Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Celebrating Memorial Day!

     This week was our turn to host Family Home Evening.  As it landed on Memorial Day, we decided to talk a bit about how this holiday came about and then show a program that the Tabernacle Choir did for the Spoken Word in 2012 on Memorial Day.  It was interesting to read about the beginnings of "Decoration Day" as it was first called.  Elder Thompson decided that we needed to have red, white, and blue sugar cookies for dessert.  He had never made sugar cookies before, or even helped me make them so he was in for quite a surprise.  He now has a new appreciation for Annie Colvin and her wonderful cookies that he used to get quite regularly.  He mixed up the cookies, cut them and cooked them on Saturday.
He made stars and hearts but couldn't believe all the work that it took to get them just right.  And cleaning up the kitchen afterword made him think that he would never try this one again.  Monday morning he had to get them all frosted before our missionary training at 11:30.
     With FHE prepared for, we were off to our missionary training, learning to put out fires.  The temple engineers were concerned that the missionaries didn't know how to use the fire extinguishers that are in the apartments, or that we could even lift them so they spent the next hour teaching us.
 This is one of the temple engineers, Hermano Alvarado teaching us all about the fire extinguishers with President Burk translating into English for those who needed it.  After the classroom instruction, we were off to the bus parking lot to try our hand at using one.
They especially wanted to make sure that all the single sisters could use the extinguisher.  Hermana Cordon looked like an expert.
I am in the green shirt and handled it without any difficulty.  Some of the older single sisters used smaller ones that weren't so heavy for them.

     Elder Thompson tried to answer some questions that Hermana Cuellar had and help her understand how to use the extinguisher, however------- 
 She forgot to hang on to the nozzle and when she began to spray, the nozzle whipped around and drenched Hermana Barlow.  We decided that it was the red hair that confused her. 
                       President Roberts had no trouble at all.  Elder Thompson  found it easy also.
     After we were trained and the engineers were satisfied that we could at least put out a kitchen fire if we started one, we were off to have lunch at Pollo Campero with the Murri's and Cuellar's.
     Our FHE went very well.  We had 14 in attendance, it is so much easier in this bigger apartment.  I will share with you a fact that we learned that we didn't know before.
     On Memorial Day, the flag of the US is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon.  It is then raised to the full-staff position for the remainder of the day.
     The half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service to their country.  At noon, their memory is raised by the living, who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue to fight for liberty and justice for all. 
    May we be like Moroni, and raise the standard of liberty in our hearts and minds.  That we will fight for what is right and stand for what is true.
      Our week went by so fast.  We enjoy our service here and love getting to know the people.  We send our love to you and pray that you are well and enjoying life.  May God be with you this week and bless you with those righteous desired of your hearts.  Lon and Nancy, Dad and Mom, Grandpa and Grandma.     

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

New Missionaries

     Well, I guess better late than never.  I didn't have much to write about on Sunday and we got too busy to write on Monday and Tuesday so I will catch up now.  During the week, we had people from Senaju training at the temple.  Senaju is a little town where native Indians live.  The older generation only speak Que'chi, not Spanish.  It is a very difficult language and not many people can understand it or speak it or read it.  We saw the written language and boy, it is really different.  The younger generation is learning Spanish and about 7 men and one woman came to the temple to learn all they could so they can help when the saints from Senaju come to the temple next week.  We had a small group here on Friday so they could practice what they had learned.  Most of the group that came couldn't read or write.  It will be wonderful for them to have a few who can help them and communicate with them at the temple.  It will be an interesting week.
     On Monday, we walked to Hermana Maria Najera's home.  Maria is a member of our ward here.  She has no use of her hands and walks all bent over.  She is a painter and paints with her feet.  She wanted to show us her paintings.    
This is Maria with her husband holding the picture that the Murri's bought.  It takes her about a month to do one painting, and she paints about two hours a day.  She painted a self portrait and when we saw it we couldn't resist.  We bought it.
     She uses oils.  This is the position that she has to be in to paint.  She speaks some English, having lived in Colorado to receive physical therapy.  Her husband is from Spain and is not a member.  Maria has a sweet personality and we are thankful that we have the privilege to know her.
     Monday evening for Family Home Evening we welcomed our newest couple missionaries. 
      This is the Eberhard's.  They are from Southern Utah.  This is the second marriage for them both.  Elder Eberhard and his first wife served 4 missions together before she died.  They served in Guatemala City twice in the mission office, once in Quezaltenango in the mission office, and in Argentina.  They met on an internet dating site and this is their second mission together, having served in the Washington DC Temple. 
     And this is the Wilson's.  They are from Almo, Nevada and served in the Las Vegas Temple.  This is their second mission, having served as membership support in Pero.  They were so thrilled with their apartment.  They had no hot water in Pero.
     Our mission family seems to change monthly as missionaries come and go but this is our mission family right now.
 Front row: Los Thompsons, Hermana Guzman, Los Galvez, Elder Padilla, Elder Cuellar
Middle Row:  Hermana Roberts, Hermana's Caballero, Paniagua, Tanner, Padilla, Cuellar
Back Row: Pres. Roberts, Los Eberhard, Los Murris, Los Barlows, Los Wilsons, Los Olsens, Hermana Cordon, y President y Hermana Burk, 27 in all.
     We were on the PM shift last week but are back to the AM shift for this week.  It is easier for me to get our walk in when we are on the AM shift.  That way I have the shift over and know how much energy I have left and that determines how long we walk.  We have to watch the weather and try to get the walk in before the afternoon rains come.  Everything is turning green and beautiful. 
     We send our love to all.  We pray that you are enjoying life and are well.  We love being here serving in this temple.  We love serving these special children of our Heavenly Father.  Have a great week and we will write again soon.  Love Dad and Mom, Grandpa and Grandma, Lon and Nancy 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

     We have had a busy week in the Temple as many ward and stake Relief Societies came to celebrate Mother's Day.  We just love the temple to be full.  On Saturday, a stake from near Atlitlan came in three buses and a few cars, about 100 people in all.  They are of true Mayan decent, about 3 1/2 or 4 feet tall and all the women were dressed in the native skirt and blouse.  The smell of campfire was very strong as they all cook outside over open fires.  One of the ladies was 96 years young and no bigger than Eisley, in fact Eisley may be taller now. 
     We have a variety of photos to share with you this week.  First is a photo of our new Temple Presidency, for another 6 weeks at least.  Then we will be loosing the Galvez's.

       President and Hermana Galvez, President and Hermana Burk, President and Hermana Roberets
 This is a view of the temple from up the hill.  As you can see, Guatemala City is a pretty big city.  The temple looks pretty small in comparison.  The CCM is to the right of the Temple with all the windows. 
                        These are our temple secretaries that keep the work moving smoothly. 
       Maggie Ruano, Martita Valdez, President and Hermama Burk, Evelyn Estrada, Brenda Baltrons
     As we were walking, we noticed this tree that was in full bloom and looked to be doing very well, however, as we looked closer, we couldn't believe that it is even alive.  The trunk is rotted completely through.  It is just amazing what this volcanic soil and the tropical rains can do. 

You can see all the way through to the other side under the tree.  It is a wonder that it just doesn't fall over in a strong wind.

   I was given a hand-made doily for Mother's Day from Sister Funes, one of our temple obrera's.  She and her husband serve 3 days a week in the temple.  Hopefully one day I will be able to get a picture of them.
     Our little primary sang in Sacrament meeting and we were given a small potted cactus as a gift.  I of course found mine a better home so it had a chance to live.  We really enjoy attending church with Elder Amado, Elder Ochoa, Elder Duncan and their wives.  They are the Area Presidency here in Central America.
                          Elder Carlos Amado and his wife arriving for Sacrament meeting
     We have two new missionary couples arriving this Thursday.  Elder Thompson made his first batch of Chocolate Chip-Coconut Cookies and meatloaf.  Today he is making a batch of bread.  I just try to stay out of his way.  He is becoming quite a cook. 
     Life is good and we are enjoying our service here.  The missionaries are wonderful to serve with and the people here in Guatemala are loving and kind.  You are all in our thoughts and prayers daily and we thank you for your prayers in our behalf.  We send our love to all, Lon and Nancy, Dad and Mom, Grandpa and Grandma

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Movin-on-up to the Penthouse

     Dear Family and Friends:
     We have had an amazing week at the Temple.   Thursday, May 1st, was a holiday here, Asueto National or National Leisure Day.  We closed the Temple after the 12:00 session so we had to go over an hour earlier because it was believed that many would come.  Well, we had a good attendance till about 10:00 then the people just quit coming.  But we were done at 10:30 so we had a good morning and the other shift was very slow.  Elder Thompson had the opportunity to perform some sealings this morning.  Saturday was an amazing morning with sessions ever half hour and lots of people filling every inch of the temple.  We believe that a lot of Relief Societies came in celebration of Mothers Day next week.  Elder Thompson even had the opportunity to seal young couple, creating a new eternal family.  Our service in the temple is truly the highlight of our weeks.
      Since we were done early at the Temple, we decided to go to lunch with some of the missionaries.

 Sister Cabellero, Los Murri's, Sister Paniagua, Los Burbidge's (the CCM nurse)  As you can see, we all have an umbrella in our hands.  The rainy season has begun.  It rained almost all night on the 30th and has rained every day since at least once.  So you don't go anywhere without being prepared.
 As we approached the restaurant, from a distance we thought WOW, what a beautiful tree and such interesting colors for the flowers.  Well, the tree is fake with Christmas lights for the flowers.  They even had a pink one too.
      We enjoyed a leisure lunch as we were waiting for the rain to ease up before we walked back home.  But it didn't let up entirely so we walked home in the rain.  However, it is not cold.
     Now to back track a little.  On April 25th, President Burk came to our apartment and asked us if we would mind moving upstairs into the Harris' apartment.  We have two new couples coming on the 15th and he was concerned that we only had two apartments on the second floors available, one in our building and one in the building across the street, the Svensen's apartment.  He took us up to see the apartment.  Well, as you can see in the pictures, it is twice the size of our little apartment with several enticing features, such as Direct TV installed and paid for, for the next 6 months.  This means that Elder Thompson should be able to catch any of the College Football Games that he wants if we are still on the AM shift in 6 months and we pay to have it renewed.  It also has a bigger front room and bedroom. 
      These are the very stairs that I have been exercising on each day.  Hermano Jorge Estrada is helping us with the move.  We packed on Friday evening and moved in on Saturday evening.

      The furniture in all the apartments is the same.  The windows are great and we get a nice cross wind so the apartment is much cooler than the small one downstairs.
 We can even open the closet doors all the way here.
         The bathroom is just flipped from down stairs so we have to get used to things being on a different side.  The laundry is smaller but we don't spend time here.
We are to have a cupboard installed here some time.
     The kitchen is huge and has a glass top stove.  Elder Thompson is having to learn to cook all over again as it cooks so differently than the other stove.
You go out of the door beside the frig to the roof top patio.  These are the back stairs to the front door of the apartment.
     Our view from our bedroom window is of the temple spires.

   You can lay on the bed and see the Angel Moroni.  If I were a flower person, you could even have flowers on the window sills outside the apartment.
     This is the view from our front room window.  It is fun to be able to see the temple both day and night.  I think we will enjoy this new apartment.  It is so much roomier and lighter and cooler.
Looking out of our kitchen windows you can
see the apartment buildings for the other missionaries.  They are red brick looking buildings but the brick is only a facing. 
     Well, that is about all for this week.  We are settled in and unpacked once again.  Life is good.  When Sister Svensen left, she gave us her keyboard and I took her place playing for the Primary.  We are singing with the ward choir and trying to get to know more and more people daily.  We send our love to all.  We pray that you are well and enjoying each new day.   Lon and Nancy, Dad and Mom, Grandma and Grandpa