12 July 2010…..Monday
Last night Dick and Tom arrived home from their meeting that never happened. The stake president was there, the S&I director was there, the PEF specialist was there, and they were there. However, no one else came to the meeting. It had been raining hard for hours and the buses weren’t running, and most people don’t own cars. So no one was able to get there. But, no meeting is not a failed meeting to Dick, because Tom was able to meet the three leaders who were there and they talked for an hour together.
At the office this morning I showed Julie how to finish the Priesthood Report. I took my laptop into the PEF Call Center and worked on some things. Tilleys called at lunch time and wanted us all to meet at WENDY’S. So MacArthurs, Curtiss’, Arnolds, Smiths, Tilleys, and we all met at that restaurant of fine dining.
This afternoon Dick took the bread maker to Sandy and I took the mixer and other kitchen items to Julie. Then Rexene and I moved our kitchen tables and chairs. We moved theirs into our apartment since it is missionary furniture, and we moved ours into their apartment because it is part of their “apartment” rental furniture.
Family Home Evening was at the Hatches, hosted by the MacArthurs. I played the teclado and Dick led the singing and we sang “My Country Tis of Thee,” and “America the Beautiful.” Obviously, they are not in the Spanish hymnal but Sandy had an English hymnal for me to use. Dr. Mac taught a lesson about patriotism and we shed a tear or two over some of the stories told. We all wore a version of red, white, and blue. Sandy made homemade donuts which are the best we have eaten in two years, and Dick knows donuts! He misses Sweetie Pie’s in Lancaster and their apple fritters.
13 July 2010…..Tuesday
This morning I went through more things at the office computer, cleaning things off, and saving files that Julie will need. I sent emails to the nineteen stake specialists to give them our greetings and tell them we would be leaving and Arnolds will be here to help them. I emailed some of the students in Belize to tell them we are leaving and that I love them. They have become very special to me.
We came home in early afternoon and Dick framed the “Proclamation on the Family” for his young men. They did a “farewell” with the boys two weeks ago but Dick wanted to go for one last time. He took pizzas and sodas. No wonder these kids love him and Jim….they feed them every week.
14 July 2010…..Wednesday
Today I stayed home to clean the fridge, the oven and sort through kitchen items and food that I am ready to part with. As I was studying the scriptures and “Preach My Gospel” this morning I came across something I had written in the margin of the book while at the MTC: “What has been my spiritual journey that has led me to this point?” Pondering that question brought me to my journal. I think of 68 years of experiences that have prepared me with faith, courage, testimony, and the desire to be obedient. All the years of serving in callings, from my first calling as a Primary teacher when I was 16 to the last callings I had as we served in the young single adult ward, has been preparation. Age is an advantage as I have experienced life, the good and the bad, the trials and the joys, the hopes and the fears, the successes and the failures. Then I think of my sons and grandsons serving as missionaries at 19 years of age. They, too, go forth with faith, courage, testimony and obedience…..all garnered from less than two decades of life. How I love and admire the young missionaries! They truly do the Lord’s work. Senior missionaries become the “support staff” to help the work go forth and it is a privilege and an honor.
After I ate some breakfast about 11 am, Dick came home with house papers for me to sign so he could scan them back to Lancaster. He also said we were going to the Chinese restaurant for lunch. So I changed and at 12:30 pm we took Arnolds and met MacArthurs, Tilleys and Smiths. It was good company and good food.
Rexene told the waiter that we two couples were leaving for the States and asked for the recipe of the picante sauce for the shrimp. Instead of bringing the complimentary dessert that comes with the meal, they brought a banana, wrapped in a wonton wrapper and fried, because we have been such good customers.
Mario came up to repair the bathroom light switch so I had company in the apartment for over an hour. I spent my time bleaching, washing, rinsing, and drying Guatemalan coins to take home to our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I want to eliminate any possible germs.
This evening we and MacArthurs went to Hatches for a game of Dominoes. Wow! They play by the rules and keep score. We are too used to Tilley rules! Needless to say, I didn’t get all that cleaning done today.
15 July 2010…..Thursday
Today Bethany is 31! I actually cleaned out the fridge and freezer today. We took a box full of items downstairs to our apartment workers. I did five loads of laundry for the guys on the film crew from Salt Lake. We had more paper work to sign and scan for the house so Dick came home to get my signature. It seems the older I get, the less I accomplish. I was busy all day but I didn’t get much done.
This evening a group of us went to Pecorino’s for dinner, arranged by the Steimles. From the crusty bread, dipped in olive oil to the gelato served on a warm brownie with hot fudge sauce, the meal was exceptional. I had eggplant parmesan (that’s not what they call it in Spanish). It was the best I have ever tasted. I have always loved eggplant. When I was a child, Daddy would dip eggplant in eggs and bread crumbs and fry it for breakfast on occasion. It is hard to visit when there are eighteen sitting around the table, but we certainly enjoyed the ones near us.
16 July 2010…..Friday
We did not hurry to the office early, but meandered in about 10 am. Dick’s computer is in Elder Arnold’s name now…..mine will soon be (maybe by now) in Sister Arnold’s name. I updated the Area History and Julie can start their history of PEF. Reynaldo gave us a wonderful memento, a “thank you” for serving with the Perpetual Education Fund in Guatemala. It will sit on a shelf when we have settled into the next phase of our life.
Claudia has taken her son to Disney World so she isn’t here to go through the good-bye portion. Then we took Reynaldo to lunch,
along with Arnolds and John Curtiss. We went to Applebee’s and the meal was good (the Firehouse burger) and the company better.
After we got home, Jim showed up briefly and asked Dick if he wanted to go with him and Jim Smith on their security assignment with the film crew. Dick jumped at the chance since he is NEVER home from the office at 3 pm. The assignment has been keeping security out till ten, eleven or even midnight. The three guys got back at 9 pm tonight.
17 July 2010….Saturday
I finally got to the stove today and cleaned out the oven. We continue to give a few items away and hopefully, by Thursday we will have the apartment empty of everything but the furniture and the housekeeping items that we are passing on to others. Dick took his last trip to the cleaners to pick up his white shirts and to get milk and peanut butter at the store. It was rainy and gray all afternoon and the temperature at 3 pm was 66 degrees, the same that it was at 8 am. As I sat reading on the couch next to the window I heard a loud thump and looked up in time to see a pigeon fall straight down between the corrugated coverings of our parking space and Tilley’s parking space. Twice I have seen a bird fly into our big picture window, but each one recovered flight and flew off. I knew this one was dead or knocked out as he fell like a rock. Awhile later I heard a pigeon and looked out to see one sitting on the metal bar of the garage cover. I figured the injured one had recovered or its mate was watching over it, so I went down to the garage, and sure enough, there were a number of feathers on the floor but the bird with some ruffled feathers was on the metal bar. I startled him and he flew off.
This evening we watched the Pioneer Day Commemoration Concert from Salt Lake City, via the internet. It was spectacular to hear the Tabernacle Choir. Dick left before 8 pm with Jim on his security assignment with the film crew.
18 July 2010…..Sunday
The Hatches wanted to visit our branch so they went with us to La Sabana Branch. This was our last Sunday at the branch and in Guatemala…..the last time to play the music for Sacrament Meeting and Primary….the last time to listen to Brother Mena teach the Old Testament in Sunday School….the last time to spend with the children in Primary and kiss their cheeks
and the cheeks of Sister Melchor
and Sister Guzman….
the last time to hug and be hugged by the teenagers, the women and a few of the men. President Acevedo took me into his office for a few minutes and with tears, he thanked me for our service in Guatemala and for my music, and released me as the “pianist” (he didn’t know what Spanish word to use and neither did I) for the branch. I had never been officially called and sustained, just given the teclado, but I appreciated the few moments with him as he released me from the calling. Dick also went to his office to be thanked and released from his calling as first counselor in the Young Men presidency.
After dinner we went to MacArthurs and played dominoes with them and Tilleys. Dr. Mac put the bread machine to use that we gave them and we ate hot bread and butter, plus other goodies while we played.
When I was learning Spanish two years ago, I loved the word for excited…..emocionado. I was excited to be a missionary but it was mixed with a lot of emotion of leaving home, my family, and my mother for two years. Now, as we prepare to leave Guatemala and missionary service, I am emocionado….excited, but that excitement is mixed with a lot of emotion. Tomorrow I start my 100th journal and on Friday the 23rd we will fly to Salt Lake City. Then I will write my last entry to my mission journal and post my last blog.
- 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.