Sunday, March 29, 2015

Wire free and anxious to exercise!!

Dear Family and Friends:
     We have had two big events here this week.  The first happened on Wednesday the 25th.  I went to the hospital at 7:30 am and at about 9:30 Doctor Amenabar removed the wires and screws from my right knee cap.  It was in and out surgery and we were home by 1:00pm.
     The surgery went well but I did have a little trouble with vertigo when the nurses tried to get me ready to leave.  But I can throw up just as easily at home as in the hospital so we went home.  After a good nap, some food, and another nap, I was alive and well.  The pain that I was feeling in the knee before the surgery is now gone and I am excited to get the stitches out so that I can start to exercise and get this knee working properly again. 
 It looks gross but the incision is about an inch shorter than the first time. (Sister Petersen always says that it didn't happen unless you get a photo)
     President Thompson asked the Doctor for the wires as a souvenir ( I personally have other things that I would rather have for a souvenir) but he came home with the wires.
  To give you an idea of how big the wires are.  No wonder my knee hurt when I climbed stairs.  That is a lot of wire for one little knee cap.  I am to walk like "Chester Good for a week until I get the stitches out.  For you young people, Chester was the deputy to Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke who had a leg that was always straight.  We served our shifts on Thursday morning and covered for President and Hermana Burk for two hours on Thursday evening,  Friday evening, and Saturday for about 3 hours as we closed early for Womens' Conference, but I pretty much just sat in my office with the leg up and the obrera's came to me if they needed anything and President Thompson was my legs for anything that he could help with.   I have such a reputation that whenever anyone sees me walking straight legged, they all ask if I have fallen again!

In the matron's office,
I saw a smiling face--
Sister Thompson wishing
For her normal pace.

Her knee must heal correctly
So she must sit and sit,
Keep her leg straight patiently
While keeping her sweet wit.

She just does a world of good,
You can always count on her,
For when her knee has healed up
She'll again move like a blur!

Written by Hermana Barney 27 Marzo 2015  

We now have three days to do nothing but keep the leg elevated and let the healing take place.  The stitches will come out after Easter.
The reason we had to cover for the Burks on Thursday evening was that the air ambulance arrived to take Elder Gardner to the States.  The decision was made on Tuesday to send him home but they didn't know just when all the arrangements could be made.  The guess was that it would happen on the weekend.  Hna. Gardner was at the hospital on Thursday afternoon about 2:30 when the call came telling her that the plane was in the air and would arrive about 4 and she needed to have Elder Gardner's passport ready.  There was a blur of activity and the President took her back to the hospital so she could say good-bye to him.  He flew out about 10pm and arrived at the Utah Valley RMC in Provo (5 minutes from their home) about 5 Friday morning.  Hna. Gardner flew out at 6am Friday morning.  They both arrived without any trouble and are with family and friends.  We are thankful for the tender mercies and miracles that happened to get them home so quickly. 
  Well, that is about all for this week, and this month.  President Thompson is taking great care of me and I am trying to be patient and let him.  It is so hard to lay around and let others wait on you (again) but it is great to have the wires out.    We hope that you all have a wonderful Easter with family and friends.  We look forward to General Conference and President Thompson is going to make us an apple pie for Easter.  Life is wonderful.  Enjoy every moment, they come and go so fast.  We send our love to all Dad and Mom, Grandpa and Grandma, Lon and Nancy 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Getting ready for the rains to come

Dear Family and friends:
     This week as we were walking, we saw 4 holes being dug by hand along the street behind Cemaco's (the hardware store) and Yetro's (the small grocery store).  We stopped to ask what was going on and were told that they were digging holes to catch the rain water when the rainy season comes.  We have been on this street during a rain storm and the water was up to the doors of the parked cars so this is something that is needed.
     The amazing thing is that it is all done by hand.  The man in the hole fills up the bucket and the one above cranks it up and dumps it and they start over again.  With 4 holes being dug, it gives a job to 10 or 12 people so that is good.  With the rains scheduled to start next month it will be interesting to see how well it works.
                              Man filling up the bucket

back down for more

 Hole Number 2
     We went to Walmart for a few groceries with the Roberts on Tuesday.  We always know that we are almost to Walmart when we pass these green living animals.  They are green all year round.



 Leaving Walmart with our treasures. 
       We went and picked up Hermana Gardner and took her to dinner again at the same mall that has the Ihop in it.  They again parked us in the "Senior Missionary Parking" (the handicapped parking).  This time we ate at Rick's Big Burger.
 The burger was too big to take a bite of but not as big as the burgers at Big Judds.  President Roberts finally had to use a fork to eat it.  It was the worst burger President Thompson has had and my chicken sandwich was not good.  We will not be going back to Rick's Big Burgers!
      Elder Gardner had to have a surgery to place a feeding tube directly into his stomach.  It set him back a bit but on Sunday he was doing much better and was able again to enjoy some sunshine.
 The sore on his nose is from the breathing mask that he uses at times.  The doctors are meeting tomorrow to decide whether to try to reattach the skull here or get him to the States for this procedure and for rehab.  He is ready to leave the ICU but they don't have anyplace here where he will get the rehab that he needs.  He will have to be sent home in a medi-vac plane as he can't get himself from a wheelchair to the seat on a regular plane.  Hermana Gardner is finally ready to go home.  Two weeks ago she felt that sending him home meant that they were giving up, but now she knows that it is the next step in his recovery and without going home, he will not progress.  We are very sad to see them end their mission here, but are so happy for the miracles that have and will take place as he continues his mission here on earth.
     Elder and Sister Garth Bingham were in the MTC with my cousin and they sent this photo to us.
Dennis and Diana Peterson are serving in the Philippines.  We are so happy for them.  They have wanted to serve for a long time.  The people in the Philippines are going to love them.
   As we walk, we have watched this well driller working for at least a year now.  They still haven't hit water though.
 Our trips to and from the hospital each day have really taken a toll on our President's van.  He had a fender bender with it this week.  Boy, were we thankful that it was him and not us.  Now the front and the right fender are dinged.  President Roberts still hasn't had a problem and he is counting his days till he leaves and hoping for a clean slate when he goes. 
    We have had very smoggy days this week as both Fuego and Pacaya Volcanos have been letting off steam.  Today we finally have some sunshine and clear skies.  We are trying to enjoy all the sunshine we can as the rains will begin soon and the sun will be gone.
    We continue to struggle in the afternoons to have enough workers to meet the needs of our patrons who come.  We are so thankful for the Senior Missionaries who are here to help us.  We continue to pray that the Saints here will step up to the plate and dedicate their lives to serving on their shifts.  So many just come whenever they have nothing else to do or they come on another day other than their shift to serve, leaving their shift short handed.  We may not have enough time left to see this pattern changed. 
     We send our love.  We are happy to be here serving and teaching and hopefully we can make a difference here.  We love the people we serve with and especially the people we are able to serve each day.  You are always in our thoughts and prayers.  Dad and Mom, Grandma and Grandpa, Lon and Nancy

Monday, March 16, 2015

New Callings Again


Dear Family and Friends:
        Our week has been busy at the temple as many Stake Relief Societies came to the temple to celebrate the Relief Society Birthday Anniversary.  We even had to turn some away as we had too many for our little baptistery.  On Saturday during our shift, President Jose Alonso, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy and the Second Counselor in the Area Presidency, asked President Thompson and I to meet him after Sacrament Meeting on Sunday for an interview. 
      What a sweet, humbling experience to be able to sit down with one of the General Authorities of the Church and feel of his love and support for us. 

     He told us that the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve know who we are and that we are in their prayers.  He told us that he had been given the assignment to extend the call to President Thompson to become the First Counselor in the Guatemala City Temple when President Roberts leaves in one month. 
     We knew that this was going to happen as it is a pattern that when the first counselor leaves, the second counselor becomes the first and a new second counselor is chosen. 
      We noticed that a couple who serve in the temple were also there for an interview and we have been told that the second counselor has been chosen and he has accepted the calling but we can't say anything until the official letter from the First Presidency arrives.  
      My calling as one of the assistants to the Matron does not change as there is not a first or a second assistant. 
       Well, now we only have one question left, whether we are going home on Sarah's birthday or on Mindi's birthday.  We have been asked if we would extend our mission 5 months if the need arises.  We have not been asked to do this, only if we would.  President Burk now has time to concentrate on who to call as the second counselor when we leave in 3 months (the new second counselor in April will become the first counselor in June).  Our prayers are with him that he will be able to find the man and his wife that the Lord has prepared for this calling.  It will be wonderful to have native counselors in place and trained when President Burks time ends in October.  It is all in the Lord's hands.
      Elder Gardner continues to improve, slowly.  He seems to take two steps forward and one back but that is progress. 
 We sure do miss his joyful personality in the temple.  He was our trainer on the AM shifts and everyone misses his teaching and guidance. 
      The new CT scan showed that there is still some swelling of the brain so they can't reattach his scull yet.  His left side has more strength than the right and he actually raises it to shake hands.  He has had a touch of pneumonia but it is clearing up fast.  He was able to go outside in a wheel chair and enjoy some sunshine this week.  He can keep his head up almost all day now without a brace on.  They are baby steps but they are steps in the right direction.
      Hermana Gardner comes to the temple in the evenings to serve when she is not too tired and is keeping her spirits up.  She has great faith, hope and determination and is facing this trial head on.  We feel sorry for their boys who are in the States.  It is hard on them to not be here for their parents.  It has been a month now and we can see that it will be a long and slow healing process.
     The accident with Elder Gardner sure brought back memories of Lon's heart attack and head injury.  Tomorrow we will celebrate his 7 year anniversary of that event.  We are so thankful for his recovery and health now.  We know that miracles can and do happen.
      Another of our guards that we have grown fond of is Manuel Chol Chol.
       He is from the Coban area.  We are sure protected here.  As we hear of the violence in the city, we are very thankful to live close to the temple and to have such good protection. 
      Well, that is about all for this week.  We are looking forward to the next few weeks as we approach Easter and that usually means lots of patrons in the temple.  We pray that you have a wonderful week.  We send our love to all.  Dad and Mom, Grandpa and Grandma, Lon and Nancy

Monday, March 9, 2015

A reminder that we are "Senior" missionaries

Dear Family and Friends:
    Can you believe that another week has come and gone.  Wow, where does the time go?
     On Thursday we went with the Roberts to buy a few groceries and then to the hospital to pick up Hermana Gardner.  We stopped at the Ihop for dinner as a group to get Hermana Gardner some time with us to relax and laugh a bit.  We had never been to the Ihop here before and it is right on the way home from the hospital so it worked well.  We pulled into the parking lot and the attendant told us that they had "reserved" parking for us.  "Please follow me".  We immediately realized that we were "Senior" missionaries and must look quite feeble when he had us park here.
      Hna. Gardner, Hna Thompson, Los Roberts.
 Hna Roberts and I were surprised that he could tell that we each had a bad leg even before we got out of the car.
 That started our dinner out with smiles and we enjoyed having breakfast at 5 in the afternoon.  The food was very much like in the States and it was fun to be together.
    Elder Gardner continues to improve slowly.  He is still in ICU but yesterday began to eat soft foods and he tries to talk in sentences, though most of the time it is hard to understand him.  He seems to be able to recognize people and answer yes or no questions correctly.  He tires easily and sleeps a lot.  He will have a new CT scan this week so hopefully it will be more positive news. 
    We have 6 men who are our Temple Security and keep watch over the temple day and night from their guard house just inside the temple grounds.  We also have a security company that provides another 2 or 3 men daily to protect us and the temple on the streets around the temple grounds.  Whenever we leave the temple, one of the guards follows us home and makes sure that we get inside our gates safely.  When we leave our apartments, one of them follows us until we are off the temple property.  They are protective of us and we are enjoying getting to know them.  However, we don't know all of their names yet.  This is one of our favorites.  He just told us that he joined the church 3 months ago.  He has a wonderful sense of humor.
                                Luis Lopez
     He loves to tease President Thompson and vice versa.
Well, that is about all for this week.  We had a busy week in the temple.  It is so fun when the temple is filled.  We have moved all of the missionaries to the afternoon/evening shift, except for Hna. Caballeros who functions better in the mornings.  The mornings have enough workers to be self supporting, but they have never in 30 years been without North American missionaries on the shifts.  The coordinators were very nervous at first, but we are teaching and training the workers to handle every circumstance, even English when needed (and it is needed every Tuesday and Wednesday when the CCM comes to the temple).  It is so fun to see the growth of the obreros and the confidence that they are gaining.  The afternoon/evening shifts continue to struggle for enough obreros because of transportation issues.  Some evenings we only have the missionaries to serve the people so it will be a while before we can completely be without missionaries.  However, we have a bunch going home in the next three months and we know of no replacements so the locals will have to step up or the temple will have to close on a couple of evenings, Friday and Saturday especially.  We pray that we (North American Missionaries) can eventually not be needed here and that the people will become self-supporting and run this temple only with Guatemalans.  There are enough Stakes in this temple district to accomplish this. 
     We send our love to all. We pray that you have had a wonderful week and that the next week will be even better.  Lon and Nancy, Dad and Mom, Grandpa and Grandma
                       Pineapples for sale

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

New Stake Presidency

Just a quick note to let you know that we are alive and well.  We are rested up from our trip to Belize and had a busy end of the week in the temple.  We were assigned to speak in our Guatemala Stake Conference but our Stake Presidency was changed out so we didn't have to speak.  We all attended the Conference so President y Hermana Burk ended up on the stand and we got to sit in the audience.  This stake has many, many obrera's in it, including several of our shift coordinators. 
This is Hermana Chang, our Tuesday morning shift coordinator and also the wife of the Stake President who is being released today, with her parents, Hermano y Hermana Villagran, who also serve in the Temple.  Hermano Villagran is one of our sealers. 
    The Area Presidency was in charge of the meeting.  Our new Stake President is President Gonzalez.  He shared his testimony as did his counselors, who we didn't know.
  President Gonzalez is in charge of the Funbal group that come to the temple each month.  The released counselors and their wives also spoke and then Hermana Chang and President Chang.
  As you can tell, we were quite a distance back in the congregation.  Elder Galvez of the Area 70 spoke
and then Hermana Duncan and President Duncan, our Area President.
  The choir was very good.  Sure wish we could have sung with them but with the stake center some distance from our apartments we didn't have a chance to practice with them.
  It was a good conference and a relaxing Sunday.  We Skyped with Ginger, Tracy, and Mom, Sharon and John. 
    Elder Gardner continues to improve slowly.  He seems to recognize people and respond with a shake of the head yes or no to questions.  They are doing some physical therapy but he is still in intensive care and still has the oxygen mask on.  It will be our turn to take Hermana Gardner to and from the hospital again on Wednesday so we will have an update next week. 
    We send our love to all.  We pray that you are feeling well and enjoying a beautiful spring.  March is supposed to be our warmest month so we are looking forward to some sunshine before the rains begin again.  Have a great week.  We plan on having one.  Lon and Nancy, Dad and Mom, Grandma and Grandpa