Sunday, July 27, 2014

Home and on the mend

Dear family and friends:
     Doctor Castillo has been trying to find out what caused the cellulitis in Lon's leg, but he didn't want to take a culture of it.  He didn't want to take a chance of more infection from the culture.  On Monday morning, he came in to check on Lon and saw that his foot was peeling.  We had just thought that he had dry skin cause there was no redness or itching, just peeling skin.  Dr. Castillo got real excited, ordered his assistant to scrape some of the skin into a tube and have it tested.  It came back positive, athletics foot.  This has been the cause of the cellulitis and now we can treat it so it never happens again.  We are thankful for the still small voice that urged us to stay in the hospital for two more days so that this could be diagnosed.  "tender mercies"
     On Tuesday afternoon, Lon was released from the hospital.
  The rash is looking better, but we have more antibiotics to take for a week.  Notice, the black spots are gone now.  We are licking this thing.
    Wednesday morning, we attended our Presidency meetings at the temple.  By the time we got home, President Thompson was exhausted.  He is starting to realize how tired you can get from being in bed for 8 days fighting an infection.  But we are not going to keep him down for long.
     Thursday we served our shift from 2-9:30 pm.  It did feel good to be back to service.  We had a quiet evening though, cause of the protests going on in the city.  The bus drivers were protesting because of the lack of protection from the extortionists by the police so they shut down the buses for the day.  The morning shift only had 16 patrons in the temple all morning.  We did better in the afternoon with at least 16 in each session and double that in the last one.  The leg was not as swollen after this shift but we were both glad that Friday was a day off for more rest.

      We are fading more and more each day.  This was taken on Friday morning.  When we were in Xela, we finally found Lon his very own apron.
 Everyone has been worried that I would have to take over all the cooking again, but I have assured them that the Saturday before all this happened, President Thompson made enough food to fill the freezer for two weeks.
You can't keep a good cook down.  He is making his first pizza, but has decided that it is just cheaper to buy them than to make them. 
     Saturday morning, 4:00am, and we open the temple.  We had a wonderful day starting with a  full session every half hour till 7, and then every hour.  We are starting to understand more and more of our new duties.  It's kind of unnerving to know that "you" are the one who answers the questions and makes the final decisions when a problem arises.  What a relief to know that our Heavenly Father is there to guide and direct us.  We came home about 2:00, had a nap, and loafed the rest of the day.  We even watched the movie, "Dennis the Mennis".
     This morning, President Burk and President Thompson went to the RCC, Regional Correlation Council for the East Mission.  Our Sundays are definitely going to change now.  Stake Conferences are starting up again in August.  I have two talks written so I can work on the Spanish and hopefully look at the audience once in a while as I talk. 
      One last look at the leg this week.  As you can see, the rash is fading daily.  We go to the doctor on Wednesday, cause it is our day off again.  This time President Burk wants President Thompson to drive.  He is to get used to driving here now in case we have to drive ourselves to a conference.  No one realizes just how small of a town we are from and how frightening driving in this huge city is.  Hopefully we won't get lost.
     We pray that each of you has had a wonderful week and that you are well and happy.  We have overcome this trial and are looking forward to serving with health and strength from now on.  We feel the arms of our Heavenly Father around us and know that we are where we are supposed to be, doing the work that we have been called to do.  Families can be forever.  We love you, miss you, and pray for you always.  Lon and Nancy, Dad and Mom, Grandpa and Grandma.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A new challenge and blessings

Dear family and friends:
     After returning from El Salvador, we planned on just staying home and getting ready for the temple to open on Tuesday, the 15th.  However, President Burk called and invited us to visit three museums with a few of the missionaries on Wednesday, the 9th.  Of course we decided to go.  All three of the museums are located in the Universidad Francisco Marroquin.
     It is in a beautiful setting about 20 minutes from our apartments.  The grounds were amazing.  I just wish that pictures could let you see all the trees and flowers.
 We weren't allowed to take pictures in the exhibits.  The first museum was the Museo Popol Vuh.  It had artifacts from the many archaeological digs around Guatemala describing the life of the early Mayan civilization.  It is nice that the museum had the inscriptions in both Spanish and English so we could understand all that we read.
     The next museum was the Museo Ixchel Del Traje Indigena.  I think that it was my favorite cause it displayed and explained the clothing and how it is made.  Ixchel is the goddess of fertility and weaving.  The fabric and colors were amazing. 
     The last museum was called Quahquechollan, el lienzo de conquista.  It was one of the large drawings that explained the conquest of the Spaniards through the eyes of the Mayan people living at that time.  It was fun to learn to read their language through drawings.  We spent over 4 hours visiting the museums.  It was a fun morning.
      We went to the museums with President and Hermana Burk, Los Thompsons, Los Barneys (they just arrived on Monday to begin their missions here with us) Hermana Tanner y Hermana Cabelleros.
     We are still trying to get all the washing done and the grocery shopping done from being gone all week so we spent the afternoon taking care of these.  But we were ready to head out again Thursday with the same group to visit the Archaeological Park Kaminaljuyu.
    This archaeological dig is right in the center of the city of Guatemala.  It only has a couple of places uncovered but plans to uncover more starting in 2015.  The Mayan's use this park daily for religious ceremonies. 
 Any one with a red sash are priests and priesteses.   They use candles of all colors for the fires.
 Each color represents a different thing
 Our guide had no idea what the big cigars represented. 
 They are forbidden to use animals anymore.
 Our guide who did a great job explaining the artifacts in the museum and the digs
 They have a lot of work to do to uncover the rest of the temple.
 This is the other part that they have uncovered, it too has a lot more to be done to really see the whole building.
 Inside of the building that is not totally dug out yet.
Our group, Los Burks, Los Barneys, Los Thompsons, Hermana Tanner, Hermana Cabelleros. 
     President Thompson spent the next couple of days cooking.  He loves cooking and I love that he loves it.  I do the dishes, usually.  He made us chile de Dodd, chuckwagon casserole, jello, and fruit cocktail cake.  The frige and freezer are full and ready for the new week. 
      On Saturday night, Lon woke up freezing and thought that maybe he was coming down with a bug.  However, on Sunday morning he felt good and went to church.  During Sacrament meeting, he again got the chills and went home, crawled in bed and slept for a couple of hours.  He stayed in bed most of the day and felt much better on Monday morning.  We figured that he had a 24 hour flu of some kind.  Monday morning he noticed a small rash on his left leg, but it didn't hurt or itch so he just ignored it.  We went to the temple at 2 with the temple presidency to make sure that everything was ready for Tuesday's opening.  We were so excited to be starting our new assignment and this new mission in the temple presidency.  After being on his feet for a couple of hours, his leg started to bother him.   He pulled up his pant leg to show the President his rash, and was startled to find that it had more than doubled and the leg was swollen.  We came home and called the CCM nurse, Hermana Burbidge.  She came over, looked at the leg, called Dr. Craigan for conformation, and drove us to the hospital.
     Lon was admitted and we got to his room about 8 PM on Monday the 14th.  He has a bad case of cellulitis.  He was started on IV antibiotics.
 The rash went almost clear around the leg and was starting to go up his thigh.  It was swollen and very hot to the touch. This is on Tuesday, after one day of antibiotics.
Thursday morning, the rash has stopped growing and seems to be localized, but still swollen and hot.
                                                            Friday morning
      There is no pain, except when Lon gets up and the blood runs back down the leg, it tingles!
 By Saturday, the swelling was almost all gone, and you can see that the spot is shrinking.
 We didn't get to bring him home today because of that black spot in the middle of the red.  It is dead skin and the doctor is worried about loosing more of the skin.  He wants Lon to be on the IV antibiotics for at least two more days.  We are really disappointed, but know that right now the best place for him to be is in the hospital.  His spirits are high and he is being a good patient.
 This is his favorite nurse, Alba Santos de Jimenez.  She babies him and is very efficient.
      When Dr. Castillo came in today to tell us that he didn't want to send Lon home, he brought in Dr. Amenabar, the doctor who operated on my knee.  I think that he needed some support to break the bad news to us.  We had a wonderful visit with these two best friends and great doctors. 
     I have been blessed all week with rides to and from the hospital.  I really enjoy the rides home cause a different group of missionaries come each night to visit with President Thompson first, then take me home with them.  This new challenge has been difficult as we feel so guilty not being in the temple and President Burk and President Roberts and their wives are having to fill in for us.  But we feel the blessings of many prayers in our behalf and we are being taken care of with such love.  That is our news for this week.  We are in the hands of our loving Heavenly Father and we pray that we are facing our challenges with courage and patience.  This mission has definitely been full of surprises.  We send our love to all.  You are always in our thoughts and prayers.  Dad and Mom, Grandpa and Grandma, Lon and Nancy

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Happy Fourth of July

   We left Guatemala City at 6:00 AM heading for El Salvador on July 4th, 2014.  We were held up at the boarder for about an hour but were lucky to get through the road construction in 15 minutes.  We arrived at the bus station at 11:45 and Mariela and Paula Figueroa were there to pick us up.  We were so thrilled to see them and felt like we were "home".  We arrived at the apartment of President and Hermana Petersen in time to enjoy the 4th of July picnic.
 Los Haroldsons, Los Udalls, Los Cabelleros, Los Majanos, President Petersen, Los Thompsons
     Hot dogs, potato salad, baked beans, fruit and Hermana Petersen's delicious apple pie
     We spent the afternoon in the temple and enjoyed being in "our temple" again.  We just can't help but think of this temple as ours, but we know that it is our Father in Heaven's temple and we are just so happy that He allowed us to serve there.  We loved walking the halls and seeing the friends that we had not seen for a year. 
     We were picked up by Renee Hernandez and his father and mother to go to eat.
 Unlike Xela, in El Salvador the evening meal is served anytime after 6, and usually around 8 PM.  This night was no exception.  We ate at about 9 but enjoyed visiting.  On Sunday I played the piano and accompanied Renee.  We were thrilled to hear Renee play his violin again.  When we got back to the Petersen's, we stayed up and talked till about midnight.  We had been up since  4AM and it was time to head for bed. 
 This is the subdivision behind our apartment that we took pictures of during the construction.  It is finished and we were told that the houses are all sold.  The trees in the temple yard have grown so much that you could hardly see the houses. 
      Saturday was spent with the Figueroa family.  We went to lunch at the Rustico, best hamburgers in El Salvador. 
                             Grandma Gladys, Luciana, Carlos, Mariela, Nancy, Lon, Paula
 These hamburgers remind us of the Big Judd burgers back home.  It felt like we had never left, just been away for awhile.  After lunch, Lon and Carlos watched a soccer game while we went to the church for a Relief Society activity.
        Relief Society President Karina Artiga and her counselors Hna. Sanchez y Hna. Mendoza
 This is Hna. Margarita Bonilla. 
     We enjoyed an afternoon of visiting before heading to Planes de Rendereros for a supper of pupusas.
                          Carlos's parents joined us for pupusas, Alanso y Hna. Figueroa

This is a platano or a fried banana.  It is one dish that we have never been able to eat.  It has a real slimy texture.
     Sunday was fun to visit with members of the ward.  We got a few pictures to share.
                                                                 Los Santos

                                                                                                     Diego is headed to Brazil on a mission

               President Jaime y Gladys Lopes
                             Cristian Artiga
The Jose Pena family, except Joshue who was out of town.
 We got a picture of Hna. Petersen taking a picture of the food.  Boy does that bring back memories!
 We had a wonderful Sunday dinner of roast beef with all the trimmings.  Los Alas, Los Haroldsens, Los Cabelleros.
Los Majano's, Los Reyes's, President Petersen, Los Baker's (parents of Kelly) and Daniel and Kelly Fisher (grandson and wife of President)
     This weekend was so relaxing with good food and good friends to share it with.  We talked for hours and just enjoyed being with each other.
 Los Majano's
                          Los Alas's
    Los Reyes's
   Los Petersen's with the temple in the background
     We had some visitors later in the evening.
 Olympia Santos and her son Hector and his wife Celeste brought the new baby for us to meet.
This young man is Miguel Ricardo Santos Diaz
     The days just seem to fly by and all of a sudden it is Monday.  We walked over to the Multi Plaza just to look around.  We even got to go to Price Smart to buy some pork and beans cause we can't find any in Guatemala.  Then lunch at the Royal, our favorite Chinese Restaurant.
 Los Harldsen's, Los Thompson's, Los Udall's, Los Petersen's

 The Carlos Ortiz family came to visit on Monday evening just before Family Home Evening
 Los Thompsons with Los Haroldsens
Los Thompsons with Tatia and Alex Rivas
     It was sad to have to say good-bye on Tuesday morning, but we were so thankful that we had the opportunity to visit with dear friends.   The bus ride home seemed to take forever.  We got through the boarder quickly but had an hour wait at the construction site this time.  We arrived at our apartment at 1PM and look forward to a few days of rest before the temple opens again. 
     We have had a fun break from the temple, but as always, we are excited to have the temple open again.  We will be starting a new mission as we begin serving in the temple presidency.  Thank you for your prayers in our behalf.  We send our love to all Dad and Mom, Grandpa and Grandma, Lon and Nancy