- Elder y Hermana Graff
- 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, February 28, 2010
Journal - February 22 - 28
22 February 2010…..Monday
This morning it was 66 degrees when I checked the weather. Last week it was 54 a few mornings. I took a sweater but didn’t need it. We got mail! Cyndy’s monthly card arrived and Raelene sent another card. PEF Committee Meeting was cancelled but I still needed to finish up the specialist report for Reynaldo. While I worked on that, Dick went to Montufar to help box up all the school kits. Twenty-five missionaries from Guatemala City South Mission were there putting more kits together. Dick and John Curtiss boxed all of them. They finished 800 kits today, in addition to over 700 on Saturday. These will go to the radio station that has supported all the efforts, who broadcasts from various schools when presentations are made. They will distribute the 1500 kits to schools.
Bishop Antonio Salguero, from one of the wards in Alameda Stake, came into the office this morning. His professional business is getting groups to Guatemala like the group that did surgeries last week. He has another group coming this week, doctors who are all members of the Church. They will be doing surgeries in Quetzaltenango. He has others lined up in the coming months. He said his camera is broken and he had no pictures from last week so I showed him what I had on my computer and he requested that I send them to him. He needs proof for the government about what took place.
We came home before2 pm. Dick had a bite to eat and then went back to the office. Tonight was FHE at the Caziers. They were in El Mirador last week with Andersons and Torres and they all reported to us about their experience with slide shows and videos. The dates of the temples/pyramids correlate with Book of Mormon people. Dick went with Steve to stake Gert home.
23 February 2010…..Tuesday
We had a rude awakening at 4:55 this morning. An earthquake. No big deal. Then about 9:15 this morning while busy at our desks, I felt some slight shaking. Then we were hit with a jolt and shaking. Each time I feel an earthquake I am grateful that we live and work on the second floor where the shaking isn’t as bad as the upper floors. After checking the internet I found that the first one was a magnitude of 5.6 and second one was 5.3. They were about 180 kilometers (110 miles) from Guatemala City.
Dick had more exceptions for me to type up in Spanish. They go to President Clarke to approve or deny and are then sent to Salt Lake to approve at their next meeting. Dick brought me home in the early afternoon and then went to pick up Gert and his TV. Then they went to a repair shop. Gert took the bus home and Dick went back to the office. He and Jim went to an activity night with the young men in the branch tonight.
Yesterday I took a book over to Rexene that I had finished and she gave me the one she just read. I started it today and read 50 pages. It is Hearing the Voice of the Lord by Gerald Lund. It is excellent. All of our books go up to Blackburns and their “library” so we can go up there and get a book whenever we need reading material.
24 February 2010…..Wednesday
Another lovely day in Guatemala City. Dick brought me home from the office in early afternoon. I had a short nap and then made a pot of vegetable soup for dinner. This evening Neil brought me their African Violet to join the two that Darlene gave me when she went home.
25 February 2010…..Thursday
This morning at 7 am we left for a play day. Tilleys, Tomkinsons, MacArthurs, Jennifer Johnson and we went to Chichicastenango. Today is market day and it is famous for its market. It was a 2 ½ hour trip to the western highlands. We encountered some fog but periodically would get high enough to see the blue sky. It was a pleasant trip. Wayne made a comment about his grandmother being an Ellsworth. Jennifer and Wayne are second cousins. Her grandfather was the brother of Wayne’s grandmother. I mentioned that we knew the family of Rex Ellsworth from Chino who owned the race horse, Swaps. Wayne replied that Rex was a brother to his grandmother. He and Jennifer began to name their second cousins in Chino whose names begin with K. We always enjoy the connections we have with others.
Getting into Chichicastenango can be a hassle with the narrow one way streets and on Thursdays and Sundays the streets are full of booths and goods. We spent the night there about a year ago when we were doing leadership training with President Baldwin of the South Mission. Jim was driving that time and again today, so we had a feel for where we needed to be. We easily found a parking lot, which is hard to do because most of them are behind gates without a clue that it is for parking. It was right next to the Santo Tomás Hotel. We walked the streets, exploring, and being followed by people without booths, carrying their tapestries, aprons, jewelry, etc.
Many little children followed us with bookmarks and kitchen items. Dick, Jim and Wayne got their shoes shined and it was so cute seeing these three guys in white shirts and the four little boys clustered at their feet. I bought two beautiful pillow covers that are very representative of the beautiful textiles of Chichicastenango. Suzanne wanted to buy a jacket and so did Sandy. We stopped at a bigger shop. As I admired what they were trying on one of the little salesmen held one for me to try on. Well, I tried on a few and finally bought a blue one. Of course, with everything, there is bargaining going on. He went from 350Q to 275Q. I couldn’t by a nice lined jacket for $30 at home. As my purchase was put in a bag the older man who handled the money part handed me a little wooden angel as a gift.
We went back to the hotel for a buffet lunch. There were a lot of tourists eating there today. As we were leaving I saw Dick and Wayne talking in the entry area and there was an “older” American tourist taking their picture. A few minutes later we all stood by the fountain in the courtyard to take a picture and the same man hurried over and took a picture of all of us. Maybe he will post pictures on his blog of the Mormon missionaries he encountered in Chichicastenango.
On the way home we stopped in Jocotenango to introduce MacArthurs to the wooden fruit “factory.” We all added a few more pieces to our collections. Traffic was not bad coming back into the city and we were home before dark. It was a good trip. This evening Dick was sick. It must have been something he ate for lunch. He went to bed early.
26 February 2010…..Friday
Dick is feeling much better today. We enjoyed our conversation with the Curtisses when we got to the office. As the welfare missionaries, they see so much of the pain and suffering here in Guatemala plus they are involved in many efforts to help. We really enjoy the time we spend together as we share our office. Since they are residents of Guatemala they don’t live at our apartment building. Beatriz has siblings, cousins, and her mother living nearby them on the other side of town.
This morning at the office I felt dizzy. Not room-swirling dizzy but a little dizzy when I got out of my chair. I came home in the afternoon and had a nap. We went to Portal de Angels for dinner to show the newcomers a food meal and a sweeping view of Guatemala City. Unfortunately there was a lot of cloudiness and the lights of the city were a blur. There were 18 of us. Traffic was so heavy at 5 pm that it took an hour and 10 minutes to get there….about 20 minutes to get home. Tilleys, Tomkinsons, Hatches, MacArthurs and we went from our apartment building. The Curtisses were there. The Masks (temple president), Steimles (MTC president) and the Stokes (friends of Tilleys from their Ecuador experience, now serving as temple missionaries) went from their area of residence. We had a marvelous time. The meal was the best I have had at that restaurant. Beatriz Curtiss suggested the Entraña, an Argentine cut of beef. It was seasoned to perfection and very chewable, my personal requirement for a good steak. Plus, one of my side dishes was a healthy serving of guacamole.
We sat between the Curtisses and the Steimles. It was a pleasure getting to know President and Sister Steimle. They are from Glendora but had lived in Diamond Bar. They asked about Dwain and Margaret McGary and we were happy to tell them how they are doing. (Dwain was bishop to them, Mother and Daddy, and the Badders). They vaguely remembered Mother and Daddy. I had already told them that Robert McGary was our son-in-law. But, they had something else important to tell us that had happened. After they got their call to Guatemala City they had been at a wedding for the daughter of his cousin. Her last name is Fitzgerald. She told him that their bishop (Jeff) in Mission Viejo had parents serving in Guatemala City. So they came here, prepared to meet us and tell us of the connection. They asked if we knew the Anthonys from Pomona. That association goes back to when I was 13. Sharon is a very close friend to Dyan Steimle. I told her that Sue was a year older than me and Sharon was younger. They told us a little about Sue. They have seen Derelys occasionally over the years. Another question Dick asked was about Larry Steimle who was part of the old Pomona Ward as a teenager. He is a cousin to Pres. Steimle. Our evening was full of conversation about people we know in common. We enjoyed them a lot.
I held on to Dick as I walked so I wouldn’t fall over with my dizzy head.
27 February 2010…..Saturday
Still dizzy. During the night, when I turned side to side, I felt dizzy. Dick went up to talk to Dr. Mac. I don’t have vertigo because the room isn’t moving. The Doc said that Sandy gets this malady occasionally. His cure….caffeine. So I took 2 Fioricet, my headache medication that contains enough caffeine that it is part of the bold label.
Dick scrubbed the tub and swept the wood floors, then left for the office to keep up on the applications and renewals. I lay on the couch so I wouldn’t fall over. Another devastating earthquake, this time in Chile, but buildings in Chile are far better constructed than in Haiti. The brethren have told us for eighty years to be prepared and we better make sure we are heeding their words. I felt much better by evening.
28 February 2010…..Sunday
What a sweet, precious, and blessed experience I had today. This morning I was almost finished dressing when I knew I wasn’t feeling well enough to go to church. After Dick left I sat on the couch with my fleece throw over me, and read the scriptures……the final five chapters of Ether in the Book of Mormon. When I read in Spanish I first scan the heading and my scripture markings and notations in English. Then I read the full chapter in Spanish. I like to read out loud, but I don’t always do it that way when Dick is here and involved in his own reading and activities. Today I read out loud. By the time I got to Chapter 14 and 15 I was totally wrapped up in all the emotions of what was happening. While I read in Spanish the tears ran and I could hardly speak. I can’t ever remember such a magnitude of strong emotion while reading in English, but today in Spanish I felt it with all the fibers of my being. It was about the Jaredite nation whose lack of faith had caused the Spirit of the Lord to cease striving with them and permitted Satan to have full power over their hearts. How they armed their women and children. I read of two million men dying in battle WITH their women and children. I read of all the carnage and death that left only Coriantumr and Shiz, and Coriantumr finally killing Shiz. The power of the Spanish words was more real for me than it has ever been. The magnitude of my feelings, knowing all of this took place in this land where we are serving, was overwhelming. Being a MISSIONARY, HERE, NOW, is a blessing beyond belief. This land is captivating. The Book of Mormon records are TRUE, written by ancient prophets here and translated by a modern prophet, Joseph Smith, under the hand of the Lord.
Dick finished up his home teaching before coming home. He and Jim left at 3 pm for a young men leadership meeting being held in Útatlan Stake. Andersons fly home to Orem tomorrow and so we all gathered together at Tomkinsons and had a Mexican feast. President and Hermana Torres came by later and ate and we all played Dominoes….men at one table and women at another.
Dick and Jim left at 8:30 pm to go to the airport and pick up Bill and Adele who have been in Panama for the last ten days.