8 March 2010….Monday
A new week and back to the office. Dick left at 9:30 am to pick up the Bradys at the Casa de Húespedes and take them shopping. He didn’t get back to the office till after 1 pm. Meanwhile, I sent the Priesthood Report to all the PEF Call Center directors in Central America and climbed all the stairs a couple of times. I also typed up exceptions for Elder Clarke to sign.
We learned today that the Guatemala Temple is the most used temple in the world per square foot of size. When the El Salvador Temple is dedicated at the end of the year it will cover all the people from Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador that make the trip here. Next year, when Quetzaltenango Temple is finished it will take all the members from the western side of Guatemala. When those temples are operating the Guatemala Temple will be closed for renovations for a year. It was built in 1986.
9 March 2010…..Tuesday
It was 84 degrees today. The office air conditioning felt good. The sun feels hotter here than at home. We are at 5000 feet here in the city and of course we are much further south. We are grateful to be in Guatemala City, because the Pacific coast and the Caribbean Coast of Guatemala are stifling.
Dick went back to the apartment before 11 am to get the salad I had made last night. We had a potluck luncheon for all the women at the home of the Masks. They have a beautiful home down the street from the temple. Beatrice drove those of us working at the office. We had a lovely meal and a wonderful visit. Sister Steimle talked of the sweetness of the young Latino missionaries that spend three weeks at the MTC. They got a letter from one of them, thanking the Steimles for the great experience and how good the food was at the MTC. He said he had never eaten three meals in one day before. Sometimes he only got one meal a day while he was growing up. We are so blessed that our children and grandchildren have always had enough to eat. So many people in the world don’t know what it is like to have their tummies full on a regular basis.
Since Tilleys are in El Salvador again, Bill went with Dick to meet with the young men. About 6 weeks ago, when Dick got home on a Tuesday night, he was channel surfing. He stopped on “The Biggest Loser,” (Jill’s favorite TV show), and ever since we have been hooked. It is an inspiring show and teaches correct principles. So, again today, I walked the stairs at the office for a cardio workout.
We have a new missionary couple. They arrived late last night and Tomkinsons picked them up at the airport. They are Elder and Sister Fillmore from Mesa, AZ. He is a dentist and they will run the clinic after the Tomkinsons go home in June. Now, in our apartment building of 15 apartments, 8 apartments are filled with missionary couples.
10 March 2010…..Wednesday
Lots of work to do at the office. At noon we went to the annex building behind the office for a baby shower. Our lovely receptionist, Nahomy, is now on maternity leave. Anyone who wanted to attend the shower donated 40Q (a little over $5) for a Subway sandwich, chips, cookie, and soda and to be included in the gift. We also gave her a cute little boy outfit that we bought last week before we knew about the shower. Dick was included (probably hijacked) in a game. He had to taste a variety of baby food and identify what they were. His comment after tasting the pureed chicken was, “no wonder babies cry.” He must be very funny in Spanish because he always makes the locals laugh. A man with 31 grandkids and 7 great-grandkids should have done better identifying the flavors.
11 March 2010…..Thursday
This morning I worked on exceptions for Dick and the Priesthood Report. Sister Baldwin (Central Mission president’s wife) came to our office so I could teach her how to do Shutterfly. Today is Gregorio’s 13th birthday. He is our little “shoe shine boy.” Dick told him earlier this week that we would buy him a new pair of shoes for his birthday. Telma and Patty, secretaries to the area presidency, took Gregorio out to lunch and to buy his new shoes with the money we gave to him. This little boy has won the hearts of many of us here in the office.
Dick and Jim went out to lunch and then to Convergence to deliver letters that our TV and internet service needs to be terminated the end of July. Otherwise, they continue to bill. I stayed at the office because I have plenty of work and I was able to get the reports emailed to all the stake presidents and type up some exceptions for Dick.
12 March 2010…..Friday
Dick left for the office at 6:30 am. I went with Tilleys at 8:30 am. I had plenty to keep me busy. At 2 pm Tilleys picked me up at the office and we went to Central Market. Rexene needed to buy a hat for tomorrow. So, I walked around with Rexene and Suzanne, watching them bargain and buy a few items. They are great company and fun to be with.
13 March 2010…..Saturday
This morning we gathered in the garage for a day trip to Quiriguá. It is a Mayan site set amid banana plantations on the road north toward Puerto Barrios.
It is about a four hour trip. There are always a lot of big trucks on that road because it is the main access from the port at the Gulf of Honduras in the Caribbean Ocean to Guatemala City. Half of it is two lane roads but there have been many improvements and widening on the other half since we first took that road 15 months ago to go to Belize the first time. Quiriguá is in a beautiful setting.
The stela (standing carved stone monuments) date from the 600’s A.D. to the demise of Quiriguá which was in the middle of the 9th century.
Some of our group climbed the steps leading to another area, including Dick.
Some of us took a narrow rocky path which was probably as treacherous as the steps. Coming back down Wayne led Dick and Steve held onto his belt as they helped him get safely down.
With his fake knees and one eye and the small footholds on the path he needed their help and guidance. (There is a lesson in there somewhere). There were other tourists there. One lady we met was from Bremerton, WA and she had served a mission in Guatemala 19 years ago.
We spent two hours at the site and then headed home.
As we were driving through the small town nearby we saw two young men in white shirts with backpacks and we knew it was missionaries. Jim rolled down the window and honked and waved and as they turned around we saw that one of them was Elder Barrios who had served in our branch. We pulled in at a gas station and talked to them. The other elder was from Riverton, UT. Dick bought them sodas at the store. Here we were, four hours from Guatemala City, and we found someone we knew it a small, busy town. It was warm and humid in that area of Guatemala. As we traveled home we watched the temperature drop from 97 degrees to 78 degrees. We stopped at Sarita´s at the half way point for a meal. It is probably the only place we would feel safe eating in the four hour trip home. Then we followed it up with ice cream. Then drove the final two hours into the City. Curtisses loaned us their van for the trip so Jim drove with Tomkinsons and us, and Steve drove a fleet van with Fillmores.
14 March 2010…..Sunday
Today was Palmita Stake Conference. Since Tilleys still had the van we and the Blackburns climbed in with them. The chapel and cultural hall were filled with some sitting on the stage at the back. The choir was a combined youth group. Elder Martino of the Area Presidency presided and Elder Altamirano, an Area Seventy from Panamá also spoke. Our branch was well represented with a number of them in attendance. Most of them rode the bus as there are only three families in our branch who own cars. It was a very good day.
We had a leaking toilet and one of the apartment workers came in and repaired it this afternoon. One nice part of apartment living is Dick doesn’t have to do the repairs.
- 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.