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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, January 17, 2010

Journal - January 11 - 17

11 January 2010…..Monday
Chilly in Guatemala City! This morning it is 46 degrees but feels like 39. This is the coldest temperature I have seen since we came here. At the office I turned on my little heater and the Curtiss’ and we were very comfortable. Others came into the room to enjoy our warmth. We came home early afternoon so Dick could get a nap. He is on antibiotics now and we hope his upper respiratory infection will clear up. Last night Jim and Wayne gave him a Priesthood blessing.

I discovered that I could see the Agua Volcano from the apartment….not out of the living room window because the high rise apartment building blocks the view. Not out the middle of the bedroom window because a smaller building blocks the view, but when I looked out the window at the far left edge, low and behold, there was the volcano and it wasn’t even shrouded in clouds. While Dick was sleeping today there was a small earthquake, enough to make the water shake on its stand.

12 January 2010…..Tuesday
Dick is feeling much better today. Our warm office was very comfortable. Alma and Jose down the hall from us were at their desks, both rubbing their hands together to get warm. Alma had on a scarf and a heavier coat. So, I invited them into our office to get warm. Several men left the office to buy a jacket. That pretty much says how cold this is for the people of Guatemala City. Today I sent the Priesthood Report to the Seventy and to the stake specialists. Tilleys suggested Wendy’s for lunch and we took our car. A baked potato with chili tasted great on a cold day.

Tonight Dick shook the hand of David Archuleta (American Idol) and his mother. Dick thanked David for coming and David asked Dick where he was from. At least Dick knew who he was because it was probably the only season of American Idol that he ever watched. Dick and Jim had left home before 5:30 pm to go to La Sabana to meet the young adults and a couple of the older YM. Brother Carrias, a member of the branch presidency, drove his van. They went to Montufar Ward building for a special young adult meeting. The speakers were David and his mother, who was born in Honduras. David spoke in English with a translator. He does speak some Spanish. He also sang and played the piano. There were about 1000 young adults at the meeting.

13 January 2010…..Wednesday
Another chilly day. I separated the Priesthood Report by wards in Guatemala and emailed it to all the bishops and branch presidents. I finished just before 2 pm and we left and went grocery shopping at Paiz. Dick brought me and the groceries home. I made clam chowder for dinner. He went back to the office. Yesterday I got a different desk and it does make our office just a little more roomy for the four of us.

The terrible earthquake in Haiti is staggering. I can just imagine what a large quake would do to Guatemala City. My prayers go out to people whose lives have been devastated.

14 January 2010…..Thursday
The apartment wasn’t quite as cold this morning. Maybe we have a warming trend coming. I made email contacts with most of our Belize students. I sent a birthday email to Leovany Lopez….now 26 years old (a district president in Belize). It is the first email I have sent to him from our computer and he got a kick out of our “graffites.” I started working on Christensen’s Shutterfly photo book. They go home to Idaho in a couple of days. I went to MacArthur’s office and took their picture for the book. Beatriz Curtiss came in to ask the doctor a question about hormones and it was a great interaction to watch. He is an OB/GYN and he knows women’s health. I think he is an answer to prayer for most of us senior sisters. He said he would do meetings in his office for us.

At 2 pm Tilleys took me home. I made fudge to take to the office tomorrow. It won’t be shared with everyone. It will be given to Reynaldo. Sunday is his 33rd birthday and the fudge is our gift to him. Elder Clarke told me to stop bringing chocolate for him many months ago but I just laugh about it and do it anyway. I think Reynaldo loves chocolate as much as I do.

15 January 2010…..Friday
I used the heater at home for awhile this morning, but didn’t need it at the office. The weather is much more pleasant, especially for those who have little to keep themselves warm. I always worry about our branch members.

There are a few more changes at the office but this time it isn’t a change of desk or office. The loan reports I have been doing for the 3500 loans in Central America no longer need to be done as they will come with the necessary info without me extracting it. The loans have been a major part of my daily work. So now they will give me some other assignments. Don’t know exactly what it will be yet as they are still working on some changes. So, this morning I finished the Shutterfly photo book for Christensens.

Dick brought me home a little after noon. He took Lester to lunch. Lester leaves soon for the mission field and I don’t know what Dick will do without him. He is a volunteer and a great asset. Reynaldo and Claudia have been instrumental in getting help for him….everything from clothing to the cost of his Passport. It is an honor for us to help this young man. For over a year he has used PEF to study computers (he is bright and very savvy with computers) and has also volunteered many hours a week at the office. His parents have not been able to provide much temporally throughout his 19 years of life, but they have taught him faith, perseverance, service, love of God and Jesus Christ. We love this wonderful boy.

Tonight we had barbecued hamburgers and a movie night at Tomkinson’s.

We had a short planning meeting to decide what we want to do in the next few months. There are five couples leaving before the end of July and there are a few things we want to do while we are still in Guatemala. We saw an awesome movie, projected on the wall, which I highly recommend…….”Blindside.” It was excellent. I know this DVD probably isn’t out in the states but this is Guatemala and you can buy it on the streets here.

16 January 2010…..Saturday
Cleaning day! Dick went to the office to get in about three hours of work before our afternoon activities began. At 1 pm we left with Tilleys and Tomkinsons for the Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología. We enjoyed wandering through the museum and looking at the many artifacts. All are dated as to the time they are thought to have been part of the culture. The information also indicates where they were found. The time spanned centuries. There are many stela found throughout Guatemala, depicting their various stories on the stone.
Just at the end of the self guided tour is a huge mural (60 ft. or wider) spanning from one wall to another. Scenes are depicted from the earliest days of Guatemala to the present….at which is depicted two life size young men in white shirts, each carrying a Book of Mormon. Since the 1960´s the missionaries of the Church have had a great presence in this country. It´s just amazing to see their depiction in this national museum.

We drove a short distance to the Mercado de Artesanías.

This is a market very different from most. It is a safe, fence enclosed area with guards. There are a number of individual little shop areas. I bought another beautiful pillow cover. A pillow cover is easy to pack and take home because there is no filling, and it is an excellent way to get some of the beautiful stitchery that is done here. I also bought about 13 small covered balls ….something for the kids to play with when they visit us. One of the shop keepers, a middle aged man, asked if I was a missionary. He said there were a lot of people who have come to Guatemala as missionaries. Then he thanked me for coming to serve and help his people. That is not the first time a stranger as expressed that to me, but I always appreciate their appreciation. The weather was beautiful today….a perfect day to be out seeing the sights of Guatemala City. In fact it was 81 degrees .

Tonight we had a Skype call from Scott’s family. Doran is now 16 days old and doing well. Matt, our kindergartner, read a book to us, “Rag Gets Wet.”

17 January 2010…..Sunday
Another lovely day at 75 degrees. It was nice not to be shivering at our little church. Today we had 18 in Primary whereas last week we had only 3 because it was easier to stay in bed last Sunday when it was so cold. As I write this I think of Glenn and Lynn Gardner when they served their mission in Armenia. Their emails to us would speak of breaking the ice on the soda before serving it at a Seminary day and the layers of clothes they put on for Sunday. I guess day time highs in the fifties for a couple of days and the temp dropping to 39 degrees one night during the year here hardly qualifies for it being cold. Anyway, their weekly emails, which were like a chapter out of one of Lynn’s books, was our inspiration for “writing home” while we are away. We are lucky that someone invented the “blog” before we were called to serve.

Dick went to the office for a few hours after we got home because PEF applications and exceptions have to be in SLC tomorrow for approval. Working on the Sabbath?? Maybe not, as it is missionary work, which is always appropriate for the Sabbath!

The MacArthurs have checked Elder Tyson out of the hospital, (he was hit by a hit and run driver two weeks ago), and brought him to their apartment for a few days so they can monitor him and determine if he is well enough to send back to Arizona. He has a lot of bones to heal and physical therapy, plus his brain needs to heal. It is a miracle that he survived such a horrific accident.

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