Monday, September 29, 2014

A bump in the road, actually only a pebble!

Dear Family and Friends:
     Our week started out normal.  It was a week with lots of thunder storms each afternoon and evening so we enjoyed our morning walks on Monday and Tuesday.  We had the morning shift on Wednesday but were able to get in a short walk before the storms began.  Then came Thursday the 25th.
     It was a beautiful, clear morning and we started out on our walk.  We had gotten about 6 blocks from home when I stepped on a pebble with my left foot.  That left ankle must still be very weak from the break because the pebble caused the ankle to roll and down I went, again.  It felt like a recurring nightmare as I again landed on the right knee.  The wires that are holding my knee cap together broke through the skin and down I went.  Of course, I fainted and when I came to, the minears kicked in and I "fed the fish" for the next couple of hours.  Lon had lots of help this time and the people were so sweet.  The ambulance took us to the hospital where Dr. Amenabar (the surgeon) sewed up the knee again.  The wire had broken the first scar so I now have stitches on top of the scar.
  I was hooked up to an IV with medicine to get the nausea under control.  It was a very bad minears attack and it took two hours for the medicine to work.  That was worse than the twisted ankle or the bloody knee.  We arrived home from the hospital a little after 2 PM and missed our afternoon/evening shift in the temple.  The Burks covered for us.
     We have again witnessed a miracle in our lives.  Usually a bad minears attack would put me in bed for 3 days, but after a good nights sleep, we were able to do the morning shift on Friday morning for the Burks and our usual morning shift on Saturday.  We are so thankful for the Priesthood power and the miracles that are blessing our lives.  We know that we are in the loving arms of our Heavenly Father.
     Sister Barlow, who leaves tomorrow morning for home, has put it into perspective for me.  "I want to be the kind of woman that makes Satan lament, Oh crap, she got out of bed again today."  I figure that I am doing something right and touching a life or two and that has Satan worried and he is trying to get me to go home.  But I have been blessed with the stubborn genes of my Grandmothers on both sides of my family tree  and I am content to serve here with my eternal companion.
     Both Friday and Saturday mornings were very busy at the temple.  We had people everywhere.  We closed early because of the Women's Conference.  We didn't have a speaking assignment this week so we had a very relaxing Sunday and we are both recovering from our newest "adventure" here in Guatemala.  (Just wish that our "adventures" didn't have to include the hospital) 
     Right now, it is raining cats and dogs, President Thompson is cooking Chicken Lasagna, jello, sausage gravy for tomorrow morning, and Fruit cocktail cake and I am in charge of the laundry.  It is a nice P-day.
     We finally got a photo with the new Temple Presidency last Sunday. 
 Not a bad looking group.
Los Roberts, Los Burks, Los Thompsons
     I will close with my favorite line from the Women's Conference, Live the Gospel Joyfully.  We send our love and we thank you for your prayers in our behalf.  We love the Gospel and we love serving here in this temple.  Have a wonderful week. Love Grandpa and Grandma Thompson, Dad and Mom, Lon and Nancy

Monday, September 22, 2014

Despedida y Estaca Palmita

Dear Family and Friends:
    The rain has just begun with thunder and lightning.  I think that we have a lot more rain here than we had in El Salvador.  We have about 6 weeks left in the rainy season and I think we will be ready for some sunshine.  Of course, being human and never satisfied, we will be ready for the rains before the dry season is done. 
     We want to tell Lon's brother, Ken, happy birthday.  Ken and Bonnie live in Mt. Vernon, Washington and he just celebrated his 79th birthday. 
 As the oldest brother, Ken has set an example for his brothers and sister and we are so thankful for him.  We love you Ken, Happy Birthday.
     On the 15th of Sept, we had another despedida in honor of the Murri's and the Barlow's who are finishing their missions and returning to the United States.
 Los Murri, Joan and Blair of Eagle Mountain, Utah.  They served in the Dominican Republic Temple before they came here. 
  Los Barlow's of Layton, Utah.  They came here with no experience in temples, and no Spanish skills at all.  They have been such a good example to us all and the people just love them.
     The 15th was also Independence Day here in Guatemala so the natives, who knew the song, sang their national anthem for us.  It has 12 verses, and we thought our National Anthem was long. 
                       Hermana Cuellar, Hermana Cordon, Hermana Padilla y Hermano Padilla
      After a dinner with lots of the traditional foods of Guatemala, President Roberts was surprised with a cake celebrating his 70th birthday. 
     On Tuesday, we went to lunch with the Roberts to celebrate his birthday, our "hump" day, and my 9 year breast cancer survival.  It is so hard to believe that we have already been here for half of our mission and only have 9 months left.  We really splurged and went to McDonalds because it is right next to Price Smart and we did our grocery shopping after lunch.
  We are able to use the President's van during the week to do our shopping so that the other missionaries can use it on Mondays.  There is not enough room for all of us to go on Mondays.  We are glad that President Roberts likes to drive in this big city. 
     Our Saturday at the temple was crazy as usual.  Patzitcia came to the temple again today and we had standing room only.  It was wonderful.  We just love it when the temple is filled and we go home exhausted. 
     Sunday we had the assignment to speak in the Palmita Stake Conference.  It only took us 10 minutes to drive to the Stake Center because on Sundays there is not much traffic.  They had the best sounding Stake Choir we have heard.  It is so fun to meet our temple obreros at the conferences.
 The men were amazing and the director knew what he was doing.  I would love to sing with them.
 Hermana                    , one of our volunteers at the temple because she has children in her home still.
Hermana Teresa Jimenez and Hermana Alvarez, who is the Stake President's wife also.
     We arrived home around 1:00 and ate lunch then went to the temple at 2:00 to prepare for our Coordinators Training Meeting.  We had a wonderful turnout and felt that all went home edified and spiritually fed. 
     Another week has come and gone.  We pray that you are all enjoying life and remembering what is important, family, health, and your relationship with your Heavenly Father.  We send our love to all, Grandpa and Grandma, Dad and Mom, Lon and Nancy 

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Red Bus

Dear Family and Friends:
     We had a very quiet week in the temple.  It has rained every afternoon and evening so that has slowed down some, but we been told that this is not the only reason for the small attendance.  At the bus terminal, everyone gets on the Red Bus No. 1 to come to the temple from all over the city and the surrounding areas.
There are a dozen of these red buses that transport people day and night.  They are usually filled with people standing.  Last week, Bus No. 1 was boarded by one of the gangs and demanded their "insurance payment".  The bus driver didn't like the amount that they "requested" and he was shot and killed.  The bus has not run for a week and when it starts again, there are a lot of people who will not want to board it.  We are not allowed on the Red Buses.  The one in the picture is a pretty good looking one, they really have some old ones still in use.  This is a big city and there is crime here.  We are thankful that we serve in the Temple and live in a very protected area. 
     We didn't have a speaking assignment this week and were able to attend our own ward and partake of the Sacrament for the first time in a month.  It was a very nice, relaxing Sunday.
     We went to lunch with the Temple Presidency.  President Burk tells us that he is not frugal, but cheap so the restaurant was very reasonable and very good.  We went to the Arrin Cuan Restaurant    and ate outside while we listened to the marimba band playing inside.
      This week we will show you how the construction is coming on the buildings that we blogged about a few months ago.

This is the new apartment building that was just started when we arrived.
 The windows are being installed and the brick veneer is being put on.  We walk past these buildings every day as we take our walks.

 This is a new apartment building.  The signs say that each floor will be an apartment and that there well be 12 floors when it is finished.  They will be very big apartments.

This apartment building is almost finished on the outside.  They are putting in the yards now.  We see very little wood at the construction sites.  They are very good in working with cement.  Helaman 3:7.
 The roof has at least 4 inches of cement on top.  I don't think that they will have a problem of a leaky roof.
     As we walk, we are intrigued by the trees.  These two trees have had the center cut out and the new sprouts will grow up and form a new tree around the old trunk.  It makes the tree look more like a bush than a tree.
    The 11th was Hermano Cuellar's birthday so we walked to Pollo Campero with them and the Murri's for lunch after our morning shift.  The Cuellar's are from Honduras and are full time missionaries here in the Temple.
 Los Murri's
Los Cuellar's

  We were serenaded by the staff and had a wonderful time with dear friends.  The Murri's leave on the 22nd of this month and the Cuellar's will finish their mission on the 15th of December.  We will miss them all.

The birthday boy
They put us in the children's play room.  I guess they thought we would be a noisy crowd.
    We are enjoying getting to know more of the obrero's in the temple and more of the regular patrons as we are able to serve on every shift during the three week rotation that we are on.  It is fun to be able to visit the Stakes and meet the people of Guatemala.  We are so thankful to be here serving these children of our Heavenly Father.  We pray that each of you are happy and enjoying life.  You are always in our prayers.  We send our love Dad and Mom, Grandma and Grandpa, Lon and Nancy  

Sunday, September 7, 2014

El Templo, la casa de Dios

Dear Family and Friends:
     We were told this story and we want to share it with you.  One day, two big green buses arrived at the temple parking lot.  As the doors of the buses opened, you could hear children chanting, "el templo, la casa de Dios" (the temple, the house of God) over and over again.  The primary children came off the busses and began to encircle the temple.  When asked what they were doing, they replied that they had come to give the temple a "hug".  That is the feeling President Thompson and I have daily as we are privileged to serve in this temple. We just want to give the temple a "hug" because we are so happy and love serving in this "house of God". 
     We have had another wonderful week here.  We have had rains every afternoon and evening.  A couple of days it almost felt like fall.  We almost closed our windows, but when the sun came out again, it warmed right up again. 
    This is Hermana Queveda.  She is an obrera.  She uses shoes that have a 3 inch lift on one sole to make her legs the same size.  However, in the temple, her white shoes do not have this lift so she walks with a huge limp and you can tell that she is in pain most of the time.  But she serves with patience, love, and a big smile.  She is so tiny with a spirit twice as big as her body.  We just love her.
  When I asked her to take a picture with me, she threw her arm around me and I know that she loves me too.  What a great example of service.
       Our Saturday in the temple was busy and thrilling.  We opened the temple at 4:00 AM.  Our first baptism group was a Stake Relief Society at 5:00.  What a sweet spirit these women brought with them as they were baptized and confirmed for their ancestors.  We had full sessions all morning with about 10 sealings and 6 new endowments.  We just love the temple to be busy and always go home exhausted.  We got home about 12:30 and took a good nap.
     Lon had to leave at 5:00 PM to speak at the Priesthood session of the La Florida Stake Conference. (He missed the BYU game, but got home in time to watch the BSU game)  On Sunday morning, we went with President and Hermana Burk to the La Florida Stake Conference.  We had been assigned to speak at this conference, but the Burks had to cancel the conference they were going to because of a meeting conflict, so they spoke here instead.  We had planned on just attending the conference, but ended up on the stand and were asked to bear our testimonies during the meeting. 
 This church building was the biggest we have been in.  This is the walkway up to the front door.
Elder Galvez, a member of the Area Seventy was at this conference and we were taught by a servant of the Lord.  The choir was great.  The women all had on the typical blouses of Guatemala.  We really enjoyed the conference and especially being able to meet so many of our temple obreros and feel of their spirit.
 The director is an obrera, but I will have to add her name later when I remember what it is. 
Hermana Betsy Revolorio
 The third lady from the left is Hermana Ortiz, one of our obrera's
  This is Roldano Rivas who picked President Thompson up for the Priesthood session, in a huge rain storm.
 This is Hermano Zuniga, assistant Shift Coordinator with his daughter.  There were quite a few more at the Conference, but we weren't able to get all the photo's that we would have liked.  As we were leaving, we were presented with the bouquet of cut flowers that was on the stand. 
     President Thompson is heading out again at 3:00 to attend the Regional Correlation Council with President Burk and President Roberts.  He got home about 6:45 and we were able to Skype with Ginger and Jaikka before the storm knocked out the power.  We were unable to connect with Mindi tonight though.  We love Skyping with our family.  It helps us not be so homesick for them.  We were able to Skype with Grandma Reid this afternoon.  We are very thankful for our family and the love and support that they give us and each other.  We look forward to another wonderful week here and pray that you will each have a wonderful week where ever you are.  May God bless you and keep you safe.  Love Dad and Mom, Grandpa and Grandma, Lon and Nancy

Monday, September 1, 2014

La Esperanza Stake Conference

Dear Family and Friends:
     We have had another wonderful week here.  We are getting comfortable with our new callings.  It is so rewarding to be able to serve on every shift and get to know the obreros better.  We have some very dedicated obreros who sacrifice so much to get to their shift each week.  We are humbled to be able to serve with them.  Our fellow missionaries are also wonderful and willing to do whatever needs to be done to accomplish the work that we have come here to do. 
     We were assigned to speak in the La Esperanza Stake Conference on Sunday the 31st.  This Stake doesn't have a building large enough to fit all of their stake in, so we had a conference at 8 AM and another in a different location at 11 AM. We were picked up at 7:00.   It is a beautiful drive to the Stake center, through hills and valleys.  The pictures I sent last week showed the houses on the hills, and this week we were in the middle of those humble homes.
As we drove up this street, suddenly the church appeared on the left, behind the fence.
 It is one of the "u" shaped buildings.  We had 4 wards at this meeting, El Limon, La Esperanza, Maya, and Santa Elena.  They filled the building.  After the meeting, we were whisked away to the next session of the conference.  It was about a half hour drive through some humble streets and farms.  
    The rains this week made it hard for clothes to get dry.  Today is sunny, so far, so there is hope.
There were soccer games in any open area we saw as we traveled.
   I just put the camera out the window to try and get some shots of the country side.  We are definitely in a very poor part of the city now.  This is the Leyenda ward building where we held the second session of Stake Conference.
 We had the Leyenda and Llanos de Santa Maria Wards and the San Pedro Branch in attendance and they filled the building also.
 We parked in the back of the building.  Our driver is a temple obrero.  We really appreciate the sacrifice of these dear men who come to get us each Sunday. 
   Our driver and fellow temple obrero, Hermano Cuarcax with us after the conference.
 President and Hermana Crapo are the Mission President for the Guatemala South Mission.  They spoke also.  They had to hear my talk for the third time as they were also at the conference last week and two times today.  They are originally from Pocatello, Idaho.
 This is the Stake Presidency, President Gomez, counselor, President Castanon, and his other counselor, I don't have his name.  They were such good speakers and really love their people.
It is so fun to meet temple obreros at these conferences.  This is Hermano Recancoj.  He is the Stake Patriarch in the La Esperanza Stake. 
The primary asked for a picture with the Stake leaders and the Crapo's and the Thompson's.  What a fun Sunday morning.  We were taught for 4 hours by these great leaders and showered with hugs and kisses by the children afterwards.  We felt that our talks went over very well and are so thrilled with this part of our new callings.  It is so wonderful to be in the wards and stakes to meet the people and encourage them to come to the temple. 
     This is the view from where we were standing for the picture with the Primary.  Shayla, this one is for you.
  I zoomed in so you could see the name of the clinic.  It might be just a little primitive.
But I'm sure that it is clean and sterile----- 
   The Crapo's drove us back to our apartment as they were coming back this way and it saved Hermano Cuarcax a trip.  We arrived home at about 2:30, Lon went with President Burk to give a blessing to one of our single sister missionaries, we grabbed a bite to eat and we were picked up at 3:05 by Hermano Maldonado, another temple obrero,  to go to our next assignment.
     We were asked to speak to a group of temple worthy adults and encourage them to attend the temple and to become obreros if possible.  My little talk that I give in Sunday morning sessions of conference to the children would not work here, so I have a second one now that I can give to adults about going to the temple and it's importance.  I just need to write one more talk that I can give to the young single adults if we are ever asked to speak to them.  President Thompson has enough notes and enough Spanish ability that he can just stand up and talk about whatever the spirit directs him to say.  We were asked to talk for 45 minutes in this fireside and I talked for 10 minutes and he took 40 and was amazed when he sat down that he had talked for so long.  We just pray that at least one person in attendance was touched and will come to the temple.  The piano player didn't come so I was able to play a real piano, not just a keyboard. 
 The back view of the chapel
 This is the Atlantico (accent on the second a) Stake center, not a "u" shaped chapel
 Stake President Alberto Velasquez, in charge of the Huespedes (housing for visitors at the temple) and he makes sure that our houses are just right, and  Hermano Maldonado, our driver.
  Hermano Arais, a temple obrero
                                                          Hermano Murallas, temple obrero

  Hermana Gomez and Hermana Mendez, temple obreras

We got home at 6:00, just in time to Skype with Tracy and Sarah and the kids.  It was not a very restful Sunday, but we really enjoyed ourselves and our adventures today. 
     We send our love to all.  We especially want our grandchildren to know that we love them and pray that this new year in school will be a good one for them.  We pray that they will choose good friends and work very hard on their school work.  Life is wonderful.  We are happy and well.  May God bless you all as we begin a new month.  September already, wow, where does the time go.  Love you Lon and Nancy, Grandpa and Grandma, Dad and Mom