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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, May 9, 2010

Journal - May 2 - 9

3 May 2010…..Monday
The report that I started last Friday is no longer needed. Claudia called PEF in Salt Lake and somewhere, someone came up with the report exactly as we needed it for the area presidency to use at stake conferences. Modern day technology reigns again! We had a busy morning. Dick drove over to La Sabana to see Luis Mena but was back in time for our 1:30 pm meeting with Elder Clarke, Elder Martino, Reynaldo, and all the senior missionaries. Besides other items on the agenda, he requested that each couple act as mentor for several PEF participants who are struggling with repaying their loans. It is not about the money. It is about honoring their commitments to pay their debts.

There was no FHE tonight because last night was Break the Fast. Sandy invited everyone to their apartment for dessert in honor of Steve’s birthday last Friday. It turned into a discussion of PEF and ways to encourage and help those who need a boost. Later, Zack called. He had an assignment for school to interview someone who lived during the politics of the sixties and seventies. Dick expounded his views to Zack for about thirty minutes. I have been typing up pedigree information for Kourtney for one of her Young Women value projects. We are so grateful that we are accessible to our grandchildren whenever they need to talk to us. We are anxiously awaiting news of Spencer’s mission call right now.

4 May 2010…..Tuesday
The CALL came last night. We heard it from Spencer, himself, talking on his phone in Idaho to Zack at home. Zack held the phone up to the speakers on their computer and we heard Spencer tell us where he is going through Skype on our computer. He has been called to the Las Vegas Mission and reports to the MTC August 25, 2010. We reported to the MTC August 25, 2008. We are very proud of him and his willingness to serve as a missionary. Such a fine young man and an example to his siblings and cousins!

We have a group of returning missionaries coming home to Guatemala today for their two day training at the Employment Resource Center. I stayed home waiting for the repair of the washing machine that is full of towels and water but won’t advance to spin and rinse. Tilleys were going to take me to the ERS when the repair was done. Meanwhile, Dick took our luggage and went to the Casa de Húespedes to meet the arriving missionaries…..6 elders and 2 sisters. Finally, at 4 pm Rexene and I went down to the office to find out when the repairman was coming. (Her five years living in Ecuador helps her converse far better than me). He had never been called because Nancy, the manager did not come to work today. So, mañana. I stayed here at the apartment tonight. We will see what happens tomorrow. Gotta get that load of towels out of the water and I have no place to put them since the washer won’t rinse or spin. So I added some bleach, hoping it will prevent mold. We will see.

I used Skype to call Dick’s cell phone tonight to see how the day went. Getting ready for bed was interesting for me because I had sent all my things in the suitcase with him this morning, except my makeup.

There is nary a trace of Jacaranda blossoms on the large trees out our living room window but everything is clean and vibrant green from rain.

5 May 2010…..Wednesday
I had a good night sleep. I didn’t need the fan. Nancy, the apartment manager, came to work today so she called the “téchnico” to repair the “llavadoría.” So I called Dick to tell him I would stay here and hope for the repair to happen soon. I was actually amazed to get a call from downstairs saying the téchnico was here. Two guys came up the stairs, checked the washer, said it was the door switch, got the washer to finish the cycle, and left, saying they would be back with a switch. I was very happy to have the load of towels rinse and spin. Tilleys were going to take me to meet up with Dick but the repairmen never came back with the switch. I talked to Dick at 8 pm. He had two missionaries spending one more night. He will be home in the morning.

6 May 2010…..Thursday
After Dick got the remaining missionaries off to their homes, he went to Price Smart for some items and came home. As I was putting away everything that he had taken with him, I discovered an empty skirt hanger and my blue skirt wasn’t there. It had slipped off when he was carrying it. We put all the food away and he left to drive back over to the Casa to see if by chance my skirt was there. I was very happy to find out that the manager of the Casa had it behind the front counter.

The repairmen came back and installed the new switch and I have a washing machine that works now.
We got mail at the office! I received Mother’s Day cards.

7 May 2010…..Friday
I had a busy morning. I had some correspondence on email from Belize and information I needed about PEF participants. Reynaldo had me email a few names and information to all the senior missionaries who are going to help mentor some of the PEF students. I helped Beatriz with forty plastic wrapped “baby shower” gifts, full of various items for babies. We put tags on indicating they were donated by the Church. They will go to forty pregnant women who have AIDS.

We went to Wendy’s for lunch with Blackburns. I don’t know what the attraction is for Wendy’s. I guess it is fairly close and quick. After we got our food the line of people was out the door. Outside, the drive through was a line of cars out to the street. McDonalds, Burger King, and Taco Bell don’t seem to have quite the clientele.

Tonight we played Dominoes with Tilleys. We had Magnum bars, the ice cream bars that are reminiscent of Dove bars. Yummy. Plus, I had a pretty good night at Dominoes.

8 May 2010…..Saturday
Typical Saturday. Dick went to the office to scan some papers to Lancaster. Then he and Jim left for the Young Men activity at La Sabana. They painted the block walls around the home where we hold our church meetings. Dick and some of the boys cleared out the weeds at the corner of the lot to make it easier to see when pulling out onto that street. They had 12 boys there and they fed them pizza afterward. I cleaned, as usual, but did all the wood floors. They look great.

Today was a baptism at 3 pm for Maria Soto, mother of Mario who was baptized last week.
It started an hour late but we are adapting to “Guatemala” time. She is a sweet little lady and she and her son will be an asset to the branch. Last week, while I played prelude music for over thirty minutes at Mario’s baptism, President Acevedo talked to me about his favorite hymn, “If You Could Hie to Kolob.” It is in the old Spanish hymnal but isn’t in the new one that was printed in 1992. Then this week I found a copy of the Spanish version that Carolyn Taylor had given me a year ago. I took it today and while waiting for people to gather I showed it to the president. He and I went into the chapel and he asked me to play it first with “great spirituality and feeling” and the second time with “power.” So, I did my best. His tears ran. We talked about the music. I said it had a haunting melody. He described it as sublime. He is right. I told him that I will never hear, sing or play the song again without thinking of him. He told me he will always remember me when he hears the music. Then he asked me to play it again for him. What a precious experience it was for me. The blessing is, he speaks English and so we could have a conversation that touched us both.

Tonight we borrowed a DVD from the Tomkinsons. We watched “Return with Honor.” We enjoyed the uplifting movie with a gospel message. Wayne also gave us each a Klondike bar for our movie snack. Such neighbors!

9 May 2010…..Sunday
As I write in my journal daily, which becomes my Blog, I always think it isn’t very interesting for people to read what we do day by day. But, this week I discovered two comments on my Blog which prompted me to go back a couple of months and read other comments. I am very touched to have three people I don’t even know write their comments. One served here as a young man over forty years ago and two are mothers who have sons serving here now. Twenty-nine years ago I sent off my first born to Argentina, the place where his dad had served. He was there during the Falkland War. We sent sons to Washington DC and to Texas. I understand the worry that goes with a child on a mission. I also sent parents off to the Jackson Mississippi Mission in 1979. I understand the worry when parents are serving. I can think of nothing that brings greater blessings to a family than having loved ones serving as missionaries.

In Primary today the children were really into singing time. They sang, “Yo trato de ser como Cristo,”(I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus). When they sang the chorus of “love one another as Jesus loves you” they were hugging each other. It was completely spontaneous and so cute. So we sang the song over again so Rexene could take pictures.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! Adele was at the door this morning with a sampling of chocolates they had bought when they were in Mexico a week ago. For over a month Adele collected netting used to package avocados, tomatoes, etc. at Price Smart and made roses out of them so every mother in our branch would have a flower pinned on her dress today. Doris Carrias gave me a heart shaped box with three chocolates from Zurich Chocolatier. Her mother, Sister Piñeda, brought a piece of chocolate to each of us. The Young Women made tiny felt aprons with a pocket holding a sucker for each mother in the branch. Dick gifted me with a creamy strawberry torte he bought at the grocery store yesterday.

Today is Suzanne’s birthday. At 5 pm we all gathered at Tilley”s apartment for a surprise birthday, Mother’s Day, dinner.

We each took our own meat and a side dish.

Tomorrow is the Guatemalan Mother’s Day. All the women have the day off from the office.

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