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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, July 11, 2010

Journal - July 5 - 11

5 July 2010…..Monday
Yesterday we gave a big bag of baby items to the indigenous family who just had a baby. (wish I could remember their last name) Tilleys collected most of the items and I was able to get a newborn kit from Humanitarian Services. We also put in something for each of the other children and the parents.

Last night Dick and the Arnolds returned from the training meeting at 6 pm and I put dinner on the table. We sat at the table for 2 ½ hours and thoroughly enjoyed our time together and the conversation. This morning Dick and Tom left early for the office to send the exceptions to Salt Lake. Julie stayed home to wait for Convergence to come and get the internet connection to her laptop working. I made good use of my morning. I used some of my remaining ingredients and made a triple batch of hot cocoa mix. I will take most of it to the office for Reynaldo and Claudia. The remaining mix I will give to someone else, maybe our apartment guys. I washed our temple clothes and put them in the suitcase. The temple is closed for the next few weeks so we won’t attend the Guatemala City Temple again. I started packing a small suitcase of paperwork and books, etc. that we will take home. I put some items aside to give Arnolds, like books, CD’s of Christmas and classical music, plus the Christmas tree, and the small heater. The bread machine that we inherited from Sister Barney is back in the box and we will give it to Sandy MacArthur. The more things we can eliminate from our apartment now will make it easier when we are ready to leave. I also had a much longer time to study scriptures with “Preach My Gospel.” I have always liked to “putter” at home and this little apartment has been “home” for the last two years.

I worked on the Farewell Book for Tilleys in the afternoon. After dinner we went up to Arnold’s apartment with an outline of their activities for the next three days with the returning missionaries. Dick will be there with them each day for awhile to walk them through a few things. Later Tilleys came over (they’ve been gone for two days) and we had hot fudge brownie sundaes. We visited with them and thought of how things will be changing. They go home two weeks from tomorrow morning.

6 July 2010…..Tuesday
Last night when I was cleaning the kitchen after dessert, I took the leftover brownies downstairs to the lobby desk. Mario was there and he repeated “gracias” over and over again. I often think of Dick’s mother who told him he was part of the “clean plate club” because children were starving in China. Now, here I am in a third world country. There are many prosperous people here in our part of the city, but I have seen way too many who don’t have sufficient food or nourishment. When I scrape a plate of uneaten food into the trash, I always think of those whose bodies could use that little bit of food. People actually live in the dumps where they scavenge what the more affluent throw out. I have started cleaning out cupboards and the freezer in preparation for vacating the apartment, and I filled a box for Dick to take to the small living area in the garage where the workers can stay overnight or sleep during the day if they have been on night duty.

Dick went to the office for a couple of hours but was back home about 9 am. Then he took Arnolds for their first time with the missionaries returning home to Guatemala. Because the temple is closed for two weeks and so is the Casa de Huéspedes, the Arnolds and the ten returning missionaries will stay two nights at the Hotel Plaza. Their classes will be at the Employment Resource Center, as usual.

I started sorting through papers, what to throw and what to pack. Then I got out our second large suitcase, did a couple loads of laundry, and started packing clothes I won’t be using in the next 16 days.
In the afternoon I went through all the mail received here. There was over 200 pieces of individual mail. I had to throw away over 100 greeting cards because the space and weight will be limited in our suitcases. But, I am bringing home 31 cards, the 24 cards Cyndy made and sent monthly, and 75 pictures that have been sent to us by our family. I will always carry with me the thoughtfulness of those who took the time to send greetings to us. Getting mail was always a great boost. I think my favorite was a handwritten note from Tyler saying “thank you for the gift I know you are going to send me.”

Dick arrived home after 4 pm. They had an interesting experience with the returning missionaries because a new employee at the office failed to give the proper information to Gala Tours who handles all the transportation. It was a blip that was worked out in about two hour’s time.

7 July 2010…..Wednesday
We were delivered two huge cinnamon rolls this morning by Rexene. They were delicious, as always. Dick and Jim took both cars and drove to La Sabana to pick up the Mena family so they could take their son, Luís, and his luggage to the CCM (MTC).
He has been called to serve his mission in Nicaragua, his father’s native country. He will spend three weeks at the CCM before leaving for Nicaragua. He is a wonderful young man. He has been a Primary teacher and he always converses with me in his progressing English. Six months ago Dick and Jim took both cars to take the whole family to the airport to pick up Abínadi Mena, the oldest son, when he returned from his mission to Nicaragua. The Menas have a thirteen year old son, Kevin, and a six year old daughter, Júlia. They are a very stalwart family and a blessing to the La Sabana Branch.
After they took the family back home, Dick stopped at Acevedo’s house and talked to Lillian. They will be buying our car. Dick went to the office and then over to the Employment Resource Center to see how everything was going with the Arnolds. He came home for a couple of hours and had Mario fix a clogged drain in Arnold’s kitchen sink. Then he left to take the Arnolds and the one remaining missionary to get some dinner at McDonalds.

I held down the fort back at the apartment building. Victor was supposed to come up and check the draperies at 10:30 this morning. I don’t know if they will put up new drapes or just clean these. Victor never came but Nancy, the manager, came about 3 pm. Mario needed to clean the carpet in Tilley’s apartment so I used our key to let him in and then lock it up when he was through. I told Mario that I wanted him to come back to our apartment when he was ready to go home and I would give him a 5 lb package of pollo (chicken) that I have in the freezer. He and I usually laugh when we try to communicate but he understood me this time and said he would be here at cinco. Rudy Guajardo stopped by to borrow a cup of sugar and I gave him a two pound bag we won’t be using. He invited us for dinner on Friday. There was all kinds of activity going on here.

8 July 2010…..Thursday
Just before we were heading to the office, the Arnolds called. Their last missionary had been picked up, so Dick drove over to the hotel to bring them back to the apartment. After they got back Tom rode to the office with us. I sent the Priesthood Report to the Call Center Directors in each country and then Reynaldo sent me the Report that I use for the Area Seventy. I got the letters from Claudia to accompany the reports. I sent the reports with a special letter to the stake presidents and specialists in Costa Rica because they will be having a PEF meeting later this month for the entire country.

Two good things happened today. Arnolds got their assigned car and Renaldo Acevedo, our branch president, came to the office and he and Dick did the paper work so he can buy our car. Dick had some things to do this afternoon so he left two different times. The last time he brought back Taco Bell for lunch, but since it was almost 3 pm we gathered up our things and came home and ate. Then he went to the bank and then GNC to replenish our vitamins. He is a happy man when he has errands to run but I think he will love getting into his truck and driving it in two weeks.

We had a Skype call tonight from Sarah Thibault in Maryland. It has been a year since she left the mission field and went home. She lived across the hall from us and we really miss the Irish/ex-Catholic/redhead. There is no one quite like her! Dick called the Rosenlofs. We shed tears as we talked to them. Jon has been very ill and it was so good to hear him speak to us.

9 July 2010…..Friday
This morning I accomplished some things at the office, like sending the Priesthood Report to the Area Seventy and cleaning up some files on the office computer. The Arnolds treated us and Tilleys to lunch out. It was delicious. We went to Media Concha, the Argentine restaurant. Dick loves their milanesa. My steak was delicious. We went back to the office for awhile, then Dick left to go pick up Gert from somewhere in the city and take him to his home. I rode home with the Arnolds.

This evening we all gathered at the Guajardo’s apartment for a wonderful Mexican meal. We made arrangements to reserve an apartment for them before they came and we exchanged a number of emails, giving them information we thought would be helpful as they prepared to come here as missionaries. I think those emails were a bonding experience.
Afterwards, they sent us all out the door with a packet of the meat they had barbecued. We have eaten plenty today. As if that wasn’t enough, Tilleys were at the door last night at 10 pm with a box of See’s candy for us. They will be spending the next nine days (leaving them one day before they go home from the mission field) with a film crew doing church instructional films. At least they can return to the apartment to sleep. Rexene’s nephew is one of the crew, so they had him bring See’s for us.

10 July 2010…..Saturday
We were on our way to Montufar Chapel this morning by 8:30 am for an educational fair sponsored by the church and planned by Elvis and others at the Employment Resource Center. There were fifteen different colleges, universities, and technical schools represented with personnel to answer questions, plus the Perpetual Education Fund booth manned by those of us with PEF. They started with a gathering in the chapel. Elvis conducted, Elder Abularach spoke, and I played the piano.
Then everything adjourned to the cultural hall and the adjoining covered garage. There were food booths, also. There was an excellent attendance.

After we came home this afternoon it was time to clean and do laundry, and sort out more things we are taking or leaving. Of course, Dick had a few items to pick up at the store so he left for awhile. Then he took the rubbing compound and cleaned up some spots on the back of the car mirrors. Then he took our stand fan down to the garage and cleaned it good so we can pass it on when we leave. He will love it when he goes home and has his own garage and tools, wherever that may be.

Every time I sit at the piano or teclado, I think of my friend, Judy Tufts and what she told me many years ago about playing the piano. “It is okay to skip some notes.” So, when there is a particular difficult left hand, I have crossed a few notes out. It works out very well, especially with the teclado.

11 July 2010…..Sunday
Last night Tilleys got home in time to go pick up their replacement at the airport, Elder and Sister Smith from Gunnison, UT. He is a former prison warden and they will now be the security missionaries. Since Tilleys were off with the film crew before the crack of dawn, we took Smiths to church with us. Our branch was happy to see another new missionary couple.

This afternoon it started pouring rain and it hasn’t let up yet. Dick left with Tom for an S&I meeting for future PEF participants at Nimanjuyu Stake center.

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