19 April 2010.....Monday
After I finished my blog last night, Jim was at the door inviting everyone over to have lemon pie. Rexene said they had talked to their daughter in Pennsylvania and her husband has developed a better way to record writings on headstones for genealogy. She said they would be doing it in a few months at the cemetery in Manti, UT. Rexene’s daughter told her that her mother-in-law was a Chapman and her ancestor, Welcome Chapman was buried there. At which point Rexene told her about my talk today and that my great-grandfather, Welcome Chapman, was one of the early settlers of Manti. So, Tilleys Pennsylvania grandchildren are my cousins!
This morning I completed the Specialist Report for Reynaldo and Elder Clarke. Dave Robertson came into our office to introduce us to his replacement. Dave is an accountant and an employee of the Church. He is being moved to Peru with his family and his replacement was here with his wife to see if this is the place they want to move to. So, I met Garth Reed and his wife. They are from Riverton, UT. I asked if they knew Gibbons and he said, “Chris?” I told them that Alice’s parents were among our closest friends. So many small world experiences.
Today was PEF Committee Meeting. There have been 1500 new participants this year in the world, and 500 of them are in Central America. The end of the meeting concerned finding a couple to replace us.
Family Home Evening was at the Clarke’s. I was asked to play the piano for an opening song. We waited for others to arrive and we could hear familiar voices coming but they never arrived. Elder Clarke walked into the hallway and one elevator had arrived just fine, the other elevator was stuck just below the floor level. The guards were able to pry the doors open. It took a few minutes to get the last load of our group off of the elevator, and a least one person was very shook up from the claustrophobic experience. Elder Clarke and Elder Martino spoke to us about the instructions they received the week before General Conference. It is wonderful to sit in the living room of a General Authority and hear the words of the brethren. One of the comments I really liked is that the Book of Mormon is a handbook to return to God. We were counseled to send our journal home weekly to our children. I think I get an “A” for sharing our experiences with our family, 70 of our closest friends, and others who stumble across my blog. It was Sister Torres birthday (Guatemala City North Mission president's wife)and Rexene gave her a shawl "from all of us."
When we left we all chose the stairs. At least the Clarke’s are on the third floor and not the fourteenth!
Spencer’s mission papers were submitted today. What an exciting time! We can hardly wait to hear where he will be called to serve.
20 April 2010…..Tuesday
This morning Dick took the MacArthurs to the airport for a trip to Honduras. Later the MacArthurs called Jim to tell him that the plane was taxiing but had to turn around and go back. They had forgotten to gas up the plane! So glad they discovered that before they took off.
Johnsons picked up me and Rexene in front of the apartment. When we got to the office Rexene, Jennifer and I went with Curtisses to “Ayúdame a vivir,” (help me to live), a hospital/outpatient clinic for children with cancer. The Church has given a contribution of wheel chairs and medical equipment. Each missionary couple is giving Q40 a month to help feed the parents of the outpatients one day a week when they bring the children for treatment. It was a heart breaking experience. We fought tears the whole time, sometimes not successfully. We were greeted first by three children. One little girl, 4 years old, had a tiara on her head and she is in remission. The 12 year old boy was wearing a mask and the 8 year old girl had a tube in her nose, a big smile and a wig.
We then had a video presentation and a tour. The huge waiting room was full of parents and children, waiting for the outpatient care. Sick little children everywhere. We walked through the halls and looked in the rooms. We would wave and little ones would wave back. One room had both parents hovering over a tiny little girl. We were told she was dying. We walked further along and then five minutes later, when we came back down the hall, the bed was empty and only the father was standing there at the door. The little girl had died in those few short minutes. The administrator of the hospital wanted to meet us and also the head doctor. She was trained in the States and spoke excellent English. They are very appreciative of the money donations and the equipment donations.
Statistics are staggering. Most of the sick children are from the outlying, indigenous, poor areas. Just about 50% of the children with cancer are 5 years and younger. There are many cases of leukemia and eye cancer in infants. No official study has been done but the feeling is that the pregnant mothers and those who carry their babies on their back, work in the fields that are sprayed for infestation and that might be a contributing factor to cancer in so many infants and toddlers. It is a sad situation and extremely heart wrenching.
Rexene’s daughter sent the email address for her mother-in-law. I emailed her. She lives in Manti and is a great-great-granddaughter of Welcome and Susan Amelia Risley. I am the great-granddaughter of Welcome and Catherine Ann Stayner.
We think we have found a replacement. Dick talked to a couple today who very likely will come to Guatemala to replace us. Someone gave Dick their name and number. Elder Clarke will call them tomorrow. That is good news, especially for Reynaldo. As I was writing this (9:45 pm) the earth was quaking, again. I can’t get the picture of those sick little children and those worried parents out of my head.
21 April 2010…..Wednesday
After the earthquake last night my body continued to feel like it is moving. Interesting phenomenon I
have experienced the last two months. Today at the office I started typing the next batch of exceptions, in Spanish, that need to be signed by Elder Clarke and submitted to Salt Lake next week. Dick spent two hours last night here at home, writing them up for me. He is at it again tonight.
Rexene and I took a walk. This time Jim drove us over to the gated community and we walked for 45 minutes and Dick was there waiting for us to drive us back home. Elder Clarke told us Monday night that he didn’t want any of us walking along the streets. So now we will be escorted, in the car, to the gated area by one of our husbands. As we were driving over there today there was a street blocked with police vehicles, yellow tape, and a barricade blocking the view of what had happened. (Found out later that a local businessman was being chased, was shot and killed and then crashed his car into a tree. A friend of Beatriz knew him.)
22 April 2010…..Thursday
Today is Hannah’s 11th birthday! Dick left for the office early. He had some problems getting there but for those who left later there were greater delays. There was a demonstration by several thousand indigenous people, brought in my buses to the Obelisco. They were marching down Reformas Ave. Dick had a full day…..financial meeting for PEF in the morning, taking the Fillmores to the dental clinic when they had car problems, and teaching English at 4 pm to four men at the office who want to improve their English. But, just before 4 pm and the English class, Dick heard four gunshots, right outside our office window. He and about 35 others went out to see what was happening a little later. Someone had been shot and killed and was lying underneath a car. No details available, but Elder Clarke told everyone at the office to go home because the street would be shut down for an investigation that would take hours and they may not be able to go home later. (Some employees got caught in the shutdown and couldn’t leave till 9 pm.)
I had a quiet day, thank goodness. I stayed home and filled up the suitcase we plan to send back to Utah next week with Robertsons. Our apartment is now empty of the rest of the things we have collected here, plus I packed all of my sweaters, etc.
23 April 2010…..Friday
I had a busy morning typing up more exceptions. We found out that the guy killed yesterday was one of the drug dealers that hangs out on the corner. The car that ended up on top of him was driven by a mother going to pick up her child at the school around the corner. Tilleys flew to Honduras this morning because of extortion problems going on there. Dick brought me home about 1 pm when I was finished with the exceptions. When he came home he brought Burger King for dinner.
I went on the real estate sight for our home and checked it out. I was so pleased to see the word “immaculate.” There are eleven pictures and the house and yard look great. The tree in front has grown. We have had renters for almost two years. Thank you April and Dawn! They have taken great care of our home.
24 April 2010…..Saturday
Typical Saturday morning: cleaning and laundry for me and Dick at the office, again. At 1 pm we went with Tomkinsons to TGIF Friday for lunch.
When we got back I went up to Cazier’s apartment to practice with a quickly formed trio for FHE Monday night. A little later Dick and Wayne went to the airport to pick up the MacArthurs who have been in Honduras. The last week our weather has been humid. Especially around bedtime. The fan has run all night all week.
25 April 2010…..Sunday
Blackburns and Tilleys are out of the country so I was the only gringo in Primary. Every child was enthralled when it was time to cut out pieces of a temple puzzle. They loved using the scissors.
Sister Guzman invited Dick and the Young Men in to do some role playing.
Usually Dan Acevedo pulls a chair next to me. He loves the teclado and the sounds it makes. He is a sweet little boy. Pablo Guzman is 11 and sings all the songs, on key, and at the top of his lungs. They wanted their picture taken.
Dick brought me home after Church and then went back out to La Sabana to finish his home teaching and to visit one of Jim’s assigned families. I went up to Cazier’s apartment and our trio practiced again. We have a PEF fireside tonight in Zone 1, Central Stake. Tomkinsons will drive us so Dick doesn’t have to drive in the dark, plus we are not to be out after dark without another couple with us.
- 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.