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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 24, 2010

Journal - January 18 - 24

18 January 2009…..Monday
Last night we went up to MacArthur’s apartment to see Elder Tyson. He is in bed, still in pain from injuries, but Sister MacArthur says pain is good….he could be paralyzed or dead. His brain injury seems to be greatly improved. He can answer just about any question they ask…..addresses, who serves on the high council at home, etc. Sandy (Sister MacArthur) put a miniature Snickers bar in his mouth. When I saw he could have chocolate I came back to our apartment and got a baggie full for him. On Tuesday Elder MacArthur will fly with Elder Tyson to Arizona and deliver him to his parents.

Dick was at the office this morning before 7 AM. I rode with Tilleys at 8:30. We felt three earthquakes mid-morning, in quick succession, the middle one being the strongest. In retrospect they could have been one long one. Dick was on the phone and didn’t feel them but John and I did. Speaking of earthquakes, Elder (doctor) MacArthur’s brother is an orthopedic doctor in Utah and he has gone to Haiti to help the injured in the group the Church has sent. I was telling Elder MacArthur that my OB/GYN in Pomona in the 1970’s had a framed award hanging right next to the examination table that said “Sexiest Dad.” It was given to him by his daughter’s sorority at Claremont College. Elder Mac said he had a picture of Tom Selleck on the ceiling above his examination table.

Today was PEF Committee Meeting. Just before we started there was another small earthquake. After we came home Dick went to Price Smart for lithium batteries, but they didn’t have any. He just needs an excursion every few days….I should say every day. Tonight was Family Home Evening at the Johnsons so we all walked over together. Afterwards, Jennifer served apple pie and ice cream….one of the best apple pies I have had in years. Dick and Bill took Gert home when we were finished.

The quake today was a 6.0, centered 60 miles southwest of Guatemala City.

19 January 2010…..Tuesday
This morning at 7 AM Dick and Jim went to MacArthur's apartment and helped get luggage and Elder Tyson into the fleet van that Jim had brought home last night. Then they took Elder MacArthur and Elder Tyson to the airport. He is not in a cast for his broken pelvis and the break near the hip bone. He used his walker to get down the elevator and to the car. The church booked first class seats to get him home. The doctor will come back tomorrow. They fly to Dallas and then to Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix where Elder Tyson’s family will pick him up. His family farms 40 acres in Buckeye, AZ. He is a cute young man, and even in the pain he has a cute sense of humor. As he said, “I should be dead.”

Dick went to the office and to the Hotel Plaza as the returning missionaries came in today but Brother and Sister Lopez, volunteers at the Employment Service Center, are now alternating with us and this is their first time. Dick wanted to help with any questions they may have.

I ended up staying home all day and I was able to do a lot of reading. Dick and Jim went to La Sabana for the Young Mens meeting. He got home in time to watch TV as the polls closed in Massachusetts. Needless to say, we are very pleased with the upset victory of Scott Brown for the Senate.

20 January 2010…..Wednesday
This morning we took Sandy MacArthur to the office with us. I finished the PEF Area History for November and December and took it upstairs and put it in the 2009 binder. Dick wrote a message for the specialists and I sent it with a YouTube attachment “Infinite Power of Hope” by Dieter F. Uchtdorf. It is wonderful how the church makes use of all kinds of technology to spread the message of the gospel and its values.

Jorge, one of our volunteers, came into the office with a young 14 year old friend from our stake who is selling chocolate obscuridad (dark drinking chocolate) to help pay his way for EFY later this year in Guatemala. Of course we bought some. Jorge has his mission call to El Salvador and leaves in a couple of weeks.

This evening Dick and Jim left to do taxi service. First, they went to the temple to pick up the oldest Mena boy who returned from his mission three weeks ago. He took part in the classes at the Employment Service Center the last two days. The family doesn’t have a car and Dick told him that he would pick him up at the conclusion and take him home. Then they went to the airport to pick up Elder MacDonald upon his return from his errand of mercy in Arizona.

21 January 2010…..Thursday
Today is our 49th anniversary! Can’t possibly be! Dick went to the office. I stayed home. Reynaldo isn’t in the office for the rest of the week and without him there I won’t have any work since I no longer have loans to do daily and the Priesthood Report for January is finished. Dick came home mid- morning and brought me a dozen long stemmed red roses. It cost him 30Q….almost $4. ($60 or more in the states?) Gorgeous flowers can be bought here for a song. There are small floral shops all over and always someone walking in the street selling flowers to motorists. Dick also brought a chocolate bar that had been left on my desk by Elder Curtiss.

The last few days there has been activity out our windows. We have seen them tearing down a house and it made me think that that house would survive a huge earthquake as I saw the heavy equipment ripping and tearing it apart, bite by bite.
Today they are digging and hauling off dirt. The question is now, will they build another house or perhaps an apartment building. If the new building is taller than three stories I will lose my view of the trees that will be covered with purple blossoms in six weeks.

We went out for an early dinner with friends: Tilleys, Tomkinsons, Blackburns and MacArthurs.
What a great meal we had. The first Tony Roma’s in Guatemala opened its doors last week. The onion loaf was wonderful as was the baby back ribs. I had a virgin piña colada that lived up to my expectations. For dessert Dick and I shared a sundae topping a cookie.

22 January 2010…..Friday
We have slept with windows open the last few nights. What a change from last week. This morning we left with Tilleys and went to the temple. We did initiatories and what a lovely experience it was. We stopped at Price Smart on the way home for a couple of items. Dick went to the office. He has many applications on his computer. I stayed home one more day. Reynaldo will be back at the office Monday so hopefully I will have an added assignment.

This evening we had a call from the MacArthurs, looking for someone with O type blood, positive or negative. The 12 year old son of the McGary family, whose father works here for Wal-Mart, had a bicycle accident. His brakes failed as he was going downhill and he ran into a building. The handle bars hit against him and when they operated they had to remove a kidney which was “blown in two” by the impact. Tilleys went to give blood but they didn’t need it.

23 January 2010…..Saturday
Beautiful day today. While I did the Saturday cleaning/laundry, Dick went to the office. There is never a time that he turns on his computer that something isn’t waiting for him. As the participation with PEF grows, so does the applications and renewals and exceptions. Everyone must renew their loan yearly, so that is almost 3500 that he will work on in a year’s time. He was gone five hours.

Tilleys invited us and MacArthurs for dinner and we played a game of dominoes. Everyone who comes here as senior missionaries seems to know how to play Mexican Train. The Tomkinsons have friends here for the week. Suzannne had asked them to bring See’s candy. They brought Mrs. Cavanaugh’s because her mother had encouraged her friend, Mrs. Cavanaugh, to market her chocolates many years ago. It is very good. They brought three different kinds; one for us, Tilleys and MacArthurs. We opened all three and divided up the variety amongst us. The phone rang. It was Dave Robertson saying the little McGary boy was having cardiac problems and would likely need surgery and blood. The doctor and Jim left for the hospital. Such a worrisome time for a family. Dick and I are type O negative and therefore universal donors. They don’t want blood from either of us because Dick is over 70 and I have been treated for Typhoid

24 January 2010…..Sunday
The Sabbath is always a good day. President Acevedo, before presenting his talk, called Elder Blackburn to the front and asked him to sing a hymn. Bill doesn’t sing any men’s parts but he does a great job on the melody. Then the President told me what page so I could accompany Bill. I am hoping all this playing on the keyboard will make me a better piano player. I have probably learned skills that will help with the organ, too. Dick and Jim both had families to home teach so Rexene and I rode home with Blackburns.

I read awhile this afternoon and then laid down, and to my utter amazement, I slept two hours. The update on little Porter McGary is that they did not do surgery last night. Another doctor, retired from Harvard University but a Guatalmalteco, was called in and he told the doctors to wait and watch and give his young body time to heal. He didn’t think he would survive another drastic surgery after what he had been through the evening before. This morning when we were praying together, it was my turn to pray and I always pray in Spanish when we pray together. When I finished I told Dick I thought I was praying for the McGary boys “healing.” I prayed for “ice cream” (hellado) instead. Father in Heaven knows the intents of my heart and even my misspoken Spanish. I am so grateful for the power of prayer and how it defines my life and my faith, day by day. Elder MacArthur called Arizona today to check on Elder Tyson. He is doing fine. We are praying for another miracle now.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Brother and Sister Graff,
I am Heather McGary, Porter's mom. Porter was in school the other day an the whole class decided to google their own names to see what they could find. Porter came home excited to show us your blog that he had found goggling his name. I know it him to see that so many people, including strangers were praying for him. I know I am grateful for your prayers. Thank you for serving the Lord and I wish you all the best on your mission.

The McGary Family