Monday, June 1, 2015

One last Bienvenida y Districto Cuilapa

Dear Family and Friends:
     We had our last Bienvenida on Monday the 25th of May.  In our year and a half here, we have welcomed 19 Senior Missionaries to our little family: Hna. Guzman, Hna. Tanner, Hna. Paniagua, Hna. Caballero, Los Barneys, Los Eberhards, Los Allreds, Los Rosados, Los Rosales, Los Brubakers, Los Gardners, and finally Hna. Lowery.

     Hna. Lowery is the new CCM nurse, replacing Hna. Burbidge.  She moved into our temple housing as it is close to the CCM and very safe for a single woman.  She will serve in the temple on two shifts in order to qualify to live in our housing.  She is from Gilbert, Arizona and was a surgical nurse.  She has never served in a temple and speaks no Spanish.  She has a lot to learn but has the right attitude and is very teachable and eager to learn.
     When we leave, we will have said good-bye to 32 Senior Missionaries: Los Harris, Los Olsen's, Los Svensen's, Los Barlow's, Los Murri's, Hna. Dick, Los Padilla's, Los Cuellar's, Hna. Guzman, Los Galvez's, Los Roberts, Los Barney's, Hna. Cordon, Los Eberhard's, Los Gardner's, Hna. Paniagua, Los Pitcher's, Los Burbidge's.  It doesn't seem possible that we are the couple that has been here the longest right now.  We feel like we just arrived, time has gone so fast.
     We have only one new Senior Temple Missionary Couple coming here in August but will have three apartments vacant, so the Area Office is sending us Area Missionaries to fill them.  The Province's, the mission doctor and his wife, are moving into our apartment when we leave.  And the new Area Mental Health Doctor and wife will fill another with the third for the new couple in August.  We are turning into Doctor housing.  But each of these couples will serve in the temple on two shifts and that will help on the shifts that are short of local workers.  All of them have temple experience except Hna. Lowery.  As of today, we still have no counselor to replace us though. We pray that we will have one by next week.  It is getting very hard to be happy about leaving when we feel guilty for deserting the Presidency. 
     On Tuesday afternoon we went to lunch with President y Hna. Burk and the Wilson's.  We tried out a new Chinese restaurant, the Restaurant Monarch.
     We would have never found it on our own, luckily the President was able to come with us.  It is located right across the street from the first chapel built in Central America, the Monstufa Chapel.
     It was transfer day for the Elders as the pickup is filled with suitcases. 
     We didn't think that the food was a good as the Tesoro but the company was excellent.
Los Wilson's, Los Thompson's, Los Burk's
     We have had good participation at the temple all week, but Saturday was wild.
  Photo taken at 6:30am of the line waiting to enter the temple doors. Photo taken by Mac Brubaker from the roof of our apartment house.
     Coban came.  They are so faithful and arrive in buses to spend the day.  The women are always dressed in their native skirts and huipils (colorful embroidered blouses).
     The Monja Blanca bus line is the only one that goes to and from Coban but the old school buses are used more by the locals than the expensive Monja Blanca buses.  We were surprised to see that they had rented this bus.  It is usually 8-10 hours from home to the temple for them. We enjoy the spirit that they bring to our temple. 
     On Sunday we went to the Cuilapa District Conference with President y Hna. Burk.  They were assigned to speak so we went along to see this part of the country that we had not visited before.  It is very close to the El Salvador border so it is much hotter than here in the city.  It is about an hour away, with good traffic.  Along the way, we passed through a town and saw the freshest milk delivery.
     This man goes from house to house and milks a goat for whoever desires to buy fresh milk delivered right to their front door. 
     We are always amazed to find the chapels.  The church finds lots in the most unlikely places. 
      The parking lot and back door of the chapel. 

      We drove into the parking lot right off a busy street.
         A view from the steps of the church

      This is the front gate leading to the front door of the church.  The main market is on this street.

     The market goes up and down both sides of the street.  This morning one of the booths was asked to move away from the gate so that the people could enter the building.  During our meetings, we could hear the commotion of the venders and smell the meats cooking.  It would be a tough place to attend church on a Fast Sunday.
     This canopy was set up for the overflow that couldn't fit into the church.

       The chapel was on the second floor.  This church was not handicap friendly. It only has one bathroom in the whole building.
    We love seeing our temple obreros at the conferences.
     Hno. y Hna. Reyne with their son who was put in as a counselor in the new District Presidency

      Hna. Dominga Ramirez is a volunteer at the temple because her daughter is not 18 years old yet.  She will be a wonderful obrera come November when her daughter turns 18.
      We finally met Hno. y Hna. Daly.  They are the aunt and uncle of Sherrie Thueson's husband.  They had hoped to serve in the temple along with their other mission assignments, but they found out that there just wasn't enough hours in the day for this.

     President y Hna. Caffaro, Mission President of the South Mission

     Hno. Granillo is one of our security here at the temple.  His wife directed the choir with great enthusiasm, but every hymn was led with 4/4 time.  I can't figure out how people can do that.  He road to Cuilapa with us from the temple as his shift had just ended and he was our guide.  Hno. Granillo, his wife, daughter, and 16 year old niece road with us part of the way back until we got to their pueblo.  It was a wonderful Sunday.  We just love listening to President Burk talk.  He is a great speaker and we learn so much from him.  By the time the meeting was over, the church building was filled and the overflow outside was filled, a new District Presidency was in place, and the Saints went home determined to raise the bar a little higher and serve their Heavenly Father faithfully.
     Lon had been searching Craigslist for a truck to buy when we get home.  As we see how long some vehicles last and keep running down here, we are encouraged that we will be able to find something that will work when we return.  What do you think of this one?
       One of the many fruit and veggie trucks that drive around every neighborhood selling their goods.

     They will stop at construction sites and cut up the fruit and veggies and bag enough for one person's lunch or knock on every door in the neighborhood to sell the whole fruit.

     The truck has just a little rust and a few dings but keeps running.
         Monday afternoon President Burk and Hermana Burk took us, the Barney's, and Hermana Guzman to San Martins for lunch.  They take every missionary to lunch just before they leave to thank them for their service here.  It is hard to believe that it is our turn.
Los Barney's, Los Burks, Los Thompson's, Hna. Guzman
     Well, that is about all that has been going on here this week.  We actually have 2 suitcases packed and are sorting and preparing things for our return.  As we say good-bye to our obrero's at the temple, we have such mixed feelings.  We are going to miss these dear people and the service we are able to do each day.  We know that this chapter in our lives is coming to a close, but our Heavenly Father knows what we need to do next.  We will go forward with faith and let Him guide our path.  We send our love to all.  Dad and Mom, Grandpa and Grandma, Lon and Nancy

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