got home and it was like I had a brand new computer…..it was clean….all my files were gone. Thankfully, I had bought Carbonite last April and so they had backed up my files. I was able to get them restored in a few hours but I still couldn’t find most things. Mark told me to give Carbonite time to work. I finally turned off the computer and then restarted and miraculously, everything seems to be back in order. So now I will try doing the Blog.