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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, March 21, 2010

Journal - March 15 - 21

15 March 2010…..Monday
Last night Bill came down to our apartment and I showed him how to make a Shutterfly book. With Daylight Savings in the States, we are now the same time as Utah. This morning Dick left very early for the office. I went later with the Blackburns. While I was emailing the PEF Priesthood Report to the Guatemala bishops and branch presidents, I could hear bubble wrap being popped. I had told José many months ago not to pop it, that we could use it when we pack our Guatemalan treasures in our suitcases. I went down the hall and it wasn’t José and Francisco, so I made a left turn down the hall, past the doctor’s office and into the Compras (buyers) office. There was Brother Lucas, a stake president in a local stake, and one of the other buyers, popping big bubble wrap from a box they were unpacking. They were having a grand time. We all three laughed together as they played. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that bubble wrap is hard to find and expensive here.

Tonight was Family Home Evening at the Hatches. They had a night of games. Virginia and I had to wrap our husbands up like mummies with toilet paper. At one point in the wrapping process one of our apartment workers walked past the open door. He must have thought it was some strange Mormon ritual. Both Paul and Dorothy Hatch are in their 80’s but we all have a hard time keeping up with them.

The other day while climbing the stairs at the office for exercise, I took pictures from the window on each floor of the remaining arches of the brick aqueduct that is about 200 years old.
Part of it still stands beginning near the airport and going south. The last arch is just behind the Area Office building.

16 March 2010…..Tuesday
Many mornings I see one of our apartment workers out our kitchen window. Only the one bedroom apartments have a window in the kitchen, which I am very grateful to have. We are on the second floor but the portions of glass in the lobby ceiling are below our kitchen window. They come up and wash the glass daily. We always wave to each other and say, “Buenas Dias.” The downside of a kitchen window is the black dust that accumulates in the kitchen on a daily basis. It is a result of all the bus exhaust fumes and the smoke that drifts in from the outlying areas at this time of year. Even when the window is closed it is not tight enough to keep out the fine dust particles.

Dick went to the office. I stayed home so they could come repair our leaking toilet. It took two hours from start to finish but it seems to be working properly. I made chocolate cherry cupcakes for Dick to take to the young men tonight. Bill went with him since Tilleys are in El Salvador again.

17 March 2010…..Wednesday
This morning Dick took the rest of the cupcakes to the office. He had a dental appointment so I stayed home and cleaned floors, cleaned out drawers and the closet. I took the water bottles out of our emergency kit for us to use and put in new bottles. I made chicken noodle soup. I practiced on the keyboard. I read. I just generally did the housewifely things that I have done for my entire married life and then waited for Dick to come home to a dinner waiting for him.

I watched Glenn Beck in the afternoon and I thought, again, that if I had children 12 and older that watching Glenn would be a priority for their education in history. Before we came on our mission I printed a colored U.S. flag and it hangs in our bedroom. With that in mind, Dick brought home some mail from the office. We received our absentee ballots for the Lancaster city elections. As I filled out my ballot I thought how vital and important it is to participate in this process of freedom and choice. We are a blessed country! It is time for us to save our Constitution, our freedoms and liberty and never forget that the Constitution and the men who framed it were inspired by the Almighty.

18 March 2010…..Thursday
I did a variety of small items at the office today. Dick and I sorted through exception letters from 2007 looking for one that Reynaldo needed. We never did find it. Blackburns called to see if we wanted to go to lunch so we went down the street to the Chinese restaurant. I didn’t order my favorite shrimp dish but went with soup instead. I wish I had ordered the picante shrimp. I won’t make that mistake again. We came back to the apartments and Adele and I stayed home and the guys went back to the office.

In a conversation with Beatrice (she is an excellent cook) she said that a friend of hers makes beautiful, expensive wedding cakes. She told Beatrice to always use a cake mix and then dress it up with other ingredients. The makers of cake mixes have spent millions of dollars on developing the best cake mixes that they can and there is no use making from scratch when you can start with a mix and then add other things to it. Hence, the cupcakes I made on Tuesday was a dry chocolate cake mix, a can of pie cherries, 2 eggs and a cup of chocolate chips. It was a hit with the young men at church and our co-workers at the office.

This evening I heard “mom we’re home” and I knew that Jim and Rexene were back after a four day trip to El Salvador. I gave her $10 (American money is used in El Salvador) and she bought me a wooden, child friendly, nativity set, painted by a well know El Salvadoran artist.

19 March 2010…..Friday
I worked on the specialist report that Reynaldo needs before Monday’s meeting. In early afternoon Blackburns called to say they were going home and did I want a ride. I had done all I could do on the report at that point, so I went with them. Dick emailed me later to tell me that there is a PEF fireside for 5 stakes tonight at 6 pm at the Montufar chapel. Reynaldo had forgotten to tell us. We left home at 5:15 pm and the traffic was heavy. It took us 45 minutes to get there. We arrived just as they were about to start and Claudia asked me to play the piano. I had my hymn book (everyone here carries their own hymnbook) but not my piano glasses. I sat at the piano and the meeting started. President Clarke spoke and there were about 40 in attendance. One of our specialists, Corina Amaya, was there. She is also studying English and using the Fund. Traveling home the traffic was much lighter and it took us ten minutes to get home. We are rarely out after dark alone so it is always good to get back here.

Earlier this week Dick called a couple in Texas who have been called to do public affairs here in Guatemala. Today I emailed them about clothing to bring, the stores here and what they offer, and sent pictures of our apartment so they can see our living conditions. They will be coming in June. Dick also called Salt Lake this week to see if they have anyone to replace us. They don’t, yet. They haven’t been able to replace the couple that we knew at the MTC who went to Lima, Peru. They went home last month. Spanish speakers are needed to fill missions in Latin America.

20 March 2010…..Saturday
This was a rare day. Dick didn’t go to the office to play catch up and we both stayed home all day. He did go across the hall for about 4 hours to watch basketball games that Wayne projected on the wall. I invited Wayne and Jim to come over to our apartment and help Dick flip our mattress. When we had apartment furniture the mattresses were easy for us to do because they were so light. This mattress set, that we inherited when Bawdens left, is excellent and too heavy for me to help him turn.

At 4 pm we had an earthquake. It was not a big shaker but I felt the movement for a longer time than usual. Dick went to Pizza Hut and brought home dinner. Tonight the guys are all across the hall again watching basketball but BYU lost.

21 March 2010…..Sunday
On many Sundays when we go to church there are blocked roads. This morning there were huge, long lines of people walking down the center of the road in the area of the fútbol stadium. There must be a major soccer game today. We were slightly delayed but when we got to church the gates were still locked.

The outside walls of our meetinghouse have been painted. The interior walls have been prepped but not painted yet. The metal folding chairs were covered in a chalky dust. Dick took his clean handkerchief to start wiping down the chairs and others got paper towels from the bathrooms. The downside is, we all had the white stuff on our clothes and of course, I wore black today. We left fifteen minutes early because we had to be in Nimajuyu Stake to train a new PEF specialist, Siomara Davila.

She is finishing up her education and she has been able to do it without a loan from the Fund. It was a 30 minute drive and we arrived just as their stake conference was ending.

The drive down 6th Avenue with pink blooms on the trees was lovely.
The minute we arrived home I turned on the TV to see what was happening in Washington D.C. and the voting in Congress. No vote yet but we are very likely watching a historic day when the government takes over our health care and our freedoms are greatly diminished. God Bless the U.S.A!

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