4 January 2010…..Monday
Today is Scott’s 35th birthday. I am no longer twice as old as him. Last night when we were visiting in the Taylor’s apartment, Elder and Sister Cazier met Elder and Sister McArthur for the first time. As they conversed, they discovered that Elder Cazier was mission president in Mexico to McArthur’s son. Dr. McArthur is an OB/GYN from Springville, UT.
We left early for the office, hoping that our computers would be working and we could get a lot of work done. Our desks are in the new office and our computers were working. Curtiss’ needed help from the tech guys to get theirs working. My work space has shrunk substantially and we are pretty crowded with the desk arrangements. They are supposed to bring us different desks tomorrow. I was able to finish the monthly specialist report and the monthly report of our activities with PEF. At 1 pm we went to the conference room on the fifth floor for PEF Committee Meeting. It was longer than usual and we came home a little after 3 pm as we had to be at the Clarke’s at 5 pm for a farewell dinner.
I thought I would try making a macadocious cake. I have a large jelly roll pan and it should have turned out well, but unfortunately the pan is so large that it wasn’t level in an oven that is probably off level, too. The batter decided to move, slightly, to one end. It didn’t take much to create a problem. But, I had a back-up plan. While I cleaned things up Dick went to San Martín’s and bought 12 pineapple strudel and 12 apple strudel. I cute each in half and we had 4 dozen. Of course, we had plenty of dessert so I will take some to the office tomorrow and Dick will take the rest to his young men’s meeting tomorrow evening.
We had a lovely farewell dinner on the Clarke’s patio for Kim and Carolyn Taylor and for President and Sister Christensen (MTC). Adele had been doing some writing and ended up with a short story about the Christensens, read by Bill, Dick, Jim and Wayne. She also did a poem about Taylors that she and I read. The temperature was cooling down outside but it didn’t get too cold this time. My camera has been going through batteries very quickly, and tonight I found myself able to get two pictures of the Taylors and one of the Christensens before it totally quit.
Since I had put new batteries in two days ago I hadn’t brought extras.
5 January 2010…..Tuesday
Today is Donovan’s 32nd birthday. In the last seven days our family has had five birthdays and one birth. And the month of January has more to come, only to be outdone in numbers when May comes. Doran’s birth brings our number to 59…..us, kids and spouses, grandkids and spouses, and great-grandkids.
I took leftover strudel to the office today. After giving some to the three guards congregated at the entrance to the parking garage, I gave some to the Curtiss’, Claudia, and then the rest went to Reynaldo. Our office was measured for some minor changes in the office arrangement, plus some cabinets. I don’t think my area will change at all. We are cozy. Good thing we like each other. In fact, I enjoy John and Beatriz Curtiss a lot. We had four Christmas cards/letters/pictures in the mail today.
I had Dick bring me home before 1 pm. I have had a headache I couldn’t get rid of and I was a little dizzy. I came home and slept about an hour. Dick had Young Men Meeting tonight. I spent the evening finishing “The Christmas Sweater” by Glenn Beck. I was very touched and tearful. Sister MacArthur brought the book with her and loaned it to me on Sunday. When I met Elder MacArthur in the elevator Sunday morning his first words were that he knew all about me…..”a Fox News person.” The Taylors had informed him. MacArthurs joins the ranks of me, Wayne Tomkinson and John Curtiss. We are the ones who had to leave Rush behind but still have a way of keeping up to date. I have a daily email of “Rush in a Hurry.” Wayne has Rush 24/7, so I guess he is more diehard than I am. If I’m not home in time to see Glenn Beck, oh well, but Wayne will stay up till midnight to see the second showing.
6 January 2010…..Wednesday
It was chilly in the apartment this morning. Thank goodness for our little heater. The office was also chilly. I wish I had brought the heater with me. A cup of hot cocoa helped about 11 am and one of my scarves that Reynaldo and Elijahana gave me for Christmas helped keep me a little warmer. I got the Priesthood Report all separated into stakes and when I get the letters to accompany them from Claudia I will be able to email them.
I received an email from Leovany Lopez in Belize. He sent 6 pictures of his new baby son. Leovany is a PEF graduate, high school teacher, 26 years old next week and the district president of Cayo District in Belize. Elder Dunford says he is probably the best member of the church in all of Belize. He is an incredible young man and I am grateful to know him.
At 3 pm we went into the conference room and the employees had a cake and snacks as a farewell for Taylors. I have such empathy for Carolyn….excited to go home and tears to leave the good people here and the blessings of missionary service. We went up to their apartment this evening for final hugs and one more picture. The MacArthur’s will take them to the airport early in the morning.
7 January 2010.....Thursday
Another chilly morning. Today I took my space heater to the office and turned it on to its lowest setting a couple of times, under my desk. Plus, hot cocoa. That always helps. Guatemalans love chocolate, and especially hot chocolate. When I order hot chocolate at a restaurant I always specify con leche (with milk). Otherwise they make it with water and it tastes, well, watery.
I still don’t have the letters I need to accompany the Priesthood Reports. I was able to finish the Shutterfly photo book for the Taylors and it is ordered. Now I will start the photo book for President and Sister Christensen who go home on the fifteenth of this month. He is going back to his job at BYU-I as a religion professor. They are a wonderful couple who sacrificed a lot to be here for two years at the MTC.
8 January 2010…..Friday
A little heat at my feet. A hot cup of cocoa. Alone in our office. It was a good morning. We enjoyed our morning visit with the Curtiss’ before getting our computers up and running. John needed to go check a medical clinic and Dick went with him. Beatriz had to leave for an appointment and to cook dinner for company. It was quiet for several hours. A little after noon Blackburns came by and stuck their head in our office and I ended up going back to the apartment with them. Awhile later I left with Tilleys to go to Price Smart and do some shopping.
Dick and John were gone about four hours and Dick enjoyed the experience of going to a small village with a medical clinic that is seeking some assistance from the church. The director of the clinic is a member. When they got back to the office they took Lester to lunch. Lester is one of our call center volunteers. He has a mission call to El Salvador and will be leaving in two weeks. He is a big help to Dick when he needs exception letters typed up in Spanish. Some of us at the office are helping to buy clothing for his mission.
A little after 8 pm Jim was at our door. Dr. MacArthur had a phone call about a missionary who was hit by a car and is at a hospital in Zone 1. The MacArthurs have been here less than a week and don’t know their way around, and even worse, they don’t speak Spanish. Jim got Dick to go to MacArthur’s apartment and talk to whoever was on the other end to get some details. He came back and put his shoes and tie on and he and Jim took Elder MacArthur to the hospital. It was a couple of hours before Dick got home. The prognosis isn’t very good. The doctor was waiting for the neurosurgeon to get to the hospital.
9 January 2010…..Saturday
Every time I awoke during the night I thought of our young missionary. He is Elder Tyson from Arizona, due to go home in two months. All I could think of was his parents getting a dreaded phone call. As of this morning they were still unable to contact his parents. The prognosis today is better. He was transferred during the night to a better hospital after the neurosurgeon determined he could be moved. He has a broken pelvis and a break where the leg joins the hip. He has a brain hematoma. But, Dr. MacArthur said today that he thinks he will fully recover. The driver of the van did not even stop. Elder Tyson was thrown forty to fifty feet. His companion had stepped off the curb, too, but stepped back when he realized the Friday evening traffic had one lane reversed and going the opposite direction. Five days ago these same two elders had been rear ended and their car totaled.
This morning Dick went to McDonald’s and brought Egg McMuffins home for breakfast. It tasted pretty good. At 1 pm we went to the movies….the VIP where we sit in leather recliners and have food delivered to our seat ….everything from popcorn and sodas to salads and crepes. We saw “Sherlock Holmes.” Wayne had gone yesterday and bought the tickets. There were 18 of us….six missionary couples plus Johnsons, Andersons, and Sisters Martino and Clarke whose husbands were involved in an area presidency meeting.
Today is 48 years since Mom Graff died.
10 January 2010…..Sunday
It is cold. Last night when we got home Dick put on his pullover sweater that he has worn about five times in the last year and a half. Then over that he put on the sweatshirt that he bought before the deep sea fishing trip in December 2008. I figured it must be cold if he is feeling it. It was chilly at church. There were only three children in Primary. The last few weeks we have had 18 or so. The reason for lower attendance, given by at least two of the members, was that it is too cold to get out of bed. There is no heat or warm showers for most of them, so bed is the best place when it is cold. I guess it is the truly faithful who come in such conditions and we did have many of the seats full for Sacrament Meeting.
One of our speakers today was the Mena’s oldest son who returned from his mission about ten days ago. At the conclusion of the meeting one of the high council members came in. He then stood at the podium and said that our young, 21 year old returned missionary has been called as Elders’ Quorum president. I can just feel his faith and his leadership ability and he will probably have many leadership positions ahead of him.
Dick has been trying to fight off a cold and congestion for a month. He is now on antibiotics so we hope he begins to feel better. Whatever he has, it has not stopped his daily work and activities, but when he finally admits he doesn’t feel well I feel relieved. We do enjoy having our doctor on the premises. Dick lay on the couch this afternoon, covered up with the fleece throw and slept. I crawled under the covers of the bed and slept two hours.
When Kathy Anderson was traveling back to the states a few months ago she met an American woman whose church sponsors an orphanage here in Guatemala. Kathy told her that our group and Kathy’s home ward members would be happy to make fleece blankets, new born kits, etc. ….anything of that nature that the orphanage might need. The woman was very grateful and they exchanged information. This week the woman emailed Kathy and thanked her but said her church would not approve having help from Mormons and that she hoped Kathy would someday accept Christ and be saved. It is hard to believe that many are so narrow-minded, or should I say “close-minded.” Kathy wrote her a nice email and told her we are “The Church of Jesus Christ.” That little orphanage will not benefit from the help offered, but there are others who will gladly accept the help.
Today Elder Tyson is sitting up and eating. His body has a lot of healing to do but prayers are answered and priesthood blessings have great power.
- 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.