Saturday, February 22, 2014

One great week!

     We have had a wonderful week with good news from the doctor and special visitors from El Salvador.  But first, today is the 40th birthday of our oldest child, Ginger.  We are not old enough to be the parents of a 40 year old .  We don't know how the years have gone by so fast.  Ginger is a special young woman and we are so thankful that she is ours.
     We went to see the doctor on Thursday the 20th.  We started with x-rays and then Dr. Amenabar examined the knee, pushing and pulling and bending.  He was very pleased at the progress.  I have a 90 degree bend in the knee.  I can now put all my weight on both legs and I am to really concentrate and
walk without a limp.
The Dr. has me doing a few more exercises to get the leg completely straight.  I am about 15 degrees from achieving this.  I have no other brace, no wheel chair, and will only need to use the walker for a few days till I am more steady on my feet.  With all the pushing and pulling and bending that the Dr. did, I didn't make it to the temple that afternoon.  I stayed home and iced and rested to I could go on Friday afternoon.
     But first, Friday morning we had visitors from El Salvador.  Our El Salvadorian granddaughter, Paola Figueroa came to Guatemala for a vacation.  Paola has had some severe back problems and has been flat in bed with a brace on for months.  It was so good to see her up and about.
     She is traveling with two friends, Aida Palacios and Hermana Gomez.  Aida serves in the office of the temple in El Salvador and is the Young Women's President in our ward there.  Hermana Gomez sang with us in the Stake Choir and was a regular in the temple, along with her parents and sister.
                                                               Aida Palacios
Hermana Gomez
     These three came by Pulman tour bus and are heading to Antique for two days.  We wished we could go with them, they are so fun to be around.  They will have a great time.  It was so good to see them and get those wonderful hugs.  We really love these girls.
Paola brought us a wonderful surprise also.
Home made pupusas and curtido from her mom's kitchen (the best in El Salvador)
and a supply of kolashapan, our favorite drink.  We have been so spoiled. 
     They left about 11:00 and we got ready for our afternoon shift at the temple.  I no longer need to go in the trench coat.
I used to think that our apartment was very close to the temple, but the walk over today was very long.  I was glad to sit down when I got there.  I lasted for 3 1/2 hours and then the walk home was even longer than the walk over.  But we are so happy to be rid of the wheel chair.
     We had another wonderful surprise at the temple.  Three men from El Salvador came to the temple and we were able go visit with them and get those brasos (hugs) from dear friends:  Hermano Montepeque,  an obrero and works in the office; Hermano Pena, a member of our ward in El Salvador; and Hermano Rivas who was the area seventy when we arrived here.  We are learning to love the people here in Guatemala, but our dear friends from El Salvador will always have a very warm spot in our hearts.  What a wonderful day.
     Well, today is Saturday and I stayed home to ice and rest these legs again so I can make it to church tomorrow.  My knee doesn't hurt at all today, just all the muscles that I haven't used for 6 weeks.  We are so thankful for the miracles that we have received.  Elder Thompson whipped us up another wonderful stew for today.  It is nice to be able to help him a little more now.  I actually did the dishes after he left today.  We will take each day and try not to overdue.  We are so thrilled with the progress and don't want a set back. 
     We are so thankful to be here in Guatemala, serving in this temple.  You are always in our prayers and we thank you for your prayers in our behalf.  We send our love, Lon and Nancy, Dad and Mom, Grandpa and Grandma

Monday, February 17, 2014

5+ down and a few days to go

   I had just about decided not to do a blog this week as there really isn't much to talk about.   But then I remembered how disappointed we were whenever Tracy would miss a week while he served his mission in Finland.  It was a mission rule for him to send letters weekly, but as Senior Couples we have no rules like that. 
     We had a pretty quiet week.  Monday we attended the Spanish Family Home Evening because it was held at the Murri"s apartment just beside us and the English was held at the Pitcher's, across the street and much harder to get me to.  Let me explain our Family Home Evenings.  As there are 27 Senior Missionaries here, 12 couples and 3 single sisters, we can't all fit in one apartment for Family Home Evening together unless it is at the President's house.  We are divided into two groups, one Spanish and one English.  We are assigned to attend the English group, which is nice since Sundays are completely in Spanish and it is nice to study the gospel in our own language.  Each couple, or sister takes a turn hosting the FHE at their apartment, gives a lesson and has dessert.  It is a fun way to get to know the other missionaries better because we are also divided in two groups for our shifts at the temple and don't get to serve with everyone.  This week it is the Svensen's turn but their apartment is across the street and up a flight of stairs and the Spanish group is meeting at an apartment even farther away so we were just not going to attend.  But the English group has agreed to come to our apartment and hold FHE here.  I will attach a photo tomorrow after FHE to show you just how crowded our little apartment is with 13 people in it. 
  Elder Thompson stood on a chair and put the camera above his head to get everyone in, except poor Sister Dick didn't get her whole face.  Elder y Hermana Olson on the couch, Elder Svensen in chair beside Hermana Thompson.  The back row:  Sister Svensen, Elder y Hermana Pitcher, President y Hermana Burk, Elder y Hermana Barlow. 
 We were on the morning shift this week and found that a bit challenging to get us there on time.  But we made it and enjoyed serving.  I only went Tuesday though Friday and stayed 4-5 hours each day except Friday.  The temple engineer and guard brought me home each day.  Then on Friday I stayed the whole shift, feeling pretty "proud" of my accomplishment.  But you know the saying, "pride goes before the fall" and I paid the price on Saturday.  I spent the day in bed totally exhausted.  But after sleeping most of the day and night, I was ready for church on Sunday.  Again President Burk arranged for us to be taken to church in the temple van.
     Elder Thompson is taking such good care of me.  He mastered mashed potatoes this week and is finding out how hard it is to keep up with the dishes.  He is enjoying the cooking but with no dishwasher, he is constantly doing dishes.  I told him that as soon as I can stand on two feet, he can keep cooking and I will do the dishes. 
   Well, that is about all for this week.  We go to the doctor on Thursday morning so next week we should have some news.  We send our love to all.  You are in our prayers always.  Thank you for your prayers in our behalf.  We definitely feel the power in our lives.  Love Dad and Mom, Grandpa and Grandma, Lon and Nancy

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Temple is open again

  Week four is gone and only two more to go!!! 
     On Monday, the 3rd, our Family Home Evening was held in the house of our Temple President, President Burk.  It is right next door to us so we decided it was time for an outing other than to the doctor.  I was so excited all day.  The Temple Presidency and all the temple missionaries were there, except for the Olson's who went home to Eastern Idaho for the three week break.  We had 25 in attendance, 11 couples and 3 single sister missionaries. 

It felt so good to be away from this apartment and enjoy an evening with friends.  I think that I am getting a little cabin fever.
     Tuesday, the 4th, was not a good day for me.  Lon headed to the temple at 2:00 PM, he had to be there an hour early as his assignment this week is the recommend desk.  I hadn't realized just how this would effect me.  I had a good book to read, Spanish to study, scriptures to read, and movies to watch but I found myself watching the clock.  About every 10 minutes I would look up, thinking that an hour must have passed only to find that it had only been 10 minutes since I had last looked.  It was the longest afternoon I can remember.  At 6:00, I got the sandwich out of the frig that Lon had prepared for me and was eating my supper when President and Sister Burk called and asked if they could come and visit.  After I hung up, I just started to cry because I just knew that they were coming to tell me that they were sending me home cause I was so useless.  I realized then that I didn't have cabin fever, I was totally depressed.  Those three weeks were taking a toll on my spirits.
     Well, the Burks sat down and told me that they had decided that it was time for me to get out of the house and get to the temple.  They had talked it over as a Presidency and had several assignments for me at the temple that I could do from a wheel chair.  I just sat there and bawled.  I told them that I was sure they were coming to send me home, and instead, they were there to let me know that I was still needed and wanted.  What a blessing for me. 
     Sister Burk took my white dress home to iron it and brought it back with her black trench coat.  Usually we go to the temple, then change into white clothing to serve there.  But Sister Burk told me that it would be too hard for me to change with this leg so she wants me to dress in white at home, then put her coat over the dress and come to the temple ready to serve. 
     Wednesday was a wonderful day.  It took most of the morning to get everything done so I could go to the temple.  I don't use the wheel chair in our apartment cause it is too small for the chair.  I use the walker to get around.  Here I am, ready to get into the wheel chair and head to the temple. 
It is the first day that I have worn shoes in three weeks.  Lon wheeled me to the temple and I was able to serve from 2-6.  At 6, my body hit the brick wall and said , "take me home".  Lon wheeled me back home and fed me, then went back to finish the shift.  I know that it would be easier on Lon if I just stayed home, but I really needed to feel whole again.  It was a wonderful 4 hours.  I got to help recertify a few of the workers.  They put me in the Brides Room, with both legs up on a cushioned bench and brought the workers to me to go over all the procedures of the temple to make sure that they knew what they were doing.  I really slept good that night.
     On Thursday, again we got to the temple at 2:00.  The plan was to have me do the same thing as the night before, but we didn't have any workers come except for the 6 missionaries assigned to the evening shift, and I was one of the 6 so we were really short workers.  I was able to help with the laundry, greet patrons, and direct traffic.  I hadn't thought about taking my medication with me so about 6:30 I was hurting and needing to go home, but no one was around cause everyone was busy right then.  Finally at 7:00 Sister Burk came to check on me and I told her that I needed to go home.  Lon had been put into the 7:00 session so he couldn't help but a temple employee and one of the temple guards took me home.  I won't forget pills tomorrow!!
     Friday went great.  I had my pills when I needed them and at 8:00, Sister Cordon and the temple employee and the temple guard took me home.  It felt much better to have a woman with me instead of two men to take me home.  Again Lon was on the 7:00 session.  I had thought that I could make it the whole shift, but I must have looked tired cause I didn't even ask to go home, it was just arranged.  What a wonderful week.  It felt so great to be serving again, even if it was from a wheel chair.  Sister Burk and her counselors were so in tune and had plenty for me to do.  Again, it would have been easier on them if I had stayed home, but they knew how much I needed this.
     I didn't go to the temple on Saturday.  Saturdays are so busy and our little temple is just not big enough for a worker to sit in a wheel chair.  The hallways are just too narrow.  I was totaled from the three days and took a two hour nap.  It is amazing to me just how quick a body turns to marshmellows when all you do is lay around letting your legs heal.  I am so out of shape.  But my spirits are high and I feel alive again.  We will try a few days again next week.
     President Burk also arranged for President Harris to get the temple van and take us to church on Sunday.  Wow!  What a week.  It was wonderful to be able to attend.  We had three wheel chairs in church, one man with a big leg brace on, and a blind lady.  I fit right in.
     So, all in all, it has been a wonderful week, full of new challenges and experiences.  We are thrilled to be here serving in Guatemala and are enjoying getting to know the people.  They treat us with kindness and love.  I just love the hugs.  We send our love to you all.  You are always in our prayers and we thank you for your prayers in our behalf.  May God Bless you this week Lon and Nancy, Grandma and Grandpa, Dad and Mom 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Home made Bread by Lon

  Our week was very quiet, not only because the other missionaries took a trip to visit the Xela Temple in Quesaltenango, but because we had no internet most of the week.  On Monday, the 27th, we heard a chain saw going and found out that some men were trimming the trees in front of our apartment house.  At about 4:00 in the afternoon, we lose our power and our internet.  A branch had come down on the power and internet lines.  We found out that we have no generator to restore our power like we had in El Salvador and two hours later we finally had power again.  However, the internet was out till Tuesday afternoon.  We think that we should pick up a few candles before the rainy season begins. 
     They are still trying to get the new fiber-optic lines installed in all the apartments (we are told that they are in place in the temple now).  The boxes are mounted on the walls and the tubes that will carry the lines are in place but still no new lines.  Our service this week has been so bad.  It will be such a relief when this work is finished.  We really do rely on the internet to stay connected to family and friends. 
     Now for the medical update:  Doctor Cameron and his wife came to visit on Saturday.  They checked out the left ankle and said to take off the boot and begin putting full weight on it.  It feels so much better having that boot off.  I think the boot was just so big and heavy that it was making the ankle hurt just carrying it around.  I now have a leg to stand on, YEA!!  He was very impressed with the mobility of the right knee, but I still can't put any weight on it.  He said that I have a very good nurse!  Elder Thompson exercises my knee every morning and evening.  We are icing both legs and taking Ibprofin 600 now instead of the tylenol.   We are now half way and only have 3 more weeks to be patient and let these bones heal.  Doctor Cameron is the mission doctor and he feels that all is well and I am healing great.  These next three weeks will be the worst for me because the temple opens again on Tuesday and it will be hard to be home when Lon is in the temple.  I miss being there already and it has been closed.  But---do not run faster than you have strength--I will behave myself and be patient, probably very impatiently.
     Elder Thompson had a great week.  He has been sharpening up his cooking skills.  Virgil and Mona Dodd sent him their favorite chile recipe and he decided that he could make it.  He went shopping on Monday with the other missionaries and found almost everything on the list.  He did have to substitute a couple of things like green bell peppers for red ones. So Kim and Bev, you won't believe this but Tuesday morning he dices onions, bell peppers, and garlic.  He gets everything in the pot then turns to me and says "you know that there is only two things that I like in this chile, beans and hamburger.  I sure hope that it tastes good"  Well it turned out wonderful and he and I enjoyed a feast for supper.  Thank you Virgil and Mona.  This recipe is a keeper.

      We have some in the freezer and it will be handy when we are on the late shift for a quick supper.
After having such a success with the chile, Elder Thompson tells me that "tomorrow I want to make bread".  You could have knocked me over with a feather.  I don't use a bosch to make bread.  Making good bread is about the texture and feel of the dough to know when you have enough flour and when it is raised enough.  When I looked at him, with that cute little boy grin, I couldn't say anything but OK.
  Getting the milk mixture scalded.
We like half whole wheat and half white. Mixing in the whole wheat
This was one of the toughest parts.  Trying to decide when he had enough white flour kneaded in for the right texture.  It will be easier the next time cause he had never even felt bread dough before.
 He went for his walk while the dough raised.  We weren't able to purchase any of the smaller loaf pans that I like, so we only had the bigger ones.  With the smaller pans we can make 5 loaves at a time.  We only could do 4 loaves with the bigger ones.  Forming the loaves was a bit of a challenge, but this Eagle Scout was up to the challenge.
 Job well done.  The loaves were beautiful and the taste and texture were great.  He did a great job.  He is anxious to do it again only this time he says that I am banned from the kitchen so he can really do it by himself and try to remember all that he has learned.  I had never realized just how little Lon knew about cooking.  He has now mastered grilled cheese sandwiches, spaghetti, crock pot roast with veggies, breakfast burritos, scrambled eggs, and any kind of cold sandwich.  I am being well cared for.  Elder Thompson says that it will be a relief to get to the temple.  He has not had any time to get bored these past three weeks, with all the cooking and cleaning, washing and nursing he has had to do. 
     Elder Thompson and I worked together with our setting and rental business for years and we learned to appreciate each other. Then we served our first mission and we learned to appreciate the talents and skills that we each had and we learned to appreciate each other more.  These past three weeks, we have truly learned to love and appreciate each other.  By serving one another, our love has grown and our appreciation for the talents and abilities of the other has grown.  We are so blessed to have each other and to know that if we are true to our covenants, we can be together forever.  We are so thankful to be here in Guatemala with the opportunity to serve in this temple.  We are thankful for the trials of these past three weeks because of the lessons we have learned.  Our Father in Heaven is aware of us and we feel His love daily. 
     We pray that each of you will have a wonderful week.  We thank you for your prayers in our behalf.  We send our love and our prayers in your behalf.  Dad and Mom, Grandpa and Grandma, Lon and Nancy